Earth Inc by Michael Bollen

earth inc cover Well, here we are on the last day of my blog.  There’s an end of term atmosphere in front of my keyboard today.  I’ve been allowed to bring some games in, which is why this blog entry is later than all the others – I’ve been busy playing Ludo.  The long summer holidays are stretching out in front of me, but there are a few bits of business to be dealt with first.  There are some unanswered questions and topics from your comments which need to be seen to, so I can leave the place nice and tidy for next week’s occupant.

So, in no particular order, let’s start with a question from Ewan.  Incidentally, Ewan made a very good documentary about Aldous Huxley’s book Brave New World, which featured some music by my ‘band’ Cassetteboy.  The documentary is called Brand New World, and it has a website here:

By a staggering coincidence, ‘Earth Inc’, was originally going to be called ‘Earth Inc, or Brand New World’, until I realised that having two titles is just greedy, and smacks of indecision.

Anyway, Ewan asked my why German keyboards have the letters “Y” and “Z” swapped round.  Thanks for that Ewan, thanks a lot.  Mind you, it is a question that has been puzzling me ever since I first heard about it, er, when I read Ewan’s comment.  So here goes: 

As the “Y” is traditionally in the middle of the top row, and the “Z” is tucked away down there in the bottom left hand corner, I assume that the “Y” is thought to be more important, or more frequently used.  In Germany, the reverse must be true, and I think this is because of the language difference.  In Britain we say “This is because”, but in German of course this translates as “Ziz iz becauze”.  So the answer is, because Germans use “Z” more often.  I think we can close the case on that one, although I should point out that I am basing my argument purely on the dialogue of the Nazis in ‘Allo ‘Allo.  What a mistake-a to make-a.

(I’m doing my best here, I can only work with the material I’m given.)


Loz asked me if I have read Stewart Lee’s book ‘The Perfect Fool.’  No, I haven’t, but I keep meaning to.  Phew, that was an easy one.

He also asked if writers don’t read other books, in case it influences their own writing.  Personally I’ve always got a book on the go, but while writing Earth Inc I avoided anything from a similar genre, for that reason.  The book I was reading did sometimes influence the book I was writing, but because I was reading very different types of books, hopefully that influence is hard for outsiders to spot.  Unless they happen to have read the book from which I nicked the plot of Part Two…

Finally, Loz asked me if I’m the half of Cassetteboy who’s also known as Anne Frankingmachine.  No, I’m the other half.  (Another easy one there.)


The Mighty Mixomatosis asked where I get my crazy ideas from.  Well, The Mighty, if that is your real name (I really should stop making this ‘joke’ every single time I encounter someone on the internet with a funny username, but I just can’t help myself) I don’t know.  Of course you only asked that question because it’s the one that all creative types dread.  But I do know where I got the very first idea for Earth Inc from. 

I was reading a newspaper report about Bill Gates.  I can’t quite remember it now, but it said something like if Bill Gates was a country, he’d be the seventeenth richest country in the world.  It suddenly struck me that here was a man who could actually afford to be a James Bond style super villain, hollowing out a volcano to build a base, launching satellites that eat other satellites and so on.  Then I realised that if Microsoft really did want to take over the world, there was a much simpler way.  And that’s how the prologue to Earth Inc came about.  As for the rest of it, I can’t tell you where those ideas came from, because I have yet to have the idea that explains how I have ideas.


Caroline asked why the public and publishers tend to be dismissive of sci-fi.  Well firstly Caroline, I think you’re opening a can of worms by calling it sci-fi.  I learnt recently that certain branches of geekdom will laugh derisively at you for using that term, when of course you should be calling it SF.  (I have yet to summon the courage to ask what those letters stand for, as I’ve got a sneaking feeling that one of them stands for “sci”, while the other isn’t a million light years away from “fi”.)

Of course it’s this petty, obsessive minority who can give the whole genre a bad name.  So people claim not to like any science fiction, because they don’t want to get lumped in with the people who have Star Trek weddings.  (Have you done a google image search for that yet, you really should.)  But obviously the vast majority of science fiction fans don’t speak Klingon and sleep alone under a Star Wars duvet, just as most Country and Western fans aren’t alcoholic hillbillies.

Yet for some reason, the stigma remains, perhaps because science fiction fans are more visible than fans of, say, detective fiction.  They’re visible because they’re passionate and enthusiastic and loyal and opinionated, and it’s a shame that this is often portrayed as a bad thing.

