M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

12 Times SFF Characters Trained Their Own Duplicates

July 3, 2019
MThomas

clones

My award-winning SF novella Adam’s Stepsons featured clones, which as some reviewers noted came a little after the peak of clones (although I wonder if we have yet to hit the “peak,” given scientific progress).

So as I was scouring the net for summer reads, I came across a lot of books about clones and ethical dilemmas (or lack thereof).

The main article I’ve linked here is from Tor.com, which often posts great stuff about SF Continue Reading

Indie writers, Amazon is not your friend

June 26, 2019
MThomas

Amazon fakes

As if writers hadn’t already figured this out, Amazon really couldn’t care less about the books of yours they sell.

Notice I didn’t write “the books they sell for you.” Because they’re obviously not interested in you making any money. Not when they can allow random “companies” to download your manuscript, slap on their own label, and market it again as a “third party.”

 

Amazon takes a hands-off approach to what goes on in its bookstore, never checking the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. It does not oversee the sellers who have flocked to its site in any organized way.

 

Naturally, the reason is that Amazon can’t be bothered policing illegal copies and illegal sales, since, in their minds, all’s fair in the Wild West of the Net.

fake!!

Even the technically legal copies that are for sale are often copies acquired from people who received copies for review. Which is why I no longer give out books for review (also, services like Goodreads started charging for the privilege of random strangers to steal your book and sell it to a third party).

AT-3rdparties.png

NONE of these “companies” wrote my book, and I did not give permission to ANY of them to resell my book. So why do they get to sell it for up to four times the price I set? Because Amazon doesn’t bother and couldn’t care less.

I used to wonder why my books often appeared in the “available from a third party” menu, with prices varying from twice to even five times the original amount. And why none of the “sales” from these copies showed up in my account. The answer is, of course, Amazon doesn’t really care who gets the royalty as long as they get their cut of the sale.

But we’re trapped, aren’t we? We can scream “fake!” and “unfair!” until we’re blue in the face. In the end, Amazon has grown in power to the extent that the entire world relies on it as a global distributor of, well, pretty much everything.

Except, of course, Amazon, itself, can’t be bothered shipping its own products these days. (More on that in a later post.)

Which is why I’ve started to port my books into other platforms such as Smashwords — but they’re all digital. It’s a shame, because I enjoy (and prefer) reading paper copies of books. But I know I will never be able to stop the Amazon Pirates from stealing my work and my friends’ work.

Shame on Amazon. And shame on all of us for going along with the system.

www.nytimes.com/2019/06/23/technology/amazon-domination-bookstore-books.html

Full Metal Asteroid! Um. Maybe.

June 24, 2019
MThomas

Psyche

“Final planning stages” usually translates into “we have no idea when, if ever, this thing will work.”

Psyche!

Yes, actually.

Let’s hope NASA doesn’t resort to this:

FullMetal-bail

techcrunch.com/2019/06/11/nasa-moves-to-final-planning-stages-for-mission-to-explore-16-psyches-full-metal-asteroid/

The Dearly Departed

June 10, 2019
MThomas

IMG_5939

On this day, June 10th, what would have been my mother’s 69th birthday had she not passed away suddenly last October, I am conflicted.

Do I have the right to write about family history yet again?

And yet without the past, it’s difficult to write about the future. They are connected, by both visible and invisible lines, threads of beliefs and behaviors, attitudes and antagonisms, odd coincidences and strangely fortunate happenings. Particularly in my family. Continue Reading

Interstellar Travel Tech — oh, Really?

April 27, 2019
MThomas

Interstellar

“It is time to venture beyond the known planets, on toward the stars.”

Yes, I agree, but I don’t see how any of the ideas in this article will help us achieve that goal. I think the problem is the reliance on conventional means of propulsion. Clearly some sort of bending of space/time is needed to leave the solar system faster than, say, a decade, let alone reach other star systems.

Dawn already used an ion engine (way too slow). The solar gravitational lens is neat but it won’t take us there physically. The “space-based laser” idea is funky but impractical.

Getting off Earth should help (Moon Base, Mars, somewhere else like Triton). Escaping our own planet’s gravity well takes way too much effort. But after that, it’s time to forget about rockets and start thinking of truly “wacked out” ideas.

For starters, Discover, how about dumping your absolutely awful page design? Yeesh, this page is hard to read.

http://discovermagazine.com/2019/apr/new-technologies-could-let-us-explore-beyond-the-solar-system

Quantum downloading the brain

April 16, 2019
MThomas

scientists-quantum-material-download-brain-1200x630

The research is in early stages, but it invokes ideas like uploading brains to the cloud or hooking people up to a computer to track deep health metrics…

Hm. This sounds like an idea for a cool science fiction

Ah.

jwl8mezh-720

https://futurism.com/the-byte/scientists-quantum-material-download-brain?fbclid=IwAR0gsFggMSQ6RF-poI8QV5rNGpko5HylTbuZyCOM_Uxh0LhV5hnFkUv2xgw

Customers who purchased digital books from the Microsoft store will soon be forced to return them.

Already widely reported.

Note that if you buy ebooks *directly from the author  – or *from Smashwords – then you get to keep them.

Yet another reason to cut out the middle man, especially if the middle man is a huge corporation that doesn’t care about its consumers.

via Microsoft’s ebook store closes, and will take all customers’ ebooks with it —

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