Saturday, 4 February 2012

A quantum game of two halves by Cally Phillips


I am delighted to report the epublication of my 2004 play CHASING WAVES.

Two men. One box. The possibilities are limitless. Forget everything you’ve learned and enter a whole new world where we question, along with two characters who may or may not be Wittgenstein and Schrodinger, Who are we? What is language? What's in the box? And most importantly: What is the box? In the year that Higgs Boson may or may not be found, Chasing Waves melds the issues of quantum physics with the possibilities of using quantum theory in a dramatic context, bringing a whole new level to absurdist drama.

Once you’ve dealt with formatting issues (and I have to say the whole process has been a lot easier this time around than with my previous ebook novels BRAND LOYALTY and THE THREADS OF TIME) the ebook format is perfect for plays. Playscripts are always expensive to buy and near impossible to get mainstream published in the first place AND without the constraints of printing costs, it’s possible to put LOTS of extras in. Chasing Waves was an unusual project in that it was as much about process as performance and featured open rehearsals, for which a decent amount of printed material was generated to help audience understand the process. This is included in the ebook along with other resources used to help actors and audience alike. And on top of that – if that’s not enough for less than the price of a cup of coffee (so I’m told in some parts of the world… I would NEVER pay £2.50 for a cup of coffee) there is the unpublished 1995 play BENITO BOCCANEGRA’S BIG BREAK which sort of sparked off the whole dramatically absurd journey that became Chasing Waves.

It's available both in Kindle format and epub


The play is reviewed here by Jan Needle (fellow Authors Electric writer) which leads me to the other half of this quantum post…. This month the indie ebook review site (currently a prototype ) should go live- on 21st Feb to be exact. Earlier posts have alluded to the concept but it’s time to make it a reality. The site aims to fill a gap which Authors Electric cannot do (no criticism intended, just trying to add value!) – give full length reviews for ebooks. The site will feature professional writers using a peer review system where books they have enjoyed get positive reviews. The hope is to build a place where people can go when they want to find a really good indie read amongst the masses of ‘product’ out there on the market place. Reviews on eretailer sites have a varied press…. Anyone can write one and so they can become subject to the criticism of either being positive simply because written by family and friends or negative because written by people with axes to grind or no critical capacities at all. Indie e book review hopes to develop and retain a level of critical quality that can be achieved by reviewers being professional working writers, thereby giving the reviews a stamp of authority enough to encourage folks to buy the book!

At the moment the experience of setting this up for me is rather like some demented game of Chinese Whispers where I am trying to match up potential reviewers with ebooks. I need about 5 more committed regular reviewers ( writing monthly or bimonthly reviews of 300 words, plus ‘occasional’ reviewers helping out as and when they come across a ‘gem.’) I didn’t think this would be such a task as I reckoned that since everyone says they are reading much more on their Kindles, they must be finding gems all over the place and when you’ve liked a book, writing 300 words on it is hardly a chore but most writers appear to be busy busy busy at the moment. I appreciate that but it would really help me if the odd one of you here who reads contemporary fiction (literary, general, thriller or crime) would engage with the site. That’s as close to begging as I get. I think it’s a good idea. I really think it could benefit us all. Certainly in setting up this site I've come across 4 incredible books that I'd never have found let alone read otherwise. That's got to be a good thing.

So my challenge to you fellow Electric Authors is as follows:

What is the best ebook you’ve read in 2011? Tell us by writing a 300 word review of it and emailing it to indieebookreview@btinternet.com And while you’re doing that, send links to your own ebook so that I can get it into the (soon to be patented) Chinese Whispers review system and get your work a review as a reward for all your hard work! Paraphrasing Masterchef – homework doesn’t get easier than this. Think of it less as homework and more as marketing and just write that review. Please. And if you are, or know of any professional writers who have the time to write regular reviews for the site - point them my way. Thanks.

7 comments:

Dennis Hamley said...

