Cheeseburger Gothic

Day trip to the big smoke.

Posted September 13, 2010 by John Birmingham
I popped down to Sydney today, to give a talk at the Hurstville library about Leviathan. I dips me lid to Unposs for dropping into the gig and saying hello at just the right moment. I really needed someone to help me fashion an escape. He'll know what I mean.

It was a pretty productive day all round. Virgin Blue canceled both of my flights in and out, forcing me to take an earlier flight down and the later flight home. That allowed me to squeeze in a couple of extra meetings, and a couple of beers at the end of the day. Although possibly one beer too many, because I thought my flight was 6.30, when in fact it took off at six. Thank God for the standard 15 minute delay on all Virgin flights.

I do have an invite to fly back to Sydney on Saturday for the opening night of Leviathan in western Sydney, but I'm not going to be able to make it to the Hurstville show. There's just too many clashes with preset commitments up here in Brisbane. But I'm hoping to be able to get to the launch of the show in Casula in October. Actually, October is looking like a pretty busy month for travel. I have another trip to Sydney to give a talk at some architecture conference (I think) which I'd quite like to do because I get to stay at Government House in the botanical Gardens.

Apologies for being out of contact over the weekend, but we took the kids and a couple of their friends away to uncle Lenny's beach shack at Fingal heads, which is a very 1930s experience. There's a small creek, full of fish, which runs right past the front door, and in which the kids are happy to spend hours at a time. There's the beach. The bait shop that sells the really nasty cheap bottles of wine. And not much else. I took my Kindle and got some reading done. I'll blog that up a little bit later in the week.

Bedtime for me now. There's another thinky blunty coming tomorrow, and I'll need my sleep.

9 Responses to ‘Day trip to the big smoke.’

Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted September 14, 2010
I hate thinky Bluntys.

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Domestic Daze. reckons...

Posted September 14, 2010
I agree Mr Boylan, too much thinking first thing in the morning has to be bad for a person somehow.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted September 14, 2010
Actually, it is very good for a person; it sharpens the mind. That is why I am against it - at least for the uneducated masses. Thinky Bluntys breed Bolsheviks.

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Domestic Daze. mumbles...

Posted September 14, 2010
I would argue for some it is best to allow some their personal space and coffee before throwing thoughts, opinions and questions at them, unless the person doing the asking has an appetite for danger.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted September 14, 2010
My appetite for danger was satiated decades ago. Since then, I have consciously and patiently designed my life so that I never have to jump out of an airplane or conceal a weapon. But I confess to secretly enjoying depriving people of their personal space and forcing them to throw out thoughts and opinions unaffected by caffeine, engendering the kind of danger that fits well-within my current sedentary lifestyle. The consequential danger is a small price to pay for the resulting illusory sense of intellectual superiority.

And you?

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Big Pete puts forth...

Posted September 14, 2010
@JB

'Uncle Lenny’s beach shack at Fingal heads' sounds like the holidays I used to have as a child staying at my grandparents place at Wyong on the NSW central coast, their house was right on the lake. Fishing with Pop in the early morning, swimming and exploring all day, prawning at night.

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Domestic Daze. reckons...

Posted September 14, 2010
Mr Boylan whilst always happy to challenge the good graces of those around me, I must confess to a deep and abiding love for personal space on waking. Hence I normally set my alarm to ensure that I have my small amount of 'quiet' time and my family whom I love greatly, also make it in one piece through to lunch time.

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unpossible reckons...

Posted September 14, 2010
No worries dude. Glad I don't get the crown for being the creepiest fan :)

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted September 14, 2010
Ain't no creepy fans here, unpossible. Oh god, I saw some way creepy fans at a signing at a book store in San Diego yesterday. The experience totally weirded me out. I had no idea authors had to run those kinds of psycho-social gauntlets.

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So, what IS going on in the rest of the world.

Posted September 3, 2010 by John Birmingham
There'll be a slight delay in the Geek going up today cos I wrote a long review of the Kindle, forgetting that I'd also a feature for the Oz about the future of publishing that tied into the Kindle release. So I put my review on the backburner and did a piece about gaming instead. It'll go up later.

For now though, I've been trawling through the comments in the AA threads and one of things that came out very strongly was a desire to see some of the next book set outside the US, to learn what is going on.

Well, I can give you some of the broad outlines as they're outlined or sometimes hinted at in the book.

Civil War in China.

Limited nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan.

Hell in the Middle east.

The rise of a South American federation of unspecified size and power under Roberto Morales (some may recall him as Miguel's offsider at the road block in Acapulco).

Widespread piracy in the Carribean.

Ditto the waters to our north.

Some sort of revolution in Indonesia.

A good deal of ethnic cleansing in Europe, of varying intesity and vioence depending on the locale.

Apart from that, it's all open. So, given what you know of the world, as pepsi challenge for the weekend, why dont you tell me where you see things going, geo politically-like.

115 Responses to ‘So, what IS going on in the rest of the world.’

Therbs mutters...

Posted September 3, 2010
Let's look at Finland. It gets made fun of by Swedes and Norwegians. It has a titchy neighbour in Russia and its language is bizarre. It is also the home of some overrated architecture and populated by people who like forests, vodka, rotten fish, reindeer meat and fast driving. Overshadowing all of this however is the most important discovery in its history surpassing even that of reindeer steaks and rally driving. Two hundred year old drinkable beer has been found in a shipwreck in the waters off Finland. Now that's a story totally worthy of Friday afternoon drinks.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/03/3001443.htm

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NBlob mutters...

Posted September 3, 2010
ooh yeah, that's it. You give good international ructions.

I reckon Piracy from both ends of the [resourced & professional] scale will flourish anywhere there isn't substantial force present to discourage it. 360 degrees around the African coast line. SE ASia & the Caribean of course. Would the piracy risk significantly change Singapore? How about the Eastern end of the Med? I'd guess the Suez is shut?

I kind of liked the idea of South Eastern Europeans fleeing back to homelands as they realise goat herding in Slovenia is better than being interred or starving in Edinborough. Back to the low-tech societies.

I have a clear image of a rural Bangladeshi on hearing about the 'End Of The Western World' saying "Meh, bothers me nil" and carrying on hand threshing grain, netting fish in the river and living his same life un interrupted.

Roberto of the black wife beater & sunnies? I took a shine to that lad.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted September 3, 2010
Or perhaps, because he has 1st hand experience milking, calving & butchering the previously spat upon Eastern European ittinerrant laborer becomes the Go To Guy in a Post Wave UK.

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Brian would have you know...

Posted September 3, 2010
Well . . . .they'd be no hoohah over Cricket gambling.

Hmm . . . .Sri Lanka will still be fighting the Tigers.

The approach to boat people will get a lot more vicious.

No mining boom. Australia will be in the economic doldrums. Agriculture may be in trouble. Assume butterfly effect. Could have droughts or flooding rains.

Timor could be gone.

Who are the major arms suppliers now? Russia?

South Korea could have attacked by the North absent American protection.

South Africa? COuld they have been swamped by refugees?

Several of these things require foreknowledge of where and when the States gifted their arms stockpiles and what alliances have been stitched together.

ASEAN could be interesting one.

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted September 3, 2010
Japan would be the crucial player in Asia. I'd assume they'd take on a few U.S. military assets and boost their navy to protect trade routes.

Economically the ructions in China would mean that manufacturing would need to be geared up in Oz and other countries reliant on cheap Chinese goods. This has implications from heavy industry down to clothing, footware and plastic novelties. Despite the crackdown on refugees there'd still be a whole heap of them in Oz looking for things to do before going home or settling. So, manufacturing gets a guernsey and to feed extra people the Ord River irrigation farms would expand once more, there'd be a wind down of environmental legislation against land clearing and a ramp up on infrastructure.

Who else locally? Ah, the Kiwis. They'll still be whingeing about Greg Chappell and trying to figure out what a Kiwi fruit is actually good for.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted September 3, 2010
Forgot one. Taiwan. You could possibly see some domino effects . . . .

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Darth Greybeard mutters...

Posted September 3, 2010
Balkanisation everywhere. Bali, Aceh and West Papua splitting from Indonesia, India fragmenting (if you look at the degree of ethnic loathing between Indian states now it could even happen here). North Qld becoming Kattertonia, Western Australia becoming Mineralia. While some states might federate, there's hardly a nation on earth that doesn't have some region itching to split. Any loose US Boomers with a load of ICBM's would be worth a fortune. I could see us, South Korea and a lot of other US-shielded states bidding for their own nuclear deterrents.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted September 3, 2010
"Kattertonia"

Respect.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted September 3, 2010
There are places in Hell for people who do that.

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sparty puts forth...

Posted September 3, 2010
@Brian

"Limited nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan" - what do you think that will be about!

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Trashman would have you know...

Posted September 3, 2010
'Hell in the Middle East.' I'd be curious to know what's happened with Israel in aftermath of the strikes.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted September 3, 2010
@ Sparty

I'm always of the opinion that a good story can always be made better with a few nukes.

However @ Greybeard "Kattertonia" . . . .a new drink Katter tonic and ice.

@ Sparty

At first blush. Need more thinking on this. So first approximations only.

India and Pakistan. Israeli's whacked Iran. Spillover of Shia into Sunni areas of Pakistan. Taliban deciding its time to play. India could have had a pre emptive strike on Pakistans nuke areas in imitation of the Israeli strike.ie remove a threat while they could.

Meh.

Or

India would like to keep its stockpile intact if it saw the traditional invasion routes into India being used . . .just to interdict land invasion through the Kyhber.

Possible threats.

Iranian army units joining with disaffected Pakistani elements.

Chinese warlords deciding they needed a seaport. Or those 10-15 Divisions of CHinese troops in Tibet wanting somewhere to go.

Chinese civil war. Traditionally Chinese Civil Wars are generally a North - South thing. I'd expect a very similar evolution. Heck . . its even possible the Taiwanese could get involved.

Meanwhile . . .down in Burma . . .

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Scott mutters...

Posted September 3, 2010
Middle East, Turkey wasn’t hit by Israeli strikes but is paralysed by the following-

Kurdish elements in both former Iraq and Iran unite for a Kurdish state without central control from the former Turkey gets to deal.

The tensions between the secularists and religious groups break out, without America providing aid and with EU membership imposible think France the military comes down on the Islamic parties, no Recep Erdogan.

Radioactive fallout add in refugees from shattered nabors.

If you wanted to get nasty throw in a Greek grab for Syprus.

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Stevo 73 ducks in to say...

Posted September 3, 2010
Where to start..........

What about the nutters in North Korea? Would Kim Il whoever decide that without the US to help the south, that it is now time to unite the peninsula? Or would China take the opportunity to get rid of the its internationally embarrassing neighbour, quietly, with a few nukes, and blame it on rogue US forces?

What about the grand caliphate to the north of Australia... Without the big brother US to help us did the Indos push south, retake East Timor , the rest of Papua and bring an entirely new set of boat people to Australian shores. This could be offset by the use of F111s (still in service back in 2007). They were bought because of their ability to bomb Jakarta and return to Oz without mid air refuel,..., maybe that would slow the push south.

How did Irsael go dealing with all the nuke fallout from its attack? Surely the land of milk and honey would not be the promised land anymore....Perhaps it would be all theirs now cause everyone else who survived the initial assault decided that the middle east really is a shit hole and decided to do the runner.

so much to think on....

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blarkon puts forth...

Posted September 3, 2010
One empire falls, another will rise.

What sort of totalitarian state would China be if it wasn't able to sort out the civil war toot sweet? The fall of China into civil war wasn't really sold in WW as a natural follow on from the disappearance of the USA.

I think the insanely scary thought for a lot of westerners would be the "fall" of the west as the dominant civilization - something that we've been since until just after the dark ages. By neutering China, the fear that the world would be remodeled in a totalitarian Chinese image is eliminated from the book.

The USA is perhaps fatally wounded, there is blood in the water, but in WW you stack the deck by taking out all of today's sharks. Isn't part of the argument about why the world needs the USA about protection from sharks? How they are the Jedi knights saving the rest of us heathens from the depredations of them wot are not like us?

What about the world's most awesome James Bond Villain President - Putin? Have you see the photos of the dude recently - riding motorbikes, doing Karate, riding submarines. Force for good? Force for evil? Last seen on water skis in the Black sea just about to jump over a tank full of sharks?

I was surprised that the greatest threat against the "New" USA in this new world was a bunch of poorly organized islamist pirates.

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P.J. is gonna tell you...

Posted September 3, 2010
I'd like to see more about what happened to Canada after the wave, and its standing in the New World.

You alluded to some things, noting Vancouver has become the HQ of Echelon and site of important political conclaves.

But as you may know, Northern Alberta's oilsands hold the second-largest oil reserves on the planet. And since the Middle East was nuked in Without Warning, that means Canada is the primary oil and gas producer in the world.

I'd like to see how the Canadian military and political authorities handle the disaster.

And it would be fun to see some Canadian characters who survived Edmonton getting sliced in half by the wave.

Perhaps stage some scenes in Fort McMurray, AB., site of the oilsands, and see how they plan to protect themselves.

By the way, I love your series. It's a brilliant look at one possible world.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted September 3, 2010
@P.J.

Oil sand development will be uneconomic. Principally as oil production probably will now exceed demand what with 400 million less vehicles on the road. Not to menion all the remainig oil and petrol laying around the place. Gas stations . . .fuel farms etc

Come to that . . .you can have the entire surviving US population driving ethanol or diesel or LPG vehicles. So a variety of fuels are possible . . .not simply gas.

Hmm . . .wonder what happened to the US strategic oil reserve. ISTR that they would pump oil back into wells for the reserve. Is that right? I know Japan has a number of oil tankers acting as theirs.

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted September 3, 2010
I dont know that all the sharks are gone, Orin. Russia is still with us.

And if China was intact I'd have no option but to write a Chinese war story. It would dominate the narrative logic.

But I dont think they could remain intact, losing their biggest debtor and seeing the architecture of the world economy, on which the CP has punted MASSIVELY, suddenly collapse.

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted September 3, 2010
Kinda curious about the Korean Peninsula.

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Amerigo Vespucci ducks in to say...

Posted September 3, 2010
Brian, driving alternative-fueled vehicles isn't really practical here in Alaska. First, because of the lack of supply. Second, because they simply don't work that well in cold temperatures. Diesel engines gum up and require extensive warmups, and ethanol or biodiesel tend to separate into component elements under the cold.

Given the generally colder temperatures in the post-WW world, these problems will be magnified, as will the nearing exhaustion of the Cook Inlet natural gas fields. Of course, such a world probably would drive extensive development of the North Slope's natural gas potential as well as further development of its oil resources.

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blarkon mumbles...

Posted September 3, 2010
After RR is complete, are you going to hang around in this Universe or are you planning on journeying elsewhere? I'd suggest that there is a lot to "wrap up" - but you left the AoT-Verse pretty unwrapped, so nothing is given.

Of course Pratchett is up to 38 Discworld books ;-)

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Amerigo Vespucci mutters...

Posted September 3, 2010
I personally think Russia might make it out all right; Europe's demand for natural resources isn't going away, and with chaos in the rest of the world blocking access to other sources, Russia's importance will only grow. The lack of Middle Eastern oil/gas, forex, will greatly increase the importance of Russian supplies. The same might also hold true with rare earths and various metals.

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blarkon mumbles...

Posted September 3, 2010
Russia does have excellent Shark potential. Awesome potboiler ex-KGB ruler. The Russian economy has been raking in the megabucks in our own timeline as an energy exporter (Moscow is in the top 3 most expensive cities in the world and has fluctuated at number 1 for a couple of years) - given the Israeli spasm in WW in the middle east, that would make what is left of the industrialized world even more dependent on Putin's goodwill as Russia is left with the significant substantive oil exporting infrastructure that doesn't glow in the dark (Russia is currently 2nd highest oil exporting nation). Obviously Oil exports will play a part with the South American bloc as well.

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blarkon mumbles...

Posted September 3, 2010
PJ - Canada exports around a third of what Russia does - and most of Canada got 'waved

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JdR has opinions thus...

Posted September 3, 2010
Actually, I just liked that nappies were hard to get. I get that America provides some stability to the world. But I also liked that America makes and sells nappies.

What happened to global firms that were headquartered in America like McDonalds? Surely the Rhino would have had some views. Who's making entertainment without Hollywood (and Bollywood I guess)? London may have been grim on the ethnic and economic front, but surely the British celebrity scene would have been jumping. Maybe bleak French cinema has made a massive comeback.

But if I must play, what's happening in Southern Africa? Surely at least a looney like Mugabe is worthy of a throw-away line JB?

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zeniph ducks in to say...

Posted September 3, 2010
"Some sort of revolution in Indonesia." well you'll just have to send in a multi national naval task force lead by an American battle group with some type of research vessel in tow to sort that out....

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted September 3, 2010
I do not think North Korea would do anything other than what they've been doing, which is sitting quiet. The South would kick the living dogshit out of them. Granted, it would be a ruinous war (most of the mentioned ones have been) but the South would probably come out on top.

I think the world would break down into regional pockets of stability. I can see Japan, South Korea and Australia getting together to secure trade routes in their area. They will have a mutual interest in maintaining security in the Pacific Rim.

