One of my favorite authors, Peter Watts, just got beaten and pepper sprayed by US Border guards. You probably shouldn\'t buy his books, as they\'re huge and only available in hardback for a vast sum of money, but you should definitely download them from his website for free and then send him some cash via paypal. Sadly, this makes it hard to give them as Christmas presents, otherwise a whole bunch of you would be getting a copy of Blindsight this year...
Oh, and regardless of the money thing, Blindsight is really, really good--one of those novels, like the first half of Accelerando, where there\'s a brand new (to me, at least) super-exciting idea every other page!
From the article on boingBoing:
Hugo-award-nominated science fiction author Dr. Peter Watts is in serious legal trouble after he was beaten, pepper-sprayed and imprisoned by American border guards at a Canada U.S. border crossing December 8. This is a call to friends, fans and colleagues to help.
Peter, a Canadian citizen, was on his way back to Canada after helping a friend move house to Nebraska over the weekend. He was stopped at the border crossing at Port Huron, Michigan by U.S. border police for a search of his rental vehicle. When Peter got out of the car and questioned the nature of the search, the gang of border guards subjected him to a beating, restrained him and pepper sprayed him. At the end of it, local police laid a felony charge of assault against a federal officer against Peter. On Wednesday, he posted bond and walked across the border to Canada in shirtsleeves (he was released by Port Huron officials with his car and possessions locked in impound, into a winter storm that evening). He\'s home safe. For now. But he has to go back to Michigan to face the charge brought against him.
The charge is spurious. But it\'s also very serious. It could mean two years in prison in the United States, and a ban on travel in that country for the rest of Peter\'s life. Peter is mounting a vigorous defense, but it\'s going to be expensive - he\'s effectively going up against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and he needs the best legal help that he can get.