Heinlein Reader’s Discussion Group
Thursday 02-23-2002 5:00 P.M. EST
Is you is, or is you ain’t SF
Here Begins The Discussion Log
You are now in chat room “Heinlein Readers Group chat.”
Paradis402 has entered the chat room.
AGplusone: Hi, Denis
Paradis402: Hi David. How are you?
AGplusone: Awake. Afk watching a basketball game …
Paradis402: I understand. Continue watching. I am early.
AGplusone: ‘kay. I’ll be back in a bit.
Paradis402: Okay. Me too.
SAcademy: Someone will have to pinch me to keep me awake. That cough syrup puts me to sleep.
Paradis402: Sorry to hear that. Pinch.
SAcademy: I try to fall asleep all day long and at night I can’t sleep at all.
Paradis402: No fun. It is difficult being sick and having insomnia too.
SAcademy: Amen to that.
Paradis402: Are your lungs clearing up a bit?
SAcademy: I had better get a pitcher of water before we open.
Paradis402: Good idea.
SAcademy: BRB if I don’t fall asleep on the way.
Paradis402: It will be interesting to see who shows up today.
AGplusone: Hard to say, David Wright will be out.
SAcademy: If I guess I will be wrong.
Paradis402: Snowy there?
SAcademy: No, he was in the way all the way to the kitchen, weaving in front of me.
AGplusone: Winter Olympics are nearly done. All that’s left is the hockey finals.
AGplusone: Did you see any of the woman’s skating finals, Ginny?
SAcademy: Not yet. I hear that that Sarah Hughes is terrif.
AGplusone: She was! A sixteen year old!
AGplusone: Did a near perfect routine.
SAcademy: Well. that’s the age to do it.
AGplusone: Yes. Was fourth, figured she wouldn’t place or show so just went out and “had fun” … seven triples!
SAcademy: I am afraid that this was Michelle’s last chance.
AGplusone: Me too. Sad for her. Everyone was.
AGplusone: She should just turn pro and salt some money away for the rest of her life.
KultsiKN has entered the chat room.
KultsiKN: Hello, all!
SAcademy: She is a beautiful skater, but she’ s been working too hard at it. She’s well, I can’t think of the word I want.
Paradis402: Hi Kultsi.
AGplusone: Hi, Kultsi
SAcademy: Hi Kultsi.
AGplusone: She’s done so well over so many years. “Star-crossed” in the Olympics final is what I’d say.
SAcademy: overtrained, maybe?
AGplusone: Maybe. Spent a long time waiting to try again.
AGplusone: Talking about womens’ skating, K
SAcademy: And to be beaten twice by a far younger girl!
AGplusone: Michelle Quan
AGplusone: Takes it out of you. As I said, she should just turn pro, and collect the money for the rest of her life.
SAcademy: Well, she didn’t win the gold but she can write her own ticket professionally.
AGplusone: Yes, she’s tremendously popular with fans
KultsiKN: got it the from the first by Ginny 🙂
SAcademy: What Ice shows are around now?
AGplusone: A lot of them …
AGplusone: they put them together for television but they’re all over
SAcademy: Does anyone remember the Shipstad’s ice show?
AGplusone: Certainly remember the name. Shipstad’s and Johnson’s is what I recall
SAcademy: That’s right.
AGplusone: I think it’s still around …
SAcademy: Shipstad did the fastest crossfoot spin.
AGplusone: Male skater?
SAcademy: Yes, first name Roy.
KultsiKN: Spin depends on reach & mass
AGplusone: Someone is still using the name I think. Possibly a successor … maybe he’s still promoting it.
SAcademy: Well I suppose they would all be in their sixties now.
Paradis402: Did you know them professionally, Ginny?
SAcademy: Denis, I never went pro!
AGplusone: Sunday they’re supposed to have a special program on Hamill and Peggy Fleming on NBC.
SAcademy: Talk stuff? or skating?
AGplusone: probably a lot of film but some talk stuff I suspect
SAcademy: Yes, I guess they couldn’t afford to take a fall now.
BPRAL22169 has entered the chat room.
BPRAL22169: Hi, all.
KultsiKN: My favourite is that East German girl… if I jist could remeber the name
KultsiKN: Hi, Bill!
AGplusone: Be nice though to see them on ice, though. Hamill looks like she could still skate. Katerine Witt, Kultsi. She’s still skating.
Paradis402: Hi Bill. Sent you an email. No huhu. Send unbound to Pigeon.
SAcademy: Hello, Bill.
AGplusone: Hi, Bill.
BPRAL22169: Just wanted to check in with afh –surprising lack of posts this time around.
KultsiKN: Right, David!
BPRAL22169: Thanks, Denis. I saw the e-mail.
BPRAL22169: Greetings, Ginny, Kultsi.
SAcademy: What did you all think of the russians demanding a gold for their female skater?
HutsonOp has entered the chat room.
Paradis402: Really? Russkis!
HutsonOp: Hola people
AGplusone: Hi, Crissie
BPRAL22169: We’re just noodling at the moment while people arrive.
SAcademy: They really did that. And they’re threatening to pull out of the Olympics. Fat chance of that.
HutsonOp: What’d I miss?
HutsonOp: Who’s pulling out of the Olympics?
HutsonOp: Over the gold? Or have they gotten their parkas in a bunch about something else?
KultsiKN: hi, Crissie, I’m Kultsi
HutsonOp: Nice to meet you.
KultsiKN: Me 2!
Paradis402: Denis here.
HutsonOp: So what’re we talking about today?
SAcademy: I am Ginny
HutsonOp: Nice to meet you too, Ginny
BPRAL22169: The topic is the story “No Bands Playing — ” in Expanded Universe: is it or is it not science fiction?
KultsiKN: It is.
HutsonOp: Okey dokey
BPRAL22169: And if it’s not science fiction, is it speculative fiction.
BPRAL22169: And if it’s not speculative fiction, what is it?
BPRAL22169: Did the last two things I typed show up?
BPRAL22169: I’m blind at the moment.
SAcademy: Why can’t something just be a story?
BPRAL22169: There we go.
AGplusone: I think so Bill …
Paradis402: Exactly, Ginny.
KultsiKN: A bloody good yarn, and as the spotlite was on courage, it’s SF
BPRAL22169: OK — Kultsi, what’s your reasoning for that?
