Cheeseburger Gothic

And so it's away.

Posted March 22, 2011 by John Birmingham
I hit 'Send' on the manuscript submission email at 10.05 this morning. As always it took longer than I imagined to iron out the last few wrinkles. And as always there'll be more to do in the coming weeks and months. Although not in the next 2-3 weeks, because I'm going on holiday.

First up, thanks are due to Murph.

He's been the researcher on my previous four or five books and with each title he's taken on more editorial responsibility. The manuscripts now arrive at the publishers in a much more advanced state because he's run the blue pencil over them first. (Or the highlight and delete function. Same thing)

With part of this book being set in Kansas City, and part in a post-Wave Darwin that bears only a passing resemblance to the real thing, Murph also took on some fine detail work for me, describing street scenes in KC, and adding detail to an imagined Bladerunner style red light district in Darwin. Indeed, he seems to have an astonishing affinity Bladerunner style red light districts. It makes one wonder...

Anyway, I was exchanging a few emails with my local publisher, Cate, this arvo, and it occurred to me how much happier I was with this draft than any previous one. Normally I fall across the line at the end of a book, especially late in the series. But I finished Angels of Vengeance wanting to know 'what happens next'. Always a good sign.

There's a number of reasons for this but I think one of them is a change in the way I went about this stroy, pulling in much tighter on a couple of the characters. Angels is every bit as action driven and violent as the previous books, but the violence is much more personal and intimate.

You'll see.

For now, I'm gonna rest. There'll be more late nights before I take my hands off this, but not for a while. Instead of working today I did some easy prep for our trip to the US later this week, and took Anna to lunch at Cafe Pearl. Her class is on camp this week but she decided to come to New York instead so has the added bonus of extra days off.

If you want an interesting perspective on how it came together, Murph has blogged about it from the POV of a narrative galley slave.

31 Responses to ‘And so it's away.’

drej would have you know...

Posted March 22, 2011
Nice work JB! Can't wait to read it.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted March 22, 2011
*Steepled fingers* Excellant

or is the more apt image, patting the sweaty neck of a lead bullock after the team climbed a steep pitch?

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Melbo has opinions thus...

Posted March 22, 2011
Good one - looking forward to reading it too. Hope you enjoy your holiday (don't give yourself RSI with those computy games though will you. Oh the irony).

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted March 22, 2011
I blame crass friends, soldiers and my time in Korea for the Red Light Districts. :)

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Lobes mumbles...

Posted March 22, 2011
Well done JB and Murph.

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Scott puts forth...

Posted March 22, 2011
Looking forward to reading. Projected publication date?
Btw enjoy the trip, by the sounds of it you have earned it.

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yankeedog ducks in to say...

Posted March 22, 2011
Congrats, JB! Looking forward to the book. If it's on par with the first two, it should be one for the ages.

Well done as well to Murph. If you get on I-35 around North Kansas City, you can see most of the places mentioned in 'After America'.

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Stevo 73 mumbles...

Posted March 22, 2011
Woo Hoo! I have been hanging out for this one. Congrats JB and Murph.

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Bunyip asserts...

Posted March 22, 2011
Is "Explodedy goodness", is good.

Looking forward to it, include the Bladerunnery Darwin.

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted March 22, 2011
yeah..def about fkn time,,,,talk about draggin ya bloody feet!..sheeez!

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sparty swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 22, 2011
"Angels of Vengeance"
Now thats a TITLE!

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mckinneytexas asserts...

Posted March 22, 2011
I'm with Havock. Now git sum FKN REST!

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted March 23, 2011
YES!

As much as I loved it I'm glad that you didn't use the original working title, The Rhino of Vengeance. That would have made Mrs. Havock a widow when H's head exploded.

All joking aside I can't wait for this one.

R.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted March 23, 2011
Tis gonna be some good stuff coming down the pike.

Birmo gets to rest, the bastard. I get to grade papers. :)

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted March 23, 2011
Well done JB & Murph. Enjoy the break.

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abigail reckons...

Posted March 23, 2011
How long you in the US for,JB ? or maybe that is a secret...

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MickH swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23, 2011
Well done guys
I must say I've been impressed with your dedication to the deadline. Amazing stuff!

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Timmo asserts...

Posted March 23, 2011
Sweet! Looking forward to this. So is this definitely the conclusion of a trilogy? Or is there the possibility of more in this series?

Good work on hitting the deadline JB & Murph.
Now go enjoy a well-earned break.

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David T reckons...

Posted March 23, 2011
Congratulations JB, and good one Murph. Murph's comments on how the narrative/s got put together were useful too, even if his blog did eat itself right when I posted on it...

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23, 2011
Fkn yeah. Sept release hopefully, in time for my fkn birfday. Good job JB and Murph.

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Big Pete puts forth...

Posted March 23, 2011
A few weeks ago, I handed over some of the hard earned folding stuff, for a copy of 'Without Warning', and so far, I'll have to say, I'm really enjoying the story. Little did I know of the horrors lurking between the covers though, I mean, 'The Shark' gone, only his hat and golden putter marking the spot where he once stood. The Horror, The Horror.

So well done JB, and congratulations on finishing the latest one. It may take me a while, but I look forward to reading the next two.

And for Murph, a hearty Aussie slap on the back accompanied by a rousing 'Onya Murph'.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted March 23, 2011
Damn, David, I don't like the sound of that. What happened exactly?

I'm looking forward to seeing this in print. It is the first complete trilogy I've seen put together from scratch. It has been an interesting and educational experience.

I'm pretty lucky to have the opportunity.

Thanks, everyone.

Yankeedog is right, by the way. If you drive down I-35 you'll see most of North Kansas City, including the nine story tall brick building which is in many ways, the tallest building in Northtown (not counting the Hospital). It sorta stands out.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted March 23, 2011
I remain unhappy that my suggestion that the whole "end of America" thing turns out to be the dream of a 12 year old precocious girl was rejected so quickly, and with such vehemence. I continue to believe the idea lent a much needed sense of whimsy to the story.

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MickH is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23, 2011
hey Paul! Have you ever wondered that you might actually be the dream of some precocious 12 year old?

That's scary isn't it!

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DrStrangelove is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23, 2011
To Murph:"I blame crass friends, soldiers and my time in Korea for the Red Light Districts"

I had to laugh at that. Reminds me of the time when my former USMC dad told me of his "exploits" while on leave in Seoul. Those things tend to stun a 17 yo.

Can't wait to get my hands on it, JB! Take some well deserved rest!

Doc

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Guru Bob mutters...

Posted March 23, 2011
As a reward you should go and see Battle: Los Angeles...

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted March 23, 2011
Yes, Mick, that is a frightening concept.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23, 2011
Some 'xplodey goodness to keep us going 'till publishing date.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32b9m7CeJfQ&feature=player_embedded#at=33

Why? because we can.

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Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2011
All .. John Scalzi was away from his blog today and invited people to post links to other writer's blogs. Of course, I commented with a link to this one. Be nice if newbs stop by.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted March 24, 2011
Oooh, Scalzi might not be too thrilled. This entry mentions my name. I'm considered The Nemesis of the American Science Fiction Community by some of his readers.

:) I like that. Nemesis. It is almost as good as another title I lay claim to.

The Dream Crusher.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2011
Oh, I see it is a general citation. Well, that won't bother them too much until I make a post. :)

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Dictation software update.

Posted February 27, 2011 by John Birmingham
I should have listened to Orin. You never tempt fate like that. I was smashing my deadline flat on Friday. Really cranking out the words. So what did I do? Bragged about it of course. Hopped on Twitter during one of my 5 min. Pomodoro breaks and boasted about just how big a can of whuppass I was opening on my deadline.

He tweeted me back a couple of minutes later on, warning me against such arrogant foolishness. Honest to God, it couldn't have been five seconds later that I pushed my chair away from the desk, ready to get going with some more dictation (which meant standing up, of course, thanks Jennicki). The lead from my USB headphones was tangled around the wheel of my very expensive office chair. Long story short, the was a loud crunch as I ripped the USB dongle out the back of the computer, completely destroying it.

Most of the rest of the day was spent replacing those headphones.

There was one upside to it, however. While I was searching online for a replacement, I discovered that MacSpeech Dictate had gone through a major upgrade which I hadn't noticed. It was now Dragon Dictate 2.0 with all sorts of massive improvements promised. As I found the original Dictate to be such a great program, up until the moment I destroyed my dongle, I was intrigued by just how massive these improvements could be.

So, since I was already spending money, I handed over an extra hundred bucks to download the upgrade. I agree, it is a massive improvement. For the moment I'm using a cheap Logitech USB headset, although I have ordered a more expensive Bluetooth headset from Plantronics which I'm hoping to lay hands on in the next day or so. This will allow me to venture even further as I stalk around my office mumbling to myself. Conceivably I might even be able to sit in my nice leather recliner chair and dictate from there. Although there is always the chance of falling asleep doing that.

So, what's the upgrade like?

Well the first thing that's noticeable, it is more accurate. A lot more accurate. The previous version I would have put at maybe 94 or 95% accurate. This one feels much closer to 99% accurate. That might not seem like much, but over the course of the 200,000 word manuscript, it is. That 99% accuracy, by the way, is right out of the box.

The other thing that's noticeable is the stability. I have the preferences set up so that autosave kicks in every 30 seconds. That's a legacy from MacSpeech, which would crash at least once or twice every day, mostly because I insisted on pushing its performance envelope way beyond the recommended maximum.

How so?

It's all about the golden rule with dictation software. Once you start dictating, the programs do not like you to put your hands anywhere near the keyboard. It confuses them. Within the program's memory cache it stores not just the text document, but a recording of your voice. And the two have to mesh together perfectly. If you start moving the cursor around with your mouse, and doing edits and corrections by hand on the keyboard, it puts the zap on the program. Confuses the hell out of it, actually.

Try this a couple of times and the program will crash, taking your work with it if you have not set up a robust autosave.

There is a major caveat, however. If, like me, you work within the very simple text box provided by Dictate, you can push the limits of the Golden Rule a little further. Quite a bit further actually. And I do. Because editing via voice command sucks dog's balls.

What I'm finding with this new version of Dictate is a pleasing combination of a much more robust piece of software, which really lets me push against the limits of The Rule. And, just as importantly, a much more accurate transcription algorithm which means that I have to do heaps less editing anyway.

The program also seems more stable in that if you're standing staring into space for a few seconds trying to think of what comes next, it's much less likely to pick up on your breathing or a cough and transcribe that as a word–usually as a false definite article or indefinite article. It wasn't unusual for me to have to delete three or four of those things in a row when using MacSpeech Dictate.

So, is it worth the hundred bucks? For the upgrade, sure. I'm happy to have spent the money. Would I recommend that someone who's never used dictation software run out and spend a couple of hundred dollars more buying it off the shelf?

I don't know. We all remember that I had no choice but to use this software, so I was willing to put in a couple of weeks climbing a very steep learning curve. A lot of people would give up. And the problem is I'm now so familiar with the program, with what it can do, and with what I'm required to do to make it work properly, that I'm not really the right person to ask.

For me dictation software has been the goose that laid the golden egg. And this latest version of DragonDictate would seem to offer even more in the way of productivity gains. Would it work for you? Yes, if you are willing to spend the time reading the manual and training yourself to use it. But if you're not, it's a pretty fucking penny to drop on a program, especially if you pay even more for a high-end wireless headset.

26 Responses to ‘Dictation software update.’

FKNHVK is gonna tell you...

Posted February 27, 2011
Yeah but does it have FKN Thunderbolt!?!

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 27, 2011
Tsk. One should pay careful attention when (one who shall not be named) gives warning.

The man has serious spooky like tendencies.

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tqft ducks in to say...

Posted February 27, 2011
Don't forget to print the receipt and put it with your tax stuff. While I am sure you are happy to fork over the cash, claiming at least some back from the ATO will undoubtedly make you happier.

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Jonathan Dowler puts forth...

Posted February 27, 2011
I just got it 3 weeks ago and it rocks! Agree on everything you're sayin' and learned the hard way not to mix keyboarding and speech. While not dictating 20,000 words, my productivity is rocketing up!

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JG mumbles...

Posted February 27, 2011
Dictation software sounds amazing--if you know how to use it. Sounds like you're on top of it all now. Glad you like your upgraded version.
Joanna :))

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fknvty reckons...

Posted February 27, 2011
still prefer a p.a. at 90 wpm with decent shorthand. always will i guess, especially when she smiles that smile :)
- one also wonders how many real live industry workplace people scansoft/ nuance have completely ratfucked to date. - then there's the ramifications of entrusting all your hardly crunched inspiration to the ether/ box of tricks/ multiple backups not to mention the ongoing relationship problems your gonna have with all those 0's & 1's.
pz.v.

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Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted February 27, 2011
The don't-touch-the-keyboard tip may explain the instability I was getting with the earlier DNS. Voice correction never worked properly & always used the mouse & keyboard. The disabled kids I was installing it for were more successful than, possibly because they weren't using mouse or kb at all. Or because they were more patient.

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yankeedog would have you know...

Posted February 28, 2011
If Pro/Engineer could work with dictation software, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. But when using Pro/E to do a project, often one uses interesting vocabulary as the program shows its various limitations.

I could see for authors and report writers where dictating right to the computer would be preferred over typing manually.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted February 28, 2011
First, "dongle" is American slang for unasthetically bent male genitalia.

Second, on your prior recommendation, John, I purchased Dragon for my son to use in University. He loves it and I believe it is helping him get better grades. I don't believe he edits by voice, though. By tonight he will have the upgrade.

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted February 28, 2011
Paul, I have a large collection of dongles which I have found very useful in the past. I can get almost anything connected to anything else with the right dongle. Is this wrong?

