Who is this guy?
John is an award-winning science fiction writer, a folk/filk singer-songwriter, and a freelance journalist who often writes about Portsmouth, Rhode Island news and politics at his hyperlocal blog hard deadlines. His work has also appeared in RI Future and the late, lamented Providence Phoenix.
In June, 2015, the scholarly online book "Pathfinders" was released by Dene Grigar and Stuart Moulthrop, featuring McDaid's pioneering hypertext novel "Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse" as one of the four works of early digital literature preserved and annotated under a 2013 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to the Electronic Literature Organization. Read coverage in EastBay papers, RI Future, Portsmouth Patch, or download a press kit.
In January, 2014, coverage on hard deadlines of a Portsmouth Middle School memo to parents warning of the dangers (including nasal maggots) of snorting Smarties went viral, with pickup in media locally (Portsmouth Patch, EastBayRI), in national outlets (Washington Post, CBS News), internationally (England, Australia), and in major culture sites (BoingBoing, Gawker), culminating in a citation in Snopes.com.
Born in Brooklyn, NY the year NASA was created, his surrogate parents were Robert Heinlein and Andre Norton (as he grew up, they morphed into James Tiptree, Jr., Thomas Pynchon, and Ursula LeGuin.)
He attended the Clarion science fiction workshop in 1993, and sold his first short story, the Theodore Sturgeon Award-winning "Jigoko no mokushiroku (The Symbolic Revelation of the Apocalypse)" to Asimov's in 1995.
His most recent story, "Umbrella Men," appeared on the cover of the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It's an 8,800-word short which resists categorization -- it might be dark urban fantasy...or it could be secret history (especially given this web extra).
Recent publications include the Creative Commons-licensed "(Nothing But) Flowers" (2009), the Nebula®-shortlisted "Keyboard Practice, consisting of an Aria with diverse Variations for the Harpsichord with two manuals" in the January 2005 Fantasy & Science Fiction (which won the Media Ecology Association Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional work, and was a Sturgeon finalist), "The Ashbazu Effect" in the 2004 anthology ReVisions, edited by Julie Czerneda and Isaac Szpindel, which was a finalist for the 2005 Sidewise alternate history award.
A theorist and practitioner in the field of hypertext narrative, he wrote one of the first hypertext novels, Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse, a New Media Invision Award finalist, in 1993. It was reviewed in the New York Times, where Robert Coover gave a nod to its "sheer pleasure of play." Learn more at Eastgate Systems.
|TINAC: Stuart Moulthrop, Nancy Kaplan, John, Michael Joyce.
(photo by Adam Chinitz)
As a member of the TINAC collective, he has written on digital narrative and spoken at dozens of colleges and conferences.
He helped create one of the first hypertext writing programs (within Expository Writing) at New York University in 1988 where he served as Coordinator of Computer Composition. He taught writing and communication courses at NYU, Adelphi University, and the New York Institute of Technology during his 7 years in academia. He served on the program committee for the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Hypertext conferences in 1999 and 2000.
He attended Syracuse University, got his degree and did graduate work at the New School University, and is ABD in Media Ecology at NYU.
Though born in Brooklyn, he is as close to a native Rhode Islander as you can get ("Take a left just past where Nadeau's drugstore used to be...") and relishes belonging to the third generation of his family to live in their house. He and Karen and their son, Jack, serve as scritchers and objects of nuzzlement to TRFH (Their Royal Feline Highnesses), Eclipse, Loki, and Chester.
In the mundane world, he does web work for a Boston firm. He retired in January 2016 to write full time.
Because I believe, following David Weinberger, that "transparency is the new objectivity," a word or two of disclosure is in order.
I attempt to be as accurate as possible in reporting, but that does not mean that the coverage here has no point of view. Like all journalists, I am situated in a particular relationship with the things I cover. Being accurate is not the same thing as being "impartial."
I am an appointed member of the Portsmouth School Committee Technology Subcommittee (2012- ), and a volunteer member of the Portsmouth School District Technology Committee (2008- ). I was an appointed member of the Portsmouth Charter Review Committee (2011-2012). I served on the board of the Portsmouth Public Education Foundation (2009-2012). I was an appointed member of the Portsmouth School Facilities Committee and a participant in the Future Search strategic planning workshop. I live in the Island Park section of Portsmouth, and I try to mention this whenever covering issues with impact on this neighborhood (i.e., sewers, town dump/landfill) if it is not obvious from the context. My family are regular supporters of the Newport Hospital Foundation.
In 2016, I ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Portsmouth Town Council as an endorsed Democrat. Back in 2010, I ran unsuccessfully as an endorsed Democratic candidate for Portsmouth School Committee. I'm a life-long Democrat and currently serve as Treasurer of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee after serving as Secretary from 2011-2016. I'm on the left end of the spectrum on most issues and self-identify as a progressive. I have been a supporter of Marriage Equality Rhode Island, Planned Parenthood, Ocean State Action, the Humanists of Rhode Island, and the RI ACLU.
My day job used to be in Web/communications, and while I occasionally create sites outside work for friends or help local groups (like the Democratic Town Committee), I do not receive any compensation. I do not run ads on my blog, nor do I accept anything that could be construed as payments or gifts. Our family are stockholders (Apple, Asterias Biotherapeutics, BioTime, Bluecora (née Infospace), Geron, MultiCell Technologies, Oncocyte, Sangamo biosciences, and Tesla Motors) a fact that I try to mention whenever relevant. We are homeowners and taxpayers in Portsmouth, and have a child in the public school system. In the past, I have been a teacher at the college level and my wife teaches in Massachusetts.
A word on reviews
I am a writer, and I have friends and colleagues who are writers. When one of them publishes a book, I am quite likely to review it, but I will disclose the nature of any affiliation. Sometimes I will be reviewing it based on material I have seen prior to publication, but nobody sends me freebies in exchange for good reviews, no matter what the FTC seems to think. Real friends *buy* their friends' books.
I am a professional science fiction writer, and a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the National Writers Union, the Association of Rhode Island Authors, and the the Online News Association. When I remember to pay my dues, I am a member of the Media Ecology Association, The Drupal Association and The Electronic Frontier Foundation.