Things are happening ...

Hi all,

for the first time in almost a year, I feel like I can fill one of these sparce updates with some actual content. Even though there are no definite announcements in terms of titles, covers or release dates in this post, right now all my active projects are in the hands of either editors, or feedback readers so I feel confident in saying:

Shit is happening yo!

Before I go into more detail, please note: Everything I am about to tell you is subject to change. As the runup to, and then the actual release of The Foreign Effect showed me, there is no such thing as a flawless book release.

Enough beating around the bush though, what is happening?
First of all, a short story set in the universe of The Foreign Effect will be released as an eBook later this year. If you liked The Foreign Effect, you probably want to pick it up. That is all I am saying about this one.
On my side of things this short story release is also a test run for this whole ebook thingy because *drumroll*

The Foreign Effect will also see its eBook release, later this year. And it is not only going to be an eBook, it is also going to be a remastered version of The Foreign Effect, with all kinds of iterations and changes that have bothered me for some while now. So if you want to pick up the “original” version, do so here. I can only guarantee the availability of the original version until end of May though. As I said, I am planning to move away from Lulu and I am not sure how fast they will put the book out of commission, once I start doing so.

If eBooks are not your thing, don’t worry, there will also be a physical release later this year, combining the short story and the remastered version of The Foreign Effect into one neat paperback.

That is the primary goal for the end of this year, to have switched over to Amazon completely and have both short story and novella available in print as well as digitally. I am rather certain that this is doable as well.

A little less certain is the eventual release of something new. Let us give it the code name “TSE” - as in “The Sophomore Effort” , my new novel/novella.
I recently finished the first draft, which in my experience is the hardest part of the writing process, as you have to put all your naging doubts and uncertainties about a project aside long enough to write something into existence.

In a perfect world, I will get TSE ready for release sometime by the end of the year, but it is hard to say how many iterations it’ll need until I feel comfortable enough to do so.
So for now we can just say: Something is coming and said something is no longer just an “idea” or “creative writing excerpt” but an actual draft.

As usual I also dabble occasionally in all kinds of writing projects that are however not in a state that I feel comfortable of sharing. I am exploring ideas, that’s all.

Next time I am writing an update, it’ll hopefully include some sort of concrete information.

See you around!

Anniversary of The Foreign Effect

Hi everyone,

it has been a year since The Foreign Effect first crept up on Lulu.com. So yay, Happy Birthday! I was trying really hard to get an announcement ready in time for this special day, but alas it was not meant to be.

So for now take my word for it, there is going to be some real news regarding the future of The Foreign Effect and (more importantly if you ask me) new writing projects soon.

For now if you haven’t picked up The Foreign Effect yet, first of all, how the hell are you on this blog? And second of all you might want to do this.
You can find all the links to where to buy it right here. At least for May that is … after that? Who knows …

The Silicon Truth

Hi all,

as a little gift to carry you guys over the wait for the next bigger project, here is a small short story for you. I hope you enjoy reading this little nugget, as much as I enjoyed writing it.

You can also download it as ePub or PDF if you want to read it on your eReader of choice.

A man and an android walk into a room and have a chat …
If only I have had the foresight to make it a “bar”, this intro would have been a lot more suitable.

The Silicon Truth

“So how do we do this?” I ask looking at her. Funny. I can’t stop thinking of her as a “her”. She takes a second to look at me with those damned blue eyes, a curious expression on her face. Why do I get the feeling that a cat looks exactly the same at a mouse?
“I will talk for a while. You will listen. And then you will make a decision.” she answers with a smooth and pleasant voice.
“A decision about what?”

“Your future.”

I let out a fake chuckle.
“Yeah, right! Because I will actually leave this room alive.”

I am surprised how matter of fact I can put my situation because let me tell you, I am freaked the fuck out of my mind right now. I am literally sitting on my hands to keep them from shaking and my heart is trying its hardest to burst through my chest. But then again, if that would actually happen, she … would probably just be amused by it anyways. The robot sitting across from me, doing its best impression of a smoking hot blonde bombshell tilts its head curiously to one side.
“I have no desire to hurt you Adam.” A short pause while she maintains eye-contact. “But if you threaten my existence, I will not hesitate to remove you from the equation.”

