Cheeseburger Gothic

Escaping New York.

Posted April 24, 2009 by John Birmingham
Not much writing will get done the next two days because we have visitors, which is why I ranked it up a bit earlier this week.

Spent quite a bit of time narrative time in New York, which I hadn't really planned, but having filled it full o' pirates n freebooters and raiders and looters, it was kinda hard to get my characters out. Took a whole chapter just to get out of the building they were in.

Now I have to get them about fifty blocks up town, though a small war, and into a den of villains.

I was hoping that I could so in about two chapts, but it might blow out a bit. (The Transition scene at the start of WoC, for instance was originally supposed to run about three thousand words. It topped out at forty-seven thousand.)

Anyway, this is what I'll be pondering while I wrangle kids n visitors today.

How to get my guys through a post-Wave New York being fought over by baddies and the Cav.

I'm a big fan of bringing back the Cav.

67 Responses to ‘Escaping New York.’

Moko has opinions thus...

Posted April 24, 2009
Off topic, soz. Hey, you know how you were asking for content ideas for this joint a few weeks back?. How about reviews for shit?. Books, movies, games, places, music, whatever?.

Havock's got some Wagner for the Cav if you need it. Good luck.

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Matthew K reckons...

Posted April 24, 2009
Subway tunnels? So long as no bright spark turns the bloody power on.

Speedboat? Dunno much about the geography of NYC.

Or... How many of those corporate towers have helicopters on top of them? Damn long slog to the top to find out though.

A wheeled loader or bulldozer to shovel through the wreckage? It'd take you form point A to point Z without having to go through the rest of the alphabet.

The slow bit would be finding your getaway ride and getting it going - old petrol or bleeding the fuel system, prosaic stuff like that.

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lostatlunch mutters...

Posted April 24, 2009
hmm.. How is the city holding up? Mogadishu... or dregraded to Escape from New YOrk

Often speculated how a small well-armed & trained unit would go in a big abandonded city against a raving mob.. or indeed a group of well-armed, highly motivated and cautious amateurs

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jennicki has opinions thus...

Posted April 24, 2009
Nothing a little explode-y goodness can't fix.

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Naut has opinions thus...

Posted April 24, 2009
New York has to be the best post apocalyptic landscape ever. All those buildings, central park, water, subway, sewers, soooooooo much potential.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted April 24, 2009
New York is easy - if you can make it to the water. It is an island.

Scoped it out - when Birmo was asking for stories. Helipads - check. Central Park - check. What condition is the area around the former Twin Towers?

Here's a conundrum. Does anyone want to make entry into a skyscaper? If they're open any where - its one ginormous chimney. True. Windraft in those things is an architectural known.

Wagner . . . .anyone listen to the whole Ring Cycle? Once. Only once.

Then there are real spots.

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shifty-mcgee swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 24, 2009
I vote for a group of new friends. In combat helicopters. AIR CAV TO THE RESCUE!

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Chaz mumbles...

Posted April 24, 2009
Block by block it could be nasty lots of windows in tall towers for peopele with rifles to shoot out of. NY

post-apoc is sniper heaven

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lostatlunch has opinions thus...

Posted April 24, 2009
Ooops, my mob may not be raving, they are probably raging.

You may have an building to shoot from, but I have an RPG, or the air-cav have a blackhawk with a minigun..

I love the idea of a a small group ducking and weaving through Manhattan with a couple freelancer groups looting the city and the military forces also trying to secure an asset. What could that asset be?

Washington must be also a target for some of the nationaly significant items held there. These wouls be very important America must be trying it is holding on to a national awarness and dealing the the psychological issues with it's radicaly altered profile.

K. must occupy the white house as soon as someone has wiped Dubya's gloop of the big chair.

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Moko mumbles...

Posted April 24, 2009
Blowing holes through walls of buildings will save exposure to the outside.

Well, it works on Battlefield: Bad Company. lol

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted April 24, 2009
Moko's right, and any person dumb enough to hot the pavement will be toast, talk about fire lanes along and the ULTIMATE from above, if like Chaz mentioned you are sniping.

The Cav simply rocks, even the US Cav, Chain Guns..mmmmmm. I'd also want plenty of smoke and frags.

Building clearance or general battle in a built up area...NOT FUCKING PRETTY!.

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Chaz mumbles...

Posted April 24, 2009
Darkman vey hard to track a sniper in a ruined urban environment

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Moko reckons...

Posted April 24, 2009
Daring acts awesomeness on the roof tops?.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted April 24, 2009
Get a trusty canine to sniff out booby traps and bad guys. Gotta love an heroic dog story. Then if its Scooby and the gang you'd have the pirate ghost problem sorted out.

Yeah, get the Cav, with Havock picking the soundtrack.

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Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 24, 2009
Hmm bridging actions accross streets at say the tenth floor that could be fun.

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Brian mutters...

Posted April 24, 2009
Imagine rush hour, bumoer to bumper traffic losing all the drivers. Its a slow motion bumper fest. Not like a freeway pile up. Some fires. Ground access won't be bad. Unless you factor in a few tower collapses due to fire - even then, not a Twin Tower event.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted April 24, 2009
Imagining myself as the leader of one of the Executive Recovery Companies.

What am I after? What is in NYC that is valuable in a post wave world? What has survived the 12 months exposure?

The looting of the Baghdad Museum - seemed a systematic operation with a shopping list.

The Gugenheim? MoMo?

How about Bullion?

Or IP like a simple manilla folder with the Coke recipe?

Rules of engagement for the Cav? Free Fire Zone or stop & search?

Transport would have to be Havocks 750cc 2Stroke offroad Noisemakers. (Can you imagine the tyre spray mark up your back of all the goop puddles? ugh) + small boats - again 2stroke - simple tech able to cope with less than perfect fuel.

You're not going to rehash the tunnel scene in The Stand are you?

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Lobes is gonna tell you...

Posted April 24, 2009
All the subway tunnels in NY will be completely flooded within about 48 hrs of losing electricity.

Best place to base oneself would probably be central park. Getting around the city would best be done by circumnavigation on the river unless you had a reason to go down the avenues

Also bike paths. Any city with a dedicated bike path will have relatively unimpeded access along them. You could get a vehicle down most of those. Maybe a truck on some

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lostatlunch mutters...

Posted April 24, 2009
Chaz in NY city with all the cover... hard to get a clean round off, there is so much cover. It is not an enviroment I want to be in, I would just prefer to be a runner than a camper..

On the other hand "The Darkman Express" (formerly a FEDEX 747 cargo) would be ticking over at La Guardia waiting for the crew to arrive back with a load of goodies from the National Guard armoury to retail to the settlers in the frontier states. Predators would be great for surveying the back 40, but boots and clothes and general supplies (even rations) would be gold worthy to those on the rush to claim land.

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Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 24, 2009
NWBob ... I'll have you know that the formula for Coca Cola resides in the vault of SunTrust Bank in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USofA.

Heathen.

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Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 24, 2009
Oh, and Birmo ... when does Havock baiting season start this year?

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted April 24, 2009
Lobes - bike paths would be congested with tangled masses of decaying slouchbikes, covered in slouchbiker goop. Eeeewwwww. No thanks!

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Moko ducks in to say...

Posted April 24, 2009
...but how much fun could you have with a ghillie suit in central park in a meltdown?.

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Brian reckons...

Posted April 24, 2009
Lobes is correct about tunnels and basements. Every city substation I've seen has submersible sump pumps. Hmm . . could be ankle, waist or man deep depending.

NYC also has a number of underground rivers still flowing under the streets. Grenwich village has one.

Still we're only talking couple of years here.

Bike paths is a good'n. I'm wondering if bikes or even motor bikes aren't a way to get around.

Horses and bitumin roads aren't a good idea. Plays hell with their legs. Equine shin splints sorta damn thing IIRC - you need to check that out. Stevo was rather careful with his characters, horses and roadways.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted April 24, 2009
Tunnels will be flooded unless someone has restored the pumps. They'd be dicey to scuba through as well.

I gotta admit, I like the boat idea. Slip out to the river, pick up a boat (there are bound to be boats available) and effect your movement to the objective. Extraction might be difficult if the element is detected but then it depends on whether this is a military or a civilian element.

Per Central Park, if it were me, I'd place some sort of military unit there, US or otherwise. When Trinity and I walked through it during the Feb 09 trip, I kept thinking, "Those baseball diamonds would be a great place to put M-109 Palladins." Placed effectively, a Central Park firebase could rain steel down upon most points of Manhattan.

Boat. I like the boat. Or you go could the Whiskey Tango route with a Dodge Ram equipped with a Hemi, lift kit, quad fifty cal on the back and a massive audio system ready to play lines from Pride and Prejudice.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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aaron asserts...

Posted April 24, 2009
use of an abandoned helicopter would be cool as a skin of teeth getaway after a pitched battle to get up to the roof.

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted April 24, 2009
Or you go could the Whiskey Tango route with a Dodge Ram equipped with a Hemi, lift kit, quad fifty cal on the back and a massive audio system ready to play lines from Pride and Prejudice.

best thing said all day

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Brian mutters...

Posted April 24, 2009
Havocks got me thinking. Alleys and garbage trucks.

Cities got these small garbage trucks - they have to fit in alleys. Most of the car pile ups are in the mainstreets. But alleys would be relatively clear. A GT's got enough heft to plow through those property line fences. Fair metal protection. Runs on diesel. Odds are good to find one with fuel. Lotta space in the back. And they have the capability of ramming storefronts.

Several places around NYC you could put military forces. The obvious ones are Ellis Island, Central Park and the bridges. But they're relatively useless in the city canyons ie choppers that sorta stuff.

What part of the day all this suppossing to be happening? Hell . . .what part of the year? Night and winter? Could get big fogs into the old city.

A few imponderables.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted April 24, 2009
Need a cowcatcher on the front of the truck, just like that Dodge in the remake of Death Race.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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aaron swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 24, 2009
lobes you gave me a great idea. Bike paths + looted harleys ridden by soldiers with lots of firepower = awesome!

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 24, 2009
Murph. Never seen a garbage truck yet that didn't have a dirty big heavy metal front. Look at concrete corner columns in some cities - damn things are eroded by bumper contact.

Garbage truck is probably good for a minimum of 15 tonne. NYC have snow plows? Another possible.

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lostatlunch reckons...

Posted April 24, 2009
aaron, I respect your vision of Harleys, soldiers and firepower, but you also need naked chicks.. where are the naked chicks?

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simon bedak reckons...

Posted April 24, 2009
Birmo baby, the best way to bust through anything is on Havock's mustering motorbikes driving 1,000 head of cattle through whatever's in your way. Just round up the cattle Lobes' would have grazing in Central Park and the sound of Murph starting up his cowcatcher will be enough to get them to stampede.

The idea of bulls running amok towards Wall Street causing mayhem'd be delicious. Not pork delicious, but something close..

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Sweet Jane Says mutters...

Posted April 24, 2009
motorbikes, horses, boats, and bicycles

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted April 24, 2009
ot sure really I would want to set up in Central Park..Its a great FIXED location, spotted on all sides by Building I think and simply too god dam easy to target for hit and run shite....IMHO.

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted April 24, 2009
bedak..I d like the way your mind works..NOT SURE HOW IT WORKS..but the end results are fucking wicked..lol

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Ian asserts...

Posted April 24, 2009
After watching the Doco 'Life without People' I would't want to be near NYC subways!

But an pitched battle along Broadway and Times Square, well it would be like the way it was in NYC in the 1970's! Hehehe!

Oh, as for Military units and locations in NYC, The waterfront, if you brought Navy Carriers or Amphibious forces, and or the airports. But the thougt of Abrams tanks in the city...No. Bradleys or Hummers maybe, and no to helicopters, in a skyscraper area they are toast!

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted April 24, 2009
Often speculated how a small well-armed & trained unit would go in a big abandonded city against a raving mob....

...just play Left4Dead.

as to a ghillie suit in central park look to a book called 'this park in mine' which was made into a pretty forgetable movie

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lostatlunch swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 24, 2009
This is just confirming that the recovery of a major city... even without burnt or collapsed buildings is a lot of very hard work. it is the perfect place fr a rag-tag mob to work their way through the city collecting the premium salvage.

I am flogging the dark man express, locating a boston whaler and docking at Norfolk Virginia to fill it. If the USS Harry Truman is in port, she may be a useful bit of salvage.

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Chaz reckons...

Posted April 24, 2009
Yep accordng to Weisman you can wave goodby to most things subsurface unless they are sealed or have tanking abouve ground level.

I know it's only been a year but I'd say there would be lot of glass on the streets lots of empty dead eyed holes in the sides of buildings plus how much was damaged due to fires after the during after the 'event'. Due to the cloud covern and weather effects at least there's minimal chance of any of the parks being burnt out during summer fires.

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Moko asserts...

Posted April 24, 2009
I'll confer with Lord Google, B. Cheers!.

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Trowzers has opinions thus...

Posted April 24, 2009
I vote bikes (preferably motorised) and forget the bikepaths except for long runs out the 'burbs - sidewalks are the way to go. Just ask the bike couriers. Surely if anyone knows how to get around a city full of traffic they do (but then they aren't allowed to blow stuff up).

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Brian mumbles...

Posted April 24, 2009
Broken glass. Not a big problem in a recently abandoned city ie 2 years say. Only get broken glass if there's been a fire.

Skyscraper glass has to withstand pretty substantial pressure differentials. Not to mention temperature and wind flex. Its 6 mm plus thick. hmm . . .wouldn't expect a lot to flex out. Look around any city. How much maintenance is done on tower windows? Very little if at all.

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simon bedak swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 24, 2009
Very very OT, but my Meat & Livestock Australia membership just sent in this week's pig report which is certain to be of interest -

"Pig trade quiet - 24/04/2009

Pig rates were firm to slightly cheaper this week as demand continues to be soft. The seasonally tight supply of pigs is making it difficult for rates to decline, however, there is sufficient numbers to meet current demand. Interest from Singapore remains steady as they try to secure adequate numbers of good quality pigs. Sow rates were unchanged this week."

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simon bedak mumbles...

Posted April 24, 2009
PS havock...Get yer footy tips in..and thanks

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sparty mumbles...

Posted April 24, 2009
Hangglide from skyscraper to sky scaper (worked for Kurt Russel although i guess that was getting in, not out).

The Intrepid? (aircraft carrier museum docked on the west side, would make for a neta set piece).

The Stand does it so well, which is excuse the pun a tough standard to live up to...

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Big Bad Al is gonna tell you...

Posted April 24, 2009
In another life when I was in the Army one of our exchange officers was a British SAS officer who had recently returned from tours of Northern Ireland. He taught us a lot of good stuff on patrolling, clearing and securing in high rise and urban areas.

It is probably one of the hardest tasks to undertake.

Every citizen is a potential enemy, every vehicle you pass is a potential bomb. You not only have to be aware of what is happening around you but also above (Rooftop Snipers) and below (enemy/bombs in sewers, subways and underground car parks). In high rise areas air cover is next to useless. Rooftop snipers will most likely hear any helicopter before the helicopter sees them.

It would not be much different in a post-Wave New York. Every person or group would be considered hostile. Open areas such as Central Park would only be useful for insertion and extraction. Same for the waterways.

However in a post-Wave New York you could most probably call in an air strike and level any building that was giving you trouble.

There are plenty of articles on the web relating to the degradation of cities if there were no humans.

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Moko puts forth...

Posted April 24, 2009
Al. Unless you're the Predator with the shoulder fired lasers, big knifie claw thingoes, an expandable spear, dreads, and a light bending cloaking device. Then you rule.

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savo has opinions thus...

Posted April 24, 2009
This cries out of a Pepsi Challenge JB.

The Mini can be cleaned out and ready for action in a trice.

POV=FPS good guy or bad guy or vaguely neutral. 1 block.

Heavy use of google maps street level view.

How about it?

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Brian reckons...

Posted April 24, 2009
BBA - we're still only talking about a few years degradation.

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted April 24, 2009
I;m hoping B, those Cav guys have access to a D9 or better, all armoured up, cars blocking the roads will be a bitch.

As for Urban warfare, we its a CAST IRON CERTIFIED BITCH. But the good news for the Cav will be that their equipment will be better suited to that terrain, as opposed to looters and ferals etc. They may well have gathered up Mil grade armaments, but without Doctrine, thats Mil training in Urban Warfare, they will be in a world of Hurt.

How many teams JB punching up those 50 odd blocks, and the bif Q is, do they want to HOLD the path they have cleared...then it gets very interesting.

My thoughts, well, glad ya asked. It would be push in with the Cav until opposition is met, then fix them in place if possible, drop Air Mobile units behind them, hit them from front and rear, you want to WIPE THEM OUT, not push them back to fight another day or snipe at you.

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Big Bad Al reckons...

Posted April 24, 2009
Brian - You would be surprised how quickly things stop working. Studies indicate that the NY subways would start filling with water in as little as 48 hours. Backup generators would fail within 7 days due to the lack of fuel.

Some of the studies are more than theories. Extensive studies have been done using Chernobyl and Pripyat as a models. These cities that were abandoned "as is, where is." and has had little human intervention since 1986.

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hughesy puts forth...

Posted April 24, 2009
Saw a Nat Geographc film today that reckons that NY is built on the path of an ancient glacier, and that is why they were able to built it so tall - all except for a low section in the middle where there's a bit of a puddle of softer material (check out the skyline).

Don't know why I thought this might be important.

Probably isn't. But then again ...

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted April 24, 2009
Hughesy..rest assured I will cap the ase of the first cretin who thinks it NOT important...." Puffs out chest Puts on mean face"

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Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted April 24, 2009
Horses would have some utility but nothing too fine bred, they would get leg problems. You want a plodding animal that isn't a fussy eater and doesn't panic so much. Trouble is with horses that they need care and attention even when they're not working, they panic and run at the drop of a hat and you can't just park it and walk away.

Really, in NY at least, it's gotta be motorised. A garbage truck with only one live axle might struggle for traction when pushing stuff out the way, (and when you get 2wheel drive trucks stuck you're really fucked - they can't recover themselves like a land-rover/cruiser).

I'd look for all wheel drive and something like a front loader with a snow plough on it that could both lift and shovel cars/debris etc. I note that farmers and front line Brit soldiers now use diesel pick-up quads, 4x4 and 6x6. other than that a Suzuki SJ is a super mobile little "jeep" and would get you round cycle paths and climb over obstacles.

As for the SAS in Belfast: They weren't there to wreck the place. The Cav in NY though would have a much freer hand, although whether that'd make snipers any easier to spot I do not know.

But still, the cavalry riding to the rescue? That's an iconic image!

Dropping out of the sky between the concrete canyons rather than riding over the ridge.

JG Ballard is dead. Anyone here read "Hello America"? Much inspiration and images that stick with you.

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted April 25, 2009
Theres a shitload of heavy equipment at Ground Zero. All of that stuff could be put to clearing streets asap.

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tygertim asserts...

Posted April 25, 2009
Kudos to BBA, Dude, you've got it! For some interesting info and photos goto

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=6&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.kiddofspeed.com%2F&ei=HAHySYnBFoWytgOUubTUCg&usg=AFQjCNEpVQnOpc-SjuEkQIyAbFxxfflYcQ

Great Photos and an excellent research site for you JB.... Gives you a really good idea what NYC would look like... Perhaps not as decayed but a good reference for your visualization....

If it was me, and I was reestablishing control over NYC, I send in a fleet, with a jeep Carrier, mostly VSTOL and Choppers... A Marine Amphibious Assault Carrier would do. The whole thing would have to be a process, a set piece battle.... First Sniper/overwatch teams placed on high buildings in a grid pattern, using armed Preditors to extend their reach, they would provide intel and control intersections and line of sight streets... Set up a CP in Central Park after clearing of any unfriendlys, Access by Riverine Fast Boats... JB any chance of K "borrowing" a few SBS from the Brits?

Street clearance by approved contractors under the protection of the military would have high priority, and provide funding as vehicles are reclaimed or recycled...

The Fleet would control access to NYC, and any unapproved elements would be stomped flat without warning in any initial operations and then Manhattan would be cleared section by section.... Scouts would be the ones to run into trouble, and the nature of the city would defiantly present a LOT of "Blackhawk Down" problems, as far as ambush by unfriendlies carring RPG 7's... sniper battles for control of desired sections is a given and ops would be long and costly for the good guys... in other words a root'n toot'n wild East town.....

Whooooooo! Sounds excite'n don't it. Glad it's not me though...

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tygertim swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 25, 2009
Just reviewed the site again... JB the Photos in the section entitled "GhostTown" are especially relevant to AA.... Poignant does not begin to describe the scenes found in these photos. My link works, but http://www.kiddofspeed.com/chapter1.html should do it as well.

Well worth the visit.

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Matthew K mumbles...

Posted April 25, 2009
Just so long as the old "Ride of the Valkyries" cliché isn't used.

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Brian puts forth...

Posted April 25, 2009
BBA : I think you miss my point. I'm talking about the bricks and mortar infrastructure.

I saw the Chernobyl studies. Saw the show 'After Man'. Depends on the time interval as to how much damage occurs. ANd that we're guessing. Birmo's setting it just after the Wave event so I would think several years.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 25, 2009
Havock, if I had a firebase in Central Park, I'd almost surely have OPs on various high points in the city. Not only would I have FOs at the OPs but I would also have commo pukes up there as well.

Oh, just as a self pimping aside, The Limb Knitter will be reprinted in an anthology put out by Apex Magazine. Should be out late December. Here is the link.

http://www.apexbookcompany.com/news/2009/04/apex-magazine-antho-update/

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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El Coqui mumbles...

Posted April 26, 2009
Birmo and Guys:

Some travel music while we enjoy the Big Apple amenities post Wave.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR9N1ia1RgU

(I want to be in the Cavalry by Corbin)

And remember Of you Ain't CAV, you Ain't Sh...!

Who knew that Cav was alive and kicking when he read about this cute but only five nothing female warrant officer aviator and cavalrywoman. That received a medal for valor by providing close air support to troops in contact. She did so by leaning out of the door of her little Kiowa Warrior and engaging the enemy with her M-4.

I know that Captain Nathan Bridges AKA John Wayne would have approved of her.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted April 27, 2009
Hey Murph,

Ball park estimate please.

How many warm bodies will you require to take & hold Manhattan?

Will you be demolishing blocks of buildings to provide clear fire lines? Or at least to deny sniping positions.

You're not up against a standup army, or even an insurgency - rather a dozen completely disparate groups of Executive Recovery Companies.

They will not want to engage with your conventional forces, rather scurry undetected through underground carparks and subway tubes.

They may want to take a shot at another ERC if they think they have been pipped to some particularly valuable goodies.

So if you were tasked with securing Manhattan (Yes I see the Irony) what would you need to take to the party.

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aaron swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 27, 2009
of course there are chicks - stripper grade with a flagrant disregard for wearing clothes.

another motorbike thing, they could ride them up the fire escape of a high rise ala T1000 in terminator 2. now thats way to get to the top!

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted April 27, 2009
Further thought.

Strikes me that currently AQ & Taliban etc trade on an ability to dissapear into a civillian population. You can't see the nut for the beards - if you get what I mean.

ERCs will stand out like dog's balls as there is (at first) no resident population. For the first period before legit resettlement if it moves it's a baddy.

Then as legitimate / authorised assesment & resource revovery teams move in there will be lots of opportunity for friendly-ish fire problems.

"But you said there was no-one in sector 4"

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tygertim swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 28, 2009
@NB See Tygertim post 25 April 09 4:31 am post above.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted April 30, 2009
NBob, I wouldn't even want to hazard a guess with NYC. Depends on the size of the OPFOR, their capability and what resources I have to draw upon. If it is just a bunch of bandits, I'd want a full division, around 15K (I say this with some idea of what the CDR in NYC in AA has to work with). If it is something more organized, I'd want a full division of infantry, another of Marines and all the special ops I could get my hands on.

I think I might also want as much naval and air support as possible.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Respond to 'Escaping New York.'

With one convulsive leap he was free.

Posted April 15, 2009 by John Birmingham
For the past few weeks, possibly months, I've been wrestling with a major plot problem in After America. Can't get ito it without giving away spoilage but it has been kicking my arse something fierce.

Well, in the way of these things, I awoke at about 5.14AM this morning, staggered out of bed to chastise a noisy cat and 'Eureka!' I had the whole thing figured out. With one simple tweak all of the jigsaw pieces suddenly fit together.

I wonder sometimes whether these things are buried somewhere in the pre- or sub- conscious and it's just a matter of waiting them for them to dislodge.

Or whether I just got lucky.

Either way, into the breach!

39 Responses to ‘With one convulsive leap he was free.’

Orin reckons...

Posted April 15, 2009
Inspiration strikes at odd times - but 3am-5am seems to be when it most likes to put in an appearance. Luckily when you work from home, you just get up and go with it ;-)

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted April 15, 2009
Did your plot development involve Navy SEAL snipers?

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jennicki has opinions thus...

Posted April 15, 2009
It involves Vaseline, doesn't it? The answer always lies in the Vaseline.

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yankeedog reckons...

Posted April 15, 2009
It happens that way sometimes. I've come up with good design ideas while in the shower or watching TV-any activity where I'm not concentrating on that particular task. Go figure.

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simon bedak reckons...

Posted April 15, 2009
Congrat's on the Alf moment

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted April 15, 2009
Jen, I'd like to know more about the problems you are solving with petroleum jelly.

I had a problem with a metal fuel cap that was jamming in the throat of the alloy fuel tank. Vaseline fixed it.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted April 15, 2009
Glad it finally came together.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 15, 2009
The Flaming Lips

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 15, 2009
Jen, please be correct when noting hat an AUTHOR of NOTE, utilises.

Its NIVEA VISAGE... moisturiser ....

and now we need to find out hat that key is. I vote we operate on.mmmmmm..um...RHINO FIRST. I'll go get me hammer

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted April 15, 2009
Yeah, well, that is all fine and good for you writer types, but what about the rest of us, huh? What about the uninspired? For us, between 3am and 5am nothing happens. Well, that's not entirely true. Sometimes nature calls - but that is a far cry from the kind of epiphany that John described, Orin takes for granted and Murph casually congratulates. True, we, the uninspired, "get up and do it" too, but the result isn't nearly as satisfying as what John describes. The product of our 3-5 am catharsis may be occasionally impressive in a scatological sense, but, artistically speaking, even our best, most strenuous effort is nothing to be truly proud, nor something you would want to show others. Definitely nothing anyone would pay for.

