Marketing Department – Two Drink Minimum

That title was from a Dilbert cartoon (You must have come across Dilbert by now, surely? Our managers used those books as instruction manuals in the 90s) some years ago. Dilbert, an engineer, was sent to the marketing department as part of some scheme to get the engineers to understand that their developments must be marketable. Naturally they didn’t like it.

Well, books are marketable. I’ve been trying to learn how. Admittedly I don’t like it either. I have a book on marketing that is, shall we say, not exactly an engaging read. Okay, it’s duller than a Scottish December evening. I will force myself to read it, probably with the help of an entire case of caffeinated fizz, while I am in this down time after putting together two anthologies in three months. The latest, see previous post, went through all hurdles with no problem. It is complete. Now we wait… but that is the wrong thing to do. Waiting achieves nothing. A single book on Amazon is as lost as the 0.5 mm Allen key you put down safely three minutes ago. They need flashing lights and sirens to get noticed.

I have seriously considered deliberately provoking someone litiginous to get Daily Mail shock-horror look-at-this-filthy-bastard coverage. Best advertising you can get. Look what it did for 50 Shades of Grey. It could turn out expensive if I lose though.

Maybe put out something so inflammatory that the usual suspects try to get it banned. Worked a treat for Spycatcher and The Satanic Verses but hiding from death threats can be tiring.

I think I’ll try the three stories that are a prelude to Panoptica. I’ll put them together and maybe add one more that actually takes place in Panoptica. The latest prequel (Waking Santa) is in the Christmas book and well, we’re just about there. In real life we’re only a story or two behind but the story is still just ahead of reality. Just.

This will be eBook-only and will be a freebie. It will list all the Leg Iron Books in the back and for this one, you won’t find a ‘back to contents’ link at the end of the last story. You will find it on the next page, at the end of that list. So it won’t be on Amazon – I can’t make it free there unless I make it public domain (give up copyright) or give them an exclusive. I will not do either. As long as I get through Smashwords’ hurdles, it will be out on everything other than Amazon.

Smashwords has sold nothing for me in the past three months but the free stories I put on there are getting picked up. Well, ‘free’ involves no risk. Those free ones have to carry advertising and the content can be updated. That’s the next plan.

I also can’t make it print because then it won’t be free. But then the three stories are in The Good, the Bad and Santa, Six in Five in Four and the latest, Christmas Lights… and Darks so they are already in print. The new one might appear in a future anthology, maybe number 8, or I might add these to the start of the final book. Or both. That’s in the future.

Leg Iron Books is developing a decent catalogue of really good stories by some excellent, but unknown authors. It is the aim of this business that those authors will be snatched away by big publishers. That is the whole point. I’ll negotiate with the big publisher who wants to buy out their contract so I’ll make a few beans and the author will get the publicity machine of a big publishing house to get them going into the big time.

As for me, I’m staying at the bottom of the heap. I have no plans to ever rival Random House or any of the others. I’m really enjoying finding these great authors who haven’t made it to the big time yet. Making the anthologies is sometimes hard work – especially with the close proximity of the Halloween and Christmas ones – but it is always worth it.

See, I don’t need a yacht or a Lear jet or a Maserati. Although I have thought about getting a Ferrari one day, leaving cigarette burns and skidmarks on the seats, fitting boy racer bonnet clips, and brush painting it with three colours of Hammerite just so I can leave it in my will to someone I don’t like. But that’s not likely to happen. Really, the world is better off if I never get rich. Imagine what I could do with Bill Gates’ riches…

I have tried the Twitter book boosters. They only charge about $10 so I thought well, okay, I’ll try it.

It was crap. If you’re thinking of pushing your own book this way, don’t bother. I tried it with one book and it sold not one copy. Why? Because, as I realised, everyone else scrolls past that batch of 4 or 5 identical book ads on the timeline just like I do.

Yeah. They put it up 5 times a day, but in one minute. It is not spread through the day. It’s just an irritant. Nobody will click it. Better to develop a real persona on Twitter and mention the books in betwen real conversations.

Same goes for Farcebok, if anyone still uses it. Although, apart from linking these blog posts, I don’t go there much. It’s too… silly these days.

I think, if this is going to really take off, I need to get the Daily Mail style ‘shock-horror’ mob excited and vociferous.

I wonder if I can do that? Let’s play a game…

 

 

 

Chips with everything

A long time ago, I made a statement that not everyone agreed with. Well. Actually I do that all the time but I’m talking about a specific one here. I think it was during the controversial proposal that children should be microchipped so if the Glitter Gang kidnap them, or they fall into the well when Lassie isn’t around, they can be quickly tracked and found.