KultsiKN: Well — was it common knowledge at the time that the procedure was to deflate a lung…
BPRAL22169: I’m getting very spotty response here. I’m going to sign out of the room and sign on again. Who’s got the log?
AGplusone: I do
KultsiKN: I got in a bit later
BPRAL22169: I don’t see David Wright here now, so David Silver, will you keep the log? Good.
BPRAL22169 has left the chat room.
BPRAL22169 has entered the chat room.
SAcademy: Bill says he’s having trouble with his DSL
AGplusone: WB, working now?
BPRAL22169: OK — let’s see if this is any better.
BPRAL22169: I won’t know until later on. I hear the chimes for a remark being posted but it doesn’t show up.
SAcademy: That light blue isn’t.
BPRAL22169: You are light blue on my screen, Ginny. Unfortunately, I don’t think we can do anything about the colors.
AGplusone: Crissie (or Kristi, I always confuse the two) went to get her copy of EU
KultsiKN: Anyway, the story’s gist was the point on who was the bravest of them all..
Paradis402: Robert, of course.
BPRAL22169: On Thursday, Jane argued the other way, saying the story just doesn’t “feel” like science fiction.
BPRAL22169: That’s probably why Harlan Ellison rejected it in 1965.
HutsonOp: A million pardons. I have unexpected company. A pleasure to meet you all…
SAcademy: How does Science fiction feel?
AGplusone: Yes, but which one was Robert? It didn’t really, Bill. The anecdote was too short.
HutsonOp: Oh don’t get me started on HE
HutsonOp has left the chat room.
BPRAL22169: There have been very short-shorts that “felt” like sf — Arthur Clarke’s “The Star” for instance, or “The Nine Billion Names of God.” Clarke, for some reason was really adept at these super-short lengths.
Paradis402: Which one was Robert, do you know Ginny?
SAcademy: He was just an observer.
KultsiKN: To me that story was from another planet — so it MUST be SF.
AGplusone: How does it feel? Is setting so important that if the setting doesn’t appear immediately, then it could be anything ?
KultsiKN: Of course I’m far younger and never had TB
BPRAL22169: My father had TB and at about the same time — but he’s never talked about that.
BPRAL22169: He was very young — probably three or four years old.
AGplusone: Nine Billion Names isn’t an Elsewhere setting … just some Buddist Monks counting names
Paradis402: Kultsi, it was a true story.
AGplusone: now with a computer
SAcademy: A doctor once told me that I had had a case of childhood TB
KultsiKN: I do know that, Denis.
BPRAL22169: I think 9×109 is “speculative” rather than “science” — it’s one of those borderline cases that could have made it into Unknown.
BPRAL22169: TB was a very common disease as late as the 1930’s.
AGplusone: Well, speculative then …
Paradis402: What is 9×109?
KultsiKN: It’s coming back, unfortunately.
BPRAL22169: 9 Billion
AGplusone: a speculative setting is just as SFy to me as any other.
Paradis402: Thanks Gentlemen.
BPRAL22169: No, that would be 900 million
KultsiKN: slippery fingers
AGplusone: use x10^8
BPRAL22169: I think it was supposed to be a combinatorial. of 26 letters taken 26 at a time. I don’t have fingers enough to do that math.
BPRAL22169: And I think some of the Indian languages have a lot more than 26 characters.
BPRAL22169: I can do arithmetic in my head, but 26 factorial defeats me.
AGplusone: but if the sfnal or speculative
AGplusone: ‘setting’ doesn’t appear clearly
AGplusone: then we’re confused where to pigeon hole the thing, is that it?
BPRAL22169: I don’t know, David — Asimov wrote a lot of sf stories that had ordinary present-day settings, and the question doesn’t rise with them. (Of course he didn’t submit them to Dangerous Visions, either)
AGplusone: All the story we’re talking about really does is posit the problem … what really was that “fright” quality.
BPRAL22169: Or perhaps more to the point, what was that bravery quality.
BPRAL22169: It’s almost a commonplace that the definition of courage is fear faced with resolution.
AGplusone: and that could simply be an ‘unknown’ thing … same as what happens if we sail West from the Azores into the ocean … do we fall off the edge.
AGplusone: or just a common place modern day problem, as you say.
KultsiKN: No, but if we sail further than XXXX, we’ll _surely_ fall off the edge.
BPRAL22169: It’s something to wonder at, so it has moral uses, surely.
AGplusone: Yes, isn’t that what probably happened to Leif’s son Thorvald?
Paradis402: Didn’t he fall into Newfoundland?
AGplusone: You don’t believe those tales about Vinland, do you, K?
KultsiKN: the ocean’s full of edges…
AGplusone: If we were back in 1000 AD, would the tales of Thorvald be sf?
KultsiKN: Surely, they can’t have the quality Sangre de Toros I’m having…
KultsiKN: Definitely, David.
BPRAL22169: SF has an inheritance from travel tales, but there is usually more than simple travel. That reminds me of another book we class as sf but I couldn’t tell you why — Around the World in 80 Days.
KultsiKN: Usin a balloon? Jumping a gap with a train? SF.
BPRAL22169: A lot of the stories that appeared in the sf pulps before 1939 were adventure in exotic locations.
AGplusone: Like the one I found, the first novel by Nero Wolfe, about the lost tribe of Incas …
BPRAL22169: I’d never heard of that one.
AGplusone: not very different from King Solomon’s Mines.
Paradis402: And Tarzan?
BPRAL22169: I think Haggard and Burroughs were published in some of those magazines — Amazing IIRC
AGplusone: Tarzan in the Lost City of Azar? (is that the one about the lost Roman Legion?)
BPRAL22169: I remember seeing letters in the pulps of the mid-30’s saying the fan refused to accept Trilling Wonder as an SF magazine because they just printed adventure stories.
Paradis402: Wasn’t Robert quite fond of Verne and Burroughs, Ginny?
AGplusone: [the first Wolfe novel was writing when he was 17, Bill. You can download it from Gutenberg]
AGplusone: I’ll dredge it up in a bit, K
BPRAL22169: Is that the promo.net site?
KultsiKN: They’re playing Unchained Melody on the radio…
BPRAL22169: Thought so. I’ve actually never read a Nero Wolfe book.
