Cheeseburger Gothic

Southward ho!

Posted November 6, 2011 by John Birmingham
To Melbourne on Monday morning. Meeting at the Toorak library 6pm. Then on into the night.

Hobart Tuesday night. Hawker Ellison bookshop.

More deets tomorrow.

16 Responses to ‘Southward ho!’

Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 6, 2011
Going to pick a winner over on Blunty before you go all "Jet Set"?

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Sir Snagger has opinions thus...

Posted November 6, 2011
Just wanna say JB, I've just reached chapter 32 9as of about 32 seconds ago) and I'm LOVING IT! And I don't doubt the rest of the book will be even better. Gotta say, I wasn't expecting Sofia to be one of the 3 main female characters you'd mentioned. Good choice though!

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Blarkon mutters...

Posted November 6, 2011
So - is Sir Snagger a knight of Abe Frellman the Sausage King or wot?

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Sir Snagger mutters...

Posted November 6, 2011
Actually, it was a nickname that wouldn't leave me alone for years, whats the saying? If you can't beat them....use more explosives? And then I helped take their Kingdom for the victors!

In otherwords, I'm still a little in the dark on the inner circles around here ;)

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 7, 2011
Don't call me a ho.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 7, 2011
Matt, you are such ho.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted November 7, 2011
Goggles, check.
Mukluks, check.
Dog team, check.
'Lectric thermal underpants, check.

Whenever I travel I am concerned about how it impacts my Zombie preparedness.
Being stuck away from the Sunny Coast (esp in in Hobart) on The Day would be, ah, inconveniant.

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Bunyip asserts...

Posted November 7, 2011
NBob, just keep away from Spring Street. And Prahan.

Oh..... Oh dear....

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JG puts forth...

Posted November 7, 2011
I love Melbourne. Used to live there, yonks ago. Happy travels on your Angels of Vengeance Drinking Tour, John. AoV is the best book!! Been great following your tweets etc. Also, I *looove* this blog and all Burgers on it. Must have been here for close to two months now. I'm officially a Cheeseburger Gothic addict. Halfway through reading The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco now. I laugh out loud a lot. Have a nice Monday, JB! Joanna Gaudry aka Red Roo :)

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JG asserts...

Posted November 7, 2011
Hoho, Matt K. We all know you're a super ho. JoannaG ;))

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted November 7, 2011
Well-aged prawn shells in Mukluks, check.
Dog team watching Cujo, Old Yella on repeat, check.
Electric underpants charging 40,000V capacitor, check.

I actually saw NBob in Paul's photos & he looks just as I imagined. The small beady eyes, the lipless mouth, the nails like hooked claws, the spines running down from the back of his head.

(What? a Lizard? How was I to know? Quokka said it was NBob!)

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted November 7, 2011
Could be one or two strays show up in Hobart who don't know your books. Treat them with scorn and derision (but after they've forked out their hard earned).

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted November 7, 2011
har, har, har.
GB, don't you have rats to catalogue?

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Mayhem's Mum is gonna tell you...

Posted November 7, 2011
Not at all, Ms Quokka. My Lord and Master Greybeard (Keeper of the Torch, Bringer of Gruel, Crossbreeder of Species) is far too important for such menial labor. He has trained rats for that. They're very good, you know.

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Bunyip ducks in to say...

Posted November 7, 2011
That was fun. Am suspecting that leaving when I did was a wise move.

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Matthew K mutters...

Posted November 14, 2011
I aint no ho no!
Might be persuaded to go southward tho...

I GOT bitches and hos! In fact I have a wide variety of female dogs and gardening equipment, so I'm down with all that urban stuff... Yo.

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Respond to 'Southward ho!'

Printers roll on Angels. Caught up with Falling Skies.

Posted September 10, 2011 by John Birmingham
My editor Joel emailed me on Friday to confirm the presses had just started rolling on Angels of Vengeance. Huzzah. I should have advance copies very soon.

My agent, Russ, is happy with the details of the next project. We'd been back-and-forthing them for a couple of weeks. Refining the ideas. He's happy now, which means I just have to distill our conversations into a brief a pitch document for him to take off to the publishers. That'll hopefully happen this weekend. I've been finding it difficult - well, impossible really - to get any writing work done while I've been yapping away on the wireless. The prep for the show takes up the morning, then after the 2 hours on air I don't have a coherent thought in my head.

Hence, I finally caught up with the end of Season One, Falling Skies, this week. I started watching this when it debuted on cable. Got a little tired of the family soap opera elements, but felt it picked up again when they got back to the alien butt kicking. Why can't people understand that alien invasion stories are all about the alien butt kicking?

Anyway, I was happy enough with it to be keen for Season 2.

In the meantime I need to head back downthread to read all of the suggestions for weapons in the new AoT book. I've been playing around with ideas for it, but until I clear this radio commitment I doubt I'll do any serious work on the thing. Best to just prepare, then launch in full throttle when I'm free to commit.

43 Responses to ‘Printers roll on Angels. Caught up with Falling Skies.’

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted September 10, 2011
I so want one of those rocket propelled grenades in the final ep they kick serious alien butt, if only we had a few more of them at the start of the invasion we might have won.

The bugs seem less terrifying than they did in the first episode.

Still no fracking sign of The WALKING DEAD!!!!! and given that they have frack'd over Frank Darbout and the whole shows budget for series two it seem unlikely that all of Robert Kirkman's excellent graphic novel will see the small screen.

great stuff on Friday about Dead Island, love the reference to the Australian accents, surprised you didn't mention the release of the copy on Stream that included the 'feminist whore' place holder comment
http://www.themarysue.com/dead-island-feminist-whore/

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 10, 2011
Yeah, the Week in Geek bit was teh fkn AWSM, I reckon. We'll be doing that one again next week.

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Darth Greybeard puts forth...

Posted September 10, 2011
Mr Barnes, you might like to add this to your library: http://www.geekalerts.com/thats-not-your-mommy-anymore-a-zombie-tale/

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 10, 2011
Will be surprised if Falling Skies gets to a third season. Also - the new "Blood and Chrome" Galactica series has been scaled back to being "web only" - which is another way of saying "dead on arrival".

For the first time since the 80's there will be no "space based live action Science Fiction" on the television next year.

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 10, 2011
Thank you GB, already have it earmarked a future birthday present to the recent offspringing of Gurubob for when she can read.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted September 10, 2011
"For the first time since the 80?s there will be no “space based live action Science Fiction” on the television next year.."

which no doubts suits your diabolical plans you evil space lizard.

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abigail puts forth...

Posted September 10, 2011
Well done, JB!

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted September 10, 2011
It's the quality of the ideas & scripts. No Firefly standard stuff around at the moment. I tried a few eps of Falling Skies but it just didn't get me in. Very much written to a formula, standard characters/family structures/love interests.

OK, pet peeve rant here. Why is it that when a book is made into a film or series, some creative genius decides to crap all over the very characters and situations that made it work in the first place? Games of Thrones is a huge exception there, and is great TV because (amongst other things) it's faithful to the book. Don't know if anyone read Jim Butcher's Dresden series, but the Sy Fy channel or whatever they call it now made a shocker of a TV adaptation that was rightly cancelled after one season. Is it the ego of the producer? OK, rant over.

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted September 10, 2011
GB I am a big fan of the books, just finished Ghost Story and completely agree with you on the TV adaption. The one they chose for Harry Dresden was okay but Murphy was terrible and why couldn't BOB be a flying skull?

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Timmo asserts...

Posted September 11, 2011
Congrats JB. Hope the radio gig's going well - I tried to listen at work on Friday, but as expected, streaming audio was blocked. Oh well.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted September 11, 2011
I had trouble buying the ending bit where Noah Wyle's character offhandedly pops off an RPG at an alien flyer, destroying it and causing damage to the structure. It irked me enough that I commented at the Falling Skies FB page about it.

I want to like the Col. Tight inspired 2nd Mass commander but he is . . . well, a clone of Col. Tigh being played by someone who really isn't suited for the task. Noah seems a notch on the young side to be a history professor and more to the point, it is vanishingly rare for someone who specializes in military history to get a tenured position anywhere. What would have been more likely is that he was some social historian, a specialist in Labor History, gender studies, or perhaps did some real cutting edge research on a field which had been pretty well worked over like the Revolution.

I want to like the show and I'll watch it next season. That said, it needs work.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy asserts...

Posted September 11, 2011
Snort, Colonel Tight. :)

M

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted September 11, 2011
I liked the idea of Col Tight.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted September 11, 2011
C'mon Murph, you know as well as I do that all the great social development for our society will come from gender analysis of Bugs Bunny cartoons and PoMo re-readings of breakfast cereal adverts.
*joking*

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted September 11, 2011
I record the episodes and fast forward through the faffing, stopping when I see aliens. Really good show that way. Can't wait to see more.

I think there is something deeper and ultimately very depressing underlying the fact that next year is the first time since the 80's there will be space based live action Science Fiction on television.

Fuck the decline of world civilization and the encroaching new Dark Age. It is totally fucking with my entertainment choices.

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 11, 2011
Yeah, Murph, I thought the unerringly accurate RPG was a stretch too. And an unnecessary burden on our suspension of disbelief. What, they couldn't even put them in a high rise to take the shot? I seemed to me to be drawing on the Blackhawk Down experience, where choppers were taken out by RPGs. But masses of them!

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted September 11, 2011
PNB

completely agree with you though I suspect the decline in live action space drama is directly proportional to your countrymen's lack of support for the James Webb Space Telescope, Oh and the space lizard Blarkon's evil influences.

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DrStrangelove swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 11, 2011
I caught that last episode of Falling Skies and thought the same thing. I mean, with a Stinger, maybe, but with an RPG? Of course, with a lot of sci-fi you have to disconnect the logic portion of your brain (and I'm a sci-fi fan).
Seems like the sci-fi/fantasy writers are leaning towards sword-swingers, of late. ABC is coming out with one for the fall (saw the promo tonight but can't remember the name. It's written by the same crew that did Lost, which means I will be by episode 4).

Can't wait for Angels to hit Texas, JB!

Doc

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted September 11, 2011
sometimes I can't wait for asteroids to hit Texas

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted September 11, 2011
There is no asteroid big enough to hit Texas and raise more than a puff of dust.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 11, 2011
I was re-reading Asimovs NonFiction 'A choice of catastrophes' the othe rday. (yes yes Greybeard html fail)
Despite it being a touch dated (along the lines of 'only the 6 richest kings of Europe will have personal computers by 2011 & each computer will be the size of an airship') it does have some interesting thoughts about celestial impact. Specificly the angle, mass, speed, & type required of an incoming hot rock to do substantial damage. Like a compounded Goldilocks principle, several different variables must be optimum for a catstrophic strike. As each variable has calculable probabilities, for 6 Just Rights to come up concurrently has a probability of one in a hundred baziliion.

