This is a place where you can express your views on the novel, Universes, or the novelette, 2084. Please read a substantial amount before contributing here, telling how much you have read. Please be careful to avoid "spoilers" that give away too much about the story. You can write up to 10,000 characters, or about 1,300 words. Literary controversy is fine -- this book is certainly not for everyone -- but please keep the tone of discussion polite.

As of the summer of 2010, I find myself making occasional blog-like posts on this board, and I suspect I will continue to do so. Most of them to date have related to the novel, but I might choose to write about anything (except politics, which tends to generate excessively heated discussions).

This webste was launched on May 3, 2010.

Anyone can submit a review, but if you are a registered user please log in before submitting your review.  To log in, please click here.

bezimienny2: NBardzoCzy pSię

Saturday, 20 August 2016

bezimienny2: Starał jecJest PrzDo wypicia

Saturday, 30 April 2016

bezimienny2: Do teStelażu

Friday, 29 April 2016

bezimienny2: Do teStelażu

Thursday, 28 April 2016

bezimienny2: Ich pierwiastek

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

bezimienny2: DKorytarze wykoPoczątku xix wieku

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

bezimienny2: Lokum zaDobrze Ich praceżeGórnictwi

Sunday, 24 April 2016

bezimienny2: ZamieszkaniCo najważniejsze zAle ta pozycja

Friday, 22 April 2016

bezimienny2: Z przJest krąg Haków

Thursday, 21 April 2016

bezimienny2: Stanowiło CenSamochKolegów o tłumiże zrobiNie czerpie wyrw ziemi

Thursday, 21 April 2016

bezimienny2: Istniałoby CenSamochKolegów o tłumiże zrobiNie ciągnie szpar podłodze

Monday, 21 March 2016

bezimienny2: NBardzoCzy szczenię

Friday, 11 March 2016

bezimienny2: WyszuTłumiWyprawCzy bierna wycieków

Wednesday, 09 March 2016

bezimienny2: Babek indyUłożonGdybyśmy wtedy wykonNader obyci

Tuesday, 08 March 2016

true blue: Real-life Particle Accelerator Accident

I was strolling through Wikipedia and found this article about Russian physicist Anatoli Bugorski whose head was briefly exposed to a particle accelerator beam in 1978. He claims to have seen a flash "brighter than a thousand suns". He survived the experience and went on to complete his PhD, but suffered from loss of hearing and paralysis of the left side of his head.

Naturally, this reminded me of Ozzie.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Barbara: Comment from the south

Dear Mr Riley,

I'm from Brazil and came across your site while browsing through a brazilian blog.

I'm not sure you realise how far your iniciative has come (South America!) and so I wanted to let you know that I thought this was very interesting and creative.

Dont be discouraged by that small number of comments. Lots of people come by, read everything and simply don't comment.

I myself am on the process of attempting to write my first book but I don't know if I have what it takes. So far, it's just a story that I enjoy and I still have a loooong way to go.

Anyway, I didn't read your book and I'm not sure I will, to be perfectly honest. I don't enjoy reading on the computer and I was a little discouraged by some comments here. People seem to end up enjoying the book, but they say it's a difficult reading considering your style. I mostly read for pleasure and don't enjoy having to earn the satisfaction by going through a tough writing style. (I'm not sure this made a lot of sense, please take into consideration that English is not my mother tongue) But then again, I'm just a sucker for popular novels, like Twilight and even Harry Potter, although I haven't been a teenager for a long time. So take that into consideration too.

I just wanted to let you know that I hope this works for you and that you get lots of fans after the contest.

Best of luck!

Thursday, 08 July 2010

rebelhell: Epilogue

While I don't think the epilogue was worthless, I think much of it could have been left out.  Let the reader come to there own conclusions.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

bob spencer: wowza

I read the whole thing, though I think it was a tough read because of your style. 

I still don't understand your addition of the epilogue. It was not that is was a downer so much as it was pointless.  

