Discussion:
Tracking the re-Emergence of David R. Palmer
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John Schilling
2008-05-26 20:41:29 UTC
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Two very promising novellas, published in _Analog_ andboth nominated for
the Hugo.

One fix-up novel, built around the novellas and very nearly living up to
their promise, also nominated for the Hugo.

And one thoroughly wretched novel, never nominated for any award I am
aware of.

Palmer actuallly promised us a sequel to that last, but thankfully
dropped off the face of the Earth for twenty or so years instead.


As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.

The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?


Actually, there's a fair number of people here who weren't reading
science fiction twenty years ago, so maybe the first question is,
"what's all the fuss about?"

_Emergence_, which I went ahead and reread in preparation for the
sequel, purports to be the diary of one Candy Smith-Foster, a
precocious eleven-year-old girl. And apparently the last survivor
of the human race, on account of having been reading all the forbidden
books in Daddy's absurdly well-furnished bomb shelter when the bombs
started falling and various plagues were unleashed upon the world.

Appearances turn out to be wrong - Candy can't be the last survivor
of the human race, on account of not actually being human. She's a
member of a new transhuman species, belatedly recognized as such by
her scientist father and enrolled some years back in the Secret Program
To Study And Educate The New Supermen. A survivor not just because of
the bomb shelter, but because the biological weapons which depopulated
the world were very carefully tailored to affect only H. Sapiens. And
not alone, because she's got the membership list from the aforementioned
Secret Program...

So, a fusion of two classic genres - the post-apocalyptic Last Man On
Earth (almost), and the Emergent Supermen. The heroine being a precocious
child is one of the classic dodges around the nigh-impossibility of a
merely human writer convincingly writing a superhuman character.

It fits together, into a story that is still memorable (and for the most
part memorably good) twenty years later. OK, especially on rereading,
the biology behind the emergence of the Supermen is rather implausible,
but in SF we're expected to believe at least one implausible thing before
breakfast.


And it starts to fall apart towards the end. The original novellas
dealt with Candy's solo trek across a depopulated landscape, trying
to figure out what happened to all the other supermen who should have
survived and whose names and addresses she has. Meeting a handful
of lone survivors in similar situations. Great stuff, very well
written. The diary-style writing, complete with a sort of shorthand
that allegedly represents a superchild's attempt at dealing with the
inefficiencies of English, fits perfectly[2].

In filling out the tale to full novel length, Palmer had to add
material, much of it of inferior quality. In particular, the story
almost has to end with Candy actually finding the community of
Supermen Survivors she has been looking for, and that means the
author can't keep using the Super-Child dodge any more. There was
a bit too much idiot-plotting for my taste the first time I read it,
and I caught more this time around. These are no Supermen[3].

And the Gratuituous Evil Overlord to be defeated, that didn't really
fit. The World-Killing Orbital Battle Station with Defenses Designed
Around A Direct, Large-Scale Assault such that a Small, One Man, er,
Child Fighter Should Be Able To Penetrate, yeah, I could have done
without that.

There was also one aspect of the story where making the heroine a
child on the edge of puberty, didn't quite work. In any Not Quite
Lone Survivor of the Apocalypse tale, it's hard to avoid dealing
with the fact that meetings between almost-lone-survivors are going
to be heavily influenced by the, "this person I've just met may be
my absolute last chance ever to have sex with an actual human being"
dynamic. An author can make that work for them, if he has characters
that the audience will favor as romantic partners. And of course
unrequited lust towards an *adult* female protagonist is classic,
dramatically effective villain behavior. There's no good way to make
any of that work with an eleven-year-old girl, and while Palmer doesn't
sink nearly to, say, Piers Anthony's level in that area, it is a
weakness.

And, ultimately, even without creepy sexual aspects, one can only take
so much of a precociously cute little girl, and a full-length novel
turns out to be just a bit too much.


So, we've got a sequel. Is it

A: a return to the style and spirit of the original, superb, novellas?

B: a continuation of the decline we saw towards the end of _Emergence_?

C: _Emergence_ as written by the author of _Threshold_?


With only a third in hand so far, it's impossible to tell for sure. But,
fortunately, I think we can rule out C.


The story, takes place perhaps a few weeks after the conclusion of
_Emergence_, wherein Candy Smith-Foster destroyed the Death Star,
Saved The World, and, well, OK, there weren't enough Supermen in that
community for the full Leni Riefenstahl experience at the end, but it's
pretty clear that she is regarded as that kind of hero.

So, I'm very very glad to see her leave the Community of Really Dumb
Supermen in the first act, returning the story to a Lone Supergirl on
a Quest Through the Postapocalyptic Landscape. That's the only sort
of story we know Palmer can write well.

The excuse being, new intelligence has come in that Candy's beloved
daddy didn't die in the apocalypse, but was captured by the Evil Rooskie
Commie Conspiracy that was responsible for the whole thing, and is being
held in their Secret Lair.

OK, two problems there, one minor, one major. The minor problem, is
that Evil Russian Communists are a rather less credible adversary now
than they were in 1984. And there are enough specific 21st-century
references that we are clearly being asked to accept the entire story
as now being set in 2008, not in an alternate 1984. But I can live
with that - Russia still exists, and it's still got communists, nuclear
missiles, and biological weapons, so we can make that work in dramatic
terms.

The major problem is, it sets us up for an endgame where Candy has to
deal with a community of survivors, and last time I checked Palmer
couldn't write communities of intelligent, competent adults without
resorting to idiot-plottery. Maybe it will work better when he's
dealing with villains. Maybe.


For now, it gives us a chance to get back to the good stuff, as Candy
"borrows" an airplane and flies off, alone, towards Siberia. A
sufficiently arduous journey to give us at least a third of a novel's
worth of the stuff Palmer writes well.

And the good news is, he still does write it well. OK, there's a bit
more gratuitous infodumping regarding e.g. the hardware. Nowhere near
the level of David Weber, and really only annoying because Palmer tends
to get some of the details *wrong*. Not good if you're trying to write
an emerging Superman...

The super-shorthand writing style is tarnished by a few gratuitous big
words that similarly weaken the effect, but I can live with that.

And there are long segments of exposition for the specific benefit of
people who didn't read the original. I can skip over those, and I did,
so I can't say whether they would be any good for the intended purpose.
Really, you should be reading the original novel for that.


Mostly, we get adventuring, arctic bush-flying, decent writing, another
look inside an interesting head, and a couple of new characters that I
think are good additions to the cast. If Palmer can keep this up, I'll
be glad to have him back, and glad I've kept my Analog subscription over
the years.


There are worrisome signs. In addition to those mentioned above, there
are scenes back amongst the Community of Good-Guy Super-Idiots indicating
that they are planning their own mission to Siberia, with a faster plane
that will presumably catch up with our plucky heroine. Hopefully, this
time she'll be smart enough to realize she is better off without them...

And while there's only a slight hint of romance and none at all of sex
in the first installment, there is a warning from the editor that "this
story has scenes some readers may find disturbing". I presume that refers
to something yet to come, and I'm not sure I need to read that part.


But it's looking an awful lot like this will parallel the original novel,
with two good novellas' worth of travelogue and character work at least.
And maybe Palmer will pull off a decent overall plot and ending this
time. If not, I still expect it will be worth the time to read.


Worth a trip to the library and/or newsstand if you're not already a
subscriber? Harder to say, as I haven't finished reading the rest of
the issue yet. There's more good than bad in what I've seen so far
(good: Carl Fredrick's "Exoanthropic Principle", Michael Flynn's "Sand
and Iron", Juliette Wade's "Let the Word Take Me", Maya Bonhoff's
"Junkie". Bad, Bond Elam's "Plethora of Truth", both fact articles,
the editorial, and the "Probability Zero"). Nothing great, nothing
horrible, so far.

Probably worth checking out, if you still remember the original
"Emergence"
fondly.


[1] Not that Gibson's _Neuromancer_ wasn't also a fine choice;
certainly more influential in the genre.

[2] OK, it's been suggested that it mostly represents Palmer's
attempt at getting around the fact that he can't write decent
standard English prose, but whatever works...

[3] Well, Kal-El often enough acted as if he had an IQ around
eighty or so, but I don't think he's the proper role model here.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
****@alumni.usc.edu * for success" *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
Kurt Busiek
2008-05-26 20:49:53 UTC
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Post by John Schilling
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Question. Did you get an advance copy, or is the July ANALOG out?

Your description makes it sound terrific, and I'm on a long plane trop
Wednesday, so if it's out, I'm off to the newsstand...

kdb
Rich Horton
2008-05-26 21:07:22 UTC
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Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by John Schilling
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Question. Did you get an advance copy, or is the July ANALOG out?
Your description makes it sound terrific, and I'm on a long plane trop
Wednesday, so if it's out, I'm off to the newsstand...
It's on newsstands now -- has been for the past week or so.
Kurt Busiek
2008-05-26 21:28:03 UTC
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Post by Rich Horton
Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by John Schilling
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Question. Did you get an advance copy, or is the July ANALOG out?
Your description makes it sound terrific, and I'm on a long plane trop
Wednesday, so if it's out, I'm off to the newsstand...
It's on newsstands now -- has been for the past week or so.
Excellent. Thanks!

kdb
Pubkeybreaker
2008-05-27 15:35:37 UTC
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Post by Rich Horton
As was noted here last month, he's back.  And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Question.  Did you get an advance copy, or is the July ANALOG out?
Your description makes it sound terrific, and I'm on a long plane trop
Wednesday, so if it's out, I'm off to the newsstand...
It's on newsstands now -- has been for the past week or so.
Will the serialization be published as a novel?
Rich Horton
2008-05-27 22:50:26 UTC
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On Tue, 27 May 2008 08:35:37 -0700 (PDT), Pubkeybreaker
Post by Pubkeybreaker
Post by Rich Horton
As was noted here last month, he's back.  And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Question.  Did you get an advance copy, or is the July ANALOG out?
Your description makes it sound terrific, and I'm on a long plane trop
Wednesday, so if it's out, I'm off to the newsstand...
It's on newsstands now -- has been for the past week or so.
Will the serialization be published as a novel?
(Snarky answer: well sure! The serial version is publication as a
novel. But I know what you mean -- will it be published as a book?)

I'm not sure it's been sold to a book publisher yet. Most Analog
serials do get book versions, but not all.
Daphne Brinkerhoff
2008-05-28 01:19:30 UTC
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Post by Rich Horton
On Tue, 27 May 2008 08:35:37 -0700 (PDT), Pubkeybreaker
Post by Pubkeybreaker
Post by Rich Horton
It's on newsstands now -- has been for the past week or so.
Will the serialization be published as a novel?
(Snarky answer: well sure! The serial version is publication as a
novel. But I know what you mean -- will it be published as a book?)
I'm not sure it's been sold to a book publisher yet. Most Analog
serials do get book versions, but not all.
According to this spammy press release from April 21:

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.sf.written/msg/e895b98a9c157d07

It will be published by someone called Wormhole Press. (Of course,
since the URL they gave in that post doesn't work yet, I have doubts.)

--
Daphne
Kurt Busiek
2008-05-28 01:36:37 UTC
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Post by Pubkeybreaker
Post by Rich Horton
As was noted here last month, he's back.  And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Question.  Did you get an advance copy, or is the July ANALOG out?
Your description makes it sound terrific, and I'm on a long plane trop
Wednesday, so if it's out, I'm off to the newsstand...
It's on newsstands now -- has been for the past week or so.
Will the serialization be published as a novel?
It has been announced that it will be published by a publisher no one
has ever heard of and who don't seem to have published anything before.

I'm still kind of hoping it'll be picked up by someone more
established, but in the meantime, I'll get ANALOG...

kdb
John Schilling
2008-05-28 15:16:44 UTC
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Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by Pubkeybreaker
Post by Rich Horton
As was noted here last month, he's back.  And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Question.  Did you get an advance copy, or is the July ANALOG out?
Your description makes it sound terrific, and I'm on a long plane trop
Wednesday, so if it's out, I'm off to the newsstand...
It's on newsstands now -- has been for the past week or so.
Will the serialization be published as a novel?
It has been announced that it will be published by a publisher no one
has ever heard of and who don't seem to have published anything before.
Hey, Wormhole Press is a perfectly legit publisher. In addition to
_Tracking_, they'll be bringing out _A Method for Madness_ later this
summer. The fall lineup includes _Players: The AI War_ and of course,
_Last Dangerous Visions_.

These things happen when your printing press gets stuck in a wormhole...
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
****@alumni.usc.edu * for success" *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
Eric D. Berge
2008-05-29 04:31:30 UTC
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On Wed, 28 May 2008 08:16:44 -0700, John Schilling
Post by John Schilling
Hey, Wormhole Press is a perfectly legit publisher. In addition to
_Tracking_, they'll be bringing out _A Method for Madness_ later this
summer. The fall lineup includes _Players: The AI War_ and of course,
_Last Dangerous Visions_.
Just so long as they don't do a mass-market edition of the complete
works of Abdul Alhazred.
Mike Van Pelt
2008-05-29 05:09:33 UTC
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Hey, Wormhole Press is a perfectly legit publisher. In
addition to _Tracking_, they'll be bringing out _A Method
for Madness_ later this summer. The fall lineup includes
_Players: The AI War_ and of course, _Last Dangerous
Visions_.
What? They don't have "The Geography of Dreams"?
--
Mike Van Pelt | Wikipedia. The roulette wheel of knowledge.
mvp at calweb.com | --Blair P. Houghton
KE6BVH
Anthony Nance
2008-05-28 15:40:55 UTC
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Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by Pubkeybreaker
Post by Rich Horton
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Question. Did you get an advance copy, or is the July ANALOG out?
Your description makes it sound terrific, and I'm on a long plane trop
Wednesday, so if it's out, I'm off to the newsstand...
It's on newsstands now -- has been for the past week or so.
Will the serialization be published as a novel?
It has been announced that it will be published by a publisher no one
has ever heard of and who don't seem to have published anything before.
If it helps anyone any - http://www.wormholebook.com/
- Tony
John Schilling
2008-05-26 21:43:28 UTC
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Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by John Schilling
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Question. Did you get an advance copy, or is the July ANALOG out?
Your description makes it sound terrific, and I'm on a long plane trop
Wednesday, so if it's out, I'm off to the newsstand...
Subscriptions seem to hit my mailbox before newsstand copys hit the local
Barnes & Noble, but I verified that it was on the shelf before I posted
the review. How long it will stay there I don't know, but you should be
able to snag a copy by Wednesday.

If you have a bookstore or newsstand that routinely stocks Analog, that
is. Not sure how common that is.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
****@alumni.usc.edu * for success" *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
Kurt Busiek
2008-05-26 21:50:46 UTC
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Post by John Schilling
Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by John Schilling
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Question. Did you get an advance copy, or is the July ANALOG out?
Your description makes it sound terrific, and I'm on a long plane trop
Wednesday, so if it's out, I'm off to the newsstand...
Subscriptions seem to hit my mailbox before newsstand copys hit the local
Barnes & Noble, but I verified that it was on the shelf before I posted
the review. How long it will stay there I don't know, but you should be
able to snag a copy by Wednesday.
If you have a bookstore or newsstand that routinely stocks Analog, that
is. Not sure how common that is.
There's a Borders not far from here with a reasonably well-stocked
magazine section. They had CICADA, when I was looking for acopy of
that, so my guess is they'll have ANALOG.

My wife's off shopping, and will look for it. If they don't have it
there are other places I can look.

I'm really looking forward to this. I agree with your comments on
EMERGENCE, both the praise and the critical stuff, so when you
mentioned that this one separates Candy from people and sets her off
dealing with travel in an empty-world landscape again, I got all happy.

Even if we get two good acts and a ludicrous conclusion again, I'll be
happy with it.

kdb
Rich Horton
2008-05-26 21:06:54 UTC
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On Mon, 26 May 2008 13:41:29 -0700, John Schilling
Post by John Schilling
Worth a trip to the library and/or newsstand if you're not already a
subscriber? Harder to say, as I haven't finished reading the rest of
the issue yet. There's more good than bad in what I've seen so far
(good: Carl Fredrick's "Exoanthropic Principle", Michael Flynn's "Sand
and Iron", Juliette Wade's "Let the Word Take Me", Maya Bonhoff's
"Junkie". Bad, Bond Elam's "Plethora of Truth", both fact articles,
the editorial, and the "Probability Zero"). Nothing great, nothing
horrible, so far.
You haven't yet mentioned Dean McLaughlin's "Tenbrook of Mars", which
I thought the best thing in the issue. (Granted that I haven't read
Tracking part I yet -- I don't read serials until I have all parts in
hand.)

McLaughlin's story is curious in that it is so completely an Analog
"Engineer as Hero" story as to verge on parody -- but he makes it
work, even makes it moving.
John Schilling
2008-05-26 21:51:16 UTC
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Post by Rich Horton
On Mon, 26 May 2008 13:41:29 -0700, John Schilling
Post by John Schilling
Worth a trip to the library and/or newsstand if you're not already a
subscriber? Harder to say, as I haven't finished reading the rest of
the issue yet. There's more good than bad in what I've seen so far
(good: Carl Fredrick's "Exoanthropic Principle", Michael Flynn's "Sand
and Iron", Juliette Wade's "Let the Word Take Me", Maya Bonhoff's
"Junkie". Bad, Bond Elam's "Plethora of Truth", both fact articles,
the editorial, and the "Probability Zero"). Nothing great, nothing
horrible, so far.
You haven't yet mentioned Dean McLaughlin's "Tenbrook of Mars", which
I thought the best thing in the issue. (Granted that I haven't read
Tracking part I yet -- I don't read serials until I have all parts in
hand.)
I generally don't either, but I figured the Analog nonsubscribers here
might appreciate a timely review of Part I.
Post by Rich Horton
McLaughlin's story is curious in that it is so completely an Analog
"Engineer as Hero" story as to verge on parody -- but he makes it
work, even makes it moving.
Now I have something more to look forward to...
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
****@alumni.usc.edu * for success" *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
Kurt Busiek
2008-06-03 18:06:42 UTC
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Post by Rich Horton
On Mon, 26 May 2008 13:41:29 -0700, John Schilling
Post by John Schilling
Worth a trip to the library and/or newsstand if you're not already a
subscriber? Harder to say, as I haven't finished reading the rest of
the issue yet. There's more good than bad in what I've seen so far
(good: Carl Fredrick's "Exoanthropic Principle", Michael Flynn's "Sand
and Iron", Juliette Wade's "Let the Word Take Me", Maya Bonhoff's
"Junkie". Bad, Bond Elam's "Plethora of Truth", both fact articles,
the editorial, and the "Probability Zero"). Nothing great, nothing
horrible, so far.
You haven't yet mentioned Dean McLaughlin's "Tenbrook of Mars", which
I thought the best thing in the issue. (Granted that I haven't read
Tracking part I yet -- I don't read serials until I have all parts in
hand.)
McLaughlin's story is curious in that it is so completely an Analog
"Engineer as Hero" story as to verge on parody -- but he makes it
work, even makes it moving.
Is "Tenbrook of Mars" typical of McLaughlin?

I've never read anything of his before, but I thought it was wonderful.
Looking him up on Wikipedia and the ISFdB, though, suggests that he
hasn't published any fiction in ten years (is this the "back from the
dead" issue of Analog?), which could mean that this is a new kind of
thing for him. It also indicates that most of his fiction is
uncollected and probably hard to find, but there you go.

