Keeping Sci Fi Real

One of the things I set out to do when writing Newton’s Ark, was to keep the science part of the science fiction plausible, by basing the technology of the future either on already emerging technologies or at least on plausible projections of current technology trends.

This article on taking control of drones by spoofing GPS signals is a good example.

Here’s the relevant section in the book:

 “The early drones worked exactly that way, Major. They were vulnerable; if communication is disrupted the drone is pilot-less. Worse still, if the signal is intercepted it is possible for a hostile force to take control of the drone. Back as far as 2012 the Iranians captured what was then one of our most advanced drones by spoofing a GPS signal. They convinced the drone that it was landing back at its base in Turkey when it was really landing in Teheran. Incidents like that were the impetus for the EM program.”

This post brought to you by author D.A. Hill

Book Availability Update

Newton’s Ark is now available via Smashwords in EPUB format suitable for iBooks, the Nook and the Sony eReader.

It is now available via iTunes, Barnes and Noble and the Sony Store.

This post brought to you by author  D.A. Hill, author of Newton’s Ark.

Paper Back Now Available in Europe

The paperback version of Newton’s Ark should be available via Amazon in Europe from tomorrow for £5.99 or €6.99.

US pricing for the paperback is $7.99.

If you’re really worried about price though, the Kindle edition is a bargain at $2.99 (or the equivalent in pounds or euros). Interestingly, I make a bigger royalty on a $2.99 kindle edition than I do on a $7.99 paperback.

That makes it hard to see how traditional publishers can justify asking almost as much for the Kindle version (and sometimes more!) than for the hard copy. e-books should be considerably cheaper, not only because they are much cheaper to produce and distribute, but also because they are more restrictive (you can only lend them once ever, if at all, and you can’t resell them) which ought to mean more sales. The disruption of the publishing market has really only just begun.

Plant our Brains in Robots

If you find the ideas in this article from Wired Magazine titled Russian Mogul’s Plan: Plant our Brains in Robots interesting, then you should read my book Newton’s Ark (and the forthcoming sequels).

I’m attempting to explore similar concepts through fiction, with the goal of trying to understand how these sorts of technological developments might affect the human experience. My view is that when confronted with ideas this radical, stories are the best way to explore the possible implications. Otherwise it’s all too abstract, all to clinical, all too remote, and therefore all too easy to ignore, at least until it actually begins to happen and we’re totally unprepared.

This post brought to you by author D.A. Hill

Book Pricing in Australia

I am in Australia visiting family and while I’m here I’ve been into a few book stores. Shocked is the only word I can use to describe my reaction to the price of books here. Take, for example, Caleb’s Crossing, the latest book by Geraldine Brooks (I haven’t read it but I loved People of the Book). It is available on for $10.88 in paperback and $16.17 in hardback; it’s nearly $25 (in paperback!) in the book store here.

For all Australian readers, I would say if you don’t have a Kindle buy one. Now. Forget about walking the dog. Forget about feeding the kids. Jump on now and buy a Kindle. Caleb’s Crossing and lots of other great books are only $9.99 on Kindle (and even the ‘expensive’ books are $12.99). Not to mention there are lots of books like mine available at the ridiculously cheap price of $2.99.

This post brought to you by author D.A. Hill

Writing the Sequel

When I finished my first novel a little less than two weeks ago, I felt like I would need a break of a month or two before starting work on the sequel. One of the things I discovered though was that part way through the characters started to drive the story.

It seems the characters are still driving the story and were keen for it to continue. A few days ago I found the characters were giving me so any ideas for book two that I just had to start writing. The good news is that it is going much quicker this time–I’ve written four thousand words in the past two days. I think that is because most of the characters are already established. All I need do is ask them what happens next!

The working title is Faraday’s Mine.

Newton’s Ark is Now Available

I recently independently published my first novel, Newton’s Ark,  as an e-book in Kindle format via Kindle Direct Publishing Program I thought it would be worth making some observations for the benefit of other inspiring authors who might be considering this path.

The big change that independent publishing makes is that it removes the traditional publisher as gatekeeper. There’s plenty of stories out there of books that were rejected by multiple publishers only to go on to critical or commercial success or both.

What independent publishing does do though is push back on the author an awful lot of responsibility for the process of producing the book; stuff like editing and proof reading and formatting and design. You can do it yourself but it is not for the faint of heart. You need a combination of skills to get it right. Traditional publishing skills like attention to detail, editing and graphic design, mixed with the technical skills necessary to translate a manuscript in Microsoft Word into a properly formatted Kindle book within the constraints of the Kindle format (e.g. the fact that is has no such concept as ‘keep with next’) and the quirks of the Kindle publishing platform. The good news is that there are plenty of people out there who will take care of this stuff for a modest fee. I didn’t try any of them – I was determined to do this myself – but if you don’t like banging your head against a wall as much as I do, perhaps it is worth trying.

It is way too early to tell whether independently publishing via Amazon will be a commercial success. That seems to me to be dependent on a mix of the quality of the book, the marketing effort and sheer luck. I can control the first factor, am working on the second one but it’s not my strength, and can only cross my fingers in terms of the third factor.

I will also be releasing a paperback version soon, also independently published, this time via a company called CreateSpace (which happens to be an Amazon subsidiary). I’ll report on that process once it is complete.

This post brought to you by D.A.Hill, author of Newton’s Ark.