Just received this post from a reader. Made my week. (And at a time when I’m definitely wanting for writing motivation.)
In Upload, VR is experienced in small rooms called v-chambers, which use a mist or gel of nanobots, called nanomist, to suspend the user in space (which allows you to feel like you’re moving through a virtual landscape while you’re really just walking in place) and to provide haptic feedback. This morning, I read this article on Engadget about a PhD student who is using a Baxter robot as a crude macro version of the haptic feedback achieved via nanotech in a v-chamber. Pretty cool! (But if you want to explore some of the philosophical issues of VR taken to the extreme, you might enjoy my book.)
Interesting article on the rise of body-hacking and the opening scenes of transhumanism: ‘Body Hacking’ Movement Rises Ahead of Moral Answers.
My gut says the philosophical findings of Alva Noë are dead wrong, at least as they’re quoted here. Reputable doctors and scientists will soon be openly embracing the opportunity to enhance people’s lives through cybernetic alterations. As will tattoo artists. 🙂
Alva Noë, a philosopher at the University of California, Berkeley and a contributor to NPR’s 13.7: Cosmos and Culture blog, has written extensively on what he calls “cyborgian naturalness.” He disagreed that the modern philosophers dropped the ball, saying that tackling the matter would involve unpacking two questions:
- Is it OK to cut into human bodies for these kinds of experiments?
- How much tolerance should society have for artificially enhancing the body?
To the first question, Noë said he found the “body hacking” experimentation on humans “ethically disturbing” and couldn’t fathom a doctor or any other scientists conducting these kinds of operations.
While eating breakfast and checking email this morning, I discovered that Upload made Chicago Book Review‘s list of the Best Books of 2014! As I work on my next novel, it’s great to be reminded that people loved my first — very encouraging.
I’ve created a general-purpose blog with posts unrelated to Upload at poetengineer.postachi.io. Postach.io is a service that synchs Evernote to a blog — but only those notes that are in the Postach.io notebook and are tagged as “published”. You couldn’t ask for a simpler blogging interface, right? Blog through Evernote, from your phone, laptop, or tablet. Pretty cool.
One minor issue, which I expect a lot of people will trip over, and which I hope the postach.io folks will fix: the blank lines between paragraphs in a note on Evernote won’t translate to paragraph breaks in postach.io unless you include a space on the line between Evernote paragraphs. If you want line breaks without paragraph spacing, for poetry, code, or other purposes, you’ll have to use the <br> tag, More info on this can be found here.
Another issue worth mentioning is that there are currently no blog statistics on postach.io, from what I can tell. I’ve emailed them about this, but haven’t heard back yet. On WordPress, you can use Jetpack to get some pretty detailed statistics on who’s reading your blog, which posts are drawing the most traffic, and which links people are clicking. This is all crucial information for a serious blogger, so you can see what’s working. Without these things, I definitely wouldn’t make postach.io my primary blogging platform.
I also stumbled across a different issue. Maybe I’m slower than the average blogger, but I made the mistake of reading “postach.io” as “pistach.io”. Frustrated that I couldn’t reach “http://www.pistach.io”, I recommended that they buy the pistach.io domain and redirect it:
@postachio Sorry — it’s up! I was pinging pistach.io instead of postach.io! You should buy pistach.io and redirect it.
— Mark McClelland (@markproxy) December 2, 2014
Issues aside, the automatic synching of Evernote notes with postach.io is awfully nice. If you want a quick way to keep personal notes but also make them public, this is a choice worth exploring.
Update: Google Analytics Available
In exploring Postach.io further, I discovered that I could enter a Google Analytics code. This is their official recommended approach to tracking who’s viewing your blog, which posts are most popular, etc. Traffic on poetengineer.postach.io is fairly light at this point, but Analytics looks like a good substitute for the Jetpack stats I’m used to on WordPress. It’s not nearly as simple and straightforward to use, but the data’s a lot richer.
