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April 23, 2012

International Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch Day
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:12 AM * 40 comments

Today is the sixth annual International Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch Day celebration, dedicated to professional writers who donate free stories to the world.

In honor of the joyous occasion, we dress as writers and stand around our Technopeasant Trees drinking Pixel Punch and singing Wretched Carols.

How to make a Technopeasant Tree
  1. Take an old-fashioned paper newspaper (if you can find one), and open it out so that you can get the individual sheets.
  2. Take the first sheet, lay it on the floor, and roll it, beginning on a narrow side, into a loose tube, When about a third-to-a-quarter way from the end, lay another sheet of newspaper onto the first, and continue rolling. When a third-to-a-quarter way from the end of that sheet, add another. Continue in this wise until you run out of newspaper.
  3. Then make four equally-spaced tears down the sides of the cylinder, about half-way down its total length. These form the leaves of your Freebietree.
  4. Grab one of the leaves in the center of the cylinder, and, whilst grasping the untorn bottom, commence pulling. This is your tree! If you used enough newspaper it can be of impressive height.

Pixel Punch
  • 750 mL of red wine (e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rioja, or Shiraz)
  • 175 mL brandy
  • 175 mL raspberry liqueur (e.g.Chambord)
  • 80 mL fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Mix ingredients, allow to sit overnight (or a couple of hours, anyway) in a covered glass container. Pour over ice. Garnish with an orange slice. (Be careful: This stuff stains.)

On Technopeasant Wretch Eve, pixel-stained writers slip through the ‘Net, giving free stories, poems, and plays to all the good boys and girls around the world. The boys and girls, for their parts, leave out martini glasses and bottles of gin in hopes that the Pixel Wretch will come again the next year and leave more stories on their hard-drives.

This Techopeasant Wretch Carol reflects the mirth that these jovial writers bring:

A Wretched Carol

Cheery pixel-writing folk
Post some tales today
Don’t you pay a minute’s heed
What the haters say.
Technopeasant day is come
So you scribbling crew
Write a tale that’s full of joy
If that’s what you do.

When the deadline’s drawing near
And the people shout
Please don’t stop then to revise
Ship that puppy out.
Post a short that’s out of print
Post your latest book
Post it proudly on the web
Tell us where to look.

Casey likes strong characters
Parker wants strong plot
Sandy is a pornerast
Please write something hot
Whate’er genre you may choose
To upload today
We will scarf and ask for more
‘Cause that is our way.

It’s okay (invited, even) to put links to free stories (yours, or legally-uploaded others) in the comments here.

Comments on International Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch Day:
#1 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 12:25 AM:

It's my very favorite internet holiday! Now, if only I'd thought to make up the punch beforehand... But at least I do know where to find newspaper-esque things to make a tree out of this year.

#2 ::: Jamie ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 02:07 AM:

... And it was just Krauthammer Day. April is the new December.

#3 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 03:47 AM:

Seeing as how I am experimenting with ebooks, and don't want to get embroiled with the hassles of international taxation, I've been trying out making an ebook

Castle of the Wolf

Old Gods, spirits of the dead, witches, and anarchists: Wolf Baginski had to choose, but when you face a castle full of Nazis, choosing sides is easy.

Kindle compatible version

ePub version

There's a lot wrong with it, and if you think Alberto Gonzales should be played in the movie by a young Clint Eastwood, you have the sort of warped imagination I approve of.

#4 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 04:37 AM:

I'm not a professional yet, but I can offer my webcomic if it's okay and people would be interested.

#5 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 06:06 AM:

Sure it's okay.

And... some freebies from us (including a previously-unpublished story included in Looking for Futures) here.

#6 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 07:02 AM:

or legally-uploaded others

In that case, I want to plug one of my favourite things from an earlier Day:

Names is a self-sufficient extract, introducing one of the lead characters, from a novel by Ryk E. Spoor that's being published this year under the title Phoenix Rising. (For extra amusement, keep the novel's cover illustration by your elbow as you start reading, and see if you can figure out which of the people on the cover is the protagonist of the extract before it tells you.)

#7 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 07:32 AM:

Jamie #2: Krauthammer Day would be the one day of the year when you look at your stopped clock just at the correct time?

