Showing category "Random thoughts" (Show all posts)

Moderators: engage brain before applying rules!

Posted by Paul Samael on Sunday, July 16, 2017, In : Random thoughts 


Just over a week ago I posted a comment on an interesting article in The Bookseller entitled "When does a writer become a professional?".  My aim was to provide some evidence to back up what the author of the article was suggesting about how you don't necessarily need to be earning a living from your writing in order to feel OK about taking it seriously - for me, it all depends what your criteria for success are.  

I explained that I had decided to offer my work for free (because getting reade...
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Fedorov's dust

Posted by Paul Samael on Sunday, April 30, 2017, In : Random thoughts 



Having written a novel which draws quite heavily on ideas about the "Technological Singularity", I thought I knew a fair amount about it already.  But a recent article in the The Guardian by Meghan O’Gieblyn entitled “God in the machine: my strange journey into transhumanism” exposed some gaps in my knowledge and encouraged me to revisit the subject – which I haven’t really been back to since I self-published the novel in 2012.

The Technological Singularity is an idea most closely as...

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Ship of Fools

Posted by Paul Samael on Sunday, March 26, 2017, In : Random thoughts 
Went on the pro-EU march in London at the weekend - which may be something of a futile gesture, as Theresa May seems set to give notice to leave under Article 50 this week.  But if it helps to deter some of those in government from pursuing some of the more extreme forms of Brexit which are being seriously talked about (such as walking away without any sort of deal at all with the EU - absolute madness in my view), then it will have been worth it.  There were quite a few good placards but my ...
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Google ate my story!

Posted by Paul Samael on Sunday, December 18, 2016, In : Random thoughts 




According to a report in The Guardian, Google has recently attempted to improve the language capabilities of one of its Artificial Intelligence programs by feeding it over 10,000 free ebooks downloaded from Smashwords (out of a total of well over 50,000 free ebooks).  Apparently the idea was to help the AI produce more natural-sounding sentences.

Being The Guardian, the report was a bit po-faced about the whole thing and the journalist seemed to think that the authors ought to have been remune...

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Inselaffen!

Posted by Paul Samael on Monday, June 27, 2016, In : Random thoughts 


Some thoughts on the EU referendum result.


Now we know why, when they are feeling frustrated with us (as well they might right now), the Germans refer to us as “Inselaffen” (island apes).  Here’s a picture of one of those island apes watching a graph of his currency dropping to a 30 year low against the dollar (having at long last managed to switch on his laptop).

If you have read any of my previous, rather geeky (and evidently totally ineffectual) posts on Brexit (they start here and the...

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Can't decide about Brexit? Read this

Posted by Paul Samael on Monday, June 20, 2016, In : Random thoughts 


Unsure about which way to vote in the EU referendum?  Well, who can blame you given that debate on the subject has descended into an unedifying slanging match.

It’s hard to feel enthused about voting to remain because the EU is not a particularly lovable organisation – and it’s going through a particularly bad patch right now with the euro and migration crises, which highlight the fact that it is far from perfect.  So your heart may be telling you we should leave, buoyed up by stirring s...

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Is the EU a giant squid?

Posted by Paul Samael on Sunday, June 12, 2016, In : Random thoughts 


In this post I’m going to look at whether the EU is so dysfunctional and plagued by major problems (e.g. migration, the euro etc) that it has become like a giant squid, threatening to drag us down into the abyss – so the safest course is to disentangle ourselves and leave.  For me, geography means that this “safer out” argument doesn’t hold much water (excuse the pun).  This is because, if we leave, “the squid” will still be sat there right next to us, with all the same problems...
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Brexit: a broader perspective (3)

Posted by Paul Samael on Monday, June 6, 2016, In : Random thoughts 


Having discussed security and trade in previous posts, I’m now going to look at the impact of the EU on the domestic economy.  Maybe I should retitle this “Boring for Brexit,” as I suspect most people are sick of hearing about it – but it’s also hard to find much in the way of reasoned analysis of the issues, hence this series of posts.

Anyway, my starting point is the argument of pro-Brexit campaigners that since the vast majority of UK businesses don’t export, the Single Market i...

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Brexit: a broader perspective (2)

Posted by Paul Samael on Monday, May 23, 2016, In : Random thoughts 



Having looked at the security position in my last post, I'm now going to look at whether the EU is good for trade.  The remain side says it is (and prophesies economic doom if we leave), whereas the leave campaign say we’d do better for ourselves outside the EU (and prophesies economic doom if we stay).  Both sides have been overstating their case whilst lobbing statistics at each other - so in this post I’m going to try to keep the numbers to a minimum and focus more on practical example...

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Brexit: a broader perspective (1)

Posted by Paul Samael on Monday, May 16, 2016, In : Random thoughts 


I don’t usually blog that much about politics, but the referendum on 23 June 2016 on whether the UK should leave the EU is probably one of the biggest decisions voters will be asked to make in my lifetime.  Both sides in the debate have been throwing somewhat extreme and wholly contradictory claims around – when the reality is probably somewhere in between these two extremes.  So what I’m trying to do here is to look at things from a broader perspective.  If you’ve already made up you...