He (Asimov) sugests that Tunguska was probably an comet that airburst and it was the airburst that concussed the forests.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted September 11, 2011
and for those playing at home

http://simulator.down2earth.eu/

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted September 11, 2011
Oh that's cool
That's some of the coolest sh!t I've seen in ages.
Brigadier Barnes you've outdone youself.

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted September 12, 2011
So how do we make sure that The Rhino gets a copy of Angels of Vengeance before Havoc?

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted September 12, 2011
Why thank you NBob, I aim to please. Especially when it comes to Extinction level asteroid events.

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted September 12, 2011
BARNESM ya fkn do like cruising to da edge!......dont you!

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted September 12, 2011
Wouldn't like to break the tradition, besides I provided lots of amusing comments last time.

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted September 12, 2011
Wouldn't like to break the tradition, besides it provided lots of amusing comments last time.

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DrStrangelove reckons...

Posted September 12, 2011
Throw an asteroid Texas way. The Rangers need the batting practice.

Doc

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted September 12, 2011
Didn't like Cardiff when I went there. Thanks Mr Barnes for the opportunity to throw an aseroid its way.

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Therbs reckons...

Posted September 12, 2011
*asteroid*, although arseroid would be more appropriate.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted September 12, 2011
Barnes, it doesn't need to hit Texas.

Just Gov. Perry.

Lord, I'm right of center and even I think he is a nutjob.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted September 12, 2011
S.F.Murphy
Gov. Perry certainly is setting the bar fairly high in the competitive nutjob stakes. He is an example of how real life can always transcend parody.

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ChrisB asserts...

Posted September 13, 2011
Cheers, JB! Cannot wait for the copy to hit the stands.

As for Falling Skies....eh. I totally agree. It needs more BSG & War of the Worlds and far less yapping.

However, Walking Dead has the end of the world 'dead on' AND the new trailers are totally creepy (beware the WW z-esque grabbers in the dead traffic jam) http://www.amctv.com/the-walking-dead/videos/the-walking-dead-season-2-trailer-from-comic-con

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted September 13, 2011
Jackie Collins has just come out with a book entitled "Queen of Vengeance." I predict much confusion among vastly different reader demographics.

I am throwing my full political support behind Perry. Is he a great big honking loon? Yes, he is. So what? When has that ever negatively affected anyone's chances of winning the Oval Office? Because Perry is crazy, he is the only person in the Republican field with any chance to beat Obama.

Bring on the contradictions and wild misuse of statistics! The political season is upon us full swing! "Better run/ better run for cover..."

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted September 13, 2011
Mr Babcock, re the Walking Dead, indeed awesome and not suprising given the material it can draw from ie Mr Kirkman's excellent graphic novels. Though I am alarmed at the shenanigans, indeed SHENANIGANS going on at the AMC) who have seen fit to cut the budget for season 2 so much so that when the director Frank Darabont protested he was sacked.

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andyf is gonna tell you...

Posted September 13, 2011
falling skies .. a few problems I thought.
1: the military were completely wiped out,- whiles civilians wandering around in groups, setting fires etc escape?
2: why are they running around with AKs and RPG7? wouldnt it be a bit more likely that the national guard armouries would contain M4's?
3: you discover that 'mech metal' will go straight through enemy armour- no one has heard of claymores?

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ChrisB mutters...

Posted September 13, 2011
@Andy f: ALSO: So the aliens just let the survivors walk around all day and night? And what of the 105mm's just lined up at several bases in the NE? If he hit one ship with an RPG, i'd imagine a couple of rows of well-placed artillery barrages would do the job on that mothership over Boston.
@Barnesm: I'm concerned as well, I'd hate to see Walking Dead end up like a SyFy Saturday night mess over a few dollars.

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Sparty is gonna tell you...

Posted September 13, 2011
Does anyone know Noah Wyles characters name? he really is just Doctor Carter to me...
Actually Will Patton normally knocks that type of role out the park (best thing in the Postman although he played it more like the bad guy in dies the fire).
This may have been answered already but
Birmo:when / how is the ebook of AoV out?

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Sparty would have you know...

Posted September 13, 2011
frak thats disappointing about blood and chrome............

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CathieT ducks in to say...

Posted September 14, 2011
Great news on AoV!!

I trust the pixels (or whatever they use on Kindles) are being rallied as well ....

I have now officially finished After America - stretched it out as long as I could for continuity purposes .... so I can't wait either!!

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 14, 2011
Sparty, you should be able to get the ebook of AoV same time as Oz. end of oct, start of november.

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Andrew reckons...

Posted September 22, 2011
I've just finished After America, and loved it! I swore a fair bit about fifty pages or so from the end when I realised that there were a whole bunch of arcs that couldn't possibly be tied up by the end of the book... and then smiled figuring there would have to be a third. Looking forward to reading it!

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Respond to 'Printers roll on Angels. Caught up with Falling Skies.'

The future catching up with me.

Posted September 2, 2011 by John Birmingham
It's funny how the world catches up with make-believe. I've had half a dozen people twitter me this week about bits of news they've seen in the tech press. A stealth trimaran which uses super-cavitating technology. Solid-state battle rifles. Smart phones and slates that project images of their keyboards on the flat surfaces. Body armor that looks a lot like the reactive matrix kit from Weapons of Choice.

Still no fusion stacks, though.

This stuff is on my mind again because I'm playing around with the story for my first return to AOT in, what, 5 or 6 years. There was an interesting discussion broke out in a recent thread about how much data the up timers would be able to hold onto. A lot less than I was hoping, according to Orin, and I'll take his judgment in these matters over mine.

So a lot of what I'm doing at the moment is projecting forward 10 years from the end of the war, to the mid-1950s. Kolhammer in the White House. The Soviets with their boots planted firmly over half of Europe and Japan.

Where is technology at this point. Is the US Air Force flying Phantoms or have they gone a little more upmarket? Did we skip the M-16?

More interestingly what about consumer technology? I can easily see Stalin making the same mistake all over again and pouring way too much money into military production. But what happens in the West when guys like Slim Jim have accumulated so much capital so quickly from intellectual property theft that they can't really be touched, especially if the owners of that IP don't exist yet.

These are the things I ponder at the moment. This, and who I should use to tell this story. These e-books will be much shorter and simpler than the hardcopy novels. I'm thinking 2 maybe 3 points of view at the very most, and all of them related to the same story arc. That means if you go for a military angle, you probably can't do the political or economic stuff in any great depth, and vice versa of course.

On the other hand the accelerated publication schedule means that I can possibly neglect some aspects of the story because they can get their fair treatment 2 or 3 months down the track in another new release.

It's an exciting time.

44 Responses to ‘The future catching up with me.’

Gary ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2011
As long as you blow lots of shit up, I'll be happy. :)

It would be interesting to see how the arrival of the up timers affects Soviet WMD research (biological and chemical, as well as nuke).

Gary

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Lobes mumbles...

Posted September 2, 2011
Make each novella have intersecting story arcs with the others so that you can read them stand alone but they complement each other when read together. May be a bit extra effort but it will probably lead to greater sales.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted September 2, 2011
"That means if you go for a military angle, you probably can’t do the political or economic stuff in any great depth, and vice versa of course."

Isn't that one of the benefits of multiple POV? Each person relates to the world differently. Someone in the military interacts with the new time stream from a military angle. A Senator from a political angle. A professor from a cheap thrills at any cost angle. What's bad about that?

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ChrisB ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2011
What interests me (simply due to my geography) is the Southwest. When we last left California, the freeways were rapidly outpacing the Red Line, wi-fi and microwaves were starting to pop.

Something tells me Slim Jim may be headed for Vegas, before his big fall...

Round these parts (AOT-wise), B-52's were based out of Alamogordo AAF and the culture seemed to be changing quicker than the rest of the AOT-US. Raptors over 1950's El Paso...totally cool.

What of the results from the AOT's 'Operation PaperClip?' or Eisenhower's (now Kolhammer's) Interstate Highway program? Will GM be selling C8 Corvettes right beside '55 Caddys? Ahhh the twists and turns...

I simply CANNOT wait to see the mess you are going to get all our favorite characters into.

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Naut mutters...

Posted September 2, 2011
The Clone Wars series could provide a good template of how to have short intersecting stories with limited POVs.

Unfortunately it probably means you are going to have the obligatory boring, touchy feely book in amongst the explody ones. Although the JB take on touchy feely is probably more bearable than most.

Hopefully you won't feel the need to have every story end with a moral!

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Brandon is gonna tell you...

Posted September 2, 2011
I just discovered your books last week. I was at Barnes and Nobles and saw an interesting cover, which ended up being After America. I went ahead and got Without Warning, and ended up having to go back to B&N just 5 days later to get After America. I haven't been so entranced by a series in years. Now I'm starting on the AOT series, and I must say I believe I have found my new favorite author lol.

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Unpossible asserts...

Posted September 2, 2011
Include at least one new pov, in my opinion. I love the old crew, of course, and will be great to be reacquainted. But looking at your world through a fresh set of eyes will be AWSM.
I'm thinking of a sort of James Dean type figure who hates what he sees in California, but doesn't know why. And he goes banging around in an 80's era Harley Softtail, terrorizing 'temps and 21c's alike.
Or from the shoot-y pov, maybe you could run a third of a book from Uncle Ho's view, in a radically different post-colonial conflict. If De Gualle diddnt lead his army into Paris at the end of (our) WWII, and he subsequently never got the top job, things would turn out very differently for Vietnam and Egypt.

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pitpat is gonna tell you...

Posted September 2, 2011
There'd be no black and white TV go straight to color. No VHS or Beta, no cassettes all would go straight to disc. What about the Apollo program and the grainy landing on the moon . What about Neil Armstrong . Would it be a small step for man and a small step for mankind? It is doing my head in because stored somewhere in the new tech would be the B&W moonlanding then you would have the 'new' moon landing so that the 'old' moon landing never happened? Metaphysics was never my thing. Rocks and explodey stuff is

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2011
With all that information being lost would governments commit to archiving a lot of it? Enormous government archives. The Soviets would be right into it. Thousands of Winston Smiths sitting in cavernous warehouses 'correcting' hardcopy.
From a consumer point of view would manufacturers produce 'retro classic' editions? e.g. a Chevy 57 'classic' limited edition released in 1957 while the AOT 57 Chevy is a more highly engineered product. The Uptimers would probably be into it and create a demand.

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Dex Fernandez has opinions thus...