Same with Great Britain per the Northern Atlantic. In fact, if I were the Brits, when the Wave goes down, I'd try to reconnect with the Canadians.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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mckinneytexas swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 3, 2010
Korea, Taiwan and Japan seem interwoven. Japan would have to move quickly to secure food supplies. Ditto Taiwan. Those islands can't feed themselves. Don't know about SK. Look for Japan and SK to become the next martime powers: both have huge shipbuilding industries. There is real potential for conflict here. Look for Taiwan to move to the mainland--they have to, that's where the food grows. Japan well might do the same. Would N Korea go out with a whimper or a bang? It's one of the other. Murph, the status quo won't work because NK depends too heavily on the PRC for pretty much everything. It is not self sustaining. My guess would be an internal coup followed by rapprochement with SK. Further thinking suggests a lot of SK's, Chinese and Japanese would want to settle in the US once the wave lifted. The huge wheat production from Canada and the US are no longer in play and won't be for years. Net food importers have a very narrow window of opportunity to address an existential threat and the global distribution network is in the crapper. This is a high friction environment.

The piracy angle means every seafaring nation will need a navy and an armed merchant marine. Convoys seem the obvious defense move. Plenty of fodder for fanfic.

South America had stability issues before the Wave. Post-wave, it can't get better. Further, its industrial base, while not primitive by any means, is no match for the Pacific Rim or Europe. I don't think there is any shipbuilding capacity to speak of, which is THE transportation mode for the coming decades. Argentina, food production-wise, is the new Canada, if there are ships and petrol to get there and back.

Refining capacity. I believe I've mentioned this before. You can't run a car, a plane or a ship on crude. Our high end technologies call for a complex chemical and petroleum refining infrastructure that is the clear choke point for any country that isn't willing to revert to slash and burn, subsistence agriculture. Where is the refining capacity in the US? The Gulf Coast, Texas to Alabama. Blackstone has to go.

The three hot zones are the Pacific Rim, the US/Canadian zone and the Euro/Russian zone. The mid-east will be digging out for generations, it has no infrastructure. The mid-East, Africa and the sub-continent are the peripheries for the next several generations. Africa will starve, except maybe the very south. The subcontinent is geographically isolated.

The imperatives for a US/Canada/UK/Aus/NZ axis could not be stronger. Likewise, an SK/Japan alliance is as likely as the two being hostile. There is still a lot of ill will toward the Japanese. Maybe an SK/Taiwan alliance vs. the Japanese?

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted September 4, 2010
Mckinney, the North Koreans have to know they'll be committing suicide if they attack the South Koreans. Even without US backing, the South Koreans will make it very expensive for them.

I'm not so sure about an internal coup in North Korea. In fact, I wouldn't want to make any predictions about NK at all. They are crazy, end of story.

Japan and South Korea are already major maritime powers or on their way to becoming such. South Korea already has a goal of establishing a true blue water navy. As for feeding themselves, that I am not sure about. I'd have to do some research.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Roberto Teixeira ducks in to say...

Posted September 4, 2010
I get the feeling that Australian got the best of it. Looks to me as though the aussies haven't been affected too much. Maybe a bit because of large immigration, but nothing drastic. Am I correct?

The UK seems to be getting back to some kind of normalcy. Continental Europe seems to be developing into the new Middle East and I'd expect it to blow up anytime soon.

I imagine Africa would continue its perennial tradition of periodic ethnic civil wars. Maybe the few functioning nations (South Africa, for instance) might have trouble now that there's no longer a world police. Other than that, no change.

As for South America, I can envision this South American Federation being at odds with whatever is left of the Brazilian military. There has always been a great deal of opposition between the Spanish-speaking Latin America and Brazil, the former being a lot more to the left of the political spectrum, especially where the military is concerned.

The brazilian government may be centre-left, but the military heads are definitely way to the right. The brazilian forces have long been planning for what they see as an inevitable face-off with Chavez & co. and they've already took power before when they thought the country was dangerously heading to the left. I imagine they'd do it again.

It would be Left Wing dictatorship against Right Wing dictatorship. Probably more of a cold war type of thing though, as neither side has a lot of firepower. But it would also in effect remove South America rom the world game as they'd have their hands full fighting amongst themselves.

Maybe after a few nukes here and there the heat might make Antarctica more habitable. Might be a future power ;-)

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archy would have you know...

Posted September 4, 2010
per Roberto, 04 Sept: ***I get the feeling that Australian got the best of it. Looks to me as though the aussies haven’t been affected too much. Maybe a bit because of large immigration, but nothing drastic. Am I correct?***

Oh, I wouldn't say that, there's certainly a potentiaol for something pretty nasty. You read any of John Marsden's output?

http://www.rsimpson.id.au/books/tomorrow/explore/invasion.html

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archy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 4, 2010
per Murph, 03 Sept: ***Same with Great Britain per the Northern Atlantic. In fact, if I were the Brits, when the Wave goes down, I’d try to reconnect with the Canadians.***

If I were a pom, I'd abandon ship and head for Oz or Canada. BATT at Medicine Hat would be looking right attractive for 30 April.

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archy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 4, 2010
per Birmo, 03 Sept: ***Well, I can give you some of the broad outlines as they’re outlined or sometimes hinted at in the book.

Civil War in China.***

Well, you've got your priorities straight. I suspect rolling over the *breakaway province* might not go at all as smothly as liked, and that neither the Nepal of 2007 nor Bhutan would exactly be pushovers either. And all that Chinese activity would keep the Soviet Un, er, Russian Federation a bit tied up with anticipation. And that once the US nuclear protection was absent, Japan would have a crash program for both weapons and delivery means right shortly.

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archy reckons...

Posted September 4, 2010
per Birmo: ***Some sort of revolution in Indonesia.***

Which side is the Kumarian Raider Battalion siding with?

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Moko has opinions thus...

Posted September 4, 2010
LOVE that you let the fans get the chance to influence the book.

Standing ovulation for that.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted September 4, 2010
I've experienced indirectly a number of standing ovulation, each and every one of them either heralded or punctuated by my wife throwing something heavy at me, intending to make a dent. In my head.

I am wondering about the possible environmental fall out (so to speak) resulting from all the nuclear bomb activity talked about in the past tense in AA. Wouldn't thermonuclear explosions numerous and/or massive enough to kill so many people have a global effect?

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted September 4, 2010
Archy, the Kamarian Raider Battallion would be siding with the Musorian Forces to consolidate power in...um...the Musorian Confederacy. Or something.

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OzarkOrc mumbles...

Posted September 4, 2010
Re the US Nuclear Umbrella, it's still operative (Sort of); One purpose of the "New Manhattan Engineering District" (NMED?) is to continue to maintain/deploy that deterent. Kipper used one to "Warn" Chavez in WW; It's what gives the US/UK top table status in the world (No more of this nonsense about cancelling the UK carriers either; Becomes Priority #2 for funding, after keeping Trident operational).

Real World, the US/UK special relationship extends (somewhat) to nuclear technology. I know the UK was allowed to test some of their (indiginous) warheads at the Nevada Test Site.... (US Sold them the Trident Missles, they provide their own warheads).

And warhips become less high tech; Think Frigate Equivalent (FFG-7?), maybe with space/weight for Missle systems, but numbers of platforms have become key to stopping piracy. Electronics Suite, Helicopter Support Ability, and a couple of Medium sized Gun(s). Let the Koreans crank out the hulls, fit them with Electronics in Oz.

BTW (ITRW), Nuclear Capability also why Russia is still considered a Superpower. Sure, they could crush Georgia; A conventional offensive across the plains of Poland? Doubt they could bring it off. (In the real world, or the WW Universe).

Yeah, two separate threads here.

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Amerigo Vespucci would have you know...

Posted September 4, 2010
Paul Nicholas, I assumed the climate change seen in After America was partially attributable to the nuclear attacks. I didn't think of that whole cooler temperatures thing, but given the massive wildfires and atomic attacks after the wave, it only makes sense that all the soot and garbage injected in the air would do wonders to block sunlight and cool things off.

Couple that with the greatly decreased global greenhouse gas emissions from the global depression and disappearance of America, and it's pretty plausible in my mind.

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Leper puts forth...

Posted September 4, 2010
I can imagine North Korea going the other way and launching raids into China for supplies, which have likely dried up since China's civil war began. Alternatively, as food supplies dry up, NK also suffers a civil war, which leaves South Korea with a timebomb next door.

Taiwan is in an interesting position, as both of their main foreign influences are mostly out of the picture. China's instability is likely to flow over to Taiwan though. Japan would probably have some interest in helping to stabilise Taiwan.

Russia comes out of this in a pretty good way. Oil and weapons will both be prime export markets post-wave, although shipping them anywhere will be problematic. A Russian story would be nice, although hopefully without cliched Russian bad guys.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted September 4, 2010
Kipper didn't fire the warning shot as he wasn't President. Ritchie, Franks and Musso did that outside of the protocols for the use of nuclear weapons. What they did, technically, was illegal.

And perhaps, just perhaps, not even possible. I spent a lot of hours trying to find out what procedures are if the National Command Authority is so completely decapitated. The best answer I could find was a sort of dead man's switch protocol. Given that the boomer CDRs do not have a target to retaliate against, I suspect most would cite line and verse of the protocols and refuse to take action.

But then again, Ritchie would only need one sub, three missiles . . .

In any case, Kipper didn't authorize that. In fact, given what I know of Kipper's character, I suspect he'd probably object to such an action prior to the events in NYC.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Robert mutters...

Posted September 4, 2010
I dunno, Birmo, you've made such a mess of the world I'll leave you to clean it up.

But one thing I'd like you to try (without the kids in the car): next time you are on the road, and no one is behind you, try letting go of the wheel and taking your foot off the pedal at the same time. See what happens? You might want to back off the vehicle wreckage--I think you overplayed that by far, especially for vehicles traveling city streets at low speeds in the same direction.

And WTF? Car seats and stereos are more valuable than the precious metals littering the ground? Really?

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Sweet Jane Says has opinions thus...

Posted September 4, 2010
kiwi = flightless bird

j.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 4, 2010
Car stereos and seats are already processed, finished productions. Easier to move and sell. Precious materials not so much.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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yankeedog swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 4, 2010
Really could toss a curve by having the Koreas united-some sort of secret treaty or something.

Going with Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand forming an alliance to protect trade and pool resources.

And at the end, Rhino will be named Supreme Generalissimo and By The Grace Of God Defender Of The Faith of the entire world!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 4, 2010
Actually, in a Boylan perfect AA world, I would very much like to see Miguel put a bullet through Blackstone's head in the same manner that Bean put a bullet through Achilles' head - if you get my drift.

JB, please make it so.

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pitpat ducks in to say...

Posted September 4, 2010
In a geopolotic I reckon that Aus and Indo will form an alliance possibly a bloc to control the in ground resource endowmnet and with a combined population of of over 300mill will have the critical population to suppport a strong domestic economy and thereby a strong military presence . Aus was alredy buying weaponary in both AA and I think WW. Indo are well versed in social turmoil and to date have had a remarkable abilty to come through it. Althought there may be sectarian divivsions aver time the southern bloc will porvide the world with an example of a working relationship.

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OzarkOrc is gonna tell you...

Posted September 5, 2010
Australia/Indonesian alliance? Maybe a VERY loose one (Say somthing JB);

Where do you think "Boat People" come from?

And how developed is the Indonesian Economy (Or was it, May, 2003); Have they even finished first stage (Textiles/Light Industry) Industrialization?

Anybody can make AK's (Mostly stamped); But does Indonesia have an indiginous Small Arms Ammunition capability? Australia does I am sure, just not sure how large. Some kind of Mobilization base with low rate production.

AARGH ADD strikes again, latest seemed to require comment.

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Stevo 73 has opinions thus...

Posted September 5, 2010
An alliance with Indonesia beyond what exists today in our timeline is unlikely.

According to Janes (2009), Indonesia does have the capability to produce small arms ammunition, and low quality artillery ammunition, and some armoured vehicle capapbility.

Do they have their own small arms production, that was not stated.

We do still make our own small arms. Lithgow has been the centre of Australian small arms and munitions production since before WW1. Unforunately it now only produces the F88/F89s, 5.56mm ball and trace, and hand grenades Most of our artillery rounds are sourced elsewhere...

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R0s3mary is gonna tell you...

Posted September 5, 2010
I just want the next book NOW!

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El Coqui puts forth...

Posted September 5, 2010
SK vs NK, no contest. NK is rotten to the core.

SK, Japan and Australia may form an alliance. Who bought the carriers that the liberals wanted to keep selling.

On the Caribbean, Puerto Rico becomes the linchpin for the remaining American power in the area. The deep water harbor the Roosevelt Roads becomes the largest still operational naval base in the Atlantic. Ramey Air Force reopens to serve the military aircraft inventory. A revamped Coast Guard equipped with Australian built Armidale class patrol boats try to keep a lid on the piracy problem. The American version is heavily armed to fight the close quarter battle that such mission demands. Puerto Rico based Spy and reconnaissance air-crafts and nuclear submarines kept an eye on the new South America Federation.

Due to the high unemployment, Puertoricans volunteer in droves to reoccupy key installations in Florida and southern states.

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RobinB puts forth...

Posted September 5, 2010
I think it would be interesting to observe the breakdown of society in central Africa. The lack of any foreign aid coupled with the inherent instability, the high prevalence of HIV and TB means that there would be the rise of the warlord and return to tribalism, perhaps a lot of mini Mugabes would arise. Perhaps a few well run countries would be able to hold back the tide of anarchy but I doubt it given the inherent poverty. South Africa would have their own work cut out keeping their country together with the collapse of export markets for their minerals, gold and diamonds.

I think the rising power in the world would not be Australia but the United States of Southern America. There is considerable technology and industrial capability there. Remember most of the world's ethanol from sugar comes from Brazil and Venezuela is a very large oil producer. Colombia would be an interesting case study with the fall of the drug lords because their market disappeared.

The fall of the major market for illegal drugs would also impact upon the local peoples of SE Asia and Afghanistan.

Vladimir Putin would be a potent force in the world and I believe would play a larger role than we have seen in AA. It all depends on whether he sees this as an opportunity to expand in a colonial fashion to resource rich place like Nigeria or is content to watch the chaos from a Kremlin based comfy chair.

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nhamilton@iinet.net.au swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 5, 2010
I see Indonesia trying to increase its territories, for resources and religious reasons. This causing conflict with Australia. Not sure what we would do about it without America to back us up. As far as the rest of Asia goes, they would have them wary of Indonesia's ambitions.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted September 5, 2010
Ethanol Shmephanol. Brazil = enormous deep water oil and gas deposits. W/o America, definite regional hegemon if not burgeoning global power.

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Stevo 73 is gonna tell you...

Posted September 5, 2010
Agreed, with the drop in demand from the near obliteration of the US, ethanol would bite the dust for another few decades and that would place Brazil in an interesting spot. As the outsider country in South America (being Portugese speaking) they would have to be one of the buyers of ex US mil hardware to ensure their own security from their greedy little neighbours, of which there seems to be plenty.

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Don Bagert has opinions thus...

Posted September 6, 2010
Birmo, you strongly hinted that Israel has continued to be active by having Admiral Ritchie say the nuclear attack in 2003 was their "first strike". I would like to know about that. (Or were you using "first strike" as a term synonymous with "pre-emptive strike"?)

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Don Bagert asserts...

Posted September 6, 2010
How about outer space? The disintegration of Columbia on re-entry just 13 days before The Wave has probably been even more forgotten by the public than it was in OTL by the Iraq War. Do we know if the International Space Station is still being used? Are some governments worried that The Wave was caused by extraterrestrial pheonomeona? Have there been suggestion to terminate any SETI efforts, in case that had something to do with The Wave?

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted September 6, 2010
First strike is usually a pre-emptive one. I suspect Israel emptied everything BUT the kitchen sink.

As for ISS, I wouldn't be surprised if the Russians took it over. I do not see how the US could possibly maintain a presence onboard.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted September 6, 2010
I agree with Murph re: Russian take over of the ISS. But would they arm it? It would make a magnificent weapons platform.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted September 6, 2010
I agree with Murph and PNB.

Except I dont think the ISS would be armed. There are probably enough weapons systems up there already.

I think Israel probably kept a couple of nukes as a strategic reserve. Hmm . . . .how far is Israel going to go to fill up her nuke bunkers again?

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KC Matt has opinions thus...

Posted September 6, 2010
Wow. As someone who just happened across WW, and then had to rush to the bookstore before they closed to get AA, I must say, your writing style, level of detail, and the fact that I can see in the distance, to my west, the IATAN power plant, I am so completely hooked. It is quite nice to see Kansas City in a novel, and also creepy, as I would be a pile of goo in 501's. With this being said, lets see the POTUS make KC the new capitol. I dont believe he would stay in the NW for a second(IMHO Its simply too strategic).

Also, you mentioned Whiteman AFB, I have some good stories about that place. Would be very important power projection

(think B-2's). SOOOO looking forward to the next installment.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted September 6, 2010
KC Matt, when I drive to my day job, I see the Hawthorn Plant in passing.

Kansas City has made a previous appearance in an SF novel. There was a novel about a Second American Civil War and a scene took place down at Crown Center. I can see the cover but for the life of me I can not remember the title.

And she made an appearance in a very bad SF movie called Asteroid with Michael Biehn as a FEMA director where they blow up Smithville's Dam. Funny thing is, I was born there. The dam doesn't look like a clone of the Hoover Dam to me.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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KC Matt has opinions thus...