Having said that, I’m still hoping that Earth Inc will crossover out of the sci-fi genre, because the focus of the book is not on the science, it’s on the jokes.  The science in Earth Inc is no more rigorous or realistic than the science in the old joke “What do you get if you cross an elephant with a kangaroo?”

I don’t read much science fiction myself these days, but for me it’s still the best genre for looking at ideas, because you can create a whole world that is specifically designed to highlight certain concepts or positions.  This of course makes it perfect for satire as well.  Also, I like it because it’s got robots in.


Matt asked if I remember when we made some pies, yes Matt I do.

I think that’s going to have to do for now.  Ewan also wanted me to talk about tandems, and I still haven’t covered alternative energy, as requested by Steve back on day 2.  Maybe next time.

I’m going to end on a serious note.  (‘What?’ you cry, ‘the rest of this rubbish was supposed to be funny?’) 

Having had experience of independent record labels with Cassetteboy, it was quite a shock to realise just how much more difficult things are for independent publishers.  Although, if you think about it for a moment, it’s really quite obvious.

Think about the town where you live, and how many independent record shops there are.  There will be less than there were, but there will still be one or two.  They may close down quite often, but new ones always come along.  Now think about how many independent book shops there are, and the last time a new one of those opened.

Think about the last ‘lifestyle’ magazine you read, and how much space was devoted to music as opposed to books.  It’s not as if less books are being published, it’s just harder to tell people about them.

And lastly, the way people buy music is very different to the way people buy books.  People go to record shops looking for a specific album.  But most books are bought by people who just want ‘a book’.  They’re going on holiday, or have a long train journey, and they just want something to read.  This doesn’t happen in record shops.  People don’t log onto i-tunes because they just want some sound coming out of their speakers.

This means that almost all the books sold in this country are taken from the tables near the entrance in Borders and Waterstones.  People only venture into the rest of the store if they are looking for something specific, and as books don’t get talked about that much, that’s quite unlikely.  Unfortunately, the big publishers have the table space totally sewn up, so the only way Earth Inc is going to get on the tables is if I single-handedly go round to every store and put it there myself. 

So if you’ve enjoyed Earth Inc, or any other Picnic book, please recommend it to your friends (or better yet, buy it for them).  We’re relying on word of mouth here (and that’s your mouth I’m talking about).  On the other hand, if you haven’t enjoyed Earth Inc, why not recommend it to your enemies?

Thanks a lot, you’ve been a wonderful audience, stick around for Caroline next week, my name’s Michael Bollen, goodnight.

(By the way, in case you were wondering, the answer is “Big holes all over Australia.”)

Earth Inc by Michael Bollen

 So, several people have now contacted me to say that I didn’t invent the pie trick detailed in yesterday’s blog.  In fact, I’ve had more comments about the pie than any other topic covered so far.  Pies are clearly a subject close to our hearts, hearts which are presumably clogging up with pastry even as I type.  Caroline, you mention in your comment that you don’t know what to write about when you take over this blog next week, well, it appears I’ve stumbled across a universal truth – the public want pies.

Anyway, I will reluctantly concede that I didn’t invent the pie trick, or at least that I’m not the only one to invent it.  This is a great shame, as until today I had counted it amongst the major achievements of my life.  I was pretty much counting on my innovative foil removal technique swinging the balance in my favour when St Peter tots up my life’s work outside the gates of Heaven.  However, I do still claim ownership of one variation of the trick – the one where you try it with a pie that’s far too deep, and end up covered with steaming gravy.  That one’s mine.

You may have noticed something a little strange about yesterday’s step by step explanation of the pie trick.  Everything was fine until we reached step eight, at which point the number eight and its following bracket somehow turned into a smiling face wearing sunglasses.  Now, as a writer I naturally despise ‘smileys’.  Writers hate smileys like chefs hate ready meals.  You have all the words ever spoken at your disposal, the finest ingredients known to humanity are there to be combined in new and exciting ways.  Are you really saying that nothing can express your position better than a drawing of a smiling face wearing sunglasses? 

Smileys are clearly a backward step in the evolution of recorded language.  We’ve moved on from the days of Egyptian hieroglyphics, when, if you wanted to write about a river, you had to draw a picture of a river.  (I think that’s how hieroglyphics worked.  I probably should have done some research into ancient Egypt, but I made my position on that sort of thing quite clear yesterday.)  In fact smileys probably take us back even further than that, back to cave paintings of mammoths and the like.  In those days, pictures were perfectly adequate, since the communication being recorded was no more complicated than a caveman seeing a mammoth, pointing at it and grunting ‘Ma-mmoth.’  Personally, I think I’ve moved on a bit from there, but if you use smileys, I guess your own position is somewhat different.

