Arpia novel available as “print-on-demand”



As of today, I have received my proof copies of the Arpia novel from three different print-on-demand solutions: the Blackwell bookstore in London, and Createspace (an partner).

If you fancy spending approximately 24 USD/18.50 Euros on a sci-fi novel of epic scale (seriously: 503 pages in A5 format, 650 in a slightly smaller format), I suggest you read on…

For those who don’t want to read this but want the book in physical format, please visit the Arpia novel page at There, you’ll find a high quality yet cheap print-on-demand version of the Arpia novel, and the shipping costs worldwide are fairly low.

Note: the prices here are as low as I could get them. I decided against royalties, so you’re paying for the print-on-demand itself only.

Of the three solutions, Blackwell was the most expensive and, unfortunately, the one with the lowest quality. The cost is currently 5p per page, i.e. a bit over £30 for a copy of the Arpia novel, and the heavy paper used for the cover is not quite as high grade as the others. Moreover, the binding doesn’t seem as sturdy as the others. If you live in London and go to that bookstore (on Charing Cross Road) often, however, it may be an easy solution.

The Createspace solution allows Arpia to appear on, which is awesome, but I have no idea of whether this will extend to the other Amazon websites (, .fr, …). Shipping from Createspace cost me almost as much as the price of the book itself, as it was shipping from the US… Result: 18.51 USD for shipping to the EU. Apparently, they only have printers in the US, so it may not be the best solution for people based outside of North America. A major qualm I have with Createspace is the fact that it wasn’t easy to set my own “spine” design (the side cover), and theirs is, frankly, not very nice.
Cost in store: 24.17 USD.

Finally, my favourite solution: This has the highest quality cover paper, and I was forced to adopt a new format for, namely A5. The other two solutions use a format that is slightly smaller than A5, which makes the novel nearly pocket-size. The A5 format does, however, have an unforeseen advantage: the star maps included in the novel are more readable. One of the great things about is that it uses printers around the world, which means that shipping costs are lower than the other solutions. To ship to the EU, I paid 6 Euros.
Cost in store: 18.50 Euros/22.56 USD/£15.66.

Edit: added the link.

Arpia novel released and available (online)



I made a spontaneous decision a few days ago: as the Arpia novel has been ready for some time, and as it doesn’t look like literary agents in the UK want it, I’ll make it freely available online.

This led me to recall the existence of an “Espresso Book Machine”, an easy way for aspiring authors and others to obtain a printed version of a book, be it their own or one that is out of publication (but still with a digital presence). This machine can be found in Blackwell, on Charing Cross Road in London.

On 25 August 2010, I was in London to hand in a paper copy of my dissertation for my LLM, and I took advantage of the trip to London to order one copy of my book. When I receive the copy by post, I’ll be able to let you Londoners know whether you should consider ordering a little sci-fi novel from there – they currently charge 5p a page, which given the size of my novel amounts to £30… Definitely the most expensive novel I’ve bought!

I’m going to work on making the novel available in ePub and other formats (note: ePub now available), perhaps also on online e-book catalogues (if possible for free) and on other self-publishing print-on-demand platforms (hopefully not too expensively).

In the meantime, though, why not take a look at the Arpia novel page, and read through the first chapters or the entire book?

Legal Implications of Internet Filtering



Five years, eleven months and some 5 days or so after my very first lecture on law, I have handed in my final contribution to my six years of legal studies. As it is a work of some importance, both academically and personally, I publish it here.

Here’s the non-legal intro to show you what it’s all about. Or you can omit reading it here, and read it in the document itself: Legal Implications of Internet Filtering.

Continue reading Legal Implications of Internet Filtering

Law Code: a new website for a new topic



Rather than keep on posting my random thoughts about the effects of code and law, I thought it might be good to create a new website for the discussion of the effects of the adoption of code as a means of regulating behaviour.

If you have any interest in the questions of why countries filter the Internet, of why speed bumps are preferred to simple car speeding laws, of how Alex in A Clockwork Orange may be our future, I heartily recommend that you take a look at, a place where a few friends and myself will attempt to bring these questions into the open, with the hope that as time goes by, people from all over will contribute articles or short columns.

You don’t need to be a lawyer and you don’t need to be a technologist. All you need is an interest, however remote, in the questions that will appear there. So why not take a look and see what you think?

Law Code: choice is but a memory.

Bye Bye London



When I was twenty-two,
It was a very good year,
It was a very good year for independent life,
And nights in London town,
We rarely felt down,
And had great things to do,
When I was twenty-two

Thus Ervin Drake’s song (popularised by Frank Sinatra) would have gone, had the composer of “It Was A Very Good Year” benefited from my support as lyricist.
The academic year of 2009-2010 has now come and gone, and I believe my time in London was not only well spent but also great fun.
Between work and play, squirrels and pigeons, Irish and Indian, cuisine and grub, it was a wonderful blend of smiles and tears (well, not quite) from mid-September to end of June.

Continue reading Bye Bye London

The Order of the Two Magpies



An art historian, P.C., who wishes to remain anonymous, has uncovered a plot deeper and more fascinating than any work of fiction by Dan Brown: that of the Order of the Two Magpies.
It is a tale of intrigue and mystery to which the only clues are to be found in art, in a vast collection of paintings dating back to the 15th century.

The existence of the Order of the Two Magpies was unknown to most of the world for many centuries, but on 3 June 2010, P.C. discovered an anomaly in a number of paintings exhibited at the National Gallery, London: there appeared to be a motif common to art of different eras, namely a constant depiction of two birds, generally resembling magpies. Their significance, at first deemed to be a mere coincidence, soon led to the unraveling of the greatest mystery known to man.

Continue reading The Order of the Two Magpies

Thoughts on epicaricacy



A few days ago, I had the opportunity to watch the film Four Lions at the cinema. It is a British film about a small group of Muslims who decide to become suicide bombers. Watching the film, I could not stop laughing at the outrageously hilarious scenes, albeit with the nagging feeling that I should not do so: the story is one of tragedy.

Epicaricacy (also “epicharikaky”) is a little-used word, often replaced with the German “Schadenfreude”, that describes the pleasure one feels at the misfortune of others, and the term perfectly encompasses what was going through my mind as I saw the film. As I watched a scene where one of the main characters accidentally blows up both himself and a sheep, I could not help but think of the many times where I laughed at other people suffering/dying (such as the many deaths of Kenny in South Park, or the famous accident scene in Meet Joe Black). There seem to be many, many instances in which the gravest misfortune befalls a character in a story with comic effect. Yet why does this make us laugh?

Continue reading Thoughts on epicaricacy