Cally, this is facinating. I went to the site, read the reviews, noted the reviewers, realised they were friends and colleagues and thought to myself: yes, this is a GOOD THING, for us as a group, for indie publishers generally and as a significant arbiter in what's good and what's meretricious on this huge, catch-all medium.

Do you mean reviews of indie books only? I don't think you make that quite clear. I hope it is only indie because the others have their own reviewing homes. The best ebook I've read so far on Kindle is a contemporary thriller but it's already received huge publicity and anything I wrote would be comopletely supernumerary. But yes, I'll weigh in with a review or two gladly and happily and perhaps graduate to being a regular reviewer.

Chasing Waves sounds terrific, both from what you say and from Jan's review. A terrific critic, (even though he's got the wrong end of the stick in the discussion about Treasure Island v. Moonfleet!) I'm really set now on dowloading it and, as one fascinated by Godot, R and G are Dead, Four Characters, Ionesco and Beckett, know I'm going to love it.

Kindle is ideal for playscripts. I've already written on the blog about the Dean Spanley film script published with the original story. It works well.

CallyPhillips said...

Yes, Dennis, indie means indie... as you say, other books/ebooks have their own channels and this site aims to reach the parts that other reviews don't reach! Thanks for your comments and interest and look forward to a review or two from you in the near future!

Dan Holloway said...

I love the sound of this - and the play. I'm absolutely fascinated by quantum and especially the plucky and elusive Higgs as you probably know (having put together an anthology dedicated to it a couple of years ago - http://yearzerowriters.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/the-higgs-boson-anthology-yours-to-keep-and-share/). When you mentioned your play I instantly had a picture of Duerrenmatt's Die Physiker.

Too many wonderful books to mention them all, though the one that is most appropriate here is Andrew Meek's (meta)physical tour de force Quintessence http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quintessence-ebook/dp/B005IWZLL8 - I'll send over a review ASAP.

Very honourable mentions - in addition to present company of course - for
Neil Schiller - Oblivious
James Everington - The Other Room
Vivienne Tuffnell - Starngers and Pilgrimes
Billie Hinton - Claire-Obscure
Russell Bittner - Trompe L'oeil
Penny Goring - The Zoom Zoom
Stuart Estell - Verruca Music
and many produced as POD/handmade chapbooks

julia jones said...

Very interested in the indie review and understand how we can kick it off by submitting reviews of indie books we've read anyway. But how, mechanically speaking, can we offer our own books for review? In the print world they go in an envelope and away with a hopeful accompanying note - almost certainly to be chucked straight out. In the e-world how is this managed? With a private sending of a file copy? A pdf? Or are we expecting a potential review to purchase the book? Okay, perhaps, if it's cup of coffee price but mine are usually over £4 as they're accompanying printed versions. Could one put up a cover image on the site and the negoitiate privately with an interested reviewer to find what format would suit them best?
I really do think your peer-reviewing idea is good. Want there to be a virtual bookshelf from which we can select something appealing ...

julia jones said...

One other thought. When someone has submitted a review maybe they might also put a few sentences from it up onto Amazon just as a general help-along?

CallyPhillips said...

Julia, your questions are broadly covered (though perhaps not eloquently as we're still in suck it and see stage) on the reviewer and submission tabs on the indie review site. Basically we have to find the simplest way for all... with ebooks that already are 'up there' it's possible to sample usually which is enough for one to know whether one wants to review. For my sins my thought was to act as the kind of middleman to match up potential reviewers with submissions.. as per the site... but all options are open to consideration at the moment. So if you want to review - email the site address and if you want to submit - ditto.... once you've read the relevant tabs on the site. Look forward to it... as re cut and paste onto Amazon I've no objections to that - be good if 'reviewed on indie ebook' site was put at bottom of Amazon review... Thanks for your interest - and questions! Nice to get some interaction and yes, a virtual bookshelf in some ways is one way of looking at it. I shall think about the 'architecture' of that (she says grandly) once I'm more comfortable with how the ongoing review submissions etc is working.

julia jones said...

Whoops - thanks Cally! Click the tabs, Julia, you silly bint. Have done so and will follow the perfectly clear instructions,