Attention Geeks: Free books!

(Brief commercial announcement here. Y’all regular Wetmachine readers can skip it).

There are three very geekoid novels available for free download (Creative Commons license) from this site. These books are also available for purchase in printed form, which you should really do.

Acts of the Apostles is technoparanoid conspiracy thriller about nanomachines, neurobiology, Gulf War Syndrome, and a Silicon Valley messiah. Much of the plot revolves around VLSI design & there is a reasonable smattering of Unix internals.

Epub & Kindle & other ebook versions here.

Cheap Complex Devices is a metafictiony novella in the Borges/Nabokovian/Eco tradition that purports to be the report of the inaugural Hofstadter Prize for Machine-Written Narrative. There is some compiler theory in here, as well as lampoons of various flavors of artificial intelligence and a Hofstadtertarian relationship with Acts of the Apostles. Also some jokes having to do with APL & Donald Knuth.

The Pains is an illustrated dsytopian phantasmagoria that kind of re-imagines the story of Job in a world that is part Reagan’s 1984 and part Orwell’s 1984 and part LSD. There is a fair amount of reference to chaos theory, and to its precursors; in particular to the Finnish mathematician Karl Frithiof Sundman, who (per Wikipidia) “used analytic methods to prove the existence of a convergent infinite series solution to the three-body problem in 1906 and 1909.”

Search engines can help you find many dozens of reviews of these books. Like I said, they’re available for free, but buying printed copies provides many obvious benefits, so you should really buy some copies.

Technopunk cyberpunk dystopian “Neal Stephenson” “Philip K. Dick” technothriller

Below the fold: handy-dandy links to reviews, etc

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Gulf War Syndrome and Sarin: Jake Carelli was right

The plot of my thriller Acts of the Apostles concerns a search to find the cause of the mysterious Gulf War Syndrome reported by so many veterans of the first US war with Iraq.

At the time I was writing the book, from 1995 to 1999, there was no generally-accepted explanation for the syndrome, nor even a universal acceptance that the phenomenon was, quote, “real”, unquote. One of the leading theories of the day was that the culprit was Sarin nerve gas released when the Navy bombed the Iraqi munitions dump at Khamisiyah, and then later when EOD, “explosive ordnance disposal” units of the United States Army further blew up what the Navy missed. Jake Carelli, the Gulf War Vet in Acts who has Gulf War Syndrome, says (page 242), “I know where Gulf War Syndrome comes from”:

“[. . .] It was my job to go into bunkers looking for documents. I saw that Iraqi stuff. They had beaucoup chemical-biological weapons, big time. The Iraqis probably never shot any at us. But EOD just went in there and blew all that stuff up. The sky was black, and it wasn’t just from the oil fires.”

There was ample evidence that the Defense Department believed that that was the cause and was covering it up. Indeed, the evidence of a coverup of the bombing of Khamisiyah figures into the plot of Acts of the Apostles (see pages 165, 166, 231, and 242 in the free PDF of my novel, which you can easily find on this site or by clicking here (warning: large PDF)).

In my book I made up another–outlandish, science-fictiony– explanation for the Syndrome, even though I had a hunch that Carelli (whose character was inspired by a soldier I interviewed when researching the book whose remarks about the bunkers are essentially quoted verbatim by Carelli) was right.

Well, it gives me no pleasure to report that Carelli, indeed, was right. This article by Kelly Kennedy of the Army Times, reprinted in the Seattle Times on May 26, 2007, states,

[. . .] researchers say they have no doubts they have found the root of the problem: sarin gas. [. . .]

Research released in early May showed that 13 soldiers exposed to small amounts of sarin gas in the 1991 Gulf War had 5 percent less white brain matter — connective tissue — than soldiers who had not been exposed. A complementary report showed that 140 soldiers who were exposed had the fine motor skills of someone 20 years older, what researchers called a “direct correlation” to exposure.

The research was the work of Roberta White, chairwoman of the Department of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health.

PLEASE follow me after the jump to read more about this important development.

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Such a Deal!

Hey Friends! How’d you like to support a struggling genius AND get a great deal on an excellent book (or two)? Today and tomorrow I’m offering my astounding novels at astounding discounts. If you dig Wetmachine, now would be a good time to show it, for once again the wolves are at the door. And if you just dig a good price on a good book, that works too.

The books in question are my Acts of the Apostles, a well regarded nanotech thriller, ostensibly about Gulf War Syndrome, which I wrote between 1995 and 1999 and published in 1999. Normally this goes for $15, but how does $5 sound, including shipping in North America? I’m offering the same deal on my Cheap Complex Devices and pre-orders of The Pains.

And of course, donations in support of the site (or any individual blogger: Me, Harold, Gary or Howard) are also always welcome.

Below the fold, more about these wonderful books, along with simple instructions for cashing in on these great, nay, scandalously great, deals.

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Feynman Nine

In my technoparanoid thriller Acts of The Apostles (which you can download for free by clicking on the left), two characters named Dieter Steffen and Pavel Isaacs develop a nanomachine for rearranging human DNA. There are implications for Gulf War Syndrome, and hints of a plot to lure the Americans back to Iraq for a second war, where they’ll be beaten. (Acts was published in 1999). They call the machine Feynman Nine.

Recently sometime-Wetmachiner Ron sent me these links:

Feynman Nine becoming reality, and and one of the leading bioinformatics molecular biology researchers around is indeed named Pavel in real life. He’s working on algorithms for rearranging genomes.

At some point in the future I’m gonna compile a compendium of all the stuff I made up for that book that has since happened.

Or else I’ll get Ron to do it — he’s been sending me “Acts of the Apostles technology sitings” for years.