I was not keen on the idea because those children will grow up, and then you have a completely trackable population. Forget number plate recognition and CCTV. Every step you take, and in which direction, will be recorded on a central database. Further, those chipped adults won’t think twice about having their own kids chipped. In one generation, being microchipped becomes normal, and anyone refusing is seen as odd. That bothers me for some reason.

Children are always an emotive subject, and any suggestion of doing any kind of invasive procedure on a child will get a sharp ‘no’ from any parent worthy of the title. The scheme was dropped.

What I said at the time was along the lines of ‘Adults will be microchipped and they won’t resist. Far from it. They will fight to be first in line’.

Implanted chips that allow access to restricted areas have been around for years. Really though, they are only in use in limited areas so far – but their use is spreading.

Contactless card payments came out a while back. You don’t have to slot your card into a machine, you just tap it on top, because that saves you at least three seconds of typing in a number. I don’t like them, and it was obvious that the next step would be to implant the card’s chip in your hand. Sounds ridiculous?

It’s here, and the chip makers are struggling to keep up with demand.

My phone has a 48Gb micro SD card in it. You can buy much more memory in the same size package. A tiny glass-encapsulated chip could hold a hell of a lot of data. The code for your house and your car, your bank details,your medical records… they’d hardly make a dent in the amout of memory that could be in there. It could hold so much stuff.

There are already cars with keyless ignition. I’ve driven some – rented or courtesy car, I won’t buy one – and you just need the fob in your pocket to start the car. There is no physical key, no keyhole on the ignition and none on the door.The freakiest was a hybrid Prius. You press a button, the Star Trek dashboard boots up, there is no sound from under the bonnet even when you start moving! I don’t want one, although the heads-up speedometer on the windscreen was cool. I liked that part. As for the rest of the dashboard, I had no idea what that was telling me.

Why won’t I buy one? What if you drive out to the wilds of Scotland, have a really nice day out, get back to your car and the fob battery is dead? I bet almost nobody carries a spare battery for that thing and if they do, they leave it in the car. Which you can’t open because the battery in the fob is dead. Implanted chips don’t use batteries, they work something like RFID (I’m not an electrical engineer so don’t ask me – I’m sure someone in the comments will have the answer). So they would be an easy sell to anyone who’s experienced a dead car fob.

In the future, instead of stealing your house keys, car keys, bank cards… a criminal will get all those things at once by cutting off your hand. Isn’t that a comforting thought?

I have many such chips in ‘Panoptica’. Nobody has Borg gadgets, all the chips are for monitoring and control. It’s taking a very long time to write for a few reasons. The biggest one is that I have to get into – and stay in – the head of a character who is my exact opposite. Someone who accepts every rule without question, who follows every instruction, who is happy with their slot in society and has no ambition to change anything, ever. Someone to whom the entire concept of saying ‘Oh fuck off, I’m not doing that’ is not even imaginable. Staying in that character’s head is exhausting.

There was also the problem of credibility. A genderless drone population? Solved, the new 57 varieties of gender made that part easy. I covered it in a story in ‘Six in Five in Four‘ last Easter. Getting the chips in was solved long ago, and my argument that it would be easy is now proved.

I have to get more of that written before it all comes true. It’s not easy, every time I write something bizarre it seems to be in the news the next day and as I said, writing a totally compliant drone character is exhausting. I can’t hold that mindset for long, I don’t know how the NPCs do it.

Anyway, I have the Christmas anthology up next. I have renamed Christmas as Earth Day for this new (hopefully imaginary) world and this Christmas anthology needs another tale of progress towards Panoptica.

This one will be the stage where names become numbers.

Look at your wage slip or tax form and tell me that will never happen.

You might be one of those who told me people would resist implanted chips…

 

The Genderless Society

One of the main sticking points in writing ‘Panoptica’ is trying to think like a drone who is content in his utterly oppressed world. I don’t mean he tolerates it, he actually sees it as the ideal way to live. Under total control.

I had also envisaged it as genderless (there are mechanics involved that have not come true yet although there are signs it is on the way) but there are no males or females. I have it set up like ant or bee society: the ones at the top do all the breeding (again, there are mechanics to this that would be spoilers) but the general plebs are neutered drones. Why keep them alive at all? Oh the answer to that is very nasty indeed. As you would expect  😉

The thing about fiction is it has to make sense. Real life doesn’t have to and rarely does, but fiction has to make sense. I had to find a way to arrive at all the restrictions on life I had placed on ‘Panoptica’ – and how do you get to the point where people accept being neutered drones? The history of this future horror had to be logical.