(Incidentally, sorry if today’s blog is a bit grumpy and light on jokes.  Last night I was too lazy to write, so I decided it would be much easier to get up at six in the morning and write it before going to work.  What an idiot.  So if you’re not enjoying it as much as you have on previous days, that’s just my way of sharing the misery.)

And another thing annoys me about yesterday’s smiley debacle.  It seems that ‘smiling face with sunglasses on’ is now the default meaning of the number eight followed by a bracket.  Someone somewhere thought, ‘Hey, no one writes lists with more than seven things on anymore.  Get with the times Granddad.’  This idiot assumed that, in all cases, a smiling face would be more appropriate than a number eight, and I don’t think that’s true. 

“…Lieutenant Jones ran up to his commanding officer, brandishing a piece of paper.  ‘Call off the air strike chief, I’ve got the kidnappers’ demands.’
The grizzled chief stared at him moodily.  He’d been up since six o’clock that morning.  He didn’t have time for this horsecrap.  ‘We’ve already had five demands from these goddamned sons of bastards,’ he snarled.  ‘How many more do they want?’
Lieutenant Jones swallowed nervously.  ‘There was a second page to their fax,’ he said.  ‘The machine had run out of paper.’
The chief winced.  His old injury was playing up again.  His hand had never been the same since he burnt it on that pie back in ’82.  ‘Fax?’ he bellowed.  ‘Who in the name of hell sends faxes these days?’
‘That’s not important right now,’ said Jones.  ‘I think you’d better listen to this.’  He began to read.  ‘“Re: Demands.  One hostage will be killed every twenty minutes if the following additional demands are not met, as per the first page of our fax (attached).  Six: Safe passage to the nearest airport.  Seven: All political prisoners to be released immediately.  Cool Dude Smiley Face: All enemies of the revolution are to be slaughtered, the streets running red with their blood…”’

Actually, I’ve changed my mind, that lightens the mood quite nicely LOL

Earth Inc by Michael Bollen

Of course, after I’d written about no one giving me any ideas in yesterday’s blog, along comes Lizzie Sells with an idea that could turn out to be quite good.  “Perhaps you could write about the mystery of inadvertently succeeding at those things you’ve just given up all hope on.”

This might be a good approach, because it’s basically what happened with Earth Inc.  I had given up any hope of it being published, and was miserably trying to redefine myself without using the word ‘writer’.  This was actually not that difficult – essentially I’m a very lazy man who avoids writing at every possible opportunity, and having my novel rejected by a string of publishers seemed like a pretty good opportunity to me.  I would give it all up.  As I say, most of my life as a writer was spent avoiding doing any actual writing, so an outside observer probably wouldn’t have noticed the difference.

(You might be wondering, if I hate writing so much, how have Picnic forced me to write this blog?  Well, you may have noticed that there is no author’s photo on the cover of Earth Inc.  That’s not because Picnic don’t have any pictures of me – it’s because the snaps they do have are so lurid and depraved that, had they adorned the book’s jacket, Earth Inc would have been seized under the Obscene Publications Act.  If I don’t deliver a few hundred words of waffle on a daily basis, Picnic will go public with the pics.  It’s probably best that you know that now, just in case one day you check on here and there’s no new waffle, but there is a picture that paints a thousand words you’d rather not hear, and a few nasty sound effects to boot.)


Anyway, I digress…

(Of course I digress.  Digressions are all I’ve got.  There’s no actual subject matter here.  This blog is like one of those Ronnie Corbett monologues, in which he stretched out a two line joke by endlessly going off on stupid tangents.  Look at me, I’m doing it now.  Quite what I hope to achieve with a Ronnie Corbett reference I really don’t know.)

Anyway, I digress.  I had given up any hope of Earth Inc ever being published, when Picnic got hold of it, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Well, that might be over stating it a bit.  It wasn’t historic in the same way that, say, the Great Reform Act is history, or the Battle of Naseby.  Maybe I should say the rest is a small footnote in an extremely comprehensive book about the history of publishing.  In Brighton and Hove.

So, back to Lizzie’s idea.  The one thing I would really like to inadvertently succeed at is the completion of today’s blog entry.  So, if I just give up on it…

… No, sorry Lizzie, it doesn’t seem to be working this time.  Looks like I’m going to have to put a bit more work in.