Posted September 2, 2011
I should think that someone - Beria, perhaps - would perhaps have Stalin assassinated and try to become Putin.

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Luke Stockwell has opinions thus...

Posted September 2, 2011
The space program wouldn't be a race to the moon, it would be a race to get satellites in orbit to kick off GPS and serious spying. The uptimers would drive that in a big way to get the benefits they had back home so they can use the ahead-of-time tech they'd be pumping out to it's full effect. ICBM's are a given.

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Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted September 2, 2011
Orin's right IF they haven't got different methods of storage from us. Who's to say they don't have data crystals or a huge ROM memory stash designed to outlast the ships.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2011
The bad news is that we've already used the M-16 in Final Impact along with the F-86, the A-4, the UH-1 Huey, a variant of the CH-47 Chinook and a very early version of the AH-1 Cobra.

Anyway, I said it in the last thread and I'll say it again.

Let's assume Orin is right. It'll all degrade quickly. Personally, if we have combat artificial intelligence systems, I tend to disagree with his assessment. That means the Clinton and other such ships will have computers not much better than heavily medicated schizophrenics before the original trilogy ends. Still, let's go with Orin's assertion.

I suspect what will happen is that a number of entities will divide up the potential mass of information.

First, you'll have secured, dangerous information which can not be released to the public domain. This would focus on weapons/defense tech, fusion stacks, WMD and the like. This batch of information would be data mined by a massive arm of temps trained in how to retrieve, print out and copy this information by uptimers. It would be stored on microfilm, 35 mm movie film in the case of multimedia, and print form.

This is not unreasonable given that there is already a massive civil service mobilization extant in the original society. They would simply need to be trained and retasked accordingly with a list of key topics to select for preservation before degradation takes place.

There would be a second batch of information which would be safe enough to release to the general public. This would include pop culture, non-militarized technology, academic materials, and so on. This batch could probably be subdivided and exploited by both private and public entities.

The incentive for the private entities, like Slim Jim, are obvious. There will be a rush on to find the best material, match it to the taste of the temps and use it accordingly. Universities will no doubt create departments specifically tasked with trawling through the academic materials which would affect the many disciplines, including but not limited to science, biology, medical science and the like.

For profit entities would probably be more haphazard in their approach, but a tax on their efforts could be used to fund public efforts to preserve this data.

As for what they are using in terms of technology by the 1950s, I suspect what they would be using wouldn't quite match up with tech in the original timeline.

Consider the Phantom. Not a dog fighter by any means, more of a missile carrier with enough engine to lift an otherwise unaerodynamic frame into the sky. It certainly evolved during combat in Vietnam, but it seems to me that uptimers and contemporaries would want to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Thus, they'd probably design a fighter which is a synthesis of contemporary technology mixed with uptime foresight and design values. So perhaps you might get something they'd call a Phantom, but it might look more like someone kitbashed a Super Hornet with an F-86.

In other words, you'd probably need to design a new fighter which would be vaguely recognizeable to uptimers but clearly a unique design. The same could most likely be said for anything else which might be developed, civilian or military, public or private.

My two cents.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted September 2, 2011
Per memory, aren't they using some sort of quantum storage technology?

If it is anything like what I used in my own fiction, that technology is incredibly persistent.

In other words, ditto what Bangar said.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted September 2, 2011
I just want to know

Will there be Zombies?

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WarDog asserts...

Posted September 2, 2011
The rate of roll out of new tech is going to be limited by fabrication technology and the fabrication patterns. I imagine that the micro fab 3D printers aboard 2021 warships would provide a reasonable granularity (100 micron) and a good range of materials from a variety of plastics, ceramics and metals (perhaps some organic printers for he med labs). They should also have patterns for all moving parts on the ship, they are unlikely to have access to many patterns of consumer high tech goods, because it is unlikely they were able to fabricated outside of specialised fab plants.

In order to start producing the high tech components they want, they are first going to have to construct the high tech fab plants. That's the challenge, and the reward.

What's really going to grind the teeth of the uptimers is that in 2021 they would have been looking forward to nano-fab plants within a few years. That's now right off the table.

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WarDog asserts...

Posted September 2, 2011
Re military hardware, I suspect that the uptimers would push for smaller air vehicles running either autonomously or by remote. War is different for them, it's more precise, better intelligensed (if that's not a word I'm making it one), with fewer casualties. For heavy delivery, it would be B-52s (cheap, easy to make) armed with cruise missiles. They'd never get within a bulls roar of combat.

They will want to put less people in harm's way.

Likewise they will pour resources into better protecting and informing ground troops as well as providing greater mobility and more timely resources.

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Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted September 2, 2011
All good points from Murph. Considering the current rate of improvement in data storage density, they might well have something with a very long MTBF. What I'm not sure about is the kind of data they'd have had on a warship. History, politics, entertainment, biographies all seem to be available? Maybe I missed something but I'm too lazy to go back & check.

Oh and Zombie Skorzeny coming back for round 2, awesome!

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Wolfcat swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 2, 2011
GPS is going to be the most important tech... with it comes cruise missiles and battle space control...

problem for the non combatants is that there will be competing tech, Soviet and US and it wont be open for the public :-)

Also as soon as satellites go up, satellite killer missiles will be high on the list.

forget all the SALT etc treaties, it will be on for young and old.

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Wolfcat mumbles...

Posted September 2, 2011
As for Slim Jim, congress will eventually pass some sort of Anti-Trust legislation when he gets out of control... but he will do a lot of damage along the way, and it wont be an easy bill to pass given the bribes he will have paid along the way.

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SpringfieldFats puts forth...

Posted September 2, 2011
A lot of the cold war was fought through proxies, Vietnam, Korea, etc and behind the scenes in terms of spying, assasination, etc. I can see with the info from the uptimers the behind the scenes part of the AOT cold war being very nasty, people being erased before they have actually done anything and the like.

I can also see the proxy war being much more volatile. It's likely that the uptimers haven't really learned anything from their history and will continue to try to back winners like they did in our history, usually to the detriment of the people they were trying to protect. Will there be an equivalent of the Iran-Contra scandal, where despite the best efforts of President Kohlhammer, elements of the military are waging their own war through other means?

Bit of a ramble, but there could be a few neat little stories along the lines of a Bourne style operative skulking in the shadows.

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Stevo 73 puts forth...

Posted September 2, 2011
Will the US and it allies side step the quagmires of Korea and Vietnam, with the knowledge of the uptimers? If they do will that lead to another international pressure point between the east and west but with more advanced weapons?

I do not think the M-16 could be skipped seeing as its grandson is a basis for good quality massed produced assault rifles in our time line and given that they turned up in a form in AOT3, I believe that the issues that plagued it in Vietnam (wrong ammunition type and no cleaning kit) would be by passed and the uptimers would move to an M4 style variant in quick time.

An interesting sideline is the importance of night vision equipment and the instigation of the 24 hr battlefield. The Generation 1 night vision optics pioneered in Vietnam would be skipped entirely and I imagine 1950's US would have the Current Gen 3 + as a standard, what would the soviets have.....

How would China evolve in the altered timeline? Would they skip some of the cultural revolution mistakes and move straight to the communist-capitalism that they are following now? Would they be allowed to develop beyond their 1940's agrarian state?

So many interesting sidelines to follow.

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drej ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2011
Deja vu to the first burger threads. very nice.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2011
Per the M-16, those Nam era flaws are still extant in many respects. While it is an accurate weapon in many respects, it is also a very fickle and tempermental weapon.

That could be changed with a different bolt design of the type more commonly found in the HK-416/417 series of weapons. I'd explain it, but it is too early in the morning for me to remember the terms and my brain is somewhere in the foggy mists of the 1500s with the Spanish and the English.

Agreed on UAV style aircraft.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Legless has opinions thus...

Posted September 2, 2011
Slim Jim invents Silicone Valley. He uses a vast amount of his wealth to boot-strap the PC. But he uses the Apple model - where he controls all of the hardware and software.

At the same time, another group try to do the same but are aiming at the Open Source/Open Architecture model. - Which lets you bring on the McCarthy-type character - maybe even McCarthy himself - supporting SJ's branch of radical capitalism against those freetards who want everything open.

So the race to the silicone chip and, as a side-story, the space race. But, as others have said, that would be the race to get satellites up and working.

Hell - you could even have SJ's master-plan is to invent the Internet but with him as the only ISP...


Cheers

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savo asserts...

Posted September 2, 2011
O'Brien POV - she was always going to be in the middle of the Quiet Room. Hugely rich - a puppet master extraordinaire - and still fighting the good fight with Kohlhammer.
Ivanov - the longer war - Russian resistance

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Guy puts forth...

Posted September 2, 2011
As I said in a previous comment, it's the big picture that interests me. How far did the Soviets get in to western Europe? Did the Russians get to the Atlantic? Did the Anglo-Americans go further east in northern Europe while the communists were makng thier big push further south? Did the Anglo-American manage to grab Crete and the
Greek islands while the Russians were occupying the mainland? Did they manage to join up with the Finns and stop the Ruissians taking part of Finnish territory as they did in OTL? Marshal Mannerheim was an outstanding leader in my view and it would be interesting to hear something from his POV.

How far did the Russians/Chinese get in Asia? Did the US/Australia manage to get the Vietnamese onside? The Viets and the Chineseare traditional enemies after all and it wuold be interesting to have Vietnam/Thailand as a pro-western bastion in a largely Communist Asia.

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McKinneyTexas is gonna tell you...

Posted September 3, 2011
If you are 10 years downstream with 21C tech having been in place and burgeoning first in the Zone and then overflowing, you are in the late 60's if not early 70's with whole new lines of innovation taking root in a near perfect environment. Knowledge doesn't evaporate and your workforce still has a world war and a world depression on its collective mind--not afraid to fight or work. If Kolhammer is president, a lot of 21C values have made their indelible mark. Competence and ingenuity will outstrip the bitter enders faster and faster each year. If the UK/Canada/Aus/NZ follows form, these will be the core of the AoT's "West" and collectively, they would pack a lot of punch (would Labor carry the UK in this world? I think not, or at least, not for long).

Against that background, the Soviets and the PRC have their own eggs to fry, particularly the Soviets. They are sitting on too large a nest--took my metaphor pill this morning and had an extra cup of coffee--and there has to be internal blowback from Stalin's purges. You can't keep killing everyone at every level and not piss someone off enough, or frighten someone enough, that they won't hit back. Savo is on target, as usual, and gives the lede for the final East-West reckoning. Because there has to be a reckoning. Stalin will know that the status quo won't cut it. Not every story has to have a happy ending. The Cold War doesn't have to end with one side tipping over its king. Uprisings in the Soviet-controlled section, a much more aggressive covert campaign, much better planning in SE Asia, etc all point to an open conflict.

