Cheeseburger Gothic

Quick tour wrap.

Posted July 8, 2010 by John Birmingham
I gotta a coupla minutes before I have to head out to the airport for Melbourne so thought I might drop a note here to say thanks to everyone who's turned out this week. There's been some memorable moments, some of which I wont detail to spare t dignity of the slurring drunks involved.

The weeks efforts are going well with Pan Macmillan very pleased by sales that exploded from the get go, and media coverage which has seen AA as the most talked about book the last week.

That's all good, but for me the best part is atching up with everyone. It's been a bit weird at times seeing the various streams cross over, with burgers and tweetenvolk meeting for the first time, but it's also been massive fun. Last night in Canberra was the awesome, thank to the local crew who kicked on afterwards at dinner and drinks. Tuesday in Sydney was pobably even more ruinous. (How's the heads, therbs and bondi?).

Just about to pack and run to the airport for Melb. Will see some of the crew tonite at Dymocks and beyond, and the rest on Friday.

24 Responses to ‘Quick tour wrap.’

Abigail mutters...

Posted July 8, 2010
Ok,I'll be the "lonelyguy" and be first to comment.

JB it was a real pleasure to meet you last night; you're so charming and lovely.

I hope that doesn't sound too 'cake decorating' for you.

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lostatlunch would have you know...

Posted July 8, 2010
Thanks for your time JB. had a great one.

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted July 8, 2010
I should add...it's difficult to go along to have dinner with a room full of strangers because one never knows who will show up and how uncomfortable it can get. Part of me wanted to cancel dinner because I thought, will I be out of place? What if these are trigger happy randoms ( teen talkin') with Travis Bickle haircuts? I wasn't familiar with any Canberra names from this list except for Mr Frellman.

Nothing of the sort. Good, nice friendly people talking about lots of different things; excellent night considering I'd never met most of you ever :) Thanks again for organising it , Abe and to JB.

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Matt L mutters...

Posted July 8, 2010
John, thanks for the amusing stories last night in Canberra. The lines were long so I thought I'd blog this story for you of meeting some people in your books...

Having bought the book "Off One's Tits" the day before going to Don Quixote when I book I advised Manolo the Manager (apparently he wasn't called 'The Don' by patrons) he was in a book in about their suckling pig. He asked for me to bring the book in and I did. He then proceeded to read the chapter to the whole kitchen and cooking stopped for at least 15 minutes. He kept the book, we got a free suckling pig and we didn't need a Whopper chaser.

Keep it up, Matt L

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Surtac mumbles...

Posted July 8, 2010
JB, let me pass on my thanks also to yourself and to Abe for last night in Canberra. It was thoroughly enjoyable, the library session and the dinner both. It was nice to be re-acquainted with some of the Canberra 'burgers from the last tour, and to meet some more this time around.

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Bondiboy66 ducks in to say...

Posted July 8, 2010
'Slurring drunks'? Oi! I resemble that remark! I was a tad secondhand the next day I must say...more from the lack of sleep to be honest, but the booze didn't help. Twas a good night out though!

I'm only up to chapter 11 in the book thus far, but I'm getting a few giggles from some of the names popping up e.g. Frellman's Sausages in the markets, and the Bedak Whitetail cows! Bursting out laughing whilst reading on the bus does draw a few odd looks from the commuters...well, more than the usual odd looks anyway.

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jp mutters...

Posted July 8, 2010
Yeah, that's all well and good, but what about this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIehtCNgvrQ

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aaron puts forth...

Posted July 8, 2010
I am really looking forward to Dumpling Bar tonight but whats happening friday? if there is anything that would be much easier but I am still keen on tonight.

any chance I can bring a plus one (its a bar so i guess thats fine)?

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AgingGamer asserts...

Posted July 8, 2010
Tuesday night was mind boggling AWSM and I too enjoyed meeting some of the other burgers. Good to finally meet bondi & therbs. I did not however want to be divorced, you know being my wedding anniversary and all, and stumble home rollicking drunk so my apologies for the early exit. (It won't happen again promise)

And damn Sir Birmo you've done exceptional well in the weight loss and fitness stakes! I must say your current 'ripped' state has given me more motivation to kick the last 10kgs in the arse!

I will be devouring a sizeable chunk of After America on the weekend by sending my Xbox away to a health retreat so there are no distractions.

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 8, 2010
Aaron, bring whoever you want. I believe there is a friday night meet up planned. More on that later.

MattL, I believe that freebie belongs to ME!!!

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Nocturnalist ducks in to say...

Posted July 8, 2010
An excellent night was had by all, good food and quality company. Big salutes to the other Canberra burgers, and to JB for being the catalyst for it all.

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Loookeski reckons...

Posted July 8, 2010
Thanks for the good time JB. Was great again to meet more of your Canberra crew. A lovely bunch of people. I will be tuning in to this blogoverse more regularly in the future. After America has slipped the bouncer a twenty and cut straight to the top of my teetering, house-sized "must read" pile. :)

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Abe would have you know...

Posted July 8, 2010
A great night thanks to all and no dramas re organising.

And some Great NEWS!

Simon told me that he'll be hosting a big housewarming bash in the coming weeks to put the Tas Babes party to shame. Socks optional!

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted July 8, 2010
Oh that's great news about Mr Bedak's house warming; yes, twil be good of it's a Bedak production.

In fact, Mr Frellman, I was about to post you a message on fb to say I am sorry I never got a chance to sit and have a chat with you last night but it was pretty squishy and I was more or less entombed in my chair. Then I looked and you were gone. Next time.

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girlclumsy has opinions thus...

Posted July 9, 2010
Bedak's having a housewarming? Cool!

I'm going to be in Canberra on 21, 22 of July, returning 23rd. I'll be at an impro convention most of the time, but would love to catch up with some Canberra burgers if there's a chance. Looking at you, Sausage King of Queanbeyean, and Squire Bedak.

JB, congrats on the tour and book sales - I'm enjoying it as I make my way through AA in between 4am shifts and impro shows. :)

I am also enjoying the Burger cameos - but I'm keeping a running tally on my favourite descriptions of bodies being blown apart during battles. I think my favourite so far is "pink gruel". ;)

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted July 9, 2010
Still suffering but that's down to manflu. Yeah, it was great to see the tweet/burger coalition forming an unrelenting party mass, defeating the forces of vegetarianism in a right royal me blowout at The Weeds, The Balkan and The Beauchamp. Beers, mixed grills, wine and whisky. 'Nuff said.

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Abigail mutters...

Posted July 9, 2010
This has got to be a unique group set up.How many people form a motley but interesting circle around a blogwhich is run by a man called Havsy, oops I mean run by an author you grew up reading and who is completely normal,yet has gold hovercrafts in his gaden; everyone meets up,even fly interstate for meetings? It's like being part of a very wealthy Hollywood party jetset without the extreme wealth or the annoying plastic celebrities.Hollywood-light.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 9, 2010
Abigaial . . .duno about that. You don't get out to many football matches do you?

As to Havsy . . .Bad news . . .Broadband rollout. Inner North Brisbane and Bachus Marsh . . .plus some others. Looks like a wide throat connection from BrisVegas to Havock Haven.

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted July 9, 2010
Brian, " dunno about that...football matches"? sorry, I'm not following.. umm, therefore proving your assumption that I don't do football. :)

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted July 9, 2010
Abigail,

It’s not unique. I’m a part of another such community, based around our mutual admiration for another author. Our usual interaction is via a long-standing messageboard, which I help moderate, but there have been multiple occasions where associates have met up in real life to interact with or without the author being present, and more are being planned. In fact, just last month, the third of a sequence of informal mini-conventions was held in the authors home town in the US and about twenty associates from various parts gathered together for fellowship (drinking) and various shared activities. Several of those activities were hosted at the authors own home, by her direct invitation.

Some of my associates from that community are coming out to Oz later this year and I’m planning to meet up with them then, at Worldcon in Melbourne.

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 9, 2010
What?? so we've gone from being a unique enterprise to dime-a-dozen floozies in the course of three posts? Life is cheap in cyber space my friend.

No, actually Surtac you have convinced me, without intending it, to get myself a business card drawn up : "Associate of John Birmingham, Awesome Incorporated"

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Surtac ducks in to say...

Posted July 9, 2010
No - definitely not dime-a-dozen floozies. I have it on very good authority that this and my other Association are quite rare beasts indeed. :)

Btw, I do like the idea of such a business card.

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Damaso is gonna tell you...

Posted July 10, 2010
Looking forward to reading AA but I wish it wasn't priced at nearly $15 for the Kindle! Any chance of convincing your publisher to lower the price. Otherwise I will just have to wait or worse yet get it from the library, denying you much needed bear monies!

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted July 10, 2010
Get it from the library Damaso. I still get paid.

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Respond to 'Quick tour wrap.'

Monday in Sydney

Posted July 5, 2010 by John Birmingham
Did the first day of the tour today, a couple of hours worth of interviews, lunch with my publicists and publishers, and some bookstore visits in the afternoon. I'm using the evening to catch up on some column writing before popping out to visit a restaurant mid evening.

I note below that Ariel is listed as kicking off at six, but my latest itinerary and the bokstore's website have a kick off at 7.

Perhaps it's drinks at six. At any rate, it's certainly drinks for us at six, or earlier, if you head to the 3 Weeds.

I'm a bit concerned about the number of people coming along via the magic of twitter and facebook. I dont know how many of them could fit into the Balkan if they wanted to kick on in the same way as Brisbane. Might have to put the publicity mavens on that.

20 Responses to ‘Monday in Sydney’

NBlob puts forth...

Posted July 5, 2010
Sure does blow chunks when you are too popular.

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Trowzers would have you know...

Posted July 5, 2010
No plug for the 7.30 report gig on in a few mins? I bet I missed a plug on twitter ;) Darn, I'd better get with the times I guess.

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Nocturnalist mutters...

Posted July 5, 2010
Not a bad publicity angle if you get so many fans showing up that you pack out a bar/restaurant/wherever.

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Trowzers has opinions thus...

Posted July 5, 2010
Nice product placement :)

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joe swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 5, 2010
I agree Trowzers, well done to JB for not only getting tapped by Auntie for a story on the Twitterati and other devilishly addictive social media... but for putting on the "commercial free" public broadcaster a massive new book title right there in Not-So-Subliminal-Space.

Top job sir, Top Job.

Oh yeh an u sounded all intelligent like and knowing yer topic 'an stuff.... I like that!

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Bondiboy66 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 5, 2010
Yep first thing I said to Wifey - 'Hah! Look, he even got the new book in the background!

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girlclumsy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 5, 2010
Have to add my compliments on the product placement - that was splendidly done! First thing that caught my eye! ;)

I love stories like that where there's not much vision they can use so it's all shots of computer screens and sounds of clicking keyboards! Awesome.

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Matthew K mutters...

Posted July 5, 2010
Yeah, what Matt F said.

(No, really that was exactly what I was thinking of saying).

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted July 6, 2010
Spotter report. Just an FYI that Without Warning is out in paperback here in Overland Park, Kansas. I've got to admit that I really like the paperback cover.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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fknvirty would have you know...

Posted July 6, 2010
was that young birmin'am i saw last night on oxford st sporting a set of buttless chaps?

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lostatlunch reckons...

Posted July 6, 2010
Virty, problem bnot the first time,... what happens on Oxford St, stays on Oxford St.. unless Today Tonight see you.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted July 6, 2010
If he chooses to sport a set of chaps, well dressed, buttless or otherwise, Shirley that's his business?

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Therbs mutters...

Posted July 6, 2010
That's funny about the Balkan - I booked for 6 and there's gonna be a horde.

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lostatlunch mutters...

Posted July 6, 2010
yeah, these enthused about dinner with a horde...

but people talk shite on twitter.. maybe a few extra blow-ins?

I expect all the twitterati would expect JB's publicity mavens to foot the bill.

BTW, nice piece in Fairfax pimping for their star blogger.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted July 6, 2010
I'll leave booking changes to the publicity crew. Crapped out on the iView 7.30 Report interview down here at the bureau. Grrrr.

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted July 6, 2010
Gosh that is funny about a horde of "the great unbooked" turning up for dinner, courtesy of the publishers?, lol, at a table for 6.

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted July 7, 2010
Well, it was a fine collection of tweet peeps and burgers. JB was in top form, the Ariel gig was well attended and hats off to the Publishing, Publicity and Ariel staffers. A great effort.

We started off with drinks at The Weeds, more drinks at Ariel and then mixed grills at the Balkan. What else to do after that but saunter up to The Beauchamp for a few post prandial settlers. A fine evening indeed. Great to meet up with the tweesters and Savo, BondiBoy, AgeingGamer and Darkman.

To sum up, my head hearts but I'm not blaming the double Makers Mark nightcap. Must be a man flu or something.

Abe, JB survived the night so its up to you guys now.

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Abigail asserts...

Posted July 7, 2010
Therbs, by the sound of his progress through Drink Week I suspect we'll be pouring him back on the doorstep of the Hyatt.

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted July 7, 2010
Yeah I was suffering a bit this morning too Therbs...much better now though! Twas an excellent night out, and great to put faces to names.

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lostatlunch puts forth...

Posted July 7, 2010
sorry I piked, But I could not stay awake.

But there was some great company, i intend to catch up with.

I owe Therbs and Bondi a beer... it will be my pleasure to buy anytime.

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Respond to 'Monday in Sydney'

Oz review.

Posted June 14, 2010 by John Birmingham
Orin sent me this link last nite, which I tweeted up, causing a short but fascinating discussion about literary reviewing over at twunter in the burger stream. For the record, I enjoyed the review and even liked it as a piece of criticism. There's points I'd argue with, natch, but that's a good thing. Yoe rarely this level of engagement with genre fiction in the MSM lit pages.

If you read it critically the main issue the reviewer seems to take with After America isn't the quality of the writing or story, but the, uh, politics, and even that was kinda vexed, with acknowledgments of, say, Kipper's trad left mooshiness.

It's a pity the book is still a few weeks away so you could make your own minds up.

61 Responses to ‘Oz review.’

Nocturnalist has opinions thus...

Posted June 14, 2010
Loved the masthead - you should buy that piece and use it as a bookplate or something.

I'm struggling slightly to recall anything I'd have described as "trad left mooshiness" from the first book, but as you say I guess I'll have to hang out and wait 'til the second one comes out.

Speaking of which, is there still time to put a hand up for the after-launch dinner in Canberra?

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Brian mutters...

Posted June 14, 2010
That's a surprisingly interesting article from the Murdoch death-star.

He seems to have overlooked the fact that a few luminaries have done 'pulp fiction' . . . Mark Twain for one, Conan Doyle for another. Not bad company when you think on it.

Nor . . .that readership is confined to a limited demographic. Being lumped with teenagers, can at least mean that you have engagement across generational lines.

Jim Baen was always credited for one thing . . .dragging mil-SF back into the gutter where it belonged . . .and being resented for making a nice living out of it.

Not bad though . . .not bad at all.

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted June 14, 2010
Matt, yep, plenty o'time, plenty o' room at the table.

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Matthew K puts forth...

Posted June 14, 2010
I concur with my namesake re the masthead, very cool. Having only read WW I can't say for sure but i sort of agree with the bloke. I think I said at the time that I found the whole France-falling-to-bits-and-UK-going-semi-fascho a step too far credibility wise. I'm willing to suspend belief for the wave but not the rest.

That said I will buy it and tell people about it as I did for AoT and WW. Does that make me one of your "creepy teenage fanclub", that crack kind of irritates me tell the truth.

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 14, 2010
Jb, perhaps I will have to wait to read the book but I can't work out what the reviewer is trying to say--underneath it all, I mean. Just on intuition it comes across as though they are afraid of running into you. It keeps giving with one hand and taking with the other.On one hand you're a great prose writer, but actually...well actually what? I can't get it clear whether they are scornful or not , or how well thought through their criticism is, or is not. For a few reasons I find it an odd review.

For the record I think you're a very strong writer and I never take much notice of critics anyway--unlesss they make very cear what they are getting at, where they are constructive and and where no personal bias is evident.

This one seems personal to me, somehow. Perhaps I am mistaken.

Yes, Matt K, first time I recall a reviewer reviewing the readership--and so harshly; not that I care less but it sounds like his/her personal feeling, doesn't it?

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girlclumsy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 14, 2010
God forbid a writer should think about his/her audience! :)

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Matthew K asserts...

Posted June 14, 2010
I guess I am a fan, but I'm not a teenager.

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Roberto Teixeira swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 15, 2010
That I was actually flattered to be called a teenager is probably a good sign that I'm getting too old... *sigh*

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted June 15, 2010
Anybody bother to tell that guy that American soldiers . . . well, they do talk like that. In fact, the passage was pretty tame compared to what I have heard or has been related to me.

The illustration was first rate though and heaven forbid a writer actually be in the game for . . . something as banal as profit. Sheesh.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Rhino would have you know...

Posted June 15, 2010
Notice he didn't say anything about the sections featuring your beloved Rhino. Would've made the entire review superfluous as those sections are shining examples of literary perfection.

And the other stuff is pretty good too. Especially the part where ... oh, sorry, almost let that slip.

R.

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Sturt swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 15, 2010
Dunno, I just read it as a variant on the standard form of political-literary discipline: You have sinned against orthodoxy and therefore must be punished with the disdain of your betters. Fiction as entertainment? Not at any price, saith Mr Williamson.

Also - 532 pages! Better book another week at the beach.

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Trashman has opinions thus...

Posted June 15, 2010
It sounds like the usual snobbishness about SF to me. You know, how some authors (not JB)claim they don't write SF, they write 'speculative fiction'. Most critics don't seem to see it as a valid form of literature - I would beg to differ.

Along with Matt K, I think I said at the time that I thought the UK going fascist was a step too far, it just wasn't the country that I live in - especially as it had not been directly attacked in any way.

I also would be flattered to be called a teenager now. I can just about remember back that far!

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Brian mutters...

Posted June 15, 2010
Guys . .to be fair . . .some of us are comparative teenagers to a few other notables on this blog.

Always thought SJS was a crotchety old biddy for one.

Not sure about Rhino. He has these delusional episodes . . .makes me think the mind isn't what it was.

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lostatlunch is gonna tell you...

Posted June 15, 2010
and Peter Carey got slammed a few weeks ago.. the martyrdom of those Australian authors who sell books by those that wish they could.

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jennicki would have you know...

Posted June 15, 2010
I still wanna beat the reviewer up.

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Thomas mutters...

Posted June 15, 2010
How condescending of the reviewer to refer to your readers as a "teenage fan club" which would suggest immaturity. It would bother him, I think, that mature adults who consume and analyze news from varied sources enjoy your storytelling. (I admit to the creepy desires though.)

