Interview with Allan R. Wallace

What motivated you to become an indie author?
Decades ago I was asked by a publisher to write a non-fiction book on subjects I covered in my public speaking. Once the outline and some content was done I began the process for submission, then immediately stopped. The contracts and loss of expressive freedom were just too oppressive for me.

Years later I volunteered to be a beta tester for a new web-based writing platform. I found people enjoyed what I had written, and many asked for more. I wrote over a hundred entries some of which did very well. They reached hundreds of thousands of readers, and received thousands of comments and likes. Out of millions of such pages on that site, mine about education reform was a top ten lens for years (it's gone now). I enjoyed stirring stew pots of unconventional conversation filled with slices of art and chunks of realization. Many of my views have since become conventional.

I quit crafting new articles there when interruptive advertising became pervasive and they removed some of my work without telling me why. Unlike my loved, locked, and then removed articles; thanks to Smashwords my stories will now remain online unless I modify or remove them. How long will the Internet last? (read Hacker School Trilogy for a chilling prospect) Expect my stories, novels, and my non-fiction books to be available even longer.

Before I stopped writing articles I began writing fiction to salve an itching need to entertain and satisfy story lovers. I created an online book proposal for a novel about pursued hacker warriors. That book is called Complicit Simplicity based on the following observation, "Human Rights bless all through their complicit simplicity, by placing people above unjust law." - Allan R. Wallace

We live in a world with almost seven billion cultures, each unique and important.

Human Rights > unjust rule of law

I created a familiar but slightly more dystopian world for an initial chapter. Then I wrote another chapter, and another. The hackster heroes still needed to tell their whole story. When we (those creative characters and myself) finished that novel's draft, I wrote a prequel (Hacktivist), and then a sequel (Abacus Brief). These stories are not a direct sequence; but like Isaac Asimov's Robot stories drifted into the spread of his Foundation novels they are speculative points of one possible future. Those online manuscripts morphed into the trilogy < cyberhug.me > once rewritten and formatted for Smashwords. That adventurous trilogy is a progression from the single hackers we now know, to protean teams like Anonymous could become, to leaderless human rights movements.

Cyberhug.me readers did raise questions. Three resulting post-apocalypse short stories unveiling the origins of Hacker School can be downloaded here on Smashwords at no charge – The Hacker School Trilogy.

Other works followed, but like most of my life I had started climbing a ladder before I knew against which wall it leaned. On Smashwords' ladder I discovered the wall was around previously hidden gardens just blossoming into independent writing. Life, she is good!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I define success as being comfortable in my world and in myself.

Smashwords has not only given me a platform to express myself to my world, but to change that world for the better. All I can control is me. But I have found if I strive to help others open their minds it helps me open my own mind. Smashwords is a tool. I will use that tool while enjoying building something of importance for the long term.

Smashwords also makes it easy to recover if when swinging that tool I hit my thumb. That makes life much more comfortable, and success more achievable.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Everyone likes using an appropriate phrase to delineate a thought, occasionally I have a good one. I love it when exactly the right word appears or a perfect phrase comes together. It is like art found in an unlikely place. Sometimes others appreciate that joy of a well framed thought and quote what I've said. That is also a pleasure.

"Our massively interconnected yet fiercely independent future will favor prepared (your responsibility) and adaptive (your opportunity) minds." - Allan R. Wallace

That one makes me think of the emerging indie book marketplace.

"We are surrounded by easily perceived barriers that limit our achievement. Most such walls were erected using substantial appearing mists of ignorance. We need to discover and acknowledge these boundaries, and then run through them." - Allan Wallace

Why not do your best?

"Public education is designed to breed layers, fryers, and broilers. It does not encourage flight; it clips wings." - A. R. Wallace

Do not let what you were taught or what you worry others may think determine your altitude. Fly high.

"Live ahead not behind, crafting not replicating, choose adventure rather than to be sure. Much of life's joy is found in surprises that overtake us as we dare." - Allan R. Wallace
What are you working on next?
Daily Thought Provokers. At least that's what I'm calling them. The official title is Long Trips To Nowhere – Quick Quotes, Deeper Thoughts, and Imperfect Poetry. Each day's read is about 300 words long and is constructed to find argument as often as agreement.

Daily Thought Provokers are available on Apple iBookstore, at Barnes and Nobel's Nook store, for the Kobo eReader, and of course here at Smashwords, Amazon, & etcetera. Read the free sample of the first one, buy it, and then the next LTTN will be ready when you are. A three-month print collection has been crafted for study, book clubs, or gifting.

