Just Finished SUPERINTELLIGENCE by Bostrom…

superintelligenceJust finished SUPERINTELLIGENCE by Nick Bostrom (a very smart guy btw). It is a must read for any human who values the existence of the human race. Bostrom tackles the coming Artificial Intelligence explosion by looking at the issue through a tri-colored lens: macro-economics, game theory, and philosophy. Lots of new concepts here for me, and I was already keen on the topic:  AI as an oracle, genie, or sovereign; tackling the “Control Problem” about how to manage a Superintelligent AI with boxing methods, tripwires, oversight, and programming in fundamental goals; mind crime with respect to to digital minds living in a simulation created from whole brain emulations;  Malthusian and dystopian evolution arguments for what Bostrom calls a looming “existential catastrophe,” and the list goes on.

I’ll give it a few weeks to digest, then read it again


Vince Flynn passes away at 47

Farewell to one hell of a thriller writer and an inspiration to fans and authors of the genre.

Vince Flynn Quick Stats:

  • Father of 3
  • 14 novels published
  • 15 million US copies sold

vince flynn

VF novels

Supreme Court Negs Human Gene Patenting


Today my faith in humanity is bolstered… the Supreme Court ruled agains human gene patenting 9-0. Congratulations, 25% of you is no longer patented!

The decision in a nutshell:  

(1) Naturally occurring genes identified / discovered in the human genome can not be patented, as these genes were not “invented.”

(2) Manipulating a gene to create something not found in nature is considered an invention and is therefore eligible for patent protection.

From the ruling:

“A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated,” he Justice Thomas for the court. In reference to Myriad Genetics patents on the BRCA 1 and 2 genes that indicated a high probability of a woman developing breast cancer. “It is undisputed that Myriad did not create or alter any of the genetic information encoded in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.”


Want a Bionic Ear? Just Hit “Print”

printed earScientists at Princeton University “printed” a functional ear that can process radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human hearing. The scientists used off-the-shelf components to print a 3D structure consisting of layers of hydrogel, calf cells, and silver nano particles—creating an embedded coil antenna in a cartilage structure. Two wire leads travel from the base of the ear and wind around a helical cochlea structure. The electrodes would interface with the auditory nervous system.  The ear is only a prototype, but  in principle it could be used not only to restore acoustical hearing, but also enhance it by processing radio waves which are outside the frequency range of the human ear.

Want a bionic ear?  Give it a few years, and all you’ll need to do is hit “print.”

Source: Science Daily

Photo Credit:  Frank Wojciechowski

Calypso Directive Heading to Audiobook

Calypso Directive was licensed by Audible and will be recorded as an audiobook. The recording schedule is still not finalized by we’re hoping for a release before Christmas!



Calypso Directive was selected as a finalist in the 2012 USA BEST BOOK Awards in the Thriller category!


Suspense Magazine – Checking in with John Raab

This week I had the privilege to chat with John Raab, the CEO and Publisher of Suspense Magazine. Here is what John had to say:

(1) Why did you start Suspense Magazine?
Suspense Magazine started out of frustration.  What I mean by that is this.  Most readers don’t understand that when they walk into a Barnes and Noble, that all the books they see on the front tables or on the shelves are pay to place.  Publishers have to pay a lot of money to get their books on those tables.

The problem is that you see the same authors over and over, and never get the opportunity to check out a new author unless you go into the stacks and do some searching. My wife has read thousands of books and was getting tired of seeing the same names.  When we did some searching around, we found ourselves having to go to many different websites in order to find some new authors.  But the suspense / thriller / mystery / horror genre is so big and so popular, 90% of the authors that write in the genre have to struggle to find an audience.  The light bulb came on and had us thinking, why shouldn’t we start a place where readers and authors can connect.  This is why we started Suspense Magazine, because we feel every author should have a place to be heard and seen.

(2) The cover art is so dramatic and sets the magazine apart. What criteria do you use when creating a new cover for the next issue?

Our cover art is very unique.  When we started the magazine we sat down with ten different magazines and looked at them.  We noticed something in all of them, something that didn’t separate them from every other magazine; they all had pretty much the same cover.  You would see someone’s face or body and it wouldn’t stand out.  We wanted to be that one magazine in the stack of ten that would catch people’s eye so they would at least take a second look.  Our artists come from all over the world submitting their best work.  We have a long back list of artists that will be on the cover of the magazine and then featured inside.  Many of the artists have a website where people are able to buy their work.

(3) I love the magazine, and read the online version on my notebook computer. Do you plan to have a Suspense Mag iPad or mobile app in the near future?

