Here I post thoughts, memories, stories, novels,
plays, essays, reading lists, genealogical research, info
about ebooks for sale, and
matters of interest to friends and family. This isn't
your typical web. It's meant to be idiosyncratic and
fun. I welcome feedback and suggestions.
I'm finally in a position to write fiction full-time. Six of my recently published novels (Parallel Lives, Beyond the 4th Door, Nevermind, Breeze, Shakespeare's Twin Sister, and To Gether Tales) overlap and echo in interesting ways, with stories inside stories and touches of magical realism and alternate history. This is not by intent, but rather that all of them grew from my life experiences and from exploring themes that matter to me. They can be read in any order. They are independent stories, with stylistic and thematic overlaps. Each creates a different view of reality, a different way of trying to understand the mysteries of life. All Things That Matter Press published all of those in 2020 - 2022 as well as Echoes from the Attic, a suspense novel which I co-wrote with Ethel Kaiden. Meanwhile Booklocker has published Grandad Jokes: 3000 jokes on Trump and other nonsense, Why Knot? a collection of essays, a new edition of The Lizard of Oz and Other Stories, We All Are Shakespeare, and We First Met in Ithaca or Was It Eden? Grandad Jokes and Why Knot? both won awards in the 2022 CT Press Club Contest. My latest novel is Sing Their Wrath, which has not yet been published.
I'm also the
publisher of Seltzer
Books, with over 14,000 time-tested books in ebook format, available for sale
through Barnes & Noble (Nook), Kobo, Apple, Google Play,
and PublishDrive. Earlier, I
published entire libraries of books on CD and DVD primarily
for the blind, who used "screen readers" to convert the text
to voice. This included a 4-DVD set with over 20,000 books for
just $149. I also made a quixotic attempt to build and run my
own ebook store, Quench, trying
to single-handedly compete with the likes of Amazon. My
publishing company was originally known as B&R Samizdat Express and consisted
of just my late wife Barbara (B) and me Richard (R). Samizdat
means "self-published" in Russian.
In the early days of the Web, I worked for Digital Equipment's Internet Business Group as their "Internet evangelist." When the company was swallowed by Compaq (which was later swallowed by Hewlett-Packard) I worked independently as an Internet marketing consultant, writing extensively about business on the Internet. Many of the books, articles, and speeches I wrote back then are available here. My AltaVista Search Revolution was the first consumer-oriented book about search engines. Library Journal, called it "indispensable". My Web Business Boot Camp was a pioneering guidebook for Internet start-ups .It is now available for free at this website.
My original samizdat.com web site, which I used as a sandbox to test ideas about the Web, has been preserved by the Internet Archive as part of their Wayback Machine. They have stored 666 versions of that web site, captured from November 1996 to September 2017. This link takes you to the part of the archive that is devoted to samizdat.com. Select the date you are interested in; then you can browse the archive the same as you do the live web, clicking on link after link. Everything from the web site is there, including all the issues of my Internet-on-a-Disk newsletter and the hundreds of articles from my blog. (They now archive seltzerbooks.com as well)
Richard Seltzer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me on Twitter twitter.com/SeltzerBooks
My author page at Amazon
My author page at Goodreads
My blog at Goodreads
List of my published books
Medium account with 500+ stories, essays, and poems
YouTube videos of me reading some of my stories and excerpts from my novels
Web sites of All Things That Matter Press Authors
Websites of Twitter friends
We First Met in Ithaca, or Was It Eden?
Elle and Oz, strangers ready to restart their lives, meet by chance and flirtatiously swap stories in a dark abandoned house.
They soon sense that these stories are coming from an unknown source. It's as if they are watching the stories rather than telling them.
Then they become actors inside the stories, seeing and hearing as if they were the characters,
affecting outcomes but still conscious of their separate contemporary selves in the dark abandoned house,
their attraction heightened by this mysterious adventure.