They say "When the student is ready a teacher will appear." I'm now ready as a teacher and finding students are arriving. Consider Long Trips To Nowhere your day-by-day challenge. You certainly won't agree with every quote, poem, or thought – but by maintaining an open mind every read will prove, again and again, your increasing aptitude for harvesting wisdom from any source. Discover and then seize your personal calling. You can do this.

Long Trips To Nowhere.

May each daily entry guide you to long and rewarding paths.
Your book title, Long Trips To Nowhere, is cool. Where did it come from?
When my children were young we would occasionally pile into a car and drive off in whatever direction seemed interesting at the moment. Without plan we might arrive at the Grand Canyon, or Las Vegas, or at a previously unknown mountain cabin by a lake. We had many excellent adventures.

We lived in serendipity – a much better neighborhood than living in ignorance. Together we learned of each other, our world, and the many surprising opportunities that hide over just one more hill, beyond one more curve in the road.

As I was starting to write the first LTTN my younger son, now grown and living half a world away, told me he was going to take an extended car trip. Matthew wrote, “I miss those long trips to nowhere.”

I miss them too.

I therefore welcome this opportunity to have your open mind journey with mine on a daily serendipity quest.
Will you share with us a sample quote, thought, and poem?
Sure. I drafted this page of thought and poem last night and this morning for a proposed LTTN 4, based on one of my above quotes. This may of course see rewrites and edits prior to publication.

Long Trips To Nowhere
Month 4, Day 2
Grandeur

"We are surrounded by easily perceived barriers limiting our achievement. Most such walls were erected using substantial appearing mists of ignorance. Discover and acknowledge these boundaries, and then run through them."

Why does it seem so hard?

Could it be that since you were a child you were taught limits instead of being taught opportunities?

Do we then in harness search for limits and find comfort in the flimsiest of declarations – “Here you stop – Go no further – There be dragons.”

“Wait to be led!”

I would ask you where you want to go, but you have not been allowed to look far enough to see something sufficiently different. Run through the barriers, look around, and realize you can look the rest of your life and still not understand all. That's a good thing! You and your mind are now free.

This way lies peace. A world without walls, where options increase.

You will never learn it all, so go at your own pace and take any desired detours. Knowing you'll never fully understand, let go. Escape the pressure. Decide yourself when and what to explore. Freedom at last. Self-direction.

Oh to be a scholar rather than an academic. To allow curiosity and imagination to guide rather than narrowly segmented knowledge confine.

Freedom!

A new day awaits your dawn's dismantling of ephemeral walls.

If you think about it, life is not a tool that needs to be daily sharpened and applied in specific measured steps. No. Life is a gift from God. Perhaps a toy or sports equipment that can be enjoyed, with a future spent in gaining mastery of the sport of living well. Start today. Live a life abundant!

The tool of life is an addiction. A steady job, dependent on others, led about by manipulated desires planted by the greedy. Let it go, grab the toy.

Your feet want to wander.
Your mind longs to wonder.
Your life needs the grandeur.
Beyond these insubstantial walls.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
In third grade I read very little. Mr Gulotti (sp?) gave a summer course where we read out loud an adventure story with a small boy and girl. I eagerly awaited each day so I could continue the adventure. By the end of the course I was an avid reader. Mr. Gulotti was later my Jr. high teacher in civics; as a Russian expatriate he challenged me again and my reading material broadened. For the next dozen years or so I read on average a book a day; science, finance, politics, history, etc, – and lots of fiction in all genres.

If you have a story telling talent write a book that will make kids say, “I want to learn how to read, starting with that (your) book.” Then publish it.
What do you read for pleasure?
Since writing regularly, I read less. Unless a fiction writer engulfs me in story I end up noticing the construction and story arc and lose interest. I usually have three or more books open, at least one of which is non-fiction. My habits vary, but recently I've read more finance, fantasy, and science fiction. Next year, who knows?
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
The easy answer is that I spend my time thinking about writing. I imagine though I spend more time trying to not think about writing. It's at quiet times, walking along the beach, or daydreaming over lunch with friends when I get an idea that moves me. I try to write those ideas down quickly, and unless it just keeps spinning in my mind, get back to relaxing.

