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January - June 2008

Dear Mr. Bear.

Date: 06/25/2008 From: michaelestanford
Location:

I'm an up and coming animator, and iwas just curious. Have you ever thought about turning Forge of God and Anvil of stars into an animated feature?
 

Re: Dear Mr. Bear.
Date: 07/01/2008
From: Greg Bear

Hmmm... I don't think the current holders of the option have considered that possibility! In some ways, animation is probably the most efficient way to handle big theme sf and fantasy. Consider THE INCREDIBLES and WALL-E... both visually brilliant.
 

Re: Dear Mr. Bear.
Date: 07/06/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Hell, Beowulf was a pretty intense production. I didn't even know it WAS animated till I happened to rent it. It was eerie, at least at first: I was simultaneously aware it wasn't quite real and impressed with some of the movement and gestures. They're getting close.
 

Re: Dear Mr. Bear.
Date: 07/09/2008
From: Greg Bear

300 was also visually stunning.

Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children

Date: 06/18/2008 From: Jan Fure
Location: portland, Oregon, USA

Hi;

I was very fascinated with the evolutionary speculative science fiction of the Darwin books, but in some sense disappointed. The reader has lots of expectations, when the newborns name themselves, and show a superior self awareness, but it is a major anticlimax, when the new race ends up being simply a bunch of 'people persons', choosing (by many measures by necessity) to live in hippie communes. Of course, 'live and let live' is way more evolved than how most of humanity acts today.

The one scary prediction is how the conflict caused a severe economic depression, where you described cities full of trash, somewhat similar with the 'England time line' from Timescape. My biggest fear, is that lack of an energy policy, and a stalemate between those that want windmills and solar, and the ones who want much more nuclear power plants, will lead to a significant economic depression.

Jan
 

Re: Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children
Date: 06/18/2008
From: Greg Bear

Organization is how people get big things done, and communication is what defines human beings. Greatly improving on those abilities is hardly trivial! And what we often forget, considering the challenges of the future, is that we somehow managed to survive the twentieth century... Depression, wars hot and cold, genocide, and all. It's a good question, however--if environmental and economic challenges push us back into a new round of big conflicts.
 

Re: Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children
Date: 09/18/2008
From: shona
Location: india

im not a big inteletual or a book critic but im a voracious reader.maybe cos iam young.but im reading Darwin's Radio reght now.i havent finished it as yet.surprisingly i have dreams/nightmares about the story.personally for me its too much.cos usually i never feel like that though i read 5000 books in 20 yrs i am alive.i even see my current reality as part of this story thats why i wanna tell u GREG BEAR u are fantastic.absolutely brilliant.hope u write like this forever as even im a budding poet.so want to inspiration frm u.....lov uuuuuu.....
 

Re: Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children
Date: 09/21/2008
From: Greg Bear

Many thanks for your kind words, Shona. May your poetry blossom!

ebooks not available

Date: 06/17/2008 From: tim m.
Location: nyc

hello greg,

your books have rekindled my interest in sci-fi. i love the hard edge of science present in your work. it allows me to read with some belief and imagination. also, since 2002, i have been reading all new material in electronic format (of one kind or another) on my palm 515. this does present some challenges as not all of my favorite books are e-formatted. i love forge of god and anvil of stars, but these books are difficult if not impossible (for me) to find in e-format.

what's the scoop? probably (?) due to the original format of the book's final manuscript. is there any chance these books might come out in e-format?

thanks,
tim
 

Re: ebooks not available
Date: 06/17/2008
From: Greg Bear

E-Reads is going to be bringing these books and others out shortly in various formats. Meanwhile, CITY AT THE END OF TIME should soon be available through Random House's e-books division.
 

Re: ebooks not available
Date: 06/18/2008
From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Coronado

Greg, another that would be really great to find in Palm form would be Eternity.

I do the same in keeping these books handy, and it would be great to find this one.

Best,
Clive
 

Re: ebooks not available
Date: 06/18/2008
From: Greg Bear

ETERNITY is on its way as well.
 

Re: ebooks not available
Date: 06/18/2008
From: tim m.
Location: nyc

greg,

thanks for the info. i will keep an eye out. just wondering if the issue is that the original material was in a format that was incompatible? that doesn't seem to make much sense as i think some of your work from the early 90s is in e-format, but these books were not.

curious.
 

Re: ebooks not available
Date: 06/19/2008
From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Coronado

What a nice thing to hear.

Greg, I hope you found your kudos put on the epigenetics thread. It's sort of 'workers of the world unite' but I am really very appreciative.

Kind regards,
Clive
 

Re: ebooks not available
Date: 06/19/2008
From: Greg Bear

Some publishers, beginning in the 1990s, held on to e-book rights but did almost nothing to exploit them. With reversions, we're remedying that now.
 

Re: ebooks not available
Date: 06/19/2008
From: tim m
Location: nyc

dunces.

just like the music industry. the movers don't know how to shake with technology changes. i hope this remedy is industry wide. current author notwithstanding, there are other authors in the same predicament, namely card.
 

Re: ebooks not available
Date: 07/15/2008
From: Greg Stewart
Location: Mississippi

Greg Bear,

THAT IS GREAT NEWS!!! I am working to build my e-book library and some of the largest holes are those books of yours that haven't been published in that format.

My only request is to have them available in multiple formats. I prefer the Palm Reader/EReader format and also have the Microsoft Reader software. I (like a lot of e-book readers) am trying to limit the number of difference reader software that I have to install on my limited hand-held devices... but I've seen a number of books recently that have been released only in Mobipocket format and I'm resisting adding that software to my handheld. And of course, there's the proprietary Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader formats... dead-ends for the e-book world, IMHO.

Looking forward to the new set of Greg Bear e-books... and of course, the City...

Greg Stewart

Alistair Reynolds

Date: 06/17/2008 From: Jacob
Location: Bristol, UK

Hi Greg,

I hope you're well.

I've recently found myself really enjoying the first 3 books by Alistair Reynolds: Revelation Space, Chasm City and Redemption Ark. Although I'm not quite so convinced by his characterisations as I am by yours, I do enjoy the plotting and harder science he injects into what might otherwise be pure space opera.

I was wondering if you had read him, and if so what you think?

Best wishes,

Jacob
 

Re: Alistair Reynolds
Date: 06/17/2008
From: Greg Bear

We've been discussing Mr. Reynolds in other threads, Jacob. He's a fine writer and I enjoy his work.

Music inspired by your books

Date: 06/13/2008 From: andy carlo
Location: Devon, UK

Hi Greg,

I know that your books have inspired many visual artists, from the EON comp a while back to the never ending movie merry-go-round. But are you aware of any musicians who may have produced work inspired by you?

I ask as I am a huge fan of the musican Mike Oldfield whop produced a stunning album based on Arthur C Clarke's "Songs of Distant Earth". It struck me that music has been in many of your stories, from the obvious (Songs of Power) to the hidden.

Andy
 

Re: Music inspired by your books
Date: 06/16/2008
From: Greg Bear

There's been a couple of CDs inspired by my novels, including MOMERATH, based on Anvil of Stars, and BLOOD MUSIC. There's also an album and a music group called BLOOD MUSIC. And occasionally I hear of other pieces or lyrics.

I Can stop PESTERING you now

Date: 06/08/2008 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Just cruised in and saw the teasers for CITY.

Nice.

I can hardly wait.

MG
 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 06/09/2008
From: Greg Bear

Pass it on, Mike! We'll be opening up a few interrelated web pages soon, and will of course announce them here and elsewhere. More on the way.
 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 06/09/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

I already posted a link to the fuller description of CITY from the Signed Book Page onto my blog, and have been threatening to post my speculations on the book (a la Lin Carter before the Silmarillion came out as to what THAT would be about).
The longer teaser gives more food for thought, with comparisons to LAST MEN IN LONDON for starters...CITY is definitely sounding more and more like a worthy contribution to the Stapledonian Mythos...

MG
 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 06/11/2008
From: Greg Bear

I've been re-reading LAST MEN IN LONDON (1932) and find that one common element in Stapledon's far-future works is the touch of a future individual on a contemporary human. The same holds for Hodgson's THE NIGHT LAND...

LAST MEN IN LONDON may also be the first work to mention "artificial matter."
 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 06/11/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

I'm going to have to re-read chapter XV of LAST AND FIRST MEN AGAIN closely...as I was convinced the mention of artifical atoms being in the last men came from there, but I may be getting that blurred with the discussion of the life of the last men from LAST MEN IN LONDON.

 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 06/16/2008
From: Greg Bear

Worth a look--it's been a while since I read LAST AND FIRST MEN.
 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 06/17/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Ah...if you haven't read it in a while, that would explain it.

Since 1990 I have re-read LAST AND FIRST MEN and STARMAKER some where between once every three to five years...or just reading sections of each at random.

My stand-alone copies are very "pug-dog eared" as a result.

And I did remember correctly, the mention of artificial atoms is on page 264 of the 1988 Tarcher edition...a couple of pages in to chapter XV.

"These mightest of all buildings, which are constructed in adamantine materials formed of artificial atoms"

This in reference to Titanic Buildings on Neptune. Haven't gotten to the point where it takes about Artificial Atoms in the Skeletal structure of the last men.

Memory also says this same material is covered in LAST MEN IN LONDON. Unfortunately my loaned out copy has never come back...but I remember it as being in the long "daily life of the Last Men" sections of that novel.

"These mightest of all buildings, which are constructed in adamantine materials formed of artificial atoms"
 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 06/17/2008
From: Greg Bear

Excellent sleuthing, Mike! I'll pass this along to Wil McCarthy. Should keep us both humble.
 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 06/17/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Just tried to replace LAST MEN IN LONDON down at Bill's store...but some one snagged the copy that's been on his shelves for nine months.

I'm beginning to think the prose that describes the skeletons of the last men being imbued with artificial atoms may be in the above book, and not LAST AND FIRST MEN...even went back to chapter XIV regarding the genesis of the Last Men...nothing.
 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 06/17/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

After some more digging, found the bio use of synthetic atoms in the engineering of the Sixteenth Men.

Page 259 of the Printing mentioned earlier today, final paragraph:

"Artificial rigid atoms had been introduced into his bone tissues, so that it might support great stature..."

This for the 8th Human Species to occupy neptune.

There's some references to them being modeld on the 5th Men...so Synthetic Atoms may even go back to the final terrestrial era some 250 to 300 millions years from now.

It never ceases to amaze me how great Stapledon was, and that we all, who think about the far far future, write in his shadow. I'm tempted to dump my current project to re-read both of his Ur-Texts dealing with the ultimate fate of intelligent life, human and otherwise.
 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 06/18/2008
From: Greg Bear

Wil McCarthy thinks Stapledon may have been contemplating transuranic elements.
 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 06/18/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

That's a hard call, as our understanding of the Nucleaus was still a bit spotty in 1930...and who knew that beyond 92 they become even more unstable.

Remember Dick Seaton in the Skylark Books stock piling Uranium in TONS together for his Metal-X energy conversion process...

Ofcourse post Nuclear tech there's the holy grail of Stable transuranic elements.

We'd be pushing it if we speculated that Olaf was thinking about "other forms" of matter: not based on our usual baryons...or maybe not.
 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 06/24/2008
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

I'm counting the days until CITY AT THE END OF TIME! Intriguing to hear it compared with LAST MEN IN LONDON as that is my favorite Stapledon. And I always wanted to live in Diaspar, the changeless city in Arthur Clarke's AGAINST THE FALL OF NIGHT (which surely says something about me...)

Stapledon also mentions buildings made of synthetic atoms in his play FAR FUTURE CALLING, written for the BBC but never produced:

ACTOR. But they must be gigantic, higher than mountains.

FUTURE MAN. They are. In spite of our violent gravitation, we build them many miles high, with the aid of artificial atoms.



 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 07/01/2008
From: Greg Bear

Excellent footnote. Stapledon trumps us all!
 

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now
Date: 07/01/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Keeping an eye out here and elsewhere for CITY.

Decided this afternoon, once I'm done with the current study, to do another pass thru LAST AND FIRST MEN and STARMAKER...but in reverse order.

By the time ComicCon happens It'll be Super Fresh in my mind.

On other CITY news: Got an Email from Amazon stating it will be shipping earlier that originally planned: back when I pre-ordered in January 26th. Not in time for ComicCon...but can't have everything.

My only fear on all this CITY business...is that you might have written "The Final" end all and be all End of Time/Dying Earth Novel. It fills me both with Angst and Wonder!
 

Artificial Atoms in LAST AND FIRST MEN
Date: 07/07/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Greg:

I had remembered it correctly. It was indeed the 5th Men who first created artificial atoms for construction purposes.

On page 224 of the edition referred to earlier in this thread I just found the following

"The first vessel to take to the ether was a cigar-shapped hull some three thousand feet long, and built of metals whose artificial atoms were incomparably more rigid than anything hitherto known."

This was circa 400,000,000 CE: as the 5th Men had to invent space travel due to the Moon's collision course with the earth.

The description sounds more like nano-tech assembled diamonds of buckminsterfullerine, if we ingore the word metals.

Been hopscotching around in this book, and Star Maker, since the last post on this thread. An interesting way to read these books in conjunction.

 

buckminsterfuller/stapledon
Date: 07/14/2008
From: tazelaar stevenson
Location: u.k

wow,have yet to finish my newly acquired copy of 'Last Men In London' and already my entire being is being rocked by such profound,imaginative accuracy.
Before i started with 'Last Men..' i was skim reading BuckminsterFuller's 'Critical Path'.In the forward Buckminster
introduces and takes us through the key points of our industrial and economic evolution,from the fall of Troy to the birth of the computer.His style of writing and indeed his tracing of human events to describe wholly the present and its immediate and possible far-future echoes a mirror to Stapledons own. Did these two gentlemen ever meet?
 

buckminsterfuller/stapledon
Date: 07/14/2008
From: Greg Bear

I don't know that they ever met, but considering his general philosophical slant, I suspect Buckminster Fuller had read Stapledon, certainly in his youth--and probably J.D. Bernal as well.

It's all epigenetics

Date: 06/07/2008 From: Robert Reid
Location: Biology, University of Victoria, BC Canada

Greg, your treatment of endogenous retroviruses fits perfectly well with both the narrow and broad definitions of epigenetics. It is a process that involves recombining molecular elements as a cause of emergent, or saltory evolution. It's remarkable how well it corresponds with what Goldschmidt called "the hopeful monster" in 1933
Since you broadly hint that an environmental factor, stress, is part of the process, you have involved another established causal mechanism. These have been well esablished, as have a number of molecular processes beyond endogenous retroviruses. Robert.
 

Re: It's all epigenetics
Date: 06/11/2008
From: Rouald Laurenson
Location: Coronado/Basel

It's just great, isn't it, Greg?

I have a lot of respect - for the fun I think you have had as well as the deeply humane, intrigued, human natures in what you compose. Oh, yes, what I started to say, which was: informed. Mind, matter, and intuitive desire. Star, fate, pneuma ;).

Well, I use them. The books. Someday will tell you in what influence.

Regards,
Rouald

Evolutionary Upheavals

Date: 06/03/2008 From: Robert GB Reid
Location: Biology Department, University of Victoria, BC, Canada

I have just read your "Darwin's Radio" and find many parallels with my own ideas and experiences. Since I am a theoretical biologist I am all too familiar with the politics of science, and the philosophical implications of evolutionary theory. Darwinism has such a powerful grip on the subject it might yet be a long drawn out revolution, though long overdue. You might like to glance at my 2007 "Biological Emergences. Evolution by Natural Experiment." MIT Press. Congratulations on your fascinating book.

Robert Reid.
 

Re: Evolutionary Upheavals
Date: 06/05/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Robert! I'll definitely take a look at BIOLOGICAL EMERGENCES. The topic is getting more and more interesting every week, it seems. I regret now not addressing epigenetic changes in the DARWIN'S books.
 

Re: Evolutionary Upheavals
Date: 06/06/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Careful, Greg. That's close to committing yourself to another volume.
 

Re: Evolutionary Upheavals
Date: 06/06/2008
From: Rouald Laurenson
Location: Coronado

The review on Amazon makes it look interesting, Robert. Will hope to have a chance of reading in it before long.

Wonder what you think of the work of Walter Fontana on another line in this area. Accounting for neutral networks feels very interesting, and does give an generative explanation still allowing selection. I appreciated the key that seemed to give to the genetic assimilation framework. But you may see differently. I'm not a trained biologist.

Kind regards,
Rouald
 

Re: Evolutionary Upheavals
Date: 06/06/2008
From: Greg Bear

Hmmm... DARWIN'S GRANDCHILDREN? Actually, I do have a title in mind--but it might take a while to gestate.

Symbolism of Infinity Concerto

Date: 06/03/2008 From: Avenefica
Location: NY

Hi Mr. Bear,

I'm re-reading Infinity Concerto for the umpteenth time.

It's truly a classic.

I'm always struck by how rife with symbolism the story is.

Reading your book (this time around) makes me connect with the theme of advancing on the human journey.

As Michael moves forward in the story, I can hover over and see how humankind moves in much the same way.

It's just a timeless theme...after 20 years of re-reading it, I thought it high-time to thank you for dispensing such perennial wisdom (& symbolism) in an immensely enjoyable story.

Namaste,
Avenefica
www.whats-your-sign.com


 

Re: Symbolism of Infinity Concerto
Date: 06/05/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Avenefica! The basic themes of fantasy all point to the inner journey, and I had a little help from not only great fantasy and science fiction writers (I took the inspiration for my Sidhe from Poul Anderson's THE BROKEN SWORD) but philosophers such as Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. Oh, and of course, Robert Graves' THE WHITE GODDESS. The influence of Jorge Luis Borges is apparent, as well, and I revisit his ideas in CITY AT THE END OF TIME.
 

Re: Symbolism of Infinity Concerto
Date: 09/20/2008
From: 'dirah
Location: San Diego, CA

I too, just reread my (autographed!) 1984 printing of The Infinity Concerto. Surprised to discover our local library (La Mesa) lacks the Songs of Earth and Power within their Greg Bear selection. I'll have to correct that.
Here's to the good friends and great writers which accompany our journey.

We do what we can when we can

Date: 06/02/2008 From: Keith Ferrell
Location: Virginia

Greg --

http://www.bmighty.com/blog/main/archives/2008/06/gratner_looks_a.html

Hope all's well.

as ever,

Keith
 

Re: We do what we can when we can
Date: 06/05/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks for the kind blogging, Keith! I thoroughly enjoyed the Gartner conference and met a lot of interesting folks there. Rob Sawyer and Arlan Andrews also spoke much wisdom.
 

Re: We do what we can when we can
Date: 06/06/2008
From: patrick
Location:

"We spend so much time responding to -- or reacting to -- daily security threats and challenges that it's all too easy to overlook (or just plain avoid) taking a long-range look at the security future."

This is due to the animal brain pervasive in the species. Just as changing one's dietary regimen can normalize the metabolism, and hence the body, disengaging from culture's demand is similarly unfettering. Of course, emotional attachment prevents this. Sorta chicken an egg scenario, alas.
 

Re: We do what we can when we can
Date: 06/06/2008
From: Greg Bear

I'm writing about something like that now, in a follow-on to QUANTICO. Let's see if I can pull it off...

Scientific poetry recommendations

Date: 06/01/2008 From: Cecilia Hampton
Location: California

Dear Greg,

Here are two links for scientific poetry. The first is a 17th century woman, Margaret Cavendish, who scorned love poems (being the rich, educated female that she was) and chose to write only scientific poems. Good, but not really relevant to our times. Also the reader has to work very hard to get the language and the science out of the poems.

The second is David Arns who has absolutely delighted me with his poems and I am certain that you will love his poem "Sir Isaac Newton" as I did. You won't regret taking the time to read Mr. Arns poems. I found them wonderful because they are contemporary and filled with humor. Too, they are understandable explanations that actually TEACH something about the topic at hand...



http://www.hypatiamaze.org/cavendish/scicav.html

http://arnspub.com/ArnsPub/Poetry/Scientific/SirIsaacNewton.html

Cecilia Vail Hampton
 

Re: Scientific poetry recommendations
Date: 06/05/2008
From: Greg Bear

Many thanks, Cecilia.
 

Re: Scientific poetry recommendations
Date: 06/22/2008
From: Arvind Mishra
Location: Varanasi,India

Scientific poetry ,Science Poetry,Sciene fiction poetry -I am confused .Whether they all indicate towards a same genre ?
What could I deduce all poetry works may be scientific in their treatment.
Would you please enlighten me on this Greg?
 

Re: Scientific poetry recommendations
Date: 07/01/2008
From: Greg Bear

Poetry about scientific topics would qualify as science poetry. Poetry that uses scientific themes in an imaginative context--as part of a poetic narrative--would probably fall into science fiction poetry. The boundaries--as with all poetry!--are likely not clearly drawn.

Poetry and Science

Date: 05/31/2008 From: Cecilia Vail Hampton
Location: Copperopolis

I find poetry and science go rather well together. As you had asked if I could recommend any other science poetry I polled my friend at the California Federation of Chaparral Poets (of which I am a member at large) and came away with the name of another member who also writes, astronomer Jim Gibson. I looked for anything posted online but it was a no go so I emailed Ursula Gibson, Poet Laureate of Tujunga. When I get more info Greg Bear, sir, I will send it. In the meantime here's another poem I hope you will enjoy:

Awaken Ophiuchus

Ophiuchus lies sleeping
in billowy repose...
Oh, mage of ancient astrology,
what questions do you pose?

For sidereal musings
upon the pictured stars
you must awaken
from your dreaming
hour upon endless hour
to consider and decide...
Astrology s in danger
from Scientific fratricide
in culture, language
and mystic whimsy
Astro-logic for some has died

Serpentii Ophiuchus
let the arms of Morpheus fall
for the sake of your inclusion, note
the seasons change us all
the yearly crops and their leavings,
the sun in tropic squalls
or zodiacal circles of wild animals.

Sidereal or Tropical?
So many parallels
such disrespect of ancient thought
and beliefs once held
borne of science and machinery
erasing ancient history
the birth and death, the daily grind
of superstitious ancient man
whose lengthy lore of stars of yore
the tests of time no longer bind

So weary Ophiuchus,
sleep on in billowy repose,
Serpent on your pillow,
and give no consideration
to the answers for the questions
you no longer know.

Cecilia Vail Hampton
 

Re: Poetry and Science
Date: 06/06/2008
From: Rouald Laurenson
Location: Coronado

Cecilia, I enjoyed that. For its word-beauty where you made that first. And then i think your subject with care is well-taken. There's a respect due, and not just for the pre-science knowledge. There's also a matter of the value of feeling harmony with nature, a topic Greg's gotten into very deeply from time to time.

Of what we are, that's something we feel. And so...

Kind regards,
Rouald
 

Re: Poetry and Science
Date: 06/23/2008
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

Stapledon wrote some "scientipoetry" too:

Western Culture

Storms are foreseen,
stars' fortunes told,
atoms unsealed,
minds tuned, each tone.

Mozartian universe!
Beautifully mathematical,
arithmetically musical,
Mystery?  farce!
Yet wisdom's a submarine,
tidy within; without?
Pry no sharp query,
lest we drown.