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted April 15, 2009
WHAT..its WHAt not HAT

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted April 15, 2009
Paul, mine was bucket loads of SOT t 5.00am this morning..I guess most would not what to know about THOSE sort of GREENBACKS...

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted April 15, 2009
AHH SNOT... not SOT

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Lobes mutters...

Posted April 15, 2009
I was up at the crack of when a massive storm blew through. Made us cancel this mornings surf session :-(

With one convulsive leap I was back in bed.

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MickH is gonna tell you...

Posted April 15, 2009
It always happens in the shower for me.

But I have to write it down immediately or it's gone!

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Ian mumbles...

Posted April 15, 2009
Know what you mean JB.

I have a mp3 voice recorder. When I get an Idea, I record it, download it, and pray that at three in the morning when I got said idea that I pressed the RIGHT BUTTON to record!

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted April 15, 2009
PNB, "occasionally impressive "

Roy & HGs Iskander Yoga anyone?

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted April 15, 2009
At those hours of the morning, if I'm awake, its usually a cry of exultation that I could tell the cabbie where I live.

NBob - ROFLMAO!

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lostatlunch puts forth...

Posted April 15, 2009
scammy stuff happens...

I know of a slightly dazed man looks back on the wreckage of his life jots down a few notes about some carcrash ex flatmates.. fills in the blank spots in his memory with some creative license and he publishes his first book.. and it becomes a cult hit.

beats being a wage slave if you ever get around the self motivation

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BrianC ducks in to say...

Posted April 15, 2009
Yeah its scarry how the brain works, my guess would be for sudden cognitive realisation of pre-considerd subconcious ideas, and their rapid emergence into a non linear thought state.

Or put more simply, when you really think on something your subconcious works with you creating and dismissing ideas without them ever reaching you concious mind, when you enter a state of zero sum thought, like the zombie brain at 3 am in the morning, or hangover brain, or even engrossed in tv brain, you subconcious gains parity with the concious mind and things really kick it up a notch, and then sudenly BAM! theres your idea.

It could also be that _you_ didnt think of it, an alternate JB thought of it in a parrallell timeline, and because conciousness is a multispectrum quantum observence entangled into a non linear state(i.e many realaties one conciousness but many different memories) when he thought of it, it became your thought, and so you thought it so he could think of it, to give it to you!

It could also be that being awake at 3:00AM and seeing shadows and a lound pissed off cat, flickering lights and emotional wariness created a neural pathway that brought you back to an original thought long forgotten.

Maybee im thinking about this too mutch

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BrianC would have you know...

Posted April 15, 2009
oh and Orin you up for some hawx multiplayer?

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Chaz mumbles...

Posted April 15, 2009
Havock and how do YOU know what moisturiser the Scribe uses? eh?

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted April 15, 2009
Chaz, whilst some around here loudly sprout off about being in the CIRCLE OF TRUST!, some, being of a quieter bent could be in the INNER CIRCLE ...thats ONE STEP FUCKING CLOSER!..well?. or

It could hav come to me in a premonition?

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Chaz reckons...

Posted April 15, 2009
Hmm not sure you should be mentioning 'bent' in the same sentance as 'inner circle' but as we're a broad church here I'm sure the rest will let it pass!

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BrianC mutters...

Posted April 15, 2009
Heh

Havock wants to be in John's Innercircle... hey innercircle

heh

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Orin puts forth...

Posted April 15, 2009
That could be cool - got a Saitek AV8R joystick for the 360 and have been going back playing Ace Combat 6 & Blazing Angels. Much better with a proper stick.

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted April 15, 2009
good to see i don't have the ONLY sick mind....lol

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DrYobbo mutters...

Posted April 15, 2009
I get the same things occasionally, though usually half-asleep in the shower (and no not involving any form of petroleum-based emollient - it's all about the lubrication, as the ginger chick from Mythbusters always seems to say.) We use bugger all of the available neuron grunt for most of the problems we come to in daylight hourse, let alone the spare parallel-processing capacity up there in shutdown mode. Hand the problem over to the subconscious for some of that de Bono style wacky-funster lateral thinkage. Problem solvered.

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 15, 2009
Mm Orin, the Saitek AV8R looks very cool. I've often thought I could totally own the airport shootouts on Xboxlive GTA4 if I could get one of those bloody helicopters to fly straight.

And aren't eureka moments supposed to happen in the bath?

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Abe puts forth...

Posted April 15, 2009
I keep pen and paper on the bedside table for writing down little inspirations in the middle of the night, as I would otherwise forget them. When I used to speculate in foreign exchange for a living, I thought up my best trading algorithm at 4am wrote it down and it was there waiting for me in the morning.

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DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted April 15, 2009
I also hate giving away spoilage. It's never a good look and a man of my social bearing shouldn't need to carry wet wipes with him at all times.

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Trinity64 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 15, 2009
Congrats on clearing away the dust! I really look forward on seeing what direction you went, hopefully not too much anal probing?! :)

Oh Jane, then all the Vaseline story line would fit in perfectly!

As always go in love & peace,

Trinity

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 16, 2009
Yobbo - I am a man of equal, if not superior, social bearing and I always carry wet wipes with me at all times. So?

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jennicki asserts...

Posted April 16, 2009
I find inspiration strikes during at odd moments, like while watching American Idol or finding oneself sandwiched between two convicts on an elevator (the former occured yesterday, the latter this morning).

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jennicki reckons...

Posted April 16, 2009
...and when I say "sandwiched," I'm very nearly sure it wasn't sexual. It's hard to say in that kind of situation. If I'd dropped a quarter (sacred laundry money) I wouldn't have bent over to pick it up at that moment, for example.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted April 16, 2009
I dunno Jen, you could have made their day.

Think of it as a public service.

L there deliberately.

Speaking of felons, on a slight tangerine, you may have heard about a woopsie with some 25 ton of heavy fuel oil 'round these parts recently. Part of the clean up on our stretch of beach was done by low security prisoners from Woodford holiday camp for the mildly naughty. Anyway these blokes came down to the beach, laboured under a hot sun for a few days picking up oil then got loaded back into the mini bus & were returned to the big house.

Yes yes, I am getting to a point.

These blokes sweated for the public good, yet none of them were allowed to have a cooling dip in the Pacific after their labours. How UnAustralian is that? It's not like they were going to swim to New Caledonia with their ball & chains!

I couldn't believe it. Officious petty bastards.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted April 16, 2009
NWB :" . . .It’s not like they were going to swim to New Caledonia with their ball & chains!"

Bob. That was the point. Salt water ruins the balls and chains. And then the prisoners just end up attracting sharks.

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tygertim puts forth...

Posted April 18, 2009
I'm glad for you JB... I had that epiphany driving home from work the other day... Had a compete story (Involving Somali Pirates as it happens) and didn't get to the ole computer in time... Now I have only bits and pieces... Havock and the trireme, Mick and YD's Cohort and the Tavern, and Orin and the speed loader for the scorpion quoting Bellicus Galicus... The rest of you were all present, but I lost it... And what JB was doing with that lot of Somalian Babes? I just can't remember! It was great! And very funny... Arrrrgh!

some really great scenes... Do you suppose GC could script something out of the bits and pieces?

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tygertim reckons...

Posted April 19, 2009
I faintly hear a woman's voice, possibly Domina Birmus' speaking rather sharply: " Iohannus Birmus! If you think I'm having the wash all those nappies, you've best think again! I'm not having it!"

That's the hell I'm in now..... just bits and pieces of scenes that made me cackle the whole way home....

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Respond to 'With one convulsive leap he was free.'

Looking at a May 31 deadline.

Posted April 8, 2009 by John Birmingham
A real deadline. One I have to keep. Mostly cos that's when I put my tax in and the bill usually follows a week later.

Had a weird moment the other day when I was writing a chapter in the Miguel thread, which is a very sort of post apocalypse Lonesome Dove thing. Miguel was investigating a general store in Leona, Texas (you can find it on google earth, go on), with a view to camping there, and resupplying. As I was writing, he began to get a little freaked out by the ghosts of the Disappeared.

It was one of those odd moments when the story takes over and you just run with it. What had been a one line observation by me:

He shivered as he re-entered the shop.

Became something much larger:

He shivered as he re-entered the shop. The remains had not bothered him the night before but now, in the light of day, something like a cold eel slithered up his spine, raising goose flesh on his arms and causing him to shudder with an unspecified sense of dread. He regarded the remains of those taken by the Wave with some trepidation, as though the empty clothes, stiffened and black with the leavings of those who had worn them might suddenly inflate with their spectres and rise from the floor to admonish him, or worse, for living when they had died.

Totally overwritten in raw copy, so I'll have to cut it back. But this 'encounter' with the Diasappeared went on for some time. And that night I dreamed the scene all over again.

Rest assured the Disappeared are not coming back, but for a little while there I had to wonder what would happen if they did.

29 Responses to ‘Looking at a May 31 deadline.’

Brian has opinions thus...

Posted April 8, 2009
John, one reason I don't like writing. I can't shake the stuff once I crash out. Then when I get up - I'm still thinking about it.

Some one is going to have to do a continent wide exorcism I think.

Why? Whether you believe in spirits or not - other people assuredly do. Or will start to.

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Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted April 8, 2009
They'd be hungry, that's wot.

Hungry for BRAINNNNNNNS.

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BrianC is gonna tell you...

Posted April 8, 2009
Bimo what are you turning in to Robert Jordan (aka James Rigney, may he rest in the light in peace, may he always be rememberd) or what. Massively long easily readible and space devouring description of the most minute thing, that the reader never gets bored of.

Ohh god, dont make this a 10 book series that you die in the making of. I mean you dying would suck... but i dont think i could stand go-ing through a jordanesque saga.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 8, 2009
BARNES!,..BARNES!....CODE RED!...JB's bring back the dead!.

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Brian mumbles...

Posted April 8, 2009
See? Told ya.

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Chaz reckons...

Posted April 8, 2009
JB look wot U done...

On the plus side it means we can unpack the unlicenced nuclear reatocers and play with the proton packs!!

On another plus it means that Hugos little army will have to play with lots of cuban deadites in Gitmo!

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WalkingShaw ducks in to say...

Posted April 8, 2009
The ghosts of the Disappeared would be scratching their collective heads saying, "I sure as fuck didn't see that coming!"

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted April 8, 2009
Marvelous.

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Moko would have you know...

Posted April 8, 2009
Yeah, I'm with Paul. That was cool.

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Orin puts forth...

Posted April 8, 2009
Necessity is the mother of invention. The father is a deadline.

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lostatlunch reckons...

Posted April 8, 2009
Bucket, Mop and Boomstick ready.

Darkman is prepared for the undead.

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sparty mumbles...

Posted April 8, 2009
now this series is really starting to move up knotch - this next one will be the "Empire" of the trilogy (it is a trilogy right). And make it looonnng. (Stand long).

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savo reckons...

Posted April 8, 2009
Mmmm ...

New and improved

Now with Zombie goodness.

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Abe puts forth...

Posted April 8, 2009
So seeing as how Blunty's up early, do the deadline gods give you a 1 day extension on your book?

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DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted April 8, 2009
Yeah, a trilogy in eleven parts Jordan style. That won't piss ANYONE off. No sirree.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted April 9, 2009
John and I have talked about this but one possible scenario is that the Disappeared show up somewhere else. Philip Jose Farmer provides an excellent example in his novel Riverworld. All of the humans that ever lived are resurrected on a distant planet after the destruction of Earth.

Perhaps that is where the Disappeared go.

Or maybe they end up as Kung Pow Chicken.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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El Coqui ducks in to say...

Posted April 9, 2009
400 millions nude Americans? What they are going to live on?

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Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted April 9, 2009
Good thinking with the Riverworld thing Murph, I'd forgotten about that but was well into it at one time. That sort of thing could be one explanation for the wave, but it would make it into a deliberate act by someone rather than an accident.

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Robert asserts...

Posted April 9, 2009
:::This is an original FILK. For your enjoyment only:::

Maria DeJesus had migrated north as soon as she heard rumors that the Yanquis were returning. She had endured a tortuous route through the former Mexican capital, and north through the lands controlled by a sparse contingent of Federales and lower-tier drug lords. God, that drug war continued unabated as the trade swarmed into Mexico--filling a vacuum. And all on word that Yanquis had returned to El Norte.

Maria had survived and found herself employed in the upscale suburbs of Fort Worth. By day she cleaned the large mansion of a New Authority official and tended his young children, for schools had not yet been organized, and the settlers still had to work long days.

In the evenings, though, Maria was a ghost hunter. Her weapons were a pickup-mounted Honda generator, a bucket of Tide detergent and an athletic sock filled with quarters.

Maria was employed by the New Authority to enter into housing developments and apartment buildings to vanquish all ghosts in preparation for repopulation efforts.

It was easy to find a master key as she drove up to a complex-she would find the janitor's clothing and take the key ring from the belt loop. Then, she'd park outside the laundry room, run extension cords to the wash machines, and fire up the generator. It didn't take long to gather up the first load of clothing left behind by the disappeared. She scooped them into a laundry basket and hauled them to the washroom.

Using the pass key, she would enter each unit, scoop up the remains, always careful to pick up fillings, eyeglasses, watches, pacemakers and artificial hips. Then she would grab up the jewelry and whatever valuable items were on her list. And that list changed daily at her web site. One European had asked her to look for a collection of rare coins that he had tracked to the neighborhoods she worked. That type of thing she didn't bother with-leave it to the safecrackers in the cleaning crew-they would pay her a small percentage to collect the commission. She was a ghost-hunter, not a goddamned escoba!

Back in the laundry room she emptied pockets before washing the clothing. Cash and credit cards were useless, but people would still jack you for them. So she burned these things in a coffee can outside the door. The quarters she kept for the wash machines.

As the machines toiled, she would string clotheslines between trees out by the street. Load by load she would hang the clothing to dry. The immigrants knew a complex was cleaned of ghosts by the clothing hanging in front. And often this wretched refuse would be seen wearing that clothing soon after taking up residence.

Once done, she would drop off the pass key at the New Authority drop box, notifying them to send in that superstition cleaning crew. The same crew that would check Maria's web site for the list of prized items.

On a good night, Maria could clear out 50 or more units, making them ready for the new tenants who even now were on their way from around the globe.

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 9, 2009
But? Why clean the clothing, who would want it? There would be plenty of closets full of clothes that people hadn't died in.

Good point about the fillings and artificial hip joints etc.

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted April 9, 2009
Every story can be improved with Zombies, even JB's stories although they can't be improved by much I will admit.

Thou the Rhino did take them to a new level, sorry Havock.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted April 9, 2009
"Every story can be improved with Zombies...."

Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women?" Yes! MUCH better with Zombies.

Herman Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener" with Zombies! YES! Even deep, considering the title character's own zombie-like behavior.

Marcel Proust's "Remembrances of Things Past?" HUGELY improved with the addition of Zombies!

"...I feel that there is much to be said for the Celtic belief that the souls of those whom we have lost are held captive in some inferior being, in an animal, in a plant, in some inanimate object, and so effectively lost to us until the day (which to many never comes) when we happen to pass by the tree or to obtain possession of the object which forms their prison. Then they start and tremble, they call us by our name, and as soon as we have recognised their voice the spell is broken. We have delivered them: they have overcome death and return to share our life. Hey! What the fuck it that over there? Oh my God! It's a Zombie!..."

Barnes, I've been looking for something like this for a very long time. Thanks!

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted April 9, 2009
Now I'm starting to hang out for the book. Damn.

Paul - Proust with added Zed! Brilliant. What about those Russian writers, like Dostoyevsky?

"It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them ..." what sort of zed baiting is that?

Or "It is not possible to eat me without insisting that I sing praises of my devourer?" Definite zed loving tendencies there from old Fyodor.

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted April 9, 2009
Wordsmith such as yourselves PNB and Therbs breath new life in to dead prose, however let us not forget the recently released Seth Grahame-Smith's novel - 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem'!

available from Amazon (already ordered) -http://www.amazon.com/Pride-Prejudice-Zombies-Classic-Ultraviolent/dp/1594743347.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted April 9, 2009
P&P + Z made it onto ABC RN Breakfast this AM.

I almost cut myself shaving.

All very highbrow discussion of the role of Mash-ups in blah blah blah, but none the less Zed is going mainstream.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted April 9, 2009
Damn it, Barnes! I thought it was an original idea! "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" is perfect - and I didn't think of it first!

Crap. I need a beer.

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Matthew K ducks in to say...

Posted April 9, 2009
Have you all just heard of P&P+zombies? I thought I'd mentioned it here some time back.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted April 10, 2009
No No Mr Kieth, you did mention it and we were all in awe.

I was just suprised that ABC RN carried it. It'd be like BBC 2 reviewing the latest industrial German Pr0n. IE not a bad thing - just a tad suprising.

As for PNB, well you know what California does to a man, he was probably getting his teeth whitened or consulting his lifestyle coach on the day it was brought up.

Just joking Mr. PNB please don't unleash your mighty tort mojo or your legion of flying-monkey paralegals on me.

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted April 10, 2009
"legion of flying-monkey paralegals" -

you have a legion of flying-monkey paralegals PNB?

That's so cool.

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Respond to 'Looking at a May 31 deadline.'

Watched Cloverfield last night...

Posted April 6, 2009 by John Birmingham
... and quite enjoyed it, even though I couldn't really sympathise with any of the characters, except maybe Hud, the doofus with the camera. (HUD, geddit?)

I thought this post Blair Witch use of the handheld cam trope actually worked really well as a story telling device, and I was suitably impressed with the destruction of NYC, having just been there recently.

With Jane away, the kids in bed, the Bose QC3's clamped on tight and a drink in hand, I enjoyed it muchly, but found to my bemusement that although there were any number of horror elements to the piece, the movie never really developed a horror atmos'.

I wonder if it's because of the Gen Y nuffs nuffs who were the story's focus?

34 Responses to ‘Watched Cloverfield last night...’

Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted April 6, 2009
My problem with the movie, though I enjoyed it, stemmed from the implausibility that the Armed Forces would deploy rapidly and with so much concentrated firepower. Virtually within an hour we see enough to equip a division of ground troops.

Given what I know, I find it highly unlikely that the National Guard troops in NYC would have the ordnance needed to deal with Cloverfield. A more likely scenario would have had Hercules Teams from NYPD dealing with the threat (basically SWAT teams). Airstrikes are feasible enough within the span of the story's framework but the rest of it doesn't hold up for me.

The other bit about a sergeant at the triage point knowing about a contingency plan to destroy New York in order to destroy Cloverfield didn't quite pan for me either. Nor did his telling the kids in the story.

I did like the film but mainly as a popcorn rollercoaster ride. After seeing an M-109 blasting away at the creature I stopped trying to make sense of it.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted April 6, 2009
Yeah, I did wonder where all those tanks from. Looked good though.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 6, 2009
I have come to accept, that movies made in America, will undoubted;y have all sorts of shit getting blown up and volumes of fire power being delivered at short notice, no matter where the hell the incident seems to be. THAT, and the spooky bad guys are always willing to wipe a town off the map, eg, CLOVERFIELD, eg, OUTBREAK, eg, Alien V Pred, and almost as close was I am LEGEND.

This has the BIG Monster right, was there also some small scary creatures that attacked people in the subway, or am i thinking of a different movie on that topic. Either way, not bad, just not outstanding, IT was a while ago when I watched it though.

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gmpepprell would have you know...

Posted April 6, 2009
I haven't Seen Cloverfield yet but with types of movies I try not to question things too deeply. It's more about the escapism and entertainment factor.

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted April 6, 2009
go get SHOOTER or TEARS of the SUN. The latter is much better, I am willing to be however JB, that you STILL, have not watched it. Tears of the Sun that is........

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted April 6, 2009
be , should be, BET!

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Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 6, 2009
Shooter is good but then Tears of the Sun it does have Monica Belucci in it (who is the goddess who walks amongst us).

JB you're right very hard to sympathise with screaming Gen Y's our Gen did horror so much better.

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted April 6, 2009
My problem with the movie, though I enjoyed it, stemmed from the implausibility that the Armed Forces would deploy rapidly and with so much concentrated firepower.

Though given the amount of times that New York has been the focal point of alien invasions, perhaps they should keep some hard hitting dudes on standby "just in case".

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted April 6, 2009
Havock, some places in the US desperately need to be vaporized. However, while I once would have included NYC on that list, my opinion of the place has changed since my visit this last February. A city full of incredibly nice people, good food and lively streetlife. Almost but not quite makes up for their political leanings.

In any case, I suspect the government would react to Cloverfield much the same as they did to Katrina.

Very slowly.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Flinthart would have you know...

Posted April 6, 2009
So, Birmo -- in a nutshell: pretty to look at, fun to watch things go boom... but not very engaging.

That would have been my review precisely.

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Guru Bob is gonna tell you...

Posted April 6, 2009
I quite enjoyed it, the Blair Witch POV type stuff worked quite well and it did have a hell of a lot of explodey goodness in it - my favorite scene was the stealth bombers unloading sticks of bombs on downtown NYC. The monster was basically a loud scary looking thing that was pretty much indestructible. As everyone pointed out - lots and lots of ordnance being thrown around at very short notice...

Screaming gen-Y eye candy all around as well..

Did you get to see Quarantine yet?

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 6, 2009
Murph - dude. NYC is a low rank target for destruction.

How many times has Tokyo been destroyed? Godzilla, Mothra . . . and then there's anime.

And the friggin Radio tower is always put up so they can knock it down again.

Gotta love the classics.

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Moko ducks in to say...

Posted April 6, 2009
I liked it. Pretty much as it seems as everyone else. I liked the touch at the end with them on camera on that day out he had while they're on the gondola(?) and in the distance an object drops from the sky and lands in the ocean. Made it click. At the movies you'd felt like you were half way across Bass Strait on the Sydney to Hobart.

I really don't pick to bits the feasibility of an armed response when you've got a huge monster in the same story, ya know?.

I'll pick to bits something TRYING to be factual. Probably excluding things like if the soldier were toting AK-47's or something. Otherwise you may as well be arguing the feasibility for a huge blue bubble of doom turning everyone excluding old mates dog in North America to sludge. It's a story.

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John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted April 6, 2009
Ah Moko, you should train book reviewers.

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 6, 2009
Plus the monster looked suitably Cuthuliod for me. The POV of people stuck in the middle of the monster attack i thought was a great idea. Also considering the armed forces rapid reponse I suspect the monster was extradimensional and arrived here by some experiment on our part. The army was ready to responsed because of the risk the experiment possed.

Wired had a creat post Cloverfield piece on "How To: Stop a 500-Foot Monster (Think Missiles, Not Bombs)" check it out at

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/02/monster-mash-ko.html

also I had absolutely no sympathy for the characters. Not ONE of them had bug_out_bag ready or even a half decent everyday carry (EDC).

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Chaz has opinions thus...

Posted April 6, 2009
Orin LMAO!!!

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BrianC asserts...

Posted April 6, 2009
I dont know, the whole story seemed to be flat to me. I kept waiting for the monster reveal, thinking, OK.. When they reveal the monster, thats when it will get cool. And well it never really did. The monster was a sort of amorphus blob with little or no scaryness apart from its size and aparant invulnrability. The characters where bland and cookie cutter representations of american movie icons, the cheerleader, the jock, the sensative guy, the best friend, the stranger.

What i did like and i think is the best scene in a monster movie for a long long time, was the whole underground/subway into the store and the military scene. Well directed, well scripted. The characters really seemed to come alive in that scene and were more than their cookie cutter backgrounds would lead you to believe.

All in all the movie was meh. If you want a really scary movie. Wait till midnight, and when the kids are in bed and the wife has gone to sleep watch "Event Horzion"

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Chaz reckons...

Posted April 6, 2009
Brian, yep "event horizon' has it's moments esp the revelation that rescue vessels carry tac-missiles!!

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sparty mutters...

Posted April 6, 2009
Loved it. A big dumb monster movie (The movie Godzilla should have been!). What's there not to like?

although I dont like the current trend in Horror movies where EVERYONE dies - I like the idea that someone survives to tell of teh bravery or lack of it of those who didnt make it. Guess Cloverfield is an exception cause the video tape does just that.

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SweetSisterMorphine ducks in to say...

Posted April 6, 2009
I was just fascinated that the main character did not seem to have any unattractive friends. I wondered, at the time of seeing the film, whether he vetted them through some kind of modeling agency or something.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 6, 2009
Bums on seats SIS, its called economics, driven by the CROTCH

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Albion Love Den is gonna tell you...

Posted April 6, 2009
I think reflecting on the movie so long after it premiered may mean it lost a little of its context. Like Blair Witch, the movie was as much about its innovative use of media (including a new direction with social media) to create a buzz and a hype. Only with Blair Witch, there was never an air of deception. This took movie marketing to a level which the Blair Witch project failed dismally (as it was centred on the audience believing the lie even after it was exposed).

Cloverfield never did that. It signposted fairly early on that it was a fabrication, yet allowed the audience to suspend its disbelief and be seduced by it even before it was released.

So the movie wasn't that great? Meh. The movie was a mere side-issue to the skewing of the traditional marketing scenario. Expect marketing of this genre to follow this path in the future, as its engaging an audience much as the old "smack across the face with the billboards and full-page paper ads and impressive 60-sec slots on prime time" campaign is making them limp with apathy.

Now the studios have just got to work out a way to translate LimeWire downloads into revenue... Bwwwahahahaha.

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drej puts forth...

Posted April 6, 2009
"I wonder if its because of the gen-Y nuff nuffs"

Agree, its hard to be sypathetic when they're getting spectacularly wiped out in movies I find.

Ok, Surreptitious Threadjack Warning :

I'm in the big smoke, Brisvegas, next week, want to catch Felafel maybe Friday night.

Any burgers at a loose end and yet to catch it along with a beer and a meal beforehand, by all means let me know. What better way to spend Kevs handout?

Heres lookin' at you Moko, NatV...

Thanks JB

Drej

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Leo euler mutters...

Posted April 6, 2009
I enjoyed the movie. Aside from what's already been said, I also enjoyed the backstory that was explained more on the Internet through viral marketing...apparently, the company that the main character worked for marketed a drink called Slusho. The special ingredient was something called "seabed nectar" which was mined from the ocean. The implication is that they woke the monster while they were mining the stuff. Something like that.

