Cheeseburger Gothic

Sliveen Scout in Dragonscale Armour by Robert Henry

Posted June 9 into The Dave by John Birmingham

The reverse jointed legs are grotesquely perfect.

7 Responses to ‘Sliveen Scout in Dragonscale Armour by Robert Henry’

insomniac reckons...

Posted June 9
I concur

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Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted June 9
LIKE

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ShaneAlpha mumbles...

Posted June 9
I can't remember their scaling, taller than human or same size?

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she_jedi reckons...

Posted June 9
That is absolutely magnificent. I pictured them as a darker green in colour, but he's totally nailed the overall figure, amazing work.

jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 9
Concur.

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Rob would have you know...

Posted June 13
I put the others up on my blog. http://silentrob668.blogspot.com.au/

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The Chronicles of Dave Vol 1

Posted May 31 into The Dave by John Birmingham

The emails for Protocol and Soul have started to go out and will continue through the week. I'm staggering them to give Amazon's algorithm a longer feed. One thing I won't be feeding the Beast is a copy of the collected ebooks. I wanted to offer this as an option for the budget conscious reader.

It's called The Chronicles of Dave and it collects both A Protocol for Monsters and A Soul Full of Guns in one volume, with a shiny dollar cut off the sale price. Because The Dave, he does love him a bargain.

I could do it wth Amazon, but they don't make it easy. It would involve cover redesigns and added expense. So I've gone with iBooks only. I expect a thank you call from Tim Cook, or at least Eddie Cue any minute now.

If you, like Dave, love a bargain and the blessed fruit company, you can get it here.

13 Responses to ‘The Chronicles of Dave Vol 1’

Dick is gonna tell you...

Posted May 31
Don't have Apple, so I couldn't get the bargain, but I did get your email. I bought Protocol and Soul, and while I was there, Here Be Monsters, as I didn't have it yet. Looking forward to having the time to read them.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted May 31
Dick! If you got the email you should totally have Here Be Monsters. I am distressed that you had to buy it.

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Dick puts forth...

Posted May 31
Not a problem. $0.98. Send me a cheque, or a voucher for a ride on the hovercraft.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted May 31
I shall send one of the Bunnies to escort for a ride in the driving cabin!

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Jeats would have you know...

Posted May 31
Having an epub non-Apple option would be awesome, even if it just was a paypal option on this website.

Just saying, but I know it is most likely more effort than what it would be worth in sales.

B

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted May 31
I'll have a look at it for future titles. I'm still shaking all this stuff out.

Jeats reckons...

Posted June 1
Sweet - glad to hear that.

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Cintamani puts forth...

Posted June 2
yeah, i def pay via paypal here - at least i know you'll get ALL of the $$$ (yes??)

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted June 2
I haven't thought of that, but I guess I could sell direct.

Dirk puts forth...

Posted June 2
Hmm you could use something like this perhaps:
https://easydigitaldownloads.com/?utm_source=home&utm_medium=description_tab&utm_content=home&utm_campaign=readme

Though it runs on a wordpress platform, it should fit your needs. NB: take a look though on the payment options, with https://www.mollie.com/en/ you would corner the euro market, but check if you can run it as an Aussie citizen.

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Rob puts forth...

Posted June 3
Bought them last night via kindle. Though I think it was the USA dollar price. Oh well good value either way.

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Surtac reckons...

Posted June 5
I think the cunning plan is working.

I got a targeted email from the Bezos empire offering me 'Protocol' at the top of a bunch of suggested titles.

So keep tweaking (or is it twerking?) those algorithm bots.

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GhostSwirv ducks in to say...

Posted June 5
Sadyl JB, iTunes is experiencing some technical difficulty preventing me from lobbing a few sheckels in your direction.


This did however give me time to peruse the Information Details:


Genre - Epic


Publisher - Gigantic Weapons Corporation


Seller - Awesome John Birmingham


At the earliest opportunity I will be dispatching cash in your general direction.

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Gah! Another reason to hate the GST

Posted May 30 into The Dave by John Birmingham

I uploaded the Hooper ebooks to Apple on Saturday, including an iTunes-exclusive combined edition, which will be a bit cheaper. (It's not an option available, or easily avialble on Kindle, which would require me to redesign the covers and rename the volume).

I've been waiting for the books to go live. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

Gave up waiting and dived deep into iTunes Connect, looking for any problem. Found it under 'Tax'. Although I'd filled out my US tax forms I also needed to lodge local tax forms, including some GST registration documents I'd neved heard of.

This occassioned a delay. And some swearing.

I think I've dealt with it now, but I guess we'll see.

You live and learn.

7 Responses to ‘Gah! Another reason to hate the GST’

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 30
Does anyone even use Itunes for books?

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted May 30
Fifty-six percent of my subscription list, apparently.

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted May 31
WOW, did not expect that.

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she_jedi reckons...

