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Cabo-Conde, Leandro Fernández de Moratín y

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The notion of "intellectual property," itself only about 35 years old, would be chucked immediately onto the magnificent ash-heap of Civilization's idiotic experiments. Of course, as we now know, I was wrong. Really wrong. As is my almost pathological inclination, I extended them too much credit. I imputed to institutions the same capacities for adaptability and recognition of the obvious that I assume for humans.

But institutions, having the legal system a fundamental part of their genetic code, are not so readily ductile. This is particularly true in America, where some combination of certainty and control is the actual "deity" before whose altar we worship, and where we have a regular practice of spawning large and inhuman collective organisms that are a kind of meta-parasite. These critters - let's call them publicly-held corporations - may be made out of humans, but they are not human. Given human folly, that characteristic might be semi-ok if they were actually as cold-bloodedly expedient as I once fancied them - yielding only to the will of the markets and the raw self-interest of their shareholders.

But no. They are also symbiotically subject to the "religious beliefs" of those humans who feed in their upper elevations. Unfortunately, the guys and they mostly are guys who've been running The Content Industry since it started to die share something like a doctrinal fundamentalism that has led them to such beliefs as the conviction that there's no difference between listening to a song and shop-lifting a toaster. Moreover, they dwell in such a sublime state of denial that they think they are stewarding the creative process as it arises in the creative humans they exploit savagely - knowing, as they do, that a creative human would rather be heard than paid - and that they, a bunch of sated old scoundrels nearing retirement would be able to find technological means for wrapping "containers" around "their" "content" that the adolescent electronic Hezbollah they've inspired by suing their own customers will neither be smart nor motivated enough to shred whatever pathetic digital bottles their lackeys design.

And so it has been for the last 13 years. The companies that claim the ability to regulate humanity's Right to Know have been tireless in their endeavors to prevent the inevitable. The won most of the legislative battles in the U. They even won most of the contests in court. They created digital rights management software schemes that behaved rather like computer viruses. Indeed, they did about everything they could short of seriously examining the actual economics of the situation - it has never been proven to me that illegal downloads are more like shoplifted goods than viral marketing - or trying to come up with a business model that the market might embrace.

Had it been left to the stewardship of the usual suspects, there would scarcely be a word or a note online that you didn't have to pay to experience. There would be increasingly little free speech or any consequence, since free speech is not something anyone can own. Fortunately there were countervailing forces of all sorts, beginning with the wise folks who designed the Internet in the first place. Dedicated to the free exchange of useful information in cyberspace, it seemed at times that I had been right in suggesting then that practically every institution of the Industrial Period would try to crush, or at least own, the Internet.

That's a lot of lawyers to have stacked against your cause. But we had Cory Doctorow. Had nature not provided us with a Cory Doctorow when we needed one, it would have been necessary for us to invent a time machine and go into the future to fetch another like him. That would be about the only place I can imagine finding such a creature. Cory, as you will learn from his various rants "contained" herein was perfectly suited to the task of subduing the dinosaurs of content.

He's a little like the guerilla plumber Tuttle in the movie Brazil. Armed with a utility belt of improbable gizmos, a wildly over-clocked mind, a keyboard he uses like a verbal machine gun, and, best of all, a dark sense of humor, he'd go forth against massive industrial forces and return grinning, if a little beat up. Indeed, many of the essays collected under this dubious title are not only memoirs of his various campaigns but are themselves the very weapons he used in them. Fortunately, he has spared you some of the more sophisticated utilities he employed.

He is not battering you with the nerdy technolingo he commands when stacked up against various minutiacrats, but I assure you that he can speak geek with people who, unlike Cory, think they're being pretty social when they're staring at the other person's shoes. This was a necessary ability. One of the problems that EFF has to contend with is that even though most of our yet-unborn constituency would agree heartily with our central mission - giving everybody everywhere the right to both address and hear everybody everywhere else - the decisions that will determine the eventual viability of that right are being made now and generally in gatherings invisible to the general public, using terminology, whether technical or legal, that would be the verbal equivalent of chloroform to anyone not conversant with such arcana.

I've often repeated my belief that the first responsibility of a human being is to be a better ancestor. Thus, it seems fitting that the appearance of this book, which details much of Cory's time with the EFF, coincides with the appearance of his first-born child, about whom he is a shameless sentimental gusher. I would like to think that by the time this newest prodigy, Poesy Emmeline Fibonacci Nautilus Taylor Doctorow - you see what I mean about paternal enthusiasm - has reached Cory's age of truly advanced adolescence, the world will have recognized that there are better ways to regulate the economy of mind than pretending that its products are something like pig iron.

And whatever it is that might be "contained" in the following. Greetings fellow pirates! I spend about three weeks a month on the road doing completely weird stuff like going to Microsoft to talk about DRM. I lead a double life: I'm also a science fiction writer. That means I've got a dog in this fight, because I've been dreaming of making my living from writing since I was 12 years old.

Admittedly, my IP-based biz isn't as big as yours, but I guarantee you that it's every bit as important to me as yours is to you. Here's what I'm here to convince you of: 1. That DRM systems don't work 2. That DRM systems are bad for society 3. That DRM systems are bad for business 4. That DRM systems are bad for artists 5. Microsoft has sunk a lot of capital into DRM systems, and spent a lot of time sending folks like Martha and Brian and Peter around to various smoke-filled rooms to make sure that Microsoft DRM finds a hospitable home in the future world.

Companies like Microsoft steer like old Buicks, and this issue has a lot of forward momentum that will be hard to soak up without driving the engine block back into the driver's compartment.


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At best I think that Microsoft might convert some of that momentum on DRM into angular momentum, and in so doing, save all our asses. Let's dive into it. DRM systems don't work This bit breaks down into two parts: 1. A quick refresher course in crypto theory 2. Applying that to DRM Cryptography -- secret writing -- is the practice of keeping secrets. It involves three parties: a sender, a receiver and an attacker actually, there can be more attackers, senders and recipients, but let's keep this simple.

We usually call these people Alice, Bob and Carol. Let's say we're in the days of the Caesar, the Gallic War. You need to send messages back and forth to your generals, and you'd prefer that the enemy doesn't get hold of them.