--From the Olaf Staledon Online Archive at www.geocities.com/olafstapledon_archive

And because I can't resist it, a fragment from my own upcoming chapbook THE PUMPKIN PLANET AND OTHER POEMS (I have no mouth and I must Spam):

Back-of-bookstore boxes
ripe with aging magazines,
Thrilling Wonder Stories
full of Virgil Finlay art!
Waiting for a morning when
I'll wake up in my teens,
unaware I'm living
in the noontide of my heart

Then between I, Robot
and Against the Fall of Night,
a paperback whose binding
showered glue-chips on the floor!
I stayed until closing
reading by the fading light,
then dug out a nickel for
The Copperbots of Glor!
How could I go home without
The Copperbots of Glor!

Boxy copper bodies hiding
brains immune to death,
crusted in kaleidoscopic
eyes and spinning dials!
Slaving without sleeping,
never drawing mortal breath,
cyborg-soldiers running
on their own atomic piles

Science-Fiction sanities to
shield me from the sea
of prepubescent madness starting
at the schoolhouse door!
Bullies whose profanities
were always aimed at me,
wonder how they'd fare against
The Copperbots of Glor!
Maybe they could learn some sense
from Copperbots of Glor...

But enough of that.
 

Re: Poetry and Science
Date: 07/01/2008
From: Greg Bear

Brilliant! I've been looking for a copy of Copperbots of Glor/ for decade after decade now... to find it nevermore!
 

Re: Poetry and Science
Date: 07/02/2008
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

Very popular in its time. It was even optioned by Stanley Cupric...
 

Re: Poetry and Science
Date: 07/04/2008
From: Greg Bear

Ohhh... my brane hurtz.
 

Re: Poetry and Science: Aliens!
Date: 07/05/2008
From: Cecilia Hampton
Location: California

Invitation Withdrawn

Others might call home
these twenty-eight unknowns,
planets deep inside our galaxy
beyond distant stars.
We posit there are people
with hopes and dreams
on planets just like ours.

Similar suns rule solar systems,
and planets like our Earth
are not so very rare, their orbitsᅠ
elongated, day after frozen day.
Life may not occur so readily
on such intemperate ground.

Among thirty million solar systems
Earthlike homes must abound
with a rocky core and watery envelope.
Life, we are promised, is assured
Yet if we consult resident genius
Stephen Hawking warns us,
in level electronic tones:
beware the highly advanced alien,
let him stay wherever he may roam
using prescient caution
dont invite him home.
 

Poetry and Science: Cloning
Date: 07/05/2008
From: Cecilia Hampton
Location: California

Hi Greg!

Here's my latest scientific offering--tongue in cheek please! Originally, "orphaned trees" were bastard trees...but bastard is a bad word! Couldn't get it past many word filters. This a test of the bastard word system!

Cecilia


Saga of the Lone Pine Tree Farm

As the twig is bent so the tree inclines,
so dont be fooled by the brand new pines.
Demented copies of the superseed,
our new forests are all one treed.

Row on row they stand alone,
all one identical piney clone.
Has man put himself in the place of God,
growing orphaned trees out of cursed sod?

Mixing up pines of kind and kind,
man birthed a tree of his own cruel mind.
God may punish men like these
for trying to command the trees.

Should phony forests be allowed to grow?
God will surely let us know,
Well soon see if he intercedes,
and supersedes the superseed....
 

Re: Poetry and Science: Aliens!
Date: 07/09/2008
From: Greg Bear

My sentiments exactly!
 

Poetry and Science: Cloning
Date: 07/09/2008
From: Greg Bear

Very good--but a lot of forests, including I believe alders, are clone sisters of each other, naturally. In vegetation, sex may not be all it's cracked up to be!
 

Poetry and Science: Earthly Universes
Date: 07/16/2008
From: Cecilia
Location: California

Red Shift


street lights all have halos
and rays that glance and bounce
radiating the icy vacuum
each a distant star with
its own signs of life

streams of autos spread wings
white light coming toward us
red light-shifted speeding away
tiny galaxies revolving down
a universal highway

stacks of lighted building
blocks scraping the milky way
sky high rectangular planets
stuffed with strange species
no two exactly alike

Cecilia Hampton
Copyright ᄅ2008 Cecilia Hampton
 

Poetry and Science: Visiting the edge of the solar system...
Date: 07/16/2008
From: Cecilia
Location: California

I hope you all like this one, written before Pluto was reduced to sub-planet status. One more after this poem and we will have exhausted my science poems for the time being. But don't get excited about the end, I still have a pen and ink!

Snow and Stars

There is snow on Pluto, never melting
400 million miles from the dimmed sun
wondrous snow, falling on a distant planet...
gaseous little flakes,
the like of which--there are none!

Winds of darkened Pluto,
twirl your antique flakes,
dancing in starry night,
never knowing what designs
your snow makes.
We imagine they shine
and shimmer, 228 years old and
no two flakes alike

That there is snow on Pluto,
an ocean on Jupiter's moon,
that the Oort is a cloud of
comets, and water vapor
fogs the canals of Mars...
just knowing more planets
surround more stars
than Aldebaran,
than Centauri,
than Andromeda,
makes the universe ours...

Cecilia Vail Hampton
Copyright ᄅ2008 Cecilia Vail Hampton

Idea and thanks

Date: 05/31/2008 From: jon makay
Location: Nashville, tennessee

Hello. I began reading GB years ago and thanks to my roommate have been able top read the rest of the Eon series And the Darwin's radio. I am pleased and excited to have found a person(people) who have the investement of time and thought into those elements i have my passions in.: Time travel, Consciouness, and Evolution/transfomration of the species and the MInd-spirit unity.
Greg: have you considered writing/chatting/dialoguing with Orson Scott Card?
Also, you might eb interested in reading Destiny of Souls: more case studie4s of life between lives by Dr. Michael Newton.

I have in idea to create a community that would, ideally, conceivably, create a new speciaes of humanity over amybe 700-800 years.
just a thought.
jrm
 

Re: Idea and thanks
Date: 05/31/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Jon! Orson Scott Card and I last shared a panel in Florida back in 2000. I always enjoy discussing things with Scott, but the opportunites are far too few.
 

Re: Idea and thanks
Date: 06/03/2008
From: patrick
Location:

An aside, here: jon, I had perhaps similar inclinations. Eventually I realised I didn't have to go to any such trouble - as it'll occur in due time, just as SF has speculated. Then of importance became the question: what is my identity?
 

Re: Idea and thanks
Date: 06/05/2008
From: Greg Bear

Waiting is, as someone famous once said! (Robert Heinlein, actually, perhaps borrowing from Oriental philosophy.)
 

identity?
Date: 06/05/2008
From: jon makay
Location: Nashville

Patrick. calrify. what do you mean: what is my identity? Yes change will and does occur.
And has occured. But why not add conscioues mind adn free will to the natural selection proces? Intelligent design that foresees problems and crafts our bodies to be part fo the solution?

Waiting is my identiy? clairify?
jrm
 

identity?
Date: 06/05/2008
From: Greg Bear

Not butting in here, but I understand (I think) what patrick is referring to. However, I await his response with interest!
 

Re: Idea and thanks
Date: 06/10/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Ah, sorry, I hadn't thought I'd been away so long. WELL. I had this long-ass response. I wasn't satisfied with it's length, partly, and so was stewing on it but hadn't saved it - and then I got a Windows update while away from my computer that restarted it. So what I wrote is all gone. I guess that's an answer, mm?

Anyways. Many people in peculiar situations have wondered: How will I survive? Or, in this case, exist?

Identity determines this. What is idenity based in? The common answer is socio-cultural. I was compelled to think beyond this anthropomorphic frame to something else (something formal in method, yet fluid). Things will come about. It's a matter of discovering one's function (how one operates) within a given context. Free Will, along with things like 'enlightenment', I think is a distraction.

(Not my best, but that's what I got today.)


If you (or anyone else) is interested in discussing this further, I can be reached at http://www.myspace.com/euxue . As well, some of my 'thoughts' are posted there.
 

one's function.
Date: 06/30/2009
From: jon makay
Location: nashville tennessee

I see, a year later, the threads to teh original question, which i somehow missed. I ask: Identity=one's function= ie How one operates within a given context. This intrigues me, it puzzles me. Correct me, please. When i read this what i associate/intuit is akin to that which is ..and enables.. 'one's peace, one's center within'. Which contect? Any given context? Hmm. That which one has decided to be as one's given modus operandi in approaching anygiven situation one encounters in existance? am I being obtuse?

Is this like...choosing which framework/perspective wone will use to interpret(analytically/creatively), and respond to(practically/actively), and perceive/conceive within daily existance?
still waiting IS. i wonder if it is time to add a creative nudge to our waiting. Makign possible opprtunites by collecting the right or likely 'ingrediants' and then/as well the nudge of our ..simple being while holding active and proactive intentions. Our intention of Living and life. ?

anyone? jon

Bateria based computer

Date: 05/30/2008 From: David Wright
Location: Texas

Here is a link to a story about a bacteria based computer. They are not calling it "Roddy" yet (from Slant) but that would be kind of cool.

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/05/28/bacteria-computer.html

The computer is being used to solve the "pancake problem".

They are working on quantum computers already, now biological ones. How soon until the rest of Slant comes true?
 

Re: Bateria based computer
Date: 05/31/2008
From: Greg Bear

Well, let's see--according to my timetable, about forty years, give or take a decade for development! Glad to see everyone is on schedule.

Moving Mars

Date: 05/27/2008 From: Daren Mitchell
Location: San Francisco, CA

Mr. Bear,

Thank you for your work. I've read it all and re-read it all the time. Please don't let anyone make your books into movies. I'm sure the money will be good, but they simply won't be able to do it justice. (I know, it's shocking, but I think a human's imagination is far, far better than a Hollywood movie.)

"Moving Mars" and "Eon" are my all time favorites. I cannot tell you how many times I've read each. Dozens at least. If I'm not careful, even after all this time, "Moving Mars" can still make me cry.

Forever a fan,

Daren L. Mitchell
 

Re: Moving Mars
Date: 05/31/2008
From: Greg Bear

Many thanks, Daren! We can always hope that a film will entertain and draw more people to the book--and sometimes, the film becomes a classic. That's the goal of all involved.
 

Re: Moving Mars
Date: 06/07/2008
From: Bob
Location: Big Bear Lake, CA

Hi Greg,

I disagree! I would love to see your books made into films.
Eon would make a great film, much better than most of the Science Fiction released by Hollywood over the last twenty years. I just finished Quantico, another great film.
I look forward to reading Moving Mars.

Bob
 

Re: Moving Mars
Date: 06/09/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Bob!

BBC Survivors

Date: 05/27/2008 From: Jim Duron
Location: Prairieville La

Greg, I just Finished Darwin's Radio and I'm now reading Forge of God. I really liked Darwin's Radio and made me think of Terry Nation's Survivors for some reason. As I was looking for that I noticed that they were remaking the Mini Series and was wondering if you seen the 1974 original or read his book and what you thought of that idea. Knowing what we know today about bio-warfare, the fear of pandemic and how far removed we are from basic survival skills how would we fare today vs 1974?
In Survivors only 1 in 5000 survives the virus.

I know I wonder too much.
 

Re: BBC Survivors
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

I haven't seen Survivors. Wonder if it's out on DVD?
 

Re: BBC Survivors
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Jim
Location: Prairieville la

The 70's version has been on DVD (PAL) for sometime. I seen it on PBS years ago and read the Book about 8 years ago. The idea of all civilization coming to screeching halt and no one to repair or build from scrap was a scary thought. All of the cities became diseased (due to bodies and no one to bury them) and food was a problem. Most survivor children under five didn't survive the first week alone.

I thought of a world without a generation children and that's what made me think of Darwin's Radio and Survivor. In Darwin's Radio I took it as most if not all normal pregnancies stopped. What would that effect even for just a short time have on society. Schools would close, business would have to deal with labor problems, baby boomer's need taken care of but if generation is missing what happens, etc.

Jim
 

Re: BBC Survivors
Date: 05/31/2008
From: Greg Bear

There's been a long tradition in UK SF of this sort of story--many of them classics. NO BLADE OF GRASS by John Christopher was made into an effective movie back in the seventies, and of course there's THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS by John Wyndham, which became the classic film VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. I was very conscious of Wyndham and Christopher when writing the DARWIN'S books.

Will you revist mars

Date: 05/25/2008 From: sunny
Location: red dirt road

HI Greg
I just finished Moving Mars. It took a while to read the first half but I spent 6 hours reading the second half today. Much to the dismay of my family. lol. Mom just could not be budged. Any chance you will be going back to Mars? I Need to know how their all doing. I've read the eon series and the Darwin series. What should I read next? Also were are the teasers for the new city book. I can't find any.

sunny
 

Re: Will you revist mars
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

You might enjoy SONGS OF EARTH AND POWER, if you're in the mood for a little fantasy. (Or a big fantasy.) Teasers are coming up in a month or so! Keep watching...
 

Re: Will you revisit mars
Date: 05/31/2008
From: Cecilia
Location: Copperopolis

That's two of us!! Mars revisited!! Yeah!!

What is on the CITY AT THE END OF TIME cover?

Date: 05/25/2008 From: ricardo
Location: Glendale, CA

Well, CITY AT THE END OF TIME finally available for pre-order at Amazon! And we get a look at the cover, too! Now since you've been so tight-lipped about the plot (sorry, I have to agree with Mike G's prior post, the teasers around here have been very scant...), can we at least talk about the cover? What is that contraption? Time machine?
 

Re: What is on the CITY AT THE END OF TIME cover?
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

You hear it here first--but that "device" is crucial to the end of time. It goes by various names: the Impossible Armillary, or the Perverse Greatorex. The symbol also appears on... but that would be telling! Seriously, Terran and my family team are busy right now preparing a few websites for a little side adventure before the book gets published.
 

Re: What is on the CITY AT THE END OF TIME cover?
Date: 05/27/2008
From: patrick
Location:

You're so cute, Greg. Be patient, folks. Go out and watch the trees or something. Seriously. Looking forward to the online surprises.
 

Re: What is on the CITY AT THE END OF TIME cover?
Date: 05/31/2008
From: Greg Bear

Just finished a cool pic of a very imposing earwig. That, and a black sun looming over Seattle. More to come!
 

Re: What is on the CITY AT THE END OF TIME cover?
Date: 06/02/2008
From: ricardo
Location: Glendale, CA

Allright! Now we're talking! Oh, I didn't really think it was a time machine, just wanted to get the speculation started around here...Now that structure on the UK cover, on the other hand....

Hey Greg, any connection between CITY and JUDGMENT ENGINE (my 2nd favorite short story of yours, after HARDFOUGHT of course)or is CITY something completely new?
 

Re: What is on the CITY AT THE END OF TIME cover?
Date: 06/05/2008
From: Greg Bear

No direct connection. CITY takes place long after!
 

Re: What is on the CITY AT THE END OF TIME cover?
Date: 06/08/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Can't wait to see the teaser "Side Websites" for CITY.

The teaser on your main page "Do you dream of a City at the End of Time?" sent a !SHIVER! down my spine...as the variants of Clarke's Diaspar has haunted my immagination for three decades...and then you had to go and turn me onto the Dancers At the End of Time two years later...

Just two more months to wait! Yow! Now I know how my Wife feels between seasons of LOST.

Points of hope

Date: 05/15/2008 From: patrick
Location:

And in some way nodding to my post in the Consciousness Selection thread:



"The cosmologist Neil Turok will be the next executive director of Canadas Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, taking over in October. Turok, who is currently Chair of Mathematical Physics at the University of Cambridge in the UK, described the move as the opportunity of a lifetime and told physicsworld.com that he plans to make the institute the leading centre in the world for theoretical physics.

The Perimeter Institute (PI) was founded in 1999 by Mike Lazaridis, chief executive of Research in Motion  the company that makes Blackberry wireless handheld devices. Located in Waterloo, Ontario, and home to more than 60 resident researchers, the institute focuses on fundamental questions in areas such as cosmology, particle physics and quantum gravity. Its first executive director Howard Burton, left suddenly in June 2007 and the Canadian theoretical physicist Robert Myers has been acting as interim director while the institute looked for a new head."



"Lazaridis himself told physicsworld.com: The more I got to know Dr Turok, the more conviction I had that he was the right person to take Perimeter to the next level. We share deep convictions in the importance of basic science, the importance of funding basic science, and the importance of philanthropy in promoting basic science for the advancement of mankind, he added."


(Locked for those not registered - for free - alas.)

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/34148;jsessionid=27FD9F9575137D098A702B0B984C53B1

'Eternity' and Apparent size of the Stone from Earth

Date: 05/15/2008 From: Tom Ardans
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Hi Greg,

I posted a comment yesterday with my calculations of the Stone's apparent size versus the Moon. My Dad pointed out that I neglected to subtract the Earth's radius (6,371 km) from the Moon's distance to a surface viewer, which makes it about .52ᄎ in angular size. And I assumed you meant the Stone, when inserted into Earth orbit by the Hexamon, was orbiting at 10,000 km altitude, not from Earth's center.

But at 1.65ᄎ angular size (for the long dimension), the Stone would be an impressive sight in the sky!
 

Re: 'Eternity' and Apparent size of the Stone from Earth
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

It would indeed!

SF Signal Mind Meld #22 - Scientific Accuracy

Date: 05/15/2008 From: JP Frantz
Location: Houston, TX

Mr. Bear,

My name is JP Frantz and I help run a science fiction oriented website called SF Signal (www.sfsignal.com). We have a recurring feature we call a Mind Meld where we ask a single question to a cross-section of the science fiction community, and others as the question warrants, and post all the responses together. (See http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/cat_interviews/mind_meld.html for examples.) If you are interested and have the time to answer, our question this week is:

Do science fiction authors have an obligation to be scientifically accurate with their stories? Is there a minimum level of accuracy an author should adhere to?

If you'd like to respond, our deadline this time is next Wednesday (5/22) around 9pm CT. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your time,
JP Frantz
www.sfsignal.com
 

Re: SF Signal Mind Meld #22 - Scientific Accuracy
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

Sorry to have missed this one, JP! I was traveling and have not caught up with all these messages. Hope it went well.
 

Re: SF Signal Mind Meld #22 - Scientific Accuracy
Date: 05/27/2008
From: pat
Location:

I went and checked it out. Some interesting commentary and responses. I added my own. Check it out Greg, if you haven't (completely...) and are curious.

Alastair Reynolds?

Date: 05/15/2008 From: Christopher Cherry
Location: Durban, South Africa

Hi Greg,

Have you ever read anything by this guy. He's amazing, a good return to Hard Sci Fi in the flavor of yours truly Greg Bear.

Chris
 

Re: Alastair Reynolds?
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

Alastair Reynolds is a leading member of the UK revolution in hard sf--all very interesting writers!
 

Re: Alastair Reynolds?
Date: 05/27/2008
From: patrick
Location:

I think I haven't warmed to Reynolds, though I heard an interview of him, and he's an interesting, intelligent, and well-spoken person. For UK SF, I first tend to think of Baxter. His coolness, even when relaying/portraying emotional conditions, much appeals to me.

Blood music ?

Date: 05/11/2008 From: Dan
Location: Israel

http://www.riken.go.jp/lab-www/frontier-div/NEWSLETTER/feb2001/ameboid_e.htm
 

Re: Blood music ?
Date: 05/12/2008
From: Greg Bear

Interesting piece. Again, however, we keep confusing terms. A collection of complex organisms that cooperate are exhibiting intelligence; that is, they're solving problems as a group. Human social intelligence--the part of our thought process devoted to modeling our interaction in a group of humans--is likely much simpler in social "single-cell" organisms like bacteria or slime molds, but social algorithms probably still exist in some form. Consciousness? That's what happens when we stop working and twiddle our thumbs... Get "lost in your work," and you're just like a bear in the woods, hunting for berries and grubs... you're not thinking much about your self. Slim molds may not need to waste their energy that way, either.
 

Re: Blood music ?
Date: 05/15/2008
From: patrick
Location:

I'm gonna 'ave ta save that, man.
 

Re: Blood music ?
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

And I presume that I meant "slime molds." Though if they go on a diet...

Darwin's Radio Research

Date: 05/06/2008 From: Jim Duron
Location: Prairieville, La

Hi Greg, Just finished some short stories and I am now in the middle of Darwin's Radio. How hard was it to research this topic? Did you have prior knowledge of the CDC workings or the R&D side of corporate science industry?

I'm finding the book very interesting but research and techno babble had me amazed.

Keep up the good work.

JD
 

Re: Darwin's Radio Research
Date: 05/07/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Jim! I visited both the CDC and NIH campuses back in the late nineties, and spoke with a lot of insiders and scientists to get my info. But the bio research was largely my own, and some of those ideas and suspicions were not very widely known back then. To my surprise, the novel hasn't dated much. But I could have dipped more into epigenetics...
 

Re: Darwin's Radio Research
Date: 05/22/2008
From: Bigmouth
Location: Santa Monica

Hi Greg,

We were actually discussing Darwin's Radio recently on my Lost Blog (http://eyemsick.blogspot.com/). I gather from some of your other posts that you're actually a fellow fan of the show. Ever think Darwin's Radio might be part of the inspiration for the pregnancy problem on the Island?

Anyway, stop by and say hello!

best,
Bigmouth
 

Re: Darwin's Radio Research
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

Hmm... could be viruses, as they have said. But it could also be space-time disruptions, eugenics gone wrong, or bad dreams!

lit'rachure

Date: 05/03/2008 From: patrick
Location:

"Some people reading the above will sneer the ineradicable sneer. The hell with them."

- from page x of the preface in The Wind From a Burning Woman. I found curious the stories Petra and The White Horse Child very much corroborated this sentiment.
 

Re: lit'rachure
Date: 05/07/2008
From: Greg Bear

Snobbery and aristocratic class sentiment pollutes much of academia, and always has--certainly since the days of H.G. Wells, who commented upon class distinctions in popular lit. Still true today. Children's writing, comedy, science fiction--just not high kulcha. So let's party!
 

Re: lit'rachure
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

I had to dig out my copy of WIND FROM A BURNING WOMAN to look up this quote.

It amazes me that the Literati are still as insular and psuedo-elitist nearly a quarter century after my sojourn amongst them. Back then they were all afraid of the Apple IIe word processor, now they all have web-pages and email thru their department's website.

It becomes more and more counter productive for Literati to turn a blind or scornful eye on Science Fiction, since compared to a quarter of a century ago are lives are A LOT MORE science fictional.

Reviewing your intro to literature and philosophy in the preface sited I remembered it was your ENTHUSED descriptions of STARMAKER at a Seminar that lead to my own investigation of Stapledon and beyond..that and Clarke always name dropping him.

Conscious Selection

Date: 04/27/2008 From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston

Hello again Greg,

I have been reading again David Brin's "The Uplift War," and came to Part Three of that book and had forgotten the he quotes you on that page.

The quote:

"Natural selection won't matter soon, not anywher near as much as conscious selection. We will civilize and alter ourselves to suit our ideas of what we can be. Within one more human lifespan, we will have changed ourselves unrecognizably."

I am thinking how profound your prediction was, especially in light of the phrase "Within one more human lifespan," and was wondering if you still hold the same view twenty (or more) years since the quote was published.


