Weblog 2 May 2017

I don’t want to give up on this blog. It’s spoken for me when I was quiet or absent. It spoke to more people than I do, generally, or made introductions for me. It’s my body of work. Right now, it might be half-dead if not deceased, but in the sff world death is merely a state between being. A wood between worlds.

This post is the beginning of an experiment in very literal blogging – i.e. web logging – and an attempt at revival. I should know, from all the stories I like, that this often leads to things like the zombie apocalypse, but M.R. Carey proved that even that can offer up beautiful new things.

The journal form is amorphous enough to fill the increasing space between my reviews with any content I think is worth sharing. I still read quite a bit. It’s also easier to manage than essay-length reviews, while helping me work my way towards those reviews. And keeping a journal is just something I do anyway.

I was going to list the ideas I’ve had for the Weblog, but since  all my other blog serials tripped and died – sometimes right at the start – I’m just going to leave this here and see what happens.


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Government-owned telecoms = fewer posts

Regular readers may have noticed that Violin in a Void has had fewer posts recently. My standard schedule is three posts per week – two reviews and one Up for Review post announcing upcoming publications on my tbr pile. Lately, it’s been more like one post per week.

Part of the reason for this is that I’ve been busy with a few other projects. This hasn’t made a huge impact though, so I’m still keeping up with my reading. The main reason this blog has grown quiet is something I can’t control – my internet connection. For those who don’t know, I live in Ethiopia and I’ll be here for another two years. There is only one telecommunications service provider – the government-owned Ethio Telecom or EthioTel. And Ethiopia’s authoritarian government is less concerned with connecting its people than it is with keeping tabs on them.

Ethio Telecom logo

This article from the Economist gives a good overview of the current situation: the government is keeping a tight hold on its “cash cow” and making deals with Chinese telecoms to “preserve state dominance” and get “more control over its citizens”. Bypassing online censors can get you thrown in jail for 15 years. Two years ago a student was arrested for showing customers in an internet cafe how to make online calls.

My partner and I are internet junkies, so we got the best package we could. What this means is that, on a good day, our internet connection meets basic requirements in terms of speed and accessibility (although some sites are permanently blocked). On a bad day, the connection is so slow it’s useless.

Whatever EthioTel has been up to lately has made the service even worse. There are days when I can’t access half the websites I use regularly, and WordPress is usually one of the sites that get cut off. Hence, fewer posts.

Even if I have something written, I may have to wait until I can access WordPress to post it. I even lost my connection completely while writing this, and I’m wondering if it’s because I accessed that article on the Economist.

Anyway, readers, publishers, please forgive the shortage of posts. I’m still reading and writing, I’m not planning to stop, I’m just a bit disconnected. Hopefully the situation will improve soon.