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Should I or shouldn’t I? That’s a question I’ve been mulling recently. Should I be Clive Fleury, or C. Fleury, or maybe just something like Fred Smith? I could go the whole hog and change my gender. How about Claudine Rogers? No? Well, maybe I keep the same gender but change my ethnicity. Perhaps something with a Russian bent, seeing as how Russia seems to be in the news constantly? Let’s see, what about Sergei Petrov? That has a certain ring to it.

What am I talking about? My name – or at least the name I use as a writer which it just so happens is also my real name. When I first started writing I didn’t hesitate. Why would I change my name? But there are many reasons why a writer could think about using a pseudonym. If you write different types of books, appealing to different audiences, there is an argument for using different names or at least alternative forms of your name. And sometimes writers don’t want to reveal to others what they do. Maybe it’s just not good politics to let your day job employers know you write erotic novels in your spare time?

Then again, you could have an impossible to remember name. How about Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum or Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski? They don’t exactly roll off the tongue. Try Ayn Rand or Joseph Conrad instead. They’re way simpler. Maybe if those writers had kept their original names, they would have struggled to sell as many books? Who knows?

J. K. Rowling wasn’t just content to change her name. She changed her gender, becoming Robert Galbraith for her first Detective Comoran Stike private detective novel. Joanne was feeling the pressure of a follow-up to her massively successful Harry Potter series. I can sort of sympathize. No, that’s not true. I can’t really. But anyway J.K. issued her book incognito, and as a male. She even sent the book off to other publishers, besides her own-Little, Brown. Orion was one of the few publishing houses honest enough to admit it had turned the book down. “It was certainly well written – but it didn’t stand out,” it admitted when it was revealed that Robert Galbraith was actually J. K. Rowling. How familiar that sounds! One thing is for sure if Orion had known the real name of the author the publishing house would have walked over broken glass to sign her up.

No one knows exactly who revealed that Robert Galbraith was J. K. Rowling but there’s no doubt about the result. The sales of the book, ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling,’ had been languishing but on the news, the novel shot up the Amazon charts to number one in days, and eventually sold over a million copies.

So, although there are no rules about whether you should or shouldn’t change your name as a writer, one thing seems clear. If you’ve spent years building up your brand, changing your name for your next book is one really good way of pissing off your publisher!

© Clive Fleury

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Hiya Everyone:

I had another fabulous response to my last blog, with quite a few wrong answers.

The questions again were:

1. Part of a trilogy, of which the first book is head and shoulders above the rest, it features a planet called Arrakis where spice is mined. Title and author, please.
2. These crew of pilgrims is on its way to the home of Shrike, an icon they worship like a god. But what is the book and who is the author?
3. His name is Richard Matheson, and he spends his days destroying vampires and his nights trying to develop a cure for the disease that has turned all of mankind into blood-sucking monsters. So, what is the novel called and who is the author?

And the answers…

1. Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice
2. Walter M. Miller Jr. A Canticle for Leibowitz
3. Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game.

I did have one winner … Hopalong Z. Congratulations Ms Z!

This time instead of the usual I’m taking a turn off-piste, veering out into the unknown and asking a question I’ve been pondering recently. Do you have to be a nerd to like science fiction? To answer that, here’s another question: What do Leonard diCaprio, Nicolas Cage, Mila Kunis, Megan Fox, and Ben Stiller have in common? Yes, I know they all movie stars but besides that? They are all devotees, lovers of science fiction books and movies, in fact, everything science fiction. And yet none of them lack social skills, and they don’t seem the type to be boringly studious. I wouldn’t describe any of them as losers either. So what the heck are they doing liking sci-fi!

Some see science fiction and nerds as being like salt and pepper, bacon and eggs, and tables and chairs – twin words that are inseparable. And yet are they? Sure, some nerds like sci-fi. There’s no denying that. But just because some nerds enjoy drinking milk, that doesn’t mean that everyone who drinks milk is a nerd, does it? Of course not… except if you are French! They argue ‘Milk is for babies’. So, if you are not a baby and drink milk they presumably consider you beyond the pale—a nerd in fact. But then doesn’t that say more about France and the French than anything else? After all it’s a nation whose people seem to spend an inordinate amount of time carrying around baguettes, wearing berets, and eating cheese as a desert. Weird!

