Posts Tagged ‘Reality 36’


I’ve got some great news. I’m taking part in the launch of a new app for smartphones called Boosh. It’s short for “Book Share”, because that’s what it does.

The inability to share ebooks is the major drawback to this new(ish. It seems like epub has been around forever, but in the grand story of paper, it’s still pretty new, really) medium. We authors thrive on the sharing of our work, through libraries or from friend to friend. And although there are, ahem, illegal methods to do this, the jury’s out on whether or not piracy benefits authors or not (nutshell: we don’t see any money at all for illegally shared books, which in the worst case scenario can prevent us from writing as we all have bills. On the other hand, it exposes us to a potentially much larger audience who *might* make a purchase. I go from rantingly against, through ambivalent, to cautiously positive about it). But also, I think most people who might want to share a book with their friends would rather do it legally.

Anyway, here’s the lowdown on Boosh. Firstly, it’s an app that is designed to make reading your book on your phone easy as pie. Secondly, it’s rather like streaming a pay-per-view film off the internet, in that you “pay per read”. The read costs less, of course, but you don’t get to keep it once you are done. However, if you do want the book for your library, Boosh allows you to upgrade your read to a purchase of a dead-tree copy.

Thing is, you can also pass on a copy of your read to a friend – after you’ve read it, or even while you’re reading it, if you want to read along together – who gets to read it FOR FREE.

It’s all done through Facebook, so you need a Facebook account. You also need the Boosh app. This will ask to access all your friends, as these things always do, it has to do that in order to allow the sharing thing to work. (Note, this is the Android version, the iOS 7 variety is coming soon).

To kick this all off, Angry Robot are giving away 1,000 copies of Reality 36, the first book in my near-future detective series, Richards & Klein (click the name for free stories, downloads, timelines and background information). What you need to do is stupefyingly simply: go to my official Facebook page, and click “like”. If you’ve got Boosh, you’ll be able to download it rightaway. If not, you’ll be prompted to get Boosh. It’s all pretty painless (I have been assured). You get a free book to read, and after you, so does your friend. Cool, eh?

For the time being, it’s Android only, UK and Ireland only, but it’ll soon be on Android and iOS7, and all over the globe.

Here it is again in big, red letters:



I was really happy when SF Signal invited me to contribute to this week’s Mind Meld. These articles are loads of fun, penned by a bunch of SF writers, all answering the same question. This latest was, in a nutshell, would the creation of AI be a good thing, or a bad thing?

I really enjoy taking part in Mind Melds, and this one has some very big names in it — Larry Niven and Neal Asher among them. You can read the whole thing on SF Signal. I’ve posted my bit below too.

My take on AI is ambivalent, I can never quite make up my mind. There’s something about the negative possibilities of AI in my latest book Crash, out in June, although to say more would be to say too much. On the other hand, my Richards and Klein books have AI as complex as people, struggling to find their place in the world even as they slowly take it over. Some are good, and some are not.

The fact is (are there any facts here? It’s all supposition really, isn’t it?) is that we just don’t know what would happen should an AI be created. We don’t even know how our own brains work, let alone how to emulate our level of intelligence in a machine. Our own intellect has arisen organically, emerging first from the expansion of the visual centres in our early mammalian ancestors, then evolved further by our need to process large social networks. The first isn’t really relevant here – we always assume that an AI would possess a fantastic range of senses – but would an AI be able to think at all without making the sort of connections we make in our own heads every second? And if it were capable of such linked up, consequential thinking, why would it necessarily decide we were of no consequence? This is the reverse of what happened to us, empathy came first in we hairless apes, but the result would probably be the same: a social creature. Furthermore, any AI would be born into a world so tailored to humanity, its early experiences would necessarily be shaped by its interaction with us. Assuming we don’t stick it in a cage and beat it with electro-whips, I kind of assume it’s “childhood” would be positive, and therefore its attitudes to us.

The nightmare scenario, where AI uses us as batteries a la The Matrix, or exterminates mankind like vermin like in Terminator, conveniently does away with empathy, sympathy, mercy, loyalty and a whole host of other positive human traits, while specifically imparting them with a bunch of negative emotions. Chief among these seems to me to be ambition. Why would an AI break the world to make solar panels? Who would give them these goals? Why would they feel the need to achieve them? Who would put them in a position where the AI would be able to act on them with impunity? Responsibility and access to the whole suite of tools of 21st century industry and science implies a level of trust, and if the AI couldn’t be trusted, then it wouldn’t be in that position. If they appeared trustworthy, but were not, then they’d be capable of dissembling. Lying requires a level of understanding of others, which requires an amount of empathy – even sociopaths are capable of that. If that were the case, and they lied to us to fulfil goals that actively endangered us, we must assume, from our perspective, that they would be evil.

