Fifty Books. Thirty Years. What Next?

I edited my SNMP MIB to include the two new books, Prohibition Orcs and Frozen Talons, and realized that the first book in that table came out in 1992.

Thirty years ago.

Plus, Frozen Talons is my 50th full book. If you count “things with my name on them,” including anthologies and chapbooks but not translations, it’s number 96. No–wait–my list is missing one thing. It’s 97. Quick, someone send me a neurotypical personal assistant to track all this crap!

Fifty books in thirty years. Two thoughts.

1) A more business-oriented author would have planned a 30/50 Marketing Extravaganza, with advertising defoliated into swanky golf courses and a special cryptocurrency limited to a single coin for each book. The coin for Ed Mastery: Manly McManface edition is measured in units of–uh, never mind. The thought makes me even more tired.

2) Daang, I write slow.

It’s not as quite as bad as that, of course. Look at the “More Books By This Author” page from Tarsnap Mastery in 2015.

Excluding the “coming soon” titles, that’s 14 books. Many of them are heavily-researched 500,000-word doorstops.

I’ve written 36 books in the eight years of full-time writing since then. Somewhat better. Numbers don’t really mean much, though. What does “36 books” mean in the real world? Well, here’s my catalog in April 2015. One copy of every version of everything, including translations.

I took the photo to make the shelf look full, but note that there’s space at the far left end, next to the Japanese translation of Absolute FreeBSD.

In 2017, the shelf became full.

I thought that was an achievement. Look, the books fill the shelf edge to edge! There is no way to stuff another book onto that shelf!

Silly me. 2020:

I had a hard choice. Upgrade the brag shelf, or stop writing.

Here’s today.

brag shelf 2022

We bought that bookshelf in 1996 for gerbil cages. I’m afraid it’s about to overflow. Fortunately, Ikea has bookshelves again. Maybe I can get something fancy, with glass doors?

Of course, neither the number of books nor the total mass of said books matter. The sales on most of these books faded into the long tail years ago. Like “words written per day,” “how many books I’ve written” is irrelevant. The only books that matter are the ones I’m writing now. But, also like “how many words have I written today,” the count of how many books I’ve written is the only way to measure the ineffable and to set goals.

So, here are some goals that might take me through my career.

1) Next year, I will break “100 Things With My Name in Them.” Anthologies and chapbooks count for this. With February’s Devotion & Corrosion collection, Run Your Own Mail Server later in the year, and (hopefully!) $ git merge murder and the Skybreach books before the end of the year, I should break this easy. With any luck, there’ll be new editions of the ZFS books near the end. Given my atrocious record-keeping, perhaps I’ve crossed this already. Who knows?

2) 100 books total before 2033. Some doorstops. Some 40,000-word novels. A whole bunch in between.

While I intend to keep writing until I’m dead, I also know that I have no idea what my health will be like in however many decades I have left. With any luck, in 2032 I’ll shoot for 150 before 2043.

What are all these books? Grab the current list in my SNMP agent, as discussed in the Networknomicon. Because some of you still treasure your minds, however, I’ll leave a copy here for posterity. I don’t think anyone but me has a complete set of originals, except for maybe EB over in Israel. If he doesn’t have all 50, he’s pretty dang close.

Anyone who has all 96–uh, 97–should probably seek professional help. And a carpenter, for a good bookcase.

