So author/director/screenwriter/all around wackadoo Forbes West made a thing. He has a podcast called Live at the Benbow Inn, which he is slowly but surely turning into a regular feature on his blog. I got a chance to sit in on an episode recently where I and other awesome people got to pontificate on our views and concerns–and some truly far-out theorizing was involved there–about what the future of Planet Earth holds and why. Give it a listen!
It’s December 24, 2015. Christmas Eve. The rain has just stopped, it’s 68 degrees in in New York City and the weather is, to put it bluntly, all kinds of wrong. Where we should be seeing snow and ice encrusting windows and burying cars this winter, we’re seeing something very different and not a little creepy. The world is changing whether we like it or not.
On another Christmas Eve many years ago while on my first trip to visit Israel, I had a particularly eye-opening experience. It was during a tour of the Golan Heights, on the country’s northern border. Syria was just a few miles away, along with batteries of artillery, miles of barbed wire, and anti-tank obstacles strewn through valleys and hills.
One fact of life in Israel is the sound of explosions: the sonic booms made of fighter planes patrolling Israeli airspace. Three, four or more times a day. The crack of thunder flies above you despite cloudless skies. Windows shake in their frames. You get used to it pretty quickly, the same way you get used to small earthquakes in Japan or even California.
As we passed through a supposedly secure part of the Heights that day in 1986, we were allowed off the bus and walked around through country that had seen awful fighting in 1967. Suddenly, booms crashed overhead. We ignored them. It had become background noise to us. But they kept coming, one after the other, precisely spaced, echoing between the hills. Radios squawked and our tour guides hustled us back onto the bus and we tore out of the area.
Later on we learned that the area we’d been walking through had been part of an artillery exchange between Israeli and Syrian forces. When you live in a war zone, you get used to things like that, too.
And yet, Jerusalem is the site of three major religions’ holiest places. Control over the city has been traded between tribes, nations, and empires for nearly three thousand years. Yet we can’t seem to stop fighting over it.
Still. The world is changing whether we like it or not.
Politics of the Apocalypse is a short story that throws religious zealotry at self-sacrificial idealism. It’s Christmas Eve and the Hordes of Hades are about to launch their final attack on the Old City of Jerusalem. Dedicated defenders of three faiths are ready to cut and run over dogma. What do they do? What would you do?
The story is live for Kindle on Amazon’s website, for 99 cents.
Bad news: 451 degrees F is not, in fact, the temperature at which paper bursts into flame. (It’s actually between 440 and 470 degrees F depending on the type of paper).
Good news: Ray Bradbury’s novel about censorship, mass media, and induced apathy in the modern world is as accessible and spooky as it was the day he finished writing it in 1953.
Fahrenheit 451 is the story of Guy Montag, a fireman in the most literal sense: he sets books on fire. Bradbury said in interviews that he wrote the book to address the popularity of the idea of book burning during the McCarthy years in the U.S. As time wore on, he came to describe the book in more general terms. The book has pulled down a number of awards starting with the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and the Commonwealth Club of California Club Gold Medal in 1954. Francois Truffaut wrote and directed an excellent film adaptation in 1966, and the BBC produced a radio adaptation in 1982.
And of course, it’s been banned, censored, and redacted by schools and libraries since its publication. (The irony of banning a book about burning books is apparently lost in some circles.)
Anyway, Guy Montag burns books. In this world, firemen seek out and seize stashes of books in private homes and ignite them. Books are considered confusing things, filled with all sorts of ideas that make people uncomfortable (“painful, awful, hurting words” as his wife Millie describes them). In that sense, the firemen perform a public service: they keep the masses happy and allow them to focus on the permissible outlets: television (parlor walls), visual mass media, and sports events.
Frankly, Montag is okay with his life until he meets Clarisse, a new neighbor, a high school girl who is far more likely to ask “Why?” than “How?” While she vexes her teachers and fellow students, Montag finds her refreshing and fascinating–until she disappears. Montag’s wife, Millie, thinks the girl died in an auto accident but doesn’t really know or care.
