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Posts by davefreer

A fair go

Now, while it is said – with some truth – that I took the important aspects of my children’s education upon myself – as a result they have the requisite skills to hang by one arm from a tree, scratch with the other, and fling coconuts with their feet, they did attend school. Someone had to teach them reeling, writhing and fainting in coils, after all. Just down the road from their school was jolly posh establishment – probably the toff… toffee-n… er… top private boarding school in the country. Undoubtedly in the top four, and the most expensive at the time. Read more

On tribes, divisions and markets.

I’m not American, so actual US citizens are welcome to entirely disregard my opinions (hell, they’re opinions. You’re welcome ignore them, no matter where you come from. But I am talking about a country and a market that is not my own. ) Of course, sometimes from outside the trees, you can see the wood. Please understand that I don’t personally care what your politics or beliefs are, I am putting the status quo and future in writing world – particularly of sf/fantasy in the biggest English market, the US, as I see it. That almost certainly will be wrong. The arguable point is how far wrong. What I hope is worth deriving is how you can position yourself to work best for your writing sales. Read more

Infinity Wors

‘Wors’ is a kind of South African Sausage that is not formed into links.  And thus it can be any length you please.  It’s sold in coils, like rope. If you’re planning to see ‘Infinity War’ this contains spoilers.

I went to see a movie while I was visiting my son and daughter-in-law. Part of that was they wanted to see it, and part of it was that I make some small effort to know what is going on in the world of entertainment, outside of my little world on a remote island. People have been talking about the whole superheroes thing, and comics in the last while, so I thought I’d better at least understand it. Read more


(Which does not necessarily mean ‘ex-pants’ – but may possibly do so under certain circumstances.)

I’ve been away for the week, taking the hand I was supposed to rest after a 12 pound spiny lobster put a feeding claw through my glove and some of my hand (just a few stitches, should be fine) for that rest.

Running with suitcases to catch your connection because your flight has been delayed is a kind of rest, I guess. Story of my life, really 🙂 Read more

To con or not

Conventions – what are they, and what are they worth to me (and my writing career). This is principally a writer’s advocacy and support site, but most of us got into sf/fantasy because we liked to read it, or at least some of it. The line between writer and fan is blurred one – which is a good thing.

Let me start by saying as marketing tool for most noobs and even midlisters Cons are singly useless. If – for all the expense and hassle and stress you get to breaking triple digits worth of extra sales… you’ve done exceptionally well. Of course one can achieve that with a single Bookbub or even a Kindle countdown. Unless you’re a flamboyant extravert with self-promoting skill at the Scalzi level, it’s not going to – in financial terms – break even, unless the con is in your home town, and entry is exceptionally cheap. Read more

The chances of anything coming from the stars…

The chances of anything coming from the stars

Are a billion to one, they said.

The chances of anything coming from the stars

but still, they come… (with apologies to Jeff Wayne)

Poncha and Belly sat looking out a vast expanse of ocean from their seat on the upturned hollowed out log – a log that taken Poncha and four of his cousins three months to chip out with clam-shells, and could now transport – when it didn’t tip over, two people and as much as half a man-weight of clams. Well, as long as one of the two men wasn’t as fat as Belly. And it was fast too. Nearly as fast as a man could jog… If the tide was going the right way, and the wind wasn’t against you.

Poncha shook his head. “Nonsense, Belly. I mean even if there really are other tribes out there,” he pointed vaguely at the horizon, “Why would they come here? It would take weeks and weeks of poling, even if it wasn’t too deep. And how would they carry enough food?”

“Maybe they got bigger trees. Maybe they make bigger hollowed out logs,” said Belly.

Poncha sighed. His cousin was fond of imagining impossible doomsday things. Only last week he come up with the crazy idea of someone making a spear that could be thrown more than fifty paces. When Poncha said a spear was just too heavy to throw that far, let alone further, Belly said you could make it smaller and lighter. Ha. As if such a spear would do any harm to anything. “Look, Belly, if they have bigger trees, and can build bigger hollowed out logs – why would they bother to come here? We only got little trees, and with a big hollowed out log they can collect far more clams from the outer banks than anyone could eat. Why come here?”

Belly was silent for a while. The he said: “For our women.” Read more

The Weapon Shops of Isher

I must have been around 14 when I decided that if I didn’t want to change my name to Nostril, I’d better work on… if not winning fights, making them at least painful and unpleasant for anyone who decided to beat up the littlest guy (which, at that time, was me). Within a month or two of more or less a fight a day, then one every two days, and gradually less… and black eyes and a nose that remains very skew, and a fair number of bruises, I had acquired something of a reputation that took me from being the kicking-boy to someone you really didn’t want to mess with just for fun. I got a little better at it too. It didn’t stop me getting my clock cleaned a few more times later and getting my nose broken again… because weight and size differentials meant that I was going to lose, and sometimes bigger people wanted me to lose badly enough (or were sure enough of themselves) to take it to me. It was a learning process for everyone. I learned that some opponents were just too big. They learned that there were easier, softer targets. Life at boarding school went from tough to just something you had to do, with elements of STALKY & CO outside the tedium of classes.

Curiously, what sparked the end to the Dave-getting-thumped era was a book of my brother’s. I had a cheerfully communist attitude to my older brother’s books –which, oddly, as he bought the books, was an attitude he did not share. I think one of the intrinsic flaws of the theory of communism is explained by this! Like in writing, point-of-view is important. Anyway, the book I had ‘shared’ from his collection was AE Van Vogt’s WEAPON SHOPS OF ISHER. Now, honestly the book didn’t blow me away.

But the concept of the Weapon Shops did, because whether Van Vogt realized it or not, the customers of the Weapon Shops were always going to be people like me. Read more