Posted September 6, 2010
I remember that movie also Murph.....Very B-ish, lol.

And, then there is The Day After(1984). I was in 6th grade then, scared the living poo out of me, but it did impress on me the stratigic importance of KC on many levels(transportation, manufacturing, agriculture) and also allowed me to love the metro even more. I will search out the novel you speak of, sounds interesting. Hey John, what made you pull KC out of a long list of cities? To ppl. that dont live here, they almost ALWAYS have the wrong idea about this place. Your descriptions were dead on though.

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted September 6, 2010
The China scenario I would expect is as follows:

USA disappers and with it the biggest market for Chinese goods. With no-one around to buy new plasma televisions and designer jeans, the Chinese economy goes into doldrums very quickly. The old-style communist rulers don't know how to deal with widespread unemployment as factories quickly empty themselves of workers, the wealthy/middle class become targets for violence and riots beak out. The edifice of a communist-based super-economy starts cracking and then what do you know we have attempted coups by generals looking to consolidate their power base against the Party - also to secure their own pockets - doesn't the PLA run whole industries on the side?? Add in a couple of corrupt regional governments and you have a quick recipe for civil war.

However the side effects of a civil war in China would be refugees on a scale which we couldn't even imagine in today's world. The numbers of displaced people would be enormous - imagine a conventional battle in a city like Shanghai? How many people would be left homeless and displaced?

Almost immediately waves of Chinese refugees would start affecting every country with land borders with China - that would lead to further destabilisation throughout the region - some countries would try to seal their borders, some would try and take advantage of them and others may try and do the right thing. Easy to see flotillas of boat people heading East towards the West Coast of USA and no-one in place to try and stop them when wave comes down.

This crisis would effectively paralyse most of SE Asia politically and economically...

On other fronts - unlike Murph I can't see NK sitting on its hands if SK's big protection is suddenly removed. The nutjobs would see it as a clarion call to action and would try something on. It would depend upon what happens to US forces based there? Were any of them sent away to Gulf deployment in teh first place? In any case I can't see Kipper leaving 30-50,000 servicemen sitting in SK when they could be back in the homeland after the wave disappears.

NK could do anything ranging from full-scale invasion to stepping up its crazy covert attacks to a constant state of siege. However NK would also be affected by Chinese refugees as well...

Russia would be consolidating its position in Europe and buying up technology like crazy. They would probably have a lot of money, and Putin wouldn't be able to resist bullying smaller countries and the whole EU to let him do whatever he wanted.

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sparty is gonna tell you...

Posted September 6, 2010
yep i agree with Don (even wrote some fan fiction over at the burger based on the space station). I know that for the sake of the book the cause of the wave may or may not matter and may or may not be revealed. But would like some attention to nations actualing dealing with the concept of something so unexplainable happening.. ie Russia might think they were next etc- so regardless of if WE find out the Sovs would be ding something...

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Stevo 73 would have you know...

Posted September 6, 2010
Guru Bob i agree reference NK vs SK the regime is so nutty I do not think they could help themselves, add that to the fact that they have over 1500 medium and heavy artillery pieces built into reinforced mountain bunkers that have been hardened and improved for 50 years, they may only get two rounds of fire for effect out before counter battery kicks in but even with conventional munitions, seoul would be obliterated.

Counter attack, who cares, the northern nutters would be happy to glass the parallel as soon as the thrust from the south began.

Certainly the south will win, but the cost to residents of the peninsula would be huge.

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Guy mutters...

Posted September 6, 2010
THe US might have (mostly) vanished ut it may well be that the likely successors as global big cheese are nearly as badly off. Civil war in China, nuclear war in India/Pakistan which would likely leave the former badly wounded and the latter effectively destroyed. Russia might be in a better position but at the time they were barely able to maintain their territorial integrity and at best might have taken advantage of the situation to regain influence in the former Soviet territories - the 'near abroad'.

Europe is especially interesting. France has historically shown an ability to tear itself apart in civil war and then emerge massively stronger (eg Napoleon). Might that happen again? If so, would Sarkozy tolerate a large Islamic presence in Germany? I would imagine he would link up with nationalist elements in Germany to sort out the muslims there. Some limited cooperation with the UK as well, although Britain would have more than enough on its plate without getting involved in mainland European problems. I suspect that Britain would see an authoritarian Franco-German control of western Europe to be the least worst option available and they would be prepared to let the French get on with it.

Very interesting to see what's happening to Australia. A growing military power, armed with ex-US nuclear subs. I like the suggestion that Australia/NZ/Japan and South Korea would forge stronger economic and defence links to maintain some kind of regional stability.

We are told that Vancouver is the new centre for Echelon. The rebuilding of the US and Canada would be a vital interest for the Echelon powers, not least because if they do nothing there might be a new hostile Islamic state emerging on the US east coat. I believe the UK would be doing everything possible to assist the US to regain control of their territory. British troops in parts of th eeast coast, preparing the way for a wave of British settlers, perhaps supplemented by people from 'approved' European countries such Holland, and the Scandinavian states. Australians and New Zealanders doing the same in California. Yes, the ability of UK/Aus/NZ would be severely limited, but the potential rewards would be huge and the risks of leaving North america open to pirates and terrorists (and a threatening sounth American alliance looking north) would be an unacceptable risk for the future. I think the Echelon alliance - the 'Anglosphere' would be alive and well. Smewhat nastier than before the wave, out of necessity, but still the last, best hope for the world.

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Brian asserts...

Posted September 6, 2010
We've talked peripherally about the effects of the Wave on the American rump population. We're now talking about what is happening outside CONUS.

How is the rest of the world reacting to the Wave? Not its effects but the fact that it exists.

First every remaining nation capable of putting a science together is going to head over to study it. The ISS is going to be studying it. Strategic analysts in the absence of a perp are going to go nuts wondering if the damn thing is going to be aimed their way and what to do. Probes will be going in. Theoretical physicists are to go nuts trying to find a methodology to explain it. The public are going to freak about this sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.

Then the Wave comes down. Suddenly teams official and unofficial are going to be swarming Conus or Mexico for samples.

The public reaction will be what?

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Scott asserts...

Posted September 6, 2010
What surprised me in AA was the complete absence of religious explonations for the wave.

Historically whenever something unexplainable occurs people blame the supernatural until science comes along to remove the mystery.

In the post wave I can see all types of nutters coming out to play, eco types Gaia/Earth Muther/Goddess punishing her rapists, evangelicals calling for a return to scripture and the bearded types claiming that Allah slew the Great Satan.

Unless or until a scientific explanation for the wave is given these groups will cause problems for the world. The very presence of the wave will be seen as proof for whatever bit of snake oil salesmanship someone wishes to engage in.

In this light Indonesia’s fall to theocracy is almost inevitable, with all the trappings of genocide thrown in.

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Chaz asserts...

Posted September 6, 2010
Okay first up South America.

At the time of the wave things were happening Argentina was in Deeeeep shite. brazil was moving to the centre left with Lula. uribe was starting to move against FARC and ELN was almost a side show. Only Chavez was thumping the anti yankee drum.

With the disapeerance of the US (effectively) alot of S America would start trying to readjust with the down turn in US investment on a plus suide it might do Argetnina some good as money flight would be less of a problem and Nestor might not get into power. The peronistas might be tempted to do a falklands esp with my mate hugo itching to hit someone after the seppos did those airburts to make him cease and disist.

Under Blair HMG would not hesitate to nuke Caracas if Chavez did help try and retake the falklands but would hesitate to hit BA.

Morales would find it fairly easy to form a popular movement against the yankee haters with the aid of the realists who were in power in peru, chile, Brazil and columbia. Also the collapse of the illegal drug markets would make life very hard for soem persons who would likely loose their lives in the post wave re-adjustment.

FARC would loose hughe revune which would make their conflict agaisnt Columbias democratic givenrment harder and the governemtn would not heistate under Uride to use more force to bring them to book. of course Hugho might try and involve himself.

Senor Morales might then be able to do a Bolivar agaisnt Hugo and then use the political power to bring together the S. american countries.

PRC next i think.

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El Coqui mumbles...

Posted September 7, 2010
I think that Chavez GITMO escapade and the consequent navy nuke demonstration was the straw that finally broke the camel's back. I suppose that we can all speculate about the matter of his demise but rest assure that it was not related to natural causes. The follow up regimen could be immensely worse.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted September 7, 2010
Turkey should be discussed. It is currently a resurgent regional power. In 2003 the Turkish government was still considered secular with the military still effectively in control. The Turks were still tight with Israel, which means it is unlikely Turkey got nuked, whereas the main populations and military centers of historical rival, Iran, would be radioactive glass. This would leave Turkey in a very good spot to expand its influence if not outright control.

I imagine with the US gone and no longer the great power protector for Israel, Turkey and Israel would enter into a stronger alliance, with Turkey offering security in exchange for technology. Turkey would also make alliance with Russia to secure its energy supply.

The first test of Turkey's new position in the world would be how Turkey handles the disintegration of Greece. Even in 2003, the Greek economy was dependent on government borrowing and spending. The collapse of the world economy would result in chaos in Greece - chaos Turkey would be forced to attempt to manage for its own security interests. I don't envision an overt Turkish takeover of Greece (the Greek people would put their many differences aside to create an endless insurgency) but the Turks might very well support various factions that would split Greece into three our four different political entities that would then compete against themselves with Turkey as the behind the scenes king maker.

The US/EU imposed peace in Bosnia would dissolve and the Balkans would be in turmoil again.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted September 7, 2010
Might go the other way, Paul, with Turkey. I suspect they would be a refugee rally point for the Middle East. It is also possible that the religious elements might push the secular elements of the military out.

If the Balkans are in turmoil again then Europe will be unstable. I suspect the Russians may want to have some say in out the Balkan mess resolves itself.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brad G puts forth...

Posted September 7, 2010
I'm curious about Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Would the collapse of the oil economy allow the Wahhabis (spelling?) to overthrow the ruling Saud family? The Israleis didn't nuke Mecca (or Riyadh), so wouldn't the more strident Muslims take it as a sign that Allah wishes for them to run the Sauds out on a rail? And without the Shias (their population centers pretty much got decimated) they are the only Muslim game in Arabia-town.

As an aside, Al-Banana's bunch seemed to hail from Europe and North Africa, and, from what I understand about JB's original blog, the revolution in Indonesia is likely based on the creation of a caliphate (similar to AoT). The world-wide jihadi movement isn't monolithic, so would there be competition between the surviving Muslim centers for establishing supremecy in the Muslim world?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted September 7, 2010
If Israel actually decided to nuke anybody, my guess is that they would go for broke and nuke Mecca, which would devastate the Muslim psyche. Other than that, there would be no real benefit for Israel to nuke any other parts of the Arabian Peninsula because to do so would render the oil production facilities there useless. Or, more likely, Israel may have made a deal with the Saudis to spare them, and maybe Mecca, too. If so, the oil market wouldn't necessarily collapse enough to effect the House of Saud's comparative post Wave wealth and influence. The House of Saud isn't threatened in any appreciable way by the Wahhabists, who are now being "managed" quite well.

But Damascus, Teheran, Qom, Bagdad, Najaf and the nuclear launch sites in Pakistan would be targeted. Not Cairo or Amman because they are too close geographically. But maybe Tripoli, Aden and Mogadishu

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Chaz ducks in to say...

Posted September 7, 2010
El Coqui: Chavez would use the nuke demonstration as an example of how bad the Yankees are and he has/had enough supporters who'd believe him.

However as I said if you have a new Bolivar/San Martin in Morales then Chavez tiem is up esp if Morales tries to move away from the caudillo style of government.

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Brad G mumbles...

Posted September 7, 2010
Well, in WW, the Israelis did nuke Cairo, as well as the Aswan Dam and targets in Libya. They did it after detecting bio-chem hanky panky in Iraq, which got nuked along with Iran and Damascus. I didn't really see the sense in doing the Aswan Dam, because the radioactive sludge from the flooding of the Nile Valley would have impacted the Israeli coastal waters in a bad way. I'm not sure if the oil infrastructure got nuked, but the removal of the US oil appetite would have removed a large customer, and with the Chinese economic meltdown and the European market downsizing (as was implied in AA), the market for Saudi light, sweet crude would have bottomed out.

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Chaz mutters...

Posted September 7, 2010
Was thinking about France and could see logic in Sarkozy declaring the formation of the 6th republic along with further strengthening of secular nature of the state with a raft of other policies to maintain the Republic

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Scott puts forth...

Posted September 7, 2010
The Saudi's are fucked, even if they weren't hit by Israel the collapse of the oil market will remove so much national income that the economy will implode. Remember that the majority of the Saudi workforce are guest workers. No pay equals no work.

Add to this that most investments whent from lots of ones and zeros to one big fat zero. I'd have to do a lot more reading to work out how bad the situation would get for them but it doesn't look good.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted September 7, 2010
Although I agree the Saudi's would be fucked under most AA scenarios, I nevertheless hope the Saudi power structurer remains intact because nobody can party like a Saudi prince. Believe me, I know what I am talking about.

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Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 7, 2010
Next the PRC.

with the seppos basically out of the way it tries to invade Taiwan after a barrage of IRBM's.

due to poor amphib capability it fails and thousands of PLA marines die plus pilots and PLAN sailors.

Obviously a drop in the ocean to the PLA but still a heavy defeat.

the CCCP blames southern troops for poor morale and executes some generals for failiure. This stirs up the southern Cantonese speakers against against the northern Mandarin speakers. At the same time the Uighers and tibetans revolt seeing the world events in a possible epoch defining moment.

Taiwanese sleeper agents release minor Bio-warfare agents causing max panic and successfully spread rumors of a plan by the CCCP to use said agents agaisnt PRC nationals to control them.

central control starts to shatter as city and regional bosses try and retain/take power.

Thw warring states return with an Iron Triangle based around Hong Kong, Shanghai & Nanchang facing off against Beijing, Zhengzhu and Xi'an

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archy mutters...

Posted September 8, 2010
per PND, 04 Sept: ***Actually, in a Boylan perfect AA world, I would very much like to see Miguel put a bullet through Blackstone’s head in the same manner that Bean put a bullet through Achilles’ head - if you get my drift.***

I would bet not. If the unloved Henry Cesky was annoyed enough with Jules and the Rhino to arrange an elaborate trap with their demise in mind, just think how upset he must also be with Senor Miguel, who physically battered him and removed him and his daughters from the manifest of his planned escape vessel. Did Cesky also arrange for the massacre of Miguel's family? It would seem at least possible- and if so, Miguel's payback should both be interesting, and his choice of companions for that project might also involve some folks with whom we're familiar.

Indeed, if Blackstone upsets the applecart enough, I'd think someone like Caitlin would be tasked with the job, but she's now out of that line. Perhaps onetime GROM operator Freddy Milosz might fill her empty personnel space....

Stay tuned....

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Robert mutters...

Posted September 8, 2010
Ha! Murph, you are a hoot. The refabricated USA is now in the business of selling replacement car seats and stereos? What part of the world has a shortage of either? And why not salvage the computer chips from cars? Surely these bring better returns.

Birmo opted for leaving gold, silver and stones lying in the leaves of NYC in favor of retrieving, storing and shipping bulky car seats and low-value stereos. And he left Fort Knox and a return to the gold-standard unmentioned. I guess Auric Goldfinger had no such trouble second time around. Tricky Dick Nixon's chuckling from on high.

What happens next? I guess instead of retrieving and selling high-value specialty vehicles like fire trucks, lifts, cranes, other heavy equipment used in a modern city, or electrical utility components like transformers, generators, distribution equipment, copper wire, or even phone switches (since shipping and storage appear to be no problem and there is already a worldwide demand for these items), we'll get the government-backed gathering and storage (in deep mine shafts, no less!) of vinyl record collections, car door handles, cash registers and souvenir trophies made of the rubble of NYC.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 8, 2010
Robert, I suspect Fort Knox is probably secured in much the same way the WMD is secured, with a sizeable brace of surplus weapons.

As for stereos and seats . . . you don't know much about cars or what people want for them, do you?

But I'll explain it for you.

The folks stripping the wrecks are veterans doing freelance work. That is in the narrative. They aren't there on a government contract or anything else. They simply go over the wrecks and pull the valuable, salvageable components.

If you've got a certain make and model vehicle with a specific stereo system and replacements are not being made, at some point you might need a new one, or a better one. Folks have been shot in this country for less.

As for the other items you mention . . .did you read the book, Robert? Maybe you ought to read it again.

Just saying.

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 8, 2010
Robert . . .ohh boy!

Economics 101. You flood a market with any single commodity and the value of that commodity drops.

No?

Armaggeddon Scenario No. 1 (check your history books)

Black death. Not only did it wipe out a substantial proportion of Europe it also resulted in market crashes. First . .the survivors were the inheritors of all that landed wealth and bullion. Demand crashed out in everything except labor. Currency devalued. People were being paid in silver whereas before it had been goods or copper.

Armageddon Scenario 2

Thirty Years War in Europe. Germany. Europe once again was into a deflationary economic spin due to massive silver and gold imports from the Americas. The items of value came down to anything transportable . . .which was just about everything. The country Lichenstein was named after a fellow called Lichenstein who made his fortune in liquidating a lot of Germanys portable wealth.

Laws of Physics 101. Specific Density . . .mass divided by volume. Water is 1. Iron is 8. Gold is 19. Good luck moving a lot of gold quickly. Ditto silver and diamonds

Raw material value is always less than the value added value. Worked value appreciates as quantity dimishes.