In any case, "Tenbrook of Mars" was such a pleasure to read I'd like to
find more like it.

kdb
Rich Horton
2008-06-04 00:50:34 UTC
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Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by Rich Horton
On Mon, 26 May 2008 13:41:29 -0700, John Schilling
Post by John Schilling
Worth a trip to the library and/or newsstand if you're not already a
subscriber? Harder to say, as I haven't finished reading the rest of
the issue yet. There's more good than bad in what I've seen so far
(good: Carl Fredrick's "Exoanthropic Principle", Michael Flynn's "Sand
and Iron", Juliette Wade's "Let the Word Take Me", Maya Bonhoff's
"Junkie". Bad, Bond Elam's "Plethora of Truth", both fact articles,
the editorial, and the "Probability Zero"). Nothing great, nothing
horrible, so far.
You haven't yet mentioned Dean McLaughlin's "Tenbrook of Mars", which
I thought the best thing in the issue. (Granted that I haven't read
Tracking part I yet -- I don't read serials until I have all parts in
hand.)
McLaughlin's story is curious in that it is so completely an Analog
"Engineer as Hero" story as to verge on parody -- but he makes it
work, even makes it moving.
Is "Tenbrook of Mars" typical of McLaughlin?
I've never read anything of his before, but I thought it was wonderful.
Looking him up on Wikipedia and the ISFdB, though, suggests that he
hasn't published any fiction in ten years (is this the "back from the
dead" issue of Analog?), which could mean that this is a new kind of
thing for him. It also indicates that most of his fiction is
uncollected and probably hard to find, but there you go.
In any case, "Tenbrook of Mars" was such a pleasure to read I'd like to
find more like it.
I've read a number of things by McLaughlin before -- indeed, he had a
story in the first issue of F&SF I ever saw (August 1974) -- but not
much has really stuck with me. My impression is that of a solid and
generally enjoyable but rarely brilliant veteran writer.

I don't recall anything like "Tenbrook of Mars" from him, but that
could simply be my weak memory.
Ahasuerus
2008-06-04 01:29:34 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
wrote: [snip]
Post by Kurt Busiek
Is "Tenbrook of Mars" typical of McLaughlin?
[snip]
I don't recall anything like "Tenbrook of Mars" from him, but that
could simply be my weak memory.
His Hugo/nebula nominated "Hawk Among the Sparrows" (http://
www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?41333) was clever and enjoyable, but
not what I would call exceptional.
Rich Horton
2008-06-04 02:22:05 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Tue, 3 Jun 2008 18:29:34 -0700 (PDT), Ahasuerus
Post by Ahasuerus
wrote: [snip]
Post by Kurt Busiek
Is "Tenbrook of Mars" typical of McLaughlin?
[snip]
I don't recall anything like "Tenbrook of Mars" from him, but that
could simply be my weak memory.
His Hugo/nebula nominated "Hawk Among the Sparrows" (http://
www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?41333) was clever and enjoyable, but
not what I would call exceptional.
Yes, that's about how I'd rate that one.
Kurt Busiek
2008-06-04 04:40:07 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Rich Horton
On Tue, 3 Jun 2008 18:29:34 -0700 (PDT), Ahasuerus
Post by Ahasuerus
wrote: [snip]
Post by Kurt Busiek
Is "Tenbrook of Mars" typical of McLaughlin?
[snip]
I don't recall anything like "Tenbrook of Mars" from him, but that
could simply be my weak memory.
His Hugo/nebula nominated "Hawk Among the Sparrows" (http://
www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?41333) was clever and enjoyable, but
not what I would call exceptional.
Yes, that's about how I'd rate that one.
Thanks.

kdb
William December Starr
2008-05-26 21:12:56 UTC
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Post by John Schilling
_Emergence_, which I went ahead and reread in preparation for the
sequel, purports to be the diary of one Candy Smith-Foster, a
precocious eleven-year-old girl. And apparently the last survivor
of the human race, on account of having been reading all the
forbidden books in Daddy's absurdly well-furnished bomb shelter
when the bombs started falling and various plagues were unleashed
upon the world.
I like your summary, but for the sake of people who haven't read
EMERGENCE I have to take issue with this part of it. Your wording
gives the impression that the author would have us accept that she
just happened to be in the shelter at the right time (and only
because she was being a bad girl, no less), when in fact her father
-- who seemed to have contacts in the intelligence community -- had
seen storm clouds brewing and had told her to remain home while he
was away, and specifically to always be ready to jump into one of
the "laundry chute" entrances to the shelter under the house if the
alarms sounded. (I think I vaguely recall that she _was_ reading
Daddy's forbidden books when that happened, but in his study, not
down in the shelter.)
--
William December Starr <***@panix.com>
John Schilling
2008-05-26 21:50:14 UTC
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Post by William December Starr
Post by John Schilling
_Emergence_, which I went ahead and reread in preparation for the
sequel, purports to be the diary of one Candy Smith-Foster, a
precocious eleven-year-old girl. And apparently the last survivor
of the human race, on account of having been reading all the
forbidden books in Daddy's absurdly well-furnished bomb shelter
when the bombs started falling and various plagues were unleashed
upon the world.
I like your summary, but for the sake of people who haven't read
EMERGENCE I have to take issue with this part of it. Your wording
gives the impression that the author would have us accept that she
just happened to be in the shelter at the right time (and only
because she was being a bad girl, no less), when in fact her father
-- who seemed to have contacts in the intelligence community -- had
seen storm clouds brewing and had told her to remain home while he
was away, and specifically to always be ready to jump into one of
the "laundry chute" entrances to the shelter under the house if the
alarms sounded. (I think I vaguely recall that she _was_ reading
Daddy's forbidden books when that happened, but in his study, not
down in the shelter.)
No; that was specifically down in the shelter. Which is where Daddy
kept all the good books, for various reasons.

His awareness of the darkening world situation is why he decided to
brief her on the shelter's existence, but she pretty much ignored
every part of that briefing beyond "Oooh, look, BOOKS! Books that
I can sneak down here and read the next time Daddy leaves me alone
for more than an hour or so..."

So, dumb luck rather than planning. Unless her father extra-cleverly
planned to entice his bibliophillic daughter into spending all her
spare time in the shelter for safety's sake.

And in hindsight, irrelevant whether luck or planning, as the town
wasn't nuked and Candy was immune to the plagues. Though from a
dramatic standpoint, the shelter allowed for a more traditional
opening to the "Last Man on Earth" tale.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
****@alumni.usc.edu * for success" *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
William December Starr
2008-05-27 23:20:17 UTC
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Post by John Schilling
No; that was specifically down in the shelter. Which is where
Daddy kept all the good books, for various reasons.
His awareness of the darkening world situation is why he decided
to brief her on the shelter's existence, but she pretty much
ignored every part of that briefing beyond "Oooh, look, BOOKS!
Books that I can sneak down here and read the next time Daddy
leaves me alone for more than an hour or so..."
So, dumb luck rather than planning. Unless her father
extra-cleverly planned to entice his bibliophillic daughter into
spending all her spare time in the shelter for safety's sake.
Really? Damn. As they say in Doctor Who circles, "the memory cheats."
--
William December Starr <***@panix.com>
E***@gmail.com
2008-05-28 21:28:13 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
No; that was specifically down in the shelter.  Which is where
Daddy kept all the good books, for various reasons.
His awareness of the darkening world situation is why he decided
to brief her on the shelter's existence, but she pretty much
ignored every part of that briefing beyond "Oooh, look, BOOKS!
Books that I can sneak down here and read the next time Daddy
leaves me alone for more than an hour or so..."
So, dumb luck rather than planning.  Unless her father
extra-cleverly planned to entice his bibliophillic daughter into
spending all her spare time in the shelter for safety's sake.
Really?  Damn.  As they say in Doctor Who circles, "the memory cheats."
I vaguely remember thinking that coaxing her downstairs was indeed the
father's intent, but it was a long time ago and I have no intention of
reading the book again. It was a book which I found enjoyable at
first reading, but after time and consideration, I found myself more
and more squicked out by it for a number of reasons.


Eric Tolle
David Librik
2008-05-26 22:48:18 UTC
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Post by John Schilling
The original novellas
dealt with Candy's solo trek across a depopulated landscape, trying
to figure out what happened to all the other supermen who should have
survived and whose names and addresses she has. Meeting a handful
of lone survivors in similar situations. Great stuff, very well
written.
In filling out the tale to full novel length, Palmer had to add
material, much of it of inferior quality.
Would you say that it's better to seek out the original
two novellas in order to get the story without all the
added "material ... of inferior quality"?

And if so, what are the names of those novellas?

Thanks,

- David Librik
***@panix.com
John Schilling
2008-05-26 23:45:23 UTC
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Post by David Librik
Post by John Schilling
The original novellas
dealt with Candy's solo trek across a depopulated landscape, trying
to figure out what happened to all the other supermen who should have
survived and whose names and addresses she has. Meeting a handful
of lone survivors in similar situations. Great stuff, very well
written.
In filling out the tale to full novel length, Palmer had to add
material, much of it of inferior quality.
Would you say that it's better to seek out the original
two novellas in order to get the story without all the
added "material ... of inferior quality"?
And if so, what are the names of those novellas?
The novellas were "Emergence", in the January 1981 issue of
Analog magazine, and "Seeking" in the February 1983 issue.

At this point, it's probably easier to find the novel, and it's
helpful to have that additional material to bridge the gap to
the sequel. Even if inferior, most of it isn't *bad* and some
is even up to the earlier standards. Just, once Candy actually
finds the Community of Supermen, and/or you see parts of the
story told from other character's point of view, it's safe to
start skimming for plot.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
****@alumni.usc.edu * for success" *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
Robert Carnegie
2008-05-28 15:05:19 UTC
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How "supermen" are these engineered people supposed to be, in the
story and by the designers' intention? That is to say, given that
normal human mean IQ is 100, are we talking Arisian, Kryptonian, Prr!
otector, X-Men, Spider-Man, Heroes? (X-Men and Spider-Man at least
get an /education/.) A eugenic process that Uplifted humanity twenty
points would do... something.

There are real-world intelligent-people organisations such as Mensa,
extropians, wannabe rocket scientists, not to mention every university
or college on the planet, and many of those organisations display
institutional collective dumbness. I mean, otherwise /they'd/ be
running the world for real. Mind you, I am suspicious of precisely
where the voices in President Bush's head are coming /from/. Remember
that debate where it looked like he was receiving commands by wire?
E***@gmail.com
2008-05-28 21:25:02 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Robert Carnegie
How "supermen" are these engineered people supposed to be, in the
story and by the designers' intention?  That is to say, given that
normal human mean IQ is 100, are we talking Arisian, Kryptonian, Prr!
otector, X-Men, Spider-Man, Heroes?  (X-Men and Spider-Man at least
get an /education/.)  A eugenic process that Uplifted humanity twenty
points would do... something.
Try an idealized view of SF fans level of smartness. Or rather, how
smart SF fans perceive themselves to be. which in itself may explain
why our supermen aren't as smart as their hype suggests they should
be.


Eric Tolle
J Moreno
2008-05-29 06:46:05 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Robert Carnegie
How "supermen" are these engineered people supposed to be, in the
story and by the designers' intention? That is to say, given that
normal human mean IQ is 100, are we talking Arisian, Kryptonian, Prr!
otector, X-Men, Spider-Man, Heroes? (X-Men and Spider-Man at least
get an /education/.) A eugenic process that Uplifted humanity twenty
points would do... something.
I'd say Spider-Man, unless you mean the movie, in which case not him.

They are supposed to be capable geniuses -- not Arisian, but members of
the group that the Lensmen gathered to figure out how to build a
wormhole or whatever it was (but maybe on average a bit more stable).
--
JM
"Everything is futile." -- Marvin of Borg
David DeLaney
2008-05-29 05:52:01 UTC
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Post by J Moreno
I'd say Spider-Man, unless you mean the movie, in which case not him.
They are supposed to be capable geniuses -- not Arisian, but members of
the group that the Lensmen gathered to figure out how to build a
wormhole or whatever it was (but maybe on average a bit more stable).
ObIfIDon'tAnswerThisI'llTwitchAllNight: "hyperspatial tube". Yes?

Dave
--
\/David DeLaney posting from ***@vic.com "It's not the pot that grows the flower
It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
http://www.vic.com/~dbd/ - net.legends FAQ & Magic / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
Robert Carnegie
2008-05-29 11:40:20 UTC
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Post by David DeLaney
Post by J Moreno
I'd say Spider-Man, unless you mean the movie, in which case not him.
They are supposed to be capable geniuses -- not Arisian, but members of
the group that the Lensmen gathered to figure out how to build a
wormhole or whatever it was (but maybe on average a bit more stable).
ObIfIDon'tAnswerThisI'llTwitchAllNight: "hyperspatial tube". Yes?
I was wondering whether it was the not-wormhole or the super-minds
that were to be "maybe on average a bit more stable".

Perhaps I should have mentioned I think Spider-Man's last steady job
outside of superhero was public school teacher.
And also spelled "Protector" correctly, although "Prr!
otector" may be cuter and friendlier, to the cat people out there.
Of course I'm referring to Larry Niven's humans advanced to the /true/
adult stage, whose rational insight and personal drives are developed
to the point where they almost do not have free will - they see how to
do what they want to achieve so clearly that they do it
automatically. (Unless I misread that part.)

Those guys are pretty smart, anyway. Which of course gives the writer
that problem...
William December Starr
2008-05-29 21:48:49 UTC
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Post by Robert Carnegie
Of course I'm referring to Larry Niven's humans advanced to the
/true/ adult stage, whose rational insight and personal drives are
developed to the point where they almost do not have free will -
they see how to do what they want to achieve so clearly that they
do it automatically. (Unless I misread that part.)
They also have close to zero free will as to what they want to
achieve, in terms of the Big Picture -- they *must* protect their
bloodline[*1].

*1: Except for rare Protectors whose bloodlines have been entirely
wiped out and were able to alter their hardwired sense of duty
to "must protect entire species."
--
William December Starr <***@panix.com>
John Schilling
2008-05-30 00:47:05 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Wed, 28 May 2008 08:05:19 -0700 (PDT), Robert Carnegie
Post by Robert Carnegie
How "supermen" are these engineered people supposed to be, in the
story and by the designers' intention? That is to say, given that
normal human mean IQ is 100, are we talking Arisian, Kryptonian, Prr!
otector, X-Men, Spider-Man, Heroes? (X-Men and Spider-Man at least
get an /education/.) A eugenic process that Uplifted humanity twenty
points would do... something.
First, they don't seem[1] to be engineered, but naturally evolved.
Extreme punctuated equilibrium, if you will. As I said, the biology
is a bit dodgy, but I think it was tolerably within WSOD territory
in 1983, so grandfatherd in now.

As for how smart, and generally superior, let's go with the classics:
Candy and her kin are Slans, near enough. Though mostly without the
telepathy. Some of them have been deliberately educated in How to Be
A Proper Slan, some have not and suffer for it.


[1] They have a theory that involves the 1918/1919 influenza pandemic.
They also have a data point that casts doubt on that theory. Further
research into the question was interrupted by an ill-timed apocalypse,
which very definitely was engineered.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
****@alumni.usc.edu * for success" *
*661-951-9107 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
Richard R. Hershberger
2008-05-29 17:51:08 UTC
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On May 26, 4:41 pm, John Schilling <***@spock.usc.edu> wrote:
<snippage>
Post by John Schilling
So, a fusion of two classic genres - the post-apocalyptic Last Man On
Earth (almost), and the Emergent Supermen.  The heroine being a precocious
child is one of the classic dodges around the nigh-impossibility of a
merely human writer convincingly writing a superhuman character.  
<more snippage>
Post by John Schilling
And the Gratuituous Evil Overlord to be defeated, that didn't really
fit.  The World-Killing Orbital Battle Station with Defenses Designed
Around A Direct, Large-Scale Assault such that a Small, One Man, er,
Child Fighter Should Be Able To Penetrate, yeah, I could have done
without that.
<yet more snippage>

As an aside, one of the features I liked the most about the classic
Earth Abides is the absence of this stuff. I kept waiting for the
motorcycle thugs to show up. I was quite enchanted by the fact that
nothing like this happens. Many parts of the book don't stand up
well, but it was far more interesting than the typical Mad Max
treatment.

Richard R. Hershberger
Kurt Busiek
2008-05-30 04:50:43 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
So, we've got a sequel.  Is it
A: a return to the style and spirit of the original, superb, novellas?
B: a continuation of the decline we saw towards the end of _Emergence_?
C: _Emergence_ as written by the author of _Threshold_?
With only a third in hand so far, it's impossible to tell for sure.  But,
fortunately, I think we can rule out C.
SPOILERS Follow...

Having read it now, I found it to be quite enjoyable, though there
were a couple of bits that worried me.
The story, takes place perhaps a few weeks after the conclusion of
_Emergence_, wherein Candy Smith-Foster destroyed the Death Star,
Saved The World, and, well, OK, there weren't enough Supermen in that
community for the full Leni Riefenstahl experience at the end, but it's
pretty clear that she is regarded as that kind of hero.
So, I'm very very glad to see her leave the Community of Really Dumb
Supermen in the first act, returning the story to a Lone Supergirl on
a Quest Through the Postapocalyptic Landscape.  That's the only sort
of story we know Palmer can write well.
And he does write it well, so that was good. I sorta wished she'd
have lost the plane at some point, because flying over things doesn't
have as much texture as dealing with them directly, but it was well
done.
The super-shorthand writing style is tarnished by a few gratuitous big
words that similarly weaken the effect, but I can live with that.
And there are long segments of exposition for the specific benefit of
people who didn't read the original.  I can skip over those, and I did,
so I can't say whether they would be any good for the intended purpose.
Really, you should be reading the original novel for that.
Well, the publishers of ANALOG can't assume they're selling only to
people who read the novel, of course. And the expository bits didn't
offer only exposition, but some characterization and texture as well.
I didn't feel any need to skip 'em.

One of my gripes, though, is related to the cutaways to other people's
journals. While the style of the other voices is distinct from
Candy's shorthand approach, the voices of them aren't, really -- the
other narrators digress at the same kind of points (and for he same
reasons) as Candy, often making the same kinds of observations (or
even the same observations, repeated) and the same kinds of jokes --
if there's a moment where Candy would have made a particular joke, the
other narrators make it too, sometimes helpfully telling us that if
Candy were there, this is what she;d have said. The effect is that
all the narrators sound like Candy, just with more fleshed-out
sentences.
Mostly, we get adventuring, arctic bush-flying, decent writing, another
look inside an interesting head, and a couple of new characters that I
think are good additions to the cast.  If Palmer can keep this up, I'll
be glad to have him back, and glad I've kept my Analog subscription over
the years.
The two new cast additions were fun, too, though there again, my
gripes surface. Maggie is a great addition, but is the fact that she
responds to Every Single Command that Candy's old friend from Back
When taught Candy a bit of foreshadowing, or pointlessly helpful
coincidence? If it's foreshadowing, does this start to feel like
everyone around Candy, her whole life, (a) was part of one extended
organization and/or (b) survived? It starts to smack of "and then
Peter Parker's dentist turns out to be a super-villain, too!" And if
it's coincidence, wouldn't it have been more sensible for Maggie to
respond to the basic commands, and then be so smart that she and Candy
work up a rapport over the course of their extended trip together?