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You can rely on the idea that anyone who intercepts your message is probably illiterate, but that's a tough bet to stake your empire on. You can put your messages into the hands of reliable messengers who'll chew them up and swallow them if captured -- but that doesn't help you if Brad Pitt and his men in skirts skewer him with an arrow before he knows what's hit him. So you encipher your message with something like ROT, where every character is rotated halfway through the alphabet. They used to do this with non-worksafe material on Usenet, back when anyone on Usenet cared about work-safe-ness -- A would become N, B is O, C is P, and so forth.

To decipher, you just add 13 more, so N goes to A, O to B yadda yadda. Well, this is pretty lame: as soon as anyone figures out your algorithm, your secret is g0nez0red. So if you're Caesar, you spend a lot of time worrying about keeping the existence of your messengers and their payloads secret. Get that? You're Augustus and you need to send a message to Brad without Caceous a word I'm reliably informed means "cheese-like, or pertaining to cheese" getting his hands on it.

You give the message to Diatomaceous, the fleetest runner in the empire, and you encipher it with ROT and send him out of the garrison in the pitchest hour of the night, making sure no one knows that you've sent it out. Caceous has spies everywhere, in the garrison and staked out on the road, and if one of them puts an arrow through Diatomaceous, they'll have their hands on the message, and then if they figure out the cipher, you're b0rked. So the existence of the message is a secret. The cipher is a secret. The ciphertext is a secret. That's a lot of secrets, and the more secrets you've got, the less secure you are, especially if any of those secrets are shared.

Shared secrets aren't really all that secret any longer. Time passes, stuff happens, and then Tesla invents the radio and Marconi takes credit for it. This is both good news and bad news for crypto: on the one hand, your messages can get to anywhere with a receiver and an antenna, which is great for the brave fifth columnists working behind the enemy lines. On the other hand, anyone with an antenna can listen in on the message, which means that it's no longer practical to keep the existence of the message a secret.

Any time Adolf sends a message to Berlin, he can assume Churchill overhears it. Which is OK, because now we have computers -- big, bulky primitive mechanical computers, but computers still. Computers are machines for rearranging numbers, and so scientists on both sides engage in a fiendish competition to invent the most cleverest method they can for rearranging numerically represented text so that the other side can't unscramble it. The existence of the message isn't a secret anymore, but the cipher is. But this is still too many secrets. If Bobby intercepts one of Adolf's Enigma machines, he can give Churchill all kinds of intelligence.

I mean, this was good news for Churchill and us, but bad news for Adolf. And at the end of the day, it's bad news for anyone who wants to keep a secret. Enter keys: a cipher that uses a key is still more secure. Even if the cipher is disclosed, even if the ciphertext is intercepted, without the key or a break , the message is secret.

Post-war, this is doubly important as we begin to realize what I think of as Schneier's Law: "any person can invent a security system so clever that she or he can't think of how to break it. Without this critical step, you'll eventually end up living in a fool's paradise, where your attacker has broken your cipher ages ago and is quietly decrypting all her intercepts of your messages, snickering at you.

Best of all, there's only one secret: the key. And with dual-key crypto it becomes a lot easier for Alice and Bob to keep their keys secret from Carol, even if they've never met. So long as Alice and Bob can keep their keys secret, they can assume that Carol won't gain access to their cleartext messages, even though she has access to the cipher and the ciphertext. Conveniently enough, the keys are the shortest and simplest of the secrets, too: hence even easier to keep away from Carol.

Hooray for Bob and Alice. Now, let's apply this to DRM. Alice sells Bob a DVD.

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She sells Bob a DVD player. Now, let's take stock of what's a secret here: the cipher is well-known. The ciphertext is most assuredly in enemy hands, arrr. So what? As long as the key is secret from the attacker, we're golden. But there's the rub. Alice wants Bob to buy Pirates of the Caribbean from her. Otherwise, the disc is only useful to Bob as a drinks-coaster. So Alice has to provide Bob -- the attacker -- with the key, the cipher and the ciphertext.

Hilarity ensues. DRM systems are usually broken in minutes, sometimes days. Rarely, months. It's not because the people who think them up are stupid.

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It's not because the people who break them are smart. It's not because there's a flaw in the algorithms. At the end of the day, all DRM systems share a common vulnerability: they provide their attackers with ciphertext, the cipher and the key. At this point, the secret isn't a secret anymore. DRM systems are bad for society Raise your hand if you're thinking something like, "But DRM doesn't have to be proof against smart attackers, only average individuals! It's like a speedbump! This is a fallacy for two reasons: one technical, and one social.

They're both bad for society, though. Here's the technical reason: I don't need to be a cracker to break your DRM. I only need to know how to search Google, or Kazaa, or any of the other general-purpose search tools for the cleartext that someone smarter than me has extracted. Raise your hand if you're thinking something like, "But NGSCB can solve this problem: we'll lock the secrets up on the logic board and goop it all up with epoxy.

Raise your hand if you're a co-author of the Darknet paper. Everyone in the first group, meet the co-authors of the Darknet paper. This is a paper that says, among other things, that DRM will fail for this very reason. Put your hands down, guys. Here's the social reason that DRM fails: keeping an honest user honest is like keeping a tall user tall. DRM vendors tell us that their technology is meant to be proof against average users, not organized criminal gangs like the Ukrainian pirates who stamp out millions of high-quality counterfeits.

It's not meant to be proof against sophisticated college kids. It's not meant to be proof against anyone who knows how to edit her registry, or hold down the shift key at the right moment, or use a search engine. At the end of the day, the user DRM is meant to defend against is the most unsophisticated and least capable among us. Here's a true story about a user I know who was stopped by DRM. She's smart, college educated, and knows nothing about electronics.

She has three kids. That's a substantial investment, and given the generally jam-smeared character of everything the kids get their paws on, she decided to tape the DVD off to VHS and give that to the kids -- that way she could make a fresh VHS copy when the first one went south. Before I go farther, I want us all to stop a moment and marvel at this. Here is someone who is practically technophobic, but who was able to construct a mental model of sufficient accuracy that she figured out that she could connect her cables in the right order and dub her digital disc off to analog tape.

I imagine that everyone in this room is the front-line tech support for someone in her or his family: wouldn't it be great if all our non-geek friends and relatives were this clever and imaginative? I also want to point out that this is the proverbial honest user. She's not making a copy for the next door neighbors. She's not making a copy and selling it on a blanket on Canal Street.

