Cheeseburger Gothic

Electronic Felafels.

Posted August 4, 2010 by John Birmingham
Some of you may have seen my tweet the other night, where I fessed up that impulse bought the new Kindle. I went for the WiFi only graphite model, figuring that I didn't need to be downloading books on the go. Why did I go for the Kindle? Well, of course, there is the promise I made to myself that I would not invest in an iPad until my master Steve Jobs release the infinitely more powerful iPad 2 next year. And there was the little matter of my not being able to slake my gadget lust by laying hands on an iPhone 4 the other day. And I had had a few drinks.

But anyway, I've ordered one now and I'm going to make it work for me. Literally. I have huge volumes of reading I have to get through for work, particularly when researching books, and I am constantly hauling used books off to the secondhand bookstore to keep my shelves in order. So for those types of titles an e-reader would be useful. (And yes, Beeso, and iPad would be much more useful, but only for other things). So I'm cool with this impulse purchase.

However, I'm not that cool with the state of the e-book market. It's a fucking shambles. For instance Designated Targets and Final Impact are both available in Kindle versions, but not Weapons of Choice. W. T. F.

Apple's iBookstore is crippled for now by Cupertino's failure to secure comprehensive deals with all of the major publishing houses. There's just not much in there. But the much vaunted Amazon is not necessarily much better. Particularly if you do not have access to an American Amazon account. Because of the territorial rights issue, and because of the relative slowness of our local publishers in securing digital rights to their backlist, and of digitizing their back list when they do have the rights, the offerings available are pretty thin indeed. As an example, if you type in SM Stirling as a search term on the general Amazon home page, you'll get about 200 returns. On the Kindle page, you get just four.

Having begun to investigate electronic books seriously, I've had reason to think about my own backlist. Although Felafel has been a success everywhere it's been released, for instance, it has never been released in the US. An e-book version could do well there (although I would undoubtedly have to change the name of the first chapter). I started talking to my old publisher Michael Duffy about this the other day and he was very keen to look into the subject. As soon as we began to discuss it however, my thoughts turned to the aesthetics of e-book publishing.

Beeso will like this. The iPad seems a natural platform for a book like Felafel, or How To The A Man, both of which rely on rich dense layers of illustrations for some of their impact. Even when Felafel isn't deploying illustrations, it uses some quite unusual layout and design to achieve an effect. None of those tricks are available on the Kindle, or the Nook or pretty much any e-reader that uses an e-ink display. Anybody who's had a look at the Marvel comics app on the iPad will note just how lush and gorgeous and powerful those old full-color illustrations can be. That would still be the case even if they weren't displayed on an Apple tablet. But it would not be the case if they had to be displayed on a Kindle. You just wouldn't bother.

This makes me wonder whether or not e-books in future will become a differentiated medium, with some presenting as little more than gigantic slabs of text on cheap, almost disposable low end e-readers, while others work only as fully illustrated, aesthetically rich visual extravaganzas, requiring a much higher end display technology.

A final thought that occurred to me as I was pondering all this is that any such differentiation might be a way for publishers to maintain their hardcopy back lists. If you strip all of the graphical content out of something like Falafel, you could still publish a thick slab of very funny text on something like a Kindle, but you wouldn't necessarily cannibalize your hardcopy sales if people still felt the need to own a paperback to get access to the full experience of the book.

73 Responses to ‘Electronic Felafels.’

Surtac reckons...

Posted August 4, 2010
Interesting thoughts, JB. I think you're on to something here.

I've been pondering the usefulness of an ebook reader myself, and have pretty much concluded that they're only useful for reading the text, and by association, probably only useful for fiction.

As you've noted with the Marvel example, anything graphics heavy or with much content in graphic form, is going to need something more like an iPad than a Kindle. School or uni textbooks, or the sort of material that Orin writes, that rely on graphical or pictorial delivery of information in significant amounts will never really work on a Kindle.

Having said that, I'm a book collector, so I'm still pretty much on the fence of the whole ebook thing.

Respond to this comment

Tarl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 4, 2010
I've had a Kindle for over a year now, and enjoy it. Since upgrading to the DX (large screen), even more. But after several bad experiences with Amazon e-books, I now use it only for e-books I've purchased from Baen Books (www.webscriptions.net) directly.

There are two problems with the Amazon books - their scans are mass-produced and not quality checked. On several books that had diagrams, the diagrams were completely illegible - they'd made JPEGs out of text, and dialed up the compression so high the text rendered as nothing more than a smear.

The other problem is DRM; I understand the need for DRM, but I'm not willing to trust yet another DRM vendor. The first time I got hammered by DRM was in November 1976 (!), but a computer vendor putting a time-bomb in his operating system to guarantee payment. Which we'd made, but they fouled up - and the timebomb went off thanksgiving morning. No technical support available for four days and we had a payroll to get out on friday. Ever since, every time I've dealt with DRM, I've gotten screwed in one form or another.

My fear with Amazon is what happened with DIVX; when the vendor gets tired of the game, the customer who has purchased DRM-protected media loses it all. I'm afraid that if Amazon gives up on Kindle, any collection of books I'd accumulated would vanish in a puff of greasy black smoke.

Before I trust another DRM vendor, there has to be some kind of escrow scheme to release customer binaries if the vendor loses interest. But nobody wants to address end-of-life issues for their product, so this will never happen.

Respond to this comment

Tarl mumbles...

Posted August 4, 2010
Oh, and by the way - I see *17* e-books with Stirling's name on them at Webscriptions. With no DRM.

Blood Feuds

Blood Vengeance

Conqueror

Drakas!

Go Tell the Spartans

Ice, Iron and Gold

More Than Honor

Prince of Sparta

The Chosen

The City and the Ship

The Houses of the Kzinti

The Independent Command

The Prince

The Privateer: The Flight Engineer, Volume II

The Reformer

The Rising

Warlord

Respond to this comment

Brian ducks in to say...

Posted August 4, 2010
I think IPad type tablets are the way to go. Especially with all the links and scrolling doo -dads.

I have a Palm reader . . .and quite frankly its far too small for my eyesight these days. As a portable library? Its excellent. You Bluetooth it to whatever you want and away you go.

The tablets are excellent for home or office work but I remain to be convinced of their usefulness out and about the rest of the world. I like to read in daylight . . .I seldom bother with any screen based device in that context.

All that said . . .there will be a demographic push by the more gadget hip generations.

I think hardcopy media will drop away . . .but it will resurge. It just wont have the same market penetration that it once did. Bookstores will stay with us. The pleasure in just browsing bookshelves is a quasi social experience. I still go to libraries . . .basically to be surprised by something that I wouldn't have picked up by going to Amazon. I guess tactile feel has something to do with it.

Respond to this comment

Legless ducks in to say...

Posted August 4, 2010
I've had my Kindle for a few days now and love it. From now on, the majority of my book purchases will be e-book purchases. If I can't get it for the Kindle then I'll likely not bother buying it.

Tarl's comments on DRM are valid. DRM is the Devils Work but it's trivial to strip the DRM out of e-books - I've already done that with a couple of books just to see how easy it was so I'm comfortable with buying from Amazon.

My set-up now is a Kindle reader on one of my servers that holds my whole library and the books I want to read on my Kindle. As my Kindle fills up, it's easy to just delete them from the Kindle and I can always reload them later if I need to. The nice thing about this setup is anything I buy directly with my Kindle also gets pushed out to my server based copy.

Cheers

Respond to this comment

Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted August 4, 2010
Paper books are going to go the way live theatre did with the advent of TV.

They will go from being a genuine mass entertainment product to a niche that caters to a specialist market of enthusiasts only.

Respond to this comment

Therbs mumbles...

Posted August 4, 2010
I'll be a late adapter to e-books and wait until I get a later version of the i-Pad, like next year maybe. I could imagine reading text-only Felafels but they'd want to be cheap.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted August 4, 2010
My wife loves her kindle - possibly more than she loves me. I say that, not to engender sympathy, but to demonstrate just how much my wife loves her kindle.

I, on the other hand, fucking hate them. Everything was just fine until IT came into my home.

Respond to this comment

Orin has opinions thus...

Posted August 4, 2010
DRM isn't about stopping everyone, it is about stopping casual piracy. While it may be too early to tell what is going to happen to the fiction industry, casual piracy is starting to grind the textbook industry into the ground. A colleague found one book of his, which had sold less than 5,000 copies, had been downloaded over 130,000 times. Prior to wider ebook piracy and availability books in the same series (but on previous versions of the operating system) would often sell something close to the number that have been downloaded (100K being the natural audience size for previous editions of that type of book). Whereas people might pirate a book and then buy the ebook version if it is $15 - they won't do the same with a textbook that costs $50. If it were true, my colleague would have picked up more than the number of paid sales he got.

Unfortunately with the significantly greater amount of editorial support required for a textbook (not only do you need your editors, you need qualified testers and checkers) the economics don't work below a certain price point. You can't write a textbook for less than $X and people won't pay more than $X/5 for an electronic textbook.

Where the iPad (and Kindle) may end up saving publishing is by making casual piracy on the platform complicated enough that most people go the honest route instead (because they will be reluctant to jailbreak their iPad to read the pirated stuff).

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted August 4, 2010
@Lobes

'caters to a specialist market of enthusiasts only'

That already happens. Had a dinner chat with a book guy from England who specialised in limited runs of really old books. Quite interesting a limited 200 hard back run with quality paper and leather covers. I opined that it wouldn't be profitable. To the contrary . . .very profitable and far from a niche business.

In terms of longevity. The only other media that is more durable are clay tablets and stone carvings.

Respond to this comment

Monster Yuppy ducks in to say...

Posted August 4, 2010
I have iBooks on my iPad, and I have the Kindle app for iPad as well.

I use Kindle WAY more than iBooks. Cos they have got more books. And I have an American Amazon A/C.

I really prefer reading "real" books, but can't lug books with me on my travels.

I am happy to use eBooks for most of my reading.

Th price is right for eBooks, but the availability is still lacking.

How FKN hard can it be for a publisher to put a price on a range of books?

If it is too high, Joe Punter just won't buy them..too low and they will up the price once they see the volume...

Respond to this comment

Lobes puts forth...

Posted August 4, 2010
I'm sure its profitable. But not sure a 200 book run could be really considered mass market in the way paperbacks or TV shows are (or were).

Agree with you re durability though. For that reason publishing will always be around in some sort of form.

Respond to this comment

Mark ducks in to say...

Posted August 4, 2010
The other problem is that the kindle uses a proprietary ebook format - not ePub, the open standard that is used by Nook and other eBook readers. It would be easy to get burn't not just by DRM, but by an inability to move your library to a better cheaper platform when it comes along.

There are many situations that a eInk reflective screen like the kindle is superior to iPad's transmissive LCD screen and vice versa.

The importance of ePub and other open formats is that it lets you read the same content on the most appropriate device for what you want to get done at the time.

Want to read something at the beach - grab your eInk based reader. Want to read something in the dark use your iPad.

If you read enough - the savings on digital purchases would actually equal the cost of both an iPad and an eBook reader.

Respond to this comment

Nocturnalist asserts...

Posted August 4, 2010
I found myself rather unexpectedly in possession of a Kobo, Borders' proprietary ereader, the other week. My father and I have both ahd a play with it, and we agree that it's a tremendously clever device with a lot of potential (he's thinking speed and ease of obtaining books, I'm thinking lots of travel reading without having to agonise over which paperbacks to cram into my luggage) but flaws as well.

He summed it up with "it makes every book look the same" - individual books have a certain character and feel to them that helps make them individual reading experiences, which are homogenised by a reader that imposes a universal layout, font and so on. That bears on your point.

As for textbooks, I'm not so sure that e-ink could never support good diagrams or even short animations, but one thing e-readers need to do is better, more intuitive flippability. I got to the afterword in my Kobo's "Aesop's Fables" and found references to a couple of the Fables that had been coined in specific response to certain political events. In a paper book I'd have left my thumb in the afterword and flipped back to find them to give them another scan in light of that knowledge, but here I thought about all the cycling through chapter menus to get forward and back and dropped the idea.

One prediction I rather liked about e-books generally was that e-editions would become the norm for someone who wanted to read a book once and wasn't bothered about keeping it or about a reading "experience", while paper books would evolve into a boutique market - short print runs, handsome and properly crafted binding, signatures and illustrations and so on. Sort of like the difference between the song you download and delete after a couple of listens and the album you buy on vinyl in the numbered limited-edition collectors' box. I can see myself in both of those markets. I don't mind zipping through an ebook or a cheap paperback, but I also very much like having my Absolute Sandman editions with the redone colour and leather binding and slipcase, or my Liber Chaotica special edition with the brushed-steel covers.

Respond to this comment

beeso asserts...

Posted August 4, 2010
Having spent all morning with an iPad developement team making my throat roar, and all week thinking about how things work on such devices i'll throw this in. Both felafel and how to be a man could probably exist as an app, or even a birmo app for those two, with fan fic and the like. Create a visual look for the text to be presented at its best, with some cool little animations and the like, it would probably sell better than a straight ebook because of the style helping sell the product. But i'd still put it up on the kindle store too, cause there is nothing more irritating than looking for something in the most obvious place and it not being there. Case in point a kids author i like has a five part series, part 1, 2, 4, and 5 are on the kindle store, but not 3? WTF? Amazon should be employing someone to chase down and eliminate those little glitches.

I'm more and more convinced that the E market is going to outstrip the big companies. Case in point is that beautiful marvel app. What they need is a subscription plan for all comics published before, say, 1995. Take out the really big iconic issues if you want, but that would be silly. Then let me download 10 at a time, or hold ten at a time on my device. I can already get and read them all for free anyway, but this way i can give marvel some money for the privilege.

Think of it like a drug dealer. Let me sample a large amount of my older crappier product for next to nothing to get me hooked, then charge me a premium for the new super hydro hairy episodes.

Be very interesting to see if publishing houses can keep up.

Respond to this comment

Nocturnalist has opinions thus...

Posted August 4, 2010
Eh, this is what happens when I wander off to lunch with my comment half-written - I get scooped by Lobes and Brian when I get back and finish it.

Respond to this comment

Brian puts forth...

Posted August 4, 2010
I think the proper way to look at e-books is in terms of "a keeper' and 'ephemera'.

I have "keepers' . . .that I print off and use to highlight points, annotate explanations or to explode meaning by putting in diagrams. Orins turf really . . .but I enhance that printout by personalising it.

'Ephemera' most fiction novels and music fall into that category. My daughter has a small collection of 1,500 songs. It reminds me of a mate who a 10 foot long wall full of cassette tapes. Beyond a certain point . . .its just hoarding. I was scanning my e-book library a few weeks back . . .and I wondered "Do I really need all these?'

In some ways bigger and faster memories and harddrives is just an excuse to never have to clean out the garbage.

But . . .that's what e-readers are for . . .to collect ephemera.

Respond to this comment

Gary Kemble mutters...

Posted August 4, 2010
Hi Orin,

I don't know enough about the textbook market to comment but I'd say for fiction authors Tim O'Reilly was right when he said obscurity is more of a threat than piracy.

I think a lot of people will put off buying an ebook reader until the format wars are over. If I buy an ebook, I want it to be able to work on whatever device I happen to have, and I want to be able to lend it to friends (in the same way you can lend a paperback), or give it away/sell it when I'm done with it.

Gary

Respond to this comment

WarDog mutters...

Posted August 4, 2010
I finally reached a decision point this week. After collecting books for the last 30 years I am finally happy to swap my entire collection for digital copies of them. As soon as I press the button on my eTablet of choice (sorry JB you know it'll be an Android for me) I'll start to cannibalize my collection.

The extra room, the removal of dust. The ability to search for text references, carry my entire library around in my back pocket, pick up animated copies or ones with refs to online content. The tech has finally become good enough for me.

The question for me is what size eTablet will I get best use out of.

Respond to this comment

Steve P would have you know...

Posted August 4, 2010
I just downloaded Without Warning to my Kindle. I only buy for Kindle now (maybe IPad when/if I get one). Its terrific: convenient, cheaper, and a very large range with Amazon but also all other sources (just finished a brief civil war memoir from Project Gutenberg).

Not a lot of Aussie stuff available on Amazon, though. I often get the "This is not available for Australia" message, which is very annoying, and which I presume relates to some publishing issue with Australian/UK publishers. Also there are no Australian newspapers on Kindle, as far as I can tell, although some are on IPad I understand.

I also download quite a few textbooks to Kindle, even with diagrams. It is hard to read diagrams on Kindle, but I have Kindle reader on the PC as well, which is OK for that.

I really like beeso's birmo app idea.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted August 4, 2010
My Master would like a quiet word with you, Mr Dog.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted August 4, 2010
Yeah I like Beeso's Birmo App idea too.

And I'm not surprised at the lack of newspapers on kindle. Internationally there's not many of them either. They're a good example of the importance of design and layout. In one sense, yes, they are just text, they dont need imagery. But the aesthetics of newspapers have advanced light years since the first days of solid slabs of text. Again, another type of 'print' media I'd be happy to read on a tablet but not an e-reader.

Respond to this comment

Orin mumbles...

Posted August 4, 2010
In terms of textbooks, no one gives a rats generally who the authors. With fiction the author is usually the brand. If you've written a series of fiction books it makes sense to give some the firest away free (just like a drug dealer the first hit is free) as if people enjoy it they will pay for the rest of the series (this is BAEN's strategy). Doesn't work that way with textbooks as they don't have that natural "have to read the whole series after reading the first one" approach.

O'Reilly is indirectly my publisher these days (as MS Press publication and distribution is handled through O'Reilly and it is their name on the royalty cheques). They are philosophically committed to providing books without DRM. Given the file sharing stats - and the evidence I've seen of my own books being shared widely, I'm not convinced that this is a successful strategy long term.

Kindle may become the iTunes of eBooks. Buy it once, read it on any device with a Kindle client. Similar to Audible audiobooks (I have an audio book library going back 10 years on audible that has come across at least six different devices with me). The library auto-sync feature makes this a winner for me. The DRM simply doesn't cause me a problem because it is handled natively by the client.

Respond to this comment

wheresmyepubjohn puts forth...

Posted August 4, 2010
Hanging to get a copy of After America in ePub format. Not sure what all this hoopla is over other eBook formats. Beeso is wrong on the app idea. Only kids books and comics should even consider being an 'app'. Novel writer should be output pretty much only to ePub. apps should be only used from non-novels that need specialised interactivity. It's way too much work to do an app as a book.

See this

iBooks on iPad handles the annotation and booking mark they have elected to mark as 'red'. In fact most readers will implement how that is handled themselves in their reader software. It's like the bookmark in the old deadtree is not part of it but can be removed from it's pages.

The iBooks software is the nicest of all the readers i've looked at, hence my iPad purchase, despite not being able to get ebooks from Apple Australia store yet.

PDF will come a close second in book support and generally used as a reference book format, not for novels. I think Adobe are working on a modification to PDF to allow for rewrapping, but who wants to support something controlled by Adobe.

ePub overview

for hardcore geeks

Lots of tools to get easy output to epub are starting to arise.

So who do i have to kill to get After America in ePub?

Respond to this comment

beeso mutters...

Posted August 4, 2010
I think you've missed the point. Felafel and how to be a man have a degree of visual style as well as text, which is why you could add content to it and make it an app and sell to a different market. It wouldn't be aimed at people who just want the text.

Respond to this comment

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted August 4, 2010
Hey JB, did this guy steal tomorrows blunty?

ww.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2973380.htm

Double A+ gold with an elephant stamp.

Respond to this comment

nhamilton@iinet.net.au is gonna tell you...

Posted August 4, 2010
I like the Idea of a Kindle, I have about 300 books stacked in my hall way and pick and choose to read them while waiting for new books to arrive. It would save me a lot of space. But when I buy books through Amazon and look to see if they are available on Kindle there is not much on offer. Being a book hoarder I would like to be able to access any of my books whan I want to, not sure if I can do this with a kindle, memory wise.

Respond to this comment

NBlob puts forth...

Posted August 4, 2010
Oh and On Topic.

There was an excellant discussion of Radio National a while back about Ebook haters. The consensus seemed to be, Ebooks for recreational reading are not as good as The Real Thing. But for professional reading they are Da Shiznit.

An example.