Occasionally I have to leave and write for a while as the words come bubbling up like a spring. I just let it flow.
What is your writing process?
Every day I sit at the computer and start writing. Some days it's easy, others it feels forced. On days when it's not a pleasure I'll stop quickly and take a walk or a nap and try again later. Even when all is flowing, it's rare to write for more than a few hours. Perhaps my most productive periods are when I wake in the middle of the night with an idea and write until dawn.
Is there a consistent theme to your books?
Be the dragon!

"We are wise sages cosseted by knowledge of the fading age of bureaucracies. We are also children wary of an approaching era of individual power. The nest where we hatched is not relevant to our future flights. Leap forth. spread your wings. learn to enjoy riding in shifting winds."
Allan R. Wallace

All my novels seem to deal with breaking free from a life scripted by others into a future chosen by individuals for themselves. To be free you have to be willing to make choices and if wrong adapt with new choices. That is called learning; as opposed to modern education where you must be right and obedient. I find most of my characters enjoy what they do even if it is a socially disapproved action like ethical computer hacking.

In my short novel Uruguayo Shade the hero is a computer cracker who makes his living by stealing the bank accounts of corrupt politicians. Not only is hacker “Bob” free, he gets a kick out of punishing evil. Then he trips a trap during an exploit and meets a tortuous henchman that changes his whole life, and may end it. After his two lovely assistants are kidnapped Bob reasons, “I punish, I profit, but I do not protect – except today.”
What book marketing techniques do you suggest?
I have to agree with several authors, my favorite technique is to write more books. For myself if I find an author I enjoy reading I seek out more of their books.

As my list of satisfied readers expands I hope they will try more of my books. I'm excited by the book subscription services that will allow someone to sample enough of each of my books and series to find those which capture their attention. I expect to read a lot of Smashword's authors works in just that manner.
Do you have any advise for those considering self publishing?
Once your story demands to sing and dance for others; rewrite it for an audience that likes what you like. There are perhaps two billion people with access to the internet. Write a quality story and some may like and even pay for what you wrote.
Edit again just for them.
Publish.
Write your next, even better book.
One final question. You've written over twenty books, which one is your personal favorite and why?
I guess my answer would vary based on how the question is asked. Which book is most entertaining, which has the most satisfying conclusion, which one might open a reader's mind the most? If limited to one book though, I'll have to say Abacus Brief. It is act three of the Complicit Simplicity trilogy, although it stands alone just fine as a story.

Abacus Brief has blended elements of romance, bromance, technothriller, espionage, action, adventure, wonder, etc. – and some interesting glimpses of our possible future. It was fun to write and as I've been told by some, fun to read.

