Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Preparations For Home



This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Now that the Aprilis has finished unloading its cargo and has brought on new supplies from Lepus Lupus, it is time for it to make the long journey back to Earth.

I’m still on shore leave and am not involved in the preparations for the journey back. So I’m taking this chance to explore the planet before I’m called back into duty.

The Aprilis will not be taking the same route home. This time we will be taking a slightly more scenic route by way of Zubanaljanubiyy. I’ve also heard rumours we might be stopping by to analyse the space crab that caught the Karaboudjan.

Not sure if that’s a wise thing to do but if there is science to do, I guess there we will be.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Occam's Razor



This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Sometimes, the simplest explanation is the answer.

And so what is the answer to the question: Where is Dr. Irina? Where has she been?

While on shore leave on Lepus Lupus, I saw her. Across the street from me, holding the hand of a girl who looked to be about five years old. They were both enjoying ice creams, and they both looked to be having fun.

Later when I went back to the ship and got back to my bunk, I lay down and thought about what this meant.

Is there another man? Should I even be so bold as to make a move now?

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Nightmare



This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Observers from Lepus Lupus and from stations around Lepus Lupus would later report that they saw the invading Earth fleet beam in, appearing like camera flashes in the night sky as they arrived. But as soon as they appeared, then they disappeared again in the same white bright flash.

The colonists from Lepus Lupus themselves did not know exactly what was going on. What they did know was this was the work of the their mysterious benefactor, the Qastas. For did they not promise them protection?

So Lepus Lupus was spared from the invasion and as for the invading fleet, they were transported back to Earth by a route many would later describe as “The Nightmare”.

The moment the Earth ships had beamed in, a Qastas probe stationed near Lepus Lupus would immediately shoot a high energy beam that would disintegrate its molecules and reassemble it somewhere else, in this case, Earth.

Unfortunately for the crew on board all these ships, the process of disassembling and reassembling of their molecules proved to be huge strain on the mind and many went insane. Even though the process took only several seconds, to the soldiers affected, it felt like an eternity of the worst extremes of human emotions.

In short, they lived through hell. And came back.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Mistrust and the Military



This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Unfortunately, while Lepus Lupus managed to grow into a magnificent world, the aid that it received from the Qastas grew resentment amongst those back at Earth who had initially condemned them to their doom.

When the Earthling denouncers had learned of Lepus Lupus’ new found prosperity, their derision turned into envy and soon it turned into mistrust. And mistrust led to fear.

It wasn’t long till the fear back home on Earth reached a boiling point, fuelled by sensationalist media and gossip from spacecrews. Word had it that the Lepus Lupus were amassing a large fleet in order to start an invasion of the other colonies, including Earth.

But the truth of it was, there were indeed a large number of ships amassed around Lepus Lupus, but not because they were building a fleet. They had just become the biggest space port human civilisation had ever seen.

Star sailors who had never seen alien ports (which at the time were much, much bigger than the one at Lepus Lupus), upon seeing the impressive amount of ships docked in orbit around Lepus Lupus, must have thought all those ships was a fleet waiting to attack. They would then come back to Earth and spread the rumours.

Earth quickly assembled all its military-capable ships into the largest fleet humanity had ever known, and sent it towards Lepus Lupus, in the hopes that they could subjugate them.

But when they got there, nothing could prepare them for what they encountered.

Friday, 13 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Lepus Lupus




This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Lepus Lupus is one of human’s furthest settlements away from Earth. It lies on one of outer arms of the galaxy’s spiral, furthest away from Earth, and any other colony, for that matter.

When the first colonists proposed to set up camp here, many wondered the wisdom of doing so due to the difficulty of Earth’s astromilitary arriving on time if anything untoward would happen.

But those early settlers were a stubborn lot and they set up their colony anyway. At first Earth refused to offer protection and classed Lepus Lupus as a renegade colony, effectively leaving them exposed and alone.