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted June 15, 2010
thomas, rofl.

and yeah, i think the biggest misfire in the review was the section about the readers. it was strange error from somebody who's the papers' chief literary reviewer. Cos I dont have that many teenaged readers at all.

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Matthew K would have you know...

Posted June 15, 2010
I will not discuss any creepiness without my lawyer present.

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Guru Bob has opinions thus...

Posted June 15, 2010
This unruly mob are the oldest bunch of teenage fanboys I have ever run into...

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Brian mumbles...

Posted June 15, 2010
The 'teenage' tag amuses me greatly. If it was about offending people it certainly missed its mark. If it was supposed to be a factual label . . .well that was a miss too.

Overall, upon mature reflection . .it just came across us hopelessly provincial. In other words . . . not part of his tribe. Tsk, tsk.

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Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted June 15, 2010
I must admit that when I read the review over breakfast on Saturday, my immediate reaction was “OK, so WTF has ol’ JB done to upset Geordie Williamson?” and eventually concluded that he was just jealous – how dare someone who writes so well on so broad a range of topics be so crass as to be commercially successful! That’s not the ivory tower postmodern literary way, don’t you know?

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted June 15, 2010
This is a prime example of the division in Australian writing, guarded by the pure literary mob who frown at popular work, often decrying it as the "McDonalds" of writing. Its not considered art as it doesn't ask us to produce a lot of skull sweat, just simply go along for the ride. Its interesting that book reviews do become entrenched along these lines but movie critics recognise the value of simply enjoying a piece which is designed solely to entertain, realising that posing the big questions and making the audience work to enjoy something isn't the be all and end all of that art form. Literary criticism should take note of how film critics acknowledge all genres, not just the "heavy" product. The division is why we never see reviews of Robert G Barrett yet he ships truckloads of books.

Where you've made the mistake JB is to seek to write to an audience and hopefully make a living out of it. You were meant to become the ex-cult writer who then dealt with the big issues of Australian life in angsty works about alienation and a protagonist's struggles to deal with historical cultural forces beyond their control. They hate the fact that you turned to the dark side of trying to make a living and this time they have chosen politics as their sword. Its also interesting that poor old David Malouf had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the critique. I'd expect the Matt Reilly and Tom Clancy references but Malouf, fine writer that he be, is always trotted out as the beacon of Oz lit. I wish they'd leave the poor bugger alone and stop using him as a shield in his advancing years. The fact is in After America you get a week's worth of entertainment for the price of two movie tickets. If I want to read something challenging I can pick up a Kafka or Dostoevsky at Chapters bookshop at five bucks a pop but in the meantime I'll be looking for people like Lee Child, Matt Reilly, James Phelan and John Birmingham when I want to get taken away somewhere for a good few hours. Sorry for the long rant but these literature tossers do get up my nose. They ain't as important as they think they are.

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Darth Greybeard mutters...

Posted June 15, 2010
The question is, did the reviewer _enjoy_ it? Because that's generally why I read a book, whatever the genre. Life is too short for Patrick White. And I'd better enjoy this one or I'll be looking for my money back.

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jennicki reckons...

Posted June 15, 2010
When you get tired of ass-fucking a stick, move on to literary reviews.

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Brian puts forth...

Posted June 15, 2010
Ooooh . . .Jenicki . . .that's gotta be a comment of the day.

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John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted June 15, 2010
Therbs, that's such an impassioned yet well argued comment I've sent it on to my publisher, who I suspect feels these slings and arrows more keenly than I.

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Scott ducks in to say...

Posted June 15, 2010
Those who can write, those who can’t write reviews.

I think both Surtac and Therbs hit the nail on the head.

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Puma has opinions thus...

Posted June 15, 2010
"towelheads" I thought our guys called them "Hodgie" these days. Seriously, I doubt most civilians could stomach 5 minutes of real GI dialogue. That scene the reviewer included seems absolutely sterile by comparison. Just look at the reaction to Generation Kill or that Apache gun camera video.

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted June 15, 2010
Same newspaper - excerpt from Junger's new book WAR with real dialogue by real GIs.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/arts/eventually-the-monsters-will-win/story-e6frg8nf-1225873423367

Maybe he should read his own paper before he gets started in on your dialogue?

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JP puts forth...

Posted June 15, 2010
JB - it's all column inches though, which is good. I learned that lesson with my first novel, which has so far had my only neg review, from the Aus's ugly sister pub the Herald Sun -- and, like you, I was working at Fairfax at the time...

It bummed me out a bit as it had been all fun and games until then. But, then a few mates emailed, then some more, saying they'd read the review and since decided to buy my book that they'd assumed would be too high-falutin for them to enjoy. It included the line: "Big on weapon details with a huge body count almost making up for the lame dialogue and daft plot." That was from the then lit editor of the paper, who's probably now selling $5 rim jobs somewhere while I'm seven books in and browsing for hovercraft.

:-)

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 15, 2010
jp - a review such as this is precisely why I rarely bother with reading them. I'd say this is the first book review I've read for a couple of years and that was only because JB included the link. They're too predictable about anything which has explosions and/or car chases; and for high-brow or wannabe lit they simply wank on for the sake of it and don't add much value to the decision making process.

Speaking of explosions, reminds me I gotta catch up on that last Fox book.

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sibeen has opinions thus...

Posted June 15, 2010
Cos I dont have that many teenaged readers at all.

Except for me!

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sibeen ducks in to say...

Posted June 15, 2010
ooops

best get rid of that bold.

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Scott is gonna tell you...

Posted June 15, 2010
Therbs, yeh, can’t remember the last time I bothered with a review. Most of my buying choices are influenced by sample chapters, referrals from people who like the same stuff as me or if I am not sure about the author I borrow the first book in a series from a library.

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 15, 2010
Yes, everyone here seems to have confirmed what I felt but thought it was just my imagination.

The guy is damning you with faint praise; at the least, using your strenghts against you while seeming to use them in your favour. I call that keeping double books.

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sparty ducks in to say...

Posted June 15, 2010
Interesting that he used a Martin Amis comparison. Having been to a couple of talks by Amis recently, its amazing how so many people seem to will-fully mis-understand what he says (and he's a basically left leaning author who has the audacity to sometimes question the precieved correctness of the left agenda, and gets a "how dare he" in response).

Pity you're not touring UK (particulary with Uk bits in the book), would be interetsing to see the response here...

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted June 15, 2010
Sparty, totally with you on Martin Amis--was just saying as much to somebody about half an hour ago!

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted June 15, 2010
Yeah, I should prolly name check him in the third book.

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BrianC would have you know...

Posted June 15, 2010
Fuck that who does this Muppet thinks he is. I notice that this review doesn't allow comments. Obviously I cant speak to the content of this book, because I haven't read it. But i can say that i have read everything you have ever written (i even bought a copy of the magazine called elevator at borders, you know the one that only had one issue)

These books aren't derivative and you should feel no need to hang your head. You know what they are. They are entertainment, with a semi-conservative message. This guys probably one of those wankers whos book shelf has a bunch'o'original editions of keats, joyce and yeats and the newest thing on there was written at the turn of the century. New fiction isnt bad fiction you effete bastard, our(my generations) stories are found in the here and now, there found in the girttyness of Guantanamo Bay, in stupidity of religious extremism, in the constant irony of our elected officials berating China for a lack of human rights, while taking ours away on the sly. We matured with Internet as our news source with our communities distributed and our friendships international. We laugh at the extreme and the crude because it true for us, more so when we see it every day.

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Orin puts forth...

Posted June 15, 2010
You were meant to become the ex-cult writer who then dealt with the big issues of Australian life in angsty works about alienation and a protagonist’s struggles to deal with historical cultural forces beyond their control.

It is coming. 's called "Cry Havock" - about a middle aged guy struggling with his working class upbringing and his need to make it as a ladyboy torchsong singer in the nightclubs of Bangkok.

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted June 15, 2010
It ends with him wearing a Richmond football jumper, a pair of pink stockings, holding a viking helmet while weeping into a cocktail with a frilly umbrella. Touching really.

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Abigail has opinions thus...

Posted June 15, 2010
Orin -haha that is quite Gold.

"Cry Havoc" Richard Attenborough would totally be impressed by that, I'd say.

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Brian asserts...

Posted June 15, 2010
Orin

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You're an evil bastard..

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But likeable.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted June 15, 2010
Meh.

Opinions are like bums, everyone has one.

If this clown is payed to reveal his lit tunnel vision then good luck to him.

Much more interested in why your interview about AA (that I only found via The MiniBurger) was only announced to the Twateratti, not the rest of us your loyal shocktroops.

I know it must feel a bit odd to pimp your own media, but I for one am interested in any discussion about an eagerly anticipated sequel.

Remember that some/many of us are not tweet enabled, sort of like assuming people have and answer a mobile phone.

Flabbergasterised indeed.

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted June 15, 2010
Well, here's the thing. I'm doing so much pimpage at the moment, I sorta forgot.

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Stevo 73 has opinions thus...

Posted June 15, 2010
@ Puma- Yes we still call them towelheads, ragheads and Hajis, also camel jockey is still getting rotation (care of Three Kings).

Talking to digs/GIs give you exposure to language that will turn your hair grey, and will teach youa little about nasty nick names that they have for each and every officer.

I thought the passage was a little tame but still pretty accurate.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted June 16, 2010
Puma, it was circa 2007 alternate, thus the older reference per Muslims. The Iraq/Afghanistan experience would not have been present to generate the slang from OIF/OEF. In fact, I think what is more probable would be a divergent slang based on the military's post Wave experiences.

In any case, it seemed safer to go with "towelhead."

I have to admit, speaking personally, I'm always a bit uneasy using such terms. They may be an accurate reflection of reality but here in the States we have a dedicated hard core brigade of busybodies that do nothing but lose their minds over these words when they apply to literature, or the classroom for that matter.

That said, I concur with Stevo73 that the passage was actually somewhat tame.

Figure this. The expletive "fuck" is often used as a verb, a comma, a hyphen, a semi-colon, and sometimes even a noun. This is before you get to variants and combinations of the word "fuck." Toss in the dehumanization which usually takes place during wartime, the attitudes towards neutralized opponents and what you'll find is a narrative that is not politically correct at all.

I might add, if you strive towards portraying any given modern military accurately and you fail to include The Repentant Soldier/Veteran (you know, the one who spends all of his time questioning what he/she is going, guilt ridden about their mission, etc) then you can rest assured that you are probably going to have trouble selling that story/novel to markets outside of Baen's Books, Del Rey, and the like.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted June 16, 2010
Murph, I believe there'll always be those who believe that dialogue which demeans, demonises or dehumanises any group should never see the light of day despite its contextual framework. Its seen as a reflection of the author's own views as opposed to a charcter's P.O.V. They don't get the fact that the audience knows the difference.

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted June 16, 2010
Yeah, poor Steve Stirling used to take a lot of hits on that one, Therbs.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted June 16, 2010
Hmm . . .so did Heinlein in his latter books. Some people put it down to his wife's influence. I tended to think it was more a reflection of changing social conditions and freeing up the censorship laws.

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Abigail asserts...

Posted June 16, 2010
Yes well can you imagine how neurotic things are going to get if Conroy's mind control, I mean net censorship legislation gets through?

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Puma asserts...

Posted June 16, 2010
I was joking mostly. Most liberals you reference would find raghead offensive and Haji obscure. Friend of a friend going back for 3rd tour said recently "I can't wait to get back and kill more of those filthy savages". And he surely meant it. Doubt that sell many either.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted June 17, 2010
Puma, you'd never sell a character based on your friend to most short markets. Stirling and Birmingham, among others, have found ways to outflank the usual guards of political correctness (profitability helps).

And yeah, mention Stirling's name in the wrong crowd and they'll react as if you mentioned the Anti-Christ as a Southern Baptist Bible Revival.

Finally, and I spend a lot of time hammering this into the heads of my students, understanding something on it's own terms does not mean you agree, condone, or accept it. It just means you understand it.

One of my favorite busy bodies, on a completely different topic, basically said the job of fiction writers ought to be to improve the world, write about how the world will be better, rather than write about all the grit. Writing about the grit perpetuates the problem.

Which isn't that much different from the "teach peace not war" crap I hear all the time. Perhaps if one is familiar with the nasty side of things then one is better armed to prevent relapses.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Scott is gonna tell you...

Posted June 17, 2010
One of my favourite quotations comes from either Larry Niven or Robert A Heinlein,

“There is a technical term for someone who confuses the opinions of a character in a book with those of the author. That term is idiot.” Gold.

As for authors culling the grit and just giving us light fluffy feel good pap, invite such people to make a living on it, see how long until they turn to the dark side.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted June 17, 2010
Scott, if it says anything, most of them publish in the short story markets and they STAY in the short story markets.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Orin would have you know...

Posted June 17, 2010
I'm not convinced on Stirling. When he's posted here to the Burger, his attitude and behavior have not exactly been exemplary. Everyone can get misquoted on the Internet, but his approach on the previous version of this site several years ago left one's willingness to be charitable in interpretation somewhat lacking.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted June 18, 2010
Stirling doesn't seem to suffer fools well, Orin. As for his conduct, well, given some of the crap I have seen out of others in the science fiction community, his behavior is pretty tame by comparison.

I still get cracked on the head for my previous behavior but when I point out that the Liberals in Science Fiction get a free pass on that score (up to and including accusing people of being something that ends with an ist, an ism, or a phobia without any actual proof) I'm basically told to shut up.

There is most certainly a double standard, Orin.

The general impression I get from the American Left especially, but the American Science Fiction in particular, is that Conservatives or anyone who is not a Liberal are supposed to behave as if they are polite, contrite and "willing to listen." Those three traits are, of course, defined by the eye of the beholder, not the conservative/non-liberal in question.

Having said that, I know Stirling mainly by way of his non-fiction postings on the net, not by way of his fiction.

As for exemplary behavior, frankly, I've seen a distinct lack of such behavior in the community over the last decade. It isn't generally known, but I didn't start out as a keyboard hammering, frothing manic. I did start out with a reasonable tone of sorts.

Over time, it seemed to me, that it was better to adopt the tactics of my opponents. It didn't seem to hurt their chances of getting published.

Turns out that I could adopt those tactics but ONLY if I wanted to expose Liberal views.

Well, turns out that I'm not a Liberal, at least by their definition. So I pay the penalty. Stirling's a little higher up in the food chain but rest assured, if they could find a way to hurt his income stream (as they often try to do with Orson Scott Card) they would most certainly do so.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Orin would have you know...

Posted June 18, 2010
There is being provoked into being rude and starting out that way. When you announce yourself by tipping over all the bins to people who weren't even aware of your existence - you are perhaps taking the " big shot author who says what he wants" thing a little far. After he introduced himself by insulting anyone who held a view contrary to his, I did a little googling on his online presence and came to the conclusion that there wasn't any point responding to him because a lot of people really really really really hated this guys guts and nothing that I could say could possibly compete with the scorn and contempt that so many seemed to already hold him in. I've seen contempt for people on the Internet before, but this was a whole new level of hate. I find it rather difficult to reconcile Birmo's opinion of him, especially after he announced himself here by throwing punches seemingly at random.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted June 19, 2010
First, I do not remember the fracas you are referring to here at Cheeseburger Gothic. If we're going to hold such things against people then I'm probably in the same doghouse for some the rants, firefights and the like I have gotten into here (and elsewhere for that matter).

And I would not be surprised if people found it difficult to understand why Birmingham has anything to do with me.

Granted, when I state that I don't remember the arguments here, I am not disputing that they didn't happen. I'm sure they did (Stirling was involved in a firefight over at a blog where I had some trouble a couple of years back). Thing is, Stirling conducted himself with a great deal more restraint and bearing than I did.

As for why people hate the man, I think it is mainly due to the fact that he isn't a well behaved conservative science fiction writer. He is the type of writer who writes about how things really are as opposed to the politically correct way people think it should be portrayed and as such there is a dedicated, hardcore brigade of people in the community who make it a point to make life miserable for him.

Neal Asher often runs into the same trouble, if not worse. So does Card, Tom Kratman, and sometimes John Ringo does as well.

I respect the man, even though I don't agree with every view he has (I don't agree with everything Birmo says or does either, which doesn't impede my ability to work with him or be his friend). I can't really judge his writing because for some reason, with one or two exceptions, I just can't seem to get into his work. Something is missing for me and I'll be damned if I know what it is.

But if you want me to make a guess as to why Birmingham has a favorable opinion of Stirling, it would be this.

I suspect Birmo respects Stirling because they are both pros who know what the game is about.

1. Tell a story.

2. Sell a story.

3. Tell another story.

4. Sell a story

5. Repeat.

They don't let the horseshit get in the way of dealing with the reality of the field they are in. And I suspect they have much in common due to their interest in history and alternate history.

Anyway, if I had to chose between sitting at a bar with Stirling or some of the other writers in the field, I'd rather sit with Stirling.

At least I'd know where I stood with him.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Orin mumbles...

Posted June 19, 2010
Generally you haven't waded in elbows up. You've said some stuff that has driven me batty at times, but you've not particularly been personal about it. Stirling started with personal attacks which is one reason why I own and encourage friends to read all Asher's and most of Card's books even though the authors themselves politically polar opposite to where I probably sit. I own only one of Stirling's which I purchased prior to his bin tipping episode here - politics doesn't really matter much, but Stirling irrevocably tarnished his brand by starting personal rather than engaging with the debate at hand. The Burger is mostly about having those debated without it getting (or at least starting) personal.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted June 20, 2010
Fair enough, Orin. I must have missed the firefight in question though.

As for saying things which drive people batty, well, that's my job. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Respond to 'Oz review.'

Realistic female superheroes.

Posted June 13, 2010 by John Birmingham
You'll have missed this at the Geek, as we slipped of the front of the web site. But it's totally worth a read.

Mint Slice proposed some new, PC female action types in the comments:

1. The Strap On Avenger - "Bev" a workplace access and equity consultant to the Road and Traffic Authority by day, seeks out middle managers accused of innappropriate sexual conduct in the work place. By night.she terrorises them with her bionic "appliance".

2. LUG Patrol - a team of crack female upper middle class arts/ law students on a mission to humiliate sexist academics with their superior knowledge of Catherine Mackinnon and Andrea Dworkin. Its a race against time, as each of their unique "superfeminist" powers may evaporate instantly upon graduation, when they cease being lesbians and marry men with an uncanny resemblence to their fathers.

3. The Department of Youth - a crack team of ethnically diverse young women - juvenile justice workers by day, assume their alter egos by night - seeking out to neutralise street crime wherever they may find it with their formidable arsenal of modern counselling techniques.

25 Responses to ‘Realistic female superheroes.’

Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted June 13, 2010
JB surely you're not serious? This is great. I love the second one.

