Archive for Miscellaneous

Systems at a film festival

You might remember a post I wrote back in August in which I mentioned my brother Shahid Karim’s short Terminator spoof film The ProcrastinatorHe had just submitted it to the annual bang! film festival in Nottingham, and today he has been notified that it will be screening there on 24 November, in the Crash bang! Wallop section. Since a copy of Systems happens to make a brief appearance, it’s as good as an advert. 😀

If you are anywhere near Broadway Cinema from 3 p.m. onwards that day, maybe we’ll see you there!

Systems in a Terminator spoof

Apparently, humans are not the only readers of my novel. In this short spoof, the Terminator (or rather, the Procrastinator) has a habit of putting things off with meaningless tasks. He also has interesting reading habits. 😉

This short film, titled The Procrastinator, was in fact created by my brother Shahid Karim, and it has just been submitted to a local film festival (bang! film festival in Nottingham). You’ve seen his work before: He created the trailers for both Systems and SJ2.

(And yes, this really is my third post in as many days. A record from me, and not likely to be repeated any time soon. Just had a lot of news. 🙂 )

Been a while … New visionary fiction site

This is just a quick post to say that though I’ve not posted for a while (and didn’t anticipate being so slow), I’m still around and hope to start blogging regularly again soon. The reasons for my absence are to do with personal and work distractions, but I have lots of news to share, so watch this space.

In the meantime, anyone coming through from today may notice a new banner in the right-hand column of this page, headed: ‘VFA Founding Member’. It stands for ‘Visionary Fiction Alliance’ (sounds grand, doesn’t it?). The web-ring that Jodine Turner, Shannan Sinclair and I started just a couple of months ago has already attracted 12 authors and we are about to launch a whole site dedicated to the promotion of visionary fiction. More to come later.


Literature and art as collective dreams

Iqbal believed that art and literature are like collective dreams, which come true. Therefore they should present the world as it should be, and not as it appears to be.

This line is taken (with permission) from Khurram Shafique’s upcoming work examining ‘peaks’ in the timeline of Pakistan. He has divided its history into seven phases, each lasting approximately twenty years each, starting from way back in 1887. Pakistan of course formally came into existence in 1947 but Mr Shafique is looking at the development of this ‘nation’ from its conception, of sorts (or at least, that’s how I understood it, and hope I am correct). In fact this work is a completely new discovery looking at what he calls the ‘stages of collective self-development’.

Anyway, I just wanted to quote that line because it spoke to me as a writer. For anyone who wants to know more, Mr Shafique’s formal publication will be printed soon – and will possibly be also available in ebook form.** In the meantime, he has been talking about it in some detail for quite a while now over at the Republic of Rumi website. See this blog post for more.

** Postscript: The ebook has been published by Libredux publishing, and details can be found here.


On Murtaza Razvi’s death

I am totally shocked this morning to hear about the murder of head of Dawn’s magazines Murtaza Razvi on Thursday (19 April 2012). Very sad news indeed, and my thoughts go out to his family and friends.

An ideal advert … or maybe not

Earlier this week an article of mine appeared in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn’s Special Report on the Lahore Resolution. For those of you who don’t know, the Lahore Resolution might be described as (sort of) the Pakistani equivalent of the American Declaration of Independence, and Pakistanis celebrate this document (and argue about its significance) every year on 23rd March.

While I was browsing the e-paper at Dawn‘s website, this advert caught my eye:

An ideal advert? (Image:

It was a reproduction of the major signatories of the Lahore Resolution, accompanied with the header: ‘Equality, Freedom, Unity’. Of course this was immediately interesting to me because of the three words that also happen to be central to the Cohesive Ethics Theorem in Systems. And, if you can read it from the above scan, there was an inspiring passage about how the Lahore Resolution was passed in the name of said principles, and how they must be protected today.

I saw the url:, and went over. I expected to find a human rights organisation or activist group. Instead, I found … a life insurance company! But here’s the real punchline: The company was originally founded in the 1930s under the name ‘Eastern Federal Union’, by none other than Ghulam Mohammad, who would later become the Governor-General of Pakistan. Anyone who has read SJ2 will know exactly why this is all more than a little ironic. For anyone who hasn’t, I have three more words for you:

Pakistan’s first dictator.

Introducing the Visionary Fiction Ring

Recently I wrote a post about the difficulty I was having with defining the genre of Systems. Though I found the elusive ‘metaphysics’ category at Amazon (and no, I haven’t got round to re-classifying Systems there yet), I still felt that it would be good if the novel could be classified in a way that didn’t make it sound like it belonged to a tiny or specialist niche (or conversely placed it in too broad a category such as sci-fi).

Since then I’ve met Jodine Turner and Shannan Sinclair at a Goodreads group dedicated to visionary fiction. We’ve all agreed that since our type of fiction needs a brand awareness campaign, we’re going to make an attempt to do just that ourselves. And so, we’ve started a web-ring for visionary fiction (see the new menu on the right-hand side of this page containing links to Jodine and Shannan’s sites) and we’re brainstorming some other ideas at the moment. I’ve also created a new category at this blog especially for Visionary fiction.

