I have put out a lot of books and they're all free all the time and available for download through Goodreads, as well as through Smashwords http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3262388.Tom_Lichtenberg http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/tomlichtenberg My books are frequently described as 'odd'. They tend to run counter to expectations. For example, I have a zombie book (Zombie Nights) which is not really a zombie book. My 'Sexy Teenage Vampires' stories are not very typical vampire stories. I have a ghost story that isn't, a mystery story that kind of turns out not to be, an anti-epic fantasy novel, and some that are sheer nonsense of the kind that I just love. Aside from being short, free and strange, they also tend to end rather abruptly. Most of them are 'short novels' - between 15,000 and 30,000 words. They usually have some kind of sci-fi elements as well as some satire, some humor, some mystery, some supernatural stuff; my recipe for a
I have long been describing religion as 'a failure or imagination', and it occurred to me earlier today a more general implementation of that concept. I recently noticed a study of animals that could count as high as three, and it reminded me of another story of an Amazonian tribe which only had words for one, two, three and 'many', meaning anything more than three. I presume this is because they had no need for further exposition of numbers. 'Many' was enough of a notion for them, and perhaps the same is true for those animals in the other case. The human mind is capable of comprehending complexity only up to a certain point, beyond which, it cannot. There is a wide variation in the human mind, of course, as there are levels of chess masters. Some minds are capable of more than others. Nevertheless, all have their limits beyond which the brain cannot completely understand. At that point, we introduce generalized concepts to substitute for that which we cann
earthquake in the east last week. californians saying "i know, right?" nobody moved. nobody got hurt. hurricane in the east this week. californians saying, "i know, right?". mudslides and wildfires are more like our thing. you can keep your hurricanes and tornadoes crazy Christian fanatics are frontrunners for President. seen this coming for a long time now. Nostrathomas is not surprised. one of them will win one day. you know it's a good week when you don't look at facebook, you don't tweet nothing, you forget about the raters and don't even keep up with the google reader. been coding my ass off instead, plus our new product, Up from Jawbone, is going to be so cool. It's fun to be working on great products again. going to see the Giants tomorrow night. one run would be awesome but probably too much to ask from this weak-ass hitting team. and we don't even get to see timmy though it's his bobblehead night! we get the dreaded fift
Good article on the subject here . Salient reference - public libraries. Yes, that's right. Authors have been ripped off for centuries already! What I love about Project Gutenberg is that practically anything written before 1910 is free. We don't give a damn about money for dead authors, as long as they've been dead for a decent interval. 70 years or thereabouts, for current copyright laws. We care about the grandchildren living off the proceeds of their grandparents' work, but not about the great-grandchildren, it seems, and certainly not the great-great-grandchildren. They can all go hang themselves for all we care. I publish as a posthumous author, as if I've been deceased for more than a century already. This is because I publish my books for no cost. Free. (Well, on Amazon you have to pay 99 cents but there's no reason to get them from Amazon. I only put them there so they can be found by the majority of e-reader-folk, and then hopefully they will discove
Money is the measure of worth, the arbiter of value. It is the 'invisible hand' that regulates commerce and obeys the immutable laws of supply and demand and is therefore unquestioned and obeyed. We all know and accept these ideas as fact, despite our innumerable experiences to the contrary. What about inflation, you ask. What about price-fixing? What about speculators, bubbles, frenzies, irrational exuberance? We are supposed to ignore all these 'exceptions' and pretend we didn't notice that man behind the curtain. Instead, we are to stumble along the endless pursuit of money-blessed status consumption. And still we bow down to the lords of currency. If we transposed our money worship to a different species we would immediately recognize the absurdity. Imagine your goldfish hoarding the bluer pebbles in their fishbowls. Crows collecting the fuller, yellower hay straws. No, it's okay, says the newt, you can owe me fourteen trillion lumps of mud. It'll al
After 440,000+ downloads and 1100+ ratings on various sites, incl amazon, itunes, goodreads, smashwords, sony and barnes&noble, the data is pretty stable now. Put this way, in percentages Strongly like: 2 Somewhat like: 8 Indifferent: 60 Somewhat dislike: 18 Strongly dislike: 12 It's a bell curve weighted to the negative and almost exactly what I would have predicted. The aggregate (assigning back to star/points one thru five) is 2.70
He had his place in a line of men whom he did not know, of whom he had never heard; but who were fashioned by the same influences, whose souls in relation to their humble life's work had no secrets for him Conrad
A possible novel based on two characters from Freak City, who were themselves based on my old novel Cashier World (which I threw away, and stole the title for a short story collection) Mikael is a shipping clerk at the department store called Pay'n'Pay. He is a math genius who has turned his back on that world, in favor of a quiet existence, due to a vision he had (see my blog entry That Tree). His day is spent packing and unpacking boxes. He returns home to his wife, Madam Suzie (formerly Sylvia). She is a professional psychic, who is part Sherlock Holmes and part fraud, as she is everybody's 'friend' on the socialnets ... She specializes in two areas - match-making and death. Those who come to see her never realize they are flipping a coin. Mikael, dutiful husband that he is, plays his part on both roads faithfully. Que sera, sera. (Soundtrack, Autumn Leaf by Adam Franklin)