Nah can't decide, they're all so good.

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Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted June 13, 2010
Bah, my comment evaporated. Anyway, I was said something about moving away from film and TV and suggesting literature, specifically Marion Alston and Swindapa in Stirling's 'Nantucket' trilogy, which I just so happen to be re-reading at present. Hot kickarse babes...they are a lesbian couple though, which doesn't leave much for heterosexual males such as yours truly though.

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koops ducks in to say...

Posted June 13, 2010
Wow! How topical! Somebody call Super Greer on her phallus hotline! She's gonna have a field day kicking your ironic ass!

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Abigail puts forth...

Posted June 13, 2010
I'm returning to second my own comment. This is therapy. Therapy , I tells you, for a Canberran. We're up to the rafters with PC. I so love this, but it was yours, not Mints? I saw Mint Slice's very funny comment at BI and I take it you've expanded on the theme.

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted June 13, 2010
Nah, it's all Mint Slice.

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ConspiracyCat mumbles...

Posted June 13, 2010
If superheroes are so super, how come they wear their undies on the outside?

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Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted June 13, 2010
Know a better way to get attention? And superheroes are all about attention getting.

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Trowzers mutters...

Posted June 13, 2010
But why are all our superheros/villians so young? Have we forgotten the menace of the deliquent grannies that Monty Python warned us about all those years ago? Well those are just the villians! On the other side are the superpowered pink-cheeked cardy wearing elderly ladies who can silence a noisy teenager with a well placed glare, and can reform a train platform litterer with merely a disapproving sniff. Sure, not as sexy (unless you're into that) and maybe not as spritely as the younger gals, but who needs to leap around when you've got powers like that?

I'm sure everybody knows at least one elderly lady who scares the pants off us for no real apparent reason apart from attitude... imagine what they're like once they put their superhero costume on?

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Lobes asserts...

Posted June 13, 2010
Unfortunately superpowered old ladies have a bit of an image problem that tends to see them getting burnt at the stake.

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Timmo asserts...

Posted June 14, 2010
I'm sure SuperGran got a look-in there sometime in the 80's, so there's one aged super hero. Not exactly "smoking hot and kicking arse" more like "sipping tea and spanking bottoms"...

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted June 14, 2010
Hmm, most of these already exist in the American Science Fiction Community. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Abigail reckons...

Posted June 14, 2010
Yes, sorry JB, I must have mis-read what you wrote in the above blurb.

I must say, Mint Slice is very very clever: his name, his barbed wit. You make a good double act--you'd co-write a killer good satire.

He just forgot about Fem Literary Theorists. By day they've come to rescue academia from the evil patriarchy. By night they use their words as actual weapons : beating everyone senseless with the works of Marilyn Lake.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted June 14, 2010
How about a 16 year old blonde who by day is a petulant, truculent, indolent and spotty teen with her socks scrunched down and an Ipod plugged into her ears. By night she is so vague that she forgets what she's doing halfway through changing into her B'Grrl costume.

Or perhaps a mighty amazon executive; By day she is sheduled, multitasked and blackberried to an inhuman level seeking synergies and partnerships, restructuring the triple bottom line and right sizing. By night the evil doers can go fck themselves as nothing is getting between her, Greys Anatomy and the last Tim Tam.

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted June 14, 2010
Nbob, ftw.

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Havock puts forth...

Posted June 14, 2010
Bah..its the house wife by day, who tends to the domestic chores whilst keeping everything neat and tidy, latte adventures with girl freinds and steadfastly ensuring the household is functional.

By night, its a Chardy drinking, very vocal spewing in strangers cars nutbag!, prone to telling the deserved what they really should be told.

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Havock asserts...

Posted June 14, 2010
Bah..its the house wife by day, who tends to the domestic chores whilst keeping everything neat and tidy, latte adventures with girl freinds and steadfastly ensuring the household is functional.

By adding a small line this changes to a new demographic.

Plus, complaining about how much work needs to be done, the gaining of weight and battles with it, as the spare time available is vast, the food blogging and reviews, matched with spots of jet setting and pissing and moaning, time on the xbox in SOLO mode, never wanting to confront others as the arse kicking would be oh so horrible. ( keeping the girly bit at the start of course).

DAM..reckon its an author!. By night its a we cant hold our grog, IPAD slave, steve jobs Bitch that puts dubious fkn characters in its books.

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Darth Greybeard mutters...

Posted June 14, 2010
And the terrifying . . . PassAggro Woman! By day a manager who criticises underlings publicly and behind their backs, spreads discord, makes favourites and is never, never to blame for anything. She uses her superpowers to crush workplace morale and eliminate job satisfaction wherever she finds it. I don't even want to think about what she'd do at night.

As usual N-Bob has me beat. Can't compete with Super-Bobette's power to raise an evil-doer's blood pressure to the redline with a mere roll of the eyes.

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ConspiracyCat swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 14, 2010
Oh, Nowhere Bob, that is SO WRONG! A true superwoman ALWAYS has a spare packet of Tim Tams stashed away on Greys Anatomy night. Preferably Double Coat.

Sheesh! Men just don't understand Tim Tams.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted June 14, 2010
What this town really needs is a task force styled on the gold coast's Metre Maids but to bring them up to modern times they'd be trained as Ipod Police.

My vision involves conscripting the legion of European backpackers that are already so adept at cornering their quarry on street corners thanks to steady employment from local charities, and decking them out, boys and girls alike, in fringed red g-strings, whips, knuckle dusters, steel toed boots and crop tops with the DON'T YOU DARE FKN WALK symbol emblazened over the chest.

They could be stationed at 15m intervals along all the city streets that have now been reduced to a 40km limit in order to stop ordinary folk such as myself gunning down some skull vacant tech student that's singing along to Brittney Spears and Lada Gaga, and every time one steps into the path of an oncoming Pajero, the Ipod Police would yank them back, thump them up, kick their ipods into outer space with their steel toed boots and send them all packing on the bus back to Indooroopilly with a leaflet on Hector the Safety Cat, and a stern warning not to go out in public again until they've mastered his lessons.

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 14, 2010
John Ringo had a nice little heroine in his 'Princess of Wands' book. Straight God fearing woman who gets recruited for supernatural kickarse. Her prime talent being a gun tottin' Annie Oakley type who tended to freak out Wiccans. Long drawn out scene at a shooting range demonstrating the benefits of righteous firepower.

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Nocturnalist puts forth...

Posted June 15, 2010
The question came up on the other thread about whether it's possible to have an action heroine (or action protagonist in general) who doesn't do violence. I've been considering this and the closest I can get is Terry Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax, who can do violence when she needs to but generally doesn't, at least not in the biff-pow-blam sense that most of the conversation was about. Anyone else?

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Lobes reckons...

Posted June 15, 2010
Theres a character from the Marvel Comics universe called The Sentry. Amongst his powers he has the ability to radiate a calming aura that causes a feeling of peace and well being to whomever he focuses it upon.

As such he is one of the few characters who is able to prevail against the Incredible Hulk.

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NataliatheRussianSpy is gonna tell you...

Posted June 15, 2010
Firstly, I remember all that Babs-lovin' 'round at the Burger and it surprised me as much as you. I think the clincher was the scene in which she battered her eyelids and flat out lied to defend her 'man'. Maybe her unshakable loyalty and dependability is what men find appealing. (aren't all men secretly afraid their wives would auction them off in a heartbeat?)

Secondly, I think all you blokes secretly harbour adrogynous fantasies. Dontcha reckon Dolph would look great with a pair of jaunty double Ds?

As for me, Sarah Connor will always stand out because her sexuality wasn't contrived, nor did she use it as part of her manipulative weaponary. She was like an angry lioness. The mix of fierce mothering instincts and those gorgeous upper arms of hers won me over.

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Skunkworks has opinions thus...

Posted June 16, 2010
Reminds me of Millie Tant from Viz comics.

Millicent Buckridge Tant, known as Millie Tant, is a character in the British comic, Viz. A caricature of the militant feminist mentality, Millie, who thinks of herself as a champion of "Wimmin's" rights, is actually so self-centered, dismissive of the feelings of others, and (it has to be said) masculine that she usually ends up being part of the problem rather than the solution.

Despite the fact that she often exhibits signs of bisexuality, most of her time is spent expressing her infinite hatred of men, whom she often refers to as either "phallocrats", "potential rapists" or just "rapists".

Millie is a lesbian (except for when the punchline requires her to secretly be heterosexual), and insists on referring to other women as "fellow lesbians", regardless of their actual orientation. Most of the storylines seem to indicate that sexual frustration, amongst other things, is the root of her problems. It can even be assumed that she is a self hating heterosexual who expresses her self loathing by castigating men, suggesting this is internalized misogyny.

She often complains that various phenomena are actually metaphors for the suppression of women: for instance, she once declared that fireworks are actually 'big explosive penises' that 'skewer and rape the virgin female sky'. During such rants, she raises her fist in the air and literally foams at the mouth. The epitome of dogmatic, humourless political correctness, she once refused to make a snowman, instead offering to make a snow-black lesbian rape victim in a wheelchair. In another adventure she plays a card game with an old woman, but ends the game by calling her a homophobe — just because she said she had a "straight flush". Millie also had a baby using donated sperm to artificially inseminate herself with a veggie burger baster (as a vegan, she refused to use a turkey baster) but despite having planned an all-natural home birth she ended up in hospital, using pethidine, and begging the nurse to call the father to come and hold her hand.

At the end of each comic strip, Millie Tant invariably forgets her feminist stance and is shown to be a hypocrite, e.g. asking a man to get rid of a mouse while she is standing on a chair, or knitting baby clothes with a simpering look on her face.

She is also usually mistaken for an ugly man.

From wiki

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Abigail asserts...

Posted June 16, 2010
Skunkworks, gold.

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Respond to 'Realistic female superheroes.'

After America book trailer.

Posted June 4, 2010 by John Birmingham
What else is there to say.

After America trailer

32 Responses to ‘After America book trailer.’

drej08 mumbles...

Posted June 4, 2010
Mighty AWSM indeed. Does it remind anyone else of the BSG episode trailers ?

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Tarl puts forth...

Posted June 4, 2010
And here I was expecting to see a truck trailer loaded with books. With at least one ready to sell to me.

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Guy reckons...

Posted June 4, 2010
I can't wait for it to hit the bookstores so I can steal one...

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted June 4, 2010
S'okay. I still get paid for that.

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Moko ducks in to say...

Posted June 4, 2010
Grouse.

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Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted June 4, 2010
So when is this movie out at the cinemas?

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted June 4, 2010
AWSM!

Yes Drej, I agree - was waiting for Tricia Helfer's voice to purr... "Previously on Without Warning."

Actually if you decide to dub in her voice JB, I totally reserve my rights...I'm guessing $10?

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mrblenny has opinions thus...

Posted June 4, 2010
Nice one, will have to get a signed copy on release!

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mckinneytexas is gonna tell you...

Posted June 5, 2010
Fricking awesome! Excellent! Damn, can't wait.

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Rhino reckons...

Posted June 5, 2010
Did anyone else see the guy with the amazing biceps in that one scene? Awesome... very awesome.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 5, 2010
Yes, yes, yes, yes!!!!!!!

That is what we have needed for a long time. A FRAKIN' BOOK TRAILER!

Trinity loved the trailer too.

Rhino, I was distracted by that strange crossdresser with the machinegun. Wasn't his name Havock or something? :)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Koops reckons...

Posted June 5, 2010
Does this trailer mean that Roland Emmerich is directing the movie?

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted June 5, 2010
That's some pretty cool sh!t right there

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted June 5, 2010
did you see me commanding the LEGIONS of the righteous..I was on the building..All general like

FKN WICKED!

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donna swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 5, 2010
AWSM!!!!! Cant wait to get it in my hands woo hoooo!!!! Good one JB.

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MickH has opinions thus...

Posted June 5, 2010
WHOA!

Where's the movie?

totally awesome

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lostatlunch reckons...

Posted June 5, 2010
MWAAAAAA MWAAAAAA

people need shiny expolsive thingies

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BrianC reckons...

Posted June 5, 2010
I liked it, or as Hav's would say FKN AWSME.

Usually I think "Book Trailers" are an exercise in authors self procreation, but this hit just the right tone.

Well Done that man

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted June 5, 2010
Needed more Rhino, but other than that AWESOME

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted June 5, 2010
JB, that's terribly exciting!

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joe puts forth...

Posted June 6, 2010
I'm not "In" enough to get it I guess... I laughed at the President Kipper bit.

But it looks pretty slick.

Seeing as the TV miniseries might take some legal wrangling..... can I sign up now for Beta-Testing the PC version of the video Game? PLZ PLZPLZPLZPLZPLZ??

Anyhoos: Print it, I'll buy it.... have just run out of thinkybooks and am torn between going and ransacking Borders, and stealing off with some derivative teenyfluff from the relos.

Nice to see y'all still here doing ya thing... whatever that is.

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T2 puts forth...

Posted June 6, 2010
I've never seen a video book trailer before. What a great idea. I'm gonna post it on my FB page. Congrats, JB.

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 6, 2010
Nicely done.

I have to ask.

Was yesterday's UFO sighting over Redcliffe part of the promo or was that just another failed attempt by the US military to shoot SJS back into space?

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Brian puts forth...

Posted June 6, 2010
Shoulda had people on bikes (as you can't get past all the car wrecks) getting Napalmed. Abrams rumbling over trashed SUV's. Women with tattoo's . . .General Havock doing a Patton in front of the flag . . .

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El Coqui swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 6, 2010
Bravo!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 7, 2010
Damn! How fucking great is that?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted June 7, 2010
I gotta watch that again.

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TeamAmerica swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 8, 2010
Glad to see that your sequel will be out soon. It looks like your publisher didn't respond to it as negatively as the one in Michael J. Astrue's poem does:

" he aims at a kind of sardonic comedy, as in his “Rejection Note for Paradise Regained,” imagining what John Milton’s publishers might have said to his follow-up to Paradise Lost:

Loved that first book—it’s got no equal—

but, Johnny, we don’t love your sequel.

If you would only take a chance

on self-help or a gay romance,

we’d let you keep your last advance.

Phony conspiracies would do

if you could find a hook or two—

like someone famous who won’t sue.

Marketing knows you’ll see the light,

and thinks Da Vinci is just right."

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TJX ducks in to say...

Posted June 8, 2010
It's a shame that Hollyweird will probably find this saga too politically incorrect to be a movie or mini series.

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TJX mumbles...

Posted June 8, 2010
QUOTE -"By drej08, June 4, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

Mighty AWSM indeed. Does it remind anyone else of the BSG episode trailers?"

BSG sucks, it was a piss poor PC attempt at Military Sci-fi. There I said it. :D

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Oxygen Plant asserts...

Posted June 8, 2010
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful and beneficial to your readers.

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Gutz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 12, 2010
All i can say...is...the wait is almost over!

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Respond to 'After America book trailer.'

Post Wave Economy

Posted May 19, 2010 by John Birmingham

I vacate the lecturn to make make for my learned research Prof. Murphy, this evening. Murph, as most of you know, works for me as a researcher on the books, mostly on military matters, but not exclusively. He's also been of invaluable help blocking out combat scenes and even trying his hand at drafting the first pass of a couple of bits and pieces.

He sent me an email the other day which I reproduce with his permission, pondering the economic landscape of a Post Wave America:

I've been reading up on economic history over the last four months, partly because I need to for my classes but also for the third book in the series.  It seems to me that the book will be as much as economic power as it is about anything else.

Again and again I've tried to picture what a post Wave economy would look like and I keep coming back to the same conclusion.  Granted, this is not my area of strength but I think I'm on track here.

In Eric Flint's series, the folks in Grantville frequently discuss downgrading their technology level to something they can easily produce.  Rather than produce M-16s, they produce rifled flintlock muskets, transition to steam technology, etc.

It seems to me that the economy of the remaining United States of America will need to do the same thing.  The massive Federal Regulatory Structure that exists today would need to be stripped down, simplified.  In doing so, it would probably be best to turn to a national bank.

We have something like that with the Federal Reserve system now (not a system I fully understand).  That said, the Federal Reserve system is designed to service an economy powered by 300 million plus people as opposed to 15 million.

I think what is needed, therefore, is a National Bank.

I probably sent a write up on this a few months back but you could model a national bank on the Hamiltonian model.  This would mean changes in the third novel.  Right now the US is not paying any of its' debts as I understand it.  It would have to set up a means to do so in order to obtain credit.

Hamilton argued that all foreign debt should be repaid.  I suspect US foreign debt circa 2003 is going to be too large for the remnant to service efficiently.  Given that China is in the middle of a Civil War, I think the US can be chosey about who it pays back.

Thus I'd set up a bank that serviced the debts of the most powerful remaining national economies.

If I reckon correctly, these are the biggest remaining players.

United Kingdom

Germany

Japan

South Korea

Australia

Russia

Saudi Arabia

I'd make it pretty clear as a matter of US economic policy that debts held by these countries will be serviced.

Some of this debt can probably be serviced, at least initially, by salvage of some sort or another.  We've already indicated some of this in After America with stocks of US military surplus going to places like Great Britain.  My concern is that there might eventually be a glut of this stuff on the market and as such, the US will not be able to obtain the windfall which is hoped for.

There is also the fact that Russia probably isn't all that interested in most US equipment, carriers being the exception and it is unlikely the US would sell such to Russia.

The rest of this debt, however, is going to have to be serviced by investment of some sort.  Hamilton solved this problem by offering shares of the First National Bank up for purchase.  They did relatively well partly (as I understand it) because people believed the economy was going to grow.  It also served to tie the rich to the success or failure of the Federal Government.

Kipper needs something similar.  He needs a way to tie folks like Cesky (the nasty construction magnate Jules left behind in Acapulco) to him for more than just revenge and short term gain.  Otherwise I can see folks like Cesky running off to Texas.

As for staples of the new US economy (because salvage can't last forever), I've got some thoughts.

Tobacco.  We produce a lot of it obviously and Missouri plays a role in that industry.  I suspect tobacco will become a very valuable commodity in the post wave economy.  Given that we have established Kansas City as a center of restoration, tobacco could become KC's big crop.

Pharmaceuticals.  I think we've covered this previously as well.  Puerto Rico has a pharma industry and given the post-wave situation, viable medicines are going to be a hot commodity.  I could see a situation where someone tries to make some sort of grab for Puerto Rico.  You probably can't work it into the third novel but it is something to consider.

Alcohol.  Especially bourbon, but also medical grade alcohol.

Corn in general, people have to eat.

Wheat, same thing.

Ironically, as I ponder here, you could see a Hamiltonian based financial system supporting a return to Jefferson's vision of an agrarian republic.  Our first strength was agriculture and I suspect that is the nation would restore itself.