Missing Clarisse is bad enough, but Montag truly questions his life when he takes a call to burn the stash of an elderly woman with a huge hidden library. The house is torched and the woman elects to burn to death with it rather than give up her library. Superficially, Montag understands that the woman sealed her own fate, but his guts tell him a different story.
Montag starts stressing out. Beatty, his fire chief, takes him aside to explain that the books aren’t really illegal per se. A fireman is even allowed to keep one and read it as long as he burns it within 24 hours. It’s the books’ effects on the public that forces the state to employ firemen. After he leaves, Montag reveals to his wife that he does have a stash of books, and he has no intention of burning them.
Montag loses his desire to play by the rules and obsesses about the books. He contacts an old English professor in a desperate attempt to figure out how reading works (and why it’s forbidden), only for him to avoid Guy like the plague. Guy then crashes his wife’s “parlor wall party,” reads the poem Dover Beach, and makes one guest cry. Millie flips out, Guy burns the book to mollify the guest, everyone storms out, and his wife turns Montag over to the authorities.
Millie leaves him on the spot while firemen burn his house. After a grand chase, Montag escapes the city to find a group of exiles who live by the river. Each of them has memorized one book in the hopes that the future will be more receptive to the idea of reading and preserving thoughts through the written word. War breaks out, the city is destroyed, and when the flames die down, Montag and his new friends head in to rebuild.
Bradbury’s work is generally allegorical, but Fahrenheit 451 is a thematic wonderland. Besides the obvious comparisons to real-life book burning which are perpetrated in the name of racial, political, or cultural purity, Bradbury equipped many of his characters with “Seashell ear-thimbles,” tiny earpieces through which individuals received streams of personalized media entertainment. On the surface, it’s just a radio, but just beneath that is the desire to surround oneself with a cocoon of sound to keep the world at bay. In that respect, one can’t exactly look at a world where tens of millions of personalized iPhones, Androids, iPads, tablets of every size and price range, float around keeping their users’ attention focused on their glowing screens at the expense of their neighbors and not be a little concerned.
Beyond that the book itself has been the victim of corporate meddling in the name of education standards. Starting in 1967 the book was subject to the expurgation of all words “hell,” “damn,” and the word “abortion” by its publisher, Ballantine Books, to create a high-school friendly version. Worse, by 1973 the cleaned up edition was the only version on the market. When Bradbury learned of this in 1979 he insisted that the original text be reinstated, and in 1980 it was.
One bit that appears frequently in the text that I sped over in this review is the mechanical “hound” that follows Montag, literally sniffing out trouble. It’s basically a robot that’s designed to assist the firemen in their daily lives, including sniffing out book stashes. Besides emerging as a stand-in for continual state surveillance, it’s one of these drones that chases Montag all over the city as a last ditch attempt by the government to silence him. For all that, the hound fails. It’s his wife, Millie, that rats him out the the government, showing that people are still the more dangerous enemy.
Another bit that recurs in the text: there are very few scenes where the subject of war isn’t in evidence. Bombers constantly fly overhead on their ways to foreign targets, Millie’s friend’s husband has been called up (she figures he’ll be back in a week because it’ll be over quickly), and Montag’s home town gets annihilated at the end of the book. The fact that war even exist in this world gives the lie to the danger that books and reading supposedly represent. If everyone must be kept happy and quiescent, why even have wars? Bradbury’s characters are not even sophisticated enough to ask that type of question. Even Beatty is, at heart, a just a functionary. And while Montag and the exiles have the best intentions, we have no clue if they have the skills to rebuild anything, even as they’re willing to try.
One of the niftier bits about growing up in the 1970s was that UFOs were real. Real enough for the U.S. Air Force to carry on with a project known as Project Blue Book. It was, we were told, a concerted effort by the military to quantify reported sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects in an attempt to understand what they were and why they were showing up.