On the whole . . . .car stereos returning removal and transport costs are probably a decent investment . . . .provided there's a market somewhere for it. Which I doubt.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted September 8, 2010
The Black Death resulted in market crashes???

At last, an objective reason to disapprove of pandemics that is consistent with conservative American values.

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Brian reckons...

Posted September 8, 2010
PNB

(laugh)

I got that titbit from an economic historian . . . history as seen by an economist requires a certain . . . .hmm? . . .recasting of one's thoughts.

Amusing really. No battles, no schisms . . .just market fluctuations coined in mine outputs, wool and exports of fabrics. Fustians woven from English wool was exported all the way to Byzantium via Venice. (Snap) End of trade more or less. Market crash.

The Black Death was also called the "Priests Disease" . . .priests seem to get sick first. Basically they were involved in export-import trade principally ivory. 'Patient Zero' conditions.

The conclusions seem to be somewhat valid . . .

The Black Death period was a beaut . . .you can look at as an economist or as an art critic. From an art point of view . . .its all horrible, pictures of death abound as well as punishements. Quite morbid.

The funny thing about the plague was how it went away. The best thinking at present was that the Black rat got marginalised by competition . . .principally the Scandinavian Brown rat. But there are other animal vectors involved. . . .ground squirrels in the US fr'instance.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted September 9, 2010
All jokes aside, thanks for the details. The "Priests Disease" phenom is beautiful. I have to find me an economic historian to have lunch with.

Kim Stanley Robinson wrote a very good alt history novel entitled The Years of Rice and Salt that begins with the premise that the Black Death didn't go away until it depopulated Europe. Highly recommended.

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Robert puts forth...

Posted September 9, 2010
I'm enjoying this comedy show, guys.

Wow, Murph, I did read the book and not one mention of the world's gold reserves, and yet all you hear advertised these days is how the value of gold skyrockets in uncertain times. Bingo--what could be more uncertain than life AA?

The other fail on gold? Yeah--all those pirates scooped it up and moved it off. Why wasn't very dense gold too heavy for them to move, Brian? Because it is easy to smelt and purify. Not a high-tech task at all. Folks been doin' it for thousands of years. Why, even those who gathered their fellow humans into gated communities found it worthwhile to smelt teeth to extract the gold. The other secret to gold? They ain't mining much of it anymore--it's too sparse, so if you can scoop it off the pavement, you've saved an enormous cost. Besides, it doesn't decay, so if you snag it while the other guy is sleeping, you still have it when he wakes up, and you can dictate the price when he wants to buy some back.

Oh, but in AA the stone-broke USA can fritter its most valuable asset - educated humans - in the role of protecting people who salvage fine Corinthian leather and, what, HD radios, in the isolated netherworld metropolis of NYC. Do car seats wear out quickly in your neck of the woods, Murph? Maybe on a cheap Honda, but anyone with some gumption can be driving a beamer in AA.

So, yeah, those salvagers operated at the behest of the government. You'd think the place would revert to its former fishing village nature, but apparently the food just magically flows into that area--by what means? Who knows? And for the pirates, the massive salvage operation had no trouble moving large amounts of product abroad. Do you think their longshoremen were union? In 2003, the world's cargo travels on the ocean in container ships. Are you saying Maersk is operating north of Manhattan?

This for a country with no radio broadcasts. No fuel for vehicles, few living bodies to put into cars, and no infrastructure for moving massive quantities of large, delicate items like car seats.

So, I appreciate the song-and-dance, guys, but you haven't made the sale.

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Don Bagert reckons...

Posted September 9, 2010
Birmo, your book made a cameo appearance in my First Year Seminar class at Southeast Missouri State University! I showed them how to use the "Search Me" feature on Amazon by searching AA for the one instance of "Puerto Rico" in the book ROFL!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 9, 2010
I don't get it. Got, I hate not getting it...

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Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 9, 2010
PNB, yep read KSR's book when it came out. It is ... interesting

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted September 9, 2010
Read Icehenge? If not, do.

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sibeen reckons...

Posted September 9, 2010
PNB, yep read KSR’s book when it came out. It is … interesting

If by interesting you mean utter shite then I agree totally. I hated that book.

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sibeen swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 9, 2010

Sorry.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted September 10, 2010
I'll tell Stan the next time I see him.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted September 10, 2010
Robert, I simply do not think you've read the book. If you did then you'd realize that most of the points you raised have been addressed.

Which is fine, if you don't want to read the book or finish it. I've done that, God knows. But in reviewing your posts then cross referencing a review of the Australian and US versions of the novel (more effort than I should have put into it) the only point I'd possibly be willing to concede is the gold.

That said, I suspect Fort Knox is probably secured with a brace of booby trapped nuclear weapons. And it is not like someone is going to be able to get it out of there easily. Nor is the current government going to be able to exploit the value there either.

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Brian mutters...

Posted September 10, 2010
Murph.

Be gentle. Its been a while since we've had a high level troll.

I know you're a fastidious sort, but let us have time to play with him? We've still got unused body bags and everything.

PNB

Yah. Priests disease. The Church of the time was more like an International industrial complex than a religion.

Cathedrals were only one visible part. Huge investemnts.

Here's another titbit. Stone import. The Normans were fond of building castles . . .quit a few are faced in white stone . . .from Normandy. Gobsmacked when I hard that one.

Tower of London . .the White Tower. William The Bastards . . .Normandy stone. That speaks volumes for transport, logistics in the 11thC.

Lots of historical titbits in how many ships it took to move bullion in quantity. Non trivial exercise.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted September 10, 2010
You are right, Brian.

I leave him to the tender mercies of the rest of the Burger Stand.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted September 10, 2010
I think Robert is crying out for help. I feel his pain.

Brian - what cool stuff. No kidding. But it smacks of more than transport and logistics. It reveals incredible wealth.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted September 10, 2010
@ PNB

Yeah it us. When you start looking at history through economists eyes, some of the social effects start making a great deal more sense.

Plagues have their place as well. The Black plague has been traced back into Egyptian mummys. The presence of North African malarial strains in Italy. Both plague and malaria carried by shipping.

One of the interesting things about plague is its rate of progress. If quick . . .look for ships. If slow . . .caused by people trying to escape it on foot.

Meh.

Everything is connected one way or the other. One of the reasons I chuckle about the Fort Knox idea is that it requires seriously heavy lift capability. Planes and choppers wont do it.I remember watching 4 heavy tractor haulers hitched together to move an electricity rotor. Took 4 days to travel 180 kms. Before they did that it took 6 years to rebuild bridges and roads to take the load. The idea of a quick snatch and grab of Fort Knox's bullion is quite preposterous.

Kitchen math. 1 tonne water is a meter cube. 1 meter cube of gold is 20 tonne. A car weighs about a tonne or so. Only way you can carry a meter cube of gold is on a reinforcd steel girder pallet. Special fork lift. Special crane. And a special rolling body. SOmething approaching a heavy ore truck springs to mind.

SOmeone usually starts talking about an Abrams Tank carrier . . .sure . . .50 tonne spread over its tracks. Distributed weight is a lot less than 20 tonne per square metr. Else an Abrams would make collapsed furrows in any surface it rolled over.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted September 11, 2010
That's why my After America fan fiction piece is a story about a group of ruthless rough and tumble adventurers who attack Fort Jello, where America's aluminum reserve is housed. Aluminum is a lot lighter than gold, and, consequently, easier to truck away in a snatch and grab operation.

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archy is gonna tell you...

Posted September 11, 2010
per Brian, 08 September: ***The Black Death was also called the “Priests Disease” . . .priests seem to get sick first. Basically they were involved in export-import trade principally ivory. ‘Patient Zero’ conditions.***

Indeed, And several researchers believe that one aspect of the *Black Death* was that it was not only a Yersina pestis outbreak, but also included the spread of Anthrax as a side 3effect of the spiralling plague. And the vector spread of Bacillus anthracis is indeed a component of the trade in ivory, which temptation impoverished and starving African governments are now succumbing- see: http://www.fas.org/ahead/docs/elephant.html

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Brad G asserts...

Posted September 12, 2010
Nuke power plants. I admit I don't know much about 'em, but wouldn't Kip have rushed in to shut those things down? Both the Discovery Channel (or maybe it was the History Channel) and National Geographic had shows that theorized on what would happen if the human population were to disappear over night, 10, 100, 10,000 years in the future, etc. The Discovery/History show didn't touch on the nuke plant issue, but the NGS show did say that the nuke plants would melt down, though I don't recall the timeline it estimated. I recall that JB did touch on the subject in WW (a couple of plants melted down, didn't they?), but I don't recall him touching on the subject in AA. I'm reading it again; possibly I missed something, which is easy to do on the Kindle version - it's a lot tougher to page back and forth, but then I'm technology-challenged.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted September 14, 2010
Brad G:

They turn themselves off. That was one of the problems with Chernobyl: the operators overrode the automatic shut-down systems.

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SJPONeill mumbles...

Posted September 14, 2010
I've been somewhat absent for the last few months but in scanning through this thread, I wonder if we are simply setting ourselves up for a resurgence of a US hegemony once every other place on the planet rips itself to bits as old scores are settled and new (but tactical not strategic) power brokers assert themselves. In the absence of any force project capability to occupy the now vacant US, might the surviving parts of the US reassert themselves post-wave?

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Brad G has opinions thus...

Posted September 14, 2010
Paul:

Good to know. Like I said, my question was based on that National Geographic show. I deleted the episode, so I don't recall the meltdown mechanism. I suppose if you're interested, you could find it on their web site. Kind of off-topic, anyway, since it wasn't rest-of-world.

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In or at: that is the question « The World According to Me… asserts...

Posted September 14, 2010
[...] new ideas to develop the America-less post-Wave environment…the way things are developing in the latest thread on this topic, the rest of the world will write itself off in petty score-settling and an almost vacant America [...]

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Vallon Davis would have you know...

Posted September 14, 2010
With the increase in Piracy in Caribbean waters the newly formed Caribbean Federation Union (with original charter members Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, St. Lucia) puts together a campaign to deal with the problem. Having acquired a few ships and aircraft and other weapons and materials from the U.S. Navy Coast Guard, Marine Corps etc for accommodating and granting resident status to many displaced Americans following the Weave and those that chose to remain, the Security Forces of the CFU engage in search and destroy missions against possible bases from which the Pirates operate from. Some of which may be those Caribbean nations that refused to join the CFU, or whose links to their colonial governments are in great doubt and whose political situation has been in great decline since the Wave. While the majority of the men and women taking part in the anti-piracy campaign are from the Caribbean, there will be a collection of Americans, Britons, Canadians and Europeans serving in positions as technical advisers and leaders having resettled in the islands and not wanting to see their new good life get disrupted.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted September 16, 2010
I doubt there will be a resurgence of US hegemony given the scenario we are working with. Using history as our guide, I suspect the United States will occupy itself with resettlement, maintaining territorial integrity and trying to rebuild the economy. That does not preclude limited foreign interventions such as Jefferson's aggravations with the Barbary Pirates but the days of massive power projection overseas are probably over for the forseeable future.

That said, if allowed to develop relatively unmolested, it is possible that a resurgence might take place but that is probably decades in the making.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Respond to 'So, what IS going on in the rest of the world.'

Audible thoughts.

Posted September 2, 2010 by John Birmingham
An unexpected package arrived yesterday, a big block of CDs, the audio book of After America. I'd forgotten one was coming out. Probably because my author copy of the Without Warning audio book went missing in the mail. Anyway, a little curious, I popped the first disc into the player in the Swedish tank this morning as I drove down to get some muffins for the kids.

OMFG. I won't be doing that again. I almost crashed the car twice because I totally fell into the story this guy was reading. It was bizarre. By the time I get to the point of taking my hands off the manuscript, just before it goes to the printer, I can hardly bear to look at the fucking thing any more, let alone read it. My mind actually flinches back from the page because I've been forced to plow through it so many times. I put the disc in purely to see how the narrator, a guy called Kevin Foley, did the dialogue. Having done a bit of public reading I always find the dialogue a challenge. Do you try and assume a new voice for each character or just read it as neutral as possible? I've done both.

It was weird, totally weird, hearing the voices that usually live inside my head (I know, I know) suddenly coming from outside. And a little confronting at first. For instance Foley reads Kipper As much older than I do. But it still works. As I said, it works so well I've decided it's a bit dangerous having it on in the car while I'm supposed to be concentrating on traffic.

I've only listened to a couple of minutes so far, but already it's made me see the book anew. And I mean ‘see’ it. I'll try and explain. By the time you get to the end of your work on a manuscript you no longer see the story. It's a bit like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix; you see the core code, the warp and weave of narrative lines, the topography of the story, the structure of simple sentences and complex thoughts. But you don't really visualise the action anymore. Or at least I don't. I assume most other writers at the same.

But listening to Foley read After America this morning, it was as though I was passing through the story for the first time. Seeing and hearing everything the same way you do when you first crack open the copy you've brought back from the bookstore. Because you would never bit torrent a pirate copy oh no.

It was cool. Cool enough that I think I might save the experience for some long plane flights in the future. Although as I prepare to dive into book 3, Revenger's Reach, I'm also wondering whether it might be useful to devote a couple of days to listening to the audio book all the way through to get myself immersed in the story again.

40 Responses to ‘Audible thoughts.’

jennicki ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2010
Wow. That is really interesting! I never really thought about it before, but how bizarre to have a story in your mind pop out like that!

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Moko would have you know...

Posted September 2, 2010
Audio books ARE the fucken SHIT....if read right. Got an iPod FULL of them. IF the author approves, then, imma be tapping that bitch.

IF you want a good one, get House to House by David Bellavia on audio book. FKN grouse. God, I'd pee myself on the spot if 'you' did AoT as an audio play.

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Big Bad Al would have you know...

Posted September 2, 2010
That would be the same with movies.

For example, Clive Cussler's Sahara... I read the book(s) first and had a firm mental image of Dirk and Al. The characters in the movie did not match my image of what they should be. I have since dismissed the movie characters as "ring ins" and continue to imagine the characters as described by the author.

On the other hand I saw the Jurassic Park Movies before I read the books. As I read the books the movie images of characters was imbeded in my imagination and although not as they are described in the books the movies characters prevailed.

As a young fellow I was a fan of the Biggles books. The ABC also had a radio serialisation of the books which, as I recall, was well presented. As with the books I would be immersed into the story and be right alongside Biggles as he flew of to his next adventure.

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eybeebe has opinions thus...

Posted September 2, 2010
I've read the first three Harry Potters to my kids now, and they're working through Stephen Fry's reading of the fourth - he does a lovely job of it. I often wonder if I'm doing the munchkins a disservice, depriving them of the pleasure of creating their own internal view of the HP world.

Kinda like seeing a movie before reading the book - invariably bad news.

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Orin reckons...

Posted September 2, 2010
Revenger's Reach?

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Ian Kath ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2010
Interesting.

It sounds like for you it's as though the read almost took you into that meditative state of consciousness where you became the story.

So did you fall asleep into the story or wake up into a new consciousness where you are part of the story?

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John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted September 2, 2010
Yep. Maybe RR.

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WarDog reckons...

Posted September 2, 2010
Wow, I could really handle a slide into a story like that. How big is the audio in MBs? I'm thinking that it could make a great hit on the smart phone market. Even the fruity one :-)

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BruceGaryNigelson puts forth...

Posted September 2, 2010
Is it just me, or do others picture Kip as a middle-aged, full crop of hair, fitness orientated sort of bloke?? Would be weird listening to him as anything other - well to me anyway.

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Scott would have you know...

Posted September 2, 2010
So WW,AA,RR hmm WAR how appropriate.

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 2, 2010
Well I'll be . .. .

Revengers Reach!!!

That's going to be providing talk fodder for a while.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted September 2, 2010
WW AA RR, What is it good for?

I'm a bit dubious on Revengers Reach, I still like Union Undone.

Havn't really got into the books on tape thing, although after Dad's stroke I have access to them but my BatPhone & The Bobettes hand-me-down) Ipod is chock full'o Podcasty goodness from ABC Radio National. Whenever they do boring art stuff or I'm out of range I'm into Boyer Lectures etc.

The only exception is grocery shopping where System of A Down, Primus &/or The HillTop Hoods are compulsory. It embarrasses the crap out of the Bobette as it appers I'm grooving to the shmaltzy Muzak.

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jennicki mumbles...

Posted September 2, 2010
So in chapter 14 does he totally say my name?

(couldn't help myself)

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Orin mutters...

Posted September 2, 2010
AA is available at Audible.com. I've had a subscription with them for 10 years and can download anything I've purchased in that time to any device I own - I'd highly recommend their service.

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Moko ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2010
Yeah, ditto on Orin. Audible is great. Apart from the Audible ads...but they don't last.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted September 2, 2010
Yes, Ms J. he does.

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warren swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 2, 2010
Hah! In my shop the writers must sit with a copy editor during the copy read, which means listening to the words followed by an outspoken punctuation mark: Apostrophe mark [capital L] Look at [capital S] Spot exclamation mark apostrophe mark said [capital J] Jane period. We are known for being Nazis though.

The real torture is the final copy read, in which the copy is read backwards: period [capital J] Jane said apostrophe mark exclamation mark [capital S] Spot at [capital L] Look apostrophe mark. While such copy editing is tedious to say the least it ensures fewer screw-ups in the final copy.