Many on Earth believed it wouldn’t be long until an alien species would turn up knocking on Lepus Lupus’ front door. If the colonists were lucky, the aliens would not be hostile.

It so turns out that after several years (Earth time), aliens did come calling. These were the Qastas, an advanced race, with technology way beyond human understanding. The colonists were scared of course, but the Qastas saw that they were here all alone without help. The Qastas provided aid in terms of food and technology and even placed Lepus Lupus under their protection.

The Qastas are a humanoid race. They possess the head of a hare placed on the body of what humans would call a “werewolf”. The colonists were so grateful for the Qastas’ help that they decided to name their colony after the Qastas. Hence, Lepus Lupus.

Still haven’t seen Dr. Irina around.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Karaboudjan




This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

We have left Gallimimus and are back on our journey towards Lepus Lupus. But the spacefolder engines had barely warmed up when we received a distress signal from the Karaboudjan, a luxury liner.

We found the Karaboudjan trapped in what I can only describe as a giant crab claw that emerged from a nearby asteroid. We assume there is a giant crab somewhere at the end of the claw, but nobody really wants to go and find out. Some have even speculated that the asteroid itself is the crab but no one really wants to talk about it further than that.

Our arrival coincided with a military ship called the Enthusiast and their crew has been performing the bulk of the rescue work. Our ship has been tasked to carry some of the survivors on to Lepus Lupus and let them sort it out from there.

In the meantime, I’m still stuck with the team that is cleaning out Hangarbay 9. Haven’t seen Dr. Irina for several days now. She’s probably busy tending to the survivors of the Karaboudjan.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Jabberwock



This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

One of the Gallimimus, nicknamed “Jabberwock” by our brave captain, was taken up to the Aprilis and given a tour of the ship. We were told he was one of the leaders of his people and had actually requested for the tour. To say this is highly unexpected is to put it very mildly.

The Gallimimus have never shown any interest in our technology before and were certainly not interested in our starships. The crew are abuzz with the possibility that we might have the Gallimimus amongst our ranks in the near future.

I think this is highly doubtful. Mr. Jabberwock might show some interest and curiosity regarding our ships but that does not mean his people share his sentiment. From what I have read and heard from the colonists, the Gallimimus are still very anti-technology and this is very apparent from the way they handle trade with the colonists.

Whenever the Gallimimus come into town, they request that the trade meetings take place in the town square, which is as far away as possible from the stardock and the marketsquare next to it. This has long been the tradition and it does not look like the Gallimimus intend to change the way things are, even with one of their prominent leaders parading around one of our starships.

Saw Dr. Irina across the hall during the arrival of Jabberwock. She was dressed smartly. I don’t think she saw me.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Irina




This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Irina is the doctor we met at the clinic when I accompanied Crewman Friday. Ever since that initial meeting, she has been on my mind. I’m not exactly sure why.

She’s not exactly the most attractive woman on the ship, but there’s something about her that keeps pulling my thoughts back to her. At first I thought I would eventually forget about her as our paths do not cross much on this huge ship.

Yet, somehow, I have met her almost every day since our first meeting in the clinic. I would either bump into her in one of the corridors, or I would see her in the mess hall. Sometimes I would see her in the crew section where I am stationed the most. I am definitely not going out of my way to see her so I am wondering, is she going out of her way to see me?

We don’t talk much every time we bump into each other. Just a short greeting and perhaps a furtive smile if we are able. I’m wondering if I should ask her to join me for lunch or dinner some time.

She was among the medical teams involved with the Hangarbay 9 disaster and we made eye contact several times. She didn’t smile at me at the time, perhaps due to the rather difficult situation at hand but I still wished she did.

Her smile is… well, whatever it is, it’s something.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Hangarbay 9




This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

We had our first major accident on Aprilis today. It happened in Hangarbay 9 when the atmosphere field generators malfunctioned. We were receiving several supply boats from the surface of Gallimimus and somehow they did not register that the fields were still up and so all three of the boats sliced into the fields and were shredded like hot cheese.

