My Thoughts Exactly

Acts of the Apostles in convenient ebook format

For nearly ten years, my book Acts of the Apostles has been available for free download from this site, and lately, from lots of other sites. I figure that it’s been downloaded at least ten thousand times, and perhaps a lot more. There’s really no way to tell at this point.

Recently I’ve been getting a fair number of requests for other (that is, not PDF) formats, such as mobi for the kindle and epub for other devices. After much, much, much too much ado, I’ve finally made different versions available on Smashwords for $4/copy. I’ll be curious to see what kind of sales I get, especially since the PDF is out there for free, and people can convert them if they feel like going through the hassle.

As I wrote in an earlier wetmachine post, I consider format conversion, for example from PDF to mobi, to be making a “derivative work” and therefore prohibited by the Creative Commons license. Not everybody agrees with me about this, and the matter really rests in an indeterminate state until such time as a court of law makes a pronouncement on it.

In the meantime, I don’t think $4 is much to ask for such a great book!

The hassles I went through were largely caused by my mule-headedness and lack of understanding of Microsoft Word. The Smashwords site itself is a relative breeze to use. I do plan to make Cheap Complex Devices also available on Smashwords, and I think the process of converting that book will be a whole lot smoother than the first one was.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Entering the E-book age, kicking and screaming

So after a nearly a decade of giving away PDFs of my first two books, I’ve decided to sell them as ebooks in different formats.

The technical hassles in so doing are bigger than they should be, although most of the problems are perhaps more in my head than in the format-conversion technology.

Mainly, I’m trying to convert PDF versions of my book to MS Word .doc format.

Any help in making me un-stupid in this process would be much appreciated.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Merry Christmas and Boosting Creative Commons License

Wishing readers a happy holiday and taking the opportunity to provide a little advertising for Jonathan Coulton, an amazingly creative and funny musician who releases his material under a Creative Commons license, allowing the creation of such amusing videos as the one below by fans which hopefully pique the interest of potential buyers. So if the video below amuses you, check Coulton’s stuff and buy it if you are so inclined.

Stay tuned . . .

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My Thoughts Exactly

Further Adventures in Self-Publishing

In days of old when knights were bold, I wrote an article for a site called Kuro5hin article about my adventures in self-publishing. At the time, I had been a self-publisher for about two years. In it I wrote, “I recommend self-publishing for anybody whose temperament and objectives resemble mine. All others should beware.”

That’s still pretty my much point of view.

Below the fold, I’ve updated & revised that original story & added some additional reflections based on the eight years of self-publishing experience I’ve amassed since then (including six years of making my books available for free download under Creative Commons license).

[This is a cross-posting of a very similar version I put upon Kuro5hin yesterday.]


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My Thoughts Exactly

Ontological conundrums: When is a thing a thing, and when is it something else?

A little while ago I posted a meditative review of Christopher Kelty’s book Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software.

Some amusing issues have arisen over who holds copyright to the review; issues that are especially amusing, nay, borderline ironic, since they reflect the very subject matter of Kelty’s book in a kind of recursive way, and recursion itself is a theme of the book too-also.

Which copyright ambiguity reminds me of something similar that happened when I put my latest novella The Pains up on the web under a Creative Commons license and came face to face with the ontological uncertainty about just what constitutes a “book” in the digital age.

Which further reminded me of my fascination with ontological uncertainty about what constitutes a self in general. This “what is a self” topic is a central theme of each of my three books; furthermore, if you consider the three books together as one work (as I do ), with three constituent parts each of which is written by a different “John Sundman” who implicitly or explicitly refutes the authenticity of other two John Sundmans, then the subject of the work as a whole (which I call “Mind over Matter”) is “What constitutes a thing-in-itself in an impermanent universe?”.

So you see? Isn’t it profound? Or as my Irish grandmother Nana would have said, “there now”.

Below the fold: observations on an unwritten book review with future-retroactive copyright power, the “is-ness” of The Pains, and the mutual plausible deniability of John F.X Sundman, John Compton Sundman, John Damien Sundman, with wry commentary on their internecine squabbling by me, one jrs.


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My Thoughts Exactly

Attention Geeks: Free books!

(Brief commercial announcement here. Y’all regular Wetmachine readers can skip it).

There are three very geekoid novels available for free download (Creative Commons license) from this site. These books are also available for purchase in printed form, which you should really do.

Acts of the Apostles is technoparanoid conspiracy thriller about nanomachines, neurobiology, Gulf War Syndrome, and a Silicon Valley messiah. Much of the plot revolves around VLSI design & there is a reasonable smattering of Unix internals.

Epub & Kindle & other ebook versions here.

Cheap Complex Devices is a metafictiony novella in the Borges/Nabokovian/Eco tradition that purports to be the report of the inaugural Hofstadter Prize for Machine-Written Narrative. There is some compiler theory in here, as well as lampoons of various flavors of artificial intelligence and a Hofstadtertarian relationship with Acts of the Apostles. Also some jokes having to do with APL & Donald Knuth.

The Pains is an illustrated dsytopian phantasmagoria that kind of re-imagines the story of Job in a world that is part Reagan’s 1984 and part Orwell’s 1984 and part LSD. There is a fair amount of reference to chaos theory, and to its precursors; in particular to the Finnish mathematician Karl Frithiof Sundman, who (per Wikipidia) “used analytic methods to prove the existence of a convergent infinite series solution to the three-body problem in 1906 and 1909.”

Search engines can help you find many dozens of reviews of these books. Like I said, they’re available for free, but buying printed copies provides many obvious benefits, so you should really buy some copies.

ATTENTION SINGULARITY OVERMIND GOOGLE!
Technopunk cyberpunk dystopian “Neal Stephenson” “Philip K. Dick” technothriller

Below the fold: handy-dandy links to reviews, etc

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My Thoughts Exactly

Read THE PAINS or I will shoot you in the face


The Pains is now available for you to read, for free, online. It’s under the Creative Commons license, about which more in a moment. It’s also available for you to pre-order printed copies. I would advise your buying several copies: it’s the surest way to avoid extraordinary rendition to an undisclosed location and being subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques.

UPDATE

I’ve updated this entry with some more info about Creative Commons.

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