I'd assume it's foreshadowing, and hope it's foreshadowing of
something interesting, except for the fact that Palmer already
overuses coincidence to the point that he feels he has to point it out
and justify it. As it is, it leaves me wondering, "set-up -- or bad
plotting?"

The other new character, Santa Claus -- er, Father Toymaker -- is such
an egregious coincidence, with his sole apparent purpose so far being
to show up, give Candy a map of the secret base and depart, that
either he's got to be a plant (and probably a villain) or it's just a
horrible, horrible bit of author-hands-lead-character-magic-token
plotting. But can he be a villain when the dog likes him? Friendly
pets are excellent judges of character in the Candyverse.

Ah well. We'll see where it goes. He's sure to return, one way or
the other.
But it's looking an awful lot like this will parallel the original novel,
with two good novellas' worth of travelogue and character work at least.
And maybe Palmer will pull off a decent overall plot and ending this
time.  If not, I still expect it will be worth the time to read.
Definitely agreed.

kdb
Robert Carnegie
2008-05-30 10:51:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kurt Busiek
So, we've got a sequel.  Is it
A: a return to the style and spirit of the original, superb, novellas?
B: a continuation of the decline we saw towards the end of _Emergence_?
C: _Emergence_ as written by the author of _Threshold_?
With only a third in hand so far, it's impossible to tell for sure.  But,
fortunately, I think we can rule out C.
SPOILERS Follow...
Having read it now, I found it to be quite enjoyable, though there
were a couple of bits that worried me.
The story, takes place perhaps a few weeks after the conclusion of
_Emergence_, wherein Candy Smith-Foster destroyed the Death Star,
Saved The World, and, well, OK, there weren't enough Supermen in that
community for the full Leni Riefenstahl experience at the end, but it's
pretty clear that she is regarded as that kind of hero.
So, I'm very very glad to see her leave the Community of Really Dumb
Supermen in the first act, returning the story to a Lone Supergirl on
a Quest Through the Postapocalyptic Landscape.  That's the only sort
of story we know Palmer can write well.
And he does write it well, so that was good.  I sorta wished she'd
have lost the plane at some point, because flying over things doesn't
have as much texture as dealing with them directly, but it was well
done.
Hmm. Growing up British, I have fond memories of the fictional
adventures of "Biggles", a First World War fighter pilot who went on
to have YA novel adventures as a spy, charter pilot, adventurer for
hire, Second World War commando, running a small, unique police unit
investigating crime involving aeroplanes (in which stage he detected
illegal importation of wristwatches and a marijuana seller visiting
American air bases in England), and fighting the Cold War. Anyway,
there's often a passage about the curious otherworldliness of being up
in the air, the particular character of this or that part of the world
- desert, Arctic - as well as the special advantage of a plane for
getting an overview of the situation on the ground, or finding lost
property, enemies, etc. It has been said that his author's actual
ground research for stories wasn't particularly hot, but James Bond
has serious and curious maistakes as well and got away with it.

I also find myself trying to recall if you have handled Wonder Woman
and her /invisible/ plane, or do I mean Wonder Girl...
Post by Kurt Busiek
The super-shorthand writing style is tarnished by a few gratuitous big
words that similarly weaken the effect, but I can live with that.
And there are long segments of exposition for the specific benefit of
people who didn't read the original.  I can skip over those, and I did,
so I can't say whether they would be any good for the intended purpose.
Really, you should be reading the original novel for that.
Well, the publishers of ANALOG can't assume they're selling only to
people who read the novel, of course.  And the expository bits didn't
offer only exposition, but some characterization and texture as well.
I didn't feel any need to skip 'em.
One of my gripes, though, is related to the cutaways to other people's
journals.  While the style of the other voices is distinct from
Candy's shorthand approach, the voices of them aren't, really -- the
other narrators digress at the same kind of points (and for he same
reasons) as Candy, often making the same kinds of observations (or
even the same observations, repeated) and the same kinds of jokes --
if there's a moment where Candy would have made a particular joke, the
other narrators make it too, sometimes helpfully telling us that if
Candy were there, this is what she;d have said.  The effect is that
all the narrators sound like Candy, just with more fleshed-out
sentences.
Now does that mean that the author found that he had written or
drafted journal entries by Candy that made her omniscient (things she
actually wouldn't know) and he had to fix that, or something similar -
or can he only write these that one way? An accusation unfairly made
of Oscar Wilde's _The Importance of Being Earnest_, I think - that all
of the characters sound the same, throwing the same kind of wisecrack
around.

It happens.
Post by Kurt Busiek
Mostly, we get adventuring, arctic bush-flying, decent writing, another
look inside an interesting head, and a couple of new characters that I
think are good additions to the cast.  If Palmer can keep this up, I'll
be glad to have him back, and glad I've kept my Analog subscription over
the years.
The two new cast additions were fun, too, though there again, my
gripes surface.  Maggie is a great addition, but is the fact that she
responds to Every Single Command that Candy's old friend from Back
When taught Candy a bit of foreshadowing, or pointlessly helpful
coincidence?  If it's foreshadowing, does this start to feel like
everyone around Candy, her whole life, (a) was part of one extended
organization and/or (b) survived?  It starts to smack of "and then
Peter Parker's dentist turns out to be a super-villain, too!"  And if
it's coincidence, wouldn't it have been more sensible for Maggie to
respond to the basic commands, and then be so smart that she and Candy
work up a rapport over the course of their extended trip together?
I'd assume it's foreshadowing, and hope it's foreshadowing of
something interesting, except for the fact that Palmer already
overuses coincidence to the point that he feels he has to point it out
and justify it.  As it is, it leaves me wondering, "set-up -- or bad
plotting?"
It's tough when you can't trust an author with a thing like that, and
unfortunately you present a strong argument. I don't really know what
the specifics are, but could the correspondence reflect a standard
education system like synthetic phonics, or the discovery of a
fundamental internal human language like in SNOW CRASH - the language
used before Babel or something like that? (Which I seem to recall
would destroy the world if misused, for some reason. Or something.)
Post by Kurt Busiek
The other new character, Santa Claus -- er, Father Toymaker -- is such
an egregious coincidence, with his sole apparent purpose so far being
to show up, give Candy a map of the secret base and depart, that
either he's got to be a plant (and probably a villain) or it's just a
horrible, horrible bit of author-hands-lead-character-magic-token
plotting.  But can he be a villain when the dog likes him?  Friendly
pets are excellent judges of character in the Candyverse.
Ah well.  We'll see where it goes.  He's sure to return, one way or
the other.
I hope I don't misremember that C. S. Lewis just about got away with
making Santa Claus the master armourer of Narnia!

Trace cause and effect around that: (1) the snow queen magically kept
Santa Claus out of Narnia for ever so long, and (2) when he did get
through, he was really mad at her. So the kids from England got gifts
that you can be pretty sure /weren't/ really from your parents. (Well
- in the 1940s maybe...?) I forget if both boys got swords or if
Edmund was out of the picture... Susan was disappointed not to get a
melee weapon...
Post by Kurt Busiek
But it's looking an awful lot like this will parallel the original novel,
with two good novellas' worth of travelogue and character work at least.
And maybe Palmer will pull off a decent overall plot and ending this
time.  If not, I still expect it will be worth the time to read.
Definitely agreed.
kdb
Kurt Busiek
2008-05-30 18:54:18 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kurt Busiek
And he does write it well, so that was good.  I sorta wished she'd
have lost the plane at some point, because flying over things doesn't
have as much texture as dealing with them directly, but it was well
done.
Hmm.  Growing up British, I have fond memories of the fictional
adventures of "Biggles", a First World War fighter pilot who went on
to have YA novel adventures as a spy, charter pilot, adventurer for
hire, Second World War commando, running a small, unique police unit
investigating crime involving aeroplanes (in which stage he detected
illegal importation of wristwatches and a marijuana seller visiting
American air bases in England), and fighting the Cold War.  Anyway,
there's often a passage about the curious otherworldliness of being up
in the air, the particular character of this or that part of the world
- desert, Arctic - as well as the special advantage of a plane for
getting an overview of the situation on the ground, or finding lost
property, enemies, etc.  It has been said that his author's actual
ground research for stories wasn't particularly hot, but James Bond
has serious and curious maistakes as well and got away with it.
Oh, I've got no problem with airplanes in general, but in this
particular trip, everything goes fine, so there aren't as many
problems to solve as there were the first time around -- if she lost
it, she'd have more to do.
I also find myself trying to recall if you have handled Wonder Woman
and her /invisible/ plane, or do I mean Wonder Girl...
Wonder Woman. And I'm writing her currently, but I'm not sure I've
ever written the plane.

I have written SF aviation adventure, in SHOCKROCKETS.
Post by Kurt Busiek
One of my gripes, though, is related to the cutaways to other people's
journals.  While the style of the other voices is distinct from
Candy's shorthand approach, the voices of them aren't, really -- the
other narrators digress at the same kind of points (and for he same
reasons) as Candy, often making the same kinds of observations (or
even the same observations, repeated) and the same kinds of jokes --
if there's a moment where Candy would have made a particular joke, the
other narrators make it too, sometimes helpfully telling us that if
Candy were there, this is what she;d have said.  The effect is that
all the narrators sound like Candy, just with more fleshed-out
sentences.
Now does that mean that the author found that he had written or
drafted journal entries by Candy that made her omniscient (things she
actually wouldn't know) and he had to fix that, or something similar -
or can he only write these that one way?
I think it's simply that his rhythms and sensibilities bleed into all
the characters. Those entries couldn't ever have been intended to be
written by Candy.
Post by Kurt Busiek
The two new cast additions were fun, too, though there again, my
gripes surface.  Maggie is a great addition, but is the fact that she
responds to Every Single Command that Candy's old friend from Back
When taught Candy a bit of foreshadowing, or pointlessly helpful
coincidence?  If it's foreshadowing, does this start to feel like
everyone around Candy, her whole life, (a) was part of one extended
organization and/or (b) survived?  It starts to smack of "and then
Peter Parker's dentist turns out to be a super-villain, too!"  And if
it's coincidence, wouldn't it have been more sensible for Maggie to
respond to the basic commands, and then be so smart that she and Candy
work up a rapport over the course of their extended trip together?
I'd assume it's foreshadowing, and hope it's foreshadowing of
something interesting, except for the fact that Palmer already
overuses coincidence to the point that he feels he has to point it out
and justify it.  As it is, it leaves me wondering, "set-up -- or bad
plotting?"
It's tough when you can't trust an author with a thing like that, and
unfortunately you present a strong argument.  I don't really know what
the specifics are, but could the correspondence reflect a standard
education system like synthetic phonics, or the discovery of a
fundamental internal human language like in SNOW CRASH - the language
used before Babel or something like that?  (Which I seem to recall
would destroy the world if misused, for some reason.  Or something.)
It's specifically commented on that trainers would have started out
with a basic set of commands but customized them over time, so it's a
peculiar coincidence that Maggie responds to the same set of commands
-- all of them, exactly the same -- as the ones Candy is most familiar
with. It's presented as unlikely, so it's either helpful coincidence
or foreshadowing.

With almost any other author, I'd assume foreshadowing. Here, I don't
know.

kdb
John Schilling
2008-05-30 23:41:15 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Thu, 29 May 2008 21:50:43 -0700 (PDT), Kurt Busiek <***@busiek.com>
wrote:

[general agreement: "Tracking" is good stuff so far, but imperfect]
Post by Kurt Busiek
The two new cast additions were fun, too, though there again, my
gripes surface. Maggie is a great addition, but is the fact that she
responds to Every Single Command that Candy's old friend from Back
When taught Candy a bit of foreshadowing, or pointlessly helpful
coincidence? If it's foreshadowing, does this start to feel like
everyone around Candy, her whole life, (a) was part of one extended
organization and/or (b) survived? It starts to smack of "and then
Peter Parker's dentist turns out to be a super-villain, too!" And if
it's coincidence, wouldn't it have been more sensible for Maggie to
respond to the basic commands, and then be so smart that she and Candy
work up a rapport over the course of their extended trip together?
I'd assume it's foreshadowing, and hope it's foreshadowing of
something interesting, except for the fact that Palmer already
overuses coincidence to the point that he feels he has to point it out
and justify it.
Well, the "coincidence" would be authorial favoratism of the One Obviously
Right Way To Train A Dog, which he'd like to lecuture us on, and which of
course every dog-handling character[1] in the tale will favor because how
dare a character disagree with the author?

A common enough authorial failure, broadly speaking, and usually doesn't
hurt a good story. But it is annoying, and implausible, and I hope it
isn't what's going on here.


But, it may not be foreshadowing so much as a payoff of something already
foreshadowed - we know that Candy, at least, is capable of telepathic
communication with at least one domestic animal. We could be seeing what
that sort of interaction looks like when the animal in question doesn't
talk.

And in any event, Maggie is much better suited than Terry to a journey
across Sibera followed by an assault on a Postapocalyptic Subterranean
Lair or whatever.

Hmm, can we subtitle this one "A Supergirl and her Dog"?


[1] Including the off-screen dead ones.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
****@alumni.usc.edu * for success" *
*661-951-9107 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
Kurt Busiek
2008-06-21 04:09:21 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by John Schilling
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
Anyone know when the next ANALOG comes out?

The "July/August" thing throws me -- does that mean it's two months
'til the next one?

kdb
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2008-06-21 05:32:25 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by John Schilling
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
Anyone know when the next ANALOG comes out?
The "July/August" thing throws me -- does that mean it's two months
'til the next one?
kdb
I subscribe, and already have the Sept issue in hand.

Ted
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Kurt Busiek
2008-06-21 17:06:44 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by John Schilling
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
Anyone know when the next ANALOG comes out?
The "July/August" thing throws me -- does that mean it's two months
'til the next one?
I subscribe, and already have the Sept issue in hand.
Thanks. Time to check the B&N where we got the last one...

kdb
Robert A. Woodward
2008-06-21 06:02:47 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by John Schilling
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
Anyone know when the next ANALOG comes out?
June 24th according to the note in the Table of Contents of the J/A
issue.
Post by Kurt Busiek
The "July/August" thing throws me -- does that mean it's two months
'til the next one?
(looks through a number of issues) It appears that Analog (and
Asimov's) is published every 5 weeks, except for the 2 times a year
that has a 6 week gap between issues.
--
Robert Woodward <***@drizzle.com>
<http://www.drizzle.com/~robertaw>
John Schilling
2008-06-21 15:59:33 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by John Schilling
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
Anyone know when the next ANALOG comes out?
The "July/August" thing throws me -- does that mean it's two months
'til the next one?
I just got it last week; haven't had time to finish reading it yet.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
****@alumni.usc.edu * for success" *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
Jon Schild
2008-06-22 20:49:03 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by John Schilling
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
Anyone know when the next ANALOG comes out?
The "July/August" thing throws me -- does that mean it's two months 'til
the next one?
kdb
Since the original post quoted above, I have looked for _Emergence_ but
failed to find it. Any hints?
--
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us
with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
-- Galileo Galilei
Kurt Busiek
2008-06-22 19:58:56 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Jon Schild
Post by Kurt Busiek
Post by John Schilling
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
Anyone know when the next ANALOG comes out?
The "July/August" thing throws me -- does that mean it's two months
'til the next one?
kdb
Since the original post quoted above, I have looked for _Emergence_ but
failed to find it. Any hints?
No idea. There are copies for sale at Amazon, but they're frickin' expensive.

You can't have mine; I stole it from the Scott Meredith Literary Agency
fair and square.

