Monthly Archives: August 2011

Amazon Releases Online Web Store for iPad

So Apple decrees that if you’re going to sell a book via the iPad (or any other iOS device), they get a cut.

That’s like Microsoft saying, “Oh, from now on, anything you sell via Windows 7, we get a piece of it.” Seriously, who would stand for that? People would be up in arms. But Apple does it, and there’s a little grumbling, but they get away with it.

That’s why I’m so happy to see Amazon has stuck it to the man by going around Apple’s app store system and created a web-based app that allows you to read AND SHOP via the browser. It works offline as well.

And yes, in this case, Apple has become The Man.

Apple Sued for Collusion in eBook Price Fixing

“$9.99: The common going price for e-books before Apple and publishers colluded to drive them higher, according to a lawsuit. The class-action suit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, accuses Apple and five book publishers of fixing the prices of e-books, driving up their prices. Amazon, the humongous online retailer that had regularly sold $9.99 e-books, was then forced to raise its prices, according to the suit brought by a Seattle law firm on behalf of consumers.”

– from Good Morning Silicon Valley

Checking On Culture by Lee Killough

Culture_smallIf you write any kind of fiction at all which deals with world building (creating a world, environment, culture, population – human or otherwise) then to you I highly recommend this little book. I picked my copy up at a science fiction convention directly from the author’s table several years ago and I have never regretted it.

Actually, I’ve thanked myself for it, numerous times, and would also like to publically thank Lee Killough for writing it.

It doesn’t mince words. It gets right to the point. It’s a tool to help you develop, in your mind and on the page, the most complete and realistic society and environment for your otherworldly stories.

From the publisher, Yard Dog Press: “This wonderful non-fiction reference is a “must-have” for every writer, whether a long-time pro or an up-and-comer. Killough answers all your questions about how to develop cultures.”

At the moment it’s only available as a dead-tree book, but I have heard rumors that Yard Dog is soon making the leap into ebook publishing. When that happens I’m going to buy the book AGAIN.

Link: Checking on Culture by Lee Killough, Yard Dog Press

A Miracle in Every Seed

For anyone who wants to see a genuine miracle, pop open a plant seed.

The amazing thing about life is that it’s a form of matter that replicates itself. Each seed contains all the information and mechanics it needs to accomplish this.

And you can hold it in your hand. It’s a portable miracle. You can even eat them.

Seeds have always fascinated me, and they’re now serving as the basis of a novel manuscript I’m writing.  One of the most important endeavors humanity must work on is to develop the technology to replicate a seed, and encode everything needed to grow a whole world inside it.

It is possible. It can be done. And it’s far more feasible than trying to send a starship full of living people (frozen or otherwise) on a journey lasting thousands of years.

Just send a seed. Send a lot of them – small, compact, self-controlled, self-replicating, self-healing, and able to last for millions of years. Scatter them across the galaxy. If any of them succeed, they will send more, and each one will build a whole world full of Earth life. They would be, literally, Earth’s own seeds.

I truly believe this is the only way Humanity is going to spread to the stars.

Here’s the very premature teaser that popped into my head for this current manuscript:

A million years in the future.

Ten different worlds.

Ten different people.

The same DNA.