20 Jun


Let’s talk for a moment about one of the more interesting innovations that have come about in this digital age: specifically, bundles.

You know what I’m point at, right? These are gatherings of otherwise disparate books or stories into a single entity that the reader then picks up as a single entity. Given that indie publishers are the ones doing most of the innovation in the industry these days, they’re mostly from that group—small publishers with great books and who can move quickly.

Early Days: “The Boxed Set”

When they first started, these indie publishers didn’t even realize they were doing anything unique. We even called them “boxed sets.”

That’s how I thought of my first bundles—which are the way I gathered my Saga of the God-Touched Mage. That’s how it all started. Indie authors putting out segments of their series for broader consumption, and thereby enabling themselves to pass on savings to their avid readers by lowering the overall prices. (the pricing structure of the Saga for example, makes buying the whole package cheaper if you do it at once, and effectively provides me about the same revenue.

Then, Working Together, Bundles!

It didn’t take those folks who thought outside the box long before they were seeing new opportunities. Shared sets, right? Each of ten authors drop a book into a single package, one of them do all the production work, and Bam! You’ve got a totally new thing. Authors loved it because it exposed them to new readers. Readers loved it because it expose them to new authors, often on the super cheap. Ninety-nine books for $.99? Even if you don’t read ninety0seven of them, that’st a helliva deal!

This idea came with lots of administrative heartache on the backside, though. Somehow one of the publishers had to take the lead, push all the publishing buttons, and most importantly, handle money.

This is not a lot of fun.

Enter Service Providers

The obvious happened, of course. Seeing opportunity, bundling companies grew up almost overnight. Services like StoryBundle (where I have a novel in the current Moonscapes bundle), and BundleRabbit (where I have a work in the Beneath the Waves bundle). Both of these have been around for a couple y ears now (a long time in indie publishing time), and lots of interesting things are happening with them. I think it’s mostly due to the business models that each are innovating.

Let me look at both real quick-like.


The StoryBundle model works on high-profile packages that are available for only a short time. It also appeals to socially conscious folks because it lets readers choose to support great charities. Moonscapes, for example:

  • Includes Kevin Anderson, Kristine Kathryn Rucsh, Matt Buchman, and Dean Wesley Smith, all writers with a high public profile. It also has me, Maggie Jaimison, Lisa Silverthorne, Annie Reed, and Blaze Ward, all writers who have indie published audiences, and some like me with a foot in the traditional short story markets.
    Gives readers the ability to control their costs by selecting how much they are willing to pay for the bundle.
  • Opens a gate to fund AbleGamers.org, a fantastic charity that is helping disabled gamers be able to enjoy this highly important social activity with their families and friends.
  • And is only available for two more days—meaning if you want to pick up these 10 great books, you can’t wait much longer.

It’s a fantastic bundle, and as you can probably imagine given the quality of the bundle itself, has been doing quite well.

Did I mention you have only two more days to get it? [grin]

Get the Moonscapes Bundle Before June 22 Or It’s Too Late!

Beneath the Waves:


BundleRabbit has a similar dynamic regarding pricing. It also allows readers to support charities to the degree they want. But BundleRabbit has considerable differences in in the background in that (to me) it’s more of a curator’s marketplace than StoryBundle, allowing curators to gather stories and manage the production process. BundleRabbit is also considerably different in that it’s focused on the concept of the long-tail, meaning the bundles are available for long spans of time. Given this viewpoint, Bundle Rabbit has worked with distributors like Amazon and Kobo to make their bundles available through those paths. This gives their bundles a broader feel. It also gives curators a lot of room to innovate even further.

[open disclaimer here, in case it’s necessary. I know Chuck Heintzelman, BR’s proprietor, and we chat about stuff on occasion. I don’t think I’m doing anything to push folks one way or another here, but if you think so, there’s the root of whatever bias I might be showing!]

Beneath the Waves, for example, consists of 20 short stories. So in that sense, it’s a digital anthology. Since it’s going to be available for some time, the pricing has been set to be only $.99 until June 24. After that, the bundle will “jump” to $2.99. Both of these are great deals, of course (and you can always pay more if you want to support the authors, or a charity…which BundleRabbit also features). But BundleRabbit’s model provides this opportunity, whereas StoryBundle’s ticking clock model drives it’s sales pressure.