Jimmy
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/07/2008
From: Greg Bear

Hm! I'd forgotten that as well. I'm probably not the first to make that observation--might have been J.D. Bernal back in 1929! But yes, I do believe we've already altered our evolutionary track. Interesting that feedback from animal behavior to the genes--and not just in sexual selection--has always been a force in evolution.
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/07/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Yeah, but it mostly ain't conscious despite the rampant egocentrism that proclaims 'free will'. That is, our animal brains are still quite in reign. Which then brings one (or, at least me - HEH) to wonder how, and to what degress, we can interact with them.
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/07/2008
From: Greg Bear

We could call it will as opposed to happenstance. I ask for ice cream--or the ice cream truck hits me. Which is conscious will in action? Animal brain--I have no problem with that. We're animal top to bottom.
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/08/2008
From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston

I was watching a recent episode of "Brothers and Sisters", a scene where Rob Lowe's character and what's-her-name were looking over a PHOTO of different eggs that she could decide to have implanted. There were different symbols associated with each egg, that indicated certain traits that her future offspring might have.

They acted like they were browsing a Neiman Marcus catalog picking out china or something.

Just a thought...



Jimmy
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/08/2008
From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston

One more thought:

There is a word from your quote that glares out, as if printed in red, and that is the word "unrecognizably." I am easily reminded of the many instances where INDIVIDUALS in your books have chosen to alter themselves genetically/physically/mentally.

Do you see any of us taking vinegar baths in the near future?!!


Jimmy
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/08/2008
From: Greg Bear

It's coming, no doubt about it. Designer babies!
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/08/2008
From: Greg Bear

I may at that time have been thinking of the sort of changes evident in EON. QUEEN OF ANGELS is a little more moderate!
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/11/2008
From: ryan
Location: cleveland, oh

with all the surplus orphans running around you gotta wonder why fertility research is such a hot technology in this era of global commodities. It may be some kind of ego trip or the intellectual extension of the fundamental biological instinct.

If/When we begin modifying ourselves for longevity new conflicts will arise. People will get old and accumulate property and power and hold onto it. There won't be so much property and power for the new generations to acquire. But the old will have a strong interest in producing genetic offspring as allies against the the genetic offspring of other powerful wealth-accumulators. complicated fuedal organization and etiquettes will arise in families to maintain some kind of unity against outsiders and barriers to entry.
 

Did somebody say vinegar?
Date: 05/11/2008
From: Cecilia Hampton
Location: California

Braggs Organic Unfiltered Vinegar brand--drinking it daily. Good for what ails you! Am I evolving?
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/12/2008
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

Reflections on the above:

"Man will recreate himself from primordial substances, atoms and molecules so that he can live in any environment, take on any form." --Nikolai Fedorov (1828-1903)

Shirley Maclaine's crowd would say getting hit by the ice cream truck is a conscious choice, as well (hope springs eternal).

Designer babies don't worry me. It's when the babies start demanding designer parents that things get creepy...
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/12/2008
From: Greg Bear

Of course, the unscrupulous rich can always hire thugs... or clone them. Or do what Ceaucescu did in Romania, and raid the orphanages to create his army of fanatic bodyguards. They remained loyal to the very end.
 

Did somebody say vinegar?
Date: 05/12/2008
From: Greg Bear

Mary Choy applied her vinegar externally. But Braggs is what the Working Poet drinks daily... And it seems to work fine. I can see the poster now!
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/12/2008
From: Greg Bear

You mean, go back in time and kill your clone master's fashion consultant?
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/13/2008
From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston

I would settle for a simple transform - perhaps hair on my head again (the real thing).

ryan: Have you read Vernor Vinge's "Realtime" books? They are very interesting and portions remind me of what you have written.

"Programming" children to be warriors smacks of Card's "Ender" books. The ones that I have read are fascinating. "Ender's Game" is one of the most original and great sf novels to date.

I truly love hard sf. Many authors of the genre are prophets.

Upon learning that I read a lot, freinds always recommend books (self-help, etc.), and I have learned to respond that I only read for PLEASURE, and what a pleasure it is.


Jimmy
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/13/2008
From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston

ryan: I am so sorry. I was thinking of Haldeman's "Old Twentieth", and not Vinge's books.

Add a short-term memory transform to my list.


Jimmy
 

Re: Conscious Selection
Date: 05/15/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Ah, good stuff, here. There is the possibility that humanity could reach some sort of critical point and realise they don't need a whole lot of stuff to be satisfied, happy, and creative. There is...or rather was....a great economy in music. This could be a model for things. It is in some way for me.

another gotcha!

Date: 04/26/2008 From: Leon McClellan
Location:

Quantico, page 136 you mention "tawny pupil". . . reckon you got it mixed-up with tawny iris.

Dictionary says a pupil is a "n. dark ciruclar opening in the center of the iris of the eye, varying in size to regulate the light entering the retina. . ."

Remember the iris is the color of the eye, as well as a rainbow and a flower. Color is the key word to remember.
 

Re: another gotcha!
Date: 05/07/2008
From: Greg Bear

Absolutely correct. QUANTICO's publishing history meant that it never went through a thorough copy-edit--not that we catch everything even then! My usual errors involve gun calibers and stuff like that...

Teasers for City?

Date: 04/25/2008 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Hey Greg!

Just coming up for Air before the big migration to the City of Neon for that Event I mentioned elsewhere.

We are about 3.5 months out before CITY AT THE END OF TIME comes out in Hardback. Are we going to start seeing more Teasers Here and Elsewhere Soon? Finally catching the third segment of the Last of the Time Lords trilogy of Dr. Who Episodes last weekend and was somewhat "Hmmmmmmmmmmmm'd" by the similarity in that Story arc and the scant teasers about "City"

On Other topics:
Did a quick review of the Blog just now and saw the Valis post from the 16th, where it mentioned that you are an avid viewer of LOST. Storm, my Proto-Wife, may be the most intense follower of that show in San Diego County, and posted nationally yesterday: "The Island is a Living Entity, as revealed in that Comic Book Walt was reading in one of the first Episodes." We just viewed last night's episode off the DVR...

So that can be something the two of you can hash over if we cross paths at ComicCon in July...

Mike Glosson

 

Re: Teasers for City?
Date: 05/07/2008
From: Greg Bear

CITY is pretty far afield from anything DR. WHO has done, fortunately. But I wouldn't put it past a Time Lord to drop by and investigate.

Trivia question: which recent episode of LOST contains the most new mysteries that seem almost impossible to solve all together? (I don't know the answer!)
 

Re: Teasers for City?
Date: 05/15/2008
From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston

I, too, am a LOST fanatic.

To answer your question Greg, that would be last week's episode "Cabin Fever."

-Who was Locke's father, who was "twice as old" as his mother? Christian again?

-Why did Clair abandon her baby to join Christian in Jacob's cabin? What is she DOING there?

-When will the "orderly" that we have seen before reappear to Locke and what is the favor he will ask him to return? ("You will owe me one.")

-Will Penny indeed rescue Desmond, who stayed behind when Saiid took the boat to rescue some from the island (Remember that Ben has vowed to kill Penny in return for Alex being killed.)

-What is the device on the captain's left upper arm?

-Why wasn't Jacob himself in the cabin? Does Christian truly speak for him?

-How will Locke move the island?

-Why did the "other" from the future hurriedly leave when the young Locke chose the knife during the "test"?

-Finally, what did Ben mean when he responded to Locke "You're certainly not." (like me) This seems very important.


Jimmy
 

Re: Teasers for City?
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

I'm glad I'm not the one trying to figure out this plot... But I eagerly await the resolution(s)!

Spanish barbarism or oxymoron?

Date: 04/21/2008 From: Leon McClellan
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Picked-up "Quantico" because of the recommendation of Robert Crais, whose books I have read. However, "fast paced" ain't for me. He must read five times faster'n I. I know you a famous writer, what with all the best sellers, etc., however:

You use "del Torres" as a Spanish language surname. That cannot be because:

1. "del" is a contraction of "de el" which is masculine and singular.
2. "Torres" is plural (towers).
3. "Torre" or "torres" are both femenine.

Therefore, you should have used "de la Torre" or "Torres" which are commonly used in Spanish speaking countries. Even "de las Torres" would be acceptable.
 

Re: Spanish barbarism or oxymoron?
Date: 04/22/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Leon! Too late to correct in the paperback, unfortunately. Maybe for a later printing.
 

Re: Spanish barbarism or oxymoron?
Date: 06/01/2008
From: Jon Davis
Location: Beijing China

Go to Google and type in "del torres" -- the results will show you that this is indeed possible in Spanish, both as a surname (though of course you never know if the name posted online is real) and as a place name (Bajo del Torres, Costa Rica, for one example).
 

Re: Spanish barbarism or oxymoron?
Date: 06/05/2008
From: Greg Bear

Indeed, and that's a puzzle. Can anyone explain?

New stuff on quantum dots

Date: 04/21/2008 From: patrick
Location:

PhysicsWorld requires registration for some articles, so I posted the entirety of this one, here:


Graphene transistors cut from ribbons into dots


Small islands of graphene have higher conductivity
Researchers at Manchester University in the UK have made the first transistors from graphene quantum dots, suggesting that graphene is a promising replacement for silicon in the next-generation of electronic devices.

Graphene is a two-dimensional sheet of carbon just one atom thick, and is usually made by cleaving small crystals of graphite. At a molecular level it looks like a sheet of chicken wire  a continuous spread of joined-up benzene rings.

Because of its unusual physical properties, graphene is often touted to replace silicon as the electronic material of choice. These include the fact that electrons in the material behave like relativistic particles, which have no rest mass and can therefore travel at speeds of around 106 m/s. The good thing is that these properties remain when we scale graphene devices down to a few benzene rings, which is what one needs for top-down molecular electronics, team member Kostya Novoselov told physicsworld.com.

Until now, researchers have only been able to make transistors from ribbons of graphene. But such a long shape does not maximize the conductivity, which is why Novoselov and colleagues cut the ribbons back into sizes that can quantum confine electrons. They do this using a combination of electron beam lithography and reactive plasma etching to carve small islands out of large graphene sheets (Science 320 356). We have demonstrated a proof of concept  that it is possible to create a transistor based on graphene quantum dots by standard technological procedures, says Novoselov. Furthermore, the device will be able to operate at room temperature.

Andre Geim, another member of the team, says they can now make reproducible transistors with features as small as 10 nm, which should reduce to 1 nm in the future. "It is molecular electronics using the top-down approach. No other material allows this approach for making structures smaller than 100 nm, which is the dimension needed for operating single-electron transistors at room temperature.

Jie Chen of the University of Alberta in Canada, whose team also works on making electronic devices from graphene, is impressed at how quickly Novoselov, Geim and colleagues are making developments with graphene. They are the global leaders in this field, he says.
 

Re: New stuff on quantum dots
Date: 04/22/2008
From: Greg Bear

Fascinating stuff! But what are we going to do if we can't upload to silicon in the future? Such a disappointment for fans of the Matrix!
 

Re: New stuff on quantum dots
Date: 04/22/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Um, yeah (along with those massive and extremely invasive head spikes they passed off as neural connectors when jacking in) well, that's popcul for you.

crazed fan message? (just kidding...:))

Date: 04/20/2008 From: Jess Howe
Location: Worcester MA

I discovered your writing a couple years ago, and you've become one of my favorites! Maybe it's because you've made hard sf more user-friendly, or maybe because you do a lot with bacteria - for some reason, I have an unholy obsession with bac stuff. I had a great time with how you used it in "Slant" - superb! (not to mention "Darwin's Radio"...) You seem to have read Lyn Margulis' work very thoroughly... I'm looking forward to reading the books of yours that I haven't so far!

Jess
 

Re: crazed fan message? (just kidding...:))
Date: 04/22/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Jess! If you liked SLANT, you should take a look at VITALS, my most paranoid bacterial epic. I'm a longtime admirer of Margulis.
 

Re: crazed fan message? (just kidding...:))
Date: 08/25/2008
From: Jess Howe
Location: Worcester MA

*G*I read "Vitals" a couple months ago -- oh yeah, it was gorgeous. I particularly was interested in the ways you had the bacteria entering into and affecting humans, as well as the descriptions of how to survive as pure of that as possible.

It actually sparked my interest in looking again at a novel I've been working on of and on for some time now (because I'm generally a short-story writer, you see, and have found novels are harder for me to do). Nice bacteria-people work, though the harder science of it is what's caused me to delay so much there.

Seriously though? Thanks for a wonderful read AND spurring me on, if unintentionally!

Jess
 

Re: crazed fan message? (just kidding...:))
Date: 09/01/2008
From: Greg Bear

Glad to be of assistance, Jess. Now, about that local salad bar...

VALIS

Date: 04/15/2008 From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston

Hello Greg,

I remember that you are a "Lost" fan, and wondered if you saw the epi where Locke brought Ben the PKD book VALIS to read. Ben says that it is his book and that he has already read it. Later, there is a scene that shows Ben reading the book again.

I like the authors nod to Dick, and they also mentioned Vonnegut on a game show that Michael is watching.

I can think of all kinds of reasons these are pointed out...several of Kurt's books and all of VALIS, but am wondering if you caught this and have any ideas of you own.

Looking forward to "City" in August.



Jimmy
 

Re: VALIS
Date: 04/16/2008
From: Greg Bear

If LOST gets any more complicated, I expect we'll be seeing Phil himself making an appearance. Very likely these references are not so much clues as tips of the hat from the creators--but in four or five seasons, all will be revealed! I do like the space-time physics turn of events, and of course, the references to Faraday and Minkowski. They might also mention John Archibald Wheeler, who died just this week--one of the greatest physicists, and a real inspiration for science fiction writers everywhere. Wheeler thought up the terms "black hole" and "many worlds."
 

Re: VALIS
Date: 04/16/2008
From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston

Hah!

I did not know about Wheeler. I always assumed Hawking coined the term "black hole." I never thought to google that one...

Philip has probably already appeared, but with his identity erased.


Jimmy
 

Re: VALIS
Date: 04/18/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Damn, I didn't know Wheeler was that old. He certainly out-lived Feynman (one of his doctoral students). I was kinda looking forward to his 'spacetime foam' concept to be revealed in his lifetime.
 

Re: VALIS
Date: 04/21/2008
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

I had no idea Wheeler had passed. TV and AOL--all the wrong news! *Sigh*

Unrelated but perhaps interesting to readers of this blog: I was jogging down the local railroad ravine a few nights ago and glimpsed colored lights in a park overhead. Curious, I scrambled up the embankment and over a fence.

There were forty or fifty people with lightsabers having an epic battle in the darkness! Kendo technique, well choreographed. Turns out they meet weekly. "Do you have a lightsaber?" asks a young woman with a stack of waivers. Ha!

So I'm in Pasadena a couple evenings later, seeing Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 on stage. And while Ray is introducing the play I notice the old fellow sitting next to me is film director Irving Kirschner. Of course I told him (at intermission) about the jedi in the night. How could I not? He was...amused.

It's hard to believe the writers of Lost aren't generating ideas half out of need to explain earlier layers--pitching headlong into the unknown. But it's great fun. The bearded physicist played a similar part in the 2002 version of SOLARIS.

--Bill
 

Re: VALIS
Date: 04/22/2008
From: Greg Bear

A lot of great people come to Ray's plays! Kirschner was an inspired choice to direct EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Jeremy Kemp was in the audience for a performance of FAHR 451 in LA several years ago. He'd be great as the fire chief, I think.

Another Jeremy! Jeremy Davies was also in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.

Eon/Eternity.... holiday reading yet again

Date: 04/15/2008 From: Michael Pine
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Greg,

I know it probably gets old, but recently went and came back from overseas holiday, decided it was time to read EON, AGAIN! Started towards the end of the holiday, finished by the time I got back home, the very next day, I picked up ETERNITY and sat down all day recovering from jet-lag and read eternity from front to back in the one day which is quite good reading for me, my wife woke me up, 3 times, with the book dropped on the floor. But I was so engrossed, I just had to finish it, it astounds me, no matter how many times I read EON, how much I enjoy and it just consumes me until it is finished.

August is approaching..>!!!!

cheers
Michael
 

Re: Eon/Eternity.... holiday reading yet again
Date: 04/15/2008
From: Greg Bear

Many thanks, Michael! I'm always impressed by people who can read for hours and hours at a stretch. I have to get up and clear my head, which explains why I read forty or fifty books at a time, but not all at once.
 

Re: Eon/Eternity.... holiday reading yet again
Date: 05/14/2008
From: James Campbell Andrew
Location: Stafford, England

I'm the same re: Eon/Eternity - they're must-re-reads for me every so often. As are Forge of God/Anvil of Stars.

All four are books where I find something new, or understand somethinig a little better with each iteration.

Looking forward to City.
 

Re: Eon/Eternity.... holiday reading yet again
Date: 05/14/2008
From: Tom
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

I was rereading Eon and Eternity and some of Mr. Bear's descriptions did not seem right -- The Stone is brought into Earth's orbit at 10,000 km. The Stone is a nickel/iron asteroid, 91 km by 292 km. He describes it as being 'a bright point of light' in the sky when seen from Earth. My rough guess was that it should look larger than the moon, so I did some math:

The Stone:

292 ￷ 10,000 = .0292 radians

The Moon is 3400 km in diameter, and is 384,000 km from us on average.

3400 ￷ 384,000 = .008 radians

That works out to 3.65 times the Moon's size in the sky, for the asteroid's longer dimension. The asteroid's smaller dimension, 91 km, works out to .009 radians, so still a bit larger than the Moon's apparent size. There are 360ᄎ in 2￀ (~6.28) radians, so that's about 57.3ᄎ per radian.

So the Moon is .45ᄎ in arc, and the asteroid's long dimension is 1.67ᄎ

Did I make a mistake? Mr. Bear is usually very meticulous in researching his stories.

I know this is a minor quibble -- I love the books as well. I think I like 'The Forge of God' and 'Anvil of Stars' even more.
 

Re: Eon/Eternity.... holiday reading yet again
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

Good math, Tom, but as I recall, the Stone is actually orbiting around both the moon and the Earth, an orbit I worked out long ago with the help of John Lewis and Poul Anderson. Let me know if that still doesn't clear things up--I never claim infallibility!
 

Re: Eon/Eternity.... holiday reading yet again
Date: 11/24/2008
From: mr123paul
Location: Brighton, England

I'm glad I'm not the only one! I must have read Eon a dozen times since 1988 and am currently re-reading Eternity. I stumbled on this discussion while searching for more details about the background of Gaia - alternate 'earth' in Eternity. I'd love to know more detail about the names/place names/peoples used for Gaia.

These books really are touchstones for me - I first read Eon while on holiday in Cyprus in 1988 & was hugely impressed and entertained by the book - the evocation of the life of the inhabitants of the stone were gripping and the book tells a great story. I read it - maybe 'gorged myself' is a better expression of what happened - over two days.

Anyway...is there any place or interview or discussion that fleshes out the world of Gaia in more detail? I'd love to know.

I'm going to seek out 'City At The End Of Time' this week & am looking forward to it very much.
 

Re: Eon/Eternity.... holiday reading yet again
Date: 11/24/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks! I don't know of a discussion group, and there's not much extra material that isn't already in the sequels and prequel (I didn't keep copious notebooks, like Frank Herbert)... but other readers may be able to help. And feel free to ask questions!
 

Re: Eon/Eternity.... holiday reading yet again
Date: 11/25/2008
From: mr123paul
Location: Brighton, England

Thanks for the response, Greg. Interesting that you don't keep 'copious notebooks' - is this because most of the work is written / re-drafted directly on the computer?

Anyway - a more specific question - I remember when I first read Eternity, I flipped to the front of the book to look for a map of the Gaia world (again, like Frank Herbert's Dune!!), but didn't find one! Is there such a thing?
 

Re: Eon/Eternity.... holiday reading yet again
Date: 12/03/2008
From: Greg Bear

Not to my knowledge. There have been schematics--but it's not a bad idea to produce a kind of map--or seven of them. Lots of unfolded tin cans! One of them very long indeed...

Soundtrack to an alien planet

Date: 04/14/2008 From: Mike Nichols
Location: UK

Just wanted to say thankyou for all your fantastic work.
It's been an inspiration to me.

I'm a musician. My new album is a soundtrack to an alien plnet.
My ideas are informed by recent discoveries of extra solar planets and research by astrobiologists into possible adaptations of life to extreme or alien environments.

Your work has fired my imagination. I hope I can do the same for people.

I hope you will find time to have a look at my site. And if you's like a copy of the album just let me know.

To hear previews of the album, and for more information on exoplanets and astrobiology go to:

www.zebidee.net
www.myspace.com/zebidee

Album now available at itunes and cdbaby.com

Best regards

Mike Nichols (aka Zebidee)
 

Re: Soundtrack to an alien planet
Date: 04/15/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Mike, and good luck with the album! Space music and music inspired by space has always been a favorite. I remember hearing a sonic representation of Jupiter's magnetopause while attending the Voyager flyby at JPL in Pasadena. What a thrill!

Stone Diagram or Map?

Date: 04/09/2008 From: bloo
Location: dallas

I'm about halfway through Eon where the Soviets invade the stone, but what was a minor problem for me is now almost a show stopper. I can't picture the stone in my head.

Spinning Juno asteroid, hollowed out into 7 chamber, sure. But the "bore holes" completely lose me. I've searched the net to no avail.

This is what I picture: http://bloo.playnet.com/eon_stone.GIF
(I think the chambers are more regular though, the whole thing being a tube of the same diameter cut through the asteroid, but I don't have the time to revise that sketch).

If that is remotely close, are the bore holes openings in the outer shell part?

Confused.

-bloo
 

Re: Stone Diagram or Map?
Date: 04/15/2008
From: Greg Bear

Hold up your average baking potato, and shove a barbecue skewer through its middle, down the long axis. Pull the skewer out, and imagine that's the bore hole, with seven chambers aligned inside. Let me know if that doesn't solve your visualization problems!
 

Re: Stone Diagram or Map?
Date: 04/20/2008
From: Chris Johnston
Location: Los Angeles, CA

I just started reading EON after seeing the results of the CGSociety's CG Challenge XX...
http://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php?story_id=3987

It's fun going through and deciding which of the images and animations comes closest to what's being described!
 

Re: Stone Diagram or Map?
Date: 04/19/2011
From: Mad Max
Location: California

bloo, I had the exact same experience at the same spot.

Greg, your analogy helped clarify the bore hole; however, I am a bit confused about the plasma tube relative to the bore hole. Some of the great artwork at CGSociety has thrown me off! Can you please clarify?

Thanks!
 

Re: Stone Diagram or Map?
Date: 05/10/2011
From: Greg Bear

The Plasma Tube wraps around the singularity and meets up with a ring around the bore hole in the chamber wall. It provides illumination inside the Way.

Thanks, Greg

Date: 04/08/2008 From: N. D. Hansen-Hill
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thanks to you, Greg! Getting the books into publishers' hands isn't a problem any more (not even from New Zealand), but letting the readers know they're out there sometimes requires heaps of cyberspace effort.

Best wishes to you on your writing,
Norah/ND

>Happy to drop a mention. Good luck with your books, Norah. It's an increasingly tough publishing market all around--boy, do I wish it were otherwise!

American God by Neil Gaimen

Date: 04/08/2008 From: Christopher Cherry
Location: Durban, South Africa

I'm having trouble getting through this book. Is it me. It seem's highly recommended. Read it? Should I press on.

In the past I felt the same about EON by yours truly Greg Bear, I'm glad I never gave up on that one.

I'm hoping the same will happen here.

Neil Gaimen is a Highly Respected Author. I really enjoyed Stardust so I guess, it's either a case of sticking it out or it's a more poorer choice of his books.
 