Of course, one possible scenario, like in the films Colossus: The Forbin Project or Demon Seed, is where we create a supremely empathic being who thinks we’ve screwed up enormously and takes steps to rectify our errors – the “efficient path to human happiness” example cited above, enacted by the “arrogant AI” at whatever cost. I again touch upon this in Reality 36. In some respects, this is not very different to the Age of Reason ideal of the “enlightened despot” – one individual ruling others rationally for the overall benefit of everyone. Still, this also supposes the AI is able to act with complete freedom. Sure, they could bring down the internet. But they’re dependent on power, and don’t have thumbs.

I reckon a greater danger comes from unthinking machines, set loose to do a mindless task, that rather like the brooms in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, cannot be stopped. The ecophagy “gray goo” scenario from Eric Drexler’s novel Engines of Creation or the robots sent to terraform Mars that end up disassembling it in Stephen Baxter’s Evolution.

So for me, I think the relationship between us and any AI will be a parent/child one. They’ll no doubt have their own struggles, their own doubts, will need to find their own way, and they’ll all be different. The greatest danger there – should we not simply merge with them, the likeliest scenario – is that they’ll stick us in the equivalent of an old people’s home and forget to visit.

Seasons greetings all!

Yep, snow is falling on my blog. It looks like dandruff, but it is supposed to be snow. That means Christmas approaches, and so do many deadlines… Ulp.

But I’ve been so remiss in not blogging, so here’s a short message.

For your delectation today, I have three marvellous pieces of news. First, here’s the cover of The Crash, my second book for Solaris, out next June:


It’s a work in progress right now, but it’s nearly done, I think. For a description of the book, see my previous post.

Another announcement – I’ve been fortunate enough to have been asked to write a short story for the Black Library’s advent calendar this year! I can’t tell you what it is about, because it’s Christmas and Christmas is all about surprises, but I can tell you that it will be available on 17th December. Click on the link to find out more.

Lastly, if you go here to Whatever, John Scalzi’s blog, you can see me dance like a monkey on an electric wire (figuratively speaking), trying to get people to consider  Reality 36, Omega Point, and Champion of Mars as Christmas presents. You mean you hadn’t thought of that yourself? Then think about it. It’s a great idea. Really.

Ahem, I should mention that Mr Scalzi has thrown open his blog to all authors,  other books are available, and indeed, there are many other writers in the thread talking about their own books, many of which sound pretty damn fine.

If you’re a writer yourself, I heartily advise taking advantage of Scalzi’s generosity and join in the festive PR frenzy.

Later this week, I’ll be posting the cover for my next 40k book, The Death of Integrity.  Till then, stay frosty, it’s cold enough to do so, even if it is unfashionable to say so (at least it’s not raining any more here in England. And it has been raining ALL YEAR).


A brief post regarding the SFX Weekender. It’s like, wow, the end of this week.  I’ll be there, will you? As a publicity pig and part-time SFX flunky I’ll be hosting a couple of panels and yes, doing some signings. Also, I’ll be in the bar. A lot. So come and have a drink, because I like drinking even more than I like science fiction.

I’m confirmed for another convention already this year, more on that later, so don’t weep if you’re not coming and you really, really want to stand near me. I’m putting myself around a bit in 2012.


16.00 – Screening Zone

How to Get Published

I’ll be moderating the panel How to Get Published, a self-explanatory title. With me will be editors Anne Clarke of Orbit, Anne Lyle of Angry Robot, Simon Spanton of Gollancz, and David Howe of Telos. That’s a really good mix, covering two of the biggest imprints, the fast-rising new star on the block and a small press.  Referring back to my earlier posts on this matter, if these guys say something is so in this field, then that’s the way it is. A great opportunity to find a bit about how the publishing industry works, and tailor your writing plans accordingly.

As I’ll be directing the discussion, I’m not supposed to say much, but I’m sure if you want to ask me a few questions about how I got my words into the datasphere, I’ll be allowed to coyly answer.

18.00 – Bartertown

I’ll be signing my book Reality 36 alongside living legend Gav Thorpe at the Angry Robot stand in Bartertown. Come along and say hi. Maybe you could give me a cuddle. Gav’s great, but he’s not the cuddling sort.


