M Thomas Apple Author Page

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

Authors Give Back Initiative = FREE ebooks for Self-Isolation

March 22, 2020
MThomas

Both my books on Smashwords (Adam’s Stepsons and Destiny in the Future – actually my mother’s book published posthumously as a tribute) are FREE downloads from now to April 20 as part of the Smashwords Authors Give Back initiative:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/931869

Formats include .ePub, .mobi, PDF, .txt, and online reader (browser-based).

Take it easy. Deep breaths. No panicking. Let’s get through this thing.

(See https://blog.smashwords.com/…/smashwords-launches-initiativ… for more information and links to other free ebooks as well.)

Pollen and COVID, 2020

March 21, 2020
MThomas

This time of year in Japan, the sugi (Japanese cedar) spew yellow pollen all over the balcony doors of our house.

All over the car and windows. All over any clothing hanging out to dry.

For some reason, my allergies stubbornly resisted this season. Until this past week. Then I enjoyed the new spring temperatures with two days of non-stop sneezing fits, followed by a day of throaty, mucusy coughs and stuffy nose honks.

Not ideal during a Coronavirus pandemic that has everyone in the world terrified of anybody within earshot. Even I, myself, couldn’t help a momentary feeling of panic. What if…I…??

But it’s just hay fever. Nothing more. But of course I can’t get a test. Not in Japan, where five-sixths of the test kits available simply aren’t used (for fear of driving up the number of the infected, thus dampening Tokyo Olympic chances and damaging the poor PM’s ego).

Should I self-isolate? What if I (and my wife, and kids, and all our friends, neighbors, and colleagues) already were infected and didn’t even know it? (Many people show mild or no symptoms, especially if they’ve been inoculated against seasonal flu already.)

What if it’s too late, we’ve already recovered, and the whole thing is just an overblown cold virus?

Or what if it’s just starting and the worst is yet to come?

With so many unknowns, it’s hard not to feel a real sense of fear, and dread. The world turned upside-down, our “leaders” selling us out while they run off to safe houses as the system they undermined collapses under its own weight.

Maybe it’s the beginning of a new Gilded Age. A new Roaring Twenties of wealth, prosperity, and debauchery.

Only we know what followed that.

It’s been three weeks since two doctors cut open my left shoulder and removed a 2cm-square benign tumor that looked like a tiny blancmonge. The same day my elementary-age daughters had to stay home because their school year abruptly came to an end, with little advance warning thanks to terrified, clueless politicians.

Were they all needless deaths after all?

In only three weeks, it has all been changed. From now and in times to be, wherever a mask is worn.

Changed, changed utterly.

A terrible beauty may have been born…

Just in time for COVID-19 self-isolation and quarantine: A whole lot of online books for (15th to 19th century) kids

March 15, 2020
MThomas

PickeNotteThyNose

Includes such favorites as “pyke notte thyne errys nothyr thy nostrellys” and “spette not ovyr thy tabylle.”

Oh, and there’s some stuff by Lewis Carroll (Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, i.e., Alice in Wonderland) and Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo), among many others.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/feb/21/pyke-notte-thy-nostrellys-15th-century-guide-on-childrens-manners-digitised-for-first-time

Read Adams’ Stepsons for FREE until March 7

March 1, 2020
MThomas

ebookweek 3 - e-reader on beach.jpg

Stuck at home all week (or month?) dealing with world-wide panic from a cold virus?

Stock up on discounted and/or free ebooks at Smashwords!

Why not start with Adams’ Stepsons – for FREE??

Destiny in the Future is also HALF OFF until March 7th (all proceeds donated to the American Cancer Society)

The Eagle has landed. Um. Again. Sort of.

February 18, 2020
MThomas

Apollo11-reflection

‘As far as audio recordings, we previously had only 48 minutes of off-air audio of the BBC coverage from another source. Now thanks to you we have over eight hours!’

It’s been 50 years since The Eagle landed. There are plenty of existing video and audio recordings from US media sources (like this one on YouTube, clocking in at over 3 hours).

It’s been considerably less time since news recordings of Apollo 11 from *outside* the US were discovered. Just over half a year. Audio only. Bummer. But at least you get a different perspective (always a good thing when it comes to news).

Check it out (and download it, if you like), thanks to Steve Hurley at explainingscience.org/2020/02/17/british-coverage-of-apollo-11/

Jules Verne – most translated science fantasy writer ever?

February 15, 2020
MThomas

When I was a kid, I devoured books by Jules Verne, in the Classics Illustrated series vocabulary- and grammar-controlled for younger readers.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Voyage to the Center of the Earth

From the Earth to the Moon

Around the World in Eighty Days

Until I was in college, I didn’t even know that he wrote them in French.

Until a few days ago, I didn’t know they were part of a 54-volume set, complete with 4,000 hand-drawn illustrations that are now available online for free.

How’s that for enduring literary influence?

Check out the link below for more details…

http://www.openculture.com/2020/02/jules-vernes-voyages-extraordinaires.html

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