Did I mention, Beneath the Waves is $.99 for only the next few days?

Get the Beneath the Waves Bundle Before, Like the Tide, the Price Rises!

Yes, I thought I did. [grin again]

And This Isn’t The End

I think you’re going to see a lot of indie publishers working these bundles in a lot of different ways in the next year or two. Groups like The Uncollected Anthology (which I’ve been a part of in the past) are beginning to play with bundles in new ways. Dean Smith and Kris Rusch are putting on a week-long creative workshop on how to think about curating, creating, and marketing bundles—and I’m betting that workshop alone will create some kind of new idea that will change something in some fashion that no one can predict until it happens … at which point it will be obvious that twist was coming.

What you don’t see happening right now is bundling with Traditional Publishers. That’s the thing, you see? For a multitude of reasons, indies can move fast. Much faster than traditional publishers. Sure, traditional publishers will always do single-author “Boxed Sets.” And traditional publishing knows how to do fixed anthologies and collaborations. But the bundle world is an interesting twist, and I don’t think traditional publishers have figured out how to make money doing it.

Yet, anyway.

But there is money to make, and I’m expecting that sometime you’ll see traditional publishing figuring something out.

Of course, by then indies will be doing something else.

Because that’s how this works, you see?

If you’re paying very close attention, you’ll note that I have avoided using the term “writer” in this conversation. That’s because when I’m thinking about bundles, I’m doing my best to stop thinking like a writer. I’m trying to think like a publisher. The biggest problem I think a lot of writers have in this conversion, especially those who came up in the “old days” (and among those people I include me), is that the fact is that there is no such thing as an independent writer. Or, maybe the better way of saying this is that unless a writer is working directly for a company (*), that writer is, by definition, an independent. In that way, all writers are independent entities, and that has always been true.

(*) by “working for a company,” I do not mean you have a contract with DAW or TOR or whoever. If you enter a book contract as an independent writer, you are still an independent writer. You are, however, constrained to live by the contract you independently signed. If you sign an employment contract with one of those publishers, then you are no longer an independent writer. This may seem a bit pedantic at all, but to my mind is it not at all. All independent writers have the ability to sign away as much of their independence as they are willing to give a publisher, and sometimes, when they aren’t paying attention, a lot more.

The difference, though, is that writers who going it alone are now also working as independent publishers. And that’s totally different.

As I recently said to a friend: The great thing about publishing my longer work independently is that I get to make all the decisions. The bad thing about publishing my work independently is that I have to make all the decisions. [one big, final grin]

It helps, though, if you find these things fascinating. Which, of course, I do.

And in that light, bundles are an extremely interesting tool.

Aren’t they?

So, What are Bundles, really?

If nothing else, they’re giving readers more options and more ways to find writers. in a sense, they are mini-bookstores, right? I mean, think about it from the view of the old brick and mortar bookstore shopper. If you were like me, you went in, looked for authors you knew, grabbed a few of those, and then your eye would get caught by something different. By whatever random chance of book stacking and marketing gimmick, your eye would fall on something else that kind of looked like something you would like. You would glance at the cover, maybe read a few lines, and next thing you knew that book was being read.

Sounds a lot like what happens with a bundle, doesn’t it?

So, yeah. I like that.

What is a bundle?

Well, it’s a mini-book store. Or, if you prefer, it’s a portable shelf in a bookstore, filled edge to edge with stuff a specific reader wants to read.

Pretty cool.

16 Jun

“The Black Marker at the End of Time” Published!


Looking for a good set of stories to while you’re sitting on the beach? You can’t really go wrong with Beneath the Waves, a short story bundle you can get a BundleRabbit and a whole bunch of other places I’ll link to below. Even better, the whole thing is on sale at $0.99 for the next week (then it will jump to $2.99, so move quick…he says donning his evil marketing hat!).

I can’t tell you how excited I am for this one. It’s got a bunch of my favorite writers in it, and it contains a completely original story “The Black Marker at the End of Time” I put together just for it. I love this story. It’s one that just kind of flowed as it flowed and when it was done I went “yes, that’s exactly it.” These things just don’t happen to me that often. Is it fantasy? Yes. Is it science fiction? Maybe. I don’t know. All I can say for sure is that I find it a wonderfully odd piece. I hope you’ll love it, too.

