Will you help our hemp leaf emoji campaign?


Hemp is a wonder plant, so let’s recognise that with an emoji

Hemp is a hot plant in 2021, and its popularity is growing. Hemp is truly a wonder plant, capable of saving the world from climate disaster. An acre of hemp can absorb 9 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere in just one season. And the products made from hemp, such as fuels and plastics, can displace oil from our lives altogether. Hemp can also be used to make nutritious foods, sustainable fabrics, even hempcrete for housing construction.

We want a hemp leaf emoji to be part of the emoji alphabet

The emoji alphabet has become a new language, a new way to communicate. A picture can replace many words, and we can invent new meanings for pictures. Emojis are easy, and they’re fun. So, as emojis become an ever more important language, we want hemp to be part of the conversation. Hemp is a key part of the future for a sustainable world, one with nature at its heart. Unicode, the organisation that decides on emojis, is not accepting new emoji submissions until 02 April 2021. We aim to send our submission for a hemp leaf emoji on that date. Are you ready to help?

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Lockdown Dreams – free flash fiction ebook for you

Bestselling author, Gary J Byrnes, started this crazy Readathriller hemp offset project. But he keeps writing fiction on the side, mainly late at night, as we all pass through this feverish pandemic. Inspired by lockdown, these ten dreamy, super-short tales can be enjoyed on any digital reading device, and can be downloaded right now, for free, from Smashwords. You can also download this ebook for free from Apple Books here.

If you like the stories, please rate and share. Have a great day now!

You can get LOCKDOWN DREAMS in any ebook format from Smashwords, including Mobi for Kindle. You can also read it online, instantly.


Enjoy on any Apple device in seconds.

David Attenborough has a must-watch film on Netflix, A Life on Our Planet


David Attenborough and his emotional call to action

David Attenborough has got to be one of the most-loved people in the world, and he’s part of the fabric of our lives. So his new Netflix film, A Life on Our Planet, comes at just the right time. Just when we think we’re finished, Attenborough delivers the good news that it’s not too late if we act now. He has a vision. And it’s not that complicated. We must halt the growth in the world’s population. We must intensify efforts to create no-fishing zones. We must change our meat-eating obsession. For it’s no longer ‘just’ about saving the planet, it’s about saving humanity.

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Vampire kiss for you: shocking, free short film, soundtrack, ebook


I had the idea for Vampire Story a couple of years back, to tie Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, in with modern vampires living in Stoker’s hometown of Dublin. I didn’t realise how big the project would become. Making a film, even a short one, is a piece of work. Dozens of talented people, location permits, equipment hire, the weather, the script – all these have to come together at the right time for magic to even stand a chance of happening. But the magic did happen and we have a vampire’s kiss available now for all the world to see, for free.

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Free ebooks for you! Digital bestsellers all free until we get the vaccine


Free ebooks to help you get through the pandemic

Times are tough, shit even. One of the best things we can do to get through this is to read great stories, ideally as free ebooks that are great for the planet and great for your mind. We can also be kinder to each other, do some good, imagine what the world could be like if we didn’t mindlessly participate in an economic system that chews up the planet, spits out crap we don’t actually need, and imprisons us all in debt slavery. So here’s a small step towards something better.

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The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – Book review, how to survive it


What is ‘surveillance capitalism’? Your future behaviour is the product

Shoshana Zuboff’s book is essential reading for anyone who has a smartphone or uses the internet. So, pretty much everyone should read this. When the product is free, then you are the product. This truism is taken to a new level by surveillance capitalism. Now, your predictable future behaviour is the product.

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Urgent manifesto for human resistance to AI, algorithms and tech domination, #ResistAI


Manifesto and call-to-arms to prevent a dystopia in which humans become unnecessary, or serve machines

This Manifesto is about defining a simple, clear and direct set of rules for the people and companies that construct artificial intelligence, algorithms and technology.

This Manifesto aims to prevent a dystopia where: humans are governed by AI and algorithms; where tech’s appetites for resources and power have destroyed the environment; and where surveillance capitalism knows no boundaries.

All humans are invited to contribute to this manifesto and to share its ideas, for the benefit of all humankind and nature.

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A dystopian story, PET. Free download, any digital book format


Want a chilling vision of a possible future? Get this free dystopian story by bestselling writer Gary J Byrnes right now

Down the rabbit hole…

Read this dystopian short story now and see if ten minutes of fiction can make you rethink everything. Find it here on Smashwords, free in any ebook format, or you can just read online!

Get PET on Apple Books here.

Get PET for Kindle here.

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How to get your book published. Write like George Orwell, scifi, fantasy


So you want to get your book published?