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MickH would have you know...

Posted February 28, 2011
Does it have a Microsoft version?

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted February 28, 2011
Dragon was originally written for Windows, Mick. I think it's in its 11th iteration now, and called something like Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11. Google it up. My understanding is it's way more powerful in Windows.

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted February 28, 2011
And yeah, Yankeedog, there are industry specific versions of the software, one for legal and one for medical, that come with all of the jargon. Interesting that they never seem to have done one for the engineering profession, perhaps because there are so many different schools of engineering.

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Big Pete swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 28, 2011
@MickH
Yes, I'm using it now. It's called 'Dragon Naturally Speaking'

A few months back I upgraded from DNS 10 to DNS 11, I think the latest Apple version is just version 11 of the Windows version. I will agree with what JB said regarding the accuracy, this version seems to be just that little bit better. I think I read somewhere that the voice sample rate has been increased with this version, so perhaps that's the reason for the improvement in accuracy.

My only gripe with the new version, is at times it seems to stall when I speak, like it's trying to work out what I said. I think it's a problem with caching its database in memory. I only have two gigs of RAM so I think its database is being swapped out into virtual memory when I use other programs that require lots of RAM, then switch back to using Dragon, it's then that this stalling happens. I might try adding a couple more gigs of RAM and see if that helps.

I find it is not only dictation where I find Dragon quite useful. I also use it just as much when reading long documents. I put Dragon into Command Mode, settle back nice and comfortable and start reading. To grab another page of text, it's just a matter of issuing a Page Down command.

All I need to do now is get it to understand commands like 'Warp Factor 7' and 'Fire Proton Torpedoes' and it will be perfect.

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Big Pete mumbles...

Posted February 28, 2011
While were on the subject of voice recognition software. You guys might be interested in Shoot. It's a voice overlay for games, so instead of pushing keys on your keyboard to do stuff like turn on your flashlight or reload your weapon, you can just say stuff like 'Flashlight on' or 'Reload' or my favourite 'Fire Proton Torpedoes', but only if you've got proton torpedoes, otherwise you'll just look stupid.

It seems to work quite well, go here for more information.http://clans.gameclubcentral.com/shoot/

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted February 28, 2011
Ooh, I can see a whole blog post out of that Shoot thingy, Pete. Cheers.

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yankeedog swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 28, 2011
One for people smarter than I am: do they sell different versions of dictating software for different regions of the English-speaking world? Australians sound different from Texans from Ontarians from Cockneys. There are a LOT of variations on vowel shifts, accents, and intonations. Or is the software smart enough to figure out stuff like that?

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted February 28, 2011
You can select one of thirteen major english language accents, including Australian, in the preferences.

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JP mumbles...

Posted February 28, 2011
Hmmm... I may be about sold, although I'd have to use it while SopranoGirl is not shaking my study furniture with her high F's.

I bought Dragon for my PC that I used for architecture study waaaay back in 1997 or 98, and it was a dog -- I'd call it about 80% accurate and that was with a fair amount of training time put in. I'd been tinkering on a Mac laptop at my first novel for nearly 3 years and thought that it'd be easier to dictate it in my downtime -- but no dice. I got through maybe 50 error-filled pages and gave up on the beast and returned to teh keyboard (which at 6'2'' and 100kgs gives me arthritis and RSI, not great to have at 31 and with another 16 novels due over the next 3 years). I've also felt since the Dragon experiment that I really need that mind-hand connection to getting my words on the page, but now I'm thinking maybe not. I love the idea that one could do a slightly diff voice in dictating each character, to really bring each alive via their speech. Then again, maybe that'd lead me back to a dark and slippery slope of method acting my way through novels and being drunk and drugged when my characters are.

And all that said, I'm wary to start using it in the midst of current series -- I reckon my narrative style would change to much from typed books to the dictated. Next project, I'll give it a crack -- I find I average 2k per day of good typed words, up to 5k when under serious deadline pressure or a day full of inspirado. Be great to get that average up from 2 to 3-4.

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havock swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 28, 2011
YEP..its called DRAGON Naturally speaking and I HAVE THE FKN THING. Its loaded on the lappy. At this point in time, I am blaming the systems lack of FUCKING VOICE RECOGNITION on the lap tops fkn processing speed. NOW that I have me tower system back, free from fucking VIRUSES, I'm gunna load the fkr up. LOOK OUT DRAGON, IF this SHIT DONT FUCKING WORK, its gunna go back with an EXPANDING FUCKING ENVELOPE!

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted February 28, 2011
Read the FKN manual.

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Big Pete reckons...

Posted March 1, 2011
@havock
the secret to voice recognition is a good quality headset. I'm not sure what sort of quality the standard headset that comes with Dragon is, as I didn't even bother unpacking it, I just went and bought myself a good quality USB headset, and haven't had any problems.

Also make sure you position the microphone well. If you have problems, then reposition the microphone and try again. It's amazing the difference in recognition you get by just moving the microphone into a slightly different position.

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BrianC has opinions thus...

Posted March 1, 2011
Dragon on windows, is teh dom-didly-ohm as the kids say. Havock might say ITS FKN TOPS.

I'm glad you are using a Dragon product, you know who else uses Dragon. David Weber, he uses it so he can release 2 books a year.

Just sayin...

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havock puts forth...

Posted March 1, 2011
Big PETE and BRIAN C..thanks for the thoughts. I see they were sooo much more constructive than...READ THE FKN MANUAL.

Wait till I see YOU NEXT!

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havock is gonna tell you...

Posted March 1, 2011
And yeah, its the standard head set that came with it!.

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havock mumbles...

Posted March 1, 2011
JP..ya behind the curve..sheez man, I do 5 words per day..on a bad day, about 10 or even eleven words when on a roll!!!!!......

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Borders, no more.

Posted February 17, 2011 by John Birmingham
So, Borders have finally gone under, here as well as in the US. Taking Angus and Robertson with them, and Whitcoulls in New Zealand. I am actually sorry to see them go, even though they haven't been the stores they used to be for a long time.

A lot of people in publishing and bookselling hated Borders for the obvious reason. They came stomping into a market, often crushing independent bookstores under foot, and applying a mass production sensibility to something which had once been a bit of a cottage industry.

All true. And yet I didn't mind Borders because, in the old days at least, they carried some amazing backlist. In the early days of that chain it was possible to wander in off the street and find whatever you wanted somewhere along the miles of shelving they maintained. They may have only kept two or three copies of backlist titles, but at least they kept them. Along with thousands of obscure titles you weren't going to find in other chains, or at the independents, which simply could not hold that much stock.

I'm not sure when this situation changed, but I was aware during my last book tour–what, eighteen months ago?–that everything had changed. I've done enough touring over the years that I'm allowed out on my own without a publicist these days. A lot of the grunt work of book touring, for instance ringing up bookstores and arranging visits, I would do for myself.

I remember very clearly being told, on the quiet, at the start of my last tour not to bother wasting my time visiting Borders. Some of them, franchises I think, were OK. But the chain as a whole run by Redgroup was considered to be toxic. Poor old Angus and Robertson, also caught up with the same venture capital smartarses was even worse.

I'm not sure whether you've been into an A&R store the last couple of years. Jesus, talk about depressing. They became giant dump bins for failed remainder copies imported directly from the US. Shit books by no-name authors, poorly printed on cheap stock.

So, what does this all mean?

Well, people will still buy books. It may hasten the acceleration towards electronic books which is already underway. It may shore up the position of the surviving chains, particularly well-run operations like Dymocks. What I would like to think might happen is something I've been predicting for a while. That we start to see something of a renaissance in the independent bookshop sector.

I did an interview with a journalist yesterday who was preparing a story for the Courier Mail, where we discussed this very issue. He specifically wanted to know about e-books, but we drifted onto the topic of the publishing industry in general. I told him what I've been telling people for nearly 2 years now.

Electronic book publishing is going to destroy the major chains. The sort of high volume disposable fiction which is their stock in trade, will migrate almost entirely into electronic form over the next 10 years. Their other income streams, recorded music and video are already drying up. It doesn't mean the end of the printed book. It just means printed books will be a much smaller segment of the market, and eventually much more of an elite item purchase. You can expect to pay a lot more for your paper books in future, but you can expect to buy only certain types of books in paper format because of that.

This isn't going to happen overnight, or even in the next two or three years. But it is going to happen over the next decade. At the end of that process I would expect to see most of the chains gone, but many of our much loved independent bookstores will still with us, doing what they do very well now. Providing a bespoke service, with a lot of hand selling of small print run high value books as part of a complete retail experience. What the fuck does that mean?

It doesn't mean sticking Gloria Jeans in the middle of your bookshop hoping that people will buy shitty books along with the shitty coffee. But it might mean something like my local bookstore, which is also a restaurant and café, and a really lovely place just hang out for a couple of hours. It's deeply embedded in the local community and appreciated not just for the books it sells, but the amenity brings to the neighborhood.

I can't think of a single Borders chain store about which you could say that.

93 Responses to ‘Borders, no more.’

Mr Ak mutters...

Posted February 17, 2011
Are major chains going to die, though, or are they just going to become digital entities? I mean people like Borders have very recognisable brands in ways which publishers don't. Sure, you can brand by author or by series, but then it becomes harder to push something genuinely new at customers.

Or will it all just be Amazon taking 30% of your profits to distribute on a closed software monopoly.

Disclosure:I don't like Amazon.

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Mr Ak is gonna tell you...

Posted February 17, 2011
Did I say people? I meant companies...

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DrYobbo asserts...

Posted February 17, 2011
Bit surprised Whitcoulls are being taken down, they seem to be in decent health over here.

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Matt asserts...

Posted February 17, 2011
A&R wasn't so great twenty years ago, either. If you wanted something a little odd getting them to order it in was like pulling teeth.

Or at least it was for me. Maybe you had better luck.

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Andy Thompson mutters...

Posted February 17, 2011
I started to take note of the demise of Borders the day I noticed more and more DVD's being stocked in my local. I too, used to love being able to find rare copies of books that no one else had. Still, there was no atmosphere. It was like shopping in a hospital ward except the nurses were replaced with spotty teens with lip piercings who wanted to tell you all about the latest vampire novel. Unfortunately the shopping centre I generally frequent has both a Borders and an A&R. I am now a wee lamb...lost in the woods.

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Mirthisse would have you know...

Posted February 17, 2011
And Borders completely failed in their attempt to go online. Ordered a whole lot of speciality manga books for my daughter for Christmas - site stated they were online and I got an email 2 days later that they had shipped. The books actually arrived almost 6 weeks later - well after Christmas - and I swore to myself I would never use them again. And no recourse for the disappointment of my daughter at Christmas time.....so I wont be crying any tears.

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S puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2011
Have you seen the UK website Book Depository?

I've bought from this site a few times - the books are cheaper than you'd find in the stores here, and they don't charge postage.

Why would I bother going into Borders, when I can shop from home in my flannie PJs and slippers?

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tqft asserts...

Posted February 17, 2011
Pulp Fiction - no coffee shop there. Actually it isn't much bigger than a decent sized coffee cup. Ah, but range & service, at least of the stuff I am interested in.

Borders at Garden City is/was good precisely because it had a coffee shop - the only quiet place in Garden City to sit down and away from the horde.

But I have noticed Borders destocking. Garden City store now has a range of homewares in it as well, rather than books.

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Bookworm reckons...

Posted February 17, 2011
Well hooray I say. Sick of the shopping mall mentality which seems to pervade every retail experience these days. Been in anything owned by Westfields lately? No wonder half the population is on anti-depressants.

Can I recommend a really good old-fashioned outlet run by a couple of grumps in Avalon called Bookocinos? Now that really is a bookshop!

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Ross is gonna tell you...

Posted February 17, 2011
Don't forget the bonus this is for Dymocks in Australia, the stout, continuing defender of their campaign to dump the Parallel Import Restrictions.

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Darryl Mason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2011
As e-book readers, tablets, come down in price and become as common as TV remotes, those who want the fast, disposable read will go for e-books, paying little more than $5 to $7 for top titles. If you read a book you really like, or love, something special you want to have on a shelf or give as a gift, then you'll order a print-on-demand copy.

But a whole new world of minor book markets will open up, where authors will be able to publish small run, limited editions 'packs' around their hardcovers, beautiful maps, photos, toys, art, whatever, as bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails do with their releases now.

Those who want to quick read the new JB thriller on holidays will go for a $5 e-book.

The diehard fans will pay $60 for the hardcover kit, with posters, a memory stick full of digital goodies & author interviews, whatever, and a hardcover copy handnumbered by JB, with a thumb print or perhaps an actual drop of blood splashed onto the title page.

The future of creative book publishing is bright. The future of turning bookshops into overpriced Woolworths is fucked, as it should be.

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Jacob Martin would have you know...

Posted February 17, 2011
It's pretty sad, I know. I bought my rare copy of the out of print Japanese gonzo classic Welcome to the NHK by Tatsuhiko Takimoto there when nobody else had it. But those days are gone I guess. I just hope Kinokuniya in the Sydney CBD hold out a bit longer, since they deserve to stay open for providing a unique book loving environment. Galaxy Bookshop is worth a look too for sci-fi that even Kino doesn't have.

I'm only 21 years old, and I'm worried bookshops will go away faster than I can have children to enjoy them with me. I mean, it's not like I'm The Situation from Jersey Shore either. Nobody's gonna get pregnant fast enough for me to become the father of kids who remember a world with bookshops. Besides, the upside is that in a paternity trial where I'm falsely accused I can submit my D&D rulebooks as critical evidence.

In any case, in the same session my shrink told me that the supposed Road Warrior future was nothing to fear because of how tame the reaction to natural disasters is down here, the iPad is nothing to fear either even though it is a sort of technological Plato's Cave that I can't afford either financially or emotionally to cross out of yet.

