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Writing tips: self-publishing: how many books can you sell?

How many books should a self-published author aim to sell?  If you are writing a book, how much money are you likely to make from publishing it yourself?

When I lived in Germany, trying to get my second book published, I was friends with a German author.  I was rather jealous of him: he had written four novels, all published commercially.

But he was not happy.

‘My publishers don’t market my books properly,’ he would say.  ‘They simply publish them and forget about them.  I keep trying different publishers, but they are all the same.’

I asked how many novels he had sold.  He told me he had never sold more than 600 copies of a novel.

I thought of my friend when I self-published my first novel, “Blood Summit“.  I set a target of selling 600 copies.  How did I do?

The first year, I sold 246 copies (more…)

What will happen after coronavirus? My new novel CORONATIME

What if the cure for coronavirus is worse than the disease?  What if after COVID-19 we have COVID-21, COVID-35 and COVID-42?  How will coronavirus change society, and the world?  

Lockdowns, flight bans, quarantine, school closures, contact tracing – coronavirus has changed society in ways that would have been inconceivable twelve months ago.  What will a post-pandemic world look like?

I told my gal the future looked a scary place to be.

She said, don’t worry Dad, it’s cancelled.

I saw it on TV.

Coronatime is a thriller, a comedy and a love story.  In a future world where universal contact tracing and advances in medical technology have created a society of oppression, corruption and injustice, one man and one woman must defeat a system which makes 1984 seem as menacing as a teddy bears’ picnic in a kindergarten. (more…)

“Blood Summit” live readings in Berlin 21-22 February

My two live readings in Berlin are coming up.

I shall be reading from my thriller Blood Summit in Berlin on 21 and 22 February.  I will also be doing a tour of the Reichstag and nearby locations where the action in Blood Summit takes place.

A video by Sibylle Trost of me reading from “Blood Summit”.  Now you can see the real thing.

Unfortunately, the tour, first publicised last month, is sold out.  But the readings still have places available:

  • 21 February 18.00, a reading from Blood Summit in a room with a view of the Reichstag generously provided by Mazars GmbH & Co Berlin, Alt-Moabit 2, 10557.  Full details of how to register, plus help with planning your weekend in Berlin, are at this link.  This is a free event.  I will be signing copies of my books Blood Summit and Seven Hotel Stories.
  • 22 February 19.00, a reading from Blood Summit at the salon of Christiane and Ari Großkopf, Bamberger Str. 56, 10777 Berlin.  This is a free event which Christiane and Ari are kindly hosting.  If you would like to attend, please e-mail me on robertpimmauthor@gmail.com with your name(s).  I will also be signing books.

(more…)

“Blood Summit” readings in Berlin 21-22 February

It is time to plan your weekend in Berlin.

I shall be doing two readings from my thriller Blood Summit in Berlin on 21 and 22 February.

A video of me reading from “Blood Summit”.  Now you can see the real thing.

Details are:

  • 21 February 18.00, a free reading from Blood Summit in a room with a view of the Reichstag at Mazars GmbH & Co Berlin, Alt-Moabit 2, 10557.  Full details of how to register, plus help with planning your weekend in Berlin, are at this link.  This is a free event.  I will be signing copies of my books Blood Summit and Seven Hotel Stories.
  • 22 February 19.00, a reading from Blood Summit at the salon of Christiane and Ari Großkopf, Bamberger Str. 56, 10777 Berlin.  This is a free event which Christiane and Ari are kindly hosting.  If you would like to attend, please e-mail me on robertpimmauthor@gmail.com with your name(s).  I will also be signing books.

(more…)

Blood Summit – a Berlin thriller

Welcome to the opening chapters of my Berlin thriller, Blood Summit.  

I wrote Blood Summit from my personal experience, after years of working with real terrorist incidents and real intelligence agencies.  I have exercised with special forces and fired live rounds at their training facilities.  This is the real thing.

What if the leaders of the eight most powerful countries in the world were taken hostage by terrorists, who then starting executing them live on-line in a facility designed to be impregnable?

What if you knew how to stop the slaughter, but no-one would listen to you and those you loved were amongst the hostages?

“Utterly gripping: I devoured it” – Edmund de Waal, author of “The Hare with Amber Eyes

“Blood Summit is a cracker. Pimm has hit the ground running” – Matthew Parris.

