Tag Archives: science-fiction

The birth of cybernetics?

Doctor Who fans will immediately recognize the concept of the ‘Cyberman’, but for everyone else, it’s a being that evolved from a biological base into a fusion of ‘meat + machine’.

In the Doctor Who series, the Cybermen are more machine than meat, but the concept stays the same. And it’s been a recurring theme in science fiction for decades. Anyone remember a TV show called the 64 Million Dollar Man?

But that’s all just make believe…isn’t it?

Well, no, no it’s not, not any more. Welcome to the world of David Eagleman. If you have any interest in what makes all life on earth tick, you will find this TED talk absolutely rivetting:

Did you watch it? Did it blow you away? Yeah, me too. 😀

There were a number of things in that talk that made me nod like crazy, but two really stood out:

  • the brain is a general purpose computing device, and
  • the concept of sensory substitution

As someone interested in biology, I sort of knew about the parts of the brain and how they functioned, but until quite recently, I assumed that brain plasticity [the ability of the brain to change itself when necessary] was restricted to fairly ‘small’ functions. And then I heard about Daniel Kish. He has no eyes, so everything you see him do, he does without using the physical pathways you or I use when we ‘see’ things. Instead, he makes clicking sounds and ‘hears’ them bounce off objects in their path:

Daniel Kish is an example of biological sensory substitution because he uses his hearing to provide data to the brain which the brain then interprets as a kind of vision. It’s real, it can be done, it’s just that most of the time, we humans prefer to use the easy path we learned as babies.

Just as a matter of interest, did you know that the visual cortex of a newborn baby is ‘unfinished’? Steropsis, or

The perception of depth produced by the reception in the brain of visual stimuli from both eyes in combination; binocular vision

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/stereopsis

is ‘learned’ in the first 18 months of a baby’s life. If something happens to disrupt this learning process, binocular vision will not develop. Instead, the child will learn how to see 3D using a process called ‘motion parallax’. I know, because that’s how I see, and I can play pretty fast and furious table tennis. 😀

The more I learn about the world, the more amazed I become at its incredible power. Is it any wonder I’m a sci-fi nut?

Special thanks to Museworthyman for pointing me towards that mind-blowing TED talk. Kindred spirits unite!

cheers

Meeks

 


Science fiction on parade!

meeks-books-small

I’ve never published a print book version of any of my books, but this wonderful graphic by Chris Graham is the next best thing. He just ‘whipped it up’ and sent it to me in an email. I have no idea how he put it together, but I love it. Thank you, Chris!

And while I’m at it, I’d like to thank everyone who left reviews on Amazon for Innerscape. You may not know this, but if you add up all the pages in all the episodes of Innerscape, they total about 1014 pages. I say ‘about’ because Amazon only displays page counts for episodes 2-5, so I had to guesstimate the page number for episode 1. Slight inaccuracies aside, that makes the story of Innerscape about 200 pages longer than George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Game of Thrones’ which comes in at 819 pages. So to all those brave souls who have read all the way through to the end…THANK YOU!

Now, I’m a polite girl, and polite girls don’t crow, but here are the reviews for Episode 1, including the 1 star by Austin Myers. 😀

David Prosser
Can Innerscape really live up to it’s reputation, can Miira live on without her bodily ills and find some happiness. Given an introduction is like watching world building at it’s best. You’re there and can see it but don’t have to cope with all the technical side.
Ms Flory has created characters real enough to evoke emotion in the reader. You’ll like, love and possibly hate too but you won’t want to stop reading.
I was given an advance copy by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Stephanie Briggs
Personal hopes and private fears leap from this writer’s imagination and grab the reader’s attention. Once she piques your interest, the conviction to know more will fuel your desire to read the next Episode. A. C. Flory does for science fiction what sunlight does for soil. She incubates an idea until it flourishes and feeds the deep hunger in us all.