But back to nerds. And before anyone raises any PC objections let me say straight out—no I don’t have it in for nerds. I could say that ‘some of my best friends are nerds,’ but that would raise all kinds of warning signals. I’ll leave it at: I like nerds. In fact, should some maniac drop a nuclear bomb to wipe out all of humanity, I know nerds would suddenly become everyone’s best friends. Then the ability to ask a girl to dance, or wear skinny jeans wouldn’t be such a high priority. Instead, we’d look to nerds to supply answers to questions like- If most of the world has just become one giant barbecue what do we do next?

Actually, that’s the type of question that’s asked in a few science fiction books, including my own—Kill Code: A Science Fiction Dystopian Novel. Seeking answers in an entertaining form to these dilemmas is one of the attractions of science fiction. I mean have you ever thought about what life would be like on a neutron star? Well, author Robert Forward did, in his book ‘Dragon’s Egg’ and though Nerdish—Mark 4 on the Nerd scale—it reminds us that life can take many forms. And have you ever considered what it would be like if a pod of whales came to Earth dressed up as people? No? Well, Captain Kirk did in one more bizarre than usual Star Trek episode.

And on the subject of things taking different forms, I’ve read that Dr. Jane Goodall, the UN Messenger of Peace, and primatologist, believes ‘The Story of Doctor Dolittle’ and ‘Tarzan of the Apes’ are science fiction novels. Before you shout: ‘But that’s not science fiction,’ maybe you didn’t know many consider the Harry Potter books science fiction too. See, that’s the beauty of the genre, it traverses everything from life on Mars, to a world run by apes and magicians, and everyone has the freedom to define what exactly they think science fiction is.

But, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ and sci-fi is not for everyone. It produces some aggressive reactions. Someone once spat at me that she ‘detested science fiction books,’ and she is not alone. But what can you do with these haters? Burn them at the stake? I don’t think so! For all those who love the genre, don’t even bother to ask the obvious question—have you read any science fiction? You would be wasting your time. Sci-fi is like prunes, Brussels sprouts, and olives—something you either love or loathe.

So what are we to conclude from all this? Some nerds like science fiction books and movies. There’s no denying that. But so to do movie stars, scientists, fashionistas, politicians and on and on—actually a fairly large slice of the world. True, not as many as like romantic novels. Sci-fi books are country cousins to that tribe. But science fiction lovers still occupy a fair swathe of the population, of which nerds are just a sliver. So you definitely need not be a nerd to enjoy sci-fi!

Now that’s settled, don’t forget you can buy and hopefully review my latest book, the dystopian science fiction novel Kill Code on Amazon:

That’s all, folks!!!

Best,
Clive

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I had an excellent response to my last blog, and a few of you got the right answers. So, it was down to picking a name from a hat… And the winner is… Steven T. Congratulations!

The questions again were:

1. Part of a trilogy, of which the first book is head and shoulders above the rest, it features a planet called Arrakis where spice is mined. Title and author, please.
2. These crew of pilgrims is on its way to the home of Shrike, an icon they worship like a god. But what is the book and who is the author?
3. His name is Richard Matheson, and he spends his days destroying vampires and his nights trying to develop a cure for the disease that has turned all of mankind into blood-sucking monsters. So, what is the novel called and who is the author?

And the answers…

1. Dune by Frank Herbert.
2. Hyperion… Dan Simmons
3. I am Legend – Richard Matheson.

I am Legend is my favorite of these three, but they are all available on Amazon.

Before I get to the latest questions I want to give a shout out to Susan and her blog dabofdarkness.com.

She asked me to answer a few fascinating questions for an interview that’s just been published on the site. You can view it on:

Ebook Giveaway & Interview: Clive Fleury, Author of Kill Code

And on the site, there’s the opportunity to win a free copy of my latest book, Kill Code: A Dystopian Science Fiction Novel. So please take a look.

I’ve also been doing several signings recently for Kill Code, and one of them was at a new organic café/restaurant Miami Arts Kitchen on Miami Beach. It was a great event, helped along by their fabulous food. If you are in Miami or just visiting, I recommend you give it a try.