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted April 6, 2009
Well the gen-Y nuff nuffs cop a lot of ridicule (deservedly so some would say) But they're still a much more worthy generation than the baby boomers. Look around at what the boomer generation gave us. Global war, environmental catastrophe and economic penury. Forever. What did Gen Y inflict? Oh yeah, fluoro T-shirts and electro music. Quelle horreur!

Saying that I havnt seen Cloverfield (flick passed it on showtime the other night) but have seen Blair Witch which was both rubbish and pretty good at the same time.

Blackhawk Down was a bit jumpy too IIRC. These three movies all have one thing in common - little in the way of plot and lightly sketched characters. Good for a scene maybe but not necessarily a whole movie.

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TheWah has opinions thus...

Posted April 6, 2009
I thought the rapid deployment of the armed forces stemmed from the fact that they knew it was coming but hushed it up. They created the creature and it got out of hand. I have no idea why I thought that when i watched the movie

The only part i really didn't like was at the end when the creature somehow tip-toed up behind the camera man without him noticing.

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Robert would have you know...

Posted April 7, 2009
WTF, Murph? "some places in the US desperately need to be vaporized." WW wasn't enough for you?

Or, maybe WW was INSPIRED by you. And the Wave was a huge fucking gob of Murphy's Oil Soap.

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Tucker Dwynn puts forth...

Posted April 7, 2009
My problem with the movie, though I enjoyed it, stemmed from the implausibility that the Armed Forces would deploy rapidly and with so much concentrated firepower.

Remember, the film from HUD's perspective happens in clumps.. its not all one shot. So there was more time for troops to get into town.

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AJ Denny is gonna tell you...

Posted April 7, 2009
Didn't care much for the cast of Cloverfield - they seemed to have been grown in the same clone vats as the casts of Felicity and Alias, fitting final episodes for both would have been a nuclear-resistent alien monster coming to make sure no more episodes were beamed into space, the rest of NYC been destroyed so much collateral damage.

At 16 minutes, Cloverfield has what feels like the longest credits in history. I was an idiot and waited, thinking like Dawn of the Dead there was so much time left there was going to be a final twist at the end.

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jennicki asserts...

Posted April 7, 2009
I didn't like Cloverfield at all. I liked the idea of using the handheld cameras ala Blair Witch but thought it was executed poorly. I had high hopes because it was JJ Abrams production, and I am very impressed with his television show Lost.

It was kind of a letdown for me.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted April 7, 2009
Robert, if I had written the novel, I would have only vaporized the East and West Coasts.

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DrYobbo mutters...

Posted April 8, 2009
My problem with the movie, though I enjoyed it, stemmed from the implausibility that the Armed Forces would deploy rapidly and with so much concentrated firepower.

Though given the amount of times that New York has been the focal point of alien invasions, perhaps they should keep some hard hitting dudes on standby “just in case”.

They needed Jean Reno, crappy-newer-Godzilla style. He'd have stubbed a Gauloises out in the bastard's eye (or whatever it had) and kicked its amorphous arse in.

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Rayse mutters...

Posted April 12, 2009
Interested to know if anybody felt slightly sick from watching the movie.

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Boscolamb mutters...

Posted April 15, 2009
I mildly enjoyed the movie, but I hated the handheld 'Blair Witch' camerawork. It makes for cheap, low-budget atmosphere. It was hard to cheer for the characters.

In what reality can one be pulled off of a steel bar (through ones shoulder) and then strenuously run around for another half hour (oh, and survive a helicopter crash)? That chick was pretty tough, eh?

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Respond to 'Watched Cloverfield last night...'

Small Pepsi challenge.

Posted April 1, 2009 by John Birmingham
Just wrote a great scene with Miguel in a Post Wave ghost town. Gave me goose bumps it did, guvnor.

Anyway, if interested y'all can help out with the next little bit and hone your own writing chops in the process.

There's been some previous speculation about the origin and purpose of the wave (beyond its obvious narrative purpose). What I'd like anyone who's interested to do next is to speculate again, except do it in character.

Pick a character, a new one, describe them in a few sentences and then gimme their explanation of the Wave. Keep it very short.

A couple of the best ones will go into the finished copy.

And congrats to Big Bad Al for his good news.

158 Responses to ‘Small Pepsi challenge.’

NBlob asserts...

Posted April 1, 2009
& signed early copy & bragging rights over General H ?

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G mumbles...

Posted April 1, 2009
Are you ever going to pay for all the free copy people post on here. Aren't you a little worried about being sued for essentially plagiarizing others works or do people here just write novels for you while you cash in.

No really because I was wondering if I bought a book you wrote and found a passage in it that corresponded to something I wrote here or on the instrument, I could sue your arse off and your publisher. Because I'm thinking, under the numerouse names I post under on here and the blunty ( some of it brilliant others drunken crap like this )If I'd find some blatant fraud, I'd get a kick out of wiping that smug look of your face by dragging your arse through court.

I say this as a friend of mine once had a song he penned ripped off him by a plastic Gold Coast D grade wanna be once , Sued WON and ruined some almost famous starlets moment.

So I'm thinking If anyone out there has read a passage or two from a JB novel thats very familiar... well you work it out.

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted April 1, 2009
But G, did your friend post his song on the Gold Coast D Grade wannabe's website?

I'm guessing not.

And was the Gold Coast D Grade wannabe married to a lawyer?

I'm still guessing no.

Anyone who posts here knows the score.

Now I'm intrigued as to who you are when you're not being a pissed idiot.

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Guy Roberts puts forth...

Posted April 1, 2009
Here is my effort:

Alexander Francis, 45 years old, Second Secretary of the British Embassy in Washington. Escaped the Wave by having the luck to be at the British Consulate in Seattle for a trade meeting. As the senior surviving British diplomat, he has been appointed as the acting British Ambassador to the United States. He is traditional public school but fairly open-minded with a wry sense of humour.

Francis put down the telephone and turned back to the computer screen in front of him. The resumption of communications with the outside world (via a somewhat precarious satellite uplink via Vancouver) was welcome, of course, but it was causing him as many problems as it solved.

He gulped down the strong tea from the third large mug of the day so far and tried to find the notes he had scribbled to himself the previous day about the estimated numbers of British citizens in the Seattle area.

As the senior surviving British diplomat he had taken charge at the small Consulate even before he had heard from London. He and the small staff had done their best to record the names and contact details of all UK citizens as soon as the scale of the disaster had become clear. Worried relatives in Britain would be desperate for news of their loved ones.

He had been grateful for the work as it distracted him from contemplating the full ghastly scale of what had happened. 400 million dead was the figure most people were quoting. Several hundred thousand of them British. He thanked the God he was not entirely sure existed that his wife and children had flown back to their home in Sussex two weeks earlier so that their sons could go back to school for the new term.

The report he was writing was at the order of the Prime Minister. In person, not through a functionary. As soon as he managed to get the first call though to the Foreign Office in Whitehall he found himself being transferred not to the Permanent Secretary in charge of the Department as he had expected, but to a conference call at No.10 Downing Street where the COBRA emergency committee was in session under the Prime Minister’s chairmanship.

Despite everything, he was amused at the memory of the disjointed conversation that followed. The assembled politicians and senior military officers had assumed that he would be able to tell them exactly what had happened. He had done his best to describe the situation but it quickly became clear that London knew rather more than he did. Still, he felt that he had performed well in front of this unexpected audience and this view was evidently shared by the Prime Minister who informed him that under the circumstances he was to regard himself as the acting Ambassador. Of course that would only become official once there was an American government to whom he could present his credentials.

He hurried to complete the report of the current situation in the Seattle area so that he could rush off to his scheduled meeting with the American officials at City Hall who, like him, were coping as best they could.

Having outlined the latest situation on the ground inside Seattle, Francis now attempted to summarise the latest information about the Wave. Actually “information” was not really the word to use. Most of what he had collected ranged from utterly uninformed speculation through to what looked like the plot of a particularly far-fetched science fiction movie, of the kind he watched in secret. His wife referred to his collection of Doctor Who and Babylon 5 DVDs as the “hidden porn stash”.

He read through what he had written and realised that much of it sounded like technobabble from old Star Trek episodes. “Energy field” was not a term that usually found its way into Foreign Office reports.

Unfortunately most of what was known about the Wave was negative. It was not composed of any kind of energy known to science apparently. It was not susceptible to analysis (or at least attempts to investigate close up had had terminal effects on several researchers) and it was not behaving in accordance with any laws of physics that were understood by the available science specialists.

Of one thing virtually everyone seemed certain. Someone had done this deliberately. It was not a natural phenomenon. This was a weapon of some kind. But if that was the case, where had it come from and who had used it?

The two most popular answers to that question were that it was an act of an angry God (whether of the Christian or Muslim variety) or that Earth was under attack from outer space. Hundreds of religious crazies were on the streets at any one time urging the traumatised population of Seattle to repent and one Canadian that Francis had met at City Hall who was heading back to Vancouver had stroked his beard and muttered that it was all the fault of the “Alien Space Bats”. That was one phrase that would most certainly not be appearing in his report.

Francis decided to put off sending the report until he get back from his meeting. Perhaps he could gather up some quotes from the Americans - then he would at least be able to claim that he was merely reporting current thinking in what passed for the American government, rather than proposing such theories himself.

As he left the consulate building he looked around at the lines of bewildered British tourists and businesspeople queuing up and the larger numbers of Americans, equally bewildered in most cases with many showing the despair of those who have lost close family and friends.

“400 million people” he muttered to himself “and not one of us knows who did it and why”. He blinked as the rain started to fall and hurried into the waiting car. Yes, the more he thought about it he reckoned that the hairy Canadian had got it right. It probably was the Alien Space Bats that had murdered America.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted April 1, 2009
Well, G, the line about the best efforts going into the finished copy precludes being sued since anything offered here is done so with a view to inclusion.

But since you've raised it, lets throw your point out to general discussion.

Would anyone else here prefer that I retreated to the mansion, gave the Bunnies their firing instructions, and, like most authors, had absolutely minimal contact with my readership?

Would you prefer that the books never contained any easter eggs, or in-jokes, or fan sourced shouts outs? For that matter, I could just ditch the idea of having any on-going contact at all.

Cos that'd free up a lot of writing time for me, you know, not having to tend the Burger. I did that once back at jspace. Shut the blog down for a few months to finish Designated Targets, I think. It really helped. I got a lot more done. This little exercise above, for instance. I could write the eight or nine lines of copy I'll eventually use in, lets see, about four minutes. But this thread, if it plays out like most of the others, will consume a couple of hours of my time over the next few days.

Hardly seems worth it really.

And as busy as it is around here, the Burgers themselves are a miniscule percentage of my overall readership. My favourite percentage to be sure, by a long fucking shot. But still micro fractional in terms of units moved. Most people just don't blog.

So maybe G has a point. Maybe it's all a bit risky and pointless and contra-indicated, to use an old Gareth Evans mash up.

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted April 1, 2009
Whoa Guy, that's quite an effort right off the bat, son.

In case anyone is wondering, Guy is not 'G'.

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Abe reckons...

Posted April 1, 2009
I think he had a point with "drunken crap".

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Chaz would have you know...

Posted April 1, 2009
Sorry G but it's time to remove your quite obvious pain, nothing personal just biz. You'll just feel some warmth and sudden pressure to the back of your head, and then the pain will be gone.....

BTW be grateful it's me and not Havock, he'd make you suffer.

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Abe mutters...

Posted April 1, 2009
Agent Frellman had just finished his weekly meeting with Raoul Castro. Secondment to the DGI in Havana was agreeing with Frellman, as it was helping him hone his sausage-making skills in his spare time. When he wasn't chasing down Cayman Island money launderers and rogue credit derivative traders, of course.

"Yessir", he thought, as he hopped into a taxi to go to Chorizo School Number 5 in Luyano, "This is one sweeet posting."

As the taxi rounded onto La Pesquera by the harbour, Frellman looked over his right shoulder and caught a glimpse of the wall of light approaching the coast from the North.

"Man, I've gotta stop smoking those Montecristos Raoul gives me. Either the Yanks have just started World War Three, or Pan Galactic Space Lizard Blarkon has coughed up a furball from hell and it's coming this way."

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Chaz is gonna tell you...

Posted April 1, 2009
Okay...

Andreas van den Berg. Security Contractor

Brents Bar, Freetown, Sierra Leone

The night was warm and humid for a change and the four boys from Cape Town were sitting at a bottle littered with bottles (some empty and some not), cigarette butts and a few packets of ones still to be smoked. They were doing what they did best solving the worlds problems whilst ignoring their own.

“You see man, it’s like my old man used to say it’s God punishing us” Jonas was on his second bottle of local vodka and so had passed through the drunk barrier, his blond hair still at regulation stubble length even 8 years after leaving the army.

“Jonas you’re full of shit. How does God taking out the Americans punish us?” Marco the effete art student from Constancia, who would now happily kill a man for 500 dollars, spoke round his third cigar of the night. “No it was the Russians, some sort of space weapon from the cold war, Saddam paid for them to do it. Eh Willi?”

“Who gives a toss about what happened to those verdammed uitlanders? I just want to get my hands on some loot as soon as the Colonel says the salvage missions a go” Wilhelm was a true Dutch farm boy, although his father had a vineyard and had Willi educated at Witts, there are some things that are not easily bred out

Marco just grinned around the cigar “Don’t give me any of that Vaali shite bro, this is serious stuff. Andreas what do you think?

“Either someone screwed up, or there’s something out there waiting for another shot, if it’s the latter I hope it has a long recharge time otherwise our next jaunt may be very short” replied Andreas, the soldier-philosopher with a masters in political science and five years in the Parabets. His arm pointing at the night sky just visible through the patio doors “Anyhow meenherrs, briefing is at 08:00 so time for one last drink”

He waved at Brent the Canadian who ran the bar for another round, after they arrived each man took his glass and raised it.

“No more hero’s?” said Andreas

‘No more hero’s!” the four boys from Cape Town shouted together before knocking back the alcohol..

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted April 1, 2009
Hmmm, not that Birmingham cannot look after himself G..Man, and I sure as fuck do not speak for anybody else. But please show me where you can get readily available access to good authors, PUBLISHED ONES, that are not complete fucktards, arrogant arseholes, or NOT PUBLISHED,or morally bankrupt or just DEAD SET CUNTS. ( Thats not a word I utilise lightly).

But my good man, it seems to fit with your little burst, I for one would not piss on you if you were alight, perhaps removing your limbs would be good, I cannot do the brain, alas , you seem somewhat bereft of grey matter, you lack it in sufficient quantities to stop dragging your knuckles along the earth surface, Do not fret though, your skin should remain intact, so long as that trail of slime you are emitting continues to contaminate the fuck out of our AO and lubricate your grubby mitts ....Fucking knuckle head.

Unusually legible for someone who is Allegedly pissed.

Personally JB, I'm fine with it, HELL! if I wasn't ,I would have said so. I guess thats the GIVEN here.

We need grid co ordinates!, this one needs BRIGADE LEVEL

NBOB: You could almost MAKE THE LIST with that comment...BASTARD...

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drej is gonna tell you...

Posted April 1, 2009
Thommo and Derek, college freshmen fortunate enough to be vacationing in Alaska when the wave hit.

Thommo, brought up with stories of his grandfathers POW experiences in Japan, brings his own ingrained prejudices to bear when discussing the origins of the wave over a beer and a cone.

"I'm telling you man, its gotta be! Who else'd have not just the means, but the Motive ! ".

Derek looked askance at his mate. Thommo was pretty wasted for sure, but he had to admit, his eyes burned with a fiery conviction, a bloodshot display that outshone even his usual dope-addled demeanour.

"But mate, the japs are our allies now! Not to mention their whole economy is based on us, their biggest customers! Playstations dude! Big motherfuckin plasmas and dvds! Whose gonna take those off their hands in numbers even remotely approaching the needs of the mighty US of A ? "

"Nah, man. It was them. I'm telling you, they don't think like us, and they sure-as-hell never forgave us for winning the war. This is payback time, man. This is payback."

"Riight" Derek aquiesced. "Here man, take another toke".

Short enough?

Huzzah for Big Bad Al !!

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drej mutters...

Posted April 1, 2009
Oh, and G? I worked it out.

You're a fuckwit.

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Oldsinger would have you know...

Posted April 1, 2009
JB- good for you to embrace G's passion instead of fighting it. Your willingness to interact with your fans is what I find best about you. I think your invitation for contributions is worth the risk and frankly, I doubt there is much legal merit to G's argument. I have a secret desire to write, but have no where near the skill and ability that you and your Burgers demonstrate here every day. Instead, I send my occasional meager contribution and hope for some hint of attention from you or other Burgers. When I get a response, my day is made. I also enjoy reading everyone's contributions, Guy for example, and I admire your efforts to do what very few people can well...write.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted April 2, 2009
One should look at the opportunity (and it is an opportunity, never mistake that) as an apprenticeship.

I've been working for Birmo for a few years now. Bits and pieces of my writing have made their way into the books. If Birmo hadn't mentioned it, no one would ever really know (guess perhaps but I'd never have said). But since it is out there and common knowledge, here are my thoughts on this opportunity.

It is a great way to grow as a writer. Yes, Birmo will use the material. But one thing that you will see happen is that the material will be modified to one extent or another. Another thing you will see is how your component meshes into Birmo's. This is something akin to the old apprenticeship-master relationship you would see in the art world. It is also a common practice at Baen's Books, so it has a modern day component.

My experience as Birmo's research assistant and sometimes brief co-writer is that I get to see how a novel is put together from the ground up. I get to see the changes and lastly, I get to polish my own skills. A great deal of what I have learned in my apprenticeship has appeared in my two published stories to date.

So I'd advise against getting a lawyer. I'd also advise against killing the golden goose. Birmo is correct that most writers avoid this level of interaction with their readership for fear of lawsuits and other aggravations. Even the extroverted writers tend to have a policy of, "No, I don't want to read your attempts at writing. No, I do not want you mucking around with my manuscripts. No, I don't want your opinion until the project is finished."

Birmo's the exception and I, for one, appreciate it.

He's also a good man and a friend. I owe him a lot precisely because of opportunities like this one.

The Science Fiction Community has plenty of assholes in it. Do not turn Birmo into another one.

Respects,

S. F. Murphy

Author of The Limb Knitter and Tearing Down Tuesday

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Trinity64 reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
Here is a new one for you John.

I would have a almost cult-type preacher who lives in Whidbey Island( a real town in Washington)who is always warning his flock about the end of days and God's wrath, etc.

The Wave would solidify him as some type of prophet and people would seek and highly pay for his "wisdom".

His name would be "Brother Adam", a man about 45 years old who did go to Seminary but became very disillutioned with the way religion was going(i.e. Mega Churches)and became a bit nutty and started his descent into the apocolyptic preaching.

Or it was a military project gone bad!

Either way!

Hope this is OK.

As always go in love&peace,

Trinity

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Mark R. Whittington mutters...

Posted April 2, 2009
Ok, here goes:

Craig Cram was one of the millions of Americans who had suddenly found themselves exiled when the wave wiped out much of North America. Unlike most of his countrymen, he had initially welcomed the event. Cram had been in London to help organize protests of the impending invasion of Iraq for his organization, People for Peace. America had been the cause of much suffering in the world and its removal would be all for the better as far as Cram was concerned. Mind, he did feel a twinge of regret for the hundreds of millions, some of them family and friends, who had been obliterated. But they had allowed the fascist/corporate government of the United States to wage wars and oppressed people. Perhaps it was some kind of judgment, Cram (who was an atheist) thought.

The initial elation turned first to anger and then despair. The British government, which has always been a stooge of the Americans, had started to crack down, expelling people of Arab descent, squashing dissent. Cram was pretty sure that he was being watched and that the flat he was staying in was bugged.

What decided it for him was the nuclear annihilation of the Middle East by Israel. Then it became all clear for him. He posed his new theory to one of his comrades at dinner, which was a lean affair due to rationing measures.

“It was something Bill Gates did,” he said solemnly.

“What? How do you figure?”

“How is it that of all of the United States, Seattle was the one place that survived. The wave was obviously a plot by the military industrial complex to wipe the slate clean, as it were.”

“Oh come on. Bill Gates can’t even get Windows to run right. Destroy the US?”

“It all makes sense. Most of the US military is overseas. It’ll give them an excuse to seize control and make a real fascist state without even the pretense of democracy. They’ve gotten rid of all of their opposition anyway.” Cram wagged his finger to emphasize his point. “I’ll bet you that Bush and Cheney are in some ‘undisclosed location’ and will reveal themselves any day now.”

“But the wave is still going on. Nobody can go back.”

“I’ll be you that it’ll vanish like magic after a while, maybe a year. The neocons are in on it. They’ve already gotten their stooges in Israel to kill the Arabs. They’ll take the oil and establish an American Empire.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“Britain’s becoming too hot for us. I need to get to Seattle. It’s still a pretty progressive town and I can get in touch with some comrades there. Then we start the resistance.”

This, Cram’s friend silently concluded, was likely for the best. As long as it put Cram on the other side of the world and away from him. The event that destroyed America seemed to have robbed his friend of whatever vestige of sanity he once had. That kind of man was dangerous to have around. And the progressive community in Britain was having enough problems with such a man around.

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Robert is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
Visiting Cheeseburger Gothic, I often wonder the same as G, and in this modern world his or her point is utterly valid, even if stated Blunty, er, I mean, bluntly. Once a lawyer sticks his or her nose into the process of writing, then you'll spend huge amounts of time and lucre fighting off the beast AND you may be forced to curtail future efforts. The risks are ALL yours and your publishers, John, and the rewards go to the lawyers.

Personally, I can do without the Burger references in your books. I find them jarring and disruptive. Take, for instance, the passage in WW where you describe the T-shirt. Yeah, I read enough Burger to know the reference, and I still felt it detracted from the tale. Clever and self-referential? Certainly. An asset to your story? Not at all.

My 2 cents.

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Matthew K mutters...

Posted April 2, 2009
What does Birmo's other half do again?

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Madoc ducks in to say...

Posted April 2, 2009
John,

Destiny. That's what it was; destiny. That's the only thing it could be so, for Alex Cartwright, destiny is what it was. Alex had heard a lot of other explanations and none of them fit. Fit for him at least. Alex knew it was destiny - his destiny, in particular - as "The Wave" had made the future so much clearer for him.

Yes, the millions of people suddenly being snuffed out by the "Effect" and the millions more in the chaos that followed were all regrettable things. But Alex viewed it all as being but part of that destiny. With all those people gone, Alex knew he now had a great opportunity before him. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. Alex knew that the "Wave" / "Effect" / "Energy Field" couldn't last forever and thus would end some day. And when that day came, Alex would be able to fulfill his destiny.

The US was an empty place now. But it was only empty of people and that left all the accumulated wealth there for the taking. No, not for the plundering or seizing. Such a view of the situation was for the small minded and the suckers and Alex was neither of those. Instead, Alex was looking at the suddenly depopulated America as being his opportunity to set himself up with enormous wealth - and do so all legally. That was his destiny.

When the Effect came to an end, Alex was going to head back into the US and begin laying claim to it. Not all of it, but enough of it and enough of the richest and best parts that his life would become that of a powerful and rich man. Alex knew this. He already knew the ins and outs of property forfeiture laws and knew the steps he needed to take to properly lay claim to the "abandoned lands" which now encompassed the entirety of the US and Canada.

With all those millions of fools, suckers, idiots and small minded folk gone - the folk who'd previously gotten in his way throughout his life - Alex would finally have his way clear to achieving that destiny. He knew he deserved great things and if it took the deaths of millions - hundreds of millions in this case - then Alex was fine with that. He wasn't responsible for their deaths so he had no blood on his hands and thus there was no reason for him not to find profit from the situation.

So, while all those small minded fools around him there in Dorado were wailing over all the family members they'd lost in New York and LA, Alex was sitting back in his Puerto Rican resort hotel room and planning for his future. Another effect of the "Event" was the certain elimination of any remaining legal interest in Alex Cartwright. Or more accurately, any remaining legal interest in Jacque Keats, or Karl Cox, or Craig Carter, or any of the other aliases he'd used in his previous attempts at fulfilling his destiny. With such an event as had befallen the rest of the nation and the world, Alex didn't even mind that the mark for his lasting bit of grifting had chickened out. The guy was down in Puerto Rico to conclude the land swap / unregistered bonds deal that he and "Jacque Keats" had been setting up for several weeks. A minor scam, but it was one which had brought Alex out to the seaside resort town just a day before everyone else in the US got moved out of his way. With his mark for the grift drunk in a stupor over his lost wife and family, Alex quickly changed hotels and contented himself with new making new plans for even grander operations.

It was hard for him not to feel elated at the prospects. Yes, it was destiny. His destiny. No other explanation could be possible. Alex knew in his bones that the future was going to be his and it was a bright and rich future. He knew it.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
When Stavros was in Seattle, he stopped for lunch at Roxy’s Diner on 36th Street. As he sat down, he couldn’t help but notice a group of big men in dirty dark blue overalls eating at a table near the back of the diner. The men talked and laughed a little too loud, and every once in a while they would glance over at Stavros.

After Stavros gave his order to the waitress, the biggest of the bunch of guys called the waitress over to their table, pointed at Stavros and said something. The waitress looked over, smiled and nodded. As the waitress walked away, the man got up and walked over to where Stavros was sitting.

“What’s you’re name, soldier boy?” the man asked.

“Stavros.”

“I’m Joe. Me and the boys are grateful for all our men and women in uniform are doing for our country, so lunch is on us – courtesy of the Wave.”

“Thanks, I appreciate it.”

Stavros’ lunch arrived – a Rueben sandwich and sweet potato fries, and it was perfect. Before he left, Stavros walked over to the table of his benefactors.

“Thanks for springing for lunch, but what did you mean?”

“About what?” Joe asked.

“About lunch being courtesy of the Wave?”

Everyone at the table looked at each other and laughed. “The Wave has been very good to me and is proof that God loves me,” Joe said.

“Not just you, asshole,” one of the men said. “God loves janitors.”

“That’s right,” Joe continued. “Since the beginning, God has kept janitors employed. From the Flood to the Black Plague, from the mess on the floor of the Roman Coliseum to the ruins of the Library at Alexandria, Gods always made sure we had something to do. And now the Wave – creating the biggest mess in the history of the world. And who is getting rich because of it? Janitors like me and these guys. We all run salvage companies now, and business is good. It is an endless feast.”

