Monthly Archives: January 2012

The 12 must read books – Those I haven’t read

Following on from last week’s “must read” list of the books I have read, this next set is a list of 12 that I haven’t read and feel I should. Again in no particular order:

1. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. It is the one science book that nearly everybody seems to own but nobody has read. I will probably read it at some point but having recently bough both The Quantum Universe and Why does E=mc2 and why does it matter? (both by Prof Brian Cox) it may be unnecessary to read it

2. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. This is on my bookshelf so it is only a matter of time before I read it. It is Dawkins’ seminal work on genetic evolution and where he first expresses his “meme” concept. Continue reading

Site of the Week: Unbound

Part of the problem of getting published, once you have got over the correct market hurdle and the quality barrier and passed through the “will it offend anybody?” police, there is one major stumbling block to getting published: will it sell? The publishing world is rife with even the best known books of our time having been rejected with a “yeah, it is good but we don’t think anybody will want to buy this”. There is no need to be downhearted when your precious manuscript collapses here because agents and publishers are only human… they make mistakes.

Continue reading

Book Review: War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

I’m sure everybody knows this story by now. If they haven’t seen any number of what seems like an unending supply of screen adaptations, then they know the musical or in some way, the basics of the plot so the recap here will be very brief: A male narrator writes in diary form, the events of an invasion of Earth by people from Mars and his attempts to avoid death or capture.

The beginning is very quaint. Continue reading

New Blog – 2012 and all that

I now have a secondary blog at

Increasingly, reason and the scientific method are under attack by purveyors of nonsense. Creationists are aggressively attempting to force their religious myth into classrooms alongside or instead of the established science of evolutionary theory.

Elements of the oil industry are funding a campaign of misinformation against solid climate science to derail attempts to do something about the dangers we face. Political commentators who have no scientific training are flooding newspapers, Continue reading

James White Award Jan 2012 deadline – and a thank you

I don’t think I’m going to make it. Any attempt to plough through to get it finished in time may sacrifice quality. I’d rather send a more polished piece of work for another competition or another year. I could if necessary make it a bit longer and send it to the Ron Hubbard competition but I’m not quite sure it will be suitable for their tastes. You never know though.

New targets coming soon!

A thank you.

Yesterday saw my 754th hit for the month. That figure means nothing in itself but it has – with six days to go – made January 2012 the busiest month for this blog. The previous busiest month was September 2011 which is amusing because I was away on holiday in Malta for half of the month and barely posted. This is a thanks to all of you who visit, subscribe and comment. If it wasn’t for the interaction of my visitors and subscribers I would almost certainly have either reduced my content or given it up as a useless waste of time.

Let’s see if we can hit 1000 for January! (246 to go in 6 days means average of 41 per day)

The 12 must read books – Those I have read

A friend of mine posted this article from HuffPo on the 12 books that you must have on your shelf. I had a look through and shrugged my shoulders in indifference at most of them. I can’t say that any of those I hadn’t read / didn’t own jumped out at me as essential ornaments for my bookshelf. Granted, I am British and HuffPo is an American media site so the autobiography of Malcolm X, Beloved and the People’s history of the USA Continue reading

Site of the Week:

And so my collection of site of the week dedicated to getting published begins with the print on demand method. The idea is simple, you upload your book to the site and print as many as you need whether that be for individual sales or contracts with retailers. lulu will store your book and print as many as you require, whenever you require. There is also the option of selling through the lulu marketplace and purchasing a package of services to edit or market your work.
Continue reading

Book Review: Lion of the Sun by Harry Sidebottom

And so onto the third book in the Warrior of Rome series featuring the very real historical figure of Ballista, an officer in the third century Roman army, a man of Germanic birth sent to defend the eastern borders against the growing threat of the Sassanid empire.

Ballista and the Emperor Valerian are in a bit of a pickle. Betrayed by Macrianus the Lame, they are captured by Sassanid forces and sent before Shapur himself. As the story begins, Valerian has been forced to prostrate himself before The King of Kings and Ballista is sworn to an oath that he must break if he is to see his family again and assist Valerian in taking back his empire. He is reminded of another oath that he broke many years before, one that is covered at the beginning of the first book.

I was disappointed with the second book, Continue reading

Spoofing the bestsellers

There was a time, perhaps eight years ago, when it was all the rage to spoof the bestsellers. I went through a phase of buying them for light bedtime reading. It was a short phase and they were of mixed quality. Here is a list of those I have read. I’m assuming it isn’t necessary to explain what is being spoofed here: Continue reading

Having some thoughts about epublishing – advice please

Spurred on by yesterday’s post about Amanda Hocking, I have been giving some thought to epublishing an anthology of some of my short stories.

I have been debating in my mind for quite a while the possibility of editing some of my older stuff to put on red room as I move away from being a hobbyist and look to making some money from my work and getting my name out there. Instead I’m thinking about the possibility of selling the new editions. If this goes ahead Continue reading