I have close to 2 meters of bookshelf devoted to legislation. About every 5 or 6 months TPTB (the powers that be) ammend, fiddle, prod, fold, spindle &/or mutilate the Acts, Regulations, Management Plans & Enforcement Directives.

Ammending these used to fill about one day a month. I'd print out the ammendment, note when the change was made and stick it over the old stuff, hinged on a piece of sticky tape so the old stuff could still be referred to.

These days I just download the New & improved document. Takes about 3 minutes. The old version is still on the hard drive in case I need to refer to it. I just needed to develop excelant file naming hygene.

PDF word searching beats the living p!ss out of refering back & forth to a crap index.

Respond to this comment

El Coqui mutters...

Posted August 4, 2010
Love me, Love my Kindle!

I had been using my kindle for over two years and I am sold on it. By this time, I calculated that by buying mostly e-books, I think that it have already paid for itself. Of course, there is the convenience. I am going to NASFIC 2010 this week and I don't have to decide which book to take with me, if I want something to read. I also discovered that the power cord to charge it can also charge my cell phone.

I downloaded into it web-subscriptions and my own stories (for those awkward times when someone ask me if I had ever written anything). So I am sold, I am told that it now supports PDF files.

Respond to this comment

Monster Yuppy mutters...

Posted August 4, 2010
There is a comic version of Felafel about.

It would look ASWM on an Ipad.

Respond to this comment

Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

Posted August 4, 2010
You'll all be sorry when we run out of those damned electrons. I saw them come and I'll see them go but my books are still readable after 500+ years. Had a request from someone the other day to recover documents from a 5.25" floppy disk. How I laughed. Probably written with Zardax on an Apple ][e. Of course your ePubs and PDFs will never be obsolete? Paper will outlive you all (swills cheap red wine around remaining teeth and laughs in the manner of Jabba the Hut).

Respond to this comment

Bangar mutters...

Posted August 4, 2010
Greybeard had a friend request file transfer from a 3.5 diskette, can do. Legacy FTW. PS may even do 5.25

Respond to this comment

peterbowes is gonna tell you...

Posted August 4, 2010
there is no way you can stuff a kindle in your back pocket and take a train to lismore to see a sunset in the bushfire season - so help me

Respond to this comment

whereismyepubjohn swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 4, 2010
Greybeard, your 500+ year old books are a little 'legacy' compared to stone tablets. maybe you're just addicted to the old deadtrees more than you think. I'm just saying the market wants to move to a single open standard for novels and that format will be ePub in the near future.

Respond to this comment

Harry the Dog swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 4, 2010
Hi JB & all

A wise man once said 'all that glitters is not gold', I think this is worth bearing in mind before succumbing to the hypnotic draw of electronic gadgetry.

There is still a lot to be said for good o'l fashioned books.

- Vendor platform independent

- Highly portable

- No battery required

- No danger of disappearing if stood to close to magnetic sources

- Can also be read in the sunlight (in fact, they thrive on that!)

These are just a few reasons, straight off the cuff.

OK, OK I say this as a practicing Librarian and yes I might just have a vested interest, but I still have a reluctance to parting with £109 - £149 for a device (that may in some instances not display pictures) to allow me to read content that I still have to pay additional dosh for.

Call me a Luddite if you will, but I'm off back to my cave!!!

Cheers

Da Dog =;-)

Respond to this comment

Tarl asserts...

Posted August 5, 2010
I should mention one of the features that I *love* with the Kindle (and other e-readers).

Adjustable Font Sizes.

As I've aged, my eyes are no longer happy reading 7-point minion typefaces. Being able to select larger fonts (12-point good, 16-point better) allows me to enjoy reading without having to whip out a magnifying glass.

There are undoubtedly people who prefer the tiny fonts found in some paperbacks so they can fit more words per page and more words per book. But as they get older, they'll learn to like larger fonts.

Respond to this comment

Orin has opinions thus...

Posted August 5, 2010
For the books that last forever crowd - it really depends on the book. Some hardbacks stay in good condition for a long time (I have several over 100 years old), but the majority of books most of us buy are probably paperback. Lifetime really depends on the quality of the paperback - I've noticed that a not insubstantial percentage of the stuff that I have that is over 25 years old and which has been read a large number of times isn't in the best of condition. I have a collection of older 50's and 60's Sci-Fi that I need to be extremely careful of reading as many paperbacks of that era tend to have their spines crack if they haven't been stored in perfect conditions.

Very few books last two centuries - you only have to go into the special reading rooms in Uni libraries to see the amount of care and attention that needs to be taken with them.

Unless you get special archive paper, your book has a limited lifespan.

Given how support for formats drops over time, it would be very surprising if the current ebook formats are present on readers 20 years from now.

Respond to this comment

Murfomurf mutters...

Posted August 5, 2010
Interesting, your forecast for different levels of eReaders- we've been trying various ones, plus the iPad. I've concluded that the Kindle is good for reading ordinary text-only books but is too big heavy to carry around eveywhere; the Kobo is very basic but excellent for carrying about and reading in bed due to its thinness and unobtrusive screen lighting and the iPad makes illustrations look magical but is too heavy to hold in one hand while typing with the other. Incidentally, if you want to peruse some classics in electronic format with beautiful illustrations from the original engravings etc, go to: http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/ and see the work of Uni of Adelaide Library Systems Manager, Steve Thomas.

If you haven't got much time, try this illustration from 'Paradise Lost': http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/milton/john/paradise/book1.html#plate04

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted August 5, 2010
@Orin

'For the books that last forever . .' No such thing, the acid in the paper plus UV does for them. However if you then contrast longevity of paper as against film or tape media . . .paper wins. Plastic based media has an even shorter life span. Plastics out gas continuously . . .the 'new car' smell. Hmm . . .bakelite seems to last a lot longer as does melamine. Hint : electronics especially e-platforms suffer the same fate.

Very old books can be on vellum (animal skin), linen paper or papyrus. Modern paper isn't that good . .that's why it goes yellow . . .chemical reaction with air.

Continuum for media lifetime (roughly). Electronic : magnetic and film : paper : 78 records(made out of clay) : vellum : clay : rock. So . . .rock should beat paper every time.

Respond to this comment

Lobes would have you know...

Posted August 5, 2010
heh, nice pun Brian.

Respond to this comment

Darth Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted August 5, 2010
Read an interesting piece a while back on film preservation. You'd think (well I did) that digitising would be the way to go but apparently modern (vs celluloid) film stock is capable of lasting 600 years, given the right temperature and humidity. And in theory of course. Storing film AS film also gives more definition for your dollar than digitising. Some early films exist only as paper versions, ie contact prints on paper rolls. Apparently the copyright office in the teens and twenties demanded two copies of a "work" for reference and they had to be on paper. Great thing in hindsight.

Re the acid paper and poor quality glue, my old Astounding's ans Analog's are fragile inded. In the 70's, "New World" cheap paperbacks seemed to have a glue that had the book turn into a pile of separate sheets as you finished the first reading. Possibly an early attempt at DRM?

I have two copies of the Times which illustrate the acid problem beautifully. One from 1791 has King Louis' aunts trying to escape France in a fast carriage etc and is a flexible and quite readable cream colour, on a rag-based paper. The 1805 (first casualty reports from Trafalgar) is on cheaper acid-bleached paper. It has turned quite yellow and crumbles so badly that it can't safely be read unless in a frame. Folio books are made with excellent paper and beautifully stitched bindings. I'm sure they'll outlast me.

Of course I'm hanging out for the right e-book reader too. One of my regular, $9.95/copy mags, is $9.99 per year in ebook form. Ephemerals and texts - to the electrons where you belong.

Respond to this comment

Brian would have you know...

Posted August 5, 2010
Greybeard.

I'm hanging out for an e-book cover in red calfskin. Monogrammed . . .of course.

There's a movement I follow called steampunk IIRC. It retrofits modern tech into old furniture and equipment. I greatly admire the workmanship that goes into it.

Respond to this comment

Tarl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2010
Brian:

www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001S057I6/ref=s9_al_bw_ir06?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-10&pf_rd_r=12RQCA2TBCXYNNDT56TY&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1271551062&pf_rd_i=1268192011

If that doesn't work, Amazon sells covers for their kindles in red leather.

Respond to this comment

NBlob asserts...

Posted August 5, 2010
"1805 (first casualty reports from Trafalgar..."

Kept for vanity / memento value? I assume you are listed among the glorious wounded.

Respond to this comment

Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted August 5, 2010
No, sorry NBob. Very few of the French shots landed in Portsmouth taverns. And there's nothing about "kiss me Hardy" or "Kismet Hardy" either. 'Then turning to Captain HARDY he said, "I know that I am dying. I could have wished to breathe my last on British soil, but God's will be done?" In a few moments he expired.' That's if you can believe the Times.

Steampunk! I love it. Just looking for an old clock for some brass gears etc to make over a USB drive. Wood, leather, brass.

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted August 5, 2010
@Greybeard

Re : Steampunk. Got an application. Some of these

Asian import stores have got replica old books. AS in looks like an old A4 size book circa 1920's . . .actually a box. Thinking you could put an IPad thingie in one of them. To people watching you reading 'Gordon in the Sudan' . .to you . .vetting all your p()wn sites. . . or writing poison pen letters to NWB . . . .

Respond to this comment

Darth Greybeard reckons...

Posted August 5, 2010
@brian - I like the cut of your jib, Sir!

Respond to this comment

fonzic swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2010
Steampunk - for Goths that love the colour brown

Respond to this comment

Derek Lee ducks in to say...

Posted August 5, 2010
Speaking of eBooks, when does the electronic version of "After America" come out? We can't even get the book here in the States until the 17th and I've heard that only the Australian version has the latest edits. I used a proxy server to trick Panmacmillan to think I was in Australia but all I could see was the Google preview which is missing most of the pages. A US IP address won't even show the Google preview.

Respond to this comment

Nocturnalist mutters...

Posted August 5, 2010
+++Steampunk - for Goths that love the colour brown+++

What's wrong with that?

Respond to this comment

Abigail has opinions thus...

Posted August 5, 2010
Nbob, I have heard a few of those ABC RN and local ABC radio shows about e-books vs. real books and I have to say, even though I hate to get involved with them, everything points to e books being environmentally the better option. I query whether the plastic parts in an e book are not worse, myself. They say , no, e books = better.

Someone was saying they'll eventually release one which feels like a real book, with pages you can turn. Kind of creeps me out though.

Respond to this comment

fknvirty asserts...

Posted August 5, 2010
WTF ... not getting enuff sourdough are we? like not only do publishers and all those middle like persons want to sell us PUfC pure unadulterated fuckin' crap, they want to spawn the crap as well?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KMYx8lG59A

pz.v.

Respond to this comment

palahuanca mumbles...

Posted August 5, 2010
QWC and I are channelling you...John you just did all the research I needed for e-books. Btw - you can release your own eBooks on the iPad independently much like independent musicians. Vanity publishing is now totally possible through Apple plus you have that great behemoth to help you out with exposure if you know how to work your social media cards... and you do John, you do...I would go for a graphic novel version of Felafel. There's a movie, a play and the great wonderful original collection of anecdotes, but if you're going for bells and whistles an animated/interactive graphic novel is the way to go. Nothing majorly fanciful, but link based and easy to navigate using the power of the iPad OS. I played with it at the Apple Store in Chermside and I say you should get it: on the STS tax system it's under $1000 so totally tax deductive and not subject to depreciation.

Now that's my brainstroming done for the day and I shall turn instead to a delicious gluten-free pizza with provolone, home made tomato salsa with basil, fresh tomato slices, fresh oregano ....

Respond to this comment

Abigail asserts...

Posted August 5, 2010
A bit of a side thing here, but I was just thinking that Felaffel is kind of genius for a book idea simply because there will always be group houses --one might argue, moreso, with the cost of houses being totally ridiculous-- so it will always have another audience and another... who can identify with the situation; the characters are archtypes; it won't date.

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted August 5, 2010
@MatthewF

Left out the black and brass bits . . . .and the heavy red felt.

Respond to this comment

Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted August 5, 2010
iPad app could be totally multimedia like. Hear the sound of the dude pissing in the fridge, don't just read about it.

Respond to this comment

NBlob reckons...

Posted August 5, 2010
On a tangent from the Steampunk thought.

A friend of mine has purchased a ubeaut commercial highres large format printer. To diversify his business he acquired the rights to print custom stickers so people can personalise laptops & Idoovers. I must remember to ask him if anyone has printed aligator hide or timber with big brass fittings ala steampunk.

I wonder if anyone out there has a Ipad grimoire?

Respond to this comment

Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2010
@NWB

IPad Grimoire . . I like it :)) Necromicon?

Gotta have a big brass clasp on it. With a key.

Have the IPad make groaning noises from time to time . . the odd scream . . . couple it to a vibrator (damn I knew those adult sites would come in handy). Open the cover and a glow comes out . . .

'This book really speaks to me"

Memo to self : cut back on the coffee.

Respond to this comment

Orin swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 6, 2010
The latest Laundry novel from Charles Stross has the NecronomiPod - an iPhone that hosts occult apps for fighting demons.

Respond to this comment

Brian mumbles...

Posted August 6, 2010
@Orin

Is there an app for Zombie fighting? Could put a blade on one edge I guess.

Respond to this comment

CraigWA is gonna tell you...

Posted August 6, 2010
I bought an iPad to go travelling with. It meant I had a book to read on the train, Internet and a GPS for when I got to intersections on my bicycle and needed to figure out which way to go.

As an experiment I downloaded a book which had about 25 pages you could buy for free. That seemed to work so I bought the book and read it on my trip and on a few train rides into London since I got back from my trip. I will continue to buy (or acquire free) books for the iPad if only for travelling without the weight.

The things that annoy me about the e-books market. When you buy a book in dead tree form, it is outrageously expensive. I appreciate that some of this (although I believe it is a very small portion) goes to JB to maintain the Playboy mansion. Some goes to the other people who put the book together, some goes to advertising, the shops, transporting it around and lots of other tiny slices to various middlemen and taxes. Surely one of the attractions of the e-book is that because you can eliminate many of those people you can make a significant saving on the price. Or you could keep the price almost the same and pocket the difference.

Because of the extra onus on me to make sure I don't lose my e-book, can't lend it to other people and probably having to deal with DRM, I expect my e-books to be sold to me at a significant discount to the paper version.

The media empires (which I indirectly work for at the moment) really seem to be obsessed with taking your cash at every turn rather than looking for a positive model that encourages purchases of books rather than looking for the easiest way to shaft them and lend your expensive e-books to your mates through nefarious means.

If it was easier to spend a dollar and have a copy of the book than go through the drama of undoing DRM and transferring it to your friend's device, you'd probably just pay the dollar. The success of mobile phone ringtone downloads would appear to be proof of this theory.

Respond to this comment

NBlob would have you know...

Posted August 6, 2010
I wonder when we will see our first EBook viral attacks?

If I was A: skilled & B: that way inclined I'd have to think deleting the last four pages would be a good place to start. Especially if you could code it to happen only after a sequential reading.

Respond to this comment

Tarl has opinions thus...

Posted August 6, 2010
Viral EBook attacks are not likely in the basic formats; they don't contain executables. It's only the more exotic forms (like uSoft Word with macros) where viruses are even possible.

Respond to this comment

Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 6, 2010
Nbob, hahaha.

Life is so complicated.

Respond to this comment

Orin would have you know...

Posted August 6, 2010
Craig - the printing and distribution costs are only a small percentage of the costs that are involved in going into the production of a book.

Respond to this comment

Orin has opinions thus...

Posted August 6, 2010
Tarl - given that you can jailbreak an iPhone or iPad by loading a special PDF - I'm not sure what you are saying is true.

Respond to this comment

Tarl puts forth...

Posted August 6, 2010
PDF is one of the exotics; it contains Postscript, which is a programming language long known for causing security holes.

The basic formats (e.g., RTF) don't have executables.

Respond to this comment

Sweet Jane Says ducks in to say...

Posted August 6, 2010
Coffee table books

J.

Respond to this comment

Nocturnalist puts forth...

Posted August 6, 2010
+++Is there an app for Zombie fighting? Could put a blade on one edge I guess.+++

Well, according to Lore Sjoberg the way to use Apple technology against zombies is to shout at them that you've heard there's a new colour of iPod being released, at which point they all frantically shamble off to sit refreshing Engadget over and over.

Respond to this comment

Brian mumbles...

Posted August 6, 2010
@ Matthew F

Now that's magic. Getting them to switch from saying "Braaaains . . " to "Apppples . . .". Have to be rotten apples to the core.

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted August 8, 2010
Just read Charles Stross "The Fuller Memorandum".

I think I need to be exorcised. JesusPhones. Necromipod. SHit . . .hope I haven't been channelling Stross.

Respond to this comment

SAS would have you know...

Posted August 9, 2010
John on Amazon UK site they have all 3 of your Axis of Time novels, around £4.50 each. When my Kindle arrives I will order them along with the new series (I still want more AOT) - though £15 for After America seems high I might wait (sorry) until it drops to a more resonable £4-£5 for an ebook.

I get a high price for a paper book, it costs extra to print and bind and ship but ebooks shouldn't in my opinion cost more than £4-5.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 9, 2010
SAS, it's fascinating the price diff between them. Amazon sets its prices independently in the UK, which is why the ebooks of AoT are so cheap, comparatively. If you wait a few days you might find the Oz ebook available to UK buyers via the US store (yes, I know, complicated world we live in). It should be a bit cheaper.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Electronic Felafels.'

Outlining. Writing the story before you write it.

Posted July 29, 2010 by John Birmingham
I usually do some sort of outline before kicking off in earnest on my books. But for the final in the Wave series I thought I might go back to the method I used with Designated Targets and storyboard it completely, scene by scene. It's a time consuming business, and incredibly frustrating to begin with, because you're groping about in the narrative dark, vaguely aware of of where you need to finish up, but with no real sense of the path that leads there.

For me, it is just about the most frustrating thing you can do as a novelist. And yet, it's totally worth a couple of days pain because at the end you have a blue print that means you can sit down every day and know exactly what you have to write.

It does, of course, also mean there's less room for spontaneity, but that's less problematic than you'd imagine. If it happens that a character decides to take you off the beaten beaten story track, like say Julia and Dan did in AoT, that simply entails returning to the outline, feeding in the new deets, and seeing what happens. I'm hoping to have this last book completely laid out by next Tuesday when I'll be talking to Murph about it on Skype, setting out some research tasks for him.

One thing I can confirm from today's efforts, Tusk Musso is back! And he's baaaad.

44 Responses to ‘Outlining. Writing the story before you write it.’

Therbs mutters...

Posted July 29, 2010
Musso's back? Snap! The other day on Murph's blog I posed the whatever-happened-to question, suggesting he may have gone to the Dark Side. Murph did say there were plans for him.

Respond to this comment

sparty reckons...

Posted July 29, 2010
for my uneducated two cents- i thought Designated Targets your Empire..not just because it was middle trilogy etc It was very tightly plotted and really pulled the trigger on the different promising story lines set up in the first (skorzeny etc) and gave us answers to what ifs etc (ie what exactly would a balls out battle between the best ship in our Navy and the best in the German fleet would be like). I suspect that type of story boarding provides great balence and pacing.

Respond to this comment

Orin reckons...

Posted July 29, 2010
Mindmaps on an iPad - made for doing outlines of books and chapters. iThoughts HD - very good.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2010
Sparty, I've often thought DT was the strongest of the AoT series in terms of plot and I can only put it down to the storyboarding I did. It's partly why I'm revisiting the technique now.

Respond to this comment

Brian reckons...

Posted July 29, 2010
Mind mapping is often used. One of the early programs called Idea Tree(?) was also very useful. It was basically a set of questions designed to focus your efforts and to brainstorm . . . .political speech writers loved it.

Respond to this comment

NataliatheRussianSpy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 29, 2010
Tusk can park his shoes under my bed any day. WOOT!

Respond to this comment

Blindwilly puts forth...

Posted July 29, 2010
I was a journo for about 10 years and found outlining to be the most useful step in (pre)writing. Unless you are a complete freaking genius its hard to keep it all in your head and then get it on paper coherently and in the order required. I used it for articles, features, even news stories. I am now back at uni in my late 30's and everthing gets the outline treatment from class notes to essays to exams. Combined with the Pomodoro technique JB mentioned yesterday and if provides a framework for laying down some serious words - provided off course you have done the research. Any tips there JB as to making that process less painful?