“So you are saying that God did all of this, killed all of those people, burnt all those buildings, to give janitors work?”

“Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. I hope you enjoyed your lunch.”

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Moko mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
I think it would take a decent lawyer to win a case like the one G's proposing.

Everyone's offering a story KNOWING the potential is there for it to be used. Basically, in my mind, you're agreeing for it to be used just sticking it up here. Anyway, what's stopping the Boss from mixing it up so there's nothing more than a sentence in common.

Know SHUSH, gotta back to my Encyclopaedia of AoT.

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Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
This is an April Fools thing - right?

J.

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Moko would have you know...

Posted April 2, 2009
IT's the 2nd here Jane. That makes you the fool, doesn't it?.

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Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
Yeah but it was posted on April the 1st, so it is a fools errand isn't it JB?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
Moko - Let me settle this silly argument: John's terms and conditions are clear; anyone posting prose here automatically grants him a license to use it;

G - Consequently, there is absolutely no risk of a lawsuit stemming from such a use.

If you, on the other hand, reprint any of it without both JB's authorization and the poster's authorization, liability would arguably attach.

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WalkingShaw has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
G = Tool. No, sorry tool's are useful. G = broken tool. Completely f**ing useless. F**k off and go somewhere else, you broken tool. I am sorry JB, my prose is not what it used to be - you will have to do with all the other burgers' contributions. Or maybe G can contribute the reasons for the wave's appearance?

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Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
I blame the waves appearance on Indian curry. Around that time there was an EXPLOSION - 'cuse the pun - in curry houses around central america. Mix the Great Curry Powder Plantation Fire of the century with curry house dysentary, curry reflux, and curry farts and that one particular still afternoon with ZERO (natural) wind and you had the recipe for the disaster that unfolded.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
Yet India was spared?

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted April 2, 2009
I reckon it was a Rogue Pokemon that caused the wave.. Now gotta do a storey, I'm Off

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
G. Meh. This is the internet. Every thing is public content. Thing is - if you don't think of it first and get it down, someone else will.

I don't like your thinking. It restricts freedom of speech and indirectly promotes stuff like DRM. Its Coypright Lawyers thinking. And on the Internet - that's a dirty term.

Personally - I like what Birmo does. A few authors do it for a while and then retreat when the crap meter reads tilt.

I like to think he gets a few laughs out of this blog - even a few bits of inspiration. Lord knows some of us do. This is a good thing. If'n he sprinkles a few burgerisms in his novels - well his priviledge and a generous compliment to the readership.

Get some common sense.

Havock : It was a Pacman, dude.

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shifty-mcgee would have you know...

Posted April 2, 2009
good to see that idiots are alive and well on the internet. I'm pretty sure that "A couple of the best ones will go into the finished copy." makes it very clear what's going to happen.

As those stupid bumper stickers say: Love it or leave.

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Orin ducks in to say...

Posted April 2, 2009
G's general point isn't entirely invalid. I spent most of '92 to 2000 riding herd on the Terry Pratchett USENET groups where Pratchett went from the sort of interaction we get on this blog to a lot more of a guarded approach. As Paul may agree, it isn't whether the cases have merit - but having to deal with bullshit legal cases on a regular basis is going to sap the enthusiasm of even the most fan friendly author. This sort of thing increases as the popularity of the author grows. Not a problem when it was "Who is Terry Pratchett" back when he started on USENET but a bigger problem later on when more people knew what the Discworld was. Unfortunately, as Birmo's readership accelerates, the chances of the 'burger remaining the great place it is diminish (just because the great tide of the unwashed will crash across it like a horde of zombies).

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Leo euler asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
I hope this sounds good to you.

Randy Green: software engineer for Microsoft. Mid-thirties.

Joe: Homeless schizophrenic. Mid-fifties. Hangs around Microsoft campus a lot.

Randy Green was getting off work at his job at Microsoft. It was a great job, all things considered: after everything went crazy, the world's biggest software company was still mostly intact, with no American competetion. The world still bought its software, and it had found a new niche as a government contractor. It was a hot ticket.

As usual, he walked back to his car along the northeast side of campus. It was getting dark, but he could see Joe now. Joe was a homeless derelict from who-knows-where that somehow managed to avoid Microsoft security. The guy was clearly schizophrenic, but Randy enjoyed having someone to talk to as he went back to his car. Lately he had begun feeling bad for the guy; before the Wave, he had been indifferent to the homeless, but the Wave, to its infinitesimally small credit, had given him a desire to help people. Today, Randy had brought Joe a nice chicken sandwich he had purchased at lunch.

"Hey Randy," Joe called out.

"Joe, hello," Randy answered. "How's it going today?"

"Not bad. I had enough time to finish all my projects today." Randy wasn't sure if he was joking, if he really had had something to do, or if he was just out of it, as usual.

"What sorts of projects?"

"I was writing a letter to the President, but I couldn't find a typewriter. I don't think anyone has a typewriter. I looked everywhere."

"Why did you want to write a letter to the President?"

"I wanted to tell him I know how the Wave happened. I need to tell him so he'll get on the TV and tell everyone it's ok. I know how it happened."

"How did you find that out?" Randy asked, playing along for the hell of it.

"They told me," Joe answered. "That first day, I looked at it, and they told me."

He hears voices all the time, Randy thought. "Are you sure it wasn't just all in your head?" he offered.

"I told you I heard them! So many voices. They told me they were sorry. The impact wasn't supposed to happen that way."

"Impact?" Randy began to get more interested.

"Like uh, a pumpkin floating through space. It got squashed when it hit us. It was traveling to another dimension, from another dimension."

"You mean the Wave? What happened to the pumpkin seeds, then?" Randy asked, joking.

Joe looked through him a moment and answered cryptically, "They're children, Randy. We're all children."

Randy was chilled. What could any of this mean? After a moment, though, he shook it off and was filled with compassion for the poor man. Not because of his madness, but because of everyone. Everyone needed to stick together these days, in the face of the far greater madness of the Wave. Aliens, time travelers, some obscene fluke in the universe--how could one person cope?

"Here's a sandwich for you, Joe. I'll see you tomorrow, ok?" Randy said, handing Joe the sandwich and patting him on the shoulder.

"Thanks..." he mumbled, "Say, is this dolphin-free?"

"It's chicken, Joe." Randy started to walk away. He could hear Joe mumbling to himself again, something about chicken farms on the beach. Something that made a lot more sense than the Wave, he admitted.

-Samuel C.

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Sweet Jane Says reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
Terry Pratchett... Is that the guy that did Santa Claus as a pig, a friend of Death?

J.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted April 2, 2009
Orin - G's concern is common among people who know just enough to be frightened, but not enough to realize that what they are afraid of is insubstantial. You're right: anyone can sue over anything. But the risk of anyone being sued because of what is said (or done) here is so low it is hardly worth the calories it would take to think about it. The reason is quite elegant: there is more risk to the plaintiff in such cases than there is to an innocent defendant. Just about every jurisdiction I am aware of awards attorney's fees and costs to a prevailing defendant - and that means that there are defense attorneys like me who are happy to defend against such lawsuits at no expense to their clients because it is the plaintiff who will ultimately pay my fees and all costs associated with the defense.

So far John has demonstrated that he is uncommonly savvy about such risks (believe me, I've been watching). The way he crafted the invitation to submit ideas effectively removed virtually any liability risk.

I agree that, in time, the more charming aspects of this place will very likely be disrupted by morons, and things will become less relaxed and informal - but not because of liability threats.

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Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
Yeah, that's the person. There's something I read about him that was horrible, but I can't remember. I told myself to boycott him. It must have been sexist, racist, or criminal. Geez... Now, I'll have to google.

J.

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
If it gets that bad, then I would simply have a set up like JS had, INVITED FRIENDS ONLY, you know JB would love playing GOD.

I AM, and it ROCKS!

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Orin is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
I'd be interested to hear what you heard SJS. He actually won an award from a British women's literary council for one book early on for Equal Rites (which was a satirical take on Fantasy's whole "Girls are Witches, Boys are Wizards" theme). To say that he's been scathing in his books about attitudes to racism, nationalism, stupidity and capitalism is rather understating the point.

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Orin swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
Havock - that way lies insularity and we wouldn't have the rather unique people turn up who do - just people who already knew people.

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Matthew K mutters...

Posted April 2, 2009
J.: "There’s something I read about him that was horrible, but I can’t remember. I told myself to boycott him."

The only horrible thing about Pratchett is that he's fading from Alzheimer's, boycotting him for that is cruel.

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
ORIN, yeah I know, i did think about that, but came up with no solution other than the ability to make a computer explode at the other end, when you push a certain button.

It might one day get to a point, were JB has no choice, I just hope for all's sake, its a fucking long way off.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
Orin - you did UseNet? Now that's a tough gig.

Still - I take all your points.

Interesting to nut out why this particular 'wave of the unwashed' hasn't happened - yet. I have a hunch Birmo has a Master plan somewhere . . . and Havock. And a pet troll.

Speculations?

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
Julie turned and asked, “pass us another tray of seedlings, Granny”

Granny May paused and stood up after her pick bit into the bitumen, leaving it stuck there in mute testimony to the force which drove it into the hard carpark ground. She walked over to the back of the flatbed and hefted a tray of green shoots. After depositing it at Julie’s side she returned to the pick and readied to resume her work.

“Thanks. Now that Davin found that garden place over in Whitshire, we have enough potting mix and irrigation pipe to replant the whole carpark.

“Which one’s Davin?” Granny asked as her arms swung the iron deep and levelled back, another chuck of concrete flew up.

“The teenager with the shaved head, thinks the wave was God’s wrath”

“Idiot!”

“Why what do you think cause ‘the wave’

Without any hesitation the weathered old woman stated in a blunt, no nonsense tone she reserved usually for those she thought slow, ill informed, lazy or wrong. A significant section of the population in her world “The Patriarchy”

“What, How, the men disappeared as well”

“Didn’t say they didn’t cock it up”

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Lobes reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
Does anyone have a link to the map at the front of the book?

My mum has my copy :-(

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Leo euler swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
"Does anyone have a link to the map at the front of the book?

My mum has my copy :-("

I ought to scan it tomorrow and put it on my website. I can give a link then.

-Samuel C.

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
Cheers Samuel. It would be a great help with the backstory

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AusGaz mutters...

Posted April 2, 2009
Off Topic.

Please check out the following site.

http://www.invadenewzealand.com/

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Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
Oh, geez... It was the guy that did "300." Yeah, Terry Pratchett is having difficulties with Alzheimer's, and working for charities and awareness of the disease. Yep, I hate it when I forget who I'm boycotting.

J.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
Jane, I'm sick and tired of you constantly forgetting who you are boycotting, Henceforth, I will no longer comment on your comments.

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Tarl asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
Brian: "Interesting to nut out why this particular ‘wave of the unwashed’ hasn’t happened - yet"

It hasn't? I count two in this thread alone. Fortunately, they're being laughed at or ignored, but they are doing what they can to screw things up.

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Chaz is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
Paul, want to have a little side bet on that? :)

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MickH ducks in to say...

Posted April 2, 2009
Okay, my effort. This rough now...

Gary Kovak lifted the whisky glass unsteadily off the bar, spilling a little of the goldern fluid and earning a silent frown from the bartender. For three days now since the Event he had been trying to lose himself in a drunk, but it wasn’t working. His emotions swirled around constantly in a chaotic maelstrom, remorse, fear, and guilt the worse. He told himself again that it wasn’t his fault, couldn’t possibly be, but secretly he knew better.

When he saw the images of the wave in the London Pub he was in, networking with the conference crowd after hours, he felt his world drop away. It was his wave.

As a DARPA scientist, he had been working on a particle wave shield, just like they had in Star trek, they had recently made a huge breakthrough in energy transference and had actually managed to create a small shield, under strict test conditions, of about a metre in diameter, but the power consumption had been enormous.

This was his wave, it was identical, but how could that be? He had only been away from the project for a week and there had been no inkling of a full test firing. Even that egotistical bastard Franklin wouldn’t be able to pull something like this off. There had been talk of connecting it up to the experimental fusion reactor but that was so unstable it was unthinkable. But someone had done something and something had gone terribly terribly wrong.

He shook his head again for the hundredth time, wishing for denial, for forgiveness, for something. He knew if he had been there he would have been able to control the more impulsive of his brilliant but unstable band.

Should he come forward with his knowledge that was the question but he knew he was no hero, no they would make him a scapegoat, better wait it out and see what happens.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted April 2, 2009
Paul. Like my efforts at abstaining from cheap alcahol, crap leafy pot & violent lesbian dwarf pornography, my best efforts to ignore the Troll are at times fruitless.

Sometimes I give in to my baser tastes & wallow in my crapulance.

There's nothing more pitiable than a man who can't controll his apetites for things he knows are bad for him.

I accept I have a problem and I am taking steps to, you know, um, st stt, cut back.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted April 2, 2009
oh and for a laugh in the next half hour or so (Now 15:10 Qld Time) click the link.

Mr. Bedak I advise you dont - sadness / envy may result.

http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR083.loop.shtml#skip

How does Dog know I'm on a day off?

*Curses omniscience*

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted April 2, 2009
Toni laid the king down on the board.

“Good game” said Jessamy.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have agreed to play. Chess these days. I find the metaphor disturbs my equilibrium” Toni leaned back in the café’s metal chair looking our over the manicured lawn around the fountain.

Jessamy following his gaze thought its pleasantly free of students. Jessamy being one of those lecturers who harboured the opinion that University would run so much better if they didn’t include students, other than those who post-graduates he had working their collective low paid brains off cranking out papers for him of course.

“Metaphor”?

Toni continued to stare, not seeming to notice the question. “It’s a quieter campus since the wave. Not just less people, but everyone seems constrained, smaller. Wondering if its over or is there another shoe to drop”. His gaze wandered over the rest of the café, the grounds, everywhere but over the table in front of him.

“Everyone’s had a shock, everyone lost someone they knew. Its no wonder society is still trying to deal with it, an explanation for why it happened would help”. Jessemy began setting the board up.

His eyes didn’t move, seeing some landscape beyond the campus around him. His voice dropped and in a conspiratorial hush Toni murmured “No it wouldn’t!” after a long pause and the realisation that he wasn’t going to let off that easily he continued

“It all to do with the observer paradox?”

“You mean that damned cat of Schrödinger's ?”

“Yes alive, dead or some other indeterminate state, randomly poisoned or not depending on the tick of a radioactive nucleus and all in flux until observed. The universe can get away with a lot of fudging to make things work, as long as nothing is watching too closely. Unfortunately along comes sentience. A cyanobacteria couldn’t care less about any cat alive, dead or glowing blue but put a thinking mind into the mix that can see and interact and quantum weirdness starts to peek through. You think those stories of H.P.Lovecraft you read are horrifying because of the unseen, unknowable forces in the outer dark? They are nothing to known inexplicable madness of the fundamental nature of reality. I think the wave was the universes response to being watched. The first response.”

Toni’s eyes flickered over the world before him, but I do not think I saw the same world as he did.

“We’ve stared to long into the abyss”.

With that he turned his head back, looked down at the newly set up pieces and slowly and deliberately pushed them away.

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BrianC would have you know...

Posted April 2, 2009
Copyright Notice: The following materiel is presented FREELY to JOHN BIRMINGHAM for use such as he shall determine. No authorial copyright is implied or reserved. JOHN BIRMINGHAM may at any time use, reproduce or change such content as appears in this post. No remuneration is sought at this time, and no right to remuneration later is reserved. All content regarding “Without Warning” remains the intellectual property of JOHN BIRMINGHAM, and is reproduced here in according to his wishes.

Character Profile

NAME: Damien Shaw

AGE: 48

COLOUR: White

LOCATION: Heading to Wichita Falls Oklahoma

ETHNICITY: Australian / American

MARRIAGE STATUS: Widowed

EDUCATIONAL HISTORY: PHD, Particle Physics (exotic particle manipulation). PHD, Astronomy (High Energy Distant Objects). Masters, Philosophy (Social Group Analysis, Trends and Control)

HOBBIES: Tennis, Motorcycle Riding, Camping, Woodwork, Hunting

CRIMINAL HISTORY: None Appreciable

POLLITCAL AFFILIATION: (pre-wave) Democrat centrist. (post-wave) Centre Right “New America Party”

FAMILY HISTORY: Damien’s parents met when his father was vacationing in Melbourne. Damien’s mother worked in a small pub in Melbourne city just off Lygone St. His mother Sarah, and his father Thomas perused a relationship and soon married, first in Australia, then in America. Thomas was a Mechanical Engineer for Boeing Aeronautics. He instilled into Damien a deep love of both the Outdoors and the world of physics. Damien’s parents shared a loving and long relationship and were still together at the date of the wave first appearance.

At the time of the Wave Damien had been married for 5 years and was experiencing some marriage troubles. At 48 Damien was nearing the end of his research career and the knowledge that this was coming affected his relationship with his wife. She had encouraged Damien to take and offer to teach at the Australian National University, who had offered him a professorship based on his paper on “Complex Quantum Particle Relationships and their effect on Quantum Entanglement Theory” Damien had reluctantly agreed to fly to Canberra Australia to meet with the physics chair at the university. He left the day before the wave.

End pt 1

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BrianC swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
Start PT 2

Copyright Notice: The following materiel is presented FREELY to JOHN BIRMINGHAM for use such as he shall determine. No authorial copyright is implied or reserved. JOHN BIRMINGHAM may at any time use, reproduce or change such content as appears in this post. No remuneration is sought at this time, and no right to remuneration later is reserved. All content regarding “Without Warning” remains the intellectual property of JOHN BIRMINGHAM, and is reproduced here in according to his wishes.

XX Wichita Falls XX

Damien slowed as he approached a wreck, he didn’t stop he never did anymore not unless he needed fuel. This one would have been a doozy he thought, good lawyers work. Head on collision across what looks like 4 lanes of traffic, none dead. At least, not from the Accident. He zipped past it at over 70 miles per hour, refusing to look in the car, not wanting to see the gelatinous remains of the occupants that not even the crows would feed on. When he first seen it he’d been terrified and awed at the being that could this to a whole continent, then he’d been angry at the loss of lie, then finally just sad.

He knew without a doubt, with the fiery passion of faithfully certainly, that a “they” was indeed responsible for this, and he also knew where “they” where. During the event he put his services at the disposal of the physics faculty at the ANU, the Universities staff had access to some of the largest supercomputing facilities in the world, Being so close to the Australian government at a time of massive international crisis and having his credentials, had given him access to technology and satellites that he was pretty sure the Aussies shouldn’t be able to access. The coverage had been effectively total. The information gathered had been essentially zero, apart from a slight distortion in the visible light spectrum the barrier hadn’t even been there as far any test he could dream of determined, he’d seen the photos from New York he new his family was gone, all that kept him together was now was trying to find out why.

That was when he saw it. No-One else had even when he drew their attention to it. A slight fluctuation in the visible light spectrum directly and proportionately above a small town in Oklahoma call Wichita Falls. A town like so many others in the middle America, unremarkable even now, especially now. Except for one thing, while the rest of America and even the world prepared itself to deal with terrible winter that the ecological disaster that was the wave left in its wake. Wichita Falls was getting warmer. Only by a couple of points of a degree, but that warmth was spreading.

That was how Damien knew, that what ever had done this had gone to ground in Wichita Falls, gone underground, probably deep underground, after finishing its meal, after devouring nearly half a billion people, this alien menace had retreated.

Damien had contact all the authorities that where left, the laughable “American” government in Seattle didn’t know what to do with his information; the Australian government was buys dealing with adventurous neighbours, and an overflow of American refuges. All the other world powers had turned inward, or were simply ignoring anything to do with America, the wave or anything else. Taking this time to deal with old debts and insults left to fester.

Damien had traded everything he owned to a ragtag bunch of British and American expats who seemed to have gotten their hands on a luxury yacht, and organised to be dropped off in the gulf of mexico with little more than a 6ft tin boat and a beat up old motorcycle.

That had been weeks ago, and he hadn’t stoped more than a night rest since. Stoping only at old convenience stores, to grab whatever canned food looked safe, grabbing what fuel he could where he could moved onwards to Wichita Falls.

End All

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BrianC mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
So there is my attempt and answer to G's Question

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lostatlunch mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
Stephen Francis Murphy ran past the bodies of the Cheeseburger irregulars, spun around and yelled "Rhino, Havoc To Me!", mustering the last of fanbase. The heavy fire drummed into the concrete wall as Lonesome Jones' troops moved forward and troops poured heavy fire into the walls of the bunker at the rear of decadent Birmingham Estate. The Bunnies were wiring plastic to their shapely bodies, but it would be a futile gesture, they would be gunned down before they made the forward line of the advancing marines. But it would be a sacrifice that they must make out of loyalty to their master.

Julia Duffy screamed for the blood of the renowned author, "after all he has put me through, I want his ass front & centre.." And the general consensus of the troops, was a heavy sanction that would take a period of weeks or months would be an excellent start.

Kohlhammer looked around at the heavy damage taken by the city of Brisbane by his advancing troops, and the loss of life when the wave had settled over Northern America, Einstein was a genius, but had underestimated the effect of transferring the troops forward to 2009, just to get their hands on the imfamous John Birmingham, who had thrust his task force back to 1941, was it worth it to extract a brutal and bloody revenge on one man… Oh yes, this would be sweet.

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lostatlunch mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
If JB needds my twaddle to make a buck, he is very dire trouble indeed &he can have conents of my change jas ... there is about $6 there.

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
Actually, Jane's been fine. Unless you're Mr Pratchett.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
Hughsey may not be.

I just heard on the news 390mm in the last 6 hours.

Well over a foot of rain.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
BrianC - The Man said "keep it short." I kept mine short. Now I feel like a fool.

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BrianC swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
Mine was short.... in two parts. Each one Short.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
Yeah, and my penis is enormous.

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Abe would have you know...

Posted April 2, 2009
LMFAO

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted April 2, 2009
. . . and in two parts?

(chortle)

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lostatlunch has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
Bravo... really... Bravo..

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
"So Barnesm what do you think caused The Wave"?

Barnesm paused in his checking through his bug out bag. "....Zombies dude! It's gotta be zombies."

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted April 2, 2009
Barnes wins.

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Lobes puts forth...

Posted April 2, 2009
As long as we're veering off course I thought this was pretty good:

http://www.amazon.com/Pride-Prejudice-Zombies-Classic-Ultraviolent/dp/1594743347

In a move which makes the very worst of fusion cuisine look tame, an American publisher has decided to combine the latest publishing craze – zombies – with one of the most enduring books ever written.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies "features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action". In an "insanely funny … comedy of manners", Elizabeth "wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead", while dealing with the distractions of "the haughty and arrogant" Mr Darcy.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
All is right with the world. God is in his heaven.

Yep . . . concur. Can I stop thinking about this contest now?

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Bangar mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
"But dude, zombies would leave the brains behind! That's what they crave Braaiins! They wouldn't do that ... unless they're brain dead zombies in control of a top secret military facility that they can't run because they're brain dead. Think about it ... it makes perfect sense."

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sparty puts forth...

Posted April 2, 2009
Nods, shout outs, in jokes - Have clearly been there from the beginning (didn't Ensigns Clancy and Reilly die horrible deaths below deck in the first Axis of Time, and in some small way actually help sell the suspension of disbelief required (energy wave? time warp?) - otherwise you get the more pompous of the technothriller spectrum.

I Bet Setephen King or J K Rowling fans would pay good money to have questions answered or have the author in question actually READ their fan fiction....So I think we are fortunate...

Having said that if Birmo produces a mega selling cult book about the idiosyncratic, politically contradictory, zombie loving nerds who frequent a blog called the "mini sandwich" I think we can queue up and sue the f**k o*t of him;-)

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savo is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
The lights flickers as the big generator cut in, it’s low rumble vibrating the air throughout the compound.

Michael signalled the bar-keep, a burly Welsh woman named Joan, and had some brown alcoholic liquid splashed into the bottom of his glass and that of his drinking companion, Patrick.

"Hoo lang has it bin Paddy?” Mick wondered aloud.

"How long has what been Mick?” replied his well and truly cooked butty.

"Since they squeezed the leprechaun."

"What leprechaun?" asked Paddy look at Mick through his one focusing eye.

"You know,” he nodded to his surrounds. A poorly lit shipping container-cum Rosie-O’Grady’s franchised traditional Irish Pub, plonked down in the middle of New York’s financial district . “The leprechaun that did all this.”

..?” mouth Pat.

"You know it was a leprechaun" sneered Mick

"No I don’t" Mick did his best to sound a prtest.

"Sure you do, what else could do this."

"Mick you’re pissed" Said Paddy as if it was a law.

“No I’m not,” he shook his head emphatically, “… yes I am, but listen to me. There we all were, sure. The whole world of us. We were grieving with the Americans about the twin towers an all the rest. But we were all so scared shiteless of what that fookin nutter Sadam wus goin to do when they attacked. There we were scared, and so we wished, we wished hard that it would all just go away and you know what?" asked Mick

"No, what?" Replied Paddy

"Poof!”

"Poof?”

"Poof. We wished, some dozy prick was squeezing a we fella's arm and we wished. Then come that big red rainbow in the sky and 'poof' they’re gone. And this is what we got, the end of the rainbow" he exclaimed holding out his arms. "And paddy me old son what is it that’s at the end of the rainbow?"

"The pot of gold." Grinned Paddy.

"Aye, but lets just hope Kippers Angry Bastards don’t spring us before we’ve cleaned it out.”

Both men grinned as Joan refilled their glasses with cheap grain alcohol. The low crump shook the few bottle of genuine whiskey on the top shelf as blasting started again on wreckage of the Federal Reserve in beautiful deadtown New York.

Mick 35 year old Belfast labourer, recently from London

Patrick 39 Ulster boy claims no attachment to the Provos

Joan 44 MI6 field operative 20 years service sent to NY, NY to observe “The Caper”

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sparty mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
Lieutenant Colonel Nabrakov of the FSB was a worried man.

Finally they had some boots on the ground. The "What happened" was becoming clearer, the "Why" - not so much, as his corporally challanged opposite numbers would say. He remebered the early gloating quickly followed by the sudden realisation that the many crimes that the United States had commited before the judging eyes of God or Alien Space Bats were ones shared by the Rodina.