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Moko would have you know...

Posted September 3, 2011
How about we have a weapon design competition, and who wins get's it in the book?

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savo mumbles...

Posted September 3, 2011
Would NATO have formed? If it did would it be something stronger more aggressive?

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Lobes mutters...

Posted September 3, 2011
Ha! This is a bit off topic but a Must-Read for you guys:

Could a Modern Marine Battalion defeat the entire Roman Empire?

http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/k067x/could_i_destroy_the_entire_roman_empire_during/c2giwm4

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Unpossible mumbles...

Posted September 3, 2011
NATO, yeah. And the Warsaw pact countries. And the Marshall plan. What happens there?
While it's pretty clear from our point of view that France is a dead power after 1944, I don't think they saw it that way, even until the 50's. I think Prez De Gualle survived something in the order of a dozen quite sophisticated assassination attempts. I reckon ultra nationalistic French would try something awful in Egypt or Vietnam; something as awful as ethnic cleansing. America would have to get involved, and Stalin would pick whatever side (or position) would cause the U.S. most distress.

Interesting thought, France and the USSR on the same side. What year did the French communist party almost come to power? Mid sixties, maybe? Such an alliance would give Stalin a foot in the door, or an excuse, to meddle all over the world in Frances former colonies.

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted September 3, 2011
Hi to Brandon. Wlecome aboard. And fuck yeah! Brilliant idea from Moko on the weapon design comp.

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Kat reckons...

Posted September 3, 2011
I have absolutely nothing constructive to add, but I am fucking excited that you're writing more in this universe!! Can't wait, and now I will have to invest in a pad/e-reader.

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Luke swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 3, 2011
It just wouldn't be America with numerous assassination attempts on President Kolhammer. All the Hoover-types would want him dead. There's got to be a parallel to be drawn between climate change deniers (Hoover) who want things the way they were & science-based fact (uptimers) who have accepted that things have changed forever.

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Orin swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 3, 2011
Perfectly reliable storage technology, produced by the lowest contract bidders, that's battle hardened? It's Birmo's Universe - but it won't exist tomorrow. Won't exist 20 years from now.

Super reliable components that don't fail?

Someone should tell Amazon, Google, Apple & Microsoft so that they can use those in their worldwide datacenters instead of going through shipping containers of replacements for the components that fail every month.

Who here is using a laptop with its original battery, getting more than a few minutes of battery life, if that laptop was made before 2005?

Know what the lifespan of an iPhone and an iPad is? Here's a hint. You can't replace the battery. 99% of first and second rev iPads will not be able to hold any charge whatsoever 5 years from now. All those flexipads? Paperweights by 1950 unless plugged into the mains. Sure, the fleet will have a set of replacement components - but they'll have enough replacements for the projected mission time.

The precision infrastructure needed to fab modern electronics and stuff like batteries wasn't able to be made *5* years ago. They sure knew how to DESIGN the electronics back then - but getting the manufacturing processes right at the appropriate tollerances is a non-trivial problem. Even today the failure rate on manufacturing is high.

Being phenomanally generous, they *might* be able to bootstrap their infrastructure to 1970-1980 level technology.

The uptimers are castaways in time, not new settlers. They didn't bring with them all the material they needed to bring even an approximation of their lifestyle with them.

Now having said all this - 's Birmo's Universe and Narrative trumps Nitpicking. But I'm so sure about this that if any CheeseBurger *here* has a Rev 1 iPad with its original battery where that battery is usable for more than 15 minutes in 2016, I'll buy them a bottle of scotch.

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Bangar mutters...

Posted September 4, 2011
I personally think it's a good twist to the story, but it depends on if it suits the story and/or Birmo.

As to the flexipads their new batteries will most likely not have the lifespan of their originals but they will have new batteries.

PS you can change iPad batteries. I've personally changed iPod batteries.
http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing-iPad-Wi-Fi-Battery-Replacement/2198/1

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Brian asserts...

Posted September 4, 2011
Side band frequency radio was a Korean War technology. Whats interesting about this little sucker - is that its modern descendant is what we call Broadband. Had to watch a training movie with a GI using the tech holding an M1 carbine. Sooo . . . . .not only achievable using WW2 tech but usescthe existing copper network. Throw in Laser repeaters and microwave .. . . .hmmm. .. . . . .laser links were used as a private - wide throat alternative in New York for secure private business networks.

Copper networks aren't susceptible to EM pulse and IIRC - 1960's telephone tech used miniature valves. The Sovs used valve tech in their Foxbat fighters - also to harden the electronics.

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Orin ducks in to say...

Posted September 5, 2011
That's why I said "original battery" ;-) - but fabbing current batteries is a PITA (especially without having them explode when plugged into the device ;-)

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Scott swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 5, 2011
From memory didn't the flex pad use power from the heat generated from the user's hand or when wrapped around the arm? So long since I read the series.

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Orin reckons...

Posted September 5, 2011
It did - but that power would still need to be stored in some type of battery.

All rechargable batteries have a limited number of recharge cycles. For most laptops and tablets, that's somewhere between 500 (average) and 1000 (high quality) recharges before the battery won't hold a charge any more.

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Robert mutters...

Posted September 13, 2011
Soviet-style shortages in the USA as demand for uptime-like devices far outstrips whatever limited production capacity could be developed in 10 years. There's not enough time to develop enough engineers, industry, infrastructure, chemistry, etc. So I see a lot of dissatisfaction brewing.

And key things won't happen because this demand for new tech will warp the allocation of resources, perhaps amplifying a society of haves and have-nots, where only the wealthy or the well-connected can get the real tech. And because of this, I don't see Kolhammer as president.

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Robert reckons...

Posted September 13, 2011
Are you sure you want to pursue the AoT universe again? Seems risky. Ten years into it, any political stuff you make up will just appear made up, the bloom will be off the "holy cow" moments whenever new tech is revealed to downtimers because they've pretty much seen it all, and the morality of fighting unjust wars will be front and center.

Why not try a new universe? Flint's got the medieval Europe franchise, but what if you took, say, a shuttle flight and zapped it to an alternate earth that was populated by, say, talking apes?

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Richard Collister ducks in to say...

Posted September 14, 2011
Looking at your depiction of Stalin and his well-documented ego, I would think that he would be engrossed/enthralled by the early successes of the Soviet space program. He's seen the histories and could see that mucking it out in the jungles and deserts by dumping AK's on peasants..err..proud workers of the people's revolution, yields only short term success while burning long term resources.
He has to find a way to get to space first. Any platform he could stabilize in space would offer him the "high ground". Surveillance, and GPS needs have been discussed but, orbital bombardment is right up Uncle Joe's alley. The next fight should be for Earth's orbitals.

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Respond to 'The future catching up with me.'

No, you won't need to buy an e-reader.

Posted August 19, 2011 by John Birmingham
I was surprised at the number of peeps in the thread below asking whether they'd need one, or saying they were just about to go out an buy one. Far be it from me to discourage anyone from investing in a new shiny precious, or slate-grey matt precious in the case of a Kindle, but no. If you have a PC, lappy or smartphone you can read e-books on any number of apps. All of the big e-book retailers have them, and there's plenty of non-proprietary e-reading applications you can download too.

Some folks were even talking of getting an iPad. Again, don't let me stop you, but you dont need to. And if you really are just looking for an e-reader, your really dont need to. I've been getting thru the George RR martin series on my Kindle, iPwn and iPad of late and while they all have their advantages and disadvantages, the cheapest, ie. the Kindle, is still a kick arse bit of reading tech, and the one I prefer during daylight hours.

Wait a few months before you run out and buy a kindle, however. There's talk of Amazon releasing a bottom tier droid tablet before the end of the year. I'd expect to see a big price cut in the monochrome e-ink Kindles should that happen.

Finally, talking to some indy booksellers yesterday, you may not even have to go digital. These books will be formatted for print on demand. You walk into a real bookshop, place your order, or even better just email it in, and they'll run you off a lovely, fresh sandwich of real, hard copy paperback, good to go.

 

31 Responses to ‘No, you won't need to buy an e-reader.’

Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

Posted August 19, 2011
Couldn't you please delete this post? Before Fifi sees it. I was this close to getting an e-reader . . .

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted August 19, 2011
I love that concept of bookshops supplying paperbacks on demand. Get the order, punch it through to the book printer, a day or two later the book gets sent out to the shop or your home address. Also opportunities there for personal dedications, birthday wishes etc. like Apple offer for engravings with online ordering.

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bassy would have you know...

Posted August 19, 2011
The eKindle app is ticketyboo on my asus android driven transformer (just read both without warning and after america) -

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sibeen has opinions thus...

Posted August 19, 2011
Wait a few months before you run out and buy a kindle, however.

Now he tells me. I've got one, for the wife, in transit as we speak.

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SirPhil mumbles...

Posted August 19, 2011
+1 for What Therbs Said.

I love the idea of Print on demand. It can mean a bookshop cuts down on costs and only creates what is needed. also the whole delema of the "Out of Print" book might no longer be an issue in the future, nor the wait time to get stock in...

I love it!!

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Bondiboy66 has opinions thus...

Posted August 19, 2011
Yep, I can see myself being a fan of Print on Demand.

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tc puts forth...

Posted August 19, 2011
I see that 'Dick Smith' shops are advertising Kindles as being available on the 31st august. As JB said, they really are "... a kick arse bit of reading tech."

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted August 19, 2011
A & R had a print on demand capablity in some of their stores in melbourne, didn't exactly save them. I think the time for print on demand has past and need to me moving to more digital style tech.

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Darth Greybeard swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 19, 2011
OT but did anyone notice Ridley Scott is maybe doing a Bladerunner sequel?

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Orin reckons...

Posted August 19, 2011
The Amazon Tablet is more an iPad type device that allows you to read books than an e-ink device. It will not share in the things that make a kindle nicer to use for reading than an iPad.

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted August 19, 2011
Yeah, that's my impression. Not sure why Bezos is going there.

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donna reckons...

Posted August 19, 2011
kindle app on the ipad is perfect for me. Books are definitely cheaper....bonus! If you are sometimes broke....some are free...big bonus! You dont need a light in the room to read by if you wake in the middle of the night and dont want to disturb the grumpy old bastard next to you ::) and its certainly stopped those piles of paper books mounting up around me, i never have figured out what to do with a book once read? Of course then there are all the other yummy things the ipad can do....i cant live without it now aarrghh!!