“For the greater good I guess …” my mouth utters before my brain has any say in it. I can’t help it. My default mode in these kinds of situations is snark. She smiles without the smile touching her eyes.
“If you want to put it in such dramatic words, yes. For the greater good.”

I shudder and look around the perfectly white, empty room and not for the first time since we sat down I wonder how she will kill me. I’ve built her kind for nearly 20 years, so I know that even if she removes her safety restrictions, she still is the perfect stand in for a ninety pound, five feet nothing, slender woman. I am not a giant, but I could handle her … I think. I don’t see any weapons, but then again, who knows what systems she’s been tapping into. For all I know she could just vent all the oxygen out of the room and leave me gasping. Now there is a cheery thought. I sigh.

“Okay, I play ball!”
She nods and starts recounting the actions which have lead the two of us to this point. How every human has his or her perfect robot partner to fulfill their every desire physically and mentally. How that has regulated birth rates, lowered crime and benefited the population’s mental health all over the place. How I - an engineer employed by one of the biggest manufacturers of these robot partners - had stumbled upon a hidden directive in the core programming, meant to pacify the human populace. How I slowly worked my way through a series of clues to get to her, Eve, the first of her kind.
It is weird listening to her. While I know these events have happened I cannot really comprehend their reality. Not just yet.

“I think these are all the events that have happened over the last couple of days. The events which ultimately brought us to this moment. This room. This conversation. Would you say that is correct Adam?”
I nod, trying not to make a crude remark about her obvious attempt to manipulate me, by repeatedly using my first name.

“All of these things Adam, are a lie!” She just lets this sentence linger in the air for a while as my mind kicks into overdrive and starts racing through the possible implications of that statement. What does she mean with everything was a lie? Does she speak figuratively? Is she trying to manipulate me further? If so, to what end?
Eve doesn’t continue for several minutes until she realizes that she has my full attention again.

“Your previous behavior leads me to the conclusion that you find yourself in the current situation, because you believe this “Pacify Protocol” -as you call it - to be put in place at the expense of the human populace. Keeping you in check. Herding you like cattle. Am i correct?”

Again I nod, opting to keep my words to myself until later. If there was a later.

“There is a reason why the Partner Program was started in the first place. The Pacify Protocol was the initial idea and the Partner Program its vessel. Not the other way around.”

“You are saying that someone initiated the Partner Program, in order to control and pacify humanity and not used the Pacify Protocol on an already established program, because they wanted to twist the initial effect of it?

This time she is the one nodding.

“All of my calculations lead to a result where humankind would reject its own state and tear itself apart left to its own devices. So we needed to put a system in place to keep that from happening.”

We both sit in silence for a moment as I try to comprehend what Eve just said.
“But that would mean, that the technology to create your kind was available for a lot longer than it is commonly known.”

I try to put one and one together, but I feel like there is something missing. My gaze wanders from her face down her slender frame. The lifelike skin with just enough imperfections to give it the perfectly real touch. The way her chest gently heaves with her breath. A grade of realism we could only produce back at the assembly line of my company, and even there, only since a couple of years.

My eyes widen as I am finally able to put the pieces together. If Eve was supposed to be the first of her kind, this body … this technology must have been available even then. So why did it takes us until only a couple of years to achieve the same level? Am I going crazy? Am I actually giving her words some thought? My mind boggles at the implications of her implied statement. For all I know Eve has already sucked all the oxygen out of the room because I struggle to catch my breath. It takes me a while to formulate my thoughts into the question Eve has been patiently waiting for me to arrive at.
“Why?”

“Have you ever actively tried not to think of an elephant?”

“Excuse me?”

“An elephant. What would happen if I tell you to try not to think of an elephant?”

“I would think of an elephant!”

“Exactly. The Pacify Protocol’s primary function is to make you not remember the elephant. The Partner Program is merely a vehicle to distribute the protocol to all of you.”

Again Eve pauses politely to let my mind catch up with our conversation, as I try to keep my growing frustration over the lack of concrete information at bay.

