The last traces of the Nagara fade from our world. No longer does the Gurge allow communication between our universe and theirs. Only a handful of physical and digital artifacts of the Continuous Coast remain, fading a little more every day back into the stuff of imagination.
Yesterday I realized that this site had been hacked and certain aspects of it were being hijacked on some browsers (specifically those based on Internet Explorer). It took me a few hours to wipe the infection out of this blog, which I now believe to be secure. If you have a mental image of what I look like, imagine me flashing my middle finger angrily at the hackers/spammers.
While in communication with my ISP, they pointed out that I had many outdated versions of MediaWiki, WordPress, and even in one case Drupal which related to old projects of mine. Not only were every single one of these a potential vulnerability that could lead to me getting hacked again, but they highlighted one faulty WordPress install in particular which was a likely source of infection.
That blog was Voices From Port Outreach, part of the Continuous Coast Project created in 2007 and 2008 by Steven Brust, Reesa Brown, and myself with help from many of our friends. The Continuous Coast Project was an ambitious experiment in “Alternate Reality Fiction,” modeled after Alternate Reality Gaming and projects like Shadow Unit. The concept behind it was that another universe has somehow managed to make contact with ours via an interdimensional whirlpool. Not only can they connect to our Internet, but artifacts of that world (i.e. souvenirs for us to sell in our online shop) were also available. We even had a gimmick whereby Earth bands would travel to the Continuous Coast to perform a concert through the magic of Photoshop and mp3 files. Reesa & I documented this project and the ideas behind it in our paper for Arse Elektronika 2008 which is still present on Continuous Labs.
Approximately 8,000 Words is a significant part of my livelihood these days, both financially and less directly by spreading awareness of my writing skills to potential publications and clients. Daily blogging is now an important part of my writing routine. I will do whatever I can to protect it from electronic threats.
So it was a sad but necessary task today that I ripped out the remnants of many old projects, including all the blogs and forums associated with C-Squared. Since they are just static HTML, the “out of character page” Continuous Labs, the Mediators Twitter, and the fiction posted by Steve, Reesa and myself at the Continuous Coast homepage remain. The databases for each of these sites remains for now, and I have backed up most of the other important files in case one of my co-creators needs to access them someday, but this is yet another closing of a door on a fertile but painful part of my past. The timing is a strange, as that period of my life has been in my thoughts recently for other reasons I will not go into here.
What did I learn from the Continuous Coast project? It solidified my love of collaboration — the amazing thing that happens when writers, artists, and crafters work together and become a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Together we made an imaginary world bloom, one that presented exciting challenges like creating engaging plots for our protagonists despite the sex-positive, polyamorous, and post-scarcity nature of the setting removing many “traditional” (cliché) plots.
On the other hand it also taught me the vulnerability of such projects when the core ideas and the power lie only in the hands of a few. In the end, personality clashes made continuing the project impossible and a lot of hard work by the people involved went for naught. Happily I have seen a few my co-creators use some of the ideas elsewhere; I myself have some plans to revive the themes I was exploring in my own CC works in a planned future novel. It is still a bit sobering to take the steps I took today, and I thought the project deserved a bit more of a post-mortem.
In happier news, I have received permission from Kiki Christie to finish our long-awaited novel erotic science fiction novel, Honeycutt Tales, on my own since she no longer has time to contribute to the project. I’ll keep you posted on how that develops.