Update: I Miss You, Postach.io!
When Postach.io ended its free offering and rolled out its new pricing model, I found myself priced out. Shame, as it was awfully convenient.
In order to take advantage of Amazon’s KDP Select marketing features, such as Countdown Deals, Free Promotions, and free lending via the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, I had to make the eBook version of Upload available exclusively on Amazon for the 90 day KDP Select membership period. On November 11, I re-listed the book on Google Play Books, Kobo, and for direct sale from Lulu. I also clicked the boxes on Lulu’s distribution management page to reactivate distribution through Apple iBookstore and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Books.
If this were a newly published book, I could see it having to go through some review & approval process before it hits the digital shelves. But this is the re-listing of an eBook. The content has not been modified since it was originally published. On Kobo and Google Play Books, where I set up distribution myself, re-listing was done within several hours. In the case of Kobo, it was actually done within less than an hour.
What’s going on? Lulu re-listed the eBook immediately on their own site. I love how easy they make it to list on Barnes & Noble and iBooks. I don’t have a Mac, so I can’t run Apple’s iBooks Author application, and it would be a hassle to borrow someone else’s. But I don’t love how long it takes. Is it hung up within Lulu, or is this something that’s out of their hands?
In my case, the delay isn’t really a big deal. Nearly all of my eBook sales are through Amazon, so it’s not like I’m actually worried about lost sales. However, if your situation is different, I thought it would be good for you to know about this delay. If you’re considering selling exclusively through Amazon for a period of time, to take advantage of their KDP Select program, be aware that re-listing your eBook through Lulu on iBooks and Nook Books may take longer than you would expect. (I can’t speak to how long it would take if you handled distribution through these channels directly, through Apple’s iTunes Connect or the B&N equivalent, since I chose not to go that route.)
Have you had a similar experience? Any tips on avoiding this?
I’ll post an update when this process is done, in case you’re curious about just how long this ends up taking.
Update – 11/19/2014: Both still pending.
Update – 11/26/2014: Lulu released the eBook to Apple and Barnes & Noble for processing
Fifteen days after I requested that Lulu reactivate distribution through Apple iBookstore and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Books, I received the following email from Lulu today:
Congratulations! Your eBook, “Upload”, meets all retail distribution requirements and we have forwarded it to the retail distributors you selected. You are one step closer to your goal, but there are a few remaining steps:
• Our retail partners will confirm your book meets their individual site requirements for content and formatting.
• If your book passes this review, it will be queued for release on the retailer’s site.
• If your book is rejected by a retailer, we will email you with additional details.
Important Note: Generally, once your book passes the Lulu Review process, it will be available to purchase on retailer sites in 2-4 weeks. Retailers update their online catalogs at intervals determined solely by the retailers. Lulu cannot provide a release schedule nor can we influence the timing of your eBook’s availability on other retail sites.
I have no insight into why it took fifteen days for Lulu to process my request, or whether this is typical, but it’s definitely something to be aware of if you’re considering temporarily “turning off” sales of your eBook, so you can take advantage of an exclusive arrangement through another bookseller, such as Amazon.
Note also that Lulu’s distribution management page does not give any indication whether the eBook is actually for sale at iTunes or Barnes & Noble. (See photo.) It would be great if you could check on Lulu, and see the status change from “Processed” to “Available Now”, or something on that order.
Update – 11/28/2014: The re-published Upload eBook is live on iBooks
The process is officially complete on iBooks, but the Upload eBook is not showing up in the Nook store yet. Yesterday was Thanksgiving, so it’s unlikely that it was processed yesterday. It must have gone live on iBooks either 11/26 — the same day it was released from Lulu — or today. Either way, Apple turned things around pretty quickly.
I’m happy to add that the ratings and reviews for the Upload eBook on iBooks survived the deactivation/reactivation process. The eBook’s original publication date from 2012 was also retained. Furthermore, pre-existing links to the eBook still work. (Thanks for getting that right, Apple!)