I had the misfortune of being on duty in Hangarbay 9 and was one of the unlucky crew that had to clean up and salvage the mess. Atmosphere fields work by generating shots of energy in a crisscross pattern. Unfortunately, while air does not escape through this field, any physical matter that hits it will be sliced into smaller chunks by the crisscrossing shots of pure energy.

Needless to say, cleaning up the remains of the passengers was the most harrowing work of all and it took several medical teams to identify each body part to its owner.

I’m glad I’m not in the engineering team responsible for maintenance of the field generators. I saw them being escorted to the bridge deck and every one of them seemed to be in a panic.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Gallimimus




This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Gallimimus

The Planet Gallimimus gets its name not surprisingly from its native intelligent species, which look very similar to Earth’s extinct reptile, the Gallimimus.

The Gallimimus are intelligent in the way that they have consciousness, are aware, and form social groups amongst themselves. Technologically they are almost equal to the medieval times of humans.

It does not look like they aspire to a more advanced state as they have, on many occasions, been less than impressed with our own advanced technology as well as our spacefaring vessels. They are a race of beings who prefer to run and roam wide open lands of lush greenery. To coop them up in a can that rushes through vast areas of emptiness is not their idea of how life should be lived.

In consequence, while they are generally at peace with us, they mostly leave the human settlements alone and only come to trade every once in a while.

I wonder how long this peace between our species will last. It’s only a matter of time before we encroach upon their territory as humankind is wont to do.

*EDITOR’S NOTE: Humans eventually did encroach upon the territories of the Gallimimus and that was when they strove to advance their technological abilities. Despite human interference, they became a spacefaring species but were wiped out completely in the Five Hundred Race War.

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Friday




This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Friday

Met with Crewman Friday to play Decks* but had to cut the game short. Friday was feeling under the weather and had started sweating profusely and turning bright crimson by the third round of the game.

I told him to go see the ship’s doctor, but he said it was just a slight headache, something his nanobots would take care of quite soon. But after a while, it became quite clear that his nanobots were not functioning as they ought to and something serious was up.

I accompanied him as he staggered his way across the ship to the doctor’s clinic. Thankfully the doctor was in. I was worried he would be off duty like many of us were during this restful period. The doctor examined Friday and performed some tests before concluding that Friday did not really have the proper nanobots installed.

She told us that Friday had apparently had cheap knockoffs installed in a seedy part of New Kinta City on Andromeda and she had seen these botch jobs before. These cheap nanobots were doing more harm than repair and instead of curing his headache, the nanobots were slowly giving him testicular cancer. She performed a non-invasive surgery to remove the nanobots and Friday started feeling (and looking) better.

Or at least he felt better medically. Emotionally, he was quite upset. Because even at “cheap” prices, the nanobots cost Friday a huge chunk of his pay. The doctor said she did not have any replacement nanobots she could afford to install in him and if he wanted any, he would have to wait till the next major colony or outpost. She also warned him not to visit seedy nanobot operators in the future.

I am not entirely sure Friday has learnt his lesson though.

*EDITOR’S NOTE: Decks is the ancient precursor to the popular game, Mindwarp.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Enderby




This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Enderby

We have docked at Quadra Outpost 453, a fuelling space station that orbits an unnamed ringed gas giant in an equally unnamed system. Of course, the planet and the system have code names, but I do not have the patience to memorise the endless strings of characters that the authorities associate with them.

The most notable thing about this space station and its ringed planet is that it is claimed that this is where the famed poet, Enderby, wrote one of his most famous poems, “The Ringed Body”. To those who have read this lyrical and masterful poem, it is obvious that Enderby was clearly expressing his thoughts and love for this lovely ringed gas giant.

And no wonder! Enderby’s planet is a sight to behold. Several times bigger than our own ringed planet, Saturn, and brighter and infinitely more beautiful in how the colourful gas clouds twirl around in its atmosphere. I will not repeat what Enderby has written in his poem, but if you are curious as to what the planet looks like, I suggest you find a copy of the poem* and read it for yourself.