Posted May 30
*Shamefully raises hand*

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted May 30
Raise that pretty hand proudly!

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 30
It's up on iBooks. So I'll start the pimping tomorrow.

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Bondiboy66 has opinions thus...

Posted May 31
I shall fire up the fruit machine* forthwith!


*Well....the Bill Gates machine that allows access to the Shrine of Fruit....or maybe the tablet fruit machine. Decisions etc...

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The Dave returns. Sort of

Posted May 27 into The Dave by John Birmingham

Both of the Hooper ebooks have gone live at Amazon. They should drop on iBooks, Kobo and the other stores within 24 hours, but most of the action will be with the Beast of Bezos.

Some folks will heave early copies. Beta readers, as a thank you. Anyone who left a review of Cairo and a name I could track down, also in thanks. (If you did leave a review but didn't hear from me with a thankyou link to free Dave, let me know and I'll sort you out).

For everyone else, the first links are here:

A Protocol for Monsters, and

Soul Full of Guns.

I'll drop other links in my own bookshoppe as they go live. Most of you will also be getting an email about the release in the next day or so.

For now, what would really help are early reviews on both titles. They don't need hundreds. (The magic number is apparently eleven). If you're inclined to help out, you will find I can be a very generous master indeed.

Or, you know, you could just buy the fucking things.

45 Responses to ‘The Dave returns. Sort of’

Therbs asserts...

Posted May 27
That looks like reasonable pricing for these e-books. Volume I guess is the aim hence positioning these beauties in the top seller lists via the agency of reviews. I can see the value in dishing out a couple of freebies but sooner or later that'd have to be scaled back. Those bunnies in the hovercraft need grapes to peel and grapes cost money.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted May 27
They do, but I'm willing to give away a small percentage of the total sales to get those reviews up. I'm so committed to it I'm thinking of setting up a new mailing list, ruthlessly policed, for people who simply want the books early in exchange for a review.

Turlogh Dubh O'Brien puts forth...

Posted May 28
Supposedly that strategy works rather well, from what I've read about e-publishing these days.

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WarDog mumbles...

Posted May 27
John thanks, I **really** enjoyed Protocol.

Just a heads up for anyone else leaving reviews on Amazon. Apparently they are very picky about what words are allowable in a review. I had to submit several times before I squeezed past their censor goons.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 27
Yeah, Facebook just told me I can't use the word 'cockpunch' in an ad.

GhostSwirv asserts...

Posted May 28
Hey Zuckerberg!


What about 'roostersmash'?

Rob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 29
Rooster baffling perhaps?

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted May 27
I can see that. I was kinda thinking this early stage of self publishing for you is like someone opening a new bar/bistro.Comp some early punters, get them spreading the word about a new venue. Have the occasional happy hour with free bar snacks. But not so many as makes them too well fed for a proper meal.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 27
Zactly.

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Mike asserts...

Posted May 27
Reading em both now and I must say im quite happy with these micro releases. They help build the Dave universe, the backstory of the supporting actors and create immersion. Do I i yearn for the main course, the next Dave book? Yes, of course, but these novellas remind me of the 1632-verse setup and how all the companion books and novels help create a rich, immersive universe. Reviews coming soon!

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 27
Next Dave, full length, should be out in October. But I too enjoy these shorter adventures. Especially seeing him through other character's eyes.

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pedrogb ducks in to say...

Posted May 27
Hi JB
You gave me the books.
I downloaded them to my kindle via bookfunnel
I read them both.
I loved them both.
However, it appears I can review on my kindle using the "5 star" system, but nothing else.
My account is with amazon oz, I don't seem to be able to provide a written review, they aren't for sale on there, therefore can't buy or review?
Please help me help you....
Pedro

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted May 27
That's very odd, Pedro. I'll suss it out. It's not the first time I've seen issues like this. The opening of the Australian store buggered up a lot of things.

pedrogb mumbles...

Posted May 30
They are on there now. And reviewable. And reviewed.

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Joe is gonna tell you...

Posted May 27
Ahhhhh forgot to review Cario (which was great btw). I'll lash out and get both Dave-verse titles and review them instead......

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted May 27
You 'New Favourite' status awaits you.

Marccarno puts forth...

Posted May 31
While not trying to appear as a snivelling beggar - you can find my review of Cairo on Amazon.co.uk (right at the top! As it's been for weeks!). So can I have my link now? Please? Go on dammit!!!!

Link or no link I am still buying these, as per Cairo :-)

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted May 31
Just emailed you. I'll send that link in the morning. Bedtime here.

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jl reckons...

Posted May 27
Lemme bust out my morning coffee and I will fulfill my duties re: Protocol. Been on a serious Dave binge as of late, Protocol is the last one in line.

jl asserts...