Maybe in the next decade I will, just like what happened when I was a late adopter of the iPod because I grew up with less money than sense compared to other kids at school.

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Blarkon puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2011
I think that believing that there will be a rennaisance in independents is wishful thinking. How many independent video shops are there these days?

Amazon.co.uk now offers free shipping to Oz. A strong dollar and free shipping to Oz remove the last barrier to going online to get your stuff. Free shipping from Amazon and an 8 day turnaround - how on *earth* can a non-established independent bookstore compete with that?

With Apple doing its best to destroy Amazon and rampant ebook piracy - look for a scorched earth ebook war to break out and there to be little clarity in this area until one side wins. Most likely what will happen is that with an ongoing inconclusive war, buying ebooks will become a bit like buying TV shows online - something you only bother with if you are unable to find what you want on a pirate site. This works for Apple because they make a profit even if you read pirated content on their device. Amazon takes a hit because they give you the razor but make money on the razorblades.

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Bill puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2011
That's a very good point about the backlist. In January last year, I was looking for a gift to take to my father-in-law in the US. Since he takes a keen interest in World War 1, I thought the perfect book for him would be The ANZACs by Patsy Adam Smith. I was appalled to learn that not a single major store in Melbourne had it in stock.

I used to like Borders because they created an atmosphere that made me want to buy books much more than A&R or Dymocks. Not so much any more.

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CC has opinions thus...

Posted February 17, 2011
While I see JBs point about Borders - i agree with tqft. Borders at Westfield Chermside was/is a nice place to have some time off, think about possible book purchases, browse magazines - a lot of which could not be bought from local newsagents - and have a coffee (as good as a Gloria Jeans one can be). I for one am going to miss it. I guess once they started stocking homewares the writing was on the wall that book selling was no longer their core product offering.

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Emma swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2011
Yay for the independent bookstore. Like Riverbend in Bulimba, my favourite local, Avid Reader, dishes out the great coffee and snacks as well as beautiful books. The kids section is a favourite of ours, and Fiona is always onto it when we want to order in some obscure title from some strange part of the world! I hope you're right, JB, but we don't need a renaissance, we need a revolution!

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Moko mutters...

Posted February 17, 2011
FUCK. There goes my rewards card.

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Blarkon mumbles...

Posted February 17, 2011
The diehard fans will pay $60 for the hardcover kit, with posters, a memory stick full of digital goodies & author interviews, whatever, and a hardcover copy handnumbered by JB, with a thumb print or perhaps an actual drop of blood splashed onto the title page.

As many an author who has tried to get something like this funded through Kickstarter can attest, even if you are Terry Pratchett there are a very small number of people willing to fork over for premium content that is priced at a level more than $5 more than what they can get it for without premium features.

Don't believe me? Google Warren Ellis Transmetropolitan Kickstarter. This is an art project for a very famous series of graphic novels. There were multiple subscription levels - one of which got you the book, another of which got you the book with a personalized signature. Of the 600 who signed up for the project, less than 20 went for the signed premium product.

There is a fantasy out there that there is a business model where content creators get by selling personalized fan content while taking a loss on their normal books or music. The reality is that there is a minescule number of people who will pay more than $30 for something they can get for $5 and that number won't make up for the losses incurred by selling content at a price that is lower than the cost to produce it.

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ConspiracyCat swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2011
The last three times I've gone to Borders, their computers have assured me they had several copies of the book I was after. All three times, even the assistants couldn't locate the alleged in-store copies. (This includes AA).

Kinda makes those cosy reading corners defunct, if you can't find the books you want to read.

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Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted February 17, 2011
To put the Warren Ellis figure in context:


400,000 followers on Twitter
Less than 600 willing to pay for specially produced unique book
Less than 20 willing to pay for personalized specially produced unique book

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Adam would have you know...

Posted February 17, 2011
Agree with everything you say, except to point out A & R (as Redgroup) bought Borders off the US brand, not the other way around. That's when the end began.

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Taka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2011
Amazing news. I buy Australian but I always buy from Booktopia. They are pretty cheap.

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abigail mumbles...

Posted February 17, 2011
Feel sorry for the employess; 'twas a good factory for starving uni students. About my only regret. Never went there, well, hardly ever.

Empirical only but independent book stores have always been the subject of our desire because of what they represent, which is encoded in the two words. Independent. Books. Borders = franchise, we don't like franchises.

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abigail asserts...

Posted February 17, 2011
...meant, franchise and books together feels like an uncomfortable marriage of mass commercialism and intellectualism.

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Chaz asserts...

Posted February 17, 2011
Did nearly 6 years in Book retail in the UK before the NET book agreement came to an end and the market rushed for the bottom.

I agree with JB in that Borders were a breath of fresh air when they first arrived. Their backlists were the main drawcard, much better than WH Smith, Books Etc and Dillons.

Of course it's the mainstream inprints that will suffer most. Niche markets such as Sci-Fi,Fantasy & Horror already have their specialist stockists as do sports books.

So its the mainstream Australian authors who will suffer plus your high level imports Amis, Archer, etc etc

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mrblenny swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2011
I second the shout out to Book Depositry in the UK. I wonder what sort of royalty JB makes on an $8 book delivered such as "weapons of choice" here http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9780345457134/Weapons-of-Choice compared to someone paying ~$20 for the same thing here in Australia?

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Ken Burgin swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2011
Well remember the first time I went into their South Yarra store and the thrill of their massive range. Same in Chicago - buying things you knew you'd never find elsewhere. But their policy in the last few years of marking most books UP by a few dollars beyond the RRP was nasty - now I snap the cover with my phone and check www.booko.com.au for the best price.

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2011
I hear some doctors have been doing with out borders for years.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted February 17, 2011
Shouldn't this be a topic for The Geek or even BT? or is JB testing the waters after the frakstorm Tuesday's BT generated. Doesn't Andrew Bolt have an opinion on Borders, does he read? Can he read?

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ConspiracyCat ducks in to say...

Posted February 17, 2011
I think Mr Bolt is busy with a pork chop right now. You'll have to wait until he's finished gnawing the bone, and has safely buried it.

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sibeen mutters...

Posted February 17, 2011
I just saw this on the ABC news website and thought to myself, "I bet JB's on this like shit on a goose". I seem to have been correct.

My nearest large shopping centre is Highpoint, in Melbourne. It contains both a Borders and an A&R, and until today I wasn't aware that they were owned by the same company. The Borders was split over two levels, with some form of coffee shop on the upper; no idea what 'brand' of coffee store it was, I never lowered myself to the franchise swill. But the bookstore, two levels of packed shelves, just waiting for a dammed good browse. Authors I'd never heard of, books packed check to jowl; it was a wonderland for a poor put upon husband dragged out on a shopping trip.

"I'll just be in the bookstore" was my frequent, plaintive cry, after being dragged through innumerable clothes shops, purveyors of nick fucking nacks , shoe stores and sundry emporiums selling goods of dubious quality.

The A&R at Highpoint just didn't cut it. A store that was smaller then my home office, stocked with a dingy array of casts offs and no names. How can you possibly have a section devoted to sci-fi, about one fucking metre squared grant you, and not have one Heinlein title? It'd be like having a record store and not having any Beatles. Unforgivable!

A&R just couldn't compete as a retreat from the wife and two pre-teen children, running amok in the wonderland of excess that exudes from miles, endless fucking miles, of shopfronts blasting out their tirade of specials - one day only.

Borders was my safe haven. My respite. A bolt hole from the purgatory that surrounded me. It was filled with people who liked to read, a touchstone who's magic powers faded at the front doors.

What am I to do now? Sit in the carpark, ensuring the wrath of the better half? Lurch around, following my family with an inane grin colouring my visage? Pretend to enjoy watching my fashinista 7 year old as she tries on her twentieth pair of shoes for the afternoon? Chortle with glee as the 9 year old ruminates over whether the striking pink or the pale pink dress goes better with the hair ribbon she'd recently acquired?

Whilst many here may cheer, nay celebrate, the demise of Borders, I for one shall shed a tear. A tear of remembrance, of quiet Saturday afternoons, the hours slowly ticking by as I relaxed, entranced by the words flowing around me, as the maddening crowds outside this scene of tranquility flocked in their capitalistic exuberance.

Shed a tear, aye, shed a tear, as the husbands of this world have lost a part, granted a small part but it's there non the less, of what keeps them sane.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted February 17, 2011
Yeah . . .Borders.

It was quite something when they ran their in-house coffee joint. Could sit there for several hours. Then . . .they brought in Gloria Jeans. Prices went up, value went down.

The casual sitting . . .armchairs and couches dissappeared.

I'd occassionally drop in and spot check the shelves . . .but, the magic had gone.

Best I can figure , , I've got to go to Lygon Street to find anything similar. Subuurbia is a wasteland. Even Mary Martins has gone from Bourke Street. MacGills went 10 years ago. Melbourne's just about got zip now.

brian

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Blarkon puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2011
So there is this post here and the same one over at Blunty.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted February 17, 2011
Yeah, I told them they could rip this one if they wanted.

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jennicki reckons...

Posted February 17, 2011
I'm sad to see them go as well. In my city we have just one independent book store that I love to support but it just struggles to keep up. So my alternative is the Barnes and Noble which seems like the literary equivalent to Walmart, and then the smaller Borders.

Sigh.

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yankeedog ducks in to say...

Posted February 17, 2011
Borders is planning to close I think 2-300 stores here in the States.

When they started up, they carried a lot of titles that B&N didn't necessarily have. Not so much toward the end. And while it's nice that they could always order a title they didn't stock, I could do the same thing by going to Amazon.

I don't know if our local Borders is closing or not. They always have a fair number of people in the place so it might miss the axe. I'm going to miss them if they do end up shutting down here. There's something about walking in to the bookstore, actually picking up a book or magazine, and pulling up a chair to look at a page or two before buying it. E-books and Amazon don't quite offer that.

Napoleon said 'Victory goes to the bigger battalions'. In business these days, victory appears to go to the faster ones.

Maybe better dig up those Borders gift cards and get them used-just in case.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted February 18, 2011
The Borders in the Northland where I spent a sizeable amount of the last decade during the Uniguard Era is slated to shut down. Then again, service there went into the toilet at the end of that era.

I'll make a prediction. There is a bookstore chain here in the States which is doing pretty good. They are called Half-Price Books. Once my teaching peers put me onto it I found that most of my bookstore visits were to their locations in the area.

It is a two way street as well. They buy used books. Since my mom tends to chew through romance novels (present day sci-fi annoys her for the same reasons it annoys me) she'll give me a back of the books to run down there. The sad thing is that the romance paperbacks are worth more than textbooks.

I've managed to find some pretty good deals at Half-Price Books to include some hard to find historians.

I suspect what will happen is that Half-Price Books will not only grow, they'll expand into a limited offering of fresh off the press books.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Puma puts forth...

Posted February 18, 2011
It's Obama's fault for raising taxes.

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Chicken or the egg has opinions thus...

Posted February 18, 2011
I'm a little confused... I thought A&R took over Borders operations here in Australia a few years back? A friend quit not long after citing the introduction of poor management and poor stock systems. So locally, wouldn't it be more a case of A&R causing the demise?

Either way, nothing beats the addictive buzz of a fine book leaping out from the shelves of a character-filled indie store!

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abigail asserts...

Posted February 18, 2011
Personally I'd never suggest this will enable the rise (or indicate the fall) of indie book shops because I don't know how much money they make interstate, but here they power along. I think it's the Canberra demographic: we really like indie book shops--Paperchain booms (as far as I can tell).

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Monster Yuppy would have you know...

Posted February 18, 2011
I used to buy a book every time I got on a plane from the airport bookstore.
I have several hundred books.
Now, I sit in the lounge and download one before I board.
So my spend has gone from $800-$1000 per annum to about $200 odd.
Thats a bit of cash out of the till for the bookshop near the Qantas lounge....

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fknvty reckons...

Posted February 18, 2011
reminds me of an old mate moses hadas (note the offspring has done quite well, euripedes, sappho & so on) quote "thank you for sending me a copy of your book, i'll waste no time reading it" endquote.
part of my seppo yiddish connection. larry taub et al
- re print, unless it lands on the ozzy cedar partners desk as a gift or for proof reading i tend to haunt second hand bookshops and have down so for 30 year or so. call me antiquarian, it's a great way to fill in the gaps of our rather ecclectic library ... from memory len peachey & colin steele (ANU) threw a decent reseller guide together late last century if anyone is interested. pz.v.

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robert reckons...

Posted February 18, 2011
What I find really distressing is that there is no substitute for these bookstores. First, we lost the local bookstores where the help actually read books, now we lose the chain bookstore where the help asks whether we are a member of this or that club.

What is really distressing is my complete inability to sort the wheat from the chaff as someplace like Amazon. At least with books in a bookstore there was some kind of editorial process that ensured the books were relative free of typos and, given a certain publisher one could assume the book was at least well done. I might not have liked the story, but it wasn't gawd-awful self-published un-copyedited drivel.

Amazon throws those self-published books at you every time you navigate to a new page. Distinguishing between something unreadable and something most readable is getting more and more difficult. I do end up going to places like Goodreads online to help find something good.

My other complaint about websites like Amazon is that they have joined the ranks of the "stalking advertisers". Say, for instance, I looked at a bag of cat food on Pets Mart's website, I then go to Amazon and there's an advertisement for cat food. I search for a book by that author Birmingham and beside his books are suggestions for cat books and cat foods and a self-published Kindle book called The Cats of Mars. Sheesh.

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Luke swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 18, 2011
I was just coming here to ask you about this but i see you already have an article.

