Bewildering Stories

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by Jerry Wright

"S33 my l33t s|<!llz" (See my elite skills -- to translate). Ah yes, the Internet is a haven for coders and script kiddies (who are people who download computer scripts to help them "hack" into your computer), and it is a mass quantity of text. Yes, most of what we see on the 'net is writing. And much of it is really bad. I have to put much of the onus on the American school system. (I dunno, Don... Are the Canadian kids getting a better education? You would know...) We get a lot of submissions, and we have to do a lot of cleaning up. Oddly, probably because we only accept e-mail, we don't get so much of the real junk that editors like Gardner Dozois and Stan Schmidt get - crayons on butcher-paper - but even when the stories are good, the technical details seem to have escaped some of our writers.

I ran across an interview with Terry Pratchett in Locus and I wanted to excerpt a bit from it.

"The Internet community is kind of fannish. It looks like fandom. It has the same shape as fandom, but I don't think it has the same base or solidarity. What has depressed me beyond measure is that here we have a medium which, no matter what Mr. Gates has succeeded in doing, is text-based. Never has there been a time when it's become more necessary to write so clearly and succinctly, or indeed to read with a great desire for understanding, because the words are all there are. It's a shame that large areas of the net have become colonized by people that think dyslexia, rather than being an affliction, is a kind of badge of coup. While the net may be leading to an upsurge in creativity, it may also be building a huge electronic slush pile."

This was written back in 1999, so imagine where we are now. Sad, sad, sad. So, work on your writing skills, (and for that matter, probably social skills, you geeks) and get to be GREAT!

Jerry. The Bottle Washer