She's not ripping it to her hard-drive, DivX encoding it and putting it in her Kazaa sharepoint. She's home taping. Except she fails. There's a DRM system called Macrovision embedded -- by law -- in every VHS that messes with the vertical blanking interval in the signal and causes any tape made in this fashion to fail.

But our infringer doesn't know that. She's "honest. Not stupid, mind you -- just naive. The Darknet paper addresses this possibility: it even predicts what this person will do in the long run: she'll find out about Kazaa and the next time she wants to get a movie for the kids, she'll download it from the net and burn it for them.

In order to delay that day for as long as possible, our lawmakers and big rightsholder interests have come up with a disastrous policy called anticircumvention. Here's how anticircumvention works: if you put a lock -- an access control -- around a copyrighted work, it is illegal to break that lock. It's illegal to make a tool that breaks that lock. It's illegal to tell someone how to make that tool. One court even held it illegal to tell someone where she can find out how to make that tool.

Remember Schneier's Law? Anyone can come up with a security system so clever that he can't see its flaws. The only way to find the flaws in security is to disclose the system's workings and invite public feedback. But now we live in a world where any cipher used to fence off a copyrighted work is off-limits to that kind of feedback.

That's something that a Princeton engineering prof named Ed Felten and his team discovered when he submitted a paper to an academic conference on the failings in the Secure Digital Music Initiative, a watermarking scheme proposed by the recording industry. The RIAA responded by threatening to sue his ass if he tried it. We fought them because Ed is the kind of client that impact litigators love: unimpeachable and clean-cut and the RIAA folded. Lucky Ed. Maybe the next guy isn't so lucky. Matter of fact, the next guy wasn't.

Dmitry Sklyarov is a Russian programmer who gave a talk at a hacker con in Vegas on the failings in Adobe's e-book locks. The FBI threw him in the slam for 30 days. He copped a plea, went home to Russia, and the Russian equivalent of the State Department issued a blanket warning to its researchers to stay away from American conferences, since we'd apparently turned into the kind of country where certain equations are illegal.

Anticircumvention is a powerful tool for people who want to exclude competitors. If you claim that your car engine firmware is a "copyrighted work," you can sue anyone who makes a tool for interfacing with it. That's not just bad news for mechanics -- think of the hotrodders who want to chip their cars to tweak the performance settings. We have companies like Lexmark claiming that their printer cartridges contain copyrighted works -- software that trips an "I am empty" flag when the toner runs out, and have sued a competitor who made a remanufactured cartridge that reset the flag.

Even garage-door opener companies have gotten in on the act, claiming that their receivers' firmware are copyrighted works. Copyrighted cars, print carts and garage-door openers: what's next, copyrighted light-fixtures? Even in the context of legitimate -- excuse me, "traditional" -- copyrighted works like movies on DVDs, anticircumvention is bad news.

Copyright is a delicate balance. It gives creators and their assignees some rights, but it also reserves some rights to the public. For example, an author has no right to prohibit anyone from transcoding his books into assistive formats for the blind. More importantly, though, a creator has a very limited say over what you can do once you lawfully acquire her works.

If I buy your book, your painting, or your DVD, it belongs to me. It's my property. But anticirumvention lets rightsholders invent new and exciting copyrights for themselves -- to write private laws without accountability or deliberation -- that expropriate your interest in your physical property to their favor. Region-coded DVDs are an example of this: there's no copyright here or in anywhere I know of that says that an author should be able to control where you enjoy her creative works, once you've paid for them.

I can buy a book and throw it in my bag and take it anywhere from Toronto to Timbuktu, and read it wherever I am: I can even buy books in America and bring them to the UK, where the author may have an exclusive distribution deal with a local publisher who sells them for double the US shelf-price. When I'm done with it, I can sell it on or give it away in the UK. Copyright lawyers call this "First Sale," but it may be simpler to think of it as "Capitalism. Remember: there is no copyright that says that an author gets to do this. When we wrote the copyright statutes and granted authors the right to control display, performance, duplication, derivative works, and so forth, we didn't leave out "geography" by accident.

That was on-purpose. So when your French DVD won't play in America, that's not because it'd be illegal to do so: it's because the studios have invented a business-model and then invented a copyright law to prop it up. The DVD is your property and so is the DVD player, but if you break the region-coding on your disc, you're going to run afoul of anticircumvention.

He and some pals wrote some code to break the CSS so that he could do so. DRM systems are bad for biz This is the worst of all the ideas embodied by DRM: that people who make record-players should be able to spec whose records you can listen to, and that people who make records should have a veto over the design of record-players.

We've never had this principle: in fact, we've always had just the reverse. Think about all the things that can be plugged into a parallel or serial interface, which were never envisioned by their inventors. Our strong economy and rapid innovation are byproducts of the ability of anyone to make anything that plugs into anything else: from the Flo-bee electric razor that snaps onto the end of your vacuum-hose to the octopus spilling out of your car's dashboard lighter socket, standard interfaces that anyone can build for are what makes billionaires out of nerds.

The courts affirm this again and again. When that ban was struck down, it created the market for third-party phone equipment, from talking novelty phones to answering machines to cordless handsets to headsets -- billions of dollars of economic activity that had been suppressed by the closed interface. DRM is the software equivalent of these closed hardware interfaces. Robert Scoble is a Softie who has an excellent blog, where he wrote an essay about the best way to protect your investment in the digital music you buy.

Scoble argued that Microsoft's music was a sounder investment, because Microsoft would have more downstream licensees for its proprietary format and therefore you'd have a richer ecosystem of devices to choose from when you were shopping for gizmos to play your virtual records on.

What a weird idea: that we should evaluate our record-purchases on the basis of which recording company will allow the greatest diversity of record-players to play its discs! That's like telling someone to buy the Betamax instead of the Edison Kinetoscope because Thomas Edison is a crank about licensing his patents; all the while ignoring the world's relentless march to the more open VHS format.

It's a bad business. DVD is a format where the guy who makes the records gets to design the record players. Ask yourself: how much innovation has there been over the past decade of DVD players? They've gotten cheaper and smaller, but where are the weird and amazing new markets for DVD that were opened up by the VCR?