You can find Blood Summit on Amazon as a paperback or, for instant download, an e-book.  For a sample, read on.

BLOOD SUMMIT

A novel by Robert Pimm

Prologue

Two years earlier

There were children playing in the street outside her door.  Turkish, Uli Wenger guessed from their dark skin and bright clothes.  He walked around them.  The first insect Uli ever killed had been a child.  Today, he had more important business.

The surface of the door was rough with dirt and spray paint.  Sixteen buzzers studded the wall.  The target lived on the third floor.  Uli pressed the button by her name.

There was a crackle.  ‘Yes?’

‘Post,’ Uli said.  ‘A package.’

‘OK.’  The door popped open.

The hallway was cool and dark and smelled of damp stone.  Two bicycles (more…)

Pictures from my reading in Innsbruck

What do you think a reading with Robert Pimm looks like?

I was delighted on 18 October to read from my Berlin thriller Blood Summit in Innsbruck.  

Some pictures:

The reading took place at the magnificent Stadtbibliotek

Q&A afterwards with Andrew Milne-Skinner

Questions were incisive and challenging

Afterwards I signed copies of “Blood Summit” and “Seven Hotel Stories”

As I mentioned in my curtain-raising post (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site), the reading was organised by the excellent English Reading Circle in Innsbruck.  I am particularly grateful to Maria Kandolf-Kühne, who brought the book to the Reading Circle and suggested I do a reading in Innsbruck; and to Andrew and Sandra Milne-Skinner, who were instrumental in setting things up.

If you want to know more about Blood Summit, see my blog Blood Summit: the US President in the killing chair.  It is available from English language bookshop Shakespeare & Company at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna, or from Amazon.  If you have a book group, you may like to read my blog post Blood Summit: Reading Group Questions.

I also presented in Innsbruck my recently-published paperback of Seven Hotel Stories.  It seemed to go down well.

 

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please follow me on Facebook.  Or you can join my mailing list – I’ll be delighted to give you a free “Hotel Story” to say thanks.  Check out the range of writing on this site via my 5 pleasure paths.

 

Robert Pimm Live in Salzburg 20 February

Stop press: I will be doing a reading from my Berlin thriller BLOOD SUMMIT at 1800 on 20 February 2019 at The English Centre in Salzburg.

For a taste of what my readings are like, see the video below by Sibylle Trost, a film producer in Berlin.

If you live in Vienna, you may wish to note that Blood Summit  is available from English language bookshop Shakespeare & Company at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna:

(more…)

Blood Summit: top reading group questions

Blood Summit is ideal for reading groups and book clubs.  This intelligent thriller appeals to a wide range of audiences (see reviews on Amazon) and contains a host of controversy and material for discussion.  Here are some questions you can use for discussion.

One publisher rejected “Blood Summit” because they said Helen, a female action hero, was insufficiently feminine or “too much like a man”.  Do you agree?  Is Helen lacking in feminine qualities?  Would it matter if she did?

How would the plot develop differently if Helen was a man?  Which elements of the story, if any, would be less compelling or make less sense?

Helen is furious that her husband refuses to leave London and come with her to Berlin.  How would life with Nigel fit in with her lifestyle in Germany?  Are they sufficiently compatible to live together?   (more…)

Thank you!

‘How many people are you expecting at your reading?’

‘Well, it’s impossible to know.  Maybe five, maybe 20.’

‘But how many people will you will be happy with?’

‘Well, anything over three.’

We’re on our way to my reading from my Berlin thriller Blood Summit at the excellent English language bookshop Shakespeare & Company at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna.  Not only is it a Friday night, but the World Cup has started: Portugal vs Spain, no less.  I am managing my expectations appropriately.

We gather in the bookshop.  It is a beautiful place, in the heart of Vienna’s old town.  Outside, a cobbled street.  Inside, books reach to the ceiling: a temple of imagination, stories and ideas.  If you have never visited Shakespeare & Co, go today or, at the latest, next weekend.  They are open until 9 p.m. six days a week.

People keep coming.  By the time I start the reading, at 1930, the shop is already crammed – I count 19 people.  More keep arriving, slipping in cunningly through a hitherto unsuspected back door.

A wonderful place for a book-reading – Shakespeare & Co

(more…)

This Friday 15 June! My live reading from “Blood Summit”

What does reclusive author Robert Pimm look like in the flesh?