A quote from The Seven Who Were Hanged has stuck with me, where one doomed comrade asks another if he believes in death and he tells her no, there is no such thing. Elsewhere in the story, a character sees himself on top of a ridge, where Life is on one side and Death is on the other, and he sees the whole of reality together at once. If you consider that each person expresses elements of what it is to be a human, that we are all variations, recombinant (if you will) than another metaphor may come to mind - that we are like leaves on a tree. Each leaf is a variant of all leaves of that species of tree, and each leaf has its span of existence, from bud to fall. The leaf is 'no more' after it is done and decayed, but is that a thing to call death? There is still the tree, and more seasons to come, and more leaves, all variations of The Leaf which is part of the life form of The Tree. Recently my stepfather died, but I feel sometimes my expression of him in some mannerisms I p
I installed a new smartphone app called Banjo , which has been described as "letting you stalk locations and the people there". It's yet another invention straight out of World Weary Avengers , where my impossible devices barely manage to stay a few months ahead of reality. (Worth noting that a recent reviewer of Ledman Pickup , while giving it 4 stars, did complain that its inventions were "not believable" - um, yeah? a device that records one individual's personality and plays it back into someone else? it was satire, my friend) ... anyway With Banjo, wherever you are, you can see Facebook and Twitter and Foursquare posts by other subscribers to those services who are "nearby". These are not your "friends" (although these are alleged to also show up, none of mine do, even in my small home town where I KNOW they are just down the street and updating their various statii). Banjo also has a map mode which shows you EXACTLY where these st
"It was terrible for them to utter even a word, as though each word in the language had lost its individual meaning and meant but one thing—Death" Leonid N Andreyev, The Seven Who Were Hanged A very interesting short novel by a contemporary of Tolstoy (free from Project Gutenberg) about a collection of terrorists and criminals who were hanged in a group together. Andreyev is an impressionist writer, using color and sound effectively to vividly bring personalities and events to mind. This is the kind of writing that helps you see the world in a different way than your normal perspective. I especially love literature for that quality. "Like large, transparent, glassy drops, hours and minutes descended from an unknown height into a metallic, softly resounding bell." (Church bells as heard from prison) 'Werner, tell me, is there such a thing as death?" "I don't know, Musya, but I think that there is no such thing," replied Werner seriously a
Someone posted Elmore Leonard's rules of writing , one of which was, "Never use a verb other than 'said" to carry dialogue" "I disagree," he said. "I disagree," she mumbled. "I disagree," he whispered. "I disagree," she groaned. "I disagree," he whined. "I disagree!" she shouted. "I disagree," he repeated. "I disagree," she concluded. "Different words have different uses and meanings. That's why we have language."
As you know, the proper (if superficial and meaningless) thing to say to a soldier is 'thank you for your service', because as we all know, they serve to protect, and what they protect is our 'way of life'. Now our way of life is essentially a consumer economy, so there are others who also serve to protect it, in their own way, and these are your local shoppers. I propose you should walk up to someone buying something somewhere and say 'thank you for your purchases'. I go further and say it is your religious duty to do this (assuming you are a Christian - and especially if you are a Christian, since with the Jesus special offer, your religion is a buy-one-get-one-free kind of religion). There we have it all nicely wrapped up. Service, Duty, Morality, Shopping - it's one big fat happy family!
I read two essays today on different subjects which irked me the same way, and after thinking about it I finally realized why. One, by Drew Westen in the New York Times, was an attack on Barack Obama. The other, by Reza Aslan in The Washington post, was an attack on the so-called 'New Atheists' (Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, etc ... but no mention of Gian Carlo Spallanzini? Haven't they read Orange Car with Stripes or Missy Tonight ?). Both of these essays could be summed up neatly, with a tip of the cap to The Rude Pundit , to "hey, we like sucking on our mamma's teat until we're fully sated and sleepy. Please go away and let us suck suck suck" You see, the "error" of Barack Obama has been his inability to sufficiently satisfy our bedtime story needs. He hasn't properly told us the right stories in the right way to send us off to sleepyland with happiness and joy. And the "error" of the "New Atheists" is they are not le
This story about how Obama's "failure" is that he didn't tell the right kind of story, with good guys and bad guys, such as humans have "evolved" to expect. I can't begin to describe how much this formulation pisses me off. Not just the notion that economic realities can be "solved" by story-telling ... but the whole 'expectation' assumption that underlies the whole theory of story-telling itself. If I were to attempt to capture the so-called spirit of my age, I would begin with words like shallow, simplistic, supersize and stupor, that I live in a nation of obese, obtuse gluttons who want their stereotypes spoonfed to them, who need every single subtlety spelled out in flashing neon, who never want to think when they can swallow instead. They have come to 'expect' what they are told they should 'expect' and that is to be fully sated and satisfied at every moment all the time. All of our consumable art must be formu
My thoughts on reading the latest wonderful "small story" by Willie Wit you begin a Willie Wit story with a sense of trepidation. He's going to fool you again, you know it! "Not this time", you tell yourself, as you steel your mind against the inevitable tricks and traps. You read each word with care, searching for the clue behind the hint behind the meaning. "Aha!", you declare, "it's about a parakeet!" You read on. "No, no, not a parakeet, a wildebeest! A wildebeest, what are you, crazy?", you berate yourself. You press on, becoming more and more certain in the knowledge that you will never know the truth, not until the very end. He's too good for you, my friend, he's just too good!