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. To download the books, visit the downloads page.

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The Plainsrunner – Chapters 35 & 36

ESA – CC-BY-SA


This is the beginning of Part Four – Space

They receive a message from space, proving the legends are true. Tallgrass suffers a great tragedy. The project is in danger.

Visit OliverOnline to download the chapters.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapters 33 & 34

Public Domain


Fanatics threaten the project. Sage worries about Tallgrass’s safety. Trueway makes Tallgrass and Seagrass an offer. Sage comes for a visit. Tallgrass has a decision to make.

This marks the end of Part Three – Tallgrass.

Download at OliverOnline.

rjb

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Alexandria Project in Audio


Review – The Alexandria Project Audiobook – Andrew Updegrove

Available at Amazon and Audible.

Announcement on author’s site.

I have three previous posts about Andrew Updegrove here on Green Comet. The first is about “egregious nonsense regarding ebook standards,” referencing his blog post on that topic where he explains why closed proprietary ebook formats are bad for readers and writers, and why they exist anyway. The second is about “open source pharma,” referencing his blog post about that and why it would be better for patients. The third one is a book review about his novel “The Lafayette Campaign,” where I give a mini review of the book, and also explain the experiment he is performing on “the evolving self-publishing labyrinth.”

Andrew has written three other thriller-style novels in the series, and the experiment continues. All of them have been self-published, and he has kept his readers informed about the many twists and turns he has encountered on the journey. Now he is taking another step that moves him into new territory. He has had one of the novels –The Alexandria Project — professionally recorded, with plans to record the rest in the near future. Here’s what his website says about the book:

“Thank you for your contribution to the Alexandria Project” is the message cyber attackers leave behind as they delete crucial data from computer networks across America. It’s not long before the nation is on the verge of collapse as unknown assailants take down Wall Street, the transportation system, government agencies, and the rest of the infrastructure upon which our internet-based economy depends.

As the public outcry builds, Frank Adversego, a brilliant but conflicted cyber security expert, finds himself under suspicion and trapped in a power play between the FBI and the CIA. Only by tracing the Alexandria Project back to the source can he clear himself.

What follows is a fast-paced, satirical tale of cyber sleuthing, international espionage, and nuclear brinksmanship that accurately portrays our increasing vulnerability to cyber attack. The shocking conclusion will leave you ready for the next Frank Adversego thriller – and concerned about where our headlong rush into the Internet Age is leading us.

That’s a pretty good synopsis of the book, so I don’t need to repeat it. I will say that I enjoyed it and found it to be a well-written thriller, with good characters in believable, if bizarre, situations. Updegrove also has a penchant for humor, and doesn’t miss the opportunity to drop a bit into the book.

All that being taken care of, this review is about the audio recording of the book. Andrew has chosen Tantor Media for the production, and the narrator is Roger Wayne, who has a solid and extensive track record. He has given the book its best chance by entrusting its recording to professionals.

I received a download code for a review copy and immediately went and got it. It consisted of a ZIP file of almost 400MB, which upon extraction revealed a single high quality cover image and thirty-two individual MP3 files — an introduction, thirty chapters and an epilogue. I couldn’t wait to get started listening to it.

I must admit that part of the reason I wanted to do this was so I could compare a professionally created audiobook with the ones I have made of the Green Comet trilogy. I wanted to see how mine hold up, and perhaps to pick up some pointers. I won’t bore you with the details, but mine turn out to hold up pretty well. And listening to a professional can’t help but make my own future readings better.

Roger Wayne reads The Alexandria Project in a straightforward manner, without sound effects, music or dramatic excess. He does use different voices for different characters, complete with some regional accents, and he does allow the inflection of his voice to communicate the drama of the moment, but he never goes overboard. I was impressed by how he kept the reader’s attention on the story, rather than the narrator.

I can comfortably recommend The Alexandria Project, both in book form and as an audiobook. It’s a good story, well written and well read.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapters 31 & 32

Public Domain


Tallgrass and Seagrass make the long trek to a new city to begin their advanced education. Tallgrass runs into an old nemesis. Sage and the Professor discover something new about the gliders. Sage discovers something mysterious in space.

Visit OliverOnline for download.

rjb

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Merlin on the Fence

Credit Zatoichi26 – Creative Commons Attribution

This morning I looked up to see a raptor struggling on the fence. It was a merlin, and it was flapping and thrashing on the second rail up. At first I thought it was killing its prey, but it was soon obvious that it was stuck and trying to escape.

We built the rail fence, but the neighbors lined their side of it with chicken wire in an attempt to contain their undisciplined dog. The hawk had one of its feet caught in the wire.

While my housemate phoned the local raptor rescue society, I went out with a blanket. I hoped to cover the bird with the blanket so it would calm down. I thought its struggles might injure it.

Luckily, in the time it took me to get out of the house, the merlin managed to get itself out of the wire. All that remained was a trace of blood and a few feathers on the fence. I folded the blanket and came back inside.