The stories transform: the two become characters from the Odyssey and Genesis, facing challenges in previous lives, challenges that they meet head-on .
Finally, and they find themselves in a future where whole populations have transferred themselves to (or been absorbed into) a massive computer network.
The human cycle of birth, death, and rebirth will end. They will live in that network forever.
But Elle and Oz have a choice.
We All Are
Shakespeare literally comes alive.
Liam knows Shakespeare. All of Shakespeare. Every word of every play. No one knows how or why. But tell him a line, and he'll go into a trance and perform the whole play brilliantly.
He performs at the local beach pavilion, play after play. Audiences swell, despite obstacles, until an unruly crowd trashes this quiet town, and the show shuts down.
Then a professor prompts Liam to recite a lost Shakespeare play and gets it staged at the Yale Bowl.
132 short essays -- some fun, some profound.
Intriguing observations based on common sense logic.Ideas that could change your life or the world.
don't think outside the box. The very notion of 'the box' is
an illusion taht limits the range of topics, squashes
curiosity and creativity, and precludes innovative
solutions. Please join me on my journey of exploration."
Questions Big and Small
Identity, Memory, and Communication
Understanding Our World
Politics and Government
Literature, Reading, and Writing
Impact of Technology
Business and Product Ideas
romantic suspense novel.
Five strangers, two men and three women, share a Back Bay Boston
apartment like a multi-generational family.
high jinks, vengeful jealousy, and violent death combine
to complicate lives and loves.
The Lizard of Oz and Other Stories
Humorous fantasy for children and for adults who share stories with them.
An elementary school class sets out on a
field trip to bring back enchantment
to the world. They learn that you hae to go under the world to stand under it
and understand it. And there are many levels of understanding. They meet
such characters as Mr. Shermin (who used to be a teacher until he decided
to be a fish, and then he knew how to turn himself into a fish, which not
many people, even teachers, know how to do). Humpty Dumpty (who fell for
a little blue wallflower), Prince Frog (who would rather be a frog than a prince
because that's much less trouble), Sir Real (who has cereal instead of brains),
Lewis Carroll, the Knights of the Merry-Go-Round Table, the Mothers of Fact
(Miss Hap, Miss Take, and Miss Fortune), Mr. Plato, Daniel Boone, and
Joan of Noah's Ark.
Imagine The Phatom Tollboth crossing paths with a fifth grade class in
The Magic School Bus.
An antidote to social distancing, political chaos, environmental crisis, and war.
Laughs to help you get back to feeling normal.
3000 jokes, 500 pages, a pound and a half of laughs.
Trump and Company
Nonsensical Science, Philosophy, History, and Religion
Letter, Number, and Grammar Play
Speaking in Tongues - Word Play in Two Languages
Never Grow Up - General Fun
Bedtime Whimsy and Romance
Pithy jokes for every taste and mood and occasion.
This bittersweet comedy and romance has touches of tragedy and magic. Writing during the pandemic and feeling nostalgia for what has been lost, the narrator, Abe, recounts stories told around the dinner table on a Caribbean cruise two years before.
Abe explains the title:
"I'm writing from the midst of this crisis, not with the wisdom of hindsight. Even if it gets no worse than it is right now, much has been lost.
"I'm hoping that we can gether. That's a word that isn't in the dictionary.
"To gether is to find new ways to be together, new ways to meet, to bond, to love.
"Even when physically isolated, we can come together in spirit, to share experiences and emotions to the point that we are intimately connected.”
"In any case, may we always treasure our normal life, knowing, as we now know, that it is fragile and should never be taken for granted."
On one level, To Gether Tales is a collection of stories told around a dinner table. But it's also a novel, in which themes echo from one story to another and tellers both disguise and reveal themselves through what they say, all woven together in the frame of the narrator.
first review --
5.0 out of 5 stars Affairs to Remember
Reviewed in the United States on March 8, 2022
refreshing antidote to the struggles borne of the pandemic,
politics and threatening conflicts that haunt our daily lives.
