Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Reindeer Games

By far the cheapest entertainment available on the internet is your search engine. There are endless hours of enjoyment to be had simply by entering your name in the search field and then poring over the pages of results.

This is not something I normally spend a lot of time on, but I do periodically search for the titles of my three books, just to see if they are being mentioned anywhere, what sites are offering them for sale and—mostly, it often seems—to see how many bogus web sites are offering to let you download them for free. (Note: a surprising number of sites offer the books in various formats, but—spoiler alert—so far none I have found really have a digital or audio version of the book available.)

Often, though, I come across amusing and interesting random mentions of my books. Here is one I found the other day.

Parenting web site

This is a legitimate-looking site called and, in their online shop, they seem to be offering my first novel Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead for sale—but not quite. They have it listed in the category “Toys & Activities” and sub-category “Childrens [sic] Books.” For the record, in case there is any confusion, Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead is definitely not a children’s book. Please do not let a child anywhere near it. Fortunately, no unsuspecting parents are in any apparent risk of inadvertently buying it from the web site for their tot since there is a red label across the cover that says “Not Available.” Whew.

Related items
Interestingly, the site has altered the title to make it even longer by adding the word “Green” for no clearly obvious reason. Kind of takes me back to the 1960s when the Swedish movie I Am Curious (Yellow) had a fair bit of notoriety in America, but I digress.

As is often the case, the most entertaining part of the page is the section further down labeled “Related Products.” Once again, these are mainly books in which random words from the title have been matched up, so we get titles like Carlotta’s Secret and Maximilian & the Bingo Rematch. Less obviously, we also get Papa & Me. At least these seem to be actual children’s books.

More related items
If we continue down the list, we find some less obvious matches. Okay, Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is one we have come across before, but what’s the deal with Deadly Venomous Animals and Spiders and Other Deadly Animals? The most amusing, though, is the black-clad Lego figure.

Furious Maximilian
On closer inspection, we see why he was included. He is described as “LEGO LEGO Loose Furious Maximilian Minifigure.” In the brackets following his name, we learn why Maximilian is so furious. He is an Apocalypse Survivor.

As I say, by far the cheapest entertainment available on the internet.

Speaking of shopping web sites, Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead, The Three Towers of Afranor and Lautaro’s Spear are all still available from the various online sellers, as indicated on the right-hand side of this page. (But not

Happy Christmas!

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