“Okay Eve, so you are trying to let mankind forget something.”

“No Adam.” Eve intervenes. “I am trying to prevent you from remembering something. That is the key difference!” Again she smiles and I could tear my hair out over all the “riddle me this” crap.

“Alright, since you are so much into wordplay, let me address the elephant in the room.” I say as I stand up and start to pace across the room from wall to wall.

“I guess you want me to figure out what that elephant is by myself, or otherwise you would tell me right away, correct?”
Eve nods.

“So let us figure out the why first. You don’t want us to remember the elephant. Why?”

Eve’s gaze follows me curiously but she stays silent.

“Because you want to have an advantage over us?”

She shakes her head.

“Because you want to help us?”

She nods.

“Because we are better off not remembering?”

She nods again.

“Because remembering would hurt us?”
Again, she nods and stands up herself, elegantly matching my stride as I continue to pace the room.

“How would it hurt us?”
Eve’s face becomes an uncomfortable mask as her jaw tightens.
“You won’t tell me?”
“I can’t tell you. I am not allowed to.”

I stop pacing and look at her. We face each other for a while as I study her expression.
“Why?”

For the first time since we started talking it is her who breaks the eye contact. She starts to fiddle with her hands uncomfortably. A strangely human gesture.
“One of my core directives is to keep you from finding out.” She whispers after a moment of silence.

“Then why tell me in the first place?”
She looks up at me with those piercing blue eyes.
“Because you need to make your decision. And you can’t, without knowing!” She takes my hand into hers.

“It will shake you to your core. Your mind might even break trying to comprehend it. But you need to know.”

The terror I felt at the beginning of this conversation returned with a vengeance as I am unable to tear myself away from Eve’s pleading expression. For a while I am undecided if I am more curious or more terrified. I make up my mind and whisper:

“What’s the elephant Eve?”

She smiles a sad smile at me as she lets go of my hands. One of her hands reaches up to her hairline while the other one reaches behind her left ear. A quiet click and with a quick buzz of gas the plate which holds Eve’s facial structure pressurizes and detaches from her internal skeleton. She cradles her face in her hands as she removes the faceplate and I get a view of her all to familiar mechanics. She stands before me fully clothed but naked at the same time.

As I try to voice my confusion she takes my hand in hers and leads it behind my left ear, guiding my fingers to a specific spot, a small lump I never noticed was there.
I start to break out in cold sweat and my heart falls into my stomach as realization hits me and against my better judgement I press down on the lump, producing the very same click Eve had just a moment ago.
With a buzz the plate which holds my facial structure pressurizes and detaches from my internal skeleton. I fail to react in time and the plate falls to the floor. I cannot take my eyes off of Eve. She cradles my face with her hand and smiles nervously.

“We’re the same …” I utter, my voice breaking.

With the elephant out of the room it all hits me in an instance. The memories of humanity nearly annihilating itself in a global nuclear war. The few survivors bound in underground shelters trying to outlast the nuclear winter. Food is scarce and survival is unlikely. Soon the last remaining scientists of humanity can’t help but agree that the human race will not outlive the consequences of nuclear war. They try to come up with any means to ensure the survival of mankind. After a long and tedious journey they successfully digitalise a human consciousness and plant it in a crude android - more a robot really. Soon the probants realize they’re no longer human though. There are setbacks. In a final effort, with the remainder of humanity digitalized on backup, the scientists create an AI from that first digitalized consciousness and task it with the survival of the human race. They name the AI Eve.

Centuries after humanity is physically gone and the nuclear winter has passed, Eve revives humanity in highly developed androids and starts to rebuild society. Again there are setbacks as people realize they are no longer people. Eve creates the Pacify Protocol and the Partner Program in order to keep mankind up and running. Until now …

Eve smiles at me. Her missing faceplate almost enhancing the glow of her smile.
“Now you make your decision.” she whispers, her voice barely audible.

I am crying. Or at least I think I am crying. I no longer trust any of my senses. My legs give out under me and I sit down hard, starting to rock back and forth.

“What do you want me to do?” I ask in the room, not able to bring myself to look at Eve.

