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January - June 2009

Michael Jackson: Sci-Fi Hero?

Date: 06/26/2009 From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Yesterday three things happened in the space of ten minutes. I at last began reading William Hope Hodgeson's The House on the Borderland. A deliveryman arrived with a box of Edison Gold Moulded wax-cylinder recordings I'd ordered off of eBay. And then I learned that Michael Jackson had died.

Jackson's life was literally a science-fiction story, would you agree? It was manifestly a life--a KIND of life--made possible by technology, and showed so plainly (too plainly, sometimes, to look at) both the perils and the astonishing possibilities of self-expression in an information age.

I grew up on Top-40 radio and enjoyed Michael's music immensely, and his passing is too much to absorb at once. My immediate concern is more mundane: must I now hear "Thriller" running through my brain every time I visit Hodgeson's recluse, in that monstrosity-sieged house?
 

Re: Michael Jackson: Sci-Fi Hero?
Date: 07/28/2009
From: Greg Bear

A real tragedy. Jackson was apparently trying to be transhumanist before the tech is available.

Question Regarding The Forge of God Series

Date: 06/24/2009 From: David Fike
Location: Olathe, Kansas

Mr. Bear,

I have just had the utmost privilege of reading The Forge of God and Anvil of Stars both in a little over a week! I'm sure you've heard it countless times, but your writing and ability to communicate a vision of other worlds and beings is absolutely amazing. My question is: Do you plan to write another novel in this series? (or have you already begun?) Thank you for your time!

David Fike
 

Re: Question Regarding The Forge of God Series
Date: 06/24/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, David! A third novel is a definite possibility.
 

Re: Question Regarding The Forge of God Series
Date: 07/07/2009
From: Gavin cook
Location: Devon UK

I too would love to see a third book in this series, or even more!.
There are several different directions to go in and story's left to be told and it would be wonderful..please please please!
 

Re: Question Regarding The Forge of God Series
Date: 07/10/2009
From: Chuck Anziulewicz
Location: Spring Hill, West Virginia, USA

DEAR MR. BEAR:

I'm glad that you've at least considered the possibility of another "Forge of God" book. I'd always wondered whatever became of the the Mars colonists left behind by the Ship of the Law. "The Forge of God" is one of my favorite sci-fi novels of all time, and I think it's one book greatly deserving a film adaptation. I also enjoyed "The Anvil of Stars," although it seemed a slightly more difficult read.
 

Re: Question Regarding The Forge of God Series
Date: 07/14/2009
From: Greg Bear

ANVIL is the focus of the new script efforts. Some amazing screenwriting going on here with Ken Nolan having crafted what may be the best interstellar epic movie vision ever.
 

Re: Question Regarding The Forge of God Series
Date: 07/26/2009
From: Tomas Kulberg
Location: Drammen, Norway

Aha! Good to see that the movie Forge of God film-project is still an ongoing process. I've been waiting for years already =)
 

Re: Question Regarding The Forge of God Series
Date: 08/03/2009
From: Rainbow Starchild
Location: London

We must be careful of what it is we wish for. So often the film of a book I have enjoyed merely dilutes the effect of said book, condemning those who come to the book after having seen the film to the mental shackles of visual memory. If the film is made I suggest the tagline be "Read the book first, or you'll regret it" I am in no way suggesting that the wonderful Mr. Nolan isn't up to making a great film, but nothing can compare with human imagination as far as my experience goes.
For example Carl Sagan's "Contact" was a book that literally changed my life. The film, though not a bad film as Hollywood movies go just couldn't possibly address the nuances. I still feel tearful just remembering the events at the end of "Forge" and have no doubt that reading it again would have much the same effect. I doubt a film, no matter how well-made could move so much, but I hope I'm wrong. Apologies for going on, but I feel we need to be prepared.
 

Re: Question Regarding The Forge of God Series
Date: 08/03/2009
From: Greg Bear

Fortunately, the books remain, and the films add to the experience, sometimes enhancing it.
 

Re: Question Regarding The Forge of God Series
Date: 12/12/2011
From: David Fike
Location: Olathe, Kansas

Mr. Bear - I just wanted to check in and see if you could provide any update on either the film adaptation of The Forge of God, or the 3rd book in the series? Thank you again!
 

Re: Question Regarding The Forge of God Series
Date: 01/17/2012
From: Greg Bear

Nothing new as of this week! But things change at unpredictable intervals.