Chris James
Anyone who’s read this author’s first book, Vokhtah, will know that she can deliver when it comes to entertainment. Innerscape part 1 doesn’t disappoint. The story tackles one of the most thought-provoking ideas in science fiction: what if, as your health failed and you approached death, you could effectively download your mind to a virtual reality and live on in the freedom of youth for as long as science could keep your decaying body alive?
We follow the dying Miira as she enters Innerscape and goes through her “orientation” into this virtual paradise. But right from the beginning, Innerscape shows one side to its Residents, while hiding real-world complications behind its pristine veneer of professionalism.
I finished this first part with my curiosity peeked and wanting to know what will happen next. It is a terrific introduction to what promises to be an outstanding series of books.

Candy
I thoroughly enjoyed Episode 1 of Innerscape and just downloaded Episode 2! The alternating perspectives, the vivid characters, and the intriguing vision of the future all work together to create a compelling narrative. Miira and Dr. Wu are sympathetic protagonists and the prospect of futuristic corporate villainy in the next couple of episodes seems likely. A.C. Flory has succeeded in creating a coherent, reasonable, and scary future, where the virtual and real exist side-by-side.

Candace Williams
This is the first episode of a smart, well written sci-fi series with a fascinating premise. I’m looking forward to finding out what’s really going on in both worlds, Kenneth’s real world and Miira’s utopian VR, Innerscape. There’s plenty to think about – a must in sci-fi, imo – within a storyline that captivates. An excellent read!

Dawn
Well. This was a delightful surprise. I’m quite traditional in my thinking- I always say to people I’m more of a crafter than an artist; and I think that shows in my reading. Much as I like to be fully absorbed in a novel, I find that most fantasy is just too fantastic for me to suspend disbelief. Same often goes for science fiction. For example – TV wise – I’m more of a Battlestar Galactica / Caprica girl than Farscape. My favourite authors writing for adults in this genre are Margaret Attwood and Iain Banks.
Having completed Episode One of Innerscape, however I think I might be adding AC Flory to my list.
Really convincing new technology and logic behind it; borderline dystopian; well realised characters; interesting premise throughout. Additionally it’s set in a future just sufficiently distant as to make all these things feel as though they may be about to occur, yet the lead character (a woman – hurrah) is incredibly relevant; especially reading this at the tail end of 2016. Oh – and unusually well written; no typos, no gaps or character name swaps, no odd leaps or discrepancies.
I bought this book, and am looking forward very much to buying all the remaining ones in the series.

EllaDee
A great start, introducing engaging characters who invite you to champion, fall in love with or hate them.

Austin Myers
There may have been a story of some sort but it was taking far too long to get to it.
Note to author: The first few pages / chapter has to grab the reader and pull them into the story. This book failed to do anything of the sort. This was disjointed and boring. I hope your next effort is better.

Penny I Howe
From page one, I could not put the book down. It was simply wonderful. Gripping & excitingly realistic. I’m getting ready to order the next episode (book ) right now. I would highly recommend this book. Excellent and entertaining. Exactly the way I like my Sci-fi!

And thank you to everyone who comes to my blog as well. You’ve made me a ‘very happy, Meeka’.

-hugs-

Meeks

 


Allelujah! Innerscape, Episode 4 is finally free…

I’d better make this quick. Episode 4 is now available for free download from December 6, 2016 to December 10, 2016. To get your free copy, please follow the link to Amazon below:

https://www.amazon.com/Innerscape-Episode-4-C-Flory-ebook/dp/B01N0MZ35R/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1481019068&sr=1-4&keywords=kindle+innerscape

The Innerscape competition is ready to go as well. Simply read the ‘Look Inside’ below [use your browser’s back button to return to this post] and answer a simple, multiple choice question in comments, and hey presto, you’ll be in with a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift voucher. 🙂

The question for Episode 4 is – what did Alex Tang die of?

  1. pneumonia?
  2. a heart attack?
  3. the common cold?

If you know the answer, please write it in comments [only one per person please] at the end of this post. When the competition finishes, I’ll write each correct entry onto a piece of paper which will then be folded and placed into a vessel of some kind, maybe a hat. Finally, the Offspring will come along to select the winning entry. Easy.

The winner of the competition will be announced on this blog, plus I’ll email or contact the winner directly. Then it’s just a case of deciding what to treat yourself to…erm, with.