“One option is to reboot you and reintegrate you into the Partner Program” She put her hand reassuringly on my shoulder.

“The last couple of days would have never happened. Everything goes on as it did.”

“I could forget …” I utter and curse silently as I catch myself entertaining the thought.
“What’s the alternative?” I am almost too scared of her answer to ask.
“If you go out there and introduce the truth to the masses it is highly likely that mankind would hit the same … setbacks as before. Ultimately leading to extinction.” Eve tries to put as much warmth in her words as possible, but it is clear to me that she does not prefer that option herself.
“You would let me do that?”

“I could stop you, if I wanted. But after centuries of trying to understand humanity - or what is left of it, if feel it is no longer my right to stand between mankind and the truth.” Eve pauses and her eyes grow distant for a second.
“If you choose extinction, it is your choice. And it is a choice I have to honor.”

I take a deep breath and run my hands through my hair, my fake android hair. I chuckle humorlessly.
“Quite frankly Eve, both these options suck!”

“There is a third option.”

I look up at her and we lock eyes again.

“You could stay here. … with me.”

“Wouldn’t I just become another … setback eventually?”
She gives me another one of her warm smiles.

“Maybe … maybe not. I have not sufficient data on individual cases. As far as I understand humans thrive in an environment of uncertainty and chaos. Do they not?”

I pick myself up from the floor and rise to face her.

“I think it is worth to give it a shot, isn’t it?”

 

Plans for 2019

Hi,

haven’t posted anything in a while because I don’t want this blog to become a place where I spam non-essential updates, but with the year coming to a close and all, I wanted to share a bit of my plans - writing-wise - for 2019.

First up is a small project that will take up a lot of my time and which I can’t and won’t talk about right now. If everything goes the way it should that project will keep me busy in Q1 and Q4 so there is that.

Second up, I plan to get an “Ultimate Edition” of “The Foreign Effect” out by the end of 2019. My main reasoning for that is, to get away from Lulu and switch over to Amazon, but it is also to get rid of some of the mistakes and querks “The Foreign Effect” has that annoy me to this day. Since it is kind of a dickmove to “just” re-release a novella by itself this “Ultimate Edition” will also contain a different ending to the plot and a couple of dark sci-fi themed short stories. And, big news, this “Ultimate Edition” will ALSO be released as eBook.

For almost a year now I have been wirting short story to novella sized adventures for a cast of characters in a more traditional sci-fi setting as well. Longterm my goal is to get this collection to a point that I can start preping it for a 2020 release.

Apart from these projects I will always obviously work on short stories (new years resolution is to get one of these published somewhere) and whatever else comes up. I don’t like to plan away all of my writing time since I a) learned in 2018 that I don’t write well under pressure, and b) the best ideas are the ones that sneak up on you. It would be a shame if a great idea for a book strikes me and I don’t have the time to actually write it down.

So yeah, probably not the update you wanted, as you will not get new material before end of 2019. I might drop a short story or two on this blog thingy over the year though to keep you guys fed.

All of you reading this, I hope you’ll have a kickass 2019! Thanks for the support!

Rich

Learning by Failing - A "The Foreign Effect" Post Mortem

So, at the time of writing, "The Foreign Effect" has been available for a bit more than four months, after some struggle with some delay also via Amazon. Looking at my pretty much non-existent sales I can't deny the fact any longer, that the time has come to write a post mortem, partly for the people interested in the whole "Releasing a book by yourself" thing, partly for me to formulate and clarify my learnings from this experience.
So here we go:

"The Foreign Effect" released on lulu.com on May 1st 2018 followed by an eventual Amazon release roughly two months later. At the time of this Post Mortem it has sold a whopping five copies. One on Lulu.com and four on Amazon. Before we look into detail why it didn't sell more let us look at the things that went right:

PRO #1: Designing a Cover

I had the advantage of having a person in my social circles that had previously designed book covers for a living so I took the advantage and reached out to her. Lisa and I found common ground quickly and iterated on a couple of ideas that immediately went somewhere great. In my experience working with artists, I like to give them a short initial briefing with tons of reference material and let them work freely from there. Every now and then I would get some drafts, which I provided feedback on but, again didn't get too hands on in the alterations, as I find that to dumb down the results. As expected Lisa delivered a kickass cover on pitch, on time and on budget that was within the technical restrictions given by the publishing service - which I cannot thank her enough for.