Respond to this comment

Matthew K mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2010
I'm at this sort of stage on a short story I'm working on right now and it is showing up my plotholes in pitiless detail. Dunno if it'll get finished as long hours of work beckon, starting next week.

However the money should be more tangible than anything I'm likely to see from my writing, lets face it there's lots of people who'd like to be paid well to write. JB is the exeption rather than the rule.

Respond to this comment

Havock has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2010
Matt is that HE IS PAID WELL but CANNOT WRITE!

Respond to this comment

Murphy mutters...

Posted July 30, 2010
I can't see Tusk Musso going over to Blackstone but Tusk Musso was a frequently topic of conversation in the early days.

To cut Birmo a bit of slack here (since he won't cut it for himself) there WAS a storyboard of sorts for After America. In various notes and conversations, the basic framework of the novel was laid out ages ago. The main problem, as I recall, is that it became impossible to handle everything projected in one book. An additional problem, one that Birmo has already alluded to here and in YouTube vids, is that the Miguel storyline needed to be reworked. When Birmo ran what the editor said by me I remember smacking palm to forehead and thinking, "Yeah, they've got a point."

Per storyboarding on a whiteboard, that is the method Alastair Reynolds uses for his novels, usually in multicolored markers. He had a blog entry on that a few months back that is worth looking at.

BTW, before I forget, Trinity said to say, "Thanks," for tuckerizing her two sons. The Peckhams are currently in Afghanistan in this time frame and she appreciates it.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Murphy would have you know...

Posted July 30, 2010
correction: frequent topic of conversation.

Argh.

M

Respond to this comment

jennicki reckons...

Posted July 30, 2010
And we'll be expecting more Caitlin in book three...right?...RIIIIIIGHT?!

Respond to this comment

Timmo has opinions thus...

Posted July 30, 2010
"tuckerizing", Murph? What does that mean?

An Americanism? Or an "After America"nism that I'll get once I read WW and AA?

Respond to this comment

Nocturnalist is gonna tell you...

Posted July 30, 2010
+++Matt is that HE IS PAID WELL but CANNOT WRITE!+++

If I take OtherMatt's meaning, it's that most people who write don't get paid well (or at all); JB is one of the exceptions who gets to write and is paid well for it.

+++“tuckerizing”, Murph? What does that mean?+++

If Murph will pardon my gazumping him here, it's the practice of turning a real-world person into a character in one's fiction*. Quite a few commenters from here have shown up in JB's novels in one guise or another, sometimes as quite major characters. It's usually done as a shout-out to friends, but some authors will do things like selling a cameo spot in an upcoming book for charity auctions, and some use it on enemies as well. JB had a bit of fun turning some of his less-liked professional colleagues into characters in the Axis of Time books and bringing them to sticky ends.

*A character who is not themselves. So the appearance of real-world people like Roosevelt and Churchill in AoT wasn't Tuckerising, while the appearance and subsequent dispatching of troopers Bolt and Ackerman was.

Respond to this comment

robbie smith reckons...

Posted July 30, 2010
Blindwilly - when I'm teaching at Uni my students are required to submit a project outline within 48 hrs of an assignment being given. It gets them started and by exchanging comments with me early on they are making a contract with themselves and me for completion. Both quality and timeliness have increased. A lot of change might happen to the content, but my experience is that the contract for completion stays for the majority and fear (stress) is dramatically decreased. You are a cleverwilly in my book. Robbie

Respond to this comment

Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted July 30, 2010
Feel free, Matthew. Pay day is coming up this weekend. Your book is on the purchase list. I'm looking forward to law enforcement 40K style.

Tuckerization for the purposes of getting even is frowned on here in the US. I got roundly damned by my fellow American Writers for getting even with a particularly shitty fourth grade teacher in my first short story sale. She might sue, they screeched.

Well, if she wants to file a lawsuit about how she used to deprive me of the right to go to the bathroom because she thought I was in there masturbating then she is certainly free to go right ahead. :)

Birmo, on the other hand, has no problem with that sort of thing.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted July 30, 2010
Murph, what now? Birmo, doesn't have a problem with masturbating in the bathroom?

::snork::

Respond to this comment

Brian mumbles...

Posted July 30, 2010
One of the cute things about Tuckerising people is that it gives authors a ready made template for a character. I reckon its always been done. Authors have to be students of the human condition and every person they've ever met goes into creating those characters. Slapping a term on it merely names a process that's always happened.

Respond to this comment

Tarl mumbles...

Posted July 30, 2010
Obviously, Murph, you weren't creative enough with your teacher.

Deep dark secret from my past, which I guess will be less of a secret.

In Kindergarden, it appears I had some issues with my teacher. Probably authority issues, they have haunted me ever since. While teaching the class to play Bingo, she had us all sit in a circle on the classroom floor, and gave us a stern command to the effect of "you can't get up during the game, not even to go to the bathroom". I recall the specific words, because I repeated them back to her after I didn't get up.

That's my earliest recollection of someone wanting to strangle me. I also have a vague memory of my parents (starving grad students at the time) having to replace the Bingo set, which couldn't have been pleasant.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted July 30, 2010
Any port in a storm, Rhino.

Respond to this comment

Nocturnalist asserts...

Posted July 30, 2010
Note to self: don't drink the port at Birmo's.

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted July 30, 2010
Matt. Not just the port.

Respond to this comment

Andrew McKinney asserts...

Posted July 30, 2010
Rhino: it's an alternative to feeding the cat when times are tough.

Respond to this comment

savo reckons...

Posted July 30, 2010
Tusk v Rhino - to the deth

Respond to this comment

Abigail would have you know...

Posted July 30, 2010
They need a 'like' option on this here blog so we can go along clicking on the little things people say that make us laugh. Ok I'm not serious, but still, you know,it would be good.

Respond to this comment

Abigail has opinions thus...

Posted July 30, 2010
They need a 'like' option on this here blog so we can go along clicking on the little things people say that make us laugh. Ok I'm not serious, but still, you know,it would be good.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K puts forth...

Posted July 30, 2010
Matthew F: "If I take OtherMatt’s meaning, it’s that most people who write don’t get paid well (or at all); JB is one of the exceptions who gets to write and is paid well for it."

Yes quite correct Matt, that's what I meant, teh intarwbz is chock full of blokes like me who'd like to be blokes like Birmo.

Guess I didn't make myself clear enough before rattling that one off. However us Matthews have a bond that enables us to understand each other no matter how garbled.

I'm "OtherMatt" now? Hmm, it sounds kind of cool but you understand I'm the original. ;)

Respond to this comment

Rhino asserts...

Posted July 31, 2010
Hmmmmm ... I suspect that Tusk and Rhino would be beer and cigar buddies.

Respond to this comment

Murphy puts forth...

Posted July 31, 2010
Well, she was right. I was mastrubating.

I just wasn't doing it at school.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

savo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 31, 2010
wise move Mr Murphy.

Respond to this comment

savo puts forth...

Posted July 31, 2010
Mr The Rhino, I suspect your comments may come to life on the pages on the next installment.

Also, Mr The Rhino, when are we having a thread on the contents of the book? You're in the circle of trust (unlike a certain BUFF driver) so I figured you'd know.

Respond to this comment

Murphy would have you know...

Posted July 31, 2010
Rhino, Birmo told me dickbeating was perfectly acceptable so long as I did it in the closet, away from his place.

That said, I'd definitely avoid the port. I can't speak for any other members of the Circle of Trust.

And a quick troll through the nutland that was once a decent SF forum produces the standard American SF doctrine on tuckerization.

http://www.asimovs.com/aspnet_forum/messages.aspx?TopicID=3881

Which is NOT what I was told or learned in the few journalism courses I took before I wrote off the profession. The upshot is that so long as you are telling the truth, then you are probably safe. U.S. science fiction mag editors, on the other hand, apparently err on the extreme side of caution.

Like many things in the current American SF community, I find this to be incredibly exasperating. It often seems to me that it has gotten to the point where you must run your story through legal followed by a well vetted diversity council before you can sell the story.

In retrospect, it seems to me that we should have staged one of the NYC firefights in the offices of Dell Magazines.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted July 31, 2010
Isaac Asimov once told me that he never outlined anything he wrote, that it all sort of flowed out of him.

He was such a liar. But other than that, he seemed like a fairly nice bloke.

Respond to this comment

Blindwilly mumbles...

Posted July 31, 2010
Robbie - I like that sound of that. I am not required to do so by my lecturers but its probably a good way to get something on paper and provide a framework for reading and research. I study with some first year younglings who look to me for sage advice (the fools!) so I might suggest it to them. Thanks.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted August 1, 2010
Well that's the last time I accept cream in my coffee from an Australian!

And that lemonade was a bit suspect too...

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted August 1, 2010
MattK.

Avoid the Port if you can . . . that may not be tannin you're tasting.

Respond to this comment

Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted August 2, 2010
@Savo ... we are waiting for Herr Doktor Boylan to receive and read his copy.

The wait is killing me as well. But it is good for our souls. One should not give in to their basest instincts at a whim ::looking a Murph::

I now need to light a candle and say a Hail Mary.

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted August 2, 2010
@Rhino

I hope it is to a good Australian saint? AKA Mary McKillop?

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 2, 2010
Don't wait for me, folks. I'm leaving for Europe in a couple of days. If my copy arrives before I leave, I take it with me. If it doesn't arrive, I will buy one in Ireland or in England. When I get back I will be up to speed and will catch up on the conversation - which, frankly, I am not suited to contribute to in any productive manner.

Respond to this comment

Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 2, 2010
@Paul

Don't worry. JB is waiting for the general US release date anyway . . . I think.

Besides . . . Rhino has to do penance.

We await your insights.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted August 2, 2010
Brian, I realized a long time ago that, at this time in my life, when the days ahead are fewer than the number of days behind, I have no wisdom, no insight - just jokes.

Respond to this comment

Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 2, 2010
@Paul

Jokes are good. What is life after all?

Lets change 'insights' to . . .input.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted August 2, 2010
Oh, don't get me wrong: I agree- jokes are good.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Outlining. Writing the story before you write it.'

Tweaking my writing schedule.

Posted July 28, 2010 by John Birmingham
The last couple of weeks, I've been a bit dissatisfied with my daily productivity. It wasn't just a matter of coming off tour and having trouble getting back into the grind, although that is a factor. I was also finding I had so much on that my normal time management tactics of breaking the day down into two-hour blocks simply wasn't working. I just didn't seem to be getting anywhere and the deadlines were starting to plow me under.

Bottom line, I had too much work and too little time. The modern condition. And a lot of that work was long-form in nature. Four books; the Leviathan rewrite, After America's sequel, What Rough Beast (my big pointy-headed history of fear), and the little book I've been doing on Thomas's first year of tackle rugby. Trying to mash them in around blog and column and feature commitments simply wasn't working out. The Leviathan schedule was slipping. Nothing was getting done on rugby. Not enough was getting done on the fear book. And my horizons for the last book in the Wave series were shortening dramatically.

So last night I invested about half an hour or so in ditzing around on the net looking for articles about time management. I found a useful piece on attention span training at lifehacker - a link to a site set up by some Italian guy whose attention span was so short he found he couldn't even sit still to do 10 minutes study when he was a college student. He came up with a time management system that was similar to mine, in that it worked by defining blocks of time inside which you're committed to doing nothing but working on the project of the moment. But his system had a lot more finesse than mine. And it was based on one of those cool red plastic tomato timer thingies. Hence its name, the Pomodoro technique.

The guidebook runs to about 40 pages, but I'll see if I can explain it in a paragraph. Rather than using two-hour blocks the standard unit of time is only half an hour, and called a Pomodoro. Probably because those nifty tomato-shaped kitchen timer thingies work in half hour blocks. Of that half hour, 25 minutes is pure work, and five minutes is rest. You start your day by reviewing your activities list, which in my case would have four books and a bunch of other writing tasks on it. You cherry pick this list for your To Do Today list. Then you simply start at the top of the list and work through it in bite sized chunks; Pomodoro bite sized chunks.

It doesn't sound like much of a difference to my system, but in some ways it's both much more rigid and much more flexible. There's a little bit of planning and account keeping to track your time–and let me tell you the first day or two that you do that it's scarifying to realize how much time you can waste just faffing around. The main thing about a Pomodoro as a unit of time is that it is indivisible. Once you start working on it you can not interrupt it, not without abandoning that Pomodoro altogether and being unable to record it as a completed session. You'd be surprised how much of a motivation that can be to not check your e-mail or twitter or to answer the phone.

Anyway, so far it's working for me. Much more effectively and efficiently than my old time management system. With that in mind I thought I would share. If you're interested the link is here.

And now, I have Pomodoro to get into.

34 Responses to ‘Tweaking my writing schedule.’

Surtac mumbles...

Posted July 28, 2010
Thanks for the link, John. I've been in desperate need of something like for some time. Despite having done several time management training classes over the course of my career so far, nothing has really worked for me or stuck properly.

I'll give this one a go and let you knmow how it goes.

Respond to this comment

Brian reckons...

Posted July 28, 2010
Ahh . . .a convert.

Respond to this comment

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted July 28, 2010
The thing with time meanagement systems is sticking to them. Sometimes you have to be really anal about it. My problem with these systems is that I have to concentrate on making them work, instead of thinking about things like "wonder what the melting point of ear wax is?"

30 minute tomato timer? Can't think of what sort of cooking he'd be doing. Its either longer (for soups and sauces) or shorter (pan cooking). No doubt Beeso will know.

Respond to this comment

Naut swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 28, 2010
My time management solution involves large amounts of outsourcing.

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted July 28, 2010
To be honest when you posted that on FB I thought you were joking, it just seemed like such a statement of the obvious, and almost a scam, to have people pay money to buy a book to tell you to work in half hour lumps with 5 min breaks interspersed, and get grumpy at yourself if you don't. Double the block sizes and that exactly what cramming for exams at uni looked like.

But... if it works, why the hell not.

Respond to this comment

girlclumsy puts forth...

Posted July 28, 2010
By rest, do they mean actual rest, as it "get away from the computer/notebook/kitchen/whatever it is" or just "break from task"?

Like, would you check your emails/phone/Twitter in that 5 minutes, or should you be actually physically removing yourself from work, going to the loo, getting a breath of fresh air, a brisk quick walk, etc?

I guess the answer is "it could be either", but I thought I'd ask anyway.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted July 28, 2010
I'm on a five minute break now, so yes, you can check emails, blogs etc.

@Yobbo, funny thing is you dont have to pay for any of it. The pdf of the book and the worksheets is free. The old shareware model I guess.

If it pans out I will ping him a few bucks via paypal or something.

Respond to this comment

Timmo mumbles...

Posted July 28, 2010
Doc,

I think the selling is only for the hard copy book - pretty sure it's free as a pdf under Creative Commons type licensing.

Respond to this comment

Orin would have you know...

Posted July 28, 2010
The key to judging any new system isn't after a day of using it, but whether you find you are using it in six months time ;-)

Respond to this comment

Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted July 28, 2010
I'd sooner get run over by a semi-trailer than use a time/thought/organisational system for anything at all, ever--that's just me. Besides they always end up failing because we have a natural internal rhythm and we always go back to that. It will drive you crazy after a few weeks, I reckon. But, good luck anyway.

Respond to this comment

YB mumbles...

Posted July 28, 2010
I finally cracked it at the diamond, and have an LG phone. It has a setting to chime on the hour, with settings. I set it to go between 9am and 10pm. That simple chime has helped me 'catch' myself when I was faffing, and helped me switch plans. Simple methods, good results.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted July 28, 2010
Couldn't drive me any crazier than flapping about like the last few weeks has. Orin's right, the proof is still 6 months down the track. But I did get shitloads more done today, and in fact still have a coupla pomodori left to go. And that was with a sick kid underfoot.

Respond to this comment

Abigail mumbles...

Posted July 28, 2010
Well that's great news. Just my own natural aversion talking and in a slightly revolting mood today, better go have a glass of wine.

Respond to this comment

JP ducks in to say...

Posted July 28, 2010
My 2000 cents:

I've been a full time novelist since 2006, tho I've done a few things like tutoring uni classes and various public speaking gigs for $ (oh, and a couple months freelancing at my paper until they killed me with a 16 page golf feature). I've had a novel out every Aug, (and Literati out Aug 2005) so it's been good work-wise to know my fixed release date. This year I have 3 novels out -- May, Aug, Oct -- and 2011 has 3 out: March and Aug, and a non-fiction at some point.

Clearly it's whatever works for the ind. I don't have any kids that I know about. I wake when I'm meant to, check overnight emails for bout 1/2 hour then shower etc and head to a local cafe. I sit and write or edit until I get bored or annoyed. Come home, make a tea, eat, check emails, then do a second chunk of whatever feels right. By the afternoon I'm ready for a drink, some more email stuff (and burger etc) and usually some phone calls, then it's making dinner time for soprano girl and chilling for a while. If I am in writing/ editing/deadline hell, I will do a third shift of 4 hours or so after dinner. If I'm up against it I pull a few all-nighters.

One choice I made when I left the newspaper job in '06 was to not write for anyone again beyond the few freelance pieces I had promised in the immediate couple months. We all have different methods of prioritising, but I felt very clearly from then on that I would write for no one but myself and I think that's the key to how I've managed to what's now very tight deadlines (thank you UK publishers!). I should add that for over 2 year I've done nothing but write my contracted novels and study an hour or so per day towards my PhD, which will wind up this xmas. I do one short story or chapter per year, for charity.

I guess my writing dream is to take a little longer with books, maybe 18-24 months, so that I can then fit in family/life/travel/jerking it/ time etc. I'd probably always work hard until deadlines, never wanting to let go, and I'll sure as hell never feel satisfied enough with a project to read it when it's published.

And, while I'm telling a master how to suck eggs, my thoughts on writing a continuing character: tell your pubs you'll do 3 back-to-back in the first contract, then start alternating every other year with another project. To be stuck with one character (for me, 6 novels now but just started after #5 to branch out with the post apoc trilogy) and one world is to be corralled to the point of imminent boredom. We need to stretch our writing muscles so that they stay a useful strength rather than just for show: eg what's more impressive: the guy who can bench a set of 100 kgs or the guy who can do a set of handstand pushups?

jp.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 28, 2010
Interesting post, JP. I am getting very close to just blowing off all of my feature work and concentrating on delivering one novel every 12 months and one non fic project every 18. The features do pay very well, but they're like a rain of fucking mortar bombs dropping all over my book writing schedule. In a very real sense, this experiment with pomodoro is a first step along that path.

Respond to this comment

robbie smith ducks in to say...

Posted July 28, 2010
I work in the area of suicide prevention. 20-25 minutes is the longest period a human can hold a suicidal ideation. One of the key techniques in a crisis is to simply distract someone for that 20-25 minutes, often just by talking. Suicidal ideation is an extreme example of impulsiveness and is located in our ancient reptile brain. This appears, through biological origin, to be same time it takes a predator to fix and kill its prey (the stalking may take much longer, but the adrenalin fueled act is around 20-25 minutes). So I think your time-frame might have some deeper origins.

Respond to this comment

Albion Love Den ducks in to say...

Posted July 28, 2010
I have no publishing deadlines, nor does my work involve massive projects, but my day/week/month is defined by cascading deadlines which shift and change, but are as hard and inflexible as most.

I use a combination of time management methods to capture the energy of the day: longer chunks mid morning and mid afternoon to take advantage of my brain kicking into gear, very short chunks leading into and out of lunch to make sure the minutes tick over without much clock-watching, and defined chunks of aimlessness which very soon get filled in with helping workmates with their deadlines, as well as "team building" (ie - shooting the shit in the downtimes, so we can all get down to business when it gets crazy).

I find trying to stick to one system extremely limiting and I soon become bored and agitated. Those two emotions are what drive me to faff.

Respond to this comment

Chaz would have you know...

Posted July 28, 2010
Have to say at work I just get to it, certain stuff needs to be done by certain times and projects should try and finish as close to budget and time, funnily enough the latter not the former is often a problem when you're relying on others.