kdb
l***@gmail.com
2018-05-14 23:21:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by John Schilling
Two very promising novellas, published in _Analog_ andboth nominated for
the Hugo.
One fix-up novel, built around the novellas and very nearly living up to
their promise, also nominated for the Hugo.
And one thoroughly wretched novel, never nominated for any award I am
aware of.
Palmer actuallly promised us a sequel to that last, but thankfully
dropped off the face of the Earth for twenty or so years instead.
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Actually, there's a fair number of people here who weren't reading
science fiction twenty years ago, so maybe the first question is,
"what's all the fuss about?"
_Emergence_, which I went ahead and reread in preparation for the
sequel, purports to be the diary of one Candy Smith-Foster, a
precocious eleven-year-old girl. And apparently the last survivor
of the human race, on account of having been reading all the forbidden
books in Daddy's absurdly well-furnished bomb shelter when the bombs
started falling and various plagues were unleashed upon the world.
Appearances turn out to be wrong - Candy can't be the last survivor
of the human race, on account of not actually being human. She's a
member of a new transhuman species, belatedly recognized as such by
her scientist father and enrolled some years back in the Secret Program
To Study And Educate The New Supermen. A survivor not just because of
the bomb shelter, but because the biological weapons which depopulated
the world were very carefully tailored to affect only H. Sapiens. And
not alone, because she's got the membership list from the aforementioned
Secret Program...
So, a fusion of two classic genres - the post-apocalyptic Last Man On
Earth (almost), and the Emergent Supermen. The heroine being a precocious
child is one of the classic dodges around the nigh-impossibility of a
merely human writer convincingly writing a superhuman character.
It fits together, into a story that is still memorable (and for the most
part memorably good) twenty years later. OK, especially on rereading,
the biology behind the emergence of the Supermen is rather implausible,
but in SF we're expected to believe at least one implausible thing before
breakfast.
And it starts to fall apart towards the end. The original novellas
dealt with Candy's solo trek across a depopulated landscape, trying
to figure out what happened to all the other supermen who should have
survived and whose names and addresses she has. Meeting a handful
of lone survivors in similar situations. Great stuff, very well
written. The diary-style writing, complete with a sort of shorthand
that allegedly represents a superchild's attempt at dealing with the
inefficiencies of English, fits perfectly[2].
In filling out the tale to full novel length, Palmer had to add
material, much of it of inferior quality. In particular, the story
almost has to end with Candy actually finding the community of
Supermen Survivors she has been looking for, and that means the
author can't keep using the Super-Child dodge any more. There was
a bit too much idiot-plotting for my taste the first time I read it,
and I caught more this time around. These are no Supermen[3].
And the Gratuituous Evil Overlord to be defeated, that didn't really
fit. The World-Killing Orbital Battle Station with Defenses Designed
Around A Direct, Large-Scale Assault such that a Small, One Man, er,
Child Fighter Should Be Able To Penetrate, yeah, I could have done
without that.
There was also one aspect of the story where making the heroine a
child on the edge of puberty, didn't quite work. In any Not Quite
Lone Survivor of the Apocalypse tale, it's hard to avoid dealing
with the fact that meetings between almost-lone-survivors are going
to be heavily influenced by the, "this person I've just met may be
my absolute last chance ever to have sex with an actual human being"
dynamic. An author can make that work for them, if he has characters
that the audience will favor as romantic partners. And of course
unrequited lust towards an *adult* female protagonist is classic,
dramatically effective villain behavior. There's no good way to make
any of that work with an eleven-year-old girl, and while Palmer doesn't
sink nearly to, say, Piers Anthony's level in that area, it is a
weakness.
And, ultimately, even without creepy sexual aspects, one can only take
so much of a precociously cute little girl, and a full-length novel
turns out to be just a bit too much.
So, we've got a sequel. Is it
A: a return to the style and spirit of the original, superb, novellas?
B: a continuation of the decline we saw towards the end of _Emergence_?
C: _Emergence_ as written by the author of _Threshold_?
With only a third in hand so far, it's impossible to tell for sure. But,
fortunately, I think we can rule out C.
The story, takes place perhaps a few weeks after the conclusion of
_Emergence_, wherein Candy Smith-Foster destroyed the Death Star,
Saved The World, and, well, OK, there weren't enough Supermen in that
community for the full Leni Riefenstahl experience at the end, but it's
pretty clear that she is regarded as that kind of hero.
So, I'm very very glad to see her leave the Community of Really Dumb
Supermen in the first act, returning the story to a Lone Supergirl on
a Quest Through the Postapocalyptic Landscape. That's the only sort
of story we know Palmer can write well.
The excuse being, new intelligence has come in that Candy's beloved
daddy didn't die in the apocalypse, but was captured by the Evil Rooskie
Commie Conspiracy that was responsible for the whole thing, and is being
held in their Secret Lair.
OK, two problems there, one minor, one major. The minor problem, is
that Evil Russian Communists are a rather less credible adversary now
than they were in 1984. And there are enough specific 21st-century
references that we are clearly being asked to accept the entire story
as now being set in 2008, not in an alternate 1984. But I can live
with that - Russia still exists, and it's still got communists, nuclear
missiles, and biological weapons, so we can make that work in dramatic
terms.
The major problem is, it sets us up for an endgame where Candy has to
deal with a community of survivors, and last time I checked Palmer
couldn't write communities of intelligent, competent adults without
resorting to idiot-plottery. Maybe it will work better when he's
dealing with villains. Maybe.
For now, it gives us a chance to get back to the good stuff, as Candy
"borrows" an airplane and flies off, alone, towards Siberia. A
sufficiently arduous journey to give us at least a third of a novel's
worth of the stuff Palmer writes well.
And the good news is, he still does write it well. OK, there's a bit
more gratuitous infodumping regarding e.g. the hardware. Nowhere near
the level of David Weber, and really only annoying because Palmer tends
to get some of the details *wrong*. Not good if you're trying to write
an emerging Superman...
The super-shorthand writing style is tarnished by a few gratuitous big
words that similarly weaken the effect, but I can live with that.
And there are long segments of exposition for the specific benefit of
people who didn't read the original. I can skip over those, and I did,
so I can't say whether they would be any good for the intended purpose.
Really, you should be reading the original novel for that.
Mostly, we get adventuring, arctic bush-flying, decent writing, another
look inside an interesting head, and a couple of new characters that I
think are good additions to the cast. If Palmer can keep this up, I'll
be glad to have him back, and glad I've kept my Analog subscription over
the years.
There are worrisome signs. In addition to those mentioned above, there
are scenes back amongst the Community of Good-Guy Super-Idiots indicating
that they are planning their own mission to Siberia, with a faster plane
that will presumably catch up with our plucky heroine. Hopefully, this
time she'll be smart enough to realize she is better off without them...
And while there's only a slight hint of romance and none at all of sex
in the first installment, there is a warning from the editor that "this
story has scenes some readers may find disturbing". I presume that refers
to something yet to come, and I'm not sure I need to read that part.
But it's looking an awful lot like this will parallel the original novel,
with two good novellas' worth of travelogue and character work at least.
And maybe Palmer will pull off a decent overall plot and ending this
time. If not, I still expect it will be worth the time to read.
Worth a trip to the library and/or newsstand if you're not already a
subscriber? Harder to say, as I haven't finished reading the rest of
the issue yet. There's more good than bad in what I've seen so far
(good: Carl Fredrick's "Exoanthropic Principle", Michael Flynn's "Sand
and Iron", Juliette Wade's "Let the Word Take Me", Maya Bonhoff's
"Junkie". Bad, Bond Elam's "Plethora of Truth", both fact articles,
the editorial, and the "Probability Zero"). Nothing great, nothing
horrible, so far.
Probably worth checking out, if you still remember the original
"Emergence"
fondly.
[1] Not that Gibson's _Neuromancer_ wasn't also a fine choice;
certainly more influential in the genre.
[2] OK, it's been suggested that it mostly represents Palmer's
attempt at getting around the fact that he can't write decent
standard English prose, but whatever works...
[3] Well, Kal-El often enough acted as if he had an IQ around
eighty or so, but I don't think he's the proper role model here.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
I just reread the awesome _Emergence_ By David R. Palmer.
https://www.amazon.com/Emergence-David-R-Palmer/dp/0553245015/

Does anyone know how to get a copy of _Tracking_ by David R. Palmer ?

And yes, I included the entire 2008 posting on purpose.

Thanks,
Lynn
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-05-14 23:38:37 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by l***@gmail.com
Post by John Schilling
Two very promising novellas, published in _Analog_ andboth nominated for
the Hugo.
One fix-up novel, built around the novellas and very nearly living up to
their promise, also nominated for the Hugo.
And one thoroughly wretched novel, never nominated for any award I am
aware of.
Palmer actuallly promised us a sequel to that last, but thankfully
dropped off the face of the Earth for twenty or so years instead.
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Actually, there's a fair number of people here who weren't reading
science fiction twenty years ago, so maybe the first question is,
"what's all the fuss about?"
_Emergence_, which I went ahead and reread in preparation for the
sequel, purports to be the diary of one Candy Smith-Foster, a
precocious eleven-year-old girl. And apparently the last survivor
of the human race, on account of having been reading all the forbidden
books in Daddy's absurdly well-furnished bomb shelter when the bombs
started falling and various plagues were unleashed upon the world.
Appearances turn out to be wrong - Candy can't be the last survivor
of the human race, on account of not actually being human. She's a
member of a new transhuman species, belatedly recognized as such by
her scientist father and enrolled some years back in the Secret Program
To Study And Educate The New Supermen. A survivor not just because of
the bomb shelter, but because the biological weapons which depopulated
the world were very carefully tailored to affect only H. Sapiens. And
not alone, because she's got the membership list from the aforementioned
Secret Program...
So, a fusion of two classic genres - the post-apocalyptic Last Man On
Earth (almost), and the Emergent Supermen. The heroine being a precocious
child is one of the classic dodges around the nigh-impossibility of a
merely human writer convincingly writing a superhuman character.
It fits together, into a story that is still memorable (and for the most
part memorably good) twenty years later. OK, especially on rereading,
the biology behind the emergence of the Supermen is rather implausible,
but in SF we're expected to believe at least one implausible thing before
breakfast.
And it starts to fall apart towards the end. The original novellas
dealt with Candy's solo trek across a depopulated landscape, trying
to figure out what happened to all the other supermen who should have
survived and whose names and addresses she has. Meeting a handful
of lone survivors in similar situations. Great stuff, very well
written. The diary-style writing, complete with a sort of shorthand
that allegedly represents a superchild's attempt at dealing with the
inefficiencies of English, fits perfectly[2].
In filling out the tale to full novel length, Palmer had to add
material, much of it of inferior quality. In particular, the story
almost has to end with Candy actually finding the community of
Supermen Survivors she has been looking for, and that means the
author can't keep using the Super-Child dodge any more. There was
a bit too much idiot-plotting for my taste the first time I read it,
and I caught more this time around. These are no Supermen[3].
And the Gratuituous Evil Overlord to be defeated, that didn't really
fit. The World-Killing Orbital Battle Station with Defenses Designed
Around A Direct, Large-Scale Assault such that a Small, One Man, er,
Child Fighter Should Be Able To Penetrate, yeah, I could have done
without that.
There was also one aspect of the story where making the heroine a
child on the edge of puberty, didn't quite work. In any Not Quite
Lone Survivor of the Apocalypse tale, it's hard to avoid dealing
with the fact that meetings between almost-lone-survivors are going
to be heavily influenced by the, "this person I've just met may be
my absolute last chance ever to have sex with an actual human being"
dynamic. An author can make that work for them, if he has characters
that the audience will favor as romantic partners. And of course
unrequited lust towards an *adult* female protagonist is classic,
dramatically effective villain behavior. There's no good way to make
any of that work with an eleven-year-old girl, and while Palmer doesn't
sink nearly to, say, Piers Anthony's level in that area, it is a
weakness.
And, ultimately, even without creepy sexual aspects, one can only take
so much of a precociously cute little girl, and a full-length novel
turns out to be just a bit too much.
So, we've got a sequel. Is it
A: a return to the style and spirit of the original, superb, novellas?
B: a continuation of the decline we saw towards the end of _Emergence_?
C: _Emergence_ as written by the author of _Threshold_?
With only a third in hand so far, it's impossible to tell for sure. But,
fortunately, I think we can rule out C.
The story, takes place perhaps a few weeks after the conclusion of
_Emergence_, wherein Candy Smith-Foster destroyed the Death Star,
Saved The World, and, well, OK, there weren't enough Supermen in that
community for the full Leni Riefenstahl experience at the end, but it's
pretty clear that she is regarded as that kind of hero.
So, I'm very very glad to see her leave the Community of Really Dumb
Supermen in the first act, returning the story to a Lone Supergirl on
a Quest Through the Postapocalyptic Landscape. That's the only sort
of story we know Palmer can write well.
The excuse being, new intelligence has come in that Candy's beloved
daddy didn't die in the apocalypse, but was captured by the Evil Rooskie
Commie Conspiracy that was responsible for the whole thing, and is being
held in their Secret Lair.
OK, two problems there, one minor, one major. The minor problem, is
that Evil Russian Communists are a rather less credible adversary now
than they were in 1984. And there are enough specific 21st-century
references that we are clearly being asked to accept the entire story
as now being set in 2008, not in an alternate 1984. But I can live
with that - Russia still exists, and it's still got communists, nuclear
missiles, and biological weapons, so we can make that work in dramatic
terms.
The major problem is, it sets us up for an endgame where Candy has to
deal with a community of survivors, and last time I checked Palmer
couldn't write communities of intelligent, competent adults without
resorting to idiot-plottery. Maybe it will work better when he's
dealing with villains. Maybe.
For now, it gives us a chance to get back to the good stuff, as Candy
"borrows" an airplane and flies off, alone, towards Siberia. A
sufficiently arduous journey to give us at least a third of a novel's
worth of the stuff Palmer writes well.
And the good news is, he still does write it well. OK, there's a bit
more gratuitous infodumping regarding e.g. the hardware. Nowhere near
the level of David Weber, and really only annoying because Palmer tends
to get some of the details *wrong*. Not good if you're trying to write
an emerging Superman...
The super-shorthand writing style is tarnished by a few gratuitous big
words that similarly weaken the effect, but I can live with that.
And there are long segments of exposition for the specific benefit of
people who didn't read the original. I can skip over those, and I did,
so I can't say whether they would be any good for the intended purpose.
Really, you should be reading the original novel for that.
Mostly, we get adventuring, arctic bush-flying, decent writing, another
look inside an interesting head, and a couple of new characters that I
think are good additions to the cast. If Palmer can keep this up, I'll
be glad to have him back, and glad I've kept my Analog subscription over
the years.
There are worrisome signs. In addition to those mentioned above, there
are scenes back amongst the Community of Good-Guy Super-Idiots indicating
that they are planning their own mission to Siberia, with a faster plane
that will presumably catch up with our plucky heroine. Hopefully, this
time she'll be smart enough to realize she is better off without them...
And while there's only a slight hint of romance and none at all of sex
in the first installment, there is a warning from the editor that "this
story has scenes some readers may find disturbing". I presume that refers
to something yet to come, and I'm not sure I need to read that part.
But it's looking an awful lot like this will parallel the original novel,
with two good novellas' worth of travelogue and character work at least.
And maybe Palmer will pull off a decent overall plot and ending this
time. If not, I still expect it will be worth the time to read.
Worth a trip to the library and/or newsstand if you're not already a
subscriber? Harder to say, as I haven't finished reading the rest of
the issue yet. There's more good than bad in what I've seen so far
(good: Carl Fredrick's "Exoanthropic Principle", Michael Flynn's "Sand
and Iron", Juliette Wade's "Let the Word Take Me", Maya Bonhoff's
"Junkie". Bad, Bond Elam's "Plethora of Truth", both fact articles,
the editorial, and the "Probability Zero"). Nothing great, nothing
horrible, so far.
Probably worth checking out, if you still remember the original
"Emergence"
fondly.
[1] Not that Gibson's _Neuromancer_ wasn't also a fine choice;
certainly more influential in the genre.
[2] OK, it's been suggested that it mostly represents Palmer's
attempt at getting around the fact that he can't write decent
standard English prose, but whatever works...
[3] Well, Kal-El often enough acted as if he had an IQ around
eighty or so, but I don't think he's the proper role model here.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
I just reread the awesome _Emergence_ By David R. Palmer.
https://www.amazon.com/Emergence-David-R-Palmer/dp/0553245015/
Does anyone know how to get a copy of _Tracking_ by David R. Palmer ?
And yes, I included the entire 2008 posting on purpose.
Thanks,
Lynn
Apparently:

https://tinyurl.com/yc69x2u8

+

https://www.amazon.com/Analog-Science-Fiction-October-CXXVIII/dp/B005KBHA52
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Greg Weeks
2018-05-15 12:31:48 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by l***@gmail.com
Does anyone know how to get a copy of _Tracking_ by David R. Palmer ?
And yes, I included the entire 2008 posting on purpose.
Thanks,
Lynn
The rumor I hear is it's being reprinted. I've not seen it show up on the schedule yet, so no idea of when. Ring of Fire press is supposed to be doing the reprint.

Greg
Bill Gill
2018-05-15 13:19:54 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by l***@gmail.com
Post by John Schilling
Two very promising novellas, published in _Analog_ andboth nominated for
the Hugo.
One fix-up novel, built around the novellas and very nearly living up to
their promise, also nominated for the Hugo.
And one thoroughly wretched novel, never nominated for any award I am
aware of.
Palmer actuallly promised us a sequel to that last, but thankfully
dropped off the face of the Earth for twenty or so years instead.
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Actually, there's a fair number of people here who weren't reading
science fiction twenty years ago, so maybe the first question is,
"what's all the fuss about?"
_Emergence_, which I went ahead and reread in preparation for the
sequel, purports to be the diary of one Candy Smith-Foster, a
precocious eleven-year-old girl. And apparently the last survivor
of the human race, on account of having been reading all the forbidden
books in Daddy's absurdly well-furnished bomb shelter when the bombs
started falling and various plagues were unleashed upon the world.
Appearances turn out to be wrong - Candy can't be the last survivor
of the human race, on account of not actually being human. She's a
member of a new transhuman species, belatedly recognized as such by
her scientist father and enrolled some years back in the Secret Program
To Study And Educate The New Supermen. A survivor not just because of
the bomb shelter, but because the biological weapons which depopulated
the world were very carefully tailored to affect only H. Sapiens. And
not alone, because she's got the membership list from the aforementioned
Secret Program...
So, a fusion of two classic genres - the post-apocalyptic Last Man On
Earth (almost), and the Emergent Supermen. The heroine being a precocious
child is one of the classic dodges around the nigh-impossibility of a
merely human writer convincingly writing a superhuman character.
It fits together, into a story that is still memorable (and for the most
part memorably good) twenty years later. OK, especially on rereading,
the biology behind the emergence of the Supermen is rather implausible,
but in SF we're expected to believe at least one implausible thing before
breakfast.
And it starts to fall apart towards the end. The original novellas
dealt with Candy's solo trek across a depopulated landscape, trying
to figure out what happened to all the other supermen who should have
survived and whose names and addresses she has. Meeting a handful
of lone survivors in similar situations. Great stuff, very well
written. The diary-style writing, complete with a sort of shorthand
that allegedly represents a superchild's attempt at dealing with the
inefficiencies of English, fits perfectly[2].
In filling out the tale to full novel length, Palmer had to add
material, much of it of inferior quality. In particular, the story
almost has to end with Candy actually finding the community of
Supermen Survivors she has been looking for, and that means the
author can't keep using the Super-Child dodge any more. There was
a bit too much idiot-plotting for my taste the first time I read it,
and I caught more this time around. These are no Supermen[3].
And the Gratuituous Evil Overlord to be defeated, that didn't really
fit. The World-Killing Orbital Battle Station with Defenses Designed
Around A Direct, Large-Scale Assault such that a Small, One Man, er,
Child Fighter Should Be Able To Penetrate, yeah, I could have done
without that.
There was also one aspect of the story where making the heroine a
child on the edge of puberty, didn't quite work. In any Not Quite
Lone Survivor of the Apocalypse tale, it's hard to avoid dealing
with the fact that meetings between almost-lone-survivors are going
to be heavily influenced by the, "this person I've just met may be
my absolute last chance ever to have sex with an actual human being"
dynamic. An author can make that work for them, if he has characters
that the audience will favor as romantic partners. And of course
unrequited lust towards an *adult* female protagonist is classic,
dramatically effective villain behavior. There's no good way to make
any of that work with an eleven-year-old girl, and while Palmer doesn't
sink nearly to, say, Piers Anthony's level in that area, it is a
weakness.
And, ultimately, even without creepy sexual aspects, one can only take
so much of a precociously cute little girl, and a full-length novel
turns out to be just a bit too much.
So, we've got a sequel. Is it
A: a return to the style and spirit of the original, superb, novellas?
B: a continuation of the decline we saw towards the end of _Emergence_?
C: _Emergence_ as written by the author of _Threshold_?
With only a third in hand so far, it's impossible to tell for sure. But,
fortunately, I think we can rule out C.
The story, takes place perhaps a few weeks after the conclusion of
_Emergence_, wherein Candy Smith-Foster destroyed the Death Star,
Saved The World, and, well, OK, there weren't enough Supermen in that
community for the full Leni Riefenstahl experience at the end, but it's
pretty clear that she is regarded as that kind of hero.
So, I'm very very glad to see her leave the Community of Really Dumb
Supermen in the first act, returning the story to a Lone Supergirl on
a Quest Through the Postapocalyptic Landscape. That's the only sort
of story we know Palmer can write well.
The excuse being, new intelligence has come in that Candy's beloved
daddy didn't die in the apocalypse, but was captured by the Evil Rooskie
Commie Conspiracy that was responsible for the whole thing, and is being
held in their Secret Lair.
OK, two problems there, one minor, one major. The minor problem, is
that Evil Russian Communists are a rather less credible adversary now
than they were in 1984. And there are enough specific 21st-century
references that we are clearly being asked to accept the entire story
as now being set in 2008, not in an alternate 1984. But I can live
with that - Russia still exists, and it's still got communists, nuclear
missiles, and biological weapons, so we can make that work in dramatic
terms.
The major problem is, it sets us up for an endgame where Candy has to
deal with a community of survivors, and last time I checked Palmer
couldn't write communities of intelligent, competent adults without
resorting to idiot-plottery. Maybe it will work better when he's
dealing with villains. Maybe.
For now, it gives us a chance to get back to the good stuff, as Candy
"borrows" an airplane and flies off, alone, towards Siberia. A
sufficiently arduous journey to give us at least a third of a novel's
worth of the stuff Palmer writes well.
And the good news is, he still does write it well. OK, there's a bit
more gratuitous infodumping regarding e.g. the hardware. Nowhere near
the level of David Weber, and really only annoying because Palmer tends
to get some of the details *wrong*. Not good if you're trying to write
an emerging Superman...
The super-shorthand writing style is tarnished by a few gratuitous big
words that similarly weaken the effect, but I can live with that.
And there are long segments of exposition for the specific benefit of
people who didn't read the original. I can skip over those, and I did,
so I can't say whether they would be any good for the intended purpose.
Really, you should be reading the original novel for that.
Mostly, we get adventuring, arctic bush-flying, decent writing, another
look inside an interesting head, and a couple of new characters that I
think are good additions to the cast. If Palmer can keep this up, I'll
be glad to have him back, and glad I've kept my Analog subscription over
the years.
There are worrisome signs. In addition to those mentioned above, there
are scenes back amongst the Community of Good-Guy Super-Idiots indicating
that they are planning their own mission to Siberia, with a faster plane
that will presumably catch up with our plucky heroine. Hopefully, this
time she'll be smart enough to realize she is better off without them...
And while there's only a slight hint of romance and none at all of sex
in the first installment, there is a warning from the editor that "this
story has scenes some readers may find disturbing". I presume that refers
to something yet to come, and I'm not sure I need to read that part.
But it's looking an awful lot like this will parallel the original novel,
with two good novellas' worth of travelogue and character work at least.
And maybe Palmer will pull off a decent overall plot and ending this
time. If not, I still expect it will be worth the time to read.
Worth a trip to the library and/or newsstand if you're not already a
subscriber? Harder to say, as I haven't finished reading the rest of
the issue yet. There's more good than bad in what I've seen so far
(good: Carl Fredrick's "Exoanthropic Principle", Michael Flynn's "Sand
and Iron", Juliette Wade's "Let the Word Take Me", Maya Bonhoff's
"Junkie". Bad, Bond Elam's "Plethora of Truth", both fact articles,
the editorial, and the "Probability Zero"). Nothing great, nothing
horrible, so far.
Probably worth checking out, if you still remember the original
"Emergence"
fondly.
[1] Not that Gibson's _Neuromancer_ wasn't also a fine choice;
certainly more influential in the genre.
[2] OK, it's been suggested that it mostly represents Palmer's
attempt at getting around the fact that he can't write decent
standard English prose, but whatever works...
[3] Well, Kal-El often enough acted as if he had an IQ around
eighty or so, but I don't think he's the proper role model here.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
I just reread the awesome _Emergence_ By David R. Palmer.
https://www.amazon.com/Emergence-David-R-Palmer/dp/0553245015/
Does anyone know how to get a copy of _Tracking_ by David R. Palmer ?
And yes, I included the entire 2008 posting on purpose.
Thanks,
Lynn
So my question is about a digital edition of "Emergence", and
of course Palmer's other book "Threshold". I am still working on
my digital library and haven't been able to find a digital copy. So
I am at the DIY scanning point on those 2 books. If they are
available from a publisher I will happily buy them.