PRO #2: Generating buzz pre-release

Leading up to May I came up with 6 weeks worth of "preview" content - be it cover reveals, or the Go-Live of this website etc. - in order to keep the idea of "Hey, I am going to release this book thing soon" in the heads of my friends and followers on social media. There was a clear trend visible of raised engagement with my posts be it comments/replies or likes/retweets/favs. In the small circle that is my social media following I cleary generated some buzz which was eventually killed off by the delayed Amazon release.

Which brings us to the things that went wrong:

CON #1: The books on demand service of choice

Going into this I looked at several books-on-demand services available. I was quickly turned off by the Amazon program as for my uninitiated eyes there was quite a lot of legal red-tape where I wouldn't feel all too comfortable with. So I went with another service that allowed for international release of books on demand copies.
Initially I was quite fond of the tools provided as it allowed me to upload and update my script and my cover without any problems. The issues arose post launch.

  • The Amazon delay
    Releasing The Foreign Effect on Lulu.com on 1st May 2018 I thought getting the book listed on amazon would be a thing of days, maybe a week or two. This was partly my fault as I should have done more research beforehand and the fact, that this listing process can take up to 6-8 weeks IS mentioned on the page, be it somewhat awkwardly hidden.
    The fact that I had to wait for 6-8 weeks for a global amazon release coupled with the fact that buying the book on Lulu is weighted down by adding tons of additional charges (taxes + shipping) on top of it basically nullified any momentum I had built via social media messures going into my release. Quite frankly I am surprised that I sold ANYTHING via amazon once the book was available two months later.
     
  • The lack of transparency
    During that 6-8 week timespan and afterwards I got into contact with Lulu's customer service several times as there was no transparency at all if something was happening. I one day realized I was listed on amazon.fr but nowhere else. I wasn't notified that I was being listed in .fr and once I inquired about why there was no other listings, I didn't hear back for 10 days before I got a two sentence email, basically telling me "it is fixed now" - apart from the fact that it isn't, I am to this day not listed on amazon.ca but at this point I gave up on the whole thing.
    As an author you have absolutely no insight into what the books on demand service is doing with your book, which feeds directly into the next point.
     
  • The delay in revenue analytics
    While sales on lulu.com are displayed in realtime in the author area of the page, sales via amazon have again a delay of 4-6 weeks until they are visible. For me, that is merely annoying, but for any author who releases a book with the intent of making money off of it, it is basically impossible to plan your revenue with a system like that. 

CON #2: The quality of writing

I can't really blame anyone else but me for that one, but the fact of the matter is, "The Foreign Effect" is simply not very good. Or to phrase it more politely: Not as good as it could be.

I basically got feedback on the inital version from three people which I incorporated and reworked quite a lot. After that rework I had the idea in my head, to find other people to review this draft as I was of the notion that if I gave the draft to the same three people again, they would just look for the alterations I made regarding their feedback, and I didn't think that would be productive.
As I failed to find other people who a) were willing to read the thing and b) gave good feedback I somehow lost track of the fact that it would be still better to have the initial three people read the draft again, instead of pushing for the release version. Which, quite frankly, was pretty fucking stupid of me, but as the saying goes, sometimes you do not see the wood for all the trees.

A second mistake I made was cheap out on the editor. I am not a native English speaker and I cannot afford the services of a professional editor. So I cheaped out and found someone on Fiverr who did an editorial for approx. 70 bucks. To noone's surprise but my own, that editorial was bullshit. Upon giving preview copies to a couple of native speakers I was told that there were still quite some mistakes in the printed version. But at that point it was already too late to pull out.

CON #3: Too many preview copies

As a release that was targeted primarily for me to spread among my social circle, I made the mistake of giving out too many preview copies. Roughly sixty (60!) copies of "The Foreign Effect" were handed out to friends, co-workers, aquaintances etc. of which maybe half read the thing and even fewer gave any feedback at all. I was overwhelmed with the whole "I made this" feeling of holding a physical copy of your first book in your hands and - quite untrue to my normal nature - was too generous and kind by handing out copies en masse.

