Release the Dollar Monkeys!

Today marks the first easing of lockdown in the United Kingdom (since the last one). While it might feel like an age since we were sealed away, it is nothing compared to that of Ogg, the inventor of the rock for doing something that was previously done in a less efficient way. To both provide … Continue reading Release the Dollar Monkeys!

Submission Call: All These Shiny Worlds III

Following the success of All These Shiny Worlds and All These Shiny Worlds II, anthologies showcasing some of the best independent fantasy and science-fiction short stories, Jefferson Smith is compiling a third volume. Unlike the previous two, which were nomination-only, this one will be open to all subscribers to his Liar's Hearth Newsletter. Further details … Continue reading Submission Call: All These Shiny Worlds III

Ain’t Dead Yet

As followers of ImmerseOrDie will know, only a few books make it past the 40:00 mark. Of those, an even rarer few keep the reader's complete attention for their entire length. Those books are now listed in one place: The ImmerseOrDie Family Jewels. The assessment is—as with the IoD reports themselves—one reader's experience; but maybe … Continue reading Ain’t Dead Yet

ImmerseOrDie Index Improvements

As long-time readers will know, as well as reviewing here every Friday, I'm one of the reviewers for ImmerseOrDie. So, I'm sharing Jeff's announcement about the new search function there: The IOD index page is now super-charged. With over 300 posted reviews, finding the one you’re looking for was getting a bit dense. But that’s … Continue reading ImmerseOrDie Index Improvements

Immerse or Die Story Bundle 2015

As I’ve mentioned several times, Misha Burnett’s Catskinner’s Book is one of my favourite books. And several of the other’s in this collection are on my TBR list.

Note: While I run the short-story subdivision of the Gobi Author Torture Program, I don’t receive anything from this collection – apart from the validation of having books I like publicly displayed as of high quality.


I’ve mentioned Jefferson Smith’s Immerse Or Die Report before.

The concept is brutal in its simplicity.  Every morning he takes a self-published novel or story collection and gets on his treadmill for forty minutes. When he runs across something that breaks immersion–unclear syntax, wooden dialogue, boring exposition, pretty much anything that makes him look away from the page–the work gets one strike.  Three strikes, and it’s out.  The ones that make it past the forty minute mark without collecting three strikes are considered survivors.

It’s a tough standard–kind of a Gobi torture test for literature.

Of the two hundred and five novels that he put through the mill in 2015,he chose nine survivors to be included in the 2015 Immerse Or Die Story Bundle.

As it happens, Catskinner’s Book is one of the nine.

All Covers Large

Yeah, it’s there, second row, far left.  He didn’t like my original cover (in his review…

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