A Dallas rare coin dealer claims he has written the first novel ever published in cyberspace before appearing in hard copy. James Halperin of Heritage Rare Coin Galleries calls The Truth Machine, his first work of fiction, a “speculative novel” that explores this question: What if you always knew when someone was lying- and they in turn knew if you were shaving the truth?
Until October, the entire book-all 330 pages and 110,000 words-can be read for free on the World Wide Web at http:// www. truthma -chine.com, The hardback, by IvyPress of Dallas, will cost $19.95 when it’s released in October. Halperin, 43, says he did it as an experiment, hoping that prospective buyers will sample the book and spread good word-of-mouth. More than 4,000 people had visited the site by mid-July, according to Halperin.
“I think it’s going to be a marketing paradigm,” Halperin says, “Books are going to be put out there [on the Internet] to get the buzz going.”
But Halperin hopes that the book itself doesn’t get lost in the cyberbuzz. By the end of his story, people are wearing “truth machines” on their watches. “Eventually, it becomes almost a cybernetic appendage. The divorce rate goes way up the first year,” Halperin says. “But many people can’t deal with the truth. Virtually everybody in the world has committed some illegal act.”