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Dusty1 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 19, 2011
Problem with e-readers is I can't read them on the plane when we come into land. As a bit of a nervous flyer, I like to be distracted when taking off and landing (and during a flight) so I'll always need something paper to read. Unless they slacken the rules on electronic devices and planes (allegedly) dropping out of the sky.

That said, I am a fan of Kindle on my iPad and iPhone. I use the iPhone as a drop in reader when bored on public transport mainly, and the iPad in bed. The ability to change to black background saves the Boss banging on about turning off the light.

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MickH is gonna tell you...

Posted August 19, 2011
Just think of some of the options you could get for the printer idea!
Human skin printed in blood?

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted August 19, 2011
'Drop in' reader. That's fkn brilliant.

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melbo would have you know...

Posted August 19, 2011
Thanks JB .

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JG reckons...

Posted August 19, 2011
Thanks for all this great info, John, and the rest of you. I'd be happy to buy POD if the quality was good. When I eventually buy an e-reader it will prob be a Kindle. Have heard they're nice to read from (don't know why). Still love all my hard copy books though. Like having them as objects. Feel happy seeing them on my bookshelf, and I like paper, the feel and smell of books, and turning pages. Only prob is that I don't have room for another badly needed bookshelf. Oh yes: don't forget it's National Bookshop Day tomorrow in Australia. Don't forget to buy a book.

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damian reckons...

Posted August 19, 2011
Joanna: the Kindle e-ink screen looks so much like paper that when you take it out of the box you think there's a sticker covering it. The reason it is apparently on when you take it out of the box, is that it only requires power to change the screen ("turn the page") and to run its radio (which is for WiFi and 3G), so the screen is always on, for "free". This also means that if you turn off the radio the battery life between charges can be about a month, even with reasonably heavy use.

My experience pretty much tallies with Birmo's: I probably read more in the Kindle app on iPhone than the Kindle itself, but that is more to do with timing and convenience. Definitely prefer the Kindle in daylight, and at home. The screen really does make it like reading a printed paper page, with the benefits of digital... For example, I read the Stieg Larsson trilogy while sick with a heavy flu a few months ago. I reached the end of the second book, and without really thinking about it had bought and downloaded the third within a minute without moving from my sunny spot on the back deck. In contrast, the iPhone Kindle app is great for reading during transient downtime (a growing reading library with you all the time).

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Humphf asserts...

Posted August 19, 2011
I'm with Bassy on this... Kindle app on the Asus Transformer. Dl'd all the Baen Webscription stuff that I'd bought in HTML, now in Kindle format. I love the sepia toned page setup

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miche is gonna tell you...

Posted August 20, 2011
I bought a kindle earlier in the year after reading comments on this blog. Thanks JB. I use my kindle more as an additional to my library as it is portable. We travel a little and I always end up buying heaps of books while we are away, all which have to come home with me. My husband is happy that I am not buying books to add to our luggage and I am happy as I have a free range of titles to choose from as well as the option of purchasing new ones. I love it. I keep it by my bed and dip into into it regularly. I still buy and read traditional books as well, as I love having my favorites on my bookshelves.

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JG reckons...

Posted August 20, 2011
Thanks, Damien. Look forward to getting a Kindle when they're cheaper.

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Big Pete puts forth...

Posted August 20, 2011
@Greybeard
"OT but did anyone notice Ridley Scott is maybe doing a Bladerunner sequel?"

I read that earlier this morning. Though I have to say that Harrison Ford is getting a bit long in the tooth to be playing the part of Deckard.

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DrStrangelove ducks in to say...

Posted August 20, 2011
I'll direct the wife toward that e-reader app for her Android (if she doesn't already have one, that is). I like this "Print on Demand" idea, myself.

Doc

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Moko mutters...

Posted August 21, 2011
I like the idea of audio books ... just saying ... again.. *cough* AoT *cough*

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Bangar mumbles...

Posted August 21, 2011
Mokes as read and interpreted by Havock?

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Moko puts forth...

Posted August 21, 2011
lol Imagine it,...

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Timmo is gonna tell you...

Posted August 22, 2011
LOL, I read that as "as read and INTERRUPTED by Havock".

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Timmo mumbles...

Posted August 22, 2011
From my POV, the questioning about eReaders was more about having a device that allows reading away from a desktop PC, but with a requirement for other apps like writing as well. I did wonder if Amazon may have tied Kindle accounts to Kindle reader purchases, but I guess with a large smartphone market, that would kill a fair bit of eBook-only business.
I do need to invest in a smartphone very shortly, and expect to use that as a pocket device (i.e. one that I always have at hand), but am tossing up between laptop/tablet/eReader - though I think tablet is winning out so far.

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted August 23, 2011
Moko - AoT is available in audiobook from audible.

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Robert mutters...

Posted August 24, 2011
The kindle app on my smartphone is quite handy for reading but not for battery life, and page formatting is minimal. Makes it easy to sneak in a few chapters on a slow business day.
I use Calibre open source to convert ebook formats as needed.

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Darth Greybeard swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 24, 2011
From a newsletter by Michael Jecks:

"Talking about Kindle and ebooks, I guess I should explain why I don't
have most of my series available yet.

These are testing times for published authors. In the past, authors
would get paid a set percentage of the price of the book. That was
good. A hardback would pay ten percent to the author, and a paperback
seven and a half.

With the advent of massive discounting, publishers negotiated
different models. Suddenly we were into royalties paid on net receipts
- so if Amazon demanded seventy percent discount, the author was paid
on ten percent, say, of the thirty percent the publisher took. At the
same time, the publisher demanded more rights to the work.

Once, only twenty years ago, an author could look on a backlist as his
pension. If a series remained in stock and in print, the author could
hope to make a little money from each title each year. With luck, a
new book every year would mean that he could survive into senility
without problems.

This isn't the case any more. Now, often the publisher will own all
rights to the book for the author's lifetime, and for seventy years
afterwards. If the book were to go out of print, the author could
recover his rights and resell the books.

But with ebooks, in theory the books will never go out of print. Some
publishers are demanding ebook rights free of charge, so that they can
take over all rights and prevent the author regaining any of them.

Now, perhaps this sounds fair and dandy. But consider: an author's
entire income is dependent upon those books he's written. It is, as I
said, his pension. If the rights are lost, it means a publisher can
keep the books on the backlist, and perhaps selling one or two a year.
It benefits the author not at all. But for the publisher, it means a
large catalogue of books that inflates the publisher's stock value.

Publishers do not invest in marketing. The author is expected to do
that himself - generally by Twitter, Facebook, blogs and shop visits.
So an author cannot hope to see increasing sales from the backlist.
They will be held in the netherworld of the catalogue, seen by very
few people.

And fewer authors will be able to survive as writers.

In fact, real books are dangerous too. In Britain today, the biggest
bookseller is not necessarily Amazon. In recent times, it has become
ebay, with their vast range of second hand books - for which, of
course, the author earns nothing. A short while ago there were moves
to ensure that for art, ie paintings, sculptures and some of the
wierder stuff manufactured by individuals, there should be a
second-hand tax. That way, as artists grew in fame and their works
gained in value, they would still earn something from their backlist.
Nice idea - especially if it could be done for authors too.

Right, that's enough depression for one letter."

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Respond to 'No, you won't need to buy an e-reader.'

Momentum.

Posted August 18, 2011 by John Birmingham
My local publisher, Pan Macmillan, today announced a new imprint within their house. A digital-only publishing venture called Momentum. This is rather exciting. I have promised to write a couple of books for their debut list, and have begun work already. One of them is set in the Without Warning universe, indeed picking up the story from where it ends, and it does end, with Angels of Vengeance.

This is the thing I really like about this idea. Just because the series is finished, it doesn't need to be over. I can't go into too many details about the post-Angels book, because to do so would give away too many spoilers about who lives and who dies in AoV itself. But what I can say is that anyone who turned the last page on a favorite series and thought, “I really want to know what happens next”, will now be able to find out.

Of even greater interest and possibly more excitement to some, however, Momentum means the return of Kolhammer, Duffy, Brasch, Prince Harry and all of your other favorite Axis of Time characters. The 1st novel in that new series, e-book only, will be available from April next year.

There's still plenty of publishing wrinkles to sort out. Territoriality is a huge problem. Previously the world has always been divided up between British, American and to a lesser extent local publishers. For electronic publishing to work these books need to be released globally, simultaneously. That won't be easy because although the technical challenges are no challenge at all (merely a matter of changing a few lines of code in the metadata at Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or wherever) publishers will be loathe to allow traditional competitors onto their turf.

Still, none of these issues are impossible. The new world is coming.

79 Responses to ‘Momentum.’

Wolfcat mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2011
I think I just wet myself a little...

(this may or may not be related to the content of your blog post :-) )

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sibeen swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 18, 2011
means the return of Kolhammer, Duffy, Brasch, Prince Harry and all of your other favorite Axis of Time characters.

*rocks back and forth in chair in excitement*

*composes oneself and puts on manly airs*

Yeah, like that's good.

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Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted August 18, 2011
What sibeen said. Only with extra pirate-manly.

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SirPhil puts forth...

Posted August 18, 2011
That is awesome mate! :D

Can't wait for a return to the AoT universe and to then be able to read it on the iPad! :D

Oh yeah!

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Lobes mutters...

Posted August 18, 2011
So which book comes out first of the axis of time and without warning follow ups?

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beeso ducks in to say...

Posted August 18, 2011
HELL YEAH good to see you are pushing the envelope JB

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BrianC is gonna tell you...

Posted August 18, 2011
You utter bastard.

This is like putting a kids Christmas presents out on the 20th in brightly wrapped but impenetrable paper. Telling them that if they look at them santa will come and take them away...

Damn it

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 18, 2011
Prolly a dual release, Lobes. In April next year.

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Lachlan Shield would have you know...

Posted August 18, 2011
It seems that I may finally have a reason to purchase an e-book reader...

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Therbs mutters...

Posted August 18, 2011
Brigadier Barnes and his tank army fighting nasty Japanese communist zombies? More of the magical Havoc submarine?
Rhino sets up an exploding-cigar emporium?
Neat.

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Orin mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2011
Cool - not much time for procrastinatoria with those deadlines looming.

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ChrisB ducks in to say...

Posted August 18, 2011
Congrats! Cannot wait to read it...I guess I'll have to buy an e-reader now.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted August 18, 2011
Yes, yes, yes, yes, oh hell fucking yes!

Kindle, Chris. Get yourself a Kindle.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Rhino reckons...

Posted August 18, 2011
This is sweet, sweet news.

Question ... will these be novel length efforts or are we talking about novellas?

I'm thinking it is about time to kick-off that Rhino franchise.

