Cheeseburger Gothic

Raw vegan dirt

Posted January 24 into Books by John Birmingham

From the Orbital Operations newsletter by Mr Warren Ellis: "I personally enjoy the 21st Century consumer affordance of carrying a small slate that contains a couple of hundred books and can quickly and wirelessly grab more. Slave of platform capitalism, yes yes, go and live on the fucking land and raise your memes on bespoke raw vegan dirt. Living in the future has had many disappointments, but my electric books are a personal positive."

I forget what Ellis was talking about, other than his unnatural physcial love for his Kindle, but I am down with him for this. I took my fancy Kindle on my recent travels; the funny shaped one with the removable battery case. You take that case/cover off and it's both incredibly light and pleasing to hold because of the odd, ergonomic design. I also took my iPad, loaded with Season 3 of Travelers, but I didn't fire up the Netflix app once while I was away. That's not a humblebrag. I just didnt find myself in the mood.

I did, however, finish reading Peter F. Hamilton's latest space opera, Salvation. I'll post a review separately, but long story short, it was enough to keep me entertained along with Steve Stirling's finale to the Change series, The Sky Blue Wolves.

I tended bed down with Salvation at the end of the day and read for half an hour or so. With Steve's book, in which I get a cameo, I chose to do most of my reading on my phone while we were out and about and I found myself with, say, five or six minutes to spare and no scenery or adventures to distract me.

Under those circumstances I'd normally fire up Twitter, or in really desperate straits Facebook, but I made a conscious decision to stay the fuck away from social media while we travelled.

It helped. There's an obsessive-compulsive neediness engineered into those networks that really gets the hooks in. It was the reason I deleted their apps from my phone a year or so back. But even the terrible web interfaces can be addictive. So instead, whenever I found myself at a loose end I'd open up the Kindle app and just read for a few pages.

I honestly think it improved my mood as much as being away for a few weeks. It's why I'm trying to blog more since I got back. Rather than wasting time in Twitter's burning cesspit, I'd prefer to waste it here.

And that's also three books I've read in the last month, (including Alicia WB's Blood of Heirs) a real turn around after a long fallow period. I'm finding it restful to read, in a way I dont find it relaxing at all to contemplate my nearly infinite unwatched stack o' streaming TV. Hence Tuesday's Blunty. One of the things I'd forgotten about books is the way you can pick them up and put them down after just a minute or two if you need to do something else. There's none of the same sense of frustration I feel when I have to stop and start video. Not sure why, but that difference is a real thing.

Next I'm going to move on to Dan Moren's The Bayern Agenda. (I have a sneaky pre-release copy)

And then, after that, I might even attempt a non genre title!

9 Responses to ‘Raw vegan dirt’

Rob puts forth...

Posted January 24
argh the Twitters. Where everyone's voice is as loud as everyone elses. Where that voice seems as important as the President of the United States. And where that voice is one of a 14 year old boy who listened to his first anarcho-punk record from the 80s , decides he doesn't need to learn anything because he knows it all and decides to shout what ever woke crap comes out of his head. Or its Karen.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted January 24
Ugh. Karen.

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Oldy is gonna tell you...

Posted January 24
Travelers Season 3 is pretty good, with some clever writing to tie up some of those things that I thought got a little out of control in Season 2.

And the finale was pretty darn neat. I'm hoping for Season 4, but if it doesn't happen, they didn't leave us hanging.

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 24
good to welcome you back to the league of readers. With a couple of hours a day on public transport I find plenty of opportunities to read, a task enhanced by you outstanding tips, eg Blood of Heirs so grateful if you can keep reading and maing recommendations.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 24
I have more.

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she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted January 24
iBooks now has a funky "want to read" bucket where you can either add titles you've already got in there, or add stuff that you will purchase and read later, and it's great but also turning into a long list of to-be-read-shame that I keep adding to. In addition to the to-be-read-pile-of-shame of analogue books on my bedside table, which thankfully hasn't grown since I added Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall to it so I looked intellectual to my real estate agent when she does my rent inspections.

