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Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Word of the Day is FUBAR (NSFW for work due to language)

The U.S. military, as many of you know, is fond of acronyms. In this it is like many other bureaucracies. Perhaps in mockery of this tendency, soldiers in World War II came up with a few acronyms of their own. The one I've heard most often is SNAFU, which stands for "situation normal: all fucked up." It became common enough in post-war English that it is generally written in lower case.

A less thoroughly publicized example is FUBAR, meaning Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. I've heard this mainly in what I believe (well, what Wikipedia reminds me) is the simple present passive voice, as in "CreateSpace's File Review system is FUBARed."

This is not a random example.

In what I must remind myself is a very contemporary, First World, great-to-have problem, the stage at which Amazon's Print On Demand arm processes submitted files and determines whether they are printable is off-line. A customer support representative suggested that the system has been overwhelmed by all the authors eager to have their books available before Christmas.

Yup, I'm one of them. And whether or not CreateSpace fixes the problem in time for me and my companions in frustration to achieve that goal, it's looking increasingly likely that the paperback of Who: A Novel of the Near Future will not be available by tomorrow's release date.

Fortunately the Kindle edition and other ebook versions will be -- in fact, already are -- available online. And (I remind myself every few minutes) I will now have an excellent excuse to publicize my book release twice, with Round Two heralding the eventual appearance of the paperback. (Actually, it'll be three times, since it takes longer for the paperback to get to Barnes & Noble than to make the short hop from CreateSpace to Amazon.)

If you will indulge me so far, I'll close with the teaser for Who.

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Have they changed their minds? Or have their minds been changed?

Death is no longer the end. Those who prepare, and can afford it, may have their memories and personalities digitally preserved. The digitally stored population can interact with the world of the living, remaining part of their loved ones’ lives. They can even vote.

But digital information has its vulnerabilities.

After the young and vital Thea dies and is stored, her devoted husband Max starts to wonder about changes in her preoccupations and politics. Are they simply the result of the new company she keeps? Or has she been altered without her knowledge and against her will?

And if Thea is no longer herself, what can they do?

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