xz backdoor vs “$ git commit murder” sale

I’ve gotten half a dozen messages on various forums declaring that the xz backdoor is eerily reminiscent of a major plot element of $ git commit murder.

I’ve been a sysadmin for decades, and hanging around with operating system developers nearly as long. I came up with a plan for a “difficult but achievable” hack. I checked with various actual developers to see if it was realistic, and adjusted the hack based on their feedback.

Target a userland tool. Hook it into the operating system core. Proceed from there. The plan is easy, the execution fiercely difficult, the coincidence unsurprising.

I can say that if Dale had developed this hack, it would not have damaged the host’s ability to serve SSH requests. He would have caught that and fixed it before deployment.

I feel compelled to acknowledge this similarity, however. Coupon code xzhack gets you 50% off $ git commit murder and $ git sync murder at my store. This expires 8 April 2024.

To all the sysadmins who are having a bad weekend because of this hack, I offer my sincere condolences. Just because the blast missed me this time doesn’t mean I don’t feel your pain, or that I won’t be caught next time.

To the author of the hack I would like to say: you are a dick.

Penguicon fundraiser, featuring Orc-Cased Orcs

Did you miss the Prohibition Orcs Kickstarter–specifically, the orc-leather-cased exclusive omnibuses? I know many of you did. You told me about it. Bitterly and at length.

Orc leather? If you didn’t know — when an orc dies, their final gift to their clan is their remains. The clan uses every scrap, including the hide.

Penguicon, like all cons, is struggling to resurrect itself after the pandemic. That means money. They’re holding an auction to raise seed money. While their registration fees will cover the con expenses, that money arrives late. Hotel deposits must be paid early.

One of the items they’re auctioning off is that orc-leather-cased omnibus, complete with orcish tattoos.

I have a handful of these, which I ordered to cover shipping losses. They will appear on the market in charity auctions. Not before 2025, however. Probably not before 2026, when I (vaguely expect to) release the next Prohibition Orcs collection. That handful will be doled out over the rest of my misbegotten misspent life, wherever I think they can have the most impact.

The Orc-cased Orc Book is already listed, and other items are being added daily. The auction begins 28 November at 12AM, and runs until the 11:45 PM on 1 December. The con chair has donated handicrafts, there are cookies, there’s Etsy gift cards, books, all sorts of stuff.

Register early.

Bid orcishly.

New Christmas story: “The Rats’ Man’s Lackey and the Forbidden Tinsel”

Available exclusively on my bookstore for a paltry two bucks. Or free, if you’re a Patronizer.

“Someone in our household is practicing Christmas, and we will all be dead by midnight.”

Discover demons are real and, if you survive long enough, you might find supernatural Witness Protection. Stay alive by abandoning your life and your name and following Whackadoo Manor’s rules: no Vienna sausage, no Internet, no Bruce Willis movies or Swedish Modern furniture, and—no matter what—no holidays.

Even the strangest rules have reasons.

Reasons writ in blood.

Sometimes on gingerbread.

(I read a tidbit of this for 60 Minutes of WIP episode 13: The Only Right We Have.)

If someone had told me decades ago that there was a big market for “weird-ass Christmas tales,” my career would be entirely different.

Lucas-Adjacent Kickstarters

I’m not running any Kickstarters right now, but I’m in two of them.

First off, there’s the inimitable ZZ Claybourne’s Breath, Warmth, and Dream campaign. Full disclosure: Zigs is a dear friend. We get barbecue, solve the world’s problems, and watch Star Trek. He’s also written several well-reviewed books. His new book is the best of them all. It’s a fantasy, complete in one book! I hesitate to call it a cozy, or low stakes, but this book makes one village the world and that world is in peril. A witch heroine as memorable as Granny Weatherwax or Baba Yaga, in a book with the sensibilities of the Seven Samurai.

But–at the next stretch goal, I have to do actual (ugh) work.

If you want to get a good book, and improve the odds of inconveniencing me, back ZZ’s campaign.

Then there’s the 2023 WMG Holiday Spectacular. I sold a story to the Hardboiled Holidays collection. It’s steeped in the bleak dystopia of December 1988, when the former head of the CIA won the US Presidency. $25 gets you a daily story, Thanksgiving through New Years’ Day, and next summer you’ll get a giant ebook collection of the whole thing. I’ll have a taste of my tale on the next 60 Seconds of WIP.

One of the fun things about the Holiday Spectacular is the mix of things you get. Romantic tales, fantasies, crime, whatever. Rusch’s editorial sensibilities lean heavily towards tales that end with “it was all worthwhile,” which isn’t quite the same as “it ends happily” but it’s a damn sight more comfortable than some of the “everybody dies and the holidays should be executed” holiday noir out there.

So, yeah. Throw these people some dough. You might even inconvenience me.

“Apocalypse Moi” Kickstarter status

The Apocalypse Moi paperbacks for signing have arrived!

Hardcovers are being printed as I write this. According to the printer, that is. I have no independent verification.

If you chose the “All the Fiction” option, either in print or ebook, you have MORE ebooks. They’re waiting for you on BookFunnel. Go to my.bookfunnel.com and log in with the email address you provided in your survey. If you don’t have an account already, it will ask you to create one.

