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World's First True E-Books

A Lot of Info Here. Yes, there is a lot of commentary here. We'll massage it into less overwhelming chunks as time goes on. The most important thing, the priority of the hour, is to make available both new and classic works of digital publishing—especially by Web publishing pioneer Jean-Thomas Cullen (a.k.a. John Argo for SFFH, and John T. Cullen for thrillers and nonfiction).

*Criteria. Jean-Thomas Cullen (writing as John Argo and as John T. Cullen) published the world's first true online e-books starting with Neon Blue (Suspense) in April 1996. With his talented business partner Brian Callahan, JTC (as he often signs his correspondence) published (1) his own work; (2) novels (in full, commercial grade, not samples or teasers); (3) online in HTML format to be read online, not on portable media such as CD-ROM, floppies, tape, or the like; (4) in weekly serial chapters, released in sequence one each Sunday evening Pacific Standard Time in San Diego for readers around the world; (5) with the option for avid readers to download a full TXT file if they just could not stand the suspense from week to week, which happened frequently. Clocktower Books maintains a collection of fan mail from around the world at that time.

A Right, An Urgency, and a Need. This innovative new publishing method met with violent resistance from an uncomprehending, backward establishment (including print publishers, writers' organizations of all sorts, and just about everyone else vested in the 20th Century way of doing things). For example: even when John T. Cullen published (print and e-book) his novel The Generals of October in 1998, to acclaim from educated readers who understood its premise of a Second Constitutional Convention, and the possibility of a coup d'etat during a runaway convention, the Library of Congress informed JTC that "we don't know yet if such are real books, so we cannot issue a copyright registration; however, you can register it as an unpublished manuscript." In 2018, the urgency of his premise, created in 1992, is more vivid and possible than ever. As Clocktower Books approaches its 25 year anniversary in 2021 as a pioneering publisher, still going strong, there exists a total right and an urgency and a need for justice to prevail, and for early pioneering authors to be recognized. Hopefully, readers of these ARCs will keep in mind the remarkable achievement of the early Internet publishing pioneers, and be kind in their reviews. Perceptive readers will be rewarded with a good, solid read—as were those avid readers from South Africa, China (Taiwan), New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Canada, and across the USA during the final years of the previous century.

Other Fiction. C&C (Cullen and Callahan) followed up with a number of shorter works by John Argo (John T. Cullen) starting 1997 or 1998 including stories like Taxi M'Koo and the Helium Drive and Harps. This is all before e-commerce, so we were publishing for free (promotionally). We were the only game in town for a while, and had a fervent audience of readers around the world on all major continents. I still have a lot of the fan mail. More info soon. JTC


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