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100 Flowers Press: free e-novel ["advanced copy" edition post]

Those readers who know a little of my life beyond this blog are quite aware that, aside from writing and ranting about political theory, I have also wasted many an hour writing unpublished and unread novels.  So at the behest of my partner and some other comrades, I finally decided that, rather than continue to waste time with generic form rejection letters that usually tell me that my submitted manuscripts have not been read, I have decided to offer one of my shorter novels (more of a novella, really, because it's just barely over 130 pages) for free on this blog.  The point is to ask my readers what they think of my novel, whether or not it's worth publishing, and get at least someone (I'm aiming for maybe three people - yes my standards are that low!) to read my fiction.

This novel, A Continent of History, is a noirish mix of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror (with obvious political under/overtones) and was initially written for a 3-Day Novel contest that I failed to win––and also failed, at the very least, to receive any feedback aside from notification that I did not win.  Therefore it was written at a manic pace under rather interesting constraints and in some ways is not typical of what I write.  At the same time, however, I felt it was a perfect candidate for transforming into an ebook because: a) I am not as invested in it as other novels I've written (hence potentially allowing me, after brutal criticism, to save my dignity by clinging to the belief that I still have "better" novels); b) it was short enough to edit and lay-out without too much headache; c) it is also short enough for people who do not know me as an author to read.

Since part of registering for an ISBN number (and the book is now registered and physical copies are en route to the Library of Congress to protect me from some dodgy capitalist alienating me from my labour through private property style plagiarism) is to make myself into an independent press, I had to think up a name, and then a cool logo, of my experimental and barely legitimate "press."

Behold 100 Flowers Press!!!  Is this not the most appropriate name for a Maoist to give hir press?  At the very least it's less boring sounding than "100 Schools of Thought."

On a side note, if any of you are planning on printing your own ebooks on your sites, feel free to paste this logo on the back and make the "press" more legitimate.  Now that it's registered, I can even get you ISBN numbers followed by the requisite barcodes.

In any case, I'm launching an advanced copy of the ebook tonight.  I am still tinkering with the cover (but thanks to Jude for a last minute suggestion - the map is perfect, but I don't know if I've integrated it properly...), and the description on the back cover is just a quote from the middle of the first or second chapter, and I want some advanced feedback before I launch a final copy with a potentially better cover.  Then I think I'll have it as a link on the pages bar above, and keep annoying my readers (risking a dangerous decrease in readership), to visit that link and download my novel.

So without further ado, click on the link beside the cover picture below to download my eNovel:


And if anyone actually enjoys this book, and wants to review it on their own blogs, I would be eternally grateful.  Otherwise, enjoy (or despise) a free and original novel.


  1. I am really glad you are sharing this with others! You should share more of your fiction regularly.

    Even though you are quick to point out potential weaknesses in this piece, of the handful pieces of fiction I have read of yours, it's probably my favourite.

    There are times that you can tell you wrote it quickly, but I think the piece benefits from that. The pacing is quick and doesn't feel contrived.

    Keep writing :)

  2. Thanks so much, Gina: you're too kind. Hopefully others will share your tastes. I like the pacing as well: it made for quicker editing, that's for certain!

  3. Good Story! Maybe you could do a sequel with shin aiyrs! Whats the matter with solidarity? It seems your lead character has political views opposite to yours?

  4. Yes the main character definitely has political views opposite to my own, and that should be clear: it's his views that in some ways lead to the depressing and isolated ending. He is obviously a wealthy and selfish individual who sold out some radical aspects of his past and has that world's equivalent of a petty bourgeois consciousness. Obviously I don't believe that the main characters of any novels I write should be representative of my views: politics in fiction should be more subtle.

    As for a sequel... this was actually a prequel written, for a contest, in a fictional universe I already developed in a much larger novel [again unpublished] where Shin Airys *was* the main character. Glad you liked it.

  5. Downloading now.. .Looking forward to reading..

  6. Are there any pirates in this?

  7. Unfortunately there are no pirates. But hopefully there are other things as cool as pirates.

  8. Hey, this is fantastic for a three-day novel contest (and even for longer writing periods). I read it in one sitting. I agree with Gina that its pacing is excellent. At the beginning I was a bit dismissive of the library premise, since it seemed like exactly the sort of thing an academic would put as the MacGuffin, but that noir-adventure-mystery pacing really drew me over.