The project was a thing from 1952 to 1970 but even after the military cancelled it, UFOs held the public’s attention in a vise-like grip. Books on the subject were in every major store. There was even a TV show based on it.
In the end, we gave up. Hoaxes were exposed, sightings were attributed to natural phenomena, and repeated screenings of Close Encounters of the Third Kind was as close as any human got to seeing the inside of an alien spaceship.
Eric Tozzi has the dirt on the aliens, and let me tell you, it’s not pretty. They are here to kidnap our people for nefarious purposes, break our planet, and trash our stuff. Phoenix Lights, his grand addition to the Apocalypse Weird ‘verse is on sale for another couple of days, meaning you can grab this great bit of UFO-type mayhem for about a buck. You can read a review of the book here to get started. You won’t be sorry!
I don’t generally read Star Wars novels.
I read and loved Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter of the Mind’s Eye and Brian Daley’s Han Solo at Star’s End decades ago because they were on the book store shelves and the shiny newness of the Star Wars films sparkled and glittered like the pyramids of Giza must have when they were completed. Plus, Foster had Vader, Luke, and Leia, and Daley had Han and Chewie, and both books added so much content to what at that time was a relatively narrow storyscape with enormous potential but little realization or growth.
Nearly forty years later, we stand at the other end of the spectrum. There is a shipping container full of stories dealing with the old school characters, the new school characters, their ancestors, their descendants, and so on. But I’m not really drawn to the novels as much as I was to those first releases. The stories are wonderful, but the shiny newness has long since worn off. I need a particular hook to pull a Star Wars (or Star Trek) novel off the shelf and devote my time to it.
There have been two recently. The first was Death Star by James Luceno, a book I have literally been waiting for decades to read. The second was Aftermath by Chuck Wendig.
Disclosure: I’m a Wendig fan. I have been since I discovered Wendig’s Terrible Minds website. I own a bunch of his books on how to improve writing. I devoured Backbirds and Mockingbird in a few hours when they were still new. Under the Empyrean Sky is waiting for me on my Kindle account for a long enough break in my schedule for me to read the silly thing. So when I heard that he was doing the official (i.e., Disney-approved) book that told what happened after Return of the Jedi ended, I was on board.
I’ve read the book. I liked it. I don’t love it the way I loved Mind’s Eye and Star’s End. But I can’t quite figure out where the Wendig hate is coming from.
I’m not going to write a whole thing on the problems that established Star Wars fans have with Wendig. Author friend Will Swardstrom has already written one of those, and it’s excellent.
Still with me? Okay, here we go.
The Galactic Empire’s new and improved Death Star is gone, the Imperial Fleet is scattered across the galaxy, and Darth Vader and his master, Emperor Palpatine, are dead as well. The celebrations across Coruscant are in full force, and as one determined crowd of citizens manages to topple the statue of the emperor outside the senate, others pick up pieces of debris and start chucking them at nearby police. The incident escalates into a riot, police give way to stormtroopers, and the real shooting begins.
The empire is dead. Long live the empire.
Wedge Antilles jumps his starhopper into the Akiva system, followed and captured by Admiral Rae Sloane. Sloane has other ships with her Star Destroyer task force, including the Ravager, the last Super Star Destroyer in operating condition. Sloane’s plan is to gather other high-ranking imperials–politicians, bankers, merchants, and officers–to her, and band together to form the backbone of the new and improved Galactic Empire.
But a lot is happening on Akiva. Bounty Hunter Jas Emari is looking to fulfill contracts on the same banker that Sloane is working on. Ex-Imperial Loyalty Officer Sinjir Rath Velus is looking to keep his head down–he’s painfully aware that his side lost–but neither of them can avoid Akiva’s worst loan shark, Surat Nuat. Rebel fighter pilot Norra Wexley is finally home after three years of battle–including the over Endor–to gather her son, Temmin, and escape to calmer placed. But Temmin has plans of his own which do not include leaving the planet he calls home. And Surat Nuat has plans of his own for Temmin and they don’t include Norra or her new friends.
