Friday, 27 February 2009

Cyberdublin In Brief

Imagine a not-too-distant future where world commerce runs from one huge hyperserver: Oodles. Personal computing is only ever online, via wallscreens and podphones that connect to the all-powerful hub’s applications and data storage.

Not only that: Oodles has bought out television, communications, shopping, banking and social networking, as well as the entire Internet. The economy is digitised and cash has vanished, but in one corner of Ireland the old ways fight to survive.

Enter Rachel, part-time Oodles sysadmin, about to launch into her university career. Her Da, shocked at the sudden Oodles takeover, reveals she’s adopted. Questions plague her. Who are her real parents? Why did they give her up? And why did her Da wait so long to tell her?

Rachel, determined to leave home, rents a big old house near the city. She and her friend Talitha find strangers willing to share it: Bethany, the snarky librarian biker chick; Louise, the fish-and-chips diva with a pregnant tomcat; and Zehrani, the queenly African from the high echelons of Oodles Security.

But all is not rosy in Cyberdublin. Soon after the Oodles takeover, holographic status graphs are introduced to display personal information to the world. Rachel, disgusted by the invasion of privacy, refuses to wear it in public despite her Da’s peculiar liking for the new social technology.

Then there are the ragged religious saboteurs, convinced they can delay the end of the world by destroying the dominance of Oodles. What will Dublin—and the world—look like without the cyber?

Follow Rachel’s search for identity in the midst of global crisis, as the sabotage mystery unfolds with a twist she’d never dare imagine.

With today’s cloud-computing technology, this scenario is possible even now. Cyberdublin will appeal to the Celtic fascination within those of Irish descent and those who wish they were, and serious Web users will find laughs aplenty.

(Light-hearted, pre-apocalyptic social sci-fi)

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

A Night Out In Auckland

It's what Kiwis love to do on long summer nights - gather by the thousands and sing classical anthems! These are just a few clips from a huge outdoor concert we had here this weekend. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Making a Splash or Making you Think

Hi guys,
As many of you know I plan on setting up a small publishing house this year, initially for my own work, but spreading to include more sci-fi by other authors, and maybe some fantasy.

I've been thinking about what to call it and I've come up with two options. Would you give me your opinions?

Splashdown - Suits a space travel/sci-fi theme, plus I want to recall that wonderful sensation you get when diving into water. That's the kind of pleasurable shock and freshness I want to give my readers!

Thinkgrace - Attached to the tagline "Need something? Thinkgrace." Particularly suited to a hoped-for expansion of my business to include web design, computer tuition, possibly a bookstore, and various technical improvisations. If it ever happens, lol!

There are dotcoms available on both names, but only if
they're hyphenated: splash-down, think-grace. is also
available as are and

Comments? Tell me what you think.

Review of Vengeance by Donna Dawson

An FBI agent on a well-deserved holiday cruise. Lucky him? Not really. Suspicious deaths recur on the great ship, and Agent Benedict is right in the middle of it all. Benedict is a deep character, carrying issues of his past and present with him, searching for the peace that eludes him. As pressures mount, his phone calls to his shoreside girlfriend and FBI bosses fill with tension, and in between, he must focus on staying alive while he hunts for the killer.

Parts of the story are told from the point of view of the mysterious villain and his accomplices. While unusual, this does add a very sinister tone to the thriller. It's not for the faint of heart - aspects such as the involvement of a young child may be disturbing to some readers. I have to say that the twist in the end totally took me by surprise. See if you can figure out who the villain might be! I couldn't, not until he revealed himself. This is one puzzle that was too tricky to crack. There are plenty of other twists along the way, so us amateur whodunits are certainly well occupied deciphering the clues.

The pace of the action might well leave you gasping by the time you get through. So if you like gritty, realistic fiction and a plot that forces you from one scene to another, you should take a look at this one.

This is a hard-edged murder mystery with themes of war and betrayal that go very, very deep. Want something to make you think? This is it.

Donna's website is here...and you can buy the book here.

Check out these other member blogs this
week for more info.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Cyberdublin: Getting Closer

Hey folks! I just finished a rewrite of Cyberdublin, so it's ready to be unleashed on any who declare themselves willing critiquers! It's short - under 55k - and I'm gearing up to critique something of yours in exchange. Rapid reviews to in-depth comments, anything is welcome.

Here's the blurb, in case you need it:
Oodles rules the world. But when its global hyperweb network falls prey to sabotage, society spins towards chaos. In Dublin, the heart of the fallen cyberworld, an orphan rebel and her housemates face a reality far less virtual than they're used to.
(Comedic pre-apocalyptic social sci-fi)

I had some thoughts about a cover design and you can see my first concept here:

Unfortunately I coloured it with pastels which are not the best for detail work. You might make out the satellite at the top, the twin chimneys of Dublin's skyline, my futuristic high-altitude monorail, the villain with the data chip and the book, plus the girls - one with a motorbike, another with a cat, and also one with high-heels, though you really can't see them! Ah well. I quite like the text at least. Any comments on the design? How does it hit you?

DIY Kiwis

Here's a cute ad that's been running on TV here lately. There's a little remark about Aussies near the end that I didn't notice until it was pointed out to me... Do enjoy!

DIY Kiwis