Richard Seltzer’s “To Gether
Tales” takes us on an unusual ocean cruise that elevates our
spirits and counteracts the current climate of cynicism and
despair. Captivating, intimate and
poignant stories brimming with romance, friendship, warmth,
and humor bring a group of voyagers together. Seltzer's
inventive and engrossing writing enables us to join the
journey and participate as if we were on board, ourselves. We
disembark feeling enchanted, renewed
The Princess Tango, a story from To Gether Tales, read by the author (YouTube video)
Shakespeare's twin sister wakes up in the body of a 99-year-old woman in a nursing home in 1987. Kate has quite a tale to tell:
-- her coming-of-age story, posing as a boy to get an education,
-- twins separated at birth sorting out the mystery of their otherworldly connection to one another,
-- a lifelong three-way love story,
-- soul projection and transference linking individuals to one another and connecting past to present,
-- and the story of a young reporter who falls in love with the soul he finds in the body of an old and dying woman.
As a cross-dressing sword-fighting teenager, Kate beats Mercutio, captain of the King's Musketeers, in a duel in Paris.
As Will's double and writing partner, Kate enables him to do the work of two geniuses.
This outlandish view of Shakespeare's life and times stays true to the facts, while presenting explanations that are intriguingly plausible.
Like Shakespeare in Love, this is a humorous, romantic take on Shakespeare the man.
Like Yentl, a brilliant young woman finds creative ways to succeed in a man-dominated world.
Amazon reviews --
Richard Seltzer’s story, Shakespeare’s Twin Sister, is a clever insightful romp.
We first encounter Kate as Lettie, a 99-year-old woman in a nursing home, 1987.
Her personality transforms and she tells her “real” story to a young journalist, Bill Greene.
He, in turn, retells a surprisingly plausible tale of Kate’s multiple identities (male and female) as Shakespeare’s twin sister.
Apparently, Kate played a large role in the writing of the famous works.
Not only that, but she is an arch feminist in men’s clothing with longings of her own.
The book is full of good humor – the Arden family quotes lines from Shakespeare’s play in their daily banter.
The titles are fun too – “If You Incest!”
Read this novel – it’s a mind-bending hoot!"
Breeze, a young woman in present-day Connecticut, goes into a medically inexplicable coma. Her boyfriend, Yannie, a senior at Yale, has to get her the help she needs to survive while trying to solve the mystery of this goddess-like free spirit who appeared out of nowhere two months before.
In part two, Breeze awakens in a different body in a different place and time. She is at Troy in the body of Briseis, love-slave of Achilles. She fears she’ll be taken for a demon. She knows the story she is trapped in, and she learns that she can make changes in what the story leaves unsaid, so long as she doesn't alter the direction of the narrative.
In part three, Breeze finds herself in still another body. It's the fourth century AD and she’s at the temple of the Eleusinian Mysteries, near Athens. A young woman lies down on the altar next to the corpse of another young woman. In the ritual, she expects her soul will move to the body of the dead woman. Instead, the dead woman comes to life with the soul of Breeze. That glitch leads to humorous complications as well insights into the ironies of everyday life and love.
A WWII romance veers off into an alternate
reality and then another and another.
"Richard Seltzer takes us on another spellbinding journey into an alterante reality that defies our familiar perception of space and time. Nevermind is a story with a backdrop that seems grounded on the surface, but turns into a flight of mind-bending twists."
Interview about Nevermind at Readers Magnet
Without knowing why or how, two college students wake up 50 years older than they were when they went to sleep and with no memory of what has happened in between.
The first door is birth. The second is death. Finally, Frank and Marge go through the fourth door.
"Richard Seltzer's vast imagination knows no bounds...
Think Thomas Wolfe. Think The Razor's Edge by Maugham.
...the main character...talented, energetic, charismatic... genre-defying Be prepared for a wild ride."