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The Curse of OCR

Posted by Paul Samael on Sunday, November 1, 2015, In : Random thoughts 



I’m a little hesitant about criticising books for having typos, as I’m sure that – despite my best endeavours to weed them out - my own are not entirely error-free.   So having a pop at William Boyd’s publishers over the numerous typos in the Kindle editions of some of his older novels could be seen as mild hypocrisy on my part.  Someone with higher moral scruples might conceivably agonise about this for several paragraphs – perhaps even whole pages.  But a couple of sentences is en...

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Falling down the cracks in the genre map

Posted by Paul Samael on Thursday, September 10, 2015, In : Random thoughts 


So, peer review site Authonomy is to close.  The cynic in me is inclined to say that this is just further evidence that major publishers (the site was backed by Harper Collins) aren’t particularly serious about new ways of discovering writing talent.  I gather that over the site’s 7 year lifespan, 47 manuscripts were chosen for publication.  That’s hardly earth-shattering, although it seems to be a better strike rate than a similar UK-based site, YouWriteOn, which I have reviewed here (...

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Confessions of a sexist reader

Posted by Paul Samael on Sunday, November 9, 2014, In : Random thoughts 

They say you should never judge a book by its cover.  But when, in my last review on this site, I said that I hadn’t really expected “Pedalling Backwards” to be my kind of thing, that was exactly what I was doing.  Here’s that cover again – it doesn’t really scream “Men! Buy this book!”  does it?



And just to reinforce my prejudices, it was also categorised as “women’s fiction” on Smashwords.  But of course, when I actually read it, I enjoyed it.  Which means that my preco...

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Stream of consciousness: what does it mean to you?

Posted by Paul Samael on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, In : Random thoughts 



Fear not:  this blog entry is not intended to be a free-flowing word association experiment chronicling all thoughts and feelings passing through my head right now.  That may come as a relief to you, although possibly not to my employers, for whom I should really be doing some work (the trouble is, I work from home on Wednesdays and it’s easy to get distracted when you start thinking about interesting concepts like “stream of consciousness”).  It’s also easy to get distracted by gazin...

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E-books: shaking up publishing, but not content?

Posted by Paul Samael on Wednesday, November 21, 2012, In : Random thoughts 

 

 
I recently finished “How Music Works” by David Byrne (my thanks to Tom Lichtenberg for alerting me to its existence), which is full of interesting ideas and analysis about music – and some fascinating facts about how it’s developed over the years.  Byrne’s main argument is that we place too much emphasis on the influence of the artist’s personality or “soul” – and too little on more contextual  factors like the technology available to them, the environments they had to pla...

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Publishers: no better than fund managers?

Posted by Paul Samael on Thursday, November 1, 2012, In : Random thoughts 
In my last post, I expressed surprise that commercial publishers weren’t interested in a novel which ticked all my usual boxes (thought-provoking and ambitious yet not at the expense of readability or a good story) but was also by an established author and should have been relatively easy to market effectively.  Yet despite all that, it was rejected because it wasn’t felt to be “commercial” enough (which, translated, probably means not enough of a “safe bet”).

But perhaps I am bein...

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Posted by Paul Samael on Sunday, September 9, 2012, In : Random thoughts 

 


For a review of the 2017 production, see "UPDATE" below.

Very impressed with the National Theatre’s
adaption of Mark Haddon’s novel about an autistic teenager, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”, which I saw last week.  As the book itself is told almost exclusively from the perspective of the autistic boy, I was curious to see how they would adapt it for the stage.  I think they’ve succeeded in managing to be not only faithful to the original work, but also to creat...

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Bankers, again

Posted by Paul Samael on Friday, February 24, 2012, In : Random thoughts 

 
I’m probably starting to sound like a stuck record on this topic (it all started with this post - which led to this one and then, like a man with really appalling athlete's foot, I just couldn't stop myself scratching this particular itch and had to do another).  But I keep hearing people attempting to defend the indefensible when it comes to the kind of remuneration practices which helped to cause the banking crisis.    

Earlier this week, for example, we had John Cridland from the CBI on ...

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Token gestures

Posted by Paul Samael on Tuesday, January 31, 2012, In : Random thoughts 

Lots of controversy about bankers here in the UK this week, with the CEO of the nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland eventually (but rather grudgingly) waiving his bonus of just under £1 million (only after a threat of a Parliamentary vote against it) and former CEO Fred "the Shred" Goodwin being stripped of his knighthood (so no need for me to put a "Sir" in front of his name there).  But these are just token gestures really - very little is being done to get banks to rein in these ridiculou...
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Bringing bankers to book

Posted by Paul Samael on Tuesday, December 13, 2011, In : Random thoughts 


 
The UK Financial Services Authority has just published its
report into what went wrong at Royal Bank of Scotland (and what went wrong at the FSA too).  I was interested to see that in the foreword to the report - which is quite a short read - FSA Chairman Adair Turner argues that we need to look at ways of ensuring that in future bankers can be brought to book for this kind of economic disaster (because as he acknowledges, hardly any of them have been held to account this time around).  The ...
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About Me


Paul Samael Welcome to my blog, "Publishing Waste" which will either (a) chronicle my heroic efforts to self-publish my own fiction; or (b) demonstrate beyond a scintilla of doubt the utter futility of (a). And along the way, I will also be doing some reviews of other people's books and occasionally blogging about other stuff.
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