We're talking about a few thousand dollars' worth of components -- all that other cost is the cost of anticompetition. DRM systems are bad for artists But what of the artist? The hardworking filmmaker, the ink-stained scribbler, the heroin-cured leathery rock-star? Copyright is inherently technological, since the things it addresses -- copying, transmitting, and so on -- are inherently technological. The piano roll was the first system for cheaply copying music. It was invented at a time when the dominant form of entertainment in America was getting a talented pianist to come into your living room and pound out some tunes while you sang along.

The music industry consisted mostly of sheet-music publishers. The player piano was a digital recording and playback system. Piano-roll companies bought sheet music and ripped the notes printed on it into 0s and 1s on a long roll of computer tape, which they sold by the thousands -- the hundreds of thousands -- the millions. They did this without a penny's compensation to the publishers.

They were digital music pirates. Predictably, the composers and music publishers went nutso. Sousa showed up in Congress to say that: These talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country. When I was a boy Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day. We will not have a vocal chord left. The vocal chord will be eliminated by a process of evolution, as was the tail of man when he came from the ape.

The publishers asked Congress to ban the piano roll and to create a law that said that any new system for reproducing music should be subject to a veto from their industry association. Lucky for us, Congress realized what side of their bread had butter on it and decided not to criminalize the dominant form of entertainment in America. But there was the problem of paying artists. The Constitution sets out the purpose of American copyright: to promote the useful arts and sciences.

The composers had a credible story that they'd do less composing if they weren't paid for it, so Congress needed a fix. Here's what they came up with: anyone who paid a music publisher two cents would have the right to make one piano roll of any song that publisher published. This compulsory license is still in place today: when Joe Cocker sings "With a Little Help from My Friends," he pays a fixed fee to the Beatles' publisher and away he goes -- even if Ringo hates the idea.

If you ever wondered how Sid Vicious talked Anka into letting him get a crack at "My Way," well, now you know. That compulsory license created a world where a thousand times more money was made by a thousand times more creators who made a thousand times more music that reached a thousand times more people. This story repeats itself throughout the technological century, every ten or fifteen years. Radio was enabled by a voluntary blanket license -- the music companies got together and asked for a consent decree so that they could offer all their music for a flat fee.

Cable TV took a compulsory: the only way cable operators could get their hands on broadcasts was to pirate them and shove them down the wire, and Congress saw fit to legalize this practice rather than screw around with their constituents' TVs. Sometimes, the courts and Congress decided to simply take away a copyright -- that's what happened with the VCR. When Sony brought out the VCR in , the studios had already decided what the experience of watching a movie in your living room would look like: they'd licensed out their programming for use on a machine called a Discovision, which played big LP-sized discs that were read-only.

The copyright scholars of the day didn't give the VCR very good odds. Sony argued that their box allowed for a fair use, which is defined as a use that a court rules is a defense against infringement based on four factors: whether the use transforms the work into something new, like a collage; whether it uses all or some of the work; whether the work is artistic or mainly factual; and whether the use undercuts the creator's business-model. The Betamax failed on all four fronts: when you time-shifted or duplicated a Hollywood movie off the air, you made a non-transformative use of percent of a creative work in a way that directly undercut the Discovision licensing stream.

Jack Valenti, the mouthpiece for the motion-picture industry, told Congress in that the VCR was to the American film industry "as the Boston Strangler is to a woman home alone. In other words, "We don't buy this Boston Strangler business: if your business model can't survive the emergence of this general-purpose tool, it's time to get another business-model or go broke. There's one thing that every new art business-model had in common: it embraced the medium it lived in.

This is the overweening characteristic of every single successful new medium: it is true to itself. The Luther Bible didn't succeed on the axes that made a hand-copied monk Bible valuable: they were ugly, they weren't in Church Latin, they weren't read aloud by someone who could interpret it for his lay audience, they didn't represent years of devoted-with-a-capital-D labor by someone who had given his life over to God. The thing that made the Luther Bible a success was its scalability: it was more popular because it was more proliferate: all success factors for a new medium pale beside its profligacy.

The most successful organisms on earth are those that reproduce the most: bugs and bacteria, nematodes and virii. Reproduction is the best of all survival strategies. Radio lacked the social elements of live performance, but more people could build a crystal set and get it aimed correctly than could pack into even the largest Vaudeville house. MP3s don't come with liner notes, they aren't sold to you by a hipper-than-thou record store clerk who can help you make your choice, bad rips and truncated files abound: I once downloaded a twelve-second copy of "Hey Jude" from the original Napster.

Yet MP3 is outcompeting the CD. I don't know what to do with CDs anymore: I get them, and they're like the especially nice garment bag they give you at the fancy suit shop: it's nice and you feel like a goof for throwing it out, but Christ, how many of these things can you usefully own? I can put ten thousand songs on my laptop, but a comparable pile of discs, with liner notes and so forth -- that's a liability: it's a piece of my monthly storage-locker costs.

Here are the two most important things to know about computers and the Internet: 1. A computer is a machine for rearranging bits 2. The Internet is a machine for moving bits from one place to another very cheaply and quickly Any new medium that takes hold on the Internet and with computers will embrace these two facts, not regret them.

A newspaper press is a machine for spitting out cheap and smeary newsprint at speed: if you try to make it output fine art lithos, you'll get junk. If you try to make it output newspapers, you'll get the basis for a free society. And so it is with the Internet. At the heyday of Napster, record execs used to show up at conferences and tell everyone that Napster was doomed because no one wanted lossily compressed MP3s with no liner notes and truncated files and misspelled metadata. Today we hear ebook publishers tell each other and anyone who'll listen that the barrier to ebooks is screen resolution.

It's bollocks, and so is the whole sermonette about how nice a book looks on your bookcase and how nice it smells and how easy it is to slip into the tub. These are obvious and untrue things, like the idea that radio will catch on once they figure out how to sell you hotdogs during the intermission, or that movies will really hit their stride when we can figure out how to bring the actors out for an encore when the film's run out.

Or that what the Protestant Reformation really needs is Luther Bibles with facsimile illumination in the margin and a rent-a-priest to read aloud from your personal Word of God. New media don't succeed because they're like the old media, only better: they succeed because they're worse than the old media at the stuff the old media is good at, and better at the stuff the old media are bad at.