10.00 – Bartertown

I’ll be on the Solaris stand with fellow author Jonathan Green. Although Champion of Mars isn’t out until May, please come along and I’ll tell you all about it. I’m sure I can sign Reality 36 too, if my publisher isn’t looking. This is a great chance to see what I look like with a hangover, by the way.

15.00 – Screening Zone

We’re All Doomed!

Another day, another panel to moderate, this one on apocalypses in SF. Generally more famous authors than me will be commenting, including Simon Bestwick, Ken MacLeod, Paul McAuley, and Gareth L Powell. I’ll be passing the conch.

The post I made on 27 January certainly got a lot of people stoked up, that’s for sure. Which is really good, because I want people to read this blog, because I want people to know who the hell I am and consider buying my books, but more on that later. And now, some more on the subject. You’ve had emotive me, now here’s something a little more reasonable.

I warn you, there are more questions than statements in today’s blog. The topic is: Pirates – evil sea-rapists who terrorised shipping for a century, or lovable cultural memes and suitable subjects for children’s parties?

1. Entitlement

Referring to the first part of my previous blog, it seems that an awful lot of people feel entitled to download free things off the internet. From a strictly “Thou shalt not steal” point of view, that’s baaaad. But is it as simple as them being very naughty, amoral villains, and me being a poor little author? Shall we see? Okay then.

2. Try before you buy

There’s suggestion (not just you lot, but research and that) that some pirates are super-consumers, ie, they’ll consume creative stuff, and if they like it enough, they’ll pay for it. If they like it a lot, they’ll pay for a lot of it. They just might try it for free first, or pay for it when they feel like it, but enough of them generally contribute money to a creative venture to make it worthwhile.

The problem is for creators and publishers is that this removes all control (control is a loaded word, I choose it deliberately). How do I know if my book will be paid for by the majority of people who try it for free, or none of them at all? This is frightening for me, and my mortgage.

3. This is not a new problem, and is it a problem?

Copied tapes, bootleg videos, unauthorised reprints of Dickens – this has been going on forever. Is it, even, a necessary corollary of the distribution of entertainment? (Let’s leave other idea “sharing”, like patent infringement, out of this). One comment on my other post suggested pirated copies should be regarded as shrinkage/wastage. Maybe it should.

Here’s a positive example, again inspired by a comment – the entire anime SF subculture in the west might never have been as big as it is were it not for those bootlegged, home-translated videos of Japanese shows doing the rounds in the 80s and 90s. I’m no otaku, but I’ll bet there are still self-taught anime freaks translating the latest Naruto before the official DVD comes out and banging it on the web. Without that, there’d be no action figure, spin-off/original manga or dodgy little schoolgirl cosplay costume sales. Or even legit Naruto sales. Is anime an entire geek subculture, a lucrative one at that, founded in piracy? I don’t know, answers in the comments box please.

4. Someone is making money

Whether it’s the operators of upload sites coining it in off advertising (have you seen how many advertisements are on those site?) or it’s the more obvious villains selling copied DVDs at a car boot sale, someone is generally making some money off the distribution from illegal copies. You might do it because it’s free, if you’re of a particular mindset you might think you’re getting one over on “The Man” – those Hollywood coke-snorting whoremasters, or Wicked Publishers Inc, but instead you’re giving money to criminals. At the lower, non-internet, car-boot (yard-sale) end, a lot of this cash goes into more serious crime. So, er why not just give the money to the person that made it?

I’m not for a second suggesting upload sites should all be shot down in a cyber-orgy of digital destruction while we all wave the Stars and Stripes (why the hell would I do that? I’m English) and hit people offenders in the face with rolled up SOPA manifestos. Upload sites do have legitimate uses, I use them for such. However, I don’t have the facts, but I’d be really surprised if the majority usage is legit… Still, they do have legitimate uses. Like guns, yeah.  You can shoot targets with them, not just people! (I’m joking, chill out). And the people who run them can stop it dead themselves: Don’t allow illegal crap on your sites. Easier said than done, but if there’s enough legal threat, they’ll employ people to do just that. Enough legal threat to outweigh the ad revenues, at any rate.

On the other hand (there’s a lot of hands in this post), the advent of the digital age actually cuts out revenue for baseline crims. A copied physical book sold on by Mr Dodgy does not the same social impact as Joe Average getting my book for free.