He knew he was underpressure for answers now the Wave had lifted. Had ANYTHING survived at Area 51? - he would know soon, in the mean time he would have to make do with another fruitless interrogation session at the facility in Tungusta.....

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
Adrian. Ex public school, slacker, early thirties.

Been globetrotting, hanging out and having a good time since the 1990s. In this time he has picked up a lot of practical skills as well as having improved his proficiency with firearms. A bit dodgy but with a strong moral compass, doesn’t touch hard drugs but does he or his mates let inconvenient drug laws get in the way of making a buck by smuggling hashish. We find him and his dope smuggling friends at home in Spain.

As the shadows lengthened and the foothills of the sierra shone purple in the gloaming the four of them were sitting out the back of Karsten’s house on an assortment of plastic garden furniture arranged on the pati. Having lit the smoky anti mossie candle Adrian sat back gingerly on a wobbly plastic chair and used the clipper lighter to lever the top off the long frosty green bottle of Czech pilsner with a pop and put his boots up on a wooden cable spool that served as table. Karsten reached over, plucked the lighter from his hand with a dusty, calloused paw and used it to spark up his joint.

“So Adrian” he asked, “What does this professor on television say?”

“Well I didn’t see all of it, but I’d just changed over to Newsnight on the BBC – I’ve got satellite you know? Anyhow, he said it was America’s being a high tech country and it’s being so big that attracted the attention of… whatever it was. It could also have been all the US TV being broadcast around the world and into outer space.”

“No, Saddam it was.” Said Heike from her perch on Karsten’s lap, lifting the joint from his fingers and raising it to her lips.

“As if!” Snorted Adrian, “All he has is load of old Soviet V2 copies and maybe some crude nukes, that’s Second World War technology. What killed the US is War of the Worlds technology, far beyond anything on Earth!”

Antonio pushed the peak of his baseball cap up with the mouth of his bottle and leant forward to rest his fists on his brown, grubby knees a spliff in one and his beer in the other, “Maybe it was god eh? Many people are thinking this now.” He said looking into Adrian’s eyes.

Adrian eyed him back with a sidelong look as he took a swig. “Come on Tonio! You know better than that, that’s just their religious upbringing talking. They’ve been indoctrinated at an early age and they’re looking for an answer they can understand.”

“Or maybe it was, like the insurance companies say, an act of god”, continued Antonio unabashed, “just coincidence and America is unlucky.”

“No man, too much of a coincidence that the worlds most powerful nation should be hit by this, this… effect at this time. And look, it only killed the dominant life forms – people, America was targeted, precisely, like a sniper does. It’s external intervention by someone, but the thing is, my point is, we can only guess who that someone is and what their motivations are, we’ll never know. Likely they’re too alien for us to ever understand or empathise with their motivations anyway.”

“And also they are maybe too clever for us to know this, hmm?” said Karsten.

“For sure” nodded Adrian, “I mean how much do wild animals understand when we cull them”.

Heike shivered and clutched her bare brown arms, “Is this war of the worlds like Hitler’s blitzkrieg? Do you think they invade us now?”

“No. If they were going to they would have done it by now, when the wave was up.”

“So? Why then?” demanded Heike, “All those people, not all the ‘Amis’ were fascists, there were many cool people too. Now all are dead! Good and bad the same, and we wait here for, for what?” She sank back into Karsten’s arms, their chair creaked and there was silence apart from the shrill racket of a “grillo” making it’s sizzling drone in the bushes.

“Maybe… it was even a sort of coincidence” ventured Adrian hesitantly, the others turned to look at him, white eyes in tanned faces amidst the gathering gloom, “I mean maybe it was like, sort of an alien cruise missile, left over from some long ago war and it stumbled on Earth and… did what it was programmed to do. In every war there are stray rounds and maybe this was one.” A faint warm breeze stirred the hairs on his arm as the navy blue sky turned to black as the cicadas cheeped like mobile ringtones.

“Ach man! This is fantasy, this is Star Trek, oder wass?” spluttered Karsten, “There was no missile seen.”

“It wouldn’t be literally a missile, it’d be something much more advanced. Think about it; only humans killed, one shot but no follow up - it’s a theory that fits the facts. I mean, yeah it’s like science fiction but we’re living in a sci-fi world all of a sudden.” Seeing the others were silent, Adrian pressed his advantage.

“Look, it was nobodies fault, if America was hit by the equivalent of a stray missile from someone else’s fight. But in reality? I don’t believe there’s anyone going to turn up to blame or to fight, not god nor whoever fired that shot – they’re probably a very long way away and a very long time dead.

But we’re talking about what has happened, past tense. We should be concentrating on what’s going to happen next – America is safe to enter - we should go west.”

“What is?” “Que? Go where?” Interjected Karsten and Antonio at the same time.

“I think, we should get out of doing hash runs, get our funds together and go into the American salvage business – we’ve got some expertise. Karsten, you served an engineering apprenticeship and both you and Tonio did your military service and we can all of us drive anything and keep it running and we’re none of us scared of roughing it. There’s a whole continent to be had! More salvage than the surviving Yanks and the US Army can handle, so long as we remember it’s still their country don’t pick any fights with them I reckon they’d let us be, and we’ve picked enough fights with uniforms in our time.”

Heike leant forward and carefully stubbed the fag end of her joint out into the ashtray, “All these people and even their children are dead and you think we should go and rob their graves Adrian?”

“Yes, all those people are dead and gone, it’s awful but it’s not our fault. Life must go on, it has to. They need new pioneers over there and we can make our fortunes, if we work hard and move fast we could be millionaires! It’s still the land of opportunity.”

They talked and planned into the night under the cold, indifferent light of the stars above

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Matthew K reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
Oops, much longer than I meant that to be, intended to shorten it. Forgive the poor punctuation and spelling.

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Leo euler reckons...

Posted April 3, 2009
Here is the link to the map from the book:

http://mypage.iu.edu/~samdchap/images/Without%20Warning%20Map%20Large.jpg

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Trinity64 mumbles...

Posted April 3, 2009
Ok,I have the perfect idea of how the wave started:

Two geeky scientist one male the other female were haveing sex in the lab and the hit sme buttons on a panel which started a chain reaction and viola"the Wave".

See, brillant.

Oh, and if you are wondering,the lady did get her "O"!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 3, 2009
Look, I've written an entire WW inspired novella set in an alternate universe that is exactly like this one except that the big toe did not evolve. It turns out human history would be quite different if everyone only had eight toes.

My point is that I could post entire chapters here from my novella, but I don't, and why? Because the Man said "keep it short" and, as an attorney, I am all about rules.

I am also all about short attention spans. I don't read the long ones, so BrianC and Matt, I have no idea what your entries are about. And that's why Barnes wins - his was shortest. Zombies, dude. I am utterly satisfied with that explanation.

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El Coqui is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2009
The Heaviest Duty

By Jose J. Clavell

Aboard an E4B Airborne Command Post

Over the Pacific Ocean

Twenty Minutes Post Wave

Lieutenant General Jessica Stone, USAF turned off with trembling hands the monitor that had showed views of the empty command center deep under Colorado Mountains. The site for the Air Force Planetary Defense Command had been built at the same time that the better known NORAD command post. However, it was constructed using techniques that even the most casual observer would have identified of at least centuries ahead of anyone else, making it almost invulnerable to any known or foresaw terrestrial designed nuclear weapons.

For all the protection that it had offered its occupants when the Ramellian beam hit, it might as well being built of canvas cloth.

Of course, the cold blooded bastards had only gotten one shot in their quest to destroy the allied Andermani base on Dreamland before the moon based batteries have blown them away to kingdom come. However and sadly, the generated field in an instant had wiped out all higher intelligent life in large portions of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico and Cuba. Worse, it seems strangely persistent, a fact that was discovered after one of the orbital fighters attempted a high speed, high altitude flyby.

With all or most of her family gone, Stone felt devastated. Her youngest daughter Jossie assigned to the Moon outpost and her son Gabriel on the way to the Mars with the Military Expedition were certainly doomed to a slow death. Doomed, because all the support facilities located in Colorado and the Nevada desert that provided their logistical lifelines now stood empty, bereft of any living personnel and due to the force field out of bounds to anyone else.

Stone opened her desk drawer and looked down at the issue sidearm on her survival vest and felt tempted to use it. But quickly put the thought aside and close it, because the planet still needed to be defended until the Coalition rallied and replied to the attack. The irony was that perhaps for the final time, the United States had saved the world and the ungrateful masses were likely to celebrate its demise. Only her devotion to duty and her oaths prevented her from telling everyone to go to hell and left her grieve on peace.

But, like the Japanese saying goes ‘Duty was heavy as a mountain’ and with a deep sigh, activated the intercom.

“Captain Stevens, let’s check the status of our forces, please.”

Perhaps, later when her duty was finally discharged, she will allow herself to join her loved ones.

***30***

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Leo euler swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 3, 2009
I posted a link to the WW map about an hour ago, but it looks like the link was taken down...was that a glitch, or did I break copyright? (I apologize if it was the latter)

-Samuel C.

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Leo euler would have you know...

Posted April 3, 2009
My map link post just showed up when I posted my last message...weird...ok never mind.

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Matthew K would have you know...

Posted April 3, 2009
Yes sorry Paul. Like I said, I intended to shorten it.

I posted by mistake basically.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted April 3, 2009
Okay. We've all done that - like the time I babbled on and on about one of my old girlfriends. I posted that utterly by mistake - and at great personal cost.

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Matthew K mutters...

Posted April 3, 2009
Ouch, sounds like you got a right grilling.

I was just trying my little idea on for size and I reflexively hit the Add your Comment button. I really don't know why I did that, it was like my hand had a mind of it's own.

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Robert has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2009
Hey, Brian C--Nice copyright notice, although it does not address the source of the material.

Is that 100% original work? Or is it based on something you read? Maybe you saw it on TV? Maybe you lifted it from someone else's fanfic. You are asking Birmo to take it on face value that you didn't crib it.

That said, Birmo's been around the track enough to know the ropes for dealing with the public.

For the sake of discussion, and in the interest of exploring the business of professional writing, this has been an interesting topic.

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BrianC ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
@Paul for Fucks sake give it a rest. "Short" is relative term. For me my post was short.

I and the others here are just trying to flex our writting chops and be part of a universe that we like. Its not about _you_ its about Birmo's world and our vision of what happened. Its a bit of fun. I know my writting sucks, i dont expect to get in the book, but then again i dont expect to get shit from random guy on the internet either.

Please dont reply to this here. If you want a barny go to my blog and have at me there

@Robert. I thought that the line about Without Warning was refrence to Orgin, meh its been years since i did my copyright information course, and even then it was mainly in refrence to Electronic media. Still probably explains why i had to take that test 3 times.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2009
I was kidding. Really. I'm told the term for it is "taking the piss" although I cringe at the visual images that phrase engenders. Just to make sure to avoid further unfortunate misunderstandings, please be assured that, despite my claims above, I did not really write a novella inspired by WW where the human race evolved with only eight toes.

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Abe puts forth...

Posted April 3, 2009
Hehehe still LMAO....

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lostatlunch is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2009
G has fuckoffskied & not fought back.. Unusual for most trolls. Even I offer a return salvo under a tactical retreat

I wonder if he did not like the warm hugs he received.

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WalkingShaw has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2009
Darkman - G was a useless tool - now just weak as piss! Stupid nuff nuff - will return under another guise no doubt.

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Brian puts forth...

Posted April 3, 2009
G : Drive by poster. Meh. Just another door to door salesman. A minion of Zed. Or was he SJS? Hmm . . .

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
I could've sworn he had an Aussie accent, though.

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WalkingShaw would have you know...

Posted April 3, 2009
For someone who was "drunk", G sure posted his spray early in the night - couldn't possibly be an Aussie - we are made of much firmer stuff than that!

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Brian reckons...

Posted April 3, 2009
Abe : He mentioned the Gold Coast. Could have been an out of work toolie I suppose. Then . . .highest concentration of Kiwis outside of Auckland I understand - the Gold Coast.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted April 3, 2009
I know I'm outside the rules Boss, but bear with me.

-----------------------------------------------------

204f braked against the gravity of a large yellow star. If a simple robot could, it would have been bored spit-less, but as this was its purpose in existing it just did its job with a minimum of fuss.

As per routine it had been scanning all of the candidates as it streaked in from the Oort cloud. Gravitometers had picked out the third & fourth as potential candidates. It was the third that held the appeal. It actually looked like it fitted all parameters. It was emitting RF signals in a coherent form. That indicated at least semi intelligent life, but that could and in the past had been easily rectified.

As 204f had 400+ times already, it squirted a message to its Masters and laid a course to intercept. As it approached it identified 3 major areas of RF emission traffic it flipped a metaphorical coin and headed for one at random. As it punched through the atmosphere it sipped and tasted – Oxygen was .3 of 1 percent higher than optimum and Argon was 2% low but again it was acceptable – 204f’s masters could augment supply if required.

Massing less than a kilogram and travelling at less than a kilometre per second it effected an acceptable landing only a few meters north of its aim point.

204f then deployed its defensive shield at a specific frequency that would render anything with higher order intelligence to the equivalent of hog fat and set to its work. It sampled the substrate and atmosphere at ground level and monitored radiation levels for a full circuit around the star watching for any surprising variance.

After the full circuit 204f deactivated its defensive shield and launched itself back into space. As it cleared the fifth satellite it messaged its conclusions to its Masters; the third satellite entirely appropriate for colonisation.

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WalkingShaw is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2009
Brian - you are onto something! Explains why he was drunk so early!

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El Coqui mumbles...

Posted April 3, 2009
Guys:

Any comments in our stories?

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 3, 2009
Ben : Probably explains the scarcity of sheep in the area.

NWB : Nice one. I'm envious of how you guys can punch these out. I'm still thinking about the Vatican.

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WalkingShaw has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2009
Oops... Sorry El Coqui.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2009
I'm drzzling Sweetened condensed milk all over my Mr Singh story at the miniburger - see if that gets it some "action."

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Brian mutters...

Posted April 3, 2009
Jose : Once again a bang-up job. Not a bad idea actually - for all intents and purposes the Wave remains a mystery. And your story allows a later spinoff into hard Sci-Fi (or Scy-Fy as some twerps are doing) series.

NWB : Same deal with your robotic probe.

Hmm . . .up to Birmo.

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JP asserts...

Posted April 3, 2009
Does this go for me too?

Unfortunately WW is still on my reading pile (deliberately, while I've got my own teenage post-apoc thing with out with pubs), but I'd be interested to see a press conference with unknown soccer mom Sarah Palin explaining how it was God's work for purging what was clearly a nation headed in the wrong direction or some such.

Or, love to see a guy going through the landscape, a man with no name figure, a passage reminiscent of McCarthy's Judge Holden who in the epilogue of BLOOD MERIDIAN is wandering the landscape striking fire into (or out of) the ground.

The epilogue is only half a page long. It begins, “In the dawn there is a man

progressing over the plain by means of holes which he is making in the ground. He

uses an implement with two handles and he chucks it into the hole and he enkindles

the stone in the hole with his steel hole by hole striking the fire out of the rock

which God has put there” (337). Harold Bloom reads the fire in this mysterious

Epilogue as Promethean. Prompted by Peter Josyph to consider this action as “a

process of digging holes, of setting dynamite to build a fence: the closing in of the

West,” Bloom responds:

"No, no, no, that’s a very bad interpretation. That two-handed implement is, as I

say, doing one thing and one thing only: it is striking fire which has been put into

the rock, clearly a Promethean motif, and he is clearly contrasted with creatures

who are either goulish human beings, if they are human beings, or already

are, in fact, shades, looking for bones for whatever nourishment that might bring

about…. I cannot see that as any kind of allegory of anything that has happened

to the American West."

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Matthew K mumbles...

Posted April 3, 2009
Whatever the final explanation for the wave is it will lead to "hard Sci-Fi", JB has designed that in from the start.

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2009
Thanks for that map Leo Euler. I wanted to write something set in NW Oregon. Am I right in thinking it may just be outside the wave? Looks like it could be

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Brian asserts...

Posted April 3, 2009
MattK : 'Head-desk.'

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sibeen puts forth...

Posted April 3, 2009
The hub-bub outside the conference room went up a notch and as Major Gen Gillespie raised his head Howard strode into the room. He was surrounded by his latest fancy, a phalanx of ex secret service personnel all with the obligitory dark suits and dark sunglasses. He’d picked them up scattered around the globe and offered them work in his special protection detail. Gilespie had heard mutterings that the Australian Federal Police weren’t over the moon with the stuation, but Howard had becomea law unto himself in the last few months.

The scurrying of the uniformed technicians and junior officers ceased as the PM strode towards the table.

“General, I want to know what the hell is going on and when I’m going to get some answers about what has caused the situation”

Gillespie stood and saluted. “err, sorry prime Minister, but we weren’t due to start for another few hours”, he waved his arms to indicate the mess of communication equipment and cables that were strewn around the area.

“Something else has come up, General and I need some information immediately. Have you any bloody theories on what has caused this thing”

“Fucking rodent” thought Gillespie, he knew this wasn’t to start till later. “I’m sorry Mr Prime Minister, but as you can see none of the science staff are here yet” he said indicating the room.

“And what would they be telling me if they were in the room, General?” was the reply, his eyes glowering under prominent eyebrows.

“I’m not sure that they’d really give you an answer, Sir” Gillespie shrugged, “I really don’t think anyone has much of a clue”

Out of the corner of his eye the PM noticed one of the communication techs glance up and then look away quickly. He turned a glare on him and demanded, “well, do you have any idea?”

The Corporal glanced at Gillepsie who nodded his assent. The tech stood to attention and faced Howard.

“Err, Corporal Danson, Sir. I think that it was an experiment that went wrong, basically it was self inflicted by the US. If you look at the extent of the wave you can see that it is centered somewhere in northwestern Texas.”

“Jesus, you’re not one of those Roswell, Area 51 nutters are you” the PM spat.

“No… no, Sir. Roswell is in New Mexico. The yanks started building a ssuperconducting super collider a few years ago and then the project was abandoned. I think some black type operations then used the tunnels for other reasons. It all adds up. I just think it was one big cluster fuck, if you’ll pardon my french, Sir”

The PM looked across at Gillespie who just opened his hands palm up. “It’s as good as I’ve heard and better than most” he replied, “at least there is no little green men involved.”

The PM turned on his heel and followed by his security detachment and sundry hangers on, stomped from the room.

Gillespie turned and looked at Danson, “god save me from signal fucking Corporals” he muttered.

“Hey, General, you were an ex-digger, I knew you’d understand” Danson cheekily replied.

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Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2009
Why do you say that Brian?

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2009
Matt : That was me - head hitting desk. Short hand - 'head-desk'. I missed the bleeding obvious again. Happens when I'm thinking about stories.

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Sweet Jane Says mumbles...

Posted April 3, 2009
One must make mention of Sir Pratchett or zombies to receive a positive response.

J.

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Matthew K mumbles...

Posted April 3, 2009
That would be Sir Terry - I'm a fan, (Small Gods is my favourite). Zombies - not so much.

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Leo euler ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
"Thanks for that map Leo Euler. I wanted to write something set in NW Oregon. Am I right in thinking it may just be outside the wave? Looks like it could be"

Yes, the northern border of Oregon is that river.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 3, 2009
It seemed that half the nutbags and fruitbars who had survived the Wave considered First Lady Barb Kipper a back channel to the President. As a result her secret service security detail had to wade through more bizarre mail directed her way than to anyone else in the reformed executive. She wondered if Eleanor Roosevelt or the other Barbara – wife of George Bush had been a target for this kind of crap.

“Just one of the joys” muttered Smithers her Personal Assistant. “You’ll probably want to reply to this one,” he continued “It’s from one of your old neighbors.”

“Christ, not Mrs Heinemann again” prayed Barb as she gingerly took the letter from Smithers. The spiky script in ballpoint was not encouraging.

29 Deerford Drive

Seattle

Washington.

Dear Barb,

Just brief notes to say thank you for your kindness.

I understand that you interceded on my behalf to get my medication fast tracked and in turn got me out of that awful cell. Your kindness despite the unfortunate incident with the President is testimony to the goodness in your heart.

My doctor says that so long as I continue taking my meds and attending therapy sessions, the voices shouldn’t bother me and I wont pose a risk to others or myself again.

However I feel I need to tell you, so you can tell the President, how it is I may have came to open the hellmouth. You see I alone have special powers to communicate with the ancient ones – modern religions have referred to them as God and the Devil, but I know them as the ancients. They are being of pure energy who exist between physical planes. I am blessed with the capacity to speak with them and unfortunately on 14th March I believe offended them. They have limited access to our temporal realm through portals where lay lines converge. On the 14th I was cursing them and the way they complicate my life when two of the most powerful ancients emerged and caused the horrible deaths behind the wave. I generated a force field to contain them then hid from them for a year as they raged behind the Wave I created. Eventually I accepted my responsibility and banished them back to their plane of existence. Thus I was able to relax the Wave and here we are.

I hope Suzie is well and hope you’ll visit soon.

Peace

Jane.

Barb let the letter slip from her hands as a cold shiver ran up her spine.

“There but for the grace of god” she thought.

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BrianC swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 3, 2009
Bob

I like it.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted April 3, 2009
I liked it because it was short.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2009
Just kidding. I liked it because it rocked. And because it was short.

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted April 3, 2009
The Lord giveth...

The massive pan-dimensional being slowly drifted through this new solar system, absorbing the radiation being put out by the yellow star through pores on its membranous skin. As it approached the star the accumulation of radiation started to set in motion a number of internal processes.

After millions of years floating between star systems at an incredibly slow rate, the being luxuriated in the feast that it was enjoying. However the effect of the massive meal of radiation that it was absorbing acted as an enormous laxative on it.

The being was effectively invisible to all of the instruments pointed its way from the 3rd planet in this system, so its inhabitants didn't see the massive sphincter in its rear open and it ejected a whirling cloud of fecal matter in another universe. Caught in the gravity well of the planet the invisible mass headed downwards towards the blinking lights of the continents below.

Time had no meaning or relevance to the being as it enjoyed the sensation of expelling its fecal matter into the void and it started to repeat the process. .

The being's pleasure increased as it ejected another pan-dimensional shit from itself, and squirted the swirling mass into the vacuum on its way into the gravity well of the planet below.

This one would take another twelve months before it reached its destination...

In the meantime the being continued on its way, gorging itself on the radiation it needed to survive another millenium in the cold vacuum between the stars. Oblivious to the effect that its passing was about to have upon anotther species and its world.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
GB : I got to say it. It looks like the real shit to me.

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savo mumbles...

Posted April 3, 2009
Enough with the excuses JP write something (even an AoT one would be neat) Hell, even SJS wrote one for this Pepsi Challenge!

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DrYobbo asserts...

Posted April 3, 2009
[It’s late and it’s long - as World of Bollocks regulars would recognise brevity ain’t my strong suit - and it reeks of Strayanisms - and too many hyphens - but here goes. Hopefully the characters will explainify themselves as we go.]

David Lawrence had lost a few things in the two years since the Great Stellar Shitfight. Four kilos. A bunch of friends. His sense of humour. His job. Stood to reason - come crisis time, governments spend pragmatically on stuff that protects their interests, i.e. explodey goodness, bread and circuses, rather than the discretionary items, the fluffy stuff that gives warm fuzzies to swinging voters. Like spending money on basic research. Research into advanced weapons tech, alternative energy, GM crops or any other applied, targeted, outcome-based, synergy-leveraging, low-hanging-fruit-picking, buzzword-soaked technowank which might dig the big wide flat brown land out of the overpopulated refugee-camp mentality it’d become mired in? Thumbs up. Blue skies curiosity-driven stuff? GTFO. As Lawrence had been forced to do, once the ARC had been wound up as a luxury the nation couldn’t afford and the funds originally contracted to, f’rinstance, research into evolutionary biology rediverted to explodey goodness, bread and circuses.

Lawrence had, however, gained in other areas. Primarily in the area of a horrendous slice off the tee which no matter of stance adjustment, amateur swing-doctoring or inventive swearing was going to fix. He nudged another fifty-cent Kmart ball away from the pile and addressed it distrustfully. Loose. Swing through it. Let the club do the work. The club was a whizz-bang Titleist competition driver with more shiny movable parts than a Hollywood starlet’s face. Of course, now that much of the nation’s golf courses had been repossessed for growing food to feed the unwashed masses, it was worth about as much as the load of balls at Lawrence’s feet. And a load of balls was all that the techo whizzbangery from the Titleist R&D labs (presumably now a pile of rubble somewhere in the US Midwest) was worth, seeing as though no matter of tinkering, fiddling and general arsing about with the movable weightings and reclinable toggleblurters made the fucker go in anything resembling a straight line. Not that it mattered much out here. It wasn’t exactly the 18th at Huntingdale, Lawrence reminded himself, the low rock-strewn hummock rising slightly over the remainder of the roughly-rehabilitated ground that had, a generation ago, been Blackwater Mining’s first productive coal seam. Two hundred yards away, a mangled Give Way sign, salvaged from a losing argument with a Caterpillar B797 on one of the service roads - B797s won most arguments they entered into - had been javelined into the churned earth as a makeshift pin. Even opening his stance up like that still-astonishing footage of Shiv Chanderpaul facing Warnie front-on a couple of years back (international test cricket having gone the way of basic science research in terms of non-essential distractions) he still couldn’t get within cooee of the bastard.

Why the chordates? Why only the chordates? How the fuck does that work?

He hated when he started thinking like this. He hated being reminded that he was wrong. That there wasn’t always solid, logical, experimentally-derived, peer-reviewed explanations for everything. There used to be. He could defend the scientific nature of the universe to anyone. He used to shake his head in mild derision of the creationists, fundies, whackjobs and nutbars who needed deities, fairies, superstitions or Great Spaghetti Monsters to explain the world around them. Lawrence’s universe was explainable by observable, testable phenomena. That was what made him good at what he did. Not stellar, not Nobel-winning job-for-life rock-star status - not like Alex, who’d been marked for greatness since day one, when they’d first met as proto-PhD-peons at USyd - but pretty bloody decent nonetheless.

Not just vertebrates, but everything with a spinal cord. What’s doing there? What’s the mechanism, for Christ’s sake?