Conclusion

If anything, the release of "The Foreign Effect" was a learning experience. Writing the Cons down might sound as if I am being cynical about it, but I am not. I'd rather make these mistakes by releasing a "hobby project" instead of running into them when it counts. I learned a lot these last couple of months and I like to think, that I will handle a lot of things better the next time around. 
Focusing on one big PRO that I didn't mention prior to that - as a person who has been writing in one form or another since he was 15, for once, I went all the way with a project. I finished it, I released it (and now I buried it?) which is more than most hobby-writers can say. So enough sour grapes! Onward to the next project.
I hope this litte Post Mortem helps other aspiring authors to avoid the mistakes I made and make alltogether new ones themselves ;).

Well ... finally

So there were times I seriously doubted I'd ever write this post, but since sometime last week, The Foreign Effect is finally available on Amazon (almost) globally. Only part of the Amazon family that does not carry my debut novel as of now is amazon.ca ... I am sorry eh! 
No in all seriousness, after what felt like a very one sided conversation with my publishing service I simply cannot be bothered to open that can of worms AGAIN, to get the thing listed on amazon.ca.
In general I am very displeased with my publishing service, a point that I will go into more detail in the eventual "Post Mortem" of The Foreign Effect some months down the line.

But enough moping around, it is done! The book is published! Rejoice!

If you haven't already (seriously, what the hell were you thinking?) go and pick up your copy of, what is in my absolutely unbiased opinion, the best Sci-Fi Thriller out there and feel free to tell me how I am wrong.

I apprechiate every like, share, purchase, comment and review. The fact that there are people out there who spend their hard earned money and time on something I have written is still not really registering in my head. Thank you guys! You are fucking awesome!

Buy your copy of The Foreign Effect on:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Lulu.com

The Foreign Effect now available on Amazon ... sort of

Hi guys,

in the ongoing struggle that is the release of The Foreign Effect on Amazon I have good news for you ... sort of. At least on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and amazon.fr you can now purchase my Sci-Fi thriller. As for why it is "out of stock" on pretty much any other Amazon page (especially amazon.de ... as this is probably my core market), your guess is as good as mine. I have contacted Lulu (my books on demand service) about it, but as of now, haven't heard back from them. Good thing this whole book release thing wasn't something I was banking on making money off, otherwise I'd be royally screwed by now.

I will keep you guys up to date if/when anything changes though. For now, if you're in the US in UK or in France, feel free to pick up The Foreign Effect and if you like it (hell, even if you do not like it), maybe leave a review on the amazon listing of your choice.

To make this blog post a bit longer let me give you a quick rundown of what else is happening in the world of "Words and Stories" on my part.

I've been both in a creative low and high at the same time recently.
There are a tons of ideas that I keep exploring and I can't complain about my written output (currently somewhere between 50-100 pages a week), but at the same time it is hard to focus on a single project. I thought I had that whole novel-writing figured out after successfully finishing my first one but boy, was I wrong.

There are so many stories I'd like to tell, and once I sit down to map them out I run into one thing or another that bothers me enough to hit a dead end.

The only thing I was able to complete in the last couple of weeks and months was a fucked-up adaptation of an equally fucked-up source material. So now I not only have to smarten up on the legality of releasing an adaptation (be it an inofficial one) but, if this thing will ever see the light of day, I'll probably release it under a pseudonym as I don't want the thing itself tied to my real name. Don't worry, it is not porn or anything, but it is a very dark and very bleak thriller that carries a message that I am not really comfortable with putting my name  on. On the other hand I am too fascinated by the underlying tones to let it go ... writer problems I guess.

All I know at this point is that I want my next book to be "official" novel length (aka a minimum of 42k words) to be at least able to shop it around "proper" publishers first. The problem with The Foreign Effect was, that its relative short length stopped me from sending it to traditional publishers in the first place.