If you haven’t entered the competition yet, please do because I get as much fun out of it as the winner does. 🙂

And now for a music track that I didn’t listen to while writing Innerscape. It’s a cinematic from Advent Children, an animation by Square Enix. This scene depicts the final fight between Cloud and Sephiroth, iconic characters from Final Fantasy 7. Even if you don’t like fighting, please watch the incredible cinematography and animation. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


State Zero – short, sci-fi movie – brilliant and Indie

I don’t like zombie movies, or horror movies in general, but I loved Alien when I first saw it at the movies.

Okay, stop sniggering, I was a lot younger then. Anyway, this Indie short reminded me of the very first Alien movie with a hint of Silent Hill because of the intelligent use of fear. Plus the graphics blend seamlessly with the live action. See for yourselves:

State Zero is top quality movie making at an Indie price.

Apparently DUST is a channel on youtube created to showcase short, Indie movies and I, for one, intend to see more of what’s available.

Happy Sunday,

Meeks


Innerscape, Episode 2 – live and kicking. :)

Happy Monday, all. 🙂 Before we begin, a quick recap of the changes: the prize for Episode 2 is one $20 Amazon gift voucher, and the answer to the multiple choice question can now be found in the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ feature below. You will have to click the back button on your browser to exit the ‘Look Inside’:

 

To enter the competition, please read the ‘Look Inside’ for Episode 2 [above] and answer the multiple choice question below:

Miira’s little black cat is called:

  1. Rosie?
  2. Golli?
  3. Timmy?

When you know the answer, please type the name [or the corresponding number] in comments below, and that’s it. You do not have to purchase anything and you do not have to download Episode 2 [unless you want to]. 🙂

As with Episode 1, the competition will run for 5 days until Friday, November 25, 2016. Once the competition closes, I will write the names of the correct entrants on pieces of paper and they will go into a blind draw on Saturday, November 26, 2016. The winner of the $20 Amazon gift voucher will be announced in a post and on Twitter. I will also try to leave a message on your blog or website.

If you simply want to download the free copy of Episode 2, you can find the link here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N1H5S1E/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1479624105&sr=8-3&keywords=kindle+Innerscape

If you prefer to browse to the Amazon page, you can find Episode 2 by typing ‘kindle Innerscape’ in the Amazon search box. Just be careful as Episode 1 will be at the top of the list, not Episode 2.

And now a video of another track that inspired the writing of Innerscape:

This one is part of the soundtrack to ‘Colin Frake’, and I love it. 😀

cheers

Meeks


Innerscape FAQ

I messed up yesterday’s post because of toothache, so here’s all the stuff I should have explained before showing the covers:

What is Innerscape?

Innerscape is one very long story serialised in 5 episodes. Hence the numbers on the covers:

innerscape-episodes-1-to-5

What is the total Innerscape wordcount?

Total wordcount for all five episodes comes to 212,000 plus change. Divided by three, that would be 3 books of roughly 70,000 words each.

Why not just publish a trilogy?

Two reasons:

  1. Science fiction is traditionally about 90,000 words in length so I’d feel as if I were short-changing readers,
  2. The story simply refuses to fall into 3 neat piles. Instead, it evolved in 10 ‘parts’, 2 per episode.

How long is each episode?

The following shows the approximate wordcount for each episode:

Episode 1      48,000

Episode 2      35,000

Episode 3      40,000

Episode 4      30,000

Episode 5      57,000

Why publish Innerscape as a serial?

Each episode ends at a natural point in the story and is a novella in length; just right for a serial, just wrong for everything else.

[Note: According to Wiki, a novel is anything over 40,000 words, so technically episodes 1 and 5 are novels, but I’m not comfortable with that so I’m classifying them all as novellas]

How quickly will each episode be published?

I’d really like to publish episode 5 in time for Christmas, so that’s roughly one episode per week starting next Monday, 14th of November. The extra week is my margin for errors, emergencies and disasters.

During the week between episodes, I’ll be giving the next episode a final edit-and-polish as well as running the music competition for the previous episode.

What music competition?

I suck at promotion, especially promotion that promotes me or mine. I have tried, but this leopard is too old to change her spots now. So what was I to do?

