Yes my short story, the iHole, was here. No, it's not there now...
Yes, there was an open letter to Jonathan Ive (and Apple) here. No, there isn't now.
Sorry about that. (If you are REALLY disappointed, here's a different free story instead, as a consolation prize. It's a comedy about a financial catastrophe involving goats. You might even like it more than The iHole.)
Back to the missing iHole.... For background, I'll just quote briefly from the original open letter:
My name is Julian Gough. I write fiction. And I have a problem that only you can solve.
I recently wrote a short story called The iHole, and I think it’s the best I’ve ever written. It’s about the design of an imaginary product, and it’s set inside a fictional version of Apple, at some time in the near future. A fictional version of you is mentioned, by name, a couple of times, though he stays offstage as a character.
A major media player wants the story. Their editorial people love the story. The potential audience is a million plus. So far, so good. But now their lawyers have asked me to change the name of the fictional company from Apple, and change the name of the character I’ve called Jonathan Ive..."
OK, I put that letter, and the story, online three days ago. This morning, we've all come to a satisfactory resolution. I'm really sorry if you came here to read The iHole and are disappointed. It will be available (legally) again later this year, honest.
First, I want to say thanks to everyone - Minecraft fans, fiction fans - on Twitter and elsewhere, for their support, encouragement (and even editorial suggestions), over the past three days.
And second, I want to say that THERE ARE NO VILLAINS in what's just happened. Apple behaved perfectly, and the media organisation wanting to use The iHole behaved perfectly, as did their lawyers. I'm not mad at anyone and I don't want you to be mad at anyone. if there was a problem here, it was with archaic laws that make it hard for writers to write about the modern world.
In fact, I particularly want to defend the media organisation involved. There are precious few media outlets for short stories already, so the last thing these guys deserve is to be kicked for having the courage to take on an unusually tricky modern story like mine. They have behaved impeccably throughout, attempting to keep the story intact while still obeying the law.
My attempts to sort this out directly, by going over their heads, have almost certainly made their lives more difficult, for which I apologize. There's always a healthy creative tension between the artist and the industry, but I realize I generate a lot more tension than most. Sorry, everyone...
Finally, I'm happy that we seem to have sorted out a compromise that doesn't damage the story artistically. And I'm very happy to discover that such large numbers of people can still get excited, and passionate, over a short story.