"Richard Seltzer is a master of educating us to the possibilities of existence once we set our mind free and open the door to the unknown."
which begins in an assisted-living facity
in New Hampshire, leads to 18th century Boston and London,
where there's unfinished business that residents, through
mirror selves, must take care of.
"Ingeniously woven trip through space and time"
Works by and about historical figures who are characters in Parallel Lives:
Mercy Otis Warren, historian and playwright
The Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution
The original 3-volume work is 1317 pages long. Mercy wrote early drafts of this work near the time of the events described, and completed the work about four years before it appeared in 1805. Mercy wrote in the third person even when dealing with events involving her immediate family. James Otis (early advocate of the rights of the colonies) was her brother, James Warren (speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives) was her husband, and Winslow Warren (would-be diplomat) was her son.
Other works by Mercy Otis Warren
Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne, general and playwright
RICHARD'S OTHER WORKS
essays from Untrammeled thoughtswrting advice
Barracks (from Saint Smith and Other Stories),
novella, 11K words, published
online at fictionontheweb.co.uk. Was
also published online at Untold Tales Publishing which
The Barracks takes place during basic training at Fort Polk, LA, in the summer of 1970, during the Viet Nam War. The overwhelming majority of the trainees are reservists. All white, in a matter of weeks, they'll return home and go about their usual lives, unless something unexpected goes wrong. Four black trainees in the same platoon face immediate assignment to Viet Nam, so they have been deliberately failing the course, being "recycled," over and over again. Tensions of the war (which none of them support) and race relations (which the reservists never faced before) come to a head over an incident that in and of itself seems to have little significance but symbolically looms large.
based on that novella The Barracks, a three-act stage play (1989) and Spit and Polish, a full-length screen play (2001)
The Gentle Inquisitor and Other Stories, Was published online at Untold Tales Publishing, which is now defunct.
These eight ironic stories deal with serious questions in unique and playful ways. They'll make you smile and wonder and prompt you to think about human nature and the meaning of life from new perspectives.
The AltaVista Search Revolution:How to Find Anything on the Internet, Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1997 and 1998, with Eric J. Ray and Deborah S. Ray
The first consumer book about search engines. (AltaVista was the forerunner of Google.)
Winner of the "Distinguished Technical Communication Award," the highest award given by the Society for Technical Communication Publications.
2 editions, Hebrew and Japanese translations. Braille version published by National Braille Press
"This complete guide to using the AltaVista web searching/indexing system will be indispensable to both librarians and patrons.... Get one copy to circulate, nail one down in the computer lab, and pass one around the reference desk." -- Library Journal
Command_Line Heroes podcast "Looking for Search" includes interview of me about DEC's pioneering search engine AltaVista.
Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes by Alexander Bulatovich, translation by Richard Seltzer (Red Sea/Africa World Press, 2000) at Kobo at Nook at Apple
including 78 photos taken in Ethiopia in 1896-1898
"...the most important book on the history of eastern Africa to have been published for a century...." Old Africa (complete review)
My Third Journey to Ethiopia, 1899-1900 by Alexander Bulatovich, translation by Richard Seltzer
Assembled from previously unpublished items in the Russian archives, this is a lively and detailed account of Bulatovich's travels, at the behest of Ethiopian Emperor Meneik II, in the northwestern border regions of the country, at a time when war with England seemed imminent. Bulatovich provides an insightful assessment of England's likely moves and what Menelik could do to block them, even including an invasion of the Sudan. Once again he provides previously unknown details about a critical time in Ethiopia's history. There's also a brief account of Bulatovich's fourth journey to Ethiopia in 1911, at which time he was a Russian Orthodox monk and sought to found a monastery at a lake to the south of Addis Ababa. This is a companion to Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes.