After enduring that the sound of prose being read is certainly rhapsodic.

Speaking of rhapsodic prose, what did you decide about going straight to digital and bypassing the publishing process? What about the reviews on Amazon for your latest?

Along those lines the Barnes & Noble mega-store on Broadway and 66th Street (Manhattan) is shutting down--they say because of high rent but it's really because of Amazon knocking the bottom out of prices and more people spending their time on the Internet...Also, Barnes & Noble is going on the sales block; that after having put all the private bookstore owners out of business. Look for a purchase and further liquidation of their big-box stores and further decline in impulse book purchasing.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted September 2, 2010
Revenger's Reach?

Ah . . . no. My vote is no.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2010
@ Murph

I think John is still having his Red Dead Redemption period. Give him time to work through it. Its a better hook than 'Book Mark 3'

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted September 2, 2010
Birmo's titles almost always change and I suspect this one will too.

Least I hope. I liked all of the other ones but this one leaves me flat.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian puts forth...

Posted September 2, 2010
And he accidentally did a 'whoopsie'? Doesn't sound like the John we know . . . the devil . . .

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Blarkon reckons...

Posted September 2, 2010
I keep thinking "Revenger's Reach Around" ... but maybe if it had a cover picture of the seal of the USAbut modified sot that the Eagle wearing sunglasses and holding an RPG in one claw and a chainsaw in the other and is smoking a fat cigar and is wearing a viking helmet and with a leather jacket that had FKN FERLS on the side it ... "Revenger's Reach Around" might work.

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Matt Kitchin asserts...

Posted September 2, 2010
See, I'm the opposite. I LOVE listening to an audio book in the car. It gets me into less trouble then actually READING while I'm driving too.

Glad the narrator nailed it. The best stories can fall flat with a bad reader.

(Pretty much anything read by Peter Hosking is great)

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted September 2, 2010
And how do they do the explosions, machine gun sounds, , .50 fkn cals going off, rocket launches, wet thud of bullets opening up brains and cleaving great fkn holes in people..hey!..how does THAT get done!

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jennicki would have you know...

Posted September 2, 2010
*passes out in pleasure*

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sparty puts forth...

Posted September 2, 2010
The Mist by Stephen King was done with sound effects, I like books read by the actual author - Stephen King has done one and Donna Tartts done the Secret History- although accents can be jarring its nice to hear something read by the progenitor

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Ryan DuBois would have you know...

Posted September 3, 2010
Hello, just wanted to let you know that I thought the book was great. I've really enjoyed reading your work. Thanks for the character. All the booksellers I work with are blown away to read me in a book. Even if I am blown into three huge meaty pieces. Still working my arse off to sell your books! Cheers!

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Amerigo Vespucci has opinions thus...

Posted September 3, 2010
That "The Mist" audiobook was pretty good, but my favorite still has to be the "World War Z" audiobook. If only it had been the whole book ...

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted September 3, 2010
Ah, Ryan, I'm glad you saw that little cameo.

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gtrof puts forth...

Posted September 3, 2010
So is AA going to be an audio book Birmo? If so I'll dish out the money again and add it to my iPod.

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted September 3, 2010
Uh, yes, gt. It is. That's what I'm talking about.

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted September 3, 2010
They better get HAVOCK right or I will go fkn ballistic, I guess I really should get an audio book, have a listen and then speak from a small base of knowledge, then again, why arm oneself with accurate data!

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archy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 4, 2010
per Birmo, 02 Sept: ***I put the disc in purely to see how the narrator, a guy called Kevin Foley, did the dialogue. Having done a bit of public reading I always find the dialogue a challenge. Do you try and assume a new voice for each character or just read it as neutral as possible? I’ve done both.***

You might think about the opinion of some of the real experts on the matter:

http://www.blindreaders.info/audiobks.html

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Don Bagert puts forth...

Posted September 4, 2010
This guy Kevin Foley has done quite a few Books-on-Audio: http://www.amazon.com/s/qid=1283553000/ref=sr_st?page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cn%3A%211000%2Cp_27%3AKevin+Foley&sort=daterank

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Bob asserts...

Posted September 6, 2010
I was actually kind of disappointed with Tom Foley's reading of the book. I thought Kipper ended up having kind of a prissy Mr. Magoo feel to it, which was annoying. Yet, the story was good enough to get past it. I also thing it was weird, because another narrator, Tom Weiner, read After America, and you sort of get used to how a character sounds, then bang, their voices all change. I am having that issue right now with John Connolly's latest Charlie Parker novel, which the switched narrators, after Jeff Harding read like the past 8 or so. It's just weird, like all of a sudden someone else is narrating your thoughts.

On another audiobook note, I thought Jay Snyder did such an amazing reading of the Axis of Time trilogy.

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Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted September 6, 2010
So where did RR come from?

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Don Bagert swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 9, 2010
The only instance of "Revenger's Reach" that I could find on Google (besides this blog) is in a book about Hamlet:

http://books.google.com/books?id=K5cLMRPcJgMC&pg=PA112&lpg=PA112&dq=%22Revenger%E2%80%99s+Reach%22&source=bl&ots=oJsic-0umU&sig=vSm4Ir0FB_nHvTYeRRejwQ5Vl_c&hl=en&ei=qiCITMWgCci3nAeDyfyZCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Revenger%E2%80%99s%20Reach%22&f=false

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Murphy asserts...

Posted September 11, 2010
I'm listening to a sample now. Oddly enough, this Kipper sounds very close to the Real Kipper.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul has opinions thus...

Posted October 1, 2010
JB,

I have read (and bought) just about all that you have published in book form from flaffle on but when I went to audible they tell me that I cannot buy the axis of time series or AA from them as sales are not authorized for OZ. What gives? I would like to help keep you in cash, but alas they wont let me.

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Respond to 'Audible thoughts.'

Up late.

Posted August 25, 2010 by John Birmingham
I really don't dig on night work. Night time is for drinking, and watching teev, and kicking back with the Xbox or whatever. It's for all sorts of things besides sitting at my keyboard grinding out the pars hour after hour. But that's what I did last night, until I had enough of a feature article finished to zap it off to the eds at 1.03 AM, if i recall. At which point I was so fucking wired I had to sit up for another half hour, sipping mah whiskay and dialing down from the work rush.

Consequently, today, old JB's a bit groggy. No work for me I reckon. Took half an hour out to get the number one shears run over my bonce, and I'm gonna go pop into the city now to drop some boots off for repair and help Citykat out with story she's writing about Rolling Stone magazine. If there's time I might even go see Salt before picking the kids up.

Funny thing was, I checked my twitter feed after sending off the copy and it was, of course, completely different from the day time feed because everyone here was in bed, while my normally slumbering northern hemisphere followers were up and about.

I vaguely recall having some profound thought about that, which I meant to turn into a column. But it's gone now. Completely gone.

35 Responses to ‘Up late.’

Brian would have you know...

Posted August 25, 2010
Noticed a few writers tweeting in.

Is Scalzi stalking you?

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Moko asserts...

Posted August 25, 2010
YEah, I have moments of genius. They never last long enough to make me rich but.

I leave the combs off the clippers. Gives me an extra coupla days without having to tackle it again.

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girlclumsy puts forth...

Posted August 25, 2010
As you finished your final pars, I was finishing off After America. It's shameful it's taken me this long, but I've been getting through only a couple of chapters each night over the past few weeks, what will all the other things I do that keep me busy.

****Potential spoiler alert****

Loved the explodey goodness; assume I'm going to see more Caitlin super fight action in Book 3 ("Greater Good" is my title suggestion); but WTF at the end?!?!? Miguel has become one of my fave characters now, and I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU DID THAT. I almost wept.

****End of spoiler alert****

Anyway, thanks for a great read. Looking forward to more thread discussions now!

Cheers, Nat.

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Big Pete asserts...

Posted August 25, 2010
@Moko

I'm the same as you Moko. I used to make do with a number one, but then I thought, what the hell, so I hardened up, chucked the number one guide back in the box and just rely on the thickness of the Clippers as a guide. It sure makes for a short haircut.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted August 25, 2010
As Eastwood said in Unforgiven, "Have another drink, kid."

Scalzi should sit at Birmo's knee and take notes.

Lots of notes.

Guess I ought to go check the twitter feed and see what is what.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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T2 reckons...

Posted August 25, 2010
JB, been meaning to say thanks for all your efforts. Thanks. AA gave me a few precious hours of not having to think about all the shit going on in the world, and in my own private life.

Guess I'll dig back into Stephen Sears's, Gettysburg now. It's not light reading, but it'll do for now.

Appreciate all you do.

Tim

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted August 25, 2010
Started @ 16:00 yesterday worked till @ 02:00 this AM & back on clock @10:00, just about to go home & hopefully to bed.

Did get a chance to try out my snowboarding thermals - worked a treat.

A double layer of balaclava + a neoprene face mask may have been seen as excessive, in fact my partner gave me sh!t for about four hours, until his teef were chattering too much. But not me I was toasty. Well as toasty as you can be in a small boat doing 20 knots up creeks @ holycrap O'clock.

Respond to this comment

Therbs would have you know...

Posted August 25, 2010
Totally agree on the evening whiskey thing. Nothing like that golden sippin' goodness, a bit of action on the teev or things getting explodified in a book.

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted August 25, 2010
Nbob wins.

Respond to this comment

Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 25, 2010
What's the prize, hypothermia?

Respond to this comment

Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 25, 2010
I know what you mean about how different things are when you're up late working on the computer so you check in to your favourite social blog & all the Americans come out to play--it has a weird feel to it late at night. Especially when they cross over with a few Australian stragglers and there's this almost palpable cross-current of energy-flowing in two directions, receding and coming forward. Odd.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted August 25, 2010
Don't know how the rest of you do it . . .I usually run an app that tells me what time where. When the Kiwi's wake up . . .so do the Alaskans. Some very strange conversations . . .

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 25, 2010
Aunty Q.

Hypothermia is for the underprepared.

As mentioned above Polypropalene thermals wrist to ankle, boarding overalls, wet weather pants, long sleeve Tshirt, woollen jumper, lined bomber jacket, Stormy Seas (tm) inflating PFD, woollen balaclava & sexy silky liner, neoprene ski mask, Lace up boots & thinsulate lined deerskin gloves (thank you & Dog bless you Winona Minnesota.) Only thing I wasn't wearing was my possum fur socks - The Warmest Socks Ever.

I look like the Michelin Man doing a bank job and if I fall in the p!ss I'm going to drown but I'll be damned if I'm going to be cold up till that point.

All to talk to 4 netting crews.

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Abigail asserts...

Posted August 25, 2010
*Hands Nbob a prize of his choice*

The things that go through my mind about what it is you do. It's fine I don't want to know --we've had that conversation before about how you don't say it in public which is good-- and it's more fun to fantasise.

At present you are the little underwater superhero that we all had in the 60s/70s. Little tiny flippers, little tiny face mask on your wee little plastic feet...

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Abigail reckons...

Posted August 25, 2010
umm, make that on your wee tiny face.

Respond to this comment

ConspiracyCat would have you know...

Posted August 25, 2010
What's that, Abigail? Did NowhereBob wee on his feet, or his Face? I'm confused.

Respond to this comment

Robert mumbles...

Posted August 26, 2010
Birmo, look, since you have the day off, why not ring up your publisher and tell them what a great fucking day August 17 was to roll out your book in the USA.

It's the deep dog days of August, news is sparse, TV is shit, it's HOT, and I'm trying to come down from a StarCraft II jag. Gotta pick up cat food and Borders was in the neighborhood, and there, way in the back of the store was your book. So it was in stock. And it's got, what, crud-encrusted fighter jets on the cover-sweet! And it's not a 600-page backstory yawner that the others are cranking out as their second-of-three series.

True, the $26 price tag put me off because I hate to send that many hard-earned Yankee sawbucks overseas, but then I realized that you only get a fraction of that. So, done deal and I've got my end-of-summer read, thank you very much.

Congrats to your publisher for selecting 8/17. I mean, if they can't release the damn thing two days after your final edit, then 8/17 is next best.

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted August 26, 2010
Hey, I done got me some fancy super script.

(TM)(C)

Respond to this comment

Jerry Crawford puts forth...

Posted August 26, 2010
Hey John - while you're up late and can't seem to get anything done why not write a third book in the After America series. The way you ended it the story just begs for some closure.

Respond to this comment

Sweet Jane Says puts forth...

Posted August 26, 2010
You would not believe the insane weekend I had. I'm stuck with one character that fancies himself an F. Scott and another that thinks he out Hunters Hunter S. I emerged from a different reality yesterday.

Just thought I'd share that. You people seem to be the most "normal" in my life.

J.

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted August 26, 2010
Holy shit.

Respond to this comment

Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted August 26, 2010
Shh.

Jane's having quality time with Her People, remember?

Respond to this comment

peterbowes ducks in to say...

Posted August 26, 2010
you are burning out birmo - not everybody loves you

Respond to this comment

Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted August 26, 2010
Sooo . . .she's getting back in touch with her . . .roots? . . .by coming back here. We're her touchstone to reality?

Fck me dead.

Respond to this comment

Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted August 26, 2010
@ peterbowes

Got that arse about mate.

Should be 'you are burning out birmo - everybody loves you'

Respond to this comment

Abigail has opinions thus...

Posted August 26, 2010
Brian, lol, yes,JB, you're not quite mentally dishevelled and emptied of all creativity , not quite intellectually bankrupt enough... yet.Keep your eye on the prize though; we'll tell you when you've hit rock bottom and have dinner to celebrate.

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peterbowes ducks in to say...

Posted August 26, 2010
read AA - lots of tosh matey - 150 pages too many - not good -

Respond to this comment

Leo puts forth...

Posted August 26, 2010
Finished AA in a week-long reading sprint. Great romping read. Better than most thrillers out there. It put my mind in another place and that is good. Very good.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted August 27, 2010
I object to being outed as one of Jane's Roots.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted August 27, 2010
Aunty Q!

Respond to this comment

Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 27, 2010
God Q.

I never knew.

Respond to this comment

Quokka would have you know...

Posted August 27, 2010
This is Boylan's fault.

I told him, and told him, but would he listen?

No.

You dress up like Xena and roll around in a jelly pit fighting with a troll, and sooner or later it comes back to bite you on the arse.

I think she snapped an incisor that day.

I had to get shots for that.

Respond to this comment

Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 27, 2010
I now know sjs in a different context and there is a lot more to her than might appear. True, whatever decisions made here, by her, on this blog, have had an affect she encouraged.I'll only say, my opinion, and the way I have come ot see the other side is this: a woman who likes to downplay sentiment, or maybe feels uncomfortable showing it, but doesn't lack soul or heart and is actually a soft person--it's just very hard to see , here. (I appreciate that).

Respond to this comment

NBlob mumbles...

Posted August 28, 2010
Abigail, Jane has mellowed considerably in the last 6 months or so. When I first turned up at the gates to the Gothic she was gibbering and snorting under the draw- bridge. She slagged off everyone, her disjointed & bile flecked rantings were tedious in the extreme. The low point for me was when she broadly sledged After America and anyone who enjoyed it while obviously not bothering to actually read it.

If her medication has been changed (or doubled) or she has discovered a remnant trace of courtesy then bully for her.

Respond to this comment

archy has opinions thus...

Posted August 31, 2010
***Nowhere Bob: Hypothermia is for the underprepared.***

The Norwegians say that there is no bad weather, only poor choices for the day's weather conditions.

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Respond to 'Up late.'

First sighting in the wild.

Posted August 18, 2010 by John Birmingham
Murph reported the first verified sighting of After America in it's natural home this morning, six hardback copies at a Barnes and Noble in Kansas City, not all that far from where some of the action in the book takes place. Other readers have been tweeting me with confirmation that there copies, bought from amazon, B&N and so on, have begun to arrive in the post. For all of the inconvenience of staggered publication dates around these here parts, it does allow me to indulge in the excitement of a second launch, even though I'm not there to do anything about it.

Anyway, I'll open the general discussion forums at last this weekend. It'll give those us in vegemiteville something to talk about other than the election.

For those so inclined, with amazon accounts, or B&N for that matter, the review button is now functional. Unfortunately you have to have bought something before they'll let you review, which is kinda sucky. I'm not sure whether downloading one of their free books counts.

41 Responses to ‘First sighting in the wild.’

brian would have you know...

Posted August 18, 2010
To quote BSG.

'At Your Command"

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Phil mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2010
Any idea when the audiobook is to be done/released - and please don't let them have that clown Scott Brick do it.

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gtrof asserts...

Posted August 18, 2010
Got mine this morning but there was only three copies displayed in the Borders I went to. Been reading it this whole afternoon, good stuff so far Bimo!

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted August 18, 2010
I bought mine this morning, too. I haven't read far, but I must confess to a touch of disappointment. For some reason I had the impression that this sequel would focus on the tender story of a young girl coming of age. Perhaps next time.

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted August 18, 2010
As per Brian,

" RODGER THAT, WAIT OUT!"

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ConspiracyCat puts forth...

Posted August 18, 2010
Could be worse, Phil. I hear Fran Drescher is looking to branch out from GPS voiceovers.

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lostatlunch mutters...