That said, I think ground work should be laid for a return to some industrial capacity.  As such, Seattle would probably be the center of such activity.  With corporations such as Microsoft and Boeing headquartered there, they could provide the seeds for a rebirth.

There could also be a salvage tariff. I think we've discussed this before.  Of course that could be fueling the fighting on the East Coast since the losers don't want to pay the tariff and there is a shortage of people to collect it anyway.  That said, on the West Coast, which is accessible to Australia, Korea and Japan, the salvage tariff might be extremely profitable for the US government.

I have one additional thought.

Many see the US economy as one solid, unified block.  It is worth pointing out that it is a collection of regional economies.  It was this way in Hamilton's day and it will most likely be this way in the post-Wave economy.  As such, there will be tension between the various sections of the United States.

I keep thinking about Blackstone's Texas. (Yes, that is a little peek at what's coming up. - JB) He is able to get credit in the second novel and I suspect part of that is due to resources he has at his disposal, mainly salvage of weapons, technology, etc, and a willingness to help maintain the militaries of places like Israel and Saudi Arabia.

That said, it could possibly be that Blackstone has set up a Republic of Texas bank which is servicing the outstanding debts of the State of Texas.  He could be servicing those debts quicker than the US government is able to and as such is able to get credit quicker.  He may have investors who are growing increasingly tied to the success of Blackstone's government.

He, of course, also has Texas' own oil resources to draw upon.  That could also help fuel his economy.

Some random thoughts as I close out finals.

101 Responses to ‘Post Wave Economy’

Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted May 19, 2010
Probably need to be a lot more socialist too. Natural resources - like what we were talking about the other day at Flinty's - would be government controlled. Privatisation would be nearly non-existent, excluding drugs and guns...

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Abe asserts...

Posted May 19, 2010
Hmmm. My only comment is that banks don't "service" sovereign debt, the sovereign does, secured by it's capacity to tax. An exception is where the sovereign is sitting on resources that can be readily exploited - eg: the Confederacy issued 'cotton backed' bonds during the civil war, so that they could give foreign investors confidence that even if the confederacy could no longer raise taxes or inflation rendered the confederate currency worthless, they'd get their pound of flesh in the form of cotton. Of course this made keeping the ports open absolutely crucial. I'm guessing Murph's big toe's knowledge of US history runs to about ten times mine, so I'll stop the history lesson there.

But my point is that banks intermediate between investors and borrowers with different horizons and have a role in expanding the money supply but they really dont service the public debt. If you have access to shit that people want then the banks will beat a path to your door to sell your bonds to investors.

So if the tax base is fucked, I'd suggest that the stuff in the ground will be plenty security for investors. But the stuff in the ground will also make you an attractive ahem takeover target for whoever uses a lot of that stuff in the ground.

But I agree that you wouldnt need a Fed Reserve 'system' - a more traditional central bank charged with maintaining the currency, perhaps by converting the proceeds of the resource wealth into hard foreign currency would make sense. See what Timor Leste is doing for instance. They got some experts in who used to work for the Norwegian Petroleum Fund to help get their reserves and an oil fund established.

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Guy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 19, 2010
In post-Wave America economics would be the other side of the coin of national security and reconstruciton. In the 19th century the single most important factor for the US was the frontier. During that century it slowly marched west with wild lands being transformed into territories, with basic law and order allowing settlement and then finally, once the population, economy and infrastructure had reached a cetain level, the territory would apply for admission to the Union as a fully fledged state.

This would be repeated post-Wave, with the frontier being pushed east and south from Seattle. Of course modern transport and existing infrastructure would ensure it went much faster this time, with new settlements in Kansas City and Miami etc being quickly established and recolonising the surrounding areas.

The Seattle government will be looking at bringing in new immigrants from overseas and clearly they will be looking to countries with similar cultures to provide them (ie UK/Australia/New Zealand). It seems to me that the US could kill two birds with one stone by offering land/infrastructure/settlement opportunities to these favoured countries as part of the US debt repayment. The new British/Australian colonies on US territory would provide a financial return to the mother countries in the short and medium term but would be established with a strict understanding that they would eventually be fully incorporated into the United States. This system would allow for new American settlemets to be established as fast as possible together with guaranteed trade links to friendly countries which would have economic incentives to support and protect the US. This protection would be ever more important to America as sooner or later China, Russia and other countries will get over their internal disputes and see a fat, rich and largely empty continent just waiting for any powerful player to grab a share.

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Orin puts forth...

Posted May 19, 2010
Frellman is like the Batman of economics. You should recruit him and bring him in to the "circle of trust". He's also always prepared for a BBQ.

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Scott swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 19, 2010
Guy, it will take China and other likeminded countries some time to get over internal problems.

Let's not forget that both Canada and America are major food producers. I don't remember how much of Canada was effected but with a large segment of the planet's food production removed places like China/India will have other problems than considering land grabs.

It wouldn't surprise me if a large part of the US economy returned to the barter system. A China civil war would be . . . ugly. Make the French breakup in the first book look pedestrian in comparison.

Looking forward to getting my copy. By the sounds of this you already have book three planned.

Btw ot but just finished The Warded Man, exerlent read well worth ordering the sequel, thanks for reckomending it JB.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted May 19, 2010
We definitely need an economics specialist as this sort of thing is way outside of my balliwick. And Abe, I was not aware of cotton certificates issued by the Confederacy but I will go look it up now. Thing is, I wonder how valuable those certificates really would have been given that there was a cotton glut in 1860, which is part of why their King Cotton Diplomacy strategy didn't work out.

In any case, on matters economic, I readily admit a weakness but one I am willing to rectify. Not only for the Birmowerks material but also for my own professional development.

As for tax revenue for the US Gov, I suggest a salvage tariff. If a salvage operator pays a tariff on what they find and ship it out of a legitimate port, then they can salvage whatever they want within reason. Some nations could be given Most Favored Trade Status or some such. The other side of the coin is that if you don't pay the tariff and are trying to salvage illegally, someone could come and drop some bombs on you, interdict you, sink your ship on the way back out across the Pacific/Atlantic, that sort of thing.

Granted, you'd never catch everyone doing the illegal work. We can't today (see Arizona). But you can create a situation where it would make better sense to pay the tariff.

Moko, I can't see how socialization would be enforced on the frontier regions. I can definitely see the need for a command economy in the intermediate period in order to stabilize the government, the economy and restart industry, but I can't see how someone is going to be able to enforce that a thousand miles away from Seattle.

There will, I suspect, be some torque toward a laissez-faire economic system. For the record, I am not in favor of such a thing (either in the real world or in this scenario) but the pull among many with private capital will be there. Perhaps Abe could comment on that.

I think the big thing is agriculture at first while maintaining remnant industrial capacity in Seattle.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Vallon Davis swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 19, 2010
There would be a major need to safe guard and secure valuable resources and technology, because with a much reduced population and security forces outside factions would see the United States after the wave as a treasure trove of goodies that would usher in the biggest rush for said treasures. The need to safe guard these would mean requiring more boots on the ground, on the ships at sea and in the air. The New U.S. Government could make an offer to the new wave of immigrants which would involve serving in the Armed Forces for somewhere between 4 to 8 years, at the end of which they would be granted resident status (like how it was done in the French Foreign Legion, at the end of their term of service they could accept French citizenship or return to their country of origin), and a choice of where they would like to settle. The same could also apply to potential immigrants with skills/knowledge attained from tertiary level education to be a part of the rebuilding efforts for a certain period of time, at the end of which they could be granted resident status.

Looking forward to reading book 2!

Respectfully

Vallon Davis

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted May 19, 2010
I suspect the military is going to shrink, at least the active duty components of it will.

I think a Homesteading Act might be a more viable option for bringing immigrants into the country. That said, Vallon is on target. There will be a need for immigrants to replenish the ranks. They will come here anyway (especially if the rest of the planet is torn up) and as such, it would be better to have them with US support.

That said, immigration provides its own headaches. It gets right down to a core question which is constantly being asked in this country.

What is America?

A book worth reading is Ronald Takaki's A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. In fact, I've got an older edition sitting next to my chair as I type. Takaki illustrates how various ethnic groups assimilated or not into the American fabric. It is worth reading for ideas if nothing else.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted May 19, 2010
As an aside, this is Birmo's blog but I have a suggestion.

In the past it has been the habit of these discussions to digress in the direction of matters military. Granted, those are important issues (it is why I am on the payroll) but I believe there is a quote worth remembering.

Money is the sinews of war, to paraphrase Cicero. Without the money or a stable economy, there will be no explodey goodness.

Just a thought. Now I'm off to the gym.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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sparty asserts...

Posted May 20, 2010
have we talked through the amount of uncertainty that will be present. ie "will the wave come back?". Though to invest in a country / world that could get "waved" any moment?

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Guy is gonna tell you...

Posted May 20, 2010
You have a point Sparty, but human nature being what it is, I doubt that fear of another wave would stop people getting involved. After all, millions of peple have moved to California when everyone knows we are overdue for a massive earthquake.

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mckinneytexas mumbles...

Posted May 20, 2010
Good topic. I agree with Murph that focusing solely on the military doesn't answer the larger question of how the economy will shape up. Here are some thoughts:

1. the pre-wave national debt--wipe it off the books on the grounds of force majeure and move on. The pre-existing debt cannot possibly be paid. Further, there will be so much ongoing national restructuring, it is a fair bet that identifying the true creditors will be highly problematic. In specific instances, and for compelling reasons, a renegotiation of some obligations might be in order.

2. The first order of business in any economy is to eat, so you'll need an agricultural base.

3. The second order of business is keeping what you have. The new US would be best served by blending the colonial militia system with the Swiss model. The US should become more and not less of a maritime basis. The most efficient means of excluding unwanted visitors is to prevent them from landing in the first place.

4. Mining existing urban and industrial sites is the transitional phase to laying the basis for an industrial/technological grounded economy.

5. With its much reduced population, the US can be a huge net exporter of raw materials. The limited ability to harvest renewables, e.g. lumber, will let reforestation get a good head start. This is for the out years.

6. One key factor will be how to intelligently repopulate and to determine in advance what the ultimate population goal is via immigration.

7. If someone besides the good guys have taken over Texas, it needs to be taken back. Too much oil and refining capacity to let go lightly.

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mckinneytexas ducks in to say...

Posted May 20, 2010
My son, an economist/MBA type, being somewhat familiar with WW, has these observations:

As to what the economy would like. Starting with the basics of supply and demand - what can the USA provide at a lower margin versus other countries.

Food would be number one. We would need oil for energy, and would have the expertise "offshore" to get oil producing again, although we could probably get the oil from Canada who in turn would need our food crops. The price for oil would prob plummet though since the USA was formerly the largest demand at 25% but not a big producer itself.

Shipping the food (transportation) would be a big industry along with railroads.

We could produce pharmaceuticals but so can the Europeans and Asians (they would probably just expropriate our patents on current drugs) and most of our pharma scientists in NJ and NY are dead so that's out. Manufacturing drugs is easy. Generic drug companies in India and China would flood the market in a few months.

The USA would still have all the capital manafucturing capacity, presumably in decent working condition. So bring back the americans abroad and then lots of immigration from english speaking countries - America recolonized again but with a big headstart in know how. Would take years (decade or two) to get everything back up and running probably.

The technology industry in Seattle would be useful but would have to address more basic technological needs than they do now. Automation and robotics might be important to mitigage the lack of manpower - could trade foodstuff to Japan for help there. Japan has very little in the way of natural resources or food production.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted May 20, 2010
McKinney in that last post brings up a point about robotics and labor. I've been thinking about comparable historical models per the post-Wave economy. The best one I can come up with is Great Britain after the Black Death in the 1300s.

It can be argued that the Black Death effectively undermined the traditional relationship between feudal lord and serf. Once there was a labor shortage, the remaining workers could demand improved conditions and wages for their efforts. If the Lord did not grant these conditions, it was possible for the workers to pick up and leave. Further, the countryside being somewhat deserted, it was possible to set up shop somewhere else in an area already processed as it were for production.

Another example to draw upon might be the loss of life among Native Americans during the early Colonial era due to disease. Some research indicates as high as 90% (which seems a bit high to me but we'll roll with it). Early European settlers would arrive on former village sites, already processed for production, thinking it had been cleared by the hand of God.

My point is that it seems there is the potential for a revolution (small "r") in how labor is used. Anytime there is a severe labor shortage we see massive changes in how things are done. Perhaps what might be seen is a Third Industrial Revolution, driven by robotics designed by Microsoft/Apple and Boeing along with any number of start up companies.

Another point is that I suspect there will be a need to maintain some sort of commercial air fleet for operation within CONUS. Boeing's Seattle location could serve as the HQ for operations, maintenance and training. Further, if we maintain our air infrastructure, we could possibly provide repair services at a reasonable price to other nations.

How much oil industry expertise is up in Alaska?

As for getting "waved," given that no one knows what caused it I think an argument can be made that no place on the globe is safe. You could be waved anywhere it seems. As such, why not go back to the US?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NukemHill puts forth...

Posted May 20, 2010
Given that China is in the middle of a Civil War, I think the US can be chosey about who it pays back.

Did I miss something, or is "spoiler alert" a little too late here?

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NukemHill is gonna tell you...

Posted May 20, 2010
Microsoft/Apple and Boeing along with any number of start up companies.

The Apple portion of that equation no longer exists, for the most part, as it is based in Silicon Valley. Maybe JB'll "get lucky" and have Jobs, or Jonathan Ivy, or some other Apple big shots with big vision "at a retreat" in Europe or Seattle, or some place not affected by the Wave. So that the brain trust behind Apple is preserved. Otherwise, and this really applies to a vast percentage of America's current "big thinkers", the people most needed for advancing our civilization post-Wave were vaporized with it.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted May 20, 2010
Steve was mentioned in a throw away line in Without Warning, which is why I posited an involvement by Apple.

I believe China's descent into chaos was also covered in the first novel.

As for advancement, I think that depends on how you define it. We are not looking at advancement so much as stabilization and preservation. That said, production still needs to take place.

Consider agriculture. You need farmers but a lot of the work is basic scut work. What if you had robots and automatic systems which could do that work? Further, what if there was a profit motive/need to increase productivity?

I can easily see a series of radio controlled tractors and robots working wheat and cornfields for weeks at a time without too much human intervention. We don't do that now because there really isn't any need to do so. But with a population loss, the need would exist.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NukemHill mumbles...

Posted May 20, 2010
By the way. I just finished the WoC trilogy. Loved it. Took me a while. I finished the first book months ago, and then picked up the second one. But my hectic life precluded me from really getting into it, and I was having a hard time finding the threads to grab onto and really ride. But I think JB found his voice about a quarter of the way into the second novel, and it really jumps from that point forward.

Congrats on a job well done, John. Your "big-picture" grasp of the historical ramifications were fabulous, and the directions you went in were delightful to watch unfold. I think a post-WWII treatment would be fascinating.

Back to this thread--I think a decentralized government, with a laissez-faire approach to managing the economy, would be the most effective long-term means of tackling the issues. But a short-term more centralized economy may be the way to go to handle the interim emergencies.

Probably the most efficient points to focus on are what has been mentioned already: managing our commodities, including food stuffs, mineral and land rights, energy sources, etc.; setting up property sales; rebuilding the transportation infrastructure; and of course the military.

I really like the idea of offering land to immigrants in trade for military service. I think that has great potential.

The interesting (and obvious) point that I take out of this is that there is a tension between what the "nation" wants, vs. what the group of individuals wants. I don't think they are necessarily the same. This comes back around to a previous thread and the point that I was making about the apocalyptic nature of the "destroy the central government and start fresh" approaches many authors have taken over the years. If you take this as a "time to start over with a new set of rules" exercise, then that tension can be the focal point of the novel.

Which may be what you've been saying all along, and I'm only just getting it.

Do you need a National Bank, or do you charter regional banks with the rights to print money and manage international exchanges? Are the regions organic, or are they imposed/created by the national government, and does there arise a tension out of that, as the "artificial" region's structures are potentially at odds with the more naturally occurring structures arising out of the needs of the locals? Can a "not quite command" structure be more of a responsibility-delegating central authority, but allowing for the natural efficiencies of a growing market to get the jobs done?

Transportation is much quicker now than it was even 50 years ago, as is pointed out above. And we also have a highly functional communications network. Between those two, we have an infrastructure that allows a great deal of power and knowledge distribution and decentralization. How can that be used most effectively? Actually, control can be as centralized or as distributed as you wish. Is there a way to optimize it so that what needs to be centralized can be, but what would be more effective in a distributed architecture can be handled that way?

This is actually a rather interesting AI exercise. I spent some time in grad school studying robotics and distributed systems, and dealt with it a bit in my thesis. This type of tension was one of the central points of discussion. My belief is that you want to maintain some centralized control. But in the end, you want as much of the "decision making" done in the nodes as possible. Look at the U.S. military, as compared to some other militaries around the world. We push decision making as far down the chain of command as we can. We want our platoon leaders to be making decisions that would normally be made by a Major or even a Colonel in other more centralized military structures. We trust our men to act correctly and think for themselves. The big picture is still managed higher up, but we also try to give as much of that big picture to the grunts as possible (without overwhelming them), so that they can be intelligent about their actions.

Is that kind of approach appropriate in the post-Wave world? That's the tension. That's where the magic is in the third book. Now, you could make it a treatise on economic theory, and you'd sell 5 copies worldwide. So I'd suggest you avoid that! But you could also embed some economic theory in the larger story line, without getting too pedantic, and actually teach people while entertaining them. Is it possible to discuss Marx and Lenin, and Hayek and Friedman, and Keynes and Krugman, without putting your readers into a catatonic state? Probably. It makes for some fascinating possibilities, if that's the approach you want to take.

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NukemHill asserts...

Posted May 20, 2010
can easily see a series of radio controlled tractors and robots working wheat and cornfields for weeks at a time without too much human intervention. We don’t do that now because there really isn’t any need to do so. But with a population loss, the need would exist.

Many aspects of our economy could be much more automated than it already is, but unions have fought very successfully to preserve jobs. Because the thinking is obviously that automation is a job destroying exercise.

Given the clear point that we are suddenly facing a dearth of workers, automation becomes a huge focal point. Advancements and implementations of robotics and automated systems is an obvious win. And the big winners will be the people who can learn quickly and/or see and exploit inefficiencies in the systems. Bureaucrats will be roadblocks in the new system. Anyone who is perceived as a pencil pusher or cog in the system, rather than an efficient and necessary part of the machine, should be ostracized.

Hmm. Will there be a system for exiling "dissidents"? Has that already been discussed? That seems to ring a faint bell, now that I think about it.

Empire builders will have to be dealt with, as well. And, there are different types of empire builders.