While writing this I have set out a few ‘on the way’ scenarios, here and here. The former story is now in ‘The Good, the Bad and Santa‘, the fourth Underdog Anthology. The latter is just a draft on the blog so far.

Panoptica’s main character is called 10538 because the idea was first inspired by the Electric Light Orchestra’s ‘10538 Overture‘. A long, long time ago. I had listened to that song for years and always thought ‘This is the overture. Where’s the rest of it?’ Eventually I decided to write the rest of it myself.

The genderless society idea now has a history. Thanks to the Militant Transency, or what an online acquaintance likes to call the Rainbow Reich, there are now more ‘genders’ than anyone can remember. You can also define yourself ‘otherkin’ and be a blue pansexual platypus if you like.There are even white people who identify as black now. You are white. Clean the damn mirror once in a while.

It’s insane and it’s perfect for the progression of history in this fictional story that’s rapidly coming true.

I had expected the first signs in California or maybe Scotland where the idiots in charge fall for any old crap and make it law. I missed something. A place where they delight in controlling and tormenting their population with idiotic legislation.

Australia. We used to send our convicts and loonies there so it’s probably historically our fault but even so…

Queensland, Australia, has decided that driver ID (the driving licence in the UK) will no longer carry discriminatory descriptions such as gender, height, hair and eye colour. The link is to a Quora answer which includes a screenshot of the report but not a direct link.

Well it’ll be cheaper to make the IDs because everyone will have the same card. Nobody will have a gender though. If you never learn to drive, no bother, borrow your wife’s licence. You might be 6 feet tall, your wife 5 feet, you might be ginger while she is blonde, doesn’t matter. The ID card fits you as well as it does her.

The important part is the loss of gender. As 81-Mohammed explains in the second story I linked to, people will delight in the removal of the 57 varieties of gender that blight reality now. They will welcome the genderless society.

Will they neuter their children? Oh please. They are lining up to have them transgendered already, even kids that have just learned to speak. It’s the ‘in thing’ now. Neutered until they are old enough to choose a gender? They will beat down the hospital doors to be the first. And those who aren’t keen to comply will be shamed with the new ‘transphobia’ nonsense.

Of course, once neutered they will never be able to reproduce, no matter what later surgery they have. They won’t have the parts any more. In one generation you have eradicated the family unit. Marx would be so proud.

Where it goes from there, well, I have it sketched out and planned it.

Just need to write it down. Preferably before it happens.

 

The medichip is here

Implanted medical chips to control your blood pressure are now a real thing. On the face of it, a good thing if you have high blood pressure but it’s only the beginning.

They’ll get smaller and more functional. They’ll tell the medics when your blood pressure rises and they’ll rush round to check you’re okay. Again, not necessarily a bad thing.

However, when it gets to the administrators and politicians, they’ll want to know who’s getting worked up and when. Getting worked up will be a suspicious activity – and will identify every Daily Mail reader out there for a start.

Are you tense? Nervous? What are you hiding that’s making you nervous? Confess your sins and you will be free from tension. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, remember? Haven’t heard that one for a while.

Otherwise, the small explosive charge fitted to your aorta during routine surgery will ensure you don’t make anyone else nervous in the future.

It’s for the greater good…

Boy Guides and Girl Scouts

In Panoptica, there is no sex for the common people. In that story I have eradicated the entire concept of gender from the general population. I’m not telling you how I did that yet, but I admit to a chilled feeling when I realised how it could be done.

In the book of course, it’s a done deal. Still you couldn’t just impose it overnight. You’d have to ease the population into it over many years. Gender equality that actually swings from one extreme to another, gay marriage, transgender people, asexuals, all of these are realities now. Like it or not, they’re here.

I have no doubt that there are real transgender people. It would only take a glitch in the massively complex construction of a human being from two cells, and you can get a female brain in a male body or vice versa. Oh the condition is real, but I really doubt it’s as common as we are led to believe.

Being gay is more common (sorry gay folk, you’re not special, you’re just common). It’s also common in the animal kingdom.