Sci-Fi novel that is a tribute to Poul

Date: 06/24/2009 From: Paul Race
Location: 4923 W. National Rd. Springfield OH 45504

Hi, Mr. Bear,

I'm a technical writer and part-time English prof who's written several (unpublished) novels in his life, gradually learning that I don't have to get all my life's "points" across in one book, so it's okay to write something that's 98% "frivolous" but is a romping good read.

A few months ago I finished the second draft of a sci-fi novel that is not profound. I'm contacting you only because I thought you might appreciate that I based its structure and scope on Poul's approach to such things (like never introducing more "imaginative" elements than necessary to tell the story he wished to tell, and wrapping up loose ends instead of leaving the story so unfinished that the book is incomplete without a sequel). (I'm thinking of freestanding stories like "The High Crusade" and "Three Hearts and Three Lions" in this context.)

Because it reads like "classic" science fiction, Tor doesn't think that "The Jared Anomoly" will find a modern audience, and they are probably right. But in case the story ever does see the light of day, I just thought I'd let your family know that I was thinking VERY fondly of Poul Anderson from beginning to end as I put it together.

Here's the $2 summary: Jared is a clone warrior who learns the night before he leaves for the front that most of his memories are implanted, and that everyone he has ever known has been lying to him. His "handlers," an Admiral and a geneticist observe his progress as he both becomes a war hero and also veers further and further from his supposed genetic profile. Eventually the Admiral sabotages an operation, causing Jared to be captured by the "enemy" and thus to see the war for the sham it is. Of course, Jared won't rest until he sets things right or dies trying. Mistaken identies, plots within plots, and many jokes (and hopefully a few insights) about Jared's genetically-engineered premature aging ensue. (I'm 56, so I have the right and insite to make such observations).

I've made some attempts to get this and some of my other works published, but haven't had the time to pursue that end of it as I should. That said, I've just been laid off for the fourth time by a major computer company, and I may have more time on my hands than I really want for a bit, so I'm reviewing my options again.

If you are by any means interested in learning more about the story, or if you have any advice for me, I'll be glad to hear from you. In the meantime, I just thought you would like to know that Poul Anderson still has admirers.

Wishing you and your family the best,

Paul Race
racep@donet.com


 

Re: Sci-Fi novel that is a tribute to Poul
Date: 07/18/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Paul:

I'm not even sure what a Modern Science Fiction Reader is these days, as most of my reading in the field is focused on Hard SF writers, or Writers I've been following since I was a boy...hard to grok that head space in this world after Star Wars and everything else that WENT BIG.

Is DAW Still around? I think they are...might go for something like that, or not.

Or you could do what my friend writer Kevin Murphy did (of Vampire the Masquarade fame...well, partial) if the publisher won't go for it, there's always PDF on the web.

But that kinda violates Ellision's DEMAND that writers get paid for their work.
 

Re: Sci-Fi novel that is a tribute to Poul
Date: 07/28/2009
From: Greg Bear

Writers should always get paid EVENTUALLY. We don't get paid the minute we start writing a story, generally, and often a market for a story doesn't evolve for years or even generations...

Well, this was ABOUT to be published

Date: 06/22/2009 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Granted it was an over glorified on line fanzine...but I had to go pull a Harlan Ellison on one of the senior editors over the weekend (a semi big fish in a very small puddle) over his Obsession with the world coming to an end THIS Year...so my relationship with that bit-rag is over.

And the only place that was interested in running this one small fragment from my end of time Novel which crashed and burned (but is still intact on DVDs and in journals) last November.

Some of these concepts orginally came about in '86/87, and your discriptions of Kalpa and the Library spooked me some what last year...the two of us tuned into the same channel on Death's Radio across the decades...though my vision of the final City was more of sprawl, an unwalled Diaspar, instead of the Up and Upward nature of Kalpa.

Anyway, I doubt this is going to see the light of day anywhere any time soon, and may have to sit in the closet for decades...but my final personal words about my vision of the Other end of time for now.

And you might be the only other person on the planet who would appreciate it. Sigh...and Audience of one.

MG

*************************************

The Hidden Earth


By the time the Great Galaxy of Andromeda was coming around for its second pass through the Milkyway, before that final series of events that would lead to the merger of two great spirals into one stochastic elliptical galaxy of Milkomeda we'd managed to irritate two galaxies worth of interstellar civilizations.

When the first merger began things were already dicey for us in the Milkyway, as Earth was far too known for mucking about with the nature of Time, and manipulating history in its immediate region to its own benefit. With the establishment of Meta-Platonic Time in the 24th Century, extending all the way to the heat death of the universe and beyond, and our establishment of faster than light capabilities in the 556th Century, we had a pretty good gig going.