R.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted August 18, 2011
Novella length, or what I called novella length, topping out at 50K words max. These things will be much simpler in structure, with only two, or maybe three POV story arcs to follow. In fact you could see first person narratives with a chosen character. Slim Jim noir, anyone?
They'll be cheaper than the big arse novels, and I'd like to do two a year. But I'm not planning on locking myself into a rigid format where each book follows on from the last. They may well jump around a lot and if the idea takes off don't be surprised to see other people working in the established universe.

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Dave B puts forth...

Posted August 18, 2011
Just another reason to love my Kindle :-)

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Sparty has opinions thus...

Posted August 18, 2011
I love you - but only in a bruce willis kind of way.

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melbo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 18, 2011
Exciting ... yes the new world is coming and much sooner than we expected.

I'm very keen to purchase some kind of e-reader now. That feeling has been gathering momentum for a while.

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Orin mutters...

Posted August 18, 2011
So at 2K a day, in theory you could crank one out every 6-8 weeks ;-) - in the full 6-8K per day Spartan mode you got to earlier in the year, even shorter.

(has only cranked about 8K this week, but I'll finish 4.5 books CY 2011)

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted August 18, 2011
I could write quite a few each year, except I do have other commitments.

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Lisa Blainey-Lewin reckons...

Posted August 18, 2011
gREAT NEWS!!! So what e reader do we buy to read them, I guess we have time, but I'm wondering how far you will push the boundaries of writing if the new 'pimped up' e readers come online around your release date...... I have heard these new ereading marvels will stream video, enable time travel at the press of the red button, and make a scotch and dry.

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BrianC ducks in to say...

Posted August 18, 2011
Brilliant!

I love the idea of opening the AoT to other authors. You could even cherry pick from submissions to the "Little Burger" This could be your "Dragonlance" and "Forgotten Realms"

Brian C

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BrianC asserts...

Posted August 18, 2011
@or1n

mate _you_ have the skill set and ability to write some fiction why do you give it a nudge. I've got most of your MC:ITP stuff. I'd spend $10 to get your first e-book of fiction.

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sparty mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2011
I think Hollywood are aready culling poster ideas from your books -catch the M262 turning in behind the P51..
http://tinyurl.com/3m9kwhm

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mrblenny swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 18, 2011
Being a noob I have no idea how 50K words compares to say one of the AOT novels? And what sort of price are you thinking about. Might just push me into getting some sort of e-reader although having almost nothing available on the Oz Amazon store just makes me want to download from illicit sources....

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Blarkon mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2011
AoT / Wave books were between 140K to 180K weren't they?

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Steve has opinions thus...

Posted August 18, 2011
That's it then, I'm buying an e-book reader.

Kindle or iPad? Suggestions welcome.

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BrianC mutters...

Posted August 18, 2011
@Steve

Kindle is the business, because you can put the application on the IPAD, IOS, OSX, Android or Windows device, and get access to the same content.

For instance i read my kindle on the bus, but use the kindle app on my Google pad in bed because of the back lighting.

Brian C

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Bondiboy66 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 18, 2011
Aaaah fuck. Now I gotta go buy an Ereader thingie.

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g_gila mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2011
> Momentum means the return of Kolhammer, Duffy, Brasch, Prince Harry and all of your other favorite Axis of Time characters

\o/

> e-book only

/o\

Don't own an e-book reader and am not a big fan of e-books (so won't get and e-book reader, either). So I might end up being an internet printer... which would embarrassing as hell :P

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Vallon Davis mutters...

Posted August 18, 2011
YEAH!!! ALRIGHT!!!!! Will have to keep myself busy to pass the time till then, guess I'll just read over all the books in the Axis of Time trilogy, then work my way to Without Warning and After America. If I read them slowly I should finish in time for the two new ones!! They will be available on kindle right? Even the one that you are doing for Pan MacMillian? Looking forward to the new books! Can't wait!!

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hughesy mutters...

Posted August 18, 2011
No reason not to go all Frank Moorhouse and do discontinuous narrative, all adding up to the multi-mega-ubersotry, Like Startrek, only its Birmoverse.

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JG mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2011
ha. Love you all already, Birmo warriors. So fun to read of your excitement, Cheeseburgera. I have the three war books aka starting w/ Designated Targets WW2.2 but haven't read them yet. Yeah, yeah - have read the first two of the Without Warning tril. Looking fwd to AoV. Had a fuckin' Lousy with an L week. The fact that you are all so happy has cheered me up. Joanna xx

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Timmo puts forth...

Posted August 18, 2011
BrianC,
Do you need an actual Kindle to get access to the kindle app?
Or can you just sign up and use the Kindle app on a tablet/phone?

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Stevo 73 would have you know...

Posted August 18, 2011
Well I said I would wait for the second iteration of the IPAD, now I will have to get one, cause I have to have some AOT ebook action!

Oh and good work on getting the deal this will make for many happy AOT fans (and AOV)

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John of Sparta has opinions thus...

Posted August 18, 2011
Woohoo, you just made my day!

It will be great to see AoT characters again, and like the other folk commenting - it will tip me over the edge into buying an eBook reader.

Great stuff - keep it up.

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JG reckons...

Posted August 18, 2011
fork 'n ark. Starting with Weapons of Choice, I mean. choice and shoegum. Don't make me run. Fark. Bloody jogging must start next week, regardless of daily crises.

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Legless mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2011
To all.

No - you don't have to buy a dedicated e-book reader. No matter what format this is published in you'll be able to read it on PCs or MACs - you just have to install the correct e-book reader. I'm sure that, when it's published, the website will allow you to download it the format your ebook app prefers. - Then you can turn to the darkside and buy a dedicated ebook reader......

To JB

If you haven't already, go to http://baen.com/library/http://baen.com/library/

and read what Eric Flint has to say.

This series will, presumably, be DRM'd . I'd avoid that if you possibly can.

Make it so that you have to buy the book to download it, but make the download DRM free. .

"Madness" I hear you cry "I'll be broke - I'll have no income! Freetards will just read my work, my effort, for nothing and I'll be back selling my arse for $10 a time in Kings Cross..."

Nothing could be further from the truth . First of your books I read, I didn't buy. My brother sent it me. Then I bought the rest of the series. And then your back catalogue. Since then, everything you publish.

Just for a laugh, lets say you have 100K fans around the world. Of those, 25% bought your books and the rest were loaned to them or read them from a public library. So the fan figure is the important bit - that's what pays the bills. So get your work read more widely. Who gives a fuck if only 25% of them pay for it? Up your fanbase from 100K to a million fans. Still, only 25% pay for it - what's the bottom line mate?

Avoid DRM. As an author, what you want is as many people as possible reading your stuff. If it's good, readers will sign on and buy it. But even the freetards help by putting up a torrent of your books, - THAT VERY ACT - means that someone, somewhere thinks your books are worth reading..

Cheers

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Bunyip has opinions thus...

Posted August 18, 2011
I've read all of Larry Correia's stuff as ebooks, and large slabs of David Drakes, all on the laptop. However, by early next year I would like to have a fruit flavoured tablet device, or maybe a Kindle. I tried reading stuff (Guttenburg stuff) on the iFone, and it was too darn small.

Oh, and a return of the A of T 'verse will be just grand.

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Guy ducks in to say...

Posted August 18, 2011
Outstanding! Bring on the AoT volume 4. As I said in a recent thread, I'm really keen to find out what happens in Europe following the Soviet invasion.

I'm not wealthy enough to buy a Kindle at the moment (actually I'm not wealthy enough to buy a prawn sandwich but I digress). I assume you can acccess e-books in some other way? Can you load them onto a laptop? Can you just print them out? My employer will provide me with all the printer paer I need...

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Orin would have you know...

Posted August 19, 2011
Nothing could be further from the truth .

This is bullshit in all except edge case scenarios.

My books have been released in both DRM free and DRM protected formats. If you use a search engine to look for them, you'll find that the DRM free ones are far more often posted to websites for "sharing" than the DRM protected ones. By a factor of 10 to 20 times. People don't download as some sort of ethical protest against DRM - they download because they don't want to pay for shit. The DRM protected ones are less rarely posted to sharing sites because of the intellectual tax involved. It's much easier to share an ebook that has no encuberance than it is to share one where you have to hack away the DRM.

You might live in some freetard fantasy where people don't click on the fifth link down on a google search against your book title that leads to the DRM free PDF that your publisher provided with the hardcopy book, and instead pay for it - but the vast majority of users don't. I've had readers say to my face that they felt no need to pay for something they were able to get for free. One guy had used 6 of my books to pass exams that helped him get a substantially higher paying job - but hadn't seen the need to pay for them because he found them for free on a search engine. His argument was that the publisher should have made it harder for people to post them to places where people could easily find them.

When I said "you realize that I'm not going to write these for free" they simply told me to "find a different business model".

There is a direct relationship between the availability of a book on file sharing sites and sales of that book - and the relationship is that the easier it is to find a pirated copy using Google, the fewer actual sales that book has.

In the past his option was "pay for the book or find another way to pass the exam" - today it's "google the book, get it for free, and pass the exam".

Which is why I'm gradually transitioning towards writing instructor based training. There isn't a future for an industry where the customers feel entitled to consume a product for free. For some odd reason though - the guys that will rip off a $50 textbook from a file sharing site have no problems paying $2,500 for a week long course *to hear the same information in condensed format* from an instructor. The $50 textbook has more info, but apparently isn't worth paying for.

When you've written a bunch of books yourself Legless - and had them pirated from here to timbuktu even though you've realeased them in a DRM free format - you *might* be qualified to speak on this issue. Piracy doesn't increase sales in most cases - it just means that people who would have purchased the book (because they needed it because it contained shit that they had to learn) get it for free instead.

In my own case I doubt that many tech books will be published 5 years from now - you can't pay authors, editors and tech reviewers on the zero revenue you earn when people have learned the habit of using Google queries for pirated ebooks as their ebook shopping basket.

And what happens to textbooks wil happen to general fiction. Except this time the excuse will be "well I can get other books for 99 cents at Amazon, so I feel entitled to pirate your book because it cost 3 bucks".

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Alternate History Books by John Birmingham | InfiniteSpectra Blog asserts...

Posted August 19, 2011
[...] E-books for the Axis of Time trilogy! Read more about it on John B.’s blog. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers [...]

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted August 19, 2011
"I can say is that anyone who turned the last page on a favorite series and thought, “I really want to know what happens next”,

its this sort of thinking that leads to things like pottermore.

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Orin puts forth...

Posted August 19, 2011
Nah it leads to cool stuff like stories about a bunch of future dudes, stuck in the 1950's, with all their knowledge stored on gradually failing technology. Every thing is on hard disk (as SSD capacity is rubbish and has a similar failure rate anyway) which fail after a certain amount of time can't be replaced simply because although they can sort of make replacement hard disk, they are at best able to store megabytes, perhaps even a gigabyte, they need to be able to store exabytes.