And of course both print and digital copies of "Tracking", as
books, not magazines.

Bill
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-05-15 16:50:53 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Bill Gill
Post by l***@gmail.com
Post by John Schilling
Two very promising novellas, published in _Analog_ andboth nominated for
the Hugo.
One fix-up novel, built around the novellas and very nearly living up to
their promise, also nominated for the Hugo.
And one thoroughly wretched novel, never nominated for any award I am
aware of.
Palmer actuallly promised us a sequel to that last, but thankfully
dropped off the face of the Earth for twenty or so years instead.
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Actually, there's a fair number of people here who weren't reading
science fiction twenty years ago, so maybe the first question is,
"what's all the fuss about?"
_Emergence_, which I went ahead and reread in preparation for the
sequel, purports to be the diary of one Candy Smith-Foster, a
precocious eleven-year-old girl. And apparently the last survivor
of the human race, on account of having been reading all the forbidden
books in Daddy's absurdly well-furnished bomb shelter when the bombs
started falling and various plagues were unleashed upon the world.
Appearances turn out to be wrong - Candy can't be the last survivor
of the human race, on account of not actually being human. She's a
member of a new transhuman species, belatedly recognized as such by
her scientist father and enrolled some years back in the Secret Program
To Study And Educate The New Supermen. A survivor not just because of
the bomb shelter, but because the biological weapons which depopulated
the world were very carefully tailored to affect only H. Sapiens. And
not alone, because she's got the membership list from the aforementioned
Secret Program...
So, a fusion of two classic genres - the post-apocalyptic Last Man On
Earth (almost), and the Emergent Supermen. The heroine being a precocious
child is one of the classic dodges around the nigh-impossibility of a
merely human writer convincingly writing a superhuman character.
It fits together, into a story that is still memorable (and for the most
part memorably good) twenty years later. OK, especially on rereading,
the biology behind the emergence of the Supermen is rather implausible,
but in SF we're expected to believe at least one implausible thing before
breakfast.
And it starts to fall apart towards the end. The original novellas
dealt with Candy's solo trek across a depopulated landscape, trying
to figure out what happened to all the other supermen who should have
survived and whose names and addresses she has. Meeting a handful
of lone survivors in similar situations. Great stuff, very well
written. The diary-style writing, complete with a sort of shorthand
that allegedly represents a superchild's attempt at dealing with the
inefficiencies of English, fits perfectly[2].
In filling out the tale to full novel length, Palmer had to add
material, much of it of inferior quality. In particular, the story
almost has to end with Candy actually finding the community of
Supermen Survivors she has been looking for, and that means the
author can't keep using the Super-Child dodge any more. There was
a bit too much idiot-plotting for my taste the first time I read it,
and I caught more this time around. These are no Supermen[3].
And the Gratuituous Evil Overlord to be defeated, that didn't really
fit. The World-Killing Orbital Battle Station with Defenses Designed
Around A Direct, Large-Scale Assault such that a Small, One Man, er,
Child Fighter Should Be Able To Penetrate, yeah, I could have done
without that.
There was also one aspect of the story where making the heroine a
child on the edge of puberty, didn't quite work. In any Not Quite
Lone Survivor of the Apocalypse tale, it's hard to avoid dealing
with the fact that meetings between almost-lone-survivors are going
to be heavily influenced by the, "this person I've just met may be
my absolute last chance ever to have sex with an actual human being"
dynamic. An author can make that work for them, if he has characters
that the audience will favor as romantic partners. And of course
unrequited lust towards an *adult* female protagonist is classic,
dramatically effective villain behavior. There's no good way to make
any of that work with an eleven-year-old girl, and while Palmer doesn't
sink nearly to, say, Piers Anthony's level in that area, it is a
weakness.
And, ultimately, even without creepy sexual aspects, one can only take
so much of a precociously cute little girl, and a full-length novel
turns out to be just a bit too much.
So, we've got a sequel. Is it
A: a return to the style and spirit of the original, superb, novellas?
B: a continuation of the decline we saw towards the end of _Emergence_?
C: _Emergence_ as written by the author of _Threshold_?
With only a third in hand so far, it's impossible to tell for sure. But,
fortunately, I think we can rule out C.
The story, takes place perhaps a few weeks after the conclusion of
_Emergence_, wherein Candy Smith-Foster destroyed the Death Star,
Saved The World, and, well, OK, there weren't enough Supermen in that
community for the full Leni Riefenstahl experience at the end, but it's
pretty clear that she is regarded as that kind of hero.
So, I'm very very glad to see her leave the Community of Really Dumb
Supermen in the first act, returning the story to a Lone Supergirl on
a Quest Through the Postapocalyptic Landscape. That's the only sort
of story we know Palmer can write well.
The excuse being, new intelligence has come in that Candy's beloved
daddy didn't die in the apocalypse, but was captured by the Evil Rooskie
Commie Conspiracy that was responsible for the whole thing, and is being
held in their Secret Lair.
OK, two problems there, one minor, one major. The minor problem, is
that Evil Russian Communists are a rather less credible adversary now
than they were in 1984. And there are enough specific 21st-century
references that we are clearly being asked to accept the entire story
as now being set in 2008, not in an alternate 1984. But I can live
with that - Russia still exists, and it's still got communists, nuclear
missiles, and biological weapons, so we can make that work in dramatic
terms.
The major problem is, it sets us up for an endgame where Candy has to
deal with a community of survivors, and last time I checked Palmer
couldn't write communities of intelligent, competent adults without
resorting to idiot-plottery. Maybe it will work better when he's
dealing with villains. Maybe.
For now, it gives us a chance to get back to the good stuff, as Candy
"borrows" an airplane and flies off, alone, towards Siberia. A
sufficiently arduous journey to give us at least a third of a novel's
worth of the stuff Palmer writes well.
And the good news is, he still does write it well. OK, there's a bit
more gratuitous infodumping regarding e.g. the hardware. Nowhere near
the level of David Weber, and really only annoying because Palmer tends
to get some of the details *wrong*. Not good if you're trying to write
an emerging Superman...
The super-shorthand writing style is tarnished by a few gratuitous big
words that similarly weaken the effect, but I can live with that.
And there are long segments of exposition for the specific benefit of
people who didn't read the original. I can skip over those, and I did,
so I can't say whether they would be any good for the intended purpose.
Really, you should be reading the original novel for that.
Mostly, we get adventuring, arctic bush-flying, decent writing, another
look inside an interesting head, and a couple of new characters that I
think are good additions to the cast. If Palmer can keep this up, I'll
be glad to have him back, and glad I've kept my Analog subscription over
the years.
There are worrisome signs. In addition to those mentioned above, there
are scenes back amongst the Community of Good-Guy Super-Idiots indicating
that they are planning their own mission to Siberia, with a faster plane
that will presumably catch up with our plucky heroine. Hopefully, this
time she'll be smart enough to realize she is better off without them...
And while there's only a slight hint of romance and none at all of sex
in the first installment, there is a warning from the editor that "this
story has scenes some readers may find disturbing". I presume that refers
to something yet to come, and I'm not sure I need to read that part.
But it's looking an awful lot like this will parallel the original novel,
with two good novellas' worth of travelogue and character work at least.
And maybe Palmer will pull off a decent overall plot and ending this
time. If not, I still expect it will be worth the time to read.
Worth a trip to the library and/or newsstand if you're not already a
subscriber? Harder to say, as I haven't finished reading the rest of
the issue yet. There's more good than bad in what I've seen so far
(good: Carl Fredrick's "Exoanthropic Principle", Michael Flynn's "Sand
and Iron", Juliette Wade's "Let the Word Take Me", Maya Bonhoff's
"Junkie". Bad, Bond Elam's "Plethora of Truth", both fact articles,
the editorial, and the "Probability Zero"). Nothing great, nothing
horrible, so far.
Probably worth checking out, if you still remember the original
"Emergence"
fondly.
[1] Not that Gibson's _Neuromancer_ wasn't also a fine choice;
certainly more influential in the genre.
[2] OK, it's been suggested that it mostly represents Palmer's
attempt at getting around the fact that he can't write decent
standard English prose, but whatever works...
[3] Well, Kal-El often enough acted as if he had an IQ around
eighty or so, but I don't think he's the proper role model here.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
I just reread the awesome _Emergence_ By David R. Palmer.
https://www.amazon.com/Emergence-David-R-Palmer/dp/0553245015/
Does anyone know how to get a copy of _Tracking_ by David R. Palmer ?
And yes, I included the entire 2008 posting on purpose.
Thanks,
Lynn
So my question is about a digital edition of "Emergence", and
of course Palmer's other book "Threshold". I am still working on
my digital library and haven't been able to find a digital copy. So
I am at the DIY scanning point on those 2 books. If they are
available from a publisher I will happily buy them.
And of course both print and digital copies of "Tracking", as
books, not magazines.
Bill
Inspection reveals that _Tracking_ is easily available in digital form.
Of course it's not "legit", but there's nothing you could buy that would
get money to Palmer anyway..
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Lynn McGuire
2018-05-15 17:55:23 UTC
Permalink
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On 5/15/2018 11:50 AM, Ted Nolan <tednolan> wrote:
...
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Bill Gill
So my question is about a digital edition of "Emergence", and
of course Palmer's other book "Threshold". I am still working on
my digital library and haven't been able to find a digital copy. So
I am at the DIY scanning point on those 2 books. If they are
available from a publisher I will happily buy them.
And of course both print and digital copies of "Tracking", as
books, not magazines.
Bill
Inspection reveals that _Tracking_ is easily available in digital form.
Of course it's not "legit", but there's nothing you could buy that would
get money to Palmer anyway..
I would happily pay up to $15 for _Tracking_ but as you said, nothing is
legally available in that price range.

This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.

Lynn
James Nicoll
2018-05-15 19:06:06 UTC
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Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Lynn McGuire
2018-05-15 23:42:59 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works. And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.

One does wonder why David Palmer never issued _Tracking_ in book form.
And ebook form. He may have won the lottery and does not care. Or, he
may be laying in a nursing home somewhere.

Lynn
James Nicoll
2018-05-16 02:13:07 UTC
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Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works. And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Dimensional Traveler
2018-05-16 02:26:50 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works. And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
If they were capable of groking that concept, they wouldn't be Google
executives.
--
Inquiring minds want to know while minds with a self-preservation
instinct are running screaming.
Lynn McGuire
2018-05-16 20:41:30 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works. And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors that do
not have functional heirs ? Are the books gone for posterity ?

BTW, Google has scanned a tremendous amount of books and magazines and
provides sectional searches into them. I frequently see them when I am
looking at technical research.

That does remind me of Vernor Vinge's most excellent book, _Rainbows
End_ where they are feeding library books into a paper shredder,
scanning the chunks, and putting them together using the scanned chunks.

Lynn
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-05-16 21:17:11 UTC
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Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted
by the courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book
available for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy
corporation be allowed to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author
for all sold works. And, have a way for the author to opt
their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat
the senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of
prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors
that do not have functional heirs ?
What about them?
Post by Lynn McGuire
Are the books gone for
posterity ?
That would be up to their heirs, who inherited the rights.
Post by Lynn McGuire
BTW, Google has scanned a tremendous amount of books and
magazines and provides sectional searches into them. I
frequently see them when I am looking at technical research.
The law is the law. If Google doesn't like the law as it is currently
written, they should advocate it be changed to allow what they want.
They certainly have the resources to do so effectively.

Instead, they just decided - publicly - that the law doesn't apply to
them, and fuck whoever owns the rights they want to violate.

IMO, whoever authorized the program, since it was done for commercial
purposes, should have been prosecuted for criminal copyright
violations. One count for each book illegally scanned. That they
weren't is a symptom of the ubiquitous corruption in western society
these days.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
-dsr-
2018-05-17 11:16:44 UTC
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Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works. And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors that do
not have functional heirs ? Are the books gone for posterity ?
Copyright used to be for limited terms. We're debating the period during
which it is active.

-dsr-
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-05-17 20:51:10 UTC
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On Thu, 17 May 2018 07:16:44 -0400, -dsr-
Post by -dsr-
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works. And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors that do
not have functional heirs ? Are the books gone for posterity ?
Copyright used to be for limited terms. We're debating the period during
which it is active.
Copyright will be for a limited term again starting next year -- we've
finally run out the 1996 extension, and the current Congress is far
too dysfunctional to extend it again.

Of course, that term is up to 95 years for most older work, which is
stupidly long, but it is finite. (It's now author's life plus seventy
years in theory for anything created by an individual rather than a
corporation, but since that only applies to works published January 1,
1978 or later, that part is still purely theoretical in the U.S.)
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
Lynn McGuire
2018-05-17 21:00:09 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Thu, 17 May 2018 07:16:44 -0400, -dsr-
Post by -dsr-
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works. And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors that do
not have functional heirs ? Are the books gone for posterity ?
Copyright used to be for limited terms. We're debating the period during
which it is active.
Copyright will be for a limited term again starting next year -- we've
finally run out the 1996 extension, and the current Congress is far
too dysfunctional to extend it again.
Of course, that term is up to 95 years for most older work, which is
stupidly long, but it is finite. (It's now author's life plus seventy
years in theory for anything created by an individual rather than a
corporation, but since that only applies to works published January 1,
1978 or later, that part is still purely theoretical in the U.S.)
I am fairly confident that Disney will get Copyright extended.
Otherwise, Mickey Mouse will start to fall into the public domain.


Lynn
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-05-17 21:14:57 UTC
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Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Thu, 17 May 2018 07:16:44 -0400, -dsr-
Post by -dsr-
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works. And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors that do
not have functional heirs ? Are the books gone for posterity ?
Copyright used to be for limited terms. We're debating the period during
which it is active.
Copyright will be for a limited term again starting next year -- we've
finally run out the 1996 extension, and the current Congress is far
too dysfunctional to extend it again.
Of course, that term is up to 95 years for most older work, which is
stupidly long, but it is finite. (It's now author's life plus seventy
years in theory for anything created by an individual rather than a
corporation, but since that only applies to works published January 1,
1978 or later, that part is still purely theoretical in the U.S.)
I am fairly confident that Disney will get Copyright extended.
Otherwise, Mickey Mouse will start to fall into the public domain.
http://youtu.be/BBgghnQF6E4
Lynn
They can just go with Trademark protection. They were able to make
life miserable for people trying to republish mouse stuff even they
acknowledged was in the public domain.

Same with Tarzan & Conan. The trademarks are out there. You can
republish _Tarzan of the Apes_ or several Conan stories, possibly
even write your own new stories based on the PD canon only, but
don't try to advertise your work with anything more specific than
"The Famous Ape Man!"

Conan Doyle seems to have dropped the ball here. No trademark and
everyone and his brother writes new Holmes stories.
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-05-17 21:59:12 UTC
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Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Thu, 17 May 2018 07:16:44 -0400, -dsr-
Post by -dsr-
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works. And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors that do
not have functional heirs ? Are the books gone for posterity ?
Copyright used to be for limited terms. We're debating the period during
which it is active.
Copyright will be for a limited term again starting next year -- we've
finally run out the 1996 extension, and the current Congress is far
too dysfunctional to extend it again.
Of course, that term is up to 95 years for most older work, which is
stupidly long, but it is finite. (It's now author's life plus seventy
years in theory for anything created by an individual rather than a
corporation, but since that only applies to works published January 1,
1978 or later, that part is still purely theoretical in the U.S.)
I am fairly confident that Disney will get Copyright extended.
Otherwise, Mickey Mouse will start to fall into the public domain.
http://youtu.be/BBgghnQF6E4
a) Mickey Mouse HAS started to fall into the public domain; they
screwed up the renewals on the Gottfredson newspaper comic strips.

b) Seriously, who cares if "Steamboat Willie" gets pirated anymore?
Disney doesn't actually DO much of anything with Mickey these days.
And they do own the trademarks forevermore.