If you have any ideas about what I could write about tomorrow, please leave a comment.  I’ve just noticed that yesterday Steve suggested I might like to talk about alternative energy sources.  Unfortunately Steve, I wouldn’t.  Mainly because I don’t know anything about them.  Perhaps tomorrow I could do some research.  I’ll get back to you on that one.

(Another digression.  Terry Pratchett was once talking about a book he’d written that parodied ancient Egypt.  He mentioned that before he started the book, he thought he’d better do a lot of research about pharaohs and sphinxes and that sort of thing.  Then he realised that this was the last thing he should do, as he would end up making jokes that people would only understand if they’d done the same research he had.  This has always stayed with me, partly because it makes sense, but mainly because I am always on the look out for good excuses to be lazy.)

So, bereft of ideas, I am going to go down the ‘public diary’ route that I decried in my first blog entry, and just tell you about something that happened to me yesterday.  It may well be quite dull, so feel free to stop reading now and go and type your name into Google or something instead.  In fact, don’t do that.  If you must leave, do a Google image search for “Star Trek wedding”, that’s always good fun.

(I feel duty bound at this point to mention that I have just finished a bottle of very strong pear cider.  Normally I never, ever drink while I write – perhaps together we can find out why.)

So, where was I?  Oh yesh, yesterday.  Well, yesterday I burnt my hand on a pie.  True story.  Let me tell you about it.

I had successfully removed the pie from the oven, and had placed the pie, still in its foil case, on a plate.  So far so good.  “Are you going to do the pie trick?” my housemate asked.  I answered in the affirmative. 

Until yesterday, I was very proud of the pie trick.  As we all know, one of the most difficult things about serving a pie is removing it from its foil case.  The pie trick, which I believe is my own invention, neatly conquers this problem.  It goes a little something like this.

1) Place the pie (still in foil case) on a plate.
2) Place an inverted plate on top of the pie.
3) Rotate the plate/pie/plate sandwich 180 degrees.
4) Remove what is now the top plate, to reveal the pie standing on its lid, its foil case now very accessible.
5) Remove foil case.
6) Place inverted plate on the now naked bottom of the pie.
7) (See step 3)
8) Remove what is now the top plate, to reveal the pie standing proudly naked, its crown uppermost.
9) Hooray!  Pie is now ready to be cut and served.

I still maintain that this is an excellent technique, BUT ONLY WITH SHALLOW PIES.  Unfortunately, yesterday’s pie was very deep (it had some extremely interesting opinions on the metaphysical implications of string theory.)  (If you don’t like this joke (and why would you?), please blame it on the pear cider.)

So, everything went swimmingly until Step 7, the rotating of the plate/pie/plate sandwich following the removal of the foil.  At this point, the wall of the pie ruptured, covering my hand with a substance that appeared to be lava, but which, on later inspection, turned out to be gravy.
I think it is worth recording my reactions to this disaster, as I believe they may reveal something about the twenty-first century mindset.  This is exactly what I did, in order:

1) Swore.
2) Thought, ‘Save the pie!’
3) Ran cold water over hand.
4) Changed Facebook status to “Mike Bollen has really burnt his hand on a pie”.

Has it come to this?  Are we really reducing our life experiences to pithy Facebook slogans?  I think we might be.  I certainly announced the fact that Picnic were going to publish Earth Inc in this way, and a friend recently told everyone that she is expecting a baby via a particularly cryptic status update.  Is this a good or a bad thing? Frankly, the pear cider is making it difficult for me to care.

The main thing is, I still ate the pie.  Remember people, if we stop eating pies, we’re letting the scalding gravy win.

Earth Inc by Michael Bollen

earth inc cover Blog Day 2
Ideas: None.
Marriage proposals: None.

If today’s entry is bad, it is entirely your fault.  Alright, so one of my demands may have been a bit unlikely, a bit too much to ask for.  After all, ideas are hard to come by, but would it have killed you to propose?

Oh dear.  It’s going badly.  Already I’ve stooped to the lowest form of wit.  No, not sarcasm, sarcasm is brilliant (and I’m not being sarcastic when I say that).  I’m talking about those jokes that have two subjects, the “humour” coming from a hilarious mix up between the two.

I’ve not explained that very well, but you all know what I mean.  If you’ve ever listened to topical radio comedy, or seen any TV panel show, you’ll have heard umptillions of jokes like this:

“Bernard Manning and the Queen Mother did a stand up gig together last night.  The audience was a bit taken aback by the constant swearing, sweating and racism, but Bernard Manning went down very well.”