Re: American God by Neil Gaimen
Date: 04/08/2008
From: Greg Bear

By all means, Christopher--push on! Neil's an amazingly versatile and complex writer. I hope our readers will follow us into new territories... because if we have to write the same story over and over, I for one would go nuts.
 

Re: American God by Neil Gaimen
Date: 04/15/2008
From: James
Location: Westport

Have to agree... I think you read Gaiman for the cultural prespective. He's a hell of a social critic. I thought the book was pretty brilliant and certainly something of a new kind of voice.

 

Re: American God by Neil Gaimen
Date: 06/11/2008
From: Christopher Cherry
Location: Durban, South Africa

Having got my reading muse back. I think I was a little harsh on this book. Times for me to pick it up again I think. There are so many positive reviews out there I have to complete it.

Songs of Earth and Power

Date: 04/08/2008 From: Dr Scott Snellgrove
Location: Brisbane Australia

Have been a fan for a while with "Songs of Earth and Power" a particular favourite-have re read it a few times now and just gets better. Think it would also make a great film -if someone could only do justice to it . Noticed Eon had a video so who knows..
 

Re: Songs of Earth and Power
Date: 04/08/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Scott! EON got a pretty special response, didn't it? would be fun to have that happen to other books, but I'm not holding my breath...

"Blood Music" Ambient music piece

Date: 04/07/2008 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Hi Greg:

You wouldn't happen to have known a La Mesa born Steve Roach would you, who did a piece caled "Blood Music" with Robert Rich back in '92. Was setting here working on some staging instructions when the piece came on over "Soundscapes" cable radio. Double take on the title, tripple take on where Steve Roach was from.

Mike
 

Re:
Date: 04/08/2008
From: Greg Bear

Don't believe I've met Steve Roach, but there have been a number of musical compositions influenced by "Blood Music," which pleases me no end!
 

Re:
Date: 04/14/2008
From: patrick
Location:

I think Roach was Bay Area based - until about the early 90s when he moved to southern AZ.

Signed Book Raffle

Date: 04/07/2008 From: Michael Sundstrom
Location: Parkersburg, West Virginia USA

Hello,
My name is Michael Sundstrom and I am the manager of Trans Allegheny Books in Parkersburg, West Virginia. We, along with another local bookstore (Paperback Palace), are sponsoring an autographed book raffle during "GET CAUGHT READING MONTH" (May), to benefit the Childrens' Reading Programs of our local libraries. I am writing to ask if you would donate a signed book for the raffle? I would be happy to provide any additional information about the raffle you may require. If you can and will donate a signed book, you can send it to:

Trans Allegheny Books
725 Green Street
Parkersburg, WV 26101
Attn: Michael Sundstrom

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration!

Michael Sundstrom (Manager)
Trans Allegheny Books
tabooksmike@suddenlinkmail.com
www.wvbooksonline.com

Lee Ann Campbell (Owner)
Paperback Palace
www.pbkpalace.com

Reading and time for it!!!

Date: 04/04/2008 From: Christopher Cherry
Location: Durban, South Africa

Do you ever find that you go through phases of reading alot and then nothing. I'm at that period now, it's annoying the F out of me. I just can't get into reading right now. I know the reading phase will return, as this has happened to me before.

Although I just got a new computer and playing the latest games on it might be something to do with it. But I love reading so much was thinking of un-installing the games to force me to read, but it's a phase and I shall grow tired if the games and read again.

Apart from the games bit does anyone else get this readers block?

PS It's those damn Half Life 2 games!
 

Re: Reading and time for it!!!
Date: 04/04/2008
From: Greg Bear

Ah ha! So you're the one who's causing the crash in paperback sales!

Seriously, as you say, we all go through phases. You'll come back to turning pages. Or maybe you need to pick up one of Jeff Bezos's Kindles, if those buttons are so addictive.

P.S. We do know some of the Valve folks, and maybe you can look up Marc Laidlaw's novels, as well as playing the game he writes for.
 

Re: Reading and time for it!!!
Date: 04/04/2008
From: Christopher Cherry
Location: Durban, South Africa

So there's an author behind that compelling storyline. No wonder I'm so drawn in. Thanks for letting me know. :-)
 

Re: Reading and time for it!!!
Date: 04/17/2008
From: Jerry Sager
Location: California

I have recently incorparated both. I am making my novel available again through print on demand. As I literaly shoot opponents via XBOX Live I meet new people daily and plug my book. In the last month I have read Never Ending War, Gateway, and currently A Fire Upon The Deep. I love all of them. My imagination is soaring again and making its way back on computer pages. Things have changed since Pac Man and White Mountains.
 

Re: Reading and time for it!!!
Date: 04/22/2008
From: Greg Bear

Now there's a new kind of word-of-mouth campaign!
 

Re: Reading and time for it!!!
Date: 05/08/2008
From: Christopher Cherry
Location: Durban, South Africa

Ok it appears to have returned. Maybe the books I was picking wasn't grabbing me. However, Clive Barker's, The Great and Secret Show has done so.

Phew it's nice to be reading again.

PS Looking forward to City!
 

Re: Reading and time for it!!!
Date: 05/08/2008
From: Greg Bear

Wonder what we'll call a "page turner" when Kindle is the norm? Clive's books qualify either way. (Clive got inadvertently dropped off my list of great ghost story writers in the hardcover of DEAD LINES, but I reinstated him post haste in the paperback. What a gaffe!) Welcome back!

typos

Date: 04/02/2008 From: diane engber
Location: cincinnati, ohio

a few typos in Quantico--like repitition of a word like "the" and misspelling of "cincinnati" as "cincinatti" are accidents right? Is trailer on website for Quantico for movie? Did I miss it--when is it due out?
Diane
 

Re: typos
Date: 04/04/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Diane--I hope we've got all these and a few others corrected for the paperback edition of QUANTICO. No movie interest yet--but some multimedia promotion from last year.
 

Re: typos
Date: 05/29/2011
From: John
Location: Portland, or

I'm reading eternity (warner books edition). I've noticed a couple typos so far, but now i'm almost at the end, and you said (pg 341) that Hoffman waved HIS fingers. Then on 343 Karen did not appreciate HIS vacation. Getting tired towards the end? :)
 

Re: typos
Date: 07/30/2011
From: Greg Bear

Hmmm... My manuscript copy has both of those rendered correctly. Typesetter's error? (I don't have a copy of the Warner edition here to check, however...)

Re: possible mention/blog stop/interview

Date: 04/02/2008 From: N. D. Hansen-Hill
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

I'm a little known multi-published SF/fantasy/paranormal author with several more books about to be released. Would it be possible to arrange a blog stop/interview/mention on your blog? Or could I interview you on one of mine?

So far in 2008, my books In Flames, ErRatic, and Of Dragons have been released, and I have GlassWorks and The Hollowing out later this month. Then, Emerald City, BloodWorks, Gray Beginnings, Relic, and BoneSong are scheduled. All these books and very few people to read them. Help!

Thank you! .

My website is www.NDHansen-Hill.com.

Regards,
Norah/ND
 

Re: Re: possible mention/blog stop/interview
Date: 04/04/2008
From: Greg Bear

Happy to drop a mention. Good luck with your books, Norah. It's an increasingly tough publishing market all around--boy, do I wish it were otherwise!

Forge of God, Anvil of Stars

Date: 03/29/2008 From: Steven Sowards
Location: East Lansing, MI

No need to post this, and in fact no real need to reply either.
I just finished rereading Forge of God and Anvil of Stars, after many years. I had remembered them as very effective, gripping and moving books and I wasn't disappointed ... in fact, I found that I had forgotten so many of the many story details, that it was almost as fresh as the first read. THANKS.
These are two of the best science fiction works I know, and I've been reading since my own "golden age of science fiction" at age 12 and that's been a long time. I was struck this time by the simplicity of the story that unfolds in the first book, and then the complexity (I suppose that means the multiple layers of known and unknown events) in the second -- great contrast in texture as a result, but the two fit together like hand and glove.
I read most of your ongoing and current work too, with pleasure. I'm a sucker for outer space adventures though (as opposed to near-future science) so perhaps that's why these two stand out for me.
Looking forward to whatever you offer next. Best wishes from a fan.
 

Re: Forge of God, Anvil of Stars
Date: 04/02/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Steven! Tor has just reissued ANVIL in a lovely trade paperback, complete with the original terrific Bob Eggleton cover art.
 

Re: Forge of God, Anvil of Stars
Date: 04/28/2008
From: Isaac Lisik
Location: Victoria, BC

Hi Bloggers.
I've just read Anvil of Stars, and it was quite entertaining. I've limited experience when it comes to Science Fiction, but having read Asimov, some of Card, and Le Guin, I can say Anvil of Stars compares very well in originality. I'm posting because I have some questions for discussion, that are kind of itching me having read this book, so stop reading now if you haven't read the book and don't want it spoiled.
As I said before I'm not a hardcore fan of Science Fiction, but I just checked up on the Fermi paradox on Wikipedia; so the idea in Anvil of Stars is that some civilizations are inclined to use killer probes to cleanse, at least the surrounding environment, of life, out of fear, paranoia, or caution. In Anvil these civilizations are described as also being very technologically advanced, and at end of the book, evidence of recent killer probes is found. Does this mean, they're just evil, no matter how much time passes and regardless of technological advancement? I mean, shouldn't higher intelligences be able to conceive of interactions with other intelligences other than preemptive killing, which is shown in Anvil to not be all that successful(Humans, Brothers, Benefactors survived).
Okay, but discussion of evil can on and on, and it isn't my only question. What about the Law? This is seen as a serious question, reading the book, and having finished it, I would say Greg Bear was on the right track about this. If the killers really won't change their ways, and the Benefactors know this, why resort to using victim civilizations to do the dirty work, and yet give over all control of the work to the chosen crew? The Benefactors knew Wormwood and its vicinity was suspect, and they knew the mission was very dangerous for a Ship of the Law. I mean, why couldn't the Benefactors have told the the Ship of the Law to simply monitor the three star systems. In hindsight the humans and Brothers would probably agree, considering the technology learned by observing Leviathan. Why give all the decisions to the the humans, who already volunteered; the independence comes at the cost of human lives, and in the end the lives of the Leviathan inhabitants as well. I really empathise with the regret of their destruction. Even the Killers, who could have been guarded and prevented from unleashing more probes or something. I don't think the Benefactors are evil like the Killers, but their intentions are strange. Martin was definitely too trusting towards them.
Anyway it's a neat story, Anvil of Stars, and these were just my afterthoughts. And thanks to Mr. Bear for writing it. I just bought the book and was pleasantly surprised, I mean, it's hard to judge a book from the first few pages, so I just try to pick stories I think I'll enjoy/relate to. Are any of your other books of this genre? It doesn't matter, I know I'll read more books by you, but I don't think I'll read Forge of God for now, considering I've read Anvil and all...



 

Re: Forge of God, Anvil of Stars
Date: 05/07/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Isaak! All terrific observations and great questions. Anyone care to dive in?
 

Re: Forge of God, Anvil of Stars
Date: 05/14/2008
From: James Campbell Andrew
Location: Stafford, England

Any story where it basically boils down to the question "anyone object if we blow this planet up?" is always going to have some moral ambiguities..! (unless you're the Lexx, of course)

Here's how I see it: the Benefactors use victim civs because those civs are the ones who have the most moral justification for wholsale planetary destruction.

Why do the Killers kill if they're so technologically advanced? Because technological evolution is different for every culture. The Killers could well be afraid that for all their technology, someone else may come along and have some technology that could wipe them out, even if that other civ is only generally equiv tech or less (sorry, Iain M. Banks terms coming into play here). A civilisation that has only sub-orbital space faring capabilities may also have, say, a competant working knowledge of wormholes. They (the other civ) may simply know something that the Killers don't. Add to that the fact that the Killers may have evolved from predatory species and it could be argued that they're acting in what they see as pre-emptive self defence. Evil? Not necessarily...

As to why the Benefactors didn't simply monitor Wormwood and the surrounding volume: 'suspect' doesn't equate to 'hostile', and resources are always going to be limited. Monitoring even one stellar volume would be a huge task, and virtually impossible to do without the monitoring devices eventually being discovered, especially if the monitoring involves non-passive scanning methods (which they all will when they come to transmit the data).

Earth may also have been amongst the first victims of the Leviathan-launched killers probes (unless I've forgotten something - it's been a wee while). The Wormwood/Leviathan system therefore became the most likely prospect, hence the course that Dawn Treader took. Ultimately it had to be a Human decision, perhaps because the Benefactors don't want to impose their own moral guidlines on other species. They give them the tools and the knowledge to use them, but the *decision* to use them must be as un-influenced by the Benefactors as possible. I guess that's why the Moms always seemed a bit cagey.
 

Re: Forge of God, Anvil of Stars
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

Fine analysis, thanks, James!

Sir Arthur C. Clarke in 3001: Don't Panic!

Date: 03/28/2008 From: Eric Klien
Location: Milky Way

Greg,

You may wish to check out "Sir Arthur C. Clarke in 3001: Don't Panic!" which contains a pretty neat Arthur C. Clarke interview by our Jos← Luis Cordeiro.

It is at http://lifeboat.com/ex/arthur.c.clarke

Eric Klien
Lifeboat Foundation
http://lifeboat.com
 

Re: Sir Arthur C. Clarke in 3001: Don't Panic!
Date: 03/28/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Eric. A fine interview.

Darwin Series to Big Screen?

Date: 03/23/2008 From: Ken
Location: Dallas Texas

I know that a lot of people ask about the Forge/Anvil books but I think that the Darwin series could be a great pair of Thrillers on the big screen. They are very character based, so with the right actors I think they could do very well (without the SFX needed for most of your other novels.

And another question, are you coming out to the Dallas area anytime soon? I'd love to get a few of my books signed. You were one of my dad's favorites and he turned me on to your books with Forge about 10 years ago. I'm sad he wasn't around for Quantico, I think it might have been his favorite book of yous if he could have read it.
 

Re: Darwin Series to Big Screen?
Date: 03/28/2008
From: Greg Bear

DARWIN'S RADIO is on the back burner. There's a terrific screenplay, but miniseries possibilities have faded for now. One of my favorite screenwriters, around 2000, spent a few weeks trying to crack the Darwin story line for a motion picture, but finally threw up his hands--he just couldn't think how to fit in a car chase at the end! And that, he felt, was essential to getting a movie project off the ground. (I was happy to put in a car chase, myself.) I've been watching a lot of Sidney Lumet movies the past few weeks, and would love to have him take a look. I'll even throw in a few lawyer characters to make that work.
 

Re: Darwin Series to Big Screen?
Date: 03/28/2008
From: ryan
Location: cleveland, oh

I've been watching a lot of old BBC miniseries on DVD. They did a good job on John Le Carre's Tinker, tailor, Soldier, Spy novel. The only violence was a brief gun battle in the beginning and a sudden karate chop at the end. They have, or had, a good sensibility for converting novels to mini series. PBS used to show a lot of them.
 

Re: Darwin Series to Big Screen?
Date: 04/02/2008
From: Greg Bear

Ah, the UK tradition of paying careful attention to a novel when adapting it for the home screen... sadly lacking in many American efforts. Our audiences, some seem to think, are just too dumb to watch or understand the real thing.

Eon movie.

Date: 03/22/2008 From: Bob
Location: Big Bear Lake, CA

Hi Greg,

I am about half way through Eon. It's a great book.
I "found" Eon because it was mentioned in a Michio
Kaku book on physics and it sounded like a good read.

I was just wondering if it was ever considered as a
movie project by one of the Studios? I want to see
the movie! It would be better than a lot of the Science
Fiction that has been produced over the last 20 years.
I realize it would have to be updated a little, I-pods
for Music Coins, Russia for the Soviet Union, may be
drop the Ralph Nader reference...but the Stone and it's
story are fantastic!

I'm a film screener for the Big Bear International
Film Festival and wish I could see Eon!

Bob
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 03/28/2008
From: Greg Bear

Well, we could also transfer some of the EON Challenge material to film and slip it into the Big Bear festival... See if anybody bites! EON has never provoked a response from Hollywood.
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 03/28/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

I think the back story would have to be retooled to fit the current geo-political situation, the Story of the Way, the Jarts and the City, are almost a book in themselves. But the near-extinction event would have to change to reflect the current times: pitch it as something the survivors of the current culture conflict between different branches of Monotheism? And then you'd have to tweak the Nadarites and the whole mythology of "The Good Man"...which might be too much Hollywood Heartbreak for your original work and vision. But I keep hearing snipettes that "Rama" is coming to the Big Screen...and if it's a HIT some mogul may start looking for his own flavor on the LARGE Hollow Starship Story. Wait and see...A LOT of people LIKE your Book, and I like the Sequel better!

MG
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 03/29/2008
From: Scott
Location: Julian

I am on something like my tenth read and am still amazed by the depth of imagination.

This book cries out to be made into a movie - only problem is could any do it justice?

Incidentally, no problem in terms of dating, just keep as is and dates on Stone for our guys pushed forward. Russians replaced by say Indians (needs rewriting, but plausible, if politically difficult). Chinese would also need a go through. Okay, the whole politics thing, which is central to the novel, would need a going through.
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 04/02/2008
From: Greg Bear

RAMA's been discussed for years now. I'd love to see it adapted. It's always seemed strange to me that Sir Arthur's work was adapted for just one motion picture--but what a movie! All right, trivia fans--what contemporary SF/fantasy/horror writer has had more movies adapted of his/her works than any other?
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 04/10/2008
From: Bob
Location: Big Bear Lake, CA

Trivia question: Since you have included "horror", I would
guess Stephen King.
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 04/15/2008
From: Greg Bear

Almost certainly King is the winner in this category. Richard Matheson gives him strong competition. Though Philip K. Dick may soon be second in line! Some authors with more than one film adapted from their works include Robert Sheckley, Robert A. Heinlein, George Clayton Johnson, Ray Bradbury, and Isaac Asimov. Charles Beaumont, Jerome Bixby, and David Duncan all contributed classic ideas and/or screenplays. Harlan Ellison has had one adapted movie that I'm aware of, plus a scripted film, and a host of TV shows. Any other nominees?
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 04/16/2008
From: Bob
Location: Big Bear Lake, CA

How about SF/fantasy/horror stories made for TV,
movie length or shorts?

I would guess Rod Serling when you count all
of the Twilight Zones (he wrote 92 of them).
Richard Matheson would be in the running here too.
How about the Outer Limits writers?

I would consider shows such as Star Trek to
be just one story.

Bob
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 04/16/2008
From: Greg Bear

This contest is more about writers who have had some of their novels adapted into films. Beaumont published novels, but none, to my knowledge, were adapted into films. His screenplays of course were many. Matheson recently hit the NYTimes list on the heels of I AM LEGEND in its third filmed version!
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 05/09/2008
From: Vangelis Kritikos
Location: Athens, Greece

"The Star" by Sir Arthur has been adapted (badly) for a "Twilight Zone" episode.

Ok, its TV but I wanted to say something :)
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 05/12/2008
From: Greg Bear

There have been lots of short story adaptations in such media as comic books (EC Comics adapted Ray Bradbury stories, collected into two paperbacks) and radio ("Dimension X" etc.) and TV began getting into the act in the 1950s. In the 1960s, the boom of anthology shows allowed adaptations of various stories on the original Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Thriller, Alfred Hitchock Presents... and quite a few others. Henry Kuttner, John Wyndham, Robert Sheckley (a TV movie called THE PEOPLE TRAP) Eando Binder, Clifford Simak, James Gunn (THE IMMORTAL), John Collier, Robert E. Howard, and a great many other authors were introduced to TV audiences in the 1960s. By the 1970s, Rod Serling's NIGHT GALLERY was continuing the tradition. A lot of these shows were beautifully done; and remember, television is NOT the same as the printed page. The audience is different, the dramatic form requires major revisions in most cases... And the results are not often under the complete control of either the original writer, or the original screenwriter! Commentaries on DVD by George Clayton Johnson, and parts of Ray Bradbury's biography (written by Sam Weller) chronicle the conflicts and divisions of those shows. I've been re-viewing some of them and find them, by and large, great entertainment for their time. My own story, DEAD RUN, appeared on the second version of the TWILIGHT ZONE, beautifully scripted by Alan Brennert. We did a joint commentary on the DVD.
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 06/28/2008
From: darrell
Location: Washington D.C.

Regarding outdated political situation from eon, a screenwriter could change the cold war feel to the current Islamist extremist dilemma. Perhaps the Islamic states have combined and gained Pakistan/India/Russia's nuclear capabilities. I would say keep it as it was though, plus the Russians will soon come back around and it all will be relevant once again.
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 07/01/2008
From: Greg Bear

As we've mentioned here before, looks like Russia may be positioning itself to be nefarious once again.
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 04/11/2013
From: Paul Hennesey
Location: UK

Well..

A little late to the party but I have to say, from my first read of Eon, it smacked of big budget movie possibilities.

As has been mentioned though, I would be concerned that it would become very watered down given the time constraints of a motion picture..

Perhaps a petition from all of Greg's (and Eon's) fans sent into the big film studios could illicit a response!?

Whilst some of the tech mentioned in the book has evolved and taken a different path or become a reality (iPad mini = slate anyone?) and the political climate has shifted slightly, the imagery and concept haven't dated at all. Bear in mind I have now read Eon 47 times (and Eternity 33) across 4 decades and never pick it up feeling it is old hat! I always manage to get something new out of it too even though both Eon and Eternity are now pretty much committed to memory!

Anyhoo.. if anyone fancies giving it a go, please count me in as a member of the pressure group! lol

All the best Greg and all.

Cheers
Paul
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 04/11/2013
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Paul! I'm not sure I read these books that many times, and I wrote them!
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 05/23/2013
From: Paul Hennessey
Location: UK

It's one of those strange situations... almost every time I start to read a novel I get a few chapters in and lose interest, 'I know... I'll read Eon again!' is the usual thought process that ensues and of course, one can't read Eon without Eternity!

Don't know what that says about me! :-) lol
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 08/08/2013
From: John Allen
Location: St. Petersburg

Wow...it's been 5 years since you've discussed Eon being made into a movie!
...And still no movie.
With all the brain dead flicks coming out now, you'd think they'd at least consider it.
btw...I would NOT update the content of the story...ie usa/Russia tensions. that's the way the book was written.
all kinds of movies take you take to a world gone by.
any who...just my 2.
 

Re: Eon movie.
Date: 06/26/2014
From: Michel A. Richardson
Location: Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK

EON was a book of its time geo-politically speaking, as DUNE was when it was first published. However the story main threads are timeless and can be adapted to 21st century human strife and tribulations. It was a pleasure to read and re-read and am encouraging my teen to pick the books up. Now...Would it make a great film? No, because this would entail a watered down screenplay which could not possibly do the rich storylines any justice. Would EON and ETERNITY however make great mini-series? Definitely!!!

Happy Holi

Date: 03/22/2008 From: Dr.Arvind Mishra
Location: Varanasi

Greg,Today is Holi in India,main spring festival of colors,
Respectful and rainbow colored Holi wish to you from Indian science fiction group.
Would you please see this link to appreciate the nuances of the festival like this-[vide my post on 'why Holi']:
http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/indiansciencefiction/
 

Re: Happy Holi
Date: 03/28/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Arvind! We're a few days late, but we'll look in on the Holi festival. Meanwhile, cherry blossoms are blooming around our state... but there's snow in the forecast!

science fiction - is it just metaphor or should it be taken literally

Date: 03/20/2008 From: Alex Mair
Location: England

Dear Greg Bear, my name is Alex Mair. I am 17 and live in England where I am studying A levels in physics, chemistry and biology. I have always been an SF fan and I really like your stories.

