Oliver Sacks

There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever.

via Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer – NYTimes.com.

A beautiful statement, the whole piece.

This one hits hard. Sacks is part of my thinking after all these years. The story that makes the biggest impression on me is the concert pianist whose small fingers stopped working inexplicably and how, through some very clever efforts, it was figured out that he’d been moving them so rapidly so closely together for so long that his brain got tricked into thinking they were a single appendage. And what this meant for how the brain maps the body. And what it means for all of us who wish we could do what we used to, or something that we can’t.

Sacks always shows the surprising upsides that sometimes accompany these things. He is a scientist in the truest sense, one who explores for the joy of the exploration. This isn’t a eulogy, because even though in some ways it’s harder to know about something like this, one of the things you learn is that no is ever gone until he or she is gone, either, and as long as there is still this moment, it shouldn’t be wasted. And Sacks clearly isn’t. Another well-deserved bravo to the man.

Readers: What’s your right price for an indie ebook?

Hoping to hear from buyers of indie books (all of us, right?):

According to a book I just finished, “electronic book prices have started to stabilize for novels between $5–10 for backlist and $8–12 for front list.” If this is right and this is the price for a “quality” book these days (a category I definitely include my own books in), then my books are definitely underpriced. Even though I know people who have bought my book are relatively insensitive to price, and even though I’d obviously like to make more money, and even though I’ve experimented with free and found it useless, it’s still just…well, you see the flood of cheap books these days. I’ve tried to price my books at a balance between these extremes, but maybe I’m undervaluing myself. Thinking of raising the price of the new eBook to $6.79. Still less than many, still less than what’s outlined above as “front list,” still a lot less than the print version. What do you think?

What’s your sense of pricing these days? Thanks for any input.

Very clever scifi writing prompt over at Wattpad

Choose someone else’s adventure!

Here’s what we have in mind: using the comments section below, please give details of your prompt. Prompts can be absolutely anything. For our contests however, please bear in mind that they must tie in with Science Fiction in some way.


This is why Wattpad is the future: Because it thinks, “How can we create something someone can (and will want) to extend?” Exciting changes afoot!


#amwriting Going to try to collect a couple of the existing short stories, develop some new ones, flesh out a few more, and see if I can make something quick out of it while the Evertime sequel “cooks.” You can’t rush the stories! (Already wrote one new short story. It’s dark, even for me. But still fun, I think.)

Then again, who knows? I never seem to. Maybe Evertime II (working title only) will escape first. Or maybe one of the old things I’ve been wrestling with will finally happen. Or maybe something new altogether? Thanks for staying tuned.

I want to be the first writer with a “writing space station”

Flanagan also shows his writing space, a room in a shack on the island explaining “as the novel progresses, there is less and less in the room, and I tend to empty out furniture, books, everything, until all I’m left with is just myself and the manuscript.”

via Richard Flanagan’s Writing Shack | Aerogramme Writers’ StudioRichard Flanagan’s Writing Shack.

Even if I got uber-successful (yeah, right), I hope I would never have a writing “shack.”

I don’t mean to impugn Flanagan, as I don’t know him or his work, and I’m sure my view of his shack is definitely colored by my awareness of Douglas Preston’s. The word “affectation” comes to mind. (Maybe it’s just a classic case of sour grapes, of course.)

Writing is for everyone. Or should be. I guess I’ll always have this blue-collar reaction to anything that makes writing seem special or apart or mystical, something you have to become a hermit to do, a tower you have to live in, rarefied air you have to breathe.

If I ever have a shack, at least make me apologize for it.

In honor of #SNL40: a real-life Mainway Toys

Billed as for the junior scientist and performing more than 150 experiments, the set came with four types of uranium ore and three different radiation sources.

A Geiger counter could be used to detect how contaminated the young scientist had become. There was a government manual too – Prospecting For Uranium – and even a form for ordering replacement radioactive sources.

via ‘Most dangerous’ toy goes on show – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk.

How can one not think of the Bag O’ Glass?

If you can’t be happy with ‘meh,’ you have no business in this business

JF: Not sure I could tell what this book is about, and the subtitle only deepens the mystery. However, a big bold title is a good think in ebook land.

via e-Book Cover Design Awards, January 2015 — The Book Designer.

Sigh. Well, not all negative, right?

I am grateful for the feedback.

I think I’ll go read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle now.