Just don't talk to me about writing and time management cus I is crap

Respond to this comment

Brian mumbles...

Posted July 28, 2010
Time management is always a bear. And I reckon it alters as you get older. I do know its tied into your circadian rythms and how much daylight you get.

Respond to this comment

Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 28, 2010
Hmm . . .writing in general. Tried the fiction route . . .gave it up. I kept hearing my characters in my head . . .very disturbing.

I mean . . .for me . . if I was writing a story about Havock . . .I'd be hearing him for days. I'd have to check myself into a clinic. Seriously.

Respond to this comment

Moko reckons...

Posted July 28, 2010
to not check your e-mail or twitter or to answer the phone.

That sounds like a pepsi challenge. Get JB to twitter mid-podo thingy...

Respond to this comment

Murphy would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2010
I used to operate on the 45-15 system, 45 minutes on, 15 minutes off, switch to another task for the next block, repeat as needed.

That doesn't seem to work as well because I have another person in my life now. We're still working out the kinks with regard to time allocation.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Lobes mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2010
I read about this guy who had some sort of reputation as one of the best deliverers of lectures ever. I think he lectured law or something. His technique was to lecture solidly for 20-25 minutes then he would take a little 5 minute break from whatever it was he was lecturing and tell his audience a little joke or an unrelated anecdote or something. Apparently that 20 odd minutes is the most a human can devote themselves unreservedly to any single task and the little break he put in his 50 minute lectures meant his students were able to absorb twice as much or sonething.

That said I would like more threads about Thomas' first year of full contact tackling so I can bullshit on about technique, mental attitude and other key aspects of running good Dee.

Respond to this comment

Lobes asserts...

Posted July 29, 2010
So I'll start now. One of the most important things I think I took out of rugby is that individuals score trys but that it takes teamwork to defend them. Possibly one of the most important things T is learning this season may be how to be part of a greater whole that comes together to Defend The Line. It's so so important to know where your teamates are and be prepared to cover for them in defence. I know I always tried a fuckton harder in Dee than I did in attack and I used to score a lot of tries.

Sorry rambling now, reliving old glory days after a few (ok a lot of) scotches. Ah takes me back.

Respond to this comment

mckinneytexas mutters...

Posted July 29, 2010
John, I think we've been over this before. You can manage time til hell won't have it and if you're trying to cram too much into too little, there simply is not a system that will make the 'too little' grow. Time is a physical limitation. You can't fit ten pounds of potatoes into a five pound bag.

Your problem is that you are over-committed and there is only one of you. You can't clone yourself and the more you try to do in less time eventually produces a diluted work product.

Do you feel that you are doing your best work these days?

The solution is simple even if the execution is the opposite: first, learn to say "no". Second, tally up your commitments and projects. Third, order them in terms of due dates and value. A major part of the ordering process is determining whether some of your commitments need to be jettisoned. Jettison as much as you can. Focus on what you do best and like the most. Fourth, leave adequate time in each day, week and month for the unexpected. Then and only then, go back to your list and make your time allocations.

I'll wait to bitch at you about your health the next time you tell us you are down with the flu or a migraine, much of which is likely stress-induced.

Respond to this comment

Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted July 29, 2010
I concur with Lobes and McKinney.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted July 29, 2010
It's all true. I have begun to jettison work, or at least to stay moving the cargo around on deck getting ready to jettison it. First to go has been my board membership at state library. That was chewing up nearly five weeks of every year by the time I added up preparation and extra commitments. Put my resignation in to the chairman the other day. Also walked away from the management committee of the local writers festival. That was less of a time suck, but incredibly stressful on those days when I had to fit it in.

I've been saying no to one-off requests for my time for about a year now, cherry picking only the gigs or writing commissions I'm really interested in or which pay immorally large amounts of money for small investments of time. I find it very hard to say no to people. They get that terribly distressed look around the eyes. But i've been seeing it more often this last year.

The major thing I'm going to give up on, however, is regular feature writing. I still take commissions that interest me, but I had a hellish time of it earlier this year trying to fit a couple of long features in around the deadline for After America. Couldn't be done. And since I'm effectively on book deadline now for the next two years, the features have to go.

Respond to this comment

Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted July 29, 2010
Sounds smart and sane, JB. I love your featurws best of all but they are something you can always return to after the two year focus on books; millions of projects is just millions of projects, if you know what I mean. It's not like you are going to be forgotten or disappear off the planet if you defer them for a while. If you feel a sense of relief at this decision then that is one's guide, I'd say :)

Respond to this comment

Orin mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2010
I still subscribe to Barry Humphries' "Bite off more than you can chew, and then chew like buggery" and "Apply Arse To Chair". I also tend to work on per-chapter deadlines (which involve a lot more regular prodding from editors if you get behind schedule) and the deadlines I have to deal with are rather ruthless (they'll bring in another author to write some of your chapters if you fall behind (this works both ways, I've been brought in on several occasions to finish other people's books)).

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted July 29, 2010
Nothing to really contribute. What's been said by McKinney, Lobes and Orin pretty well sum it up.

One observation. All the things are true . . .but only at certain stages of your life or through the year. What I did find is that you can't have 3 things on the boil at once. One in hand, another on hold while the back brain stews about it, the future one for speculative work. That about sums it up. You've still got the To Do list . . .but most is never imperative . . .and priorities change . . .stuff moves up and down the list. A lot just need a little attention to keep them moving . . .a phone call or e-mail.

Be prepared for every thing to come at you at once at least 3 times a year. It just does . . .nothing you can time manage about it . . . .it just does.

Respond to this comment

Prue is gonna tell you...

Posted July 29, 2010
Wow JB that is so helpful this just may help me get my thesis done in good time I always thought writing a big tome from home would be such a self motivating process .Wrong I was but right and writing may ensue. Cheers to pomodoro and you.

Respond to this comment

NukemHill would have you know...

Posted July 30, 2010
JB.

You may have just saved my life. I'm going to give this a go when I get back in town next week.

Thanks. I'm quite curious how this holds together for you.

-greg

Respond to this comment

Michael John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2010
Hey John, my fathers name was John Anthony Birmingham or Staten Island N.Y. Do you think we could be related? Have not read any of your books but will soon. My Dad was a Pearl Harbor survivor and I am a Vietnam (llB) Vet Hope to hear from you soon. Mike

Respond to this comment

Byron Followell mumbles...

Posted August 31, 2010
Hey John, I loved the Axis of Time trilogy and the first two Without Warning books. I'm glad to hear After America will have a proper sequel. It seems like I'd read somewhere of the possibility of a couple of books taking place in the Birmoverse after the end of WWII before you started work on Without Warning. Are those still in the long-term plans or are they shelved for now? Keep up the great work. Love your story-telling man!

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Tweaking my writing schedule.'

Fuck you, Amazon, I like hardbacks.

Posted July 22, 2010 by John Birmingham
I got the hardback AA from New York today and it feels like a completely different book from Pan Mac's version. Well, I suppose because it is. There were some significant structural edits we took into the Oz version that I simply couldn't translate across hard copy manuscripts, so they didn't happen in the US version. They're different enough to keep an honours student in thesis material for a year, at least.

But the arrival of Del Rey's hb means the US release is now very close. The back list has been selling well over there the last few months, with WoC going into it's 8th reprint overnight. It's all enough to give me some faith in the future of the industry. Especially with Amazon getting some much needed competition in the next 12-18 months.

British readers will get an ebook when the Australian e-book is released at the end of this month. I want to wait a little while longer before opening up the discussion threads, just to let some more of the US burgers get their copies.

84 Responses to ‘Fuck you, Amazon, I like hardbacks.’

Roscoe would have you know...

Posted July 23, 2010
Haven't commented in a while here but...

After a massive night out - big cheeseboard....stinky blue cheese sandwiches....

I had a dream that AA was out in stores here in Nuu Zuhlund - but I could only get it through a download from a dock at the counter!!

WTF!!!

But the cover art looked supremely awesome - light blue horizon over a distraught derelict city forefront....

Anyways, back to my nomnomnom kilo of feta....

Respond to this comment

Murphy mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2010
It'll be interesting, comparing the differences between the two copies.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted July 23, 2010
My copy is awaiting me at home ... will be Leaving Las Vegas later this afternoon and will be hunkering down tonight.

Respond to this comment

Murphy asserts...

Posted July 23, 2010
You

Lucky

Bastard

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted July 23, 2010
I have seen the future of publishing and it is the e-book. I can see you are one those who will be drag kicking and screaming in to the 21 century.

Respond to this comment

Havock mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2010
I fear...no, actually I rejoyce in the knowledge that E/BOOKS will be accepted like taking a gun from my cold dead fkn hands, it aint never gunna happen, not whilst I have breath in my lungs and sure as fk not until they managed to make computer screens feel like paper, take abuse like a book, get copies in the middle of fkn nowhere, and never ever run out of fkn batteries.

Respond to this comment

Brian ducks in to say...

Posted July 23, 2010
That's what I like about you Havock. You're a forward thinking, early adopter, New Age, Metro Sexual kind of guy. . . .and you probably use face conditioner.

E-Books. Being a techie of sorts . . .I hate anything that doesn't have a plan B. I got E-books and e-readers . . .guess what? I'm taking my latest Dave Weber, outside in the dark and in the rain to have a read and smoke. Don't need to wait for boot up, don't need to worry about cracking a screen, don't need to worry about the damp. Then I get to shut it, shove it and drop it into my bag before I toddle off. HC or PB is just soooo much more convenient . . . .if I want, I can get an author to sign it too.

Respond to this comment

sparty swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23, 2010
would love to know more about structual changes...

Respond to this comment

Moko has opinions thus...

Posted July 23, 2010
Still wanna see AoT as a radio play type set up. Juss sayeen.

Oh how I love Amazon. It has given me SO MANY lovely things in the mail.

Respond to this comment

Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23, 2010
...and yeah, I'll go audio book WAY before ebook.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted July 23, 2010
I've never quite understood why there need to be any differences between an australian version and the US version. Can anyone explain it without using big words that might confuse me?

Respond to this comment

Tarl mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2010
I've actually found e-books to be tolerable. Not as good as a hardcover, but when traveling or for some other reason the hardcover isn't available, a .MOBI file on my kindle DX (the large one) works fine.

And an e-book is noticeably better than a paperback. I can adjust the font to a readable size.

The fly in the ointment is DRM. I want to *OWN* my books, so I can archive and re-read them at will. With DRM, all I get is to rent the books, held hostage to the vendor's whim on when my book will evaporate. Sure, Amazon says they're selling me the book - but if they give up on Kindle, whenever my current hardware breaks, my collection of books from them evaporates.

As a result, I've compromised; I use Amazon's hardware, but the e-books I read come from other sources (.e.g, Baen's webscriptions) which aren't DRM-infested.

Respond to this comment

Dr Lazlo Panaflex would have you know...

Posted July 23, 2010
I picked up an autographed copy last week from my local book emporium. I am 3/4 of the way through it already and it is infinitely better than Zoo Magazine, which is my yardstick.

I look forward to the next installment. Until then, Zoo Magazine awaits.

Respond to this comment

Havock puts forth...

Posted July 23, 2010
Tarl, so essentially, the distributors are asre fkng you eight ways from christmas if you subscribe to the current arrangements. WELL FK'EM I say.

Respond to this comment

Havock asserts...

Posted July 23, 2010
Brian, I use PONDS Moisturising cream..fkn WICKED

Respond to this comment

Tarl asserts...

Posted July 23, 2010
Doesn't that interfere with the Preparation-H?

Respond to this comment

Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted July 23, 2010
My copy of AA has just arrived in the country, picking it up this afternoon, thankyou ABC!

Coincedentally i was recognised for the first time as a cameo in one of JBs books by a friend whos reading one. He sent me a message on Facebook quite unprompted. FRK YEAh IM A FAMOUS

Respond to this comment

Havock swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23, 2010
LOBES..lol..LMFAO!

Respond to this comment

Havock has opinions thus...

Posted July 23, 2010
Tarl, it means the camo cream does not get stuck in the pores of my skin, GOD like complexions must be MAINTAINED!

Respond to this comment

NBlob asserts...

Posted July 23, 2010
Moko your a dead set genius. For a Kiwi.

The market for spoken word books is growing. Previously it was exclusively the domain of the visually impaired but now Pod casting for commute or drive is booming - look at ABC.RN figures.

I'm an unreserved fan of the Jeff Lynn (spell?) production of War of the Worlds, Rocky Horror & BBC's Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. Damian made my month last year by posting a link to 'What's Rangoon to you is Grafton to me.'

I reckon that the tweedy old days of Radio Drama may be dead but Pod Drama may be about to arise.

There are lots of situations where eyes are busy elsewhere but the brain lusts for something to chew on. I reckon an Audio version of WOC would be Double A Aawsome.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted July 23, 2010
Moko is a Kiwi? Well, that's it for him, then.

Respond to this comment

Moko mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2010
NBob, thanks I think. lol

I've got a hard drive full of audio books. Love em. Andy McNab's ones, House to House was a GREAT audio book. Most are just spoken with cultured accents, but some the narrator does the yelling and whispering etc. Love it. I load em on the iPod and listen to em on the way to work etc.

I've been on at JB about it since book 2 of AoT.

Respond to this comment

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted July 23, 2010
Anyone spoken to the fabulous Girl Clumsy about this? She has a stable of creative types.

Havoc, just dont get the Ponds & the Proctosedyl mixed up it makes your face numb and doesn't do anything for your butt. It can be worse, confusing Hemorroid cream for tigerbalm really puts a zing in your day.

Hmm, perhaps Preparation H is named for our man Havock, for the frightful pain in the arse he gives MUPPETS 'n FKN OXYGEN THIEVES.

Respond to this comment

Brian mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2010
Actually guys . . .audio books are probably the sleeper in the whole mix.

Look . . .I got about 2 GB of Podcasts. I play then on the phone, the car and on whatever platform I'm using. I can walk with it. Work with it. And got to sleep with it. If I've got migraines . . . I can't read and I certainly can't watch stuff. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of audio books.

There was an MRI study done on the brain and computer work. Its a hardwired effect of our brain. Parts of the MRI light up when you read. Parts when you listen. Neither light up together at the same time . . .they just don't. Seemed a bit strange when you think about watching movies and the like . .. switching between dialogue and action etc But you can write that off as the brain multitasks. . . dips in and out of streams.

Crikey . . .wot, 10-15 years ago. The media was saying radio was dead? Lookit now.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted July 23, 2010
I've always distrusted Preparation H. I mean, it took them preparations A through G to come up with the one being sold. What happened to A through G? What the hell kind of side-effects did they have?

"Preparation G isn't what we were hoping for. The stuff still causes monstrous mutations. But let's try it one more time..."

Respond to this comment

ConspiracyCat swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23, 2010
I like radio serials better than audio books. Just came across a CD of the '80's classic, Dr Poo "Knees Ahoy". And I still have some episodes of "How Green Was My Cactus" on cassette.

Most audio books I've heard are annoying, because the narrator changes the nuances (and therefore the impact) of the text, through inflection. Well, bugger off, narrator. I prefer my own fevered interpretations of the author's intended message.

Anyway, while Audio and ebooks may suit some, I refuse to take an iPad or iPod into the lav. So I'll still be buying my books in solid state. Especially the ones with nice, soft pages.

Respond to this comment

Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23, 2010
I prefer solid books as well, Cat, but with a quality effort audio surpasses written in many instances. Music, back ground noise, like walking and doors closing, it's a completely different experience. Like somewhere between book and movie where your imagination is still king but it's getting keyed but sounds of rain and other things that aren't necessarily in a book.

Those sorts, other than radio plays, are rare though.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2010
Without Warning is available in audio. Felafel too.

Respond to this comment

Moko has opinions thus...

Posted July 23, 2010
OMG REALLY?.....*zooms to iTunes*

Respond to this comment

Tarl ducks in to say...

Posted July 23, 2010
Last time David Weber came through for a book signing, someone had the audiobooks for one of his recent books (I think it was War of Honor) that they wanted David to sign. A package of *20* CDs. And (looking it up on Amazon) that was for an Abridged Edition of the book.

I can't image sitting through nearly 24 hours of someone reading a book to me.

Respond to this comment

jennicki would have you know...

Posted July 23, 2010
Don't let them tease you Havock.

I use Ponds too.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23, 2010
Yes, but does WW come with explosions, missile shots, aircraft noises and the LIKES..if NOT..get fkn onto it will ya

Respond to this comment

donna reckons...

Posted July 23, 2010
I have the paperback, but i like the idea of the hardback, nothing like the tactile feel of a good solid hardback mmmm and whoa, how come its different, WTF? OK, I'll have to buy it just to find out!!

I have audio books as well, and I like them because I can listen while I'm driving, but give me a paperback and a coffee in the sun and I'm happier than a pig in sh..mud!

Respond to this comment

Abigail mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2010
Yes Hvk and Jenn, apparently Ponds is very good and they say it's a myth that you need to use expensive skin care. I tried Ponds for a while but it was not quite rich enough for my skin type; I use Lancome Hydrix and Jurlique and/or Lancome day care moisturiser--all of which I thoroughly recommend.

Havsy, you mustn't be too susceptible to dry skin like we Canberrans in our climate. The sea breeze might hydrate your skin a little.

Respond to this comment

Abigail would have you know...

Posted July 23, 2010
..and I wouldn't make fun of you Havsy; I like a man who can mention Ponds one minute and bullets the next. You're complex Havsy, complex.

Respond to this comment

Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted July 23, 2010
and omg, I wonder who narrates Felafel? I wonder if they try and match the voice to the genre. We have audio of Wind in the Willows narrated by a good British Dame- I can't see a Dame narrating Felafel.

Respond to this comment

Aaron ducks in to say...

Posted July 23, 2010
I love hard backs but think audio books are very handy, especially as relief for my eyes in todays world. Podcasts rock and I get to bypass shit commercial radio in the car as well.

Respond to this comment

Abigail mutters...

Posted July 23, 2010
Audio books are great if the reader has the right voice.Some voices get irritating after 15 minutes.

Also, they can hijack whatever the book means for you; tend to work better for unknown books so you haven't had a chance to imagine the story teller's voice yet.

e-Books, nah, I don't even like reading newspapers on line--I think it's nice to have everything there in one hit. The splintering of reading material which the net creates is a real annoyance/ hassle / discourages reading an entire article for old Methusla here.

Respond to this comment

Therbs would have you know...

Posted July 23, 2010
My moisturiser is beer, my medicine is rum and my drink of choice when reading about magical Waves and time travelling ships is whisky. e-Books don't do it for me. Audio books are good for blocking out the screams of gished slouchbikers. Hardbacks if used at the correct angle and with sufficient force can kill Zombies and Space Lizards and can act as excellent platforms for cigar boxes.

Respond to this comment

Abigail mutters...

Posted July 23, 2010
Or is that just me? you know , you find an article and you have no idea how long it goes on; you get to the end of the first page the there are the little pg numbers in the squares, but because you can't readily see the pages, and the content, it feels somehow like a risk. I didn't say it makes sense , I'm just saying that's the feeling I get out of the experience. Dissatisfaction regarding the design , I suppose.

Respond to this comment

Big Pete mutters...

Posted July 23, 2010
On the whole eBooks and audio books point. The Kindle has text to speech capabilities from what I read about it. I've no idea how good it is, or whether it sounds like you're being read to by a robot. I'll have to ask a mate of mine who has one, how good or otherwise it is.

While Falafel is being mentioned. I've been trying to find it on DVD from various video rental shops for ages with no success. The last place I would have ever thought of to look (The Local Library) has it in their catalogue. Now all I have to do is organise to borrow it.

And they say local councils aren't any good for anything.

Respond to this comment

YB mutters...

Posted July 23, 2010
By Paul Nicholas Boylan, July 23, 2010 @ 8:25 am

I’ve never quite understood why there need to be any differences between an australian version and the US version. Can anyone explain it without using big words that might confuse me?

I have a summary example: "Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone" was considered too difficult for the American audience, so they released it as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." It was believed the target audience did not know what a Philosopher was, and didn't have the education to pick up the classical reference.

Respond to this comment

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted July 23, 2010
The movie really wasn't that good, nothing like the play and was a disappointing treatment of the book. The cast does include Sophie Lee and that's never a bad thing.