You’ve always wanted to get your book published, but you just never had the time, right? So, now that we’re in a pandemic and can’t do shit, you feel that this is your moment? Good for you! So let’s get your writing out into the world! First question: Have you actually written a decent story? If yes, skip down the page to the Smashwords bit. If no, then what’s keeping you? Let’s do this!

We’re hardwired to listen to and to tell stories. Our love of stories is both humanity’s blessing and our curse. It’s our blessing because stories have helped us to communicate at scale and to share wisdom more effectively. It’s our curse because stories make us easier to control. Think religion, dictatorships, political manifestos, ads for things we don’t need.

The self-publishing revolution has opened up publishing to everyone. In just the past decade, we have been given free tools that allow us to share our stories with billions of people. This is the most radical change in publishing since Gutenberg (printing press, 1440) and has enabled success stories such as 50 Shades of Grey, which started out as a self-published title. Getting your book out into the world might just connect you with literary agents and publishers, but the real joy is the guarantee that you will connect with readers. Here’s how…

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How to find the meaning of life, the sheer awesomeness of you


13.8 billion years

The meaning of life can’t be found without an understanding of where you came from. The Universe that we know came into existence around 13.8 billion years ago. Nobody knows for sure. It was a Big Bang alright. Out of nothing came nature’s simplest element, Hydrogen, filling the Universe. With just one proton, one neutron and one electron, Hydrogen is an explosive gas. You are one-tenth hydrogen. You are literally the Big Bang. Boom!

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420 is a demand for change. Legalize hemp and cannabis worldwide now


What 420 means, origin story

In 1971, five high school students in San Rafael, California, used the term in connection with a plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop, based on a treasure map made by the grower (sounds like a movie waiting to happen). The group called themselves The Waldos, met after school at 4:20 PM, and were later popularised by High Times magazine. Now 420, 4/20 or 4:20 (pronounced four-twenty) is used as a general slang or codeword for smoking cannabis, and also represents April 20, an annual occasion for cannabis activities, including pro-legalization marches where it is still illegal.

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Beautiful news: Some cool stuff for you


The world can and will be better soon. To deal with the coronavirus we need to minimise infections by social distancing, until the vaccine is produced and widely available. And the news is good, with curve-flattening measures working, and a vaccine formula innovated, just this week. Longer-term, people should be discouraged from eating wild animals, or animals from unhygienic markets. This is to ensure that Covid-19’s cousin doesn’t come along next. We’d need a new vaccine for that.

So let’s rethink how we do things, while recognising that the future is ours to build. Check out some of these three amazing things that will help shape your fabulous future. Ways to grow, cash to be won, and some beautiful news. Share the love and share your own great tips! Check back here often for more good news, or sign up for post alerts!

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Adam and Eve: The greatest lie prevents true equality


“Adam and Eve is the greatest lie ever told. We were all female in the womb. So the male is made from the female, not the other way round. Always. Systemic inequality in law, religion and society is not just morally wrong, it’s Bronze Age, batshit crazy, and science disproves its basis. We must accept that our foundation stories are mostly lies. Or misogyny, the deluded punishment of all women for what Eve did in a story, will remain acceptable in most human societies.”

– Gary J Byrnes, March 2020.
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Facebook says no


Facebook’s double standards: It bans our ‘Trump is the Antichrist’ ads but runs Trump’s re-election campaign lies

Can you believe these guys? “I had a look at your ad account and unfortunately we won’t be able to re-enable it.” Meanwhile, Facebook peddles Trump lies and disinformation with impunity. Maybe they thought our article on Trump being the Antichrist was serious. Well, it isn’t. It’s much bigger than that.

Read our article about Trump, Nostradamus, the Bible and the Antichrist, and how old stories can be twisted any way you want.

Facebook wants to ban this story

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Is Trump the Antichrist from Nostradamus and Bible predictions?


Nostradamus, what can you tell us about the 21st century in your plaguey, medieval French dialect?

Was Nostradamus right? Our investigation will startle you

Is Donald Trump the Antichrist that Nostradamus predicted, and are we now in the ‘End Times’? You could be forgiven for thinking that the end of the world was upon us, with R.E.M.’s song sounding apt on the radio, some American Christians calling President Trump The Second Coming, and new Bible-scale catastrophes every day. Including actual plagues of locusts in East Africa. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t all so tragic. So what we’ve done is bring together some parts of the Book of Revelation from the Bible and some Nostradamus verses to see if these really are apocalyptic times. What can we learn from the stories of the past? Read on…

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The 2010s reviewed: 9/11; digital mind control; a global awakening on climate change


2010s events. What happened?

Jesus wept. What a decade. While a ton of nasty shit went down in the 2010s, we must resist the temptation to wrap our minds up in binge-watched box sets. We can work harder to understand why things are the way they are, and actively embrace the ideas and actions that can make the world better at scale.