Happy ending.-)

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapters 29 & 30

Public Domain


Tallgrass and Seagrass negotiate the perils of school and life together. Tallgrass plays polo. He learns about the wider world, and leaves home for a higher education.

Get these chapters at OliverOnline.

rjb

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Internet Archive Passes One Thousand Downloads

(Note the image of Sita in the above picture, from Sita Sings the Blues. Sita was a great inspiration to me, as I’ve reported before.)

When I checked the status of the Green Comet trilogy on the Internet Archive today, I discovered that the three books have a total of just over one thousand downloads. The Internet Archive is where I keep the recordings of the stories, because I don’t have enough room for them on my own website. If I kept them on greencomet.org, then I would have to pay for a more expensive hosting package, because I would exceed the amount of storage I get with my current one. Call me cheap, but I don’t think I should pay a premium to give my books away. It’s a good thing that the Internet Archive is there so I don’t have to.

Here are the links to the three books:

Green Comet
Parasite Puppeteers
The Francesians

In addition to providing a repository for people like me, and things like the Green Comet trilogy, the Internet Archive also hosts things nominated and uploaded by people other than the creators. They provide a storage place for large quantities of material that otherwise wouldn’t have a home on the internet, and might end up getting lost to obscurity. Then there’s the Wayback Machine, which takes snapshots of websites periodically to provide a semi-continuous record of the evolution of the internet.

Here’s the Wayback Machine’s record of greencomet.org:

Green Comet on the Wayback Machine.

The Green Comet website has been saved 58 times during its lifetime. In total, the Internet Archive has saved more than 333 billion web pages. That’s not everything. There are inevitably some changes on the internet that won’t be captured by the Internet Archive. Our record will be incomplete. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing will be a matter for personal opinion, but it’s definitely a good thing that at least a partial record is being captured. So, here’s to the Internet Archive, and here’s to the Green Comet trilogy which has been downloaded over a thousand times from it.

We’re still going.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapters 27 & 28

Public Domain

Tallgrass goes to school, where he makes a friend, and meets some bullies.

rjb

Go to OliverOnline to download these chapters.

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The Plainsrunner – Halftime Report

Credit: finetooth- CC-BY-SA


We have been running this experiment since the middle of March, posting one or two chapters a week of the novel I am currently writing — The Plainsrunner. It is a bit of a shock to realize that we’ve been at it for four months already. That’s a lot longer than it took Sage to get to the city, and she had to walk.

It occurred to me that I should write this halftime report, to explore the process and how I feel about it. It’s what people do, right? They always do it in hockey and soccer games. People working on an extended project usually take some time partway through to assess their progress and make plans for its completion. So why shouldn’t we do it for this book? …

The first thing I’d like to say is that I’m enjoying writing this book, and I’m enjoying sharing it as we go. I’ve never done this before, at least not just like this. I have shared portions of uncompleted novels before. While Green Comet was released whole and complete, the sequels in the trilogy — Parasite Puppeteers and The Francesians — were released in portions. What I called extensions, because I was just adding extensions to the Green Comet universe. Parasite Puppeteers had eight extensions, but The Francesians had only four, because I discovered that there’s a lot of work involved in proofing and formatting and releasing and announcing several different versions of a story, and four is easier than eight. Now, with The Plainsrunner, it looks as if I’ve taken a step backward. Maybe even two or more steps. Because instead of releasing it in four or eight parts, it looks as if it will end up being around thirty parts by the time we’re done. Fortunately I’m only releasing one version, PDF, so that cuts down the work quite a bit. Enough that I’m still able to enjoy the process of writing and sharing the book.

So, what have I enjoyed about it? Primarily, what I always enjoy about writing novels. The months, or more likely years, of focusing every day on adding to the growing story. Watching the story develop as I write it. Seeing what happens next. Learning more about my characters as I get to know them better. Pointing them where I want them to go, and following along, describing what they do to get there.

I have the advantage of you, my readers, because I know what my characters are going to do and what is going to happen to them. I know how the story is going to end even before I start writing it. I know whether this character is going to die, and whether that one is going to live happily ever after. But at the same time, they can surprise me, just as much as they can surprise you. I will know what has to happen in this day’s writing as I put in the necessary points to move the story along, but sometimes the characters can surprise me by how they do it. Sometimes new characters can even appear out of nowhere. For example, I met Buzzard, a major character in the Green Comet trilogy, at exactly the same time you did: when the door to the shop swung open. So there is a lot to enjoy about writing, and it’s all there in the writing of The Plainsrunner.

How could it be better? More downloads. More readers. More feedback. Especially more feedback. We’re in this together, you and I, and you can help by letting me know how it’s going. Is it worth your effort to read it? I know it’s worth it to keep writing it, but what about all that extra work to share it?

And that is the halftime report on the serialization of my novel, The Plainsrunner, on OliverOnline. Briefly: so far, so good. What do you think?

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapter 26

Public Domain


Tallgrass goes on a picnic with his mom and three of their friends. He gets to drive the truck.

Download ch. 26 at OliverOnline.

rjb

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