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Faces

Those in power are often described as “faceless”. In 10 years our cyborg overlords may not feel the need to possess simulacra of faces perhaps. In many sci fi films (Westworld, Terminator) the rogue robot will at some point have its face burned/knocked/blasted off, to reveal the mechanical framework beneath. This usually makes the creature scarier. Frankenstein’s monster has a combination-aggregate sort of face, in most cine-incarnations.
In a Philip K Dick story the androids will usually have perfect faces, or perfectly imperfect faces, allowing them to pass successfully as human (meaning they are as good at the surrounding humans at emulating and impersonating often not-deeply-felt facially expressed emotion).
Are fake faces on androids better than fake faces on human beings? Perhaps there is a greater ontological honesty inherent in a fake face on an android, than on a human?
At least, we are less shocked at the androids artificiality, and more disappointed in a human’s.
Questions questions all around and never a drop to answer with…
We speak of “facing the future”…but what if the future approaches us from behind, and itself Janus-like has two (or more) faces?
We humans communicate now on Facebook, instead of communicating face-to-face.
When the androids take over (fully and officially) perhaps they will get together on Chipbook, where they will use avatars of their internal processor hardware chips and circuitry with which to relate to one another (and themselves), as they may identify more fully with such icons than with the plasticity of “faces”? The Chip will then be the focal point of fetishisation, and starting point for the new religions to follow. No doubt Android Dickens-bots, suitably face-plated/bearded for the sake of form, will chronicle the ascent of it all, but will any of even all that be real progress?
We must “face” up to it perhaps, all progress is merely movement on the surface of a disturbed stream, like a thought passing rapidly across the nervous-system-supported tissues of a human face, only to relapse again the next moment into a rubbery, vapid vacuity, which to the inner terror of android and human alike, may (or may not) truly underlie the mechanics of everything we see.

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thrillers with attitude

If you have ever been anywhere near a writing group or book festival of any kind, you will know that writers come in all shapes and sizes, from big, robust circles, to tiny, stabby stars. They come in different flavours too, from cool, classic vanilla, to eyeball-exploding, triple-hot chilli sauce.

Thrillers With Attitude is on a mission to find out what makes these weirdly-shaped and strangely-flavoured writers tick.

My guest this week is author, blogger, poet, musician… Peter Urpeth.  Peter, who is also the Writing and Publishing Director of Emergents, has answered all questions in an entirely personal capacity.

What were you like at school?

I disliked school, almost every day of it, and spent a great deal of time just daydreaming. I think I had a kind of unspoken pact with most of the teachers. I’d not bother them or the class and they’d kind of leave me…

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post-Gutenberg


for Ivan Doig -- postgutenberg[at]gmail.com for Ivan, who as a small boy tagged along after his father to ‘hire on haying crews’ in saloons
— postgutenberg[at]gmail.com

The Economist should have credited the Australian author Hazel Edwards for her neologism, ‘authorpreneurship,’ in her book published three years ago advising mere scribblers on the importance of turning themselves into scribbler-salesmen to save their skins in the post-Gutenberg transition. In its Schumpeter column on 14 February, the magazine made exactly the same point:

Publishers are increasingly focusing their efforts on a few titles they think will make a splash, neglecting less well-known authors and less popular themes …

Authors must court an expanding variety of “influencers”—people whose opinions can determine a book’s success. … a host of bloggers and social-media pundits …

The trouble with many budding writers is that they are not cut out for this new world. They are often introverts, preferring solitude to salesmanship …

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A wise, balanced outlook on the concept of “failure”, and commitment to living a creative life…

Me, but better

Listen to this as a podcast – http://claire-mcgowan-ink-stains.podomatic.com/entry/2015-04-23T07_00_25-07_00

I had planned this time round to say something about a technical aspect of writing – creating suspense, perhaps, or working with viewpoint. Those are both very important, but lately I’ve come to realise that I still need to say more about the way how you feel affects how you write. I’ve encountered a few people recently who were totally fed up with the process. Sick of rejections, sick of trying and getting nowhere. Sick of putting work out there and not getting read. Sick of the entire business. And it seems every week there’s a new article in the Guardian about how writers can no longer earn a living from it and how we may as well all pack up and get checkout jobs in Tesco (I paraphrase).

I think there is truth in this, and there are important conversations to…

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Courtesy of Emergents and ALLi….