The bundle debuted in Amazon’s Top 100 short story collections, and was running at #33 last I checked.

02 Jun

Algis Budrys, Starflight, and Moonscapes

Rogue_Moon_1960I was amused this morning in that interesting nostalgic way you can get sometimes, when I read Dean Wesley Smith’s blog post that attributed his interest in doing the Moonscapes bundle to his reading of Algis Budrys’ Rogue Moon. I definitely get it. I, too, read Rogue Moon. For its day it was amazing, and even as a throwback today it’s got that thing that great books have.

But that’s not why I was amused.

I was amused because thinking about Algis made my mind snap back to a morning over breakfast when Algis handed me back a manuscripts and said “Pretty good,” in that way of little words that he could get. We were at the Writers of the Future workshop. The manuscript he handed me was a short story titled “Stealing the Sun,” which I wrote there at the workshop as my 24-hour story and which eventually was published in Analog before going on to become the opening to Starflight. He had a comment or three that made the work better.

You’ll note that Starflight is proudly part of the Moonscapes bundle.

So, yes, in many ways it is a small world.

But, of course, this morning I’m also thinking about how big it is.

(and support AbleGamers, too)


Ten great books
Pay what you want
DRM Free
Support AbleGamers
Automatic delivery

What could possibly be better?

01 Jun

Moonscapes Bundle Launches!

Here’s something incredibly cool: ten amazing SF books by ten of my favorite writers and people (well, nine of them, plus my own Starflight!). On top of that, an opportunity to support AbleGamers, a fantastic group that’s working to support disabled folks who want to game.





The books are great, of course.

As you might guess by the bundle’s theme, you’re going to find tons of spacey goodness in here. Even better for you, as with any StoryBundle offering, within some very generous constraints you get to choose how much you pay!

The main package includes:

  • Recovery Man is from USA Today bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s highly popular Retrieval Artist series. The only downside here is that if you read one, you’ll be hit by an overwhelming desire to get the rest.
  • If you read Annie Reed’s In Dreams, my guess is that you’re going to have a new favorite author. She’s awesome.
  • Blaze Ward’s Auberon introduces you to a master of space opera. Don’t believe the 27 outstanding Amazon reviews? 400+ on Goodreads ought to do the trick.
  • Odds are, you know M.L. Buchman as a bestselling military romance writer. Here’s proof he can do died in the wool SF, too.
  • If you haven’t read my own Starflight, here’s your chance. Obviously, I love it. I hope you do, too!
  • But, there’s more! If you unlock the bonus you get five more amazing books:

  • Like most of Kevin J. Anderson’s work, Climbing Olympus is a great adventure. He’s a New York Times bestseller for a reason, afterall.
  • Maggie Jaimeson doesn’t fool around with life’s little questions. Her Eternity takes look at what immortality might look like. Very cruchy SF, indeed.
  • Lisa Silverthorne is just flat-out one of my favorite writers of all time. Rediscovery might just show you why.
  • If you pick up Star Mist, you’ll begin to understand why Dean Wesley Smith has some 23 million copies of his books out there.
  • Then there’s the Moonscapes volume of Fiction Rver that started this whole thing. An anthology of moon-based short stories that might just introduce you to a bunch of new writers you’ll want to track down (and a few I’m sure you already know!).
  • So, really … flat-out, this is a totally kick-ass bundle of books that will keep you reading through a good chunk of the summer if you’ll let it!

    Pay what you want
    DRM Free
    Support AbleGamers
    Automatic delivery

    What could possibly be better?




    A Special Note About AbleGamers:

    This is a fantastic charity that (as their website says) “…give(s) people with disabilities custom gaming setups including modified controllers and special assistive technology, like devices that let you play with your eyes, so they can have fun with their friends and family. We’re using the power of video games to bring people together, improving quality of life with recreation and rehabilitation.”

    Please do take a run through their site. It’s an organization with an important mission. #SoEveryoneCanGame

    10 May

    Seven Days in May is Published!

    7-Days-in-May-900-600It is, as the Flying Scot used to say, a beautiful day for a motor car race, don’t you think?

    I’m smiling ear to ear today because I can finally say that Seven Days in May is available!