Posted May 28
Duty fulfilled, Protocol was awesome- probably the best insight was looking into the mind of Compton, although it was interesting to see Emma gauging her lust as if it were a lab titration. I'm still pissed that I only started reading this series a week ago, I missed out big time. Now I find myself waiting for the next book like a junkie wants the needle. Powerful stuff.

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KreepyKrawly would have you know...

Posted May 28
Great, I'm gunna get them from Kobo. No point feeding the beast when It's not necessary. (even when I left a glowing review there for Cairo...) The master needs more grapes. ß-Þ

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted May 28
Let me known when it's up there. I'm waiting waiting waiting for Smashwords to distribute the files.

KreepyKrawly swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 28
Just checked, they're up on Kobo. ß-D

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she_jedi mumbles...

Posted May 28
Dear Master, I have written rave reviews of Protocol, Soul, and Cairo, as requested. You have no new books left for me to gush over. Please write more. Sincerely, the Jedi.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted May 28
You have done well, Jedi of She.

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Jevon Kasitch ducks in to say...

Posted May 29
Popped in reviews for both books, very enjoyable and they arrived on a day when I very much needed some escape and distraction. Thank you for them.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted May 29
Thanks JK. You have been added to my special list.

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Helical asserts...

Posted May 29
I reviewed Cairo, but missed special status, which doesn't worry me as I feel you have earnt some of my money.
I am begrudgingly converting to this ebook thing.
So I bought Protocol from Amazon, now apparently I have to use their reader!? I'm sick of having fifty apps on my devices that do the same thing just because someone wants to lock you into their 'world'. The DRM wma file thingey worked really well to stop pirates of music didn't it...
Currently searching how to download kindle books and remove DRM but even that requires I install Kindle desktop app.

Just wanted to read the book.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted May 30
Now I feel like you've really earned your treat. Email me on jb AT jbismymasternow Dot Com.

Helical has opinions thus...

Posted May 30
Wilco

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jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 30
I understand this may be a rude question (akin to asking how much someone earns) but ...

Of all the available purchasing methods, which one actually provides the best return to you? Or put more directly, I know you want me to buy the book and I would like to buy it in a way that helps JB the most rather than lining the pockets of some Scrooge McDuck style publishing tycoon.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted May 30
Just hitting up the link abut will do it.

jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 1
Books bought (after some issues which demonstrate my inability to use technology) and first review up.

Who would have ever thought my opinion would matter to people.

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Crocko puts forth...

Posted May 30
I got a copy of Cairo for free from your list, and really enjoyed it, so I went on Amazon afterwards and bought it for the princely sum of $3.99.

Just wanted to let you know your self publishing ideas has legs, I will be happy just to pay per book from now on as long as the quality stays as strong! Good stuff.

But I didn't review it cos, you know, I'm too busy to write two sentences...

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 30
Crocko, they also serve who stay at home and buy stuff.

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JG swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 30
Posted my reviews for A Protocol for Monsters and A Soul Full of Guns on Amazon. Look forward to your book launch of How To Be A Writer at Avid Reader on Wednesday.

Cheers,

Joanna

JG mumbles...

Posted May 30
P.S. Noticed that the cover of Guns is 'A Soul Full of Guns', whereas you've named it inside, and refer to it as, 'Soul Full of Guns'. Loved both ebooks, even if I can't get my Kindle to sync.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 30
Hmm. I didn't even notice that.

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Brother PorkChop mutters...

Posted May 30
Done Master. I am kind of glad I am up to date given the workload at present so I will clear this and be ready for whatever comes next.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted May 30
Steeples fingers. Excellent. Step away from the trap door.

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insomniac puts forth...

Posted May 30
I've done half my job. It was a pleasure to read Protocol after sufficient time has elapsed since the Beta read. Not so close to the action. I was also prepared to leave a review of How to be a Writer but can't yet. I guess one of the main take outs for me was to stop waiting for inspiration. Now I just need to defeat procrastination and lack of motivation.

JG is gonna tell you...

Posted June 1
Ditto re HTBAW, insomniac. Read and review done, but too early to post up, ain't it, guv'nor?

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted May 30
Protocol bought, read and review posted. Moving on to Soul.

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balri asserts...

Posted May 31
I'm about halfway through Protocol. Loving it so far. Will drop a couples of reviews when I'm done

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John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted June 1
You are all my new favourites.

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Respond to 'The Dave returns. Sort of'

Superiorae Pr'chutt un Threshrendum un Qwm

Posted March 21, 2016 into The Dave by John Birmingham

I'm getting artwork done for the covers of the Hooper ebooks. One of things I enjoy about this process is the back and forth with the artist, William Heavey. This was his first concept piece for the gnarly old Thresher that Karin takes down.

13 Responses to ‘Superiorae Pr'chutt un Threshrendum un Qwm’

insomniac would have you know...

Posted March 21, 2016
That does look a lot closer to what I imagined. I still think it should be fatter. It also highlights a vulnerability in the head department with all those delicate eyestalks waving about.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted March 21, 2016
Ha. My first instructions to Will, were to make that gut bigger.