Then, if you get the chance, visit this wonderful spot in our galaxy. There is already a petition running on the station to name the planet after the poet. It goes without saying I have already added my name to this petition. Planet Enderby is a perfect name for the famed Ringed Body, I must say.

*EDITOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately, the poem as well as other works of the poet Enderby has been lost to time. Planet Enderby was eventually destroyed in the Five Hundred Race War.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Derelict



This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Derelict

A bit of mystery today. We chanced upon a derelict ship on the way to Lepus Lupus via Quadra Outpost 453. The captain sent in a scouting and rescue team but they found no one on board and no clue at all as to what had happened to them.

They left nothing behind – no clothes, no food, no records. It was as if somebody built a ship, didn’t bother to staff and stock it and then left it here in the middle of nowhere.

The ship is a somewhat recent model of the Granadus Cocellator with optional Avalon engines (according to my copy of Ebernexer’s Complete Guide to Spacefaring Vessels) so it is not a cheap ship to be snuffed at either.

We wondered if this was the celestial version of the infamous Mary Celeste but many of my fellow crewmembers refused to discuss it, citing superstition.

I, for one, am not superstitious but I also do not want to tempt fate and so this is all I have to say of the matter.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Candor




This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Candor

Rumour has it that this colony was originally meant to be named “Condor” but when the mistake was realised it was too late to change it. I suppose the colonists were lucky that their new name had a positive meaning as well. I will not repeat here my dislike of spelling “Candor” with a dropped “U” but this sentence will serve as a short reminder of it anyway.

Candor is a cold, blue rock situated near the rim of its system. Humankind would not normally colonise such a miserable place such as this but this small planet happens to possess large reserves of a mineral that is in large demand but in rare supplies in other parts of the galaxy.

What exactly this mineral is has been a topic of great discussion not only amongst the crew but amongst many other space travellers as well. But as it is a well-kept secret, we will never know what mineral it is exactly.

So it goes that large mining corporations have set up shop here and begun operations in earnest. We dropped off a great number of passengers here, many of them understandably not looking forward to their new jobs. Their lack of enthusiasm was readily apparent on their faces as we processed them and showed them the door to their new home.

I must profess that as weary as I often get with my own job on this ship, I am glad I am not in their dirty mining shoes.

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Betelgeuse




This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Betelgeuse

We are making a pass near Betelgeuse, the red supergiant. “Near” isn’t exactly accurate, as we are quite a distance away from it. But on the grand scale of the universe, we are but a stone’s throw away.

Even at this great distance (I estimate we are three times the diameter of the solar system away from Betelgeuse) the bright red star glowers at us, its huge disc constant burning through our thick windows.

Making a pass this near a red supergiant was not on our original itinerary. Rumour has circulated amongst the crew that a group of scientists that came aboard at Andromeda had requested the captain to make such a detour.

Normally the captain would not allow such an outrageous request, as the path would have to be painstakingly calculated beforehand. We suspect the captain, or the owner of our vessel, was paid handsomely for such a trip.

Too bad those credits will not be trickling down to the likes of us.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Starship Aprilis: Andromeda



This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

~ ~ ~

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

~ ~ ~

Andromeda

Andromeda is one of the earliest settlements that was established by humankind. This is clear upon approach towards the planet. Many sparkling lights dot the continents on its dark side, betraying the large advances of development the planet has seen during the past centuries humankind has lived there.

Andromeda is unique in that for a ship to approach and land, it first must make a loop around Andromeda’s twin moons. I am told the reasons are two-fold. First, it is due to security. As one of the oldest colonies, it receives a lot of traffic from Earth as well as other colonies and this is one of the ways the authorities delay the ships from landing while they perform the necessary checks.

Secondly, the twin moons are in danger of falling out of their orbits and scientists have predicted a twenty per cent chance of at least one of the rocks to plummet down onto the planet. Having the many ships circle around the moons, apparently helps prevent this from happening.