Why use Bookfunnel, rather than just send you ebook files? They can help you get files on your ereader, no matter what sort of weird device you have. They will keep the files for you, so when your computer catches fire you can recover them. Bookfunnel does not store any of your personal information; they make their money from me. (If you are one of those especially privacy-sensitive folks that doesn’t want accounts anywhere, I can send you a zip file of your ebooks on the condition that one–you don’t ask me to explain sideloading, and two–you back them up yourself.)

Thanks everyone. You will have books soon. I’m delighted so many folks supported this charming little apocalypse-laden book.

“Apocalypse Moi” ebook out!

The official release date for Apocalypse Moi is 26 September 2023. If you want to get it from one of the big bookstores, you’ll have to wait. (I’ve been accused of hiding the big point, so: this collection contains a previously unpublished Prohibition Orcs tale.)

It’s already available at my ebookstore, though. If you believe that I’m deploying a sophisticated, subtle strategy to steer people to buying direct from me rather than via Amazon, you would be incorrect. It is neither sophisticated nor subtle.

Also, The Full Michael and the All The Novels and Collections bundles have been updated. The price of All the Novels and Collections has not changed: you now get four books free. The Full Michael has actually decreased in price, because buying Apocalypse Moi is less expensive than buying the chapbooks.

Some poor bastard who shall remain nameless bought The Full Michael five days ago, right before this came out. I sent him a copy of Apocalypse Moi because I’m not a monster. Okay, I’m not that kind of monster.

I’ve unpublished the assimilated chapbooks everywhere, reducing my maintenance load. Huzzah! The anthologies the other stories come from will remain in print, but maintaining them is not my dang problem so that’s fine.

And for the record, the branding on The Full Michael will remain until it ceases to amuse me.

“Apocalypse Moi” Kickstarter is live

Presented for your amusement: DOOM.

Technically it went live yesterday, but I had to post July’s “See the Sausage Being Made” so here it is. Also technically, it funded the first day. Further technically, that means I can pay the publishing expenses and break even. I am fond of food and having teeth and stuff, so I’ll still be shilling it until the very last day.

If you do nothing else, watch the video. We worked hard on that silly thing.

I’ve been pondering ways to reduce the mental load of Kickstarter promotion, so this time I’m presenting 30 Days of Doom–my favorite apocalypses from literature, film, and music. Search out #30DaysOfDoom on the Fediverse or Facebook, or see it on my fediverse server. You can even subscribe to the hashtag via RSS. Dang, the Fediverse people really thought through the protocol.

Or, just go to the Kickstarter and give me eight bucks. Whatever.

“Apocalypse Moi” Kickstarter pre-launch page up

I now have doom on offer. Pre-offer, yes, but offer.

Apocalypse Moi, a collection of eleven apocalypse-themed tales, will launch 1 August on Kickstarter. If you have any interest, I’d ask you to click on the “Notify Me On Launch” button. Kickstarter uses those pre-launch follows help decide if they will promote a project.

It contains two tales brand-new for this collection — the Prohibition Orcs story “Forbidden Taste” and the standalone techbro-nightmare-fantasy “Yesterday’s Girl”. It also collects “Drums with Delusions of Godhood,” “Waking Up Yesterday,” “Forced to Talk, Like, With Your Mouth,” “Moonlight’s Apples,” “Easing Final Fears,” “Wifi and Romex,” “Shoot Through The Heart,” “Calling Control,” “Easy, Step-by-Step Preparation,” and “Hero of Fire Life.” Some of these were published as chapbooks, which will go out-of-print once Apocalypse Moi escapes. Others appeared in anthologies.

Having them all in one single book will be convenient. It will also help fulfill one of my 2023 goals, “reduce administrative overhead.”

The cynical among you might think, “Did Lucas just cram all his old crap into one book for his convenience?” Absolutely not. That would be a disservice to my readers. I put a bunch of tales in a heap and sieved them until only the common theme remained. The common theme is DOOM.

Please encourage The Algorithm in my favor. Click “Notify me on launch.”

New Prohibition Orcs tale: Yellow-Eyed War

“Yellow-Eyed War” is available at my ebookstore.

Orcish Childhood: Not For The Weak

Oscar-Tai has counted to one thousand and fifty. He knew the Alphabet Chant, the Pledge of Allegiance, and can form each of the Twenty-Six Letters. He expected to take labor hauling cargo with his father, but instead humans offered to teach him and his brother to read. But Oscar has never seen a war like reading school. Desks built to fit orcs. One failure and the human teacher expels you. And how did that lone orcess earn a place?

Can he endure? Or will he fall to the docks and live marked with failure all his days?

This is the first short story I’ve put out since my decision to make shorts exclusive to my ebookstore, as part of my “reduce administrative overhead” project. While “having all the books in all the retailers” strategy is still wise for books that sell better, the maintenance overhead overwhelms the cash I make from the stories. Some folks would tell me to sell only on Amazon. My long term strategy is to lure folks into buying direct from me, however, so becoming exclusive to my store is the better choice. I’ve also updated the “All the Chapbooks” bundle to include this tale.

The bundle of “everything available from my store” also needed updating, but I’ve made some larger changes there. The “Absolutely Everything” branding was accurate, but did not spark joy. I’ve developed a different image for that bundle.

It might not increase sales, but it amuses me. And that’s what’s important.