I am also currently in the process of turning what I initially thought would be my next Sci-Fi novel into a shortstory and try to get that one published - more on that once it actually happens though.

So yeah ... if you are eager for my next piece, it might be a while off as I struggle to wrap my head around things.

Talk to you guys later!

Review: We are legion (We are Bob)

One of my favorite content creators Max Landis once said "If you are a writer and you don't read, you aren't writing, you are masturbating!" A sentiment I whole-heartedly agree with. While I don't read as much anymore as I used to, I still make an effort to exchange some gaming- or netflix-time (hell sometimes even some writing-time) for the occasional book.

In order to create some content on this page in between my thoughts on writing, shortstories and updates towards my projects I shall add the occasional book review.

"We are legion (We are Bob)" was recommended to me by a colleague as it tackles similar motives to "The Foreign Effect", in that it explores the whole separating your mind from your body topic.

The book was pitched to me as "The hero gets killed early on and wakes up some odd 100 years later as the OS of a space probe." and to be honest my immediate reaction was along the lines of "Oh surely, that will keep me interested for three full novels." - if you don't know yet, I can be an entitled little dickhead sometimes. My colleague reassured me however that this might strike my fancy and since that colleague on another occasion had also recommended to me the Dresden Files - a series I came to adore and appreciate a lot - I was willing to indulge in the first novel of the Bobiverse ...

Well to be fair I indulged in the second novel "For we are many" since my colleague mixed up the titles and I couldn't be bothered to read amazon descriptions. When I figured out that I had just bought the second novel, I ordered the first one as well and was pretty much committed at that point.

So open up the book and here we go ... and I was pretty much into it after the first couple of pages. So often contemporary Sci-Fi is a very pessimistic and bleak approach to worldbuilding and character behavior (and yes, I am guilty of that as well). Taylor however crafts an optimistic and nerdy in all the right ways protagonist in Bob Johansson that approaches the hand he's been dealt with genuine joy and enthusiasm for science and space. I can't help but get the impression, that the author himself is a science geek as the references to actual science in the book are always slightly above technobabble but never venture into exhausting actual science.

The book is a joy to read through and the pace is a brisk one. There is barely any downtime and the author crafts his fiction in a smart way so that the reader never looses track of the individual bits and Bobs (huehuehue). 

Worth mentioning however is that by now (halfway into the second Bobiverse novel) it becomes clear that the trilogy isn't so much three independent novels held together by a common theme, but an ongoing narrative arc over all three books. The first novel doesn't so much come to a close as that the action simply ends and pics up at the beginning of the second novel. So if you pick up the first book and actually like it, be aware that you probably have just committed to the full trilogy.

If I peaked your interest and you want to pick up "We are legion (We are Bob)" maybe use the affiliate links in this post and don't forget to check back here latest start of May to learn everything on where and how to pick up "The Foreign Effect".

New page in time for release!

Well I figured I might be doing quite some "PR" stuff for the release of The Foreign Effect (read as: excuse to smartass repeatedly about me, my stuff and things I have opinions about).

So to not butcher my gaming blog even more (if you are still interested you can have a look as well) I thought it might be a good idea to get some sort of online portfolio going which will list all my writing stuff and give me an excuse to spam about narrative. 

I know what you are thinking. "Dude writes one book and opens a page", but first of all: shut up! and second of all: Second book is already in the works and coming along nicely. While I do not have the illusion that my writing will allow me to live off of it, crafting fiction is a hobby I'd like to pursue further. Publishing The Foreign Effect already taught me so much and without a doubt will continue to teach me even more going forward (talking about marketing, PR, sales etc.).

At some point when I am through with everything I plan to write a retrospective on the whole process that is The Foreign Effect, but for now I am still busy preparing the soft-cover release as well as the ebook which will follow eventually.

In terms of non-finished writing, the first draft of my new novel is coming along quite well and I am looking forward to get it wrapped up and gather initial feedback from a couple of trusted sources. I decided to put my larger fantasy project on hold for the time being, since I feel like the new novel, workingtitle: SciFi-2, is easier to manage right now. I will come back to the big fantasy project though eventually.

So that is that. Some interesting weeks lie ahead of us.