    For those unfamiliar with this unique little project, this is a collaborative collection of stories that my buddy John C. Bodin and I release each year, adding a new original story with each edition. This time the new piece is a short story titled “Speedway Fever.” Like the rest of our work. it’s chock full of pulpy SF characters we love, making tough choices, and (of course) dealing with troubles both on and off the track.

    “I find it hard to express how much pure enjoyment and fun I got out of this slim volume.”
    – Tangent Online

    All six of these stories were great fun to write, and as you can tel from the quote above, Tangent Online recently gave us a marvelous review and even included “Ghost of a Chance” on their recommended reading list–which is way cool. We hope you’ll like it, too.

    Did You Buy It Last Year? Get Your Update Free!

    That’s one of the cool and unique things about this project. John and I have always figured that if you buy the work once, we’ll spring you a free electronic copy this time. Just drop me an email at the contact form above, and I’ll do the needful.

    Amazon : USUKCADEAU
    Kobo: USCA
    CreateSpace (Print)


    09 May

    Brigid’s work, or the amazing coolness of “The Fake Path to True Memory.”

    “Did you ever read Brigid’s story in the Faerie Summer bundle?” Lisa asked me.

    We were eating dinner at the end of the day, just chatting about stuff. I read most of our daughter’s work before it gets published, but for various reasons I hadn’t seen this one. Lisa, as always, had copyedited it and had suggested that I read it back then, but it’s been busy.

    “No, I haven’t,” I replied.

    She paused. “You should,” she said.

    So I did.

    It’s titled “The Fake Path to True Memory.”

    Wow. What a beautiful piece of work.

    Back in the day, I wrote in this blog about Brigid fairly often. Someday maybe I’ll pull them all together. We’ll see. But as she grew older I tended not to. A young woman needs her privacy, you know? Now she’s grown up and living her life with her husband and her cat, and she’s a writer on her own. So, yeah, she can do her own thing just fine without me butting in. But, seriously, this is a nice piece of art and I don’t care if you think it’s simply a dad’s opinion or not.

    Brigid is turning into one really fine writer. She’s finding her voice. Doing her thing. I’m deeply proud of her no matter what she does, but to see her putting work like this together, and work like she’s been publishing in the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide (her Sugimori Sister stories are brilliant) and various Fiction River anthologies (Find “Killing Spree” in Tavern Tales and you’ll understand what I mean)…well…there’s this amazing coolness to it that makes me very happy.

    If you love Faerie, you should pick up this bundle (Links in the write-up).

    If you like that story, you should pick up her first book.

    Just consider it all “Dad Approved.”

    09 May

    The Kentucky Derby’s Conscientious Objector?

    Having grown through my formative years in Louisville, Kentucky, I have an affinity to the Kentucky Derby. I admit that I don’t follow it particularly closely these days, but it was certainly a thing for me and I have lots of great memories closely tied to it (and the week that leads up to it). We still have family there. I still love my Cards. Louisville will always be the Holy Land for me.

    I caught the race this year, mostly because we were at my parents’ place and it was on.

    Always Dreaming won on a sloppy track, but for me the star was Thunder Snow, who ran one of the more memorable races in the history of the event. That’s how things go. I will probably forget Always Dreaming won, but I will not forget Thunder Snow, who essentially got 50 or 100 yards down the track and just said “ah, well, never mind, eh?” Originally, like most, I was worried that he was injured. But, no, he’s fine.

    And so, given that, I give you: An Ode to Thunder Snow, the Real Hero of the Kentucky Derby & Equestrians Everywhere

    03 May

    Jimmy Kimmel is wrong

    Since this blog is chronically behind the times, I’m sure everyone is now aware that Jimmy Kimmel made a particularly heartrending monologue a couple days ago in which he described events surrounding the birth of his son, a kid who came into the world with a congenital heart defect. In it he talks about the ACA and health care in particular. Finally he came to this line:

    “If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something that whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?”

    This is a great sound bite, but unfortunately, no, it is not right.

    In fact, this is the root core of the problem we have. Republicans, as a general rule, most certainly do believe that it matters how much money you make as to whether your baby will live or die in this situation.

    They won’t put it that way, of course. The compassionate of them will look you in the eye with deep regret and say how sorry they are for your loss, but that there’s no way society can continue forward if we lose that kind of money on a medical procedure.

