Welcome to Green Comet

These free novels, Creative Commons licensed Green Comet, and its sequels Parasite Puppeteers and The Francesians, tell an expansive story of love and adventure on an inhabited comet. To learn more about the trilogy, and for samples, visit the Welcome Page.

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Reading – The Francesians – Parts 5-9

Here is the second portion of the recording of the Francesians, comprising parts five through nine. I know, you’re probably wondering why I’ve uploaded these things as multiple files instead of one file for each segment. I would be wondering, too. It’s inefficient and cumbersome. The reason is my downloads manager. It won’t accept the upload of any file over 8MB, and these audio files quickly add up to more than that. I’ve made them as small as I can — the bitrate on these recordings is below 40 — and compressing them doesn’t make them any smaller. In fact, since today’s files were too large to allow me to combine even two of them into a ZIP file, I’ve just uploaded them singly as straight OGGs. Your total download will be 22MB and the total listening time is about an hour and twenty minutes. Once again, expect more in about a week.


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Reading – The Francesians – Parts 1-4

I have finished recording the first part of The Francesians and it’s available for download here. These archives contain the introduction and chapters one through seven, totaling a little over an hour and a half of listening time. The total download is a little over 25 megabytes. Please enjoy, and expect more in about a week.


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Volkswagen Not the Only One Cheating

I think I’ve settled down enough from the hectic exercise of publishing The Francesians to lift my head up and post about something else. How about nefarious cheats?

Cory Doctorow opens his article, Demon-Haunted World, with “Cheating is a given.” That sounds cynical, until you think about it. When corporations are said to be responsible only to their shareholders, and their directors pander to those shareholders to protect their bloated incomes, it becomes less cynical and more clear-eyed.

what happens when the things you own start to cheat you? The most famous version of this is Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal, which has cost the company billions (and counting): Volkswagen engineered several models of its diesel vehicles to detect when the engine was undergoing emissions testing and to tilt the engines’ performance in favor of low emis­sions

In 2015, HP pushed a fake security update to millions of Officejet owners, which showed up as a routine, ‘‘You must update your soft­ware’’ notification on their printers’ screens. Running that update installed a new, secret feature in your printer, with a long fuse. After six months’ wait, the infected printers all checked to see whether their ink cartridges had been refilled, or manufactured by third parties, and to refuse to print with any ink that HP hadn’t given its corporate blessing to.

The mobile phone industry has long been at war with its customers. When phones were controlled primarily by carriers, they were designed to prevent customers from changing networks without buying a new phone, raising the cost on taking your busi­ness elsewhere.

What began with printers and spread to phones is coming to everything: this kind of technology has proliferated to smart thermostats (no apps that let you turn your AC cooler when the power company dials it up a couple degrees), tractors (no buying your parts from third-party companies), cars (no taking your GM to an independent mechanic), and many categories besides.

In the face of all that, it’s a good thing we can audit the software and see whether it’s trying to cheat us, isn’t it? Well, it would be if the software was open, but it’s not. It’s proprietary software and it has all kinds of protections in place to prevent that. In addition, it has the government creating laws that make it a crime to even try.

What’s worse, 20th century law puts its thumb on the scales for these 21st century demons. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (1986) makes it a crime, with jail-time, to violate a company’s terms of service … Then there’s section 1201 of the Digital Millen­nium Copyright Act (1998), which makes it a felony to bypass the software controls access to a copy­righted work.

We have some allies. I’ve written before on the work of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and iFixit. These people and others work tirelessly to expose and counter the abuses of cheating corporations and bad laws. They need to because the cheating corporations work tirelessly to get bad laws enacted and to find ever more ways to cheat their customers, from farmers who aren’t allowed to fix their own tractors to cars that clean up their act when they’re in an inspection facility. Last word to Cory Doctorow.

Cory Doctorow – photo by Paula Mariel Salischiker

Making better computers won’t solve the world’s problems, but none of the world’s problems are ours to solve for so long as the computers we rely on are sneaking around behind our backs, treating us as their enemies.

via Locus Online Perspectives » Cory Doctorow: Demon-Haunted World


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The Francesians Published

The sequel to Green Comet and Parasite Puppeteers – The Francesians – is now finished and available for download. It’s on this site in ePub, PDF and ODT formats, so download one of them, or download them all. It’s also available, along with the rest of the trilogy, at the Unglue.it and Pronoun links in the sidebar to the right.


After their conflict with the deadly Visitor, and their expedition to the moon of the ones who sent it, Elgin and Frances leave the Makers — the violently primitive species that created the apocalyptic Visitor — and head back to Green Comet, only to discover that dark forces have been active in their absence. They can turn away and avoid a confrontation with the Francesians, if they want. They don’t have to take on the responsibility of freeing Green Comet from the Francesians’ reign of repression. The people let it happen and maybe they should be allowed to get themselves out of it. They don’t have to take on the responsibility, but they will, because they didn’t save their people from annihilation only to let them live in darkness.

Those of you who have been following Elgin and Frances will find the whole story, all together and polished up at last. If you’re new to this and haven’t read Green Comet and Parasite Puppeteers yet, take all three books and get it all at once.

I’m moving on to the audio recording now and it will be out before too long. Then it’s on to another story. See you there.

Use the share buttons. Facebook? Twitter? Put out the word.-)


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Francesians Ready

All three versions of the book are in their final form and ready to go. I’ve also edited the other two novels, Green Comet and Parasite Puppeteers, to give the whole series a unified look. The front matter and back matter have been brought up to date in all three books to reflect the fact that the trilogy is now complete. It actually looks as if someone had a plan.-)

I’ve done the conversions and everything is now available in all three formats — text, PDF and ePub. I’m now in the process of uploading The Francesians to my distribution repositories. When that is done I will put it up here and announce its release.

Thank you for your patience, and wish me luck.


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Francesians Finished

As I predicted, I finished proofreading and revising The Francesians by the end of the month. Now I get into the mechanical processes of bringing it into a publishable state. That means things like a title page, a table of contents and back matter. Then we come to the conversions to PDF and ePub so people can read them in the readers of their choice. PDF is pretty straightforward since LibreOffice can export directly to that format, and I don’t feel obliged to provide a “cover” for it. All I have to do is make sure it looks good and is formatted correctly. The ePub is a little trickier. There are many little details in the process that have to be just so to get the desired result. It’s finicky but we’re still on track to have it published before the end of summer, and that will be that for the Green Comet trilogy.


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