I've remained committed to reading every night in bed before sleep, but the last couple of months I've found that I fall asleep before any real reading happens, and then I wake up in the middle of the night, turn my light off and go back to sleep. When once I was smashing through a couple of books a week, now I've been trying to finish Alice Isn't Dead for at least a month. Is this what middle age is? Does crossing the year 40 threshold eliminate your ability to consume fiction? Asking for me :(

The third season of Travellers was excellent, and the ending was both a WTAF moment and immensely satisfying. You should definitely get around to it JB :)

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted January 24
OMG. I have so many unread copies of Wolf Hall I could start one of those pop up Japanese bookstores that only stock one title. Plus the audiobook.

she_jedi puts forth...

Posted January 25
I remember your post on Wolf Hall and how Mantel’s incredible prose broke your brain and you couldn’t finish it, and I was reading Wolf Hall at the time and I had a moment going “OMG JB’s right,” and I persevered a bit longer and then I gave up on it too. And it sits reproachfully on my bedside table in the laughable illusion that I will go back to it one day and try to finish it...

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jason mutters...

Posted January 25
A writer who didn't read. I've been looking for a definition for irony and i think i found it.

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Tsundoko

Posted October 16 into Books by John Birmingham

Nice piece in the New York Times about my teetering stack o' shame, which the Japanese apparently call a tsundoku: a stack of books that you have purchased but not yet read.

The sight of a book you’ve read can remind you of the many things you’ve already learned. The sight of a book you haven’t read can remind you that there are many things you’ve yet to learn. And the sight of a partially read book can remind you that reading is an activity that you hope never to come to the end of.

3 Responses to ‘Tsundoko’

jl asserts...

Posted October 16
Yeah, the older I get the more I realize how little I know. It would take more than my span of years and mastery of a few more languages to get where I'd like to be.

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insomniac mutters...

Posted October 16
Is it better or worse if your tsundoko is hidden deep within a Kindle or other such device? It just looks like a pile of one, and is that really worthy of being called a pile?

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted October 16
I suspect the chances of your being guilt tripped into reading your Kindle tsundoko are much smaller. Can't say whether that's good or bad.

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Amazon sale: The Golden Minute

Posted October 1 into Books by John Birmingham

Amazon's sentient robotic core emailed me a while ago to ask if I would like to have THE GOLDEN MINUTE featured as a special deal this month.

I figured, why the hell not!

Also, I'm trying out a new affiliate link here, because reasons.

So if you haven't got a copy of Smith and Cady's latest yet, and you are a slave to the Beast of Bezos, follow this link and you can get all the tasty discount sauce you want.

2 Responses to ‘Amazon sale: The Golden Minute’

Barnesm reckons...

Posted October 1
Excellent bargin, low cost and over the top explody goodness, what more could I ask for?

Seriously, is this all I am asking for? I need to expand my horizons.

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allenwsnyder is gonna tell you...

Posted October 21
The Golden Minute is one of Amazon's Kindle Daily Deals today, for $1.99. I have to admit, the two-sentence description sounded totally stupid to me: Deputy US Marshal John Titanic Smith...really? Puritan Jihads..really again? But there were a lot of five-star reviews, which could mean nothing, but was enough to get me reading the prologue via Amazon's Look Inside feature. The prologue is well written and it totally grabbed me, maybe not quite instantly but close enough. Purchase made.

Also, all the Trumpist one-star reviews on A Girl in Time is moving me to purchase it at $4.99, even though I know that if I wait long enough it will be on sale for $1.99 or less. (Only one Trumpist three-star (!) review on The Golden Minute, so far, but from someone who doesn't even know how to spell "heroine." [Insert shrug emoji here.])

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Finally!

Posted July 31, 2018 into Books by John Birmingham

Golden Minute has finally dropped on iBooks. Not sure what the issue was, but having given the Fruit Company exclusive pre-order status, I found myself yesterday staring at a content management panel which said the book was available in 51 countries, when it wasn't showing up anywhere.

Frustrating much?