BPRAL22169: (Though I have been enjoying the movies on A&E)
AGplusone: Stout, not Wolfe is the author
AGplusone: “Under the Andes”
BPRAL22169: Yes. Rex Stout.
AGplusone: Rex Stout, written 1914 I think
BPRAL22169: (Though Nero Wolfe is stout, too)
AGplusone: That may get you there.
rjjutah has entered the chat room.
AGplusone: Hi, Randy
BPRAL22169: Yo, Randy
BPRAL22169: David was just giving us the URL for the Project Gutenberg download of Rex Stout’s first Nero Wolfe book, Under The Andes.
rjjutah: Afternoon. Just returned from taking the boss shopping. Doesn’t look like too big of a crowd yet.
AGplusone: sorry, not a Nero Wolfe. Was before he invented the Wolfe character.
BPRAL22169: Sorry — I misunderstood. I wondered how you were going to get Nero Wolfe into the Andes.
BPRAL22169: Pre-Fritz days, I guess.
AGplusone: wrote it when he was seventeen or so … the characters find a lost tribe
AGplusone: and classed as SF
rjjutah: Ride the non-Orient Express?
AGplusone: something like that.
BPRAL22169: That would be about the time of the Professor Challenger books, wouldn’t it?
BPRAL22169: Also Jack London.
BPRAL22169: And Rudyard Kipling.
AGplusone: When was Haggard writing?
KultsiKN: I noticed another name — Richard Wagner
BPRAL22169: Teens through the 30’s I think.
BPRAL22169: Same as Machen.
AGplusone: So if they class these ‘exotic’ adventure as SF … where does that take us?
BPRAL22169: That’s a very good question. A lot of people don’t class them as sf.
rjjutah: I suppose a possible question would be, though “they” might have classified them as SF at the time they were written, would they still be classified that way today, given the amount of material for comparison?
AGplusone: But they involve exotic locale, mysterous and sometimes strangely enabled characters, etc., why not ‘speculative’ fiction anyway?
BPRAL22169: Before Heinlein started writing, “SF” was exotic adventure or gadget stories, and a bit of utopias and nothing else.
AGplusone: what’s the SF-plus element of Heinlein then?
rjjutah: Has there been any other “genre definition creep” comparable to SF? I’m not conversant enough to know, since literary criticism isn’t my main forte.
BPRAL22169: We’ve got a 60+ year evolution behind us.
AGplusone: don’t know myself … genre creep isn’t something I’ve ever looked at.
BPRAL22169: The evolution was pretty unique to SF — and principally because of John Campbell
AGplusone: What do they claim Campbell added?
BPRAL22169: Until recently, sf was a living genre, so it kept changing. RAH was one of its principal instruments of change.
BPRAL22169: The most common comment was: different story forms.
AGplusone: Isn’t it still living? but first, what are the different story forms they’re talking about?
BPRAL22169: But I think there was a little more than that — he got a dialog going among many creative people that got very intense.
BPRAL22169: Different story forms other than adventure and gadget story.
rjjutah: That’s what I would think. The other genre definitions tend to be set by academics, and let’s face it, there hasn’t been a substantial body of SF academic study until recently.
rjjutah: Certainly nothing on the order of magnitude as for English Literature.
BPRAL22169: Not really — the academics are very latecomers to the whole process — they inherited the genres that came about because of publishing categories.
AGplusone: I would agree. For that matter, there isn’t a substantial body of critics paying a lot of attention to any modern form, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, you name it.
BPRAL22169: It’s just that the other genres were pretty much set in stone.
AGplusone: And publishing categories are confusing as hell. What makes Tom Clancy’s novels adventures, rather than speculative fiction?
BPRAL22169: Mystery changes more than, say nurse novels. Some of the genres have died completely — like True Confessions.
rjjutah: Have any of you read Charles Sheffield’s Borderlands of Science? In his book, he delineates about 6 different types of SF writers.
BPRAL22169: I think I could answer that about one Clancy novel — there’s darned little technical speculation in Hunt For Red October, for instance.
BPRAL22169: Can you give a quick precis, Randy? Six types?
rjjutah: That’s for sure. In an unclassified sensem nothing in there is out of line.
rjjutah: Yes, 6 types follow: The Bandwagoner – writer is very much of the moment; story chooses a theme, often of current social or scientific significance and pushes it hard.
AGplusone: No, go on with the six … Randy. [But in Rainbow Six, there is, Bill]
BPRAL22169: Yeah, David — and that reminds me I was never able to think of Gravity’s Rainbow as SF. Though Dahlgren, to me, is.
rjjutah: The Bard: The writer visualizes an interesting character passing through a whole succession of intriguing situations and can describe it so other people can see the same scene.
AGplusone: Rainbow Six could be a Bandwagoner, btw
BPRAL22169: I think this list refers to types of writers.
BPRAL22169: i.e., the characteristic way they put stories together.
BPRAL22169: Pangborn would be an example of a “Bard” type, IMO
rjjutah: The Importer: The importer picks a subject, on any topic of current or coming interest and then writes about how that topic relates. The better importers also extrapolate, thus making predictions.
BPRAL22169: That’s Sheffield.
rjjutah: Yes, this is taxonomy of SF writers.
rjjutah: The Seer: Can look at an everyday situation and see it in new and interesting ways.
AGplusone: What about Willis’ _Passage_ novel, dealing with “near-death” experiences?
BPRAL22169: I was wondering where Willis might fit — and people like Weber
rjjutah: The Sensitive: The real interest of the sensitive is not the science, but the human and nonhuman emotions.
rjjutah: Finally, the Worldbuilder: Writer is not particularly interested in the characters or the plot, but in the background.
BPRAL22169: Biggle, perhaps — Dickson and Anderson, perhaps though Anderson has got something of the Bard, too.
BPRAL22169: Niven. Clarke. Almost all the “hard science” guys fit in this.
Paradis402: RAH fits into all of those categories.
BPRAL22169: Some writers do seem to cross over — Ellison for example is “sensitive” but also “topical.”
AGplusone: They’d have to … pure one or the other might not allow much of a story.
BPRAL22169: RAH wrote some darned good topical stories, too, though his basic classification would probably be “bard.”