It may already be too late to protect "Steamboat Willie" in any case
-- they'd need to push the bill through Congress and get it signed by
2022, taking effect by Jan. 2023, and I don't see the current Congress
as likely to do that.
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
They can just go with Trademark protection. They were able to make
life miserable for people trying to republish mouse stuff even they
acknowledged was in the public domain.
Same with Tarzan & Conan. The trademarks are out there. You can
republish _Tarzan of the Apes_ or several Conan stories, possibly
even write your own new stories based on the PD canon only, but
don't try to advertise your work with anything more specific than
"The Famous Ape Man!"
Yup.
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Conan Doyle seems to have dropped the ball here. No trademark and
everyone and his brother writes new Holmes stories.
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-05-17 22:02:21 UTC
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On Thu, 17 May 2018 17:59:12 -0400, Lawrence Watt-Evans
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Thu, 17 May 2018 07:16:44 -0400, -dsr-
Post by -dsr-
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works. And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors that do
not have functional heirs ? Are the books gone for posterity ?
Copyright used to be for limited terms. We're debating the period during
which it is active.
Copyright will be for a limited term again starting next year -- we've
finally run out the 1996 extension, and the current Congress is far
too dysfunctional to extend it again.
Of course, that term is up to 95 years for most older work, which is
stupidly long, but it is finite. (It's now author's life plus seventy
years in theory for anything created by an individual rather than a
corporation, but since that only applies to works published January 1,
1978 or later, that part is still purely theoretical in the U.S.)
I am fairly confident that Disney will get Copyright extended.
Otherwise, Mickey Mouse will start to fall into the public domain.
http://youtu.be/BBgghnQF6E4
a) Mickey Mouse HAS started to fall into the public domain; they
screwed up the renewals on the Gottfredson newspaper comic strips.
b) Seriously, who cares if "Steamboat Willie" gets pirated anymore?
Disney doesn't actually DO much of anything with Mickey these days.
And they do own the trademarks forevermore.
It may already be too late to protect "Steamboat Willie" in any case
-- they'd need to push the bill through Congress and get it signed by
2022, taking effect by Jan. 2023, and I don't see the current Congress
as likely to do that.
Oh, and besides, the last copyright extension was largely driven by
Germany, not Disney, trying to keep control of the German-language
edition of _Mein Kampf_ -- which fell into the public domain a couple
of years ago. The author died in 1945, so the copyright ended in
2015.
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
Titus G
2018-05-18 01:41:54 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
A local house builder with surname Sherlock has a registered company
name of ?
Yes, you guessed it already but that is not why I am posting. I just
received a Goodreads email requesting friendship and offering me a free
ebook from a free ebook site, http://ebookhunter.ch/ . The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours but as they
were both published on 1 January 101, that makes them of similar age to
the Bible so they must have been written by an ancestor of yours and
well out of copyright by now.
David Goldfarb
2018-05-18 02:06:39 UTC
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Post by Titus G
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours
"Charles Stross" is remarkably similar to "Lawrence Evans"?
I'm afraid I don't see it.
--
David Goldfarb |"I know you miss the Wainwrights, Bobby, but they
***@gmail.com | were weak and stupid people -- and that's why
***@ocf.berkeley.edu | we have wolves and other large predators."
| -- The Far Side
Titus G
2018-05-18 02:52:08 UTC
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Post by David Goldfarb
Post by Titus G
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours
"Charles Stross" is remarkably similar to "Lawrence Evans"?
I'm afraid I don't see it.
I just checked Fantastic Fiction where the above books are shown as by
Nathan Archer but on the suspect copyright ebook site the first two
books I saw were as above and by Lawrence Watt-Evans.
J. Clarke
2018-05-18 03:32:46 UTC
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Post by David Goldfarb
Post by Titus G
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours
"Charles Stross" is remarkably similar to "Lawrence Evans"?
I'm afraid I don't see it.
The books on the site are "Predator Cold War" and "Predator Concrete
Jungle".

I hate to be snarky but is it too much to ask that someone actually
check the site in question before criticizing?
Dimensional Traveler
2018-05-18 05:03:29 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by J. Clarke
Post by David Goldfarb
Post by Titus G
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours
"Charles Stross" is remarkably similar to "Lawrence Evans"?
I'm afraid I don't see it.
The books on the site are "Predator Cold War" and "Predator Concrete
Jungle".
I hate to be snarky but is it too much to ask that someone actually
check the site in question before criticizing?
In this age of instant social media condemnation? Yes, yes it is.
--
Inquiring minds want to know while minds with a self-preservation
instinct are running screaming.
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-05-18 07:35:01 UTC
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On Thu, 17 May 2018 23:32:46 -0400, J. Clarke
Post by J. Clarke
Post by David Goldfarb
Post by Titus G
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours
"Charles Stross" is remarkably similar to "Lawrence Evans"?
I'm afraid I don't see it.
The books on the site are "Predator Cold War" and "Predator Concrete
Jungle".
I hate to be snarky but is it too much to ask that someone actually
check the site in question before criticizing?
I did. It's illegal; these books are pirated. Please don't patronize
this site.
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
Robert Carnegie
2018-05-18 12:46:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Thu, 17 May 2018 23:32:46 -0400, J. Clarke
Post by J. Clarke
Post by David Goldfarb
Post by Titus G
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours
"Charles Stross" is remarkably similar to "Lawrence Evans"?
I'm afraid I don't see it.
The books on the site are "Predator Cold War" and "Predator Concrete
Jungle".
I hate to be snarky but is it too much to ask that someone actually
check the site in question before criticizing?
I did. It's illegal; these books are pirated. Please don't patronize
this site.
I may sneer behind its back, if that's all right.

I seem to have got the expression mentally muddled with
"Blackboard Jungle", and was imagining an invisible alien
monster teaching troubled high school kids.

_The Concrete Jungle_ appears to be a prison movie
which then got remade with a female cast before
_Ghost Busters_ did.
J. Clarke
2018-05-19 01:27:17 UTC
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On Fri, 18 May 2018 03:35:01 -0400, Lawrence Watt-Evans
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Thu, 17 May 2018 23:32:46 -0400, J. Clarke
Post by J. Clarke
Post by David Goldfarb
Post by Titus G
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours
"Charles Stross" is remarkably similar to "Lawrence Evans"?
I'm afraid I don't see it.
The books on the site are "Predator Cold War" and "Predator Concrete
Jungle".
I hate to be snarky but is it too much to ask that someone actually
check the site in question before criticizing?
I did. It's illegal; these books are pirated. Please don't patronize
this site.
I wasn't suggesting that they were legal, I was suggesting that he
should have looked before he started correcting people to make sure
that the correction was in order.
Titus G
2018-05-19 01:42:03 UTC
Permalink
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Post by J. Clarke
On Fri, 18 May 2018 03:35:01 -0400, Lawrence Watt-Evans
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Thu, 17 May 2018 23:32:46 -0400, J. Clarke
Post by J. Clarke
Post by David Goldfarb
Post by Titus G
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours
"Charles Stross" is remarkably similar to "Lawrence Evans"?
I'm afraid I don't see it.
The books on the site are "Predator Cold War" and "Predator Concrete
Jungle".
I hate to be snarky but is it too much to ask that someone actually
check the site in question before criticizing?
I did. It's illegal; these books are pirated. Please don't patronize
this site.
I wasn't suggesting that they were legal, I was suggesting that he
should have looked before he started correcting people to make sure
that the correction was in order.
It was partly my fault as I was not aware that "Predator" was part of
the title. I have not read the books, nor did I download them and did
not visit Fantastic Fiction till after his post. Even though it was my
mistake, LWE was alerted to his ebooks being offered for free when he
hadn't given permission. So all is well.
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-05-19 21:29:41 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Titus G
Post by J. Clarke
On Fri, 18 May 2018 03:35:01 -0400, Lawrence Watt-Evans
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Thu, 17 May 2018 23:32:46 -0400, J. Clarke
Post by J. Clarke
Post by David Goldfarb
Post by Titus G
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours
"Charles Stross" is remarkably similar to "Lawrence Evans"?
I'm afraid I don't see it.
The books on the site are "Predator Cold War" and "Predator Concrete
Jungle".
I hate to be snarky but is it too much to ask that someone actually
check the site in question before criticizing?
I did. It's illegal; these books are pirated. Please don't patronize
this site.
I wasn't suggesting that they were legal, I was suggesting that he
should have looked before he started correcting people to make sure
that the correction was in order.
It was partly my fault as I was not aware that "Predator" was part of
the title. I have not read the books, nor did I download them and did
not visit Fantastic Fiction till after his post. Even though it was my
mistake, LWE was alerted to his ebooks being offered for free when he
hadn't given permission. So all is well.
But they aren't mine, really; I wrote them as work-for-hire. They're
20th Century Fox' books.
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
David Goldfarb
2018-05-19 06:08:47 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by J. Clarke
Post by David Goldfarb
Post by Titus G
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours
"Charles Stross" is remarkably similar to "Lawrence Evans"?
I'm afraid I don't see it.
The books on the site are "Predator Cold War" and "Predator Concrete
Jungle".
I hate to be snarky but is it too much to ask that someone actually
check the site in question before criticizing?
No, I didn't bother to check out what was obviously a pirate site
and quite possibly infested with malware. I'll cop to confusing
"Cold War" with "A Colder War", and "Concrete Jungle" with
"The Concrete Jungle".
--
David Goldfarb |
***@gmail.com | "It's flabby and delicious."
***@ocf.berkeley.edu |
|
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-05-18 07:38:22 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Titus G
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
A local house builder with surname Sherlock has a registered company
name of ?
Yes, you guessed it already but that is not why I am posting. I just
received a Goodreads email requesting friendship and offering me a free
ebook from a free ebook site, http://eb******ter.ch/ . The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours but as they
were both published on 1 January 101, that makes them of similar age to
the Bible so they must have been written by an ancestor of yours and
well out of copyright by now.
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name. And my actual surname isn't Watt-Evans; that's a pen
name. As is Nathan Archer, the name I wrote those books under.

The publication dates are incorrect. I don't remember the correct
ones, but they were in the 1990s..

This is a pirate site. Please do not patronize it.
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
Kevrob
2018-05-18 11:19:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Post by Titus G
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Doyle estate tried to claim copyright by saying every authorized
story extended the copyright. The courts disagreed. Why they didn't
trademark the distinctive name "Sherlock Holmes," I don't know.
A local house builder with surname Sherlock has a registered company
name of ?
Yes, you guessed it already but that is not why I am posting. I just
received a Goodreads email requesting friendship and offering me a free
ebook from a free ebook site, http://eb******ter.ch/ . The two most
recent books added were "Cold WAr" and Concrete Jungle by an author
whose christian and surnames are remarkably similar to yours but as they
were both published on 1 January 101, that makes them of similar age to
the Bible so they must have been written by an ancestor of yours and
well out of copyright by now.
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name.
I like to call my "first name" my forename.

And my actual surname isn't Watt-Evans; that's a pen
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
name. As is Nathan Archer, the name I wrote those books under.
The publication dates are incorrect. I don't remember the correct
ones, but they were in the 1990s..
This is a pirate site. Please do not patronize it.
Pirate sites tend to be sewers of malware, so avoid them
for that reason alone, if you can't respect the authors' rights.

Kevin R
Lynn McGuire
2018-05-18 20:58:57 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 5/18/2018 6:19 AM, Kevrob wrote:
...
Post by Kevrob
Pirate sites tend to be sewers of malware, so avoid them
for that reason alone, if you can't respect the authors' rights.
Kevin R
I have had people buy my software on a pirate website for $50 and
contact me for technical support. Bold, very bold.

Lynn
Kevrob
2018-05-18 21:12:00 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lynn McGuire
...
Post by Kevrob
Pirate sites tend to be sewers of malware, so avoid them
for that reason alone, if you can't respect the authors' rights.
Kevin R
I have had people buy my software on a pirate website for $50 and
contact me for technical support. Bold, very bold.
If Leo Rosten had ever been a tech writer, that would have been an
example of "chutzpah."

Kevin R
Moriarty
2018-05-19 01:25:13 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lynn McGuire
...
Post by Kevrob
Pirate sites tend to be sewers of malware, so avoid them
for that reason alone, if you can't respect the authors' rights.
Kevin R
I have had people buy my software on a pirate website for $50 and
contact me for technical support. Bold, very bold.
A friend of mine once worked at a computer shop. Someone phoned him up once for a conversation that went something like:

Customer: Do you run courses on how to use Easyscript? I'm having a lot of trouble with it.

Friend: When we sell it, we usually include an instruction manual.

Customer: <click>

(Easyscript was a word processor for the Commodore 64).

-Moriarty
Greg Goss
2018-05-20 00:51:54 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name.
I like to call my "first name" my forename.
Family name, given name, middle name. If you treat your middle name
as your "given name", this structure fails.
--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
Kevrob
2018-05-20 03:06:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name.
I like to call my "first name" my forename.
Family name, given name,
Unless you legally change thar "given name," then
you need something else to call it.
Post by Greg Goss
.... middle name. If you treat your middle name
as your "given name", this structure fails.
Forename, [middle name*], surname. Surname may not
be family name, if you've changed it.

Of course, there are many swatches of Terra where this doesn't
apply. Mononyms are popular in populous countries such as
Indonesia. Then there are the cultures where "family name"
isn't used as much as matronym and/or patronym. The "Personal
name" as forename, and family name/surname as last name is
"Western Order," where "Eastern Order" reverses that.

Kevin R

* Many don't have these.
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-05-20 03:19:48 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name.
I like to call my "first name" my forename.
Family name, given name,
Unless you legally change thar "given name," then
you need something else to call it.
Post by Greg Goss
.... middle name. If you treat your middle name
as your "given name", this structure fails.
Forename, [middle name*], surname. Surname may not
be family name, if you've changed it.
Of course, there are many swatches of Terra where this doesn't
apply. Mononyms are popular in populous countries such as
Indonesia. Then there are the cultures where "family name"
isn't used as much as matronym and/or patronym. The "Personal
name" as forename, and family name/surname as last name is
"Western Order," where "Eastern Order" reverses that.
Kevin R
* Many don't have these.
I worked with a guy from India once who had a last name that was impossible
for most Americans(*) to pronounce and a very simple first name. He lamented
that he had screwed up on his passport. In his region they had a bunch
of names and the mapping to western passports was somewhat arbitrary. He
wished he had just listed the name that ended up as his "first" name as
his last name and then just gone by that.


(*) He's one now, so at least one American family can pronounce it!
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
D B Davis
2018-05-20 04:05:17 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Kevrob
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name.
I like to call my "first name" my forename.
Family name, given name,
Unless you legally change thar "given name," then
you need something else to call it.
Post by Greg Goss
.... middle name. If you treat your middle name
as your "given name", this structure fails.
Forename, [middle name*], surname. Surname may not
be family name, if you've changed it.
Of course, there are many swatches of Terra where this doesn't
apply. Mononyms are popular in populous countries such as
Indonesia. Then there are the cultures where "family name"
isn't used as much as matronym and/or patronym. The "Personal
name" as forename, and family name/surname as last name is
"Western Order," where "Eastern Order" reverses that.
* Many don't have these.
I worked with a guy from India once who had a last name that was impossible
for most Americans(*) to pronounce and a very simple first name. He lamented
that he had screwed up on his passport. In his region they had a bunch
of names and the mapping to western passports was somewhat arbitrary. He
wished he had just listed the name that ended up as his "first" name as
his last name and then just gone by that.
(*) He's one now, so at least one American family can pronounce it!
"The Naming Of Cats" (T S Eliot)

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey—
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter—
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.



Thank you,
--
Don
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-05-20 04:16:20 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by D B Davis
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Kevrob
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name.
I like to call my "first name" my forename.
Family name, given name,
Unless you legally change thar "given name," then
you need something else to call it.
Post by Greg Goss
.... middle name. If you treat your middle name
as your "given name", this structure fails.
Forename, [middle name*], surname. Surname may not
be family name, if you've changed it.
Of course, there are many swatches of Terra where this doesn't
apply. Mononyms are popular in populous countries such as
Indonesia. Then there are the cultures where "family name"
isn't used as much as matronym and/or patronym. The "Personal
name" as forename, and family name/surname as last name is
"Western Order," where "Eastern Order" reverses that.
* Many don't have these.
I worked with a guy from India once who had a last name that was impossible
for most Americans(*) to pronounce and a very simple first name. He lamented
that he had screwed up on his passport. In his region they had a bunch
of names and the mapping to western passports was somewhat arbitrary. He
wished he had just listed the name that ended up as his "first" name as
his last name and then just gone by that.
(*) He's one now, so at least one American family can pronounce it!
"The Naming Of Cats" (T S Eliot)
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey—
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter—
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
✍
Thank you,
--
Don
Haddock's Eyes
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
J. Clarke
2018-05-20 04:46:17 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Kevrob
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name.
I like to call my "first name" my forename.
Family name, given name,
Unless you legally change thar "given name," then
you need something else to call it.
Post by Greg Goss
.... middle name. If you treat your middle name
as your "given name", this structure fails.
Forename, [middle name*], surname. Surname may not
be family name, if you've changed it.
Of course, there are many swatches of Terra where this doesn't
apply. Mononyms are popular in populous countries such as
Indonesia. Then there are the cultures where "family name"
isn't used as much as matronym and/or patronym. The "Personal
name" as forename, and family name/surname as last name is
"Western Order," where "Eastern Order" reverses that.
Kevin R
* Many don't have these.
I worked with a guy from India once who had a last name that was impossible
for most Americans(*) to pronounce and a very simple first name. He lamented
that he had screwed up on his passport. In his region they had a bunch
of names and the mapping to western passports was somewhat arbitrary. He
wished he had just listed the name that ended up as his "first" name as
his last name and then just gone by that.
(*) He's one now, so at least one American family can pronounce it!
And some just give up and adopt a Western name. One of my co-workers
is "Ed". I don't know how he gets that out of his Chinese name. And
several of my co-workers from India just go by the first syllable of
whatever they use.
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-05-20 05:11:38 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Sun, 20 May 2018 00:46:17 -0400, J. Clarke
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Kevrob
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name.
I like to call my "first name" my forename.
Family name, given name,
Unless you legally change thar "given name," then
you need something else to call it.
Post by Greg Goss
.... middle name. If you treat your middle name
as your "given name", this structure fails.
Forename, [middle name*], surname. Surname may not
be family name, if you've changed it.
Of course, there are many swatches of Terra where this doesn't
apply. Mononyms are popular in populous countries such as
Indonesia. Then there are the cultures where "family name"
isn't used as much as matronym and/or patronym. The "Personal
name" as forename, and family name/surname as last name is
"Western Order," where "Eastern Order" reverses that.
Kevin R
* Many don't have these.
I worked with a guy from India once who had a last name that was impossible
for most Americans(*) to pronounce and a very simple first name. He lamented
that he had screwed up on his passport. In his region they had a bunch
of names and the mapping to western passports was somewhat arbitrary. He
wished he had just listed the name that ended up as his "first" name as
his last name and then just gone by that.
(*) He's one now, so at least one American family can pronounce it!
And some just give up and adopt a Western name. One of my co-workers
is "Ed". I don't know how he gets that out of his Chinese name. And
several of my co-workers from India just go by the first syllable of
whatever they use.
Oh, it's absolutely standard for Chinese people to choose a Western
personal name that has no connection with their real name. My
daughter-in-law goes by Cathy, when her real personal name is Qing.

