Uncommon Scents is a novel by – why, it’s by me! And by Jim Rowson, a former Google software engineer, who has joined me in writing a a cautionary frolic that has more humor and 80% less dystopia than the average near-future thriller. Jim should not be held responsible for the book’s faults, but we absolutely share responsibility for its stupid humor, which tells you a lot about why we’ve been friends for fifty years.

You can read Uncommon Scents online at www.arrgle.com. Chapter 1 is online now, featuring tiny wizards, chicken piccata (with real piccatas), and tiki torches.

The opening scene features an augmented reality game, something like the Pokemon Go AR game that had people holding their phones up and running around cities all over the world. It looks like this:

“The players would scamper about, crouching behind crumbling stone walls, sprinting for cover behind a rotting log, peering out long enough to aim spells and launch fireballs. Since none of that was visible to anyone who wasn’t running the same game, the players appeared to be cavorting about and waving their arms due to some horrible muscular disorder or possibly severe alcoholism.”

As you read that chapter, it is important for you to know that the book is not about people playing games. For better or worse, this is not our version of Ready Player One.

We’ll be posting a chapter each week until the whole thing is online, finishing up nearly a year from now. We selfishly hope that the pace makes you impatient and so excited about moving forward that you’ll buy a copy so you can binge-read it. Not yet! Give us a couple of weeks to finish setting things up with Amazon for ebook, paperback, and hardcover versions. You’ll want to give them away as Xmas presents, distribute them as prizes at school award ceremonies, and use them to insulate your attic.

Sign up for the newsletter. We’re going to send out an email each week when a new chapter is posted, with updates about the book and whatever else occurs to us, plus links to news about AR. It will be the most harmless kind of spam. After you sign up, look for the welcome message in your spam folder and whitelist it so you don’t miss it.

It’s a fun story! You’ll want to have read it before next year’s meetings of the Pulitzer committee so you’re able to tell people, “Oh, yeah, I read it before it was optioned by Spielberg.”

I should explain the name. Arrgle is the giant tech company in our story. Arrgle developed nanobots that allow everyone to experience digital augmented reality all the time, no glasses required. The company has become rich and powerful by giving away the AR technology, then selling advertising.

The name Arrgle makes me happy for four important reasons:

(1) it sounds like “Apple” and “Google” squished together.

(2) It has AR in it – augmented reality, get it?

(3) It’s silly and it sounds like a pirate named the company.

(4) I was able to register the name arrgle.com.

Good name, eh?

In case it’s not obvious, retirement from consulting is going well so far. I’m having the time of my life. If you try to reach us, we’ll be working on the next book, tentatively titled “Scents And Sensibility.”

Enjoy reading Uncommon Scents! It’s not for everyone. It might not be for almost anyone. But I wrote it especially for you, loyal friends and clients, so read it and pretend to enjoy it because I know you’d hate to feel responsible for crushing our tender egos.

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