I'd forgotten about Jobs being mentioned, as well as China. As I said in the comment prior to this one--I just finished WoC. So I've probably got some story lines jumbled together. I'll need to re-read WW to get re-familiarized with the salient plot points. But having Jobs around is good, so long as the cancer doesn't come back....

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McKinneyTexas5 would have you know...

Posted May 20, 2010
Hello Murph, I'm the son of McKinneyTexas.

As someone else alluded to, one of the first actions the USA should consider taking is reestablishment of a new currency. Bartering is very expensive in its inefficiency. A fiat currency in this scenario wouldn't be viable so the new currency should be linked to the gold reserves held at Fort Knox, federal reserve bank, etc. Worldwide, fiat courrencies would probably be worthless. Most international banks and sovereign government holds billions of US treasuries and would be insolvent the day after the wave, although it might take time for the general masses and capital markets to realize this. New currencies would have to be established everywhere and the US probably wouldn't want to accept payment in anything but commodity backed currency. Even today, we can barely assign a consistent relative value to the Euro which has gone from $1.45 / $1 USD to $1.22 in the past few months.

For immigration, Ireland, UK and Australia and english-speaking people from mainland Europe are all good choices. They are used to living under a democracy, and operating under "rule of law", respect for and protection of private property. We could repay outstanding loans, if desired, with 99 year leases on USA land / infrastructure (asset backed repayment).

A National Bank is a good idea, but other private banks should be setup (there's probably some regional banks in Seattle) for efficiency of business management and loan decisions. The national bank could provide their initial funding through the gold-backed currency, monitor the true value of other countries' currency (its one thing to declare a currency backed by gold or silver and another to actually have the metal), and provide loans to the US govt.

A big difference between Hamilton's National Bank and the Federal Reserve today is that US is no longer on the gold standard which gives the Fed a lot more power to manipulate the economy nowadays (i.e. print money). One of Hamilton's argument for repaying the debt was so that the USA could borrow money again in the future. However, countries like Argentina and Mexico, which went bankrupt recently (in the past 10-15 years) can still borrow money today. Once the US re-established its economy and a viable currency, borrowing wouldn't be an issue.

Not to harp too long on the establishment of currency but it might be easier and more credible if the USA post-wave established the new currency in conjunction with another country, the UK for example, and simply contributed its gold for a fair share of the new currency.

Alaska would have the oil expertise. Also, the big oil companies have significant operations abroad (Africa and the Middle East for example). While the national Saudia Arabian oil company owns the oil produced in Saudia Arabia, its the French and US oil service companies that provide the technological support to maintain production. That expertise would be very valuable in the future. Example, Venezuela's oil production plummeted after kicking the Americans and Brits out.

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McKinneyTexas5 ducks in to say...

Posted May 20, 2010
On the farming issue, it doesn't take much manpower to run large farms due to the automation that already exists; less than 1% of the USA population supports farming today (960K people). The issue is finding people who know how to run the equipment, rotate crops, etc. Probably wouldn't be many people in Seattle who know how to do it.

The military ranks might need to be combed for "priority" skillsets like farming, ranching, running utilities (water purification plants).

How many Amerians are alive after the wave? Assuming 30 million in Seattle, Alaska and abroad, and looking for 1/3 of old production (which would still provides lots of surplus), approximately 300K farmers needed.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted May 20, 2010
Oh, but what if bimetallism rears its ugly head?

I'm kidding, I hope. I have a hard enough time explaining Hamilton's First Bank of the US to my students. I've given up trying to explain bimetallism.

A gold based currency makes sense to me. We do have reserves at Fort Knox so I suppose a priority would be for someone to go secure it.

MKT-5 wrote: Not to harp too long on the establishment of currency but it might be easier and more credible if the USA post-wave established the new currency in conjunction with another country, the UK for example, and simply contributed its gold for a fair share of the new currency.

Hmm, a coalition of English speaking countries tied together economically through a common currency. I wonder what that currency would look like? Would you call it a pound or a dollar?

I have often thought that there would be a military purpose for such a coalition, mainly to keep the trade lanes open. A common currency might be another reason.

If you have a common currency, then what about government? Go with an EU style system, something like a Confederacy (not to be confused with the Confederate States of America but more like a stronger variant of the Articles of Confederation) or something else?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 20, 2010
A barter system seems unlikely. Its never been used by any civilization at any time in history. Theres probably a reason for that. The USD would lose its status as the global reserve currency to be supplanted by what though? My guess is the Euro or possibly the Yen. You would need to invent a new American currency eventually but what would you call it? Also Tex Jr mentioned the gold standard i think. Anyone want to have a stab at what the price of gold would be ina post wave economy? (For the sake of clarity we should probably use contemporary USD's when indulging in such speculation)

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted May 20, 2010
Murph: Check out Erlanger Bank - the French Bank distributing them. I believe the price of cotton soared as the war approached because of concerns about supply. So what better way to cash in than to issue the cotton-backed bond?

Orin: You're too kind. But I've always thought of myself more as the Spiderman of Public Finance than the Batman of Economics. I met the Batman of Economics once - he's a much smarter guy. Better with the ladies too.

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McKinneyTexas5 puts forth...

Posted May 20, 2010
A common currency doesn't necessitate a common EU style government. When countries were on the gold standard pre-Bretton Woods, the exchange rates fluctuated based on the amount of gold underlying each currency. Because a Centralized Bank would be tied to the gold stand, there is less policy work required of the central bankers.

Some management would be required though. As London would effectively replace NYC as the center of global finance and there would already be American bankers already there (Citigroup, Bank of America's european hq are in London) plus representatives from Australian banks, that would be a good location for it. A select group could serve as managers of the National Bank for awhile, and they would immediately have the expertise to run it.

Establishing a common currency with credibility behind it would be a huge positive for the English speaking nations. Financiers throughout history (Medici in Italy, Rothschild of France, etc) have been the catalyst and source of economic success for countries. Effective capitalization of new companies, global trade, etc can't exist without a credible currency and whoever fills that void first makes a ton of money off of it. Free trade (similar to NAFTA) and mutual military support agreements would make sense though.

In my opinion, merging governments or creating a new one for Enlish speaking countries wouldn't be a good idea. The needs and functions of the post-wave US government would be vastly different than that of Australia or the UK; it would be too inefficient, even by govt bureacracy standards.

Taxation for the US government would be an issue. The salvage tax might work if it could be enforced. A lot of the salvegable stuff is going to lose value pretty quick, no? With no manufacturing or human knowhow to repair the stuff.

Asset backed leases (similar to like the 99 year Panama Lease canal which just expired) might be easier to tax. Lease large plots of agricultural land to UK and Ireland and then tax the output (you know where the land is so taxation is relatively easy).

The US government could also take minority ownership positions in farms and oil production, like China does right now. Long-term its not efficient or desirable but would probably work initially with the intention of divesting the position in 10-20 years. Investors may not mind the government role at first either, and may welcome it, given that they will need the government backed money to fund the venture and support of the navy to protect the exports. This would be similar to the European governments funding the colonization efforts in the 16th,17th, and 18th centuries.

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Justin is gonna tell you...

Posted May 20, 2010
Quick question...all the animals died...how might this affect food production in the US? I know wheat and other grains don't depend on insects spreading pollen but what about other crops that rely on pollination? Would the US just focus on wheat production? also, what about the environmental effects of Nuke plants being unattended for a year+? Did the cooling ponds evaporate resulting in a melt down/dead zone across wide swaths of the US?

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Guru Bob would have you know...

Posted May 20, 2010
My original thought was what about things like real estate, gambling or tourism? Most banana repuplics seem to use tourism or selling off assets one of the main platforms for their economy. I could see secure enclaves of wealthy tourists in certain areas paying through the nose for the privelege of 'adventure tourism' in the dangerous post wave America. Of course the population woudl also be targets for unscrupulous entreprenuers who want to cash in on the money floating aroudn with salvagers - most 'frontier' gold rush scenarios wouldn't be complete without saloon, casinos, brothels and corruption.

Of course the big concern would also be pollution - have we looked at the ongoing effects of teh Wave on things like nuclear power plants running unattended. I don't see a big market for radioactive grain or other foodstuffs from the post-wave USA after several Chernobyl type events scattered across the conUS - see this map: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/map-power-reactors.html

There is also the effects of uncontrolled oil disasters - we are currently seeing the effects of one oilrig explosion off New Orleans and the huge roll out of manpower required to just try and keep it under some sort of control. Imagine the effects of several of these (+ supertanker crashes etc) left uncontrolled for over 12 months pumping oil into the environment. Fixing just one of these events requires a huge inverstment in manpower, resources and money.

The new USA will be going to other government's with its begging cap in hand to try and raise the revenue to cover the costs of getting its own environment back to habitability. Let alone looking the economic impact of the long term health effects upon anyone who ventures into these areas.

There will be some very big bills to pay...

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Moko reckons...

Posted May 20, 2010
Murph, wouldn't suggest it'll be Socialism, I'd suggest it'll be a lot more LIKE Socialism within the sphere of influence of the gubbermint. But you've got an inside heads-up about the dynamics of AA over me...so no idea really.

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Guru Bob has opinions thus...

Posted May 20, 2010
By the way I like Murp's analogy with the disappearnace of the native Americans - but the big difference is that when they disappeared they would have left a nice empty clearing. When the people disappear from a modern city they would leave a disgusting polluted uninhabitable mess.

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Brian reckons...

Posted May 20, 2010
Murph

Lots of surprising stuff about the Black Death economically. A decent enough paradigm.

Europe had a population around 50 million or so . . .the largest since the fall of the Roman Empire (which incidentally is well worth a geek at economically). Its internal economy was a factor of ten or more that of its external trade economy. It basically ran on gold, silver and agricultural products.

Bang! The Black Death effectively kills half or more of the population. The survivors inherit the remaining gold and silver. After a long period time . . .most of the productive land(looking for heirs mostly). Deflation sets in. Wages rise . . . plenty of money, not enough hands to do the work.

What else happens? Killed off English adventurism in the 100 Years War. Killed off international trade . . .Why? The Plague was originally coined as 'The Priests Disease'. Clergy were great importers as well as on-sellers of luxury goods . . . notably ivory . . .as a group they got hit pretty bad.

Actually . . .the more I think on it. Britain after the Roman pull out is probably a better model. Lots of interesting parrallels. The Late Roman Empire was more socialist in nature than people think. Most industry in Britain was done by the Legions. The economy flowed around Imperial payrolls, luxury goods were based on gold and silver. The Legions pulled out . . .after 400 years and Roman Britain folded . . ..devolved back to agricultural economy. Cities were abandoned. Treasure hunters find Roman hordes all the time from the time of the pull out. Interestingly there are several other well known horde periods . . . .the English Civil War and the Black Plague.

What's this got to do with Post Wave America? Lots . . .people have done the self same things before. Abandon cities. Revert to agriculture and horde bullion. Congregate into self sufficent communites that spring for common defence.

Economically . . . .Post Wave America has to have a thriving internal economy. A purely export driven economy is a banana republic or resource model aka Australia. Vulnerable and subject to the whims of buyers. International players who were usng the Yankee Dollar as a 'safe haven' got hit badly . . . .mostly the Arabs. What's the new international standard? Oil? Price o oil got slashed with half of the market being killed. Gold? Devalued to some point as there's now gold reseves from a nation with a 50th of the population. Agriculture? Biggest player just got knocked out. Futures market is cacked.

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Guru Bob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 20, 2010
As someone who has only read the first book quite a while ago (damn that circle of trust) I can't recall what happened to Mexico? Did most of it survive the wave or was it disappeared as well? Otherwise the immigration push from the south will make the complexion of the government in Seattle and Murph's question of 'what is America' pretty irrelevant.

A fully populated USA can't control the flood of immigrants over the border in our world - let alone in a post-Wave depopulated environment.

The references to something happening in Texas indicate that there may more of a confrontation down there - but as someone once said - God is on the side of the big battalions - and no matter how much tech is available there will be a lot more people wandering around in the South.

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted May 20, 2010
hmm, just a quick note. ref RADIO controlled tractors. YEAH..NOT! as long as my arse points to the ground..lol. ok, seriously, the fact that possibly several thousands of tractors will be sitting at now, largerly unoccupied dealerships will be that good old tractors are readily available, plus the issue of parts etc can be addresseed.

remote control involves tech and mores the point an operator. To effectively have a fully automated vehicle stripping or sowing your crops requires a lot more tech than people think.

As an option, lets call it A). You need RF markes in each corner of the paddock so that the automated and installed system on the vehicle can always determine its location within the rf grid. These things require not only creation, but programming, maint and power.

lets try option B). thats done via satelite navigation and the GPS receiver unit need to be intergrated into the vehicle, a fully operation SAT NAV system in space with coverage of the area you are operating in as well.

ALL good so sfar. Well then we have issues with the likes of combines ( harvesters ). the comb or bit in the fron which happens to srip or cut the crop needs to operate at a given distance from the grouns, if you were to pre set this at a specified level thats fine, so long as your paddock is as flat as a pancake or else you will start harvesting dirt and all sorts of shit. Lets also remember that stuff has a tendancy to go and DIE in crops as well and adding the odd cow, deer or christ knows what to the stripped mix typically does not bode well for the product, let long the mess it tends to make of the comb on the front of the combine. just some thoughts.

Now the issue of TEXAS, one thing is for sure, that any state which is left unchecked to do as it pleases will only get stronger and that will be a significant issue for the PREZ, its an item that would be actioned on his task list as soon as he was confidant enough to take them on an win.

Noted item about going back to FLINTLOCK weapons. well people will tend to be conservative and given the vast quantities of ammo that would be available for some time and that ammo unless its left in the open does not degrade rapodly any suggestion we will need to head back to the musket era is wrong in my opinon.

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 20, 2010
Havock. Ignore Flintlock weapons - it was being used as an example.

What will be used will be the most widely available and re loadable cartridge size. Despite vast armories chock a block with ammo - the big problem is moving it around. I would guess shotgun, .22, and .38. Bird and rabbit guns, long range sporting calibres - close in people stoppers. Stuff you could find in almost any town with a gunshop. NOT FRIGGIN MA_DEUCE CALIBRE.

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Guru Bob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 20, 2010
Look at the numbers 111 million Mexicans and 41 million Central Americans all just south of the Rio Grande and looking north and no-one and nothing to stop them wandering up and helping themselves to whatever they want.

It will take a long time to get gringo boots on the ground in any effective way and even then - there won't be so many boots anyway...

Let alone looking into the question of how many US soldiers are already of Spanish American cultural backgrounds and so may not be ready to open fire when ordered to shoot at 'looters' who really are just families trying to make the most of an opportunity to improve their lives.

After all the real owners are now just piles of muck and goop aren't going to miss their SUVs, Plasma TVs and other stuff anymore...

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted May 20, 2010
I for one would SEAL the BORDER to Mexico..er..the whole fkn south American thing. 10-50 NUKES in a nice neat little line oughtta do the job I think, then if any more STH Americans get an idea about coming NTH NUKE those fkrs too. its preservation, and I would have the biggest fkn gun still on the block.

BRIAN..lol. YEAH, re read it..easy, no stress.

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Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 20, 2010
Yes think i need a refresher too. What happened to all the international treaties the USA was signatory to? Are they xarried over into kippers government, is the UN still in existence?

Think we covered the south amerixan immigratiom question in previous threads. I am also of the opinion it will be relentless and the majority of North Americans shall be Spanish speakers in very short time indeed.

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sibeen would have you know...

Posted May 20, 2010
Guru Bob, I'm fairly sure that most of Mexico got wiped out with the wave stopping just north of Acapulco, so Mexico city got taken; so there is not many Mexicans left.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted May 20, 2010
Guru Bob. A hunk of Mexico got caught in the wave.

Economics. What economic value does America hold when essentially everything is devalued?

What is going to attract large numbers of people to immigrate into America? Recall : essentially all the infrastructure from the ground up has been trashed or inoperable. People have to eat and to make a living. If they have more of something they sell it.What's marketable?

The idea of hordes of people invading is rather a stretch. Any colonisation effort has to include farmers. One off resource grabs are possible - but if the assets immovable and there's not transport its essentially useless ie oil fields.

Moveable assets like ships are attractive. If you have trained crews and maintenance staff else they end up looking like the forlorn Russian Black Sea fleet after a few years ie essentially floating junk.

The real asset is land. SHoot . . . .people want to make money, lease an abandoned city to a multinational for 10 years. Let them mine it for valuables, get it running, have the headache of marketing salvage. It'd be like the original Wild West with . . . 'There's Gold in them thar Cities'

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted May 20, 2010
GB, most of Mexico went with the Wave.

Havock, point taken on tractors. That said, I think locating parts stockpiles and stripping equipment in general for parts against a rainy day is another activity the US should be engaged in. I don't know if Australia has this but here in Kansas City we have something called "U Wrench It," which is basically a large lot of junked vehicles. You pay an entry fee, go find your vehicle, strip the part, pay for the part and off you go. I can see the government sponsoring far more systematic "U Wrench It" ops where you stockpile parts.

As for ammo, well, you've got Lake City Ammo Plant just outside of Blue Springs, Missouri. They produce the ammo for the US and NATO allies. I suspect getting that up and running will be a priority.

Per Latin American immigration, I do not see much difference between the Wave Universe and our current one. The US Latino population is projected to reach majority status by mid century. Personally, I think if offered the right deal and treated fairly, they'll assimilate.

That said, I can see the traditional objections rearing their ugly heads as well.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Guru Bob mutters...

Posted May 20, 2010
Murph - that is pretty close to where I was heading with the whole Latino thing except that 'assimilate' takes on a whole different meaning when you are talking about starting out with a white anglo minority from day one. I mean - even in the largest surviving conUS city - Seattle there isn't a huge number - the demographics are as follows (according to Wikipedia):

The racial makeup of the city in 2004 is 67.1% white, 16.6% Asian, 10.0% black, 1.0% Native American, 0.9% Pacific Islander, 2.3% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. 6.3% of the population is Hispanic or Latino of any race. Amongst the city's white population, 11.3% were of German, 9.1% Irish, 8.1% English and 5.0% Norwegian ancestry according to Census 2000.

Plus (according to the same source) Seattle's population is 563,374 people - which would make it about the same size as Newcastle.

But then again Oregon's population is listed as being 93% white out of a total of 3.6 million. I am starting to see an estimate of 15 million USA citizens left in the post-wave world as hopelessly optimistic myself...

According to this website there are around 6.6 million Americans living abroad at any time http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/living/living_abroad/living_abroad_by_country.shtml

Given that this number was definitely smaller (apart from US forces in the Gulf) at the time of the Wave - the numbers would only add up to an American population around 12-13 million?

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Abe has opinions thus...

Posted May 20, 2010
Murph - re the salvage tariff, I think it would work.