It's not just the price of online stores, they get money out of me (both Amazon and Audible) because of their "other people also bought" section. That and simply being able to click on the an authors name and get all their stuff. I remained ignorant of anything that wasn't on the shelf and that I didn't already know about in a book store.

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David Crookes asserts...

Posted February 18, 2011
Borders,Angus and Robertson and Whitcoulls are probably only the beginning in this region.

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wolfcat has opinions thus...

Posted February 18, 2011
The problem with a lot of these big chains which does lead to their undoing, is they aren't run by book store people.

They are run by Money People, who focus on only making money.

When people only focus on a profit motive, they can and often do come unstuck because they miss the market.

The massive horizontal integration of numerous "stores" across different brands means also when the money dries up a lot of smaller companies get taken down in the process.

But then if you look at http://www.redgroupretail.com/ the "latest news" they have on their website is from May 2010, so I guess web also was just not on their radar.

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Mark Duffett asserts...

Posted February 18, 2011
Guy Rundle over at Crikey has an interesting take on this. He reckons it's the beginning of the end of physical shopping, never mind just bookshops. Don't know if I buy it (ha!) but thought-provoking nevertheless. http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/02/17/rundle-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-bookshops/

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robbie smith ducks in to say...

Posted February 18, 2011
the public library - try one

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abigail puts forth...

Posted February 18, 2011
Ah Robbie, yes. You reminded me, actually--if iot's out of the way books you want you can some times join the university libraries as a non-student. A reasonable fee I suppose but for what you get...
Condition is normally , borrow but if an academic/ PhD needs it you have to return it and wait till they've finished and they have greater rights, of course. Still.

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jennicki asserts...

Posted February 18, 2011
I love the library and use it frequently--just returned four books tonight and have another four sitting on my nightstand--but there are some books out there I'd prefer to own.

Sometimes I don't want to be on a six month waiting list when a new book comes out that I want to read.

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Blarkon mutters...

Posted February 18, 2011
If you look at the UK and the US, public libraries are being closed and amalgamated like a MoFo as it turns out that many of them are very poorly utilized by the wider ratepayer community.

The other real killer is the AUD. I picked up a Jaspar Fforde yesteday for $22.99 at Dymocks. Cost for the same book (free shipping) amazon.co.uk = 4.29 quid = 6.8 AUD.

So 7 bucks Australian for amazon.co.uk versus $23 from Dymocks at the current exchange rate

THAT is why local booksellers are fucked.

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Summary of stories on REDgroup entering voluntary administration « Fancy Goods reckons...

Posted February 18, 2011
[...] ‘Borders, no more’, by John Birmingham, Cheeseburger Gothic, 17 February 2011 [...]

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Quokka puts forth...

Posted February 18, 2011
Speaking of libraries: Quoting from a recent article in the courier mail:

'About $750,000 worth of emerging artist grants have been cancelled and council's library book budget slashed by $928,000.'

I thought the council library budget slash was a bit higher than this, if I remember right I think they're reducing they're budget by 1/3, the guy I heard talking on the radio said that they'd upped the budget by a third last year but after the floods had decided to nix that.

Given that other local councils in Qld & other disaster areas are likely to make similar budget cuts, I can't imagine this will be a good thing for the book industry.

I too used to love going into Borders and that was our standard meeting place in town. I knew it was in trouble when I took the elevator to the second level, blinked, and wondered for a moment if I'd teleported into spotlight or lincraft. My reaction to the display of all that junk was to turn on my heel and run away, very, very fast, fearing that worse awaited me on the third floor.

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abigail would have you know...

Posted February 18, 2011
Yes well, if they're fucked, they're fucked; not a whole lot we can do about it,unless we WANT to.Wind back Amazon, and all online sales, stop students relying on quick internet searches to do their work... Not many poeople answer that description. Unfortunately. Not much point even analysing what we're not trying to halt.
Plan B/.
Just watch it all collapse and forget about it.
Seems to be the default plan.

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Bondiboy66 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 18, 2011
Watching Nightline last night on this very subject they interviewed the owner of the little independant book shop at Bondi Beach that I patronise...they too will be closing up shop regrettably. Lower sales would be part of the issue there, as would the extortionate rents charged at Bondi Beach. Nonetheless this did sadden me. Further, it's lovely to be able to take my little bloke into a book shop and let him loose in the kid's book section. Inevitably we will walk out with a few books - in part because my wife and I encourage his reading, and also my wife can be a huge shopaholic! But she started her working life as a librarian and as such is quite addicted to the printed book. E-readers may be all well and good, but particulalry when it comes to richly illustrated kids or reference books, I doubt they can take their place.

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seven mutters...

Posted February 18, 2011
So where to shop for books now, as a not-cool-enough suburbanite the indie shops are out. Say what you want about a sense of community at those shops it is most definitely a closed community. The big retailers are useless and I really hate online shopping for books. Its just not the same as the real deal. I like finding something on the shelves which I would never have thought to look for. Guess its now a choice between paying extra for poor service at the indies or going online.

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Durand would have you know...

Posted February 18, 2011
I agree with Ken Burgin. www.booko.com.au is the best online bookshop, because it's not an online bookshop at all, just a portal. You enter a book name or ISBN, and it compares the prices of all the online bookshops in the world, including shipping cost to Australia. It includes overseas online stores like BookDepository, Amazon.com, BetterWorldBooks etc, as well as the Australian stores like Dymocks & Collins. I regularly save 60% on my obscure computer books.

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Borderless asserts...

Posted February 18, 2011
[...] of independent booksellers can sprout. As John Birmingham states in his round-up of the issue, e-books will destroy the large chains. But there’s an opportunity over the next 5-10 years for communities –real, [...]

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Andy Thompson is gonna tell you...

Posted February 18, 2011
So I just looked in my wallet and found a Borders Gift Voucher ($50) that I got for Xmas. I then looked online and found that Borders are honouring gift vouchers but are apparently demanding that the customer spend at least the same amount as the voucher...on top of the voucher. I shall test this out tomorrow. If you hear reports of a madman going 'a bit silly' at the Borders at Garden City, assume it is me. It'll take 15 coppers to bring me down...

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Blarkon asserts...

Posted February 18, 2011
I spent my chrissy voucher on Monday, so was lucky. Unfortunately this means that I'll have to come up with a new "no-effort" kris kringle present for my family to get me as the Borders Voucher was a reliable fallback.

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robbie smith has opinions thus...

Posted February 18, 2011
seven - agree with you about up yours indie bookshops - full of braying botoxed bookwankers

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted February 18, 2011
Lets have a LEVY I SAY!

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yankeedog reckons...

Posted February 18, 2011
The whole bookstore experience is a lot like another thing I'd bet most of us used to do-go to the record store. I know-you can order anything you want on iTunes. But I used to enjoy going to Musicland (don't know the Oz equivalent but you all will) and looking through the stacks of LPs and racks of cassettes. There are still a few independent music stores floating around, that have discs from local bands you can't get anywhere else, staffed by people who know their stuff. We might want to patronize their places after hitting the bookstores.

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 18, 2011
Where in the past we may have sought the expertise of wisened independant retailers, the "democratisation" of taste and expertise through the internet and social networking reduces the need for such advice. Consider that rather than seeking the advice of such a person, you can instead use social networking to become aware of people and works. This site is an example. Would you follow up on a recommendation from JB or another burger that you respect if they said "this book/movie/TV show is amazing". I am far more likely to try something recommended by someone I respect on Twitter or a blog than because a store owner made the recommendation. Heck the good store owners probably already have social media oytlets for their recommendations!

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lostatlunch is gonna tell you...

Posted February 18, 2011
Bondi... you are not suggesting the awesome G&A are closing?

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abigail reckons...

Posted February 18, 2011
Seven and Robbie, I just read your thoughts on indie book places and I was thinking about it, trying to eb abit dispassionate given my own attachment. Yeah, I do see where you're coming from, you get an overall impression and that is how you form a decison about where to consume stuff. And w/o knowing what your indie places are like, of course, there's usually some very good stories (from the people working there)in such places, from the people behind the counter/. Well, that's my experience. One of the guys in my fave indie bookshop was a graphic artist originally and what he knew about book cover art was phenomenal. They also knew exactly who I meant when I needed something not on the best seller or common reads list and where to source it. I haven't had that in Borders because of the time pressures --rather than the people. The students working in Borders are really lovely, so it's not them, in fact there's something about bookshops in general that seesm to attract conscientious staff. Just the system is different in a small, one- off place. It's not automatically full of wankers, just people who are sick of an impersonal mass market way of doing business.

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abigail would have you know...

Posted February 18, 2011
..anyhow, I just heard an interview with someone who said Borders could be back up and running again in 6 months time if they are able to resolve their problems.

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted February 18, 2011
He probably means Zabriskie Booksellers of Bondi.

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Andy Thompson asserts...

Posted February 18, 2011
It has just been confirmed. If you want to redeem a voucher at Borders you need to spend the amount on the voucher first. This makes me a little angry. I hope I don't have to do the same with the "Free Sexual Disease Check Up" voucher I have from my local clinic.

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Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

Posted February 18, 2011
Re the vouchers, I had a $70 one for A&R or Borders and spent it on line last night. Total price was $77 and I had an email this morning confirming one book had been posted, so I'm guessing it worked as normal. That was on the A&R website. Maybe their web-monkeys haven't caught up yet.

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tqft reckons...

Posted February 18, 2011
I am just wondering about Borders e-books - how long will they work for? Does their e-reader phone home to ensure activation?

Piracy
http://xkcd.com/488/

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nhamilton@iinet.net.au reckons...

Posted February 18, 2011
We are lucky here in Central QLD we have two book stores K mart and Big W, personally I can't see the attraction of Book Depository.

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted February 18, 2011
Books shmooks. Just go and see the movie.

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NataliatheRussianSpy reckons...

Posted February 18, 2011
I might just have to open a book store so I'll never run out of *new book* smell.

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abigail reckons...

Posted February 18, 2011
In case anyone interested:

http://bobcarrblog.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/2230/

BTW--Amazon UK are giving free delivery to Oz/ NZ customers for orders over 25 pounds. I shouldn't say that; Amazon is my natural enemy but others will like it.

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Indie Mebourne bookseller ducks in to say...

Posted February 18, 2011
Bill,

The ANZACs by Adam-Smith is reprinting. I imagine that is why you could not find it on the shelves at Christmas time.

Sometimes what seems like a glaring oversight on the part of the booksellers (i.e. not having extensive backlist) is just the smallness of the industry and books tend to fall out of print rather often.

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hughesy would have you know...

Posted February 18, 2011
Boo fkn hoo for the book chains. I've got as much sympathy for them as I would if Coleworths or Gloriabucks were to go broke. Borders and A&R never lost any sleep over the number of indy bookshops they put to death. The model was never going to work out in this small market. I'm only surprised it took this long.

Berkelouw Books - excellent fast service and for orders over $50, free post! Even the stuff they source from OS! I don't know how they do it, but it works out cheaper than using Amazon. Gleebooks is pretty good online too.

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abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 18, 2011
Berkelouw and Gleebooks are guns, brilliant places. Christ I hope they never go broke.

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Trowzers puts forth...

Posted February 18, 2011
I like to buy locally, but as I have little income while I study, I simply can't resist the prices from the Book Depository. I also once received one of my orders just 48 hours after I posted it (and the rest, rarely more than 2 weeks). I still visit bookstores, but they tend to be of the second-hand variety (and the Lifeline Bookfest is simply bliss - all those books and money to charity too!)
So personally, even without an e-reader, the big book chains haven't had any of my money for years. I still buy the occasional book, but mainly from speciality stores like Pulp Fiction or Comics Etc. I hope the speciality stores stick around - nothing like a good browse of a wall full of book covers, searching out that hidden gem.

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Trowzers reckons...

Posted February 18, 2011
*'still buy the occassional book from a physical bookstore" that was meant to read.
I buy far more than the 'occassional' book (packed shelves are staring at me right now reminding me of that)

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Moko puts forth...

Posted February 19, 2011
Why the Amazon hate? The only thing I don't like about it is that not all sellers post to here.

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ConspiracyCat would have you know...

Posted February 19, 2011
My favourite bookstore is Abe's Books. They have an Australian on-line site as well as an American one, they do second hand as well as new, they're cheap, and they have rare and weird stuff, as well as best sellers and textbooks. http://www.abebooks.com/books/ANZ/

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Blarkon reckons...

Posted February 19, 2011
Independent booksellers make reading a bit of a secret club - you had to develop special knowledge to find the interesting works - Amazon and chains remove that. The argument for independents (that they stock stuff you can't get elsewhere) goes out the window when you can get anything and everything through Amazon. No more pandering to Bartholomew to get him to order in a copy of something that is getting a limited print run that he heard about - just go online and find it yourself.

As I mentioned earlier, you can get the same (if not better) book buying advice through social media.

Another reason for the disdain of chains is that they stock according to rigorous rules of popularity rather than the personal tastes of the owner (Amazon stocks everything, so this doesn't apply) - which means that the bookstores lack "character". We all know of brilliant authors who aren't popular and there is a supposition that if only there were more independent bookstores, these brilliant authors would be more likely to see the light of day.

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DavidFM is gonna tell you...

Posted February 20, 2011
Rather than focusing on the retail end of the book industry I think it's more appropriate to look at the industry as a whole when considering it's future. There are lessons to be learned from the music industry in it's struggle to adapt to a new world order and new technology. The music industry (except perhaps iTunes) is still struggling to maintain its traditional model despite the public's enthusiastic acceptance of digital media.