Wedge is missed and Admiral “It’s a Trap!” Ackbar knows where he was last seen. While Akiva’s surface lends itself to politics, gang wars, treachery, wild high-speed escapes, and acts bravery, the space above it becomes the point of contention between Sloane’s and Ackbar’s space fleets.
Meanwhile, hell breaks loose throughout the galaxy as survivors of the decades-long civil war realize that the conflict hasn’t ended for them as much as it has entered a new phase. A longer and more dangerous phase. The imperials struggle to maintain a semblance of control as the politicians on Coruscant tries to re-establish the senate and turn the New Republic into an official galactic government.
Aftermath is a rare book in that it openly and immediately acknowledges that the Empire and the New Republic are really two sides of the same coin. Empire and republic are two words that refer to roughly the same thing: power and organization. The connotations are abstract: rule by force, versus rule by self-determination. Control itself is beyond question. But the films, old and new, gloss over the infrastructure, the nuts and bolts that keep the galaxy revolving on its axis except when our heroes blunder into them. It’s easy to assume that the Star Wars universe begins and ends with awesome space battles. It’s a lot more work to imagine the millions of pilots, engineers, miners, industrialists, bankers, soldiers, laborers, etc., whose time, energy and investment made those space battles possible or influenced their outcome. And we all knew the rebels would win because that was the story the George Lucas wanted to tell. Wendig’s narrative is far more ambiguous.
The frame that’s used here is almost apocalyptic: the people in charge are are dead, but the machine cranks on. All the trappings of the official economy are still in order. The factories build parts for ships and weapons that still come off assembly lines, letters of credit still clear banks, construction firms still lobby for contracts, and the legerdemain of politics continues unabated. Below that is the shadow economy, composed of bounty hunters, mercenaries, information brokers, pirates, informants, and outright criminals. The thing that Wendig remembers is that both sides needed all these elements to keep their part of the conflict alive. In that respect, little has changed except the stakes and the players.
Beyond that, Aftermath is very much the first work of an extended story. Wendig is setting up future conflict and continuity, showing us the shape of his story arc, and this arc is wide indeed. It has many moving parts, all of which carry considerable history with them as they appear on stage.
I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with it.
It’s a deceptively simple bit of wordcraft: you take the word “mortal,” stick a two letter prefix on it, and you get a word which raises a dizzying variety of possibility. Mortality is every bit as metaphysical a concept as the human race has managed to conceive. What is it to be alive? What does it mean to die? And what does it really mean to be immortal?
Samuel Peralta decided to find out. His latest addition to his Future Chronicles series is out today, titled (no surprise) The Immortality Chronicles. It’s a staggeringly diverse collection of short works about the concept of life-without-death.
Many of these stories focus on an individual who’s rendered non-dying, but some apply the concept more broadly: D.K. Cassidy’s “Room 42,” and Thomas Robbins’ “Eternity Today” are riffs on the entire human race’s sudden conversion to undying status. E.E. Giorgi’s heart-wrenching story “The House on the Cliff” tells of a man made immortal by means of his own cancer cells. “Legacy,” by David Bruns, describes a driven CEO’s effort to live forever by replacing himself with bionic parts over the course of centuries. “Rememorations,” by Paul B. Kohler limits his protagonist’s immortal status to his ability to pay for it–and his willingness to forget pieces of his past. And John Gregory Hancock’s “The Antares Cigar Shoppe” stood out for the old school A.E. Van Vogt vibe that it brought to the table.