SNMP table: TWP-MIB::mwlBooksTable

 titleIndex                                                              title year      genre      length
          1                                                        Gatecrasher 1992    fiction full-length
          2                                                Believe it or Else! 1993    fiction full-length
          3 SLUGS: The Satanic, Loathsome, Unholy Game System (as Greg Donner) 1994    fiction     novella
          4                                            Gatecrasher 2nd edition 1995    fiction full-length
          5                                  Women who Run with the Werewolves 1995    fiction   anthology
          6                                                       Absolute BSD 2002 nonfiction full-length
          7                                                   Absolute OpenBSD 2003 nonfiction full-length
          8                                    Cisco Routers for the Desperate 2004 nonfiction full-length
          9                                                          PGP & GPG 2006 nonfiction full-length
         10                                      Absolute FreeBSD, 2nd edition 2007 nonfiction full-length
         11                       Cisco Routers for the Desperate, 2nd edition 2009 nonfiction full-length
         12                                              Network Flow Analysis 2010 nonfiction full-length
         13                                            Horror Library volume 2 2010    fiction   anthology
         14                                                    Opening the Eye 2011    fiction       story
         15                                                Breaking the Circle 2011    fiction       story
         16                                                        SSH Mastery 2012 nonfiction full-length
         17                            Vicious Redemption: Five Dark Fantasies 2012    fiction full-length
         18                                                     DNSSEC Mastery 2013 nonfiction full-length
         19                                                       Sudo Mastery 2013 nonfiction full-length
         20                                           Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd ed 2013 nonfiction full-length
         21                                        No More Lonesome Blue Rings 2013    fiction       story
         22                                             Sticky Supersaturation 2013    fiction       story
         23                                                           Lavender 2013    fiction       story
         24                                                         Pax Canina 2013    fiction       story
         25                                               Wednesday's Seagulls 2013    fiction       story
         26                                FreeBSD Mastery: Storage Essentials 2014 nonfiction full-length
         27                                                      Immortal Clay 2014    fiction full-length
         28                                                Waking Up Yesterday 2014    fiction       story
         29                                                    Calling Control 2014    fiction       story
         30                                                 Moonlight's Apples 2014    fiction       story
         31                              Networking for Systems Administrators 2015 nonfiction full-length
         32                                                    Tarsnap Mastery 2015 nonfiction full-length
         33                                               FreeBSD Mastery: ZFS 2015 nonfiction full-length
         34                                                      Forever Falls 2015    fiction     novella
         35                               Spilled Mirovar (Prohibition Orcs 1) 2015    fiction       story
         36                                                       Whisker Line 2015    fiction       story
         37                                                     Wifi and Romex 2015    fiction       story
         38                                                        PAM Mastery 2016 nonfiction full-length
         39                                      FreeBSD Mastery: Advanced ZFS 2016 nonfiction full-length
         40                                    FreeBSD Mastery: Advanced ZedFS 2016 nonfiction full-length
         41                                    Kipuka Blues (Immortal Clay #2) 2016    fiction full-length
         42                                                    Hydrogen Sleets 2016    fiction full-length
         43                              Drowned Mirovar (Prohibition Orcs #2) 2016    fiction     novella
         44                                   Butterfly Stomp Waltz (Beaks #1) 2016    fiction full-length
         45                            Earthquake Kitten Kiss (Beaks spin-off) 2016    fiction     novella
         46                                         Butterfly Stomp (Beaks #0) 2016    fiction       story
         47                              Forced to Talk, Like, With Your Mouth 2016    fiction       story
         48                             FreeBSD Mastery: Specialty Filesystems 2016 nonfiction full-length
         49                                                  git commit murder 2017    fiction full-length
         50                                                 savaged by systemd 2017    fiction       story
         51                                           Httpd and Relayd Mastery 2017 nonfiction full-length
         52                                                         Ed Mastery 2018 nonfiction     novella
         53                                Ed Mastery, Manly McManface Edition 2018 nonfiction     novella
         54                                           SSH Mastery, 2nd edition 2018 nonfiction full-length
         55                                      Absolute FreeBSD, 3rd edition 2018 nonfiction full-length
         56                                            Bedazzled by Blockchain 2018    fiction       story
         57                                                          Face Less 2018    fiction       story
         58                                 Boundary Shock: Tuesday After Next 2018    fiction   anthology
         59                  Boundary Shock: Robots, Androids, Cyborgs, Oh My! 2018    fiction   anthology
         60                                          Sudo Mastery, 2nd edition 2019 nonfiction full-length
         61                                             FreeBSD Mastery: Jails 2019 nonfiction full-length
         62                                      Terrapin Sky Tango (Beaks #2) 2019    fiction full-length
         63                                                  Winner Breaks All 2019    fiction       story
         64                              Boundary Shock: Apocalypse Descending 2019    fiction   anthology
         65                                       Fiction River: Superstitious 2019    fiction   anthology
         66                                                  Snot-Nosed Aliens 2019    fiction   anthology
         67                                         An Interpretation of Moles 2019    fiction   anthology
         68                                                       SNMP Mastery 2020 nonfiction full-length
         69                                       Boundary Shock: Alien Dreams 2020    fiction   anthology
         70                                                 The Networknomicon 2020 nonfiction full-length
         71                                             Cash Flow for Creators 2020 nonfiction full-length
         72                               Boundary Shock: What Might Have Been 2020    fiction   anthology
         73                                                   Face The Strange 2020    fiction   anthology
         74                                                   Bloody Christmas 2020    fiction   anthology
         75                                               Drinking Heavy Water 2020    fiction full-length
         76                                                         Final Gift 2020    fiction       story
         77                                                     Woolen Torment 2020    fiction       story
         78                                    Drums with Delusions of Godhood 2020    fiction       story
         79                                     Uncollected Anthology: Deities 2020    fiction   anthology
         80                                                     Woolen Torment 2021    fiction       story
         81                                Aidan Redding Against the Universes 2021    fiction full-length
         82                                             Fiction River: Chances 2021    fiction   anthology
         83                            Fiction River: Dark and Deadly Passions 2021    fiction   anthology
         84                                                        TLS Mastery 2021 nonfiction full-length
         85                                                     Only Footnotes 2021 nonfiction     novella
         86                                                    git sync murder 2021    fiction full-length
         87                                         The Holiday Spectacular #2 2021    fiction   anthology
         88                                 Boundary Shock: Wandering Monsters 2021    fiction   anthology
         89                                                Fantastic Christmas 2021    fiction   anthology
         90                                               Mysterious Christmas 2021    fiction   anthology
         91                                                   Witness November 2021    fiction       story
         92                                           Domesticate Your Badgers 2022 nonfiction full-length
         93                                        DNSSEC Mastery, 2nd edition 2022 nonfiction full-length
         94  Letters from ed(1): The FreeBSD Journal Letters column, years 1-3 2022 nonfiction     novella
         95                                       Fiction River: Broken Dreams 2022    fiction   anthology
         96                                                   Prohibition Orcs 2022    fiction full-length
         97                                                      Frozen Talons 2022    fiction full-length

