Daily Archives: December 4, 2012

The Transporting Poetry of Spam Coding

I found this in my spam queue. I found it oddly poetic.

***

{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more than {three|3|2|4} hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. {It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me.
{In my opinion|Personally|In my view}, if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made good content as you did,
the {internet|net|web} will be {much more|a lot more} useful than ever before.

I {couldn’t|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting. {Very well|Perfectly|Well|Exceptionally well} written!|
{I will|I’ll} {right away|immediately} {take hold of|grab|clutch|grasp|seize|snatch} your {rss|rss feed} as I
{can not|can’t} {in finding|find|to find} your {email|e-mail} subscription {link|hyperlink} or {newsletter|e-newsletter} service. Do {you have|you’ve} any?
{Please|Kindly} {allow|permit|let} me {realize|recognize|understand|recognise|know} {so
that|in order that} I {may just|may|could} subscribe.
Thanks.|
{It is|It’s} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to make some plans for the future and {it is|it’s} time to be happy.
{I have|I’ve} read this post and if I could I {want to|wish to|desire to} suggest you {few|some} interesting things or {advice|suggestions|tips}. {Perhaps|Maybe} you {could|can} write next articles referring to this article. I {want to|wish to|desire to} read {more|even more} things about it!|
{It is|It’s} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to make {a few|some} plans for
{the future|the longer term|the long run} and {it is|it’s} time to be happy. {I have|I’ve} {read|learn} this {post|submit|publish|put up} and if I {may just|may|could} I {want
to|wish to|desire to} {suggest|recommend|counsel} you {few|some} {interesting|fascinating|attention-grabbing} {things|issues} or {advice|suggestions|tips}.
{Perhaps|Maybe} you {could|can} write {next|subsequent} articles {relating to|referring to|regarding} this article.
I {want to|wish to|desire to} {read|learn} {more|even more} {things|issues} {approximately|about} it!

***

And then I deleted it. Because it’s spam, after all.

Meet the Folks at Jay and Mary’s Book Center

You know when you call Jay and Mary’s Book Center to get signed, personalized books from me for the holidays? These are the fine folks who pick up the phone — indeed, that’s Jay right there in the middle. It’s easy to say “support local business” and think of it in the abstract, but in this case when you support this business local to me, these are the actual people you’re supporting. They’re really excellent folks, so I appreciate you doing it.

While we’re on the subject, this is a fine time to remind you that there is still time to get your orders in for signed personalized books from me — eight more days, in fact. Here’s all the details. Give ‘em a call and make an order. They’ll be happy to hear from you. And I’ll be happy to sign your books!

Announcing the “Rip-Off!” Audio Anthology: You Pick the Cover

I’m not sure I mentioned this here before, but I am one of the authors featured in a new audio anthology called Rip-Off! that’s coming from Audible this December 18th. The idea behind the anthology is kind of cool: noted science fiction and fantasy authors take the first line of a well-known work of literature and from that spin off a whole new story. It’s edited by the estimable Gardner Dozois. Here’s the line up of authors and their stories:

  • “Fireborn” by Robert Charles Wilson
  • “The Evening Line” by Mike Resnick
  • “No Decent Patrimony” by Elizabeth Bear
  • “The Big Whale” by Allen M. Steele
  • “Begone” by Daryl Gregory
  • “The Red Menace” by Lavie Tidhar
  • “Muse of Fire” by John Scalzi
  • “Writer’s Block” by Nancy Kress
  • “Highland Reel” by Jack Campbell
  • “Karin Coxswain”, or, “Death as She Is Truly Lived” by Paul Di Filippo
  • “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • “Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air” by Tad Williams
  • “Declaration” by James Patrick Kelly

Also, before you ask, yes, my story in this anthology is read by Wil Wheaton. Because Wil’s awesome that way, that’s why. Other narrators include Scott Brick, Stefan Rudnicki, Allyson Johnson and Dina Pearlman. It’s a great line-up of writers and narrators, basically.

And there’s an audience participation portion: Audible wants you to choose which of the three proposed covers up there you like the best. Follow this link to the contest’s Facebook entry to cast your vote. Remember, go to that link, don’t leave your votes here, because leaving your votes here won’t count. And then you’ll be sad.

More details about this anthology are forthcoming; I’ll keep you up to date on it.

The Big Idea: Robert Boyczuk

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Author Robert Boyczuk decided that if one is going to “borrow” themes and ideas for one’s book, then one should “borrow” from the biggest and best. So from whom did Boyczuk borrow from for The Book of Thomas? He explains below.

ROBERT BOYCZUK:

How a small-minded guy like me came up with a Big Idea for a novel:

I stole it. Yup, it was really that simple.

Never one to go half-measures, I stole my Big Idea from the best – God.