Now to the new questions:

1. This, the author’s debut novel, was the first to win the Nebula, Hugo, and Arthur C. Clarke awards all in one year. Author and title of the book, please.
2. Which book centers on a small order of Catholic monks trying to hold back the wave of ignorance sweeping a world in which science is reviled and books are destroyed on sight. Title and author.
3. Here’s a debut novel that is both a genre standard and the defining novel of the author’s career. Its hero is a six-year-old called Ender Wiggin. Name of the book, and author.

Send your answers to clivefleurywriter@gmail.com – no prizes but boy will you feel smart.

Don’t forget you can buy and hopefully review my latest book, the dystopian science fiction novel Kill Code on Amazon:

That’s all, folks!!!

Best,
Clive

www.clivefleurywriter.com

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For all those who sent in answers for the last quiz – well done and thank you! ‘Science Nerd’ led the pack He came up with all the right answers. Doubly well done Mr. Nerd! So the questions again were:

1. Which book has as its main character Inspector Tyador Borlu who is on a hunt for a murderer?
2. Which novel features a mysterious girl who seems to be immune to a deadly fungus?
3. In which book is a young time traveling historian stranded in the middle of an outbreak of bubonic plague?

And now – roll of the drums – the answers are:

1. The City and the City by China Mieville. This novel won the Hugo Award and features Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad who went to two very different worlds looking for a murderer. It’s fantastic storytelling from one of today’s very best writers and I would advise everyone to go out a buy a copy.

2. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. The girl is Melanie and she’s six years old and a genius. Even if you think you’ve already learnt far too much about the living dead, you’ll find this a fascinating read.

3. The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis: Published back in 1992, it took five years to write. So, the least you can do is give it a read.

All the above books are available on Amazon and all are well worth reading!

That was last time. A second roll of the drums – The latest questions are:

1. Part of a trilogy, of which the first book is head and shoulders above the rest, it features a planet called Arrakis where spice is mined. Title and author please.
2. These crew of pilgrims are on their way to the home of Shrike, an icon they worship like a god. But what is the book and who is the author?
3. His name is Richard Matheson and he spends his days destroying vampires and his nights trying to develop a cure for the disease that has turned all of mankind into blood sucking monsters. So, what is the novel called and who is the author?

Get your competitive juices flowing and send your answers to me at clivefleurywriter@gmail.com – no prizes, but boy will you feel smart.

Don’t forget too that you can buy and hopefully review my new book dystopian science fiction novel ‘Kill Code’ through Amazon on https://www.amazon.com/Kill-Code-Dystopian-Science-Fiction-ebook/dp/B07JZX5VV2

Come back next time and I’ll tell you the answers to the questions!

Best of luck,
Clive

www.clivefleurywriter.com

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If you understand what the headline is all about then you probably have dipped into more than a few science fiction novels – the electric sheep is found in the title of Philip K.Dick’s classic ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’, while prolific author Anthony Burgess came up with the title ‘A Clockwork Orange’. So far so easy, right? But when I was compiling my list of my top fifty science fiction favorites I got to wonder how much I could remember of the plot, or the characters, or where and when the action took place in the books. How much do science fiction fans actually remember of their favorite novels? So, rather than just list the books I consider science fiction masterpieces why not have a bit of fun?

Each blog, and this is my first, I’m going to sprinkle a few facts about three of my top fifty science fiction novels and see
if anyone out there is smart enough to guess the titles of the books and their authors. You can send answers to me at
clivefleurywriter@gmail.com and if you get it right…Sorry I’m afraid you get nothing except a feeling of vast superiority over the other dweebs out there – well I am a writer and as everyone knows writers live off the smell of an oily rag. Anyway here goes:
1. Which novel has as its main character Inspector Tyador Borlu who is on a hunt for a murderer?
2. Which book features a mysterious girl who seems immune to a deadly fungus?
3. In which book is a young time traveling historian stranded in the middle of an outbreak of bubonic plague?

Thanks for reading this, and don’t forget that you can buy and hopefully review my new book Kill Code through Amazon on:
http://geni.us/killcode

Oh, and come back next time and I tell you all the answers.

Best of luck,
Clive

clivefleurywriter.com

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