Respond to this comment

Moko asserts...

Posted July 23, 2010
Big Pete,

You local?.

Respond to this comment

Moko would have you know...

Posted July 23, 2010
...or Amazon for 15 bucks.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23, 2010
Yeah, okay. They think we're stupid. I get tired of that, but I don't blame them.

Respond to this comment

Moko puts forth...

Posted July 23, 2010
NVM, decided to finish reading your comment.

Respond to this comment

Big Pete is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23, 2010
@Therbs

There is a short of the movie on YouTube which is all I have ever seen of the movie. I take your point on Sophie Lee being in it, always a bonus. Though I am a bit of a fan of Noah Taylor as well.

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted July 23, 2010
Big Pete. That's unfair about local councils. They are good for stuff . . .just not if you're a local.

Respond to this comment

Therbs asserts...

Posted July 23, 2010
Big Pete, give it a go anyway, its just my opinion. I must admit I was spoiled by the instructional bucket bong scene in the play.

Respond to this comment

BruceGaryNigelson would have you know...

Posted July 23, 2010
Found a copy of the Felafel flick at JB for $6. Nothing on the book, but good for a few laughs. Sophie Lee is smokin'.

Audio books - wonder if, in the future, you could pick: whether you want it read to you via male/female, include sound effects, and if linked with an ipad or ereader, some illustrations or something to help along with the effect. Funny you are mentioning audiobooks here- was giving it a lot of thought the other day when i was sizing up an e-reader.

Respond to this comment

BruceGaryNigelson mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2010
ps. Hav, I found the proactive range of products to be very satisfying.

Respond to this comment

Guy mutters...

Posted July 23, 2010
JB - I hope you will wait until British readers have a chance to read AA before you start the discussion threads.

As for audio books, there is a British outfit caled Big Finish productions which produces excellent original Doctor Who audio stories (also Blake's Seven and others). I think they could so a fantastic job with the Axis of Time. They have a great track record in persuading leading actors to participate, so the next question is which actors should play the key AOT characters?

Respond to this comment

jennicki mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2010
I've lent my Bridget Jones books out to quite a few people who told me they had a hard time reading a "British" book.

To me the language was totally part of the charm.

Respond to this comment

Moko ducks in to say...

Posted July 23, 2010
Blakes Seven. Christ I loved that as a kid. Even remember the last show.

Respond to this comment

sparty mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2010
absolutly off topic apart from being about books & shatner (who like zombies must be eternally on topic)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2010/jul/16/bizarro-fiction-terribly-good

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shatnerquake-Jeff-Burk/dp/1933929820

Respond to this comment

savo mutters...

Posted July 23, 2010
Alex Kingston (ER fame) as Lady Julia

Art Malik (True Lies) as Al Banna

John Birmingham (AoT) as Kipper

Terry 'Hulk' Hogan as Mr The Rhino

just don't know about Caitlin

Respond to this comment

Rhino asserts...

Posted July 23, 2010
I am home ... book is in hand. The HLDW is going to be soooooo ticked that I've just gotten home and am going to abandon her to the veranda with AA, gallons of tea and the stash of cubans I've been hoarding for just this moment. But she'll get over it.

I think.

Oh well.

Respond to this comment

Rhino would have you know...

Posted July 23, 2010
Savo ... Hulk Hogan is toooo blustery. Need someone like John Goodman ... or myself. I've been told that I have a great voice. But that isn't surprising is it?

Respond to this comment

Rhino puts forth...

Posted July 24, 2010
OK .. 1 cigar and large cuppa down ... and all I have to say is WHOA.

Respond to this comment

Murphy would have you know...

Posted July 24, 2010
Got my copy delivered right to the door of the Pod, Apartment 104, at nine story loft building in NKC. Thanks, Birmo.

I think the finished product holds up pretty well.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Rhino mutters...

Posted July 24, 2010
On the actual topic thread ... I love me some hardbacks. But I'm also liking the ability to download and read something immediately on my iphone. Being able to pull up something to read whenever I have some inadvertent downtime - like waiting for an appointment, etc. Also, if I'm out of paper and can't get to the bookstore it is also nice to be able to instantly get something.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted July 24, 2010
On my way to the post office.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 24, 2010
AHH! Maybe tomorrow.

Respond to this comment

Big Pete would have you know...

Posted July 24, 2010
@Moko

"Big Pete, You local?."

I'm not sure, is Deception Bay local?.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted July 24, 2010
I hate Deception Bay. Everyone there is a liar. Even worse than Mullumbimby.

Respond to this comment

Big Pete mumbles...

Posted July 24, 2010
@PNB

it's not that we're liars up here at the Bay, we're just very deceptive. And you're wrong about Mullumbimby, damn hippies, they're far worse than us.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted July 24, 2010
I just made up the name Mullumbimby. I had no idea it is a real place.

Respond to this comment

Moko reckons...

Posted July 24, 2010
Big Pete,

Yes, I was gonna send you a copy, but seeing as you hired it...

Respond to this comment

Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 25, 2010
Another very large cuppa and two Davidoff Millenium blends ... god damn this is good stuff.

Respond to this comment

Abigail reckons...

Posted July 25, 2010
Big Pete- Deception Bay?--That's such a cool name.

Then Queensland is a bit like that. For instance the town way up north called 1770. How cool is that for a place name?

Canberra has some of the WORST names ever. Try Downer -after that family of course. Fucking Downer for god sake. Now we have a suburb called Beard . I kid you not, Beard.

Respond to this comment

Abigail mutters...

Posted July 25, 2010
I live in a suburb called Ainslie which always makes me think of John Gorton bonking his secretary--well, not that specific image, but still.

Respond to this comment

Big Pete is gonna tell you...

Posted July 25, 2010
@PNB

"I just made up the name Mullumbimby."

Now that is just plain spooky.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mullumbimby,_New_South_Wales

Respond to this comment

Big Pete would have you know...

Posted July 25, 2010
@Abigail

"Big Pete- Deception Bay?–That’s such a cool name.

Then Queensland is a bit like that. For instance the town way up north called 1770. How cool is that for a place name?"

You're not wrong, we certainly have some strange names up here.

A bit of trivia about the Bay.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deception_Bay,_Queensland

Respond to this comment

Big Pete is gonna tell you...

Posted July 25, 2010
@Abigail

"I live in a suburb called Ainslie which always makes me think of John Gorton bonking his secretary"

that's not good. Now I have an image in my mind that I can't erase.

Respond to this comment

Abigail puts forth...

Posted July 25, 2010
...aaannndd... Abigail ruins yet another life with the aside about Ainslie and Gorton. I'm .So. Sorry.

Respond to this comment

Rhino would have you know...

Posted July 25, 2010
OK ... Just finished. That completely and totally ::ENGAGE HVK DRIVE:: FKN ROCKED MY FKN ARSE OFF. MUPPETS GETTIN' CAPPED EVERYWHERE!!! RHINO KICKIN' ASS, TAKIN' NAMES, ETC.

Respond to this comment

Brian has opinions thus...

Posted July 25, 2010
Rhino . . .yeah. Its particularly satisfying to see the unprompted and thoughtful reactions.

And mate . . . .that's why we waited for you. (checking watch) Murph should be turning up soon to talk about Kansas City I guess.

Respond to this comment

Murphy would have you know...

Posted July 26, 2010
Well, I know the Kansas City stuff is awesome. Ironic given that every time I write a story that features or mentions Kansas City, I normally destroy it.

True irony is that a certain nine story loft apartment building in Northtown is where I am living at this very moment.

And the BP reference as Kipper crosses the Chouteau Bridge? That is priceless. No way we could have anticipated the BP disaster in the Gulf. When you read the book today it feels like a very subtle dig at BP.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Brian reckons...

Posted July 26, 2010
That's all right Murph.

Look . . . someone even wrote a song about Kansas City. If that helps. :))

Respond to this comment

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 27, 2010
Great, Brian. Thanks. That tune will be running through my brain while I try to lecture on slavery today.

Aside from Charles B Wheeler Airport and the Hawthrone Power Plant, all of the Kansas City components actually take place in North Kansas City. I happen to live here but that is not why I recommended it (or the metro area for that matter).

Everytime I looked at a map, given what I know or surmised from the first novel as to what was viable, Kansas City kept leaping out as a settlement choice. North Kansas City leaped out even further as the locus of that settlement given that it is concentrated with resources, transport, housing and is pedestrian/bicycle friendly compared to the rest of the region.

The other part, which was mentioned briefly, is the Crossroads/Crown Center area. After that what happens is that the region becomes to dispersed to utilize without sufficent vehicle transport, not a real problem given that it will probably take a couple of decades just to fill out the allocated sections of the city.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Murphy mutters...

Posted July 27, 2010
I should also mention that the real "James Kipper" calls Kansas City home. I suspect somewhere in his fictional counterpart's background that KC is probably home as well.

And Birmo just friended and posted to Kipper's facebook page. You all should go harass him a bit. He'll like that.

But don't let that President thing go to his head.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Brian puts forth...

Posted July 27, 2010
Murph

Really? (big cheesy grin) We can refer all people with Kipper questions to a facebook page? Hmm . . .probably a nice guy and won't do it to him . . . . .yet.

Re: Kansas City. I'm just suffering from HomeTown Tribute Song Envy. (HTTSE). Can't think of a single song relating to an Australian Capital City. 'Road to Gundagai' is about it for me. . . it was a hit an everything . . .back in the '30's ISTR.

Respond to this comment

Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted July 28, 2010
Well, we had a Jazz Era here back in the 20s and 30s (the vestiges of which are almost completely gone today). I suspect that is how we got the song.

What annoys me about the song is that anytime someone in TVLand sets a story here in Kansas City, they drag that song out. Worse, Hollywood almost always films the scenes in flat locations.

Kansas City is many things, but flat isn't one of them. The flattest portion is the flood plain, which is what Northtown used to be before the built the levees.

Maybe you ought to nag Men at Work to come up with a city theme song. They've got some bills to pay, I hear.

As for Kipper, yes, definitely go drop in on him. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Fuck you, Amazon, I like hardbacks.'

Back into Melb tomorrow.

Posted July 13, 2010 by John Birmingham
Well, tonite actually. But I wont get in until late. Then in the morning I have media commitments before grabbing a few hours to tidy up my lecture for the Wheeler Centre on Wednesday evening. I'm gonna refine that bit I did about female action heroes a few weeks back. I'm up for a drink afterwards if anyone can get a leave pass, although I'm aware you may have used up all your brownie points last week.

90 Responses to ‘Back into Melb tomorrow.’

Brian has opinions thus...

Posted July 13, 2010
I'm out. Afternoon of pain and no gain AKA Dental appointment.

Respond to this comment

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted July 13, 2010
Sheesh, nothing but tumbleweeds rolling through Melbourne for you tonight JB. They're all probably going to Channel 9 for a taping of "Hey Hey Its Tired and Unfunny".

Respond to this comment

Naut has opinions thus...

Posted July 13, 2010
I have a distinct lack of brownie points at the moment. I am not sure I am even allowed out as far as the curb to put the bin out.

Respond to this comment

NataliatheRussianSpy mumbles...

Posted July 13, 2010
So what demographic will you be greasing on the Circle tomorrow Birmo? :D

Respond to this comment

Havock swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 13, 2010
well the BOSS LADY is back and I am in the good books, I however need some sleep......, BUT, I'm in Pucka tomorrow, If I am back early and in town I will ping ya,

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob is gonna tell you...

Posted July 13, 2010
I am at the State of design Festival launch over near the museum - may need to grab a bite afterwards around Gertrude Street if you head over that way.

Respond to this comment

Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 13, 2010
SpyNat.

The Circle? If it'd been last week he could have chatted up Megen Gale.

Respond to this comment

Albion Love Den has opinions thus...

Posted July 13, 2010
So, last time you were in town, it went like this:

- I got liquored up at the Burger catch up with a mate.

- Continued liquoring with a couple of rowdy hang-arounders (looking at you here Sibeen and Wolfcat)

- Continued even more liquirising with mate down for the night from Bris

- Rang ex-boss in the early AM (or still late the PM) to inform him of my inebriation

- Found myself having to apologise to said mate, ex-boss, wife, new flatmates and the dogs the next morning for my antics

- Failed to turn up to work at new office, failed to tell them about it. Got officially rebuked for such.

Sir, with the greatest respect to you, I am negative in the brownie points. And possibly shall be for some time. Enjoy my new town, please try to leave it as you found it.

Respond to this comment

Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 13, 2010
So ALD a typical Burger get together then?

Me I'll have to see how the work day goes.

Respond to this comment

NBlob mumbles...

Posted July 13, 2010
ALD, if you nailed the dismount (eg with a spew in the new flatmates vase) that'd be a perfect 10.

Well Done Sir

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo is gonna tell you...

Posted July 13, 2010
All I'm hearing is a bunch of fkn loser talk. Man up, Melbourne. You're living up to your stereotype.

Respond to this comment

Bangar would have you know...

Posted July 13, 2010
Doc, it seems most have been sin binned, and I'm always subject to the vagaries of work. You know things break and I'm expected to fix them, NOW.

Respond to this comment

Brian reckons...

Posted July 13, 2010
Dr Yob? You been checking the weather forecast for Melbourne?

Its abysmal. Which for Melbourne is . . .pretty good.

Respond to this comment

Albion Love Den reckons...

Posted July 13, 2010
Yob - this is not the Roy n HG of book-tours: too much Birmo is very much enough. Peak Birmo, if you well.

Respond to this comment

Blarkon asserts...

Posted July 13, 2010
Yobbo is all talk. He's like Boylan without the debonair sophistication and Havock without the Grunt. If there ever was a Burger get together on the South Island of NZ - they'd all be sitting around eating shortbread and drinking herbal tea talking about how FKN "pleasant" it all is before retiring at 7.15pm to watch their taped copy of Wheel of Fortune.

Respond to this comment

Albion Love Den has opinions thus...

Posted July 13, 2010
The taped copy of Un Zud's finest episode of WoF: where the chick asked for "O for awesome". True story.

Respond to this comment

Albion Love Den swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 13, 2010
Actually, it was David Tua on a celebrity episode. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaIZF8uUTtk

Respond to this comment

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 13, 2010
Didn't Wayne Gardner once buy a vowel on Celebrity Wheel

An R?

Respond to this comment

Matthew K puts forth...

Posted July 14, 2010
Apparently Brits love Brisbane so i thought this might interest the Brisbanites here. (Brisbaners?)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/10600464.stm

Respond to this comment

FKNZippy is gonna tell you...

Posted July 14, 2010
Debonair sophistication? Ever meet Boylan? He chews with his mouth open and blows his nose on his bare hand. Absolute slob, although reputed to be an excellent social host.

Respond to this comment

Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted July 14, 2010
Boylan is so sophisticated that the Queen rings him up to ask which fork she should use to eat the bacony bit on the Oyster.

Boylan is so debonair that Ginger Rodgers always felt that dancing with Fred Astaire was like a cha-cha with a Redneck.

Boylan's suits are so sharp that emergency services crews use his cuffs to free small children from tangled automobile wreckage.

When Boylan walks down the street, the birds in the trees tweet Sinatra because it is FKN appropriate.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted July 14, 2010
Oscar Wilde was wrong.

Respond to this comment

Brian would have you know...

Posted July 14, 2010
Ahh Paul.

Such love from your admirers. I think it was the Montana thing.

Oscar Wilde was a satirist . . .easy to get him out of context.

Respond to this comment

YB ducks in to say...

Posted July 14, 2010
Boylan is so hip, he can barely see over his pelvis. (Always steal from the best.)

Respond to this comment

NataliatheRussianSpy would have you know...

Posted July 14, 2010
Yes Brian I heard a dirty rumour on Twitter. Imagine a shot of AA wedged between Ding Dong's Ding Dongs?!?!?!

Respond to this comment

NataliatheRussianSpy is gonna tell you...

Posted July 14, 2010
Have all the agenda items from the Paul Boylan Admiration Society been attended to yet?

Birmo. On. The. Circle. 'sgunnabegoooood!

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted July 14, 2010
Okay, Brian. I will embrace this sudden attention as an homage to my magnificence. However, there is something about Blarkon - something reptilian - that I just don't trust.

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob would have you know...

Posted July 14, 2010
ALD - I am truly impressed - such a great way to meet the Melbourne burgers... as for that Boylan character - I don't know if I would trust anything that Blarkon says on this matter I think I saw some very compromising photographs on the internet involving BOylan and a lizard like being - I was told that they were being forwarded on to the RSPCA, the FBI and the Men in Black for further investigation...

Respond to this comment

Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 14, 2010
Paul Boylan is so intelligent that he developed a genetically modified aloe vera plant which can grow in space ships so that space chicks can look after their skin.

JB on The Circle? Nice one.

Respond to this comment

Wolfcat would have you know...

Posted July 14, 2010
Once again I have planned ahead and left my liver at home so I can come out to the Wheeler tonight.

Respond to this comment

Brian mumbles...

Posted July 14, 2010
PNB its not just homage, man. Its the pain of your circumstances. No book. Living in Montana. Its obvious you're not in the right place.

Y'know? There are rescue groups that could help you. Relocate you with a secret identity, deprogam your Montanish ways. You'd have to get an Australian accent . . .though you'd still sound vaguely Canadian. . . .or God forbid. Kiwi.

Respond to this comment

Idim reckons...

Posted July 14, 2010
Don't knuck Kiwi's. We put our punts on wen lig ut a time, jest like yew dew.

Respond to this comment

Brian ducks in to say...

Posted July 14, 2010
Idim.

You're from the South Island then?

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob puts forth...

Posted July 14, 2010
The Circle hey - there is a whole world of daytime television I know nothing about...

Respond to this comment

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted July 14, 2010
's not as good as "Barnes Zombie Prep Hour" - which is sort of the Masterchef of preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

For some reason though his pressure tests all involve flamethrowers and chainsaws.

Respond to this comment

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted July 14, 2010
Afraid I am back on the solo parenting duties and given how late these burger get togethers go and being a school night i don't think I can drag the weapon out to the sort of disreputable dives I hope you burgers go to after.

Respond to this comment

Therbs would have you know...

Posted July 14, 2010
And there'd be constant cutaways of the contestants saying things like,

"It was the pressure test and I knew my time in Zombie Prep could be over. And then the door opens.."

"The door opens and Havoc walks in. I was excited."

"When I saw Havoc I knew this would be a tough pressure test."

"Havoc walks in and Barnes tells us that the pressure test would be recreating Havoc's "Cappin' FKN Zombie Muppets".

"I was worried because I'd never used an M4 before. I was okay with the flamethrower but the M4 was new to me. This could go badly."

"I was thinking of putting my own twist on this by using a pointed stick but Barnes wasn't receptive to the idea. He advised me to stick to Havoc's original ideas."

etc. etc.

Respond to this comment

Brian has opinions thus...

Posted July 14, 2010
OMG Barnes!

You've been recruiting. Looks like acolyte material to me.

Respond to this comment

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted July 14, 2010
Brian

can never have to many prepared.

Respond to this comment

Abigail has opinions thus...

Posted July 14, 2010
I finally understand what peeps here meant by 'The Circle'.

I honestly thought it was maybe some sacred inner sanctum of burgers about whom we outlayers know precious little.

But. No. Daytime Television. lol.

Respond to this comment

Therbs puts forth...

Posted July 14, 2010
Brian - further valuable information can be found at the Zombie Squad website. Preparation is the key both to cooking and eliminating Zed.

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted July 14, 2010
Aigail.

There is another 'Circle'. Sometimes called the 'Circle of Trust'. Rhino has something to do with it. So god damned hush-hush most of us can't figure out what it is.

One school of thought is that its like a super dooper Platinum Degree Masonic fraternity.

Another ( by far the most common) school of thought is that Rhino should quality check everything that 3rd World countries put into his stogies. . . .

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo is gonna tell you...

Posted July 14, 2010
I have no idea what the fkn Circle is, other than Golden Circle, who cut up pineapples and put them in a tin. I'm sure this Other Circle will amount to something a lot less fkn useful. Lemme guess with no actual information to hand - cut price knockoff of the View aimed at postmenopausal ovarianites?

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo asserts...