GhostSwirv asserts...

Posted March 21, 2016
"Make that gut bigger"

I am so blaming you JB for when my wife complains.

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Peter in the bleachers puts forth...

Posted March 21, 2016
I always imagined it shorter, fatter with more teeth and eye stalks.

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted March 21, 2016
Whales, seals and primates have five digits per extremity. Monsters don't, or at least if they do one is a retracting heel-spur. Prof Boylan told me about relative benefits of odd / even toed ungulates.
If one has licence to create a bestiary research could, should go past a Polaroid of GreyBeard's college Union days.

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jason puts forth...

Posted March 23, 2016
Oh my God is that a pedant...

This looks a lot like what I imagined but in my imagination they were still able to fit through human doors otherwise storming a building or sneaking in to one could be problematic. So are we saying this thing is a lazy seven footer with an enormous skill in turning sideways?

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Rob reckons...

Posted March 23, 2016

Action figures. We need action figures and a Dave Hooper Hookers and Blow playset.

NBlob reckons...

Posted March 23, 2016
Yes. Yes we do.

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JG mumbles...

Posted March 23, 2016
Good idea, Rob. We need action figures... and, and movies, and the works.
This is a brilliant piece of artwork by the way. Well done, William. I imagined Threshrend as skinnier and spindlier, and green for some reason, but I love this characterisation.
I hope your ebook Protocol for Monsters includes an anthology of the various names for monsters and the whole Dave universe as I sometimes forget the terms - eg Thresh, Threshrend, Thresher. It's like learning Latin.
Anyway, looks like I'll have to get used to ebooks, as I can't very well abandon my favourite author because he's gone all digital (although I know you've had ebooks for ages, JB). Can't wait for the latest Dave books, even if they're ebooks. Hope print on demand is an option, but if not, I'll adapt. [Bangs head] Do people read ebooks on phones? I have a tiny iPhone5. I also have an MacAir Book but that's too bulky. Guess I might have to get an e-reader. Oh John, you've forced me to ebooks. Can't stop change. So long as I can read your stuff.Joanna

Rob mumbles...

Posted March 23, 2016

I bought a small Kindle and it works really well, especially for buying cheap books and have them delivered via wifi. My kobo turned into a brick don't buy one of those. I only bought a kindle to read JB's eBooks and I'm sold on it now.

Dave W puts forth...

Posted March 23, 2016
I was worried about the immersion factor with e-readers. Would I get as 'into' a book when it's just font on a screen. Turns out to be not a problem at all for me. I can switch between a regular kindle, paperwhite kindle, my phone and a dead-tree book and it's all good.
I guess what matters regarding immersing oneself into a book is just the quality of the writing.
My action figure request: the Dave splitting a baddie down the middle. Splattered gore also required.

JG swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23, 2016
Ta for that, Rob and Dave. A Kindle sounds good.

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Abe Frellman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 25, 2016
Those delicate eye stalks make me think that if you sell the game rights to Bethesda, Stihl GmbH is going to be a screaming buy.

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Respond to 'Superiorae Pr'chutt un Threshrendum un Qwm'

Some thoughts on character development

Posted October 20, 2015 into The Dave by John Birmingham

I had an interesting exchange on the Twitterz over the weekend with a reader who really really liked the first two Hooper books, and really really hated the last one. "It was shit," he wrote. I was curious to know why. I thought those books got better with each title as we came to know the characters and they came to know themselves. Especially Dave and Threshy.

But no, this guy loved early, unreconstructed Dave. He thought Ascendance was all Karin Vs The Monsters with Dave along as a whiny sidekick. I don't agree, but I totally got where that was coming from. Both Karen and Dave are very strong characters and both suffer from the Al Swearingen Problem in the TV series Deadwood. They're so big they fill up the screen and push everyone off to the side. It ensures a real struggle for dominance when they are together, a struggle Karen often wins.

There's more than one reason for this. Dave's powers and personality are so outsized that he needs some constraint on him, and not just the Threshrendum ability to mess with his head. He needed another character who could constrain him, and in this series only Karen/Karin truly has that ability. Those of you who've read the draft of Soul Full of Guns will also know there is another reason for giving her enough chops to cut him down if needs be. She has her own agenda. But to go into that would reveal significant spoilers.

The alternate view of Dave and Karen's relationship, and the emotionally unsettling effect it eventually has on him, was summarised pretty well by the One Book Two grrrls who were looking for both an explanation of his unpleasant personality, and some path to growth away from its worst aspects. As Nell put it: "The reveal was so totally on the money. The explanation rang true and with Dave’s background, southern upraising, father that was disrespectful to his wife and sons as well as abusive. Dave is not only fighting himself with how he feels in his heart, he’s fighting what he was taught by his no good, rotten excuse for a man that is supposed to be a moral compass"

For all that I am happier with this interpetation of Ascendance, I am going to have a think about how you get somebody like Dave to grow, without having them turn into a vanilla flavoured conventional hero.