Books are good at being paperwhite, high-resolution, low-infrastructure, cheap and disposable. Ebooks are good at being everywhere in the world at the same time for free in a form that is so malleable that you can just pastebomb it into your IM session or turn it into a page-a-day mailing list. The only really successful epublishing -- I mean, hundreds of thousands, millions of copies distributed and read -- is the bookwarez scene, where scanned-and-OCR'd books are distributed on the darknet.

The hardware-dependent ebooks, the DRM use-and-copy-restricted ebooks, they're cratering. Sales measured in the tens, sometimes the hundreds. Science fiction is a niche business, but when you're selling copies by the ten, that's not even a business, it's a hobby. Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. Kids' Club Eligible. NOOK Book. Twelve-year-old Katherine Bateson believes in a logical explanation for everything. But even she can't make sense of the strange goings-on at Rookskill Castle, the drafty old Scottish castle-turned-school where she and her siblings have been sent to escape the London Blitz.

What's making those mechanical shrieks at night? Why do the castle's walls seem to have a mind of their own? And who are the silent children who seem to haunt Rookskill's grounds? Kat believes Lady Eleanor, who rules the castle, is harboring a Nazi spy. Janet lives with her husband in the mountains of Montana. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Kids' Books.

Add to Wishlist. USD 8. Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Over vampires? Romance, action and adventure, and some Elijah Wood jokes just for good measure. Readers ages , male and female, are losing sleep to its page-turning twists. Lose some sleep this holiday! In creating her paranormal world she combined a lot of elements from many religions around the world as well as a few twists of her own to create a fascinating concept of what happens after we die and what happens to our souls. Available in paperback and eBook editions. My first three novels are traditionally published, but now, out of print.

Her problem? Now, the bindings are breaking. The three main characters have to either rebind the demon, or destroy it, before it causes another war in Eastern Europe. Frankie works at the Happy Restful Sanitorium, a housing facility for those who choose to keep their loved ones around long after their death. This novel has sustained some detailed, positive reviews, and is a great romp for zombie fans.

Thanks, John! So against his will and his better judgment DuckBob teams with a MiB he calls Tall, an alien techie named Ned, and a hot alien-augmented not that way! Under my pseudonym William Cardini, I draw comics that explore my psychedelic space fantasy cosmos the Hyperverse.

You can see some of my work on the comics page of my website. It chronicles an epic battle of swordblows and slime between my recurring character the Miizzzard and a new alien with unknown powers. But, instead of babbling on in my own words, here are what some reviewers are saying:. The premise is fascinating. The characters are real and engaging. The book is well written, well edited and a fast, fun read. From the moment I picked it up I did not want to put it down.

Such a compelling and engaging and completely absorbing story… I literally could not put the book down.

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I especially love his attention to little details that add a quality of richness and depth to his story. The first 80 pages are available to read for free! Readers seem to be emotionally connecting to my characters and the story is staying with them. Then he was murdered. Now someone is trying to kill her. Rollin Hanson, a mercenary bad boy, and Burke Cherlenko, a suave crime lord, offer to protect her and help her find the missing money and weapon. Emma must determine which man to trust, find the money and the nuke, before time runs out.

Writers and book-lovers! Learn to talk about novels like a pro. Become a revision-savvy writer. It decodes, defines, and provides helpful examples of the editorial jargon used in writing workshops, critiques, and online forums. Written by an experienced editor and writing teacher, this slender, dictionary-style reference book is a fundamental guide for writers across the spectrum of experience—from new writers learning the craft, to seasoned nonfiction writers working on a first novel, to intermediate-level authors wishing to sharpen their technical skills.

With over three quarter of a million downloads, Spinward Fringe: Origins has become a staple for anyone who likes to try new authors. This complete, free collected trilogy tells its own tale of high adventure in approximately one hundred seventy thousand words. It also provides the back story to the Spinward Fringe series of Space Opera novels, so, if you like what you see in this complete trilogy, there is more to read.

It is the distant future and one man, Jonas Valent, is letting his life slip by. He is employed by Freeground station as a port traffic controller, a job he took after completing a tour in the military. His only real joy in life is his participation in true-to-life military simulations with a cadre of friends who come together regularly to defeat challenges made to test the brightest military cadets. These restricted scenarios are an addictive preoccupation that is so enticing that they ignore the potential repercussions of breaking in to participate.

When someone reveals their identities to the Freeground Fleet Admiralty, Jonas and his friends are recognized for their talents and pressed into service. Their mission: to venture out into the populated regions of the galaxy to acquire technology and knowledge. Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins is a collected trilogy that chronicles the early adventures of an ambitious crew. Their leader, Jonas Valent, has the least to lose and everything to gain as he tells the tale of his first tour as Captain of a ship tasked with making allies and discovering new technologies for the good of his people.

This simple mission becomes more complicated as the crew ventures further into the settled fringes of the galaxy. I publish only in ebook form, and my first three books are all far-future science fiction novels. So when the unstable Vesperan notable Iolani Jharissa assassinates the ruler of the New Empire, intelligencer Raphael Quiridion is sent to Vespera to prove her guilt and bring her down — only, it turns out, she is the least of his problems.

His sinister uncle Silvanos wants him out of the way, the charming and astute Leonata and her idealistic shipwright daughter want to recruit him to an unspecified cause, and his superior, the implacable Empress Mother Aesonia, is spreading poisonous propaganda. They all know Iolani killed the Emperor. Too few of them know why — and by the time they do, the stakes are terrifyingly high. Because a second civil war has started, and they now know what happened to the people who lost the first one…. Definitely not noir — you might actually want to live in a city of cream stone and tropical sunshine — but a story of pride, envy, revenge, and the terrible cost of civil war.

A chapbook of poetry written during and about my experiences in the US Navy in the early s. An heir to the New England gothics of Frost and Melville, his relentlessly honest poems are lit with absence and wise to the intimacies of observation. Evening Watch is a startling debut. American poetry has a bright, new voice. Published by Ibbetson Street Press and available through their storefront on Lulu. The first in an epic fantasy trilogy that takes the traditional bounds of the genre and kicks them in the teeth.

The number one response is that people can see it in their heads as they read it — and love it. There are no elves. There are no orcs. There are no vampires. There is a love story and there is a lot of action. Plucked off the streets, he is thrust into the rigorously-disciplined environment of Psion Beta headquarters.