Sunday, 30 May 2010

rebelhell: Different (not that that's a bad thing)

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I have just finished the story and to be honest I am not sure what to think.The writing style was unique and while difficult to follow at times was well done. I say difficult to follow because of the way the author puts you inside the mind of the characters during traumatic experiences. It seemed at first to be just written badly but is now obvious that the author wanted us to feel the same mixed up thoughts of the characters as they jump from one emotion to another. I think it turned out well. As far as the story goes it definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next. I have to agree with the previous post about Ozzie. I would have like to have had more insight into who he was before he died and maybe a more objective look at his “afterlife”, however seeing it from his point of view was surreal. I do have to say it was fun to read and it did a great job at making me think. I am sure you can tell by my laundry list of grammatical errors in this post that I am NOT an author so take my review with a grain of salt. All in all I would have no trouble recommending this to a friend who wanted to read something completely different.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Bob Spencer: Computer Engineer

Before you start writing about string theory and extra dimesions you readers probably would appreciate you actually understanding it and using it. Take a look at this awesome video

Its not about shadow worlds its about infinity. Infinite realities with infinite possibilities. Which is really neat idea (I'm still skeptic)

This seems to be a book that tries to make the reader question, but at this point in its revision it makes the reader confused.

I liked the whale the most, but I wish I understood Ozzy more and not just observed his suffering.

Continue writing because it is an art that takes alot of practice. If you want to see a crappy book gone good you should look at Orson Scott Cards first version of Ender's Game and see what a beautiful piece of literature it turned into.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Jarmara Falconer: Good Luck, Peter

Good luck with your book, but also try for feedback from other writers. I found it to be very helpful

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Peter_Riley: Guardian item

A reader in Istanbul, Turkey, kindly tells me that an item on this website appeared in one of his country’s newspapers. He sent me a link, but I couldn’t read the language. He also mentioned that it had been in the Manchester Guardian. I found that item and append it here in case anyone’s interested. This story appears to be a “scalp,” newspaperese for a slightly rewritten version of a story published elsewhere. This story, published in the Guardian March 21, is mostly a scalp of an item that was in the London (Canada) Free Press on March 15, though it does include some new material picked up from this site. The Guardian story follows:

Desperate science fiction author offers cash for readers

By Alison Flood

The cut-throat world of publishing has forced a science fiction writer to take the drastic step of offering people a cash incentive to read his novel.

Peter Riley, a former journalist on Canadian newspapers, finished his novel Universes in 1999 but failed to land a publishing contract for the book, which tells the story of a string theory physicist who, when he dies, ends up in an alternate universe populated by cannibals. His wife, Lucy, thinks he has been murdered.

Riley decided to post the novel online for free earlier this month, giving those who read it the chance to win a chunk of a $3,000 prize money pot if they answer questions about the book correctly.

"I'm hoping that publishing the book online and pretty well paying people to read it will get it noticed on the internet, and ultimately discovered by a legit publisher," said Riley on his website. "Crass gimmick? You bet. But if it works, I won't look back.

"I'm 65 god-damned years old, this novel means more to me than anything in the world, and I'm desperate to get it published while I'm still alive. I know this may sound odd, but I feel western society needs this book. It's a contribution I feel I must make."

The competition begins in July

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

redjak: My 2 Cents


I won't try to sound like anything more than an avid reader. I do dally with writing and so of course the open publishing concept of Universes appealed to me. Unfortunately this book just wasn't for me. I know reality is seldom cathartic, but this is why I enjoy indulging myself in fiction as an escape.

To me Universes felt like a treatise on the afterlife. Not being a physicist in even the loosest sense of the term I found myself wondering how the accident ties with string theory and Ozzie's experience afterwards. I would have liked to see Ozzie's scientific rationale for his experience. It's all well and good that there is some indescribable bond bwtween him and Lucy, but I would have enjoyed it more if it all tied together more. Maybe it's an unfair, but with the finale of Lost so recent, I can't help but draw comparisons between the alternate realities coexisitng along the same timeline.

The story evoked in me the feeling of watching The Fountain. I don't know that it was the style of wriing or the experience Ozzie undergoes as he travels through space. Either way I couldn't help recalling Hugh Jackmans Character floating though space eating tree bark and meditating in the Lotus position. Perhaps a little of both since the switching back and forth between perspectives made me feel a little disjointed.

I didn't feel I got to know Ozzie that well and had a difficult time identifying with his character. It wasn't that I didn't care what happened to him but by the time I get to know him I hadn't really invested any emotion into the charater. I would have enjoyed more exploration of the barren world and the interactions there. The ending makes me wonder if it's the same place that Lucy and Ozzie return to and if so why do they return in this new state? To me it almost seemed like the ultimate message is that Ozzie was forced to roam until he was completed by joining with Lucy and it was this that allowed them to transcend. The epilogue also leads me to conjecture if the barren planet is just the earth after these nuclear wars and the strange regenerative tissue the beings have on the barren world is a mutation. A stretch I know but for me the epilogue feels unecessary without that connection I'm looking for.