How true this is, I do not know. All I know is, the approach towards Andromeda can be long and tedious.

Once on the planet, it is as if one has never left Earth. We have reshaped and modelled it to look as much as possible like our home planet, and have been quite successful at it. Andromeda is not a planet one visits to seek exciting new adventures and new experiences.

Friday, 30 March 2012

The Starship Aprilis

The Starship Aprilis was a common and unremarkable transport ship built on Earth, back when humans were still bipedal and mostly organic creatures. The ship travelled between the many human colonies that were established at the time throughout the galaxy and served as both a cargo carrier and passenger transporter.

The ship finally met its end when it was stuck in a crushing gravity field off of Taurus Baqara C, which killed all who were aboard and destroyed all the on-board data and most importantly, the ship’s log. Of the ship only a small section survived, which was discovered quite recently several million light years away, in a slow decaying orbit around a black hole.

The remains of the ship offers no clue as to what really happened to consign the ship to its fate. The only document that could be salvaged from the remains is a travelogue, believed to be written by an unknown crewmember. The travelogue offers a glimpse of what life was like for a traveller of the stars in those heady days, thousands and thousands of years ago. Most importantly, it gives us a glimpse of many different planets and what they were like during the time.

The following entries are excerpts from the travelogue. May you find amusement and enjoyment from reading them.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Travelogue entries will be linked to as they appear throughout the month of April.

~ ~ ~




This blogpost is part of the A to Z Challenge which begins on April 1st. The goal is to post every day (except Sunday) in the month of April. Each blogpost will be associated with a letter of the alphabet. Check the A to Z Challenge page for more information.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Obligatory Birthday Post.

I was reading The Malaysian Reader, a really good local book blog which celebrates its second birthday today.

That made me wonder when my blog's birthday was. Turns out its today as well. Oops. Totally forgot!

I made a promise to myself in that first blog post (get a story published in an American magazine) and I've still to deliver on that. Probably because over the years I forgot what I started this blog for... it started out as a blog to document my writing and over time it slowly became a blog about books and writing in general.

Well, I'm still young (or so many people tell me) so I've still got time. But I'd better work harder because the competition is so much more tougher and crazier than it was in 2006.

I really want to make 2012 a year where I write more than I've written before, and so far I've been more productive in my fiction than I've ever been in the past six years. Hopefully I will be able to show the fruits of my efforts before the year is out.

For those who've been reading my blog over the years, especially those who kept asking why I didn't post during my wilderness years (2009-2011) where I didn't post much and even when I did it wasn't about books, thanks for being loyal and sticking around.

As you can see, I'm blogging about books and writing consistently again and hopefully I will continue to do so for many years to come. :)

And for those who've been bugging me for a digital copy of Haruki Murakami's Pinball, 1973, boy, have I got something special for you soon...

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Roald Dahl on stamps? Scrumdiddlyumptious!

From Galleycat comes word that the Royal Mail issued Roald Dahl stamps featuring Quentin Blake's artwork. They're beautiful.


The stamps were issued on 10th January though and I guess that means I missed out on buying the First Day Cover.

*sadface*

And in case you didn't know, I've blogged quite a bit about Roald Dahl in the past, do check out my older posts.

P/S
Also can somebody tell me why my rant post about commemorative covers suddenly became the second most popular post? Did someone on a philatelic forum say I was being dumb on the internet or something?

Friday, 24 February 2012

J.K. Rowling's Next Book.

Wow. This is big news.

J.K. Rowling has announced she will be publishing a book for adults with Little, Brown later this year:
"Although I’ve enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world. The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry's success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher.  I am delighted to have a second publishing home in Little, Brown, and a publishing team that will be a great partner in this new phase of my writing life."

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Chameleonesque.

Apologies for the constantly changing look and feel of this blog.

I'm currently experimenting with the look and feel and messing about with Blogger's template editor. I've yet to settle on something I truly feel reflects what this blog should look like so more changes in the coming days are likely.