#8 ::: Jim Hassett ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 10:19 AM:

Gosh, it's been decades since I made (what I now know to be) a Technopeasant tree! I look forward to exchanging technopleasantries with the technopeasantry around the Technopeasant tree.

#9 ::: Sherwood Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 10:19 AM:

Excerpts from the Diary of a Henchminion

Written about thirty years ago, and slightly updated.

#10 ::: Christopher Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 11:36 AM:

Well then!

I haven't decided what to post specifically for today, but...

Pay Me, Bug! is a full-length Space Opera/crime heist (complete) written in the tradition of Harry Harrison and Oscar Wilde.

The Points Between is a currently-updating serial that is my attempted homage to Charles Williams, my favorite Inkling.

#11 ::: brother guy ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 12:04 PM:

In 2007, the year of the first celebration of this day, a certain technothriller author published a book that was described by a reviewer on Amazon (not me) as "another unreadable mish-mash of neo-intilectual [sic], metaphysics drenched drivel."

Apparently some of that drivel is mine. One of the minor characters is a Jesuit brother named Guy who is the curator of meteorites at the Vatican Observatory and who says things that sound an awful lot like stuff I have been quoted on the internet as having said. Said character also possesses cringeworthy wit; clearly based on me, as well.

Having warned us that things on the internet could be misappropriated, he apparently decided to prove his case.

I supposed I could be upset, but in fact the whole situation (like the book in question) is deliciously absurd.

#12 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 12:12 PM:

brother guy... Any plans to attend this year's worldcon in Chicago?

#13 ::: Phiala ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 12:22 PM:

I am badly pixel-stained, and definitely a wretch. Here, have a story.

#14 ::: Jamie ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 01:02 PM:


Actually, the exact opposite.

Sorry, a bit of an in-joke for people who spend too much time following U.S. political commentary. See also, Friedman Units.

Pardon me, I need to soak these pixels before they set. I'll be in the kitchen.

#15 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 02:04 PM:

Jamie #13: Ah, makes sense. I think of Krauthammer as being right twice a year (hence the stopped clock metaphor) at most. George Will astonished me recently with a column on drugs that actually made sense.

#16 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 04:30 PM:

A fairy-tale of my own devising, from 2010:

Breaking Night Mountain.

#17 ::: Ryan Blades ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 06:48 PM:

I still haven't gotten the "professional" part down, but I've been trying my hand at online fiction with a superhuman short story anthology I'm serializing one page at a time, every weekday, starting here.

#18 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 07:02 PM:

Fragano @ 15: George Will astonished me recently with a column on drugs that actually made sense.

I genuinely first read this as "a column that he wrote while on drugs," and thought "Well, that would explain why he was making sense."

Then my parser screeched to a halt, backed up, and told me it must have been a column on the topic of drugs.

I'm not sure whether my initial parsing of that sentence says more about me or about George Will.

#19 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 07:26 PM:

Thank you! I enjoy showing-off-and-sharing things I've done, but I worry about coming across as an attention hog or a potential spammer. My comic is No Shit, There We Were.... It does contain some swearing and bloodshed. It's a sword-and-sorcery sort of thing.

Gray Woodland @ 15, that's amazing and beautiful. It reminds me of the tales in The Wonder Clock, only even better.

#20 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 07:49 PM:

Unclear antecedant. I meant that the comic is a sword-and-sorcery sort of thing, not that swearing and bloodshed are. Pretty sure there are many S&S stories without swearing, and I think I've read at least one without bloodshed.

#21 ::: Kellan Sparver ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 10:02 PM:

Not officially released for International Technopeasant Wretch Day -- I had no idea this was a thing! cool! -- but here's a little technology-forward flash-fiction piece I wrote for my blog last week based off a comment Neal Stephenson made: "Walk to Work".

#22 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 10:14 PM:

Rudy Rucker was kind enough to publish this at Flurb. Oddly enough, Making Light inspired the story when someone here made fun of the idea of a veteran suicide bomber.

#23 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 11:15 PM:

If we're gathering links, I should post here throughout the week as I release my dribs and drabs. (Why not today? Because that would be too much work to undertake when I'm busy celebrating my birthday evening by being an unrepentantly useless lump!)