    But there really is no way of getting around this point: That is equivalent to looking a parent in the face and saying “if you had more money your kid would be alive.”


    There are logical arguments for this point of view. You can, however, be both logically sound and wrong. That is the case here.

    The first argument is that the country would go broke providing this level of support to everyone. This argument could be true (or not), but only if you view the world as nothing but individual transactions. This is how fiscal conservatives tend to view things–one transaction at a time. So it’s not too surprising that they feel how they feel about health care. There are, however, thousands and thousands of halo effects to consider—the future value of a person can be very, very high, especially if that person is both healthy and wanted. This argument is also predicated on the idea of the free market, where a medical organization is pretty much free to charge what they want.

    The second argument is more personal: that taking my money to use for someone else is unethical and un-American. There is, of course, a grain of truth here. The United States was built on a mindset of rugged individualism. At its soul, this is a pretty harsh point of view, though. Very Darwinian. Survival of the richest. Given human nature, if this is how you feel, it’s probably how you are going to feel for a very long time. I do wonder, however, if this is how you really feel, why do you ever buy Health Insurance to begin with? Until the ACA you didn’t have to, and even with the ACA not buying health care is cheaper than buying it. If your ideology says you don’t want other people to use your money, and vice versa (I assume here that you don’t want to use anyone else’s money when you get sick), why are you buying health care? Or any other form of insurance for that matter?

    Why are you buying life insurance? All you are saying there is that if you die, you want other people to pay for the people you leave behind. Shouldn’t that be your job?


    So, yes, at the end of the day, Jimmy Kimmel is wrong.

    A lot of people believe that if a baby is dying and the parents don’t have the money to save it, that this baby should be left to die.

    It is a harsh position.

    But it is a position that many Republicans have, and it is the root of the conflict we have with health care today.

    21 Apr

    Daily Persistence: The First Ten Years, and More

    Time is weird.

    Due to conversations Lisa and I have had recently, I just took a little break and went back to the web journal I kept back in the old days. Yes, I mean back when there was no WordPress, no Facebook, and no Twitter. I mean back in the day when there was only me and Notepad and a FTP link to server space.

    It was an interesting spin.

    I eventually called the place “Daily Persistence.” My first entry was over twenty years ago, September 21, 1996.

    It would be almost a year (July 6, 1997) before I would actually title a piece—a tiny bit about meeting Dr. Demento, one of my weird heroes, at a convention. My next titled piece was in September. That whole year was raw. Very, very raw. Simple entries that primarily tracked submissions. That’s what the place was then, a simple Web Presence before there were more complex Web Presences, a place where I and a few friends could share stuff.

    Then it grew.

    I have nice little sidebar-link menus that run up to 2005, but the whole things continues to 2009–to get there, you need to follow the chained links.

    I don’t know that I have a great point to this post, except to note that it was strange to do, and that it brought back memories.

    And that time is weird, of course.

    Let’s not forget that.

    Time is definitely weird.

    20 Apr

    My Male-Pattern Stupidity and Fearless Girl

    I’m finding myself caught up in several conversations about Fearless Girl and Charging Bull. You know what I’m talking about, right? The statue of the little girl standing defiantly in front of the Wall Street bull and the flack that came about when the original artist, Arturo Di Modica, complained that her appearance altered his art. “My bull is a symbol for America. My bull is a symbol of prosperity and for strength,” Di Modica said in a Washington Post article. He’s charging what is essentially copyright infringement, and he wants Fearless Girl removed.

    The stuff really seemed to hit the fan when Greg Fallis posted a conversation titled “seriously, they guy has a point.”

    Among the responses to this I saw was by Caroline Criado-Perez, titled “On Fearless Girl, women & public art; or, no, seriously, the guy does not have a point.

    The whole thing is fascinating.

    On one hand, you can have some very technical conversations about copyright law. This part is interesting to me because I’m not particularly adroit when it comes to how copyright works in visual art. It’s also interesting to me because to my uneducated experience this situation appears to be unique to sculpted art. I’ve tried to equate the idea of placing two sculpted figures together to things like music sampling or call-and-response forms of literature, but it seems a different beast. Sampling and call-and-response works build on top of each other, or happen as a result of each other, but the existence of a sample or response does not keep one from enjoying the original on its own merits.