But call it a 'royalty' or a 'Salvage Resource Rent Tax'...it's all in the framing. (See today's Blunty).

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Chaz puts forth...

Posted May 20, 2010
My five cents worth.

Forget about a 'world economy' for at least 3-5 years.

-Because of the negative weather results thanks to the wave and the loss of at least 2 harvets in the CONUS there will be no interational food trade as everyone will be just scraping by on what is produced at home (this of course will mean technical famines).

-Israels actions after the wave will basically mean the end of the mid east as a oil production area. The area relies on foreign workers and they'll bug out asap after the first bombs drop.

-It would not be unbeliveble for either a big petrochemical firm to sequistrate some oil fields or...

for Israel to do this.

-Thanks to civil wars in France and China and probable anarchy in italy and greece it doesn't leave alot of refining capability likely to be operational.

-So we're looking at little bulk transport being available and also few buyers.

Basically the US is on it's own when the wave comes down.

The scavaging of the CONUS will also be seen as an easy option by African nations with any sort of merchant marine capability.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted May 20, 2010
Murph, you just gave me an idea for the third book. An alliance of English speaking countries would be baulked at by the Kiwis on the basis of their no-nukes policy. That would give us another reason to invade them. I'm sure there'd be a couple of USN littoral assault ships up for grabs and some trained guns for hire. Then there'd be all the paewa fritters they can eat and their choice of Marlborough region sauvignon blanc, Hawkes Bay reds or DB Draught.

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Scott mutters...

Posted May 20, 2010
Chaz, global population will take a major bodyblow.

Remove a substantial portion of the planet's agricultural production and starvation will become widespread. Europe will not be able to pick up the slack as France has to recover from it's internal strife, add to this the toxic pall caused by burning cities to the northern hemisphere and Europe may lose one maybe 2 growing seasons.

Don't have the time to research how much of global food is produced by the US so won't estermate losses but figure it would be huge. In otl we had civil unrest in some countries in 06-07 when food inflation hit. That is probably one of the major contributing factors in a Chinese civil war.

To paraphrase an old saying only 3 meals between civilisation and barbarity.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted May 20, 2010
Therbs, I know at least one person in NZ that would welcome such an invasion. I also know one person that would resent it.

That said, I can't figure those folks out. I guess when you are on the ass end of the planet you can act as if you live in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Abe, I'd think we'd want to avoid a repeat of what happened to that island Flint is using as his example. That said, I can see something like that working out.

I also like the 99 year lease concept.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 21, 2010
Economics.

Lets consider the loss of the States as a consumer market. Most production of high end goods is at an end. The Asian Tigers export most of their gear to the states. Ferrari, Rolls Royce etc are cacked. The electronics industry is cacked. Consider . . . .you have plants geared to produce stuff for a 400 million mass market which has dissappeared. The world is facing an over supply in production capability. The ship building industry is cacked . . .most tonnage comes out of China or Korea for European and American firms. The market for resources is cacked . . . .apart from coal and oil.

Sidenote : Nokia reputedly knocks out a million phones a day. Seems absurd until you figure out product lifecycle and world wide demand. I would suggest mobile phone companies are also in big trouble.

Lets look at steel. The new US will sell off as much of its floating stockpile of shipping as fast as it can . . .else it will rot at the docks. Keep in mind all those USSR fleets in places like Vladivostok and the Black Sea. China bought a carrier that had to be towed back home for little more than scrap value. . .that's what will happen to all those ships. Mostly they'll go to breakers yards like India or Bangladesh . . . .else . . .towed out to sea and scuttled. Ports and water ways have to be cleared.

On the primary Industry side . . .resource exploitation beyond coal and oil would be at a virtual standstill. Food production is a key factor.

Weapon export would be at lower levels. Why? The States is one if not the biggest arms exporter in the world. New hardware won't be appearing. Spare parts are unavailable whilst they're behind the veil. Hmm . . . .canon and rifle barrels wear out. Canon cockers have to replace tubes. . . and all the producers and secondary tier industries are kaput.

Murphs example of Eric Flint's 1632 series is not a bad one. There has to be a wind back in technical capability as the economic and industrial capability is missing.

The key industry is agriculture. Followed by transport. I don't see much room initially for a leisured urban consumer class. Cities are either transport/support hubs or end points. East -West corridors are vital.

Example : Detroit was an end point for coal and steel. Its output was cars. There is an oversupply of cars and raw steel . . .every where. What point in restarting Detroit? Los Vegas specialised in gambling . . .it produced nothing . . .what point Los Vegas? Hmmm . . . .. Sacramento?

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 21, 2010
Brian, just reading your last burst another item came to me. In very short order people should be looking to the future and potentially what plants or Tech would be required down the track. Call it the re modernisation road map. Once this is done, then I could see a TEAM (s) being formed to almost Mothball certain facilities / plants.

For whilst they may not be required immediately, if identified, then preservation of the asset as best than can could save mega bucks and time down the track.

this could also centre around what localities have clusters of capabilities, as opposed to numerous stand alone sites.

As an example.

A City might have, Battery manufacturing, small steel production / fabrication, tyres?, food processing plants of sorts. I'm thinking off the top of the head here.

But essentially clusters of manufacturing / production so the centres are self sustaining, but with an ability to supply further afield.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted May 21, 2010
You might also repurpose manufacturing centers/facilities for salvage ops.

For example, use a vehicle assembly plant to bring salvaged equipment for cannibalization. The parts could be warehoused for later use.

Another example might be to use an aircraft maintenance facility to break down jet engines and other parts for future use.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Guru Bob mutters...

Posted May 21, 2010
Brian - Re: "Ports and water ways have to be cleared."

At any one time there must be thousands of ships and planes underway around the USA as well as thousands of aircaft, hundreds of trains and millions of vehicles. As the wave was instantaneous thsi woudl mean that all of these would immediately lose control and crash - so as result, waterways, ports, roads, railways and cities were subjected to thousands of tons of metal and fuel crashing all over the place, burning out and then being left un-tended for a long period of time.

Given that a large proportion of these vehicles and aircraft would have been military in nature - there would also be amounts of unexploded ordinance scattered amongst the debris and accumulated rubbish as well. I would assume that rather then huge parks of military equipment sitting waiting for the first person to turn up and claim it - after the wave disappears there would be quite a dangerous mess to clean up - before anyone could really get into the whole growing food activity.

Add to that the effects of mather nature over that time - tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, storms and squalls - and add in the effects of electrical malfunctions, fires, pollution, contamination, lack of maintenance and cleaning etc.

It ain't a pretty picture for our new settlers.

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Brian puts forth...

Posted May 21, 2010
Murph, GB and Havock.

Sorry about the bursts. . . but its all interconnected one way or t'other. Its untenable to hold that entire territory with the remnant population. You're facing massive manpower shortage problems. You can't denude the remaining States to try and secure the ones you just got back. Its a question of controlling choke points ie major river mouths, symbolic centres ie Washington, national transport corridors. Quite frankly there aint enough people to block the South let alone the Atlantic and Pacific Seaboards, so . . .you've got to get newcomwers to do it for you. And you've got to get those newcomers reliant on the infrastructure you can supply ie food, spare parts, security.

You've got to keep Alaska strong or it could revert to Russian ownership. You could make Louisiana attractive to French immigrants on the idea of it was previously French teritory . . . .not give it to them! 'Reestablishing . . .French cultural base . . .'Ditto Poles and Irish . . .in fact . . . .they'd be a Polish invasion if you'd offer them a chance. I wouldn't be averse to Spanish immigration into the South West.

Economics.

Transport. You have to move thousands of tonnes of whatever. At first blush . . . .road. Excepting the national traffic jam and probable destruction of fuel farms for trucks from one end of the US to the other. Trains and ships are what you're after. Freebooters can salvage what they want, without heavy lift capability they're screwed. No-one wants to buy a coupla hundred tons of copper . . .they want several thousand tonnes of salvaged copper and that has always meant trains and ships.

Ships aren't a real problem unless they've sunk but the US Armed Forces hasn't had a dedicated railway unit since WW2 . . .anyone knowledgeable about it are either in the remaining states or dead. You pull the railway guys outa the remaining States without replacements you screw those states. Like I said . . . .manpower problem.

So . . .first item of trade are warm bodies. Trained warm bodies can write they're own ticket. But . . .those bodies ain't going to move unless there are some very attractive incentives. Untrained warmbodies are important as well . . .but they're not going to be city folk. Quite frankly . . .any Mexican peasant you can lay your hands on will be worth their weight in gold. Ditto Chinese. The sheer grunt needed to clear wreckage is going to be staggering.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 21, 2010
GB, per military installations, that depends.

For instance, if you zapped away all of the people at Fort Riley back when I was out there in 1992, chances are pretty good that when you went to check the installation out, you'd find motor pools filled with tanks, artillery, hummers, etc.

As a general rule, the ordnance for these systems are not kept in the motor pools and I doubt SOP has changed much even with the current wars in progress.

So it is not an unreasonable expectation to find military bases with a great deal of useable ground equipment. There will have been some wear and tear from weather but that happens anyway since vehicles are normally left exposed to the elements.

Aircraft might be a different matter mainly due to their being more maintenance intensive. For instance you are probably not going to find readily flyable Apaches at Fort Riley but you could probably scavenge them for parts.

Having said that, some regions are probably going to be more haphazard than others. An Army Fort like Fort Riley, Fort Hood or Fort Carson is probably going to be in salvageable condition.

Then there are National Guard Armories, which are strewn all over the country.

I suspect what one would find are patches of the US that are torn up and burned out due to the conditions you describe. Perhaps the weather conditions were right for a lot of burning and damage. In other places, perhaps not so much. The Midwest for instance is a very wet and cold place in March of any given year sometimes prone to snow.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 21, 2010
Military bases are a given point of re-colonisation.

Point 1. Historical. They're usually near points of military interest chokepoints or defence ie West Point, Fort Bragg etc

Point 2. They're self sufficient townships in the sense they can button up and be independent of civilian infrastructure.

Point 3. They're hardened or parts of them are to usual disasters . . .fire and war spring to mind. Those are he strips I'd be targetting once the wave came down. Very doable for the military to restart.

Despite all the above. A picture remains in mind of a USSR base in Poland after the collapse. A mountain of abandoned Soviet equipment . . .literally mountains of rifles waiting to be crushed. The picture was in relation to the Russian Mafia selling this stuff on the black market . . .it was on one hand, so easy to come by, on another incredibly useless where it was. No stockpiling, no mothballing . . . .trash for cash.

Beyond a certain point. There's just no way given the various taskings for the military that every base is going to be mothballed or de-weaponed. Priorty will be to nukes, radar, naval, missile and stockpiles.

One thing I'm certain of . . .no one is moving a battalions worth of canon, tank and ammo from . .say Utah? To a port for export. Ditto for stealing the crap. You need an MEU ship to move it, not to mention road and rail capability.

Another picture springs to mind. Underwater shot off an island in the pacific . . .hundreds of feet of dozers, planes and tanks. At the end of WW2 the Americans simply loaded all their bases (less personnel)on ships and dumped them off the island. It was more cost effective that way.

You can have acres of vehicles . . .without people to drive them, guard them, maintain them or even to have a purpose for them? Effectively you'd be better off keeping them out of unfriendly hands and trashing the lot.

The premium point of trade at this point is people. Setting up communities. providing places for retiring military to go. Think . . .Roman forts along Hadrian's wall.

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Brian mumbles...

Posted May 21, 2010
Sorry about the info dumps. But folks have to get over the pack rat mentality . . .its about people not equipment. People make value, value is meaningless without people. Trade is people.

On that note ta-ta till Sunday. Orf to Gippsland.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 21, 2010
The info dumps are handy and Brian, I agree completely with your point that the big need of the US is to get more people onboard. It is definitely about people, not equipment.

As for strategic points in North America, the French Indian War and the Civil War provide pretty clear indicators. One will need to secure the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri River Valleys. Rivers will probably be the highways of commerce and transport until the railroads can be fully restored.

Two interesting books I am reading right now.

One is Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. The other is Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, The Politics of the Enlightenment by Darren Staloff. Both are worth pondering.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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El Coqui would have you know...

Posted May 22, 2010
For warm bodies. Encourage Puerto Ricans to move to the mainland. If too successful, it may allow someone that make a play for the island as proposed for V3, sort of a corollary of the law of unintended circumstances. Having to fight it out with the PRARNG could make a great story.

I go to use military bases as initial recolonization centers.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted May 23, 2010
I wonder what the dynamic will be between agricultural interests and industrial ones? There will be folks, I suspect, who will see the post-Wave US as a clean slate. An opportunity to avoid what they consider to be mistakes of the original US. There may well be a push to avoid industrialization and focus on agriculture along.

I suspect that means there'd be two different schools of thought (at minimum) on how to handle restoration, probably more. These schools of thought will have their own pet theories on how a post-Wave economy should evolve.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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El Coqui ducks in to say...

Posted May 23, 2010
You mean Libtards and Conservatives? It definitively will add some drama.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted May 23, 2010
I was thinking Hamiltonians versus Jeffersonians with a deep strain of Green Party politics. Throw it all into a blender and see what comes out.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted May 23, 2010
Back.

Without getting into political labels. I reckon what you'd see are two strains emerging. The dominant will be conservative. The type of folks you want as pioneers are going to be conservative thinkers - risk takers in a sense but planners to minimize risk (points at farmers). You're also going to have the idealists . . . a few groups like Amish can fall into that category I guess. In the sense they're following their ideals but still be deeply conservative about it.

The left wing nuts like PETA etc will either have to get with the program or go under. Civil Libertarians are going to have problems. The new immigrants won't understand or even care what the CL's are about. Hmmm. . . .tribal conflicts along the lines of "Gangs Of New York' is inevitable. There's not enough surviving American cadre to dilute let alone stop tensions. The only recourse there is to spread 'em out.

Given that the country is awash with firearms . . .quite a few cherished ideas are going to go belly up . . .ie. open carry will be become the norm, restrictions in major urban centres for public safety to personnal weapons only ie no assault weapons. Hmm . . . .militias? Duly federalised . . .hmm? . . . .maybe the resurrection of private security firms like Pinkertons or Well's Fargo . . . .more likely Blackhorse.

There is one thought. Introduction of a national ID system. Perhaps along the line of those subdermal thingies vets use. (Holds hand up) It's being used in Holland to allow people into nightclubs and to charge them . . . .no cash changes hands. Quick way of getting blood type too. This presupposses enough non English speaking immigrants . . and a mark of US citizenship. . . after all the national fingerorint bank has gone with the wind. . . .not to mention blood banks.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted May 24, 2010
No, no, no and no on the subdermal national ID, Brian. I'm right of center and I swear on my own grave that if some asshole tried to push that plan I'd take up arms against the government.

If a business used something like that then I would take my business elsewhere. I'm not a big privacy nut but there is a limit and I'm afraid that would cross the line.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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El Coqui mumbles...

Posted May 24, 2010
Murph:

Query. I support and understand your rationale for such measure in the real world. However, what about Birmo universe and his special set of circumstances?

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted May 24, 2010
Murph.

On the whole I'd agree with you. Here and now there are plenty of alternatives that give you the same coverage.

But .. as a cleavage point in the story line . . .its a pretty good one don't you think? Old Line Americans will fight it tooth and nail . . .immigrants? . . . .private security firms controlling territory? . . . .

An alternative would be mobile phone tracking. If you want to be on the network . . .you'd better have all the right codes . . . its trivial to add a few more lines to that code. ID markers, blood type etc etc Gotta remember the Internet is Kaput, so some kind of broad band wireless networking will probably evolve. Most cell towers would have survived, while most serverfarms wouldn't have.

Economics.

I'm thinking some kind of indentured servitude might have a part to play as well. I'm not arguing for it . . .but it exists even today in the West in some form or another. One form are the illegals that work to send money home to pay off family debt. . . .or to pay back Coyote's . . . Indentured labour of that form Has one neat control. The workers are going to stick around lest trouble befall family back in the Old Country.

These things are going to crop up . . . .

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Guru Bob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 24, 2010
I like this term: Old Line Americans

But the reality will be that they will be a minority from day one - the new population won't have the same racial, political, economic or cultural baggage as today's Americans. A lot of what is taken for granted as 'American' or the 'WASP' culture of today will be relegated to museum displays alongside the Romans, Aztecs and Incans. The issue for the goverenment will be how to reflect the new composition of the country's population while still trying to stay true to a set of cultural and political values which have no real relevance to that population.

Remember even those Americans who were expatriates in other countries may have little regard for some of the 'family values' expoused by the government at the time of the Wave (ie Bush Jnr). I think that you would find (possibly apart from the armed forces) that Americans living abroad (especially in Europe) may tend towards the more 'liberal' end of the political spectrum? So up to half of your returnees may have a very different view of American culture than was the mainstream on the ConUS.

Add to that the need to accept the new USAnians...

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Wherever they come from they won't have the same rose-tinted glasses as born and bred seppoes when it comes to 'American culture'...

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Guru Bob mumbles...

Posted May 24, 2010
Brian - a couple of other pictures spring to mind:

The barracks building at any American base - all of the lights left on when the people disappeared - after 6 months a circuit somewhere flashes and a fire starts... multiply that scenario by hundreds - there would be a lot of electrical equipment that would just be up and running with no-one to tend to it. That would inevitably create some sort of problems.

A freight train travelling along a railway - suddenly all of the people disappear and it travels along the rails out of control for a while before derailing. thousands of tonnes of debris, locomotives, carriages and fuel are scattered across the rails and surrounding countryside. After the fires burn out the wreckage sits there rotting.

Removing just one derailed train is a huge job requiring skilled technicians, specialist equipment and easy access by road. Removing hundreds of them woudl take years and years - I don't see the railways getting up and running except for very localised efforts (eg around part of a city) for quite some time. Tunnels and bridges would be especially hard hit if out of control trains hit them.

And like you said roads (especially in cities) will just be a huge half burnt out decayed traffic jam.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted May 24, 2010
GuruBob.

Total agreement with all that you say . . . I guess . . that's why you're THE Guru. That's why I keep stripping the thing back to economics . . .while I appreciate Murph's sensibilities on the subject. . .the fact remains . . .the cultural, conservative core has been ripped out of America. The dynamic of the returnees is going to be radically different to what went on before. They know they have enemies, they know in their bones they're going to have to use force. . . .I'm not proposing an American Reich in this. . . .but elements will arise.

One danger is of an Old American ruling class emerging. And that would be a side effect of the economics.

As for the traffic jams . . . what's more expedient? Clearing or diverting? The interstates would be clearer. Most of them parallel an existing secondary road system . . .'flyway' country. In cities . . . leave it. . .the critical points are ports and rail. As to rail . . .IIRC, railway companies in WW1 would repeteadly lay track up to the trenches over log corduroy. . .small trains however. . . . .a light rail system is doable with salvaged track laid directly on to road surface . . .rolling stock is as simple as pickup truck bodies chained together . . . Lord knows the country isn't going to run short on truck bodies any time soon.