As a new Beta, Sammy must hone his newfound abilities using holographic fighting simulations, stealth training missions, and complex war games. His fellow trainees are other kids competing to prove their worth so they can graduate and contribute to the war effort. But the stifling competition at headquarters isolates Sammy from his peers. Learning to use his incredible powers is difficult enough, but when things go horribly wrong on a routine training mission, he must rely on the other Betas to stay alive.

But to do so, he must survive. For a Kindle book this is well worth the effort in reading. This is a story about God and the Devil, but not how you were taught to believe. This is also a story about love and hate, and the suffering both can bring. This is about rights and wrongs, and all of the spaces in between. This is about revenge, courage, death, passion; with no villains, no heroes… only those left scorned. This is a story about Heaven, Hell, and the Jury that holds them together. This is The Antithesis.

Justice Alezair Czynri is the newest recruit of the Jury, a group of powerful beings who reside in Purgatory and enforce the Code between Heaven and Hell. However, Justice Czynri could not have come at a worse time. A storm lays just over the horizon…. Learn about traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy through the artwork of Chinese-American artist Bertrand Mao.

Art lovers everywhere will enjoy this ebook. Art work is in color for those who view the ebook on their computer, iPad, or Kindle Fire. In addition, Bertrand Mao has translated into English all the Chinese calligraphy that appear in this book so that the English reader can enjoy the poetry and verses, many of which were written by ancient Chinese scholars. But all is not well. On the planet Nuala, a world cursed with riches and radiation, comes a tale of truth, honor, and treason, with a drop of romance and a generous helping of murder.

Length: app. Seven year old Grace always dreamt of becoming a guardian angel; like those who guarded and guided her people and prepared to bravely fight in a dreaded mythical event, the Crystal Shade — which never came. Or wants to know what evil and darkness is — things that no one ever faced on her world and as the legends says, the Crystal Shade carries within —, nor does she want to die to be reborn as a guardian. But she thinks the mysterious life of angels is so noble, a fable that it sounds exciting — until it actually happens.

Crystal Shade: Angeni, Volume 1 explores the early life of a young daydreaming soul who is destined to reveal the forgotten past of her home world and to seek the answer for the eternal question; what the legendary Crystal Shade really is. Hi John, thanks so much for this opportunity! In this bleak, medieval world, nothing is black and white, and even a thief must make a stand for what she believes is right. No favorite parts have been omitted. Every scene, character, and song from the original is in this new parody. Military science fiction anthology by all women writers!

David Weber has called me a brazen hussy. Is a violent response ever the right thing? What could be worse than burning in Hell for eternity? For the Nameless Demon, it was his release. Pursued by both his ex-wives one angel, one succubus, both seductively deadly , the Demon is plunged into the teeth of the Second Crusade, a war between Templars and wizards, kings and clergy. This book has photos of baby MikiSquirrel coming to live with me and my dogs. Seven yrs old and younger. To get close to Dragan Dilaver, a Kosovo kingpin involved in drugs and arms—trafficking, Hawk helped him escape from Asia and return to his former country of Yugoslavia.

Now Hawk has to discover where certain weapons have been dropped for Dilaver over the diverse regions of Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania —— not an easy task for someone unfamiliar with the territory. In order for the operation to succeed, he needs a tracker and the only available person is CIA contact agent Amber Hutchens. Beautiful and smart, Amber has made a life for herself in Velesta, Macedonia and she is more than capable of assisting Hawk in finding the cache of hidden weapons.

Despite the danger of exposure and torture, they risk everything in their mission to strike down Dilaver and his ruthless gang —— even their love. Hello, Mr. Scalzi: thanks again for giving me this forum. More to come from me from both publishers in the new year. A samurai smelling of the sea, dripping on the ground, algae strung from his armor. For the first time in his life, he discovers that monsters do roam the earth. And this one has been specifically looking for him. Dragged from his home and all he has ever known, Toshi must now use his acquired skills in foreign maps to help the creatures who have taken him.

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Yet at every turn there are problems. There are even those seeking to terminate his very life, not wanting his new master to succeed in his assigned task. Can he do what even the undead cannot? Or will he fail and be forced to wander the world as one of them? I have a bunch of backlist and an original nonfiction up at Book View Cafe as ebooks. These are on Kindle and Nook as well. Many little details that the writer needs to know in order to write horses accurately. Copiously linked and illustrated your tablet or your NookColor or Kindle Fire will love this one.

In all the years of interstellar exploration, lifeforms no more complex than invertebrates have ever been found. Until now. Almost 9, light years from Earth, the SS Orca colony surveying ship has been in orbit around a candidate colony planet for over a year with its family crew of Dr. But before he can report his findings, his research is interrupted and his family is torn away from him. I explored a few threads of what the humans might be experiencing before I took a stab at what the AI directing the ship was experiencing.

Having spent a good chunk of my professional career eyeballs deep digging through syslogs looking for the signal in the noise, I know that these logs tell stories ranging from the sublime to the hilarious to the downright terrifying. While the plot was clear in my mind, elevating a logfile to a central character and have it tell a hopefully coherent story was a special challenge.

I had to invent my own command set, keep track of process IDs, and ponder what an AI would log. My hope is that attuned readers will find the logs realistic and non-techie people find the syslog portions accessible and understandable. Intrigue, suspicion, and rivalry among princes casts a shadow on the court of Owain, king of north Wales. Available in print and ebook formats, at Amazon. Do you like Sherlock Holmes? Do you ever find yourself wishing that not all of the seemingly other-worldly events in the original Holmes stories were rationalised at the end?

Written by Barbara Roden, an investitured member of the Baker Street Irregulars and a World Fantasy Award-winner, the four stories in the collection remain true to the spirit and characters of Conan Doyle. Cecil Forrester. Fans of M. And in the title story, Holmes and Watson try to solve a horrific real-life series of murders which shocked a London already reeling from the Ripper atrocities.

Available for Kindle from Amazon. Thanks for the opportunity, John! Telly is a homeless teenager struggling to survive on the streets of Los Angeles, but he has just met a man that can make all of his dreams come true. His rich new benefactor only asks for one thing in return—something no one else has been able to do for two and a half centuries.

