Martian Shuffle is waiting for you to go and grab it for free!

March 2023

So, I ignored my own advice in the January ramble about not sending people to Mars and created a small settlement on the Red Planet called Karima-Napata. (I know it sounds like the famous Swahili catchphrase from the Lion King, but might that also make it easier to remember?) In Anything But Accidental, the young Japanese tattoo artist on the Moon had told Roland to go to Mars to find her uncle, which made it a logical second port of call after he had fled from Earth. But you really don’t need to have read any of the other books first. This isn’t Harry Potter or GoT. Here’s the link for you to find your free copy, which should keep working until I publish it in the Kindle Store some time next year (when I will change the name to The Martian Blues Shuffle! Should have checked that title first …)

Next month, I’m hoping we’ll have news on the European Space Agency’s JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) mission. The Ariane 5 rocket is due for launch on the April 13. And to celebrate that event, I’ll be publishing another novella, The Big G, on Kindle. Some of you will have read it when it was available as a freebie. That’s all for this month. I wrote last month’s piece on a tablet which I rarely use (I can’t stand typing on anything other than a real keyboard and try to send even WhatsApp messages from the laptop) and am going to make that my excuse for not knowing the difference between “it’s” and “its”. I’m sure it’s (!) a mistake a chatbot wouldn’t make, though I note that last month a sci-fi publisher stopped accepting submissions after it was flooded with short stories written by bots and sent in by people looking to make a fast buck. Another nail in the coffin for traditional publishing or just a blip? And then there was the work of art created by the Midjourney AI system that won a prize in an art fair? Is art dead as well?

PS: For those who read last month’s ramble, the ducks are back!!!

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