BPRAL22169: I think the classifications are more like “what way of looking at story materials does a writer find most interesting for his own work.”
rjjutah: Yes, that is what is so interesting about RAH. He didn’t hew to just one approach to writing a story. Rather, he used the approach that best told the story he wanted to tell.
rjjutah: He might be called a sensitive, world-building, seer, who road on the band wagon while importing ideas to weave into his bard-like stories.
BPRAL22169: He was always expanding the possibilities. I Will Fear No Evil still amazes me.
Paradis402: I like your description, Randy.
AGplusone: Exactly, Randy … and in IWFNE, everyone is still amazed at the heart transplants, so RAH goes and does a brain transplant.
AGplusone: some importantion, eh?
BPRAL22169: It’s one of the hoariest cliches of SF, but he turned it completely on its ear.
BPRAL22169: And then no explanation at all for the third personality.
AGplusone: Right. Jake’s showing up baffles everyone.
rjjutah: Despite what some say, he was never a writer who could be said to be stuck in an intellectual rut. Each of his stories has certain elements in common, but he could always give each story a unique twist.
AGplusone: Why was that necessary?
BPRAL22169: Emotionally, Jake had to be with Joanne and Eunice for her to be complete.
rjjutah: Maybe to make you ask the question.
BPRAL22169: Her next step is from Binah to Ayin — into the infinite.
rjjutah: Some of his situations seem to be rhetorical, causing one to say “Why did he do (say) that? I wonder what he means?”
AGplusone: Well, then, at the end, what’s the purpose of “Roberto” and all the thanks …
BPRAL22169: I keep meaning to re-read that.
AGplusone: Let’s see now: we have the medical couple, Winnie and Roberto, ministering to the three in the brain ….
rjjutah: BRB – wife’s computer is acting up on the lan ……
AGplusone: sumthin’s happening there …
BPRAL22169: Hmmm — was Roberto connected to Jake in any way? I can’t remember.
BPRAL22169: Winnie was emotionally connected to Joanne Eunice.
BPRAL22169: I’d look for some kind of parallelism from Roberto — maybe he was just connected to Joanne Eunice — ISTR she slept with him early on, and she slept with Winnie, too.
AGplusone: anyway it’s an interesting trope
BPRAL22169: Lots of room for looking at different aspects of the relationships… he did like parallel treatments.
AGplusone: a lot of portrait of an artist in Joe Braca … very interesting tropes in that grope
BPRAL22169: I see IWFNE as RAH in dialog with all of science fiction. The New Wave was going strong, and it can be read as a New Wave story by a Campbellian writer.
BPRAL22169: Very much reflects the social scene at the time it was written.
AGplusone: and adverse commentary on where it’s going
AGplusone: very angry story
BPRAL22169: Yup. But that we consider that SF is a real indicator of how Heinlein kept expanding the field. Same for Stranger. he starts out saying it’s an allegory — a fairy story — but we call it sf.
BPRAL22169: Boundaries again.
AGplusone: boundaries as any sort of guide don’t seem to be much use to me
AGplusone: I read a lot outside SF
BPRAL22169: Reminds me: the readers of magazine SF didn’t think the juveniles were SF back in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Now we consider them core sf.
KultsiKN: Robert most certainly does not fit within the boundaries of gadget stories.
AGplusone: For fun, I read one of Stephen Hunter’s novels last night. It’s maybe a military fiction sorta thing, maybe an adverture, maybe a mystery, maybe a contemporary commentary …
BPRAL22169: Don’t believe I’ve ever read any Hunter.
AGplusone: He’s interesting.
AGplusone: Started with a character named Bob Swagger, “Bob the Nailer” disabled Marine sniper from Vietnam
AGplusone: Branched into things such as “Dirty White Boys” from there …
rjjutah: Here’s a link for an unofficial web site: http://www.wbanet.com/hunter/books.html
AGplusone: nurture vs. nature
BPRAL22169: Sounds like that — name just slipped out of my mind: that South Florida writer whose name begins with H.
BPRAL22169: Yes —
BPRAL22169: carl hiassen.
AGplusone: You’ve read him, Randy?
rjjutah: No, I’m just fast with a web search. 🙂
AGplusone: Some of them are quite worthwhile.
BPRAL22169: Ok, gentles, It’s going on 3:30 so how about a short break?
rjjutah: I may try one out, after I’ve caught up on a few other books.
BPRAL22169: Shall we reconvene at 3:35?
AGplusone: Start with Point of Impact
BPRAL22169: Free talk to then.
BPRAL22169: Free chat, I meant.
AGplusone: he doesn’t really get rolling into he invents Bob Lee Swagger
rjjutah: Bill, are you getting ready to send out the next THJ soon?
KultsiKN: I did not pay no cents for dis pro’am, so it’s free chat, right?
AGplusone: afk for tea
rjjutah: Does BLS show up in Point of Impact?
AGplusone: BLS begins in Point of Impact
rjjutah: I just read the blurb on the web site. Sounds interesting – think I’ll go pick up a copy.
AGplusone: You ever heard of Carl Hitchcock?
rjjutah: No, I don’t think so.
DenvToday has entered the chat room.
AGplusone: You’ll know who he was when you finish POI
DenvToday: Good afternoon everybody!
rjjutah: Ok, now I have to read it, to answer the question….
KultsiKN: Hi, Ron
rjjutah: Good afternoon, Ron.
DenvToday: Hello 🙂
Paradis402: Right Kultsi. No Russkis here.
AGplusone: Hi, Ron
DenvToday: Howdy howdy
DenvToday: How is everybody today?
AGplusone: Fair, I think. Ginny’s fighting the effects of her cough medicine to stay awake.
Paradis402: I think so too.
AGplusone: We’re on a five minute break. Want the log?
KultsiKN: Did something with me hands, for a change.
DenvToday: Yes, thanks Dave.
AGplusone: ‘kay, comin up
SAcademy: I am afraid I have been asleep now and then.
rjjutah: How are you feeling today, Ginny?
DenvToday: Mrs. Heinlein, it’s always a pleasure to see you, asleep or awake 🙂
AGplusone: sent, Ron
SAcademy: I am feeling rather shaky. Two at once is par for the course!
BPRAL22169: Answer to an earlier question — I think the Journal is supposed to be mailed out today. that’s my understanding.
BPRAL22169: I’ve got 3:36; shall we reconvene?
rjjutah: Okay, if you hadn’t mailed it yet, I was going to see about getting a copy of issue 6 and 8 sent along with it, since I’ve missed those somehow, in my coming and going from NM to UT.
