Normal Service Has Now Been Resumed.

Yes, yes. Bender Bending Rodriguez (Bending Unit 22, Unit Number 1729, Serial Number 2716057) is right.

Mark Zuckerberg has finally, FINALLY come to his senses and restored all the posts to the HowToWinGameShows Facebook page.

I bet he was probably having sleepless nights. It must have taken a heavy toll on old MZ. He had to eventually crack; I mean, he’s only human. I bet he woke up screaming yesterday, simply unable to bear any more of the crushing, soul-deadening, bone-aching sheer MORTIFICATION

of mildly inconveniencing the 82 people who follow it.

Oh, and I guess perhaps the 11th hour deal with the Australian government and various media organisations might have had something to do with it, too.

Either way, the HTWGS Facebook page is now BACK, so you can triumphantly go there and get all the latest HTWGS news that’s just directly copied off this blog anyway…

The news that also automatically pops up on Twitter and LinkedIn as soon as it pops up here…

Hm.

What was I worried about again?

Hmmm… I don’t think I’m too happy about this.

Hello, just a quick one today to let you know that Facebook seems to have removed all of my posts from the HowToWinGameShows.com Facebook page.

(https://www.facebook.com/Howtowingameshows/)

It looks like they’ve decided I fall under the category of “Australian News”, and so… that’s it. Nearly 8 years’ worth of posts over there just… suddenly… gone. I guess the Facebook posts were mainly just duplicates of the information here, and it’s not as if the page has TONS of followers, but it still made me sit up and take notice. Am I, technically, “Australian news”? Maybe I am.

But am I, though?

This ongoing stoush between Facebook and the Australian media (and government) does seem to keep evolving and changing, so I’ll monitor developments and keep you updated.

What do you think? Should HowToWinGameShows.com be part of Facebook’s blanket ban on Australian news? Is what they’ve done fair enough?

Or is it another classic example of Zuckerberg Overreach*?

Please let me know – either in the comments here, or over on Twitter. I’d love to know what you reckon!

 

* Zuckerberg Overreach = overenthusiastic censorship, NOT an obscure amateur mountain-climbing maneuver.

Contestants wanted for a new quiz show!

Hello!

Hey, if you’re in Melbourne, there’s a new quiz show coming up that’s looking for contestants right now! They’ll be shooting the show – Quizical – in April and May, but details about the show are a little vague at this stage. It’s being made by BBC Studios Australia, and they’re looking for “individuals who aren’t afraid to have some fun, have a friendly but competitive nature and who can answer quiz questions or have a good time trying. The only thing we ask you to bring is a positive attitude and be ready to have some laughs.”

Applications are open until April 9th, and you can apply RIGHT HERE.

… And the very best of luck to you!

Now, here’s a great new podcast!

Hello! Just a quick post this week to heartily, heartily recommend a new podcast created by two young friends of mine; the brilliant comedy writers and performers Andy Matthews and Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall.

It’s called The Pop Test, and if you’re in Australia, you can listen to it on ABC Radio National, and if you’re anywhere else in the world, you can listen to it as a podcast. (You can listen to it as a podcast if you’re Australia too, obvs.)

The Pop Test is a fast-paced – and very funny – half-hour quiz show covering various subjects in science. The questions are difficult and often abstruse, but Andy and Alasdair’s brilliant gag-writing and improvisation make the time fly by, and there are always a lot of laughs to be had. Each week, they welcome a different group of comedians, and a lot of the fun comes from listening to these guests struggle to answer the tricky, esoteric questions – or at least come up with amusing bluffs or tangents.

I suspect this is very much an ‘iceberg show’ – I’d estimate that nine-tenths of the work is below the surface. The breezy half-hour swings by so quickly that you don’t always realise just how thoughtful, surprising and expertly crafted Andy and Alasdair’s jokes are. The way they formulate the questions, the way they reveal the answers, the way they introduce the players and the way they explain the game… if you listen carefully, you’ll realise just how well written these elements are. You’re never more than a couple of seconds away from a really clever gag. And when you add the hosts’ great improvisational skills, and that panel of funny people in the contestants’ seats, you’re onto a real winner!