I would like to know what you think science fiction is for. Does it have to be realistic or is it just a metaphor for human troubles. (I am having an argument with my Dad about this!)

Most TV sci-fi isnt meant to be realistic, such as Star Trek, Star Wars and Doctor Who. These are best understood as metaphors and are rubbish if you take them literally. Most written SF however takes the ideas seriously especially hard SF like recently deceased A C Clark, Stephen Baxter and yourself.

My Dad says its just metaphor but I think it should be plausible and logically consistent. What do you think?
 

Re: science fiction - is it just metaphor or should it be taken literally
Date: 03/28/2008
From: Greg Bear

Bravo for logical consistencies! However, all fiction is rooted in metaphor, and science fiction, no matter how rigorous, still has roots in old fashioned myths and fairy tales. One of my favorite films, "2001: A Space Odyssey" is scientifically rigorous and yet deals with angelic/alien interference with our destinies, intelligent design/Uplift, transcendence, and so on. The litmus test for "hard" sf is difficult to define, but generally speaking, respect for scientific knowledge is essential--and must be tempered by the realization that we don't know everything, and may not know anything important!
 

Re: science fiction - is it just metaphor or should it be taken literally
Date: 03/28/2008
From: patrick
Location:

To me, and this question has been discussed in places I've been and I'm sure many I haven't, the real question here is: how seriously should we take it?

My answer is, we should consider SF a significant phenomenon - psychologically, socially, and speculatively. It is the most significant story-telling gig there is.
 

Re: science fiction - is it just metaphor or should it be taken literally
Date: 04/02/2008
From: Greg Bear

Films, as has been noted before, are more like waking dreams than most stories or novels. This allows a certain latitude in camera work, POV, etc.--and even 2001 suggests a super-scientific experience at the end of the journey.
 

Re: science fiction - is it just metaphor or should it be taken literally
Date: 07/08/2008
From: Dan
Location: Los Angeles

I've often considered Science Fiction as a means of making whatever social/political point you have to make by creating a reality in which your point works, and then using that as the milieu in which to express it. Generally speaking, the more recognizable your reality is, the better the point comes across: Queen of Angels is a great one in that regard; other examples would be Dune, Ursula Le Guin's Hainish cycle, John Brunner's four semi-apocalyptic novels (Stand on Zanzibar, etc.) and pretty much anything Philip K. Dick ever wrote.

In this light, I see Science Fiction as a whole split into two categories: the type I've just described above, and a more action-oriented, less political type requiring less mental participation from its audience.

In terms of expressing political or social commentary, though, Science Fiction is a natural place to start -- even Ayn Rand incorporated various science fiction elements into her work towards the end -- "Atlas Shrugged" couldn't have worked without them.

So, is Science Fiction a metaphor, or should it be taken literally? Both, I think: if it's done well, then the elements of the story tend to correspond or at least allude to elements of reality in our own society -- they have to, or the meaning is lost.

Thanks for the books, and time for EON film?

Date: 03/20/2008 From: Edward McRobbie
Location: London

Hi Greg, just wanted to thank you for many books I've enjoyed since I first discovered your work with Eon.

By chance I can across the competition based on Eon for CG and it struck me that once again, as Putin flexes Russian political and military muscle and China seeks acceptance from the West, with some changes of time and circumstance a film version of Eon seems possible with a new scenaio for the Death...

Anyway, I'll keep reading if you keep writing. Thanks in particular for Bloodmusic, I still find it as startling today as when I first read it, and few works I've found to be both disturbing and uplifting at the same time - I wonder what's going on in the Noosphere right now?
 

Re: Thanks for the books, and time for EON film?
Date: 03/28/2008
From: Greg Bear

I wonder how much of a cycle this old world will go through--are we going to go back through the Cold War, then revert to other divisions and conflicts...

The U.S. right now does seem to be taking a deep breath before plunging back into the 1930s!

Sir Arthur passed today

Date: 03/18/2008 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

My birthday's tend to run hot or cold, and this one, whew...my friend Ian just called long distance to tell me that Sir Arthur C. Clarke died. I'd just earlier this morning pulled some of his neglected volumes in my library: SPRING:1984, THE PROMISE OF SPACE, and REPORT ON PLANET THREE to read, after watching FOR ALL MANKIND this morning.

Today I turned half Sir Arthur's age. His 2007 Birthday message he did not look good at all, very very ill and not having a good time.

My wife to be just bought me 2001 on DVD for a Birthday Present earlier today...

I'd always hoped he'd live long enough to at least see the first commercial flights into space.
 

Re: Sir Arthur passed today
Date: 03/18/2008
From: Greg Bear

This news just arrived today. Sir Arthur was one of the biggest influences on my career, and it's very sad to think we'll no longer be hearing from him. But his legacy is tremendous.
 

Re: Sir Arthur passed today
Date: 03/18/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

I was hoping that he would get around to "tapping you out" for a Collaboration at some point, though I don't think you've done a whole lot of co-author work.
Truth be told, I thought he was going to die 10 years ago, and was ready for that then...but he just kept on keeping on, despite being stuck in a wheel chair and post-polio; and envisioned him living on to at least 120, still mentally active, pulling a Hawking on us all.
And of course, I wanted to go to Sri Lanka, and meet him. One of my clients from my last job was from there, and lived a few blocks from Sir Arthur's compound in Colombo, and had met him a few times.
 

Re: Sir Arthur passed today
Date: 03/19/2008
From: arvind mishra
Location:

Yes Greg you are quite right,he has left a very rich legacy of sf literature.We pay tribute to his outstanding loyalty and commitment to the genre.
 

Re: Sir Arthur passed today
Date: 03/20/2008
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

Just hours before hearing the news of Sir Arthur's death, I read for the first time his introduction to Stapledon's Nebula Maker (just purchased off eBay). This took me straight away to my old childhood copy of Profiles of the Future...odd, I feel like a dog that starts barking before an earthquake. For me as a teen in the 70's, reading Clarke was one of those rare experiences through which one discovers not only wonder but oneself--where one's fascinations lie and what one might be capable of becoming.
I can only say his living mind shines from the page--and is still an open system when we read it! The Big Three are all together again now. Godspeed and God help us without them. We're out here on our little crag...Arthur's gone back into the water.
 

Re: Sir Arthur passed today
Date: 03/20/2008
From: Greg Bear

Lovely thought, Bill.
 

Re: Sir Arthur passed today
Date: 03/22/2008
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Greetings to all. I too was saddened to learn Sir Arthur has died. God rest his soul! The last book of his I read was TALES FROM "THE WHITE HART" (a few years ago). Darn good reading! Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Sir Arthur passed today...The Role of Science Fiction Authors
Date: 03/24/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Just caught PROPHETS OF SCIENCE FICTION which my Night-Owl bridge caught on Discovery Science in the middle of the night and left it in the DVR for me this morning. That last sentence would have been quasi-possible science fiction two decades ago. She left me a note about it, as two of my favorite living SF writers were interviewed during the course of the program, and some of the material covered reminded me of seminars you once conducted early on in your carreer (and specifically one of Verne's later works about over describing the year 2000). I'd haven't gotten around to Wells THE WORLD SET FREE and when I heard the description of his Atom Bomb I finally knew where Herbert got his idea for the Stone Burner. And hearing second hand Sir Arthur's tale of the time he saw THINGS TO COME in a theatre, and the rest of the audience laughing at the scenes where London is bombed from the air, half a decade before the blitz, gave me a bit of chills regarding the limitation of some human imaginations.
Seeing this documentary, after reading those three Clarke Non-Fiction books post-mortem has re-inforced, or re-invigorated, the sense that Science Fiction is not an escapist diversion, or any supernatural prediction, but a scketching out of the possibilities of the future. And not only a projection of things to come, but shaping of that future. That Science Fiction is not just a fully valid Literary Tradition, but a feed back loop shaping force for the future, either inspiring break thrus of future technology, or as a preventative for non-survival futures.
Keep on keep looking ahead.

Mike
 

Re: Sir Arthur passed today
Date: 03/28/2008
From: Greg Bear

Sir Arthur once corresponded with Lord Dunsay, who had his own series of pub-based fantasies, centered on tale-teller Jorkens. L. Sprague de Camp added "Tales From Gavagin's Bar," and today, Spider Robinson carries on that fine tradition.
 

Re: Sir Arthur passed today
Date: 04/04/2008
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

Spent a lovely time today with neighbor and dear friend Ray Bradbury. Of course I mentioned Clarke's passing. All of a sudden Ray is putting into my hand a glass slab of all-too-familiar dimensions: a 2007 "Arthur" award given for contributions to space flight. Ray was chosen in the "Special" category by Sir A. himself. Well we both got pretty teary-eyed then. While I scrutinized the geosynch-orbits engraved in the glass, Ray did his hat-trick again (I don't know how he does this--mention anything and a relevant item appears out of the hoarde around his big comfy chair) and offered for inspection a copy of "Mars and the Mind of Man" by Clarke, Sagan, Bruce Murray and himself. All this while tossing crackers to the blue jay he's got coming in from the patio! A happier Clarke chat and a warm and fuzzy afternoon.
 

Re: Sir Arthur passed today
Date: 04/04/2008
From: Greg Bear

Glad to hear you and Ray could help celebrate Arthur. These passings hit me pretty hard over the years. I try to imagine how Ray feels, with so many gone now--and it's tough. Back in the mid-nineties, I remember carrying a small laptop in my briefcase to a book signing when Ray dropped by. He looked at the laptop, nestled in the case, shook his head, and said, "Just like Arthur C. Clarke!"

Ltd Ed's or Signed 1st Ed Hardback copy of The city at the end of time

Date: 03/18/2008 From: Nick Morris
Location: Sydney,Australia

Any plans to release any ed's of this nature,if so can anyone let me know at which shops i can do this or a contact to enable me to order and pay for by cc for the cost of the book and postage thx for any help.
 

Re: Ltd Ed's or Signed 1st Ed Hardback copy of The city at the end of time
Date: 03/19/2008
From: Greg Bear

Hello, Nick! CITY will be published on August 11 by Del Rey in the U.S., some time yet to be established by Orion in the UK/Australia, and Easton Press will do a signed edition of about a thousand copies.
 

Re: Ltd Ed's or Signed 1st Ed Hardback copy of The city at the end of time
Date: 03/24/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Any more "hints" you feel like dropping yet about this forth coming eternity spanning tale? Or do you already have a teaser section of your website that I have missed?

MG
 

Re: Ltd Ed's or Signed 1st Ed Hardback copy of The city at the end of time
Date: 03/28/2008
From: Greg Bear

Various devious strategies are in the works!

Queen of Angels

Date: 03/17/2008 From: Rose Watters
Location: Parramatta, Australia

Hello Greg, I loved your book. Did you ever consider the metaphor of music as the self awareness test for Jill et al? I was thinking about this tonight after a huge day teaching outside my comfort zone... music appreciation is shaped by psychological, cultural, social, modal, and spiritual needs.

Do not these needs define what it is to be human? Are the choices made about music not fundmental to one's identity?

The voodum church still send shivers down my spine. It is horropilific! Regards, Rose.
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 03/19/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Rose. I hadn't actually considered music as a good test of conscious awareness... it's an interesting idea! Though I do remember our guinea pigs deeply enjoying Mozart, purring away... (But then, I'm intrigued, listening to guinea pig chatter, and wonder if they're actually engaging in some sort of conversation.)
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 03/19/2008
From: patrick
Location:

"I hadn't actually considered music as a good test of conscious awareness..."

That gives me even further confidence in you, Greg. What a sensationalized notion that is in American culture. Not that Mozart wasn't great (although, I don't prefer much of his work), but rather I think a much more comprehensive test (if one must have such a thing) running the gamut of musical history. Hell, why confine it to music?


"Do not these needs define what it is to be human?"

Well, perhaps just 'needs' defines 'human'.


"Are the choices made about music not fundmental to one's identity?"

I wouldn't use the word 'choices', but in the vein of the idea put across, I would say indicate one's identity. I think people already have certain things, that will or will not flesh out and flourish.
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 04/12/2008
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

There's this about music: it requires the perception of temporal form, which seems to me a necessary attribute of consciousness. Art of any kind is by nature intentional but music brings this quality into the foreground. A painting can be experienced more or less instantaneously and animals can be fooled by images (especially sillouettes and reflections). But a musical note conveys nothing on its own--it aquires relevance only as part of an extended reality somehow brought to bear upon it in the conscious instant. Rhythm (which I suspect is what the guinea pigs find appealing) seems to function as kind of "bridge" to or scaffolding for consciousness, and is generally considered less significant as musical taste (consciousness) becomes more refined. Perception of temporal form is also necessary for language of course, at least a grammatical one. And singing to infants seems to be culturally universal. A means of kindling consciousness?

One hears of the brain performing impressive Fourier analyses on auditory input and so forth. But conscious introspection sometimes suggests to me that this puts the cart ahead of the horse. To hear a tune, must I not in some sense ALREADY possess this knowledge? A computer might think but can thought be INTENTIONAL without some pre-existent state upon which "intention" may act?

Perhaps the job of the nervous system is to funnel the fourth dimension into the third, rather than the opposite. Brain as interpreter rather than generator of consciousness. The Omega Point manipulating matter in order to achieve itself.

Thoughts?
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 04/15/2008
From: Greg Bear

Animals seem to enjoy music. Certainly our guinea pigs evinced pleasure at music, trilling like tribbles for the loud bits... but then, they trilled at movie explosions, as well, so it's difficult to tell what they were enjoying or experiencing. Other animals definitely show an appreciation of music, at least as mood enhancers. What that means, of course, is difficult to know... perhaps they'd like elevator music as much as Mozart.
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 04/15/2008
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

I've had guinea pigs myself. Kept them out back in floorless cages, as living lawnmowers. At night when I couldn't sleep I'd feed them banana peels, flowers etc. under the stars. The males had to be kept in a seperate cage and were basically crackheads. The females burbled and "tribbled" and it always reminded me of a quilting bee.

More of Tangents

Date: 03/17/2008 From: patrick
Location:

I love the cover picture of this book. Something from the Way, though I think there are no stories of that universe in the book. Even better is this is a different, newer copy - of perhaps the library replaced the other.

Sisters is an interesting social (and especially linguistic) speculation. Similar to MOVING MARS in that sense. I couldn't stand it, though, cos for all some of the characters' advancements, let alone the NG's, the people were just like today. Insecure, and distracted with morality and 'fitness through challenge'. Blech.

On The Machineries of Joy: '83....you know, during that time, it WAS like that in the creation of The Last Starfighter. (Perhaps you encountred the folk working on this?) Even though Tron was almost two years old, and relatively successful, the terrain was still shaky. In the anniversay version DVD, I found most fascinating that one of the digital artists said, more or less: 'we had all this 'footage', it was phenomenal, but had run into a bottleneck, and, unless we scrapped the project, had to completely redo, at a severly reduced level of quality, the entire digital set of scenes.' That is, I really wonder what they originally had!
 

Re: More of Tangents
Date: 03/19/2008
From: Greg Bear

The cover on the Warner edition of TANGENTS is indeed Jim Burns's UK cover for EON, one of my favorites. As for "Machineries," I did drop by Digital Productions while they were preparing THE LAST STARFIGHTER. They had gigantic Crays and their 100-ton air conditioners going full blast to crunch their frames. Today, a good video card on a PC or game console renders at a much higher rate, and in full three-D and color!
 

Re: More of Tangents
Date: 03/19/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Yeah, it seemed like you had from how it read. I'd forgotten who produced TLS. Yes, a modern video card can outperform what they had back then, but it'll only show what it's given. Though the footage in TLS doesn't really hold up anymore, since the guy said it was almost nothing compared to the quality they originally had - meaning, they must've really gone whole-hog, and obviously to their disadvantage - I wonder what it looked like.
 

Re: More of Tangents
Date: 04/02/2008
From: Greg Bear

What I remember is that the only "live" version they could output to their displays involved raster or vector graphics. No color! The movie is still fun, but the graphics looked a little "smooth" even then. Seeing "Surf's Up" showed how far water graphics has grown in just the last few years--amazing oceans and waves! I'm not sure whether I'll be able to spot the difference in a couple of more years between real and CGI water. Characters--very good, but still need work.
 

Re: More of Tangents
Date: 04/02/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Um, that may've been. 'Live' wasn't the important part. I haven't seen any movies in a bit, though I have, somehow, seen some footage for "Surf's Up". Yeah, it looked pretty good.

Tangents - the story

Date: 03/16/2008 From: patrick
Location:

It's a neat idea and story...but I call on a few things. First off, we can't just easily 'warp' into two dimensions, if there is even really such a thing. I think one of the big pointers here is it takes three dimensions to depict two, etc. Of course, science can't 'depict', but can only point at, physical spaces greater than three dimensions. It doesn't mean we don't actually exist within a hyper-dimensional frame set. Science just can't (yet) extrapolate and then confirm that. My point is, it's neat to think and talk about such ideas, but then anthorpomorphizing them in any fashion I think jumps the shark and misses the point. I think you'll be interested in Stephen Baxter's (arguably more successful) attempt, a story I forget the name of, in his VACUUM DIAGRAMS.
 

Re: Tangents - the story
Date: 04/02/2008
From: Greg Bear

Not quite sure what you're getting at here--TANGENTS postulates the ability to perceive 4D beings. And if you attract their attention, they can uproot you--pip! you vanish. It's a fantasy of course, but one of the sort I've always enjoyed. What's the name of the Baxter tale? (And by the by, I highly recommend Rudy Rucker's collection, THE MATHENAUTS and Others, plus Clifton Fadiman's MATHEMAGICAL MAGPIE.)
 

Re: Tangents - the story
Date: 04/02/2008
From: patrick
Location:

I know it postulates that. And I was punching a hole in it. Fortunately, you seem less interested in such fantasy, of late. I know of Rucker, but he's seems so 60s hip throw-back, I can't get into him. I'll check out Fadiman. And, I'm still looking into that Baxter story.....
 

Re: Tangents - the story
Date: 04/15/2008
From: Greg Bear

Rudy's one of the most advanced thinkers out there. Sometimes I get him, sometimes I don't--but his ideas are always worth serious thought. Rudy has an impressive (and wild) essay in a new book I'm reviewing at the moment, YEAR MILLION, edited by Damien Broderick, from Atlas and Co.
 

Re: Tangents - the story
Date: 11/13/2010
From: Rosie Oliver
Location: Chipping Sodbury, England

I have just read Rudy Rucker's Spaceland which deals with a 4D universe... it's a lovely story, but I could not accept it as even slightly possibly believable on a scientific level.

There were two sticking points for me. The first was that a spherical retina can only 'see' 3D - where is the other 3D retina to get the depth vision to see 4D? The second was that adding an eye means there has to be some form of brain change or enhancement to to be able to process the light signals from the new eye. There was no mention of such a brain enhancement.

Happy cogitations, Rosie
 

Re: Tangents - the story
Date: 11/19/2010
From: Greg Bear

Interesting objections, of course, but photons are points at impact. And time is a variety of fourth dimension already... I'm not yet completely clear on how lenses convert three-dimensional fuzziness into usable clarity! Optically, this might be a much more complicated issue than I can solve! HELP! Any thoughts, opticians and physicists?
 

Re: Tangents - the story
Date: 11/19/2010
From: patrick
Location:

This is an old thread. I forgot what Tangents was about, and had to go back. I'm not sure I remember what Baxter I was even referring to....though it might've been Reality Dust, which is not in Vacuum Diagrams.

By the way, check out this new cover rendition for Tangents. Some simple alterations, but way cool.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/greg-bear/tangents.htm
 

Re: Tangents - the story
Date: 11/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

This was actually the Warner Books cover of TANGENTS the collection, taken from the UK Jim Burns cover for EON.

Re: New forge of god book

Date: 03/15/2008 From: Cormac O'Neill
Location: United Arab Emirates

hey Greg, just a question here, I have recently stormed through forge of god and have read countless reviews on anvil of stars (all good) and have been thinking, will you make another book in the forge of god series??

Thanks, Cormac.
 

Re: Re: New forge of god book
Date: 03/15/2008
From: Greg Bear

Always a possibility. Nothing for sure at the moment, however.

Congrats Greg !

Date: 03/15/2008 From: Dr.Arvind Mishra
Location: Varanasi

The link to Vigyan Katha is as follows-
http://vigyan-katha.blogspot.com/2008/03/blog-post.html
 

Re: Congrats Greg !
Date: 03/15/2008
From: Greg Bear

Ah, there we go...

Congrats Greg !

Date: 03/15/2008 From: Dr.Arvind Mishra
Location: Varanasi

Congrats Greg you are on cover page of the Hindi SF quarterly from India -VIGYAN KATHA -[ie Science Fiction] ,the only sf magazine from India which is in India's Llingua franca -Hindi.
I was invited to do a brief review of QUANTICO in the magazine and was really great privilege enjoyed by me.The review appears on page no.21.
Trust you are fine .I am still hopeful of your visit to India and eagerly awaiting your itinerary.
Congrats again and cheers !
arvind
 

Re: Congrats Greg !
Date: 03/15/2008
From: Greg Bear

Good to hear from you, Arvind! Can we view this magazine on the Web?

Return to Blood Music

Date: 03/13/2008 From: patrick
Location:

Or, should I say, rendezvous, as I've never read the short. (Incidentally, the Shrodinger's Plague post got me to thinking about the Tangents collection and re-checking this story out, but I've started with BL.) So far, it's exactly as I remember the book being - which is great, cos it's so damn GOOD. There's a reason your writing has so attracted and captured me from the beginning. Some of it is 'writing', per se, but it's also how you show your leaps of vision in depicting a scene like in the beginning of this story and revealing Virgil and his circumstance to us.

Of course, I don't yet know how this ends up - but I remember the ending of the novel, and when reading through Virgil's explanation of the 'creation of things', I bounce between the two and get a smile on my face from the satisfaction of those who 'opposed' him and perhaps the best of any 'come-uppance'.
 

Re: Return to Blood Music
Date: 03/15/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, patrick. Some view BLOOD MUSIC as a kind of horror story... not me, obviously!
 

Re: Return to Blood Music
Date: 05/15/2008
From: Christopher Cherry
Location: Durban, South Africa

Horror? How can Blood Music be horror. In a twisted way I think it would be good for the world if something like that was to happen. I would welcome it. The microbes in Blood Music didn't kill anyone the incorporated the consciousness of all the humans who succumb to the virus. As the girls mother said in the book, what was happening was something wonderful to her.
 

Re: Return to Blood Music
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

Some people just don't like the thought of being Incorporated into the Collective! Or being turned into lime Jell-0 along the way... (Or was it raspberry?)

SF story about a hollow asteroid ~1968

Date: 03/12/2008 From: Victor Bast
Location: San Ramon, CA

Dear Greg,

I read a science fiction book when I was in seventh or eighth grade (1967-69) that influenced my decisions about college and career (Im an engineer). I have no idea about the title or author, but I remember the story line very well, along with many details, including some specific words.