Agriculture.

Spanish experience in SOuth America. Escaped and released stock swelled into the millions in about a century. Cattle, horse, ass. A horse was cheaper than a slave in Brazil. Cuba got rich as a stock transferral point. There is probably a good market for livestock of every sort to be sent to the US. Heh heh . . .wonder what happened to the Ostritch and Emu farms down Texas way? Kentucky fried Emu?

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Guy ducks in to say...

Posted May 24, 2010
The culture, language, ethicity and religion of the new wave of immigrants will be crucial. For all sorts of reason the most desirable to the remaining 'old' Americans would be WASPS from the UK/Australia/NZ but there would be no real problem with catholics from Ireland or elsewhere (Christian of whatever denomimation will do) but English speakers from comon law countries will be top of the wish list, with Scandinavians/Germans etc a close second. There would be a great and continuing fear of Hispanic invasion from the south (whether openly with an army or just with thousnds of illegal immigrants) especially as Chavez and his allies have shown themselves to be deeply hostile. Fear of China and others would also be a factor. I'm not saying it's right, but I believe this is the way it would pan out.

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El Coqui mutters...

Posted May 24, 2010
So to address the above point. How many Armidale class patrol boats, the Australians would be willing to trade for one Arleigh Burke destroyer?

We need to reinforce our coverage of the Caribbean and the Mexican Gulf while Australia need to provide the coverage in the Pacific that the US Navy did before the event.

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Brian mutters...

Posted May 24, 2010
Guy,

It would be wonderful if that was the case . . . but . . .not really. The historical migrations of Germans, Irish, Poles etc weren't upper class, educated city dwellers . . .they were rural lower class, leaving something worse to get to something better.

History lesson. Spanish conquet. Settlers left . . . they were forbidden to return. Some did . . .but the deal was. . .get as much gold and silver out one way. . . bought goods and labour came the other.

The British did the same thing with their convict ships. The slave trade was built on the premise. . . however quiet . . .that Europeans were not going to slave their guts out in far off places. It was all about labour . . .

Ratchet forward to the 20thC. Iraq. 70's Saddams massive building spree was built on oil (duhh!), what's forgotten was that Iraqui's supplied little or none of the labour to do it. A friend of mine worked for a British firm down there and described how boat loads of Chinese labour came in, Saddam's people collected their passports and then let them loose to do the grunt work. Ratchet forward 30 years . . .Dubai . . .the whole place is supported by a massive pool of labour from India, Pakistan, Philipines and China. They are basicly indentured labour with no rights under law in that country.

Now. . . Americans returning from such places. . .in many cases, dealing with, having contacts for and knowing where to get such labour. I would put it to those here, it would be one of the easiest things to arrange . . . .particularly in privatised cities.

Hmm . . .I put money on the Phillipines . . .they speak Spanish and English. . . .have a nodding acquaintance with a presidential form of government and . . .like the 'Ricans have historical ties with the States. They'd be happy to bleed off some of their urban population.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted May 25, 2010
GB, google earth Fort Riley sometime. The post has changed since I was out there in the early 1990s but one thing remains the same.

The barracks, the motor pools, the maintenance facilities, are all spread out. Way out. I'd argue that even if there was a catastrophic series of fires at someplace like Fort Riley that destroyed 80% of the assets, there would still be enough salvageable material to make it worth the effort.

In the case of Fort Hood, it isn't just one base but FOUR and each of those installations are spread out as well.

Also, given the time of the Wave and the weather conditions in the Midwest, I don't think there would be the same level of destruction as there was elsewhere. At Fort Riley I can tell you exactly what would have been going on at around 8:30 or so in the morning.

Folks would be at breakfast. Some folks would be on clean up detail in the barracks, running floor buffers and the like. Floor buffers of the type used by the Army won't run without a human holding the handle down. There will most certainly be coffeepots running and while they are a fire threat they are not the big bugaboo that some make them out to be.

There would be some vehicle traffic on post which would result in the standard World Without Us vehicle wrecks, but again, the post is incredibly spread out. These vehicles are just as apt to run off the road into nothing as they are into something valuable.

As for ammunition, most of that is stored in bunkers on post, away from the equipment. Granted, something bad couple happen there and it'd be pretty nasty but it wouldn't affect the rest of the post.

As for the evolving nature of the Americans in a post-Wave world, well, I'm not as concerned about it as others are. Frankly, the United States has always been in flux in terms of ethnic composition. Current demographic trends indicate that by the middle of the 21st Century Americans of European descent will be in the minority.

And there has always been tension between older, more established lines of American families and the newer immigrants. I do not see that changing.

What I suspect will remain the same is the basis of government for the United States of America. I seriously doubt that anyone is going to want to mess with it too much. Perhaps change policy, sure, but change the structure? That isn't going to be tolerated, no matter who tries it. We saw as much in Without Warning when the military tried to carve out Congressional Seats.

A big question worth asking with this trilogy, aside from economics and matters military is this.

What is America? It was a central question in the American Lit II class I took a couple of semesters ago. I can't reveal spoilers but I suspect it will be an issue in the next two novels.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy asserts...

Posted May 25, 2010
Brian, I'd argue the opposite with regard to conservatives in the post Wave world. First off, there will be a very large repository of such people in the Armed Forces, especially among the officers. Without OIF and OEF to change their perspective, they will very much be conservative.

Second, Alaska is hardly the land of Liberal progressivism.

Third, one of my fellow history adjuncts was stationed at Fort Lewis for a number of years. While SeaTac is very liberal, the surrounding area of Washington State most definitely is not. In fact he argues that the outlying areas hate SeaTac with a passion.

Fourth, frankly, I don't buy that every expat is a liberal argument. I suspect if one were to look in the overseas oil industry that they'd find plenty of conservatives.

Finally, this all assumes that conditions on the ground will not prompt political conversions in some people. I know that I wasn't always right of center (oddly enough, college changed me, not the Army, where I was one of the lone liberals in every active duty unit I served in).

The conversions could go any direction. Some more liberal, some more conservative, some off in some other direction entirely but to assume that the political dynamic will remain the same as it was during the pre-Wave era is a bit naive.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted May 25, 2010
Guy, I think the standards for immigration should be as follows:

1. Do you speak English or are you willing to learn it?

2. Do you have a valuable, useable skill set?

3. Are you willing to give your loyalty to the United States?

I think all other concerns are secondary. I wouldn't be worried about the racial composition of these immigrant populations. If I could get a million engineers from India to restore the railroad net and they were willing to become American citizens then I'd take them. If I could get a half million Chinese immigrants who had valuable skills then I'd take them too.

In the past, when we've really needed labor for something, we have set our scruples (or in the case of the Transcontinental Railroad, our outright racism) aside.

That said, there will be tension and resistance to such a policy.

Again, for those wondering what that tension would be like, I'd recommend reading Ronald Takaki's A Different Mirror.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian asserts...

Posted May 25, 2010
Murph.

Re. Conservative America.

Catastrophes reinforce conservatism rather than promote liberalism(note small capitalisation).

What I'd be seeing is a conservative streak emerging very like the 19thC. Labels are a tricky thing. Modern conservatives would mostly be seen as left wing types in 19thC terms. Core conservative values are going to be set by the military and the new immigrants. Hmm . . .modern America is loyal to family, friends and country. Most third world societies are loyal to family, clan and ethnic group. Both groups can be conservative. . .but both will have serious issues with one another.

A returning military with the exigencies of rebuilding a country would revert more to core values than a returning civilian population. On the whole . . .the military is going to be way more realistic in terms of survival issues then the civilians.

Demographics . . .most AMericans outside CONUS (excl. the military) will be from groups who were reasonably happy to be away from America. Most of the demographic will not be drawn from the Middle American Bible belt for example. Most of the ex-pat group probably won't return until things have normalised. I don't see a former company executive and family homesteading - they don't have the skill or mindset for the job.

Murph. I have no problem with the mindset you're promoting. What I do have a problem with is the idea that it will be majority mindset. I forsee shifts and dilutions. Acculturation works both ways, y'know. In this case from the bottom up.

It will be a new America. . . but not America as you knew it. Whitebread it won't be.

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Nick L mutters...

Posted May 25, 2010
(First post here - really enjoyed Without Warning and the Axis-of-Time series)

Regarding economics: the whole servicing-debt-to-some-countries thing won't work. US Debt is a tradeable commodity (and would remain so), and if it is worthless in some countries then it will flow in countries where it has some value.

I think the US would have to declare bankruptcy, and then start again. People would still provide credit, based on two things: (1) US Military Power and (2) US Land.

There are a number of countries which remained relatively well-off, but exist on the edge of chaos. Japan, Scandanavia, the UK, and maybe Singapore would all buy New US Bonds in return for protection. Japan is a key here - they seem to of escaped pretty well so far, but are right on the edge of the Chinese chaos. They have a lot the US needs (money, industrial goods), but need their sea-lanes protected for food supply.

Secondly, countries would lend money based on the Lend-Lease model from WW2. I could see a really interesting subplot revolving around a Japanese offer to lease Hawaii for 99 yeas. Would the US give it up? How about Guam? Or Wake Island? Then there is Alaska...

Regarding immigration - perhaps we could see a French immigration influx to Louisiana? It would certainly complicate the "English-Speaking Alliance", but some parts of the US might prefer it to a flood of Mexican immigrants. You could have the Texas based government encouraging it as a counterweight to Latino influence in the south-west. Or perhaps it's just that the irony of the Texas government encouraging immigration by non-English speakers, and Seattle trying to close the border appeals to me.

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Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted May 25, 2010
Re: new population - something like the Middle American Bible belt will be extinct apart from any returning refugees from military or expats.

I don't see the new US population coming from UK/Aus/NZ - the tendency there will be for people to hunker down and wait the new troubles out. Things would have to get really really bad at home for them to want to leave their security blankets behind and migrate to a new frontier and I just don't see it happening - instead they will rationalise their new austerity/security measures and stay at home like good little sheep - listening to John Howard and Tony Blair tell them what is good for them.

The same with the Tiger economies of Asia - the populations there will just hunker down under whatever tinpot dictators they end up with. Think about the old days in South Korea or last weeks events in Thailand. Student or democratic unrest would be quickly taken care of and then they would try to get on with business as usual. I am not sure who they will be selling their electronic goods to in the post-wave environment but they would quickly work out some sort of regional way of dealing with issues.

The new migrants/refugee waves will come from the places most affected by turmoil, conflict and instability - my bet would be parts of Afica, what is left of the Middle East, China and South Asia (India and Pakistan).

Think about the waves of refugess that have come from just one small conflict in Sri Lanka and then multiply it...

The issue for the new government will be how to inculate the core values of American democratic government into such a population, who would have a greater experience of tyranny, dictatorship and despots.

And by core American values I don't mean 'Greed is Good' stuff like owning SUVs and plasma televisions, bearing arms or eating junk food. The stuff which has come to be associated with Ameerica in our timeline.

I mean life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...

But then again I don't really see that happening - do you?

On another line of thought -where was Sarah Palin at this time - as she was in Alaska she would have gotten through the whole Wave intact - was she Governor then? I would see a clash between her and our boy in Seattle would be inevitable...

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Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted May 25, 2010
By the way Nick - I don't see the new US government leasing away intact populated areas like Hawaii - any leases would be on the unpopulated mainland.

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Nick L puts forth...

Posted May 25, 2010
@Guru Bob - yes, I think the US Gov would prefer that. But who'd want it? I guess Canada might be interested in some and could pay. Mexico might be interested, but I doubt they could pay. Who else? Maybe Florida could be of interest to Cuba or some South/Central American countries.

The US needs food for a couple of years (I'm assuming most crops are destroyed by fire and/or toxic rain). For that they need money, quickly, and grain will be expensive (yes, there are less people in the US, but the US had pretty productive farms)

"Realistically", I could see a land-for-food swap happening with Canada, and maybe Pacific Islands for money with Japan. I agree Hawaii or Alaska are unlikely, but it would depend how bad the food situation got, and what else the US needed.

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Nick L would have you know...

Posted May 25, 2010
Food production figures are available from http://www.fao.org/. A good example is Maize: http://www.fao.org/es/ess/top/commodity.html?lang=en&item=56&year=2005, where the US produces nearly 40% of the worlds production (and China around 20%).

Wheat figures are here: http://www.fao.org/es/ess/top/commodity.html?lang=en&item=15&year=2005

Starvation might not be as sexy as a M16, but it can kill a lot more people, and I think avoiding it could be just as difficult as dealing with hostile governments.

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Brian would have you know...

Posted May 25, 2010
Economics.

Food.

Predominantly . . . green things. Coolstore's of fruit . .kaput. Maize and wheat crops . . .kaput they need people to fertilize, pollinate and grow them. Hay and silage . . .how viable after x years? Yep . . .silo's around. Look at silo's and note the whirly things and temp control gizmo's . . .basically to kill vermin and to stop fungus attack. Production chains from field to table . . .kaput.

Now. . .I don't recall if cattle, deer and pigs survived. . .lets say . . .not. Birds survive. . .turkey, emu and ostritch. . . .hmm . .throw in gators as well. Sounding a bit . . .hunter-gatherish to me.

While its comfortable to say that military stockpiles will save the day . . .the raw base stock have to come from somewhere.

The present day American day is predominantly beef, pork, wheat,dairy, chicken and corn. I see 5 out of the six . . .gone for the time being.

Food self sufficiency . . .the genetic stock has to come from somewhere, as do the farmers, transporters and processors.

Given that new immigrants wont share the same culinary tastes . . . a marked shift in diet is going to come about. The new immigrants wont be Western tradition dryland farmers in the main . . . their main interests will be in rice, pork, chicken and goat. This may be a hallmark of the early years. Making burrito's instead of bread is a whole lot easier than a burger with the lot. Hmm. . .the blandness of the early diet will place a premiun on making it tasty . . .spices. There'll also be an increase in the popularity of home bottling.

Sugar and coffee will be expensive. Wartime and deperession stuff.

How about Coca Cola? Only two people knowing the formula probably got waxed by the Wave. Israel will not be happy.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted May 26, 2010
You are not going to get veterans to give up the right to bear arms, especially in a post-Wave World, GB. I do not see that happening at all. There'd be a revolt and you'd get your coup de tat. Besides, such a move would play right into the hands of assholes who backed General Blackstone.

As for getting away from the "greed is good," thing. Well, I'd back that but one persons greed is another persons necessity. Who is to decide how much is enough? The Government? Tax the excess income? That will not work here either. It doesn't work anywhere else for that matter.

Wasn't it The Rolling Stones who bugged out of Great Britain after being slapped with a 94% tax bill?

Besides, we have a constant influx of immigrants into the United States. We are a nation of immigrants for crying out loud. How is it we are able to subvert all of these different cultures to our model? And did the Wave really change the conditions which causes that subversion?

Brian, I'm not sure where you got the impression that I was implying that it'd be a white bread America. It isn't a white bread America now and demographic trends indicate it will be less so as time marches on. I suspect all the Wave will do is accelerate that trend.

In other words, I'm not bothered by the fact that a post-Wave America will probably be one where European-Americans are in the minority. We are on the road to that path now.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Guru Bob asserts...

Posted May 26, 2010
I don't see the right to bear arms going away - otherwise where will Birmo get his explodey goodness from? However it may not be as entrenched in the culture as it is now? Re: GB I think a lot of people would put up with the tax bill if it came down to a choice betwen paying taxes and living in a cold place being shot at and working your arse off most pommies will take the taxes...

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Brian reckons...

Posted May 26, 2010
Murph.

I wasn't having a shot at you. But for JB to get his story he has to have the logic trains in place. Some of the stuff has to be figured out from basics and trends as well as from basic human nature. Some one, somewhere is going to have a pet preference . . .and a few assumptions need to get looked at.

Case. The US could now be considered to be a fading if not dead superpower. Parallels with present day Russia spring to mind. The last military parade consisted of very well maintained Sov era hardware . . .Russia has lost its capability of making its own hardware . . .current Russian shopping lists for ships etc are to be sourced from places like France.

The Russian nuclear stockpile. . .who knows? Though. It was interesting in the last round of cuts, Barry was talking about using the mil nuke material for civilian reactors . . .I suspect the Russians had to go the same route. The New America is faced with a nuke deterrent that needed an economy of 400 million to make and maintain it . . .that is now gone. That hardware is pretty darn useless if it isn't maintained. There are a finite number of people able to remove nuke material from warheads . . . that number is now infinitely smaller and resides within the remaining US military. US theatre weapons don't count.

Hmm . . .reality test. Gulf War 2. Iraqui power plant . . predominantlty French and British buy. . .generators were barely maintained. After the war, existing plant was scrapped for largely American build . . .political and economic realpolitik at work. The French didn't sign on to the war therefore they were'nt getting a cut of the pie. American infrastructure, American build. . .infrastructure gone, builders dead. The country is under the hammer to get power up . . .what's faster, fly in generation from military stockpiles or . . . fly in plant, builders and maintainers from Europe or Japan. . . A problem with the latter scenario is that plant is not "off the shelf'. . .at present there is about a 10 year wait. . . this is where 'Just In Time' inventory works against you . . .probable scenario are ship board generation from Naval units. Not a big stretch . . .turbo generators were 'modular' capable of being dropped in and out during refit . . . same general principles as a Jumbo jet engine . . . hmm historically . . .one of the DC 9(?) family.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted May 26, 2010
GB, if I have an M-16, sufficient ammunition and a good position, I can keep most Johnny Come Latelys away from my goodies. Count on that.

Got to figure that gun culture in the US is tied to our original frontier past. I do not see that changing if there is a need for people to defend themselves, especially given the probably need for a smaller military.

Brian, fair enough. You don't have to worry. There will be plenty of ethnic diversity in the coming novel.

I think using Russia as a model is prudent. That said, Russia still builds and produces things today. They also produce new equipment and technology today. Granted, their ship building capacity is iffy but then that has always been the case.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian asserts...

Posted May 26, 2010
Murph.

Funny enough, not worried about ethnic diversity as such. Just which cultural memes will persist, be reinforced or be swamped.

We're world building here. Some reader is going to query such and such . . .usually a small thing. . .and its small stuff, the differences that get'em.

Here's a couple. The American Conundrum . . .the oscillation between Isolationism and Expansionism? How's the Munro Doctrine going to play out in the New World? Is America still the dominant player in the America's? The biggest population centres are now Brazil or is it Argentina?

Will GB in the interests of the Commonwealth take back some of its Caribbean assets? The Canal is a strategic resource after all said and done as are the Gulf oil fields. Come to that . . .will France offer some deal with Haiti for military bases for the same reason.