So there you go. The Pop Test; on ABC Radio National, or wherever you get your podcasts. Do yourself a favour. Along the way, you might even learn a thing or two about science that could serve you well in future quizzes…

Aaaand that’s it for this week. (I told you it was a quick post.)

See you next time!

A free eBook for you?

Quite possibly, my friend… quite possibly!

The cover of my debut novel ‘Symphony Under Siege’!

If you’re in the US or Canada, and you’d like to get your hands on a free eBook copy of my novel Symphony Under Siege, I’m running a GoodReads Giveaway where I’m giving away 100 copies. Winners will be drawn at random on February 5th, and all the details are right here…..

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Symphony Under Siege by Stephen Hall

Symphony Under Siege

by Stephen Hall

Giveaway ends February 05, 2021.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Thanks for your time, and I’ll be back next time with proper game show-related news (I promise).

Oh, and one more thing, 007…

Good luck.

2021? BRING IT ON, BABY!

What can we say about 2020? Well, to quote my favourite self-published author*…

Of course, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed – and will continue to change – Everything As We Know It. But I’m not going to talk about that here today; you can read more about that…

Well, pretty much everywhere, as it turns out.

As I look back over the year here at HTWGS.com, I see there were a few wins…

BUT…

What I DIDN’T do in 2020 was finish my second, more autobiographical HowToWinGameShows.com eBook: Tales From The Shiny Floor. I’m so sorry about that. I know I promised it ages ago. Next year, for sure.

I’m afraid that this year, all my authoring and self-publishing energy was devoted to getting my first novel Symphony Under Siege out into the world. But now that’s done, and out there, I can turn my attention to delivering on my promise to you.

And speaking of Promise… I hope that, wherever you are, 2021 fulfils its promise to you.

I hope it’s a safer, saner, healthier and kinder year than 2020. In short, I hope that 2021 is better than 2020. (Let’s face it – it couldn’t be much worse…)

But whatever 2021 may bring, I’d just like to take this opportunity now to thank you so much once again for your support of this site, and wish you and yours a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

See you next year!

Stephen.

* Did you know that Charles Dickens actually self-published A Christmas Carol (one of his biggest hits)?

Well, he did. And I’ve always found that fact (along with the fact that he wrote most of his novels in serialised form, publishing the chapters in monthly magazines before officially publishing the full bound volumes) profoundly inspirational.

(Because… you know… that’s what I did.)

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Me as Darius Horsham / The Ghost of Christmas Present from ‘Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell: Pagan Holiday Special’ (Now streaming on ABC iView!)

Hello! As per the headline above, I’d just like to take this opportunity to wish you all the Compliments of the Season.

As we all stagger towards the end of this disastrous and tragic year, I fervently hope you can find some solace and contentment in the company of family and friends, either in person, or remotely. Love doesn’t quite conquer all, but I believe it’s the best weapon we’ve got.

I thank you for your support. And after whatever hardships or challenges you’ve experienced this year – and we’ve all experienced some – I bring you tidings of comfort and joy.

Comfort and joy.

Tidings of comfort and joy.

Sending love.

Stephen.

Okay, so this isn’t strictly about game shows, but it IS about games…

There’s a wonderful BBC4 podcast that I subscribe to, called The Infinite Monkey Cage. It’s hosted by the physicist Brian Cox and the comedian Robin Ince, and it aims to make a wide variety of science subjects accessible and entertaining. The show’s always educational, often very funny, and I’d highly recommend it to… well, to pretty much anyone who has any curiosity whatsoever about the universe.

This recent episode was all about games and the science behind them. I found it interesting, informative and amusing, and I wanted to share it with you.

You’re welcome.

Here’s the detailed description of this episode, from its website:

How To Beat The House And Win At Games.
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by mathematicians Hannah Fry and Alex Bellos, psychologist Richard Wiseman and games enthusiast Helen Zaltzman, to get their top tips for winning games and solving puzzles. Do mathematicians make better Poker players, or is psychology the key to the ultimate poker face? Will a knowledge of probability give you the ultimate winning strategy for your next game of Monopoly? (the answer is yes!). How old are the oldest puzzles, and why do they involve wolves and cabbages? And how have puzzles involving wolves, cabbages and bridges resulted in the development of whole new branches of mathematics? 

Enjoy!