For the longest time this blog looked very generic and I've always been wanting to change that and I now feel it is time to do something about it.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Wonderful Simplicity of an E-reader

One other thing I did not mention in my Kindle Touch review was that I liked how it simplified things and made me concentrate purely on reading, compared to the iPad where I'd read for a bit, then wonder what's going in the Twitterverse or would suddenly feel the compulsion to check the history of instant noodles in Europe on Wikipedia.

That doesn't happen when I'm reading on the Kindle. The device disappears and I'm lost in the book, which is how it should be.

Librarian Bohyun Kim seems to agree:
The greatest problem I had with an iPad ‘as an e-reader’ was that aside from its weight and the eye-straining screen, I could not really concentrate on reading for a long time. I don’t know if this is a non-issue for others with stronger willpower. But for me, this was certainly a big problem. While reading, I would get easily distracted into web surfing, checking e-mails, and reading tweets and Facebook updates.  On the other hand, on this single-purpose device, it was easy to continue reading for a much longer time. Sometimes, I would have an urge to go online and do something else. But often I would just ignore the urge as I simply didn’t feel like moving.
Of course, you could just read a paper book instead but where's the fun in that?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

REVIEW: Kindle Touch


Ah, the e-ink reader. For years I've been wanting to try one out but never knew anyone who owned one. Then when I actually bought one for myself, all sorts of people (including my best friend who never thought it pertinent to tell me he bought one) came out of the woodwork and told me how they were enjoying their own e-ink readers.

In any case, for the longest time I was skeptical over the idea of reading e-books because reading them on a computer was uncomfortable both for my back and for my eyes and reading them on an e-reader was out of the question for me because they were being sold for outrageous prices. I had read about e-readers that used e-ink which used digital screens that were supposed to have the clarity and the sharpness of print on paper and how they were supposed to be comfortable to read on while having the benefits of being digital.

But alas, e-ink e-readers were expensive and I didn't know anyone who owned one. So for the longest time I stayed away from e-books and didn't see the need for them. My library of paper books was quite expansive as it was and I didn't need to invest in an e-reader for my reading fix.

Fast forward to early 2010. I had bought the first generation iPad for my wife so she could surf the internet while she breastfed our daughter. (She was complaining of boredom.) The iPad was being touted as competition for Amazon's Kindle so I tried using it as an e-reader. It was an okay experience. Okay, because the apps available to read e-books on it were plentiful, as were the books available for them. On the whole, I quite liked reading on the iPad and didn't really have problems with reading on it hours on end, like most people did.

There left one problem. And it was a major one for me. The iPad was just too damn heavy. One of the reasons I started reading e-books on the iPad was because I was becoming increasingly fed up with publishers releasing new books in large, bulky and most annoyingly, heavy hard covers.

The straw that broke me and my camel's back was the hard cover edition for Haruki Murakami's 1Q84. It weighs over five kilogrammes and is two and a half inches thick. Try holding that behemoth with one hand while standing in a crowded KTM Komuter train heading to Seremban at half past seven in the evening during rush hour. Not the most pleasant of activities, I assure you, even when there's a Murakami tome involved.

Back to the iPad. The iPad is only 680 grammes, which is a huge improvement over 1Q84 but the problem with the iPad is that it spreads its weight over a 10 inch screen and holding it one-handed on a crowded train can be quite tough on the wrist over a very short period of time. So while the iPad is a good e-reader at home, when lying on the bed, it falls short where I need it the most--the long emptiness of the span of time that is called the Train Commute to Work, also known as The Time Wot I Get All My Reading Done.

One day, finally, a colleague brought in to work a Kindle Keyboard (then known as the Kindle 3). I asked to take a look and I was ASTOUNDED!!! with the e-ink screen. So it was true what other people had claimed. E-ink screens really did look like paper. I couldn't believe my eyes. The other thing I couldn't believe was how light the Kindle was. I had imagined it to be as heavy as my iPad.