9/11 and the Long War

The Saudi regime has benefited most from the September 11, 2001 attacks on the USA. That nearly all the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi is pure coincidence. From Iraq to Syria to Libya, all its regional rivals are now in tatters. Only Iran remains, so expect that rivalry to keep getting hotter. The Arab Spring kicked off the decade, a groundswell of hope leading to only one successful transition to democracy: Tunisia. The Syrian War began in 2011, leading to the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) declaring a ‘worldwide caliphate’ in 2014. The caliphate lost its last pocket of territory in Syria in 2019, and its leader al-Baghdadi was also killed. Who funded and inspired IS? The finger has been pointed at Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. As is usual in these cases, follow the money, look at who has benefited most from Islamic State’s despicable, hardline Sunni Islam philosophy and the current disarray in the Middle East.

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Guernica by Picasso and climate change


Can art save us from catastrophe?

I was in Madrid for the first time in November 2019, just before COP25, and was blown away by the food and the art. Picasso’s Guernica, in the Museo Reina Sofia, was the main event, a stunning depiction of man’s stupidity stripped bare. When the COP25 UN Climate Change Conference was moved to Madrid, the art’s symbolism was even more pronounced. So we must ask, can art save us from catastrophe? Or is it too late?

Guernica by Picasso

If you’ve been disappointed by little Mona Lisa in the Louvre, fear not. Guernica really does live up to the hype. It’s enormous, in a room on its own in the fabulous Museo Reina Sofia, and without hordes of annoying tourists elbowing their way to the front. You can really take the time to enjoy the work, which was painted by Picasso in his Cubist style, with multiple meanings and impressions to be drawn from its monochrome fabulousness. Painted in 1937, Picasso created what is the greatest anti-war work of art and possibly the great work of art of the 20th century. Sadly, the Spanish Civil War ended in a fascist victory. Picasso stated that Guernica would not return to Spain until his homeland was once again a republic. Picasso died in 1973, and the Spanish dictator Franco died in 1975, when Spain became a constitutional monarchy. MOMA in New York was in possession of Guernica at that time and argued that a monarchy was not truly a republic, so the painting should not return to Spain. This was a very fair point. But MOMA relented, and Guernica returned to Spain in 1981.

What can Guernica tell us?

Guernica was a doomed attempt to draw the world’s attention to the horrors of the Spanish War. The painting depicts the 1937 bombing of the Basque town of Guernica by Nazi and Italian fascist bombers. The work has a huge, brooding presence and is full of horrors, both seen and unseen. This was Spain saying to the world: “Our democratically-elected Government is being overthrown by fascists and the Germans have no hesitation in wading in, visiting death from our skies. Think where this could end up!”

It ended up in World War Two, the greatest conflict in human history. Yet many could see it coming. We are now at our Guernica moment on the climate. COP25 aims to put a robust carbon-trading system in place so that we can pull back from the brink of a 2C degree temperature rise. We welcome this policy, as our goal is to make trading in hemp CO2 offsets as easy as ordering a pizza. We look forward to working with the UN, and partners all over the world, to make our vision a reality: We will end the climate crisis by using plants to absorb CO2.

And that’s a vision we believe is worth fighting for.

Update, 20 December 2019

Cancel the ‘burning twenties’

COP25, the Madrid climate conference was a failure. Because of a lot of misunderstandings, selfishness and confusion, we’re headed for a temperature increase of 3C by 2030. Our mission here is to prevent a 2 degrees C increase in global temperature by planting hemp on 5% of land. A 2C increase is considering the tipping point. So a projected 3C rise would be disastrous. We must redouble our efforts. Let’s make sure that the new decade isn’t referred to by future historians as the ‘burning twenties’.

If we don’t do something more, our world will literally and metaphorically go up in smoke.

Learn more

COP25 website: https://unfccc.int/cop25

#COP25 on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hashtag/cop25?lang=en

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guernica_(Picasso)

Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museo_Nacional_Centro_de_Arte_Reina_Sof%C3%ADa

Our vision


Guernica by PICASSO, la exposición del Reina-Prado. Guernica is in the collection of Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid. Source page: http://www.picassotradicionyvanguardia.com/08R.php (archive.org), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1683114

It’s Blade Runner month, November 2019, live it


But it’s so 90s


In the novel, Rick Deckard is sent to track down replicants in San Francisco – in 1992. The book was written around 1967 by Philip K Dick, and had one of the best titles ever: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 1992 was 25 years ahead of the time of writing.