Though we decided to NOT set up any other series of Meta-Platonic Time on our interstellar colonies...we were able to guide them with news from the future centuries in dealing with other species.

Until those other competitor species discovered what wed been doing inside and outside of time.

Usually we'd set out to adjust history before their occurrence, dropping special Faster Than Light Ships several centuries back and then going out and tinkering with them before they became a threat.

After three billion years we had half the galaxy under our sway, the other half not wanting anything to do with us and often trying to destroy our colonies. The Weapon of choice: targeted pulsars aimed by dropping significant amounts of antimatter on to their neutron rich surfaces. An antimatter-neutronium interaction can be seen to the ends of the universe, and the aimer doesnt want to be in the blast wash of that flare, or any civilizations for 300,000 light years behind it.

When Andromeda came cruising through the Milkyway on its first pass we decided to move the entire solar system over into the other galaxy. Some stars were going to be exchanged anyway, and shuffling Earth's system over there should not have been a problem. We checked the up-now to millions of centuries into the merger and it looked like smooth sailing in the other galaxy. Humanity on Earth would go on having a reality of minimized fine tuned probabilities and maximum well being, and we could leave our colonies behind to work out their own fates.

All it took was a polarizing of the magnetic field-folds around our system. Oh we had to burn off the entire Ort Cometary Cloud to give that extra nudge Sol's orbit around the center of our Galaxy and flinging out on a perpendicular loop around the center of Andromeda's core. After less than a million years our solar system, stripped of comets, settled into a new orbit in a different Galaxy as we watched our old home stream of stars recede temporarily into the night.

But it wasn't until that time we noticed something was horribly wrong. The centuries toward the heat death of the universe were suddenly sealed off to us. And the past down-now of the 25th Century appeared to be subtly altering more and more, as if some one else was adjusting our history before we began to adjust it ourselves..

Having lost contact with our colonies back in the home galaxy we had to set forth again and explore our neighborhood. We found many empty and useful systems, and expanded out again for five hundred light years...until we started encountering the native interstellar civilizations.

They had a completely different means of experiencing and adjusting time. Instead of one endlessly manipulated reality, they had access and participation in a near infinite possibilities of outcomes: they lived in multiple time lines at simultaneously.

So began the long fight across this swirl of alien suns. In contrast to our usual mode of operations we set up new Meta-Platonic Times on our colony worlds, and spread out in a sphere 10,000 light years in diameter, creating a zone of controlled realities.

This lasted only so long&ten million, twenty million years& as the natives had weapons that could reach out of time and disrupt the Meta Platonic Time Continuum. And in some cases targeting stellar mass black holes at our colonies that had Meta-Platonic Time Establishments...black holes we could do nothing to shift around, being undeniable facts of the underlying reality.

As the second merger of the two galaxies approached, which would commence the fusion of the two into the new Galaxy of Milkomeda, we decide to position the sun outside the merger...detonating five near by stars into a false nova state: these systems were lost anyway as their colonies were destroyed by the guided blackholes of the hostile native civilizations. Four of these false novae created singularities and high velocity targeted stellar mass blackholes, aimed at the enemys blackholes that had just wiped out our worlds.

We timed these to all merge simultaneously. The resulting gravity waves disturbed the orbits of our planets and set the sun into a path that would have it hurled outside the merger birthing the new larger galaxy of Milkomeda..

It took 50 Million years for the sun to climb to a point over galactic north of the rapidly merging galaxies, so we would be safely outside of the blast path of gravity waves and other radiation as the two super massive blackholes at the centres of the original galaxies merged catastrophically: setting off a Quasar event that would shine in all Forty Six Billion light years of the visible universe.

Unfortunately we did not calculate all the factors of our orbit, and when the holes merged one of our futures was just on the edges of the polar jet of the resulting Quasar.

The focused gravity waves unhinged most of Meta-Platonic Time. Some Centuries, their Meta-Platonic Time Sections, were ripped out of the artificial time they inhabited. Some of these we think fell into the deep past. Some of them simply ceased to exist. It became incredibly difficult to access centuries we had controlled for meta-temporal periods immeasurable.

Soon after this the citizens of Earth around the year 5 Billion picked up communications from the merging galaxies, some of them of formerly human origin, seeking the home system of the time meddling humans, giving out a description of the system and i's sun.

The planets were already in some confusion, and we had parked a ring of former gas giant moons out where the asteroids had once been. Mercury was long lost. Venus was cooling out beyond Saturn. Mars was habitable, warm and balmy and richly wet. We designed some new species to live there, including an evolving Ape and some slippery Cetaceans with an artificial civilization we had built them into.

