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SPLIT THREAD: The Virginia Edition etc. 
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Post SPLIT THREAD: The Virginia Edition etc.
That's sourly amusing - I am having a parallel discussion about the complete edition of Burton. (Literally; a half-finished email glares at me in the other monitor.) Many of the same questions arise, although there are few legal/copyright/ownershp issues to cloud the decision-making.

All I can say is that the travails of the VE, public and private, known and unknown, have been immensely valuable in helping me shape this larger project... and avoid the pit- and pratfalls. I'd like to avoid another case of WhatMight'veBeen.

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Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:07 am
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Post Re: Stories: Citizen of the Galaxy (Opus 128/G.134) (Nov. 1956)
Thanks, guys! A Variorum Heinlein edition -- what fun that would be.

I doubt if I could manage myself a dual close reading in the foreseeable future. But when I next reread Citizen of the Galaxy I'll do it from the Astounding issues, and glance across at the Scribner edition as the spirit moves me. It's been a while since I looked at all the van Dongen illustrations, anyway.

Speaking of illustrations: did Scribner just lose interest in illustrating Heinlein's last, great novels for them?

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Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:39 pm
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Post Re: Stories: Citizen of the Galaxy (Opus 128/G.134) (Nov. 1956)
The original plan, long ago, was a full scholarly standard edition, with variorum and close editing and corrections per original mss and notes. It devolved repeatedly into, well, the Virginia Edition. I don't think many people have an idea of what a crippled clusterf*ck that project has become. I'd bet that it never sees completion.

Unfortunately I think Bill's ten-year hiatus is too short by... well, a lot. The problem with doing a huge project half-assed is that it spoils the market and the motivations for doing it right. If a true standard edition of RAH is ever done, it won't be for 25 years or more. There will be no significant interest from the potential market, and none from the rights holders, before the VE is forgotten.

And there was so little standing in the way of doing it right.

:cry:

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Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:39 pm
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Post Re: Stories: Citizen of the Galaxy (Opus 128/G.134) (Nov. 1956)
James Gifford wrote:
The original plan, long ago, was a full scholarly standard edition, with variorum and close editing and corrections per original mss and notes. It devolved repeatedly into, well, the Virginia Edition. I don't think many people have an idea of what a crippled clusterf*ck that project has become. I'd bet that it never sees completion.


I am really, really sad to hear this. I was excited about the Virginia Edition when it was announced, and that excitement increased when I learned that Bill was doing preface material for each volume. I expect the first seven volumes of the latest incarnation to arrive today. Since this is almost certainly the only "complete works" collection that will be available to me while I am still physically capable of reading, I do hope they finish it. But now I'm starting to feel about it the way I feel about the Starship Troopers movies.

Dan

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Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:57 am
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Post Re: Stories: Citizen of the Galaxy (Opus 128/G.134) (Nov. 1956)
Don't get me wrong - it's a very good collection, and Bill has put in a massive amount of work to see it through properly from a weak position. (The vast amount of it gratis, or next thing to it, as far as I understand.) It may well wheeze through to completion, as there are contractual obligations to meet, but I would be unsurprised if it is only completed in some technical, letter-of-the-law manner and not in some more realistic sense. But it is, and will be, worth having. (Just don't ever think about how you could have 99% of the contents in decent hardcovers for 1/10 the price.)

So many poor decisions were made in shaping, launching and managing the project that it would take a book to detail them all. A very, very poor choice of publisher was one of the most significant - one that had zero expertise with the material or with multivolume sets, no capacity to wrangle such a large project and was financially shaky to start with. Aiming the set at such a platinum-plated sales level was another - it was sheer moonshine through the 'shroom smoke that there would be that many buyers for such a set. As the Centennial showed, RAH fans tend to talk lots'n'lots bigger than they do.

Sorry; this is all leaking out from a rather sour postmortem on my Heinlein years that will likely never be seen by any eyes but mine. It's vastly depressing when the wishful thinking is brushed away and the cold realities emerge. (The purpose of the PM isn't to diss anyone; it's to help me keep from getting similarly misled in future projects.)

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Fri Sep 05, 2008 9:16 am
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Post Re: Stories: Citizen of the Galaxy (Opus 128/G.134) (Nov. 1956)
James Gifford wrote:
(Just don't ever think about how you could have 99% of the contents in decent hardcovers for 1/10 the price.)


The VE was a purely emotional buying decision for me; I already own a complete collection in hardcover (there are one or two for which I've never found hardcover available). At least I had the restraint to go for the cheaper binding on the VE. But even after all that expense, I would still pay several hundred dollars for a signed first edition of Time Enough For Love.

As for the convention, it may have been much less than some could have hoped for, but there was still so much available that I had to agonize over every choice of workshop to attend. There were always in any given time slot several places I very much wanted to be. I actually sat down in the wrong room once, which became my introduction to Robert James, who turned out to be a memorable highlight of the whole convention for me. If anyone ever publishes recordings of all the sessions, I'll be first in line.