You can find out on Friday 15 June at the wonderful Shakespeare & Co bookshop at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna.

I will be reading from my new Berlin thriller “Blood Summit” (“a rip-roaring romp of a thriller” – Sir Christopher Mallaby). Entry is free and copies of the book will be on sale.

Come along – and bring a friend!

For a preview, see the video below, from my March 16 reading at Cafe Korb, also in Vienna.

In fact, you can buy “Blood Summit” in Shakespeare & Co any time: (more…)

Robert Pimm Live in Austria

Franz Schubert steps to one side.

The lights go down.

Robert Pimm looks up at the packed crowd.

‘My name is Robert Pimm,’ he says.  ‘First time I’ve said that.’

 

For those of you who were kind enough to attend my first reading from my new Berlin thriller Blood Summit at the Cafe Korb in Vienna last year, introduced by remarkable artistic director Franz Schubert (“this name is not a joke”), thank you.

The video of my reading from Blood Summit above was produced by the excellent Sibylle Trost in Berlin – thanks, Sibylle!

I was delighted to receive a good deal of positive feedback on 16 March, as well as news the next day that brilliant English language bookshop Shakespeare & Company at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna had run out of copies of Blood Summit.

They have since renewed their supplies. (more…)

Robert Pimm: my first public reading – 16 March in Vienna

Have you ever wondered what Robert Pimm looks like in person?

Now you can find out.

I will be performing my first public reading at 19.30 on 16 March at the Cafe Korb, Brandstätte 9, in the First District of Vienna.  Details are at the Cafe Korb Facebook page.

The Cafe Korb is a fine cafe, as I have reviewed separately.  Its glories include an Art Lounge – click on the link for a 360-degree view.  The cultural programme is eclectic and sublime – upcoming events range from “Who’s Afraid of the Jewish Mother?”, through the Korb’s famous Philosophical Evenings, to a performance by US jazz, blues and soul singer Margaret Carter.

It is in this splendid space that I shall be reading excerpts from my thriller Blood Summit – a world premiere.

The Art Lounge of Cafe Korb – worth a zoom, or a visit

The Art Lounge is not fantastically large and I am hoping it will be pretty packed.  Entry is free, and I will answer questions after the reading.  I look forward to seeing you there.

“Blood Summit” Chapter 6: a mysterious Russian

Here is the text of Chapter 6 of my Berlin thriller Blood Summit.  

“Terrorist Uli Wenger meets a mysterious Russian.”

Enjoy!  You can read the first six chapters of Blood Summit together here.

The Reichstag dome.  Bad things happen here in “Blood Summit”

 

BLOOD SUMMIT: CHAPTER 6

One day, Uli Wenger thought, he would be tagged.  If he lived that long.  The technology existed: the state would inject a chip into each citizen and track them by satellite.  If Uli were in charge, he would have people tagged tomorrow.  He would want to know where everyone was, so he could torment them as they had tormented him.

But for now, there were no tags.  That was good.  Otherwise, what he planned for tomorrow would be impossible.  The insects had saved him.  The insects hated change.  They liked their old-fashioned ID cards, which could be forged and bought and fixed.  (more…)

“Blood Summit” on sale here

The book fits right in, between Ian Fleming and John le Carré.  Good company.

“Blood Summit” at Shakespeare & Co in Vienna

Shakespeare & Co, the famous Vienna English language booksellers, stocks my Berlin thriller Blood Summit.  I am proud to see it there on the shelves.

If you live in Vienna, I suggest you nip right down to Shakespeare & Co and buy yourself a book from their well-stocked shelves.

Shakespeare & Co also stock my book Seven Hotel Stories.  

Shakespeare & Co is at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna (1st District).  It is worth a visit.  A sketch, including of the excellent Guy Perlaki who helps run the shop, is on the Vienna Würstelstand site.

If you are do not live in Vienna, you can buy Blood Summit as a paperback or e-book at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de (it is a big hit in Germany and Austria) and other reputable outlets.  I hope you enjoy it.  Hundreds (so far) of others have.  You can also read the first five chapters on this website.
P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button).  Check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.