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BrianC asserts...

Posted August 19, 2011
@Or1n

I always thought that the uptimers could invent a printer using temp tech pretty quickly then just print and laminate everything.

BrianC

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Lobes mutters...

Posted August 19, 2011
Or they just print out the worlds biggest library

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Lobes is gonna tell you...

Posted August 19, 2011
Ahh beat me to it Brian

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BrianC reckons...

Posted August 19, 2011
@Timmo

No you dont need the device, you can sign up for the app and get it immediately on your phone / tablet device.

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Big Pete is gonna tell you...

Posted August 19, 2011
For those of you not wanting to buy a Kindle or install the Kindle app. If your web browser is HTML 5 compliant (Chromium/Iron, Safari are), then all you have to do is go here https://read.amazon.com/about create an account, logon, and you're away reading.

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BrianC swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 19, 2011
@lobes

An i even remembered protection, always got to put the plastic on ;)

BrianC

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted August 19, 2011
I see Angry Robot publishing is also embracing fan made stuff insupport of their authors universe with an idea called World Builder.

Angry Robot are reaching out to the fan creators, and encouraging them to create derivative works based on specific Angry Robot novels. The first novel to feature will be Adam Christopher's noir-fantasy thriller, Empire State, and additional works will be folded into the project over time.

The WorldBuilder project will allow fan creators to feature their fiction, art, songs, photography, and other creations and collect them on a central, dedicated website.

The best of the fan creations will also be featured in anthologies, and the creators will be paid for their work. A number of specially commissioned works will also feature.

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Orin mutters...

Posted August 19, 2011
It's the volume of data that's the problem. You might remember Neal Stephenson in Diamond Age describing a guy downloading stuff to his laptop as the equivalent of a 747 full of encyclopedias going into his laptop network card every fifth of a second.

In 2010 we passed a zetabyte of data stored globally. A zetabyte is the equivalent of 1 trillion gigabytes (GBs), 1 billion terabytes (TBs), 1 million petabytes (PBs) or 1,000 exabytes (EBs). Global data capacity doubles every 2 years. By 2018 - assume around 16 zetabytes.

To put that in context.

A 50 GB dual layer Blu Ray disk is 1.2 mm

16 zetabytes of data, if you stacked those Blu Ray disks one on top of the other, would reach 384,000 KM into the air. That's from the Earth's surface to the moon.

Even if the fleet was only carrying one hundred thousandth of human knowledge at the time of the jump, that's still a stack of Blu Ray disks 4 KM high.

A 1500 page PDF with an average distribution of diagrams is 25 MB (okay I based that off my own books, but that's reasonable given that they are technical books). A single dual layer Blu Ray disk can hold approximately 3 million pages of text.

Our 1 hundred thousandth of human knowledge in 2018?

9, 600, 000, 000, 000 pages of text.

Printing at 10,000 pages per second, it would still take 30 years to print this information.

Hard disks have a mean-time-between failure of a couple of years.

The uptimers are going to lose most of their data.

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted August 19, 2011
Man, I really gotta cut copy this comment into my research file.

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Scott is gonna tell you...

Posted August 19, 2011
Um, I think I remember that the uptimers had quantum computers? Quantum storage would shit all over everything we have at the moment. Now what would be the life time of such a medium of storage would be another question.

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MickH has opinions thus...

Posted August 19, 2011
but if you filtered out most of the garbage like Facebook, Youtube and my email account Orin you'd get it down to a terrabyte or so!

:)

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Orin would have you know...

Posted August 19, 2011
Well if they come up with a better storage medium, the problem is possibly worse - because then instead of having 1/100,000th of the world's data stored across the fleet, they'll have more of those 16 zetabytes that they need to store.

The task of cataloging what's currently in the cache and duplicating it prior to it being lost may simply be impossible. Its like guessing which articles would be important to print from wikipedia - tracking down *what* to save will take longer than saving it because you'll have to be as selective as a motherfucker given the limited local storage devices.

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted August 19, 2011
JB - Evernote. Amazing tool (and free) for dumping notes. Have it on everything I own - phone, iPad, iPod, every PC and it even has a web interface. You can tag notes as well as file them in their own folders. Extraordinarily cool tool.

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savo would have you know...

Posted August 19, 2011
Orin is the failure time including solid state storage?

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Orin asserts...

Posted August 19, 2011
Yup - apparently SSD's aren't any more reliable over the long term than traditional HDs.

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Abe Frellman reckons...

Posted August 20, 2011
I gots to get me this evernote thingy. If only there was an app I could use to remind me.

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Abe Frellman asserts...

Posted August 20, 2011
He *always* tells Dad jokes when he's unwell.

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savo ducks in to say...

Posted August 20, 2011
Thank Orin, I took the opportunity to grab a cheapish desktop WD 2Tb HDD for back up of everything else that's a bit old.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted August 20, 2011
It seems to me that data from Uptime would be broken down into two general categories.

Data which will make money and data which is interesting but not quite profitable.

As such, they would probably set up teams and prioritize what they needed. Obviously given the need for military tech during the war, that would take higher priority but I suspect along side that would be medical tech as well. Given that the United States had already spun up a massive war time research arm in the original timeline, it seems to me that it is a simple matter to assign small teams of REMF type uptimers with lots of computer skills to Temps, hook up a lot of printers to the computers and just start printing.

As for the profit based stuff, we've already seen a glimmer of what might happen with folks like Slim Jim. Private organizations, corporations and individuals could mine the material for their own purposes, seeking to turn a profit. Place some rules into effect which prevent them from actively destroying the material as they search for it and I suspect money will drive a lot of those folks along.

A third batch of data will probably be academic based material which universities and publishers would be interested in. I can see campuses setting up research arms devoted to say, oh, gathering the research material for social sciences, literature and the humanities.

Are they going to get all of it? Well, probably not. That said, we don't have everything from the Ancient Greeks and Romans either. While that is frustrating, especially when some document makes mention of something else, it isn't quite the end of the world either.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Scott is gonna tell you...

Posted August 21, 2011
Okay, lets say that the tech will fail. What will be the failure rate? Are we looking at 10 years? Not all the storage devices will fail at the same time some will fail early, poor quality control at the factory while some will just keep on working. That's a lot of time for people to print out stuff or for new storage medium to be made. They know how to make the storage medium all they need is the trained people and the factories to make it. I see losing information as a minor problem not a major one.

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savo reckons...

Posted August 21, 2011
Transfer everything to reel to reel that capability should be available c 1946 massive capacity but a bit slower to transmit cross country (stick it in a car and drive it from coast to coast) and wait for the tech to catch up.

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Orin asserts...

Posted August 21, 2011
The ability to fabricate the storage required to save even a terrabyte of data is going to be a non-trivial task. Even with 1990's technology it's FKN difficult. Being able to reliably fab at the necessary scale is something that's bloody difficult today.

You know that we can't build Apollo rockets (a 1960's technology) now, even though we have all the plans? That's because we don't have the plans to all the bits and pieces that are used to build the bits and pieces of the Apollo rockets.

Modern technology is so amazingly vertically integrated. More than 20 companies contribute components to an iPhone 4

http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/08/apple-and-samsungs-symbiotic-relationship?fsrc=scn/tw/te/dc/slicinganapple

The uptimers have got a swimming pool of data and if they're really lucky, they might be able to save a bucket of it.

Hell - today we've moved away from using tape drives for the majority of datacenter disaster recovery and use disk arrays instead. You know why? Because for even mid sized organizations, writing to tape takes too long given the amount of new data that needs to be backed up on a *daily basis*. Tape takes too long now and the suggestion is that all the data can be saved with *printouts*?

The ability to catalog data to work out what is useful and what is not will be even more problematic - you have to know what's there to come up with a meaningful classification system. Even if you had a Google like crawler (and remember that Google ranks according to links between datasources stored on the Internet - this stuff is locally cached, so won't be interlinked - all the links will be to external sources) you still need to know the right questions to ask before you can find sources.

Sorting internal non-linked data is frighteningly complicated. HP just spent more than a billion on a company that does internal enterprise search - and there is no one that is particularly dominant in this field. Organizing internal data within large organizations is fiendishly difficult. HP's just made a billion dollar bet on a company that sort of might have a solution - but there are other companies out there.

Put bluntly - if they had perfectly reliable storage, it would still take them decades to figure out everything they actually had and to be able to meaningfully classify it into "immediately useful", "possibly useful", "entertainment", "rubbish". They have storage that will be experiencing constant small numbers of failures (I was at an enterprise management conference in Vegas earlier in the year where they were mentioning that in large datacenters with redundant storage, there is a guy who walks around once a week with a shopping card full of drives replacing failed hard disk drives). Although HDD manufacturers publish wildly inflated MTBF stats, research has found that the average disk failure occurs 60 days after the warranty for it expires. Top end enterprise class FKN expensive HDD today come with a 5 year warranty (I pulled that off Seagate's enterprise storage site).

The fleet would have had enough replacements to keep them going as long as their mission was going (why would the military supply more components than would be needed until a few weeks beyond the end of the mission?).

The uptimer's would have a normal distribution of HDDs in their fleet. They'll have some 5 year old drives and some that were unwrapped and deployed a few minutes before they jumped back in time. By 1948 all these drives would be out of warranty.

Some will keep going for more than a decade or two - but the uptimers are going to be losing data quicker than they can classify it or back it up.

And that's not even going into the other electronics stuff that won't be able to be serviced or maintained for lack of parts.

Not much of that fancy tech will be working by the mid 1950's. It will be like Iran and their F14's - which they simply couldn't keep flying without a reliable supply of manufacturer's parts.

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Orin mumbles...

Posted August 21, 2011
Just some more Tape Drive stats. In our timeline, we didn't surpass 10 GB tapes until 1995 and really expensive tape drives *today* write data at between 300-400 GB per hour.

1985 had 100 MB tapes (which shows you how much innovation went on in those 10 years) - and the first tape drive, the 1951 Remington RAND stored a massive quarter of a megabyte.

So assuming that they can replicate 1985 tech in the 1940's and have 100 MB tapes - and making the even bolder assumption that they can dump data to one of these 100 MB tapes every 10 seconds (not even getting into tape failure rates and so on) ... you remember the 4 KM tall stack of blu-ray disks? Well one blu-ray disk holds the equivalent of 500 100 MB tape. 1/100,000th of human knowledge in 2018? That will be 80 billion tapes.

