One year ago, I purchased a Honda Varadero 125cc. It served me well while I learned to ride, but there came a point where I knew I needed something more – like when I was attempting to ride up a steep mountain road and had to revert to first gear just to make it to the crest! So, I’ve decided to splash out on a brand new Suzuki DL650 V-Strom. The difference in power is amazing. And it’s not that I’m a speed fiend. Cruising is just so much more enjoyable, as the bike is not struggling to maintain speed.
The only downside is that I wanted the bike in a nice satanic black colour, in keeping with my personality, but had to settle for a good Christian white. 😉 Still, it’s beautiful …
One of my favourite authors, John Christopher (real name Samuel Youd), died on 3 February, aged 89. I discovered him in the late 1980s, when I happened to borrow The White Mountains from my high school library. To my surprise and delight, I soon realised that I was reading the novel which had been adapted as the television series The Tripods a few years earlier – a series that had such an impact on me that I used to have dreams about it. Christopher’s Tripods saga is comprised of four short novels, which became lifelong favourites of mine, and are given pride of place on my bookshelf as the most read novels.
Christopher is also the author of a fabulous post-apocalyptic disaster novel, The Death of Grass, as well as many other science fiction books for teens and adults. Whichever age group a particular novel was intended for, he always injected his stories with an unapologetic sense of realism about life. A recurring theme in his work was the fight for individualism against mind control. And this perhaps explains my unending fascination with his work. He told an interviewer in 1984:
The apple which tempts my characters is the one that will remove the knowledge of good and evil. I suppose it’s something of a reversal of the conventional Eden story: Freedom of thought is perhaps the greatest good, and needs to be fought for and sacrificed for.
It was my pleasure to correspond briefly with John Christopher a few years ago via email. I had developed an idea for a Tripods spin-off entitled The Freedom Triangle, and was curious about the legal issues involved in publishing it. To my delight, he told me that my idea was highly original. Sadly, though, Disney owned the rights to The Tripods, as a movie adaptation was being planned.
I hope John Christopher’s work will live on, for future generations to enjoy. Check out my reviews of his books.
Is this what a mid-life crisis looks like?
Nahhhh. Truth is I’ve been saving my pennies for the past four years, attempting to pay off my mortgage early, but frankly I’m just in the mood to live a little this summer. Summers are a bit tough on me generally, because I live alone, and due to the nature of my job I work largely alone during July and August. So it’s time to create some change in my life.
For the past four years, I’ve lived life without a car, successfully, and I fully intend to continue doing all my local business by bicycle. But there are just those occasions when I need to travel further afield, and I hate having to leech off friends for this. In particular, I really miss visiting Ballymartin beach, a place that has been a part of my life since I was about twelve.
So, I decided it was time to invest in another mode of transport, one that was more economical than a car. The bike is a Honda Varadero 125cc, which is about as big as you can go on a learner’s licence. I have never ridden a motorcycle before. Wish me luck.
(Long-time readers may remember the mouldy monstrosity that was my old Nissan Terrano 4×4. It’s been sleeping in my driveway for the past four years, and I’m finally sending it to the knackers yard. I even got £200 for it.)
Reality Check has just received its first proper review, at Self-Publishing Review, and it’s a great one. Here’s a snippet:
If you find yourself recoiling at the mention of any of these issues – telekinesis, unified consciousness, “disproving” Christianity – then you are the perfect candidate to read this book. You may be equally convinced of your worldview after reading this book, but extraordinary beliefs require an extraordinary investigation, and that concept permeates this book. Sloan does not enter into these ideas lightly. What is so effective is that he’s never overly credulous about far-out claims, nor overly dismissive of mainstream dogma, which is why the book is so useful as a primer on esoteric spirituality … This book is an important one – because even if you don’t believe a word he says, he conveys these ideas with such sincerity and clarity that it has still served a good purpose. If you’re looking for other answers, Reality Check has the potential to be transformative.
[ Read Full Review ]
Got some feedback from someone who received my book in the mail today. Due to the sensitive nature of it, I’ll leave it anonymous:
Right away, I made a pleasant discovery, that there’s a chapter called “Heal Your Sexuality,” and decided I’ll read it right away. The ideas there are as I have never thought about them (I have never actually thought about the relationship between pornography and real-life sex). I think your ideas shed light on reality and the advice you give in the end is great. You changing my thinking about that might change foundations that right now are the cause of my only personal problem I have/admit at the moment. I just wanted to say thanks even before I have gotten to read the other chapters. 🙂
This is what it’s all about, for me. Not an ego trip, not attention-seeking, not the insecure need for approval, not to make money – but just to touch lives in a positive way. To say something that means something, that helps somebody. All the risk-taking with controversial opinions, wearing my heart on my sleeve, losing friends … this is what it’s for, and this is what makes it all worthwhile. This may just be one comment, and I may be nothing but an idealist with his head in the clouds, but I dare to hope that maybe, just maybe, I’ve done something important by writing this book.
Other news: I have begun recording Reality Check as an audiobook. There’s a lot of work narrating effectively and editing out mistakes, so this is going to take a bit of time. I intend to make it freely downloadble in MP3 format. At the same time, I will also release it as an ebook in PDF and Microsoft Reader formats. I do have 250 paperbacks to sell (210 now), but ultimately I want to put this information out there in as many varied formats as I can, to reach as wide an audience as possible.
My book deals with many topics on theme of “question everything,” so here’s another trailer, this time on the issue of mind control, particularly in relation to the first seven years of our lives, when we are like sponges soaking up information with no critical thinking:
[ Link ]
To help promote the book, I put together a quick trailer, covering some of its themes:
[ Link ]
Check out the official orders page for Reality Check (click image below). You can use a credit/debit card or your PayPal account to order the book (credit/debit card transactions are handled securely using PayPal). Available worldwide!
I received word on Thursday evening that the proof copy of Reality Check had shipped. I hoped it would arrive on Friday, but sadly this was not to be.
However, I needed to order a quantity of the book by 30 October, or else I wouldn’t qualify for the latest promotion, which is 30% off the price for orders of 250 copies or more. This kind of saving was too precious to ignore, so I bulled ahead and ordered 250 books. This means I can pass the benefit of the discount on to readers and keep the cover price low.
So, now that I know the financial situation, and the first print-run is on the way, I can take pre-orders.
The UK price is £3.99 + £1 shipping.
The overseas price $7.99 USD + $5 shipping to anywhere in the world.
I’ll set up PayPal buttons in due course, but if anyone wants to order now, email me at the address below and I’ll generate a PayPal payment request for you, which will allow you to pay using your PayPal account or a credit/debit card (no actual PayPal account required). Your book will go out to you as soon as the shipment arrives (expected mid-November).
●●●●●●●● First draft
●●●●●●●● Book layout
●●●●●●●● Cover art
The printing company informed me today that I made a couple of minor hiccups on the cover: (1) I calculated the spine width as 172 pages instead 170; I actually knew this prior to submission but thought the difference was negligible; think again, it seems. (2) I’m also told the black areas on the cover need very specific CMYK values. Aargh! I’ve had to resubmit the cover and pay an extra 22 pounds. Never mind. We’re almost there. I’ll just have to contain this nervous excitement for a few more days.
In the meantime, I think it’s about time I released a little of the book’s content. Here’s a nine-page excerpt: the introduction plus chapter one. Enjoy!
[ Read Exceprt ]