How interesting is this? Very, I should say! Well known UK authors including Tony Parsons are allowing their literary agent Curtis Brown to ‘self-publish’ on their behalf in the US market. In effect, Curtis Brown is reinventing itself as a publisher – CB Creative Books – for these specific authors to help them break into the US market.
One Final Decision is now needed before A Calculated Life goes to print. Yes, real ink on real paper. Almost quaint yet so thrilling! And I’m wondering which of these three designs to go for.
If you’d like a say in how my paperback looks then leave a comment, or tweet or send a message via facebook.
Front cover artwork by Mack Manning.
photo: Marcos Takamatsu
I’m so excited. Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s follow-up to The Black Swan is now available in the UK – entitled Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don’t Understand. My hardback copy is winging its way to me. Hardback? Yes, I simply can’t wait for the paperback release. And I don’t want an eBook because I want to underline all the good bits (and the eBook costs more).
As I’ve mentioned before, The Black Swan – The Impact of the Highly Improbable was a goldmine resource when I wrote A Calculated Life. In a nutshell, if I dare, Taleb argues that people, corporations, financial institutions make serious blunders because they disregard highly improbable events. They concern themselves with the likely range of possibilities and make no allowance for so-called black swans – events they have not encountered before. Read more
Ah! It would be lovely, wouldn’t it – if Manchester and the north west of England emerged as the new Florence and Tuscany of Europe? Just imagine cypress trees and vineyards scattered among the Pennine foothills and the Cheshire Gap. In A Calculated Life, Mancunians have adapted to a hotter climate and the region’s agricultural patterns have shifted dramatically. Thus climate change forms a backdrop to the novel.
Here’s a great article in today’s Guardian Books Blog by Lee Rourke. I couldn’t agree more and I love novels with fractured narratives.
Here’s one point that Lee makes that I particularly like:
Life isn’t like the narratives that make up the majority of novels in circulation today, or like the well-rehearsed scenes we enjoy at the theatre, or in the movies. It’s more complicated than that: steeped in confusion, dead ends, blank spaces and broken fragments. It’s baffling at times, annoying and perpetually open-ended. We have no real way of predicting our future. So why do our novels have to tie all this stuff together, into a neatly packaged bundle of ready-made answers? Something doesn’t ring true.
This was a surprise: A Calculated Life reached the Kindle Bestseller List for Science Fiction on Amazon’s UK store, on launch day.
So was it Flukey-Tuesday, or what? I’ve been mulling this over and . . . I suspect I’ll never know the reason. Read more
I clicked the ‘Save and Publish’ button yesterday morning and just seven hours later A Calculated Life went live on Amazon’s websites as an eBook. To be precise, at 18:28:12 GMT on Monday 12 November. Read more
Baby at Manchester University
So why did I chose Manchester and the North West of England as the main setting for A Calculated Life? It’s not simply because I know this city and region (I could have chosen London, which I know well enough).
The fact is that Manchester shouted out as being totally appropriate. I couldn’t resist. You see, A Calculated Life is set later in the 21st Century. It’s Science Fiction or, as others might classify the novel, Speculative Fiction. It presents a dystopian view of the future – one in which humans have adopted many advances in neural implant technology and genetic engineering. As Ray Kurzweil argues in The Age of Spiritual Machines, once we discovered computation we reset our future evolutionary path.
So where better to locate this futuristic novel, than the city where the first commercial computer was developed. Read more
It all began . . . at the turn of the millennium when, after I’d recovered from the celebrations, I read a long review in The Guardian‘s New Year edition of Ray Kurzweil’s book The Age of Spiritual Machines. His predictions were a wake-up call. He imagined a future when humans start to merge with technology, that is, when wealthier humans boost their brainpower by way of neural implants (welI, I can see the upside, who wouldn’t? Imagine being fluent in seven languages…).
Kurzweil argues that it’s absolutely inevitable that the next step in our evolution will involve cognitive implants. By the year 2099, he says humans with neural implants will be unable to hold a meaningful conversation with humans who do not have them; the divide will be too great.
This was seriously scary stuff, or I thought so at least. I was already looking at the dividing line between humans and machines in my art practice, but Kurzweil’s predictions really unnerved me. Read more
Along with most authors I’ve opted to go, initially, with Kindle Direct Publishing because, quite simply, this reaches the highest number of potential readers. Indeed, many indie-authors don’t bother with any other eBook or any Print-on-Demand (POD) provider. I can see the logic: readers can access Kindle books without even owning a Kindle device. There are free Kindle Reading Apps for smartphones including the iPhone, computers and tablets, including the iPad and Android devices. So, it’s a pretty rational decision to stick with publishing Kindle eBooks.
However, Read more
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