My daughter had a friend in China (who is now in America) who insisted
her Western name was Scuss, and the fact that it's not actually a name
didn't bother her. No idea where she got it; it didn't have any
resemblance to her real name (which I forget).
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-05-20 05:29:02 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Sun, 20 May 2018 00:46:17 -0400, J. Clarke
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Kevrob
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name.
I like to call my "first name" my forename.
Family name, given name,
Unless you legally change thar "given name," then
you need something else to call it.
Post by Greg Goss
.... middle name. If you treat your middle name
as your "given name", this structure fails.
Forename, [middle name*], surname. Surname may not
be family name, if you've changed it.
Of course, there are many swatches of Terra where this doesn't
apply. Mononyms are popular in populous countries such as
Indonesia. Then there are the cultures where "family name"
isn't used as much as matronym and/or patronym. The "Personal
name" as forename, and family name/surname as last name is
"Western Order," where "Eastern Order" reverses that.
Kevin R
* Many don't have these.
I worked with a guy from India once who had a last name that was impossible
for most Americans(*) to pronounce and a very simple first name. He lamented
that he had screwed up on his passport. In his region they had a bunch
of names and the mapping to western passports was somewhat arbitrary. He
wished he had just listed the name that ended up as his "first" name as
his last name and then just gone by that.
(*) He's one now, so at least one American family can pronounce it!
And some just give up and adopt a Western name. One of my co-workers
is "Ed". I don't know how he gets that out of his Chinese name. And
several of my co-workers from India just go by the first syllable of
whatever they use.
Oh, it's absolutely standard for Chinese people to choose a Western
personal name that has no connection with their real name. My
daughter-in-law goes by Cathy, when her real personal name is Qing.
My daughter had a friend in China (who is now in America) who insisted
her Western name was Scuss, and the fact that it's not actually a name
didn't bother her. No idea where she got it; it didn't have any
resemblance to her real name (which I forget).
Because she could diSCUSS things in English? And of course much as
English dictionaries are descriptive rather than prescriptive, I'm not
sure "it's not a name" means anything once one person claims it..
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-05-20 06:27:58 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Sun, 20 May 2018 00:46:17 -0400, J. Clarke
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Kevrob
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name.
I like to call my "first name" my forename.
Family name, given name,
Unless you legally change thar "given name," then
you need something else to call it.
Post by Greg Goss
.... middle name. If you treat your middle name
as your "given name", this structure fails.
Forename, [middle name*], surname. Surname may not
be family name, if you've changed it.
Of course, there are many swatches of Terra where this doesn't
apply. Mononyms are popular in populous countries such as
Indonesia. Then there are the cultures where "family name"
isn't used as much as matronym and/or patronym. The "Personal
name" as forename, and family name/surname as last name is
"Western Order," where "Eastern Order" reverses that.
* Many don't have these.
I worked with a guy from India once who had a last name that was impossible
for most Americans(*) to pronounce and a very simple first name. He lamented
that he had screwed up on his passport. In his region they had a bunch
of names and the mapping to western passports was somewhat arbitrary. He
wished he had just listed the name that ended up as his "first" name as
his last name and then just gone by that.
(*) He's one now, so at least one American family can pronounce it!
And some just give up and adopt a Western name. One of my co-workers
is "Ed". I don't know how he gets that out of his Chinese name. And
several of my co-workers from India just go by the first syllable of
whatever they use.
Oh, it's absolutely standard for Chinese people to choose a Western
personal name that has no connection with their real name. My
daughter-in-law goes by Cathy, when her real personal name is Qing.
My daughter had a friend in China (who is now in America) who insisted
her Western name was Scuss, and the fact that it's not actually a name
didn't bother her. No idea where she got it; it didn't have any
resemblance to her real name (which I forget).
Because she could diSCUSS things in English? And of course much as
English dictionaries are descriptive rather than prescriptive, I'm not
sure "it's not a name" means anything once one person claims it..
Oh, sure, it's a name NOW.

At the time she came up with it I doubt she knew the word "discuss"
yet, but hey, who knows? Maybe that was it.
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
J. Clarke
2018-05-20 07:06:34 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Sun, 20 May 2018 01:11:38 -0400, Lawrence Watt-Evans
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Sun, 20 May 2018 00:46:17 -0400, J. Clarke
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Kevrob
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name.
I like to call my "first name" my forename.
Family name, given name,
Unless you legally change thar "given name," then
you need something else to call it.
Post by Greg Goss
.... middle name. If you treat your middle name
as your "given name", this structure fails.
Forename, [middle name*], surname. Surname may not
be family name, if you've changed it.
Of course, there are many swatches of Terra where this doesn't
apply. Mononyms are popular in populous countries such as
Indonesia. Then there are the cultures where "family name"
isn't used as much as matronym and/or patronym. The "Personal
name" as forename, and family name/surname as last name is
"Western Order," where "Eastern Order" reverses that.
Kevin R
* Many don't have these.
I worked with a guy from India once who had a last name that was impossible
for most Americans(*) to pronounce and a very simple first name. He lamented
that he had screwed up on his passport. In his region they had a bunch
of names and the mapping to western passports was somewhat arbitrary. He
wished he had just listed the name that ended up as his "first" name as
his last name and then just gone by that.
(*) He's one now, so at least one American family can pronounce it!
And some just give up and adopt a Western name. One of my co-workers
is "Ed". I don't know how he gets that out of his Chinese name. And
several of my co-workers from India just go by the first syllable of
whatever they use.
Oh, it's absolutely standard for Chinese people to choose a Western
personal name that has no connection with their real name. My
daughter-in-law goes by Cathy, when her real personal name is Qing.
My daughter had a friend in China (who is now in America) who insisted
her Western name was Scuss, and the fact that it's not actually a name
didn't bother her.
That "Dweezil" and "Moon Unit" were not names didn't seem to bother
Frank Zappa.
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
No idea where she got it; it didn't have any
resemblance to her real name (which I forget).
Robert Carnegie
2018-05-20 07:39:34 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Not being a Christian, I don't have a Christian name; I have a
personal name.
I like to call my "first name" my forename.
Family name, given name,
Unless you legally change thar "given name," then
you need something else to call it.
Cognomen, moniker, sobriquet. (Not soubriquet...
one of those spelling cases that gives away a
time traveller.) Nom d'un chien.
Post by Kevrob
Post by Greg Goss
.... middle name. If you treat your middle name
as your "given name", this structure fails.
Forename, [middle name*], surname. Surname may not
be family name, if you've changed it.
Of course, there are many swatches of Terra where this doesn't
apply. Mononyms are popular in populous countries such as
Indonesia. Then there are the cultures where "family name"
isn't used as much as matronym and/or patronym. The "Personal
name" as forename, and family name/surname as last name is
"Western Order," where "Eastern Order" reverses that.
Kevin R
* Many don't have these.
<https://www.kalzumeus.com/2010/06/17/falsehoods-programmers-believe-about-names/>
inevitably.

All of your names are given to you unless and until
and except when you pick your own, but "given name"
usually is separate from an inherited or family name.
Then there's nicknames, and epithets which I learned
about recently... and there seems to be something
about every Ancient Roman male for a while being given
the first first name "Gaius", but obviously not using it.

Bill Gill
2018-05-17 13:07:36 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts.  Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works.  And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors that do
not have functional heirs ?  Are the books gone for posterity ?
BTW, Google has scanned a tremendous amount of books and magazines and
provides sectional searches into them.  I frequently see them when I am
looking at technical research.
That does remind me of Vernor Vinge's most excellent book, _Rainbows
End_ where they are feeding library books into a paper shredder,
scanning the chunks, and putting them together using the scanned chunks.
Lynn
Well, a limited part of the shredding is one tactic used in
scanning books. If you chop off the cover and spine you can
feed the loose pages through a scanner with a document feeder,
then convert the scans to text. There is, or at least was, one
commercial outfit that was doing that. After they were through
they shredded the remains and returned the digital copy of
the book. That supposedly means that you still own just one copy.
I'm not sure if that really avoids the copyright law. In the front
of a lot of books it says you can't make any form of copy.

In my case I do digitize books, if I own a copy and can't get a
digital copy. I then use the digital copy for my own use. If
the copyright owner releases a digital copy I will then buy that
copy.

It happened once. I scanned a Miss Seeton mystery, then when I came
around to scan the next in the series they had become available. I
immediately bought all of them in digital format.

Bill
Lynn McGuire
2018-05-17 17:26:04 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Bill Gill
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts.  Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works.  And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors that
do not have functional heirs ?  Are the books gone for posterity ?
BTW, Google has scanned a tremendous amount of books and magazines and
provides sectional searches into them.  I frequently see them when I
am looking at technical research.
That does remind me of Vernor Vinge's most excellent book, _Rainbows
End_ where they are feeding library books into a paper shredder,
scanning the chunks, and putting them together using the scanned chunks.
Lynn
Well, a limited part of the shredding is one tactic used in
scanning books.  If you chop off the cover and spine you can
feed the loose pages through a scanner with a document feeder,
then convert the scans to text.  There is, or at least was, one
commercial outfit that was doing that.  After they were through
they shredded the remains and returned the digital copy of
the book.  That supposedly means that you still own just one copy.
I'm not sure if that really avoids the copyright law.  In the front
of a lot of books it says you can't make any form of copy.
In my case I do digitize books, if I own a copy and can't get a
digital copy.  I then use the digital copy for my own use.  If
the copyright owner releases a digital copy I will then buy that
copy.
It happened once.  I scanned a Miss Seeton mystery, then when I came
around to scan the next in the series they had become available.  I
immediately bought all of them in digital format.
Bill
I had my office manager scan an out of print thermodynamics book on
entropy for me from the 1960s that was hand typed and used hand
drawings. The resulting pdf file was not very good. But I could use it
for teaching new employees.

Lynn
Bill Gill
2018-05-17 22:29:59 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Bill Gill
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts.  Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works.  And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors that
do not have functional heirs ?  Are the books gone for posterity ?
BTW, Google has scanned a tremendous amount of books and magazines
and provides sectional searches into them.  I frequently see them
when I am looking at technical research.
That does remind me of Vernor Vinge's most excellent book, _Rainbows
End_ where they are feeding library books into a paper shredder,
scanning the chunks, and putting them together using the scanned chunks.
Lynn
Well, a limited part of the shredding is one tactic used in
scanning books.  If you chop off the cover and spine you can
feed the loose pages through a scanner with a document feeder,
then convert the scans to text.  There is, or at least was, one
commercial outfit that was doing that.  After they were through
they shredded the remains and returned the digital copy of
the book.  That supposedly means that you still own just one copy.
I'm not sure if that really avoids the copyright law.  In the front
of a lot of books it says you can't make any form of copy.
In my case I do digitize books, if I own a copy and can't get a
digital copy.  I then use the digital copy for my own use.  If
the copyright owner releases a digital copy I will then buy that
copy.
It happened once.  I scanned a Miss Seeton mystery, then when I came
around to scan the next in the series they had become available.  I
immediately bought all of them in digital format.
Bill
I had my office manager scan an out of print thermodynamics book on
entropy for me from the 1960s that was hand typed and used hand
drawings.  The resulting pdf file was not very good.  But I could use it
for teaching new employees.
Lynn
If I knew who owned the copyright on anything I have scanned
I would offer them a copy so that they could publish it officially.
I understand that tracing a lot of copyright holders can be
extremely difficult. After a death the copyright may be scattered
among a number of different people.

Bill
Lynn McGuire
2018-05-17 22:41:50 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Bill Gill
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Bill Gill
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts.  Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works.  And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors
that do not have functional heirs ?  Are the books gone for posterity ?
BTW, Google has scanned a tremendous amount of books and magazines
and provides sectional searches into them.  I frequently see them
when I am looking at technical research.
That does remind me of Vernor Vinge's most excellent book, _Rainbows
End_ where they are feeding library books into a paper shredder,
scanning the chunks, and putting them together using the scanned chunks.
Lynn
Well, a limited part of the shredding is one tactic used in
scanning books.  If you chop off the cover and spine you can
feed the loose pages through a scanner with a document feeder,
then convert the scans to text.  There is, or at least was, one
commercial outfit that was doing that.  After they were through
they shredded the remains and returned the digital copy of
the book.  That supposedly means that you still own just one copy.
I'm not sure if that really avoids the copyright law.  In the front
of a lot of books it says you can't make any form of copy.
In my case I do digitize books, if I own a copy and can't get a
digital copy.  I then use the digital copy for my own use.  If
the copyright owner releases a digital copy I will then buy that
copy.
It happened once.  I scanned a Miss Seeton mystery, then when I came
around to scan the next in the series they had become available.  I
immediately bought all of them in digital format.
Bill
I had my office manager scan an out of print thermodynamics book on
entropy for me from the 1960s that was hand typed and used hand
drawings.  The resulting pdf file was not very good.  But I could use
it for teaching new employees.
Lynn
If I knew who owned the copyright on anything I have scanned
I would offer them a copy so that they could publish it officially.
I understand that tracing a lot of copyright holders can be
extremely difficult.  After a death the copyright may be scattered
among a number of different people.
Bill
The author of that particular book worked with one of my partners at OU.
The author died several years ago.

I tried to buy a used copy off Amazon but I was sold a false item which
never reached me. Luckily, Amazon took the $400 back from the seller.

Lynn
Greg Goss
2018-05-18 05:02:58 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Bill Gill
Post by Lynn McGuire
That does remind me of Vernor Vinge's most excellent book, _Rainbows
End_ where they are feeding library books into a paper shredder,
scanning the chunks, and putting them together using the scanned chunks.
Well, a limited part of the shredding is one tactic used in
scanning books. If you chop off the cover and spine you can
feed the loose pages through a scanner with a document feeder,
then convert the scans to text. There is, or at least was, one
commercial outfit that was doing that. After they were through
they shredded the remains and returned the digital copy of
the book. That supposedly means that you still own just one copy.
I'm not sure if that really avoids the copyright law. In the front
of a lot of books it says you can't make any form of copy.
In the Vinge, they shred the books -- the entire library -- first,
then the massive computational power manages to fit all the pieces
together.
--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
Wolffan
2018-05-18 12:18:36 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Bill Gill
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works. And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors that do
not have functional heirs ? Are the books gone for posterity ?
BTW, Google has scanned a tremendous amount of books and magazines and
provides sectional searches into them. I frequently see them when I am
looking at technical research.
That does remind me of Vernor Vinge's most excellent book, _Rainbows
End_ where they are feeding library books into a paper shredder,
scanning the chunks, and putting them together using the scanned chunks.
Lynn
Well, a limited part of the shredding is one tactic used in
scanning books. If you chop off the cover and spine you can
feed the loose pages through a scanner with a document feeder,
then convert the scans to text. There is, or at least was, one
commercial outfit that was doing that. After they were through
they shredded the remains and returned the digital copy of
the book. That supposedly means that you still own just one copy.
I'm not sure if that really avoids the copyright law. In the front
of a lot of books it says you can't make any form of copy.
In my case I do digitize books, if I own a copy and can't get a
digital copy. I then use the digital copy for my own use. If
the copyright owner releases a digital copy I will then buy that
copy.
I have been known to scan in books. It’s a major project, involving cutting
each page out of the book, making sure that all the pages are in the right
order and the right way up (good scanning software can fix orientation those
kind of problems, but why create extra work?), scanning the pages in at high
res, OCRing the pages, ensuring that images, if any, are correctly placed and
captioned, proofing the OCR to get rid of common OCR errors (something that
Amazon doesn’t do; every single Kindle book I’ve bought has multiple
errors such as ‘tire’ or ‘tine’ where ‘the’ should be because
their OCR software sometimes reads ‘ir’ or ‘in’ where there should be
‘h’. Lots more OCR errors all over their books.) and the assembling the
whole thing into an EPUB. At the end of the process I have a pile of paper
and an DRM-free EPUB which can be read by my ereader of choice (hint: not
Kindle software). I might have that EPUB in as many as a half dozen places
(in Marvin on my iPad, in calibre on my main desktop, in calibre on my main
laptop, in iBooks, in backups of my main desktop and laptop) No doubt some
copyright holders will object. Tough. I bought the paper copy of the book in
the first place. I put in a lot of work to ensure that I have it in how I
want it. Quite a few of my ebook projects are of books I bought many years
ago and are no longer in print and almost certainly will never be available
as ebooks. Some of my projects are of books which are available as ebooks but
which have annoying and hard to get rid of DRM; this is especially so of
technical books. Some are of ebooks where the vendor clearly doesn’t give a
damn and failed to copy-edit the ebook and/or did things like removing
some/all of the illustrations and figures. One Kindle book I have, Martin
Caiden’s ‘Black Thursday’, about the Schweinfurt Raid of 14 October
1943, not only has lots of tire/tine and other OCR errors but is missing the
photos, maps, and other illustrations from the paper version. Another one,
Max Hastings’ ‘Overlord’, has numerous OCR errors but has the
illustrations... just in the wrong places with the wrong captions. An
illustration of a Mustang with a caption stating that it was a Panther tank
of 12 SS Panzerdivision Hitlerjugend was particularly amusing. The picture of
the Panther showed up in place of a picture of a Churchill Crocodile
flame-throwing tank. The Crocodile, of course, was where the Mustang should
have been. All but one of the other illustrations were wrongly captioned.
Every one of the maps were mislabeled. It was a complete shambles. Amazon
has, of course, ignored complaints.
Post by Bill Gill
It happened once. I scanned a Miss Seeton mystery, then when I came
around to scan the next in the series they had become available. I
immediately bought all of them in digital format.
Bill
Bill Gill
2018-05-18 13:18:38 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Wolffan
Post by Bill Gill
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Lynn McGuire
This is the problem that Google tried to fix but was swatted by the
courts. Too bad.
If the author is alive and has not opted to make their book available
for a reasonable price, why should a vast, wealthy corporation be allowed
to appropriate the author's rights?
IIRC, Google was going to pay a copyright fee to the author for all sold
works. And, have a way for the author to opt their works out.
Rather than require authors to be vigilant, why not simply beat the
senior executives at Google until they grasp the idea of prior consent?
What about all of the dead authors and the incapacitated authors that do
not have functional heirs ? Are the books gone for posterity ?
BTW, Google has scanned a tremendous amount of books and magazines and
provides sectional searches into them. I frequently see them when I am
looking at technical research.
That does remind me of Vernor Vinge's most excellent book, _Rainbows
End_ where they are feeding library books into a paper shredder,
scanning the chunks, and putting them together using the scanned chunks.
Lynn
Well, a limited part of the shredding is one tactic used in
scanning books. If you chop off the cover and spine you can
feed the loose pages through a scanner with a document feeder,
then convert the scans to text. There is, or at least was, one
commercial outfit that was doing that. After they were through
they shredded the remains and returned the digital copy of
the book. That supposedly means that you still own just one copy.
I'm not sure if that really avoids the copyright law. In the front
of a lot of books it says you can't make any form of copy.
In my case I do digitize books, if I own a copy and can't get a
digital copy. I then use the digital copy for my own use. If
the copyright owner releases a digital copy I will then buy that
copy.
I have been known to scan in books. It’s a major project, involving cutting
each page out of the book, making sure that all the pages are in the right
order and the right way up (good scanning software can fix orientation those
kind of problems, but why create extra work?), scanning the pages in at high
res, OCRing the pages, ensuring that images, if any, are correctly placed and
captioned, proofing the OCR to get rid of common OCR errors (something that
Amazon doesn’t do; every single Kindle book I’ve bought has multiple
errors such as ‘tire’ or ‘tine’ where ‘the’ should be because
their OCR software sometimes reads ‘ir’ or ‘in’ where there should be
‘h’. Lots more OCR errors all over their books.) and the assembling the
whole thing into an EPUB. At the end of the process I have a pile of paper
and an DRM-free EPUB which can be read by my ereader of choice (hint: not
Kindle software). I might have that EPUB in as many as a half dozen places
(in Marvin on my iPad, in calibre on my main desktop, in calibre on my main
laptop, in iBooks, in backups of my main desktop and laptop) No doubt some
copyright holders will object. Tough. I bought the paper copy of the book in
the first place. I put in a lot of work to ensure that I have it in how I
want it. Quite a few of my ebook projects are of books I bought many years
ago and are no longer in print and almost certainly will never be available
as ebooks. Some of my projects are of books which are available as ebooks but
which have annoying and hard to get rid of DRM; this is especially so of
technical books. Some are of ebooks where the vendor clearly doesn’t give a
damn and failed to copy-edit the ebook and/or did things like removing
some/all of the illustrations and figures. One Kindle book I have, Martin
Caiden’s ‘Black Thursday’, about the Schweinfurt Raid of 14 October
1943, not only has lots of tire/tine and other OCR errors but is missing the
photos, maps, and other illustrations from the paper version. Another one,
Max Hastings’ ‘Overlord’, has numerous OCR errors but has the
illustrations... just in the wrong places with the wrong captions. An
illustration of a Mustang with a caption stating that it was a Panther tank
of 12 SS Panzerdivision Hitlerjugend was particularly amusing. The picture of
the Panther showed up in place of a picture of a Churchill Crocodile
flame-throwing tank. The Crocodile, of course, was where the Mustang should
have been. All but one of the other illustrations were wrongly captioned.
Every one of the maps were mislabeled. It was a complete shambles. Amazon
has, of course, ignored complaints.
Post by Bill Gill
It happened once. I scanned a Miss Seeton mystery, then when I came
around to scan the next in the series they had become available. I
immediately bought all of them in digital format.
Bill
Well, I don't do destructive scanning. I use a photo scanner so
that I take a photo of each page. This part takes a half an hour
to an hour depending on the size of the book. That takes care of
a lot of the effort you described. The OCR part is pretty quick,
a little over a half an hour, using a commercial OCR product.
Then of course comes the slow part. I edit the books heavily.
This part is necessary, since there is no OCR software that will
provide 100% accuracy. The accuracy depends on the quality of
the scans, which depends somewhat on the quality of the source.
Old yellowed paperbacks don't scan as well as nice new hardbacks
with wide gutter (center) margins.