The book industry can learn a lot from this. Traditional publishing methods have been rendered obsolete by technology and they need to adapt to this. The music industry has largely failed to successfully embrace digital technology and develop a successful commercial model. The book industry needs to avoid making the same mistakes and needs to look seriously at new digital technology. Ebooks aren’t the only game in town. Digital POD (Print On Demand) technology has huge implications and potential benefits for the book industry as a whole, including authors, publishers and retailers.

With POD, publishers don’t have the financial risks associated with huge print runs of books that may not sell - which should make it easier for authors, particularly new authors to be published. The role of publishers would shift to licensing more than production.

Retailers would have to invest in the POD technology instead of maintaining inventory, but this may not cost more than inventory, especially as the costs of the technology come down.

The biggest problem I see is the actual implementation at the point of sale but surely this isn’t insurmountable. Perhaps it’s as simple as having one copy of the mainstream books available to pick up and read through, ordering the book at the checkout, and having a coffee while waiting for it to be printed. Every retailer could maintain a huge backlists, ready for print on demand.

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abigail mutters...

Posted February 20, 2011
DavidFM,
If they could make that work it'd be truly fantastic I reckon.
If we can use 100% recycled paper to do this it ought to greatly reduce the environmental impact. But people don't seem keen on recycled paper, still. I also don't know if the technique works with that kind of paper.
But yeah, if they could retain bookshops, your idea is great.

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Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 20, 2011
+++Retailers would have to invest in the POD technology instead of maintaining inventory, but this may not cost more than inventory, especially as the costs of the technology come down.+++

I keep hearing talk about the so-called "Espresso Book Machine". It's a super-compact printing and binding device which takes a PDF file of the book and prints, binds and covers a copy for you on the spot. The process is supposed to take about the same time it would take to order and drink a cup of coffee, hence the name.

If/when these become viable they'd change retail bookselling significantly by reducing or eliminating warehousing and shipping. (Those are major considerations for Australian retailers given the distances involved here.)

Wikipedia page is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espresso_Book_Machine (Heh, it says Angus and Robertson had one but shut it down.)

Company ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q946sfGLxm4 I'm not sure I *quite* buy that its output is completely indistinguishable from a book off a full commercial press, but I'm prepared to believe that it could get there within a couple more iterations of the tech.

I can imagine bookshops looking even more like cafes if this catches on, since the main requirement is somewhere to wait and something to do while this thing is chugging out your book. The stock on the shelves would be there to provide hardbacks and any special formats the machine might have trouble doing, plus a small pool of browsables or popular books that people mightn't want to wait for.

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Abe Frellman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 20, 2011
I dig Abe's Books the most. And his sausages are the awesome. The former are better than the latter by mail order though.

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Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted February 20, 2011
Those that asked, it's Martin Smith's bookshop that I think is closing - the one at the beach end of Hall St. - oh a quick look on google shows that they are also using the name Zabriskie's. Gertrude and Alice seems to be staying put at the moment. I love a little shop like that, enough quirky or interesting books to enjoy a good browse (and perhaps purchase) but not so big that you get lost or overwhelmed by choice. And the staff actually know what's in the shop.

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Bangar asserts...

Posted February 21, 2011
Mathew, from memory a store in Melbourne had that and it wasn't a success.

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abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted February 21, 2011
Bangar--is that so? Interesting.
Maybe it just needs the critical mass element , change them mindset.
Bookshop/cafes are getting up now. In NZ a library had its own cafe. Sydney has a few great ones--Sapphos in Glebe for example. Does great trade.

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Andy Thompson mumbles...

Posted February 21, 2011
I went to Borders on Saturday and saw the very small A4 poster put up in a rather inconvenient place in the store telling gift card holders that they had two options:

1: They could apply to the creditors for 'money' owed to them; or

2: In a 'goodwill' gesture, we could cash our vouchers in if we spent the same amount in the store.

I decided to do the latter and went to the counter with $102 worth of overpriced books. There was very little on sale. In fact, there was nothing on sale and I really enjoyed spending $28 on a novel. When I put my voucher on the counter the lip pierced girl with the monster fringe meekly told me about the voucher business. I said I knew about that and put on my best 'cats bum' face. She then asked if I wanted a bag for my books and when I replied in the affirmative she said they would charge me 10c for a bag.

I thought about bludgeoning her to death with a meaty Dan Brown tome but decided that this was no way for an ordinary human to die.

So yeah, I got butt-raped by the system. It was either that or waiting months for a letter saying I would get no money.

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 22, 2011
Nah, the POD stuff is kinda rubbish quality. Fine if you don't want anything better than a pulpy novel that will fall apart while or just after you read it, but not something that you'll be able to keep on your shelves.

It is the old equation [CHEAP][FAST][GOOD](Pick only two)

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Jonathon Campbell is gonna tell you...

Posted July 11, 2011
I too am sorry to see Borders go. I have spent hours in their stores both in Qld and NSW over the years and found their general reference and special interest sections first class - much better than anything in my local indy bookstores.

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Melbourne jaunt.

Posted February 13, 2011 by John Birmingham
Thanks to all who popped out on Friday night for the catch up in Melbourne. I was held prisoner in the alcohol free green room from 4.45 til after the show, which ran an hour late, so I missed the earlier drinks. But I hear the weather was pretty foul at the end of the day, so props to all who braved it.

Good to see everyone as always. Very much enjoyed that watermelon margarita at the mexican bar n taco place Bob took us to, and didn't pay too much for it and the rushed drinks the next morning.

Breakfast was a pleasant treat, a change from porridge, with grilled Lyonnaise sausage, smoked bacon hock, beans and a poached egg at Cumulus. It was teh awsm. Had me a long walk thru the laneways afterwards to work off, oh, i dunno a mouthful of bacon probably. The individually made lemon curd madeleine was pretty fkn good too. Worth the fifteen minute wait. Proust would totes agree.

Back home now. At the desk. A tsunami of deadlines piled up in front of me, so I'll get back to it.

13 Responses to ‘Melbourne jaunt.’

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2011
Great to see the crew, though Barnes, Albion, Naut, and Havock in particular were missed.

Photo of JB at Town Hall http://flic.kr/p/9hp1bd

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 13, 2011
Ah, breakfast with lemon curd is a good thing.

And you can never have too much bacon. I hear the Yanks eat full plates of it in the States.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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ConspiracyCat swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 13, 2011
Speaking of Seppos and bacon.... I just found out that Elvis loved Redeye Gravy, which is made by blending the dripping from a pound of bacon with a 1/4 cup of espresso coffee. Now that is serious gravy.

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Havock asserts...

Posted February 13, 2011
YEAH, only two quick pints, but way better than NOT catching up. Only winning the close game sat, made up for NOT being out on the tear getting pissed with you lot late friday night!.

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Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted February 13, 2011
A good night out, did we have to find so many stairs?

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted February 13, 2011
How was the weather?

All I know is I had rain from the moment I left Melbourne at 4:00 until Saturday.

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Aaron mumbles...

Posted February 14, 2011
Sorry I couldn't make it, had rain troubles to sort but had a beer or in spiritual support. There's always next time at least.

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Guru Bob mutters...

Posted February 14, 2011
In the book I am reading (This is not a game by Walter John Williams) the characters are always eating 'candied pepper bacon' at some diner in LA. My mind boggled..

It was great to catch up with everyone again - Orin took some good photos on the night which I think are on flickr.

Next time you are on the lookout for a watermelon margarita look up this place - http://www.mamasita.com.au/

By the way - how did Lobes night turn out? I last saw him prowling down Collins Street in search of a new party...

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abigail would have you know...

Posted February 14, 2011
JB, you mentioned Proust and he didn't even detonate things.
What's happened to you?!
All the best with your with yr writing:)

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Lobes puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2011
Bob, got home at 3:30am, up again at 6am for my flight to Perth.

Probably shouldnt have had that third tequila...

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Albion Love Den swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2011
Holy sheet, JB. That's just one step away from a black skivvy. Dangerously close to emulating one Master Jobs who, you must be aware, MUST NEVER BE COPIED!

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted February 15, 2011
It's just a tee shirt. Honest!

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Mandi J asserts...

Posted February 17, 2011
Thanks for sharing at the Gala, thoroughly enjoyed your story. So sorry to hear that pre-presentation beverages were not forthcoming, not at all good form, and very un-Melbourne like! A little write-up of my take on the evening: http://wp.me/p1iQpY-4v

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Book update

Posted February 10, 2011 by John Birmingham
I'm working on a couple of deadlines at the same time right now. The book, of course. A long feature. And a shorter feature. It'd be nice to have a couple of extra hours in the day, but not entirely necessary. I've found a few tweaks I made to my working routine over the past couple of weeks have increased my productivity by about 150%.

I think I'm going to owe Ms. Jennicki a bottle of something when this is all wrapped up. The simple act of kicking away my chair and doing most of my composition while standing up, pacing around in front of the computer has lifted my daily average word rate from about 2000 to somewhere up near 5000.

There's a couple of other tweaks worth mentioning. Rather than work on the book in a solid block before swapping over to the features or a column, I've been doing a coupla thousand words, then swapping, before swapping back at the end of the day. It seems to refresh the imagination or something.

None of it would possible were it not for dictation software, I reckon. I just don't see typing while standing as being that fast. Not my typing anyway.

Structurally, I've also been composing the book in arcs. Writing one story arc for, say, four or five chapters, before going back and writing another. While the arcs aren't linked up it seems to speed the process to stay within them.

That'll have to change as the stories come together.

Anyway, back to it.

Blunty to come. Another thinky one.

4 Responses to ‘Book update’

Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted February 10, 2011
I've been typing on the laptop in our kitchen over the last month since I don't have dictation software. I have to admit that I find it concentrates the mind in a way that sitting does not. The urge to surf the net is markedly reduced and my productivity goes up.

At speed I can type upwards of 80 to 100 words per minute. More if I am angry (which I rarely am when writing fiction).

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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NBlob mutters...

Posted February 10, 2011
What about our Big Thinky Book on Fear?
Damn your mortage, damn the kids school fees. Ditto the bunnies upgrade & the gilting of HV Cad.
I want my Big Thinky Book on Fear.

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Nocturnalist puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2011
How about a Big Fearful Book On Thinking?

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Murphy reckons...

Posted February 10, 2011
If John writes the book on the fear of thinking then I swear by Grabthar's Hammer I'm going to see to it that I get to adopt it as a textbook in my classes.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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A little world building challenge.

Posted January 30, 2011 by John Birmingham
Murph and I have been playing around the idea of a Combined Fleet in book 3 of the Wave Series.

(Title: Angels of Vengeance.) S'cuse the abandoned alliteration. Nothing was working.

The Fleet's not a major player in the book, more like background color, especially in Darwin. Long story short, it grew out of discussions we had here about the contraction of American power after the Disappearance. We have some ideas about how it's structured, which nations are contributing, and what it actually does.

But given it's not a narrative fulcrum I thought it'd be interesting to throw it open to discussion here.

So. The Combined Fleet is an allied naval taskforce built around the core of the old US Pacific Fleet. (The 7th, I think, without checking wikiknowitall). America can no longer sustain that kind of sea power so it merely contributes to the Combined Fleet.

Which nations do you see playing a part, in what ways?

Parameters: The Chinese Communist Party no longer controls a unitary state. China has fractured into a loose federation based on the coastal cities, although of course, power is still held by many of the same figures and institutions. But rather than, say, the PLA as a whole holding power with the Party, elements of the former PLA have combined with elements of the former state (The Ministry of Industry for instance) and state/commercial combines to establish dominion over certain provinces and metro centres. Sometimes they cooperate. Sometimes not so much.

India and pakistan, recall, exchanged a few nukes. India came off better and survives as a fucntioning state. Pakistan... meh, again, not so much.

North Korea did not collapse. A military coup displaced the Kim family and the junta sought a negotiated peace with the south.

Indonesia riven by sectarian conflict.

Thai civil war.

Chaos still fanning out from north Africa and the Mid east.

Pirates. Pirates everywhere!

Go wild.

65 Responses to ‘A little world building challenge.’

Murphy mutters...

Posted January 30, 2011
Well, my net is back up so I'll post my thoughts here.

I think America's contribution should probably be some sort of naval air power. After doing a bit of research on the Nimitz class carriers, I think that is probably going to stretch the bounds of believability for certain readers (personally, I think it is doable myself but that is another topic).

We have real world models for Combined Formations, perhaps the best of which is Combined Task Force 151 off the coast of Somalia. Given that piracy is a serious problem, one probably does not need a super carrier anyway.

U.S. Navy-USMC Element.

U.S.S. Bataan LHD-5 Wasp Class Amphibious Assault Carrier.
http://www.navy.mil/local/lhd5/
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/navy/lhd-5-med03.htm

The second link indicates that the Bataan was on deployment outside of the Wave affected area. Specifications in the next link.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/navy/lhd-5-med03.htm

If one compares cost of operations with the Nimitz Class write up at Global Security, the Wasp is cheaper. Further, it is a multi-mission capable platform with a record of interoperability with the forces of other nations. Finally, it easily outclasses any other platform of similar type in the region.

If one wants to posit a heavy U.S. presence, then it is possible that two Wasp class ships might be available. One could be configured as a sea control ship (basically a light aircraft carrier) with a full load of 20 AV-8B Harrier IIs. The other could be configured for a more traditional Marine assault capability.

That said, given the current situation, I suspect there will be only one Wasp class ship under direct U.S. Navy control. I do see a potential to sell a Wasp class to Australia as a means of replacing the Canberras which are likely not forthcoming from Spain due to the chaos in Europe.

Thus I'd go with a smaller U.S. Force.

-USS Bataan with a mix of aircraft leaning toward a heavy Harrier contingent.

-One Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer as an escort, ID to be determined later. There should be sufficient ships clear of the wave and attrition from the first two novels to chose from.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/navy/lhd-5-med03.htm

-

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sibeen is gonna tell you...