Oh my aching sides (sarcasm there, brilliant eh?).  And yes, I know that Manning and the Queen Mum have both shuffled off their mortal clogs, but that just goes to show you how old and decrepit that joke structure is.  It’s cheap and easy (I could do a “Your Mum” joke here, but that’s an equally bad gag format).  I think these jokes are called “And that was just the teachers! gags”, after the one that starts “My school was rough, really rough.  Smoking, drinking, knife crime…”  But it doesn’t matter what you call them, they’re bad, and I promise I will never write one again.  Unless I get really desperate.

And speaking of desperate, I still have absolutely nothing to write about.  I was supposed to do this blog a few weeks ago, but I asked for my appearance to be delayed until after the Glastonbury festival, at which I played with my ‘band’ Cassetteboy.  Brilliant, I thought, Glasto will give me lots to write about.  So, here are my Glastonbury observations in full:
1) It’s quite muddy.
2) I’m really drunk.
3) Actually, the mud’s dried out now.

Even I’m going to find it difficult to stretch that out to a few hundred words.  I guess I’m going to have to face up to the fact that I’m never going to make it as an observational comedian.  I just don’t pay enough attention; I wander about in a daze most of the time, even when I’m not really drunk.

Actually, I may as well take this opportunity to apologise to anyone who knows me whom I’ve ignored whilst out and about.  There are two possible reasons for this:

1) I’m not paying enough attention, and I haven’t seen you.
2) I wasn’t paying enough attention the last time we met, and I can no longer remember who you are.

I’m being serious here, this does happen to me an awful lot, and it’s very embarrassing.  I’m going to blame it on the fact that I’m really quite short sighted, and didn’t get glasses until I was ten years old.  Up until that wonderful day, my world was just a smeary mess (ironically enough, much like the lenses of my glasses are at the moment, I really should clean them more often).  When I first donned the spectacles, I was outraged.  “You mean everyone can see this stuff?  Why did no one tell me?”  My parents answered with rude gestures.  “And stop that!  I can see what you’re doing now.” 

(That last part didn’t really happen.  If my parents have ever made rude gestures at me, it’s always been behind my back.)

But by then the damage had been done.  I’d gone through life, meeting people and talking to them but generally ignoring the round, brown or pinkish blur from which the words came.  I’d grown up ignoring faces, because I couldn’t really see them.  Instead I identified people by the colour of their clothes, which, to be honest, wasn’t an entirely foolproof system.

And so, when I was meeting with the brilliant illustrator Ian Bass, to discuss sketches for Earth Inc, I realised I had totally failed to describe Professor Ruck, one of the major characters.  Or rather, I had only partially described him.  The finished passage is below – see if you can guess which section of the description was there from the beginning, and which had to be hastily inserted.

“A short man in his late fifties, Professor Ruck was a curious figure, with an enquiring mind and a questionable appearance.  He had a lengthy nose, an ugly protuberance that might have been described as cruel, although the Professor was its only victim.  It leapt crazily forward, seemingly desperate to escape from Ruck’s face, an attitude it shared with the man’s bulging eyes and the tufts of hair that sprang from his ears.  His large discoloured teeth revealed rather too much about last night’s dinner, while his scalp told sorry tales of self-inflicted haircuts. 

Fortunately Ruck’s clothes distracted attention from his currently livid visage.  While his face was as black as thunder, his trousers were as green as grass, his shirt was as yellow as buttercups, and his tie was as red as a strawberry.  A passing poet would doubtless have tried to compare Ruck to a summer’s day.  This would have been difficult however, as Ruck would have been trying to kick the poet up the arse.  The Professor thought poetry was a stupid waste of words.”

If you guessed that originally I’d only written about the colour of Ruck’s clothes, well done, you’ve been paying attention.

More of this nonsense tomorrow, unless I have any better ideas.

EARTH INC by Michael Bollen

Earth IncHello there.  Killing a bit of time on the internet are we?  Sounds familiar.

My name’s Michael Bollen.  Picnic have recently published my first novel, a satirical sci-fi romp called Earth Inc.  I’m here in a big room with all the other Picnic authors, attractive devils the lot of them.  We’ve been playing some old fashioned parlour games, but now the music has stopped and I’ve been left holding the piece of wood with the word “Blog” written on it.  I guess that means it’s my turn to scribble on this particular corner of the internet.

So, a blog eh?  I’ve unwittingly acquired a blog.  My very own blog.