52 Responses to ‘Some thoughts on character development’

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted October 20, 2015
I think the critic you describe has his head up this ass (not that there is anything wrong with that; many fine people spend years, if not their entire lives, with their heads up their ass(es).

Despite Professor Boylan's absence from Ascendance, I enjoyed Ascendance best out of the three. When you look past the charming and entertaining faffing, it becomes very apparent that Ascendance is the continued, developing story centered on two characters: Dave and Threshy - both changing over time. Both are riding the whipsaw of fortune and it isn't over yet - and knowing it isn't over is the reason we will buy the next installments and binge read them. We want to find out what happens. Oh, sure, we would love to reading more about other characters, such as X and Jellybean, for example, but Dave and Threshy and their different but intertwined transformation were at the heart of the first three books.

Because Ascendance revealed the greatest character changes and the most growth (I mean, Threshy is getting caught in an apparently doomed romantic relationship that involves love that cannot be returned) it was therefore the best of the three.

Period.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted October 21, 2015
Yeah, it was only as I got into Ascendance that I realised he closely Dave and Threshy's character arcs matched each other. I really like it as a piece of narrative architecture and plan to do more with it.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted October 21, 2015
I've heard that before. I don't believe you. Perhaps you didn't realize that bit of narrative architecture on a conscious level. But it was there from the beginning.

Buboe mutters...

Posted October 21, 2015

I have to say I enjoyed the third book much less than the other two.

The way that Karin could just assert her authority on Dave, seemingly with impunity and without repercussions,just worked against my picture of the guy. Dave didn't even seem too upset when he was continually mind-raped by Karin.

It ended up feeling as though Dave was a baby being told how to behave by grownups - he came across as an indulged child, IMO.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted October 21, 2015
Hmm. There's the scene in the foyer where he finally confronts her about that. I probably should have had them punch it out.

Buboe has opinions thus...

Posted October 21, 2015

where he saved the kid from falling rubble?

But she did it again after that. And after the ass kicking Karin gave him in the embassy, a punchup doesn't seem like a good option for Dave. I was expecting him to assert his "no mind control" position a bit more forcefully. It felt more passive than I'd expected. Not that he'd necessarily be successful, but Dave has thrown fits about smaller things before.

I'm not complaining about the book- it was still a great read, but Dave felt like a passenger on someone else's agenda. If it's going somewhere, I'm happy to go along for the ride.

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Surtac ducks in to say...

Posted October 20, 2015

Thanks, PNB. You've just earwormed me with Rickie Lee Jones.

"Threshy's in love".

Seriously though, I have a little bit of sympathy for the aforementioned critic because I felt a little the same when reading Ascendance. Poor old Dave (as I'm sure he saw himself early in the book) just wasn't getting any respect and was being bounced and rebounded from one shock to the next, while getting the more than occasional mental smack upside the face from Karin. Talk about emasculating, but I think it was a smackdown he needed to have, to be able to get to that mental place he seemed to me to have arrived at just before the end of the book, before the other 'enhanced' individuals arrived to help rout the enveloping Horde forces.

Anyway, we each approach a book or tale from our own perspective in the end and suspend our disbelief as we need to to be able that tale.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Dave over all three books.

And I want more. Now.


John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted October 21, 2015
In the earlier drafts he really got his arse handed to him by Karin. Quite a bit of the first redraft was devoted to giving him back some agency. But you're right, he needed that ass whoopin'.

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Surtac reckons...

Posted October 20, 2015

Arrrgh.

To be able to appreciate that tale' is what I was trying to say.


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Aaron swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 20, 2015
I enjoyed them but still like AOT stuff the best. The hooper stuff and jb's novels is like following pink Floyd (would felafel be the syd Barrett years?) some stuff you will like more than others but you still like seeing what comes out next. In short to each their own.
Ps Go threashy! Who says monster human love can't happen

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted October 21, 2015
No one is hoping more than I do that Thresh can make it work. But, although that kind of hookup would definitely happen in a comic book, or perhaps some off-beat porn, these are essentially serious novels by a serious author that is trying to do more than write a comic book (sorry, John, but that sort of sums you up, mate). Much of what is wonderful, and awful, about these three books is that they are infected by a realism, and realistically speaking, Thresh and the news babe have very little chance of making it work.

I love Dave, but I don't identify with Dave. Dave is the popular asshole quarterback that got the girls in high school and picked on guys like me. I am, of course, delighted to see the human zero he blossomed into.
And, although I am enjoying witnessing his personal growth, I don't identify with his struggle to finally become a man.

I identify with the Thresh - the little guy who got lucky and is using his smarts to move up. The Thresh is Steve Rogers. I want him to get the girl but I sense a tragedy in the making. I am hoping John can find another way.

