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“Short fiction market’s disappearing,” says Ballard.

“More precisely, it was never there,” says Cote, “but fine, let’s take it as a proving ground, a brand-builder. What are you building toward?”

“Novels, which aren’t worth the time required. Um… video games?”

Cote snorts. “Writing for games is like sculpting for wolverines.”

“Then I guess TV or movies,” says Ballard.

“Right!” says Cote. “Except, thanks in part to my copy of Bittorrent, the money’s disappearing there too.”

Ballard frowns. “So how do you make money off stories when information is free?”

“Well hey!” says Cote. “This one doesn’t have a goddamn ending!”