So, what is visionary fiction? In one way it could be described as similar to inspirational fiction; it’s often inspired by a search for a higher truth, but it isn’t always about or aimed at readers of a particular faith. It can be metaphysical, or esoteric, or spiritual in tone. It often involves the paranormal. Of course this means that visionary fiction is most likely to also fall under fantasy, as does Jodine’s Carry on the Flame series. But this is not always the case. Systems (as sci-fi) is a case in point. So is Shannan’s Dream Walker, which she describes as ‘Quantum fiction’ because it explores quantum and string theories.

But what all visionary fiction has in common is that it takes its inspiration from that fascinating creature called humanity and explores its limitless potential. A pioneer of the term ‘visionary’, Michael Gurian, describes it as “fiction in which the expansion of the human mind drives the plot“.

Interested in knowing more? Watch this space for updates. Soon Jodine and Shannan will be dropping in to give us their insights on visionary fiction and its relevance in today’s world.

If you have written a novel and think it might fit into what I’ve described here, say hello here or at Goodreads. We’re looking for more authors to join this ring.


Get Systems for free … again!

Update: This offer has now ended. But you can still enter the draw to win a signed paperback. See rules here

I know what you’re thinking. This is déjà vu. Wasn’t there a giveaway of Systems just a week ago?

Yes there was. But this morning (3 March) I learned that Smashwords is running their annual “Read an ebook” promotion from tomorrow until next Sunday (4-10 March 2012), which means my book will be free there for a week. So if you missed it last time, you can get it now.

Download details 

1) Click and go to my book’s page at Smashwords

2) Scroll down and pick a format to download (careful to select a full book link, not the sample)

3) At checkout, apply the code: RE100

And you’re done! Plus, don’t forget you can also win a signed paperback if you write a review, as per the rules here

Reminder (signed paperback draw)

Thanks to all those who downloaded a copy of Systems during the ebook giveaway last week. As a reminder, if you post a review to Amazon or any other major bookstore online before 21 March 2012, you’ll be entered into a draw to win a signed paperback copy. Of course, you’ll have to let me know you’ve reviewed it so I can enter you in the draw. Email: editor[at]cyberblurb[dot]co[dot]uk

If you also copy your review to Goodreads, or Barnes & Noble, or WHSmith, or your blog, or wherever, you’ll be entered again for each subsequent copy of your review. So if you post your review in two places you’ll double your chance of winning.

This draw is open worldwide.

Systems ebook giveaway – 48 hours only

Update: Systems now available for free for this whole week (4-10 March) – read here – SK

Systems can be purchased as an ebook in a variety of formats for just $3.99 at Smashwords.

On Thursday through Friday (23-24 Feb 2012, California time, i.e. Pacific Time Zone, GMT -8 hours*), the ebook version of Systems will be available for free download at Smashwords. I’ll be supplying a coupon at this blog that you can use to download from there. You’re also free to share the coupon with your friends. But this is a limited offer for just 48 hours.


Anyone who downloads and then reviews the novel at Amazon within three weeks after the free giveaway (so before 17 March 2012) will be entered into a draw to win a signed paperback (of course, you’ll have to send me an email to let me know you’ve done it – editor [at] cyberblurb [dot] co [dot] uk). If you also copy your review to Goodreads, or Barnes & Noble, or WHSmith, or your blog, or wherever, you’ll be entered again for each subsequent copy of your review. So if you post your review in two places you’ll double your chance of winning.


Review and email me anyway. If you enter and win, you can always give your first copy to someone else.


Even if you dislike the novel and post a negative review, you can still enter the draw for an alternative prize (after all, I don’t want to encourage dishonest reviews). If you’re drawn, I’ll send you a gift voucher (worth the equivalent of Systems) to spend on whatever you like. And that of course means I’ll draw again to give the paperback to someone else.

Couldn’t be fairer than that, could I?

Look out for the coupon code this Thursday!

I think I’ve covered it, but if you have any questions, post them in the comments.

*(And no, I’m not based in California. 🙂 This is just Smashwords’ time zone.)


Three steps to download:

This offer has expired.


Smashwords is down (updated)

As you know Systems is on Smashwords as well as Kindle but as of yesterday there’s no access to their site at all. At first I thought it was just me (I have a very badly behaved computer) but it turns out they are having major server issues. It’s annoying because a lot of people were taking the free sample download from there … and I’d been pointing potential reviewers in that direction too.

For anyone who wants the sample (the first ten chapters), for now you can download or read it from here instead (PDF only. Sorry for the inconvenience). Alternatively, you can go to the Kindle US or UK store and download a sample chapter for the Kindle from there.

Update: Soon after I posted this Smashwords came back up. But I’m leaving this post up for anyone who might want to read the sample file from here.

The Republic of Rumi – Book review

Khurram Ali Shafique is a historian who is also a research consultant for the Iqbal Academy in Karachi. His book Iqbal: An Illustrated Biography won the Presidential Iqbal Award last year.

I’ve read most of that book, but I’ve just reviewed one of his other titles – The Republic of Rumi -over at Goodreads. Come and take a look.