Transvestitism isn’t the same as gay. It’s just a liking for dressing in the other gender’s clothing. Women get away with it easily – a woman in trousers is no oddity these days. Guys find it more difficult to brazen out in public although I did once know a world famous professor whose bra showed under his white shirt and who wore lipstick. In Scotland it’s easy – going commando in a tartan skirt is perfectly normal here. I’ve even tried out a kilt myself, and found out the hard way that it’s not easy to use a toilet in a heavy skirt.

All these things used to be largely ignored by the bulk of the population. Sure, some had very strong feelings that it was ‘wrong’ but really, most people had much the same attitude as me. It really doesn’t affect me so it doesn’t matter at all. How other people live their lives is their business. I have enough to do with living mine, and that’s quite complicated enough at times.

Now it’s all very much in your face. Gay people even have a flag! Refusing to accommodate a gay couple in your hotel, or refusing to bake a cake, will get you prosecuted but there are gay-only hotels and that’s not discriminatory.

There was once a small publisher who stated they only wanted male authors and only wanted stories about ‘men subjects’ like cars and power tools and wild stag parties. Naturally, there was uproar from women because they were discriminatory, but a publisher who only wants women-stuff written by women? Oh that’s fine.

You can have groups based on religion, gender or skin colour and exclude those who don’t fit your entry requirements. Anyone can set up such a group, except for one demographic.

The straight white male.

Try to form a ‘straight white male’ group and see how far you get before you get shot down in flames. You’ll probably end up in court for being racist and sexist and anything else they can think of. This does not apply to any other group.

Why? To eradicate the straight white male? No. To subjugate them. The ones who, historically, went to war throughout Europe to fight for their way of life must be cowed and broken and history shows that  taking them head-on only annoys them. Set about them with subtle attacks on all fronts and leave them cowed and broken. Force them to adapt to fit in. Make them ‘modern man’ who is weak and effeminate and accepting of every race and creed while deriding their own.

Then you have them. No fight left in them, except to fight the remaining ones who still cling to the old ways. Oh they still get to fight, they still get to rage, but you’ve changed the target. Their target is themselves. They don’t even realise it.

So now you push the alternative sexualities on them. You tell them that even five-year-olds can be gay or transgender when five-year-olds barely understand the concept of gender and (should) have no idea of sexual activity. If a five-year-old boy gets hold of Mum’s makeup and gives it a go, he’s not necessarily gay or transgender. It’s something called ‘play’. Imagination. A facility sadly lacking in those who want to sexualise toddlers.

You can’t argue with it because you won’t be told it’s happening. Your children are now to be brought up in a world where gender is not as clear cut as it was when you were young. They will have a blurred definition that one day, maybe in a couple more generations, will be no definition at all. Then you’re ready for the world of Panoptica.

The stage we are at now is one where the Girl Guides, that once-noble institution, will accept a ‘transgender’ five-year-old boy who wants to wear dresses and nobody will be any the wiser. It’s discriminatory even to ask if the parents mind.

They are also going to allow a man in a dress to take a bunch of little girls away for a sleepover trip. No questions asked? How can you ask questions when they aren’t telling you there’s anything to question?

Well, questions may be asked after the trip, when your little girl tries to pee standing up like Miss Jones did and starts asking if she’ll grow a peeing tube when she’s older, like the one her Guide teacher has.

How long though, before the predatory child molesters catch on to this? Paedos will always try to get into jobs where they have access to small children and a CRB check will only find the ones who were caught. Now they just claim to be transgender, put on women’s clothing, and hey presto, they have access to a bus load of little girls. Would they find it difficult to convince the NHS to support their case? The internet has all the information they need to get their case together and woe betide anyone who tries to claim they’re just pretending.

Oh it’ll happen and we’ll hear ‘lessons will be learned’ and nothing will change as usual. It’s all part of the plan. The kids will grow up confused about sex in general and it’ll get worse with each generation until total equality is reached – nobody has any gender, race or religion at all. Nobody has any concept of those things.

I really have to finish that book. It’s really not too long now before it becomes a documentary.

The Panoptica Generation

I have made some progress on Panoptica. Still slow but I hope to change working hours soon to give me more writing time and less time washing uniforms and being knackered. The New Me (I didn’t give him a name, he has the same name as me and that’s plenty confusing enough) wants more hours, I want a few less. I can let him gradually take over so I can then move on and not leave Boss in a hole.

It’s important now to push forward with this story. It has been coming true as I write it – which might make some think I should maybe stop writing it – and now the Panoptica Generation is very close. If I don’t get a move on, the book will be banned before it’s published!