Talk on Rat Operated Vehicles

On Tuesday, 8 November 2022, 7PM Detroit time, I’ll be giving a talk for about Rat Operated Vehicles. If the guys are cooperative, there might be a demo.

(Narrator: It’s a live talk. They will not be cooperative.)

Compared to my last few MUG talks, on topics like TLS and SNMP and other unholiness, this will be light and fluffy.

If you missed my Rat Operated Vehicle, I have a YouTube playlist. I should probably upload some more videos before the talk, though.

Leather Book Covers?

Over in OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems land, I spent yesterday writing about dumpfs and how modern UFS respects disk geometry. (It doesn’t, except when it does.)

Over in Kickstarter land, I got a sample over the Orcibus’ leather cover.

It’s magnificent. Fortunately, because it’s $200.

I’m contemplating offering a leather cover when I do the OMF Kickstarter.

Gut reaction, of course, is that this would be stupid. Nobody wants a fancy tech book. But I thought nobody would want a hardcover tech book, yet folks buy them. Must ponder.

No matter what, though, I needed to show this off.

Penguicon 2022 Schedule and Books

The folks at Penguicon have released the schedule to presenters. It’s not public yet–it will be soon, promise!–but here’s my little slice of it.

4pm: DNSSEC in 2022 (presentation)
5pm: Covid and Creativity (panel)

11am: Trad vs Indie Publishing (panel)
12pm: Writing Workshop: Setting as Characterization (workshop, 2 hours)
3pm: Self-Publishing in 2022 (panel or AMA, there’s confusion)
4pm: Reading (with GoH JD DeLuzio)
5pm: TLS in 2022 (presentation)
6pm: Writer’s Block bookstore (staff, hangout)

12pm: Writer’s Block Bookstore (staff, hangout)

It might change. Things happen. But this is where you’ll find me.