Posted January 30, 2011
The Aussies, Kiwis and Japan are a given.

Singapore would definitely want in on the action as would Taiwan.

Malaysia may want in but with Indonesia being fractious this may consume a lot of their resources and they may find it difficult. They may be having their own internal racial cleansing.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Vietnam throw their hat into the ring. They've got a busted arse China to the north and in the south Cambodia has probably gone back to the killing fields.

If India still has a functioning government then I suspect they'd also want in, although I suspect there'd be close to a civil war in the country anyway which may keep them occupied.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted January 30, 2011
Pirates? *Steeples Fingers* Excellant.

AoV, not so much.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted January 30, 2011
Well, I wasn't done typing but it posted in mid stream.

U.S. Task Force

-1 Wasp Class
-1 Arleigh Burke class (normally there'd be two).
-1 Los Angeles Attack Sub
-1 Support Ship

Land Based Assets might include a Marine or Navy squadron of F/A-18s or possibly a squadron of F-14s (which might still be handy in this timeline due to their long range reach).

I'd also include a Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

As for the other members of the Pacific Alliance, here are my suggestions.

Australia
New Zealand
Philippines (basing, support, intel, own interests in securing the sea lanes)
Japan
Thailand
Singapore
Possibly India

I would normally recommend South Korea as a matter of course since they are moving toward the development of a Blue Water Navy. Perhaps they still are but they'd have their hands full integrating North Korea back into their economy.

I think command of the Combined Fleet would probably rotate among the major players of the force, much as it does among the CTF-151 presently. I also think this force is probably going to be heavily augmented with smaller littoral craft.

Finally, per the U.S. side, if needs must, they can probably be reinforced from Pearl Harbor. I can see a situation where the U.S. maintains a Wasp class closer to Pearl as a rotational backup to the Bataan.

As for the U.S. Navy outside of the combined fleet, I think it would rely heavily on subs and small patrol craft.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 30, 2011
Ah, Vietnam. Definitely. Same with Taiwan.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Big Pete asserts...

Posted January 30, 2011
Sibeen beat me to the punch on what I was going to say. How are the Philippines fairing?, If they still have a functioning government, (perhaps not as they tended to be propped up by the Americans anyway), might join in.

The more stable groups in China might be involved, especially if trade is still happening, and if there is a high incidence of piracy, even more so.

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Jyggdrasil mutters...

Posted January 30, 2011
Pardon my ignorance as I have not read the books, but what about France? It, currently at least, considers itself to be a major power in the South Pacific.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 30, 2011
France is not in the best of shape.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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sibeen mumbles...

Posted January 30, 2011
Murph, I considered Thailand but I'm not sure they'd be capable. Malaysia in the South tearing itself apart, ditto Cambodia. Throw in Burma to the west, where the Generals have been emboldened and a Vietnam dominated Laos on the other side. This coupled with shitloads of incursions from Sumatra and I suspect what boats the Thais have will be kept busy just trying to stave of the problems in their part of the world.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted January 30, 2011
Fair enough on the Thais. However, I see this Pacific Alliance as an organization which probably has primary and secondary members. The Thais may not contribute ships directly, but they'd probably have a consulting/advisory role of some type.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted January 30, 2011
So how are they maintaining these ships given that supply lines were borked? The amount of components that need to be swapped in and out of complicated machines on a regular basis is pretty high and they would likely have started running out of spares a few months after the wave hit. 's not like you can scratch build those advanced missiles and computer systems, especially when 99% of your advanced aeronautical and military technology geeks were turned into goo.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
Oh, we've had this discussion before, Blarkon.

I'd say, given the number of Wasp Class ships in inventory, it would not be an issue to find the parts. There is the also the fact that depots are available with parts and the like.

Furthermore, the U.S. still retains some capacity to maintain and repair in the areas unaffected by the Wave. There is a major naval installation at Puget.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/puget_sound-nsy.htm

There is the Boeing Facility in Seattle. There is Pearl Harbor. As for spares, as I said before, I'd contract with overseas suppliers such as the Japanese and the South Koreans for this. Many of the needed components are likely as not produced under license.

It is an old discussion, Blarkon. There'd be sufficient spares to last for quite sometime of husbanded carefully.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted January 30, 2011
Per Puget from Global Security.

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is the largest and most diverse shipyard on the West Coast, as well as being the northwest's largest naval shore activity. Additionally, it is the second largest industrial facility in the State of Washington, both in terms of plant investment and in the number of civilians employed. The shipyard mission is wide ranging in that it possesses the capabilities to overhaul and repair all types and sizes of ships of the United States Navy while also serving as home port for a nuclear aircraft carrier, two nuclear cruisers and three fleet support ships (two fast combat support ships (AOE), one replenishment fleet tanker (AOR)). The shipyard's other significant capabilities include alteration, construction, deactivation, and drydocking of all types of naval vessels. The shipyard has a state-of-the-art emergency power generating system capable of providing backup power for all ships. In addition to in-yard work, the shipyard has a very active program of providing repair teams to accomplish on-site repair work on a variety of naval ships at their home port locations. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard has been recognized as the Navy's best installation worldwide and is the recipient of the 1991 Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Award.

I wouldn't be surprised if ships from other countries make their way to Puget for servicing. The US would have the advantage of charging cheaper rates than many other similarly equipped facilities.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Scott asserts...

Posted January 30, 2011
Blarkon, I think that the tech base may have slipped back a few decades. Especially with things like GPS who if anyone is maintaining the GPS satalites? As for other equipment Japan could provide the tech base. I guess that rules of engagement for dealing with pirates are more like the 1850s than the 2000s?

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 30, 2011
I suspect there are gaps in sat coverage by the third novel since there would likely be no replacement launches. Each sat has a life expectancy of seven to eight years. That said, they could probably last longer.

The main thing you'd need is a master control station. The primary is located in Colorado, Wave affected territory. However, there are alternate stations outside of Wave affected territory.

I suspect GPS performance is akin to what it was during Operation Desert Storm, when the network was still not complete.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
Tangental link to the ruins of Detroit.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/26/detroit-decline_n_813696.html#218521

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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fknvty asserts...

Posted January 30, 2011
the lads (ask for steve) down at the iron bottom sound pub (point cruz, solomon islands) would hafta sort you out with this one laddie, 'tis where 40 or so seppo navy warships were sunk during ww11 if i recall correctly.
note: can recommend the local home brewed karva it's fkn lethal if not equivalent to that uni lab acid stuff that therbsey is so fond of.
- mindinao has also been an interesting hot spot both currently and in former times. locals are pretty well out there or were the last time i dropped by.
- & don't forget them fkn israeli warmongers, apart from financing the whole tincan and 'floxim' flotilla they're fair to middling at illegal naval operations world wide.
they can also lie most of their gold teeth off under any circumstances, a definite asset with any 'allied taskforce'. pz.v.

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ConspiracyCat puts forth...

Posted January 30, 2011
What's Hawaii's status post-wave? Did Elvis survive?

But seriously, there was an article a couple of weeks back about a handful of Somali pirates in a tinnie trying to overpower a British cruise ship. Imagine if they succeeded? "Ahoy there, scurvey land-lubbers! It be the plank for ye all! Arrrrgh!" And the cruise ship sails off over the horizon, leaving the passengers floating in the sea like so much pommy chum. Now wouldn't that make for a quirky plot tangent in AoV?

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted January 30, 2011
Blarkon, that's why you're looking at a Wasp Class LHD, rather than a proper carrier. Australia naval engineering capacity is up to maintaining one of those, especially cannibalizing stores and personnel from the US. They're a lot less complicated than subs or AWD's. The Japanese are more than capable of maintaining Aegis tech. A Wasp centred battle group is an order of magnitude less capable than a true carrier based group. But good enough for maintaining sea lanes in this scenario and interdicting pirates, of course.

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OzarkOrc reckons...

Posted January 30, 2011
Satelite coverage will probably be reasonably complete for a decade or so; It's the fuel to move ("retask/retarget" the things (Photo) that is the limitation. One of the original Space Shuttle Missions was to top them up...

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OzarkOrc is gonna tell you...

Posted January 30, 2011
This is (was?) the 2003 PLAN, not the 2010 model; Anyone have a Jane's or Combat Fleets (Or even IISS?) publication for the relevant year? Keep it handy.

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 30, 2011
Okay - my main thought was after reading some bits and pieces about the increasingly complicated supply chains that are involved with aircraft - so while there is that facility that Murph pointed out, it is just sort of the endpoint of a massive web of components that come from a brazillion different locations.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
There are over three hundred harriers in the U.S. inventory alone. A Wasp class maxes out at 20, more than a match for anything in the region. It'd be easy enough to get parts. I suspect most of those Harriers would be out of the country in any case.

It should also be pointed out that in addition to Australian facilities, there are facilities in South Korea and Japan which could do much of the maintenance work.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Anders would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia (possibly), Taiwan Australia and New Zealand would be the likely key players as there's already a good deal of interoperability.

Brunei would throw in for protection purposes. The Philipines are a possibility as well. An independent South Eastern chinese coast (or group of them) would be on board simply for the commercial opportunities.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 30, 2011
I can see the villain from WW Cerski(? don't have copy handy) gettin' in on some sweet sweet recovery & reupply gov contracts.
Perhaps with some not so legit off the books customers.

Which kinda leads to an idea I've read a couple of times now of corpretised state/s, some with Org Crime links. If HyperGlobalMegaBusiness were to become the defacto government of a smallish failed state. Say Sumatra.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted January 30, 2011
After America alludes to the fact that the Australian Navy is growing along with the rest of the Armed Forces. I suspect that National Service would be implemented, which would not be popular. Given what I have read in Paul Ham's book on Vietnam and the attitude toward current operations that I've seen in Australian media, there would probably be resistance to National Service.

That said, in surveying Australian Naval Strength, it seems to me that the logical additions from former U.S. forces are as follows.

-1 Wasp and/or Tarawa Class ship.
-10 to 30 Harriers to operate from those ships or FOBs as needed.
-2 to 4 Arleigh Burke class destroyers, perhaps more. I am aware of Guru Bob's frequent comments that the ADF has trouble obtaining the human resources it needs in the current timeline.
-2 to 4 Perry class frigates

If Australia can get past the issues with nuclear power, I can see Los Angeles subs as well.

The Australian Army would likely expand. I suppose a wet dream is that they'd field the 2nd Armoured Regiment again. I'm not sure they really need a large tank army for defense purposes. I can't imagine anyone actually getting down there with the combat power to knock off the tanks they have.

I'm not all that sure they'd go with Brads either. I suspect the most reasonable solution would be to go with Marine surplus LAVs which are similar to the ASLAVs.

As for the RAAF, I'd think they'd want to get some F-14s for long range defense and strike. I also suspect that the United States would probably maintain the F-14 in service for territorial defense (in our timeline, the Tomcat was retired as a budget cutting measure).

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Havock reckons...

Posted January 30, 2011
The primary group, those with Voting rights, will be the founding countries of the alliance. Banded together initially. All other will be non voting.

LHD's are great units, but lets also face facts, the Harriers whilst great birds have really short legs and why use Naval air power, which BTW, has high maint units, is dangerous and are vulnerable, when land based units can deliver three times the fire power. Reach further and by virtue of the fact the assets are not on the ship. Infinitely safer.

So, teh focus will be bases, but LHD's could sail into trouble spots, provide convoy escorts and the likes.

Dont think that carriers will be scrapped, the world still is not a safe place. Remember also, that carriers are a great ASW platform and birds launched from a carrier pack a greater punch.

LHD's...VTOL, they aint no ski jump mini carrier either,

Figure the US would in conjunction with other countries have at least a carrier for the IO..thats prolly gunna be Aust and other subsidising it heavily, most likely in Port Most of the time. At least one in the Pacific, centered around Pearl.

I've made my thoughts known in scribbles. Brunei, great place for a base. I discounted the Phillipines as being to far Nth and east, plus its instability is also an issue. Then add logistics to it as well.


If you check a map, jmup off points, well you have Aust, then you have Brunei, then Taiwan, then Japan and its islands. thats a chain of bases.

Nuke subs will still be roaming about somewhat, but SSK's are far far cheaper to run and by a large factor, better suited to the littoral environment.

You will have hunter groups of surface vessels. Very mnuch a sword and shield arrangement with these groups. One flagship with significant ASW / AAW and perhaps OTH SSM's. The a number of smaller attack craft and missile boats.

Fact is, the Burke class cans are very good for the flag role, possibly nothing anywhere else as good. Also, they migrated away from Aluminium in the construction of these ships after the Falklands. They found out that Ali ships tend to really fkn burn when hit. Burke class are STEEL, designed to take hits and especially designed to take hits from gun boats etc. NOT armoured like a battle ship...but good enough. You would also find that ADD"S would be made in terms of organic type weapons on these vessels too.

malaysia / singapore, will have help from Brunei, Australia and the likes. The Malacca strights are gunna be swarming with Pirates, shipping getting thru will be an issues.

Look for ships forming into convoys, possibly 5-10 ships plus escorts and then utilising the Lombok or sunda straights. Also means aircover from Brunei, and Nthrn Aust is able to be deployed. subs at points etc.

You will also find merchantmen doing solo runs, getting attacked and screaming for help.

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Havock would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
Pretty close I think Murph. The tom's wouldn't be needed I think, I suspect the RAAF would opt for additional Hornets or F15's as we have the F111's in the time line. They would stay, possible purchase additional frames etc from US at some point. So in terms of STRIKE, long range strike thats covered. Its short haul and Air superiority, the Echo's would be a first choice.