DenvToday: Fine with me
BPRAL22169: I think I may have those here with me; I’ll see about sending them along from here.
rjjutah: David, quick OT question: Is Earl Swagger supposed to be the father of Bob Lee?
rjjutah: Okay, that’s what it appeared to be from the web site blurbs.
BPRAL22169: What I want to know is, where does Swagger Lee come in?
AGplusone: Not anywhere near Bob Lee
BPRAL22169: Indubitab-Lee. I saw 1776 too.
rjjutah: I think I’ll head for the Lee side of the mountain as this pun gale blows in …
AGplusone: well, Bob Lee’s a surprise. He might’ve enjoyed Swagger Lee back in the 50s when he was a teen.
SAcademy: Are we taking a break?
rjjutah: Just finishing the break.
BPRAL22169: I think we’re about to come back to the chat.
AGplusone: I think we’re about to start again.
SAcademy: BRB then
BPRAL22169: OK — Denv, did you get the log to this point? Do we need to recap anything in particular?
DenvToday: Yes, I scanned it so far.
DenvToday: No, no recaps necessary.
AGplusone: Have a nice sweet cuppa tea now … and somehow UCLA managed to win against Stanford. Real funny Pac10 season this year.
AGplusone: Everyone’s gonna finish 10-8 or so, and the tournament is going to be total bloodshed.
DenvToday: By the way, I just found out that Gordon Dickson died this past year. I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know.
BPRAL22169: That’s right — just before Poul, I think.
rjjutah: Yes, we’ve lost some real giants in the field, recently.
DenvToday: I think I’ll re-read the Dorsai stories as a tribute.
BPRAL22169: I’ve got his last book, but I’m having trouble getting through it. The Others.
BPRAL22169: I’m afraid his attempts to conclude the series never grabbed me.
AGplusone: How many are there in the Dorsai series. I remember reading about three I enjoyed.
AGplusone: Then lost interest … or didn’t know there were others.
rjjutah: Many, many books in the Dorsai series.
DenvToday: It’s been years since I’ve read them. I’d have to go back and check how many there are.
BPRAL22169: Depnds on what you mean — the series as a whole has about a dozen books, but they’re not all concerned witht he Dorsai.
AGplusone: Where do they divert into?
BPRAL22169: It’s not “divert” The Dorsai are one of four branches of humanity.
rjjutah: Right, the real name of the series is the “Childe Cycle”
DenvToday: I’ve heard the opinion several times that the Klingon warrior culture was “borrowed” from the Dorsai.
BPRAL22169: But they caught on so he wrote more about them than about the Friendlies or the Exotics.
BPRAL22169: I really doubt that. The Dorsai are Scottish clans writ large with their own planet.
rjjutah: There are 13 books in the Childe Cycle.
BPRAL22169: More likely to have derived from the Kzin.
AGplusone: Guess I didn’t stick around long enough for either the Friendlies or Exotics to make an impression.
BPRAL22169: That sounds about right.
DenvToday: Didn’t Orson Scott Card also write a Childe series?
BPRAL22169: When I interviewed him 30 years ago — my god! — the cycle as a whole wasn’t generally known about. The Final Encyclopedia was supposed to be the conclusion of the series, but he left too many loose ends.
DenvToday: Yes, I agree with you Bill. The Klingon connection always seemed a bit thin to me.
AGplusone: Who are the “Kzin” ?
BPRAL22169: Larry Niven’s creations — 8′ orange hunter-cats.
rjjutah: It was a series meant to span a time from the Medievel days right through to the future, and then back again. Some of the planned books were actually historic fiction, but I don’t believe those books were done.
BPRAL22169: No, he was never able to sell them so he never wrote them. I would have liked to see The Pikeman written.
AGplusone: The Dorsai reminded me of Norton’s Star Guard/Star Rangers types.
BPRAL22169: Basically in the childe cycle, humanity splinters into four or five subspecies, and the cycle ends when they recombine into a new, evolved homo sap.
AGplusone: I always wished she’d written more of those.
AGplusone: OIC …
rjjutah: I wish we could have time shifted so many of our favorite writers about 30 years forward, from a technology standpoint. At least to a time when small lot printing was economical enough for many of these untold tales to be written.
BPRAL22169: Very much like Heinlein’s Homo novis without the business about NewSpeak, etc.
DenvToday: rj, great point.
AGplusone: Everyone’s always heading to EESmith’s Children of the Lens
BPRAL22169: It’s not so much a matter of printing as it is of what a writer has to do to make a living in the meantime.
BPRAL22169: If you’re writing potboilers, then you can’t be writing the childe cycle.
rjjutah: So true, Bill. Artists really do suffer for their art, and society as a whole is not too ready to apply the analgesic.
DenvToday: True, but a good potboiler can be a great work in itself.
AGplusone: nuthin’ wrong with pot boilers, just have to use ’em to write the cycle a leetle bit at a time
rjjutah: Universal analgesic => living expenses
BPRAL22169: Gordy was one of the few — half a dozen, really — writers in sf to make a living from writing sf.
DenvToday: I’ve just discovered Ken Macleod. Anybody here ever read him?
AGplusone: How many were there who really lived on their writing sf earnings?
BPRAL22169: Odd and interesting writer.
rjjutah: He is another writer that didn’t allow himself to be pigeon-holed into only one type of SF. Probably one of the reasons, like Heinlein, that he could make a living at it.
AGplusone: Seems to me that folk like Stephen King, others, do that too.
BPRAL22169: I have liked Egan’s stuff better than Macleod’s, though Macleod is more popular.
AGplusone: What does Macleod write? wrote? is he still active?
DenvToday: The Scottish/English idioms are a bit of a challenge with Macleod. Still, he’s intreresting.
DenvToday: The Stone Canal, Cassini Division, Cosmonaut Keep
DenvToday: All of his stuff is very contemporary, since 1995 or thereabout.
BPRAL22169: Let’s see — Heinlein, Anderson, Dickson, Piper (kind of), Clarke until after 1969. There must be a couple of others. Alice Smith might have, but I think she was a professional librarian.
BPRAL22169: Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
BPRAL22169: Larry had a trust fund, but he’s had enough royalty income since the 70’s to qualify.