Anyway, it's up now, and it turns out to have been a bit of a gift because it made me rethink my normal launch sequence. The book hit a bunch of best seller lists without any publicity, and now I have my artillery lined up and pre-sighted to begin a marketing bombardment.

Huzzah!

Thanks to eveyne who's bought in so far.

I look forward to your verified reviews.

THE GOLDEN MINUTE

7 Responses to ‘Finally!’

she_jedi ducks in to say...

Posted July 31, 2018
Yay! And congratulations on finally setting the Minute free :)

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Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted July 31, 2018
I second that! Now then, about that third story.....

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted July 31, 2018
Review on its way

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she_jedi mutters...

Posted July 31, 2018
I also just wanted to add that the cover art for the Minute is just brilliant, whatever you're paying your artist it's not enough.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 31, 2018
Quiet you.

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Rob reckons...

Posted August 1, 2018
Only got through the first chapter so far, but I get the feeling you might have planned some camping with your kids and made a dream list of cool stuff you might like to purchase. And then you actually had to go camping and your good lady wife said nah we aren't taking all that.

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Sweet Jane Says puts forth...

Posted August 4, 2018
You're a very busy person but you're staying on top of your game. The publicity and promotion rounds now begin. It will go smoothly with your experience. Enjoy the SciFi cons!

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The Golden Minute: Launch Day

Posted July 30, 2018 into Books by John Birmingham

Used to be that launch day meant a piss up. A publisher shipped thousands of copies of your baby off to hundreds of bookshops. You chose one to 'host' the launch, you invited all your friends, and your publisher spent many thousands of dollars more on grog and finger food than they could ever hope to recoup in sales at the event.

These days not even publishers do that. We all just work the algorithm.

I'll be tickling the Beast of Bezos, and the big Fruit Company and all of the others over the next week or two. But I'll start here.

First up, I've dropped the price of A Girl in Time to 99 cents. If by some miracle you have not bought this awesome title, now's your chance to get it cheap and expunge your undying shame. The link above is for Amazon. But you can get it pretty much everywhere via this universal url.

The new hotness is of course The Golden Minute. I'll write about the book itself tomorrow but you can get it by clicking here. It's half price for readers of the Burger and bookclub members for the next couple of days.

29 Responses to ‘The Golden Minute: Launch Day’

Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 30, 2018
Not using Bookfunnel any more? Or did they change their name?

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted July 30, 2018
Bookfunnel is for private freebies.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted July 30, 2018
But you do remind me I have to drop a couple of copies in there.

Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 30, 2018
Ah, useful to know. Thanks!

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she_jedi mumbles...

Posted July 30, 2018
Not to sound alamist, but The Golden Minute appears to be missing from iBooks and TIM COOK HAS NOT GIVEN ME MY PRE-ORDER YET WTF JB? I'll try not to panic, I'm sure you have this in hand :)

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted July 30, 2018
I have been on this all day, Ms Jedi. It's holding up the entire roll out.

she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted July 30, 2018
Oh thank goodness. I will wait patiently for you to come to my rescue. I've already re-read A Girl in Time in preparation, so will have to read my current book more slowly so I don't run out of reading material before the Minute drops. #Fangirlproblems.

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 30, 2018
I'll be doing a phantom launch of Da Minute a bit later today. This will involve Titanic Thunder Lager and Cady Atomic Ale. Might even sign a few Chumley beer mats.

jason puts forth...

Posted July 31, 2018
Please provide launch details and I will be there. Anything for a free beer and a signed beer mat.

Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted July 31, 2018
By the time beers were done the coasters were too wet to take ink.
But the beer was good.

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foreverwar puts forth...

Posted July 31, 2018
I pre-ordered when you put the link up on FB, but it's still not available on iBooks UK.

Ah well, I'll just re-read A Girl In Time while I'm waiting.

Keep up the good work, John.

foreverwar ducks in to say...

Posted July 31, 2018
Just checked, and the Kindle version is available on Amazon UK.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 31, 2018
There's definitely something wrong with iBooks. I'm gonna try get it sorted today, but if you want your copy immediately get your email addy to me and I'll send a link for a free copy via bookfunnel.