4-6 burkes would be about right, and 3 LHD's. 2 operational at any one time and one in for minor works repairs etc and crew rotation.

manpower will not be an issue either i think.

1 National service.
2 Oversea's personell that want to stay and hence have a continue to serve period as well.

LAV's will be the option, as they fit better than the Brads like you say. HOWEVER, its not beyond possible that the US would ask for Aust to raise heavy combat units?????...whats their longer term plan, what do they see coming etc. It not really about defending just Australia any more and the Pollies will be thinking strategically.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted January 30, 2011
Havock, you use a carrier when you need to put air power on a target which is outside the reach of your land based forces. Further, in an ideal world, you would go for forward air bases. However, all one needs to do is look at the U.S. experience in that respect to see why . . . well, we have so many carriers.

The LHD doesn't have to go with a full 20 Harrier load on every mission. In fact, they normally go helicopter heavy as needs must. Still, when the Brits went to retake the Falklands, they configured their carriers for maximum Harrier capacity.

As for a Nimitz, it costs eight times as much to operate a Nimitz class. While Puget Sound could maintain a Nimitz, and there are carrier pilot training facilities in the area, I suspect that folks like Orin and Blarkon would argue that the lack of money would bring a halt to such operations.

Me personally? If I were Kipper, I think I'd want to hang onto a Nimitz operationally with two in reserve. If my population were closer to 72 million (roughly what Britain's is) then I could probably get away with that. However, a population of 20 million tops? And the economy is in the tank?

The more I think on it, the more I believe the U.S. would use her remaining naval capacity to provide deterrence and to keep the Pacific/Indian Ocean Sea Lanes open.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted January 30, 2011
The Tomcat has the longest reach, as I understand it, Havock. I'd have to check. Still, if you went with the F-15, you'd have resources from Korea and Japan to draw upon.

I simply can not see why the Australian Army would need more tanks. As I understand it the Army has less than sixty Abrams tanks now? Even if you double that number and fit out another regiment, I'm not sure what you'd use it for. Invading any of the regional neighbors would require a far larger force. Given the terrain in the region, I'm not sure how much value an Abrams would be.

Conversely, I suspect Australia herself would provide excellent opportunities for tank warfare, IF an opponent were able to land in sufficient force. Given the situation, I can't see a D-Day style invasion taking place.

I can see a refugee overflow problem, but that would likely require an increase in light infantry and police.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
Hmm, actually the F-15 would have a wider combat radius. I stand corrected.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Havock mumbles...

Posted January 30, 2011
Murph, ref the Tomcat, its got the longest reach inn terms of Fighter cover projection. For ASUW, then the F111 eats it alive. So I was basing the F15's or additional Hornets on mainly only requiring fighter cover, that can double as air to mud if required. Tankers will be aplenty I suspect, so legging some F18's further is not a drama. Main surface surveilence will be prop jobs. P3's will be working flat out, I see MORE being acquired from the US, once again for SLOC protection. Once threats are identified, the P3's can deal with it, ours are Harpoon capable, or F111's.


depending on the scenario of the book, you would want or not, the additional MBT's. Now if its trade goods being swapped over, I see some additional units, if its for other strategic purposes...most definately. Other wise its light infantry, mech mobile and chopper mobile. NORFORCE and Light infantry for the northern reaches.


Perhaps some of the heavy units ( elements of the First) armoured are redeployed OS into the northern area's to lend assistance.

Its not about open tank warfare. its about presence really with those units.


here is a real kicker, the M1 req nearly three times the maint man hours of a leopard 1, 2 times the maint man hours of the leopard 2 and parts....all parts come from the US.

Vehicle availability will be a bitch to maintain. I see additional units being delivered here and then units being cannibalised for parts as required.

The Hornets will be the bird of choice..we do nearly ALL maint here, have nearly all parts, but again, given a draw down on carriers, birds will be available to strip if required.

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Havock would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
OK..ref ya fleet.

if operating in say the sth china sea or that kind of open water, not real close littoral stuff.

1 x LHD ( choppers)
1 x LHD ( Harriers )
2 ( my pref would be 3) DDG's maybe swap out a DDG for a CG ( tico).
1 x RAS ship
1 x munitions
4 x FFG's or
2 x FFG's and 4 DDH's type vessels. remember that the contributing states do not all have state of the art combat power..


PLUS..hunter / killer ready reaction surface warfare groups.

2 x FAST ATTACK CRAFT
2 x Armidale type craft
1 x DDG or FFG.


SSK's will operate independently.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted January 30, 2011
Well, with the Abrams, I assure you, there will be no shortage of spare parts. As for reliability, aside from fuel consumption (the U.S. Army is looking to transition away from the turbine as I understand it), the Abrams is pretty reliable.

The Hornet is a good plane.

All of this is background material and probably will not be vital to the plot. I can't say anything more than that.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
Yes. It's all back story. But good fun.

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yankeedog would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
South Africa as part of a 'Pacific Alliance'? While one might argue that they don't quite have the military machine they did in the 1970s and 80s, they do have some ability to grow food, a fairly strategic position, mineral wealth, and some Commonwealth ties. They should be able to at least protect themselves, project some limited power in neighboring countries, and generally keep order in its region of the world.

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fknvty is gonna tell you...

Posted January 30, 2011
'background material' (no toys) from the dark side:
- mention of the major players (IF you can think objectively) throughout history.
i distinctly remember this list ...
sandiego.indymedia.org/media/2007/02/125025.pdf
or here:
http://redantliberationarmy.wordpress.com/us-interventions/
enjoy.v.

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Havock asserts...

Posted January 30, 2011
DAWG!...its one of th reasons in the fan fic I had them are part of the alliance. PLUS. if the SUEZ is closed, all shipping transits STH, that makes the saffers vitally important!

HELL YES JB.

I'm not in the habbit of giving away secrets, but JUST nth of Darwin harbour is some islands. great from a tactical perspective in controlling what should and should NOT get into DARWIN, free port or not.

PLUS, the SIGNIT facilities will be relocated and being a freeport and kinda laced with ferals, the asset is to vital to have lost. RELOCATE IT and other elements to BATHURST!.

Expand NORFORCE, more littoral boats etc and they fan out from Bathurst Island, plus other locations along the coast.

Remember also, that just sth of Sumatra / Java and Timor, running east to west is a rather deep ocean trench. This just might afford NUKE subs, to transit back and forth, in deep water for policing and pirate duties. Plus, with Towed arrays deployed, its a fkn great sound channel. Operationally, any traffic ( surface) heading for OZ, crosses it.

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Havock has opinions thus...

Posted January 30, 2011
Murph. not surprised on them looking at alternate, we run diesel in ours ( its a Multifuel engine), but running av gas, cant generate smoke and its still a fuel hog no matter what you use in really.

But it was designed for EUROPE, short or small operational theater of operations.

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Havock reckons...

Posted January 30, 2011
something else. All traffic from ME etc to Nth of Australia has to utilise one of three locations unless they wish to sail thru the Torres straights ( not an option for large commercial shipping) or sth down the Bight and passed Tasmania.

These are the main route of the Malacca straits, then you have the SUNDA and Lombok straits.

Sunda is the deeper and wider of the two. Splitting bali on the left heading NTH and the Island of LOMBOK on the right. Lombok runs on the east side of the island, is shallower and the current is much faster as well.

These three choke points...would be a pirates happy hunting ground, apart from about a bazillion other locations in the northern archipelago.

Surface fleets of some sort would definitely be required for these!

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Havock would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
The heavy lifting JB will be Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. The first two have very good navy's, by far the most powerful in the region with all three together.

Missile gun boats, frigates, corvetts, all good vessels for the AO they will play in. PLUS, Singapore has 4 LSD's as well,

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Sir Snagger mutters...

Posted January 30, 2011
firstly, just like to say - LOVE THE BOOKS & BLOGS!!! been following for a while now so thought I might as well comment :P

As for the groups, the last couple sound about right I suppose but I definitely thing It'd be Australia and Singapore running the joint. The US obviously has it's own problems to deal with in the North Pacific.

Also reckon South Africa would take up a good part of partrols etc around their part of the Indian/Atlantic, but dunno bout spreading themselves too far out. Would the UK have any imput down this way or are they now just Atlantic based? Any other European countries still got their crap together? or Russia for that matter?

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted January 30, 2011
I've been reading up on the South African Navy. They aren't in good shape circa 2003. Given the chaos in Europe, I do not see them getting their upgrades as they do in our own timeline.

That said, a base in South Africa may be vital.

Deployments and missions should probably be dictated by likely trading partners and trade routes.

Forex, while the South American Federation is nominally hostile to the remnant USA, is that the case with everyone else?

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Bunyip mumbles...

Posted January 30, 2011
What an interesting thread for a Sunday arvo and a beer. Or three.

Korea: What is happening with the surplus military? Given that NK and SK biggest threat is each other, and China has turned on itself, there could be leftover ground and air assets.

Apart from some of these turning mercenary*, there is the industrial might of South Korea. Some of this may retool to assist in the integration of NK, but some could go fishing for maintenance and supply contracts for the US military. Possibly for salvage concessions at the derelict facilities of their former competitors.

As per Murphy 2:06pm, refugees. Send them to California etc?

Last left field question: Burma aka Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Given my scant understanding international politics, as far as I understand they are a cryptic client state of the PRC, with a little support from IIRC France, in return for some gas and petroleum. If this is the case, to whom could/would Burma jump for support? India? Singapore?

Final comment: JB "Angels of Vengeance", working title or the one mooted in a Tweet in regards to discussion with publisher?

*Not thinking of "Die Hard III" and the former East Germans and Magyars. Honest.

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Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted January 30, 2011
The Pacific Islands love a good stoush. Not much in the way of hardware, but the Fijians can't go anywhere without the Kiwi's and the Tongans and Samoans hate eachother enough to fight along side and fuck EVERYONE up. As for the Maori Battalion ... well ... 'None', as in the Ockers "Second to None".

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Bunyip ducks in to say...

Posted January 30, 2011
Postscript: Invasion of Australia? By whom? Where is the capacity within the region? And why? For land / living space? Resources, maybe, but that would imply a capacity to use those resources.

Indo is in no position, if I understand JB's cannon correctly, to mount a supported invasion. China? Cannon seems to imply otherwise.

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Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 30, 2011
Japan, Aus, Singapore (although they're really going to be concerned with keeping their SLOC's open) Taiwan (can't remember what happened to them), Malaysia (although they have same problem as) singapore, Vietnam (need protection form warring states to the north and the fallout of problems to the west).

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Havock would have you know...

Posted January 31, 2011
hmmmm, I'm still thinking more on the Indo going to shit issue. thats a MAJOR head FK for shipping no matter what way you look at it.

Maybe a left field one, coalition assumes control of Bali / lombok, helps keeps those straits open for shipping. Indo gummit ( in exile) of sorts , sets up camp in Bali?.

Jihadi specialists...will go beserk in Indo ( as its gone to pot). Thats RPG's and christ knows what else being shot at ANY SHIPPING which happens to take their fancy.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted January 31, 2011
Havock.

Indo Generals own Bali. Lots of Indo money in Queensland. Also Bali historically has fought Muslim incursions from Java.

Hmmph . . . .no one's mentioned Papua. Now that could cause problems . . . .big ships and tanks aren't going to play well in that country.

Scenario could play out as some sort of fundamentalist ethnic cleansing insurgency movement. Hmmm . . . .Fiji could become a player for one reason or another,

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Havock ducks in to say...

Posted January 31, 2011
Brian, rodger that!.

I was thinking that given Bali relies so much on the Tourist dollar has exposer etc, that Landing troops to secure the sea lanes might not be viewed by the locals as real bad, given the rest of Indo has descended into hell!.

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Guy would have you know...

Posted January 31, 2011
I strongly believe that Britain would want to contribute if only to stake a claim to continuing or increased influence in a radically changed world. The UK might well consider sending a destroyer or maybe just a token frigate. However, I admit the the calls on the Royal Navy post-wave would be likely to be severe (defence of the home islands, the continuing situation in the middle east and trying to help protect the east coast of North america from pirates/looters/jihadists etc) so perhaps there would be no surface craft to spare?

Perhaps London might send out one of the hunter-killer nuclear subs? They are powerful weapons but not perhaps as well suited as surface craft for some of the other roles the RN has to undertake. One of them might be spared and HMS Tireless or HMS Turbulent, armed, I think with cruise missiles and torpedos, would make a useful addition to any task force.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted January 31, 2011
Righto. Ya'll have been thinking about the Good Guys.
Let's put an eyepatch on & say arr for a minute.

Piracy, like all commercial endeavours spans scales cottage industry to well equipped professional operations.
Bottom line is intercept, board and assume control of a target vessel.
The cottage industry end of the scale may only control for a few hours & only be the top decks while a team opens a couple of random de3ck height containers looking for trade goods to grab & go before the cavalry arrive.

Any attempt at holding a ship for ransom or proper unload requires taking the wheel house and sailing to a safehaven. Unloading anything more than a dinky little coastal trader (say 5000 ton) requires a port of substance with steveadore & crane capapcity. I don't believe it's possible to 'crane off' full containers @ sea. There are stories of pirates tieing off to top loaded containers and yanking them over the side, hoping A: that the containers float and B: that they can be towed to somewhere you can get at C: the hopefully unspoiled goodies inside.
I suspect any such port would be pretty quickly identified & put out of action. (Would make a crackin air strike target - a pirated oiler [refueling vessel] pumping out into improvised bunkering [fuel storage] at some pokey 3rd world port.)

So that leaves small scale Ma & Pa operations or politically / organised crime motivated & intel informed attacks.

If I was so inclined I'd use speed boats & motherships operating out of a minor minor minor port (Eg Brandan Barat, Sei Leppan district Sumatra). But that neccesitates an adequate supply of good quality Diesel & Unleaded. Not usual cargo on Maersk sized shipping.