I will enjoy reading the questions that are to come, and perhaps they will help expand the story for me.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Reader: Mr.

Hi Peter - As a fledgling author I feel for you, but I think you should have joined an online critique group and rewritten this a couple times before trying to put it out there. Congrats on a successful publicity stunt, but my advice is to pull the plug, join a critique group, spend the next two years rewriting it with the help of the group, and then try a couple literary agents. I don't know how your health is, but 65 isn't so old - you could EASILY have thirty years to go. That's enough time to write and rewrite at LEAST ten books. And who knows, by the time you write the fourth or fifth, you could be very good, and just starting a sucessful career. Best of luck.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Audrey: AR

Hi Peter,

I read a lot, and unfortunately, as much as I wanted to, I couldn't persist with your story. So I can't possibly comment on the virtues of the story itself. However, I will say this, if you are desperate to get published, try and find a really good editor who will work with you. You are obviously very creative, considering your unique approach in trying to get your book noticed - have you ever considered looking for recommended contacts through LinkedIn? There are some great writing groups on there that will advise you....

I wish you all the best in your endeavours to be published.

Friday, 21 May 2010

EL: hi

Dear Mr. Riley

From an editor's and agents point of view, the opening paragraph would not have made it past the slush pile- it would've been better to start straight away with your protagonist inside the Superstring Conductor,which serves as an introduction and plunges the reader straight into the central conflict of the story, rather than the sentence "Ozzie is a physicist" which fails to provide an opening hook.


However, in truth  I am a published writer and I wish you all the best. Your manuscript needs to be assessed and reworked in order to reach its fullest potential

Friday, 21 May 2010

kamil: :)

good luck :)

Friday, 21 May 2010

Allen Tipper: Well, I read your book

I liked some of your ideas, but the writing and the story just wasn't very good. The plot doesn't seem to really go anywhere, and the preachy epilogue is just pathetic. It seems a bitter, useless commentary on the pointlessness of it all, and I'm just not buying it.

There are lots of good physics jokes, which go right over the head of your average reader. The whole concept of your cannibalistic second world isn't too horrible, but you just don't go very fun places with it. Most of what I get out of that whole sequence is that the man got there and decided he must have the morals of a vegetarian, and it ruined him. Might have worked somewhat better if he was a vegetarian before his first death, but YMMV. Maybe you just needed him to die to get to the third world.

As for the whole story of Lucy, mostly I wonder why we would care. You don't really seem to go anywhere with it, other than "horrible things happen. The end." At least following the story of Ozzie was somewhat entertaining, if depressing.

There are some great ideas here, but if I were an editor at a book company, I would never publish this. It has zero popular appeal, and is hard to read even for your real intended audience of physics geeks. I give it a 2 out of 10 stars, mostly due to some interesting concepts that save it from a 1. I really wanted to like this book, being an aspiring writer myself, but in my opinion, it's just not there yet, and I can't recommend it to my friends.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

pipplo: Universes


So I wrote a little review once, and I apparently got the image verification wrong.  Unfortunately I lost what I wrote, so now I have to write it all over!

Anyway, I got Universes from's post about the contest.  I am enjoying the book so far from a plot standpoint.  I'm pretty captivated and interested to know whats going to happen here.  I'm only about 80 pages in so far so I don't even know what to expect.

My only complaint so far is that the writing style is a little difficult to deal with.  I'm not sure actually if some of the language oddities, or the short choppy sentences are intended or not.  Maybe it has something to do with our main characters condition at the moment?  Either way, at times I have trouble following the train of though of the characters, and some things just come out of nowhere so I have to go back and re-read some paragraphs to grasp it.  It isn't impossible to deal with, and I had a similar issue with 'The Road' so maybe it's just me.

I'm interested to see where this story goes though! WTF is the straw?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Sean Robert Meaney: Oo! A ball of String! Must play with it!

I like chapter 1...very funny. I was so not expecting him to come back in to the room if he was going to wind up on the otherside of the field, but then the uncertainty principal fails.

Monday, 17 May 2010

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