The man with the death wish is named Van, and he offers Telly an escape from the constant fear, hunger, and shame that have haunted him during his homelessness. He desires a higher plane of existence, but in order to get there he must train someone to complete the grim ritual that will free him from the confines of his immortal body. I published my novel Lunatic Fringe this year. It is about, to put it briefly, lesbian werewolves. I also created an online class Self-Publishing , which you can find on my website, for the aspiring authors out there.

I would like to offer my two recent science fiction novels, two very different kinds of stories. Is this real or is he losing his mind? And who can he tell? First, he must understand the rules of his new reality, then figure out how to use it to stop the terrorists. With the economy on the verge of collapse, a desperate government has bet the future on a star mission.

Lonely young Harry Middleton finds his soul mate, and they dream of escaping to the stars together, but she disappears on her 14th birthday. The books are available as ebooks and as trade paperbacks. You can read the first chapters and purchase them at all e-retailers and Goodreads. A story of a bullies quest for redemption. On Amazon. And now for something completely different: In an ancient and obscure book in the British Library in London, a mystery writer finds an anonymous poem. Yes, it could. Very enjoyable, and I learned a bit more about India.

Matt spends quite a bit of time traveling through India in this delightful collection of e-mail messages. It is well worth the price. Grassroots Sustainability — A Guide to Organizing a Thriving Community written by Lisa Chipkin and Pam Hartwell-Herrero self published Grassroots Sustainability was inspired by the real-life efforts of a handful of grassroots groups in Marin County, California that successfully brought sustainability policy and education to their communities. This guidebook documents their best practices and shares important lessons learned along the way. It is intended to empower individuals and grassroots groups near and far to facilitate meaningful change in their communities from the ground up, without having to reinvent the wheel.

Buy a copy for the advocate or organizer in your life. This is the Occupy movement in action in your community! But then what happens? Even as the heroes and villains fight in the streets and in the skies, the officers and detectives have to deal with the everyday slog of maintaining law and order.

The first novel is The Case of the Claw , and it features two detectives trying to find a super-powered spree killer known as the Claw, who has returned again after two years. Purchasing links are at my web site. The third novel in the series, Goblin Precinct , is due out in My first contribution is Guilt in Innocence , which features the Olodumare Hegemony, a solar-system-wide empire made up of people derived from humans from western Africa.

Again, full ordering info on my web site. If you think it was all good deeds and fancy ideals back in the days of Camelot, think again. Young Leonard would have been shocked to learn any of this but right now all that concerned him was where his next meal was coming from. As page to Sir Ronald, a poor but kind knight, events at the castle took a back seat to a rumbling stomach. Oh sure, he held a secret dream that one day Sir Ronald would take a seat at the Round Table, but seriously, that was about as likely as Maid Glennys seeing him as anyone other than the dirty page of a low-ranking nobleman.

Not gonna happen. Wait a minute. If the dragon will allow Sir Ronald to slay him, his misery would be over, Sir Ronald would surely get a Round Table invite for such a brave deed, and Leonard might even climb a notch or two in the eyes of Glennys! Everybody wins, right? Leonard is a marvelous hero-in-the-making and Mantooth is the first dragon in a long time who really deserves a hug. Click here for additional info including buy links. Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One.

Also free at Amazon UK. Last night a wicked storm swept a beautiful sacrifice onto the shore. Shipwrecked Jessica Stanton is about to be discovered, cherished, and trained to survive on a remote island by a man who is not what he seems. The first book, Eggs A Year Per Hen , was originally published in , and is a first-hand explanation of how to run a small poultry operation. My latest effort is currently being processed at both stores and will be available within a day or two. Also chapters on roses, grapevines, mushrooms, and tons of other oddities.

What an interesting idea, thank you! Hope this generates lots of interest in micro-publishers. Her grandfather dies and his mansion is usurped by a stranger. The threads of three mysteries twine together, and someone wants to cut the cord before Ana finds the answers. Wow, thanks. The Sable City by M. Edward McNally, first of a three-volume epic fantasy series.

Muskets, Magic, and Matilda Lanai. Ketty is a pretty shepherdess with a contrary nature, who runs away from home to escape an unwanted marriage. As she flees along the forest road, she prays to the Dread Hammer for help—and to her astonishment help comes in the form of a charming and well-armed young murderer named Smoke who is not entirely human. Smoke, too, is taken by surprise at their encounter. He had lurked beside the forest road intending to pierce hearts and slit throats, not to fall in love. Now the army wants him back.

Good for read aloud. Almost makes a point or two. Rose, Author. This is in contrast to the vast majority of treatments that deal only with symptoms. Brave, honest, and educational. Three stories, each written within three days for the Three Day Novel Contest. Picaresque magic realism, slipstream, myths, legends and ghosts. Mad scientists. Gods rising from snot and blood. Lack of sleep accounts for most of it.

At 45, words or about pages, this book is a perfect weekend read. The victim of a brutal attack, Fiona remembers little about her life until she meets someone who claims to be from her past. He tells her that her parents were killed for a human replication machine. She soon travels to her old home in New York to figure out what happened to her and her family.

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She needs to find out who she is, but more importantly, confront the men who killed her parents. Follow the guys on their world-spanning adventure as they defeat mobsters, an evil step-mother, a rakish brother-in-law and pirates. No, really — pirates! And hockey. Come for the romance, stay for the hockey.

Find out why you should always bring backup on a cruise, who responds better to beer than to pay raises, and what goes on at those charity parties. Three teenage lives are changed forever by Dr. The Remembrance, pages The world has died — in fire and flood, violence and destruction. From the singed remains, a new world has risen — one that is not bound by the laws of conventional man.

Madman and visionary, he will be the first to create his own world — one that is both familiar, and yet strange and fantastic. Herod has become the King of Dragons and he, along with his companions and enemies, will form the shape of things yet to come. His friends wish to build a new Utopia. His enemies — kingdoms under their complete control.

Both will try to use Herod to their own ends. Herod has other plans, and while it might cost him everything he has sought to build, he will stop at nothing. The Collapse. Civilization swept away in the historical equivalent of the blink of an eye. Man reduced to little more than a parasite living off the carcass of the Old World. After twenty years, little was left for even the most diligent of scavengers to recover. Animals had vanished, replaced with creatures that had never existed on Earth. Reproduction was difficult, water supplies poisoned and the world just kept on getting warmer.