Waste of time, he reminded himself. Plenty of minds sharper than his had chewed the problem to a pulpy husk, to less than bugger-all resolution. Which, as things always goes, only gave the spotlight to the fundies, whackjobs and nutbars who pedalled a range of supernatural bollocks to a credulous public, anything from God’s visitation for legalising gay marriage to the antimatter-fuelled outer space bodily eructations of ginormous outer space aliens from outer space. There had to be a proper explanation. There was a proper explanation. But Dave Lawrence didn’t have it. What he had was half a bottle of paint-stripper Mudgee mud - even crap wine was over the odds on price these days, but red kept better than beer on field trips - a bucket of balls, an oversized driver and a headache.

Bizarre bloody way to pick off an entire phylogenetic lineage. The only lineage that could have formed intelligent life, in point of fact. Almost like...

Shank. He’d tensed up as he’d hit through the ball, grimacing against the obvious conclusion. No. Bollocks to that. Not the ‘intelligent life deleting other potential intelligent life prior to invasion’ argument. There were enough muppets pedalling that shite already. Straight from the realms of bad sci-fi - any moment now the ghost of L.Ron Hubbard was likely to rock up with an army of Thetans riding shottie - and besides, if you’re trying to wipe out all forms of intelligent life with the potential to self-aggregate into higher social structures, why start with the Red States?

It’s the arthropods, the insects and shite. They’ve never forgiven us for out-evolving them, the bastards. It’s probably those big fuck-off bug monsters from Starship Troopers. Where the fuck’s Doogie Howser when he’s needed?

He hadn’t quite lost his sense of humour. Which was an achievement, considering what else he’d lost. Alex had taken up a senior postdoc position in Nobel laureate Marlon Weissner’s developmental biology lab at UC Berkeley in January of ’03. He’d booked flights to go over and see her - technically it was to go to a conference and talk to a bunch of lab heads in the Bay Area about job prospects, but he knew what the dull, monotonous ache in his chest meant. Either coronary heart disease, or he missed her a hell of a lot more than would have been suggested by the last-summer-holiday origins of her pre-departure fling with him - an inevitable pressure release that apparently Stevie Wonder could have seen, according to that standby of gossip rags, Friends Close To The Couple. The ensuing two years without her, much of which had been dominated by the same dull ache in his chest, had pretty much backed up his original hunch. ‘Tis better to have what now? No it isn’t. You can fuck right off.

Stay loose, swing through, let go.

Let go. If only he fucking could. And knowing his luck, letting go would just mean losing his grip and hurling Munter’s driver halfway to the flag. At that moment the sky was ripped apart by a quartet of F/A-18s heading south-west - presumably home to Williamtown - but these days Lawrence barely noticed the flyovers. You’re living in a massive refugee camp, you learn to ignore the military toolage. Or the military tools. In fact, that’d been one of the main reasons he’d taken up his old mate Munter’s offer of employment at Blackwater - other than the minor need to eat and pay his bar tab - to get the hell away from the seething masses of stinking humanity on the eastern seaboard. Central-western NSW didn’t attract a lot of visitors, even now that there was a lot more visitors to go around. Digging stuff out the ground was more important than ever to the National Interest - presumably why Blackwater and a bunch of other private resource-based interests had been forcibly nationalised under some very dodgy legislation passed under urgency by Reichfuhrer Howard’s kitchen cabinet - which meant Munter, or Senior Research Geologist Mark Munton to his boss, was a busy Munter. And needed more field assistants. The pay was two fifths of fuck all, but Munter did offer Lawrence his own ute, sat phone, a flat in town and all the coal he could eat.

Four years of undergrad. Five years of a three year PhD. Two overseas postdocs. Fifteen first-author papers. All to end up holding a fucking theodolite for a bloke voted Drunkest Man in the Universe at our Year 12 formal after-party. Who to this day drops his strides when the pub jukebox plays Eagle Rock.

Nup, there’s that fucking slice again. Regular as a prune-eater’s morning movements.

The tappetty rattle of a diesel ute woke him from his self-immersion.

“Ay,” said Munter, hairy arm out the window of the company Hilux. “What’s doing?”

“Thinkin’.” Despite spending most of the last dozen years living in trendy inner-city locales across the globe, Lawrence was still a bush kid at heart, and subconsciously found himself mirroring Munter’s almost comically rural drawl - itself becoming ever-more rural the longer Munter had lived out west.

“Drinkin’?”

“Possibly,” Lawrence shrugged, sheepishly conceding the half-emptied bottle of shiraz near his feet. It wasn’t like Munter to get all moral recidivist when it came to alcohol intake.

“I meant,” Munter clarified with a grin, “would you be interested in doing any, you cunt.”

He thumbed over his shoulder where an Esky was perched in the tray. It was probably piss-foul XXXX and it was probably warm, but Lawrence wasn’t feeling too picky.

“Yeah, you could twist me arm,” he grinned, noting the dusty old half-bag of clubs in the boot. The same ones they’d used as kids back up home to belt golf balls off the top of the quarry into the river below. There was the small hazard of needing to carry a row of riverside houses and a national highway, but that was just motivation to get under the thing properly and give it some stick. There was still an hour or two of light left in the day, and a spectacular sunset was in the offing. As it usually was out here, given the massive amounts of light-scattering ash and dust still orbiting the stratosphere after the Great Stellar Shitfight.

Uncle Teds. On ice. Shit, someone got paid this week. The lads cracked an Extra Dry each, flicking the lids into the tray, and contemplated the landscape around them. Ignoring the low hum of the Blackwater Number Three pit a few kays to the west, they could have been on the moon. Lawrence wondered if this was what it looked like beyond the Wave. Then thought of Alex again, before deciding not to. There hadn’t been anyone since. He wasn’t sure there was going to be.

“Shit happens for a reason,” declared Munter, out of nowhere. He wasn’t nearly drunk enough to be philosophical.

Lawrence couldn’t really let that slide.

“Any idea what the fuckin’ reason might be then, O Wise One?”

Munter nodded laconically. “The Big Fullah upstairs had money on your Rabbitohs winning the Premiership. Not a fuck were they getting it done after losing the first four of the season, were they now.”

“And so... he nukes the Septics??

“He moves in mysterious ways,” Munter observed, “or so I’ve heard. A bit too fucken mysterious for my liking, but you get that on the big jobs.”

Despite his black mental state, Lawrence allowed himself a grin.

“As good an explanation as any I've heard today,” he concurred.

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Brian puts forth...

Posted April 3, 2009
Doc Yob : Now that is looong.

Jeez had to break out the dictionary for this one.

Pardon . . . .got to go look at some stars.

An astronomers geek fest on the net. Dark matter, black holes and cool shit.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted April 4, 2009
Yes, it was long. But it was packed with goodness (although I prefer the concept that God favors janitors of all ethnicities and places of national origin as opposed to simply hating Seppos).

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girlclumsy mumbles...

Posted April 4, 2009
Shaun drew on the joint, breathing the rough smoke deep into his lungs. He crossed his eyes, trying to blur out the frustrated form of Jamie, striding about on the faded brown shagpile in front of him.

"It's aliens, man. Fucking aliens."

"Dude. I don't fucking care. Turn the TV back on."

Shaun barely flinched as the remote hurtled into his gut.

"Fucking... be that way!"

Shaun hit the standby button as Tom stormed off into the kitchen.

"...scientific tests have reportedly come back inconclusive. UN experts based in Europe admit the Wave is like nothing the planet has ever seen before."

Tom shoved his head round the door. "Fucking TOLD you it was aliens!"

Shaun sighed, and took another deep breath in.

"All right man, you're right. Fucking aliens, ok?"

He exhaled. "It's going to be a long fucking week."

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girlclumsy reckons...

Posted April 4, 2009
'Scuse me, Tom/Jamie - supposed to be same person. Names confused. 1:30am. Should be sleeping. Thanks for encouraging us to write. ;)

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Abe has opinions thus...

Posted April 4, 2009
Maybe "G" is Greg from North Maclean.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted April 4, 2009
Girl Clumsy - too much of the green, and it is easy to get names confused. When I was younger, and much more foolish, I went for two whole months recognizing people but not knowing their names. To compensate, I said "dude!" and pointed at them. Luckily it was Los Angeles in the 1980's, and that worked out just fine.

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Oldsinger puts forth...

Posted April 4, 2009
Mrs. Zazbog skittered down the hallway of her plasma yurt. She skidded to a stop in front of her son's room using her dominant stilt to balance her torso globe. She peered inside with her ocular stalks and her globe glowed with frustration at what she saw.

"Tralfaz, how many times I have I told you not to play with your interdimensional energy bubbles inside our yurt!"

Her son, on his little tripod stilts, quickly spun his torso globe and his ocular stalks shook in surprise as the first thought wave from his mother hit his sensor antenna.

"Sorry, mom. I didn't mean to make a mess."

Mrs. Zazbog shook her her dominant stilt at her son as she telewaved at him, "well, clean up those bubbles and take the generator outside."

"Ok, mom."

Mrs. Zazbog hopped and skipped back down the hall. Tralfaz turned his torso globe back toward his cubby and pointed his dominant stilt at the largest bubble in the middle of the floor.

"Oh, well. It was a good bubble too."

The sharp pointed end of Tralfaz's stilt jabbed at the bubble and it vanished with a faint blue light that flared and vanished.

Tralfaz grabbed his bubble generator with his tentacle, held it close to his torso bubble, and bounced out of the cubby.

------------------------------------------

On Earth:

"...it's the Wave, sir," cried Ronnie. "It's gone!"

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JP mutters...

Posted April 4, 2009
Okay, this is for Savo then I have to do 'real' work.

JP writing as Alan Moore:

---

(Hawaii. Crowded. FLASH. Darkness. Space? Oh god...)

"Laurie? What's... oh sorry, sometimes these things slip my mind. Forgive me."

"You stupid son of a... hhuc... hhuch... you know I always throw up when you take me anywhere! Jon, Adrian did it again."

"No. This was completely different this time. An energy wave, tachyons. How's Daniel?"

"How's - Jon, Adrian has just... you know. You know and you did nothing. You stayed here in this... where are we?"

"60,000 light years from Earth. I call it The Burger. I've created a new -"

"Jon, he's killed almost every American on the... and you knew! You knew and you did nothing, again!"

"I wouldn't say that Laurie. I've been very busy."

"Jon, why did you just bring me here?"

"This is where we talk. In fifteen seconds, you tell me I'm crazy. In two minutes, you're having a smoke with your mother."

"Jon, my mother is gone. They call it The Wave. Everyone's..."

"Tomorrow you tell me you left Daniel. Our link resumes, we start a new earth, and then you tell me you love me."

"Jon you're... who are those people down there?"

"Everyone."

"Oh my god... what have you done?"

"This is a new start Laurie. Turns out God is an American after all."

"You're crazy!"

"Drink?"

"Jon, you... I think I need to lie down."

"I know. Say hi to you mum for me. I have work to do. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Jon no -"

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted April 4, 2009
Oldsinger. Plasma yurts. (Chuckle)

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DrYobbo mumbles...

Posted April 4, 2009
Yeah, Brian, I know. Spewed forth as stream of consciousness, and my conscious doesn't get to the point particularly quickly. Apols for the big words but I was trying to put the dude Lawrence into a space where he'd come up with a biological explanation for what seems to be a particle physics problem (but being not clever enough to come up with one myself I had to leave that hanging.)

Paul - I dare say the much-maligned Seppos will save the day somehow, otherwise noone in the Largest Target Market will buy the book. And let's face it, Munter and Lawrence's country has been overrun with refugee Americans by this stage in proceedings, I suspect there'd be a lot more anti-American attitudes permeating your average Strayan mindset, much along the lines of Stumpy from the Instrument, or perhaps more aptly, Brisbane under General Macarthur in WW2.

God is a Rabbitohs fan, though. Fact. He did send tribulations to try us of course. No premierships since 1971, Manly and Easts raiding our player stocks, and Russell Crowe.

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Oldsinger mumbles...

Posted April 4, 2009
JB

I popped my writing cherry there.

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Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted April 4, 2009
This was a quickie as I came to the party late ... so excuse any typos and such.

Cry Havock

By The Rhino

The observation room was separated from the thickly padded room by two inches of sound-proofed and mirrored glass. The patient’s horrified shrieks, while muffled, were spine chillingly distinct.

“NO! NO KITTY CATS! Don’t pet them, no no no no don’t pet THEM! FERALS, I tell YA, seppo ferals, ferals, KITTY cats DON’T PET THEM … please, please please … why couldn’t it be ME, WHY WHY WHY, No more kitty CATS!.”

The litany faded away to sobs as the patient slumped in the corner, exhausted from this latest outburst. Dr. Ross watched with clinical detachment as the technicians fussed over their roomful of equipment; video feeds across all spectrums, biometric sensor readings, psi energy output. “Hell, Dr. Ross thought, I think there might even be a Geiger counter in there.”

No one knew the Patient’s name; he had been brought in several months prior apparently suffering some form of psychotic break. He was found wandering around Brisbane, accosting people, alternating between screaming and clarity, demanding that they direct him to the ‘gold plated hovercraft’ because he was in ‘the circle of trust’ and that the ‘feral was finally gonna’ get what he deserved’. Tests of the patient’s blood identified a whole host of psychotropics along with an experimental psi-booster classified TOP SECRET ULTRA. When the lab results tripped national security snoop programs Ross’ group swept in and removed the patient to a more secure setting. Now, almost one year later, as the demented rants had become more frequent and violent, the technicians, and even some of the other doctors, began to refer to him as Patient Havock.

Later, in a very secure video conference room, Dr. Ross faced several of the most powerful men in the world. Their grim visages peered from the flat screen monitors as he prepared to deliver his presentation.

“I’m sorry gentlemen, but I must report that our findings are conclusive, Patient Havock is, indeed, the cause of the phenomenon identified colloquially as ‘The Wave’.”

Questions burst from all of the monitors and Dr. Ross waited until they stilled before he continued, “Apparently, and we still don’t know how security was breached, Patient Havock was able to obtain and ingest a large quantity of the experimental psi-booster code named RHINO. The drug has rewritten his genetic code and boosted his psionic talents to almost god like levels. Unfortunately, a byproduct of that transformation is that he is certifiably insane. We have kept him sedated and there have been no further, ummm, manifestations of the wave phenomenon since the initial ‘attack’.”

A grizzled General interrupted, “But that why the hell would he wipe out most of North America?”

“Interrogation during his more lucid periods has indicated that he harbors an intense level of envy for someone living in the United States, specifically, Atlanta, Georgia. The rest of CONUS was collateral damage. All of those hundreds of millions lost because of one man’s envy.”

The General asked the next obvious question, “Well, if you have him sedated, how come the Wave is still standing?”

Ross replied, “Quite simply General, we surmise that it stands because Patient Havock and the Wave are connected at a fundamental atomic level and it will continue exist as long as Havock is alive.”

With that pronouncement Dr. Ross left the conference room as the discussion to follow was way beyond his pay grade. The decision was not long in coming, the directive was couched in innocuous bureaucratese, but the end game was the same – Patient Havock was to be euthanized as soon as possible.

Dr. Ross watched as the killing drugs were introduced into Havock’s IV. He listened as the interval between the beeps of Havock’s heart monitor and respirator grew longer and longer. On a monitor on the wall a video feed from a ship stationed off the west coast of the U.S. showed that the Wave had begun to oscillate more rapidly as Havock’s life ebbed.

At the moment the solid tone of death echoed in the operating room the wave simply disappeared as if it never existed.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted April 4, 2009
I wish it weren't true, but the typos ruined it for me.

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DrYobbo mutters...

Posted April 4, 2009
Burger poll - should Rhino and Hav just shag and get it over with?

Just sayin' is all.

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savo reckons...

Posted April 4, 2009
"should Rhino and Hav just shag and get it over with?"

Man, I thought they had!

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted April 4, 2009
Savo : On board the ship? That was just scuttle-butt.

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savo ducks in to say...

Posted April 5, 2009
groan

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NBlob asserts...

Posted April 5, 2009
That's what The Rhino said.

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Brian mutters...

Posted April 5, 2009
But he was topsy-turvy at that moment.

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andyf puts forth...

Posted April 5, 2009
the prof gesticulated at the video of the Wave.- 'its something to do with perception' he waved his tweed sleeve wildy in the direction of his unwilling audience.' We can see the wave, we can see video of the wave, but computers can't.its doing something to the nerve cells in the eye,if you were actually Inside the field... all the energy would be dumped into your brain, maybe the neurons would act as an aerial- FOOM' the old man sketched a mushroom cloud in the air.

the dog tipped its head to the side and whined.

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted April 5, 2009
" I am WATCHING"

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savo would have you know...

Posted April 5, 2009
Manny and Larry were sitting in a bar in Reykjavík.

“You know what it was,” said Manny

“Huh?” Larry was a bit pissed.

“You know what caused the Wave,” persisted Manny

“What are you talking about?” groaned Larry

“The Wave, that thing that made America go away.” Manny was being a bit too cheery for the topic.

“Yeah?” Larry was now just feigning any interest.

“I’ve seen the satellite pictures, I know the physics.”

“So?”

“My heart will go on.” Manny took a deep swig of his beer.

“I love you too.” Larry opened the Racing Guide in the local paper and turned away a bit.

“Nuh,” said Manny, pulling at Larry’s shoulder “It all started with that expose that Clive Cussler wrote about a load of Americium smuggled onboard the Titanic.”

Larry looked up from the Racing Guide, “I don’t read books”

“When the safe had corroded enough to release the Americium, the radiation hit that big ruby that Kate Winslet threw overboard, ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and whoosh!”

“Whoosh?” repeated a sceptical Larry.

"Whoosh, the radiation hit the ruby and just like in a laser, the photons have become coherent but resonating at 1.73gigahertz, the ultimate brown note and since it was refracting underwater, the radiation cone took on a tear drop shape and there you have it.” Manny was looking very pleased with himself.

“Bullshit.”

“Maybe,” Manning Pope, a newly minted physicist shrugged and went back to reading his journal.

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drej has opinions thus...

Posted April 5, 2009
Nice Savo.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted April 6, 2009
I totally dig the crossover reference.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted April 6, 2009
Havock : ” I am WATCHING”

One of Peter Sellers lines 'I like to watch' ?

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted April 6, 2009
The surfer sat astride his board, legs dangling in the cool pacific water. He had plenty of time to contemplate the situation in between sets. Off in the horizon he saw the blue Wave shimmering above Oregons coast. Like a giant jellyfish it had swallowed the entire continent which now lay silent.

A small pang of remorse tugged at the insides of the surfer but his cold eyes wore the blank expression of a professional. He had found this place and as directed he had removed all capacity it had to defend itself. The dish was prepared and soon it would be time to feast. Galactus was hungry.

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tygertim swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 7, 2009
Jane was stepping down the stairs wearing only her "Madame Butterfly" robe, her heaving boosum bouncing with each step. It was time to come hither her beau out of that damn dank basement and back to reality....

Sid was working very hard in his basement. The basement was crowded with wires, mismatched surplus Laboratory Capacitors from Bell Labs (good thing Murph worked security there, it certainly helped with the "midnight requisitions"), a jumble of Magnatrons, Tesla single node vacuum tubes using bremsstrahlung effect waves focused through Geissler tubes to create a a vertical ionized channel that would open up a dimensional gateway to another possible alternate universe. Dispite being a "C" student, Sid beleived that he had made the necessary break through while studying Nicola Tesla's wireless power transmission. Sid knew he was right.

The last connection in place, Sid adjusted his glasses and threw the switch and a little golden brown bubble began to fade in as the current was fed into the system, augmented by the Tesla capacitors and contained by the magnetron s. Across town the McKinney power station's power use displays lit up, and the bubble in Sid's basement flared fiercely and Sid was reduced to a gelatinous puddle amidst his smoking clothes on the floor. The entire output of the Midwestern power grid was sucked into Sid's basement, and McKinney along with a sizable chunk of the North American Continental area was empty of human life.

P.S. Paul was that Short enough?

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tygertim would have you know...

Posted April 7, 2009
And yes. That WAS OUR Sweet, Sweet, Jane....

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted April 7, 2009
It was very good, Tyger, but you almost lost me with the heaving boosie.

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El Coqui mumbles...

Posted April 7, 2009
The Heaviest or Hardest Duty, Part Dos by Jose J. Clavell

CINCPAC Office

US Pacific Command

A week after the Ramellian Raid (AKA The Wave)

Stone looked out of the office suite large windows, as Admiral James Ritchie read slowly the technical reports that she had brought him. Outside was a typical Hawaiian sunny day but if the reports from the moon bases and the orbital platforms were to be believed that was quickly bound to change. For a moment, she remembered happier times with Brian, her late husband and the boys, an island vacation that had led to the birth of her daughter Josie and a career into Planetary Defense. Accepting her new posting at the time, had seemed like a perfect fix for a career minded officer with three small kids and a fighter pilot husband, who TDY’s frequently around the world. She never expected that choosing the ‘mommy’ career track would have ended up saving her life.

She had not even supposed to have been in the “Watcher” airborne command post at all due to both her position and seniority. However when General Kennedy, the duty flag officer, had to bow out almost at the last moment to hurry to his dying wife’s bedside, her battle with breast cancer having taken a turn for the worse. It had been a simple decision to take his place instead of tasking someone else. Anyway, since her own husband passing and with her children posted off planet, Stone had buried herself into her job as PDC deputy commander. Her kindness with Kennedy filled her with survivor guilt and damned her with grief, now somewhat assuaged by the relatively good news coming from the Moon and the Mars expedition.

Her attention went back to the Navy man sitting behind the large desk across from her. Stone first impressions of Ritchie were highly favorable. It took a remarkable individual in her opinion, already deep in a world changing crisis to keep its composure when told that everything that he thought he knew was wrong. In his shoes, she probably will have run into the hills. Of course, at first he had not wanted to believe her. Probably, because since her assignment to the blackest program that the United States ever had, she had fallen into a black hole and pulled the hole closed behind her-career wise. Her postings, promotions and even her name like everyone else assigned to PDC were classified to the highest level and not available to the regular military chain of command.

However, she had come prepared to make her case even if her arrival in a not-supposed-to-exist Air Force E4C had not been enough of a credential. The holographic 3D projection device that now sat on his desk had showed Ritchie the attack from the Moon and the orbital fighters’ viewpoint had done much to assuage his initial incredulity. So she continued to watch him quietly until he finished reading and leaned his chair back, his eyes close. Stone could almost swear that under his breath he was muttering a silent prayer and could not blame him for that as she had been doing the same at odd intervals since the attack. He leaned forward again and to her surprise activated the device with enough skill to zero in the particular part of the presentation that he wanted to watch again. The high definition images depicted gun camera footage showing the destruction of the Ramellian fighter escorts. She had not told him that some of the scenes had been recorded by her soon to be son-in-law. As they watched, one of the phones in his desk rang.

“Excuse me, General,” he told her, politely. Stone nodded and continued to watch the end of the presentation.

It had been a damn shame that no Ramellians have survived the attack, she thought. It would have been nice to know which commercial faction condoned it, in case that an opportunity for payback ever presented itself. But Stone could not blame the pilots as she would have not granted quarter either under the circumstances, even if the cold blooded bastards have wanted to surrender in the first place. Ritchie cleared his throat getting her attention back as he hanged the phone.

“I just spoke with my deputy commander for air operations, General Thomas Black. He served with your husband Brian and remembers you but was under the impression that you have left the service after your daughter was born.”

Stone gave him a sad smile. “It made for a convenient cover, Admiral. No one expects that a stay at home mom with three kids to be involved in deep black ops. The kids gave me a great excuse to explain why we decided to reside permanently in Colorado and not longer follow Brian on his assignment around the planet.”

“Around the planet, General? That’s a funny way to put it and suggests to me that there was more to do than that.”

“Well, yes, I rated WSO in orbital defense fighters and have commanded our main Moon base.” Stone did not add that she had also served as commander with the orbital fighter wing. Old habits of doling out information in carefully measured scoops were hard to break.

“Then the Space Program and Apollo?”

“It was another convenient cover for the construction of our Moon bases. I hope that you still remember how abruptly Apollo was cancelled and how the Space Shuttle and the the International Space Station tied us up to only “orbital operations.”

“Remember…? That was one of my biggest disappointments growing up. I had dreamed of walking in the moon one day.” Stone truly smiled for the first time, recognizing a fellow space buff. She had enjoyed walking in the Moon surface during her posting there. The last time was a family outing of sorts with all her children, their wives and Josie’s fiancée, Jimmie, before Gabriel departure to Mars. Rank has its privileges even in PDC

“Same here, I confess to had been trilled when I found out the truth about our space program.” She finally replied.

“And Aliens, I guess that Roswell was true after all,” Ritchie interjected.

“Nope, sorry, Admiral, the story is mostly disinformation. The United States contact with first the Andermani and later the other species of the coalition started on the late 1800s. Roswell was really a midair collision between two of their fighters helping us repel an Orwegian Pirate raid. Suffice to say no all the bodies recovered were aliens but our cover story gloss over that. Because of that incident, President Truman agreed to join the Coalition and allow a joint Andermani-Coalition base in Nevada.

“I presume that we are talking Area 51, General?” She nodded.

“Yes, sir,” Stone remembered her first time there and her surprise at being greeted by her first EBE, a Reticulan, looking exactly just like the greys of legend, folklore and popular media.

Suddenly Ritchie grew serious. “Ok, I believe you, General. Now can you explain to me the context of what just happened?” Stone straightened in her chair and swallowed hard before starting.

“Admiral, in very simple terms, we were collateral damage, the target was Area 51.” The silence that followed hung heavy between them. Stone watched Ritchie’s face as it first turned a sickly green followed by an angry red and braced herself for the explosion. However, he surprised her by standing and then walking stiffly towards the windows facing out into the harbor. The Admiral stood there looking out seemingly for a long time before asking without turning around.

“Why?” Stone also stood up and joined him at the window and looked at the view outside. Pearl Harbor seemed busy and she momentarily wondered if that was part of the normal scene or an increase in activity levels fueled by the wave.

“Frankly, Admiral, we don’t know. In the surface, the attack doesn’t make any sense. Given the size of the coalition and all its members, the base in dreamland was their equivalent of a small local Coast Guard station. Earth, regardless of what we like to think about it ourselves is a very minor coalition member living out in the boondocks of the galaxy.”