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she_jedi puts forth...

Posted July 31, 2018
So tempting, but i’ll wait so I can give you money for it. Fingers crossed it’s fixed today, good luck John!

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted July 31, 2018
It appears to be available.

she_jedi ducks in to say...

Posted July 31, 2018
YAAAS!!! Success! Please take my $4.99 with thanks :)

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Robertkocsis mutters...

Posted July 31, 2018
yay!
back from UK so keen to read. Link took me straight to amazon ( a saved preference?) . Is the price listed already the 1/2 price Burger reader amount($3.99) or do we have to do somethig to prove we devour your output?

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted July 31, 2018
That's the half price. It'll go up to eight bucks eventually. I'm not publicising it widely. Just here and too my various mailing lists. Once they've had a bite, I'll crank up the ask.

Robertkocsis swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 31, 2018
Thanks, downloaded and all set once I finish The Outsider, looks good

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Brother PorkChop is gonna tell you...

Posted July 31, 2018
Made the purchase but sad panda cos its via the Beast. I guess some reviews would be warranted and required as well Mr B?

jl mutters...

Posted July 31, 2018
Brother, you'd be amazed how hard it is to come by Amazon reviews. I put my two cents out on my website.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted July 31, 2018
Reviews anywhere would be muchas welcome. But they have a particular power on Amazon.

jl is gonna tell you...

Posted July 31, 2018
Posted mine. We'll see if it sticks.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted July 31, 2018
Thanks. It should. It's a verified purchase.

she_jedi has opinions thus...

Posted July 31, 2018
Review posted on Amazon, but it's not up yet, I think they scrutinise it first :)

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KreepyKrawly mutters...

Posted July 31, 2018
I just bought it from kobo. About bloody time too, been hanging for the next JB book. I'll put a review later tonight (Gotta work now...)

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sibeen would have you know...

Posted July 31, 2018
OK, I've ordered the damn thing. What now?

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Rob puts forth...

Posted August 1, 2018
its worth way more than 3.99 . Hopefully with the direct supply chain system you have set up, you will see most of it for the down payment on that gold plated rocket car, or at the very least some steamed hams.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 1, 2018
The price creeps up as the week goes on.

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Book lists

Posted February 26, 2018 into Books by John Birmingham

I just wrote a long blog entry about The Washington Post including Amazon sales and 'reading' data in it's new 'best seller' and 'most read' lists.

Hit publish. Lost the lot. I'd left the desk long to go burn some pork crackling and while I was away, I'd been logged out.

My spirit is broken. I'm not gonna bother rewriting it, but I will throw in the feature quote, from Kathryn Rusch about the difference between the lists:

Amazon Most Read lists rank titles by the average number of daily Kindle readers and Audible listeners each week. Categories not ranked on Most Read charts include dictionaries, encyclopedias, religious texts, daily devotionals and calendars. All data is supplied by Amazon Charts and not edited by The Washington Post. The Post has no editorial influence on these lists.

I love toggling back and forth between the lists. Because you can see where people are spending their money, and you can see where they’re spending their time.

Two very, very different things. The top 15 fiction reads the week I’m finishing this blog include six Harry Potter books, and a lot of titles that have been published for months—or, in some cases (besides the Potter), years.

People read books when they get to them. People buy books when they have the money.

Books live in To-Be-Read piles. Some of those piles are digital books, and some of them are paper. But many, many, many readers wait until they’re in the mood for a particular kind of book before plucking it off their TBR pile.

Best seller lists have been broken for years. Because Amazon doesnt release sales data, a huge chunk of the market goes unreported. Audio- and ebooks, which now account for maybe half the genre fiction market (closer to 90% for some genres) simply didn't get a look in.

Also I do like the way Rusch shakes the difference between sold and read. My huge and teetering stack of shame should have alreted me long ago to the fact that they're not the same.

14 Responses to ‘Book lists’

jl ducks in to say...