The other question folks have is: will my books be there? Of course. The bookstore will have git commit murder, git sync murder, and Cash Flow for Creators. I could only pick three, and those seemed like the broadest interest. (I’m not knocking Penguicon for only taking three titles, I’m grateful they are taking any.

I’ll have a few copies each of these with me:

SSH Mastery
DNSSEC Mastery 2nd ed
Sudo Mastery 2nd ed
PAM Mastery
Ed Mastery
SNMP Mastery
The Networknomicon
TLS Mastery
Domesticate Your Badgers
Absolute FreeBSD 3rd ed

Immortal Clay
Kipuka Blues
Butterfly Stomp Waltz
Terrapin Sky Tango
Hydrogen Sleets
Aidan Redding Against the Universe
Savaged by Systemd (extra expensive if you make me touch it)
assorted chapbooks (all $5)

Might be paperback or hardcover. First come, first served. I don’t plan to restock until after covid.

Hope to see you there!

Software Recommendations

I’ve recently gotten a spate of emails asking what software stack I recommend. I suspect someone’s attempting an argument from authority, or trying to catch me contradicting something I said decades ago, or… or who knows what. I’ll be adding this to my FAQ, but here’s the long answer. Ahem:

Use whatever you think will work.

Software is terrible. Operating systems are worse. Some are worse than others.

I tend to put databases on ZFS, because databases are even more terrible and I want automatic snapshots. But: jails or chroots? Pffft. Everything is terrible. Choose your doom.

What do I recommend? I recommend abandoning technology, moving to a colder climate that won’t be flooded as the oceans rise, and dedicating yourself to improving the soil as you learn to farm enough to feed yourselves and those you love. Or, if that’s not your style, stop wasting more electricity than many countries to perform useless computations for deflationary pseudomoney. I solidly recommend that.

DYB Auction for Clarion 2020 Students

A “Domesticate Your Badgers” reader had this to say

Forty-odd books ago and in a previous millennium, I attended the Clarion writing workshop. I had the privilege of spending six weeks locked in a Michigan State University graduate dorm with half a dozen pro writers and about thirty wannabes like myself. It was my first taste of what it was like to live as a working writer, down to and including immediate abject humiliation. Many of my classmates have gone on to win awards, be voted in as science-fiction grand masters, and routinely terrify otherwise hardened adults with a freaking village of Stoker awards. Meanwhile, I became best known as an author of satirical Linux erotica. A few have returned to Clarion to teach. I won’t be doing that — the kind of writer I’ve turned out to be isn’t exactly what they teach at Clarion — but the education I received was vital and the social connections even more so. Clarion was such a formative experience that I still call them my “Alma madder.”

And now, I have a chance to give back.

The Clarion class of 2020 never really happened, thanks to COVID. They’re hoping to gather this year, and are running a fundraiser to support students suffering from hardship.

I happen to have a printed proof of my brand-new first (and probably last) book on writing.

The only difference between this proof and the final book is the banner printed across the front. (Print proofs are a traditional publishing item that were handed out to early readers in the days before e-books, and publishers didn’t want them appearing on bookstore shelves, hence the banner.) That makes this a unique artifact, and a good piece of charity auction bait.

I want Clarion to continue. I want a future generation of speculative fiction writers take on the world’s problems, and do better than we did. Plus, when my brain finally gives out and I stop writing, I want good new books to read while I eagerly await my inevitable death from Not Writing. Please help these youngsters embark on the glorious, horrific, delightfully appalling literary life and bid on this auction.

The auction rules are:

Comment on this post to bid. All bids in US dollars. I advise bidders to click the “notify me of new comments by email” button, so they can see when they are outbid.

The auction runs from now until 5PM EST 28 March. If the bidding goes nuts in the last few minutes, I’ll leave it open until it settles down. There’s no sniping this auction at the last moment, as I want the bids to escalate beyond all sensible limits.

Once the auction closes, send your donation to the Clarion 2020 fundraiser within two days. (They offer many writing-related rewards, but you don’t need to take any.) Send me your receipt. Once I have the receipt, I will sign the book and mail it to you.