But the award for Most Unintentionally Horrifying Story About Immortality has to go to Gareth Foy, who penned “The Essence of Jaime’s Father.” This piece manages to be the most abstract yet gut-wrenching bit of work in this volume, and I’m not entirely sure how Foy pulled it off. I’m not even sure he intended to do this. All I know is that this story opened up a pit of despair in my soul that I generally only feel when engaged in Facebook discussions about religion and foreign policy.
In a nutshell, Jaime is a young man experiencing the beginning of Earth’ death throes, as the sun expands to swallow the inner solar system. Science has bought the Earth a few extra thousand years, but red giants are inevitable and physics is a harsh mistress. His father, however, has an answer: convert humanity to beings of pure energy and let them wander the universe until time itself grinds to a halt. Jaime and billions of others are looking forward to this, but Jaime’s father has decided not to go through with the transition. Not because he’s afraid of his project’s implications, but because he feels the need to stay behind to let those who fear a permanent existence know that death is still possible in that state. Eventually we learn that Jaime’s old man has already done this countless times, and has lived through countless versions of the universe.
That’s where I started freaking out. Of the great stories in this collection, Foy’s is the only one that addresses the utter tedium of watching the universe roll out, expand, breed life, destroy life, and collapse, over and over again. Worse, every time the cycle resets, it’s the same universe unrolling in the same way, right down to the people who are born (and die), and the order in which they appear and vanish back to the dust whence they came. It’s like being trapped in a drive-in movie theater with the same four double-features forever. Sure, it’ll take a while to memorize every line of every film, but eventually you’re going to want to slit your wrists, except you can’t because you’re made of pure energy. (It works out in the end, but…Gah!)
The collection is available on Amazon and the proceeds go to First Book, a not-for-profit that has supplied over 130 million books to kids in the U.S. and Canada. As a librarian, I can think of no higher cause. And if you’re on Facebook, you can click here for an invite to the Immortality Chronicles launch party which starts tonight at 5.30pm EST.
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What would you give to live forever? Seventeen-year-old Elijah Brighton wants to become an ascender—a post-Singularity human/machine hybrid—after all, they’re smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. But Eli is a legacy human, preserved and cherished for his unaltered genetic code, just like the rainforest he paints. When a fugue state possesses him and creates great art, Eli miraculously lands a sponsor for the creative Olympics. If he could just master the fugue, he could take the gold and win the right to ascend, bringing everything he’s yearned for within reach… including his beautiful ascender patron. But once Eli arrives at the Games, he finds the ascenders are playing games of their own. Everything he knows about the ascenders and the legacies they keep starts to unravel… until he’s running for his life and wondering who he truly is.
The Legacy Human is the first in Susan Kaye Quinn’s new young adult science fiction series that explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity world… and how technology will challenge us to remember what it means to be human.
Praise for The Legacy Human
“This book is Hunger Games (without the violence or controversy) meets Divergent.”
“This story is so intense I felt I couldn’t get a proper breath.”
“Science fiction with philosophical depth!”
What does it mean to be human? Elijah Brighton is the face of the Human Resistance Movement. He’s the Olympic-level painter who refused an offer of immortality from the ascenders—the human/machine hybrids who run the world—in solidarity with the legacy humans who will never get a chance to live forever. Too bad it’s all a complicated web of lies. Worse, Eli’s not even entirely human. Few know about the ascenders’ genetic experiments that left him… different. Fewer know about the unearthly fugue state that creates his transcendent art—as well as a bridge that lets him speak to the dead. But the Resistance is the one place he can hide from the ascender who knows everything the fugue can do. Because if Marcus finds him, he’ll either use Eli for his own nefarious purposes… or destroy him once and for all. The Duality Bridge is the second book in the Singularity series and the sequel to The Legacy Human. This thrilling new young adult science fiction series explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity world.
