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Sunday, 26 May 2019


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Write your books and self-publish on Amazon! I'll bet you find an audience.

your quadrilogy sounds like fun to read. Do Amazon have a patent for the Echo? you might have a claim on it which could set you off for the rest of your days ;)
I hope the op goes well and wish you a quick recovery.

Get back to work on that book project and sign me up for a copy of it, Mike. I'd even buy a copy of the 70 page manuscript. Or you could start releasing the book in excerpts and charge a subscription fee.

Now that Alexa exists, maybe you should scratch your head and come up with a more futuristic communications device or maybe regress to writing letters.

Excellent decision. I think you'll find it very useful. I use the similar Google Assistant all the time. It is built into my Google Home, Google Home mini, Pixel, Pixelbook, and Sony Android TV. So helpful. Enjoy.

That's a great idea for a story. Too bad it didn't go further.

Best wishes for a great health outcome.

That sounds like it might have become a great story. You certainly had prepared an interesting and realistically complex background.
( I found too many repetitions for my taste in the Harry Potter series, but I enjoyed the first and the last books.)

You remind me of two other books:
October the First Is To Late,
by Fred Hoyle.
Also about the future of mankind; time becomes temporarily set to different times in different parts if the world...
Singing Coral, by Sverre Holmsen, who lived many years in Tahiti.
A novel set in ancient Polynesia with a civilization exploring the see and new islands and about liberal and returning fundamental ways of life clashing.

( Then there is also H. G. Wells' short story Empire of the Ants...[what if..]...)

For after your eye has recovered and rested! ( - unless you've read them already.)

Your Sci-Fi story sounds like a great setup... execution is next right?

It does remind me of the Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein, which is probably the best Sci-Fi you've never read. The protagonist is an explorer, chronicler & map-maker of her world. If you ask her a question, she must answer truthfully; if you ever lie to her she will never provide you an answer.

The story is very well executed, and you really care about the characters. In fact, the main theme is science and paradigm shift as she (and you) learn more about her world.

Re: who and that

This is where we profoundly disagree. I don’t know what Siri’s voice is like in the United States but here in the United Kingdom he is young, well educated, polite and he’s neither innocent nor a fool. He knows what lies on the other side of modesty and politeness, and he isn’t going there. He answers what he knows and tells me when he doesn’t know. He tells me without bumptiousness or bashfulness. As far as I’m concerned, I know who he is, and he is a he.

Growing up, I always knew who pertained to people. But lately, I've mostly been reading people that . . . And I began to wonder if I was wrong.
Thank you for the affirmation.
I will continue to write people who.

I'm afraid the 'conbox' will not be your only accurate prediction in this story. I have been thinking for a while that 'Contractions' (that's a good name for it!) are on the cards for the not too distant future. There seems to be absolutely no appetite for controlled reductions in population, resource consumption, and economic growth, (what politician will stand on 'negative GDP' as a platform?) and by the time there is, it will almost certainly be too late. I don't think it will happen in my time, but probably not as late as 2200 either.

Sounds like you were setting up for a great story though. I was kind of looking forward to the next chapter when it ended. Perhaps if you are not a thriller writer, you may be an adventure writer (you do seem to like RLS after all). Why not give it a go? Can you dictate to Echo?

Steve Muskie’s suggestion merits consideration. Serial publication - episodes purchased one at a time - has a record of some success. There was a guy named Dickens who did well by it.

Did you submit this book proposal to only one publisher?

[Alas, yes. I am easily discouraged I'm afraid. But in any case life got in the way shortly thereafter. --Mike]

Mike, I hope your surgery and recovery go well. Just remember that Alexa hears everything.


Netflix seems to be hungry for content. Why not submit your 70 page summary to them ? it could be a TV series or a movie in the Netflix realm.

If that doesn't work just throw in dragons/magic/zombies/incest in the mix :) Seems to work well for some authors.