We constantly talk about expansion of the magazine.The idea of an app has come up along with many other ideas. We are taking things slow and making sure that whatever we do is only going to enhance the experience of the fans and authors. We have started posting book trailers on the website, publishing many more excerpts, playing audio clips on our radio show and bringing out an original series called “Green Lake”, which is a free ongoing book available on BN.com and Smashwords.com. But you will see new things coming out from Suspense Magazine, leaving fans in suspense is all part of the overall experience.

If you’ve never hear of Suspense Magazine, be sure to take a look. The digital version of the magazine sells for only $2 an issue, so it is a lot of bang for the buck!

Donna Galanti — What’s In a Title?

Please welcome fellow ITW debut author Donna Galanti this week to talk about one of the most important elements of every book… THE TITLE 

Novel titles. Where do they come from? R.L. Stine mentioned at ThrillerFest recently that he creates the title first and then the book. So do I. Other authors write the book first and create the title afterward. Of course, the title an author may love can get changed by the publisher.

Did you know that book titles can’t be copyrighted? How many have “shades of grey” in them? (or ‘gray’ if you’re of the American English persuasion). I stopped counting at twenty when I searched Amazon. Which one do you think most people are reading right now I wonder?

How about bizarre titles like, I Was Tortured by the Evil Pygmy Love Queen. Would you ever know it was about the evils that await a U.S. Navy fighter pilot when he meets a pygmy tribe after parachuting out of his plane? Doubtful. I would have re-thunk that one and tried it out on people at parties first. Or how about How to Make Love While Conscious. People may buy it just for fun, I hope not as a guide.

Are you writing a book and need a title? Try this fun online title generator. (http://www.fictionalley.org/primer/title.html). Can also be used to fake people out when playing Charades.

Here are titles I came up with for my book, A Human Element:
Cool ones – Bloody Bananas. Freaky Aliens.
Really? – The Daring Murders. (What murder isn’t daring?)
Funniest – The Human Runs. (Talk about messy)

I didn’t go with any of those. My paranormal suspense novel title, A Human Element, came from the premise that we all have a human element in us that is redeemable, no matter how small. It may not be Freaky Banana Runs, but I like it and got to keep it. What draws you to a book title?


Q&As with Donna:

One of the requirements for any guest post on this blog is that the victim (er I mean guest) must answer my version of the Proust questionaire. Here are Donna’s responses:

(1) What motivated you to write A Human Element?   A vision and grief. The story just came to me in a flash one day as I was driving. I wrote the entire synopsis down (while driving erratically), the first two chapters, and then shelved it for more than a decade. When my mom passed away I picked it up again and wrote it.

(2) What is your most treasured possession?  I would say my son, but he can be possessed himself at times. Seriously, the video memoir I shot of my mom before she died. It’s priceless and can never be replaced.

(3) What trait do you most deplore in others?  Arrogance. And people that slurp the water fountain and clip their nails at the office.

(4) What is life’s greatest betrayal?  That we can’t go back and enjoy our youth with what we know now. And that doughnuts and Doritos won’t make you thin. That’s just so unfair.

(5) What is your greatest extravagance? Time alone to write and read. I live for Scout weekends when my husband and son go away. And good beer. I’m a nut for rich, complex beers. I could have Troeg’s Double Bock Troegenator for dessert every night. No Miller Lite please.

(6) What do you do when you’re stumped at the keyboard? Bang it really, really hard. I’m on my third one. Then I go for a walk and the answers flood in…and call my husband to buy another keyboard on his way home.

(7) If you died and came back as a character in fiction, who would it be?  Sam Gribley in My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. I grew up with the Catskill Mountains as my backyard view and would love a season to live off the land as a youth as Sam does. No rules. No school. No parents. Tons of challenges. Total freedom. Plus having a pet falcon would be super cool.

Donna Galanti is a 2011/2012 ITW Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A HUMAN ELEMENT (Echelon Press). She is a former Navy photographer, marketing manager, and recovering business owner. Donna lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs but sadly no ghosts. Visit her at: http://blog.donnagalanti.com/wp/

Link for A Human Element:

Midwest Book Review: Calypso Directive

“Powerful things may lie inside each of us, but who claims ownership of such things… “The Calypso Directive” is a fast-paced and hard to put down thriller, a solidly recommended pick for those seeking a novel of high science and the greed that seeks to exploit it.”

Midwest Book Review

Grinding the Crack: Jeb Corliss

This might be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen…

The daredevil is Californian Jeb Corliss. The location is Switzerland. The flying gear is called a wingsuit.