    One thing I wondered about is using Nakba as the name of the catastrophe, since the real-world catastrophe kept on pushing into the fiction. Then again, you used Year Zero and Solidarists, so the real world pushing in was I'm sure one of the things you intended, along with the cyberpunk use of mixed real-world mythology and the SF convention of jumbled names, some of which suggest real world equivalents and a mixed future (not as crude as an H. Beam Piper-style Marwan O'Hallohan).

    One thing I also found really interesting, besides wisely using disinterested former radical "apoliticals", was that the Year Zero and Mad Tyrant concepts really play with bourgeois images of the Cultural Revolution and, sharing initials in Wade-Giles, Mao Tse-Tung. Obviously the Khmer Rouge is most immediately connected to Year Zero, but I'm thinking of the images of Red Guards burning books and the comparisons to the emperor Qin Shi Huang burning books. It could also be said that outside caricatures of the Cultural Revolution and Mao, there are enough tyrannies that wish to destroy history and memory. For example, that aspect of the mass mobilization and pseudo-revolution really hit me reading Brecht's contemporary Fear and Misery of the Third Reich where his Nazi officials and guards are constantly asking how much people appreciate the "New Order" and the Gleichschaltung (roughly a lot of things, like synchronization, and what the Nazis called what they were doing).

    I don't know if I fully took your meaning, but I also think writing genre fiction under these constraints can very helpfully depersonalize and make the writing flow. And I'll recommend it if someone asks for free new genre fiction on the Internet (only can see that question occurring on the Internet, though). Finally, some rot13 to ask a spoiler question: jul qvqa'g Pnagre'f pncgbef punva uvz hc zber frpheryl ng gur raq? Vg frrzrq yvxr gur jubyr gbegher naq PQ oernxvat fghss pbhyq unir orra nibvqrq ol abg univat uvz bayl va znanpyrf. Be jbhyq ur tb cnenyyry vs gurl tbg arne uvz?

  9. Thanks for the kind and thoughtful comments. I quite liked the Brecht comment, as well as your comment about how "writing genre fiction under these constraings can very helpfully depersonalize and make the writing flow."

    The real world elements (especially the use of the term "Nakbah") were intentional... The much larger novel, of which this was just a prequel written in a fictional universe I already established, deals with this in more detail... well sort of. Also, the idea of this novel was produced by side elements, tangental to the plot, of that other novel: there was some points about a missing library there, and mention of some of the rumours around its possible origin - as well as who was controlling it at the time of the larger novel, etc.

    As for it representing the GPCR, I'm less comfortable with that analogy because of, as you put it, "caricatures of the Cultural Revolution and Mao"... I'm one of those (as you probably know from reading this site, lol) who thinks the GPCR was a great revolutionary moment and, despite some of the more idiot factions or the fact that it failed (the capitalist roaders one), some of the initiatives that were taken at that time were quite the opposite of the Khmer Rouge's Year Zero.

    Your rot13 question is good, and I don't know if I can answer it that well but here's something: Znlor gur nafjre vf orpnhfr v'z whfg n ynml jevgre... ohg gura ntnva, V'ir arire yvxrq gur vqrn bs na vasnyyvoyr nagntbavfg whfg yvxr V'ir arire yvxrq gur vqrn bs vasnyyvoyr cebgntbavfgf. Pnagre'f rarzvrf fgvyy jba, naq fgvyy ceriragrq uvz sebz rfpncvat, ohg gurl cebonoyl qvqa'g guvax ur jbhyq: n) oernx gur qvfxf; o) ubyq bhg sbe fb ybat. Gurl jbhyqa'g nyy or cresrpg Zbevnegvrf naq or guvaxvat nurnq yvxr gung.

    In any case, I'm glad you enjoyed the novel and had such kind things to say about it... Considering that I don't have a publisher, and really need to figure out how to get on one, I think in the mean time I might put up some of my other lesser fiction attempts (in size and style) in the future. Especially since the feedback has been good.


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