As I announced last Fall, David, at Artifacs Libros is translating the Green Comet trilogy. Today he contacted me to let me know that he has finished translating the first volume — Green Comet. I have had a look at it and it appears to be well done. The layout is good. The modifications to the cover are good. The front matter is better than the original. However, since I can’t read Spanish I can’t say anything about the translation itself. I’m thinking of running it through a translator and seeing how it looks back in English again.
Meanwhile, I would really appreciate it if any of you who can read Spanish would download Cometa Verde and let the rest of us know what you think.
No, this is not about indeterminate undies. Nor is it about exercise wear in superposition. You’re entangled in one of my mini reviews about a book of super short stories — Quantum Shorts. These stories are selected from the short lists of submissions to a writing challenge from 2013 to 2017. There are 37 stories by 32 authors who submitted their work to the international Quantum Shorts story competition. This competition is still active. On December 10, 2019 they announced a new call for flash fiction — in this case defined as being 1,000 words or less. The other constraints are that the stories must be inspired by quantum physics and must contain the phrase, “things used to be so simple.” Even if you don’t want to submit a story yourself, you can still download and read this free book. It’s available in PDF, ePub and MOBI formats, so you can read it on almost any device, and it’s released with a Creative Commons license, so it’s free to read and share.
See boring copyright stuff below.
Among these quick stories you will find Unrequited Signals by Tara Abrishami, where the lovers are not merely star-crossed, they’re multiverse-crossed.
Tara Abrishami is a mathematician who sometimes moonlights as a writer. When she’s not writing stories or solving math problems, she enjoys backpacking, cooking vegan food, going on road trips with her crazy friends, and playing with her two cats and her dog.
And Then There Was a Sun by rebecca Baron, where the protagonist learns that life is meaningful even if it is nothing but particles.
Rebecca Baron, when she entered Quantum Shorts in 2013, described herself as a quirky, opinionated high school student in California who enjoys reading, soccer, and confusing her class with presentations on uncertainty and the delayed-choice experiment. Writing and physics are her passions, so this contest was perfect for her.
Rebecca Montange entered the Quantum Shorts flash fiction competition in 2013.
These are tasty little morsels. Stories that can be ingested in a few small bites. Download Quantum Shorts and keep it handy for when you’ve only got a few minutes for a quick read. On the other hand, if you’ve got more time, take a handful.
Boring copyright stuff.
The copyright holder is the Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore, 2019. Their CC license is CC-BY-NC-ND (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives), so you can read it and pass it on, but you can’t take money for it and you can’t make significant changes to it before passing it on.
Hola. The Green Comet trilogy might be getting a Spanish translation. If it works out, we should see it next spring. David, at Artifacs Libros, has contacted me through the Green Comet website and asked my permission to undertake the project. Of course, he doesn’t need permission since the books are licensed Creative Commons, but he was nice enough to ask anyway.
This is what David has said about the Spanish titles for the books:
Green Comet = Cometa Verde
Parasite Puppeteers = Titiriteros Parásitos
The Francesians = Los Francesianos
I assume this word “Francesians” is after the character name “Frances”, so I’m adopting here the same Spanish relation.
David has already translated other works, and you can see them on his website if you’re interested. His stated reason for doing this work is to make the titles available to his fellow Spanish speakers, when they otherwise might not be. In his words:
Well, because I’m fond of reading and writing Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Fiction and I’m having fun doing this website… and because many of these works would probably remain unknown for the panhispanic community (which wouldn’t or can’t read English), otherwise.
He’s always on the lookout for more good CC licensed novels, so if you know of any, let him know. Or tell me and I’ll pass it on.
Could the Grateful Dead have been using Creative Commons principles decades ahead of time? This Matthew Helmke article from opensource.com makes the connection.
Although many bands at the time allowed fans to record shows, the Grateful Dead took the idea a step further. Fans who purchased “tapers’ tickets” were given access to a special area located near the soundboard. The band even encouraged tapers to share their recordings, as long as no profits were made on the sale of their tapes.
Creative Commons took inspiration from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and its GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). Their goal is to find ways to use private rights for public good and to set creative works free, but only for certain uses.
Creative Commons has come up with a set of licenses that keep the power over creative works in the hands of creators while also freeing the content to be used in ways that modern copyright law forbids, much like the Grateful Dead did with their creative ticketing and taping permissions.
In the end, we get a legal means of fulfilling the freedom that the Grateful Dead allowed its fans, without gray areas that could lead to problems such as those that the Internet Archive had with the soundboard recordings of Grateful Dead concerts. This legal murkiness blocked access to those recordings for some time, although they are now available.
So the Grateful Dead has maintained a long and successful career using principles of openness and freedom that didn’t get formalized until much later in the Creative Commons licenses. I think it’s safe to say that the band would have used a CC license if they had been available at the time.
MP3 file structure – CC-BY GFDL – If you want to read this tap for larger
When I started recording readings of these books, I chose to offer them in OGG Vorbis format because it’s a free and open standard. That meant there would be no encumberances on the audio files due to patents or any kind of imaginary property (IP.) That’s important to me. I have licensed my novels with Creative Commons enhancements to their copyright, to ensure their freedom. They are not weighted down with digital restrictions management (DRM) because I want readers and listeners to be able to enjoy my books without having to restrict themselves to any single device or place. I use Free Software to write the books, and to convert them to useful formats, which are also free and open. I use Free Software to produce the audio recordings, and I use open standards to present them. For the audio, that meant OGG Vorbis, the best choice for the lossy compression needed to make the file sizes reasonable for downloading. At the time, the more popular format, MP3, wasn’t free or open. It was locked in a proprietary web of patents. I couldn’t insult my listeners by offering them something like that. It’s possible that this choice has meant fewer downloads of the readings because many people only recognize MP3 and might be unwilling to download something with a strange name like OGG. I was willing to take that risk because freedom and openness are important to me.
Vorbis trademark – Credit xiph.org – CC-BY
Lately the patents on the MP3 format have run out. Well, as far as I can tell. There were a mess of them held by a mess of people and organizations and I don’t have the training or experience to sort that all out myself. I rely on other sources for that, and they’re all saying that, once the patents finally ran out in the US, MP3 became an open standard. They hedged a little on that, apparently unwilling to commit themselves fully in the face of the the, uh, complexities of IP. I was hesitant too, but I decided to take the plunge and accept MP3 as an open standard. This meant that I could finally offer people the readings in a format that they recognized. This is good because, even though all modern operating systems and devices should be able to handle OGG, it sometimes requires the extra step of installing some necessary software to do so. People don’t like extra steps. After paying, sometimes quite a lot, for their operating systems and devices, they shouldn’t have to take extra steps to get them to handle a simple open standard like OGG. That’s annoying, and now I can finally make it a little less annoying for them by offering my audiobooks in MP3 format.
You’ll find them on the downloads page. Along with the direct links to the OGG Vorbis-encoded files hosted at the Internet Archive, there are now links to MP3-encoded versions. Don’t hesitate. Download them now.-)