DenvToday: I read Beowulf’s Children about a month ago. I was impressed.
rjjutah: Certainly the statistics of the number of SF writers vs. the number of successful, money-making SF authors gives one pause, when thinking about leaping into the abyss.
BPRAL22169: Had you read the first book — Legacy of Heorot?
AGplusone: “Alice Smith” … Alice Mary Norton?
DenvToday: No, but I plan to Bill. It’s on my list.
BPRAL22169: You’re right — Alice Mary Norton.
AGplusone: I’ve read that one. Okay.
BPRAL22169: Legacy is actually a better book than Children, in some ways.
DenvToday: Excellent. I’ll get it right away then.
BPRAL22169: Reminds me of Tau Zero in some ways.
BPRAL22169: Similar character.
rjjutah: Seems like many of today’s hard science SF writers are writers of science first, and story tellers second.
AGplusone: Hate to bring this up: but since we’re talking Scots and SF, what is Diane Galbadon’s (sp?) series?
DenvToday: So many great books, so little time.
BPRAL22169: There are some barely competent writers who do hard sf — James Hogan, Robert Forward.
AGplusone: besides bodice rippers with a gimick?
BPRAL22169: But I would consider Egan a hard science writer, and he’s darned good.
AGplusone: time travel gimmick
BPRAL22169: William Jon Williams, also pretty good – not quite as hard-edged as Egan.
DenvToday: Hogan has written excellent stuff. Not lately, IMHO. The Gentle Giants of Ganymede series is wonderful, however.
rjjutah: I think it takes a real gift to be able to write an enjoyable story and still be able to insert the science in an accurate, assimilative and non-obtrusive way.
AGplusone: Hogan wrote one story about a future in which we lost WW2, with Kennedy as President, that impressed me a lot. Can’t remember its name right now.
AGplusone: An alternate history sci-fi
BPRAL22169: His crude writing disturbs me so much I have trouble enjoyign the story sometimes.
AGplusone: Much like Len Deighton’s story
AGplusone: Fatherland, I think it was.
ddavitt has entered the chat room.
AGplusone: Is Fatherland a sci-fi story?
ddavitt: Hi everyone
rjjutah: Hi, Jane!
KultsiKN: Hi, Jane!
DenvToday: Hello Jane!
ddavitt: Sorry I’m so late; very busy day.
DenvToday: Dave, I think you mean The Proteus Operation by Hogan.
Paradis402: Evening Jane.
AGplusone: ::::waving:::: with cup of tea up to my mouth. Yes, Proteus Operation is it.
SAcademy: Hello Jane.
ddavitt: Are you feeling better Ginny?
AGplusone: Was that a successful novel for Hogan? More so than others?
BPRAL22169: I think that Hogan book must have been The Proteus Operation.
SAcademy: Not really, Just have to wear this one out.
BPRAL22169: I see I’m behind others.
AGplusone: Seemed like he was trying for an audience with it.
BPRAL22169: Google took time loading. Welcome to DSL.
AGplusone: outside the genre ghetto
DenvToday: I think so. It’s one of his better ones. Hogan’s novels of the last few years have been inferior.
AGplusone: but then he never went back to that sort
BPRAL22169: You mean duller than usual?
AGplusone: No, I didn’t think it dull. A little pat in its resolution, but a thriller up to about 3/4 through.
DenvToday: lol Yes, perhaps.
AGplusone: Although Deighton did it better in Fatherland
BPRAL22169: At any rate, I see Ginny is back, so let’s return to the topic.
BPRAL22169: Genre boundaries came up a bit back. Any particular reason any writer should respect genre boundaries?
DenvToday: However…Hogan is an *excellent* science writer. I have a paperback of his essays and some short stories. He really makes complicated science come alive, and fairly easy to understand.
ddavitt: To sell better?
ddavitt: Or make marketing easier
DenvToday: He should stick to non-fiction, he really is good at it.
AGplusone: To me, it depends on whether staying within the ghetto of genre is worthwhile. Is the ghetto expanding, then stay within it. If it’s static or shrinking, then cross genres.
ddavitt: Does appealing to too many mean they all slip through your grasp?
AGplusone: Depends on marketing to an extent I suppose
ddavitt: Focusing the appeal might work better from a finanical and artistic perspective
AGplusone: What does your publisher think he can market?
ddavitt: But as I said, I like J D Robb with her thriller/romance/SF books
ddavitt: That mix works well
BPRAL22169: Right at the moment, the market seems to have no support for genre publications.
BPRAL22169: If you look at Barnes & Nobel or Borders, the SF section is about 60% taken up with “classics” and 35% with franchise books.
AGplusone: Fer example, we have a writer in THS who bewails the fact that under one pen name she has to either write about FemNazis or not get published.
AGplusone: They all have to be SuperMaidens …
BPRAL22169: Marion Zimmer Bradley has a lot to answer for, I tell you…
AGplusone: To publish anything else, she has to pretend she’s a man and use a pseudonym
BPRAL22169: That’s pretty common — once you get a following, publishers don’t like to publish anything but more of same.
Paradis402: Whoa. Survival may depend on what you write and what sells.
ddavitt: I never used to understand it when they put the ‘real’ name and the pseudonym on a book
DenvToday: Hmmm….what would Anson MacDonald have to say about that?
AGplusone: which suggests to me that the political agenda for some times of fantasy or sci-fi is a real problem for a new writer
AGplusone: some types
ddavitt: ‘Ruth Rendell writing as Barabara Vine’ for example
AGplusone: Is this a problem within the sci-fi or fantasy publishers?
ddavitt: If it’s to create a new ID, why still try and drag in the other fans?
BPRAL22169: In one case I know why — after Stephen King got popular in the 70’s they could sell his old Steven Bachman books to a much bigger audience.
rjjutah: The problem is that the majority of the publishing industry has become captive to large corporations, and they focus strictly on the bottom line, which means operating in a risk averse manner and going for the sure thing.
DenvToday: It’s usually after the author has become famous, and they want to sell their earlier pen-named works.
ddavitt: Hmm..I am reading one romance author with 3; she has them for different sub genres
AGplusone: Some thing with WEB Griffin, his old Alex Baldwin novels are simply being reissued and selling more than they ever did.