Could the Malays / local Indon big man concoct a Mafia styled protection racket? That then gets away from them?

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mckinneytexas ducks in to say...

Posted January 31, 2011
No more alliteration? Damn.

Final Force

America Avenged

After, After America

Republic Reborn

Action Astards

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Murphy mutters...

Posted February 1, 2011
On a somewhat related note, I was pondering the future of U.S. fighter planes based on the fact that Boeing was the primary survivor in the post Wave environment. Even if the U.S. was cash strapped, the reality is that many other nations would still need fighter aircraft.

The F-22 program and the F-35 program would probably go by the wayside. Too expensive and Lockheed Martin would probably be a shambles. Boeing, on the other hand, is responsible for building the F/A-18 Hornet.

In fact, I suspect the plane of the future for the United States would probably be the F/A-18 Super Hornet. Most likely there would be a push to make this the fighter plane for all services.

Just a thought.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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savo asserts...

Posted February 2, 2011
Where's Madoc?

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Bob Lingalong would have you know...

Posted February 2, 2011
Hmmm? Beyond America? I wouldn't include anything Brit in the pacific arena, the Royal Navy was very much Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf deploymetns in 2003. But what about the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean? Where might they be?

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Murphy reckons...

Posted February 3, 2011
Bob, whatever was left of the 6th Fleet exfiltrated out of the region and made for home.

In fact, aside from token forces maintained in Puerto Rico (5 million citizens there with significant resources) and additional support along the East Coast as part of the effort to interdict illegal immigrants/migrants/settlers/jihadis.

The rest would probably be pulled back to Washington State at the Puget Sound Naval Station, Pearl Harbor, various locations along the Alaskan Coastline and finally various strategic depots in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Those ships which could not be used or sold to allies would be stored, guarded and used for spare parts. In the event of a worst case scenario the ships could be remobilized as needs must.

The only potential reason I can see for a full mobilization of those ships is an effort to evacuate the remaining population of the United States in the event of a catastrophe which threatened to wipe out the rest of the population. It would have to be a slow building catastrophe.

In fact, I suspect my opposite number, Lt Gen. Murphy in the Wave Universe, would probably recommend maintaining a number of Nimitz class carriers as evac/refugee ships.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy asserts...

Posted February 3, 2011
Token, in my mind, is probably a U.S. Naval Reserve formation manned by Puerto Ricans with previous naval experience augmented by those who wished to resettle in Puerto Rico. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a large formation consisting of frigates centered around an Arleigh Burke destroyer with a sub or two tossed in.

In fact, I suspect Puerto Rico is probably one heavily armed, newly admitted state to the Post Wave United States of America.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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NBlob mutters...

Posted February 4, 2011
Murph I'd imagine it'd be kept on a very short ressuply leash.

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Scott Stanley has opinions thus...

Posted February 7, 2011
Howdy,

Instead of the wasp class, I think it would be more interesting to have a Nimitz class carrier.

The supply chain would not allow a full air wing, but the nuclear power would mean you wouldn't need underway replenishment.

The carrier would be minimally manned, I'm thinking the catapults and arresting gear wouldn't work due to lack of parts, manpower, but it's huge size and unlimited range would make it very flexible.

Have 20 harriers and 30 helicopters, stuff a battalion of marines on board, escorted by one Virginia class submarine, and then the multinational force providing escort. Home port being hawaii. The Burke class ships are offensive weapons that can lurk off the Chinese coast.

And finally, a throwaway line about a surviving Halifax class frigate would be a great addition for the Canadian audience. The Canadian east coast navy base would have survived the wave, and Vancouver/Esquilmalt would be able to provide support.

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flakkie mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2011
I can see so many possibilities here. australia has been buying naval assets from a parlous US. (assume aircraft carriers, aircraft and probably nukes). Oz and NZ are largely untouched so any fleet would be largley of that composition. Throw in some German, french and Italian craft as well, those that escaped the upheavals and pollution storms in Europe.

Australia also developed nuclear deterrents on its Northern coast and is constantly dealing with incursions of refugees from Indonesia.

Fleet in Darwin has several functions: a deterrent against invasion from the north, guarding disputed natural gas/oil resources around the South China Sea, and the Spratly Islands,piracy and people smuggling. New Guinea and Timor are largely left to themselves however a small naval contingent near Lae and Dili keep the peace - at least in the towns.

An addition to the fleet: a contingent from Israel, which is used to conduct legitimate piracy of its own.

Indonesia is bolstered by remnants of the Iranian navy that escaped the Israeli pogrom in the middle east.

Pirates have overrun and captured the Cocos Keeling islands, and have command of two captured virgin blue Embraer E190s. while the Islamic Jihad has overrun Christmas Island and have one small passenger jet. This operation is discreetly funded from Jakarta.

A second combined fleet is based in western australia to counter these two threats.

Back to the Combined Fleets: well they have a few problems, ammunition supply is erratic (though there is a growing munitions industry in australia ) however fuel poses a big big conundrum: Middle East oil is largely useless to refine due to contamination. Oil from south america is expensive, and that which is extracted from resources near Australia is high in sulphur content, which may cause problems with the more modern diesels. Enter Norway, which has largely intact oil assets in the North sea.

Elements of the Norwegian navy are used to interdict pirate and people smuggling activities to the northwest of Australia though they are not officially attached to the fleet based in Darwin or Freemantle.

A new asset to defend: with the demise of Nasa, Virgin Galactic has established a spaceport in Cape York, using salvaged spacecraft from the US. the facility is used mainly to launch surveillance craft into orbit.

Australia also revives its Coastal Watch programme which largely comprises of volunteers equipped with radio equipment who liase with the Fleet. I might also add Australia has acquired some hurricane watch aircraft from the US at a bargain price,.

Fuel: I mentioned oil, but everything more refined, such as kerosene, Jet-A1 and petrol are also more scarce and expensive. Home heating oil is a luxury for the very rich.

As for US craft? Well there aren't many left as they have been sold off to Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. Maybe there were a small number of ships in or near Hawaii, but they are needed in that area of operations, dealing with Indonesian, chinese and russian pirates marauding near the marianas, tonga and fiji.

Meanwhile the island of Diego Garcia, is bristling with ordinance and has rejected the authority of the US and UK governments.

A radar installation in the Marshall islands is extremely vulnerable.


New Zealand has established it's own naval presence in the Cook Islands .

Pirates (possibly from South America) have been repelled from Norfolk and Lord Howe islands.


There you go Mr Birmingham its a bit of a ramble but I enjoy your books.

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flakkie puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2011
I can see so many possibilities here. australia has been buying naval assets from a parlous US. (assume aircraft carriers, aircraft and probably nukes). Oz and NZ are largely untouched so any fleet would be largley of that composition. Throw in some German, french and Italian craft as well, those that escaped the upheavals and pollution storms in Europe.

Australia also developed nuclear deterrents on its Northern coast and is constantly dealing with incursions of refugees from Indonesia.

Fleet in Darwin has several functions: a deterrent against invasion from the north, guarding disputed natural gas/oil resources around the South China Sea, and the Spratly Islands,piracy and people smuggling. New Guinea and Timor are largely left to themselves however a small naval contingent near Lae and Dili keep the peace - at least in the towns.

An addition to the fleet: a contingent from Israel, which is used to conduct legitimate piracy of its own.

Indonesia is bolstered by remnants of the Iranian navy that escaped the Israeli pogrom in the middle east.

Pirates have overrun and captured the Cocos Keeling islands, and have command of two captured virgin blue Embraer E190s. while the Islamic Jihad has overrun Christmas Island and have one small passenger jet. This operation is discreetly funded from Jakarta.

A second combined fleet is based in western australia to counter these two threats.

Back to the Combined Fleets: well they have a few problems, ammunition supply is erratic (though there is a growing munitions industry in australia ) however fuel poses a big big conundrum: Middle East oil is largely useless to refine due to contamination. Oil from south america is expensive, and that which is extracted from resources near Australia is high in sulphur content, which may cause problems with the more modern diesels. Enter Norway, which has largely intact oil assets in the North sea.

Elements of the Norwegian navy are used to interdict pirate and people smuggling activities to the northwest of Australia though they are not officially attached to the fleet based in Darwin or Freemantle.

A new asset to defend: with the demise of Nasa, Virgin Galactic has established a spaceport in Cape York, using salvaged spacecraft from the US. the facility is used mainly to launch surveillance craft into orbit.

Australia also revives its Coastal Watch programme which largely comprises of volunteers equipped with radio equipment who liase with the Fleet. I might also add Australia has acquired some hurricane watch aircraft from the US at a bargain price,.

Fuel: I mentioned oil, but everything more refined, such as kerosene, Jet-A1 and petrol are also more scarce and expensive. Home heating oil is a luxury for the very rich.

As for US craft? Well there aren't many left as they have been sold off to Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. Maybe there were a small number of ships in or near Hawaii, but they are needed in that area of operations, dealing with Indonesian, chinese and russian pirates marauding near the marianas, tonga and fiji.

Meanwhile the island of Diego Garcia, is bristling with ordinance and has rejected the authority of the US and UK governments.

A radar installation in the Marshall islands is extremely vulnerable.


New Zealand has established it's own naval presence in the Cook Islands .

Pirates (possibly from South America) have been repelled from Norfolk and Lord Howe islands.


There you go Mr Birmingham its a bit of a ramble but I enjoy your books.

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flakkie puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2011
more chaos
Singapore is severely effected by the Disappearance. Up until 2003 it was the busiest port in Asia. Now it is thrown back to the days of the Malayan emergency, not only wary of the issues in Indonesia, but also communist and islam threats from Malaysia and beyond.

.

elsewhere, Koh Samui is a pirate haven and any luxury cruises into the south china sea bathtub must have a destroyer escort. These are provided from Darwin - at a high price.

On the western coast of Malaysia, Malacca is a hub of pirate activity in the straits, while Penang's Georgetown becomes the new Macau. The Brunei sultanate is a luxurious peaceful haven, which covertly funds piracy in part to disrupt islamic elements.

After recalling it's citizens the singapore Air Force bombs the road link to Malaysia and employs two mercenary american destroyers and a nuclear submarine to police the area. An invasion is thrown back, and Malaysias capital is reduced to radioactive dust by three 300kt warheads.

This brings the mercenaries into conflict with the australian fleet whose government denounces Singapore and declare the mercenaries as outlaws along with their employer.. A battle ensues, with Darwin, Dili, Port Moresby, Cairns, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Georgetown and Malacca rendered uninhabitable.

Brunei remains untouched and with one nuclear warhead, purchased on the black market, seeks advantage.

Burma subjugates Thailand assisted by several hundred thousand north Korean army personnel, who are unable to reconcile the union of their beloved country with south Korea.

Japan deploys naval resources to the remanants of the combined fleet, which still has assets near Townsville, Cape York, and Freemantle.

Pirates freely roam the pacific and indian oceans and sea travel without naval escort becomes erratic and expensive.

Meanwhile, Tasmania, sits alone and dreaming to the south, unaware that pirates, now organised into a semblance of order, and commanding a ex-UK aircraft carrier, french destroyers and Iranian and Lebanese fighter jets are approaching, with only to destroyers and a submarine in Melbourne in the way....

well the world's gone awry so might as well go all the way..

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flakkie swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 10, 2011
America: President Kipper has razed New York which is now a decaying ruin holding nothing of value. The americans continue to repopulate the midwest, fanning out from Kansas to Missouri, Iowa, Ohio. Middle America is very like the old West. The Greens turn nasty and try to disrupt the new expansion, and narrowly fail in an attempt to kill Kansas City with a dirty bomb. The perpetrators are found, and executed.....the highest of that echelon being very close to president Kipper.

China's civil unrest begins to reverse with a central government taking hold in the Rust Belt, a region formerly dominated by communist era steel factories. Taiwan remains a separate, and prosperous entity, for now.

North Korea, recently reconciled with the South, is devastated by an eruption of Mt Baeku, close to the chinese border. Thousands die in the pyroclastic flows and ash falls.

South Africa proclaims itself the Black Republic, expelling all white-skinned people and erecting a massive concrete wall along the length of its border.

India and Pakistan, which are in the majority radioactive wastes, fight a final war with knives, shovels and various farm implements. Afterwards the river Ganges is choked with bodies.

In south america, Argentina, realising there will be no UK SAS troops to contend with, retake the Falkland Islands.

Scientists find the cause of the Wave, and the revelation is shocking: (insert guesses here)

Russia has descended into chaos, with no central government and the mafia in control. Ukraine and belarus have hold over nuclear missile silos.

Eastern europe is uninhabitable, though a few people here and there exist, scratching out a living from the polluted earth, In major cities like Prague, Warsaw, Brussels, and Amsterdam, bodies rot in the streets.

In Rome, a juvenile Pope John XX sends forth a crusading army to invade Switzerland, France, Protugal and Spain, a new Roman Emipire is at hand.

Tel-Aviv realises a massive mistake as fallout and contamination begin to affect the state of Israel, in a few short years, Israel, Iran, Syria, greater egypt, Lebanon and Turkey are toxic wastelands.

Germany and France declare themselves Islamic Republics, in response the UK collapses the England-France Chunnel.

Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark unite and invade the north of Germany. The Battle of the Bulge is fought again.

and then god, who purportedly does not exist, picks up the earth, looks at it, snorts in disgust before scrunching it up and throwing it in the bin.

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El Coqui ducks in to say...

Posted February 10, 2011
If we sell the Nimitz to other nations, they will have to create an infrastructure to support them and the US can tap into that to support those we choose to keep.

I see the main US contribution as providing naval aviation and long range strike capabilities.

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