Monday 15 April 2024

Bot nets!

Here's something weird!

10 hours ago, this started:

You might notice a certain similarity between these tweets. They're all saying the same, fairly positive thing about me, albeit a rather bland and stupid thing. After all, do we think that it has never occurred to any author other than me to focus on ... writing and ... story?

It's obvious that what we are seeing here is bots being used to repeat the same sentiment, using AI to massage the wording slightly each time, either to make it less obvious to human observers, or, more likely to Twitter's anti-spam algorithms (if Elon let them keep any).

Some of the accounts involved appear pretty genuine, and I have to assume they've been hacked. This one, for example, has a blue tick and appears to belong to a film director who has worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

So, the question is ... what's going on?

There's no way me or my publishers, even if we were feeling unethical, would take such a ridiculous risk for such low reward. It balances incredibly minimal gains (a handful of bland praise with an audience of 100s) vs reputational damage and public ridicule.

But who gains from it otherwise?

The answer is that I don't know. But my theory is that this is just automatic activity designed to create a legitimate-seeming background of Twitter activity for each of these accounts when they are viewed in isolation. This creates a more effective and believeable bot-net for when they are used to promoto crypto currencies (as many of them are) or perhaps to forward political lines for the state actor who owns them, or the interest group who hires the bot-net.

Anyway, I bring it to your attention since I found it to be an interesting topic.

Update: Days later it's still going on, and there are no some 40 or so self-identified bots all repeating the same vacuous tautology.

Join my Patreon.

Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #Prizes #FreeContent 



Wednesday 10 April 2024


The Book That Broke The World is out in ... the world.

It's my 17th published novel. A chain of books that stretches back to Prince of Thorns.

Please go buy a copy!

It's very helpful to authors if readers buy their books early, and then read them, and then (hopefully having enjoyed the book)

i) talk about it

ii) throw stars at it on places like Amazon and Goodreads

iii) review it

If you do any of these three, I'll be even more grateful than I already was for your purchase.

If you want a signed copy then you can get a UK edition from Forbidden Planet.

You can get a US edition from The Signed Page which comes with an art card signed by me and artist Tom Roberts.

You can get a bookplate-signed US edition from VJ Books.

And to conclude, have some photos of The Locked Library special edition!

Join my Patreon.

Friday 22 March 2024

I have the hardbacks!

Here are the US editions. As with the first book, Ace have gone for the more vivid colour palette. Just look at that blue!

And Voyager have gone with the same more classic, muted option, but augmented with lovely gold, which is really hard to photograph but lovely in the hand. Seen below, 2 UK hardback and 2 international trade paperbacks (sold in Australia, New Zealand, and other countries).

Clearly the best option is to get several of each.

Not long to go now til the 9th &/or 11th of April!

Pre-order to be sure.

Join my Patreon.

Monday 12 February 2024

Two more short stories from The Library Trilogy!

Returns is a collection of two short stories. 

The first is called Returns (8,000 words). It looks at the journey of a single book outside the library and the journey of two librarians (Yute is one of them) sent to recover it. It's a story about varying ways different people interact with the book. When people say, "Did we read the same book?" there's a truth behind that question and I examine it here.

The second story is About Pain (6,000 words). Here the tale concerns the interactions of just two people (Clovis is one of them) with a particular book, and how what they take from the novel changes over the course of their lives. When we consume a book we may find between those covers a very different story from the next person, but more than that, when we come back to it ten years later, twenty years, thirty ... we find that the more powerful a book is, the more its contents will have changed.

Here's the cover art from the great Tom Brown.

You can buy it as prints:



Get yours today!



& throw some stars at it on Goodreads!

Join my Patreon.

Wednesday 3 January 2024

The Book That Broke The World - the cover art!

Unexpectedly (and, for the 2nd year in a row) the cover art for my latest book accidentally appeared on Amazon, prompting me into a hasty social media reveal using draft art, and nixing my plans for a more elaborate blogger + jigsaw puzzle reveal.

Lesson learned. Next year I do what I want with the art as soon as I get it!

Anyway - let's put that behind us and focus on the magnificence of Tom Roberts' work.

Here's a small portion near the last "t" of "That" blown up!

Have a search and see if you can spot a certain doggy from book 1.

Anyway - you'll have to wait until early April for the contents. Pre-order, why don't you?



And of course, the short story "Overdue" is there if you want more Library RIGHT NOW!

                             Join my Patreon.