File-Sharing Call to Arms: Sci-Fi Writer Needs Pirate Books

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An American science fiction writer is trying to get his hard-copy out-of-print books online and to that end he's actually using illicit sources to build his stock of eBooks. However, he thinks that some of his books are so obscure that pirates have overlooked them, and he's offering a prize to anyone that can provide them. TorrentFreak has found one, anyone up for the rest of the challenge?

American sci-fi Walter Jon Williams is determined to bring enjoyment and availability of his books to the digital domain.

“Like every other midlist writer on the planet, I’m striving to get my out-of-print books and stories online so that (a) you can enjoy them, and (b) I can make a few bucks,” he wrote on his blog this weekend.

“To this end, I embarked upon a Cunning Plan.”

That plan was quite simple. Williams, like just about every other writer, band, TV show and movie maker, discovered that many of his books could be found for free online, some of them on BitTorrent sites. So, rather than do all the hard digitizing work himself, why not take a short cut?

“So I downloaded my own work from thence with the intention of saving the work of scanning my books— I figured I’d let the pirates do the work, and steal from them. While this seemed karmically sound, there proved a couple problems,” he noted.

As is often the case with eBooks, quality was poor, resulting in a lot of time spent copy-editing. However, there was a more serious problem.

“Apparently a few of my books were so obscure that they flew under the radar of even the pirates! You can’t imagine how astounded I was when I discovered this,” said Williams.

Resigned to the fact that three of his books aren’t available in pirate form, Williams asked anyone who owns a hardcopy to do some scans for him.

“So I’m willing to trade. Should any of you volunteer to provide scans of Days of Atonement, Angel Station, and Knight Moves, that lucky individual will get a signed, personalized copy of the WJW book of his or her choice (assuming I actually have a copy, of course). Plus, whatever book you scan will spend digital eternity with your name in it, along with my eternal thanks,” he concludes.

However, a little digging around using various tools led to TorrentFreak finding the last book (Knight Moves) online and of course we’re going to send it off to Mr Williams for his collection. But if the 3rd book is available, what about the others?

There must be some of the best searchers in the world reading this article right now and there’s never been a better time to put those skills to some culture-preserving use. Send the links to us (all 3 books, since a better copy of the 3rd might be available) and we’ll be sure to send them off with your email address to Walter Jon Williams. Happy searching!


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