I contemplated getting one but the price was still too expensive for me. As if on cue, in stepped Amazon. They announced the ridiculously cheap US$79 Kindle and the $99 Kindle Touch. I knew this was the time to get one. I first thought of getting the $79 Kindle but after weeks of soul searching I realised I had so gotten used to the touch capabilities of the iPad, as well as the ability to simply tap a word to define it, I decided that the Kindle Touch would be the better option.

So I bit the bullet, coughed up about RM330 and asked my very same colleague who showed me his Kindle Keyboard to have it shipped from the US for me. Not a bad price, considering Kindle Malaysia asks for RM570 for it and they try to justify the extra cost by giving you a shitty case.

The iRiver Story HD, the e-reader that's being sold by MPH Bookstores and therefore the easiest e-reader to buy anywhere in Malaysia, is still a lot more expensive than my Kindle Touch and goes for RM499, and that's after they heavily discounted it after Christmas from its original highway robbery price of RM799.

The Kindle Touch weighs approximately 212 grammes and is lighter than a typical mass market paperback. I can hold it one-handed in a crowded train, in the loo, while copulating and while playing Wii Tennis matches, no problems. No wrist aches to be had. It features a rubberised back so your fingers do not slip while holding it and grips the Kindle. Very useful during intense, sweaty Wii Tennis matches, trust me.

At first glance, the Kindle Touch does not seem to have any buttons. The front features nothing but the screen, the word "Kindle" on the bezel at the top of the screen, and something that looks like a titchy speaker grille on the bottom bezel.

That titchy speaker grille is Amazon's bizarre design choice for a home button. I have no complaints though; it works as it should. I press it, and it takes me to the Kindle's home screen.

As for the home screen, it is spartan in design but it gets the job done. Many people have complained to Amazon asking for them to improve it but having used the Kindle app on iPad, I think the interface is better. Lots could still be improved about it (a better interface to manage libraries and books that are archived in Amazon's cloud service for starters), but I can live with what's available.

Navigation is done all by touch gestures. Some people prefer buttons to turn pages, but having never used previous iterations of the Kindle, I can't say I miss them. Touching the screen to turn pages back and forth, as well as accessing the dictionary and other menus is natural when you're simply touching or swiping the screen.

There is a slight delay between the time you touch the screen and the time the action you requested is performed but the delay is negligible and would probably only be noticed by users used to Apple's lightning fast iOS devices.

This is due to the technology the Kindle Touch uses for its touch detection. Unlike most devices with an LCD screen that detects the user's fingers directly, the Kindle Touch uses infrared beams that are shot out from the sides of the screen and monitors anything that interrupts those beams to detect finger strokes and swipes. The finger movement data collected from the infrared beams then have to be passed over to the CPU on the Kindle Touch, which then performs the action you requested, for example, a page turn.


If it was just a button, the page would have turned instantly. Even so, after using the Kindle Touch for a few days, the delay becomes unnoticeable and Amazon has released a firmware update that has increased the speed of page turns which drastically negates the complaints somewhat.

The e-ink screen is sharp and clear and obviously very good for reading. It is slightly recessed, thanks to the infrared sensors, and the bezels might cause some shadowing in bright sunlight. That is just a minor complaint however and speaking of sunlight, thanks to e-ink technology, I can bring the Kindle Touch anywhere outdoors and still be able to easily read it in bright sunlight, which is a huge contrast to LCD screens like on the iPhone or iPad.

Unfortunately, this also means the screen is not backlit, and when it's dark I tend to have trouble reading the screen. Reading in bed with the lights off is definitely a no-no and if you need to do something like that, you'd need to get a clip-on reading light or the Kindle Touch Lighted Leather Cover that Amazon sells.

Amazon makes it extremely difficult for Malaysians to buy e-books from them but it is not impossible. I'm glad I've managed to circumvent their region locks because once you get into the Kindle Store, a whole new world of books opens up for you.