How so? Well, my stolen Big Idea began with imagining a massive, artificial world drifting in space, comprised of concentric spheres, a world in which the self-contained environment is rapidly deteriorating. And a boy writing a book in this post-literate world. So what do these well-worn SF tropes have to do with stealing from God?

Turns out that for a recent reading I prepared a small text in an attempt to explain this very thing – that is, how my creative stealing process works and what I hoped to achieve by this shameless thievery from God. So here is what I wrote and read:

An Apology To Potential Readers of This Work

Dear Potential Reader of this work, I apologize sincerely for the book entitled, The Book of Thomas, Volume 1: Heaven. In writing this book I had hoped to offend and outrage. I had conceived of a novel containing murder, incest, sodomy, rape, plague, disease, dismemberment, disembowelment, assassination, blasphemy, war, famine, and the ever-popular genocide. I wanted to write a book that chronicled injustice of every conceivable kind, in particular cruelty to women, children and slaves (including handy tips on the beating, thereof). I wanted a book rife with witches, devils, dragons, satyrs, and all manner of false Gods. A book with perversions of every stripe, with ritualistic sacrifices, pointless mutilations and oxymoronic honor killings. A book in which fear and guilt motivate all, dictating the minutiae of life – no matter the lip service the characters might pay to loftier ideals. In short, I set out to write a book about how religion exploits the incalculable stupidity of mankind.

I apologize for my failure, The Book of Thomas, Volume 1: Heaven.

When I first began this work, my modest goal had been to write a book more outrageous and offensive than any other. But in my research, I discovered that such a pernicious work already existed and was, in fact, already a best seller. A book so perverse that it not only embraces all the outrages I’ve just mentioned and many more, but does so in earnest and with great relish.

The book to which I am referring is, of course, The Bible.

How can The Book of Thomas, Volume 1: Heaven hope to compete with such a work?

It can’t.

So, dear potential reader, if you are considering purchasing my humble tome, you might want to reconsider, for you will surely get more bang for your buck in a copy of The Bible.

If, on the other hand, you want to stick a finger in God’s eye, and show him he isn’t the only one who can sell books filled with gratuitous violence and unspeakable cruelty, then The Book of Thomas, Volume 1: Heaven, is for you.

In case you hadn’t guessed it already, the spheres of my degrading world are known as the Spheres of the Apostles, the Catholic Church rules all, and The Bible and its sanctioned addenda are the only books permitted.

So, thanks, God, for The Bible, and thanks Big Religion for your endorsement of all the Big Ideas The Bible contains – more than I could possibly hope to steal in a lifetime.

—-

The Book of Thomas: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Powell’s

Read an excerpt.

Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide 2012, Day Two: Non-Traditionally Published Books

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Today is Day Two of the Whatever Shopping Guide 2012, and today the focus is on Non-Traditionally Published Books: Self-published works, electronically-exclusive books, books from micro presses, books released outside the usual environs of the publishing world, and so on. Hey, I put my first novel up on this very Web site more than a dozen years ago now and told people to send me a dollar if they liked it. Look where it got me. I hope you find some good stuff today.

Please note that the comment thread today is only for non-traditional authors and editors to post about their books; please do not leave other comments, as they will be snipped out to keep the thread from getting cluttered. Thanks!

Authors/editors: Here’s how to post in this thread. Please follow these directions!

1. Authors and editors of non-traditionally published books only. This includes comics and graphic novels, as well as non-fiction books and audiobooks. If your book has been traditionally published — available in bookstores on a returnable basis — post about your book in the thread that went up yesterday (if you are in doubt, assume you are non-traditionally published and post here). If you are a creator in another form or medium, your thread is coming tomorrow. Don’t post if you are not the author or editor, please.

2. Completed works only. Do not post about works in progress, even if you’re posting them publicly. Remember that this is supposed to be a gift guide, and that these are things meant to be given to other people. Likewise, don’t just promote yourself unless you have something to sell or provide, that others may give as a gift.

3. One post per author. In that post, you can list whatever books of yours you like, but allow me to suggest you focus on your most recent book. Note also that the majority of Whatever’s readership is in the US/Canada, so I suggest focusing on books available in North America.

4. Keep your description of your book brief (there will be a lot of posts, I’m guessing) and entertaining. Imagine the person is in front of you as you tell them about your book and is interested but easily distracted.

5. You may include a link to a bookseller if you like by using standard HTML link scripting. Be warned that if you include too many links (typically three or more) your post may get sent to the moderating queue. If this happens, don’t panic: I’ll be going in through the day to release moderated posts. Note that posts will occasionally go into the moderation queue semi-randomly; Don’t panic about that either.

6. As noted above, comment posts that are not from authors/editors promoting their books as specified above will be deleted, in order to keep the comment thread useful for people looking to find interesting books.

Now: Tell us about your book!