KultsiKN: Sorry, folks, I’m getting too drowsy — see ya next time.
ddavitt: Futuristic, historical and contemporary all have different names
ddavitt: Bye Kultsi
BPRAL22169: Risk-averse is what they would say they are doing — but they’re not really. They’re going for the blockbuster, whereas 10 midlist books would make more money.
AGplusone: See you, Kultsi
KultsiKN: Nite all!
BPRAL22169: Ciao, Kultsi.
DenvToday: Night Kultsi
SAcademy: Nite Kultsi
KultsiKN has left the chat room.
DenvToday: Is that true of Tor? They seem to support many midlist authors
AGplusone: A lot of what Harris is after on AFH is a prescription for selling to publishers. What’s popular? What’s wanted?
BPRAL22169: You may be right about Tor. They do have a healthy midlist –as well as the top sellers.
DenvToday: Bob Baen is the head honcho there, right?
AGplusone: Dunno about Tor. The screed this writer I’m talking about seemed to indicate she’s selling stories mostly to the magazines.
BPRAL22169: Who does those grotesque Honor Harrington books — oh, that’s not Tor, that’s Baen.
BPRAL22169: Tom Doherty at Tor — though David hartwell and Patrick Neilsen Hayden are the top editors.
ddavitt: Heard of them, not read any. Are they by Holly Lisle?
DenvToday: I see. Thanks.
BPRAL22169: No, Steven Weber, I think.
AGplusone: Yeah, Weber
AGplusone: Not David Weber is it?
BPRAL22169: A One-man franchise. I think you’re right David Weber. Steven Weber is an actor.
AGplusone: I’m confusing them in my mind with another author I’m afraid … trying to recall correctly.
AGplusone: Seems to me David Weber writes another series …
AGplusone: sort of a space navy thing
BPRAL22169: It is David Weber who writes the Honor Harrington books.
AGplusone: alt.fan.davidweber would show
DenvToday: Bill, I’ve never read an Honor Harrington book. Why are they grotesque?
BPRAL22169: I may be overly sensitive — but they are just so much “cud-chewing” that I am revolted by them.
AGplusone: neither have I but you can download the first in the series as a free ebook from Tor I think
DenvToday: lol Okay Fair enough
DenvToday: Thanks Dave.
BPRAL22169: I believe Weber set out to do a deliberate imitation of the Horatio Hornblower series and it seems too cynical to me.
AGplusone: I downloaded it, but it sits on my drive unread
DenvToday: I suppose the same could be said of the Flandry series, but I always loved them.
BPRAL22169: Although I didn’t like Mote in God’s Eye when it came out, I still think if you’re going to do imitation Hornblower, that’s the way to do it.
ddavitt: Mote was OK but the sequel was hard going
AGplusone: Feintuch started out doing something like that but it fizzled after about two or three of them
BPRAL22169: Was there only one sequel, or is Gripping Hand it?
ddavitt: That’s it; different title in UK
ddavitt: The Moat Around Murcheson’s Eye
ddavitt: Or something like that
BPRAL22169: that’s a horrible title.
ddavitt: Lemme go check
BPRAL22169: I see the relevance to the story — but still, it’s a horrible title.
AGplusone: It’s all in the Eye of the beholder, I’d think, Bill
BPRAL22169: Now, that would make a much better title.
ddavitt: yep, I was right
BPRAL22169: I enjoyed Gripping Hand, though a lot of people didn’t.
DenvToday: Gripping Hand. Reminds me of my teenage years.
ddavitt: Gripping Hand is better; now that’s even become a phrase people use
AGplusone: [damn, not punning well today … heck, spit, and snellfrocky]
ddavitt: That’s naughty:-)
BPRAL22169: Yup. Instead of “on the third hand.”
ddavitt: That was what I meant before Denv lowered the tone
BPRAL22169: That’s us — have to look up into the gutter!
ddavitt: Just men.
AGplusone: Elevate our minds to the gutter!
BPRAL22169: OK, we seem to be fizzling away. Anybody else have remarks to make abut “No Bands Playing, No Flags Flying”?
ddavitt: So what do you all read? Do you stick to a genre?
ddavitt: What was the concensus on No bands?
AGplusone: I asked about Diane Galbadon, or however she spells it, just before you came in, Jane. Is that sci-fi, or just romance bodice ripper with a gimmick of time travel fantasy?
ddavitt: Are we still voting the same way?
ddavitt: Ooh, tricky
ddavitt: I have filed her in SF
BPRAL22169: No real consensus — about 80% say it’s not sf; about 20% say it is, and then there are the holdouts who say it’s not fiction.
ddavitt: But probably more historical romance
ddavitt: But that would mean putting them in the basement
ddavitt: and I want them on hand as I loan them out a lot
AGplusone: I’m still voting ‘yes’ but I’m dissatisfied with the lack of a resolution … if he’d done something about finding out about ‘fright’ as a killer, I’d leaned more closely to SF
BPRAL22169: Incidentally, I understand jean Auel iscoming out with another Earth’s Chidlren book in April.
ddavitt: Yes, I’ve read chapter 1
AGplusone: Is that sci-fi?
ddavitt: Bit dull
ddavitt: Not really
AGplusone: Auel’s stuff
BPRAL22169: Could be — dawn of time fictionalized.
ddavitt: Ayla invents everything up to a nuclear warhead so it could be fantasy…
AGplusone: but it’s speculative fiction of the past, isn’t it?
ddavitt: I guess so
ddavitt: Heavy on the society and romance
BPRAL22169: A lot of crossover market, anyway.
BPRAL22169: The romance was rather . . . gamy.-
ddavitt: I have them all but they tailed off in quality
ddavitt: It was formulaic.
ddavitt: And not in the least erotic
BPRAL22169: Her purpose seems to have been to put as much research about the 50,000 year ago period into a fictionalized format.
ddavitt: Oh look, 20 pages without Pleasures, quick let’s bomk
ddavitt: But the first 2 books were very readbale
ddavitt: unlike my typing
BPRAL22169: parson me — sentence fragment — “as she could cram.”
ddavitt: And she seemed to know her stuff
BPRAL22169: Some of it, yes.
AGplusone: But consider Norton’s StarMansSon, with the telepathic bond between the boy and his cat. Then look at Auel and the bond with her and that sabertooth …. fantasy or scifi?