The Laughing Halibut

‘One of my favourite restaurants in London is the Laughing Halibut,’ I say as we eat our lunch in Vienna.  ‘When I first started eating there in 1979, it was run by this Italian guy, and one of his sons used to work there, a young bloke.  Now, the son is still there, he seems to run the place, but he has become a much older man.’

’40 years is a long time, I guess,’ my friend says.  ‘The Italian has aged.  But you have stayed the same.’

‘Correct!  It’s like that Joe Walsh song, Life’s been good to me so far.  Great lyrics.  It’s tough to handle this fortune and fame, he sings.  Everybody’s so different, I haven’t changed.  Best fish and chips in central London.’

A delicious portion of chips from the Laughing Halibut – RP

I often think of the Laughing Halibut, and would recommend it to anyone visiting or living in London.  In fact, I like it so much that it features in a key scene in a novel of mine, which is on ice at present but might see the light of day in a couple of years.  The scene also features a phlegmatic Italian waiter.

The scene (which I have lightly edited, for reasons too complex to explain here) is as follows.  Angus Fairfax, the protagonist of the book, is meeting his wife Rosie for lunch.

Excerpt from an unpublished novel

Rosie and I had instituted regular Monday lunches when she was promoted – again – twelve months before.  ‘You must be in the diary,’ she’d said.  ‘Otherwise, I’ll never see you.’

She’d been right.  These days, most of our conversations seemed to take place in the Laughing Halibut in Strutton Ground.

Strutton Ground was a curious street.  (more…)

Blood Summit: the US President in the killing chair

The US President, British Prime Minister, German Chancellor, Russian President and other G8 leaders are taken hostage by terrorists at a summit in Berlin.

Rescue is impossible.

One after another, hostages are executed at point-blank range, killings streamed live, bodies left on show for fifteen minutes to prove that they are dead.

Then the U.S. President is thrown into the killing chair – and shots ring out.

Who is to blame for this cataclysm?  Who can resolve the crisis – against a background of terrorist demands which seem impossible to meet, yet which have demonstrators massing outside the Reichstag to support the hostage-takers? (more…)

“Blood Summit” Chapter 5: Things get worse for Helen

Here is the text of Chapter 5 of my Berlin thriller Blood Summit.  

“In which Helen Gale gets into even more trouble.”

The Reichstag dome.  Warning: bad things happen here in “Blood Summit”

 

BLOOD SUMMIT: CHAPTER 5

Helen watched Sir Leonard Lennox grow angry.  It was a rare, but frightening sight.  Even when the ambassador was calm, his rugged features tended to darken in response to obstacles or unreason.  Now, the combination of brilliant white bandages and a choleric outburst made his face look black with rage.

‘They say what?

Basil Nutter grimaced, glanced around the conference table and said nothing.  Decades of experience in the back rooms of embassies from Abidjan to Yerevan had left the wizened but career-challenged diplomat equipped with two convictions.  The first was that the key to a contented life was to avoid drawing attention to yourself.  The second was that efforts by governments to influence the media were at best pointless and in most cases counter-productive.  Basil was arguably, therefore, ill-fitted to the job of embassy press officer.  He seemed physically to have shrunk as the Summit loomed.  This morning’s blast had left his brow, and his suit, more deeply creased than ever.

Helen had been thinking of the injured child in the street.  She saw Basil’s plight and intervened.

‘Ambassador,’ she said.  ‘You need a cigarette.  Possibly two.’

‘First sensible idea I’ve heard all day.’  A lighter and a packet of Benson and Hedges were in the ambassador’s big hands in an instant.  ‘And before you say anything, Jason, this is an emergency.  Since the windows have been blown out by a terrorist bomb, we’re technically outside anyway.’

Jason Short said nothing, but looked at the overwhelmingly intact windows and pursed his lips.

The ambassador lit a cigarette, blew a stream of smoke towards the ceiling, and turned to Basil. (more…)

My thriller “Blood Summit” – Chapter 4

Here is Chapter 4 of my Berlin thriller Blood Summit.

The Reichstag dome.  Warning: bad things happen here in “Blood Summit”

How did Dieter Kremp, Deputy Head of the Summit Security Unit and a macho package of anger, “exquisite, toned musculature” and chauvinism, become the lover of Helen Gale – a Cambridge-educated top diplomat?  How did the US Secret Service almost stop the Summit happening?

Find out now.