In a light-bulb moment of truly epic proportions, I realised that while I couldn’t promote Innerscape per se, I could promote the music behind Innerscape. All the musicians and composers who inspired me while I was writing are Indies, like me, and I can sing their praises all day without feeling embarrassed at all.

Then I had another light-bulb moment: instead of wasting my money on paid advertising, why not spend my limited budget on giving the music away? All the music is available in digital format so there would be no extra postage costs and delivery could be almost instantaneous. Brilliant!

From there, the idea of giving the music away via a competition was a no-brainer. And if there were five episodes, it made sense to run five competitions… -face palm-

So, there will be five competitions. Each competition will start when the relevant episode goes live on Amazon. Each competition will then run for 5 days and the winner will be drawn before the next episode is published. That’s the plan.

What music will be given away?

The following is a list of composers and music to be given away:

Jo Blankenburg

  • Elysium
  • Vendetta
  • Levitation
  • Feather Dance

Two Steps from Hell

  • Colin Frake
  • Illusions
  • Sun
  • Miracles

Audio Machine

  • Tree of Life

Roger Subirana

  • XII

Ten albums, one for each Part of the story. That works out to be 2 albums given away for each episode.

And that means there will be two winners for each episode.:)

Will people have to buy the relevant episode to take part in the competition?

NO!!!! No need to buy anything at all.

So what will people have to do?

I want this to be a fun experience for everyone, including me, so each competition will be very simple:

  • I will publish an article for each episode.
  • In that article will be a question with multiple choice answers.
  • In that article, I will also post a link to the relevant ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon.
  • The correct answer to the competition question will be in the ‘Look Inside’ pages.
  • Simply type the answer in the comments section of the article and that’s it.

How many times can people compete?

Please! Only enter once per Episode. While I’d love to have a million entries, the thought of handwriting each correct entry and folding it fills me with horror. I do have to sleep, you know.

That said, please do enter each competition. And Regulars? That means you too. Please don’t feel as if you shouldn’t enter just because we’re friends. This is going to be a party and I want my friends there, sharing it with me. Okay?

How will winners be chosen?

Every correct answer [for that episode] will be:

  • written on a piece of paper
  • folded
  • thrown into a big mixing bowl
  • and TWO pieces of paper will be drawn from the bowl. The names on those pieces of paper will be published in a post and tweeted.

How will winners receive their prizes?

I can only afford digital albums so each winner will have a choice of downloading the album via:

  • iTunes, or
  • Amazon

That means they will have to provide me with an email address that iTunes and/or Amazon can use to deliver the music. I promise not to misuse the email address with spam.

Will people have to sign up for a newsletter?

NO!!!! I never read newsletters myself so I won’t ask anyone to sign up for mine. Besides, I don’t have one. If by some chance you are interested in knowing what I’m publishing, I would love it if you ‘followed’ me on Amazon.

By following me, or any other author on Amazon, you authorize Amazon to send you information about any upcoming events from that author. It’s like a really to-the-point, mini newsletter that you only receive when an author has a new book to promote.

How does the Amazon ‘Follow’ option work?

The Amazon follow option is shown as a big yellow button beneath the name/picture on my author ‘page’. This is what it looks like:

acf-amazone-author-page

 

 

You can reach my author page by clicking on the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/A.C.-Flory/e/B00B1M04JI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1478817747&sr=8-1

…or by finding one of my books and clicking on my name as the author [blue link]:

acf-amazone-author-page-2

You will need to be signed in to your Amazon account to use the ‘follow’ feature.

Will Innerscape be given away for free?

YES!!! -cough-

Obviously, I would like as many people to read the story as possible, so each episode will be given away for free during the week in which it’s published [and promoted].

After the free period, each episode will revert to its launch price of $0.99.

Once all five episodes have been launched, the price per episode will rise to its normal price of $1.99.

I would love to keep Episode 1 free permanently, but Amazon only allows ‘permafree’ under certain circumstances, none of which I meet at the moment.

Okay, I think I’ve covered everything this time. It’s amazing how much better the brain works when it isn’t distracted by toothache!