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Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted October 20, 2015
It'd get pretty boring after awhile if all Dave did was screw one otherwise inaccessible woman after another in between lopsided battles against the Big Enemy of the Day. Karin is a good check against this tendency for him to get too big for his britches.

HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted October 21, 2015
Maybe there is an off shoot book possibility here Murph. Fifty Shades of Dave

insomniac would have you know...

Posted October 21, 2015
I think Murph's trying to say it would be called "One Shade of Dave"

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted October 21, 2015
Ha, there was a note in the draft for Resistance where the editor begged me not to let Dave screw the hostess on the private jet to New York. It was all getting too much. I suspect my disgruntled reader would have disagreed with that.

Murphy_of_Missouri is gonna tell you...

Posted October 21, 2015
So much left on the cutting room floor.
So much . . .

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Sparty has opinions thus...

Posted October 20, 2015
I still think splitting his big character reveal to the third book might have lost some readers. (ok it worked for Starwars). Plays better as third act of a single volume rather than third volume of a series but i guess that's with growth now and truly started although might be a case of "boy finds character, boy loses character, boy gets character back..."
Personally I'm actually liking Compton a little more now!

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted October 21, 2015
Yeah, it's interesting innit, when you get to see inside Compton's head. Not what's left of his head after Threshy ate it.
As for the late reveal, if this was a movie, yeah, you'd have to do that in the last reel. But across three books it is a long wait.

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Sparty mumbles...

Posted October 20, 2015
talking of Starwars -trailer awesome - made me think a little of a movie version of AoT. Wonder if we'll find out Wedge Antilles was killed in some damn T16 training accident between trilogies (yes it still hurts and is still an issue).

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she_jedi would have you know...

Posted October 21, 2015
That criticism is interesting, because I found Ascendance to be the best book, only because Dave finally pulled his head out of arse and I stopped wanting to smack him upside the head. There was a great quote from you floating around, about your putting the worst aspects of yourself on the page and then popping them like zits (or some such), and that was clear in Dave's character. And this could be that I'm a woman, and I've had my fair share of men in my life who exhibited less cartoonish versions of the worst of Dave's traits, so maybe my tolerance for his bullshit is low (ok non-existent), and I was never going to be a fan of unreconstructed Dave if he didn't evolve as a person.

Dave's development as a character for me was critical in keeping me committed to cheering for him. I think the turning point was actually the second book, when Emma sits him down and has that totes awkward and very public discussion about his pheromones. That he was self centred enough to use his Austin Powers mojo on supposedly willing partners without thinking too much about it says a lot about him as a character; that he was appalled by Emma's truth bomb, and then guilt stricken enough to try to avoid zapping the unwittingly women around him told me he had sufficient self awareness to grow as a person. And since it's clear that Emma's slated to be his love interest, he HAS to change in order to be worthy of her, although not in the knight in shining armour sense. Emma's not the sort to waste her time on a shambling knuckle dragging train wreck like Dave is when we first meet him; she's got alien autopsies to perform and research to do. The onus is on Dave to become sufficiently well rounded and interesting to hold and keep her attention; turning into Captain America and gaining a supercock isn't going to cut it.

What I also found interesting is that Threshy's development is almost the flip side of Dave's. Threshy began as an innocent, and as he evolved into Compton 'r' Threshrend I've found myself grieving for the little thresh that's still trapped inside his head under all the more dominant personalities. However this doesn't take away from how funny, awesome and entertaining he is, and what a fabulous character he's turning into. Threshy, Dave and Emma are the top triumvirate of favourites in my book, although that still doesn't get you off the hook for killing Zach you heartless monster :)

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted October 21, 2015
Threshy in the audiobook is just about perfect. The reader, Sean Mangan I think, caught his voice exactly as I imagined it.
And yes, the Em and Dave thing is fraught. I haven't thought through the Em/Dave/Karin triangle yet, but it's definitely an issue, just not in a conventional love triangle sense.
Also, now there's Annie to consider. No way would she be going back to that well, and if you recall she's impervious to his secret sauce. But stuck in Camden Harbor, he's now surrounded by strong females, and she is probably the strongest of them in personality.

she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted October 21, 2015
Annie going back to Dave, after what we saw of Dave in the first scene of the first book, simply wouldn't be feasible. And it's going to be fascinating to see the smackdown she could arrange for him, considering all that she knows of him, and that she's impervious to his "charms'. I suspect Karin would sell tickets and popcorn to that one.

Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted October 21, 2015
Why . . . I do. GRIN.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted October 21, 2015
Oh fuck. Boylan with a KC accent....

Okay. I see it. It could work.

Murphy_of_Missouri mutters...

Posted October 22, 2015
The meth for breakfast helps me get into the right accent.

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Frivolous is gonna tell you...

Posted October 21, 2015

One of the things that bothered me a lot about Emergence is how the various military men kept expecting things out of Dave without clearly setting terms and obligations between him and them.