BLOOD SUMMIT: CHAPTER 4

As he ran towards the Summit Security Unit command bunker, Dieter Kremp was reminded with a jolt how much he hated the logo for the Children’s Summit.  A Berlin bear on its back, for Christ’s sake, balancing a cute kid on each of its sharp-clawed paws.  The bear was grinning playfully – hungrily, more like – as it performed this unnatural act.

(more…)

“Blood Summit” now available! Read Chapter 3

Wonderful news and äußerst schön.  My Berlin thriller Blood Summit is now up on Amazon, both as an e-book and as a paperback – I’ve seen, and signed, a copy.  Both look terrific, thanks to Ken and Kate over at Creative Covers.

If you enjoy Blood Summit, feel free to leave a review an Amazon, repost my facebook posts, retweet my tweets, or do anything else to spread the word.  The greatest challenge faced by any author is bringing her or his book – however brilliant – to the attention of people who might enjoy it.

I’ll be doing my bit on this blog and elsewhere, but all help gratefully received.

I will also be happy to sign paperback copies – these first editions will obviously be priceless collector’s items in years to come.

Potsdamer Platz – Helen Gale lives in a flat here (photo RP)

Meanwhile I shall continue to publish excerpts from the novel.

Chapter 3 develops the conflict between Helen Gale and her boss, Jason Short, and introduces several new characters including:

Ram Kuresh: the only avowedly gay member of the Secret Intelligence Service Office in Berlin. (more…)

My thriller “Blood Summit”: Chapter 2

In the last couple of weeks  I have posted the prologue and first chapter of my new thriller, Blood Summit.

This week comes Chapter 2.  Get to know Uli Wenger, the mastermind behind the plot to seize the Reichstag.  What drives him?  Why does he detonate a bomb outside the British Embassy in Berlin?  You decide.

The full text of Chapter 2 is below.  Or you can read all the excerpts published on this blog together at my new Blood Summit page.

One other big piece of news.

The complete thriller Blood Summit is now available on Amazon.  On Friday 1 December I uploaded both the e-book version (suitable for Kindle) and, for the first time in my experience, a paperback version.  The e-book is already available at the link above.  The paperback seems to take longer to appear; I will let you know when it does.

I have worked long and hard on Blood Summit, both to write the novel (a big job) and to prepare it for publication.  It is a wonderful moment to be able to make it available to readers.  I hope you enjoy it.  Anything you can do to draw the book to the attention of potential readers will of course be welcome.

Blood Summit: the cover

Here is the text of Chapter 2.  Thoughts, comments and re-posts welcome!

CHAPTER 2

It was not accident but design which made Uli Wenger so hard to see. His disguise was brilliant. Only one person in the crowd could recognise him. She would never tell a soul.

More marchers were appearing. The merciless punctuality made planning easy. Uli was in control. In thirty-six hours, he would hold a knife to the throat of the world. A few hours after that, the world would embrace him as its saviour.  (more…)

My novel “Blood Summit”: Chapter 1

Last week I posted the prologue of my new novel, Blood Summit.

This week, you can read the first chapter.  It introduces protagonist Helen Gale, a brilliant, tough counter-terrorism expert responsible for protecting G8 Presidents and Prime Ministers at the Children’s Summit in Berlin.  The blurb:

Counter-terrorism expert Helen Gale has one job: to protect world leaders at a summit in the Berlin Reichstag.

But terrorists take hostage presidents, prime ministers, one hundred innocent children – and Helen’s journalist husband.

Then the executions start.

Helen’s life implodes. Yet she alone can see the truth. As special forces plan a deadly assault, she must enter the shattered hulk of the Reichstag to stop a bloodbath.

Blood Summit: the cover

Here is the text of the first chapter.  You can read the prologue and first chapter together at my new Blood Summit page.

CHAPTER 1

Helen Gale was briefing the ambassador on the Children’s Summit when the first rock hit the window.

‘The Prime Minister flies in at 1500 tomorrow,’ she said. ‘The trouble is, Air Force One is due at 1450. Obviously, the German Federal Chancellor won’t have time to greet the President of the United States at the airport.’

‘Who wants to meet a child in a sandpit?’ the ambassador said.

‘The President’s been called worse things.’

‘Not by the Chancellor. After a speech on US foreign policy. When someone’s left the microphone on.’