Posted August 18, 2010
Can we sign up the Zombie Charlton Heston for the audio book?

we can either edit out the call for "BRAINZ" or indead use it to add flavour to the resurected piles of goop.

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yankeedog asserts...

Posted August 18, 2010
I've got a Barnes and Noble gift card with AA's name on it. I'll be picking it up this very weekend!

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted August 18, 2010
The irony of the sighting is that in the Without Warning Universe, the Barnes and Noble I spotted the books in would be a grassy field with some trees in it.

Soon as Trinity gets paid we'll pick up some copies. She wants a copy for each of her sons and I probably need to pick one up for Gov. Schimmel.

I did give the U.S. variant a quick scan of some sections. Seems to me like the U.S. variant has details the Aussie version does not. Doesn't hurt the structure of the story in any way but I've got admit, I like the U.S. Variant better.

Maybe I'll think differently once I've read the whole thing.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted August 18, 2010
Be interested to see what diffs people can pick.

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Nocturnalist asserts...

Posted August 18, 2010
+++Can we sign up the Zombie Charlton Heston for the audio book?+++

Only when you jam the script into his cold, dead fingers.

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sparty reckons...

Posted August 18, 2010
Can we have a thread on the US / Oz differences and why?

And on the UK situation- kind of feel there is a whole book / novella in that.

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T2 reckons...

Posted August 18, 2010
I'm kinda pissed that my copy of AA didn't arrive yesterday. I thought Amazon had sent it out for a delivery on issue date, but no such luck. Maybe today? Hopefully.

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Dex has opinions thus...

Posted August 19, 2010
Reporting in that the Kindle iPhone App version didn't want to download at first but it finally came through.

(lights cigarette, hand shaking)

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Hercules40 asserts...

Posted August 19, 2010
Oh, I'll review it soon enough. Walked into B&N on Tuesday morning, looked over the shelves and could not find it! Boy was I pissed! So, I go up to rep and say:

"Where is 'After America?' dammit" It wasn't that funny, I know. They still had it in the back room. She went and got it for me.

I am a few chapters in now. Should have a review soon (in my blog and elsewhere). I know I haven't followed the whole development storyline up to now, but I can't wait to finish reading the book.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted August 19, 2010
I loved your work in Hercules and the Captive Women (1961).

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Don Bagert asserts...

Posted August 19, 2010
Yeah, at my B&N they still had the two copies of AA in the back room as well.

So, John, if there are differences in the multiple versions, which one is "canon"? LOL

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted August 19, 2010
I think it is spelled "cannon."

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Boscolamb has opinions thus...

Posted August 19, 2010
It is in the book stores here in the Detroit area. Unfortunately, none of the copies I ordered for the libraries I work at have arrived. With all of the budget problems, we'll be getting fewer copies too. Some branches might not get any copies.

Damn economy! I REALLY wanted to begin reading this by the weekend.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted August 19, 2010
@PNB @ 9:33

Unless we're being punny. :)

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T2 puts forth...

Posted August 19, 2010
Holy f'ing, mother Mary and napalm loving Joseph! AA is off the chain insanely righteous! And, I'm only on page, 82.

JB, you are a sick mofo. Wow!!

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted August 19, 2010
See, Tim knows how to write a decent Amazon review.

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Trashman mumbles...

Posted August 19, 2010
I got my copy from Amazon UK earlier this week. It gets started tonight. NO SPOILERS!!!

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Murphy mutters...

Posted August 20, 2010
The main difference that I can detect is that the U.S. version has some small scenes that were cut from the Australian version. The other difference is that the U.S. version is heavier on small details which I think are missing from the Aussie version.

Both I suspect are canon as the overall structure does not seem that much different. Then again I'd need to read from start to finish in order to say. Either way, I find I like the U.S. version better.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted August 20, 2010
I am reading the LSD flashback scene and LOVING it! It is funny because it is true.

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T2 puts forth...

Posted August 21, 2010
Damn, JB, you made me tear-up, quivering lip and all. AA is incredible.

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Leo euler is gonna tell you...

Posted August 22, 2010
Got it at Books-A-Million in Cookeville, Tennessee today.

Will read it and comment later in future thread(s).

Great job, JB!

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Wes S. mumbles...

Posted August 22, 2010
Actually, at least one Borders in the KC area (Crossroads Center in Lees Summit) had three copies of "After America" on the evening of Tuesday the 17th; that's where and when I got mine.

Just finished it this afternoon. Loved it. And - no spoilers - but Milosz just cracked me up.

(P.S.: In the BirmoVerse, one set of remains that Kipper's salvage crews scraped out of Ameristar Casino when they turned it into a dormitory would have belonged to me. Dare I hope that they at least said a prayer over the bits and pieces before they consigned me to Hawthorne Furnace #5?)

;)

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T2 puts forth...

Posted August 22, 2010
I twittered you on this. Mormons don't consume caffeine. They abstain from it, in all forms. Even Mormon cowboys. It's church doctrine. I dated a Mormon for several years and have known dozens of them. I even joined their church for awhile.

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John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted August 22, 2010
D'oh! That's what I get for having non mormon editors. I'll have to see about a few line changes.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted August 22, 2010
No, no, it adds to the verisimilitude. I know Mormons who drink coffee. It is very possible that Mormon cowboys drink coffee, especially during the post-wave social reconfiguration.

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T2 reckons...

Posted August 22, 2010
Bull, Paul. I've known many Mormons and none of them uses caffeine. They think of it as they do alcohol. And when we're talking devout Mormons, no way they'd use caffeine. Ever.

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T2 asserts...

Posted August 22, 2010
Wait, ok, it's possible that some Mormons drink caffeine. Of all the Mormons I've known, and that is around 100, one family did indulge in caffeine. They were a family of Mormons whose patriarch was a US Marine. He and his wife liked to drink Dr. Pepper.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted August 23, 2010
Wes, if it makes you feel any better, they would have scrapped my remains off the corner of 10th and Main where I used to work security.

As for prayers? Open question really.

That is good that Lee's Summit has them. I had not dropped in to check there yet. I teach out at nearby Longview so it was on my list.

Additional spotter report. I saw a copy at the Barnes and Noble on the Plaza. I'm guessing other copies were purchased.

Per Mormons and coffee, I've seen both batches. We've got a pretty strong Mormon presence here in the Kansas City Area (particularly the Mormon Museum in nearby Liberty where a clown named Jesse robbed a bank once).

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy mutters...

Posted August 23, 2010
No I am not Murph. Just his mom who uses his blog to get too yours because I can't remember my password. I know I am late coming to the party on your books,but I wanted you too know that I just started to read this series and really enjoyed Without Warning a lot. Now if I can just make Steven hand over his copy of After America. I will get on with reading that one. I am giving you two thumbs up, because I really did enjoy the book. I am not easy to impress no matter who writes a book. I am impressed. Good read.

Ros Steven's mother.

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hemingdale has opinions thus...

Posted August 23, 2010
The B&N in La Mesa, CA had one copy of AA on the shelf (9/20). Snagged it.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted August 23, 2010
Uh, I'll drop After America off this week, Mom.

Your Son,

Steven

Here in Kansas City

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Ron Salisbury SA5108 reckons...

Posted August 24, 2010
Read Without Warning and After America is there a third (4th 5th??? etc) in this series. I have the Need to Read so how long will I have to wait. Don't Break an arm!! Awesome Reading.

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Wayne reckons...

Posted August 26, 2010
A bit late to the party, but then I am not quite done with the novel. Excellent work, JB. By far your best work so far, and I think that is saying quite a lot. I do have a few logistical questions, and perhaps they were not addressed due to length constraints. First, why is there no talk about consolidation of the rump US with the rump Canada? It would seem to make logical sense. Your population base is primarily Pacific Northwest with a sprinkling of Alaskan/Yukon and Hawaiian types. Canada has no ability to protect its eastern provinces as its military is laughable at best and surviving military likely non-existent.

Second, logistics, you will need roving bands of engineers checking every damn railroad and interstate bridge and overpass in the US. The railroad and interstate system just became the arterial system from which the US can rebuild. You were spot on that the railroad network from KC to Seattle would be of primary concern, but if the US is going to focus on reclaiming its territory it must keep the railroads and interstates open. That will require engineers to test their stability post-Wave and roving maintenance crews (if you don't know what I am talking about, look up Kudzu on Wikipedia, the deep South is infested with the weed).

Keep up the good work.

Wayne

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted August 27, 2010
Wayne, it isn't mentioned specifically but there is a brief mention of the influx of Indian rail crews into the US who are escaping the Indo-Pakistani Nuclear War of 2005. Those crews mostly likely include the roving bands checking infrastructure.

I suspect what would probably happen is that they would focus on one rail route for the time being, one that leads straight from KC to Seattle. While this leaves it vulnerable to interdiction (we see that as well) it is also probably the most believable, most achieveable and realistic.

As for consolidation with Canada, that was discussed around here in the early days of book two. While U.S. readers seemed to think that was a good idea most non-U.S. readers didn't think that would happen.

A more probable scenario for Canada as a Commonwealth Nation would be to seek some sort of tie with Britain. They would probably grant rights to the deserted eastern territories which I have no doubt the Brits would exploit.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted August 27, 2010
Thanks, Wayne. We may address these very questions in a stand alone thread.

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Respond to 'First sighting in the wild.'

What price an e-book?

Posted August 14, 2010 by John Birmingham
I had half an hour spare to myself this arvo, and finally got around to doing something I'd been meaning to attend to for ages. I set up an acount with Amazon's digital text service – the Kindlegruppenmeisters – with a view to releasing a self published ebook-only title in the AoT series sometime in the next 18 months.

It's purely an experiment. Something I'll do in my 'spare time'. My publishers would very much like me to move towards much less weird and alternate texts, which I'm cool with, but there remains a good deal of interest in reading about what happened after World War 2.3 finally ground to a halt at the end of Final Impact. And now that I've had a good break from the series, I'm kinda curious to find out what happens too.

It's not something I'm going to devote a lot of time to in the immediate future. I'd like the ebook market to mature a little more first. But it is something I am interested in enough to pursue.

Interesting question though. Price points. Since this book would not be professionally editted and publsihed (leading to typos like those two you just read) what would be a fair price for it, assuming Book 4 runs to roughly the same length as the others?

I'm thinking $1.99 as a floor beneath which I shouldn't drop. But is that a bit low? Or even a bit high?

This is where you get to shine, my friends, since you've been paying for this stuff for years.

107 Responses to ‘What price an e-book?’

Rhino asserts...

Posted August 14, 2010
Hmmm established, published author with a following ... no lower than $5.99 US dollars. Seriously.

Also, of course, depends upon length. Are we talking novella here or full on 100,000 word standard book length?

I don't care what any woman says ... length counts. Except for SJS ... in her case girth matters.

Just sayin'

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fknvirty would have you know...

Posted August 14, 2010
'bout fkn time ya went indie laddie.

non de plume experiment? suck it and see? will depend how ya wanna market future grunt i suppose. am fairly surprized ya agents didn't get ya to sign an exclusive.

just add "made in oz" 'an you got it made. pz.v.

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Tarl is gonna tell you...

Posted August 14, 2010
Agree with Rhino. Baen Pricing (webscriptions) should be considered as a bottom - they are selling at those prices largely as a loss-leader to drive physical book sales.

This assumes you have an editor working with you to fix spelling and continuity errors - I don't want to see it otherwise. I've seen several books at the e-arc stage (advanced reader copy), and their errors can be quite off-putting. It depends on the author - Bujold and Drake are quite readable pre-editors, other authors are less so.

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Scott swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 14, 2010
I buy webscriptions e books for $6 US after about 12/18 months they sometimes drop back to $4.

They have been edited though, and no fucking drm I hate that shit.

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Abe reckons...

Posted August 14, 2010
Reckon the price point would be somewhere near that of a Commando war comic. Used to be 50 cents when I was a kid but now I've seen 'em for $2.50 or more.

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Abe would have you know...

Posted August 14, 2010
Oh shoot misread the length. THought you meant a short one. Nah $5 as a min. Fo' sure.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted August 14, 2010
Interesting. At five bucks a pop I could justify hiring an editor.

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girlclumsy ducks in to say...

Posted August 14, 2010
I'm not a professional, but I'm a pretty good editor, being in the writing/journalism game. Would be happy to offer a second eye to look over drafts if that helps keeps costs down.

(I'm sure you've probably already had the offer, but anyway, thought I'd put it out there anyway. Was going to offer editing services to super-writer Havock, but was a bit worried about being yelled at/hacked at with a cutlass).

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PeterMoore is gonna tell you...

Posted August 14, 2010
Hey John - been looking at doing something similar myself. So here's my 2 cents worth.

Agree with Rhino - you're an established author with a fan base. Set too low a price and you damage the 'brand.' I'd go $4.99, still cheap enough to be an impulse buy.

Tari's got a point too. If you're going to sell it, you need to have it properly edited and get a decent cover done. People regard eBooks as less substantial than a 'real' book already. They won't go for substandard as well. You'd be better off giving an 'experimental' book away for free, with all the appropriate caveats about typos etc.

I've just spent the past couple of months turning my brain into mush coming to terms with the practicalities of creating these babies - learning more about XML and XHTML than any sane person should. So feel free to drop me a line if you want some tips on that side of things.

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PeterMoore has opinions thus...

Posted August 14, 2010
Oh, and another thing to maybe consider. Print on Demand has come on in leaps and bounds. So while you're preparing an ebook version, knock out a file for a 'proper' book as well. Then if someone wants a hard copy they can order one too.

The file is held in a digital vault by a PoD supplier. When someone orders a book they print it and send it to them. You're out of the loop until a cheque gets sent to you each month.

No boxes of books gathering dust in the garage. And another revenue stream to keep the bunnies and hovercrafts in running order. (Though not as much as you'd get from eBooks)

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T2 reckons...

Posted August 14, 2010
I agree with Rhino. 5 or 6 dollars for an e-book is a great price, especially for a full-length book from an established author.

I can deal with typos. Every book I've ever read has them, and sometimes makes me wonder who is doing the proof-reading. Authors do the best they can, I'm sure. But, when you're proof-reading your own stuff you already have the text memorized in your head, so it would seem natural to miss things because you're bored and zipping through the process.

Personally, I'm not ready to invest in an electronic reader yet. It's still too easy to buy a paper book at a store or online and have it delivered to my door. I think, perhaps, it would take authors putting books out as e-books first or alternatively to get me to make that leap.

Respond to this comment

CraigWA puts forth...

Posted August 14, 2010
Cheap enough that it's an impulse purchase rather than something you want to think about and choose carefully. I did wonder whether you should choose something like the price of a large cup of coffee and price it at some scaling factor to that. $5 or less certainly seems the right kind of ballpark.

My friends who self publish a lot use an online peer review site which they speak very positively of. If you stuck it up there and then let your privileged few read and make corrections or suggestions, you might get a better product at the end. The site was http://www.quicktopic.com/ if I've dug up the right link.

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Lobes puts forth...

Posted August 14, 2010
Presuming its no less than one third or one quarter ??length of one of the original AoT books I think 5 dollars is ? fair price?

You could charge a bit more if its to be the same length as ? other books in ??series

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Abigail mumbles...

Posted August 14, 2010
JB, I have read about some very established authors doing this kind of thing before--but who? who??, I can't remember!! drats.

But yes, they have had a little affair on the side away from their publishers,( not e-books) and their audience looked well on such a venture.

Yes, $5, I'd pay that--but no more than that and less might lead to the impression it's a flimsier follow- up than readers would like.

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brian reckons...

Posted August 14, 2010
$5 would be about right. I mean to say its less than a pizza, movie ticket or for that matter a video hire.

And at the end of the day, you can still wrte it off as an experiment.

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Orin is gonna tell you...

Posted August 14, 2010
I'd pay $10 US. I regularly pay more for ebooks and $10 is still a bargain. I buy BattleTech game PDFs that are much shorter for more money (though they come with art). Use an editor, otherwise it looks like fanfic.

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted August 14, 2010
Specifically I purchased Zendegi by Greg Egan for $12 USD, The Scar by Mieville for $8.30 USD, Iron Council for $10 USD and Kraken for $12 USD in the last few weeks.

$10 for new fiction from an established author in a universe I already like is a gimme. You can drop the price over time - but raising it would be problematic.

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Darth Greybeard puts forth...

Posted August 14, 2010
Orin's point makes sense. Might be worth starting higher to test the waters. Who knows? This could be an interesting and profitable experiment. Would it be kindle-only and DRM-ed or in multiple formats? I'd fork out $10, but only because I badly want to know what came next. Mmm, is there a Kindle app for Android?

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Orin would have you know...

Posted August 14, 2010
Yup - there is a Kindle App for Android.

Kindle is great. Other ebook technologies require a degree of faffing that is pleasantly absent from Amazon's technology.

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lostatlunch would have you know...

Posted August 14, 2010
Have kindle on my sweetbpretty iPad ! Precious....... So sweet & so pretty

Anyway $5 without blinking.

Think of the total sales of ww 2.3 then $4.50 for each of those sales going into the jb superfund.

Sweet jubiles you could be truly ashamed of your disgraceful behavior with that sort of money. And then have that drive the sales of this back catalogue.

You could buy Ipswich with all that loot.

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted August 14, 2010
Yeah $5

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MickH would have you know...