Posted July 14, 2010
The Magical Inter-Google reports that yes, it is indeed a cut price knockoff of the View. WTF to the power of FOAD. Which one is playing the role of Ms Hasselbeck aka Fascist Barbie then?

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted July 14, 2010
Brian - I didn't mean to mislead you. I am temporarily in Montana, here to attend "orientation" - which lasts three fucking days - at the university my son has chosen to attend. We return to Northern California tomorrow - where I will undoubtedly continue to suffer from lack of preferred reading material.

Respond to this comment

Brian would have you know...

Posted July 14, 2010
(embarassed cough)

Doc Yobbo. The story as I heard it. Woopi Goldberg was a fan of an Australian Show called 'The Panel' . . .also from Ch 10 . . the 'View' was Woopi's brain child. I thought, as you did, the Circle was a rehashed 'View'. Just about there . . .parallels fail.

As I said . . .the story as I heard it.

Personally 'The Circle' cracks me up.

Respond to this comment

Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 14, 2010
Paul.

The horror of it . . .Northern California? The horror of it . .

Respond to this comment

Albion Love Den asserts...

Posted July 14, 2010
Wow. I just assumed JB coming to Melbourne for the "circle" meant he was going to hook up with some fully siiiick mates in a late model Toranas to do lappies around Broadmeadows.

Respond to this comment

Naut has opinions thus...

Posted July 14, 2010
The Circle sounds like some initiation ritual that boys private schools and rugby unions teams perpetuate.

Maybe we should ask Chaz or Lerm?

Respond to this comment

Brian mumbles...

Posted July 14, 2010
Naut.

Ask Chaz. He's the hyphenated one.

Respond to this comment

Therbs would have you know...

Posted July 14, 2010
Doc - just interwebzed meself. Ding FKN Dong. Says it all.

I thought it wuz gunna be all mandala like and zen, but nooo, its all FKN recipes, diets, exercise bikes and how to turn your empty nest into a magazine rack for calcium supplement catalogues.

Respond to this comment

Orin ducks in to say...

Posted July 14, 2010
Brian - The Panel started in 1998, The View in 1997.

Respond to this comment

Quokka puts forth...

Posted July 14, 2010
Sounds like the word 'family' should come in front of that circle.

Respond to this comment

Bangar mutters...

Posted July 14, 2010
Well I'm out, 8AM start, Ballarat.

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob puts forth...

Posted July 14, 2010
Brian - re: There is another ‘Circle’. Sometimes called the ‘Circle of Trust’

Just look up 'soggy sayo' and you will be on the right track about the so-called 'circle of trust'...

Respond to this comment

ConspiracyCat reckons...

Posted July 14, 2010
And here I was thinking The Circle was some sort of oblique reference to tentacle pr0n.

Respond to this comment

Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 14, 2010
You should be able to find it from here (keep the http: and copy/insert)

//ten.com.au/the-circle-video.htm

JB did you shave?

Respond to this comment

Brian has opinions thus...

Posted July 14, 2010
Orin.

Thanks for that correction. Tell the truth "The story as told to me' seemed to go against the usual flow of mediatainement. Usual : States->Australia. Not: Australia->States. I shall take great delight in correcting my 'media consultant'. :)))

Respond to this comment

Darth Greybeard would have you know...

Posted July 14, 2010
I actually watched an episode of the Circle. Once. And only because my B-in-Law was announcing his impending fatherhood. My mind still reels at the inanity of it all.

Respond to this comment

Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted July 14, 2010
Mr Boylan sir, did you refer to Oscar's "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about"?

Respond to this comment

Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted July 14, 2010
DocY @ 2.14 on The Circle:

"Lemme guess with no actual information to hand - cut price knockoff of the View aimed at postmenopausal ovarianites?"

Yep, FTW.

Respond to this comment

Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 14, 2010
Umm, has anyone got an eraser to rub out all of our Circle- diss before his Majesty, Royal Lord Highness Baron Birmingham, you know,.... SEES IT ??

Respond to this comment

Bangar asserts...

Posted July 14, 2010
Sorry click entertainment then books.

Respond to this comment

Brian puts forth...

Posted July 14, 2010
I reckon Birmo is tracking via his embedded Steve Jobs implant.

Respond to this comment

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted July 14, 2010
Of course he did Greybeard, that is a prime example of the man's wit and sophistication. He knows that he can throw an implied Oscar Wilde quote out into an audience consumed with topics of explodey goodness, FKN muppets, Zombies and Dr Yobbo's eclectic crotch enhancement lotion and that the chosen amongst his audience will interpret it correctly. He has mastered the Zen technique of making a witty forum comment without having to do all that crass typing and clicking submit.

Respond to this comment

Quokka mumbles...

Posted July 14, 2010
This is the horror of skimming, I have no recall of PNB quoting Oscar.

What did I miss?

'I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.'

Or was it 'A true friend stabs you in the front.'

Respond to this comment

Abigail reckons...

Posted July 14, 2010
While Paul Nicholas Boylan sleeps, his character will be played by everyone else.

Respond to this comment

Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 14, 2010
Brian, lol, yes, agreed that he most probs does that. I'm sure they're That Close these days that JB allows his master to perform minor, semi-invasive brain surgery on him.

Respond to this comment

Brian puts forth...

Posted July 14, 2010
Abigail . . .that's why he lusts after an IPad. It gives a portable visual interface so he can talk to his Master.

Hmm? Just realised. Are we certain Steve Jobs isn't Zed . . .the modus operandi looks the same.

Respond to this comment

ConspiracyCat is gonna tell you...

Posted July 14, 2010
I am reserving judgement on PNB's alleged awesomeness until I find out if he likes Red Dwarf.

Respond to this comment

Abigail has opinions thus...

Posted July 14, 2010
Indeed Brian--I wonder what a "Birmingham app" would be like? and would it feature a pic of JB and Boss in Bromance possies chatting on the Special link up?

I try not to wonder what a Hvk- app would be like. Shouty, much?

Respond to this comment

Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 14, 2010
Abigail.

There is a Havock app. But people cant decide if its run of the mill malware or virus.

Respond to this comment

Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted July 14, 2010
Brian I can feel a headache in your near future.

Respond to this comment

Bangar mutters...

Posted July 14, 2010
Abi,a lady of taste. "He's dead Dave, everybody's dead, everybody is dead Dave."

Respond to this comment

sibeen would have you know...

Posted July 14, 2010
I'm not sure what all the excitement about this PNB character is all about. He's quite obviously an unlettered lout who misquotes Shakespeare and uses obscure quotes from Wilde (he probably heard their names mentioned on Red Neck TV), he uses vernacular expressions in a manner that a person of culture would never stoop to and worst of all he hasn't read the fucking book!

Respond to this comment

Darth Greybeard would have you know...

Posted July 14, 2010
Really sibeen! You could not be more wrong. Prof Boylan is a lawyer for goodness sake! He is a man of letters (for which he charges by the word) and possessor of a most amusing website with resident uber-troll. His wit is exceeded only by his great personal charm and I look forward to meeting him in the too too solid flesh when he visits our sunburnt land.

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted July 14, 2010
Greybeard? He's doing some pro-bono work for . . . you isnt he?

Respond to this comment

Darth Greybeard would have you know...

Posted July 14, 2010
Oh that. I assure you it has no bearing on the case at hand your honour, er, brian. Anyway, it could have been anyone in that photo.

Respond to this comment

Brian reckons...

Posted July 14, 2010
I thought they had DNA evidence?. . . .now that the wire tap was ruled inadmissable. 'Mazing what you can Photoshop these days.

Respond to this comment

NBlob reckons...

Posted July 14, 2010
and any pig

Respond to this comment

Mal asserts...

Posted July 14, 2010
Hey John. Haven't checked in to the burger for a while. Are you heading up this way to peddle AA?

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted July 15, 2010
I admit knowing nothing of Wilde (I spelled his name correctly purely by chance). I admit inserting his name into this cacophony hoping Wilde said something that might fit the circumstance. I admit not knowing what cacophony means and used it here in the hope of distracting y'all from my true bogan nature. I admit hearing the name at a gun and doll show in Bakersfield where a red neck dismissed Wilde's work because Wilde was "a great big homo" but, in all honesty, I'm not sure if that is true.

And I admit ADORING Red Dwarf - especially the episodes with the black cat. He's black, and he's a cat. Get it? A black cat. Hahahah! I love it! It is so clever, and it isn't racist at all.

Respond to this comment

Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted July 15, 2010
Damn, can't access The Circle interview in the states. Evidently they are filtering your outgoing internet too. (j/k).

As to the Circle of Trust ... I thought that I was quite clear on that - It is an organization whose membership does not include Havock. Other than that I cannot comment.

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob mumbles...

Posted July 15, 2010
So how did last night at the Wheeler Centre go? I assume the reason that we haven't heard from anyone is because they are all nursing monster hangovers?

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob asserts...

Posted July 15, 2010
PS I just got an enewsletter from Borders and the first item was JB's After America for twenty bucks...

Respond to this comment

Wolfcat has opinions thus...

Posted July 15, 2010
no... Bob... no hanger overs... it was all very sensible... a few beers a lot of food and early nights all round....

The speech was very good though.

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob mumbles...

Posted July 15, 2010
The Wheeler Centre often record these things and post them on their website so I am hoping we can all watch it online sometime soon.

Respond to this comment

Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted July 15, 2010
Totally OT for here but a suggestion for JB (if there's any point in revisiting this topic) http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2010/07/why-no-form-of-censorship-is-a-good-thing/ Nice little piece on how Turkey introduced a filter to stop child porn in 2007. Fast forward a few years and guess what?

Respond to this comment

NBlob would have you know...

Posted July 15, 2010
Just trying to draw our attention away from the pig photo's eh?

Respond to this comment

Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 16, 2010
NWB . re: photo's.

Depends. Is it a good looking pig? Some of them let themselves go and turn into real porkers.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Back into Melb tomorrow.'

First Discussion thread for After America.

Posted July 10, 2010 by John Birmingham
Those who haven't finished, or started, be warned, there will undoubtedly be massive spoilers.

For the first topic I'm gonna turn the floor over to Beeso, who was muttering darkly on Twunter this week about AA's possible anti green bias.

I dont think there is one, but everybody reads a different book. There are characters who have issues with the Greens who have become a very significant third political force in Seattle, and one of those characters is Kipper, which might appear to lend sympathy to any Green view. However, I'd point out that all of that back story happens off stage, setting up scenario's for the final book, and Kipper has issues with everyone.

Because of the ecological effects and aftermath of the Wave there is fair deal of discussion and thought about environmental issues by the POV actors in the book, but they do so in character. If Sandra Harvey, the Greens leader, got a POV scene you'd read a very different exposition of the GM crop issue than you would in a scene narrated by, say, Miguel. There's no compelling story need to meet Sandra just yet and popping her simply in to 'balance' the politics of the book would be ... well... gratuitous PC bullshit. Insert rant by Murph here.

Anyway, I promised to let Beeso have first crack at any thread, so here 'tis.

120 Responses to ‘First Discussion thread for After America.’

Lobes mumbles...

Posted July 10, 2010
Damn, still havnt read it. Will bow out now for fear of spoilers. Have at it guys and dont bemuse the trolls.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted July 10, 2010
I haven't started because I haven't received mine yet, but I will comment as if I've read it. I desperately want to belong to a greater whole.

Respond to this comment

Abigail asserts...

Posted July 10, 2010
JB I'm closing my eyes so I don't read the text above; just dropping in to mention that I boughht WW the ohter night in an effort to make you a rich bitch and may I say, it is a fantastic thriller, not a genre I read normally. I am hooked and loving the sound of pages turned fast.

Respond to this comment

Abigail mutters...

Posted July 10, 2010
..so After America a must. Esp if there's cowboys; love cowboys, not enough of them in lit'film these days.

Respond to this comment

Abe is gonna tell you...

Posted July 10, 2010
Too soon!

(I'm trying to make it last.)

Respond to this comment

Shifty_McGee mutters...

Posted July 10, 2010
I was astounded by the killin' off of Miguel's clan, it was very... visceral. Although as the Curious Case of Cmdr. Daniel Black shows, NO ONE IS SAFE, EVER.

I was disappointed that the Gurkas didn't make an appearence, but their contract would have been well-expired by now, wouldn't it?

Also, how did the shark's boat get taken off Jules? Based on my weak, wikipedia inspired, knowledge of admiralty law, shouldn't it be theirs for the taking?

Respond to this comment

jennicki has opinions thus...

Posted July 10, 2010
There is an ANTI WAVE and everything REAPPEARS

mwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Respond to this comment

Abigail mutters...

Posted July 10, 2010
Abe, you and I are going to have to vet our peeks at cbg threads for a while!

Respond to this comment

Abigail mutters...

Posted July 10, 2010
Jenn, I think you just wrote the final book in the trilogy.

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted July 10, 2010
Tsk. We were waiting for Beeso.

Respond to this comment

Tarl reckons...

Posted July 10, 2010
I have the book, but real life has intervened and precluded reading it. Maybe this rainy weekend...

Respond to this comment

Chaz mumbles...

Posted July 10, 2010
Don't see it as anti green per se.

If you have a nation to feed and get power for, as president you have to make harsh decisions. Pre-wave politics become luxuries really so considering re-starting brown coal power stations if even for a while is chicken shit to the ecological damage done the the wave. Same goes for Nuke power.

Green parties on the whole have more 'eclectic' manifestos because they don't have to rule and in reality they know that. In europe when the greens started to get a greater % of the vote their policies started to change. Same as our Greens will if they become powerbrokers in the senate.

Respond to this comment

lostatlunch ducks in to say...

Posted July 10, 2010
with an engineer, Kipper is just pragmatic about results.

Any other President or leader wants to be reelected.. The first "for the people" president in a very long time.

Respond to this comment

Bondiboy66 ducks in to say...

Posted July 10, 2010
Shifty, the Aussies just took the boat because...well they could I guess. Yeah, shame the gurkhas buggered off too.

And I'm with Chaz - desparate times called for desparate measurs, and green sensibilities on things like GM crops have to take a backseat to getting people fed.

BTW, I'm only halfway through...but references to things like Bedak Whitetails, Abe Frellman's snags and Krist Novocelic have raised a few laughs!

Respond to this comment

Brian would have you know...

Posted July 10, 2010
I'm with Chaz. For lotsa reasons.

Got hold of a book from Gutenberg about a bunch of American agronomists tooling thru China in 1904. Discussions about productivity, recycling . . .element measures . .potassium etc It was freakin' hard to do it in China . . .everything was recycled back into the fields. Chinese productivity was 5 -10 times higher than 1904 American . . . and it all came back to soil types,rice growing and a very well developed recycling system done by hand . . .recall 90 percent of the poulation was village based.. Unachievable anywhere else absent modern fertilisers and pesticides AKA 'factory farming'

Only people worth being called 'green' are farmers. Bedak is as 'green' as it can meaningfully get.

Respond to this comment

Orin mumbles...

Posted July 10, 2010
Page 392 - "Encryption Sets" should probably be "Encryption Keys" as it looks like you are discussing the swapping of encryption keys prior to setting up an encrypted communication session. This is usually called "key exchange" - see the article "Key Exchange" in wikipedia for verification of terminology.

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted July 10, 2010
Orin.

Point.

Respond to this comment

Moko reckons...

Posted July 10, 2010
Green issue?. If shit works, use it. Think they lost much of their brain trust to REALLY consider 'green' outside of growing yer own veges. Hydrogen engines and Miguel making his own solar panels might have to wait a fraction.

Convenience is the driver for technology with humans from now on. If I had been shovelling the family's shit and turning it into fertiliser for the fkn corn and then 'can-do Newman' came along and said, "Look, here's a flushing dunny and a packet of fertiliser but in order for you to have it you have to supply my family with spuds...", whatcha gonna do?.

You need power and transport, and you need it yesterday.

Respond to this comment

beeso asserts...

Posted July 10, 2010
Look I completely understand the way the Green parties are portrayed in the book. There are still more loopy lefty types populating the party political then there are pragmatic hippies like myself, which is why I'm not a card carrying member of the greens.

What did jar with me was the use of GM crops on two continents. It just doesn't stack up. GM is more a profit driven company movement based in the US and all those companies are gone post wave. So who and why would be pushing GM.

Ok so I understand that this is fiction and that GM might work fine in the post wave universe but to me it would make more sence that with actual crop gripe being higher than profit motive that we would have gone back to very localized specialized crops rather than global GM ones.

Look I had the same problem with The Wire. Watched the first episode and the cops were typing reports on a typewriter. In 2001. Yeah right. Couldn't keep watching cause that just jarred at me.

Respond to this comment

Naut mumbles...

Posted July 10, 2010
We have discussed characters having their own voice here before.

It is reasonable to think that for many, post wave, environmental issues would take a backseat to survival.

As JB states above, the characters are just expressing their view. I didn't see any anti-green agenda in the book and from discussions with JB , I don't think he has an anti-green agenda.

Anti slouch bike riding vegetarian agenda maybe.

Respond to this comment

Brian reckons...

Posted July 10, 2010
OK. I get what Beeso is saying.

I think JB has touched on an interesting theme here with the Greens.

First green movements are predominantly urban based or are drawn from the urban classes. With the Wave the US Farmers lobby has to all intents disappeared so there's no counter balancing force. The rise of a green power bloc is quite plausible given that the rise of other obscure groups after a crisis. Very roughly the Reds in Japan after WW2, and the Nazis after WW1. The problem is now they have to make their agenda work. What we're seeing is a disconnect between cleaving to ideology versus 'this is way the world works now'. The people trying to make it work see the disconnects. Cultural Revolution springs to mind as well.. . ideology driving the urban classes out into the countryside followed by famine.

Not sure about the GM crops as a story device. Possible that it was sourced out of South America, South Africa etc (thinking of seed viabilty after 4 years) . . .that could take care of the back story. Given the high insect population, crops that could protect themselves would be important.

Respond to this comment

Orin mumbles...

Posted July 10, 2010
Great take on GM crops in "Windup Girl" (Won this year's Nebula, may win the Hugo) - future where GM was adopted wholesale - reduced biodiversity - along come successive plagues that wipe out the non-bio-diverse homogeneous crops sold by the GM companies - global famine and wars to get access to seed banks that host original bio-diverse natural stock.

Respond to this comment

beeso reckons...

Posted July 10, 2010
Having reread birmos intro I'll just add this. I wouldn't want a green character POV to balance the book and I have no issue with Miguel or Caitlin having positive thoughts about GM because in the post Wave universe, it seems to work.

My problem is that GM crops up as a viable alternative, I just don't find it logical. But hey it's birmos world, he makes the rules.

Respond to this comment

Havock is gonna tell you...

Posted July 10, 2010
I loved the GM issue in AA, but I see it as a separate issue to the prevalence of tree hugging unwashed need capping fkn feral muppets getting into American politics post the wave event.

For some reason, maybe it was gummite fact finding, maybe the tree huggers were in Europe living an alternate life style, but I’m willing to be they initially got elected on the back of the POST wave and during wave DAMGE and storms, kinda due to the hysteria and shit that came down., ya can just see them saying its a result of all the un- natural things we have done tec etc. Then, muppets, well first order muppets elect them in and BINGO, the wave recedes. Then all they want to do, is make America a fkn green zone...almost right really, except it should have been CAMO green as in MILITARY. I can see with great fkn clarity the lentil eating brigade impeding the whole fkn process.

CAP’EM...cap the fkn lot, better still, send’em down to TEXAS!.

As for GM, well given the climatic changes and growing requirements, I see it being viewed as a viable alternative, myself, I’m not a fan of GM...the down stream effects and all that and thats about as fkn unwashed as i am likely to get

Respond to this comment

Havock ducks in to say...

Posted July 10, 2010
AND..AND, I'm fkn sure there would have been B1 LANCERS stationed somewhere as opposed to B52's..fkn hell, talk about giving a bloke a T model ford ffsakes.

Respond to this comment

Orin swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 11, 2010
Speaking of (possible) Tuckerizations - what happened to "Orin Thomas" - every other character mentioned in the cast list at the front got name checked when they died. I'm guessing dead from flood - but no mention of a body. Last seen working cattle with Adam ...