(more…)

My novel Blood Summit: prologue

What is in my new thriller Blood Summit?

Here is the prologue.

The complete novel, as both paperback and e-book, should be available soon on Amazon.

Watch this space.

Early draft of “Blood Summit” cover

Prologue

Two years earlier

There were children playing in the street outside her door.  Turkish, Uli Wenger guessed from their dark skin and bright clothes.  He walked around them.  The first insect Uli ever killed had been a child.  Today, he had more important business.

The surface of the door was rough with dirt and spray paint.  Sixteen buzzers studded the wall.  The target lived on the third floor.  Uli pressed the button by her name. (more…)

Blood Summit: the cover. Views sought

I am working with the outstanding designers at Creative Covers on images for my new novel Blood Summit.

They have sent across a few mock-ups.  I’d be interested in feedback.

Contenders are:

Option 1:  (more…)

Blood Summit – the blurb

More complex than Dan Brown.  More thrilling than Le Carré.  Closer to the truth than either.

Counter-terrorism expert Helen Gale has one job: to protect the Presidents and Prime Ministers of the US, Britain, China, France, Russia, Germany, Canada and Italy at the Children’s Summit in Berlin.

The Reichstag is the most fortified building on earth.  Yet terrorists take world leaders, tycoons, one hundred innocent children and Helen’s husband captive.  Then the executions start.

Helen is suspended from duty and sued for negligence.  Yet she alone sees the mastermind behind the siege.  As US special forces plan a deadly assault, Helen must enter the shattered hulk of the Reichstag to stop a bloodbath.

“The genuine article: clever and melancholy: a security-pass into a world-within-a-world” – Matthew Parris on Robert Pimm.

*

OK, everyone.  Help me.  Ahead of publication of my new novel, Blood Summit this autumn I am drafting the blurb for the back page.  What do you think of the above?  Would it make you want to read the book?  Comments welcome: do use the comments box or send me an e-mail.

I’m crowdsourcing comments and you, faithful readers, are my crowd.

And thanks for all your comments on titles.  Excellent comments from different people in different senses.  For now, I’m going with Blood Summit.

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – the “click here” blue button).  You can check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.

Body Politic? Blood Summit? Or Show Me the Head of the President?

You’re shopping for a fast-paced, intelligent action thriller.

You spot three books, set in Berlin, which you think might meet the bill.

The Reichstag in Berlin: setting for my new novel

One of them is called Blood Summit.

One of them is called Body Politic.

The third is called Show me the head of the President.

On which do you click?

Please let me know in the “comments” section below.

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button).  Check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.

Women in fiction: Atomic Blonde and Blood Summit

A review of the forthcoming thriller Atomic Blonde describes it as “the biggest action role for a woman on screen to date”.

Sounds good to me.

Atomic Blonde (2017) – trailer

A piece in the International New York Times by Jessica Manafi, which appeared in the Austrian Standard on 22 May, argues that Lorraine Broughton, the MI6 spy who is the heroine of the movie played by Charlize Theron, is getting closer to equality by (more…)

Like Science Fiction? Try Coronatime

What if the cure for coronavirus is worse than the disease?  What if after COVID-19 we have COVID-21, COVID-35 and COVID-42?  How will coronavirus change society, and the world?  Read Coronatime.

What if technological innovation was so all-transforming that it reversed the advance of civilisation?

It has happened before.

In recent centuries we’ve got used to the idea that technical innovations – the steam engine, electricity, air travel, antibiotics, contraception, the Internet – mean that “Things can only get better”.

Tell that to the collapsing dregs of the Roman Empire.  Or the Aztecs. (more…)

Coronatime: how Klimt, Beethoven and The Grateful Dead fit together

What if the cure for coronavirus is worse than the disease?  What if after COVID-19 we have COVID-21, COVID-35 and COVID-42?  How will coronavirus change society, and the world?  Try Coronatime.

I wrote a while ago about “7 ways to explain the meaning of life” (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).

I said that the meaning of life would emerge around 80% of the way through my novel Coronatime; and that it involved “Come Celebrate with Us” and “The Kiss”.

