Another Snippet

The Next Age 2

Just to keep you all on your toes, here is another brief extract from my upcoming science fiction eBook novella – The Next Age.

***

What he found completely astounded him. A system of unknown origin was still operating; collecting Bolides in its invisible equivalent of a lacrosse stick net before redirecting them towards the Solar System’s planets. Deliberately wedged in a part of the device’s lattice support framework he found the object responsible for reflecting the sunlight. Although he had no way of knowing at this precise moment in time, what he held in his gloved hands was the gold-plated audio visual disc from Voyager 1, containing photos of the Earth and its life forms, plus scientific information deemed pertinent to whoever found it, along with greetings from the then Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the United States at the time of its manufacture, along with a host of Earth’s natural sounds and music. The disc had been attached to the outside of the probe prior to its launch into space from Cape Canaveral in Florida on September the fifth 1977, when it began its monumental journey through the Solar System and on into deep space and the unknown expanses of the universe. How it had got here, let alone what had happened to Voyager 1 was for others to surmise and endlessly debate about.

A message of some kind had been crudely carved across it in a script which reminded Sergei of the territorial marker scratches from a cat he was all too familiar with, the Siberian Tiger, having suffered a painful encounter with a yearling when it ambushed him while he was on military exercise in Siberia’s heavily wooded Taiga. He was extremely fortunate to survive the attack. Had the tiger been a fully grown adult he would not have.

Whoever was responsible for what was going on had clearly left long before the pair arrived. Stewart piloted the pod to the rise before setting delayed charges on the lattice work supporting the redirection system, after responding to Sergei’s call. Taking the disc with them, they immediately headed back to Gogol, along the way noting what was left of the detector screen. Besides redirecting the meteors, the unknown assailants had destroyed the entire screen, possibly with some form of laser technology. Each detector was now nothing more than a melted mass of plastic and electronics.

***

More later, if you are patient…

Politics, the world’s cancer

10063724-illustration-of-clouds-about-politics

Last night (Thursday, August the twenty-ninth), the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, was defeated in parliament when he put forward a motion that the UK should join the US in military action in Syria.  The majority of the country saw through his thinly veiled attempt at making himself popular with the United States, leaving the majority of our politicians no choice but to oppose him.

The fact that he and other leading politicians in the west were looking for an excuse to become involved in what is nothing more than a local fight for power and religious dominance in Syria between the Sunni and Shiah factions of Islam, under the pretense of coming to the aid of the Syrian people on humanitarian grounds, merely because chemical weapons had purportedly been used by the Syrian government – something which is still to be proven conclusively by the UN weapon inspectors, simply beggars belief.

***

Since Oliver Cromwell executed a lawful king (Charles the first) to take political power here in the UK, back in 1649, briefly becoming Lord Protector of the short lived Commonwealth of England, politics has continued to be a growing cancer that no nation can afford. But what is the viable alternative? Indeed is there one which is good for the world’s nations? We tried being ruled by Emperors, Kings, Queens and Princes for thousands of years. None of them did the country they ruled any good.

Since the turn of the twentieth century millions of people have died in two terrible World Wars, and countless so-called police actions like Korea. With one or two exceptions, after a few decades everything returned to the way it was before war was declared,

Take Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan as the three latest examples of outsiders interfering in the local affairs of sovereign nations. Since the UN left Iraq, the situation has reverted back to the way it was when Saddam Hussein was in power. In fact it has worsened since religious factions, namely the Sunni and Shiah have begun to fight each other and minorities like the Kurdish tribesmen living in the north on the border with Turkish Kurdistan. When Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in Libya, the west briefly rejoiced, then promptly lost all interest in the country. Since then it quickly fell apart allowing chaos and religious division to rule. In Afghanistan, once the last troops leave, it is a given that the Taliban will return.

Quite frankly I’m surprised that the US and its allies haven’t invaded Egypt before now, given what is happening there.

No major nation like the US, China, Russia, or secondary nations like the UK, Germany or France has the right to enforce its political will on any other nation. What a nation does within its own borders is its affair, and has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone beyond its borders, unless it physically crosses a border to invade its neighbour.

Be under no illusion that there is no such thing as an altruistic politician. Without exception, anyone entering politics does so for the purpose of self aggrandizement and the need for power, not for the good of the nation which elected them…

Amazon.com: On Self Publishing eBook: Derek Haines: Books

Amazon.com: On Self Publishing eBook: Derek Haines: Books.