Posted August 14, 2010
hmm

Do you think we can give Q7S an airing here?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted August 14, 2010
Originally came here seeking information on a AoT sequel. Thrilled to know one is actually possible. With your support mechanism - here alone - editing won't be a serious problem.

Agree with Orin. $10 dollars flat. A bargain compared to hard copy. Can always lower as time goes by.

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brian reckons...

Posted August 14, 2010
Jeez guys . . .we had him at $5 . . . .I know he ain't cheap . . .but ya got to haggle.

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted August 14, 2010
Nownow Brian, let's not be hasty. If people insist on paying ten...

In the end it might just depend on how much work is involved. Anything under a hundred thousand word manuscript I'd probably go $4.99. but if it ran to 150k words plus, then you might see it got to $9.99. (Theres no middle ground between those lengths for a bunch of reasons to do with narrative dynamics that I won't get into here.)

Mick does raise an interesting point however, of the possibility of franchising the universe. I could see a series of Grantville Gazette style collections, written by others with my approval going for somewhat less than a canon title.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted August 14, 2010
Yes to franchise. Yes to Grantville Gazette style collections. I want to see Murph's efforts, in particular, see the light of day.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted August 15, 2010
A visit with the folks of 2021 would not be a bad thing.

The only hangup I see is that some folks (myself included) do not have credit cards or debit cards. I can't impulse buy anything on the net (which is why I don't have them).

That said, I wouldn't let that stop you from going forward, Birmo.

And five dollars for something around 20,000 tto 40,000 words sounds reasonable to me.

Which is another question. How long would these publications be in word length?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Tarl asserts...

Posted August 15, 2010
Paul - Grantville Gazette and associated 163x publications is an interesting point, in a negative sense. 1632 was entertaining, 1633 was a considerably better book, but the proliferation of essentially fanfic-quality books in that universe caused me to drop the series entirely. Too much crud to wade through to keep track of the storyline(s).

A good series can withstand one fanfic compilation; but 163x demonstrated that going too far damages the original property.

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Roberto would have you know...

Posted August 15, 2010
If it's a full-length ebook, $8-$10 US is what I consider "fair." I usually feel a bit cheated when it's more than that--although I pre-ordered AA on Kindle for $18 without a second though ;)

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted August 15, 2010
Tarl - Your argument presumes bad fan fic. I suspect that Flint's standards (although I love Eric like a brother or sister, or whatever is currently fashionable) has a lower standard than would be expected here. For example, I am fairly confident I could write something suitable for the Grantville Gazette for the same reason I am equally certain I would not be up to the challenge here. I would be driven to write a story about how Joseph Stalin, touring Australia, is kicked to death by a flock of Emus. It wouldn't be good.

The AoT universe is simply bursting with possibility for stories that really need to be told. Some of the apes who lurk here are actually fairly talented. A fan fic collection and/ or franchised plot lines published as e-books could generate some income for the boss and give exposure to some aspiring writers. In the parlance of negotiations theory (which I admit is a bit cryptic if not plagued with obscure jargon) this is called a "win-win" scenario. What's not to like?

Flint sat down and outlined the 1632 series before assigning parts of it out to his friends. The outline changes as stories, plot lines and characters advance or peter out. If this is going to happen, the same thing should happen here. That way, stories can jump around in time but remain consistent with the greater whole. For example, I would love to see the Hammer run for president in the 1950's, but I also want to see stories that fill in the gaps within the original three books - such as the referred to, but unseen, unexperienced invasion of Hawaii and Jones' liberation of same.

And please, please, you fan fic writers out there, don't forget the single element that made AoT so fucking compelling - i.e., the social and political consequences from the class of future and temp cultures. Sure, explody goodness is always welcomed, but when Jones' men went into those Honolulu bars and mixed things up, that was just fucking great.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted August 15, 2010
"clash" not "class." Fucking jet lag.

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Abe has opinions thus...

Posted August 15, 2010
Actually JB you could kick off the franchise model by setting the benchmark yourself under a nom de plume, Bachman style.

This would also reduce the risk of diluting the brand if you set the price point too low.

Setting the benchmark yourself would give the fan fic writers a clear steer as to quality, given, in the absence of an editor, you might be put in a rather awkward position from time to time when hacks like me bowl up some shite they've been slaving over for five years.

Just a thought.

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Moko asserts...

Posted August 15, 2010
What about releasing in short book form for like 0.99. Maybe an on-going 'episode' type format. Obviously each ep would need a start and an ending or you may as well release a full e-book. Just a thought. Franchises would be easier to tackle that way as well.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted August 15, 2010
Crikey, what a ball tearer of a thread.

Lobes exposes his latent Mandarin.

Brian haggles the wrong way, "Dig UP stupid."

and Murph resists capitalism. (I have a very clear image of Murph tied to the mast, suffering the silken siren song of acquisition, while his stout shipmates with wadding in their ears row on.)

Spare time JB? Where's my Big Thinky tome on Fear? That'd have to be far far far more important than pandering to the infantile lustings of these apes.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted August 15, 2010
Oh and

I don't have a Ebook reader, I know, like how 2009.

But I'm guessing around the $5 mark for a 3/4 to full length book would be about right.

You'd go all premium $15+ if you had lots'a pictures & super high end polishing.

My logic being that @ $10 - $15 I have a tangible thing that I can lend to friends and/or throw in the bottom of my Bug Out Bag that goes everywhere with me. $5 is more like a coffee or pizza purchase.

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Abe asserts...

Posted August 15, 2010
Ouch!

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Moko reckons...

Posted August 15, 2010
NBob - ya can't just read em on the PC?. I believe as long as it isn't done via Apple's iBooks. Surprisingly. /sarcasm.

For the love of GOD, please don't give it all to Apple.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 15, 2010
I like this, especially given my work is of a QUALITY and AWESOMENESS thats " Editor nor required"...well, "OK GC..I'll put away the CUTLASS and hit da MUTE BUTTON I PROMISE!"....lol

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Tarl would have you know...

Posted August 15, 2010
Oddly Havock, I was just thinking about you in this context.

Fanfic can be worth reading - your recent 25,000 words comes to mind as such an example. Another example that occurs to me is that "Drakas!" anthology which had a lot of stories which were effectively fanfic in a universe the original author had abandoned.

But there is a clear distinction between stuff written by real authors who have talent, and that written by those of us less fortunate souls who have to earn our livings at manual labor. I'm willing to pay real money for the former, but enough of the latter can end up destroying the interest in the universe as a whole.

Sure, there are stories which are aching to be told. But I want Birmo to spend his efforts on writing new explodey goodness, not wending through the politics of editing someone else's efforts.

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joe is gonna tell you...

Posted August 15, 2010
$0.02 worth:

Editorial Fascism is A MUST.

I don't want this fictional world diluted quality-wise.

Except on Miniburger......!

I can deal with it there.

I'd deal myself out of the discussion from here though, because I don't do e-readers (until I can roll them up and swat flies without ejecting the battery) and I don't do online micropayments. I do cold hard cash, and like a creaking neoluddite prefer to pass it directly into the hands of an actual bookstore sales clerk in return for a wad of dead tree slices.

Also don't lose perspective on budgeting some time for that Thinky book.... I like Thinky books, especially with readable prose.

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Orin reckons...

Posted August 15, 2010
If you have a computer, you have an ebook reader. Kindle is available as a client application for Win and Mac.

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted August 15, 2010
Ah 'the politics of editing someone else's efforts'...

Tarl speaks with much wisdom for one so young and comely.

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Scott would have you know...

Posted August 15, 2010
Tarl's comely? *snorts coffee*

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Abigail asserts...

Posted August 15, 2010
JB what exsctly do you know about Tarl's level of comeliness and will you be using such adjectives to describe one Captain Tarl in future books?

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Tarl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 15, 2010
I do hope none of my colleagues see that comment, or you'll hear the laughter all the way down to Australia. Something about 0-for-3 in one sentence...

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DrYobbo would have you know...

Posted August 15, 2010
I'd pay fifty dollars for one!

Actually I wouldn't, but everyone loves a context-appropriate Simpsons quote.

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted August 15, 2010
BAH..when I say to some bastard.. MAKE A COMMENT or HAVE A LOOK, thats called, TEAR IT TO FKN PIECES..its a precious FK who asks the question and then squeals like a stuck pig at not liking the answer..or in my case..THE RED FKN INK!

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nhamilton@iinet.net.au has opinions thus...

Posted August 15, 2010
$5 sounds appropriate but would rather pay more for an editted version. Spelling mistakes spoil the reading and ruin my mental image of the allmighty writer.

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brian reckons...

Posted August 15, 2010
The editing is a ball tearer. The 1632 model is a good one.

Yeah ..I've rabbitted about it before. But Eric is pretty remote from those Baen threads . . .he leaves it up to his henchman including a couple who are good on the history, tech and writing sides. Eric is seldom seen in the trenches.

Looks like you got to recruit, John.

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Scott mutters...

Posted August 15, 2010
If you are going to franchise I would suggest using established authors, much like the starwars lot do.

Authors who are allowed to play in the sandpit have to have already published in the sf community a quality control measure me thinks. All you have to do is okay the story arcs and let them get on with it. Oh, and skim the cream.

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted August 15, 2010
I'd probably use two different editing models. For my own stuf, I'd just hire someone I trusted. Possibly even Steve Saffel the orginal series editor of AoT. For the fanfic I'd be more open to retaining somebody on a royalty deal, say 10% of any income generated for their work on editing the collection. Specifically, I'm thinking of Mr Flinthart who has form in this area. But I haven't asked him yet. Perhaps I should send an email.

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted August 15, 2010
"Authors who are allowed to play in the sandpit have to have already published in the sf community a quality control measure me thinks. All you have to do is okay the story arcs and let them get on with it. Oh, and skim the cream."

WELL WOULDN'T THAT! kill fkn heaps off. Whilst IF I was having a crack at it, I would be taking an infinite amount more time, the very hurdle listed, would kill the fk out of many, who would in all probability I suspect have a crack, given I am NOT a published AUTHOR!.

But that leads to another issue as well, without some sort of boundary, and lets at this point for the sake of the exercise assume DF said yes, how do you CULL , sift through the.....SLUSH PILE, I think it is referred to as in the industry. Or do ya just let DF disappear behind a mountain of submissions. Should be good for some interesting posts on DF's behalf I would suspect....think of a large, woolly, frothing at the mouth Tasmanian..lol

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TC Forest puts forth...

Posted August 15, 2010
$4.99 (sans DRM). Make it cheap and easy to buy and multi-platform.

I'm sure some of the characters here have the skills and desire to help with editing in exchange for credits (and/or a grisly death)

The Print on demand idea is great too.

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warren ducks in to say...

Posted August 15, 2010
What I'm going to say to you will sound like an agent or editor or producer. Hmmmmm. Maybe because that's the sort of thing I do.

So here it is: #1. Don't do it. Don't tear off like an untrained bird dog and flush sparrows when the trick at hand is to flush a pheasant. Focus on writing stand-alone books, not serials. Discipline yourself to writing market-driven product as much as you can without going into convulsions.

#2. Focus your secondary efforts on some scriptwriting. See if you can write for that Australian police show that takes place on the Gold Coast that's making a small splash on Hulu. Focus on writing visual, focus on writing stories whose elements can be gang-shot (i.e., a step up from a play, a step back from a feature), focus on writing action that can be shot on a budget. When you come to the states on your next book tour be sure to stop off in Vancouver and meet the people at Bridge Studios. Be sure to rub noses in LA.

#3. After you've done #1 and #2, THEN write your magnum opus and THEN slip it in on the coattails of your other work. That's what Speilberg did with Schindler's List; that's what Crichton did to get "The Great Train Robbery" published and made into film; that's what Sidney Sheldon did to get "The Other Side of Midnight" published and made into film.

Good luck!

In other words, first sell your soul, then publish your favorite stories or universe....

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Scott mutters...

Posted August 15, 2010
Havock my point was that fanfic spans the spectrum from really good to gouge my eyes out with a spoon. New writers require a fare bit of sheparding, I discovered this writing a thesis, it wasn't just the content it was style. My impression, I could be wrong, is that JB already has a workload up to the eyeballs, and may not have time to shepard the fanfic lambs. Maybe those of you in the circle of trust could get a pass?

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brian mutters...

Posted August 15, 2010
Slush piles are easy.

You watch the comment thread lengths and the views.

You then note the commenters who have form for accuracy and instinct.

As a fanfic writer, you want feedback. ANd on the whole fanfic commenters range from Trolls to Top guns. You watch the topguns.

Jose knows how this works.He's an A1 writer, lots of fanboys, seldom gets published as, (being the free soul he is), he is unfettered by cannon. Actually . . . he's oe punter I'd like to see come on board.

DF would act as the final filter. ANd . . .(as the bastard almost has NBN) the bandwidth.

Hmm . . .could be worth an informal chat with Paula, Rick or Laura on the 1632 Baen threads .. .one pro to another. Stevo has a contrary viewpoint also worth a chat.

Jose has access. So does J Johnston.

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T2 mumbles...

Posted August 15, 2010
JB, this threat reminded me of the Orson Welles radio play, War of the Worlds, so I went onto iTunes and bought it for $9.99.

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rif reckons...

Posted August 15, 2010
I was surprised to see you suggest $2. I'd pay as much as $5 for it.

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted August 15, 2010
It's a new world, rif. One in which I am largely clueless. hence my quest for a clue. And a price point.

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Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 15, 2010
Stupid Chinese computers. You'd think a hotel like this would have wifi. Oh well serves me right for travelling sans laptop.

Like Tarl and others I question whether the boys club atmosphere prevalent at the 'Burger would allow inhouse editing here to be ruthless enough to be competent.

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Lobes mumbles...

Posted August 15, 2010
And for exactly the same reason. Loved the Flint 1632 books. But the series was destroyed for me once the amateurs started showing off their knowledge of polish-lituanian historical possibilities. CNGAF

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brian mumbles...

Posted August 15, 2010
@Lobes

Not the only downside to the series.

Its also "search for the killer technology'. Lotsa data dumps, very little story.

Also ; the 'all downtimers are dumb, we moderns are the pinnacle of history'.

And the selected group, inward policing thing can be a killer.

I do approve of the 'tarpit' idea. Some topics are unresolvable . .but they keep getting revisited. Waste of time for everyone. Particularly if srays over into politics, religion or global warming.

Set rules. If you want a biffo take it off blog and go at it e-mail to e-mail. Rest of us, could care less.

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donna has opinions thus...

Posted August 15, 2010
Last week I purchased and read The Passage by Justin Cronin as an actual book, it cost me $24.99 and it was a bloody good read.

Just looked at Amazon ebooks and there it is for $11.99 I could save a packet if I switched to the electronic version (I haven’t graduated to that yet, but must do it soon.

Check out the current prices on Amazon for new releases, I saw some up around the $20 mark but most were around 10 – 12 dollars and I noticed Lee Child's most current 61 Hours is $17.00.... don’t sell yourself short!

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted August 15, 2010
Donna, you may not have been to get that 11.99 ebook if territorial restrictions applied.

And re. in-blog editing. That wouldn't be happening. For the very reason Lobes points out. If fan fic is gonna get up, it has to get up to a commercially publishable standard. Harsh, but non-negotiable.

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MickH is gonna tell you...

Posted August 15, 2010
There's that horrible published/not published bullshit line again. but I think Havoc answered that well.

I think I speak for just about everyone who is serious about writing, its hard to get good solid critiques, we WANT to be torn to shreds, we need it. A 'that was great Mick' is nice but doesn't really help. John I think Flinthart would be excellent at it, if he'll do it. I've worked with him a bit already and he's great at it.

And i was just thinking about it JB, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since i wrote Queen of the seven seas, to the point where a lot of the new burgers wouldn't have a clue about it. I would be keen to dust it off and work on it again if there is a glimmer of hope of it being published, otherwise, its not worth the effort

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Tek Jansen would have you know...

Posted August 15, 2010
Would anyone here pay to read the Mini-Burger?

So why pay to read a fan-fic anthology of the same authors?

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El Coqui is gonna tell you...

Posted August 15, 2010
First, thanks Brian, for the kudos.

Strangely enough, I just returned from NASFIC 2010 in Raleigh, NC were together with the other festivities, they also held a 1632 Minicon. So I just saw the whole gang there, Eric, Paula, Virginia, Rick, et al. I will be happy to put you in touch with them if you are interested.

Also strangely enough during one of the seminars I got this funny idea that Birmo may like to set up something like we had for his universe. But set it aside thinking that no one here would be interested.

Is obvious that I am not a seer. :)

On the model used by the Gazette, all submissions are first posted to the 1632 slush forum and peer reviewed on slush comments, at times to the smallest details. Then Paula Goodlet and the editorial board pick up the best ones for the online magazine. Paula is the full time editor of the Gazette and other 1632 related publications. They get professionally proofread-ed prior to publication.

So my first piece of advice is to rally the troops and see who would be interested in pitching a hand or two. Like on Baen's bar, I suspect that there is a deep pool of resources in the members of this august company.

Second, work out the contractual relationships, at first 1632 was handled with what was basically gentlemen or gentlewomen agreements with the participants, all of them barflies. However after several health scares, they are moving now towards a more contractual and legally defined relationship. It may be easier on the long run to get your legal stuff out of the way first. As you are likely to get your helpers, authors and readers spread around the world.

Of course, the bottom line is that Baen Books support the Gazette and the 1632 related infrastructure. Will you need to set a similar support system? I think that it ought to be one of the first issues that needs tackling.