IMG_3544

Wiener Secession, 2015 – Photo: Robert Pimm

I live in Vienna. Since I lived here in the ’80s the wonderful Secession building built in 1897 by Joseph Maria Olbrich has a new basement housing Gustav Klimt’s magnificent Beethoven frieze, (more…)

Corona time: When waiting for a London bus is pure pleasure

How is the coronavirus changing the world?  In addressing how everything may be affected by coronavirus, Coronatime examines existential questions such as the relationship between time and money.

I wrote in my blog Red London buses and the meaning of life (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site) how we all have a limited number of years, months, weeks and days to live.

FullSizeRender

My blog Read this now – before you waste more of your precious life pointed out that most of us feel short of time; and are not sure how to spend what time we have.

So what would happen in a world where some people were able to live for hundreds of years.  What leisure activities would they seek?  Read on:

Edited excerpt from “Coronatime” Chapter 15

KY Sutanto had visited London many times. But this was his first venture to the district called “South of the River”. (more…)

Coronatime: Red London buses and the meaning of life

What if the cure for coronavirus is worse than the disease?  In addressing how the world may be affected by coronavirus, Coronatime examines existential questions such as: when is the next bus coming?

We all have a limited number of years, months, weeks and days to live.

FullSizeRender

So why should we spend that time waiting for a red London bus?

My recent blog Read this now – before you waste more of your precious life pointed out that most of us feel short of time; and are not sure how to spend what time we have.  I also noted that my novel Coronatime (hit link to read) explored 5 ways wealth and creativity can’t mix (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).

The conclusions of Coronatime are good news for poor people.

So where do London buses come in? (more…)

Coronavirus: don’t waste your precious life

My novel “Coronatime” creates a post-coronavirus society where the relationship between time and money has crystallised into a way to trade life itself.  A post-pandemic world will tell us a lot about our existing world’s obsessions.

Have you ever wondered: “what shall I do today?”

Or even: “what shall I do now?”

It’s one of life’s mysteries that:

– we all have a limited number of years, months, weeks and days to live;

– we all want to make the most of that time;

– many of us feel short of time to do the things we want;

– and yet… when we do have some free time, we’re not sure what to do with it.

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It depends how you look at it.  Anish Kapoor in Istanbul.  Photo: Robert Pimm

Part of the problem is excess choice.  Twenty years ago, I had a job where I flew regularly between London and the Far East in business class.  I had a busy job, and I used to relish the thought of a 15-hour flight with no disturbances and a host of pleasures on-tap.  But when I settled down into my comfy seat on the plane, I sometimes found myself overwhelmed by a kind of existential panic.  Should I (more…)

Coronatime: Peter Pan and Steve Jobs

My post-pandemic comedy, thriller and love story “Coronatime” looks at how a world after Coronavirus will be shaped by our obsessions with beauty, wealth and staying alive.

What do Peter Pan and Steve Jobs have in common?

Answer: they both help explain why wealth and creativity cannot mix.

There is a reason for that stereotype of a starving artist in a garret.  Need, and monomania, sharpen the senses.  No wonder millionaire rock stars have trouble re-creating the catchy tunes which made them famous.  Why should they get out of bed in the morning?

My post 7 ways my sci-fi novel Coronatime explains the meaning of life (bold italics are to other posts on this site) contrasts how you might behave if you suddenly found you had only six weeks left to live with how you would act if you learned you were immortal.

In the first case, we’d all try to enjoy an intense six weeks.

Me aged 1 (in pram) with elder brother – both rich in Biotime

This brings us back to the quote by Steve Jobs which opens Coronatime: (more…)

Coronatime, Klimt and Beethoven

What can a post-coronavirus society tell us about love and the meaning of life?  My novel “Coronatime” is a thriller, comedy and love story set in a post-pandemic world.

I wrote a while ago about “7 ways my sci-fi novel Coronatime explains the meaning of life“.

I said that the meaning of life would emerge around 80% of the way through the book; and that it involved “Come Celebrate with Us” and “The Kiss”.

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Wiener Secession, 2015 – Photo: Robert Pimm

I live in Vienna, where the climax to Coronatime takes place, and was delighted to find that the wonderful Secession building built in 1897 by Joseph Maria Olbrich had got a new basement.  That basement houses Gustav Klimt’s magnificent Beethoven frieze, based on the Ninth Symphony, which, to quote Wikipedia, “illustrates human desire for happiness in a suffering and tempestuous world”. (more…)

Coronatime: why wealth and creativity can’t mix

How will coronavirus change our world?  Maybe our post-pandemic future will be like the worst features of today’s world, but much, much worse.