Dan

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Fri Sep 05, 2008 9:47 am
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Post Re: Stories: Citizen of the Galaxy (Opus 128/G.134) (Nov. 1956)
dh490311 wrote:
I already own a complete collection in hardcover (there are one or two for which I've never found hardcover available).

I have to 'fess to being somewhat anti-collector. I lost the pure collector itch decades ago, and I ran into too many problems in the early days with nutso RAH "collectors," which reinforced my interest in content, not value. Bill and I collaborated on breaking the backs of the RAH hoarder/collectors, and it was a pleasure. (I am encountering the problem in spades with Burton, who has been almost exclusively the province of the collectors for many decades now - and the crackle of breaking backs there has just started.) I'd just as soon have my ratty early edition of MIAHM as any other - first, signed, bound in genuine roc skin, once owned by (insert BN here), etc. Content is all.

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As for the convention, it may have been much less than some could have hoped for...

I wasn't dissing the Centennial itself - it was a success by any measure. But it was an eye-opening experience about how vast the talk and small the walk is in RAHland. Rub your eyes clear and look around at the endless adulation and talk-talk, then get out your tiny pocket notepad and write down everything of significance that's been done. The "do some sort of Heinlein 101 thing at yet another con" line will be written over so many times it will drip ink, but you'll have room left over for a shopping list and two doodles.

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If anyone ever publishes recordings of all the sessions, I'll be first in line.

Sigh. It's in my queue but behind scads of more important tasks - not to mention behind a number of legal, tax and financial issues with the event and nonprofit that have never quite gotten wrapped up. All the messy, complex bits stayed right on my desk after everyone went home happy and won't go away until I scrape out time to complete them. I've had offers to help turn around the recordings, but when I mention the need for some qualified shovelers on the boring stuff, I get echoes in the darkness.

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In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:12 am
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Post Re: Stories: Citizen of the Galaxy (Opus 128/G.134) (Nov. 1956)
James Gifford wrote:
I have to 'fess to being somewhat anti-collector.


I agree with you. I'm not a collector at all; all mine are reading copies I got from abebooks.com or bookfinder.com, usually library or book club editions. The whole kit & caboodle would sell for less than $100. I got two of RAH's signed paper labels and stuck them in favorite books, but those are the only signatures I have, and the only first editions are the ones I bought in bookstores as my first copies when they were new. I have a very few old magazines (the Playboy with his interview; the Popular Mechanics with the tour of his house), but none of the old magazines or pulps that contained his fiction. I'd just like a really nice TEFL because it's my very favorite, and I once (1992?) saw in the Black Oak bookstore in Berkeley a slipcovered, signed first edition of Red Planet. Until that moment it never occurred to me that such things existed.

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Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:35 am
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Post Re: Stories: Citizen of the Galaxy (Opus 128/G.134) (Nov. 1956)
I'm at least a non-collector, and ceased being an accumulator at about age twenty when I began losing track of what I had. I do like to own what I like to re-read, in hopefully attractive but at least durable form.

Getting back to my question on the lack of illustrations in the Scribner Citizen of the Galaxy.

Has anyone considered a general collection of illustrations for Heinlein works, rather like Kelly Freas' and other artists' collections? I'll bet the vast majority of fans who have stacks of Heinlein paperbacks have never seen the 1940s Astoundings with Hubert Rogers etc., or even the 1950s Clifford Geary illos for the Scribners.

I think such a collection could sell well, and boost Heinlein generally.

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Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:16 pm
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Post Re: Stories: Citizen of the Galaxy (Opus 128/G.134) (Nov. 1956)
Robert W Franson wrote:
Has anyone considered a general collection of illustrations for Heinlein works, rather like Kelly Freas' and other artists' collections? I'll bet the vast majority of fans who have stacks of Heinlein paperbacks have never seen the 1940s Astoundings with Hubert Rogers etc., or even the 1950s Clifford Geary illos for the Scribners.

Interesting notion. There would be quite a few hurdles to get over WRT permissions, etc. as most of the material is in that gray area of not-quite-PD, not-quite-owned. Many would be courtesy permissions but all it would take is one crotchety old sister refusing to let you reprint her brother's valuable, valuable work to botch up the idea. ("We couldn't include nineteen cover illustrations because...") You'd also have trouble running down the actual permission owners, in many cases - I doubt any remain under professional representation and families etc. may not even know (or agree) who is in charge.

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I think such a collection could sell well, and boost Heinlein generally.

Erm. Well. So. That's been said once or twice.

Don't print more than about 400 copies; don't expect the choir to expand any. And don't spend any profits in advance. (Mr. Henslowe: "But there are never any profits!")

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"Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders." - Luther
In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:38 pm
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