Heath kept talking about Dave's 'moral obligations', but he also kept giving Dave orders. It bugged me, though part of that might be my sympathizing with the protagonist, even when it is not justified.

I think a lot of trouble would have been avoided if Heath and Compton had simply made some kind of deal with Dave to do certain tasks and jobs. After all, Dave did his safety manager job fairly well.

I also didn't like how everyone kept guilt-tripping Dave. I guess he's a natural target in that way, but they all seemed to have this idea that Dave was a soldier who had agreed at some point to follow orders. They were guilt-tripping that man, instead of the real Dave who was just there to have fun.


John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted October 21, 2015
You got this exactly right. Heath made a mistake that Trinder didn't. If you look at what happens between Trinder and Dave, it's a contract, negotiated indeed by Dave's lawyer. Heath just assumed Dave would do the right thing, because who wouldn't. Trinder made no such assumptions.

she_jedi ducks in to say...

Posted October 21, 2015
Yes! So agree, I found myself outraged on Dave's behalf, even when he was being a dickhead, because Heath was being unreasonable. Heath was judging Dave by his own moral compass, and not dealing with the reality in front of him. Although I felt Compton should have cottoned onto that, being a student of human behaviour. I get from a narrative perspective why he did, but it seems odd that none of them worked it out, when Trinder got it even before he met Dave.

Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted October 21, 2015
Heath may have made that mistake but it is worth pointing out that Zack and Igor had no such illusions about the man.

she_jedi has opinions thus...

Posted October 21, 2015
That's a really good point!

Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted October 22, 2015
The difference between officers and enlisted.

Officers uphold the ideals of service, in theory at least.

The enlisted give lip service while recognizing it for the manipulative tool that it is.

Frivolous asserts...

Posted October 22, 2015
You sound like an enlisted man, Murphy.



John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted October 22, 2015
Funny you should say that...

Murphy_of_Missouri is gonna tell you...

Posted October 25, 2015
A long time ago, in an Army far, far away . . .
The stories . . . they are true. All of them.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted October 21, 2015

I disagree with your twitter critic, Dave had to grow. He needed the Greek chorus aspects of the various support characters which now include Annie, the kids and her dad. The exposes of his past and present, the indications of how he might behave and drive his own plotlines are important to the reader, and this means the growth of his character, the development of his non arsehole aspects. His conscience sparking itself, almost releasing Annie from the strands of his own guilt web might stand as a supporting act in "The Dave's Tale".

Threshy juxtaposes Dave's man-child with the his own child-man. I still can't get King's Harold Lauder from The Stand out of my mind when Threshy is about. Where the developments of both characters converge should be fun. And 'splodey.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted October 21, 2015
If I recall the Kill Box by the bridge was a founding image. Orcs 'n shit vs Armour. It was a tad anticlimactic to have it done in one measly paragraph. More finer "unfolding petals of death" splosions! The most re-read passage in my copy of AOT was the midway fleet battle. Character development not so much.

Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted October 25, 2015
Having been to one of those parties back in 1991 I have to say that you aren't going to see much unless you are with the tanks and infantry. Especially given the nature of the terrain where the Battle of Omaha took place.

The other problem, which Birmo and I wrestled with, is the fact that most of the heavy units would be coming from Fort Riley, to the south of their position, and would end up in Lincoln, Nebraska. Omaha itself is lightly screened with what they could find. While there are ample assets in the region the problem is that they'd have to push through the snarl of refugee exodus in order to get to the west side of Omaha.

If the enemy had emerged at night and simply streamed toward the city, the situation would have been much different.

Anyway, you'd see a lot of airpower in action, some tracer fire, and see the tanks rolling forward but otherwise, not much. You'd hear more than you see.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted October 26, 2015
I often wonder, Murph, whether we obsess to much over getting those details right. Hollywood doesn't.

Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted October 26, 2015
I think that's some of the appeal of your books JB. War is sometimes mostly logistics, distance and time. The planning of doing anything is missed from most Hollywood films, even routine work is missing from Hollywood films. If your books are 21st century realism mixed with what ifs, then that serious undercurrent is what sets it apart from soft science fiction.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted October 26, 2015
What Rob said. The more verisimilitude that can attach to fantasy, the easier it is for the reader to suspend their disbelief and the more enjoyable the story becomes.

Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted October 26, 2015
John,
I advise, you craft. Somewhere between accuracy and the needs of the story is a happy medium.

That said, there are plenty who are happy that we go to the effort.

Besides, you aren't Hollywood. He took a header into the drink at the end of Top Gun, remember?

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Ceramic reckons...