Posted February 27, 2018
Cryin' shame you lost that. That would have been good reading.

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Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted February 27, 2018
Yeah, it would have been.

"Books live in To-Be-Read piles"

So, it's not just me then?

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Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted February 27, 2018
Ah yes....guilty as charged. Got a few books to read, but as I'm not travelling by public transport as much I don't have as much spare reading time as I'd like.

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Dave W reckons...

Posted February 27, 2018
So I only buy a book that I'm ready to read. I had no idea other people don't do this.

she_jedi puts forth...

Posted March 2, 2018
I will buy books as I come across them, such as finding them in friends' houses or recommendations by same friends so that I don't forget about them and miss getting hold of them. They live in my iBooks app or Kindle app until I get around to them. If they're super crazy good they move to Shelfworthy(tm) status and I buy them in analogue format.

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Therbs asserts...

Posted February 27, 2018
My Kindle occasionally cops a burst of 4 or 5 purchases, sometimes a cheap series, sometimes a couple of classics. A few different genres which get split between happy hour boozy reading and contemplative thinky reading. There's always a couple in there yet to be read. Proper books, with covers and pages 'n that are immediately devoured. Over all, since my kindle became a thing I've been reading a lot more. Price and convenience has everything to do with it.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted February 27, 2018
Bizarrely enough, your comment disappeared just like the original post. But now it's back. My comment, wondering where you'd got to, however, has gone to the Upside Down.

Brother PorkChop mutters...

Posted February 27, 2018
You've been watching Stranger Things again! Kids and I are loving it.
I have a small sack of books under the bed just gathering a shedload of dust.
Kindle app on the iPad gets hit but I'm on a severe book budget so I'm on Kindle Unlimited. I have been through some good stuff, and not so good stuff. But it doesn't matter, if its not my thing I return it and get another. Bit like a library. Once I'm back in the black, I will hopefully get a grant from the Minister for Arts and Culture to buy some books I really want.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted February 27, 2018
Pork chop I should send you my overspill.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted February 27, 2018
My only regret with my kindle is I can not rearrange my list into a read next list, it is either in order of purchase or alphabetical. I want to rearrange the list as a sort of a promise that I 'will' get to you, next I sware.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted February 27, 2018
What a brilliant idea!

Surtac puts forth...

Posted March 1, 2018
I use Collections on the kindle to semi-organise my ebooks.

I have a TBR collection for general incoming unread titles and a Read collection for books I've finished (this helps keep the TBR collection smaller as I move ebooks from TBR to Read as I finish them).

Also I have a few others for specific authors and books they've recommended. Examples of these would be our gracious host here JB for his books and those recommended hereabouts; Warren Ellis and his recommendations; CJ Cherryh; stuff from the Baen Free Library and suchlike; and sundry others.

It seems to work for me, so far at least.

she_jedi ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2018
A TBR and Read collection is genius! I tend to prefer iBooks as their collection feature seems easier to use, but I've only ever used the Kindle app for iPhone/iPad so could be doing Bezos a disservice. I have collections of my fave authors on the iPad, since if a new book for one of them turns up it gets read immediately.

I really like the idea of a TBR collection, it'll make keeping track of all my random purchases so much easier, and then I can keep my promise that I'll read them soon

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon mumbles...

Posted February 28, 2018
I've always been a paper guy and never really got into the electronic form of reading (this may change though). But since i've taken ownership of five acres of land reading for pleasure has dropped off significantly. Audible has come to the rescue though! Doing chores is pretty good now (as opposed to listening to the sounds of nature while i work, which is also pretty excellent) - the last book i heard was Kings of the Wyld. The accent took a bit of getting used to but that was a great book. Some genuine laugh out loud moments.
I have a list in my phone of "to read" as well. That gets longer every day. But i hold off on my purchasing until i'm ready. The list swaps in order as i feel and number one might drop a few places by the time i come to actually buying something.
If authors self publish I'm assuming my buying model would suit them better as sometimes i don't get to a book until it is heading for the seconds bin in the old way of book selling.

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