You know that stereotype of the starving artist in a garret producing a masterpiece?

It appeals to starving artist types.  It also appeals to comfortable well-off types who think that maybe if they were skinnier and hungrier they’d be creative too.

All I need to be the next Toulouse-Lautrec/Stevie Smith/[fill in name] is a garret!

Like many stereotypes there’s a grain of truth in it.  But why?

You can find a philosophical and intellectually robust exposition of why wealth and creativity don’t mix in my novel Coronatime.

Coronatime looks at how coronavirus may change our world

You can read the first part of the novel on this site.  The whole novel is not yet available.  So for now, here’s a summary of 5 ways Coronatime shows wealth and creativity can’t mix:

(more…)

Coronatime: 7 ways to explain the meaning of life

What if the cure for coronavirus is worse than the disease?  What if after COVID-19 we have COVID-21, COVID-35 and COVID-42?  How will coronavirus change society, and the world?  Read Coronatime.
A wise man was reading my novel Coronatime the other day.  He said “how can you get to the depths and layers of Coronatime earlier in the book to draw readers in?”
Depths and layers.  It’s true.
On the surface, Coronatime is a straightforward story about a detective who is framed for the murders of 10,290 mothers, babies, medical staff and visiting family members in a Santa Monica neonatal unit and has to prove his innocence.
The background is Coronatime itself – a life-exchange fluid of which one gram equals one year.  Great news, right?  No-one ever need be poor again – in theory.
If you’re short of cash you can sell some of your life expectancy to someone else.  Ditto, the rich need never die – provided they can keep producing enough wealth to buy Coronatime to live until eternity.
The world of Coronatime is hyper-capitalist.  But unlike pale imitations such as In Time (good premise, poorly executed) people don’t go on behaving as in today’s world.
In Coronatime, although things look familiar, everything has changed. That change is encapsulated in the opening quote by Steve Jobs: “Death is very likely the single best invention of life”. (more…)

Coronatime: how DNA Tabs are coming true

Writing about a post-coronavirus world, I’m finding that many of my worst predictions about the future are already coming true.  Why a chip to use a photocopier could become much worse.

I’ve written before about my fears that if I don’t publish my novels soon, they’ll come true.

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This is one of the reasons I want to publish Coronatime.

When I wrote Coronatime, I imagined that before long, every human would be chipped at birth; that such chips would be linked to your DNA (to prevent transplants); and that they would communicate with a central database (the Federal Unitary Control Computer) a thousand times a second to confirm your location and what you were up to.

Now I find that similar chips – minus the DNA, so far – are being used to allow staff in Sweden to use the photocopier: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31042477.  No more painful than an injection, reports the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones.

Better get ready, guys.  They started with cats and dogs.  Soon they’ll be coming for you.

P.S. you can sample more fresh, original writing on this site via my 5 pleasure paths.  If you enjoy it please follow me on Facebook.  Or you can join my mailing list.

Coronatime: what motivates terrorists?

Why do terrorists carry out terrorism?  What are the goals of terrorists?  How can you stop terrorism?  How can you achieve the goals of terrorism without so many people getting hurt?  “Coronatime” explains.

It’s time to start unpacking the box.

Let’s have a look at an excerpt from my new novel, Coronatime.

What motivates terrorists?  In another of my novels, Blood Summit, I point to the importance of the Herostratus Syndrome, as explained in the excellent book by Antony Borowitz (long title: “Terrorism for Self-Glorification: The Herostratus Syndrome”).  In the foreword I quote Mark Twain: “One of the commonest forms of madness is the desire to be noticed”.  I also quote Mark Chapman, the murderer of John Lennon: “I was an acute nobody… I was ‘Mr Nobody’ until I killed the biggest Somebody on earth.”

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Part of Coronatime is set in Vienna – Photo Robert Pimm

In the dystopic world of Coronatime, terrorists are motivated by money and by the urge to show their lives have meaning.  Here, in an excerpt from the book, our heroes Jake and Sandy meets a member of terrorist group The One Life Army.

 

Coronatime: an excerpt.  The One Life Army

‘We are not terrorists, or freedom fighters. Actually, we see ourselves more as a pressure group which is not afraid to apply real pressure.’

(more…)

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