The Lizard of Oz, fantasy, 1974, revised and expanded 2018 at Kobo at Nook query message for second edition at Apple at Nook at Kobo query message
"An intriguing and very entertaining little novel" Library Journal
"Carroll and Tolkien have a new companion" Aspect
"A work so saturated that the mind is both stoned with pleasure and alive with wonder" Lancaster Independent Press
"A commentary on our times done delightfully" Philadelphia Bulletin
"A gallery of figments of contemporary culture that could take its place on the library shelf of memory along with classic figures of children's fiction" Valley Advocate
"Adventures in Small Press Publishing" the story of how I self-published this book in 1974
Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome, children's stories, 1976 at Kobo at Nook at Apple
"A highly original collection of short stories, sometimes humorous, sometimes profound." Boston Globe
The Name of Hero, historical novel, Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin, 1981 at Kobo at Nook at Apple
translation of this novel into Russian
sources and related documents
Saint Smith and Other Stories, 2011 at Kobo at Nook at Apple
MGMT MEMO: Management Lessons from DEC, 2018 at Apple at Nook at Google Play
of DEC, 2018 at
Business Boot Camp Hands-on Internet lessons for
manager, entrepreneurs, and professionals, Wiley, 2002 at
Take Charge of Your Web Site, MightyWords, 2001
Shop Online the Lazy Way (Macmillan, 1999. Braille edition published by National Braille Press) at Nook at Google Play at Apple
The Social Web: How to build successful personal or business Web sites, 1998) at Apple
The Way of the Web Lessons from the Internet. How to adapt to the new business environment, 1995) at Kobo at Apple
Dryden's Exemplary Drama, senior thesis at Yale (1969) at Apple at Google Play at Nook
Death of the Federalist Party, paper written in high school, in 1963. at Apple at Google Play
Dark Woods and Other Poems at Apple at Nook
- Laugh and Let Laugh, word play, over 3200 short jokes (looking for a publisher)
- Six-Word Stories, prompted by images post on Twitter to AgathaChocolates (daily, starting February 13, 2020)
- Trumpisms (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2019) one of the top 10 most popular articles of the year (#6)
- Trumpisms 2.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire. 2019)
- Trumpisms 3.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2019)
- Trumpisms 4.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
- Trumpisms 5.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
(Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
- Trumpisms 7.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
- Tumpisms 8.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
- Trumpisms 9.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
10.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
- Trumpisms 11.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
- Trumpisms 12.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
- The Gentle Inquisitor (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)
- The Choice (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)
- Creation Story (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)
- Chiang ti Tales (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)
- The Mirror (from Saint Smith and Other Stories) (American Bystander #13, 2019
- Now and Then (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)
- Revolution (at Glossy News Satire, 2019)
Finnegan Died (at
News Satire, 2019)
- Size Matters (at Glossy News Satire, 2019)
- Hundreds and Hundreds of Gerbils to be published in May 2021 online at fictionontheweb.co.uk
- Julie's Book: The Little Princess (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)
- Mary Jane's Book: The Book of Animals (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)
- The Little Oops Named Ker Plop (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)
- Tiger in the Intercom
- Yanni, to be published April 2021 online at fictionontheweb.co.uk
Without a Myth and Five Other Plays at Apple at Google Play at Nook
- Without a Myth, three-act play (1971)
Hitler, ten-minute play (2015)
- The Barracks, a three-act stage play (1989)
Crossing, a two-act historical play, set in the American