As the saying went — The world was not what it was. For Nathan Smith, inveterate wanderer, his latest trip was one of desperate need. His community was on the verge of falling apart due to lack of food, water and other vital supplies. But he could not have imagined the extremes that he would find on this journey.

The post-Collapse highways offered no free rides and no easy way. It was all or nothing and Nathan was about to learn a very important lesson. On this road, there was no turning back. Hunted by mercenaries and an evil group known as the Triad, she is rescued by a large brute of a man named Talos and his band of diminutive followers.

She soon discovers that everyone thinks she is the one referred to in legend as The Crystal Warrior. And that her destiny is to gather the magic crystals and lead an epic battle against the Triad.

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  • A battle that will determine the fate of Agorai itself. The Triad has other plans. Plans that involve capturing the crystals and using their powers for themselves. Plans that involve murder, madness and pain. They have been waiting a long, long time for the Warrior to awaken. Will she triumph over the forces of evil?

    Will she obtain the power of the crystals? Will she be able to save her friends? Or will they die at her side? A father takes matters into his own hands after his daughter is abducted. I recently decided to try my hand at self-publishing. Most of my readers have been adults! Clay Shieffer seemingly had it all. He and his business partner had sold their neuroscience startup for tens of millions. But his outward success belied his discomfort with the police state growing under President Everton and America United in the aftermath of the nuclear terrorist attack that had destroyed Washington, D.

    Inspired to bring down the President, Clay tells the wrong person and soon finds himself on the run from Federal agents and the U. He must forge a rag-tag alliance of hackers, misfits, engineers, and conscience-stricken military personnel to seize control of New Washington and topple the tyrant. Hel is an energy vampire. Nick is an anti-magic cop. Nick is aroused by magic.

    But can they keep their hands off each other? Why not check it out? A short blurb: The Pier goes on … forever. Epic battles at sea, an undead soul-eating villain, the unbreakable bonds of friendship and love, and the courageous heroes who are called upon to rescue a doomed world … This is just a taste of what awaits you in the pages of the epic fantasy saga Melody and the Pier to Forever. He has created an amazing epic story which from the very beginning draws the reader into a story which is beautifully crafted. Remedy is a medical drama, set in a magical world where three races live in symbiosis.

    Living in this world is Peregrine, an avian whose mining career has ruined his hearing and weakened his wings. After a lifetime of dependancy on weasel aides, Peregrine decides to free his current aide, Tillian, before her entire year lifespan is wasted on one old man. New York in the Eighties. Tough place for a struggling young African-American superhero like RJ kinda strong, sorta hard to kill to fight crime, make the rent, and hold on to his love life. Or die trying.

    Ebook available at Amazon , Barnes and Noble , Smashwords, and other online retailers. Instead I will promote my YA serial, Nightlights. I like it, and I think other people do too. Isiah is having a tough time. The Devil is making his job very difficult. Samuel Harrigan is a murdering low-life who used ancient black magic to escape a deal with the Devil. RealmShift is an engrossing dark fantasy thriller; a fascinating exploration of the nature of belief and its effect on the world. Magic, action, and intrigue, from dank city streets to the depths of hell and beyond. He finds something he likes even better.

    The Shores We Walk is a spiritual journey of four young protagonists observing the moments flashing before their eyes while on the brink of death. The narrator writes in parable like prose, following these characters along their dark pursuits on their paths to self-destruction. The main character, Francis shares his story after dropping to his lowest depths with nowhere to look but towards the light. Available at Amazon with a special for the Kindle of 99 cents!

    His body is never found — because he was snatched away into the year by scientists experimenting with a new faster-than-light drive. A shorter version of this work was a finalist for both the Nebula and the Hugo Awards. The moon is in the second house, Jupiter has aligned with Mars, and private investigator Tim Coates is having his own personal summer of love. A gorgeous blonde girl hires him to find her missing mother.

    But Ellie Quartern and her mom are not your standard damsels in distress. They share an eerie and destructive secret that warps hearts and destroys lives. And he discovers that the Rolling Stones were wrong. A boy falls through a window in his attic and ends up in orbit around an alien world. Well, not quite an orbit. And everything is getting hotter.

    Jack must stick his neck out to help people he just met, both on the other side of the galaxy and around the corner at his new school. Every time he tries, though, he just makes things worse…. Shawn Gibson has assembled an easy to read, understand and follow guide to a truly enlightened life.

    This book will help you identify and prioritize your life goals through easy to follow processes. It will help you to understand how your mind works and how to take control of your life. How to prioritize your goals, eliminate the negativity and fear, take control of your finances, and map a path to a truly successful life. A Gem of a Life! An ancient evil. A mystical set of tablets. A missing father. Sabine Parsons is realizing why she should have stayed out in the Cold. The intelligence fraternity has taken her back and she is once again code-named Oracle and in possession now of a power that makes her an Oracle in truth.

    Except Michael Parsons is a mathemetician with ties to the Department of Defense and secrets of his own. Hardly off the plane, the Waking Dream that now rides Sabine warns her of a danger on Mt. Rainier when she arrives in Washington State, pushing her even further back into the Game. Sabine finds herself dropped into an even greater mystery that involves her father and her own past as a ward of Special Projects. All while the Lodge of the Midnight Sun and the intelligence fraternity wage their secret war, seeking to find weaknesses in the others armor. In the majickal Land of OCKT, weazels are the only peoples who are clever and fast enough to herd katz.

    And Peeje, the wily and white, is bound and determined to be the most professional kat herder of his kind—a job complicated by flaming hairballs, feline scheming, and the nature of all katz to blip in and out of invisibility. But, when the Council of Indecision makes its first decision in 1, years to summon him—Peeje! Co-authored by J. Perfect for all ages. Tags: absurdist humor, adventure, animals, fantasy, fire, sneak thievery, combustibles, pyrotechnics, cat, invisibility, professionalism, smear campaign, young adult, fairy tale, series, allegory, humor, fable, fantasy adventure, middlegrade, ferret, weasel, m o muriel, j l muriel.

    But how do you stop arcane energies that can possess nearly anyone they come in contact with? And what is going on with those comatose psychic teens? Are they really influencing dreams? Can these damaged individuals really pull together to save all of time and space?