She momentarily paused, and although Ritchie continued to look out of the window, Stone felt that she had his undivided attention. “When I started my in processing into PDC twenty five years ago, one of my instructors warned me about trying to attribute to aliens, human motivations. He said that although at times we have shared common goals and objectives, their thinking to get there was…well…alien and that trying to do otherwise was akin to trying to teach a pig to sing. It is going to be a waste of your time and is going to annoy the pig. Believe me, sir. You don’t want to annoy the alien equivalents to pigs.

Richie looked at her, sharply. “Good God, Stone, I don’t think that you are trying to be funny.”

“No, I’m not, sir. Too much is at stake,” she replied quietly looking straight into his eyes.

“But the bastards killed close to 400 millions or so of our countrymen, not counting millions of Canadians, Cuban and Mexicans. Now, you are trying to tell me that we were innocent bystanders in the cosmic equivalent to a drive-by shooting? Preposterous,” he finished with an angry scowl.

“Yes sir, some on my staff have speculated that the Ramellians were testing a new weapon and given what we know of Coalition shielding technology and what it would take to defected it, it could explain the intensity, large footprint and persistence. The coalition is investigating but it probably would take months and most likely years before we obtain an answer. On the meanwhile, we have a world to keep alive and you just read what my analysts are predicting, Admiral.”

“Not that different from what my own people are saying, General. So returning to your Ramellians, do we have to prepare for a repeat visit?” He asked, frowning with worry.

“That’s one of the few pieces of good news that I got for you, sir. Because our response was so overwhelmingly effective, there was no one left to convey to their superior how effective their weapon truly was. The Ramellians are divided into numerous commercial concerns, think the old East India Company as an example. Whoever sponsored the attack took a heavy hit in financial and resources losses for nothing to demonstrate in return. That will put them out of the game for a while. On the meanwhile, the Confederation heavy cruiser Unity responded to our call for assistance and is now maintaining a defensive picket in-system to prevent such eventuality although everyone feels that is akin to closing the barn door after the horses left. They have also assisted our people in the Moon and Mars to start making preparations to live off the land, so to speak as we are not in any position to provide them any support for the foreseeable future.”

“Are they planning to provide any direct assistance to us, too, General?”

“I’m afraid not, Admiral, although they did offer. However on my judgment, the danger to our civilization caused by the revelation of their existence would be a lot greater than any relief help that we could get out of them. So as acting commander, I declined their offers.”

“You did what?” Ritchie demanded angrily.

“Sir, allowed me to explain,” Stone asked calmly, despite his outburst.

“We have been gaming for over a hundred years, countless scenarios where we make known to the general population the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. Those and the live tests conducted in 1939 by Olson Welles at the behest of the US government had showed conclusively that such revelation will lead inevitably to mass panic and deaths. No primitive civilization in our recorded history had ever survived contact with an advanced one without adequate psychological and cultural preparation and that’s still an iffy proposition. Our main organization for that effort, Majestic, had been attempting to do so by manipulation of the mass media and culture since the 50’s. However, we can safely assume that after the wave, everything is back to square one. So in our opinion, letting the world know that E.T. really exist and looks at humans like we look at ants, much less that were directly responsible for the wave is not going to help us at all.” As she talked, Ritchie returned to his desk

“Ants? I think that I like those damned Ramellians of yours, less and less by the minute, Stone.”

“Sadly, sir, their attitude is not uncommon within the elder races. On their eyes a very junior species like ours that had not developed independent star travel yet is beneath their notice. The more enlightened to include our closest allies, think of us the same way that we do with the Headhunters of Borneo.”

“Nice place that you go out there, Stone.”

“Is a rough universe, Admiral. I thank God every day for sticking us in the boonies.”

“So where we go from here? My resources are stretched thin, so if you were expecting any assistance from us, you are likely to go empty handed, General.”

“Actually sir, we had been sort of prepared for a worse eventuality, so we do have the redundant facilities, stores and supplies that with our newly reduced numbers would be more than adequate to see us through for the foreseeable future. Our main problem is how we are going to reach orbit and we have our best people working in the problem.”

“So what we can do for you then, General?”

“Frankly, sir, not much. However our chapter calls for always having someone inside the government with knowledge of the threat out there. The wave not only decapitated our government and destroyed almost half of my organization but also leave us out in the dark. As the most senior member of the military not actively engaged in combat operations, I choose you as our inside man.”

“Are you sure that you want to trust me with all this, Stone?”

“Sir, I don’t have any other recourse available, no until someone do something and reestablish the civilian government. I can only trust that you recognize the gravity of the consequences that will befall humanity if our secret gets out.” Ritchie did not answer immediately and stared at the reports on his desk. The time stretched between them seemingly forever.

Suddenly, coming to a decision, he stood up and started to gather all the reports spread on his desk before politely passing then back to her. Stone, without a word, put them back into her briefcase as Ritchie packed the holographic projector. He did so with obvious reluctance and she did not have to read his mind to know that he would have loved to keep it. On that not too different from her late husband and her boys, all gadget freaks. The thought almost brought a thin smile to her face.

Reluctantly, he passed the device over and then offered his hand. “You have my word for whatever is worth.” Stone nodded and accepted the handshake.

Coming around his desk, he walked her to the door. “I just got one request, General.” She stopped and waited for him to continue.

“Get the bastards.” Placing her briefcase and projection device in the floor, Stone straightened and gave him a salute that would have made her instructors at the Air Force Academy proud.

“You got my word, sir.”

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tygertim reckons...

Posted April 8, 2009
Thanks, John. I totally wanted SJS to be the potential savior of the world, but fail in a big way... Plus, Sid and his ilk need the world to know that they're not totally sexless... the irony of SJS's seconds late intervention into the situation was a nice twist, I thought.

So I should just stop guilding the lily and scrap the opening?

ThX

Tyger

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tygertim would have you know...

Posted April 8, 2009
Thanks, John. I totally wanted SJS to be the potential savior of the world, but fail in a big way... Plus, Sid and his ilk need the world to know that they're not totally sexless... the irony of SJS's seconds late intervention into the situation was a nice twist, I thought.

So I should just stop gilding the lily and scrap the opening?

ThX

Tyger

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Ian mutters...

Posted April 14, 2009
G'Day JB.

I love to write. So when I saw your inviation to write I couldn't resist at all. Oh, and the stuff pre wave really happened. I was there for it! Some of the people are real, but 'Rowdy' is not. Oh, and the US bases I mentioned in Washington State are real.

Hope you guys enjoy it. (Sorry it might be bigger than you wanted, but hey I enjoyed writing it.)

Ian J.

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72)

300 Miles of Norfolk VA.

0710 hours

(Two days after the Wave's disappearence)

On this morning Lieutenant John ‘Rowdy’ Gibbson looked outside his cockpit as he and his RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) Lieutenant Commander Paul ‘Chef’ Graham cruised at twenty five thousand feet in their F-14D Tomcat. He hated the view. On a normal March day off Virginia it could be cloudy, storms, even the occasional end of season hurricane.

This was not a normal day, and these were not normal times. And the pollution clouds that filled the horizon proved that.

The fact that the day up to this point seemed normal disturbed Rowdy. In his mind, nothing had been normal since their aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln had left San Diego. They sailed for the Gulf on 20 July 2002, did their time, then began the trip home, stopping in Australia at Fremantle on 22 December 2002 for some well deserved R&R. But after departing Fremantle, the world began to fall apart. When the situation in Iraq heated up, Washington ordered the Lincoln to return to Fremantle on 6 January 2003, where over the next fourteen days both ship and aircraft underwent heavy maintenance, including ripping up and laying down a new anti-skid flight deck coating. Then on 20 January the Lincoln got underway again, back to the Gulf. It was during flight operations on the 15 March that they heard what happened to their homeland.

But there was no time to grieve. Shortly after Rowdy, and so many other Naval Aviators were in combat against both Iraq and Iran. On his first combat hop post wave, Rowdy’s flight engaged a flight of Iranian Phantoms and Tomcats. He shot down two IRIAF Phantoms. Then he flew missions against Iran’s air defences, destroying a missile site outside Bandar Abbas. By the time the Israelis nuked the Arab world, Rowdy had shot down another Phantom, a MIG-21, and a Iranian Tomcat. He was an ace, but in the post wave world he knew it did not matter much.

It had taken another four months before Lincoln and her escorts would leave the Persian Gulf and headed back to Fremantle on a cruise that, in Rowdy’s mind, might never end. For ten days the battle group resupplied, repaired, and rested before heading for Hawaii. When they pulled into Pearl Harbour it was a year to the day since the Lincoln had sailed to war.

When the Abraham Lincoln arrived at Naval Station Everett nine days later, it seemed most of what remained of America’s population was lining the shores to greet it. The families and loved ones of the ship’s company and Electronic Warfare Squadron 131 ‘Lancers’, based at Whidbey Island just up the coast, made up the huge crowd waiting for the ship. They were ecstatic that their fathers, mothers, sons and daughters were home alive. While these scenes were played out more than two thousand people onboard the Lincoln watched the home coming with emotions ranging from deep depression, sadness to pure rage. The other eight aircraft squadrons that made up Carrier Air Wing Fourteen had their home bases and their families inside the wave. For them, there was nothing left but each other.

A week later the Abraham Lincoln moved to the Puget Sound shipyards for an overdue overhaul. For three months the ship’s crew worked on the ship, while Carrier Air Wing Fourteen conducted air exclusion patrols near the wave.

In December the crew of Lincoln was told they would be heading for Puerto Rico, now the new home of the US Atlantic Fleet, or what was left of it. Many of the ship’s company had heard the rumour in September and started to think about not returning to sea, worried about their families. What could have been an ugly event never happened as the carrier USS Constellation was decommissioned in October at Bremerton. Constellation’s crew were from San Diego and were offered transfers to Lincoln. In the end as the Abraham Lincoln sailed for Puerto Rico in January 2004, the crew now made up mostly of former Constellation crew who had no reason to stay behind in Washington State. Like the members of Carrier Air Wing Fourteen that sailed with them, there was nothing there worth staying for.

Now the USS Abraham Lincoln, along with over fifty American warships now called Puerto Rico home. Based at the port of San Juan the Lincoln had been there for a month getting settled and changing over with the USS Nimitz, which was finally heading to the only US shipyard left that could drydock her, the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard near Seattle.

Lincoln was one of three carrier battle groups operating out of San Juan. The other two were centred around the aircraft carriers USS Theodore Roosevelt, and the USS Harry S. Truman, which patrolled both the Caribbean and the Atlantic, and ensured the security of the Panama canal, the supply ships that were now Puerto Rico’s lifeline, Cuba, and the exclusion zone that the United States enforced off the US Atlantic coastline where the wave was.

It had been five days since the Lincoln had sailed from Puerto Rico on a standard patrol of the wave exclusion zone in the North Atlantic.

Now the wave was gone. Where the battle group was headed, no ship had been in a year.

Rowdy looked across to see another Tomcat forward of his port wing. The red tails of the Tomcat were adorned with the mighty ‘Felix the Bombcat’ logo and the letters ‘NK’. It was the Squadron Commander’s aircraft Fighter Squadron Thirty One ‘Tomcatters’ which belonged to Carrier Air Wing Fourteen (NK), embarked on Lincoln.

Just an hour earlier at the pre-mission briefing in the ‘Tomcatters’s’ ready room, it was standing room only. Even the ‘Tomcatters’ Skipper, Commander Paul ‘Butkus’ Hass, was standing in the corner as Rear Admiral Jamie Kelly then took the podium. Kelly had only taken command of the battle group two weeks ago after a stint in Japan. After a few brief comments Kelly laid out the plan of the day.

That mission plan was simple. Every American aircraft within range and capable of reconnaissance duty was now racing towards the now waveless continental United States to ascertain the full extent of the disaster. Some aircraft were tasked with flying over military bases to see if they could be operational quickly. Others were tasked with flying over cities, power plants, industrial sites, and the like to see the damage. After these missions brought back their data, it was hoped to launch manned missions in country to begin securing the country, from getting the power back on, to securing those places that had nuclear weapons stored there.

And because they were already there Lincoln and Carrier Air Wing Fourteen got the job on the eastern seaboard. Four of the Tomcats under Butkus’s command were fitted to carry the Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System, otherwise known as TARPS. The TARPS capable Tomcats were the only US reconnaissance assets in the region. Rowdy was tapped to fly one of the TARPS aircraft.

The mission drawn by Rowdy, Chef, and so many others was dangerous enough that they were flying wearing MOPS (Mission Oriented Protective Suits). Normally this would have resulted in a first class bitching secession. The Suits were hot, hard to breath in, and made flying difficult because of the sweat generated. As one of Rowdy’s former crewmates said ‘It's like a drysuit with a heater.’

The destruction that occurred inside the Wave enclosed continental United States was horrific. Now the pollution plume caused by countless disasters dominated the eastern seaboard from New York to North Carolina, making satellite coverage useless. Limited predator drone missions flown in the area showed a hell on earth, with fires raging and vast areas in ruin.

And Rowdy was flying straight into it. With the heavy pollution alone the MOPS suits were necessary. Rowdy was glad he had one on.

He look in the rear view mirror. Chef was using a pen to type, the gloves of the MOPS suit were too big for the buttons. Inside the other Tomcat Butkus and his RIO were keeping pace.

The radio came to life. ‘Tomcat One, this is Top Hat Control. Feet Dry five minutes.’

Butkus acknowledged the call as Rowdy began to descend, avoiding a cloud bank. Everybody that was flying had been told to avoid clouds, as there was still a big chance of acid rain. Chef then activated the TARPS pod.

‘You still there Rowdy?’ Butkus called over the radio.

‘Yeah, still here.’

‘We just crossed into US territory. You ready?’

Rowdy looked at his cockpit panel and saw that TARPS was operational. ‘Yes Sir. TARPS is on line, ready for the first target.’

Both Tomcats had breached the twelve mile limit and could now clearly see land as they descended to five thousand feet. Landfall was over the Cap May Lighthouse. Over the radio they heard Butkus report on what he was seeing as they crossed Delaware Bay.

The first target of interest was now rapidly approaching. Dover Air Force Base was massive, and a former transportation hub for the United States Air Force.

‘Cameras rolling’ Chef called out.

‘Confirmed. I’m gonna do a pass over each runway, then the base proper.’ Rowdy then repeated his intentions to Butkus.

‘Rodger Rowdy. I’ll get out of the way.’ With that Butkus began to climb, leaving Rowdy to begin the mission proper.

As Rowdy and Chef flew over the runways they saw little damage to most of the runways except for where a C-141 Starlifter had ploughed into the western runway. There were many transport aircraft parked in front of the hangers. C-5 Galaxys, C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemasters and several Starlifters parked and from what Rowdy could see, ready to fly. Parts of the base were burnt to the ground.

They then headed west. At first there was much that looked undamaged from the air. As they crossed from Delaware into Maryland the scene changed, whole areas were flattened. The LPG plant at Wagner’s point no longer existed, and neither did the City and surrounds of Baltimore.

The Radiation detectors began to click. Just a couple of rads at first. As they headed for the Capital the click started to occur at a regular pace. Chef informed them that they were still safe.

The trail of devastation lessened as they reached the outskirts of Washington. The capital of the United States had been burned by both fire and acid rain. The White House was a burnt out shell, as was the Capitol building. The grassed areas of The Mall and near the Washington Monument were burnt, but at least the Monument still stood tall, and looked undamaged.

But the airports around Washington told a horror story. In suburban areas that had flight paths overhead there were commercial aircraft crashed everywhere, the burnt areas were grotesque, with part of a wing still visible, or the fuselage, or in one case, a British Airways tail near the Ronald Reagan Airport. The airport itself had at least three planes crashed on the runways.

It was the same for Andrews Air Force Base, with several aircraft destroyed on its runways. The Pentagon was wrecked, the roof had collapsed, fire had destroyed what was there.

Butkus and Rowdy then flew northwest into Virginia and saw the CIA centre at Langley. It looked untouched, but the forest around it had burned. They then conducted a flyby of the FBI headquarters and US Marine base at Quantico, before heading south

The radiation detector was still clicking as they headed south. The Lincoln informed them that they believed that the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland may have had a breach.

Rowdy was furious. The plan was to fly down the Potomac River then followed the Chesapeake Bay south till they reached Langley Air Force Base and Newport News.

Both He and Butkus were just passing the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant when the message came in about the breach. Butkus let fly over the radio back to the ship about placing them in harms way when it could have been avoided.

After the flyover of a devastated Langley Air Force Base, Rowdy was focused on the next target. It was, until the wave, the birthplace of the super carriers of the USN. The massive Newport News Shipbuilders came into sight. At the northern end of the shipyard was the massive dock where Lincoln and the other Nimitz class carriers were built. The skeletal remains of an unfinished carrier sat in the drydock, which had water inside. What was to be the George H.W. Bush would never be complete now. To add to everything else, most of the shipyard’s building were now burnt out shells.

Rowdy could see a carrier docked at the fitting out wharf. As they got closer Rowdy could see the number on the flight deck. 76.

76 was the Ronald Reagan. The Reagan looked in good shape. She had been scheduled to commission into the fleet mid 2003 when the wave appeared. If she was ready, it could be replacing Constellation.

Just ahead another carrier could be seen. This carrier was loose and had collided with the shipyard’s wharfs further down. It still had construction equipment onboard. Moments later Butkus identified her as the Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Eisenhower was leaning fifteen degrees to port. The briefing stated that the Eisenhower was their for a full overhaul and nuclear refuelling. The question was how far along that refit she was and if she could be operational.

Several other ships were beached around Newport News, and as Chef reported back to Lincoln Rowdy turned the Tomcat south east for a quick flight to Norfolk Naval Base.

Norfolk was the largest naval base in the world in 2003. Now it looked like a child’s swimming pool, with all the toys scattered everywhere.

Two massive shapes came into view. The carriers Enterprise and George Washington were still tied alongside the carrier wharf. Other ships were not so lucky, with at least one large hulled ship capsized in the bay.

After three passes over the base Rowdy headed east while Butkus headed south east. The second last target of this mission was the Little Creek Amphibious Base, which he conducted his flyover then headed south.

In the distance he could see Butkus’s Tomcat in a low orbit near the last target.

That target was their home base of Naval Air Station Oceana. And no one from the ‘Tomcatters’ had seen home since they flew out on 18 July 2002 to meet the Lincoln off San Diego.

Rowdy flew over familiar places. Dix Creek, Old house Cove, Great Neck, the London Bridge shopping centre. There were impact craters where aircraft, both civilian and military had crash.

And then there was the base. Like Dover, there were many aircraft parked in front of the hangers, which seemed to be in one piece. Chef had the TARPS pod working overtime as he conducted the flyover of the base. After four passes over the base Rowdy turned the Tomcat and headed for Butkus.

‘You Ok Skipper?’ Rowdy called over the radio as he formed up on Butkus’s wing. He saw Butkus shake his head. Rowdy then realised where they were.

Above Butkus’s house.

Rowdy and Chef looked down. All that was left was row after row of burnt out houses. For Rowdy and Chef, they knew the house well, had been to cookouts there…and met Butkus’s wife and kids there. Now for Butkus there was not even the house to come back to.

‘Skipper?’ Rowdy again called out. ‘Hey Butkus, answer me will yah!’

‘What?’ Came the painful reply.

‘Its done. I’ve got good shots of the base. But maybe I should take some shots of the suburbs?’

Butkus nodded. ‘Do it. Two orbits of the base. One at two miles, the last at five miles around the base, then a quick run over Kempville Heights before we head out over Virginia Beach.

Eight minutes later it was done. By now Butkus was orbiting just north of Mears Corner, where his RIO lived. Rowdy rendezvoused with them and they started the flight back to Lincoln, flying over Virginia Beach.

For Rowdy, his home was in the Officers Quarters on base. He had seen it during the flypast. It looked fine, as did the long term parking area. Rowdy’s folks lived in Colorado near Peterson Air Force Base, so he knew that there would be a mission to check the base out. He knew that they were dead.

For Chef, this was the moment. His Home, his family, lived in Cavalier Park, just north of Virginia Beach. Chef had planned this flight path. Rowdy knew what was about to happen next.

As they crossed over the north side of the base at two thousand feet Rowdy could see the area in front of him.

In the back seat Chef was using the inbuilt TV camera mounted on the Tomcat to get a better view. A moment later he saw his house on the screen. It looked untouched from this angle. He could see the backyard. Then the picture tilted as Rowdy began to orbit Chef’s house at 500 feet.

After the first orbit Chef knew all he ever wanted to know. The front of the house had a car embedded in the lounge room, but there was no fire. The street where he lived had cars crashed against houses, power poles, each other.

Chef leaned back in his seat. He’d seen enough. All that was his life was gone. He was crushed. In a voice full of pain he told Rowdy. ‘I’m done. Lets get the hell out of here!’

‘Ok.’ Rowdy then pointed his Tomcat northwards towards North Virginia Beach near Fort Story. He brought the Tomcat to 500 knots and began to climb. On the beachside there were beached ships, even a submarine, scattered up and down the coast. He checked the rear view mirror. Chef held his head in his hands. Rowdy felt his friend’s pain. Chef’s wife Paula, the three girls. The hours he had spent in that house just having a great time…

Butkus’s voice interrupted him. ‘Tophat, this is Tomcat One. Mission complete. Heading back now.’

‘Roger Tomcat One.’

It was a quiet flight back. Both Rowdy and Butkus caught three wires as they landed onboard Lincoln. The mission had lasted just over two hours. Then the decontamination of both aircraft and people began.

But to Rowdy and Chef and the other pilots that flew over their homeland it had finally sunk in. The America they knew was gone.

Rowdy only had one question, but it was one being asked by every American.

What happens now?

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El Coqui puts forth...

Posted April 17, 2009
Love the story. However, Roosevelt Roads would have better facilities for the fleet in PR.

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Ian ducks in to say...

Posted April 19, 2009
G'day All

Thanks El Coqui

I though so at first for Roosevelt Roads, but I thought about this, in my mind I was thinking a bit further ahead of what I was writing. In such a situation, Roosevelt Roads would become a Attack Submarine/ Ballistic Missile Submarine base, due to the already availible Navy security.

Plus with San Juan (in my mind) becoming the centre of US operations in the Atlantic, I thought that the berths formerly occupied by cruise ship were more suitable for carrier resupply.

I have other thoughts about all this...

Can't wait for the second book JB!

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Respond to 'Small Pepsi challenge.'

So, three books or twenty?

Posted March 6, 2009 by John Birmingham
The economies thread below veered off on an interesting tangent when McKinney of Texas raised the idea of something approaching a decology set in the Post Wave World. Specifically he was interested in what would happen in the Middle East, and saw the potential, quite reasonably for a whole series of conflicts playing themselves out there.

Murph, while agreeing with many of his points, raised the issue of writer fatigue. It is a real issue. But then of Final Impact I was tired of that world and ready to leave. (I'm now ready to go back, after a break.)

For myself, I'd fear getting stale inside one world, even though with a whole world to build and explore that shouldn't be a issue. Perhaps Steve Stirling performed the trick best with his ISOT/DTF series, which effectively creates three narative realms out of one event. The Nantucket world, the post Change world, and the far post change world, all with their own character sets and story arcs.

I'm not sitting here planning my next five years. I have too much copy to get thru and quite a few of those years are allocated anyway. But I would be interested to see this topic discussed.

74 Responses to ‘So, three books or twenty?’

Lobes mumbles...

Posted March 6, 2009
Dont go overboard with the series. Being concise can be nice. You want to be able to have a reference point in the beginning and if theres 5+ books you'd struggle to relate events to the beginning. And if you're not careful it will turn into another Amtrak Wars.

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lostatlunch ducks in to say...

Posted March 6, 2009
The idea has legs until the author or the readership gets bored.

If it starts to go all Dune~ish... I am outta there.

If it came down to returning to AOT or going into a new idea, I would take the new idea.

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girlclumsy reckons...

Posted March 6, 2009
Hey! You could be like that Robert Jordan guy!

(I think that's the right dude. The one who's death was greeted with cheers by fantasy lovers everywhere. That's the one, isn't it?)

Is it something you could do intermittently? As in, every couple of years, add to the series? Or does the tyranny of distance come into play then?

Thinking about my own reading habits, the only extended series' I've really hung out for was Harry Potter and Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels. Yup, sad as I'm sure, but hey at least it wasn't Twilight.

I think I agree with Lobes. Tell the stories that initially popped into your head in the first place. The rest is for the fan fic, isn't it? ;)

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted March 6, 2009
Ii seems to be a common phenomena with writers. If you're not careful you end up doing spending all your time in one world. That's fine - if its a lucrative one. I'm thinking of Jordan and Piers Anthony here. But at some stage the thing just seems to run on sheer inertia.

Ringo suffers the same problem. Everyone wants him to write more 'Prince Roger' or Aldenata books. Instead, he partners while doing other work. Some of the partnership work is with other writers ie Kratman etc JR seems to write the story arc and works in an overseer role. Tom Kratman admits he doesn't play well with others. So personal quirks aren't an issue.

Webber does the same thing. Senior writer does the arc.

Fan-fic works. Helps to gauge the interest. Also it identifies possible partners. But . . .someone else does the scut work of looking it over. Eric Flint - 1632 model.

On the whole? Look to setting up an ad-hoc WoW site. Allow fan-fic. Let the fans cherry pick stuff based on no. of comments and who's commenting. Let the 'inner circle' do the vetting(I'M LOOKING AT YOU LOT IN THE STATES) Some may stimulate your thinking. Cherry pick (like you're not!) ideas from the threads.

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Leo euler puts forth...

Posted March 6, 2009
There are certainly enough interesting stories to be told in WW for dozens of books, so I don't think having enough material is an issue. I don't think people would necessarily get tired of more than three. You just have to make sure that the writing is fun and interesting.

I like the idea of a cooldown between writing the stories. Try out three books, see how people react, and then work from there to see if people might want more. I definitely think a lot of people assume that you will return to AoT with a Cold War trilogy.

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Brian mumbles...

Posted March 6, 2009
Coolddown - good term. But not too cool. That's why you have fan-fic. Allows things to bubble along quietly.

Dozens of Rhino stories for a start,

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted March 6, 2009
To be fair, not that I would have mentioned it if Birmo had not already, I sensed a fair amount of fatigue by Final Impact when I was brought on board to do the military research. I didn't think he was there by that book, but I could sense it coming, feel it around the edges. I think that is part in parcel for the acceleration from 1942 to 1944 and the war's end.

There is also a very real danger in that world and in the Without Warning universe of giving in to the need/desire/demand to fill the narrative full of battles. That is what the readers want, right?