As for the greenies - remember the dude that put Birmo on this path in the first place, going on about how the world would be a better place without the US - wasn't he of the feral manky wilderness society greenie variety rather than the respectable Bob Brown greenie variety. Anyway - we don't have an explanation of the wave, but Birmo has hinted that at some point we will get one. What if some radically violent techno-greenies were responsible ... (it is that or the space lizards under emperor Blarkon)

... Would have been cool if the other B52 pilot's callsign had been "Space Lizard" instead of Eightball.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted July 11, 2010
I tried not to read this thread, but I just couldn't help myself. It is happening again, just like with WW. I am most unhappy.

Respond to this comment

Havock swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 11, 2010
Yeah, I figured that there would have been a WIZZO, or weapons system operator somewhere, that would have been a current techno gizmo guru , prolly named Orion, Alas, .......well, its water under the bridge i suspect.

PNB....like a moth to the flame

I am also not sure that BOB BROWN gets the respectable hat either, I reckon he's a closet nutter greenie.

PNB.....In time my good friend..in time

Respond to this comment

Moko puts forth...

Posted July 11, 2010
...but fuck I shone as a horse wrangling mormon.

Respond to this comment

MickH asserts...

Posted July 11, 2010
half way through, but i love the in jokes, Pirates and ninjas etc and Hey! Queen of the Seven Seas!! lol I wonder where you got that!

Respond to this comment

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 11, 2010
Orin, Windup is precisely the kind of book I am not going to waste my time reading. Besides, I've read that author's stories. He's just another Kim Stanley Robinson with his own bible to thump.

There is the insertable rant, if half hearted. Winning a Nebula hardly recommends it.

Anyway, the B-52 is, frankly, a more reliable aircraft with a greater bomb carrying capacity. I'm sure if I dug around that I might find some B-1s that were outside of the Wave area on 14 March but my gut tells me most of them were sitting on the tarmac or off on training missions. I suspect the same might be said for B-2s which were not at Diego Garcia or elsewhere.

I'm not sure how After America ends (I usually do not know how these novels end until I get a copy). I think I'm slated to get one but I have not seen it yet.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Orin ducks in to say...

Posted July 11, 2010
Windup Girl's author is more deft than Kim Stanley Robinson - though if I had one criticism it is that his view of our future is so unrelentingly cynical that it can be a bit much to take. What I admire about his work is his ability to use flawed characters effectively - a lot like the writers of BattleStar Galactica did for a while. One moment they sicken you, the next you can relate to them. It is a skill that few authors have, with most characters being black and white, good or bad. Author's world building is also very good - a very reasonable interpretation of civilization muddling through post peak-oil. Of course I have a soft spot for third world futuristic novels - the new one about 21st century Istanbul by McDonald is on my shelf next after I finish Fuller Memorandum.

Respond to this comment

Murphy mutters...

Posted July 11, 2010
The cynical view that we are screwed has always been that writer's problem, Orin. It doesn't help that even as pessimistic as I am about human nature I do not concur with that writer's projections.

I've not read a Stross project in awhile. He lost me with Glasshouse. I had Al Reynolds House of Suns laying around but I never got to it. That isn't Al's fault per se, teaching history chews up a lot of my reading time these days.

Anyway, I've always found Windup's author to be a tiresome writer. I stopped wasting my time on him years ago. But if Besso is looking for some politically correct commentary on post peak oil, I'm sure the Windup guy will provide it.

I think what is next on my list is Matthew Farrer's 40K Omnibus. I saw it at the bookmonger yesterday and as soon I get paid, I'm going to pick up a copy.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Murphy puts forth...

Posted July 11, 2010
Read the wiki summary just now. "American Economic Empire?" Bah, what crap. And it is set in Thailand?

Yeah, Besso will find what he is looking for and that Time magazine listed it only confirms my ponderings on the matter.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 11, 2010
You are slated to get one, murph. As is Prof Boylan.

Respond to this comment

I_M reckons...

Posted July 11, 2010
Anyone knows of any online store that can ship it to USA?

Don't want to wait another 6 weeks or so.

Or maybe someone will be so kind as to mail it to me (I'll order it to be delivered to your address and will pay shipping cost by PayPal upfront). Anyone? Thanks!

Respond to this comment

beeso ducks in to say...

Posted July 11, 2010
With all due respect murph, you know fuck all about my beliefs, politics or reading choices, so perhaps you could stick to commenting on the subject in hand instead of throwaway comments about what I would like in a book.

Respond to this comment

Moko has opinions thus...

Posted July 11, 2010
MickH, I saw the Queen of The Seven Seas in there. Thought, 'YES'. lol.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted July 11, 2010
I was about to opine on Beeso's beliefs (eclectic) politics (left of center) reading choices (cook books) and what he would look like in a book (short and shifty) but then I logged on and read Beeso's blistering rebuke (see above). I now feel it would be prudent to reconsider.

Respond to this comment

beeso asserts...

Posted July 11, 2010
Thanks for making me laugh Paul.

Respond to this comment

NBlob reckons...

Posted July 11, 2010
SPOILY SPOILY SPOILERISERS Hot and Salty. If you keep reading past this point and haven't read the book yet it's your own freaking fault. Go on shoo! get off the 'puter & pick up the book.

All opinions are entirely my own, are probably not worth a pinch of sh!t and are based on 0.0 expertise, knowledge nor wisdom.

Ok, Here we go.

I've read it cover to cover twice and am now reading arena by arena, IE all of NYC then all of Texas.

I really like the way you gave Yosuf M a credibility, a rationale, a reason for being in the book. The back story may be referred to a touch more frequently than may be entirely necesary, but he is a strong character that rung like a bell on a clear day. He gave Al Banana the resonance that made that part of the story much more enjoyable.

When are you going to snuff that core-flute bitch Caitlin? Probably never given her ah romantic connection. I didn't find her convincing in WW and I now just skip her entirely on rereads of AA.

In contrast, The Kipper is probably the best character you have built. He is not sure, not an expert in everything and is troubled by the consequences of his decisions. It's like 2 different authors wrote these 2 characters. Without taking it too far Caitlin is a Wilbur Smith character The Kipper is by Kurt Vonnegut.

Beeso spoke about a credibility gap that interferes with the enjoyment of a story. How is it that the baddies in texas hoon about in pickups, yet the heroes are on horseback?

As for the Greens, well yes the Kipper does give them a bit of stick, but I didn't find that out of context or inappropriate given his priorities and personality. They form a bloc in the new government that must be managed to get his agenda through. I didn't pick up on an anti-green tone in the book, I think a suspiscion of the green movement is a meme of our times, like the resistance to wahabi-ist Islam, or a distrust of Multinational coprporations - as such JB refers to all of them.

What I found very interesting was my (entirely unreasonable) dissapointment with Miguels motivation. From the pre-release leaks I had a preconception of his conflict with the Texas authorities, not him running scared from the perpetrators of, well you know what. It's not to say that it isn't a reasonable and appropriate storyline, just not what I expected and that left me a little bummed.

Respond to this comment

Murphy mumbles...

Posted July 11, 2010
Thanks, Birmo. I thought I was but I had a brain cramp. Not the first time to be certain.

Beeso's a little touchy, aren't we? As it stands, most of my comments were directed at the Windup Girl writer, not you.

Let me ask you this, Besso.

Why do you think After America is an anti-green book? Let's start there.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Murphy mutters...

Posted July 11, 2010
Trucks implies logistical support, NBob. Horses, on the other hand, would be more practical to someone who does not have a logistics train that stretches back to someplace like Fort Hood.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted July 11, 2010
I understand that as a pointer to the deniable back channel support the villains are recieving from Fort Hood.

But In my head you can't have it both ways. Either Infernal combustion engines are working or they are not.

Respond to this comment

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 11, 2010
Headscratch.

Why wouldn't they be working? Unless I'm missing something.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

beeso puts forth...

Posted July 11, 2010
Read my comments murph, then I'll discuss it. I'm touchy when someone I don't know essentially tries to steroetype mr for no good reason.

Respond to this comment

Murphy reckons...

Posted July 11, 2010
Besso, is it twitter or twunter? Turns out that I've not heard of twunter (slang?) and I have pretty much given up on twitter.

And again, a bit touchy, I'd say. That said, I'll offer a bit of a advice.

I get stereotyped pretty regularly, on the net as well as IRL. It is easily understood as I seem, on the surface, to present the image of a right wing nut. Pretty irritating.

And also probably worth getting over.

You could put the comments here where the rest of us could read them. I think that is why Birmo started the thread.

But do what you want. I'm going to bed.

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

beeso mutters...

Posted July 11, 2010
I'll say it again. In the start of this thread are three comments about why I think AA is anti green. If you had read this whole thread you wouldn't be asking mr to explain. I don't know you murph, or your politics or beliefs, so I'm not going to say that you're a lefty that reads books about sparkly vampires. Not until I know you better anyway.

If you couldn't be bothered scrolling up, it was the use of GM crops post wave that I found strange and 'anti environment' coupled with a reasonable viewpoint from certain characters that the greenies were all impractical nutjobs

Respond to this comment

beeso puts forth...

Posted July 11, 2010
Sorry

Should have signed off

Beeso

Off to shovel cowshit.

Lantanaland.

Respond to this comment

Moko asserts...

Posted July 11, 2010
Milosz was my favourite character in the book. Fucken had me laughing. Known a coupla blokes that Milosz seems to fit the personality of both combined. They kinda don't mean to be blatant in their racist terminology but they just 'know' they can kick anyone's arse and their terminology of various races is more indicative of the warring version of these people versus the peaceful side side of them.

One bloke was called Armen and he was my security supervisor at one company. Straight out of Bosnia. Nuff said. The other bloke was a weapons trainer I had in security. Ex French infantry - not sure about the legion - but he spent time in Africa which kinda makes me think he was. He finished up in the Au military police.He didn't have anything nice to say about the men of any race he fought.

Anyway, Milosz's character rang with me.

Respond to this comment

Brian would have you know...

Posted July 11, 2010
Reading back over the comments and thinking about the book . . .just as a book.

One disconnect was the London Echelon office with the female Q . . it was a caricature and jarring. Then reflecting on a few of the other characterizations I realised just what a complex piece of work the book actually is.

NoBeardBob touched on it by reading just the Texas parts then the NYC parts . . .there's 4 seperate, possibly stand alone stories going on. You get that sorta disjunctive effect when a few authors are working the same story arc from different viewpoints. For a single author? That's hard yards.

I quite liked seeing NYC getting trashed. Sorta traditonal. Probably the only reason I keep watching Godzilla.

Respond to this comment

NBlob asserts...

Posted July 11, 2010
Brian,

NoBeardBob is a clever ploy used by my aged nemesis to discredit me. Any & all comment credited as such should be taken with a large dozer load of salt.

Speaking of Him. A little part of me died inside when he turned up as a Texan villain.

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted July 11, 2010
Ahhh NWB . . (shakes head) . . .typecasting can be a bitch.

:)))

Respond to this comment

NBlob would have you know...

Posted July 11, 2010
"Why wouldn’t they be working?"

We beat this to death 18 months ago or so. Petroleum / gasoline will degrade over time.

The story takes place in the ultimate cornucopia of salvage where anything with a capital ANY is just laying around waiting to be picked up and used. So if the villains can fire up a faded blue F150, why can't Miguel?

Without explanation the villains using motorised transport and Miguel on horseback could be interpreted as a fetish on JB's behalf.

Respond to this comment

Havock ducks in to say...

Posted July 11, 2010
OR NBOB, it could be that ONLY the so called controlling SECURITY forces are allowed too, or that they dont want to draw attention to themselves.

I see plenty of reasons that TEXAS etc are screaming around, with little concern for the greater..bigger picture, where as the STATES as controlled by Kipper are dealing with the REALITY of the financial situation.

Wasnt the made munter in control of texas etc, selling gear off, giving rights and prolly more so than that, Aiding and abetting the pirates and every other thoird world fkn nut job as well, good cash flow but REAL FKN SHORT TERM, and THAT gets a mention in the book as well.

I think its been rather well thought out and thats not trying to blow sunshine up the furry rump of the author.

The ONLY bit of the book that was fkd up, was the B52 and I'm gunna blame MURPH for that till the day i fkn DIE!!!!!!! YA BASTARD!

Respond to this comment

Havock asserts...

Posted July 11, 2010
whats a real cracker and i'm reading between the lines is a small section where its mentioned that WE ARE TALKING TO THE AUSSIES's, Ill speculate that given the vast expanse of texas etc, that we will see skips in armour with US armour and a BIG ARSE FKN CLASH DOWN STH in the next book.....yeah. FKN BRING IT ON BABY!.

JB's been very sketchy on just what the aussies have done, what they have accumulated, what kinda deals were done...and that i reckon speaks fkn volumes for the THIRD BIBLICAL FKN INSTALMENT!

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted July 11, 2010
Bob, Miguel rides a horse because he has to. There is no choice for him. Only the major state roads have been cleared, or neigborhood byways like those in his valley. He has to escape with Sofia and if he hops into a truck, and yes he'd have one even if I didnt mention it, it'd be, oh, all of fifteen minutes before he was picked up by road agents or TDF. I suppose I could have included a line of dialogue to that effect, but I really didnt think it necessary. The fact that the agents do have vehicles should tell us something about their connections.

Brian, gerty is Q, but I don't see her as a caricature any more than Milosz is a caricature. Or Q, for that matter.

As for Caitlin. Most. Divisive. Character. Since. Julia Duffy.

I'll allow Miss Jennicki to defend her. Or would, if she'd read the book. Caitlin is one of my faves, but I recognize that not everyone loves her. The thing to bear in mind about her is that she has chosen to kill in cold blood and has been doing so for years. She's not Kipper and she's never going to be haunted by the sort of fear and doubt that plagues him. She could not be what she is if she questioned herself. That's why the 'meeting' between them was such an enjoyable scene to write.

As for GM crops, the, uh, topic at hand, you'll notice in the text they're a mandated program. You use them or lose govt support. Is it plausible to suggest that governments wouldn't institute a few ill advised, poorly thought out programs after the Wave? The crops don't have to work or be ecologically feasible. They just have to be politically feasible. In a starving post wave world, surviving agribusiness would have a lot of clout.

Respond to this comment

Havock asserts...

Posted July 11, 2010
Lets not forget the YIELDS that GM ( in the book) produce, its mentioned they are hardier, faster etc and I'll wager the bags per hectare are better as well.

Like JB mentions, Agri, wouldn't give a shit, its the SALE they are after and I'll also wager, countries like Aus, will be the culprits as well.

As for Caitilin, SHE fkn rocks. Its given us a vision of the UK, shows that scores always want to be settled and intertwines her in the whole ensemble IMHO.

As for her morals..well that now been mention above, she chose her path, then chose out of sorts and had the past brought back in such a way as to warrant her returning. Its quite plausible, if there was no attempt on her family, then the catalyst for her return would be something else..i'll wager much LESS plausible.

Respond to this comment

Havock asserts...

Posted July 11, 2010
And to be brutally fkn honest, I found following her, more enjoyable than Miguel, maybe thats because Cat was a cary over, shes spanky and wenches and a fkn killer as well, who knows really, short version is I would JUMP her faster than Miguel..THATS FOR FKN CERTAIN!

Respond to this comment

mckinneytexas swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 12, 2010
Cannot wait to read and comment.

Respond to this comment

Murphy puts forth...

Posted July 12, 2010
Havock, I'll gladly take the blame for the B-52s. :) They are a perfectly serviceable bomber with a high capacity. To me it seemed that they were the best choice.

I'm assuming the planned carpet bombing of NYC transpired. I really didn't think B-2s or B-1s would be as suitable for the job. And I liked suggestion a Nam era type Arc Light mission to Birmo.

Besso, I found and read your comments up thread. On retrospect, I owe you an apology for not reading them. I had a long day yesterday and that is my excuse, for that it is worth.

In any case, my sincere apologies.

Per the trucks, I simply assumed that even if gas degraded that oil itself does not. There are still significant stocks of oil in Texas which can be exploited, especially given the reduced population. I suspect the gas came from a restarted refinery. It doesn't have to be a big facility but enough to provide for the vehicles in question.

That said, I suspect gas or any other fuel is difficult to get a hold of.

Finally, I don't see this as an anti-green book myself. It seems to me that the Wave will, just by sheer necessity, force a lot of sustainable technology forward. Furthermore, it will take decades to fully reoccupy the US (if it even remains the original 50 state region plus territories). Much of the infrastructure in terms of housing and what not is going to become unuseable. So I suspect new homes will be on the list of things which need to be built.

If I were in the Green Party, I'd be pushing for a sort of Greenville, Kansas on steroids approach to resettlement.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Murphy puts forth...

Posted July 12, 2010
Of the story lines, I think the Miguel POV was the most challenging. Caitlin seemed far more interesting to me this time around. I suspect the reason for that is because she is protecting her new family.

I also like the fact that it is the former Ranger that ends up looking like he was put through a meat grinder. That would not be the usual choice in books set in this genre. It is also something that the usual suspects in the PC Nazi movement will probably miss because they'll most likely not pick up the book.

Milosz is great fun to follow around. I really like his odd sense of humor which is warped by his struggles with American English.

That said, I think the book's best moments take place outside of the firefights. Miguel's issues with Sophia, Caitlin comforting Melton after the roadside encounter that nearly cost their newborn her life, and the agony Kipper obviously goes through when he learns of lives lost on his orders.

It would be easy to drift off into cliche with these moments but I think Birmo handles them pretty well.

My thoughts, based on what I currently know. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Fonzic ducks in to say...

Posted July 12, 2010
Windup Girl is Bacagalupi's first book - how can you find someone to be a tiresome writer when you admit you haven't read their first book?

Respond to this comment

Brian would have you know...

Posted July 12, 2010
The scribe knows his craft.

I quite like Kipper because I can identify with the background. Sad to say, engineers aren't politicians. They spend a lot of time trying to work out why people don't do the sensible thing. Having said that . . .a lot of fighting generals have started out as engineers in America.

The Q thing? No one else twitched on it . . .so I'll put it down as just me.

The B52's? Not sure but were'nt some placed down in Turkey for GW2? Think there were some in the Pacific at one time. Real uncertain about that. The other thing is that there are probably more aircrews kicking around with B52 experience. All in all . . .I can follow the logic . . .not a deal breaker.

Respond to this comment

Bangar mutters...

Posted July 12, 2010
Writers don't just wrie books.

* "Pocketful of Dharma" (1999)

* "The Fluted Girl" (2003)

* "The People of Sand and Slag" (2004)

* "The Pasho" (2004)

* "The Calorie Man" (2005)

* "The Tamarisk Hunter" (2006)

* "Pop Squad" (2006)

* "Yellow Card Man" (2006)

* "Softer" (2007)

* "Small Offerings" (2007)

* "Pump Six" (2008)

* "The Gambler" (2008)

Respond to this comment

Murphy would have you know...

Posted July 12, 2010
Short stories, sir. I've read his short stories. The People of Sand and Slag was probably his best but to be honest, he seems to write only on one theme. Sand and Slag isn't much different from the plot in the novel summary at wiki.

Brian, Diego Garcia and Guam are probable basing positions for the B-52. I suspect if I did some digging we'd find that B-2s were at both locations as well. That said, a significant number of bombers are probably still on the tarmacs stateside, slowly rotting away.

Besso, why not tell us what you'd do if you were suggesting crops for use in repopulating the U.S.?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Murphy would have you know...

Posted July 12, 2010
Speaking of Windup, I wonder if he is getting his royalty statements on time? Night Shade Books has been cheerfully screwing their writers for nearly three years now. They supposedly recanted this week and said they'd make things right but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Scalzi made the right call putting the publisher on probation.

Hell, I seem hellbent on a treadjack.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 12, 2010
Murphy re B52's

That's why I wasn't too concerned about them as operational aircraft. Apart from which a number would be mothballed for parts down in the Boneyard. Operational and maintenance crews would be current and given a number of aircraft based outside the States at the time of the Wave . . .its a no brainer.

There . . .put the thread back.

Respond to this comment

beeso is gonna tell you...

Posted July 12, 2010
Well, not GM crops for a start. GM crops are often engineered to have no or little viable seed, so you have to keep buying seed from the company. This is pitched as ensuring that the seed is always good seed true to the GM spec, but it also means you need two lots of plants, one for seed and one for growing the crop, and you have to be able to distribute that seed out.