Books that have zero to little chance of ever reaching Malaysia are now easily bought and I'm not talking about the obvious ones like Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses but also a lot of indie self-published books that you've never heard of but no less awesome than their mainstream, traditionally published compatriots. Newly released books are an instant one-click buy away. No more waiting for local booksellers to bring them in one or two weeks later (if you're lucky).


And while Malaysians are prone to disrespecting copyright, I am not of that ilk. I tend to buy my books and guess what, newly released e-books are at most $14.99, which is about RM45. Compare that to a newly released hard cover in Malaysia that ofttimes goes for RM79 to RM119. Older books go for a lot cheaper, though not as cheap as indie titles which go down as low as $2.99 and sometimes even $0.99.

The fact that Amazon makes it so simple to buy books from within my Kindle and for them to be able to make it so affordable (the Americans would like you to think that e-books by traditional publishers are expensive but they don't know how expensive it is here) has made me lose all interest in going to a normal bookstore. There, I said it. I don't go into bookstores anymore. Amazon has spoiled it for me and ruined the bookstores. Sorry, but I go where convenience is.

There's also a great secret feature in the Kindle that mostly goes unnoticed. Most people think once you get a Kindle, you are locked into buying books from Amazon. Not true at all. Thanks to a web browser that Amazon conveniently supplies with the Kindle, you can use it to visit other online book retailers, like Smashwords.

You could even visit free e-book websites like Manybooks.net and Project Gutenberg. And get this, you can download e-books from these websites directly into your Kindle, without having to use a pesky USB cable and plugging it into your computer. So no, you are not locked into buying only from Amazon with a Kindle. What's wrong with buying from Amazon anyway? They're the best bookstore on the planet, bar none.


There are other great secret features in the Kindle Touch that I found useful but that would have to wait for future blog posts. This particular review is already getting too long.

Those who think e-books are not for them, those who need to feel and smell the paper in books for them to enjoy it, well, I used to be one of them. But after owning a Kindle Touch, I think I can live without the feel and smell of paper.

A friend once asked me if I'd ever miss paper. I told her, why would I miss it? The study room in my house is a library with walls lined with bookshelves filled to the brim with hundreds of books I've bought over the years, some dating back to my childhood. No, I will not miss paper because paper will never go away, but it has to make space for the oncoming digital storm. Some might say the digital storm is already here.

The Kindle Touch has been the best purchase I have ever made. I thought I liked reading before, but the experience cannot compare to reading on a Kindle.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Currently Reading.

I am currently (actively) reading these books:

At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

I loved Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything and when I discovered he had written a book that's the exact opposite of that one, I pounced upon it.

Instead of a macro view of history like the previous book, Bryson instead takes us on a journey that documents the history of normal and mundane household objects, ones we usually take for granted.

What follows is an epic journey across most of the Victorian era with the occasional trip to the height of the Roman Empire and some other notable periods of time in human history. A good read, even if you have only enjoyed Bryson's numerous travelogues.



The Technologists by Matthew Pearl

Matthew Pearl's latest historical fiction will only be released on 21st February but I managed to get my hands on a preview copy.

The book is set in the mid-Ninteenth Century, during the initial years of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and follows the adventures of some students who are constantly harangued by their rivals at Harvard and by the general populace who fear them for using science "beyond human understanding."

It's almost steampunk-esque in a way and there are many weird happenings in the plot that almost takes the book to a fantastical bent. But I'm sure Pearl will keep things grounded... with science.

Expect a review soon.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentine's Special: Get Zombies Ate My Muslim Free!

Give the love of your life the gift of zombies! Muslim-eating zombies!



My short story e-book Zombies Ate My Muslim is free only on Valentine's Day and can be downloaded from Amazon's Kindle Store.

UPDATE: Offer has ended. Thanks to everyone who downloaded the e-book! Hope you enjoy it!

Currently Available E-Books

Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Google Play | Kobo
Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Google Play | Kobo
Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Google Play | Nook