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the Singularity Series, the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, and the Debt Collector serial, as well as other speculative fiction novels and short stories. Her work has appeared in the Synchronic anthology, the Telepath Chronicles, the AI Chronicles, and has been optioned for Virtual Reality by Immersive Entertainment. Former rocket scientist, now she invents mind powers, dabbles in steampunk, and dreams of the Singularity. Mostly she sits around in her PJs in awe that she gets to write full time.
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A while back I wrote what I consider my first story about the end of the world. I’m a comic fan, and while talking to other comic fans, the subject of Christian mythology came up. I wanted to write a sort of buddy cop story set in the old city of Jerusalem, which I’ve always felt a special connection to, although I haven’t visited there recently. The result was a short work titled The Politics of the Apocalypse and it was published in HDWP Books’ Theme-Thology: Real World Unreal. It was a ton of work, and a ton of fun to write.
Then I was pointed toward a much bigger, far more ambitious project: a shared world where each contributor could wreck the world in his own fashion. I was hooked.
I’m a New Yorker. I was born here, I live here, and I’m probably going to die here. I take that reality very seriously. I complain—all New Yorkers do—loudly and frequently about the air, the heat, the cars, cabs, trains and subways, OMG the mayor, because that’s what we do.
But what got me thinking about the end of everything was the food.
Think about it. Americans are obsessed with food. Eat more? Eat less? Organic or non-organic? Vegetarian or vegan? GMO or non-GMO? Real sugar? Sugar substitutes? Canola oil or coconut oil? Only in New York City can a diner enter a restaurant and demand to know if the salmon on the menu is Atlantic or Pacific, without a hint of irony. Only in a foodie’s paradise like Manhattan can one find a dish to tweak any conceivable taste.
Bottom line: some eat to live, others live to eat.
But what if the food were the trap? What if we were so obsessed with the process of eating–who prepares it, how it’s prepared, where do the ingredients come from–that it literally killed us?
AW: The Taste Makers is what I’m writing to find out.
The book isn’t finished–it’s close, but not just yet–and it’s gone through several major revisions so far. I can’t even tell you if “The Taste Makers” will be the final title. But I can show you the pitch I wrote that got the publisher’s attention:
Wall Street crashes for the last time as a Food Network entrepreneur and his crew struggle to survive the unraveling horror of his latest venture.
A rash of murder-suicides ravage daily life as food preparation becomes a devastating weapon that knows no borders or boundaries, under the influence of forces beyond science.
As cursed novelty knives turn foodies into homicidal maniacs and a unknown blight destroys crops, the emerging elite horde supplies as cities become death traps and the countryside starves.
The Wolf of Wall Street meets Friday the 13th as financial sharks deal with demonic slashers, backstabbing greedheads, and a sea of their past victims in a bloody conflict where only the ruthless can survive.
The action swaps between the financial district and the upper east side, from the upper reaches of the Freedom Tower to Central Park and Chinatown while a NYPD detective comes to terms with what he’s seen done to his beloved city in the name of profit, and whether he can help stop it.
A ton of work to finish, and a ton of fun to write.
Writing is a set of permanent thoughts, or, as a famous Gelfling once said, “words that stay.” I tell my students that a book is just about the most effective method of data storage and transmission ever devised. It’s a set of transcribed thoughts organized by page number and cross-referenced both by sequential progression (TOC) and also by subject (index). Computers can make the retrieval process faster, but engineers haven’t quite come up with a better method of storage. (Yet.)
But books are fragile. They don’t weather the elements well. Stone tablets will last for millennia. Paper lasts for a century at best, and mass-market paperbacks won’t last more than a few decades. (It remains to be seen what the lifespan of e-books are.)
Worse, disaster can strike without warning. Like when the water sprinkler on the floor above your library goes off and water cascades into your open stacks and onto your computers. Which is what happened to the MCNY library Saturday morning.
Water is the enemy of every library. Humidity breeds mold, which eats through paper like a college student goes through pizza and Froot Loops. There are ways of recovering books that have been affected by fungus, but they’re expensive and not always reliable. As in medicine, the best fix is to prevent it.