When Ridley Scott directed the ubiquitous, sci-fi noir drama, Blade Runner, in Los Angeles in 1982, the location was changed to LA, and the date to November 2019. 2019 sounded so next century in 1982, a whopping 37 years ahead in real-time, and 27 years later than the book’s setting. It’s all enough to give anyone a Philip K Dick-sized headache!

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Storytellers! Help us tell the world a great story


It’s a story about how the common people of the world come together to fix the mess made by crooked, oil-sodden dictators, soulless corporations that plunder the planet to benefit only shareholders, and politicians that can’t see beyond the next election. The very existence of the human species, and all the other life that shares our planet, is at stake. So this story is a thriller. The clock is ticking. Can you hear it?

You want an existential crisis? Well, guess what? You’re living it, along with every other person in the world! No wonder so many people are starting to lose it. So many people need your help, and now.

We don’t mind what medium you use or what your skill level is. What’s important is that you care enough about saving the world from climate change, giving every living creature a chance.

Get in touch on our contact form with your ideas, or email us at hello@readathriller.com if you have attachments.

Calling all storytellers

So, do you:

  • Want to be a sustainability storyteller in any medium?
  • Want to write a post for this site? Any topic welcome, including sustainable lifestyle, environmental politics, hemp, cannabis, popular culture, fiction.
  • Want to create photos and/or graphics?
  • Want to make short and feature-length films?
  • Want to create music, sounds or smells?
  • Want to do graphic design for print (magazine coming soon!)?
  • Want to create powerful promotional and advertising assets? Think growth-hacking.
  • Want to create memorable and shareable social content?
  • Want to do something else that will make a measurable difference?

Gary J Byrnes, Contributing Editor for this site, is ready to help make your work awesomer, so don’t hold back.

Preparing and editing text, we use the Guardian and Observer Style Guide, really useful for figuring out how to style your writing for maximum clarity.

If you don’t want to commit just yet, here are some other easy wins for you:

  • Share this site and any of our posts on social.
  • Keep coming back, keep sharing.
  • Sign up for our email newsletter. It’s awesome and free!
  • Browse our sustainable marketplace, with free shipping and a hemp plant planted for every purchase.
  • Tell your friends. Maybe they’d like to contribute?

What are you waiting for? The world isn’t going to save itself.

Share your finished work, story ideas or creative work with us today. Email hello@readathriller.com. We can’t wait to share your work with the world!


Image credit

Hemingway typewriter: Acroterion [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Live dystopia, as it happens


Future Shocks is a revolutionary, new form of digital, quantum fiction, with real-time story extension, real-world participative experience and a Schrödinger’s cat experiment

The first science fiction title by bestselling writer Gary J Byrnes, Future Shocks is designed to startle the reader with quantum-sized, thrilling stories of a future where human cloning, algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) take the human species into a disturbing dystopia. Future Shocks is available for Kindle, priced at £0.99, direct from all Amazon stores.

Live extension of the story, updated daily

The reader’s shock is compounded by a live extension of the book, an algorithm-curated daily digital magazine – Existential Daily – that brings the elements of Future Shocks into disturbing focus: this is reality, often stranger than the fiction itself. Existential Daily is updated every day, so readers will always have a disturbingly-immediate experience.

#ResistAI – A Manifesto for the human resistance

Reading Future Shocks is helpful, but not imperative, in understanding how algorithms, AI and all-pervading technology is shaping our world in unexpected ways. So that we don’t wake up until it’s too late, a Manifesto for the human resistance has been drafted. Key to the manifesto is the Hippocratic Oath for Tech Workers, which is designed to make individuals and corporations think hard while building the digital future.

Do you dare to open the box?

Schrödinger’s cat is a story element in Future Shocks. Erwin Schrödinger’s thought experiment has become a trope in popular culture, but one which very few people truly understand. At the end of Future Shocks, armed with a deeper understanding of the experiment, the reader is invited to open the box.

Hot links

Future Shocks on Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/ie/book/future-shocks/id1481744405

Future Shocks on Smashwords (every digital format): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/960288

Future Shocks on Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/future-shocks-gary-j-byrnes/1133851816?ean=2940163347759

Future Shocks on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=H46yDwAAQBAJ

Future Shocks on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X89T9LF

Read the live, algorithm-curated, daily Future Shocks magazine. Experience the stories in Future Shocks come to life in real-time. Updated daily.

#ResistAI. A Manifesto for a Hippocratic Oath for technology workers.

Real-time Schrodinger’s Cat experiment. The cat is in the box with a vial of poison that may have been released by a radioactive decay event. Until you observe it, the cat is both alive and dead. Now open the box…

Every purchase of Future Shocks by Gary J Byrnes (Readathriller.com’s founder) means a hemp plant planted, and a step closer to solving the climate crisis. Full range of sustainable, lifestyle and hemp products on the Readathriller marketplace.