Farming Followers

TO the guy who followed and unfollowed me on Twitter four times in the space of an hour (no doubt so that I’d get the notifications), and then sent a whiny message via my contact page asking why I didn’t follow back: Here’s why.

  • You’re already following a huge number of Twitter accounts. More than 30,000, in fact. Anything I write is going to be lost in the noise. You didn’t follow me because you want to read what I have to say; in fact, following that many people, I doubt that you give a shit about what any of them have to say because you can’t possibly have time to read them all. Or maybe you muted 99% of them, which again means you don’t care what most of them have to say. That tells me that you follow because you want follow-backs to swell your follower count, and nothing more.
  • I might have followed you regardless of that huge following count, if you had something worthwhile to say (I follow quite a few who follow thousands, because despite that they are often entertaining). But when I glanced at your timeline I found that nine out of ten tweets are promoting your book (which I checked out and doesn’t interest me), and the remainder are mostly right-wing conspiracy-theory bullshit about Obama wanting to take your guns away. It’s boring and repetitive, and more than a little mental. I have no reason to follow nutjobs.

Under normal circumstances I just would have ignored you. I get followed by a lot of people playing follower-farmer, and most of them unfollow me after a day or two when I don’t join in the game. But they don’t usually go at me over and over, and they don’t contact me complaining about not getting a follow-back. You did, and you pissed me off, so now you’re blocked.

Rant mode off. For my regular readers, normal service will resume shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Reading List, TV List

THANKS to a two-week break over Christmas and New Year I was able to spend a bit more time catching up with my reading list. And there’s been some seriously good TV on, too.

As a result, here’s a short list of some books and TV I’d like to recommend.

Books

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan: (I posted a review of this a couple of weeks ago.) Steampunk/Alternate History. I couldn’t put it down. As I write this, it’s on sale for $1.99 in the US Kindle Store.

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Dammit, why does this thing keep putting pictures sideways?

Unseemly Science by Rod Duncan: Sequel to The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, and again I couldn’t put it down. In Duncan’s alternate-history Britain, the International Patent Office stifles scientific research that they consider “unseemly”—but medical research is an exception, and is never unseemly. Or is it? Elizabeth Barnabus, our hero from the first book, finds herself following the trail of a surgeon who’s up to no good. Also on sale in the US Kindle Store at the moment. A third book is coming out on February 2 (eBook and US release; February 4 for UK paperback), and I have that date marked in my calendar.

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Planetfall by Emma Newman. I started into this yesterday and I’m about two-thirds through. A must-read for sci-fi fans. [UPDATE: finished it. Damn, this is a good read.]

[More updates: I knew I’d forgotten a few things:]

The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. This is a series of urban fantasy novels about a two thousand year-old Irish Druid living in Arizona. Now, I’ve never been big on urban fantasy in the past but these books (and Chuck Wendig’s (see below)) have changed all that. These aren’t your dad’s fantasy stories, all heavy-going plodding stuff. These are fun reads you’ll find hard to put down. Trust me on this.

The Miriam Black novels by Chuck Wendig. More urban fantasy; darker and grittier stuff than Iron Druid. Miriam Black just needs to touch someone to know how and when they will die. That takes a terrible toll on her; she’s definitely damaged goods, but you can’t help being on her side. Three books to date, with a fourth out at the end of February 2017 (yes, you read that right. 2017.)

TV

(Actually I watched these online—my cable provider has an on-demand feature that means I can watch TV shows in a browser, and some shows are available online before they air. In case you’re wondering.)

The Expanse: On Ceres, a police investigator is trying to track down a missing heiress, and meanwhile someone’s trying to start a war between Earth and Mars. Oh, boy. I can’t say much about this without risking spoilers, so I’ll just say that if you haven’t seen it then you should. I’m five episodes in and can’t wait for the next one. (Aside: I’ve always liked Thomas Jane and his performance in this is, I think, the best he’s given.)

Outlander: Right after WWII, a woman is transported back to mid-18th century Scotland. The entire first season had aired before I started watching, so I’ve been catching up. I’m nine episodes in and pretty well hooked. And I want to punch Black Jack Randall right in the face. (One thing, though: as an Englishman with one-quarter Scottish blood, I can’t help but wonder if English soldiers of the 18th century, as depicted in shows like this and numerous others, were really that nasty and evil. It seems to be generally accepted without question that they were. I’d really like to know how accurate that is.)

Colony: Alien invasion story—which maybe has been done to death, especially recently, but there’s always room for something if it has fresh ideas. Is this that show? I can’t say yet—only the pilot episode is available online as I write this, so it really hasn’t got itself up to speed yet, I think. Still, I found the pilot compelling and I’ll definitely be watching more.

Mr. Robot: People have been saying good things about this, and even though I’m only halfway through the pilot episode I can see why. I’ll be watching more of this, too.

Now, I’d really better get back to getting some work done on the Artemis sequel. (Evenings are more TV and book time for me.)

Until next time . . .

Resolutions

. . . ACTUALLY, I don’t really have any. I stopped doing New Year Resolutions years ago, because I never kept them and it became pretty obvious to me that I really never would.

The truth is, I sort of make resolutions all year round; that is, on any given day I might make some decision that there’s something I’m going to do, or stop doing. Then I try my best to stick to it. Making a point of setting goals for the following ENTIRE YEAR then trying to make those happen really doesn’t work for me.

Example: you make a New Year resolution to, say, quit smoking, and you do. And you make it to February 1 before something stresses you to the point where there are two choices: (1) light one up, or (2) tear someone’s head off. So you light up. And that’s it—you’ve broken the resolution, so you think to yourself that you’ve failed and you might as well give up trying to give up. Until the next New Year comes round and maybe you’ll set another New Resolution. Wouldn’t it be better to just make a February 2 resolution to try again?

Yeah, I know, I’m kinda waffling here. It’s one of those days.

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Ok, so here’s a short list of a few things I know I’d really like to get done over the new few weeks or months. This is as close to a list of resolutions as it’s likely to get:

  • Clean my desk up. It’s a damned mess.
  • Get the garage sorted out. Right now there are two sofas and a stove in there that need to be sold or donated or otherwise disposed of, and I’d like to clear the space so that I can use the garage as a garage. (The reason for the sofas still being there is that, despite being years old, they’re really comfortable and I’ll be sorry to see them go. But we don’t have room for them and I have to be realistic.)
  • Write at least two full length books before, say, the end of August. The Artemis sequel will be one of those, for sure. And since I’ve as good as decided to make Artemis a trilogy, the sequel to the sequel might very well be the other. We’ll see.
  • Learn to play the piano. Seriously. Some time ago, Kate bought me this really nice keyboard that comes with teaching software, but I just couldn’t seem to master it and the thing’s been sitting behind my office chair gathering dust. See the picture. Nice, huh? I’d like to see about some actual lessons with a teacher, if it’s not too crazy expensive.
  • I think that’s about it for now. Other things will occur to me as time goes on.

Until next time . . .