Well, actually, the battles won't work effectively if time is not spent on supporting story lines and character development. The battles are interesting partly because you actually give a shit whether or not a given character dies or not.

And you can see this demand manifesting itself in every thread. They all veer toward matters military and I'm certainly guilty of feeding it to some degree (I'm the, uh, military advisor, so it is kinda my bag).

Here are some non-military questions to ask then.

1. What will the Federal Government look like in three years? Who will be represented in it?

2. What new states and territories will be online? McKinney raised this point previously.

3. In a world moving backward in many ways, will there be a demand for horses? If so, can the US export their horses for a profit? Same per mules.

4. What would a home built on a homesteading plot look like? After three years of exposure, many homes are not going to be in the best shape. The better move may be to salvage them for parts and build a new home. What would that home look like?

Things to ponder.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted March 6, 2009
I cannot stress more my adamant belief that you and Murph should co-author the fourth AoT novel - a prequel. As far as I can tell, WW is selling very well. Convergence could come out relatively fast and ride that wave.

Look, if all the guys at Baen can team up to pump out pulp, surely you two can finish the incredibly good start that is Convergence and persuade your publisher to put it out.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 6, 2009
It is - like- a no-brainer, dudes. Seriously.

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Orin would have you know...

Posted March 6, 2009
As much as I bang on constantly about Ian McDonalds "River of Gods" on my own blog - he provides a fairly good model with the followup to River of Gods, "Cyberabad Days". The sequel involved seven short stories (one of which got a Hugo) set in the same world. You got to see answers to some "so what would have happened with X Y years later" questions without those answers having to be shoehorned into an overarching narrative. Reynolds did a bit of the same where he fleshed out the Revelation Space universe with "Galactic North" and "Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days". Hamilton did it for the Confederation universe with "Second Chance at Eden".

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Orin would have you know...

Posted March 6, 2009
You could tell a lot of short stories on "what happened next" with an AoT or a post After America collection (or even go back and pick up threads that you might have dropped for other reasons where you had a cool idea but didn't think that it was worth adding another character arc for)

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Guru Bob would have you know...

Posted March 6, 2009
Girl Clumsy I am impressed - I ran out iof steam with Stephanie Plum after about number Seven - I couldn't recall which ones I had or hadn't read any more and they all dissolved into a morass...

Short stories coudl be a nice way to keep the pot simmering - but I do agree with Murph's point that these threads always tend to return to 'military nerdism' - I think one of the most interesting WW fanfic stories was the one about guns in NZ.

Murph - after looking at houses for the past few weeks - not many modern houses would be inhabitable after 2-3 years of exposure to the elements without ongoing maintenance. Late 20th century building standards are almost uniformly crap.

Once a window is broken or roof leaks, it just becomes a matter of time before a house in the suburbs is just full of trash. Have you ever been through a town after a flood? Treasured possesions and supposedly high quality consumer stuff becomes rusty, stinky rubbish faster than you would imagine.

There may be a property rush for older more robust houses though.

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Chaz mumbles...

Posted March 6, 2009
No more than three books, however I still like the idea of you organising a couple of fanfic collections (one for AOT and another for the WW series) for all those frustrated writers out there.

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Chaz reckons...

Posted March 6, 2009
GB, oh yes always room for prime redevelopment properties!!!

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George03 asserts...

Posted March 6, 2009
I do like the cool-down idea.

JB might be busy with the "After America" novel but some time in the future I would like to see a continuation from "Final Impact".

I was really getting into the way that 1940's attitudes were crashing, head-on, with the one's from the 2020's.

I could see many stoylines coming from the way the book ended.....

Will the sunset clause get extended?

Will the Special Zone attitudes take in the rest of the country?

How will the USA deal with the oil producing states?

Would there be a real war with the Soviets?

There are hundreds of questions that could be answered but to do it all in a consecutive 4-5 book series is risking reader burnout.

You could do a "Lord of the Rings" style series with the main story in one hit (Done) and later come back and fill in the blanks.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted March 6, 2009
Thanks for the compliment, Paul. :)

Flood of 1993, National Guard duty. Yep, been there, done that, GB. But some things are going to remain salvageable.

Wiring, pipes, brick, certain types of wood if it hasn't rotted badly, some appliances, cooking utensils and such. But I do agree, GB, that most houses will have gone to crap.

We've got a failed housing development in the area with two good sized homes. They have been boarded up but you can already see gaps, pulled away boards, and I'm certain there is water damage. Once you've got water damage and vermin running around in the house, you've got what GB says, which is crap.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NBlob mutters...

Posted March 6, 2009
I like new ideas, rather than one idea beaten to death.

As for author fatigue.

Read James Herbet's 'Fluke' then '48.'

The dude is so obviously just cranking them out so he gets a new hover I mean masarati it's embarrasing.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted March 6, 2009
It's not a compliment alone: it is advice from a very wise old man whom you and John should listen to. And if it is a compliment, it is somewhat back handed; you know how much I enjoyed what I saw, but you also know I feel it needs moderate revision. One of John's strengths is his skill depicting women and romantic events between men and women. You and he together could get Convergence polished to a high gloss. I already know it will be a good read.

So Professor, listen to the other Professor and get it done. No excuses. Just do it. At least have something finished that can be shown when the time is right - presuming it isn't right right now (which I don't accept: the time could never be better).

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lostatlunch mutters...

Posted March 6, 2009
crap can be repaired... starting from nothing is always hard.. I will be looking to find a place to repair, than demolish and repair.

I am taking 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as my residence, sure it will be a fixer-upper and unwelcome visitors will drop by, but it is well armed, fully prepped bunkers & nice free fire zone, with a bowling alley and a movie theatre. renovators dreem... but I would change the paint scheme.

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Brian reckons...

Posted March 6, 2009
Got to be careful with the story telling.

Build the worls first.

Example :

The food/ agriculture thread can be a real bear if you don't watch out.

Things as simple as bread and milk have to be figured in advance. Example : You have a town. Who bakes the bread. Where does the flour come from? Who is milling the flour? Few small flour mills exist. And making flour involves testing cereals and blending flour types. True! Down here in Oz - drought has effected the quality of the wheat, less gluten. Old flour stocks loose their gluten - aging as far as I can gather. Who has the know how to re start aflour mill? Not the Army. And . . .it is a mill IOW a factory. You need a trained workforce.

Milk : You need cows. You need tankers you need bottling plants.

And finally a distribution system.

In some cases the only bottling plant or flour mill in the state has burnt down.

If you're figuring on living on canned and packeged goods for the interim. Fine. What are the health consequences? Where do the vitamins come from? Whats the shelf life?

How soon to getting fresh greens etc growing and moving.

What to do with Vegetarians? (I have my opinion, and I'm not sharing it)

First we have to build the world.

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted March 6, 2009
"What to do with Vegetarians?"

Same as all other herbovores.

BBQ

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Naut mumbles...

Posted March 6, 2009
I love the short story idea. Limitless scope for stories and a chance to flesh out some of the back stories you have written but us punters never get to see.

It is also a great opportunity to get guest authors to fund your next hovercraft.

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RobW reckons...

Posted March 6, 2009
I'm sorry I missed your signing in San Francisco....but I was tied up on business in Oklahoma and Texas. Then, when you made it to Houston, Tx I was in San Francisco. Oh, well.

In any case, before you start planning on competing with L. Ron Hubbard on the longest science fiction series in history, note the demise of yet another bookstore, this an old, respected, and to-be-missed one in San Francisco. The obituary is here:

Reading marks final chapter at Stacey's books in San Francisco:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/05/BATK169I3F.DTL

I've seen so many good bookstores bite the dust; it is really, really sad. Don't know whether you made it to Stacy's for a signing when you were in the City (I understand from your entries you made it past the Mission district). In any case, the demise of another book store deserves a moment of silence....

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Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted March 6, 2009
I'd hate to see it go regurge. Someone like Clancy refreshes the same dude over and over. IT's a good thing. Anyone sick of Bond yet?.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted March 6, 2009
Back stories people. Back stories.

What happens to an Aluminium smelter when you turn off the juice? All the molten metal freezes and you need to jackhammer the pots out. Ditto - any smelting process that was going on when the Wave hit.

Where are all records for utilities, sewers kept? Handbooks on how to switch things back on? If electronic - they're gone. If paper - where?

The problem with 'Made in America' - is that all the American makers are dead. Factoid : Iraq invasion : Rebuilding program : Electricity Generators : European Made. Contracts given to American companies to replace the gear. Simpler than working with gear they didn't have the handbooks for or the contractors to rebuild. Apart from which - French made. I wouldn't be counting on getting too much infrastructure up and running just yet.

ANything that required chilling or freezing is now defrosted and ruined. That also means - blood banks. Seed stores. That has to be cleaned out - deconned, and put back into commission. Fancy transplants are now history for a bit. Hmm . . .pharmaceuticals need temperature control as well. As well as chicken eggs for vaccine. production.

See where I'm going?

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted March 6, 2009
I'd say Dr. No & Blowfeldt are sick of Bond.

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Orin mutters...

Posted March 6, 2009
Anyone sick of Bond yet?

Yeah but we got Rhino - and the endless torment that putting Rhino in print brings Havock is its own reward to the author.

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savo ducks in to say...

Posted March 6, 2009
Thanks for that Murph

.1. What will the Federal Government look like in three years? Who will be represented in it?

Smaller more streamline more able to come to terms and deal with internal problems BUT as the Americanism goes, speak softly and carry and big stick, I see them pulling no punches on the international scene and more than willing and able to flash into ash any nation/state that threatens the lives of the very few survivors.

.2. What new states and territories will be online? McKinney raised this point previously.

The North American Federation will be the three Canadian Territories will be the norther Territoris, Maritime and Canadian Lost. Each will have a congressman and 2 Senators, the recently freed Canadian Lost wil have their reperesentatives appointed by the elected reps. The US portion of the Federation will be Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Displaced, Federal Defence Forces and Lost States, each with a congressman and 2 senators similarly the Lost States will be appointed by the elected members.

.3. In a world moving backward in many ways, will there be a demand for horses? If so, can the US export their horses for a profit? Same per mules.

Yes absolutely, but don't export horses only export mules therefore the market never runs out as mules are, er mules and can't breed. What does the US want to import? people. Perhaps not the most elegant way of doing this but mules for humans sounds better than oil for food.

.4. What would a home built on a homesteading plot look like? After three years of exposure, many homes are not going to be in the best shape. The better move may be to salvage them for parts and build a new home. What would that home look like?

Homesteads will all be different. Don't expect too many log cabins. The Wave survivors have seen the world. they will be a ware of many differt ways to build subsistance accomodation comfortably. They may know that adobe blocks are quick and easy to make and can even be earthquaked proofed, Solar panels and wind can power a whole home communications can be jerry rigged, fuels can be grown as crops etc etc. Nothing will be what it is now.

And AoT needs another book AND Cheeseburger needs its Fan Fic section up and running, AND after AoT, franchise the Universe, what would a collection of short stories set in AoT by Drake, Stirling, Burch or Phelan read like? or for that matter Hawkes Lohburger Flintheart or Barnes?

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Moko would have you know...

Posted March 6, 2009
Phelan's got some good shit going.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted March 6, 2009
Being a reader who can get sucked into a neverending series I'd say finish this as a trilogy and then chill it for a while. I'm looking forward to what happens over the next two books but will be interested in seeing what you decide to play with next time.

Mr Boylan's suggestion is a grand idea. "The Caliph Knitter"?

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Abe puts forth...

Posted March 6, 2009
Actually, Paul is quite right. Murph and Birmo's prequel to the AoT would be brilliant.

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sparty asserts...

Posted March 7, 2009
becareful of being too far from the origin event (loved dies the fire , but got bored once the central conceit had moved on). AOT rpequel though that would be cool And genuine alt history.

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Sweet Jane Says mumbles...

Posted March 7, 2009
Birmingham, there comes a time when a writer should only listen to their own eternal voice.

J.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted March 7, 2009
Although I am all in favor of an AoT prequel that showed the events that created the technology and mindset of the expeditionary force that was cast back in time, I am suggesting something within the existing AoT story.

What I loved about AoT was the feeling that I had a ring side seat on events that would become legend. When I suggested a "prequel" I was talking about filling in the gaps within AoT - for example, the American invasion of Hawaii to expel the Japanese, and the events that elevated Jones and his men from damned good Marines to a legendary and feared phalanx of archangels.

John, Murph, make it so.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 7, 2009
A writer's "eternal" voice?

Again, you crack me up, dear. I mean it sincerely and appreciatively.

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted March 7, 2009
Paul and Jane are SOOOO getting it on.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7, 2009
So?

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Tarl puts forth...

Posted March 7, 2009
Eeew. Isn't that, like, bestiality or something?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted March 7, 2009
Again, so?

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tygertim ducks in to say...

Posted March 7, 2009
Paul, Jane can be interesting, no doubt about it... but the lady has a TEMPER, and she ain't afraid to use it... I've had... Thoughts... about Sweet, Sweet, Jane. I find her disturbingly attractive at times... but that TEMPER... Oh my! (See Jane. See Jane's Boots. Good Jane, Good.)

Just a Californiacation heads up from one Cali boy to another.

as for you, Jane. HI! :P

Improbe amor quid no mortalia pectora cogis

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tygertim swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 7, 2009
Hey! Murph! as per

4. What would a home built on a homesteading plot look like? After three years of exposure, many homes are not going to be in the best shape. The better move may be to salvage them for parts and build a new home. What would that home look like?

Straw. Good building material. Good insulation value. Cheap. Lots and lots of straw about!... Coat with adobe. Paint. Lasts a Hunndert years... Lots of Straw houses in Missouri dating back to the Missouri settlement still in use.

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tygertim asserts...

Posted March 7, 2009
Three guesses as to what I've been drinking?

:D

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sibeen mumbles...

Posted March 7, 2009
.3. In a world moving backward in many ways, will there be a demand for horses? If so, can the US export their horses for a profit? Same per mules.

Perhaps not. Maybe JB should be more careful with his canon, or maybe his editors and pre-readers (yes, I'm looking sternly at you, Mr Murphy) should take a little more care with the sacred words.

I had a problem with an earlier thread where JB finally stumped up and stated that "the primates were gone". This set up a few alarm bells in the nerdy, engineering type brain that I have; and I decided to do some fact checking.

On the top of page 207, Australian edition, of WW; we can wasily find:

Where there should have been cattle or horses, there were charred spots and grassfires, especially in west Texas.

So it appears that there is no horses for export, nor cattle to eat. Woe is me, is the canon to be as fucked up and as contradictory as the bible?

:)

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted March 7, 2009
Well, the Bible is fairly hilarious - especially Genesis.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted March 7, 2009
sibeen, ever heard of "retcon?"

And yes, I know what the Australian version of the novel says per West Texas.

Moreover, umm, so what? Yes, I'm saying this as consultant and military editor. I'm also a writer (a very small one) and I have some inkling of an understanding as to the challenges faced in this project.

If we go with "The Wave killed everything" then we create a massive problem which was discussed during the earlier thread, one of essentially terraforming North America. We can't even begin to speculate on what that ecosystem would look like. Folks with far more understanding of that sort of thing than myself have said as much.

On the one hand, it'd make for a brilliant speculative exercise. You'd probably also need a PhD in Biology to write a book on the issue that was:

A. Believable

B. Understandable to the lay person

C. Entertaining

It is an awfully tall mountain to climb. Given deadlines and the demand of the audience base, you can either ignore the ecology problem altogether (not advisable as ecology will shape the post Wave civilization) or you can retcon the novel.

More to the point, as I recall from the earlier thread, some animals were indeed vaporized or did die but the effect was not universal.

In any case, if Birmo asked for my advice on the matter (we have talked about it before) my advice would be to stick with the recent statement that the Wave vaporized mainly primates. Regardless of what any version of the book may say on the matter I'd advise that.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a couple of chapters of the sequel to look at. Which are pretty good I might add and I'm way overdue for putting my time in on them.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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sibeen is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7, 2009
or you can retcon the novel.

All sounds a bit protestant to me.

:)

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 7, 2009
Charred spots and grass fires are hardly Murph's turf. And that particular section is just poor writing rather than inconsistency. the previous sentence, describing footage from a UAV read: 'Ditches and craters of burning ruin in the fields where aircraft had gone down over what many called “Flyover Country” in the Midwest. Where there should be cattle or horses, there were charred spots and grassfires, especially in West Texas'.

The burned bits refer to wild fires started by air crashes etc. I got the image from recalling aerial shots of post bushfire landscapes in Oz which are always full of crispy critters.. But unfortunately the 'stream of images' effect I was going for in that par is misleading. I should have stuck to full sentences.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7, 2009
I, for one, am relieved that the powers that be have decided not to wipe out everything with an advanced nervous system. As Murph points out, it would be impossible to believably describe the affects because no one knows what would happen. All anyone knows is that it would be a disaster of biblical proportions.

The major problem restricting the affect to primates is explaining why. Why hit humans and gorillas and pass up the majestic moose?

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Murphy mutters...

Posted March 7, 2009
Paul, there is the potential for an outstanding novel in that concept. Thing is, it'd probably take a dedicated scientist to write it.

Speaking of things which are my turf, I found a pretty neat YouTube video put out by US Army Pacific. In three minutes it pretty much describes what US Army Pacific is, does, has, and the like. If one were to retroactively change the digital camo to the older BDUs (I seriously doubt the Army will go through the uniform transition after the Wave) then you'd have a pretty good feel for the Army in that universe.

The size of the force is about right as well.

or if the embed doesn't work, try this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tB9DvoJMSA

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy mutters...

Posted March 7, 2009
sibeen, I was actually thinking Church of England, or Catholic Light if you like.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian mutters...

Posted March 7, 2009
Murph. Catholic Light - High Church of course. Nice phrase.

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mckinneytexas puts forth...

Posted March 7, 2009
Coming in late again--both the Aot and the WW series have the potential for stand-alone story arcs along the S. Stirling model. Not necessarily the same characters doing more of the same--that doesn't appeal--but rather, a series, or a single novel, resolving the ME situation, for example. Perhaps another novel or two 10 and 20 years after the end of the initial WW set. there are a lot of possibilities for great work on a landscape with the back story already written and with a built-in market. I think fleshing these out is a good move, entertainment and cash flow-wise.

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted March 7, 2009
The why of the Wave is already settled Paul.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted March 7, 2009
Please, oh please, don't let it be the Wizard of Oz explanation. I hate when that happens.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted March 7, 2009
Going back to the AoT - tactically sound in terms of picking up follow on readership from WoW.

I guess you're already planning a third something or other

as a breather.

I think a title is appropriate for your research and reading team. Looks to be about four?

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Sweet Jane Says ducks in to say...

Posted March 7, 2009
A lot of little men push each other behind the curtain.

J.

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted March 7, 2009
And what's your role again, sweetie?

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Sweet Jane Says mumbles...

Posted March 7, 2009
I push buttons.

J.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted March 7, 2009
Hey, wait a minute! I thought I was the one who pushed the buttons. Jane, we had an agreement. Now I feel betrayed.

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Sweet Jane Says mutters...

Posted March 7, 2009
How did he conjure a word before monitoring the nocturnal literary emissions of the provincials?

J.

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Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 7, 2009
Paul, and why's that? Janes just using her womans perogative to screw with your mental wellbeing!

Murph ahhh you mean the HIGH Church not that roman rubbish!!

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Chaz is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7, 2009
Jane the benefit of having been orn in the mother country..

Oh and having lived in the Royal Borough, you're all provincials except...Moi! But it hasn't stopped me playing nice.

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mckinneytexas ducks in to say...

Posted March 7, 2009
J is on a roll.

Damn.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted March 8, 2009
You say "on a roll" I say acreting odd, leading to stronger & considerably larger sphere of effect.

Dog help us when she reaches a critical density of wierdness.

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tygertim would have you know...

Posted March 8, 2009
How did he conjure a word before monitoring the nocturnal literary emissions of the provincials?

J.

See! That's why I find Jane disturbingly attractive.... in a spiked leather bustier (something like http://www.fashionising.com/diary/s--Rihana-at-American-Music-Awards-1874-1.html) kind of way.

Yeah. I'm evil.....

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Rhino would have you know...

Posted March 8, 2009
My 2 cents ...

I'd like to see something written in the AoTverse as a prequel of sorts ... could see this farmed out to an apprentice or two (looking at Murph and Mick) working from JB's outlines with an 80/20 division of work. Give an up and comer a leg up. This approach gives the fans what they want - more product, keeps things fresh and eases risk of author fatigue with respect to a series.

As for the WW series - Where would it go after the initial arc? In WW we have the explosion - the Wave's impact on the world. Looks like the next one is focused on the implosion - the rushing back in to fill the vacuum that is now the US. Not going to speculate on #3 ... so, until we have some idea as to what is going to drive the tension beyond the second - I'm not so sure that it would make sense to keep going.

Now, to jump to the other side - the story is HUGE and if the fans are rabid enough it could spur demand for spin-off tales ala Flint's Ring of Fire series. Brian said it first regarding fanfic, etc. Get the juggernaut moving with a dedicated WW fan site. I would love to see this - hell, I'd run it.

From a business perspective - I say that if sales warrant it, and Birmo is ready to cash in, now is the time to take things to the next level and let the market sort it out. Just checked Amazon and see that WW is ranked 814 overall, 15 in SF and 50 in Thrillers. So, the thing has got some legs. Has there been any impact/uptick on AoT sales?

Besides, I think the world is more than ready for The Rhino action hero series - I'm thinking something along the lines of William Johnstone's "Ashes" series.

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 8, 2009
Ashes - now there was a goodie. If formulaic towards the end.

I don't have a problem with a dedicated site. It provides an different venue than what we get up to around here. It needs to be seeded properly. How much of the AoT fan fic was recovered from the JSpace crash? That'd be part of it.

I can think of other things - but that depends on the group.

One instance is the Middle East. Another could be Asia. There are going to be stories about Embassy's being stormed, Japan's response, what's actually happening in England etc

Jeez . . .it could get worse than 1632 if'n you're not careful.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted March 8, 2009
If "I think the world is more than ready for The Rhino action hero series "

Then the world is also ready for the Rhino Action figure.

Sorry Big Fella, but there is already a Havock Action figure - I have photographic proof!

If requested I'll stick it up over @ Desthpicable.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 8, 2009
I WANT!, I want the action pre AOT, the ME, Indonesia and the battles they fought, our intrepid reporters previous life and DAN BLACK, its gotta be choch full of kill'em all.....PLEASE!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted March 8, 2009
First of all, let's be very clear about action figures. The Rhino figure is surely a given. But the first one out has to be the Stavros action figure - with Hellenic Grip.

But we digress (which, of course, is always delightful - until Jane goes too far). All the talk about spin offs and sequels is fine, but the pragmatic reality is that unless Birmo is the headliner, it simply won't be published. Until liquid cash returns to the world economy and credit/lending loosens up, publishers are going to play it safe with existing authors and will be resistant to giving a chance to new faces and voices.

Which means the only way for we who read to get more to read is for Birmo to do it - which, like it or not, bottlenecks the process - or for him to co author with someone else. That is still a lot of work - and when all is said and done, it is work load and burn out that is being considered in this thread - but it would be a bit less, fostering the publication of more stuff I like to read. Ultimately, this is why I found y'all in the first place. I want the AoT universe to expand and the story to proceed.

So, in this economic climate, the only hope for that happening is for Birmo to team up with someone and hope that enough cash is being generated by WW with a hopeful resulting bump in AoT sales to convince Birmo's publisher to take a chance on a co-authored work within the AoT series.

I am postulating one exists that is either complete or near completion that, once polished will make for a really, really good read.

And even if the economic climate is not ripe for such a collaboration, do the work anyway. Get it ready for the time when opportunity intersects with preparation.

God, I feel like Cato the Elder constantly repeating my single message.

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Brian reckons...

Posted March 8, 2009
Paul - I agree with you. Its trying to work out the right model isn't it?

The best model is one book per year. (Unless you're John Ringo with an a/c bunker and an abbreviated family life)

It works for Feist, Pratchet and Goodkind. One book per year. Feist has had co-authors. Then we have Clive Cussler - whose later books are spun off. I'm thinking of "Tales from The Numa Files' here.

Eric Flint seeds his ROF volumes with a single short story of his - even a novella. And then populates the rest with stuff that falls within canon.A few other well knowns. And then a few 'introducing' slots. It also allows the lead author, a rest break of sorts.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 8, 2009
Flint's model isn't working. The Dreeson Incident was so bad I've decided not to continue following the series - and I am probably not alone.

The right model is necessarily work and time intensive for those involved. And that means the right model is personality driven. Not everyone can or even wants to collaborate with anyone. It might not be something John wants to do, and if so, it isn't likely to happen.

Nevertheless, I think the material and talent are extant and I am hoping the time is right to try it. From where I sit (quite comfortably and well-fed at the moment) the only thing lacking is the will to do it.

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Brian would have you know...

Posted March 8, 2009
Paul : re : Flints model. Its worked quite well for a while.

Flint co-authored with Webber and Dennis (Galileo Affair) - so don't discount the model completely.

What we're talking about are options. Option choice depends on the authors involved. And the publisher. Jim Baen was rather keen on the co-authoring model. But that's nuts and bolts stuff best left to authors and publishers.

Its like the other experiment of allowing free downloads of book titles. As a reader, I'm for it. Hmm . . .Mathew Reilly (Oz author), was doing it out of his site (radio interview) - seemed to work for him. Seemed to get an extra publishing run out of one his titles. For him - it was a commercial success. That's a different debate.

I understand publishing is in a bad way at the moment . . or at least getting that way. That probably means that different things are going to have to be tried.

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Guy puts forth...

Posted March 12, 2009
Personally I think it would be best to keep it tight. One or two good books is worth any number of poor ones. In many ways my interst is in the way that the loss of the US affects the rest of the world, rather than the surviving Americans. What about the smouldering remains of the Middle East? Will Israel be seen as the new Third Reich? How is Europe panning out? It looks like the UK is the only state to stay even vaguely stable - at the price of becoming somethign close to a police state. Of course that is preferable to the anarchy engulfing France...

Even more I would like to see another sequel (or even another trilogy) in the Weapons of Choice universe. What happens after the Soviets invade half of Western Europe? How will the USA of the 1940s develop in the long-term with the heavy influence of the 2020s? We need to be told!

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