If you, or anyone else, knows anything more about the story, please email me. Id love to get a copy, or at least find out more about it.

Several astronauts, young American men, of course, were traveling through space towards another solar system. They observed an asteroid that weighed far less than they expected based on its size. They landed on the asteroid to investigate.

They found a precisely shaped, box-like hole in the surface, just a little deeper than they were tall. They got into the hole, and saw a row of dark spots on one wall. They touched one of the spots, and a roof closed overhead. They were in an elevator that took them into the asteroid. A door opened and revealed a gargantuan, sun-drenched chamber, filled with air, where fields of crops were growing, along with animals, trees, bushes, grass, and streams and ponds. The asteroid was hollow.

They met two young people, teenagers, a boy and a girl, who wore simple, peasant-style clothes, and lived in this chamber. They were part of an agrarian culture, who grew crops and raised animals. One of the traditions of their culture, passed down by countless generations, was to go on a once-in-a-lifetime journey outside their world, to prove their maturity, become adults, and share with the next generation, what they learned about the darkness the places where there was no sunshine, rain, or anything living except other people.

So the astronauts joined them on the journey. They got back in the elevator, touched a different spot, and went to another level of the asteroid. The door opened into a dimly lit hallway, which was crowded with people wearing what looked like helmets, driving around in electric wheelchairs. The people welcomed the young astronauts and peasants as if they were expected, but why dont you come here more often kind of greeting.

This chamber was something like todays multiplex cinemas. They watch movies all day long, and the headgear that looked like a helmet was called an empathizer. It created feelings that went along with the movie in the person wearing it. So people were laughing hysterically, crying, etc. at the appropriate scenes. The people loved movies so much that they had lost their ability to walk, or at least they saw no need for it anymore, they just drove from movie to movie in their wheelchairs, plugged in their empathizers, and thats how they lived.

But there was also a library in this chamber. And there were books that had been written by people just a few generation earlier, and they mention repeatedly a mythological place called "urth", where life began. I pronounced it oorth, so I missed an obvious clue about the origins of the asteroid.

The next place they went was nasty. Almost completely dark, full of gigantic machines that were noisy, smelly and very scary, especially to the peasants. The astronauts recognized it as the part of the asteroid that generated power for the sunlight, and kept the air, water and other nutrients at the levels necessary to sustain life for the people and the plants and animals. They got out of there as quickly as they could.

The last stop was something like Mission Control at NASA in Houston. Dimly lit rooms with guys wearing short-sleeved shirts and pocket protectors. (Ive added the pocket protectors.) One of the nerdy guys greets them in a similar way as the empathizer people, why dont we see you more often? Except they add you must be excited about the end of our journey!

These guys were the scientists, engineers and technicians who were keeping the asteroid running. It was a spacecraft, built by humans from earth hundreds or even thousands of years earlier, by hollowing out an asteroid and building an artificial habitat that would support life until they could get to another planet like earth. The solar system they were in had a planet with oceans and an earth-like atmosphere, and they were just about to send a landing craft down to explore.

The theory was that the humans from earth, and their decendants, would move around freely between the earth-like sunny area, and the entertainment zone, and they would only go to the power plant life-chemicals area and the control room to work. But the nature-lovers stayed put in the natural environment, the movie-lovers never left the movie area, and the techies spent all of their time keeping the machines running and working on getting the asteroid to the next planet with potential to support human life.
 

Re: SF story about a hollow asteroid ~1968
Date: 03/15/2008
From: Greg Bear

I don't recognize this one right off the bat--but our readers may be able to help...
 

Re: SF story about a hollow asteroid ~1968
Date: 10/07/2014
From: Art Laramee
Location: Arizona

I am 75 and I TPP read this story. I tried to find it years later but failed. I thought the title was starman's son. It referred to urth rather than earth

What happened to the apocalypse?

Date: 03/11/2008 From: James Palczynski
Location: Westport, CT

Admitting that I'm only a reader and so I shouldn't point any fingers, where is the SF community on the whole global warming issue? I understand that maybe out of control pollution and environmental collapse are pretty common themes in cyberpunk, but more often than not, they are taken as given and treated in an almost cursory way. It would seem that exploring the process of environmental degredation in all its frightening glory ought to be some low hanging fruit for subject material. I honestly think I see more of it on Discovery channel than I see in the SF community... please tell me I'm wrong and suggest a good read for me in that area or, better still, tell me you have a half-dozen good story ideas for a new novel.

Best regards.

P.S. - Just finished rereading WFRABW - I have one of the signed limiteds you did with Bernie so long ago. Still resonates extremely well. Cheers.
 

Re: What happened to the apocalypse?
Date: 03/11/2008
From: Greg Bear

Kim Stanley Robinson has written an excellent trilogy based on global warming, beginning with FORTY SIGNS OF RAIN. Readers might suggest others?
 

Re: What happened to the apocalypse?
Date: 03/12/2008
From: Patrick B.
Location: Vancouver, WA

David Brin had a pretty intersting take on the future of the environment and environmentalism in his novel "Earth".
 

Re: What happened to the apocalypse?
Date: 03/13/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Yeah, but I'm thinking I need to go back to EARTH and see if it's yet outdated. His hypothetical internet is, if I recall correctly, in that there are millions of channels, so to speak, vs five hundred or so...although I can glean his possible reason for thinking of such a standardized format.

I'd recommend Stephen Baxter. Though TRANSCENDENT is the third of the series, it just means you get more goodies in one run. Also, check out Peter f. Hamilton's Mandell series. Still timely near-future fiction in many ways.
 

Re: What happened to the apocalypse?
Date: 07/30/2012
From: Philip of Earth
Location:

Niven, Pournelle, and Flynn's "Fallen Angels" is about climate change. It is a bit dated now, particularly with respect to the missing solar neutrino problem, but mostly it holds up quite well.
 

Re: What happened to the apocalypse?
Date: 08/25/2012
From: Greg Bear

I'm thinking Bruce Sterling's HEAVY WEATHER might be worth a re-read!

Questions about writing

Date: 03/04/2008 From: Sebastian Keller
Location: Moosburg, Germany

Dear Mr. Bear!

I write a little blog about writing (www.schriftstellerwerden.blogspot.com) and like to ask you, if you could answer a few questions about writing for my readers and me?

It would be great If you could spare a few moments and tell my readers where to start, becoming a (professional) writer, what things to avoid and how to write better books.

Thanks a lot.
If there's anything I can do for you in return, let me know!

Sebastian

Schr￶dinger's Plague and Bell's Theorem

Date: 03/02/2008 From: Andrew Howard
Location: Reston, VA

Mr. Bear -

I was asked to write a paper on the science behind Schr￶dinger's Plague for my Literature of Science Fiction class. In the course of researching the paper, I stumbled across the introduction you wrote for it in your Collected Stories. You mention that Benford and Cramer dispute the physics involved and give "John Bell" as the clue. I can only assume that their reasoning somehow involves Bell's Theorem, but I can't for the life of me reason out how.

The best I've been able to come up with is that Parkes' hypochondriasis is somehow a local hidden variable and thus disallowed, but my understanding is that the local variables would have to be intrinsic to the particle in question. Another possible explanation that occurred to me is that the fact of Parkes' hypochondriasis is information and thus cannot be transmitted meaningfully through superluminal effects. This, however, is not an intrinsic part of Bell's Theorem. More of a corollary, which allows it to play nicely with relativity.

Is there any chance you could point me in the right direction? I hadn't planned on writing anything more complicated than an overview of Schr￶dinger's Cat, the Copenhagen Interpretation and the Schr￶dinger equation, but I'm having a hard time letting go of this "John Bell" clue. I'd appreciate whatever help you can give me. Thanks, also, for writing a great story. I enjoyed it.
 

Re: Schr�dinger's Plague and Bell's Theorem
Date: 03/04/2008
From: Greg Bear

Sounds to me like you're farther along than I could ever be. And if you figure out the reasoning behind their objections, please let me know!

Book Ideas

Date: 03/02/2008 From: Jason Taylor
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Mr. Bear,

Big fan. I think I've read everything you've published(at least by Amazon's list).

I'm curious how one would bring ideas to an author? After trying to write a book for the last 4 years, I realize that I may need some help or I may need to just pass the idea on to someone.

Thanks for your response.

Geaux Tigers!(LSU reference)

 

Re: Book Ideas
Date: 03/04/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks for the kind words, Jason. Most authors find getting ideas the easy part--writing them down is long, hard work! And most authors I know suggest that an idea should be turned into a story by the creator of that idea. I don't know of any reputable authors who will take on such a task--but if I learn of any, I'll pass it along.

Eternity

Date: 02/28/2008 From: James Blankenship
Location: Atlanta, GA

Back in November, I inquired about the availability of Eternity in ebook format. I am still unable to find this book available for purchase in electronic format. Any update on when/if it will become available?
 

Re: Eternity
Date: 03/11/2008
From: Greg Bear

My e-book publisher, e-Reads, is working on this one and others from my old Warner Books catalog. Should be available soon!

It's been awhile since I've read Vitals, but after loaning the book to a friend...

Date: 02/27/2008 From: John Oyler
Location: Georgia

Well, he really appreciated it. But even between the two of us, there were a few things we couldn't puzzle out.

Who *is* Rudy Banning? Am I misremembering the book, or do you hint that he really was someone historic?

With the anti-semitism, potentially lengthened lifespan and so forth, it can only seem that he might have been a nazi. But neither of us are historians, and we just can't figure out whom. Many of the top ones died quite publically, and the mossad did seem to rustle up a few that escaped. Though, with a story like yours, anything might be other than it seemed.

We're both curious, we both plead stupidity. Neither of us can believe that it's Hitler, but none of the others seems to fit either. This has been bothering me since the book came out now, so what's that been, at least 5 years? Please.

I would threaten to not read anymore of your stuff if you refuse to say, but I'd just be lying. You're one of my favorites.
 

Re: It's been awhile since I've read Vitals, but after loaning the book to a friend...
Date: 03/03/2008
From: Greg Bear

Ah, Rudy is a puzzler. Why assume he's a Nazi? There's plenty of that sort of bigotry among both Soviet Communists and Nazis. He's certainly not Herr H himself. It's obvious, however, that part of his eccentricity is rooted in a possible longevity treatment he received way back when...

Do you still do any illustrations?

Date: 02/26/2008 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Hi Greg!

Found a copy of THE STAR TREK CONCORDANCE at Bill's bookstore on my last visit (and a copy of Eternity showed up in the paperback annex since I was there last)and found that drawing you did way back in the Day of Days, Aeons ago.

Then I remembered that you also did the illustrations to the guide/pamphlet for that Seminar series you hosted back in winter/spring of '78 for SDSC.

Mike Glosson
 

Re: Do you still do any illustrations?
Date: 02/29/2008
From: Greg Bear

Yep, plus a couple of covers for books--including my own PSYCHLONE in the Tor edition--and a pretty good cover on F&SF, and a pretty bad one for GALAXY. Not much in the way or art or drawing now--too busy writing!
 

Re: Do you still do any illustrations?
Date: 03/02/2008
From: Terran
Location: Winter Park, FL

Mike - you can see a few more of Greg's wonderful paintings on the Biography page (link in the top menu), too.

Thistledown history

Date: 02/25/2008 From: Jason
Location: australia

Hey there,

Another question for you: recently finished re-reading EON, and am now half way thru ETERNITY (again), and wondered how and where and when the Asteroid was initially hollowed out and turned to a spaceship?

I realise in Lanier's and Patricia's world it came already made just prior to the Death. but in Olmy's world/history how did it come about and when and by who?

i don't recall this bit being explained.

thanks,

jason.
 

Re: Thistledown history
Date: 02/29/2008
From: Greg Bear

Take a look at "The Wind from a Burning Woman" in my collected stories to learn more about the history of the asteroid starships.
 

Re: Thistledown history
Date: 02/05/2009
From: Thescyfer
Location: Thistledown City Memory

When you say that it gives more information about asteroid starships do you mean it gives more info about thistledown itself or that it just gives general info about asteroid starships?

And aslo where did you get the name Thistledown I'm from Ohio and theres a town called thistledown i saw it when i was driving and I was just wondering where did you get the name from?
 

Re: Thistledown history
Date: 02/05/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thistledown allows seeds to drift with the wind. And WIND FROM A BURNING WOMAN is set in the early phases of the construction of the asteroid starships.

Living on Mars

Date: 02/25/2008 From: Eirik Berg
Location: Norway

Hi

I see that you are interested in how to colonize and live on Mars. Some time ago, I read about a suggestion about using some of the large lava tunnels which is suspected to be widespread on the planet do so; a erea is closed on both ends, isoleted from within and optical fibres attached to panels of lenses are used to lead sunlight down under the surface.

But since then, not much have been mentioned about this suggestion. Are they still toying with it, or do they stick to capcules on the surface?

Eirik
 

Re: Living on Mars
Date: 02/29/2008
From: Greg Bear

It's a cool idea, but we don't know much about the extent or nature of whatever lava tunnels there might be on Mars. We're just going to have to go there and pull out the ol' ladder and rope kit and flashlight. I'd recommend contacting the Mars Society and reading Robert Zubrin's books to follow up on Mars colonization ideas.
 

Re: Living on Mars
Date: 03/11/2008
From: Eirik Berg
Location: Norway

Thanks for reply. Yes, of course humans would first have to establish themselves before they moves on to the next step. But after that, it could really start to become exiting. Find some info at last about it:

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/mars_caves_000321.html

And the sunlight collected from the panels above could be used for other things than just giving light to the plants and solar cells as well. Some of it could be focused on black and light absorbing material, rising the temperature. When a certain temperature had been reached, cells of wax would melt, absorbing the heat. During the night the wax would "freeze" again, releasing the heat in the caves.

As the article says, it's ironic that humans leaves earth and settle down on Mars just to become cavemen. That is, if there really is such lave tubes with the desired potential on the red planet.

Greg Bear and Ursula K. Le Guin

Date: 02/25/2008 From: Richard Pearlstein
Location: Falls Church, VA

Hi, Greg. I'm a guy about your age, and have loved science fiction since I was a kid. I'm a bit of a new-comer to your fiction, having started with your "hard science" type books like Moving Mars and Darwin's radio. I must be a slow learner, because I would have thought I'd have come across your marvelous writing earlier.

Anyway, I'm now in the midst of Songs of Earth and Power. Well not exactly the midst, since I'm getting into the Serpent Mage pretty well. An amazing read! I'm grateful you wrote it.

The only other author whose writings stimulate me like yours is Ursula K Le Guin. You both have the quality of creating real alternate universes "peopled" with characters worth caring about. Also, you both clearly have strong bonds with poetry.

I wonder if you two know each other. Have you exchanged ideas? How do you react to one another?

--Rich
 

Re: Greg Bear and Ursula K. Le Guin
Date: 02/29/2008
From: Greg Bear

Ursula is one of my favorites as well. I was particularly struck by her THE BEGINNING PLACE, which seemed to pick up on the twilight world themes I was tying into with my fantasies. And of course I bought a story from her for NEW LEGENDS way back when. She lives not too far away, in Portland. We get together far too seldom!
 

blogging?
Date: 05/31/2008
From: jon makay
Location: nashville

i ahve an odd question. Do All blogs run like this? Could i do this oppen ended question-response format with any idea?
Soething i have wated to do yeara s ago to stimulate a trilogue in society and the self (whichever 'self' chooses to enagge in it)

jon makay
 

blogging?
Date: 05/31/2008
From: Greg Bear

Absolutely, Jon, toss in your ideas--but you have to stop trying to text in the middle of an earthquake! (Sorry--I'd never be able to pick out a message on those things half as well as you do...)

Announcing Science Fiction Quarterly

Date: 02/23/2008 From: Glover Wright
Location: New York, NY

Dear Greg,

I am writing to introduce Science Fiction Quarterly, a new online magazine of science and speculative fiction located at www.sfquarterly.net, and to invite you to submit new or unpublished work for publication.

The original Science Fiction Quarterly, edited first by Charles D. Hornig and then by Robert W. Lowndes, was published in two separate runs, from Summer 1940 to Spring 1943 and from Spring 1951 to Winter 1958.

The magazine, which never cost more than 38 cents, published 10 issues in its first run and 28 in its second. Its history was short, its influence more or less forgotten.

Our present magazine -- which currently is published exclusively online -- bears no relation, aside from its general spirit, to its printed historical predecessor. But our choice of title is by no means an arbitrary one. The science fiction genre was born, learned to walk, and occasionally even proved transcendent in the story-filled pulpy pages of periodicals like the original Science Fiction Quarterly -- the kinds of magazines which we have been told grown men yearned to write for while young boys hid them between their mattresses and bedsprings, away from the watchful eyes of those who might know better.

Those early magazines, and the stories they published, were admittedly often silly and even more often poorly written and edited -- and we gesture here more toward the amateur fanzines, not John Campbell's Astounding or H.L. Gold's Galaxy. But what was shared amongst the science fiction magazines, good and bad -- and we will ask you to forgive us if in our nostalgia we generalize too greatly -- was a shared moral sentiment, a sense of right and wrong articulated through man's interaction with and mastery of technology in the face of danger, adventure, risk, and romance.

We believe that in the last several decades, science fiction has fallen astray from its short story roots; and while we cannot ourselves resurrect them, we can at least provide an outlet in which they may be explored. And while certainly there remain great and storied science fiction publications -- Locus, Analog and Asimov's, among others -- we believe not only that there is room for more, but also that there is room for difference, for something that simply is new rather than old.

In keeping with our focus on the short story tradition, we bring an intense dedication to editing, to getting stories right by working directly with our authors until together we agree that a story has been written as best as it possibly can be. We intend to look for new authors who we may introduce to the world in our pages, as well as older, more recognizable names who have long worked within (and without) the conventions of the science and speculative fiction genres.

Theodore Sturgeon, in our estimation the greatest science fiction short story writer to have lived -- and no stranger himself to the pulps -- once famously said that "a science fiction story is a story built around human beings, with a human problem and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its scientific content." We see our mission here at Science Fiction Quarterly within the framework of Sturgeon's claim. We want, first and foremost, to publish the best collection of science fiction essays and stories that we possibly can every three months; but additionally we want to publish work that in exploring the possibilities of technology retains a human -- and, dare we say, a moral -- core.

If we've successfully captured your interest thus far, please find below instructions on how to submit your work.

Science Fiction Quarterly welcomes all submissions of short fiction and other artwork rooted in the genres of science and speculative fiction, as well as essays and reviews of science fiction books, films, and television shows. In particular, in addition to fiction, we are interested in publishing "think pieces" related to topics in science fiction, both as a genre and as a craft; we are also interested in profiles of science fiction writers and editors. We accept all written submissions of up to 60 pages, with room for negotiation if we feel the submission is exceptionally strong. We do not accept work that previously has been published elsewhere.

We will aggressively promote all stories accepted for publication and in some cases will launch tailored publicity campaigns focusing on one or more stories.

Please note that since we publish on a quarterly basis, in the magazine we prefer to publish reviews of past work -- especially classics and overlooked contributions to the genre -- rather than coming attractions. On the blog, however, we do publish reviews of current and upcoming work.

We do not currently pay specific rates for published work, nor do we have any plans to do so in the immediate future. However, authors may choose to receive some compensation based on how much revenue is generated by the advertisements -- placed contextually by Google Adsense -- displayed to the sides of their stories.

More importantly, though -- we believe -- if your submission is accepted for publication, we will work closely with you in the editing process to ensure that your work will be published in its best possible form. And all of our authors retain the copyright to their work, so once a piece has been edited and published, they are free to submit it elsewhere in its polished form.

All written submissions should be fully paginated and double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font and should include the author's name and e-mail address on the first two lines. To submit work, you may either send a reply to this e-mail and include your submission as an attachment, or send an e-mail to submissions@sfquarterly.net with "submission" in your subject line.

Thanks very much for reading, and whether or not you choose to submit work, we hope that we can count you as a reader in the months ahead. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reply to this message, or call me at +1 646 789 4174.

Best regards,

Glover Wright
Editor

--
Science Fiction Quarterly
www.sfquarterly.net
 

Re: Announcing Science Fiction Quarterly
Date: 05/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

Sorry to post this so late, Glover! Good luck with the submissions. Right now, I'm in the middle of committing novel... may not have time to write much short fiction!

Vitals In Real Life? - rBGH in Milk

Date: 02/23/2008 From: Tommy Mandel
Location: New York City and surrounding area

Once again Greg seems to be ahead of the curve in creating a world too strange to be real, but about to become reality nonetheless. . .
State Governments and Monsanto Corp. are fighting to prohibit farmers who DON'T use rBGH, a genetically engineered growth hormone fed to cows to increase their output of milk, from even LABELING their Product as "Hormone Free." Why would anyone in government do that? (beyond greed, obviously...)
After reading Vitals, I wonder what stealth properties of rBGH the Powers That Be are so intent on proliferating


http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/OhiorBGH_PR12_18_07.cfm
 

Re: Vitals In Real Life? - rBGH in Milk
Date: 02/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

Well, if you're a baseball player... Could increase your Runs Butted In?
 

Re: Vitals In Real Life? - rBGH in Milk
Date: 02/27/2008
From: Tommy Mandel
Location: New York City and surrounding area

Also increase one's time incarcerated; unless he receives Clemens-C.

Forge of God Series

Date: 02/23/2008 From: Michael J Gue
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC - USA

First off, let me start by saying I am a big fan of your work. I own all three books of the Eon series, Blood Music, The Strength of Stones and my personal favorite series being The Forge of God/Anvil of Stars. The first time I went to my local library as a kid I think of the two books I checked out, The World at the End of Time being one, Eon was the other and forever changed my reading expectations from an author.

Most recently I've recommended The Forge of God to some friends and have them reading it with the intent to discuss it every few chapters. Having cheated a little and reread not only the entire book but Anvil of Stars again, I have a burning desire for more. This leads me to this message and a single yearning... Will there or could there ever be a continuing chapter in the story and lives of the Dawn Treader, their descendants, their new home or even the Brothers?

Thank you for reading this and patiently awaiting any response you may give...
 

Re: Forge of God Series
Date: 02/27/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Michael! No plans at the moment for a continuing volume, but that could easily change.

To recommend

Date: 02/20/2008 From: Sam Beckham (Ms.)
Location: Texas

Dear Mr Bear,

I am 21 year old lady who got into reading science fiction by developing an obession for dragons as a little girl, and reading fantasy lead to science fiction. I have read most of your books, and most of them multiple times. Also I am in love with the writings of Robert Heinlein, and own (and have read all his books many times. I have read lots of Asimov as well.

I am writing you because I am starting to become bored and want to know what you would recommend. A lot of 'science fiction' I pick up today is trite. I like real science, but I also like a good tale. Other things I have enjoyed is Orson Scott Card's Enders series and Robert Jordans Wheel of Time.

Anyway, what is your favorite book? And what would you recommend to someone thirsting for more adventure?

Thank you so much!

~Sam
 

Re: To recommend
Date: 02/20/2008
From: Greg Bear

A lot of great choices out there. I'm sure you've read Anne McCaffrey, and you'll likely enjoy Naomi Novik, who's developed quite a following. In the fantasy arena, Tad Williams and Ray Feist come to mind--and you might try Tananarive Due, who has a new book coming soon. In science fiction, a lot of folks, and here's just a few to start: David Brin's Uplift series, Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars trilogy, Gregory Benford's Galactic Center series, Mary Rosenblum, Nancy Kress, Catherine Asaro, and... well, come back when you're done with this list! I always feel guilty leaving people out. (And I think you might enjoy CITY AT THE END OF TIME, coming from Del Rey August 11 of this year.)
 