The Mail thinks it’s hilarious that two ten year old girls gave Andrew Neil a sharp put down but when I read the article, I found it chilling.

One of them brings up the compulsory seat belt law and crows how many lives it pretends to have saved. Basically, if you drive wearing a seat belt and you don’t die on the way, the seat belt saved your life. She, like all well indoctrinated drones, ignores the deaths caused by seat belts when someone is trapped in wreckage and can’t release the belt. Only the lives saved count, not the lives lost.

Naturally, no drone will even consider the deletion of personal responsibility that goes with every new dictated lifestyle change. It’s not your job to look after yourself. The Government will tell you how to live.

The veteran TV presenter, who usually interviews leading public figures, then speaks to his other guest, Henrietta, from Worcester, and asks her what she thinks of it all.

She replies: ‘If it’s saving lives and it’s helping the NHS, I think we should be told what to do.’

No, Henrietta, we should not be told what to do. We have one life. Do you really need someone to live yours for you? As for the NHS, it’s supposed to be there to help us, not the other way around! The NHS is not meant to be there to tell us what to do. I don’t think it’s Andrew Neil’s education that is faulty here.

I have never been much good at being told what to do. Good thing I probably won’t be around when Panoptica becomes full reality because they’d ship me off to the farm pretty quick. As fertiliser.

Those girls, and millions like them, will give birth to the Panoptica generation. Totally obedient drones. No family unit, numbers instead of names, allocated careers at birth, microchipped and watching each other all the time. One more generation is all it will take.

These kids are happy to do as they are told and they always will be. When they are told that the State can raise their children better than they could, they will hand over their babies without a second thought. And then forget they ever had babies.

It’s a cold, dark future for humanity. It’s been a long time in the making and it’s nearly here. I doubt anyone can stop it happening. I certainly can’t.

We can only try to warn them, and remind those who will listen just how much they have lost.

Writing again

My writing has been in the doldrums for some time now. It’s good to be back at it. All it needed was a bit of encouragement and a damn good kick up the arse. Tidying up that last story felt good and I’m now back on the serious stuff.

I know, the blog has been somewhat lax on its core subjects of idiot politicians and deranged antismokers of late. That will recover in time too. I have a Plan that will mean I won’t spend almost all my time chasing the next bill and that Plan will, I hope, begin to take shape next month. If it goes according to Plan (does it ever?) I will be able to reduce my hours working at Local Shop and thereby spend more time writing and less time knackered. Also, build up some savings at last.

Tonight I have been working on Panoptica. It was always a difficult project because it’s written from the point of view of a totally compliant and entirely gullible drone. That’s a harder mindset to get into than I thought it would be.

As usual, it was hard to know where to start the story. It matters because the start of the story introduces characters and concepts that are likely to be alien to people who actually think for themselves. It’s too easy to make it boring and that was something I really wanted to avoid, especially in Chapter One.

So it needed a hint of dark humour, but the characters can’t be allowed to understand the jokes. I think I have it now. I have a Chapter One I’m happy with.

Most of the rest of the story was already well planned, sketched or already written. There will be minor changes but now I have a fixed starting point and a settled-on main character it will go faster. Soon it will get to the point where the characters tell me the story and all I have to do is write it down.

I just need time, and that means having no worries about bills. As I said, I have a Plan. It won’t make me rich, but it will produce enough to pay the bills with a good enough safety net that I can stop concerning myself with the possibility of unexpected expenses.

It won’t involve benefits. I refuse to claim benefits even though I’ve paid in enough to be able to demand them. I will not be indebted to the government. I have survived nearly 56 years without government help and I intend to keep it that way.

Part of the Plan is closing down the lab. I haven’t had any work for it for years. It’s an unnecessary expense and really, I don’t need it. If I do get a lab based job in future, they’ll provide the lab. There will be a lot of lab equipment available for sale, but not my microscope. I’m keeping my microscope. Nobody touches the microscope.

Someone once expressed an interest in lab equipment. I wonder if he still reads this stuff since I became a bit random at posting? If so, get in touch. The bacterial growth media will be out of date but the equipment should be okay. No really big stuff – the incubators and fridges/freezers came with the lab.

Anyhow, I’m focused on Panoptica now. Real life was already starting to catch up with it and I really want to finish it before it becomes horrific reality. As I said, what I chiefly need is writing time and to not get home too knackered to care.

In early March, I think I can make it happen. Well, March is when it comes into effect, assuming it works.

The Plan actually activates on Monday.

 

Update: The Plan is set in motion. No stopping it now!