Stuff like the above are an interesting puzzle in and of themselves. Again like the USSR, Russia loosing control over her old Warsaw Pact allies and client states.

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Guru Bob mumbles...

Posted May 26, 2010
Murph - the stereotype of the gnarled veteran sitting in his homestead whose gun needs to be wrestled from his cold dead hands - is different to the actual needs for organised security in rebuuilding a community. The challenges are for the government in trying reconcile that attitude with new communities based upon different 'cultural memes' as Brian put it so well.

There are lots of guns in the hands of the populations of Iraq and Afganistan - but it doesn't add to the security of the overall community.

But that is a different argument for another time. We all know that Birmo wants lots of guns in lots of different hands so that there will be lots of bangs per page...

Re Brian's conundrum - the clash between the 'cult of the individual' as exemplified in today's USA and the more extended family focussed and oriented cultures of the new Americans who will be moving there from Asia.

Another response to Murph's comemnt: "How is it we are able to subvert all of these different cultures to our model? And did the Wave really change the conditions which causes that subversion?"

That is based upon the assumption that the immigrants moving into the country were always joining a larger mainstream population and culture that was based upon American values and ideals. The post-wave-world turns that completely around - the surviving American values and ideals will now be the minority point of view from day one.

This will lead to clashes and the group who can compromise the most with the realities of the new world will be the ones who prevail.

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Brian would have you know...

Posted May 26, 2010
Guru Bob.

Well put.

The classical American meme is going to be put to the test. The American Dream. The classic one is that any one can grow up to be President. How's that going to work with the proviso that you must be American born. Most Americans will be immigrants and their say will be limited to Senate and Congress. The Presidency will remain in Old Line American hands for at least a couple of generations.

What you'll see emerging are Senate and Congressional blocks based along immigrant lines. Why not? You have the Black Caucus in modern American politics, historically slave-owning South versus Industrial North . . .right across Party lines. What has to be avoided are the blatant family patronage systems common in the Phillipines or South America. American politics has its political dynasties . .ie Kennedy's, Bushes etc . . but it was a muted affair.

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Guy reckons...

Posted May 26, 2010
I think that Guru Bob has hit the nail on the head. New groups of immigrants moving into an empty America will not assimilate into mainstream American society because most of the mainstream Americans will be long dead. That's why I believe the new US government (and the Canadians as well) would be ultra-keen to bring in as many immigrants as possible from UK/Aus/NZ and places like Scandinavia/Germany/Netherlands as these people are culturally and linguistically closer to what remains of the American population. If you dump millions of people from, say, Bangladesh into an empty America then that territory will quickly become a larger version of Bangladesh. The population would have completely different language/religion/values/culture and would be hostile to most of what American stands for. In other words they would be a serious obstacle to reuilding America, not part of the solution.

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Brian reckons...

Posted May 26, 2010
Guy .

This is why I went to such pains as to lay out the scenarios. New America could be argued to be racist or discriminatory with such a practice. And what they'd be attracting . . .would be a managerial class rather than a working class. . . more importantly not an agricultural class.

While its a cute idea to invite all those Zimbabwean White farmers over. . . they're still essentially farm managers. . . not field workers. Theres' no organizational pyramid without a base. . . and even here in AUstralia we can't get native Australians to fill out our agricultural base . . .we use backpackers, Kiwi's, . . .there was even talk of bringing in Filipino's. . . That right there is the problem. You're not gonna get the right people from the same demographic as what went before . . .its just not there . .

brian

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Nick L mutters...

Posted May 26, 2010
Regarding Demographics...

I think Guru Bob/Guy/Brian's point about the lack of labor is important, hence my point about French immigration to Louisiana.

It seems to me that white-dominated, English speaking America has been killed by the Wave, assuming that voting laws remain the same. There just aren't enough white English speakers left in the world to immigrate to America to refill it.

One thing that seems to be missing from this discussion is that modern farming methods require an industrial base (for machinery), and that they work best at large-scale. It's not clear to me how that works with the "homesteading" ideas suggested in the thread.

I'm rather assuming that regaining food independence will be a priority for the government, so they will at least make some attempt to encourage highly productive farming rather than subsistence living.

Regarding Tax, quoting Murph: "Tax the excess income? That will not work here either."

If taxing excess income doesn't work, then how the hell is the US going to pay for its military, let alone anything else? Is it just going to rent it out to anyone who can pay?

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Murphy mutters...

Posted May 27, 2010
Nick, how do you define, "excess income?" That is one of the core issues in American politics today. One persons excess is another person's necessity.

You've got to have taxes, on this I agree. But if you crush everyone with excessive taxes then you'll crush any desire to contribute to the society.

GB, let's look at some basic assumptions.

1. The post-Wave US population is probably around 15 million.

2. There is a massive disruption in the transportation network globally.

I think one problem with pre-Wave cultural views becoming the minority is the assumption that the 15 million won't grow of their own accord. There is a pretty clear historical record for population growth here in the United States stemming back to the Colonial Era. If the food is there, I suspect the remaining 15 million will grow.

Second, I suspect some effort would be made to ensure that the immigrant populations did not outstrip the remnant original population in terms of sheer numbers. If it were me, I'd run it on a one for one basis. One immigrant for one remnant.

This would enable the remnant to impart the cultural values we want without allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed.

Now granted, even at one for one, it is probable and likely that immigrant population will still become the new majority. It is a certainty that they will change the overall culture but the fact remains that the US has a long history of assimilating other cultures into her own.

Per guns and security, the type of security forces you are talking about require money and a lot of it. I suspect the US will revert to a militia based system (see McKinney's comments) with a small, highly trained, professional core.

Even with a military maintained at pre-Wave strength, the US is simply too large for it to be everywhere. Settlements will most likely have to look to their own security concerns, which is what prompted the Second Amendment and the town militias in the first place.

As for ethnic groups, I have to admit that I personally do not care which culture or group they come from. They just would need to meet the three standards I listed in a previous post.

Finally, and this will not be politically correct, but the US also has a history of dealing with internal security threats and cultures/populations that will not assimilate. An ugly truth is that if pressed to the wall, the Remnant will crush anyone who doesn't get with the program.

Or perhaps a faction within the Remnant will crush anyone seen as taking America too far away from what they perceive to be her original values.

Something to consider.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted May 27, 2010
Murph.

Reality check, if you please? Where does most of the 15 million reside post-wave? IIRC most of that population base are permanent residents of Hawaii, Seattle state and Alaska.

I really don't see a significant proportion of that group pulling up sticks and moving into the post-wave area.

Lotsa reasons for that position. Most people aren't going to move from their existing homes, jobs and families. The remaining states have to remain functional as well. On the other hand . . .there will be significant job losses in those states as they no longer service a larger US economy ie trucking firms. But . . .the people you want to be pioneering? I'm still seeing low levels.

For the sake of argument. Back of envelope. 15 million. CHildren, very old . . .take off 50 percent. 7.5 mill. To support one person you need a logistics tale of some sort . . . roughly 5 people to send 1. So about a million available, in 3 very different places . . . to fill 47 states. . .20 thousand per state . . . .roughly 4 towns worth per state. Definition of town size . . .5,000 people . . that's English and for pre-industrial revolution . . .seems fairish for a self sustaining set-up.

Hmm . . .ISTR that if 10 percent of a population is in revolt . . the revolt will be successful . . some handbook on urban warfare I read somewhere. . .

I have to say . . .I see problems

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted May 27, 2010
Guy - re: bring in as many immigrants as possible from UK/Aus/NZ and places like Scandinavia/Germany/Netherlands

I just don't see the appeal to anyone from those countries in leaving the comfort of their own countries to migrate to a new country which has pretty much zero infrastructure, contaminated food and water supplies, lacks basic security and lifestyle comforts, and prey to political and financial uncertainty. And lest not forget about the ghosts - real and imagined - we will be talking about an entire population that will effectively be trying to deal with some sort of post traumatic disorder, grief issues and an epidemic of depression and mental illness.

While there will be a minority of gungho cowboy types and some do-gooders who are attracted to the potential of making a quick euro (the dollar won't be worth shit) and they are probably the type who will create more problems than solutions.

The majority of the population of deevloped countries will go to ground at home, no matter what the local political upheaval is and trust their own politicians and armed forces to look after them, believing whatever lies their local media tell them.

The people who will be on the move are the ones who will find the above scenario (contaminated food etc) much better then where they are now - probably because of conflict.

The other thing everyone assumes is that the 'US Government' in an underpopulated continent will be in any position to pick and choose who comes and who stays. Unless ethnic cleansing becomes the official policy of the Seattle government - they will have to find ways to acculturate and assimilate whoever make stheir way into the conUS.

Murph's point about the smaller population base repopulating is probably on the mark - but that takes decades to really take effect - unless we are looking at child soldiers in the US military?

The other point is that the 15 million US citizens spread aroudn the world will all want to return to a devastated country populated by ghosts. Some will want to stay wheer they are, other smay be taken hostage by governments anxious about what they will see as a nuclear armed rogue state that doesn't seem to feel bound by its previous responsibilities as a superpower and some will see little point in identifying themselves as Americans any more. Of course others will cling to the dream that the once great USA will be reborn through their enedeavours and will want get straight to work, and some will be turfed out of wherever they are located. Some will be the victims of pogroms and mob violence - the USA is already blamed for everything that goes wrong around the world - the US expats will be easy targets to blame for domestic problems now that the big stick has gone away . The new version of the jewish diaspora rebuilding a homeland. The Seattle government won't be able to toss a nuke willy nilly into every country where a mob torches their embassy or lynches US citizens and expats.

I have been looking for historical parallels for the population issue - one that comes to mind is Rhodesia where a minority of white farmers tried to keep a majority under the thumb unsucessfully despite a clear military and technological superiority. But then again they didn't have an ideology to try and convert the black inhabitants. But I could see something like that happening in post-Wave America where groups of 'patriots' try to maintain their American way of life based in ponderosas or settlements relying upon a working population of Hispanic, African or Indian refugees...

Maybe another analogy is Fiji where the indigenous population who contriol the political and military apparatus has been overwhelmed and outnumbered by economic migrants from India, who are essential to keep the economy going but are a continuous source of friction - which has resulted in political instability, frequent coups and general lack of social and cultural cohesion.

On another one of Murph's points - I see militia working in some places - private security, mercenaries and warlords in others...

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Guru Bob would have you know...

Posted May 27, 2010
Brian - some other stats re: population

Hawaii 1,295,178

Alaska 698,473

Oregon 3,825, 657

Puerto Rico 3,967,288

Guam 178,430

US Virgin Islands 109,825

US Mariana Islands 88,662

American Samoa 65,628

So a total of just over 10 million out of 15 million Americans are already at home - why would they move anywhere? That just leaves a potential mobile population of 5 million - mainly comprised of already displaced expats/refugees and military - which may cut down your figures even more?

And coming back to the point of ethnic composition the largest single group of Americans will probably be ethnic Puerto Ricans? Followed by whitefellas and then Hawaiins... even the Inuit would have a lot more piolitical clout as a significant proportion of the entire population!

Another thing about leasing Louisiana back to French - why would they want it - after a year of uncontrolled oil spills - the whole state will be flamable...

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Brian asserts...

Posted May 27, 2010
Thanks for the figures GB.

That's the sort of thing I was getting at.

Let's roll with Murphs 15 million for a minute and think military. The size of your military is geared to your population and economic base. The sustainable limit. The AMerican military has to now function at a level like the Australian . . . . really, really small. Force projection capability is degrading and degrading with time.

Now. . . someone around about now will point out things like 'tech edge', superior training, superior whatever . . .none of which makes a difference, if you don't have a civilian base to support it. Parallels with the Soviet Union spring to mind once again. Abandoned overseas bases. Abandoned equipment.

Lets look at where people want to go rather than where they ought to go. First : wherever the military is. Primarily bases, seaports, rivermouths . . .where they landed, where they can get seafood and sea supply. Capitals . .Eastern seaboard and California. That sucks a lot of people up and leaves most of the rest of the country . . . bare.

Start figuring on agriculture restarts close in to new population centres. Economics, proximity and security. Restarting a corn and wheat operation in Iowa is not going to happen.

The danger with this scenario is that people can set up shop anywhere and not have governmental oversight. Using satellite imagery is fine . .if you have the gear and people. . .getting someone down there to 'show the flag' and have folks be impressed by it is going to be difficult. Get enough unknown immigrants turning up and you've nickel and dimed your force strength.

And then we have a force recruitment levels to consider . . . wait a tick . . .JB went to some length to introduce us to those Poles in WoW . . .perhaps he's going to using the same trick as the American Revolutionaries did with the Hessians. Hmm . . .Lafitte's forces as well . .

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted May 27, 2010
I am also thinking beyond just military stuff - your entire education system is completely destroyed - only a couple of (lets face it) less significant universities left in Seattle and Hawaii, but the country has lost most of its high powered brains trust - there will probably be some academics abroad on sabbaticals, conferences, research trips etc and there will be other researchers in the provate sector who will be in similar positions. But how do you keep a technological lead when there is no-one left to do teh thinking behind it? Within five years other countrie sthat have kept their university systems relatively intact like Russia, China, parts of Europe, SE ASia etc?

Will also have lost most school teachers and support staff and systems - I know US schools system seems pretty dysfunctional in many cases (especially in The Wire series 4 which I am currently watching) - but its sheer mass and size must make up for that in our world. But education and self improvement is one of the critically appeal factors for new migrants wanting to change their life. The lure of a violent half-savage frontier society on mainland USA post-Wave won't be able offer a lot of self-improvement/educational opportunities to your average punter. Even if we see a decade of international turmoil after the Wave - most developed countries will still emerge from that academically miles ahead of USA...

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Brian asserts...

Posted May 27, 2010
What you said GB.

Tripped a few other thoughts in my head. The 'brain drain' after WW2 was to AMerica from Europe, and there's been a steady flow ever since. That intellectual capital is gone, with little hope of the flow returning. In fact there's going to be a reverse flow. Academics heading for whatever haven they can find.

As to intellectual capital. What chance has the New America of enforcing its copyright on the rest of the world? The States has enough problems here and now stopping copyright piracy . . . .in the new paridigm, its now open season on all opensource American intellectual property.

Take an example. Microsoft operating systems. Every PC has to pay a toll to Microsoft . . . .how's that going to work now? Who's collecting royalties?

A lot of standards and defacto standards are enforced by people like the FCC, Microsoft, the Fed. Drug Administration, General Motor's etc etc . . .gone . . .the ripples get wider and wider.

And those are economic issues every bit as important as food, ammo and people.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted May 28, 2010
Speaking as a college history instructor at a local community college who spends most of his time trying to repair nearly 13 plus years of educational malpractice by our public school systems, I say that wiping out most of the public education system is a GOOD THING.

I will say this.

There will be a pull for a utilitarian bent to whatever education is offered in the post-Wave United States. That is just a fact of life. Students in the public schools are going to be expected to learn about agriculture (something that isn't taught in most urban schools), mechanical arts, skills that will put food on the table.

As a product of a family that is all about the "If it doesn't put food on the table then it is useless," philosophy there will be a strong pull away from the concept of learning for the sake of learning.

Or consider this. My students frequently ask this question.

"How is this class in History going to help me get a job?"

So you might see intellectual stagnation in the post-Wave United States.

And not every academic is going to leave the US. Granted I wouldn't mind teaching American History or Western Civilization in Australia but if I had an opportunity to create a brand new community college or even a university in the post-Wave United States, I'd grab it and run with it. I'd be able to impose my vision of what I think is needed for a successful institution, set high standards and do away with a lot of the academic cultural crap that serves to impede the actual pursuit of knowledge.

I think a lot of academics would jump at the chance.

I know I would.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted May 28, 2010
Murph - my point exactly - the emphasis will be upon 'practical' education - eg tech skills etc. But without the high end thinking and research that happens at the big campuses, there won't be any platform for future technology developments and applications, hard science etc. This will all stagnate for several generations in the USA. Unfortunately the humanities and arts (including history) probably won't be high on anyone's priority list.

Also re: And not every academic is going to leave the US.

Sorry that wasn't my point - the academics who are still in the USA at the time of the wave have all been turned into piles of pink goop. You had better hope that there were some good minds sitting by a beach at some conference in Tahiti or somewhere if you want to put together any sort of brains trust for the future. All of the big world class US universities are completely gone - probably forever.

Re: school system - when you are putting together your expedition to get repopulate Kansas City - how highly would you rank the necessity of including a teacher in the party?

However as you point out there will be opportunities to start from scratch a new education system working with the smaller population base and maybe fund and resource it properly.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted May 28, 2010
Economics.

International debt.

A few things.

The US currently owes a lot of money around the world . . .in this case, Treasury bonds. The biggest debt owners are China, Japan and I daresay the Gulf States.

Either all debts are forgiven or trades are going to be involved . . .probably resources of some kind.

Side note : Japanese economic downturn. Two main classes in layoffs . . .Korean, and ethnic Japanese from other places . . predominantly Brazil. That's a sector worth watching.

Debt owing to the US, predominantly South American debt. Either that is forgiven or the New US can retire it in favour of animal stock or material trade. Unless the South Americans decide to stiff them.

The IMF is gone. So is the UN. So is the World Bank.

International currencies. While it may be easy to put the Euro up as a replacement world currency . . . .(points at the current situation with the PIIGS). . .Germany and France look like dominant Eurozone currency players. The Japanese look like Asia's biggest player. Hmm . . .I forsee the Japanese Daibatsu getting back into the arms trade with the US as its biggest customer for the time being. And arms trading is a significant world commodity.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted May 28, 2010
GB, speaking as a soldier and an educator, a teacher is going to be top priority.

I suspect there will be a great deal of multitasking. Someone might be a journalist, English teacher, and perhaps a member of the local council.

As for innovation? Well, innovation comes in many forms. Given the labor shortage, that may spawn innovation (and not just technological but perhaps political/social).

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 4, 2010
Consider the demographics of the waves.

Those 15 million will not be reporesentitive slice of todays America.

For starters there aint no schoolkids or Grannies in the defense forces, the consulates, overseas placed academics nor the offshore industries.

As I understand Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, US Mariana Islands, & American Samoa are all heavily biased <30 age group.

Traditional government $pend in Education & oldies care would be much reduced. Unemployment benefits would completely disapear.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted June 4, 2010
NWB

That's where I was heading. There is a significant imbalance in the age demographics. Likewise . . .educational background. Its one thing to say . . .'The cultural dynamic is this . . .and will remain so . . ' - that's absurd when the dynamic is different for each age group. A middle age adults thinking is quite different to a young adults for example. A culture is group-think over an entire spectrum. In this case most of the spectrum is gone.

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