BPRAL22169: The archeological part was solid.
ddavitt: The herbal lore and the tension between flatheads and well, us, is interesting
SAcademy: I got tired of her heroine inventing everything.
BPRAL22169: The speculative anthropology was iffy.
ddavitt: Not kidding Ginny; needles, taming wolves, horseback riding,
BPRAL22169: So did we all, Ginny.
BPRAL22169: Don’t forget the atl-atl.
ddavitt: Jondlar did get to invent the spear thrower
DenvToday: Auel lost me when she had Ayla inventing Twinkies.
ddavitt: Oh, fire, she invented fire
AGplusone: Jim Kjelgaard did that with some juveniles fifty or sixty years ago.
BPRAL22169: OK — so that was a joint project.
ddavitt: Well, instant fire from a flint
AGplusone: all that!
ddavitt: Chapter i of the new one is her meeting J’s parents
BPRAL22169: She invented the cigarette lighter, too?
ddavitt: Losng intoductions, amazement at the horses./wolf yawn
DenvToday: She also invented the non-smoking section in public caves.
ddavitt: I am really losing it here with the typing
ddavitt: But I’ll get it from the library
BPRAL22169: A primitive Californian, I see.
BPRAL22169: I understand the rights were tied up for a long time in a messy divorce.
ddavitt: I heard that too
AGplusone: I’m serious, nothing Auel has done wasn’t done in a couple juveniles by Kjelgaard I read sixty years ago.
ddavitt: Not read them. Are they still around?
AGplusone: well, fifty anyway
AGplusone: dunno …
ddavitt: Well, I’ll go and put oldest to bed. Night all.
AGplusone: read them in early fifties
DenvToday: Night Jane!
SAcademy: Nite, Jane.
ddavitt has left the chat room.
BPRAL22169: I thought Kjelgaard was the doggie writer.
AGplusone: leaving out the sex and bedroom scenes, and the invention of the matress
DenvToday: I’m planning to relive my childhood tonight. “It Came from Outer Space” is on AMC tonight.
AGplusone: He was. He wrote two novels about a boy in the neolithic period
DenvToday: David, sounds like a mommoth undertaking.
DenvToday: mammoth even
AGplusone: it was …
BPRAL22169: Do you happen to remember –urk! — titles?
AGplusone: No, not now. I remember the titles of some of the dog stories abut that Irish Setter, if that helps
BPRAL22169: I’ve got a bibliography on screen now.
BPRAL22169: I remember those — those aren’t it.
AGplusone: what’s the url of the bibliography
BPRAL22169: And who could forget “Furious Moose of the Wilderness.”
DenvToday: The best way to get descriptions is at Amazon.com
BPRAL22169: Maybe “Boomerang Hunter?”
BPRAL22169: I’m not seeing any good candidate titles. In any case, I only read two or three titles — he has a surprisingly long list.
AGplusone: Look at Fire Hunter
AGplusone: that might be it
DenvToday: Wild Trek?
AGplusone: Cracker Barrel Trouble Shooter was funny
AGplusone: Anyway, as I said, fifty years ago
DenvToday: Kalak of the Ice?
AGplusone: Those are possibilities, but I think Fire Hunter might be it.
BPRAL22169: Don’t think I read that. Big Red and couple others.
AGplusone: I read all the Reds. they were popular
AGplusone: beast tales, a bit like Lad, a Dog, by Terhune
BPRAL22169: By the time I got out of grade school, I had had my fill of that.
BPRAL22169: Oh, well, it’s ten to five. If nobody else has topical comments, why don’t we call it a day?
AGplusone: yes … what I’d gotten sick of when I was eleven and the librarian gave me Galileo to read
BPRAL22169: Thanks for coming, all. I understand next meeting will be Robert Crais books in prep for an author visit.
DenvToday: Bill, always a pleasure.
AGplusone: Yep. I’ll put up a leadoff. Be useful to read a couple of his books I recommend him strongly.
rjjutah: Which one, if time for only one?
BPRAL22169: He’s a good read.
BPRAL22169: One of the elvis Cole books?
AGplusone: L.A. Requiem
rjjutah: Whatever best captures the “spirit” of him, as a writer.
BPRAL22169: I’d vote for that one, too.
AGplusone: is the best of the Coles
rjjutah: Okay, I can look for that, while I’m looking for a couple of other books.
BPRAL22169: Ok — let’s wrap it up. Thanks, one and all. See you next time.
Paradis402: Nite all.
BPRAL22169 has left the chat room.
Paradis402 has left the chat room.
DenvToday: Night everybody!
AGplusone: nite Ron
DenvToday: See you next time 🙂
rjjutah: David, were you here from the beginning, and did you get a log?
DenvToday: Good night, Mrs. Heinlein.
DenvToday: Take care rj.
rjjutah: Bye, Ron
SAcademy: Nite all
DenvToday has left the chat room.
rjjutah: Bye, Ginny.
SAcademy has left the chat room.
rjjutah: David, you still here?
AGplusone: Yep, here.
rjjutah: Do you have the complete log? I only have one from when I showed up.
AGplusone: Yes, I do.
rjjutah: Okay, just wanted to make sure we got a complete log to David W.
AGplusone: Thanks. You’ll enjoy both LA Requiem and Bob Lee Swagger.
AGplusone: I’m planning to focus on characterization, and I’m going to bring up ol’ Bob Lee in connection with Joe Pike, who’ll you’ll find in LA Requiem
rjjutah: I plan on going out Monday and trying to get a copy of each. Wish I had known sooner, ‘cuz there’s a great used book store in Boulder, that I am sure would have had both.
rjjutah: Logan isn’t quite as blessed in that area, unfortunately. 🙂
AGplusone: I know. but I suspect that both are in print
AGplusone: in paper
AGplusone: Amazon if nothing else
AGplusone: should be a day or three from them
rjjutah: Well, I know Point of Impact is a 1993 copyright, so the PB is probably a year later, so should be available.
AGplusone: LA Requiem is later than that. About two years old
rjjutah: Sounds good. Well, I better get back to doing taxes, then I have some papers to grade and a test to write. Teaching – the fun never ends, but I prefer it over everything else.
AGplusone: Okay, go forth and have FUN
AGplusone: I’ll copy the log now.
Log Officially Closed at 8:02 P.M. EST
Final End Of Discussion Log