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donna is gonna tell you...

Posted August 15, 2010
Ah yes, thanks John, its all very confusing....for a novice!

I looked into it a bit more, with my eyes open this time. Using the Passage as an example, I eventually found, what was called, the "cd/audio" version of 'The Passage' by Justin Cronin online at borders.com.au and, get this, it was $68.95... fark and they weren't kidding!!

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brian would have you know...

Posted August 15, 2010
@ El Coqui

S'OK Jose. :))

Point is, been a few models tried. At the end . . . what's still standing?

I get a feeling there a 'small, medium and large' business thingie in play here. Try a small model. Pay attention to see if its scalable. Put in criteria for success and failure wth review points. Wait a tick? I'm sounding like Kotchie. Hmm . . . .maybe . . .I dunno . .something in talking to a business guru? Can't hurt.

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savo mumbles...

Posted August 15, 2010
I'd know what I'm getting, so I would pay more that the $1.99 ... a lot more. The $5.99 mentioned for an AoT e book sounds like a steal but not too much of a one. It would hook people who have no idea of the history of the series, so think about job lots too.

.

I only read quickly ... fan fic? Okay for a fan fic anthology a buck ninety nine sounds like great value. Lota, lota stories to pick from. Would you commission (pepsi challenge) more? What about the stuff here and at the mini? Having fan fic acknowledged and put up as part of the cannon would be huge.

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damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 15, 2010
NBob: I've read ebooks on a Nokia phone...

And the Kindle App is the very first thing I downloaded for the iPhone...

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El Coqui ducks in to say...

Posted August 16, 2010
Another benefit is to nudge more burgers to the ranks of professional writers. If any such magazine pay professional rates for story those will be considered for membership application on writers organization. Thanks to my stories on the Gazette, I could apply to the SFWA.

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CraigWA reckons...

Posted August 16, 2010
With regards to the e-Book vs physical book prices, as I already suggested "they usually aren't that different" and as Orin has pointed out, the production and logistics costs aren't a very big percentage of the price you pay. The ability to produce anything cheaply will come with the removal of middle men (notably the ones that pay for the marketing trips around the country to plug the book after it comes out) and the value that they provide. You are only really replacing the shop owner with an e-shop owner who probably has a more efficient business model and can do the same job for less.

I still think the goal is to make it cheap and easy enough to buy that it's actually easier and more positive to pay the token price and download it into your chosen device legitimately rather than get it as a text or PDF and import it that way.

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damian has opinions thus...

Posted August 16, 2010
An interesting coincidence, riffing on Donna, is that I'm currently reading Passage by Connie WIllis, in Kindle Edition on my iPhone. It's been a long time to finish, because I interrupted it to read the second and third books of the Takeshi Kovacs trilogy in the middle - both, also, in Kindle Edition.

I'm all for ebooks - and when, JB, is your publisher going to release your stuff for ebook here? What are the particular hurdles to this again?

I've never even thought of trying to write fanfic, you know. It does strike me as a great way to practice writing for targeted readerships, reader demographics. I know I find it hard enough to pull punches and stick to more accessible language styles, and good exercises are a great thing.... hmm. Though I'm almost surprised miniburger doesn't have a slashfic offshoot...

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jfyles has opinions thus...

Posted August 16, 2010
Call me a fanboy - but I still wonder "what happens next" in that story too. I want it to be worth the authors time and energy to write works such as this - so I want them to compensated enough to "do it again". I would have no issue paying $7-9 for good fiction from an established author in a known series.

As someone who orders 10 books a month for my kindle - just seeing another JB opus in one of the existing series is clearly worth that - even if the editing is a little rougher than normal!

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fknvirty swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 16, 2010
you've already trialed the free download scenario with oozie wotzie was it now? last year weren't it?

so what exactly were the stats, or won't they tell ya that.

'tis just all soooo forking 2002.

AND 15.55 sec's after you've uploaded to your "secure" fknserva it appears on a torrent somewhere.

then begorrah, somedude like richard harris or burton or john scalzi leaves yer fkn cake out to precipitate.

humbug.v.

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DNABeast is gonna tell you...

Posted August 16, 2010
$0

I am routinely assured by the noisiest people on the Internet that 'Information wants to be free'. Those words in your head didn't cost you anything to make so why, they state, should we pay anything for them?

Myself, I can't help but compare it to $6 for a comic book. $6 seems like a decent deal to me.

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Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted August 16, 2010
John,

Have a look at www.closed-circle.net where authors CJ Cherryh, Lynn Abbey and Jane Fancher have set up an ebook store to directly sell their old backlists where the rights have reverted to them as ebooks. Looking at CJ's stuff, old titles such as Heavy Time go for $5, new books such as Faery Moon (a heavily re-worked version of Faery In Shadow) are priced at $9.95. It helps that they have strong editing experience and artist resources 'in-house' to package the works attractively.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted August 16, 2010
Define "fanfic?"

Does fanfic imply poor quality? Maybe, maybe not. I have to be honest, I don't read a lot of fanfic aside from what ends up at the Burger. Much as I like Flint's concept for 1632, the series never really grabbed me.

If I had to judge based upon what I've read fanfic wise at the Burger, I'd have these things to say.

First, the latent talent is there. Pick a writer that has published there and I'd say they have a basic level of talent.

Second, while talent is there, experience and education is not. Fortunately this is rectified easily enough by the old mantra of "practice, practice, practice," followed by "critique, critique, critique."

Third, one trend I have noticed is that most fanfic here tends to fall into two general categories.

Parody (some of the better ones) and tactical procedurals (aka "explodedy goodness").

I like the explodey stuff, that is part of my job as part of the Circle of Trust, to help make that plausible. But the problem is that explodey stuff is a spice, it is not a main course.

The main course are the characters. The characters have to come first. From them plot, problems, conflict, adventure, heartache and the like follow. It has to be that way or you'll never generate sufficient emotional resonance in your readers to give two shits one way or the other whether or not someone gets their head blown off. They are just another name, another cardboard dummy, another statistic.

It should be a tragedy when someone dies.

Case in point. I'm reading Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth. I have not read it before, didn't know about it, don't know what is going to happen in it. My mom read it, liked it, passed it to Trinity and then I started today.

Early in the novel a major character dies, unexpectedly I might add (though if you read the cookie crumbs left by Ken, the signs are there).

It was a heart wrenching moment as I sat there at the pool on a sunny day while families and their children played around me at the pool. This person just died and I cared about the character enough that I felt tears coming to my eyes.

Folks, I'm pretty hard bitten. That simply doesn't happen to me that often but what I have just described HAS TO BE THE GOAL.

That is the difference between fanfic and professional grade. Anyone can do it if they apply themselves and learn the tricks.

So I'd opt for an open submissions model. Someone needs to wrangle the slush since it is time consuming.

Or another approach would be to select viable writers who are already capable of professional grade work. I can think of a few (no, I won't say here, no don't e-mail me, that'll be between myself and Birmo and no, maybe I won't suggest myself because that'd be pretty fucking selfish).

Once the viable writers establish a sustainable market (or fail at it which makes my next point moot) then it should be possible to transition over to an open slush model. I don't know that I'd feel that comfortable with the 1632 slush model. I've never been happy with that system as many editors consider something published on the net to be . . . well, published.

One last thing, and this is why I do not write a lot of media/franchise related material.

It takes time to write anything. Markets are few and they are rather demanding in their own ways. If you are doing this as a labor of love (which is how I normally approach my Birmoverse fanfic) then it'll be worth the time.

If you are approaching this as the road to the future, then you probably need to think of a different way to get there. The value I see in a Birmoverse publication is that you can build the experience you need to write any type of fiction.

The drawback is that Birmoverse Fanfic is only going to get published in one place aside from a personal blog and that is at a Birmoverse fiction outlet. You can't send it off to the Big Three U.S. Mags, or off to Andromeda Spaceways, or Interzone, etc.

So my advice to would be writers would be to pay attention to whatever opportunity Birmo puts out BUT concentrate on writing stories that can break into the other markets.

My two cents.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted August 16, 2010
A good magazine may cost $5.00 or more in the US. Do you want to be in that catagory?

J.

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Sweet Jane Says reckons...

Posted August 16, 2010
Rhino, are you trying to get my attention? Feeling ignored...? Don't worry; I noticed you. I noticed a lot of Birmingham's new readers strongly dislike the "Rhino" character. They think you're a bad joke and are unimpressed by your girth. There... I've given you attention.

J.

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MickH is gonna tell you...

Posted August 16, 2010
You didn't mention the silly hat Jane!

hehehehehehe

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Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 16, 2010
Mick, what it needs is one of those little propellors in between the horns.

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted August 16, 2010
i'd go up to ten bucks for an e-book with pro editing. The fan fic stuff would necessarily be cheaper, two bucks an anthology maybe. I've bought a couple of Twelfth Planet Press titles recently and their New Ceres model looks a good one, but its definitely all pro. They do freebie bits to draw in the paying public and that's what got me in, as well as DF and Matthew Farrer having some goods on display.

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted August 16, 2010
And JUST to ensure that we don't have a complete BLOWOUT, adding to what Murph has already suggested, I would....almost head for an EXTERNAL party to vet, depending on what set up GETS UP!. WHY?, well, it saves me having to CAP FLINTHART'S ARSE co's he knocked back A submission I sent in....get me drift!.

It has the potential for tears...but hey, its a big bad fkn world and ya don't always win the first time around.

Now ref CAPPING DIRK...I WAS ONLY KIDDING...HONEST!

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Therbs mutters...

Posted August 16, 2010
Hav, DF'd just have Proctor George Gordon deal with you and trust me, that bloke knows a shit load about FKN CAPPING!

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Sweet Jane Says ducks in to say...

Posted August 16, 2010
Flint would toss you like a bag of rotten potatoes.

J.

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted August 16, 2010
ROTTEN POTATOES HEY!........

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MickH mutters...

Posted August 16, 2010
Matt, if put one on each horn we'd almost turn him into an OSpray, I don't think we'd get him airbone though given the power to weight requirements! :)

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MickH puts forth...

Posted August 16, 2010
Why Rotten ones?

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted August 16, 2010
Mick / Matt, unless you pair are considering "ROTAG", I think it is..well any ways, LOTS OF FKN ROCKET ASSISTED PROPULSION...its a NON FLIER..so to speak..lol

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Brian would have you know...

Posted August 16, 2010
Point.

Parody and Explody goodness. I wouldn't let that stop you . . .some of the 1632 stories started out as gags. Brillo the Ram was one. You don't have to like it as a reader. In some cases it allows story divergence and sometimes you can bring new readers.

Look . . . . a simmering Rhino romance in a bodice ripper kinda way is possible. Menage a trois?

Buncha cargo cult Papuans decide to head for the promised land.

American kids in Australia loosing their Americaness.

War brides . . .people in detention camps. Rebel groups.

How about a bunch of Australian Republicans heading out with Turnbull as colony leader.

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John is gonna tell you...

Posted August 16, 2010
I agree with Rhino

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Abigail mutters...

Posted August 16, 2010
I wouldn't pay to read the mini burger; not because there aren't some talented writers/ intelligent writers , I'm sure. If you want one reader's POV on this, it's this:

There is just SO much information to read -papers, the Burger and associated blogs; not to mention novels,staying in touch wiht close friends by email; work of some sort for most of us---put all that together and where is fanfic on the list? It doesn't even make it to my list, given all the above.

One reaches saturation point and then the thought of **paying** to read fanfic? even getting a chance to read it no, you probably wouldn't if you were like me and my friends. Like I said, it's no reflection on quality;not snobbery; some very good writers are doing so as fans.

Anyway, that's just one tiny slice of the cyber audience.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted August 16, 2010
I gave this a little thought this afternoon and I think there are scale issues. I think we are over estimating the market & underestimating the effort required.

Just for the sake of numbers lets say 500 copies (probably generous) were sold @ $3 per = $1500 total.

If a professional manuscript groomer spends 5 hours per (barest minimum) & a compilation has 10 pieces = 50 hour investment.

At Best Case Scenario with no legals, costs, or anything thats $30 per hour.

Sorry, it was a nice idea but I can't see a professional looking at it for that price.

If Birmo's virtual books turn into massive money spinners and he hits Crighton / King / Earls levels of mega wealth, then perhaps he'd consider sponsoring a project.

It's a bit of a bummer, because there are really really great ideas out there building, branching and budding from the Alt. Reality that Birmo crafted for us. But they are hamstrung by the reality that few have the skill nor the time to develop the skill to craft the story properly.

The only way those ideas could ever really work is with A: considerable guidance & effort expended. Or B: at the MiniBurger where I accept clunky sentances and obsessive detail on personal hobby horses.

Perhaps we need a set of critique traffic lights over there:

Red = any comment not 100% glowing is Not Fkn Welcome & will be met with rapid punches to the throat.

Yellow = Grammar & typos please, but I'm happy with the story.

Green = Gimme what ever feedback you've got.

Either way much respect to that masked man who tends the MiniBurger.

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Sparty asserts...

Posted August 17, 2010
4.99 minimum for a birmo authored thing.

Publishing in installments didnt really work for Stephen king (the plant ebook) Green Mile magazine style but then maybe things have moved on...

0.99 for an edited Birmo forwarded fan fiction thing. Maybe like alot of the startrek published books is that we know its not absolutly canon but still enjoy the take on it like:

http://www.amazon.com/New-Voyages-Star-Trek/dp/0553246364

which has a great story about the real original series actors being transported into the real startrek universe- wonder if it inspired the galexy quest concept?

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mckinneytexas asserts...

Posted August 17, 2010
"Like Tarl and others I question whether the boys club atmosphere prevalent at the ‘Burger would allow inhouse editing here to be ruthless enough to be competent."

I can do ruthless. I'll start right now. Get a f'ing business agent, pay him/her on commission. You've established your chops, so you should likewise be able to get a competent editor for a cut of the deal. Incentives all the way around. And, get a business plan: why one AoT sequel. You have one of the best universes around to work with and an established brand.

You should consider up to three additional AoT's, 10, 20 and 30 years out, continuity and unfolding drame. Maybe blow the world up in the end, but that's for you to decide. Or, maybe blow it up in the middle. But, same format as before: high/middle/low POV's. Fanfic to follow at 6 month intervals. You need a committee, anonymous, to pick your best fanfics. You should not be on that committee--too many hurt feelings. Fanfic contributors work for free, full releases, etc. in advance in exchange for being considered for publication.

Oh, and 10 bucks a throw. Jesus.

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted August 17, 2010
Its interesting.

Q. Would I spend more time on the grammar, structure and associated bits.....YES!.

But then again, I also do it because its for shits n giggles, its an outlet and I like fkn doing it, so for me, yeah, I would have a crack at AoT perhaps, though for mine, I also want a 5-10 years BEFORE the event as well.

Maybe that's because I use Intense as my outlet and I want A BOOK LENGTH STORY!, even if its got enough initial ..hell, consistent holes in it and grammatical boo boos to sink a fkn battleship.

One thing is for sure, nothing ventured is nothing.. I mean NOTHING GAINED and to be honest, the down sides are not sufficient enough for mine to knock this on its arse.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted August 17, 2010
SHit.

I agree with Havock. Some of us want to be authors. Some of us are here for the fun.

Its a Gideons Band sort of thing.

Some will take one road, some the other.

You know that up front. But its worth an experiment. 12 months should show a trend. Enthusiastic start. A drop up and hopefully a build up again.

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Abigail reckons...

Posted August 17, 2010
One of the issues with publishing in installments (Sparty just reminded me of this when he said it didn't really work for S King)--is that it leaves you open to having your ending written by your audience's demands--don't you think? JB, I'm not addressing this to you, personally, I mean generally this is a problem. Charles Dicken serialised his work in the newspaper and he had to write the ending he wrote for Great Expectations because of that. Ok, a long time ago, a different medium, but does that issue persist when the audience watches the story unfold and pays you "as you go" ?

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Legless swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 17, 2010
$4.99.

$1.99 is laughable.

As I bought a Kindle a few weeks ago, I'm still impulse buying books just to see if I like an authors style and $5.99 is the tops I'll pay for unknown (to me) author. So if you'relooking to pick up new readers that's the price-point I'd go for...

Cheers

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted August 17, 2010
@Legless, thats in the vicinity I'm now looking at.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted August 17, 2010
@ JB

Damn. :))

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Heinz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 18, 2010
In case it interests you - I just got my copy of AFTER AMERICA in Germany. Might be the first, so, who knows.

And if you do an AoT sequel, i would be glad to spring 5 or even 8 $ US for it and read it on my iPad (which is much more book-lilke than Kindle.

Keep writing the good stuff

Heinz

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Dex is gonna tell you...

Posted August 19, 2010
I vote for about $5.00 US minimum. I'd pay more, but I really enjoyed the series.

I don't know how this might work, but here in the States the Panera Bread chain is experimenting with a "Pay what you think it's worth" system.

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WalkingShaw mutters...

Posted August 19, 2010
Luxury goods often command a premium. Since we are all waiting to see what happens in the AoT future - isn't that a luxury we'd all be prepared to pay for?

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SAS swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 6, 2010
I would say a good Ebook should be £3-£4 UK pounds. Not the £14 I am currently seeing for badly written pieces.

Publishers/Authors can set there own price on Amazon not sure how it works on other sites though.

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