Ever wondered what an Indie goes through in the tough world of words? I urge anyone who may be thinking of trying their hand at self publishing to read my good friend Derek’s book ‘On Self Publishing‘. He started self publishing long before the concept of the Indie writer and the Kindle surfaced.

Its time to wake up and smell the roses…

wine-snob

I don’t know about you, but to my mind within the world of traditional literature there is an inordinate amount of pretentiousness and snobbery, traits which I cannot abide.  Without exception the gatekeepers employed by the major publishing houses, whose job it is to weed out the dross when it comes to prospective new manuscripts are guilty of both of these thoroughly undesirable failings.

Most within the traditional publishing world would have you believe that all independent writers are by definition talentless. Nothing could be further from the truth. While its true that thousands of prospective writers who currently independently publish via outlets like Kindle Direct Publishing, CreateSpace and Smashwords (to name three options currently available) will never be able to produce a book that people other than their nearest and dearest will actually want to read, some of us are highly successful.

I look upon my time as a best selling independent writer, whose work is published exclusively as eBooks, as serving my apprenticeship in literature while at the same time being paid as a professional through the act of receiving regular monthly royalty payments. To back up my claim, the Oxford English Dictionary clearly defines the professional as one who is engaged in a specific activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as an amateur.

So you see gatekeepers, some of us are professionals in every sense of the word despite your contention that people like myself are nothing more than mere wannabe’s. The fact that we prefer to publish independently is our prerogative. Several of us, myself included, left your world to become Indies purely because we were not prepared to doff our metaphoric caps in your presence, or be treated like low paid minions who should know their place within your writer stables any longer.

As for getting others to attempt to belittle and humiliate us by encouraging the bitter individuals that abound on internet book sites like Goodreads, most of whom tried their hand at writing and failed miserably for varying reasons, won’t necessarily put us off either. Most of us are made of far sterner stuff…

The time is long overdue for all conventional publishing houses to wake up and smell the roses if you want to survive. By insisting on blindly continuing to spend copious amounts of money on print runs, only to have them end up as pulp after they have been remaindered by the dwindling number of book shops through low sales, over the far cheaper and fastest growing area within literature today – the eBook, does you no favours whatsoever.

While it is true that many people still prefer to actually hold a physical book in their hands, millions of today’s readers do not. Accept the fact that the eBook is here to stay! If for no other reason, it never becomes dog-eared. It will never suffer the humiliation of its paper cousins by having the corners of its pages folded over, or have its spine broken by those individuals who fold a paperback.

The sooner you all accept that the Indie and the eBook is here to stay, the better.  Instead of vilifying us and the eBook you should be embracing both. Finally, if for no other reason than a purely financial one I would have thought that you would have adopted the eBook concept long ago, simply because the cost of producing it is negligible in comparison to a printed book …

There is no such thing as an error free book

images

This morning I received an email from my publisher, Kindle Direct Publishing. The following is the email’s text:-

We’re writing to let you know that at least one of your readers has reported some problems within your book, and we have confirmed the issue. Potential errors have been identified:  for example, “alter stone at Stonehenge’s centre.” should be “altar stone at Stonehenge’s centre.(loc: 52), “that surrounded the ancient alter.” should be “that surrounded the ancient altar.” (loc: 1311) Please check them and look for others.

While I fully acknowledge the error and that it may have been pointed out to them by a genuine reader, given that KDP along with Goodreads and CreateSpace are wholly owned subsidiaries of Amazon.com, and have their own forums where the trolls currently lurk, the chances are that it was a troll who pointed out the spelling error to them, hoping to get a reaction from me.

Well they got one, but not necessarily the one they were hoping for.

The person from KDP who sent me the email may be genuine also. But you will pardon me for being overly cautious in this instance, having been caught out once several years back in a similar situation, which led to my being targeted for months by a particularly nasty troll.

If it was a genuine comment made by a genuine reader, then I would point out one thing to them – there is no such thing as an error free book.  Even the most fastidious editor within the world of conventional publishing is human. Face it folks, errors like this minor one on my part get missed during the editing process. What did I do with the email? Simple. Nothing. I merely filed it.

Within the world of literature, while companies like Amazon prefer to take the side of the troll over that of the writer and genuine reader, anyone who ‘bites’ when receiving something like this in his or her email tray is in for a nasty surprise.

These days, like most writers I know I have nothing whatsoever to do with the act of engaging with people not known to me. Trust me when I say that in instances like this it is far better to err on the side of caution rather than to react in any way shape or form…

PS – I forgot to mention that the book in question has sold well over five thousand copies to date. So one complaint from a pedant is hardly anything to worry about, is it 😉