- Mercy, a two-act historical comedy, set in the American Revolution, based on the lives of Mercy Otis Warren and General Johnny Burgoyne. (1975)
- Heel, Hitler, ten-minute play (2015)
Lizard of Oz, children's play (1976)
- The Lizard of Oz radio script, episode1, episode 2, episode 3
- Spit and Polish, a full-length screen play (2001)
- Traffic Jam, a short screen play (1972)
- Family on Demand, first episode of proposed sitcom, co-written with Ethel Kaiden (2004)
- A Glimpse of the Future, 1993 video about the future of the Internet, written by Richard Seltzer
- From Russia and Ethiopia to the
Internet (Wesleyan College) article
- Surviving as a Small Business in the Age of Google: Generate Search-engine Traffic (NEXPO, Washington, DC) article
- The Future of Business on the Internet (Lewiston, Maine) script
- Increase Traffic on the Internet Without Advertising (IQPC Conference, San Francisco, CA) article
- Corporate-wide Knowledge Management (ExpoManagement 98, Buenos Aires, Argentina) article
- Business Opportunities on the Internet (Comdex, Buenos Aires, Argentina) script
- The Social Web: from Hyper-links to People-links (Web Week 97, Oak Ridge National Labs, Oak Ridge, TN) book
- Basics of Effective Web Sites: How to Succeed When the Rules of the Game Change (Boston) book
- Building Communities on the Internet (Internet Expo/Email World, Boston, New Orleans) article
COLLECTIONS OF ARTICLES
- Complete text of newsletter
- Current thoughts on all topics
- Distance Education
- Internet Present & Past
- Internet History
- Internet Strategy and Marketing
- EBay and Other Online Auctions
- Internet Search
- Community and Collaboration
- Web Site Design
- Working At Home
- Publishing and Ebooks
- Glimpses (essays toward a personal philosophy)
- My book reviews
- 70 Online Dates - Learning to Date at 68
- Asthma in Timisoara: A Glimpse at the Romanian Medical System
- Romantic Romania?
- Training, Not Censorship: The Need for Cyber-Street-Smarts
- Global Competition and the Long Road to General Prosperity (1992)
- Thoughts on Reading and Writing
- The Bugle Boy
- Why Bother to Save Halloween?
- The Nostalgia of Tomorrowland
- Adventures in Small Press Publishing: the Lizard of Oz
- From Russia to Ethiopia to the Internet
- The Serge Solovieff Mystery - A World War I Variant of the Spanish Prisoner and Nigerian Scams
- Making sense of the myths behind Greek tragedy, in particular the mythos of Pelops/Atreus/Agamemnon, grad school paper (1970)
- Filial Respect in Confucius and Socrates and the Divergence of Western and Chinese Philosophic Traditions, paper written while an undergraduate at Yale, May 1967
- Another Look at Moliere's l'Avare (The Miser), paper written while a student at Brentwood School in Brentwood, Essex, England, May, 1965.
- The Story of the Trojan War in Unintentionally Humorous Verse doggerel written in the sixth grade (age 11)
- Hi-Q or Peg Solitarie, a solution to the game solved and recorded in the third grade (age 8)
- Stories Written in the Second Grade
BOOKS IN SEARCH OF AGENT/PUBLISHER
- The Bard of Eastport, novel
OTHER WRITING PROJECTS
- The Name Trilogy, including The Name of Hero, The Name of Man, and The Name of God (opening chapters of Name of Man)
Seltzer Books (titles organized as Virtual Book Tables)
Catalog (with links to ebook stores)
Sixty-Twp Years of Reading (complete list of books I've read since 1958)
My Current Reading list (2020)
Recommended contemporary books (published since WW II)
Book reviews by Dean Rink
The Cary-Estes Genealogy by May Folk Webb and Patrick Mann Estes
The Cary-Estes-Moore Genealogy by Helen Estes Seltzer
All-inclusive genealogy page (listing over 1600 direct ancestors)
Brehm's Seltzer and Hocker
Daly Family Album
Ancestor Surfing (advice on genealogical research)
Bob Seltzer's chess career
Nancy Felson, Greek Scholar, selected articles and CV
Dictionary, a Vocabulary of the Attic Language by S. C. Woodhouse (1910), a hyperlinked version
DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation), the world's second largest computer company before its demise in 1998, where I worked 1979 to 1998.
Grace Sherwood, Virginia Witch
Mercy Otis Warren
World War II
General Johnny Burogoyne
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