(How many words does this have to be?  And how many of them can be “blog”?)

If you hadn’t already guessed, I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing here.  As a comedy writer, naturally I hate writing comedy.  It’s a slow, lonely, agonising process, so right now I’m wondering why I ever agreed to do this.  Especially as blog writing appears to be the very worst kind of writing, i.e. writing for no money.  (I’m told that other kinds of writing do exist, and one day I hope to encounter some of them.)  So if these entries seem a little light on jokes, it’s because I couldn’t bear to give them away for free.  It certainly isn’t because I couldn’t think of any, oh no.

But that’s just one part of my perplexitude.  (If I’m not being paid, you really can’t expect me to go checking in the dictionary to see if words actually exist or not.)  Not only do I not know why I’m writing a blog, I’m not really sure what a blog actually is.  I guess I could look it up, but as I’ve already explained, certain financial constraints put that scenario well beyond the realms of likelihoodness.  Plus my dictionary was printed twenty years ago, when a blog was nothing more than a misprint in an article about Dutch footwear.

As far as I can make out, a blog is a diary designed to be read by the general public, which sounds absolutely ghastly to me.  Surely diaries should be private, hidden away?  The only motive for reading someone else’s diary is the fact that they don’t want you to.  If a diary is left lying around for all and sundry to have a gander at, surely that means there’s nothing in it worth reading? 

“…Dear Diary, I awoke this morning feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.  As I leapt from my bed I saw in the mirror that my hair was immaculate, as ever.  I quickly worked through my morning quota of squat thrusts and sit ups, mentally replaying the events of the previous evening.  Another dazzling social affair, with myself at the centre of the town’s movers and shakers.  I made the joke of the evening with my pithy remark about the topless stormtroopers – everyone agreed it was almost too funny.  A quick low carb breakfast of fruit and yoghurt and then off to my voluntary work, turning base metal into gold for crippled orphans…”

See what I mean?  Ghastly.  It’s like those terrible ‘My Kind Of Day’ pieces that the Radio Times used to do, only without an editor to cut out the most sick-making sections.  So, rest assured, I won’t be doing anything like that.  Although I think you should know that my hair was looking pretty good this morning.

The other question is, why do people bother writing blogs at all?  The internet is vast, and the chances of anyone paying any attention to your little bit of it have got to be fairly remote.  Being a full time blogger must be a bit like walking down the street, shouting at the top of your voice, “I THOUGHT THE LAST EPISODE OF DOCTOR WHO WAS QUITE GOOD!  I’VE GOT A GREAT RECIPE FOR SWEET POTATO PIE!  MY DOG DIED!”, and expecting anyone to care. 

Why people blog is pretty obvious though.  The answer is in an old Jerry Seinfeld joke (notice I have no compunction about giving away other people’s gags for free).  I can’t remember the exact wording, but basically Jerry tells us that the only reason anyone does anything is to impress members of the opposite sex.  The real reason that Neil Armstrong went to the moon wasn’t to expand the frontiers of human knowledge, or for the rocks or anything like that.  It was so that, the next time he was on a date, he could casually point up at the moon and say “You like that?  Yeah, I’ve been up there.”

Hmm, thinking about it, this doesn’t reflect too well on me.  Probably the hardest I’ve ever worked was while writing Earth Inc, and if I really thought that writing a comedy science fiction book was a good way to impress women, well, I must be pretty stupid.

Me: You like books?  Yeah, I’ve written a book.
Her: Really?  I’ve always thought that one day I’d like to-
Me: Yeah yeah, everyone’s got a book in them.
Her: So tell me, what’s your book about?
Me: Well, it’s got some very funny robots in it.  Hey, where are you..?  Come back!

(Picnic would like me to point out that Earth Inc. has actually been very popular with female readers, and has a couple of well rounded female characters at the forefront, which is unusual in science fiction, to say the least.  Anyway, it’s not science fiction really, it’s more of a genre-busting, crossover book that would appeal to a very wide demographic.  For further details, call-)

Sorry about that.  Anyhow, that’s my first blog entry.  The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted that it wasn’t actually about anything.  If you’ve got any ideas for what I could write about tomorrow, please, please leave a comment.  Or perhaps you could link to some blogs that know what they’re doing, so I can rip them off.  Or, if you’re a member of the opposite sex, maybe you could let me know just how much I’ve impressed you.  I reckon if I get at least three proposals of marriage by the end of the week, this whole thing won’t have been a complete waste of time.