Open pollinated seeds though, run truer to type, are more adaptable and you can save over some of your crop for next years crop. Every generation of seed will be more suited to the local conditions and as farming seems to be a lot more localised than before due to a shrinking transportation network, this would again become more useful.

Thats not even starting with how bees despise GM crops and side issues like that.

Respond to this comment

Moko asserts...

Posted July 12, 2010
I'm no expert by a long shot but I don't think 'terminator' gene is the rule in GM crops but I think hybrid seeds fail but there is a transgene which allows seed generation with GM crops.

Not saying it's the way to go, but it does make it a viable option within a theoretical scenario in a book.

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted July 12, 2010
I'll defer to beeso on the GM crop issue.

But ISTR there's a problem with most modern crops. . . never heard of it before but you have to go trough 2 growing stages to get a food crop. There's a reason you have to buy from seed merchants to get a crop. John Ringo alluded to it in his book 'Last Centurion" . . .it seemed to make sense. I have no idea how widespread that particular problem is. ANy gardening I've done, always used seeds from the last vegie patch.

Respond to this comment

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted July 12, 2010
I feel I should backpedal a bit.

I have, am and will continue to enjoy After America. Exactly the same as I do the WOC trilogy and Without Warning. I'm not one who can afford to buy a new book every week, so I have a stable of well thumbed favourites that I read and re-read. If that leads me to be a little trainspotter about them, well that's just the way it is.

JB threw open this wing of the Gothic for us to discuss After America. As he said everyione reads a different book.

So if Havock makes a tent in the doona whenever Caitlin is dispatching villains, Beeso got a hint of anti-green on the back of his palate and I wallowed in The Kippers angst I think that says a great deal about the quality of the writing. You just aint going to get that kind of nuance in a Tom Clancy.

So my concerns about the Technical divide between Miguel and the Road Agents did not stop me enjoying the book. Far from it. It was just a basis for rumination and the equivilant of kicking a can down the street in the echoing back corridors of this thing between my ears.

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted July 12, 2010
NWB

Yah. I think we all enjoyed the book. We also enjoy the post mortems on the book.

And I agree about the nuances. See, you might not like scene A or character D but the writing still carries you past that point.

Respond to this comment

Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted July 12, 2010
The benefits of having a cold, or "manflu" over the past few days is that I had every excuse to lie up and read and thus finished AA on Sunday. My initial reaction is surprise that Miguel gets cornholed twice, once by redneck nazis and the second by a flash flood. Poor bloke can't take a trick but I hope something good happens in the third book. I did like the unravelling of his motivations and the same goes for Kipper. That conflict of the builder ordering destruction is a nice juxtaposition of personal values against the exigencies of multiple threats to the common good and I thought the author did a fine job with that. Caitlin is one cool "crazy ninja bitch with a boilersuit fetish". With her motivations moved from that of the hired assassin to that of a mother protecting her family she brings the day-to-day aches of being a mother to the nasty dark side of her job. It was good to see her frustration in not being able to finish off her nemesis shining strong in the liftoff chopper. There's some more nastiness lying in wait between those two. Is Brett for the chop?

Milosz is definitely a star - the "2nd ammendment trumps 1st ammendment" taunt after capping a "pirate arseclown" was classic.

Fave characters - Miguel and Kipper for the explorations of motives, Caitlin for switch of motives and Freddy Milosz for his comedy relief. The scattering of burgers throughout the book gives it a village feel for us and that is a good thing.

The greenie debate? I see the greens will lose popularity and votes as the emotions of post-wave blame dissipate and the reality of reconstruction begins. The official use of GM crops was most likely a panic reaction to the real threat of starvation, governments desparately accepting a magic silver bullet sold by honey-tongued agribusiness moguls. The cars in Texas? Well, they're supplied by Blackstone, funded by his pillage of the southern states. Remember he had access to military engineers and would be able to fire up a refinery. And using the fuel so that his red neck minions could carry out some ethnic cleansing sounds about right.

Overall comment - the dialogue is great, character development is well handled, particularly with Miguel. I like the wit, e.g. where Caitlin recalls some Shakespeare in context but shrugs it off by saying she could simply shut the fuck up, and Freddy referencing Dante's Inferno and The Towering Inferno in the same line.

I also like the separate story arcs, a couple of which seem to be inevitably coming together. Will we see the main characters in the same room? I can imagine Miguel and Sophia reuniting with Jules and Rhino either in KC or Seattle and meeting up with Kipper and Caitlin to share intelligence on the two main bad guys.

Can't wait to find out.

Respond to this comment

Therbs asserts...

Posted July 12, 2010
NWBob, I've read it once and did a quick skim of the first book beforehand to get me in phase. Usually with airport thrillers I get through them quickly but with this one, it takes a bit more particularly where Miguel's and Kipper's story arcs meet some darkness. I liked the "road" story of Miguel going through both the physical landscape and his spiritual and emotional struggles when faced with the losses casued by both man-made and natural tragedies. A flood is always great symbolism and contextually ripe for Miguel's situation.

Respond to this comment

Chaz mutters...

Posted July 12, 2010
I seem to remember rumors of B2's & b1's being in DG prior to the kick off of Iraq part deux. Also B1's get alot of useage in the 'stan.

But for sheer grunt work B-52s can be beat. Hence the reason they'll be in use for many years to come after the b1's go to the bone yard.

H's you don't get a b1 as you'd probably break it!

Respond to this comment

Orin reckons...

Posted July 12, 2010
Can you imagine the nosecone art on Havock's B52? Angry baby in a helmet with the phrase FKN MUPPETS coming out of its mouth.

Respond to this comment

Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 12, 2010
Orin - gold. Then a certain pachyderm type would overpaint a picture of a rhino kissing its bicep with the famour quote as a caption.

Respond to this comment

Havock reckons...

Posted July 12, 2010
Therbs I shall ignore your momentary brain laspe OK!..just this once, Only time a rhino would be on the buff, assuming i can get it off the ground with the bastard on baord would be for me to drop the big git from 40K feet.

As for breaking shit..NO WAY, Lt Colonel, lotsa flight time, king of the wing and prolly qualified in just about everything, its a sign of this characters emergence that Kipper has him flying this mission, I can see later episodes where perhaps the big bird gets into trouble, maybe even crashed, Havock bails out, rescues his crew, caps a few muppets and continues on with the mission, later stages hijacking maybe an F15E and going after the made muppet in Texas, sinking and killing like never before, twisting turning and dog fighting the un tamed hordes trying to attack the US of A, first bloke in the POST wave era to become a Multiple ACE, downing Migs like no tomorrow, making Bader look like a pussie and Cunningham a big fkn girl.

Respond to this comment

NBlob asserts...

Posted July 12, 2010
Good Dog.

JB's created a monster.

Respond to this comment

donna puts forth...

Posted July 12, 2010
its so hard to resist this thread....bloody spoilers. I'm only just shy of half way through, real life has taken over my reading time. I'm loving the rhino!!

Respond to this comment

Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted July 13, 2010
The most likely story on Havock's character is that he was the senior available officer who was most likely grounded for pulling some really crazy stunt and thus survived getting killed in the Sandbox or zapped by the Wave.

Might have something to do with crossdressing though.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Brian puts forth...

Posted July 13, 2010
Strange when you think about it. Havocks only a minor character in the book while Rhino really does all the heavy lifting.

Not barracking . . .no . . .not me.

While reading the bombing passage, I had a flashback to Dr Strangelove . . .the scene where the pilot is trying to release the H-bomb. Y'know? The one where he ends up riding it all the way down yelling "YeeHah!"

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted July 13, 2010
Actually my reading of Havock's character was that he was some Walter Mitty style desk jockey who at the time of the wave suddenly found himself in a position where he can do some real damage due to disruptions in the chain of command...

Respond to this comment

joe mumbles...

Posted July 13, 2010
Well.... Mr Birmingham.....

Thank you for a very entertaining, if unproductive housework-wise, weekend lost between the pages of your latest offering.

I'm sure I will have plenty of comments for you as the thoughts occur, these are just for starters:

Amazing to consider (20/20 hindsight) how much of AA I feel I have already read in draft form, simply by the occasional browse of this Cheeseburger Gothic Blog..... Sausages, fitness struggles, restaurant critiques and of course the action-novel Gun-Porn.....

There were many fantastic scenes, and enjoyable characters, but my favourite characters would have to be Milosz, Miguel and Kipper, in that order.

Some of the others... maybe not enough time/pages to make them thicker than cardboard cutouts, but fun regardless.

Cowboys!

Burger Cameos!!

Viking-Helmeted Gun-toting Privateers!!!

I almost woke the neighbours when I read about the possibility of Neutron-Bomb Walking Dead!!!! Lost opportunity, that.... :-(

B52's would be the bomb-truck of choice IMHO - nothing with radar would survive all those Apaches and A-10s on overwatch, so the carrying capacity and range is all that would be essential.

About that Greens thingie.....

I wouldn't say it was "Anti"-Greens... but Post-Wave Green-politics in AA seemed a concept that got invited to the Ball but didnt have any friends to dance with..... aside from some amusing observations of the likely farming ability of softskinned ex-Seattle-hippies when they actually get onto a plot of land.... surely the Environmentally Inclined would have a HEAP of remedial work to be doing - you know, the odd corroded/exploded chemical plant/waste storage facility/nuclear power stations...... I know a lot of that stuff just "burnt out" during the postwave pollution storms.... but there doesn't seem to be much reference at all to the likely urgent work that would have had to have been going on, only on character's opinions of the uselessness of those holding Greenie tendencies. The opinions seemed in-character for those holding them, but there wasn't much narrative about the actual challenges involved or those trying to meet those challenges.

I guess there was only enough pages for the storytelling essentials. Oh, and Gun-Porn. Wait, that's essential...

Economy? I would imagine a country with similar land-area to Australia, similar population after the Wave, would be getting a lot of it's wealth from minerals - the mines would still be around, you would just need the labour and skillsets to reopen - there is a place the Antipodeans could genuinely help out. Problem of course would be who to sell it to: the Chinese (didn't hear much from them this book... or the Indonesians, apart from one bit-part Jihadist) would need to sell their manufacturing product to someone, and there's a glut of salvaged American stuff hitting the blackmarket at rockbottom prices...

Against that, the world's Financial Capital (essentially the money businesses run with while trying to make more) was still about 50% American money back in 2003.... even after the ownership/inheritance struggle lost half of that to pay the lawyers in another 58 countries, not much explanation is given to exactly how America is so wretchedly poor, considering so much of the wealth was stored/generated by offshore operations... Must say though, I loved the "Newbies" slang name for the replacement currency.

Also missing from this episode in the series:

The Governor of Texas........

I am expecting to hear a fair bit more from him in the next installment.

His Goons certainly make for good Badguys, maybe we could get an inside-head view from some of them like we did with the Islamist African Child-Soldier?

A little surprised thermobarics weren't Kipper's first choice... and even more surprised he didn't delay things a little to give "crazy ninja bitch" a longer chance to whack the leadership - but I guess they gotta have a chance to make it alive to the next book eh?

so many questions..... now just dont get ur larynx busted down at the dojo along with your typing hand, this demanding reader finds it hard to wait!

but seriously, thanks again for a fun read.

Respond to this comment

Rhino reckons...

Posted July 13, 2010
Joe Said, "Viking-Helmeted Gun-toting Privateers!!!"

Yeah, he's my fave too. As soon as I get my copy which is on its way.

PNB, Murph, Jen and I are going to have our own US book club. Yeah, I said it.

R.

Respond to this comment

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted July 13, 2010
Joe, that's a good idea about the Badguy POV down in Texas. I reckon the Green question will feature a bit more in the third book. I love the concept of Seattle hippies trying to decontaminate a nuke power station.

Rhino, good luck with the book club. No doubt we'll be making suggestions along the way. First up, may I suggest After America? Its a great read.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted July 13, 2010
Oh, you suggest After America? You say it's a great read? Fuck you, Therbs, for adding insult to injury. I am in Bozeman, Montana, with nothing to read.

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted July 13, 2010
Oh hell, Paul . . .none of us knew, none of us . .

Respond to this comment

Therbs reckons...

Posted July 13, 2010
No Paul, just taunting. You haven't missed a thing by not reading it. May I suggest something a bit lighter, say hooking up the Xbox and playing Dante's Inferno, with particular reference to limbo? I'm sure Alighieri would approve.

Respond to this comment

Havock puts forth...

Posted July 13, 2010
PNB....Or you could simply venture on down to the supermarket and BUY a BOX of Tissues, hell, if that don't work, I would suggest looking for CSR readymix or their equiv over their and purchasing a cup of concrete, merely to harden the fkn up ouf course.

On the other hand.....Ahhh..no, I wouldnt do that too ya....lo..LMFAO!..I LOVE THIS SHIT!

Respond to this comment

beeso mumbles...

Posted July 13, 2010
Not all greenie hippies are useless.

Respond to this comment

Havock asserts...

Posted July 13, 2010
Beeso is RIGHT I will have you all know.

They are combustible ..

Respond to this comment

Murphy reckons...

Posted July 14, 2010
I'm sure some greenie hippies taste pretty good once they are seasoned with barbecue sauce. :)

Yes, Rhino. Our own book club. Definitely.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Dante Alighieri asserts...

Posted July 14, 2010
I do not approve of that fucking game. The graphics are disappointing.

Respond to this comment

Brian ducks in to say...

Posted July 14, 2010
Havock

And compostable.

Respond to this comment

Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted July 14, 2010
Dante, so sue someone. Mr Boylan could help out there. Oh yeah, belated thanks for inventing words like pizza and spaghetti. Now take a dive buddy, like the rest of your soccer team, or go write a poem or something.

Respond to this comment

Nocturnalist has opinions thus...

Posted July 14, 2010
+++I think what is next on my list is Matthew Farrer’s 40K Omnibus.+++

Standing by to be chastened on how I mishandled the firefights :)

In the meantime, Canberra burgers, I'm signing at Mind Games in Civic on Friday night from six to eight, and at Games Workshop Woden on Saturday morning from ten to noon. Stop by and say hi if you're passing.

I'll try and think of something on-topic to say post-coffee.

Respond to this comment

Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted July 14, 2010
Matthew, I think it has been awhile since I hammered anyone over firefights. Besides, things are a little different now. There are more people with much more experience at firefights than yours truly. Wasn't quite the case five years ago.

Anyway, yours is slated for August reading before the Fall Semester. I'll need some good old fiction to wash a bit of history out of my brain before I dive back into it again.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Therbs puts forth...

Posted July 14, 2010
Matthew, the Galaxy signings look like a go.

Respond to this comment

Moko reckons...

Posted July 15, 2010
I love that we got the book before the Seppo contingent.

Respond to this comment

Brian has opinions thus...

Posted July 15, 2010
Moko

Yes indeedy.

Time for another spoil . . .err . . I mean, discussion thread I think.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 16, 2010
Moko - I am pleased you spelled Seppo with a capital "S." It shows respect.

Respond to this comment

sparty mutters...

Posted July 16, 2010
Wave just hit UK....

Loved the young rag head story arc.

Caitlin has grown on me.

Laughed alot at Prime Minister Howard- he of something of the night.

And love the Lonesome dove feel to the western bits.

BUT,still think there is room for a feisty east european gang leader who takes his name from a bunch of revolutionaries who themselves take their name from someone who kicked some serious Roman arse....just sayin....

Respond to this comment

Sadim is gonna tell you...

Posted July 16, 2010
Re: a percieved 'anti-green' feel to the book ... my take is that there are two word-views expressed by characters in the book.

Kipper, and his supporters (and I include Miguel in this group) say "Shit has happened - how do we make it better from here..."

On the other hand, the Islamists, the Greens, the loony-left of the Democrats, the'god-botherer' Republican rump, and of course Blackstone, are looking back saying "We want to return to the 'better time / better world' - even if that time or world never really existed.

Then of course, there are characters like Caitlin - who live only in the here-and-now.

Respond to this comment

NataliatheRussianSpy has opinions thus...

Posted July 18, 2010
I don't understand why you think Caitlin is so 'Wilbur Smith' in conception Bob. I gather you mean she is plain old stock character? Tell the Spy more. Cos I'm in the love her to bits camp. Her turn of phrase, her unquestionable competence, the fierce lioness in her - take your pick. I nearly woke the neighbours with all the whooping early this morning when I got to the part where she gives Kipper a bit of lip...operating with leaky tits and a recently dug out brain tumour? The woman is a machine :-D You reckon that's too much to swallow? Too good to be true Bob?

John - the bit where Caitlin is riding in the car with Dalby and describes Albinoni's Adagio as 'music to eat your pistol by' made me laugh! I'm fond of saying certain radio stations in Brisbane play 'music to slash your wrists to' so I got a giggle out of your variation :-D

Respond to this comment

NataliatheRussianSpy reckons...

Posted July 18, 2010
I kept thinking how a Dr Strangelove underground project for future repopulation might pop up! Wouldn't that be a hoot? The new enemy...the master race emerging from the depths...oh don't mind me.

Respond to this comment

Murphy mutters...

Posted July 18, 2010
SpyNat, there has been more than one discussion about how deep the Wave actually went. Perhaps there is some super secret facility somewhere deep in the rock where a bunch of nutters worship a man in a wheelchair who can't quite control one of his arms.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted July 18, 2010
Nat, we will do a Women of Wave thread in a week or so, when the US burgers have their copies.

Respond to this comment

NataliatheRussianSpy has opinions thus...

Posted July 18, 2010
MURPH: Ha! The speculation runs wild!

Respond to this comment

Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted July 18, 2010
Nat, I'm sure they have properly looked after their bodily essences and protected them from the dangers of flouridation.

I've always been a bit surprised (insert SNARK tone here) that the PC Nazis of the American Science Fiction Community haven't picked up on the very strong characterizations of non-stereotypical women in the Without Warning Trilogy.

Shakes head.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted July 18, 2010
A week? Another week? I will be in Ireland/UK again in a week and will be able to purchase my own copy before then.

Not that I am complaining....

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted July 18, 2010
Professor Boylan, your copy is probably waiting at home for you right now. But yes, you should be able to score at least an electronic version in the UK by the end of the month.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted July 19, 2010
Seriously, John, I'm not complaining. I am happy to get one when I get one. Any disgruntlement on my part engenders from my unhappiness every time Moko or Yobbo know something I don't. It prompts them to entertain an illusory sense of superiority.

Respond to this comment

BoomerMMW has opinions thus...

Posted July 19, 2010
A gripping read, just finished the book this morning in the little library, (the only reading sanctuary from inane nagging in the house). Yeah, poor Miguel got the shitty end of the stick, rather sad, go back 200 years, read Appaches for road agents and you get the gist of the wild west. Birmo I dont know how far you have written into the next but as one of the correspondents on this blog mentioned about how the greens policies changed with more influence in European government perhaps you could touch on a similar effect of how Islam could be affected by coming into control of large educated western economies and how they would have to change to effictively manage them, a touch of irony perhaps?. Damm fine read, loved every word keep up the excellent work. Ps: like to know if Admiral Kolhammer is going to reappear in the near future?

Respond to this comment

BoomerMMW has opinions thus...

Posted July 19, 2010
Hi Havock

Good point, however the B1's power supply stopped rendering their onboard tech useless after two years even with battery backup, the Buffs however even with old tinn Lizzie tech of the 20th century were still available to be fired up after being properly serviced. Hated to see the Big Apple wasted by them though, love the place, second home for myself and significant other esspecially Mid Town, still! dramatic licence,

Respond to this comment

sparty would have you know...

Posted July 19, 2010
sadly once again Kohlhammer was probobly out of the country, while his misses got waved....

Respond to this comment

Havock would have you know...

Posted July 19, 2010
Boomer..good call. I think then I might have to be loaded out with TASM's and Harpoons, some hunting over water and then cluster munitions across TEXAS

Respond to this comment

peessyauthede swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23, 2010
this viagra yjid id goof choise

Respond to this comment

Delivorync has opinions thus...

Posted July 27, 2010
Hi everybody!

Thanks for your site,

good luck with it!

More or less nothing seems worth thinking about. Not much on my mind today.

Good article. Keep it up

My own online pharmacy =) Check this out:

buy tadacip online

buy on line

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'First Discussion thread for After America.'