Re: To recommend
Date: 02/21/2008
From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Switzerland

Sam, it's possible you would enjoy Ursula K. Le Guin. She is an author who can make you think, and also someone like Greg who will give you a feeling of being 'at home' often. Maybe three differing books that could give a flavour are:

- The Wizard of Earthsea
- The Dispossessed
- Worlds of Exile and Illusion (it collects 3 novels)

Kind regards,
Rould
 

Re: To recommend
Date: 02/22/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Well, Greg mentioned Benford...(Brin is good, though dated; and Robinson...I haven't beeen enchanted with). I'll add on Greg Egan, Stephen Baxter, and Peter F. Hamilton (particularly the Night's Dawn Trilogy).

And two who are a little broader in category: Dan Simmons, and Iain M. Banks.
 

Re: To recommend
Date: 02/24/2008
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Miss Beckham and Mr. Bear. One author I would like to heartily recommend are the works of the late Poul Anderson. I dont want to overwhelm Miss Beckham, so I'll just list a few titles (hopefully, not too hard to find): BRAIN WAVE, THE BROKEN SWORD,THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS, TAU ZERO, ENSIGN FLANDRY, STARFARERS, and GENESIS. Oops, maybe I suggested too many! Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks.
 

Re: To recommend
Date: 02/25/2008
From: Michael Pine
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Greg,

I don't want you to mention City at the end of Time, in this forum ever again, unless to say it is being relased 4 months early :)

I know it might sound sad reflection of my life, but this is the thing I am most waiting for this year, I have reread Eon/Eternity 4 times in the past year in preperation, which is a lot of reading for me.
 

Re: To recommend
Date: 02/25/2008
From: Patrick Berry
Location: Vancouver, WA

Ill heartily second Ursula K. La Guinn. Im especially fond of an of her books set in the Ekumen universe, such as The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness, and Rocannons World. In these books she uses the traditional tools science fiction to explore contemporary social issues, such as geopolitics in The Dispossessed and gender roles in LHOD, on a much deeper level than can normally be seen in traditional fiction.

Another author Ive enjoyed is Catherine Asaro, best know for her Skolian Saga books. Shes both a gifted writer and a PhD. Physicists, which is a good combo in my book.

Ive also really enjoyed the work of Lois McMaster Bujold. Her Miles Vorkosigan are simply a lot of fun to read.

In terms of the classic writers, if you havent read almost everything by Arthur C. Clarke, start right now. A good place to start is City and the Stars or Childhoods End. IMHO, hes the best of the bunch from the Golden Era and was way ahead of his time.

A couple others to add for anyone whos a fan of Bear are David Brin, Kevin J. Anderson, and Vernor Vinge. Theyre some of the best of the current Golden Age.

Lastly, its hard to say if hes sci-fi, fantasy, satire, or comedy, but if youd just like to feel good about, well, just existing, pick up The Callahan Chronicles by Spider Robinson.
 

Re: To recommend
Date: 02/28/2008
From: Simon Woodworth
Location: Ireland

I'd have to concur with Patrick's recommendations: Dan Simmon's Hyperion and Endymion books are well worth the read. I'd also recommend Peter F Hamilton's Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained. Alastair Reynolds is worth it if you want "hard" SF. You might also like Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle.
 

Re: To recommend
Date: 02/29/2008
From: Greg Bear

Absolutely. NESFA Press is bringing out a multi-volume edition of Poul's works soon. I'll be writing an introduction to the first volume.
 

Re: To recommend
Date: 02/29/2008
From: Greg Bear

We're putting together some web sites now to go along with CITY's launch this August. More soon!
 

Re: To recommend
Date: 03/05/2008
From: Erik E.
Location: Dallas

Also Octavia Butler's Earthseed is a gem.

I'm a firm believer that every sci-fi fan should read Wildseed....at least once!

Strange behavior

Date: 02/15/2008 From: patrick
Location:

Though not the first time I've experienced this, with this recent school killing thing, Vitals comes to mind.
 

Re: Strange behavior
Date: 02/16/2008
From: Greg Bear

What we have here is a mental health system in national crisis, a legal system that focuses on apprehension, incarceration, and severe punishment, and guns available to almost all who want them. More like QUEEN OF ANGELS in some respects--without the therapy.

Native Snohomish County lover of Hard Sci-Fi

Date: 02/06/2008 From: Connie Garvie
Location: Everett, WA

I've never written to an author before, but wanted to let you know that you have been one of my favorite authors even before I discovered that you lived here in Snohomish Cty. I appreciate the thought-provoking content of your books and can't wait to read the rest. I have a question regarding "Slant" (which I finished in under 8 hours earlier today); Is the "Silver Lake" where Mary Choy lives our own south Everett favorite park/neighborhood?

Thank you for writing such wonderful books,

Connie Garvie
 

Re: Native Snohomish County lover of Hard Sci-Fi
Date: 02/07/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Connie. Good to hear from you! It is indeed Silver Lake in Snohomish County--local color...
 

Re: Native Snohomish County lover of Hard Sci-Fi
Date: 02/08/2008
From: Patrick Berry
Location: Vancouver, WA

I was living in Marysville and working in Mukilteo just west of the Boeing plant when I read "Slant". I hadn't read "Queen of Angels" yet so I didn't know what to expect.

It was fun to see the book open in Moscow, ID since I graduated from WSU, and then move over too my neighborhood. Sort of like reading "Lathe of Heaven" after growing up in the Portland area.

Only problem I had with "Slant" was it's lack of believability. I mean I can believe microscopic machines that cure all disease and can build a sub machine gun out of the contents of a sock drawer, but an efficient mass transit system operating between Everett and Seattle? Pure fantasy! ;-)
 

Re: Native Snohomish County lover of Hard Sci-Fi
Date: 02/16/2008
From: Greg Bear

Yeah, and it's even on the cover! (Or is that in Moscow?)

Copyright issues

Date: 02/05/2008 From: Kingsley Yin
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Dear Greg,

Haven't been on for a long time. I have a question concerning copyright which I think you may be able to answer relatively quickly. If one writes and publishes a short story, how does one then go on to "use" that same short story to write a novel without infringing copyright. I know its your own work but after publishing the short story, copyright belongs to the publisher doesn't it? I am asking because you managed this in your Blood Music short story and novel. I must be missing something in my obtuse thinking but I can't think of what.

Kingsley
 

Re: Copyright issues
Date: 02/05/2008
From: Greg Bear

Hello, Kingsley! Each work you create, even if related to another work, has its own copyright protection, which you can then enhance by filing for copyright. Without filing, you still have protection, though when you publish a book or story, formal protection is usually obtained as the publisher will file and copyright the book or story. If it's not a work-for-hire project, the copyright will be in your name.
 

Re: Copyright issues
Date: 02/06/2008
From: Kingsley Yin
Location: Cherry Hill, Nj

Thank you for your kind and prompt response. As you probably well aware, the situation is completely different in Science, where copyright for any publication is transferred to publisher. I believe that this procedure is to prevent researchers from making multiple publications from a single piece of work. There may be other reasons but I think this is the most obvious.
Thank you again.
 

Re: Copyright issues
Date: 02/07/2008
From: Greg Bear

Both SCIENCE and NATURE use a work-for-hire contract for most of their pieces. They will, however, let you post your own papers and distribute for scientific/educational purposes.
 

Re: Copyright issues
Date: 05/01/2008
From: Jerry Sager
Location: Santa Rosa, CA

What is actually considered copyright protected? Basic plot?
Charaters? Ideas? Many ideals in my 1996 novel are hauntingly simular to the Battle Star Gallactica series as are a few of the characters. I don't know if the fact that I wrote this novel and my ideas are unfolding as I have watched each season is causing paranoia, or if someone else had all the same visions I had and a bank roll and huge writing staff to put them on the TV screen. Coincidence, infringement or writers paranoia? If the final clone turns out to be the cigarette smoking ship doctor then I am 100% certain I was ripped off!
 

Re: Copyright issues
Date: 05/07/2008
From: Greg Bear

Copyright generally protects the overall structure and plot of a work. Substantial similarity of plot and character can be grounds for an infringement suit; but truthfully, suits have been filed on all sorts of grounds. Ideas generally are not protected, but certain kinds of ideas often lead to plot similarities--which can lead to trouble. Mood and look and feel can also be protected, based on legal precedent--but not always. Characters receive some protection, in context--within the plot--and you probably shouldn't name your fighter pilot Luke Skywalker, since there is additional protection in trademarks. Remember--anyone can sue for any reason. Winning is another matter!

EON/ETERNITY

Date: 02/04/2008 From: Jason
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Hey Greg,

Mate, I love your stuff.

I've just started re-reading Eon - blows my mind every time. I'm just up to the nuclear war on Earth and the Ruskie invasion of the Stone. You've managed to capture the feelings and vibe of what (hopefully) we can only imagine regarding such a catastrophic loss (the war).

I'm sure you've heard this before, but I can see this story making a brilliant feature length movie - as long as it wasn't too Hollywood-ified and turned into a flag-waving sanctimonious slop where everyone salutes the flag at the end :-). Hollywood does have a habit of doing that :-).

Anyway - nice work. And if you make a movie of it based on my suggestion, I want a cut :-). Or at least cast me in it somehow and/or let me get my music (yes I'm a muso) on the soundtrack :-).

Cheers, Greg,

Jason
www.myspace.com/jasonmaynardmusic
 

Re: EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/05/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Jason! Take a look at the CGSociety Web site on the EON Challenge. I think it's still up and available. Pretty inspiring, but no one has nibbled just yet.
 

Re: EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/06/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Yeah, I'm skeptical either you or Dan Simmons are going to get a complete product from Hollywood. At least some are trying, though. Hell, in an article in Entertainment Weekly, there was a scathing rant about how lame hollywood SF is. We'll see.
 

Re: EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/07/2008
From: John Holtom
Location: Luton (England)

Dear Greg Bear

Eon is getting scary.

It had looked as though history had changed with the Berlin Wall coming down, the Soviet Union being dismantled etc. So one of the premises of Eon looked as though it was stuck in the time it was written.... but it now looks as though Russia is rebuilding a barrier between it and the West..... and the distrust, certainly between the UK and Russia, is being escalated day by day with the ex-FSB agent being poisoned, then explusions of diplomats...

We just need Thistledown (that is the name of the potato shaped thingy in the sky isn't it? - sorry not got the book with me to check this - to come back from the future and, who knows...

Is it history which is cyclical or time?

Regards

John Holtom
 

Re: EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/07/2008
From: Greg Bear

Actually, we've had a pretty good run of decent sf films in the past thirty years. Few are perfect, but many offer rich rewards. Getting our own work onto the silver screen is a fascinating, mostly frustrating process--but hope springs eternal!
 

Re: EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/07/2008
From: Greg Bear

It is getting kind of familiar out there, no?
 

Re: EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/11/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Re: russian things....

Um, I was starting to think something similar a few months ago....but there are some distinct differences, particularly economic, that I think Russia (leaders and common folk, alike) would like to keep hold of. I suppose some kind of heavy patriotism could resurge...

It's helpful to remember the following: the news is only what those controlling it want you to see. As well, even today, one has to know where to look to see other things. Further, who's correct or/and accurate? Of course, it's not necessarily easy to reconcile the various data. Lastly, there are still things you just don't know, won't find out.

I guess the best thing might be to say, don't fret. If times become truly terrible, you'llve spent the time preceeding them not enjoying what you could.
 

Re: EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/16/2008
From: Greg Bear

Ah... The coward dies a thousand deaths. The brave dies just once. And the transhumanist... has to live a thousand lives, all of them full of misinformation!
 

Re: EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/18/2008
From: patrick
Location:

And then there is the funxional, who understands contextual condition, and, while existing indefinitely, plays in the sun and breathes fresh.

Haunted by partially read book and can't find it...

Date: 02/04/2008 From: Vera Morgan
Location: Shoreline, WA

I don't know the title, author, or year of publication...
The story begins with a war going on. One character in the book provides a clue to the fact that the fighting is a simulation with truly fatal results by showing the main character a tiny dancer that dances in his hand. If memory serves correctly, she is of flame. He confides that she used to be only in his dreams but that now she in with him all the time. I want to finish reading the book partly to get Elton John's song out of my head. It gets stuck for days at a time.
The plot line includes the idea that the boys who went to war are all storehoused in a semicomatose state and have their brains wired to interface with each other. In their shared dreaming, some are regularly electrocuted as they dream their death in battle. The battle scenes are surreal, naturally, and the enemy is some terrifying "other" who can not actually be seen, only sensed.

If you can help me locate any information about this book, I will be deeply grateful.

All I remember is that it was a paperback and I started reading it more than twenty years ago.

Thanks,
Vera Morgan
 

Re: Haunted by partially read book and can't find it...
Date: 02/05/2008
From: Greg Bear

Hmm... sounds like ENDER'S GAME to me. Time period is about right!
 

Re: Haunted by partially read book and can't find it...
Date: 02/06/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Uh-uh. Definitely not ENDER'S GAME. Sounds more related to the kind of niche Karl Hansen's WARGAMES is in (which, incidentally, even in 82...or 4...was published by Playboy books).
 

Re: Haunted by partially read book and can't find it...
Date: 02/07/2008
From: Terran
Location: Winter Park, FL

This is going to haunt me as well - I don't think it's Ender's Game, although it is similar. In Ender's Game, the children were fully awake but they thought they were playing a game. I don't recall any tiny flame dancer, either.

The plotline and time period really sounds like something Philip K. Dick would have written, or someone working in a similar vein. Have you tried checking into the works of William Gibson or Bruce Sterling? The movie The Matrix has similar elements as well, but it borrowed indiscriminately from dozens of different novels and comic books, so that doesn't narrow it down all that much!

 

Re: Haunted by partially read book and can't find it...
Date: 02/07/2008
From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Switzerland

Well, I think it is not Ender's Game - neither of the images appear in that book, and they are both colder than it is.

I'm sorry I can't help you on where they actually are. You might try Google search, using your concepts. There are excellent sources out there, like www.kirjasto.sci.fi (kirjasto is library, but this one doesn't seem to have Orson Scott Card or Greg's books, though it is often excellent for getting a feeling for others).

Good fortune,
Roald
 

Re: Haunted by partially read book and can't find it...
Date: 02/11/2008
From: Michael Grosberg
Location: Israel

This might Be Samuel R. Delany's "The Towers of Toron", part two of his early trilogy, "The Fall of the Towers". This book deals with the city of Toromon, possibly the last city in a post-nuclear war earth. Its leaders, trying to keep their hold on a seething population, declare that "we have an enemy across the border" - but this enemy may not exist at all. they then proceed to orchestrate a fake war using the means you described, connecting every soldier in a vast matrix-like contraption that coordinates their dreams while they stay in an induced coma.
This is only a small part of the overall plot of the trilogy that deals with several characters and a battle between two alien entities across time and space.

I also recommend asking on usenet, in rec.arts.sf.written, where the combined knowledge of the posters usually finds the answer to such questions in no time.

Nanotube Technology

Date: 01/31/2008 From: Julian Ryan
Location: Melbourne

Hi Greg,

I just read this article "New kind of transistor radios show capability of nanotube technology" (Source: http://www.mrl.uiuc.edu/highlights/2008/20080128rogers.html)

Awesome and exciting is all I can say about both these fantastic advances and your brilliant works as I'm now working my way through my Greg Bear collection for the 4th and 5th time and loving every nanosecond!

Thank you Greg and seriously can't wait for new book.

Cheers

Julian.
 

Re: Nanotube Technology
Date: 02/05/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Julian. I hope you're not counting the nanoseconds as they flick past!

A First this far out...Can you presell a book by its cover?

Date: 01/26/2008 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Hi Greg:

I was up on Amazon looking for some Giger work and saw an Alert on my preference for Greg Bear Books, and it looks like THE CITY AT THE END OF TIME is being presented with at least a "working" cover now.

So I took a deep breath and did what I've been thinking of doing for over two months now, when I saw the first teasing description of the book: I pre-ordered it!

This is the furthest out I've pre-ordered a Novel, before that it was just three weeks out, and I'd only gotten wind of it that day.

And it was the cover art that triggered the buy.

Mike
 

Re: A First this far out...Can you presell a book by its cover?
Date: 01/28/2008
From: Greg Bear

Very good! The cover is striking--and incorporates an object key to the plot, an "impossible armillary." We'll post it here as soon as I get the final design.
 

Re: A First this far out...Can you presell a book by its cover?
Date: 01/31/2008
From: patrick
Location:

A twist (um, hahah) on the old Gordian Knot there, eh?

Hacking Matter

Date: 01/25/2008 From: patrick
Location:

"We use the levers and pulleys of tecnology to shaper our world, but what wer really want is a world which obeys our spoken commands, and reconfigures itself to our unvoiced wishes, What we really want - what we'ver always wanted - is magic."

This is from Wil McCarthy's Hacking Matter. Though people familiar with Slant, Moving Mars, etc, have experienced the above idea, they perhaps aren't familiar with the real-world events that are making it a reality. Hacking Matter is just such a presentation of them. (Keep in mind this text is a few years old already.)

http://www.wilmccarthy.com/hm.htm
 

Re: Hacking Matter
Date: 03/29/2008
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

Matter Hacker is also a great thing to yell when you hammer your thumb...
 

Re: Hacking Matter
Date: 04/02/2008
From: Greg Bear

Recent emails between Wil and me discussed these issues--Wil's patented version involves real-time, real-world adaptation of real matter to be more tightly controlled; ie, programmable. ANVIL's fake matter seems more like the hologram matter in Red Dwarf. I suspect Red Dwarf or something in Doctor Who or Hitchhiker's Guide predates us all... those UK adventure/comedy geniuses! But if Wil can make his idea work, it will indeed change the world.
 

Re: Hacking Matter
Date: 04/02/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Hmm, this topic is down the list a bit; likely on me an you are reading it. Anyways...I had the idea, but didn't know specifically, McCarthy was actively involved in developing this stuff. Cool. I'm lookin forward to it.

As for fake matter....well, perhaps something similar comes to mind with Doc Smith's different 'orders' of technology and particular structural manifestations in the design of starships in his Skylark series.
 

Re: Hacking Matter
Date: 04/15/2008
From: Greg Bear

Good point--I'll have to go back and take a look at Smith.

Quantico, and what really happened

Date: 01/22/2008 From: patrick
Location:

In thinking over things in Dinosaur Summer, and then on into Slant, and then Quantico, it suddenly occured to me to look up Amerithrax. (Having been in a general media blackout for almost ten years, up till I got my first computer in '02, and the close coincidence of Amerithrax following 9/11, I barely remembered the former event, let alone knew anything about it.) Though Wikipedia may not be the best source of information, it had a lot. Spooky shit, man. Even spookier, even in this day, when you have SENATORS saying things like:

"I think there are people within our government  certainly from the source of it  who know where it came from."
 

Re: Quantico, and what really happened
Date: 01/22/2008
From: Greg Bear

The FBI is keeping pretty quiet about the present state of their investigation. From what little news has been released, I suspect all bets are off--certainly they no longer insist on their early profiles.

Octavia Butler

Date: 01/22/2008 From: Nick Abbott
Location: California



Greg,

A 100 member Octavia Butler reading/discussion group has been asking a couple of questions about Butler. I thought you might be able to answer them, as you were both board members of Seattle's Science Fiction Museum.

The questions are:
1) Which authors most influenced Butler (e.g. Delaney)?
2) She reportedly had her seattle home 'floor to ceiling' with books, that must have been great to have actually seen. What happened to the collection?

The Octavia Butler group itself is on-line at:
http://www.shelfari.com/groups/10772/about

P.S. Also, personally, a great fan of yours. dropped you a line earlier when the UK version of Quantico was published.

-Nick
 

Re: Octavia Butler
Date: 01/22/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks for writing, Nick. Octavia's house was a tidy dark brown rambler in a suburban neighborhood, and the rooms I saw were filled with books--not too unusual for writers! I believe her library was placed in the care of her relatives, but do not know for sure what became of them. Harlan Ellison was a good friend and supporter of Octavia in her early writing years, and took her death hard. I suspect Octavia was influenced by many different writers, again, like most of us, and she greatly enjoyed talking about her last book and the vampire theme. No doubt she enjoyed reading her predecessors in that genre. She was never stuffy or snobbish, and her talk sparkled with a quiet, sharp intelligence. Often enough she asked that she be judged as a writer, not a black writer--but she passed along her inspiration to a new generation of black women who carry on her explorations. One of her best friends, Leslie Howle, took many pictures and portraits, and helped arrange Octavia's wake at the Science Fiction Museum. It was fun to know Octavia, and with her gone, no doubt I'll miss out on some key insights.

Petitioning SETI

Date: 01/21/2008 From: Cecilia Vail Hampton
Location: Ca.

Dear Mr. Bear,
Here is my poem "Petitioning SETI" which won honorable mention at Cedar Hill Press in their recent contest. I hope you enjoy it. I also have two poems regarding Mars and the probes Spirit and Opportunity. I will send them too, but did not want to do it all in one huge email.

Cecilia


Petitioning SETI

Speak to me asterismically
of constellation subsets
of the cosmic thirty seven
and the answer: forty two.
Tell me tales of the galactic plane
of star clusters in light years
from telescopic visions true
swaddled among interstellar clouds
birthing stars
nursed to youth
and why we ride the gravitational tide
between suns,
stars and moons
to Alpha Leo and Monoceros
on stellar winds to the Subaru.
Searching always
the universal truth.
Reality turns on little things
delicately natured time
and depths of space
gravitational pull
on all of us in every race
Sing of dusty nebulae in galaxies
darkened lanes on elliptic planes;
galactic roads where SETI listens
as radios
play the songs of the stars...

By Cecilia Vail Hampton
December 12, 2006
 

Re: Petitioning SETI
Date: 01/22/2008
From: Greg Bear

A lovely poem, Cecilia. Thanks!
 

Opportunity On Mars
Date: 03/06/2008
From: Cecilia Vail Hampton
Location: California

Dear Mr. Bear,

This is one of the poems I hoped to have you read. I am truly waiting and hoping for those next two books about Mars! I have read many of your books, and feel a great deal of respect toward you as a writer.

Sincerely,
CVH



Opportunity On Mars

Went to Erebus, Sunday noon
picked blueberries under two moons.
Phoebos and Deimos shining down,
strange moonlight on stranger ground.
Smaller than marbles these unusual rocks,
accreting amid the dampened blocks.
Martian stones among the razorbacks,
blueberries in heaps, piles, stacks.
Drifting sand where I roam, on Mars
in Erebus, so far from home.
Trundling round and taking stock
of every outcropping, rift and pock.
Sending photos of the sky,
of berry bowls, and lakes gone dry,
amusement for a billion eyes.
With all the dunes like candy kisses
among the berries, winds and fissures;
concretions, yes, to analyze
but, as yet, no signs of life.
No Martian men to eat fruit pie.
No Martian babies to grow up right.
Martian mamas dont exist.
No plants, no animals, no cities in the midst.
I fear its just as the scientists said,
No life on Mars, all is dead.
So, the ships of Man will rise,
come to Mars and colonize.