    That’s the argument, right? That Fearless Girl makes it impossible to see Charging Bull on its original merits? Actually, no. That’s not quite right. As consumers of the works, we are free to view and interpret them as we wish. The argument Di Modica is making, however, is that Fearless Girl actually changes the meaning of Charging Bull.

    This is where the whole thing steps into the more charged questions of artistic intent, artistic merit (which included the twist that Fearless Girl was paid for by corporate commission), and, eventually, into the idea of what a piece of art is in context of the audience who absorbs it. In other words, your thoughts on the situation say as much about you as they do anything else.

    As I wrote on a Facebook comment discussing the argument:

    To be simple, this seems to boil down to:

    DiModica says: “I’m upset because this new art has changed the original intent of my work! Move your work or suffer my wrath!”

    Fallis says: “The guy has a point, and oh, by the way, Fearless Girl was paid for by a company so it doesn’t mean what you think it does.”

    Criado-Perez says: “No, the original art already contained the message brought out by Fearless Girl, it’s not our fault that you couldn’t see it until Fearless Girl showed up…and, by the way, it doesn’t matter who paid for it. Please put your big-boy pants on.”

    At the end of the day, I find it tempting to say that this is one of those topics on which rational people can disagree, and leave it at that. It is, after all, true that rational people are disagreeing here. But it is also true that something being rational, or logical, does not make it true. It is, after all, logical to think the Earth is flat if you only look at the question from one perspective. Alas, however, the Earth is not flat. This means that a rational person is not always right.

    If one allows me the consideration of being rational, my own journey through looking at this situation is indicative.

    When I first saw the argument, I thought the guy really did have a point. I thought Fearless Girl completely changed Charging Bull, meaning the original intent was gone. After a muddled but oddly emotional discussion with Lisa, and after using another evening to silently mull it over, I came to the view that I was wrong. Di Modica’s original intent is still there—it’s just that his original intent is rife with the existence of oblivious privilege. In this sense, my own process of taking in the piece was a perfect example of why Fearless Girl works. I was oblivious at first, then slowly able to pivot to a different way of seeing it. I’m taking to calling this initial reaction my Male-Pattern Stupidity anymore. I think I’m a good guy at heart, but sometimes it takes me a little while to think through things and get to a healthy view of any particular situation. This process is, in several ways, the exact definition of privilege as applied to me. To never need to see (or be forced to see?) the full depths of meaning inherent in Charging Bull makes life easy in a particularly insidious way.

    So, anyway, my first reaction to the piece was that the artistic content of Charging Bull was totally changed.

    Similarly, copyright: First I thought Fearless Girls’ creators were in trouble, then I spent time reading about past cases and came to the conclusion that no, even if the existence of Fearless Girl did change the meaning of Charging Bull, it is unlikely Di Modica can win a copyright case on the technical merits of the situation alone. The arguments for this made total sense to me. But as I came to understand that the intent of Di Modica’s piece has not actually been altered so much as “more fully” exposed, the copyright argument pretty much vanished completely.

    Don’t get me wrong; I’m no lawyer. I assume the case will make it through the courts, and that the courts will decide however they decide. I am, however, now of the opinion Di Modica has a very steep hill to climb.

    Regardless of how any court will decide, however, for my tastes Fearless Girl is an interesting piece of art specifically because her power comes out more fully as I think through the nuances of her relationship with her surroundings. For me, she does not change the original intention of Charging Bull as being about strength and power inherent in America so much as she comments upon it. Fearless Girl was created (with help from its corporate sponsors) as a view on representation, after all. She would work in that fashion anywhere she was placed, but the aspect of representation in Fearless Girl’s presence is brought out even more fully when you place her in front of Charging Bull, just as it would be if she were placed in front of the White House, or an all-male country club, or….

    In this sense, Fearless Girl’s comment on representation doesn’t change, nor does she change anything inherent in the object she is placed in front of. Instead, she points out something specific that is already within that target’s original meaning and she holds it up for people to see.

    How a person sees that specific something seems to be the deciding factor in how that person will react to the situation.

    So, yes, I see that Di Modica is upset, and I understand the logic for why he is. I get it. I’ve felt it myself. It’s totally logical he would feel that way.

    But the fact that his discomfort is logical does not mean he has a point.