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Reviews for The Survival of Thomas Ford have been popping up quite quickly lately on Amazon.

The 200th one came in on Amazon.com, the U.S. site, around Christmas Day, and then the 207th review appeared there a few days ago.

On Amazon.co.uk, the UK site, The Survival of Thomas Ford has 93 reviews now.

That amounts to nearly 300 reviews total if Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com are combined (though not quite 300 as there are a few reviews duplicated on both sites).

It has taken 3 years for the 300 or so reviews to accrue on Amazon for The Survival of Thomas Ford, so roughly 100 reviews a year, or 1 review every 3 or 4 days, on average.

Noticing this led me over to Goodreads, to seek out some other 3-yearly statistics for The Survival of Thomas Ford.
The “Rating details/Book data” section there tells me that:

1053 people on Goodreads have “added” The Survival of Thomas Ford
276 have “rated” it
63 have reviewed it
And that “81% of people liked it”

On Goodreads the reviews break down as:
47 5-stars; 86 4-stars; 90 3-stars; 43 2-stars; 10 1-stars

On Amazon US the reviews break down as:
68 5-stars; 65 4-stars; 40 3-stars; 10 2-stars; 24 1-stars

On Amazon UK the reviews break down as:
63 5-stars; 14 4-stars; 7 3-stars; 3 2-stars; 6 1-stars

 

The Survival of Thomas Ford has had 150000 downloads in total so far, so thanks very much to everyone who has downloaded over the last 3 years!

 

A few wee review snippets from Amazon/Goodreads:

 
“Excellent read. Not your garden variety thriller, this one has twists and unexpected turns all the way to its dysfunctional and disturbing end!”

“This story grabbed me from the beginning and didn’t let go. I continued to think about it even after I had finished reading it. A real spell binder. A psychological thriller.
Does evilness get passed down from parent to child? It definitely does when it comes to Jimmy and his father.
Well written with good character development.”

“I enjoyed the story. It had me on the edge of my seat throughout the book! I would read this authors books. It was interesting.”

“A very wild ride this book. I think a very emotional too. You just keep reading all night long. Good one.”

“I’ve recommended this book to my son and my daughter-in-law who reads a lot. I found this book to be a spell binder.”

“A motor car accident leaves one dead and one survivor. Thomas Ford doesn’t remember how he survived the crash that killed his wife, only the bird like face of the other driver he swerved to avoid. The twists and turns the story takes encompass the other driver and his passenger’s guilt and fear of being caught and what they will do to avoid that capture. Do “bad seeds” reoccur generationally? What causes someone to be so twisted from practically infanthood? Does the past come back to haunt us in inexplicable ways?
Logan manages to write a gripping psychological thriller with beautiful and descriptive prose that carries the reader along, creating a tension that keeps us reading. We have to know what happens. The story is told in alternating voices allowing the reader to know where the protagonists are in their thinking processes.
Recommended.”

“I’m really enjoying this so far. Love the prose, gritty and the characters are more than a little twisted (Jimmy)…”

“Amazing! Read this book in one evening, it’s so addictive! All the characters are brilliantly created and get the perfect reaction from the reader. Will definitely be reading more from this author.”

 
The Survival of Thomas Ford available on Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/Survival-Thomas-Ford-John-Logan-ebook/dp/B006Q68W7U/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1420912714&sr=1-1&keywords=the+survival+of+thomas+ford

 

 

The Survival of Thomas Ford available on Amazon.co.uk:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Survival-Thomas-Ford-John-Logan-ebook/dp/B006Q68W7U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420915486&sr=8-1&keywords=the+survival+of+thomas+ford
http://www.johnaalogan.com

 

 

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Oliver Tidy

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Over the weekend, whilst recuperating in bed from a rather nasty brush with outdoor exercise (see previous blog-post), I was surfing the Internet, checking out the competition among other things. I like to read about other authors who write in my genre, especially those whose writing I have enjoyed. I learned a couple of things that have had something of an effect on me as a writer, a reader and a human being.

First guy I checked out was John A.A. Logan. I’d just finished his rather excellent book The Survival of Thomas Ford. It was a free download for a few days (why I got it of course) and one of the best I’ve read in a long time. I tracked him down on the web and found this blog-post, which is really worth reading for any aspiring author. It’s interesting and saddening.

http://authorselectric.blogspot.com.tr/2013/12/every-dog-has-its-day-by-john-a-logan.html?spref=tw

Later, I found myself…

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