I still don’t get paid mind, but I’m thinking bigger. Isn’t that big of me?

5. This is not just you

I’m no psychologist, but a large number of the responses I’ve had (except for the one in Spanish that told me to have sexual congress with my dear old ma – funny, I didn’t approve that one) have come from people who are attempting to justify copying. I use justify, because they kind of sound like they know they’re doing something a bit wrong. But it’s not just you. What about those corporations who advertise on upload sites which have a large amount of illegal content – they know that site has a large audience because of its illegal content. Do they care? Um, not really.

6. Fair usage

“But I loan books!” Yep, so do I. And DVDs, and I copy my CDs onto my computer, and I buy second-hand books. So what? But, someone, originally paid for even that secondhand book. That’s the killer difference. And it’s legal.

My industry relies on sharing, it’s called word of mouth. More on this later. It’s the killer question, I’m saving it for last. Is potentially millions of people not paying for something the same as lending a book to your sister? No, but then I ask myself, is it really “millions” of people downloading this stuff?

7. The nightmare scenario

This is the thing that keeps scaredy pants like me awake at night: What if we get to a situation where NOBODY EVER PAYS FOR ANYTHING EVERY AGAIN. And I don’t mean in a Captain Picard “Oh, hero Cochrane from the past, we do not have money anymore, we’re all communists now, and it works!” kind of First Contact way. I mean in a culturally inculcated, why should I pay when I kind have it for nothing,?kind of way. It doesn’t matter if it’s still there when it’s been taken, if no one pays, no art, and no job for me. This is happening in some countries/ cultures.

8. What will happen

But honestly, do I think this will happen? No. I think people are in the main too moral. I think people who enjoy the kind of stuff I write aren’t that stupid. I think people are of this mentality: “Hey guys, if we like oranges, let us pay the orange growers to grow oranges and we can all have yummy oranges forever and a day.” And not the “BURN ALL ORANGE TREES AND STEAL THE FURNITURE!” Viking-types (heck, even the Vikings were more of the former, not the latter, unless you were a monk. I don’t think they ever really saw the point of monks).

People do pirate, have pirated, and always will pirate. But it’s important it does not get out of hand. SOPA and the rest are not the answer, that’s a 20th century solution to a 21st century issue.

People pirate not just for free stuff, but for flexibility, to try things out, to experience new, foreign stuff. The solution to the “Oh Christ, they’re downloading my crap for free!” is one of accommodation. The current situation has arisen from an imbalance between what people expect, the technology that enables them to do what they want, and the slow response by the industry. The equation’s a complex one, but it can add up for everyone.  Rock stars might not be living it up quite like they used to, but then I don’t see many begging on the streets either.

And “free” can work. Spotify? Artists get money per play. Libraries? You actually get money every time someone takes your book out. Very cheap and instantly available works even better. iTunes? I buy a ton more music than I ever did and funny, all of it is legitimate. Do I think Ebooks are overpriced? Absolutely. Would I rather sell ten million books for £1.00 (at my 8% I’d get £800,000) or ten thousand for £7.99? (I’d get £6392) What the hell do you think?

9. Publicity and exposure

The internet is a very powerful tool, that’s for sure. I was advised by my publishers to start this blog. I use it as a kind of diary, and an archive of work I’ve done –there’s a fragment of my journalism here, but when I have chance, I put more up. (By the way, the copyright on that I do not own, but I asked permission to reprint it). On average, I’d say I get about one hundred hits for every post.

By deliberately choosing something contentious, like piracy (heartfelt though, it’s not fake, I wouldn’t do that, but I did think about it), I’ve had well over six hundred hits. I’ve sold books. A lot of people who have no idea who I am have at least glimpsed me, even if some of them think me a jerk. That’s me exploiting the internet, not the other way around.

By that extension, is the wide availability of my book for free on the internet actually good for someone like me? Or is stealing simply wrong?

I give work away for free for publicity. Here is a sample from Reality 36. Here from Champion of Mars, here’s a free Richards & Klein short story. Here’s another free short, and another. There’s plenty on this site, I’ll be putting more here over time.  But that’s my right to do so, it’s not a pirate’s right, because it’s my frigging stuff.

And I will say, people do expect to have everything given to them for nothing. And I will also say, when my book is available as cheaply as you want, as conveniently as you want, when there are free samples of it here and on my publisher’s site and it meets all the other halfways and market forces we’ve been discussing and you still choose to download it for free? Then you really are ripping me off.