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 

 

 

 


Innerscape covers – still negotiable!

I have a toothache, again, and Donald Trump is sucking up all the oxygen, but things will be better tomorrow. Right?

In that spirit of blind optimism, here are the covers for the 5 Innerscape episodes. It’s too late to change the background image, but the title and tagline, etc are not set in concrete so please let me know what you think.

innerscape-cover-final-1

innerscape-cover-final-2

innerscape-cover-final-3

innerscape-cover-final-4

innerscape-cover-final-5

Okay, off to the dentist now. Would you believe this will be my third root canal treatment since June? Either the God of Teeth hates me, or the God of Dentists loves me. 😦

Meeks


Innerscape – beautiful one day, deadly the next

Just about to race off to work, but I’d really like your feedback on the tagline – too cheesy? Not science-fictiony enough? Or for my fellow Aussies – too much like the Queensland advert.?

And just a quick word about http://www.freeimages.com. This seems to be a great place to find free images. The one below is one of the ones I’ve found:

black-and-white

In case you’re wondering, it’s a stylized drawing of a circuit…for a computer. 😀

I won’t be using the image as is, but I’m not game to reveal the ‘real’ cover just yet. Maybe on Thursday when I’m not rushed off my feet with work.

’till then, cheers

Meeks

 


Lady Margaret Cavendish – the first #scifi writer?

duchess-margaret-cavendish-scifi

As a science fiction writer myself, I couldn’t resist sharing this article about Lady Margaret Cavendish which appeared in the Atlas Obscura. [My thanks to the Passive Guy for drawing my attention to the article].

The article goes into some very interesting detail about the Duchess and the story she wrote [she may also be one of the earliest feminists], but I’ll summarise by saying she was a natural philosopher [fancy name for scientist back then] and published twenty books, plays and essays. Amongst them was The Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World.

The story, published in 1666, tells the tale of a woman kidnapped by sailors who stumbles on a portal that takes her to a strange new world. There she become Empress to a world full of beast-men.

You can find the full article, which includes a lovely excerpt from The Blazing World, here:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/one-of-the-earliest-science-fiction-books-was-written-in-the-1600s-by-a-duchess?utm_source=Boomtrain&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20160920&bt_email=bobs92705%40aol.com&bt_ts=1474379287850

I wish I’d known about the Duchess back when I first discovered sci-fi. In those dim and distant days, it seemed as if the only people writing sci-fi were men. I’ve since learned there are some brilliant female science fiction writers, including Ursula K LeGuin, Margaret Atwood and C.J.Cherryh to mention just three. Nevertheless, I can’t help wondering how many more there might have been had we [girls] been given role models like the Duchess at school?

Another good day at Casa Meeka. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 


#Innerscape and the joy of negative wordcounts

The title is a little misleading – I don’t actually have a negative wordcount, I have a positive wordcount of 137 for the day – but I am very, very happy.

Why? Because I know I’ve written much, much more than that today.

How much more?

I don’t know. I didn’t check my total wordcount in StoryBox before I deleted a huge chunk of verbiage this morning. That meant I started the day with a negative wordcount, and it’s taken me all day to fill up the gap. So the fact that I do have a positive wordcount is great news, especially as they are all good words, the kind of words I won’t want to delete when I start work on the story again tomorrow.

I know everyone says to ‘just write’ [and edit later], but that’s never been how I work. The story comes to me in fits and starts, and it’s often the nuances that point the way to the next scene. That’s why I write and delete and write again, groping for the story like a mole in a coal mine.

Writing isn’t always painful though. Sometimes I hit patches where everything is crystal clear in my mind, and the writing flows like a river in flood. Those are the times that keep me going because they produce a high that surely rivals the best drug on the market. And it’s free. 🙂

Sadly, the highs have been few and far between the last few months, but yesterday and today I began to see how Innerscape must end. I’m not quite there yet, but I know that when I eventually type the last word, it will be true to my two main characters – Miira and Kenneth.They’ve taken me on a very long journey, but I think I’ve finally done justice to their story. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

p.s. I’ve turned comments off because this is just me, high fiving myself at the end of a great day. -hugs-


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