Sony adds DRM against author’s wishes

It has come to my attention that the Sony Reader Store added DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) to copies of my novel Blue Screen of Death. I do not approve of DRM, and it was never my intention for my book to be sold with it.

I’m not sure why Sony did this. They do not add DRM to all of the books they sell, but Sony does have a terrible history of putting anti-consumer technologies into their media products, which is why I try to avoid purchasing Sony products.

I’ve begun the process of removing my book from the Sony store, and I do not plan to make future work available there. If you were one of the readers who purchased Blue Screen of Death from Sony, I would like to replace your copy for one without DRM. Contact me at, tell me approximately when you purchased your copy and where you live, and I will send you a DRM-free copy of the book to replace the defective copy sold to you by Sony. (This offer ends when I believe I’ve replaced all the copies indicated in my Sony sales statements.)

DRM is not the solution to piracy. The solution is to provide good products at fair prices. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and other ebook retailers have authorized, DRM-free copies of Blue Screen of Death available at a bargain price. Please support these booksellers who honor the wishes of their authors.

Quick Review: The Starcrossed

The StarcrossedThe Starcrossed by Ben Bova

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An amusing tale of the crazy mid-1970s television industry. It’s told as a science fiction story, but isn’t really necessary. It’s based on the adventures of Ben Bova and Harlan Ellison in the making of The Starlost, a pathetic 1973 science fiction show. I’m sure there are lots of inside jokes for those who know the backstory, but it’s not necessary to appreciate the antics of these outrageous characters and their scheming. I laughed out loud a couple times during this fast read.

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Review: Timecaster

TimecasterTimecaster by Joe Kimball

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Timecaster is more of an action/adventure story set in the future than a hard science fiction novel. Nevertheless, J.A. Konrath (writing as Joe Kimball) puts some interesting what-if ideas out there, and they help the story to good effect. It’s a fast read–one cliffhanger after another. Overall, it was a nice mindless escape with the usual Konrath humor, lots of imaginative action sequences, and downright over-the-top violence and sex.

I have a few minor quibbles with the plot, which I’ll leave out to avoid spoilers. There are some anachronistic cultural references that should be long forgotten by the time of the story, but, as those are mostly just punchlines to throwaway jokes; they don’t adversely affect the story.

The book felt short, both in actual length and in the sense that the ending leaves you hanging. It’s as though Konrath held back the final act in order to sell a sequel. Someday, I might read the next one in the series, but it’s not high on my list.

Formatting for the nook was pretty good, with just a few missing characters and a couple of backwards apostrophes. I wish the legacy publishers wouldn’t put so much front matter in their ebooks; the reader has already bought the book and shouldn’t have to click through pages of jacket copy. It felt like padding, as did the useless glossary at the end. Perhaps if there were links to the glossary wherever the futuristic terms are used, it would have been useful. But, honestly, the meanings are clear enough in context, and, by the time you get to the end of the book and realize there’s a glossary, it’s too late to make a difference.

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Quick Review: Spook Country

Spook Country (Blue Ant, #2)Spook Country by William Gibson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The chapters alternate among three separate story lines that eventually intersect at the climax of the novel. I really enjoyed the characters in one of these lines, but the other two didn’t pique my interest until at least the halfway point.

But all along, it seemed to be building to something bigger, something more important. There were so many hints of backstory, that I expected a lot more revelations and interesting interactions, but I was disappointed. If you’re paying attention, the ending isn’t a surprise. And if you aren’t paying attention, don’t worry, the last couple chapters recap exactly what happened.

I got more out of _Pattern Recognition_, the first book of Gibson’s Blue Ant series. I’ll probably read the third book, _Zero History_, because I already own it. If I didn’t, it would be a lower priority.

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Read an Ebook Week

Blue Screen of Death cover imageToday marks the beginning of Read an Ebook Week. I learned about it from a Smashwords email. Looks like it’s a Canadian thing. Nevertheless, it seemed like a good opportunity to start letting people know that my debut novel Blue Screen of Death is now available at the obvious places. Eventually, it should also appear in places like the iTunes bookstore, but getting into those catalogs takes a bit longer than the major ebook retailers.

What will I be reading this week? Probably Spook Country by William Gibson. I recently enjoyed Pattern Recognition, which is the first book in the Bigend Cycle.

Let me know in the comments what you’ll be reading this week. And if it’s my book, make sure you leave a review.