Read the sample at no charge and find out for yourself.
Published 2014-07-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Uruguayo Shade -- Version Française
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Series: Hacktivism, Speculative Fiction Stories. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 14,560. Language: French. Published: December 16, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
Pirate moderne, les plus grands hackers resteront inconnus. Laissez-moi vous présenter un assez bon hacker qui lutte pour la liberté. Son pseudo le plus connu est l'Ombre D'Uruguay mais ici nous l'appellerons Bob.
Long Trips To Nowhere - Month 5
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Series: Daily Thought Provokers. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 11,580. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2014. Category: Nonfiction » Entertainment » Games, puzzles and brain twisters
After four prior months of opening the mind It is time to switch from milk to meat Some of this will require extended chewing And some may be too tough to eat. LTTN #5 -- Your Daily Thought Provokers presented as: Quick Quotes, Deeper Thoughts, and Imperfect Poetry.
Long Trips To Nowhere - Month 4
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Series: Daily Thought Provokers. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 13,580. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Entertainment » Games, puzzles and brain twisters
Furthering your growth. No one will give you a free education without hidden agendas. Wisdom and understanding are enthusiastic pursuits rather than academic records. What you know and what you accomplish are becoming far more important than where you studied. Dancers, hackers, and all people creative don't prosper in common schools. They need these tools and for society to get out of their way.
Long Trips To Nowhere -- Collection of Months 1, 2, and 3
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Series: Daily Thought Provokers. Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 38,310. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
Three Months of Daily Thought Provokers. Discover and live your personal calling. Your true life / You will never discover / If you hide on your bed / Under a cover. You certainly won't agree with every quote, poem, or thought – but by maintaining an open mind each daily read will prove, again and again, your existing aptitude for harvesting wisdom from any source. You can do this.
Uruguayo Shade -- versión española
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Series: Hacktivism, Speculative Fiction Stories. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 13,840. Language: Spanish. Published: October 5, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Entre tranquilas percepciones de lo que podría ser una guía turística sobre Uruguay; estallan aventuras y acción.
Long Trips To Nowhere - Month 3
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Series: Daily Thought Provokers. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 12,340. Language: English. Published: October 11, 2013. Category: Essay » Literature
A third month of daily thought provokers. LTTN #3 features quick quotes, deeper thoughts, and imperfect poetry crafted to challenge your mind. LTTN is a few hundred well chosen words that each day will bring pleasure, anger, relief, and/or laughter. You will develop critical mental skills if you compare learned world views before deciding to enjoy, ignore, or unlearn a lifetime of indoctrination.
Long Trips To Nowhere - Month 2
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Series: Daily Thought Provokers. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 12,320. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Creativity
More Daily Thought Provokers. A second month of quick quotes, deeper thoughts, and imperfect poetry. It does not matter if you start or finish your day with a challenging read -- LTTN 2 will help you stretch your own mind. May you find and live your best life.
Long Trips To Nowhere - Quick Quotes, Deeper Thoughts, and Imperfect Poetry
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Series: Daily Thought Provokers, First Month. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 13,620. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / Success
Daily Thought Provokers. One section a day will get you through this book in a month -- quotes, deep thoughts, poetry and all. It is a challenge. Some entries may intrigue, some anger, some cause nods of agreement, and quite a few will bring laughter. All will provoke thought and help open your mind. Your true life you may never discover; if you hide on your bed, under a cover.
Uruguayo Shade - Adventures In Uruguay and Argentina
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Series: Hacktivism, Speculative Fiction Stories. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 12,690. Language: American English. Published: January 9, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
Between tranquil insights from what could be an Uruguay travel guide; action and adventure explode. Our hero's a skilled hacker with a peculiar hobby. He drains financial assets of those who've become wealthy by destroying the future of others. It's a good hobby and pays well for the punishment he applies. 'Bob' now faces torture and death when a hacking exploit goes wrong.
Shirker John Leprechaun - The Quest For Dragon Treasure
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Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 14,300. Language: English. Published: December 4, 2012. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
"SJL is a real life fantasy>action>adventure like you've always known exists. A daughter of Pegasus, an Elf Princess, a centaur Wizard, a wise unicorn, an honest leprechaun, giants, dragons, trolls -- you know, the usual suspects. Of course the whole story is true. Only the city of London is imaginary. Sure and you can trust me; would a high elf lie?" - Shirker John Leprechaun, esquire
Sparrow Swift Race
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Series: Escaping Tyranny, Book 10. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 5,640. Language: English. Published: January 29, 2012. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
Personal Sovereignty Achieved ~ In this last of the Swiftee ePulps, Sparrow starts the equally important task of building an intentional life worth living. What will combine his military prowess, his dark connections to political circles, with a life filled with lovely ladies and Joie de vivre? A Party!
Sparrow Swift (Sparrow Swift Mood)
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Series: Escaping Tyranny, Book 9. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 5,230. Language: English. Published: December 12, 2011. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Urban
Sparrow gets some help in this book from his old Sargent. Life is good for Sarge, he's found a new home -- then his adopted country is invaded and his village tainted. A bit of the old Sarge emerges. Sarge also tells a tale of a different way to fight. "If you view change as a problem rather than an opportunity you'll always be too late." - Allan R. Wallace
Sparrow Swift Twist (personal sovereignty)
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Series: Escaping Tyranny, Book 8. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 5,200. Language: English. Published: November 9, 2011. Category: Fiction » Holiday » Adventure