Recently I carefully timed myself during the whole process. From
start to finish it took me 51 hours for a 300 page book. That is
just the work time, not counting any breaks or interruptions.
Obviously the time for any one book will vary a lot.

Bill
h***@yahoo.com
2018-05-19 21:29:16 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by John Schilling
Two very promising novellas, published in _Analog_ andboth nominated for
the Hugo.
One fix-up novel, built around the novellas and very nearly living up to
their promise, also nominated for the Hugo.
And one thoroughly wretched novel, never nominated for any award I am
aware of.
Palmer actuallly promised us a sequel to that last, but thankfully
dropped off the face of the Earth for twenty or so years instead.
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Actually, there's a fair number of people here who weren't reading
science fiction twenty years ago, so maybe the first question is,
"what's all the fuss about?"
_Emergence_, which I went ahead and reread in preparation for the
sequel, purports to be the diary of one Candy Smith-Foster, a
precocious eleven-year-old girl. And apparently the last survivor
of the human race, on account of having been reading all the forbidden
books in Daddy's absurdly well-furnished bomb shelter when the bombs
started falling and various plagues were unleashed upon the world.
Appearances turn out to be wrong - Candy can't be the last survivor
of the human race, on account of not actually being human. She's a
member of a new transhuman species, belatedly recognized as such by
her scientist father and enrolled some years back in the Secret Program
To Study And Educate The New Supermen. A survivor not just because of
the bomb shelter, but because the biological weapons which depopulated
the world were very carefully tailored to affect only H. Sapiens. And
not alone, because she's got the membership list from the aforementioned
Secret Program...
So, a fusion of two classic genres - the post-apocalyptic Last Man On
Earth (almost), and the Emergent Supermen. The heroine being a precocious
child is one of the classic dodges around the nigh-impossibility of a
merely human writer convincingly writing a superhuman character.
It fits together, into a story that is still memorable (and for the most
part memorably good) twenty years later. OK, especially on rereading,
the biology behind the emergence of the Supermen is rather implausible,
but in SF we're expected to believe at least one implausible thing before
breakfast.
And it starts to fall apart towards the end. The original novellas
dealt with Candy's solo trek across a depopulated landscape, trying
to figure out what happened to all the other supermen who should have
survived and whose names and addresses she has. Meeting a handful
of lone survivors in similar situations. Great stuff, very well
written. The diary-style writing, complete with a sort of shorthand
that allegedly represents a superchild's attempt at dealing with the
inefficiencies of English, fits perfectly[2].
In filling out the tale to full novel length, Palmer had to add
material, much of it of inferior quality. In particular, the story
almost has to end with Candy actually finding the community of
Supermen Survivors she has been looking for, and that means the
author can't keep using the Super-Child dodge any more. There was
a bit too much idiot-plotting for my taste the first time I read it,
and I caught more this time around. These are no Supermen[3].
And the Gratuituous Evil Overlord to be defeated, that didn't really
fit. The World-Killing Orbital Battle Station with Defenses Designed
Around A Direct, Large-Scale Assault such that a Small, One Man, er,
Child Fighter Should Be Able To Penetrate, yeah, I could have done
without that.
There was also one aspect of the story where making the heroine a
child on the edge of puberty, didn't quite work. In any Not Quite
Lone Survivor of the Apocalypse tale, it's hard to avoid dealing
with the fact that meetings between almost-lone-survivors are going
to be heavily influenced by the, "this person I've just met may be
my absolute last chance ever to have sex with an actual human being"
dynamic. An author can make that work for them, if he has characters
that the audience will favor as romantic partners. And of course
unrequited lust towards an *adult* female protagonist is classic,
dramatically effective villain behavior. There's no good way to make
any of that work with an eleven-year-old girl, and while Palmer doesn't
sink nearly to, say, Piers Anthony's level in that area, it is a
weakness.
And, ultimately, even without creepy sexual aspects, one can only take
so much of a precociously cute little girl, and a full-length novel
turns out to be just a bit too much.
So, we've got a sequel. Is it
A: a return to the style and spirit of the original, superb, novellas?
B: a continuation of the decline we saw towards the end of _Emergence_?
C: _Emergence_ as written by the author of _Threshold_?
With only a third in hand so far, it's impossible to tell for sure. But,
fortunately, I think we can rule out C.
The story, takes place perhaps a few weeks after the conclusion of
_Emergence_, wherein Candy Smith-Foster destroyed the Death Star,
Saved The World, and, well, OK, there weren't enough Supermen in that
community for the full Leni Riefenstahl experience at the end, but it's
pretty clear that she is regarded as that kind of hero.
So, I'm very very glad to see her leave the Community of Really Dumb
Supermen in the first act, returning the story to a Lone Supergirl on
a Quest Through the Postapocalyptic Landscape. That's the only sort
of story we know Palmer can write well.
The excuse being, new intelligence has come in that Candy's beloved
daddy didn't die in the apocalypse, but was captured by the Evil Rooskie
Commie Conspiracy that was responsible for the whole thing, and is being
held in their Secret Lair.
OK, two problems there, one minor, one major. The minor problem, is
that Evil Russian Communists are a rather less credible adversary now
than they were in 1984. And there are enough specific 21st-century
references that we are clearly being asked to accept the entire story
as now being set in 2008, not in an alternate 1984. But I can live
with that - Russia still exists, and it's still got communists, nuclear
missiles, and biological weapons, so we can make that work in dramatic
terms.
The major problem is, it sets us up for an endgame where Candy has to
deal with a community of survivors, and last time I checked Palmer
couldn't write communities of intelligent, competent adults without
resorting to idiot-plottery. Maybe it will work better when he's
dealing with villains. Maybe.
For now, it gives us a chance to get back to the good stuff, as Candy
"borrows" an airplane and flies off, alone, towards Siberia. A
sufficiently arduous journey to give us at least a third of a novel's
worth of the stuff Palmer writes well.
And the good news is, he still does write it well. OK, there's a bit
more gratuitous infodumping regarding e.g. the hardware. Nowhere near
the level of David Weber, and really only annoying because Palmer tends
to get some of the details *wrong*. Not good if you're trying to write
an emerging Superman...
The super-shorthand writing style is tarnished by a few gratuitous big
words that similarly weaken the effect, but I can live with that.
And there are long segments of exposition for the specific benefit of
people who didn't read the original. I can skip over those, and I did,
so I can't say whether they would be any good for the intended purpose.
Really, you should be reading the original novel for that.
Mostly, we get adventuring, arctic bush-flying, decent writing, another
look inside an interesting head, and a couple of new characters that I
think are good additions to the cast. If Palmer can keep this up, I'll
be glad to have him back, and glad I've kept my Analog subscription over
the years.
There are worrisome signs. In addition to those mentioned above, there
are scenes back amongst the Community of Good-Guy Super-Idiots indicating
that they are planning their own mission to Siberia, with a faster plane
that will presumably catch up with our plucky heroine. Hopefully, this
time she'll be smart enough to realize she is better off without them...
And while there's only a slight hint of romance and none at all of sex
in the first installment, there is a warning from the editor that "this
story has scenes some readers may find disturbing". I presume that refers
to something yet to come, and I'm not sure I need to read that part.
But it's looking an awful lot like this will parallel the original novel,
with two good novellas' worth of travelogue and character work at least.
And maybe Palmer will pull off a decent overall plot and ending this
time. If not, I still expect it will be worth the time to read.
Worth a trip to the library and/or newsstand if you're not already a
subscriber? Harder to say, as I haven't finished reading the rest of
the issue yet. There's more good than bad in what I've seen so far
(good: Carl Fredrick's "Exoanthropic Principle", Michael Flynn's "Sand
and Iron", Juliette Wade's "Let the Word Take Me", Maya Bonhoff's
"Junkie". Bad, Bond Elam's "Plethora of Truth", both fact articles,
the editorial, and the "Probability Zero"). Nothing great, nothing
horrible, so far.
Probably worth checking out, if you still remember the original
"Emergence"
fondly.
[1] Not that Gibson's _Neuromancer_ wasn't also a fine choice;
certainly more influential in the genre.
[2] OK, it's been suggested that it mostly represents Palmer's
attempt at getting around the fact that he can't write decent
standard English prose, but whatever works...
[3] Well, Kal-El often enough acted as if he had an IQ around
eighty or so, but I don't think he's the proper role model here.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
I need copies of the Analog issues that "Tracking" was published or in any format . I HAVE TO READ THIS ! Fell in love with "Emergence" when I was 20 and have been searching for the sequel ever since I heard about it , You can reach me at ***@yahoo.com if you have any information .
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-05-19 21:37:41 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by h***@yahoo.com
Post by John Schilling
Two very promising novellas, published in _Analog_ andboth nominated for
the Hugo.
One fix-up novel, built around the novellas and very nearly living up to
their promise, also nominated for the Hugo.
And one thoroughly wretched novel, never nominated for any award I am
aware of.
Palmer actuallly promised us a sequel to that last, but thankfully
dropped off the face of the Earth for twenty or so years instead.
As was noted here last month, he's back. And the good news is, he's
back with a sequel to his first novel, the one that was actually worth
reading, perhaps even worth the Hugo it was nominated for[1].
_Tracking_, sequel to _Emergence_, by David R. Palmer, serialized in
the July through October 2008 issues of Analog magazine.
The question, seeing as how most people here don't subscribe to Analog
any more is, is this one worth a trip to the library or newsstand?
Actually, there's a fair number of people here who weren't reading
science fiction twenty years ago, so maybe the first question is,
"what's all the fuss about?"
_Emergence_, which I went ahead and reread in preparation for the
sequel, purports to be the diary of one Candy Smith-Foster, a
precocious eleven-year-old girl. And apparently the last survivor
of the human race, on account of having been reading all the forbidden
books in Daddy's absurdly well-furnished bomb shelter when the bombs
started falling and various plagues were unleashed upon the world.
Appearances turn out to be wrong - Candy can't be the last survivor
of the human race, on account of not actually being human. She's a
member of a new transhuman species, belatedly recognized as such by
her scientist father and enrolled some years back in the Secret Program
To Study And Educate The New Supermen. A survivor not just because of
the bomb shelter, but because the biological weapons which depopulated
the world were very carefully tailored to affect only H. Sapiens. And
not alone, because she's got the membership list from the aforementioned
Secret Program...
So, a fusion of two classic genres - the post-apocalyptic Last Man On
Earth (almost), and the Emergent Supermen. The heroine being a precocious
child is one of the classic dodges around the nigh-impossibility of a
merely human writer convincingly writing a superhuman character.
It fits together, into a story that is still memorable (and for the most
part memorably good) twenty years later. OK, especially on rereading,
the biology behind the emergence of the Supermen is rather implausible,
but in SF we're expected to believe at least one implausible thing before
breakfast.
And it starts to fall apart towards the end. The original novellas
dealt with Candy's solo trek across a depopulated landscape, trying
to figure out what happened to all the other supermen who should have
survived and whose names and addresses she has. Meeting a handful
of lone survivors in similar situations. Great stuff, very well
written. The diary-style writing, complete with a sort of shorthand
that allegedly represents a superchild's attempt at dealing with the
inefficiencies of English, fits perfectly[2].
In filling out the tale to full novel length, Palmer had to add
material, much of it of inferior quality. In particular, the story
almost has to end with Candy actually finding the community of
Supermen Survivors she has been looking for, and that means the
author can't keep using the Super-Child dodge any more. There was
a bit too much idiot-plotting for my taste the first time I read it,
and I caught more this time around. These are no Supermen[3].
And the Gratuituous Evil Overlord to be defeated, that didn't really
fit. The World-Killing Orbital Battle Station with Defenses Designed
Around A Direct, Large-Scale Assault such that a Small, One Man, er,
Child Fighter Should Be Able To Penetrate, yeah, I could have done
without that.
There was also one aspect of the story where making the heroine a
child on the edge of puberty, didn't quite work. In any Not Quite
Lone Survivor of the Apocalypse tale, it's hard to avoid dealing
with the fact that meetings between almost-lone-survivors are going
to be heavily influenced by the, "this person I've just met may be
my absolute last chance ever to have sex with an actual human being"
dynamic. An author can make that work for them, if he has characters
that the audience will favor as romantic partners. And of course
unrequited lust towards an *adult* female protagonist is classic,
dramatically effective villain behavior. There's no good way to make
any of that work with an eleven-year-old girl, and while Palmer doesn't
sink nearly to, say, Piers Anthony's level in that area, it is a
weakness.
And, ultimately, even without creepy sexual aspects, one can only take
so much of a precociously cute little girl, and a full-length novel
turns out to be just a bit too much.
So, we've got a sequel. Is it
A: a return to the style and spirit of the original, superb, novellas?
B: a continuation of the decline we saw towards the end of _Emergence_?
C: _Emergence_ as written by the author of _Threshold_?
With only a third in hand so far, it's impossible to tell for sure. But,
fortunately, I think we can rule out C.
The story, takes place perhaps a few weeks after the conclusion of
_Emergence_, wherein Candy Smith-Foster destroyed the Death Star,
Saved The World, and, well, OK, there weren't enough Supermen in that
community for the full Leni Riefenstahl experience at the end, but it's
pretty clear that she is regarded as that kind of hero.
So, I'm very very glad to see her leave the Community of Really Dumb
Supermen in the first act, returning the story to a Lone Supergirl on
a Quest Through the Postapocalyptic Landscape. That's the only sort
of story we know Palmer can write well.
The excuse being, new intelligence has come in that Candy's beloved
daddy didn't die in the apocalypse, but was captured by the Evil Rooskie
Commie Conspiracy that was responsible for the whole thing, and is being
held in their Secret Lair.
OK, two problems there, one minor, one major. The minor problem, is
that Evil Russian Communists are a rather less credible adversary now
than they were in 1984. And there are enough specific 21st-century
references that we are clearly being asked to accept the entire story
as now being set in 2008, not in an alternate 1984. But I can live
with that - Russia still exists, and it's still got communists, nuclear
missiles, and biological weapons, so we can make that work in dramatic
terms.
The major problem is, it sets us up for an endgame where Candy has to
deal with a community of survivors, and last time I checked Palmer
couldn't write communities of intelligent, competent adults without
resorting to idiot-plottery. Maybe it will work better when he's
dealing with villains. Maybe.
For now, it gives us a chance to get back to the good stuff, as Candy
"borrows" an airplane and flies off, alone, towards Siberia. A
sufficiently arduous journey to give us at least a third of a novel's
worth of the stuff Palmer writes well.
And the good news is, he still does write it well. OK, there's a bit
more gratuitous infodumping regarding e.g. the hardware. Nowhere near
the level of David Weber, and really only annoying because Palmer tends
to get some of the details *wrong*. Not good if you're trying to write
an emerging Superman...
The super-shorthand writing style is tarnished by a few gratuitous big
words that similarly weaken the effect, but I can live with that.
And there are long segments of exposition for the specific benefit of
people who didn't read the original. I can skip over those, and I did,
so I can't say whether they would be any good for the intended purpose.
Really, you should be reading the original novel for that.
Mostly, we get adventuring, arctic bush-flying, decent writing, another
look inside an interesting head, and a couple of new characters that I
think are good additions to the cast. If Palmer can keep this up, I'll
be glad to have him back, and glad I've kept my Analog subscription over
the years.
There are worrisome signs. In addition to those mentioned above, there
are scenes back amongst the Community of Good-Guy Super-Idiots indicating
that they are planning their own mission to Siberia, with a faster plane
that will presumably catch up with our plucky heroine. Hopefully, this
time she'll be smart enough to realize she is better off without them...
And while there's only a slight hint of romance and none at all of sex
in the first installment, there is a warning from the editor that "this
story has scenes some readers may find disturbing". I presume that refers
to something yet to come, and I'm not sure I need to read that part.
But it's looking an awful lot like this will parallel the original novel,
with two good novellas' worth of travelogue and character work at least.
And maybe Palmer will pull off a decent overall plot and ending this
time. If not, I still expect it will be worth the time to read.
Worth a trip to the library and/or newsstand if you're not already a
subscriber? Harder to say, as I haven't finished reading the rest of
the issue yet. There's more good than bad in what I've seen so far
(good: Carl Fredrick's "Exoanthropic Principle", Michael Flynn's "Sand
and Iron", Juliette Wade's "Let the Word Take Me", Maya Bonhoff's
"Junkie". Bad, Bond Elam's "Plethora of Truth", both fact articles,
the editorial, and the "Probability Zero"). Nothing great, nothing
horrible, so far.
Probably worth checking out, if you still remember the original
"Emergence"
fondly.
[1] Not that Gibson's _Neuromancer_ wasn't also a fine choice;
certainly more influential in the genre.
[2] OK, it's been suggested that it mostly represents Palmer's
attempt at getting around the fact that he can't write decent
standard English prose, but whatever works...
[3] Well, Kal-El often enough acted as if he had an IQ around
eighty or so, but I don't think he's the proper role model here.
--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *
I need copies of the Analog issues that "Tracking" was published or in
any format . I HAVE TO READ THIS ! Fell in love with "Emergence" when I
was 20 and have been searching for the sequel ever since I heard about
.
Look for one of my posts in this thread, I posted links for buying all of
them.
--
------
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