If you don’t donate within a few days, or don’t send me your receipt, the number two winner is declared the winner.

Remember that you don’t need to win a silly auction to donate. Many of you are perfectly capable of being a generous and worthwhile person without any bribes from me.

Charity Auction: DNSSEC Mastery proof for Black Girls Code

I have another unique physical artifact, which means it’s time for another charity auction.

I’ve run auctions for the Soroptimists, the Ottawa Mission, and multiple ones for the FreeBSD and OpenBSD foundations. I’m a writer so I can’t give as much to charities as I would like, but I seem to have developed a knack for persuading other people to give to charity and that’s the same thing, right?

I’m auctioning off the print proof of DNSSEC Mastery, 2nd edition.

A proof is a prepublication version of a book, printed so the publisher can double check that the spine text is actually on the spine and the cover art is right side up and the correct words are on the proper pages and that the typesetter didn’t forget the commas. It’s stamped with a Not For Resale banner so unscrupulous folks can’t sell it ahead of time. Only one print proof of DNSSEC Mastery exists.

I’ll sign this book, add a personalized note declaring that this tome was won at charity auction and thus demonstrates the winner’s sound moral and ethical character, and ship it by the best means available for $15 or less.

This time, you’ll be supporting Black Girl Code. They do good work and have chapters all over the US, including here in Detroit, as well as South Africa.

The auction rules are:

Comment on this post to bid. All bids in US dollars. I advise bidders to click the “notify me of new comments by email” button, so they can see when they’re outbid.

The auction runs from now until 5PM EST 28 February. If the bidding goes nuts in the last few minutes, I’ll leave it open until it settles down. There’s no sniping this auction at the last moment, as I want the bids to escalate.

Once the auction closes, send your donation to BGC within two days.

Send me your receipt. Once I have the receipt, I mail you the book.

If you don’t donate within a few days, or don’t send me your receipt, the number two winner has their chance.

As always, I must remind you that you don’t need to win a silly book to donate. You can be of sound character without a reward from me.

Another auction will follow this one: the Domesticate your Badgers proof, for my alma madder the Clarion Foundation.

The New York Times, featuring: me?

Several years ago (yes, December 2020, but covid distorts time), I tweeted about my Capital One credit card. The world validated my thoughts. I moved on.

A few weeks ago, a New York Times reporter discovered that tweet as she was researching a story.

Which leads to me being on the front page of the New York Times’ Business section. It has my picture and everything. (In case the Times removes the page, here’s an archive.)

The reporter skillfully caught the most important thing I said during the whole hour-long conversation, and quoted me on it.

Also, the photographer worked miracles. Somehow, he made me look like I belong on the front page of the Crime Business section. I suspect sorcery, or perhaps a body double.

2021 Soroptimist Auction Results

I’ve been screaming my fool head off on social media for the last few months about my auction to support Soroptimist International Grosse Pointe. After I post this, I can shut up about it.

We raised $2200. The money will be used to help human trafficking survivors clear their records. This is an extraordinarily high amount for a single auction, and achieved that only because of the generosity of my readers.

Jay Hannah kicked things into gear by bidding $1000–and immediately donated the entire amount to SIGP. For all the charity auctions I’ve run over the last ten years or so, I don’t believe anyone’s ever done that.

Five minutes from the end, Tim Olsen sniped him with a bid of $1200.

Tim gets the special FreeBSD Mastery: Jails, signed by the membership of SIGP. Many left notes of gratitude, or signed the page that corresponded with their age, or both. I’m not going to show photos, because SIGP’s membership isn’t public the way, say, OpenBSD’s is. Trust me, it’s seriously signed. I’m also adding a couple extra books, because come on–$1200?

I’m also sending Jay some books, to thank him for his generosity. Because come on, $1000 without winning?

I had particular bonus titles in mind to send each, but I don’t have some of them. I went to take them off my brag heap, thinking I would order replacements, but they weren’t in the heap. Seems I need to audit the heap? Ah, well. Perhaps when I fill in the missing titles, it really will be taller than I am.

Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word. If you were wondering, the Soroptimist International Grosse Pointe tip jar is still open.