I think your "conbox"(which I persist in reading as "combox" for communication) was anticipated along with much else by E. M. Forster in The Machine Stops (1928).


I am hooked on my Echo. I discover that I can run the same software on my PC, which I address as "Alexa" and the Echo as "Echo". It's an Echo Show, picked up cheaply in one of Amazon's numerous sales, which means that when I ask it for a cooking timer I can see the seconds counting down. It also shows news headlines without being asked.
It does occasionally talk back to the TV - it's amazing how often commentators say "echo".

I got an Echo six months ago as a first step into home automation. For now it sits on my desk and acts as a genuine personal assistant. Even my wife who is not disposed to digital toys has begun to tolerate the little devil.

Personally I'm OK with the privacy trade-off inherent in using devices such as the Echo. Many people will see them as too intrusive.

The downside of the Echo is that all conversations are sent to Amazon, recorded, and Amazon staff may listen in "for training".
How eager we are to hand over our privacy for the commercial gain of others.

And in my humble opinion, 'which' is the proper pronoun for non-humans, i.e. animals and all other species. To hear or read, "The dog who..." or "the cows who graze contentedly" grates on my ears.

PS: I had my cataracts done last year and like you, I was pretty worried. But there's this wonderful drug called Midazolam, you see, which takes all the worry away. Don't worry, be fascinated by the process.

I don't wear tin-foil hats or go to conspiracy group conventions, but there's NO way I'd ever have something in my home where I can't be 100% sure it's not listening when I'm not using it. No smart TV or webcams either. I'm a Neanderthal, but at least a private one.

Maybe Alexa could moderate the comments during your convalescence?

Mike, since you have raised the question of grammar (and I usually agree with you), I’d be interested in your opinion on two points. Today I was told that my use of the present tense referring a just-deceased relative was ungrammatical. It wasn’t a complaint just a statement of “fact” but it seems to me this is nothing to do with grammar.
Now in a comment at 11:43 Peter Croft complains about the use of proper pronouns for humans/animals/species. Now I don’t have a problem if he wishes to refer to “dogs which” and so on but again his rules seem to be nothing to do with grammar but more to do with not understanding (or not agreeing) that all humans are animals and all animals are species (though “species are arbitrarily defined). Also my dog is definitely a “who” and also a “she” though dogs in general may be a “which” to me.
My terrier, who is sitting beside me has asked to put this straight — I am Archie to her Mehitabel (should be lowercase but that would be ungrammatical ;-) ).
Strictly speaking all grammatical rules are nonsense because they are just a way that people have tried to codify our “natural” languages — very similar to the way “species” are an attempt to codify the natural world.
Thinking of you while you are away.

Unplug for privacy.

That was a real long walk to a short drop...
You are indeed a compulsive writer, might as well surrender to it. Logorrhea is so messy,but we'll cope. [I love that spell check suggested "Gonorrheal"]

My thanks to Randall Teasley for the link. I understood the data hoovering capabilities, but hadn’t considered the data sharing that goes on at the back-end. I wonder at what point the business of data becomes more profitable than the business of money.
I steer clear of smart / connected household devices simply because it’s still the Wild West in terms on consumer protections.
Some of the most concerning are smart toys for children. Heaven help them have any sense of digital privacy if we let those things in the house.
Rant off ;~).

Geez mike you don't submit it to a publisher you submit it to an agent.

And not that publisher anyway.

I'd read that book

The quadrilogy sounds interesting, I am an old SciFi fan and have read several short stories dealing with a future ruined world. I would encourage you to pursue it. If s publisher didn't accept it, put it out on Kindle.

Your conbox sounds like the house in "There will come soft rains"

My story involved an airliner that gets transported to our world but no sign of any civilization, they manage to get to the Pacific Northwest because of the known abundance of food and start a new life. The conceit is that we see the story through a series of reports written by schoolkids several hundred years after the incident. (I figured it was a good way to hide my poor writing!)

So far I have been able to resist having the wiretap...

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