Cecilia Vail Hampton (2006)
 

Re: Spirit Of Pink
Date: 05/11/2008
From: Cecilia Hampton
Location:

Spirit of Pink

The Mars you see, now,
its not red,
to the human eye
its pink instead!
Mounting up
like one called Eve-Rest
or Zhumulangma, Nepals best
some amazing panorama
pink peaks, pink plains
pink Goddess Qomolangma
A Martian mountain in this location
needs a proper appellation!
No, not Appalachian...
No Mauna Kea, no Chimborazo
though its pink, its still macho
standing next to Husband Hill
Given a name nonpareil
and full of drama
to be dubbed forever
The Eve-Rest Panorama.

January 2006
 

Re: Spirit Of Pink
Date: 05/12/2008
From: Greg Bear

Wonderful! We're starting our own poetry slam here! Anybody else want to contribute poems on themes astronomical?
 

Invitation Withdrawn
Date: 05/31/2008
From: Cecilia Hampton
Location: Copperopolis

Twenty-eight unknowns,
Others might call home
planets deep inside our galaxy
beyond the distant stars.

We posit there are people
there with hopes and dreams
on planets just like ours.

Similar suns ruling solar systems,
and planets like our Earth
are not so very rare, in orbitsᅠ
elongated, day after frozen day.
Life may not occur so readily
on such intemperate ground.

Earthlike homes must occur
with a rocky core and watery envelope
Life, we are promised, is assured

but wary of effects
of our communications
Stephen Hawking warns us,
in level electronic tones:

"Beware the highly advanced alien,
let him stay wherever he may roam
using prescient caution
dont invite him home."

 

Invitation Withdrawn
Date: 05/31/2008
From: Greg Bear

These definitely need to be gathered into a book, Cecilia! They're all top-notch works. And poetry about scientific themes is very rare indeed. I remember science-related poems by John Updike; any other recommendations?

New Author

Date: 01/21/2008 From: Ian Dowdall
Location: Coquitlam, British Columbia

I have recently completed my first Science Fiction / Science Fantasy novel.

I could really do with some help & advice on getting it published.

I have a copy sitting in blurb.com & have gone through the copyright hoops.

I really need to know whether I should go to an agency or try to submit my work independently. Is there a list of publishers or agents anywhere?

Knowing that Greg is a master of Science Fiction (a little buttering up was in order) I was hoping that he, or his associates, would be in a position to offer some advice.

I live in British Columbia, Canada

Thanks
Ian Dowdall
 

Re: New Author
Date: 01/21/2008
From: Greg Bear

Hello, Ian! Congrats on finishing your novel. There's a lot of information about agents on the web. Google Literary Agents and New York, and browse carefully. Never pay an agent to judge your manuscript; those are rarely worth the bother. Best advice: ask your fellow or favorite writers who their agents are. Mine is Richard Curtis. Some publishers (not many) accept manuscripts over the transom; I believe Baen Books still looks at unsolicited manuscripts, which is what "over the transom" means, for those who don't remember when publisher's offices had windows that opened above their doors! And be persistent, but above all, be careful in your choice of agent. Do your research!
 

Re: New Author
Date: 01/22/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Ian, look over at Dan Simmon's Writing Well forum and his same-titled installments. This has been covered and discussed, and is a recurrent topic, there.
 

Re: New Author
Date: 02/26/2008
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

I recently discovered that DAW in NYC is also accepting unsolicited manuscripts.

http://us.penguingroup.com/static/html/daw/submissions.html

Three decades ago I saw a lot of UNUSUAL SF emerge from the DAW imprint, so who knows?

Mike

Sequels

Date: 01/20/2008 From: Cecilia Vail Hampton
Location: Copperopolis, California

Dear Mr. Bear:

I have read a lot of your scifi and recently I finished Moving Mars. It was wonderful and I really loved the end. I am dearly hoping that you might write a sequel to it as there is so much potential for the Martians in their new galaxy...

Cecilia Vail Hampton
 

Re: Sequels
Date: 01/20/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Cecilia! No sequels planned for now. Too much other work to get done... But never say never!
 

Ahh, hope...
Date: 01/20/2008
From: Cecilia Hampton
Location: California

Hello again and thank you for your prompt rely. I just spent my afternoon reading your whole list of emails. I am now off to my used book store to see what else they might have of yours Mr. Bear. As a side note, I had no idea you wrote the sequel to Asimov's Foundation Trilogy. I will certainly read it now! I once had a correspondence with Isaac Asimove when he requested that people send him scifi poetry. I did send him some and I was quite frustrated by his response. Well, that's another story... Looking at your list of books I see that you have so much for me to choose from. Thank you!

Cecilia Vail Hampton

PS: I have some poetry re: Mars. If you would like to read some I will send, but knowing that you are quite busy I will only do so at your request...
 

Re: Sequels
Date: 01/20/2008
From: patrick
Location:

I've thought about this (along with just the concept itself of story) myself, off an on. I think the MM ended in such a way that it was so open, there wasn't anything else needed. I'm up for anything you got in the future, though.

For more on this topic of sequels and 'writing well', look over at Dan Simmons' Writing Well forum (and related essays). I think Greg inherently follows, what seems to me to be, Dan's maxim, something along the lines of: is there a story to be told? And, hence, has written some sequels, but much more than that as well.
 

Ahh, hope...
Date: 01/21/2008
From: Greg Bear

I'd enjoy posting your poetry, Cecilia, if you don't mind having it appear here. Otherwise, send it without checking permission to post, and I'll read it.
 

Re: Sequels
Date: 03/03/2008
From: Dominic
Location: Nova Scotia

Further to the question of sequels, "Darwin's Children" seems to have left a lot of room for a sequel. Actually, to me it read like the middle part of a trilogy. Are there plans for another book in this series?
 

Re: Sequels
Date: 03/04/2008
From: Greg Bear

I had originally planned on writing three books in the series, but that possibility seems more and more remote, given the present state of publishing.
 

Re: Sequels
Date: 04/07/2009
From: Gavin cook
Location: sidmouth Devon UK

Hello, i'm afraid i agree with patrick,with the 'is there a story to be told?' maxim..i would dearly love to see a sequel to moving mars but it would be difficult to envisage it without casseia,charles..etc maybe a prequel?? but even that seems problematic as MM is told from the viewpoint of casseia's memoirs although i'm sure Mr Bear could find a way through his genius to bring us a little more of the wonderful casseia majumdar!
 

Re: Sequels
Date: 04/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

MARIPOSA, as I've mentioned, takes the near-future of QUANTICO and bridges it to QUEEN OF ANGELS, which makes it in a sense a prequel to MOVING MARS.

blood music and hegira

Date: 01/19/2008 From: Chris Danvers
Location:

Hi ya Greg,

Its been a while since i came here and gave you a rap, I have read most of your books and and have commented before on how great you are, so I'll just leave that this time and get to the point...

I have had a small pile of your books waiting for a while and i finally got to some of them recently...

Loved blood music... though i enjoyed Darwin's radio and children, I sometimes felt lost in the RNA-biology talk (i had to re-read sections to make sure i understood what u meant)... Blood music was enough for my simple mind to understand... it was quite disturbing though...

Hegira feels like an odidity among your works... Though it was enjoyable and compelling, I found it harder then any other book of yours to figure out what you were "going for" in the underlying themes... Human nature, cyclic way of life?... But i feel i missed something and i was tantalsied in bits, with the thin beasts/beings, the fire doves and lack of stars... Not sure if i comprehended it all...

I love scifi, but i dont really like fantasy, which most of this book is... but that said it will have me thinking for a while (unless you provide me with a ball to answer them)...

one last bit of useless advice/opinion... We all want to see you on the big screen but I just have an overwhelming feeling that you should try TV... I just loved queen of angels and slant... they would work so well as a serialized drama... think lost or the new battlestar... they would be moody, noir-ish... plus highly original (which for the love of god we need!)... 2 books... 4 seasons?... Tell me the scifi channel has better things to put money into!!... I just wish i could make them myself!

Great work as always, cant wait for the new one, especially since you have been out of hard scifi (or do i mean space?) for a bit...

Love
Chris
 

Re: blood music and hegira
Date: 01/20/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Chris! HEGIRA was my first published novel, so it's bound to be a little rough. As for CITY--it's going to be remarkably difficult to classify, since I've combined within nine hundred pages or so of manuscript all of my favorite forms of literature. Is it science fiction? Absolutely. Does it feel like fantasy? A lot. Does it make fun of modern physics? Well... Scary fun, yes.
 

Re: blood music and hegira
Date: 01/20/2008
From: patrick
Location:

A side comment, here: I've always found your fiction to be illuminating and uplifting, even the 'bad' parts, cos of the scope and imagination involved. (Although, a girlfriend of years ago had some fairly serious psychological trauma from reading The Forge of God that I'd turned her onto. The destruction of earth was really upsetting to her. I was fascinated, though, cos her imagination was obviously so strong and affecting. A preciousness.) Axis city, etc, that stuff just made my MIND water.

My favorite in this vein of farsight is Judgement Engine. It's so abstract it's simply sublime. Um, yeah.

I haven't read Hegira, though. Actually, I haven't read anything published before Blood Music. Yet. I will, eventually.
 

Re: blood music and hegira
Date: 01/21/2008
From: Chris Danvers
Location: Australia

Thanks for the response Greg... I didnt think HEGIRA was rough!... when ever i watch/read something i hope it sits with me for a while, as all good things do... Things that get the reader to question it or situations... and of course this did too... I just wish i had others to discuss it with... unlike a show, books are often left to self interpretation...

CITY will be fun... cant wait...

on another note... way off topic... what type of music do you like Greg?... Do you listen to music when you work?...
 

Re: blood music and hegira
Date: 01/21/2008
From: Greg Bear

I used to listen to music when I wrote, but haven't for years. My favorite music--film music, classical/baroque, jazz, avante-garde... and a lot of different kinds of rock.
 

Re: blood music and hegira
Date: 01/22/2008
From: Chris Danvers
Location:

I can see how film music would be good for writing... not too distracting and great at setting moods... I am currently obsessed with James Newton Howards score to the village... its amazing (and inspiring)...

Thanks again Greg!
 

Re: blood music and hegira
Date: 01/23/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Chris, it really depends on the person. Up through, say, my first semester of music in college, I could listen to anything while reading, though preferred 'classical'. Into my second semester, I found out it was that popculture had provided an environment of largely 'romantic' sources, which I further noticed I enjoyed, or would notice more often, during reading than actual classical period stuff. Into my third semester of music I experienced a dramatic personality change, and since then I prefer nothing on when reading or seriously thinking about anything having to do with words. It's too distracting, otherwise. I actually very rarely listen to music now because of this.

I see nothing, I hear nothing

Date: 01/19/2008 From: patrick
Location:

First, there was the cloak of invisibility:

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/26199


Now, we have a cloak of silence:

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/32464;jsessionid=B3E45FD53D2252E23692E00DFF32AA2B

Of course, the first thing I think of is, it is reverse-absorbent? Invisibility is easy - you're covered! (Hahahahah.) But though they may not 'see' you with sound, they might still hear you moving.
 

Re: I see nothing, I hear nothing
Date: 01/20/2008
From: Greg Bear

Or thinking out loud...
 

Re: I see nothing, I hear nothing
Date: 01/20/2008
From: patrick
Location:

You know, when I was a kid, even, I wondered why in many cartoons the characters always thought out loud. Even then I didn't think kids were that dumb or uncomprehending.
 

Re: I see nothing, I hear nothing
Date: 01/21/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thought balloons bursting, no doubt.
 

Re: I see nothing, I hear nothing
Date: 01/22/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Ha. No no, I'm not that old. I mean re-run original Spider-Man in the 70s, and shows on into the early to mid-80s. They'd just talk to themselves. It was like, 'um, they don't hear you voicing your ideas, right?'

Or maybe you mean cartoon strips? I think by the 70s they used the differeing standards of: talking was a connected bubbled, and thoughts were a distended serious of small-to-large bubbles, the largest being where the words were.

Science, Reason and Emotion

Date: 01/18/2008 From: Stephan Ziegler
Location: Bremen, Germany

Dear Mr. Bear,

I am a student of English at Bremen University. Right now I am taking a module dealing with Science Reason and Emotion. Having read several classics including Mary Wollstonecraft Shelleys Frankenstein and Robert L. Stevensons Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde I stumbled across Blood Music. Although I am usually the least of a Science Fiction fan, your book thrilled me and urged me to finish it within several days.
Really enjoying the read I decided to actually try to involve your novel in a term paper which I will have to write soon. Considering this, I wanted to ask whether you might be able to answer me two questions concerning the novel itself but also concerning the extraordinary character of Vergil Ulam.
My first question is rather plain. While reading Blood Music I often had to think about the character of Victor Frankenstein. As you mention Frankenstein and Mary Shelley herself in the novel, I was curious in what degree this story influenced you writing Blood Music, if it did at all.
My second question deals with the character of Vergil Ulam. In my term paper I plan on comparing the three characters of Dr. Jekyll, Victor Frankenstein and most likely Vergil Ulam. I want to compare their attitude and desire in striving for knowledge and fame and in what degree scientific research might blend out reason, emotion and consciousness. Thus I wanted to ask you whether you could give me any useful information about your character, characteristics concerning science in contrast to reason and social responsibilities.
I hope I did not ask too much with this or wasted your time. It would be really great receiving an answer from you.

Sincerely,

Stephan Ziegler (Bremen, Germany)
 

Re: Science, Reason and Emotion
Date: 01/18/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks for your fine questions, Stephan. BLOOD MUSIC is about what we now call synthetic biology, and I believe Mary Shelley was the seminal pioneer in this area. I like to drop a paper trail into my novels when possible, so that people can trace the story back to its sources. All three of the researchers you mention share a desire for knowledge, but Vergil and Victor have immense blind spots that allow learning, but prevent wisdom. Victor is a bad parent; Vergil is simply blind to potential consequences. Dr. Jekyll is perhaps the most humane. All three share a lot of characteristics with Faust, but in BLOOD MUSIC, the religious and even the moral implications are muted, since it turns out that Vergil... but that would be spoiling the story!
 

Re: Science, Reason and Emotion
Date: 01/21/2008
From: Patrick Berry
Location: Vancouver, WA

Mr. Bear,

Your comment about Victor being a bad parent highlights what I have always felt to be the key theme in Frankenstein. The Creature isnt inherently wrong or evil, he just is. He has no desire to cause malice and initially has no hatred of humanity. Quite the contrary, he has a keen desire to live, love and be loved.

When I finally read Frankenstein in my early 20s, it shook me just how different in theme Mary Shellys original work was all film works Id seen, including the Kenneth Branagh version in the early 90s which approached to work more closely than any other. Most adaptations or variations of the story focus on the inherent evil of science that begins to enter some exclusive realm of God. They generally focus on the irredeemable character of the monster and how mans hubris is to blame.

What destroys this emerging humanity in him stems not that he is simply a monster, but his loneliness and sense of abandonment that his creator would abandon him in disgust. He is every child abandoned by a neglected parent. In a broader sense, he is every child of the age of enlightenment who suffered an apostasy from the idea that their creator would seemingly abandon them in disgust to a world of pain and misery. Shelly was, more than anything in my opinion, chastising all those who would create and then abandon all responsibility for their creations.

This theme applies most strongly to scientists and engineers since it is they who are some of the greatest creators in our society. The act of creation, even playing God, is not in itself wrong. Refusing to take responsibility for the outcomes of ones creations is.

Id like to add another character to the list that you and Stephan have already compiled is H.G. Wells character, Dr. Moreau. Like Victor Frankenstein, Moreau is a selfish creator uses his incredible skill and knowledge to create amazing new creatures, only to abandon them to their own devices. He then uses a religion to keep some level of control so that he doesnt need to bother with them individually. Hes also like Virgil in that the consequences of his pursuit of greater knowledge are never considered.

On a personal note, Id like to add that something I truly appreciate about both yours and David Brins work is that youre not afraid to admit that while developments in science can and will cause great changes in society or with the planet itself, these changes dont have to be evil. This is unlike so much popular science fiction (like anything by Michael Crichton) that takes the low road that scientific development is too dangerous and will invariably lead to our downfall. You and a few other brave souls take the high road, weigh the difficult choices, and offer honest critiques of how technology will really affect us. Thank you.
 

Re: Science, Reason and Emotion
Date: 01/22/2008
From: Greg Bear

I remember Karloff's portrayal of the monster, and Whale's direction, where he is more of a misunderstood innocent with incredible and out-of-control strength. A monster, yes, but still remarkably sympathetic. Branagh's film version explicitly explores the "bad parent" idea. Isherwood's version, where the monster is handsome, is interesting. And the later "The Bride" has its moments, as well. A classic is reincarnated in many different ways!

Jean Daniel Breque's Book

Date: 01/18/2008 From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Bear. I've been meaning to ask if you or Mrs. Bear have gotten a copy of Jean Daniel Breque's new book about your late father in law titled ORPHEE AUX ETOILES: LES VOYAGES DE POUL ANDERSON. M. Breque did me the honor of giving me a copy ouf of gratitude for the help I gave thru donating copies of the correspondence I exchanged with Poul Anderson. It's my STRONG hope that ORPHEE AUX ETOILES will be translated into English and pub. in the US as well. That would, I hope, stimulate interest in PA's books. With both readers and scholars. Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks.
 

Re: Jean Daniel Breque's Book
Date: 01/18/2008
From: Greg Bear

Indeed, Karen and Astrid have received copies of this lovely volume. Many thanks for your help!

How we learn

Date: 01/15/2008 From: patrick
Location:

This is meant in a sense of wonderment, rather than an academic statement. I've been reading Dinosaur Summer (which I've been neglecting due to an old bias of what kinds of SF I tend to read). During the transport of the animals, Ray Harryhausen is instructing Peter in drawing, and (well, you tell us that) he tells Peter to use his arm and shoulder - vs his hand.

Well, now. This caused a hard click in my mind, and I remembered seeing my teachers and instructors over the years - particularly the grade school females, who often had great pen[man]ship - doing exactly this. And, like, I hadn't picked up on it. As well, this technique is used in bowing a stringed instrument. Ah-ha, at least I'm not too slow.

So, just thought I'd share that.
 

Re: How we learn
Date: 01/18/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, patrick!
 

Re: How we learn
Date: 01/19/2008
From: Roald Laurenson
Location:

Patrick, I have to thank you too.

You helped me remember how to have a smooth signature, which I find hard to do when not practised in a while - we type so much! Or scribe onto a Palm ;).

Best,
Roald
 

Re: How we learn
Date: 01/20/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Sure thing. Thanks for listening. I do have to point out what I feel was an ambiguity by omission, on my part, with regard to 'teacher's writing'. I meant when they were writing at the chalkboard - though this would explain the straight lines they drew, also. However, if what I remember seeing in movies, of colonial dudes, etc, signing their names in such fashion, is accurate (in both repsects, hmhmhmh), then I guess it would sense that had been passed down through the educated over the years.

Bio-interesting reading

Date: 01/14/2008 From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Switzerland

Thought of you when reading some of this, Greg. Probably you are in far other territory now, especially with the completion of the far-future book.

http://www.edge.org/documents/life/Life_Full.pdf

Actually, am at present enjoying details of Moving Mars, where re-reading seems to bring out a great deal of careful thinking, and a roadmap first expressed which other novels of yours expand on. In their evocative, not exactly continuous way.

I guess we ought to be pretty grateful that you like to have these experiences, as I think have heard you express it.

Anyway, best wishes with some peace and new imagination as it visits, Greg.

Regards,
Roald


 

Re: Bio-interesting reading
Date: 01/18/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks for the interesting document, Roald. Well worth a read. I've spoken with Freeman Dyson on these matters several times over the years, but have yet to meet Craig Venter. Freeman told me over ten years ago that he thought biology was becoming much more interesting than physics!
 

Re: Bio-interesting reading
Date: 01/19/2008
From: patrick
Location:

MM. I picked this up the other day but've been lollie-gaggin getting to read it. Definitely some of the topics over at Edge are starting to see beyond the current 'humanity'. Not just talking or thinking about it, but going there.
 

Re: Bio-interesting reading
Date: 01/20/2008
From: Greg Bear

Transhumanists are alive and well, and will likely be the rugged-individualist conservatives of the future. Which is why I hope none of them grow up to be as big as Godzilla.
 

Re: Bio-interesting reading
Date: 01/20/2008
From: Roald Laurenson
Location:

Exceedingly well stated ;)

Thanks Greg, for a good smile...

R.

Just Finished Quantico

Date: 01/10/2008 From: Dan Defenbaugh
Location: San Diego

Hello Greg,

I just finished Quantico late last night and it was really great. I couldn't put it down--the last chapters were riveting. It's always fascinating when you apply your talents, style and knowledge to a more contemporary story.



****** Spoiler Alert (in case this makes the site) ******



I must admit, though, a part of me wanted those last firecrackers to go pop, just to be able to continue on and explore your vision of the social, political, and economical changes that would occur. That is a world well beyond my imagination.

Thanks for another great story! Looking forward to the next one.

Dan D
 

Re: Just Finished Quantico
Date: 01/13/2008
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Dan. Having little or no memory means little or no guilt! But also a lot of repetitive motion...
 

Re: Just Finished Quantico
Date: 01/15/2008
From: patrick
Location:

Pshaw, Greg. Guilt it not rooted in memory - though can be supported by it.
 

Re: Just Finished Quantico
Date: 01/18/2008
From: Greg Bear

Well, I suppose you could feel guilt without remembering why... A kind of phantom limb of guilt.
 

Re: Just Finished Quantico
Date: 01/19/2008
From: patrick
Location:

I'll do ya one better: guilt is a condition{ing} that is independent of direct circumstance. It's like anxiety. Sometimes, people just feel anxious. Nothing happening to or with them, they're just in that state. These are, perhaps, symptoms of some kind(s) of PTSD.

Of course, a softer version, postulated by even I think yourself, that being 'selective editing', is not far on the horizon, I think, by some means or other.

Quantico

Date: 01/08/2008 From: Monica McMillen
Location: Fort Worth, Texas

GREAT READ, but a couple of trivial misspellings. Pg. 259
Cincinnati is misspelled. Pg. 265 and couple other places you have "kippots". Kippah is singular, Kippot is plural
- - an "s" shouldn't be added. It would be like writing
"hatss" (an additional "s" to make "hats" plural - - it
already was plural).
 

Re: Quantico
Date: 01/08/2008
From: Greg Bear

Many thanks, Monica! We'll try to get these corrections into the paperback... but the deadline is getting close!

So much to read....

Date: 01/06/2008 From: patrick
Location:

I was delving into some new books (and getting my ass back to reading, as I've been delinquent a bit the last year), and was thinking about how people will plead or whatever with an author for more once they've exhausted the author's output, or at least certain types of books the author's written. I used to sympathise with this. But now, I just think it's cos people are being lazy. Plenty guilty, myself, in the past.

There's just so much to read. Don't like it in the first few pages, get a new one. The library does carry a lot of books, especially in big cities/urban sprawls. (Incidentally, I do have a collection of books I've read and think are seminal, but just am not in the market to add them, nor the space to keep them.)
 

Re: So much to read....
Date: 01/06/2008
From: Greg Bear

With 20,000 books or so, I'm running out of space as well. Some of my favorite people insulate their homes and apartments with wall-to-wall bookcases. Montag the Fireman would point out that these could be fire hazards!