I did put a blog post up stating my intention to spread my pixelstained wretchedness out over the business week. There is a link therein to the reprinted text of my very first published-for-money story.

So, there, doin' my bit.

#24 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 11:18 PM:

Did folks plan this to coincide with World Book Night? Did everyone else know about World Book Night but me?

#25 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 11:18 PM:

Alex@22: Loved it. Can't quite put it into words very well, but there's something about the tone of voice and sentence structure that just really works for that story.

#26 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 11:21 PM:

Ah, curses, gnomed again. There were two whole links in my blog, but they both went to the same domain, so I suppose they made the gnomes suspicious.

#27 ::: Lawrence ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 12:41 AM:

It's a bit late to mention it, but I did put this up on the appropriate day.

#28 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 01:16 AM:

Fragano@14 - A stopped clock won't do the job. You need a clock that drifts discontinuously to the right. Also a cabbage and some extremely bitter liqueur, like that homemade kummel that didn't work, only without the sugar.

I disagree with George Will much of the time, but he seems like a decent guy who thinks about what he's saying, and I'd enjoy having a beer with him. Krauthammer could write a column about baseball and come to the conclusion that it justified invading Iran or Cuba.

#29 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 01:56 AM:

Trailing in, I've put a story up on my blog.

Bride of the Vampire

Guaranteed Sparkle-free!

#30 ::: Marie Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 03:43 AM:

My contribution for this year: ""Letter Found in a Chest Belonging to the Marquis de Montseraille Following the Death of That Worthy Individual." And other things (from past years, or posted in free archives, or whatever) can be found here.

#31 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 04:41 AM:

Tom @24

One might blame the choice of date on William Shakespeare, which isn't so bad a reason for picking the day, but World Book Night started several years after International Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch Day.

#32 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 08:57 AM:

little pink beast@25

Thanks much. At one point I wrote enormous amounts of stuff under the name "Boddhisatva Troutwaxer," but it was all SubGenius stories, so I'm not posting the links here as a matter of basic good taste, but you can search for it if you'd like.

#33 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 12:14 PM:

I'm late for the very important date, but as today is my birthday, I feel justified in posting The Education of Junior Number 12.

I wrote the first draft years ago, could never find a market for it, gave it to my publisher for free, and watched it wind up in Year's Best. Suck on that, Hendrix.

#34 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 12:53 PM:

Two flash and one standard-length story (all hardish SF, all published to paying markets) are at my home page. Enjoy.

#35 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 12:21 AM:

Happy birthday, Madeline!

Now posted: Passengers, a short story written around late 1993 or early 1994, ish, and published in 1998 or 1999 by Rogue's Gallery, the literary magazine of Rogue Community College in Grant's Pass, Oregon. (The editor of the litmag was also the teacher of the creative writing class series I kept signing up for so as to carry enough credits to keep a student job. The RCC years, for John and me, were by no means the best years of our lives, but they were formative in our relationship. '97 to '99, I salute you.)

#36 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 12:25 AM:

Gnomes! One URL, just one! It's nothing like A Whole Lotta.

Possibly it is the construction of the URL. Too many name/value parameters. Deep sigh.

#37 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 01:05 AM:

I, too, am attempting to get some of my stuff on Amazon. I would like to negotiate with an artist regarding the use of their work as a cover and thumbnail for each of four or five different books for that purpose only. If anyone is interested, please email rather than cluttering up the thread, for which I apologise.

#38 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 01:56 AM:

And, on the following day, the first significant crack in the DRM control of ebooks was announced.

Tor and its associated imprints to go DRM-free

We shall have to see how it works out, but may I take this chance to propose that the 24th of April be pencilled in to Technopeasant calendars as "Flatiron Day".

#39 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 08:35 PM:

Bill Stewart @ 28:

All you really need is some pickled cabbage and a hammer. And it's never the right time.

#40 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 01:36 AM:

Finished the week of IPSTP offerings on my blog. Today's is the thrilling story of Mephisto and His Toaster. The others can be reached by paging back through the blog.

(Gnomes awayyyyyy!)

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