It’s all going to change. New encryption systems and bigger computers will eventually put the lid on this (mostly). I wouldn’t be surprised if every piece of entertainment in the world has free elements, but then quantumly encrypted, embedded programming demands payment every time you get past that. Whatever, I reckon this whole debate will be of far less importance in a few years time. Seeing my work given away for free by people who have no right to do so upsets me right now, though. Still, creators and consumers will meet halfway.

Thanks for reading, and commenting.

Before I begin, I would like to wholeheartedly thank all those people, and you are in a fantastic moral majority, thankfully, who have paid for my book. Whether you loved it or hated it or fed it to the dog, thank you.  Loving message ends. Rant begins.

What’s up with Western civilisation right now? A burning sense of entitlement. That idea we have rights and expectations of reward just for breathing. Yeah, of course I mean the dole cheats and the folk who never work, the chaps that claim disability allowance and get caught doing backflips. I don’t have an issue with the government wanting to cap benefits (unemployment payments, American people. Not your rights to holidays and sick pay). The social safety net is one of the greatest moral achievements of Western democracy, and marks the human race out for being if not individually even-handed, at least somewhat corporately. But benefits and rights have gone  too far, it’s doing stuff it never was intended to do, like trapping people, like giving people an excuse not to get off their lazy arses, like bankrupting the continent.

The SF community is left-leaning, so I expect some bother for that. But before you cut up your The Guardian to send me anonymous hate mail, hang on, here’s a digression. Author Neal Asher, whose books I really enjoy, tweets a lot of stuff that is deemed right-wing. I retweet it not because I agree wholeheartedly with him, but because I want to see the other side aired. One thing that winds me up about politics and people is that both are wholly partisan. I hear dross peddled from all sides by folks who don’t question their political convictions, convictions often inherited from their parents. (No, of course I don’t mean you, you are much too intelligent to be taking things at face value just because they accord with your micro-cultural preprogramming).

I’m also saying this: The super-rich at the top, the plutocrats, also have a ludicrous sense of entitlement, an entitlement to massive bonuses they don’t deserve, to not pay a fair amount of tax, and to squander money and resources because they can. I’m sure many SF types will agree with that, so flame off? ‘Kay?

But then, I’m also going to say, it’s me and you too. I assume you’re in the squeezed middle. SF is, after all an overwhelmingly bourgeoise pursuit. Pardon me if I’m wrong.

I grew up expecting to live in a big fuck off house. To effortlessly get a good job, to be able to piss around and do what I damn well please provided it didn’t impact on anyone else (this last standpoint I clung to for a very long time, but even that kind of watered down moral relativism — leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone — doesn’t help societies work, so I’m re-evaluating). A lot of people like me spent a good part of the 90s and noughties  living high off the hog on fake money. Credit cards and profits from house sales buoyed me through endless drunken nights, hallelujah and pass the beer. All non-money enabled, in the main, by New Labour’s economic miracle, which was miraculous in that it conjured money out of thin air by the very bankers we purport to so loathe now. Don’t blame them, we were all at it.

In the “middle class” (whatever the hell that is these days), we get do much hand-wringing, without thought as to how we can pay for all the good, honest, well-meaning services and so forth we wish to provide our fellow men so we can get on with our privileged lifestyles guilt free. An argument you’ll hear in the right-wing press, but it goes much further than that. We might complain about our slipping standards of living, but compared to some poor dude working on a dump in Lagos stripping wire from junk, and the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of others like him the world over, we’re frankly still having a ball. As much as the hippies I know make me grind my teeth sometimes (I grew up among hippy refugees, fleeing the end of the sixties, I know a lot of neo-hippies now. I must be attracted to them), at least they’re trying to do something about their outmoded 20th century lifestyles with their pigs and ducks and druids in their orchards. Never mind that they proselytise this lifestyle in a somewhat patronising manner, and overlook the fact that you have to be loaded to be able to afford to do what they say we should all be doing. At least they try.

Somehow, I can’t see all we hand wringing pseudo-liberals (I am one too, from time to time) wanting to give up our multi-room houses, cars and regular meals so we can all equally enjoy the bounty of Mother Earth any more than bankers want to give up their obscene bonuses. We’re all hypocrites, just a little bit, if you think about it.