Escape with Sparrow Swift. "Our knowledge is limited, our abilities seem inadequate, we see ourselves as small insects -- we cope by being serious about the crack in the sidewalk where we were born. We ignore limitless potential within a wondrous world. Exit and fly, you are the dragon. Dragon!" Allan R. Wallace
Sparrow Swift Wind (personal sovereignty)
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Series: Escaping Tyranny, Book 7. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 5,420. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2011. Category: Fiction » Literature » Educational
Finding a new country can have highs and lows. Sparrow Swift, an expatriation consultant, knows and tells expat stories. Escape before your human rights are denied. Escape just before doom. Escape to have fun. Escape with Sparrow Swift.
Sparrow Swift Waters (personal sovereignty)
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Series: Escaping Tyranny, Book 6. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 6,080. Language: English. Published: October 10, 2011. Category: Fiction » Holiday » Adventure
Sovereign Individual? Only in your own mind, if you lead the most powerful gang, or in your back yard if you pretend real hard. What we can have is personal sovereignty. This novel may be fantasy, but your future can be free. Escape With Sparrow Swift
Sparrow Swift Change (International Intrigue)
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Series: Escaping Tyranny, Book 5. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 5,620. Language: English. Published: September 27, 2011. Category: Fiction » Literature » Business
Saving Iceland. Escape with Sparrow and Sparrowette in Sparrow Swift #5. The conclusion of the Sparrow Swift (International Intrigue) series and the set up for a Sparrow Swift (Personal Sovereignty) series. There will be a new downloadable Sparrow Swift pulp adventure twice a month and a print anthology every five pulps.
Sparrow Swift Moves (International Intrigue)
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Series: Escaping Tyranny, Book 4. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 5,220. Language: English. Published: September 20, 2011. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Urban
Sparrow Swift #4, Swift Moves. Sometimes you get a choice, sometimes there's no time to consider, both times your best move may be to move. Sparrow and Sally Swift are there to help -- just ask for Sparrow Swift at any airport bar. Of all 36 ways to get out of trouble, the best way is -- leave. - Chinese Proverb
Sparrow Swift Kick (International Intrigue)
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Series: Escaping Tyranny, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 5,260. Language: English. Published: September 19, 2011. Category: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Swift Kick is #3 in the intentional Intrigue series. Included are four new Sparrow Swift stories of escape and liberation. One of these stories can be yours. This is pulp fiction: people, places, and events. It's a coincidence these short stories seem familiar and you want to act now while you still have time. Where people are trapped in a web of unjust law, a swift sparrow can break the web.
Sparrow Swift Action (international intrigue)
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Series: Escaping Tyranny, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 6,640. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2011. Category: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Sparrow and Sally are back. Our PT Pulp Heroes must try to save a new set of good people trapped by a twisted world. This is the second book in the Sparrow Swift series. New stories about Sparrow and Sally's adventures will come out every two weeks.
Sparrow Swift Is Born (international intrigue)
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Series: Escaping Tyranny, Escaping Tyranny's Womb. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 7,470. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2011. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
What to do when trouble is approaching your door with a battering ram. Sparrow Swift is fiction: people, places, times, and events. It's a coincidence these adventures seem familiar and you want to act now while you still have time. Your Human Rights > any unjust law "Of all 30 ways to resolve conflict, the best may be to leave." Proverb
Hacker School Trilogy
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Series: cyberhug.me · Hacktivism, Speculative Fiction Stories, Post-Apocalyptic Short Stories. Price: Free! Words: 18,140. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2011. Category: Fiction » Literature » Coming of age
The revised edition of Hacker School, now a trilogy with the addition of two new stories. ~ In a dystopian world, who will decide the future of mankind? "Your life is a burning match. Ignite a bonfire." - Allan R. Wallace
Abacus Brief - Moonlit Knight's cyberwar and peace
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Series: cyberhug.me, Book 4 · Hacktivism, Speculative Fiction Stories, Book 5. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 25,960. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2011. Category: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
Technofiction -- Moonlit Knight's Cyberwar and Peace: Billy's protégé risks annihilation in a high tech battle for human rights. He strives to solve a dangerous cyberwar maze on a romantic Pacific island before he too is murdered. Moon unites with a native community in a battle for peace.
Complicit Simplicity: A hacktivism team fights for human rights.
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Series: cyberhug.me, Book 3 · Hacktivism, Speculative Fiction Stories, Book 4. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 38,720. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2011. Category: Fiction » Holiday » Adventure
When evil resists a push it doesn't push back, it immediately seeks to destroy. Boldness is required for first limiting and then overcoming evil. Of course surviving is nice too.
hacktivist - Hacker School Attacked
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Series: cyberhug.me, Book 2 · Hacktivism, Speculative Fiction Stories, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 8,270. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2011. Category: Fiction » Literature » War
We can't predict when there will be no Next Time. "Within 24 hours unseen protections of Hacker School will disappear. Your lives will immediately be at risk. Some of you will die, all of us might die, for supposed crimes against despotism. Your offense? Conspiracy to support human rights." This story about Hacker Jon is part one of the cyberhug.me trilogy.
Cyberhug.Me (Hacktivist Cyberwars For Human Rights)
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Series: cyberhug.me · Hacktivism, Speculative Fiction Stories, Collection of Books 3, 4, 5. Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 72,500. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2011. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
When evil resists a push, it doesn't push back, it immediately seeks to destroy. ~ Boldness is required for first limiting and then overcoming evil. Of course surviving is nice too. Don't give up your life cheaply.