The good news is that most of the collection is fine. The bad news is that about a thousand books got drowned. We have a circulating collection of about 20,000 books, so 5% of our stuff needs to be dealt with on an emergency basis.
In some cases, water pooling on the carpet is all we had to deal with. That’s not too awful. The fix is to move in mobile AC units and up the heat over the weekend. That was done, and it worked.
Many books were pulled off shelves pre-emptively, before the worst could happen.
Many more volumes were soaked and were moved into the server room, because it had the best air flow.
This is where we are now, with piles of books awaiting triage. Over the next week I’ll go through them one at a time. The dry ones will be replaced in the now dry stacks. The soaked ones will probably be discarded. The merely damp ones will be dried as best they can and replaced in the stacks. If mold has set in, they’ll be discarded as well.
In the meantime, all other work stops. The current mission is recovering what assets we have.
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Remember last week when I told you about the Apocalypse Weird fund raiser?
Of course you do. You came here and read about it. Maybe you even clicked on the campaign link and donated. And you did these things because you care about brave new ideas in the world of fiction and about my willingness to be part of it.
So here we are, with 13 hours to go before Indiegogo closes the campaign, tallies up the numbers and your change to be part of something new and awesome disappears.
But . . .
If the campaign makes its goal, then Indiegogo will keep the clock running. That’s added time to donate in exchange for outstanding perks, a heartfelt “Thank you!”, and maybe some mention of the project and books to friends who like to read books about the world ending in wacky and outlandish ways.
So this is it, The Big Push. As I write this the campaign is 66% funded. Another $3,421 puts us over the edge and allows the process to continue, giving you access to perks long after the clock stops as well as many more months of outstanding books.
But for now, the clock is ticking . . .
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(I know, I owe you a post about imagining the “death of the library.” But this is a big deal.)
I recently got into a Facebook thread with a former (now grown up) student over e-book pricing decisions. She’s an avid reader but refuses to buy any e-book that’s more than a dollar or two in price. It was nothing against the authors, or the books themselves, she explained. She just didn’t see why she should ever pay more than that for a book. Neither did her friends.
It’s a fair point, especially if all you’ve ever known about the experience of acquiring books is looking at price lists on Amazon and clicking a button. From the producer’s side of the transaction, it’s more complicated.
There’s the author, who creates a labor of love until the minute someone decides to click that yellow button that says “Buy”. There’s the editor, who toils over the manuscript to make it readable. Some editors will carve out whole chunks of text to achieve that, others will simply correct the grammar, spacing, and spelling, but the effort is the same.
There is the cover artist who brings a point of story from inside the pages of the manuscript into blazing life.
The point, as Kevin G. Summers makes clear here, is that books cost money to make. Considerable amounts of money. In the case of indie publishing, everyone except the author makes money, at least until he or she sells enough copies to recover the costs of the book in question. Speaking as someone who has just started down this road, it’s a steep learning curve.
Indy authors Nick Cole and Michael Bunker, and ThirdScribe creator Rob McClellan have made a thing, called Apocalypse Weird. I’ve mentioned it on Facebook and Twitter, and I’ve reviewed a bunch of the books they’ve released.
To be blunt, they need money to keep the ball rolling, and have built an Indiegogo project to raise it. Three greats ways of donating stand out:
First, just drop a buck into the bucket. It makes no dent in your budget and still helps us out.
Second, you can drop a fiver into the bucket and get a neat perk.
Third–and my favorite option–$20 buys you the first eight AW novels, which have been getting rave reviews across the board for months. Or, for the same $20, you can pre-order the next eight AW novels in the series, which are sure to be every bit as good.
Sixteen outstanding works of End of the World fiction for $40. It doesn’t get better than that.
Actually–it does get better. There are plenty of awesome perks to choose from. But, the sale ends in 8 days, so check out the fund raiser to donate now!
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