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April 5, 2021

Things I should have done differently when writing "Ghostcrime"

Back in 2015, I published the most important work to date tackling the age-old topic: what if a ghost and a robot teamed up – in the future – to commit the perfect crime?

Printed Ghostcrime books

Looking back on my magnum opus, however, I can clearly see some problems that likely kept it off the New York Times Bestsellers list. Here are some things I could have done differently if I'd been more laser-focused on mainstream success:

1. Been clearer on the setting

Ghostcrime takes place in Magnetifax, which is a city magnetically suspended in the air above Halifax, Nova Scotia. I didn't make this clear enough early on in the book, going instead for a slow comedic reveal, but it may have led to some confusion among readers. In the sequel, I will be sure to describe Magnetifax earlier, and possibly even include a few Halifax scenes to make it more "down to earth" and relatable to Haligonians. The sequel will be called, "Ghostcrime 2: The Ghostcrimening."

2. Predicted the coronavirus pandemic

If there's one thing sci-fi needs to do correctly in order to be considered "good," it's "predict the major events of the future." While Ghostcrime didn't explicitly say that there was no pandemic, it also didn't feature everyone washing their hands all the time or bragging about not being vaccinated. But since Ghostcrime takes place in 2031, maybe everyone is tired of talking about it by then.

3. Made the book less funny

It's been a few years since I wrote this hilarious book, but these days we know that robots are not something to be trifled with. Armed with a deep neural network and a firearm, they could be seriously dangerous. Being so lighthearted about the subject matter was irresponsible of me. The same applies about ghosts. I could have made the book much more existentially terrifying but instead chose the route of the chucklehead.

4. Done more research

Sometimes you have to cut a few corners to get a book out, and sometimes those corners are typing-things-into-a-search-engine. Learning a police department hierarchy? Didn't bother – only Detectives and Officers in this one:

Excerpt from Ghostcrime
A strategic way out of doing actual research.

For the sequel, I will try to go to a library, and include some "facts from the stacks."

5. Written a different book entirely

They say you should write for your audience, and while the ghost/robot community is pretty large, I could have been more profitable if I had targeted a genre that actually has its own shelf at the book store. But then, maybe it wouldn't have ended up being the masterpiece that it is.

So while you wait for the sequel, why don't you pick up a copy of Ghostcrime and see if all of this is true? If you like, you can also tell me what else is wrong with it. That's included with the price.