AAaaaand that’s all for this week. See you next time,

Stephen

Today is LAUNCH DAY!

IT’S HERE!

My science fiction adventure novel Symphony Under Siege is finally, finally here!

It’s an eBook,

It’s now LIVE on Amazon all over the world, and

It’s $4.99.

The cover of my debut novel ‘Symphony Under Siege’!

And I’m a little bit excited. Can you tell?

May 17th, 2019 – when I published the very first chapter online – seems like a lifetime ago now. Since I finished that rough first draft on May 8th this year, I’ve cut and edited and polished and tweaked and re-arranged and re-ordered the thing to within in an inch of its life. The 310-page Amazon eBook I’m launching today is the end product.

I’m equal parts nervous and excited about sending my brainchild out into the world. All I can do is spread the word and hope for the best, I suppose! To give you an idea of what the story’s about, here’s the book description (aka its blurb):

512 YEARS IN THE FUTURE.

NOT YOUR TYPICAL THURSDAY MORNING.

FIVE CENTURIES FROM NOW, EX-NAVY OFFICER DIANA SINGH COMMANDS THE MONUMENTAL LUXURY SPACELINER THE SYMPHONY OF THE STARS. NONE OF HER CREW KNOWS THAT THEIR SHIP IS SMUGGLING A TREASURE WORTH MILLIONS.

NONE OF THEM KNOWS WHICH ONE OF THEM IS THE SERIAL KILLER.

AS CAPTAIN SINGH PILOTS THE MIGHTY CRUISE SHIP BACK TO BASE, SHE RACES TO UNMASK THE MURDERER IN THEIR MIDST BEFORE THEY CAN KILL AGAIN.

SO, NOT THE MOST CONVENIENT TIME TO BE ATTACKED BY PIRATES…

“I AM CAPTAIN SALAZAR SHARP, HERE TO CLAIM WHAT IS WRONGFULLY MINE!” FOR THE FLAMBOYANT LEADER OF THE PIRATES, INFILTRATING THE SYMPHONY IS A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY.

BUT THE SECRET TREASURE THAT COULD MAKE HIM AND HIS CREW FILTHY RICH IS ONLY THE BEGINNING; HIS ULTIMATE GOAL IS A FAR GREATER PRIZE…

SYMPHONY UNDER SIEGE IS A WITTY SCI-FI ADVENTURE PACKED WITH HEROIC EXPLOITS, TWISTS AND TURNS, NAIL-BITING CLIFFHANGERS AND DARING ESCAPES.

IF YOU LIKE ROLLICKING, FAST-PACED SCI-FI WITH A SENSE OF HUMOUR, THEN YOU’LL LOVE THIS EXUBERANT DEBUT NOVEL FROM VETERAN TV COMEDY WRITER STEPHEN HALL.

BUY SYMPHONY UNDER SIEGE TODAY, AND GET ON BOARD THE ADVENTURE!

And that’s it for today. No game show related news, I’m afraid – this has pushed it all off the front page.

When I return, though, I will get back on topic. I promise.

Cheers,

Stephen

 

When it comes to great quiz show champions…

…. they don’t get much greater than Jeopardy!’s official Greatest Of All Time champion, Ken Jennings. 

And today I just quickly wanted to let you know about an interview with him that I really enjoyed.

If you don’t know about Ken’s achievements by now, back in 2004 he completed a record-setting 74-night winning streak on Jeopardy!, picking up $2,520,700 along the way. Since then, he’s returned to the show to play in various winners’ tournaments. These extra appearances culminated in his winning the tournament this year that earned him the title of Greatest Of All Time (oh, and a $1,000,000 cash prize.) All in all, Ken’s quiz show winnings over the years add up to a whopping US$5,223,414!

In this 42-minute interview, Ken is chatting to economist and author Steve Levitt (of Freakonomics podcast fame; he’s also co-author of the Freakonomics books). It’s a comprehensive discussion, touching on Ken’s journey, his techniques and his thoughts on what makes the great ones truly great… and a whole lot more besides. I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I did!
And that’s it for this week.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to putting the final, final finishing touches on my novel…
 for its release on Amazon in just
6 days,
14 hours
and 54 minutes’ time! 😬😬
I’ll check in with you again a week from now, by which time my baby will be out in the world!!