Goodreads good giveaway sale

Five print copies of Warning: Something Else Is Happening were up for grabs between February 7 and February 20 at Goodreads.

A total of 726 people entered. That is a lot!

Most US writers limit the prospective entrants to US residents, but I did not.  Of the five winners, two are from Great Britain.

It makes me happy to know that  one copy of Warning is going to Staffordshire and one is going to the Isle of Wight. I  like to think of them being there, where they never would have been otherwise.

In honor of this  giveaway, I have lowered the price of Warning temporarily from $3.99 to $1.99.

The book has its moments, I am told. Now, those moments cost half as much as they did at 9 AM this morning.  I’d get it now if I were you, before I change my mind and raise the price of those moments back to where it was.

Its  epigraph is a quotation from J. Presper Eckert, coinventor of ENIAC, the world’s first electronic digital computer.

Functional immortality and other innovations

In the Silicon Valley Business Journal is an article about Google engineering director and accomplished futurist Ray Kurzweil.

He believes that by 2040 we will have functional immortality. I assume  this means that the body dies, but the mind lives on in the cloud or on a chip, or both.

(It is useful to remember that people who create anything—a book, a song, a painting, a recipe, a letter, a craft—have been having a version of functional immortality since the dawn of time.)

This new way, however, means that everything gets saved—at least if I am understanding it correctly. All the memories, all the accomplishments, all the cat videos you’ve liked on Facebook. That would take a big cloud

Ever lost for words? There will be an app for that

When you can jack your mind directly into machines is when things will get interesting. Here is an example:

You’re at a party and someone says something to you and you try to come up with a witty comeback. Now, you’re not likely to be able to do it unless you’re particularly quick-witted — maybe only thinking of something to say hours later, to your great regret.

In the future, Kurzweil said, you’ll be able to query your connected artificial intelligence with a thought, and it will distill the perfect retort for you from the totality of linguistic info online in seconds. Thus he envisions an AI that isn’t so much a robot, but more a much, much smarter version of yourself.

I like to imagine this party in full swing, everyone accessing artificial intelligence from their glasses or earrings or watches, or from a chip directly implanted in the brains. They wait a split second, then come up with the perfect comeback, the perfect pickup line, the perfect insight.

Does anybody else see this party as something Monty Python might have thought up on one of their really inspired days?

Digital Book Today on my birthday

February 7 is my birthday, and Digital Book Today has given me a gift:  Its editors chose today to run a blog of mine. The blog, which originally was posted here, is called “Lewis Carroll on Social Media.”

Do you wonder how the heck I made THAT connection? Sure you do. Go to DBT and ponder an odd little scene from Through the Looking Glass.

Stay tuned. The chose a second blog for Valentine’s Day.

Russell Hoban: with love and thanks

Lindsay Edmunds:

A lovely tribute to Russell Hoban and his great novel RIDDLEY WALKER.

Originally posted on karenatstepney:

Ben_Osborn_Russell_Hoban_Feb_4_2014Russell Hoban  – it amazes me how some people still say ‘Who?’ Where to start with him?  I was lucky. When I was 18, my English teacher literally threw her copy of The Mouse and His Child at me as I was leaving for university and told me I must, had toNEEDED TO read it.

The RSC put on a new adaption of The Mouse and His Child in 2012, described in the Independent as ‘a thought-provoking delight.’ The Guardian called the book ‘both comforting and devastating’. I think all of those words can be applied to much of Russ’s work and perhaps to the man himself: the impact he seems to have on reading him and those, including me, who had the unforgettable privilege of meeting him.

The same year I started university, my best friend would not shut up about a new book she had read. She raved…

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Happy birthday, Russell Hoban

I am part of a group called The Kraken, who are fans of novelist Russell Hoban (1925-2011). Every year on his birthday, February 4, the Kraken a great thing:

Each of us writes a Hoban quotation on yellow paper (yellow A4 paper figures in his books). Then we leave the paper in a public place—a bar, a bookstore, anywhere—and take a picture of it. The photos and quotations get posted to blogs, websites, and social media outlets.

As far as I know we are the only fans in the world who honor a writer this way.

This  is my 2014 quotation:

Dr Jim Long was born in Pennsylvania, and sometimes when his mind is pedalling in busy circles he recalls a thing from his youth. He recalls a drink of water from a mountain spring in the Appalachians. He was hot and sweaty and tired when he came upon a stone trough with water flowing into it from an iron pipe. Cold sparkling mountain water filling the trough from an iron pipe that was beaded with droplets of condensation. There were leaves and sand and tiny crayfish in the bottom of the trough. He plunged his face into the water and drank the best drink he would ever have in his life. The leaves of the trees were stirring in the summer breeze. Everything was more than itself.

—Russell Hoban, Angelica Lost and Found, 2010

To find out more about this celebration and the man who is the reason for it, go to

“A room that so achingly missed its owner”

Paul Cooper is the archivist with the job of curating the work of writer Russell Hoban (1925-2011). He writes brilliantly about the process in Archiving Russell Hoban’s Work.

Almost in passing, he provides this excellent description of what it is like to read Hoban’s books:

I found Hoban’s novels hard going at first, but it didn’t take long for him to win me over with his weird and idiosyncratic style. I found his writing to have more in common with music than with other prose: more than mere mimicry of life, his work is a symphonic arrangement of signs and symbols, so that the more you read, the richer your engagement becomes.

Every author should be so lucky as to have Paul Cooper as a curator.

(Note: You don’t need to have read Hoban to appreciate this article.)

A million words a year?

I blog at Published Indie Authors about why a million words a year wouldn’t work for me as a goal.  I also work in mention of my favorite hack, crime writer Erle Stanley Gardner, who wrote more than a million words a year BEFORE COMPUTERS. He hit that goal not once, but fairly often.

(His secret: he dictated his novels to a bank of stenographers.)

Blog is here.