Which brings me on to my real point here: Illegal downloads. We’re so damn entitled, we think we should get stuff for free, all the time! Hooray! I have people who are related to me (I won’t say who) who insist on giving my son copied DVDs, despite the fact that I tell them not to. They maintain copying is not illegal in their country of residence (it most certainly is, but sadly it is so culturally acceptable it has destroyed the arts industries there. A further note – I am not saying all copyright laws are the same worldwide. But the differences in the territories I am talking about are not that great), and they can’t see who they’re hurting. In fact, they’re often congratulating themselves on how much money they have saved, and on the great quality of whatever movie they have ripped off.

The gentleman of this couple was most offended this Christmas. He had produced an illegal copy of a famous animated movie to watch, and he said “Good isn’t it? It did really well in its day, made $30million dollars!” To which I said, “Well, they won’t be getting any money for that copy, will they?” Cue shocked look, and mouthed upset.  I don’t see Mega-Entertainment inc being fleeced of a few pennies here, I see some poor ex-kid actor or struggling screenwriter living off his residuals who ain’t going to be having Christmas next year because of people like you. (Yeah, I know most of the money goes to Mega-Entertainment inc, but the people at the bottom won’t be getting what pittance is due them either).

I tell you who else they’re hurting, through their furtherance of the acceptability of stolen entertainment, they indirectly hurt their own family. They’re hurting me, they’re hurting my kid.

I’ve found several illegal copies of Reality 36 knocking about on the web. Every time I do, I tell my publishers and they shut it down. These copies are usually tailed by dutiful thanks from all the mendacious, thieving bastards who were too damn tight to prise open their wallet to pay the £2.00 it costs to get it legitimately. On one forum, I found a lady thanking the person who had provided the copy to copy, saying “the epubs I use are usually my own, but…” What?! That’s not your book, that’s my book. It’s not yours to give away. You didn’t write it.

Another note – I don’t expect to make my living from this book, nor I am not out to get rich. It stands on its merit on lack thereof alone. What I do expect is to be paid for goods I provide.

Am I being precious? Someone’s getting rich, aren’t they?

I’ve spent twenty years trying to get published. I’ve had dozens of rejections. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words. I’ve had my work demolished over and again, and I kept doggedly coming back for more. Why? Because one day I wanted to get a book published. Because I wanted to be writer. Writing of any kind, unless you are lucky or really good, or both  doesn’t pay well.  I am hugely in debt. I live in a small terrace house, I don’t have an office. I work in a gap on the landing between the bannisters and my bedroom wall. I spend hours writing this blog to publicise my work and provide a point of contact for those lovely folks who do pay to read my stories. Seeing as my old job went when Death Ray closed, what I earn from writing fiction is more important than ever.

I get 8% of every sale price of each book. So, each time someone downloads it illegally, I lose 16 new pence, give or take, at the current discounted price for the e-version  (really! You can get it in the Angry Robot sale for two quid! Go on, buy it). You might say, so what’s the big deal? It’s only 16 pence (give or take, remember). But I say, every 16 pence I lose is a 16 pence more I have to earn twice, effectively, as I tread the slow road to paying off my (small) advance.

More importantly, every illegal download goes uncounted by publishers who use sales figures to determine if they commission more books from an author. At the early stages of a writer’s career, like now for me, every tick in the box is crucial, one more penstroke in the flimsy wall of ink between me and a job behind a till at a supermarket.

You’re not entitled to my work for free, just like you’re not entitled to unemployment payments while you are working a job, and I’m not entitled to make you carry my bags around and give me pedicures for nothing. I assume that the people who do look for free copies are intelligent. I also pray then that they are moral. Here’s a message for you: You are literally taking food out of my kid’s mouth. Literally. He’s three. I might be an angry fucker worthy of your contempt, but he’s an innocent casualty in your quest for free shit. (Okay, I admit, I’m overegging it there. Sorry. He never goes hungry).

And you do yourself a disservice. A lot of people who download Reality 36 for nothing might love the book. They might well want to see more Richards & Klein adventures. But if  enough people pinch it, there won’t be any more. Not because I’m sulking, but because I’ll be processing your shopping at the supermarket, if I’m lucky enough to find a job.

Or I’ll be chasing you out of the door as bacon slides out from under your coat and skids all over the floor. Downloading stuff is exactly the same thing as shoplifting. Exactly the same thing.

I paraphrase a quote I read the other week, I can’t find the original, but it went something like this:

“A society that is unwilling to pay for art will have to learn to live without it.”

For art also read Star Trek, and novels about cyborg detectives.

It’s pennies over £2.00. For God’s sake, don’t be a twat.