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted August 21, 2011
multiply that 80 billion by the really generous 10 seconds and then divide it by the number of tape drives you have going backing up at once ... how long do you reckon it would take ;-)

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Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted August 22, 2011
I think one storage method has been overlooked, the brain. No good for tables but for theories and other information, very good. Add to that the knowledge the uptimers inherently posses due to training and interests, you are going to have a lot of useful data. But you're not going to get it all.

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Guy asserts...

Posted August 22, 2011
Outstanding news! I was urging a return to the AoT universe only a couple of weeks ago and clearly my appeal was heard. I want to know what happens next. I shall certainly be downloading the finished product ...as soon as I work out how to make the jolly technology co-operate.

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savo is gonna tell you...

Posted August 22, 2011
Orin:
.
Fawk!!!! Ink!!! Helk!!!!
.
That really was interesting, thank you.

Luckily this is only a novel and our good host JB solved this storage problem for us by making commercial quantum computing available!!!

(too many ! I know but ...)

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BrianC puts forth...

Posted August 23, 2011
@savo - I always assumed that the MI's where quantum based processors. This still doesn't change the storage medium.

@Orin - Wowsers thats a lot of paper.

So the Problem.

I also assumed that the fleet would be using SSD as they are supposed to have a significant improvement in reliability and speed. I hadn't heard that their failure rates where analogous to magnetic drives, I'm not quite sure that i believe thats the case on a enterprise level. But I'm also prepared to concede to point to Orin, given that hes in a better position than me to have all the facts.

We also need to remember that the uptimers don't come from "our" uptime. The come from an alternate uptime where the "War on Terror" kept getting hotter and hotter. This means that military spending would have have been increased and linked technologies like Medical and Computing would have benefited. Indeed C4I (Command Communications Control Computing and [Military] Intelligence) is currently one of the hotest terms in the defence space. As most Military Commands look at the future of combat and see a spread out battle space with multiple small regional conflicts and anti-insurgency operations being the expect face of war, a distributed and long lasting computing solution is the goal.

This means that likely the Hillary Clinton was a centralised data warehouse for the fleet with the local ships uploading information to it that it did not have, and downloading information from it as a "On Need" service. Likely the Clinton would have been backing up via microwave link to USPACOM via pine gap.

This means that while the Clinton would certainly have had double redundancy built in to vessels data store. Most likely in the form of tape backups, and a write only black box, there would have been no long term _continuous_ plan for data storage because military planners do not include wormhole time travel in their risk plan for operations in Indonesia.

Possible Solution

The best thing that Kollhammer could do would be to take all of those tapes and put them in a sealed and environmentally controlled state until temp technology catches up. Given the rate of innovation we have seen the up timers generate amongst the temps we have already seen. I don't think that we would have to wait untill 2029 for the technology to catch up. Specifically the data storage tech could catchup while other technology might lag behind, this could be driven by grants and private funding.

So while the problem is real, and Orins numbers are correct (to the last decimal) the problem is not insurmountable.

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Wolfcat mumbles...

Posted August 23, 2011
one way of storing would be via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_data_storage presuming that uptimers have got this sorted before ships started blowing up off the coast of Indo.

If this is the case, you have "50 years"+ storage in a device. More than enough to get around the MTBF rates of HD's or SSDs.

And hey presto Data storage issue fixed :-)

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Wolfcat reckons...

Posted August 23, 2011
but let me add...

I think Orin's data loss is a much cooler plot device

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Orin is gonna tell you...

Posted August 24, 2011
Here's a study about SSD versus traditional HDD reliability

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/213442/solid_state_drives_no_better_than_others_survey_says.html

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Orin mutters...

Posted August 24, 2011
The other thing would be that I suspect in reality that a lot of this stuff would be pushed into the "cloud" - that only operationally relevant data would be stored locally and that all the faff suggested in the first three AoT books would actually be stored in cloud locations.

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The Mudshark mumbles...

Posted August 26, 2011
RE: Axis of Time.

'Bout Time.

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Kamatu asserts...

Posted October 24, 2011
MTBF for the postulated tech of the Axis of Time series hasn't been addressed. I will note that "lattice memory sticks" were mentioned several times which would go with "quantum computers". OTOH, the ability to dump to stable magnetic tape would definitely be feasible for geared up 1940s tech. What I don't see is mission critical storage devices failing without adequate data backup capability.

There is a huge difference between devices designed to be replaced every year or three (like the netbook I'm typing on right now) and a milspec laptop designed to reliably hold secure data and withstand the rigors of deployment. I happen to have a military bag designed for a milspec laptop...I could put four of these netbooks inside the laptop compartment trivially.

BTW, forget the "sorting problems". The CIs have more than enough horsepower to be assigned the task of sorting and crank out the priority lists of data to be stored in a more stable media, if it is required. Remember that a lot of the processing equipment was stripped out for use in the Zone, Manhattan Project and whatever else is going on.

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Conway Eastwood mutters...

Posted October 29, 2012
Birmo, I loved your "Without Warning" trilogy, and will admit that I was one of those readers who finished "Angels of Vengeance" wanting more. Looking forward to the next one; keep up the great work that you're doing! :-)

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Respond to 'Momentum.'

When Caitlin fights...

Posted August 17, 2011 by John Birmingham
... this is what it looks like.

Kinda scary how close this is to her fight scenes as I've imagined them. The Gina Carano character even seems to have the same relationship with her dad as Caitlin Monroe.

I write this knowing that Caitlin is far and away the most divisive character in the Disappearance series. Most loved and most hated, with that reaction almost perfectly divided along gender lines.

Not sure why.

In sorta related news, the first review is up, with a nice cover shot.

 

31 Responses to ‘When Caitlin fights...’

JG reckons...

Posted August 17, 2011
beautiful cover. I like Caitlin. She's one smart, tough bitch. I don't sympathise with her as much as admire her grit.

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Chaz asserts...

Posted August 17, 2011
Echelon alway recruit the best, always...

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted August 17, 2011
Wow, that was some review. As for Caitlin, she's definitely one to avoid unless you like getting dead. Nevertheless she's a great weapon and a strong character. Sounds like there's some Jules action as well as an expanded role for Barbara Kipper. Funnily enough the review never mentioned Havoc.

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Steve mutters...

Posted August 17, 2011
Most loved and most hated, and almost perfectly along gender lines?

I wouldn't say she's my most loved (that'll be Rhino), but I do think she's pretty awesome. Does that put me with the guys or the women on Caitlin?

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drej has opinions thus...

Posted August 17, 2011
Yep, I always picture Caitlin as a more desheveled version of Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux. But this movie certainly looks better.
So, there are advance copies of AoV around already? Can't wait!

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abigail mumbles...

Posted August 17, 2011
Congratulatons, JB, on getting such a great debut review.

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donna puts forth...

Posted August 17, 2011
Really great review, congrats are definitely in order over that!
I cant wait to read it, so i'm reading the others again while i wait.
Oh and will it be coming out in Kindle format cos i'm loving the kindle app on the ipad?

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MickH is gonna tell you...

Posted August 17, 2011
So when is it published here JB?

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Sir Snagger puts forth...

Posted August 17, 2011
Completely agree! Looks awesome! Publishing date please (even approximate will do me for now!)?

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Orin swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 17, 2011
Aspirational V Relatable archetypes. Few women glom onto superheroes and Caitlin is a Batman level of arse kicker. Some women do glom onto superheroes, but it's more the exception than the rule.

I *think* it was Nick Hornby who said "almost every man believes, deep down inside, that if he had the resources and training, he too could have been Batman".

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yankeedog would have you know...

Posted August 17, 2011
Me want book NOW!!!

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girlclumsy puts forth...

Posted August 17, 2011
I love Caitlin, she's awesome. But then I also adore Jules. Jules also gets to hang out with the Rhino.

So is it the boys or the girls who hate Caitlin more?

Congrats on the review!

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girlclumsy asserts...

Posted August 17, 2011
Oh, and just to add.... that review gives me giddy hope that we're going to see a lot more of Sofia.... squeeee....

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drej mumbles...

Posted August 17, 2011
Like the James Rollins quote too.

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted August 17, 2011
So is the movie Haywire Caitlin's Authorized biography in a parallel universe that never had the wave?

Looking forward to the book, great review.

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted August 17, 2011
Wouldn't say I hate her, but don't find her a particularly compelling character.

There are more interesting personalties in the series. She's a bit cartoonish IMO.

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Tom mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2011
I think Caitlin is awesome.

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Murph has opinions thus...

Posted August 18, 2011
I saw this trailer a couple of weeks back and almost thought it was an AoV trailer.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Rhino reckons...

Posted August 18, 2011
I love me some Caitlin.

That trailer was cool ... will have to see that. Odd that I haven't seen any geek buzz or mentions of it elsewhere.

I'm very, very curious to see how this ends. In the review it sounds like there is a lot of closure ... I hope so. But I also kinda' hoped that it would go further. I'm going to miss this world.

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Big Pete puts forth...

Posted August 18, 2011
At the moment I'm about 20% of the way through 'After America', with any luck I should have it knocked over by the time AoV is released. After thinking about some of the characters I'd have to say that Caitlin would be up there as one of my favourite characters. I think it's the 'no remorse', Terminator quality of her character that I like. I also liked Pete the pirate and Fifi (damn you JB). Rhino, although good, always seems to remind me of Popeye, don't get me wrong, I do like Rhino's character, it's just that he seems to come across as the muscle behind Lady Julianne.

All the major 'non-evil' characters seem to be quite well formed and likeable from Miguel on through.

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pitpat mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2011
nice cover -more I M Banks-but not as kick arse as the first one not sure if Caitlin would/will approve.

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BruceGaryNigelson asserts...

Posted August 18, 2011
What happened to the explodey cover? US release only?

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Abe would have you know...

Posted August 18, 2011
Are there sausages?

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An Idle Dad ducks in to say...

Posted August 18, 2011
Amazon has release date of April 10, 2012. Sigh, such a long wait!

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Kat mutters...

Posted August 19, 2011
There are people who hate Caitlin???!?!?! Who are these fools?

A bit scared to read the review, haven't read AA yet (SOON!), spoilers?

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Kat would have you know...

Posted August 19, 2011
Ok, got a few lines in, I will read after I read AA.

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savo puts forth...

Posted August 19, 2011
neat

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted August 20, 2011
That's the US date, Idler.

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DrStrangelove swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 20, 2011
Caitlin is HAWT enough to marry. :-)

Doc

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted August 21, 2011
Damn! Looking forward to the book and the movie. Damn.

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Matty mumbles...

Posted August 22, 2011
Pumped!
Hope it's released in the smaller paperback version soon after initial release!
I have an issue with all sets having to be the same design, but I cannot wait!

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Respond to 'When Caitlin fights...'