Posted October 24, 2015
I agree with She_Jedi, in that Dave has to change to get Em.
I was thinking a while ago that maybe seeing him mucking around with his kids might get her to see him in a new light. Provided he is attentive and caring I mean. Keeping him would, I imagine, be an interesting journey. In this scenario does he change enough? Does he not change at all, and she has to deal with projecting a nice Dave vs who he really is? I imagine that she would find his lack of responsibility and rule breaking to be teeth grating. In keeping your realistic tone, he may take on these (or other 'positive') characteristics for a while, not get results he expects and throw a tantrum or get upset with what does and doesn't happen from his changes. Then comes the dismissal/ resignation/ cynicism phase of the characteristics he's tried out. How does he deal with that? Say 'f' it to trying to play by the rules? Take it as evidence for doing it his way? Take it as a life lesson? God I hope i'm making sense.
Regards Em, I would like to see something in there about a diagnosis or self diagnosis of being on the Autism Spectrum as an Adult. It is incredibly rare for girls to be diagnosed, many don't find out until they are adults. So some back story there would be nice, simply for affirmation. I read a news article the other month still quoting the 1 in 10 diagnosis's are female, and it simply is not true. We just present different charactoristics and symptoms. See All in the Mind article on ABC. I can send you more info if you like.
I would love to see Compt'n ur Thresh take over to win the ultimate battle, but god I love Threshy. He's one of my favourite charactors.

NBlob would have you know...

Posted October 24, 2015
Ceramic speaks much sooth. I did a double take when I read that Dr Em was on the Aspergis spectrum. I can remember thinking "JB set himself up for a fall here." In hindsight I felt you handled it well, But. People affected, or with kin & kin so afflicted can get very intense about these kind of diagnoses, some reject the Spectrum model, some reject the tag disability, some spontaneously combust at any Perceived flippancy or lack of respect.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 25, 2015
Those on the spectrum sometimes have problems with the fact that they are on the spectrum? Unfortunate in real life but all the better for purposes of interesting fictional characters. Em is one of the best characters in the book because she is on the spectrum. Remember that uncomfortably frank and blunt conversation in the first book on the rig where Em told Dave she wanted to fuck him but wasn't going to? That conversation was wonderful, but it would not have taken place in the absence of Asperger's.

Ceramic has opinions thus...

Posted October 25, 2015
Cheers Nblob :) Yep, maybe Em has something in there about preferring the term. It may also be ok that JB knows (if asked about it) that some people prefer different terms. Depending on the situation, and how i'm doing at the time, I oscillate between saying I've got Aspergers or Autism.
The term Autism Spectrum was only introduced to the DSM in 2013 to controversy (as new things can bring on) so different people use different words. For instance Aspie and AS. It can depend on who they've heard talk about it, and whether they've heard a term in a negative context for instance. The main place I learned us is from Tony Attwood, who fondly calls us Aspies and thinks we've got valuable skills. Paul, yep, I rage against it some days, and mostly every time I have a conversation. I know talking should be easier, and it shouldn't be twenty questions shot at others. I seem to only remember how to converse when I have a designated role at a function. ie: room manager, public speaker, runner ect. Just as long as JB doesn't enter the designer babies debate, it should be fine.Regarding *that* conversation during their walk, I've had it. In case any readers question why, I guessed that Em was just sick to death of being taken advantage of, and wanted a clear context for moving forward. For her sake as well as Dave's.

NBlob mumbles...

Posted October 25, 2015
@ PNB. Not so much as some react to the labelling. "I'm a delicate & unique yadeyah." Taxonomists tend to either be Clumpers or Splitters - Clumpers accept a high level of difference within a discrete population, Splitters have a low tolerance for such divergence. Schools of Neuropschology are similar. Some (typified by the Germans & Dutch) have much more inclusive approaches with fewer looser defined categories, whereas Anglophones tend to want to carve the DSM into a bazillion different conditions, each usually with 3 people who meet that exacting definition. I understand he Spectrum Model comes from the Germans.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted October 26, 2015
Perhaps the same cultural attributes (if one can identify such without risking stereotyping) that prompt such exact engineering also prompt bad theoretical behavioral psychology.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted October 26, 2015
Yeah, Ceramic makes all the points. I was very lucky in having someone on the spectrum to confer with while researched the character. I also sent her the drafts to review.

Ceramic ducks in to say...

Posted October 26, 2015
Thanks John. Yes, JB wrote her well :) I think you guys will be pleased with her POV in Protocol.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted October 26, 2015
en mensen vragen zich af waarom we niet graag Amerikanen

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Surtac would have you know...

Posted October 26, 2015

Interesting discussion re girls on the spectrum. As the father of two girls at the high-functioning end (both are Aspies, one is ADD and one is classic ADHD), I can only say that JBs depiction of Em rings very true to me and I had no doubts about her character being on the spectrum.

And thanks to Ceramic for the input to JB realising Em's character so well.

Btw, I went to a Tony Attwood seminar here in darkest Canberra some years ago, and found it absolutely enlightening in terms of being better able to understand and cope with my daughters behaviours as a result.

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