Update – 12/2/2014: Upload available for NOOK again
Just checked Barnes & Noble’s NOOK store again this morning, and Upload is available again. Ratings are intact from the original publication, and links created the first time around still work. They also kept the original 2012 publication date.
B&N gets docked a couple points for being slower than Apple to get the book back out there, but Lulu appears to be the primary bottleneck in the republishing process.
Before I made the eBook version of Upload an Amazon-exclusive, about 98% of my eBook sales were from Amazon. When my 90 day agreement with Amazon was up, I never bothered to republish the eBook elsewhere. I guess I was disillusioned by the Amazon eBook monopoly, and didn’t see the point of making it available for Nook, iTunes Books, Google Play, etc.
But I got this tweet today, and realized I really should get the eBook back up on other sites:
@markproxy Trying to find upload only format I find useful or cheap enough is epub but can’t seen to find it anywhere.
— Transmitthis (@Transmitthis) November 11, 2014
Back in April, I wanted to run a promotion where Upload would be free on Kindle right around the time when the film Transcendence was coming out. Regardless of how good or bad the film was (I personally think it was weak, but didn’t deserve to be hammered by critics), it was a great opportunity for me to draft a marketing giant. I “sold” over 2500 copies in three days, which was huge by my standards. But, in order to take advantage of Amazon’s KDP Select marketing features, such as Countdown Deals, Free Promotions, and free lending via the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, I had to make the eBook available exclusively on Amazon for the 90 day KDP Select membership period. I had to de-list it everywhere else. Since Amazon completly dominated eBook sales, at least where my own book was concerned, this was no great loss for me. In fact, I never bothered to re-list it elsewhere.
Until I got this tweet. So, this morning, I put the time into re-publishing it on Google Play, iTunes Books, Nook Books, Kobo, and Lulu. It will take a few days, and I’ll post here as I see the lights coming on again. Right now, if you are looking for Upload in ePub format, you can definitely find it on Lulu.
Thank you, @Transmitthis, for reminding me that there are in fact people out there reading eBooks on something other than a Kindle.
Thanks so much to Vicky Albritton for an insightful and well-written review, and to Kelli Christiansen of Chicago Book Review for taking a chance on a self-published sci-fi novel.
“Upload should strike general readers as technologically persuasive enough, while leaving room for its appealingly sincere first-love story. In the end, complex technological and intellectual issues are balanced against a warm understanding of the basic need for real-world human interaction.”
“Chicago author Mark McClelland’s self-published novel has already found a band of admirers online, but it is certainly deserving of an even broader science fiction readership.”
Readers of the award-winning techno-thriller Upload are comparing it to Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp. To celebrate the April 17 release of the film, the Kindle edition of UPLOAD will be FREE 4/17 – 4/20.
For a lot of people watching Transcendence, it will be their first exposure to mental uploading and the Singularity. Intrigued by the concept of humanity ditching our biological bodies and moving into computers? If you’re excited — or scared — by what lies on our technological horizon, UPLOAD is a thought-provoking way to explore what this future might look like.
A winner of ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year Award in Science Fiction, UPLOAD is the story of the first person to upload his mind into a computer, an unlikely hero in an all-too-plausible tale of transhumanism and the Singularity.
If you’ve already read UPLOAD and are looking for a different perspective on the same topic, check out David T. Wolf’s Mindclone: When You’re a Brain Without a Body, Can You Still Be Called Human?, a more humorous take on mental uploading that’s been getting great reviews.
I know this happened back in 2012, but I’m just now finding out about the Norwegian skydiver who was almost hit by a falling meteorite, and managed to capture it on video. This was the first “dark flight” of a meteorite ever filmed, the “dark flight” being the portion of a meteorite’s descent to Earth that occurs after it has burnt out. At this point, it just looks like any other falling rock… except, really fast.
Wondering what the connection is to Upload? Totally reminds me of the meteorites falling around Raymond.