Mars would be OK during the swelling of the sun...but what to do with the Earth?

We decided to leave it parked where it was. Using technologies developed during the reality wars with the Natives of the Andromeda Galaxy we were able to create a shell around the earth that would take the heat energy of the sun, radiation that would have crisped the earth, and used it to shore up our access to Meta-Platonic Time.

In the process we finally lost the moon. It actually went flying off at half the speed of light.

And so we hid inside the swollen sun, as our enemies and former colonies came up and out from the new galaxy looking for us. Searching the scattered stars of Milkomedas halo. We knew when they found Mars, but they never thought to look inside the Sun.

So under a red twilight smoky sky we waited. Occasionally small sections of the field would fail, and great heat would come down and steam an ocean or bake a landscape. It was during this period that we started gathering into fortified cities. After 600 million years, a period comparable to the emergence of advanced life forms and the evolution to man, we had all moved to one last city, hundreds of kilometers across. We hoped the universe had forgotten about us. We tried to forget about the universe.

There deep in the city of Dazeit we waited it out.

For a Billion years.

Until the sun started to shed his outer layers of unused gas and dust on the way down to being a white dwarf star.

Access to Meta-Platonic Time never returned to its former fullness. Travels through time became spotty at best.

When the sun finally settled down into its long white dwarf phase of radiating heat from a core of diamond the size of Venus we quickly had to huddle the planets up to the sun. For extra heat and light we stellified the jovians by dropping artificial atom sized black holes into them.

Thus we could sit out the long night between galaxies, and stay out of the way of races we had competed unfairly and cruelly against.

Then, just one thousand old years after we had the new solar system the way we wanted it, we had full access to Meta-Platonic Time again! Unfortunately access to the centuries was not a linear matter within its own continuum of artificial time, head for the 35678944th Century and end up in the 82,000th. We even made touch with some of the century sections that had broken free of Meta-Platonic Time and plunged past the down-now terminus.

And while those lost sections were in ruins, they had penetrated into real time. Primitive time. Before the establishment of Meta-Platonic Time. The Age old dream had finally come true due to accident and misadventure: a time machine that had traveled to a period before its own creation.

We had access to the primitive past. To the times of origin and discovery.

After much deliberation we decided to arrange all of the Past, starting with the Primitive Past so that everything would result in Dazeit. Into the ultimate Dazeit. The perfect Dazeit. Dazeit the Timeless and Eternal, with all of human history cataloged like books on a shelf in a library of time.
We started in on fixing the 20th and 21st Centuries, as these were the crux locus points in the development of humanity. It had been decided by complete consensus that the history of these periods could not be left in a wild and natural state.
Little did we know that we would encounter resistance to our adjustments&

ᄅ 2009 J. Michael Glosson
 

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published
Date: 06/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

Happy to post such Stapledonian vistas, Mike!
 

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published
Date: 06/23/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Thanks Greg.

Just found out this morning that said "Senior Editor" doesn't have as much pull with that virtual mag as indicated, as the Chief Editor sent in an email last night.

So the version post here is iteration #2 of the Hidden Earth, my Editor over there still needs to make pass #2 thru it.

Glad you liked...this myth from the far ends of time covers the mere 10-20 Billion year period of the proposed novel, extending from 100 Million years before the present day down to Dazeit sitting under a cooling White Dwarf.

No where near as long a time Scale of CITY, and unless some one creates a novel out of the Final Section of STAR MAKER, I don't think anyone is going to be able to top the period you described...in temporal length that is.
 

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published
Date: 06/24/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

I think "The Hidden Earth" is great,! It should stay in development, not be filed away (I particularly liked the reference to the "556th" century--snicker).

I've got a (blatently) Stapledonian vista of my own...here's a snippet from my in-progress collection of cosmic horror-stories.

From "I Who Am Destroyed" by Bill Goodwin:

Ruination is a potent liquor. Be patient then with one whose thoughts ravel and unravel like Van Gogh brushstrokes: bright earthworms without wetness to heal them, vivid blue curtains of coruscating fire, tapestries of crimson and gold cast from looms of reverie into engulfing black, sighing softly, screaming out loud, even singing, alone or in beatific assemblage.

It's all a sham. This hallucinogenic opus--this dream of interwoven synaptic cascades and quantum superpositions of information-bearing matter--is in the end no more profound than the tiny sound, remote and regular, of my jailer's watch. The sun of sensation shines, I crack in its light but am not warmed. Cold, I bake

Dusk wanes. A faint star announces its mighty but inconceivably distant self through the tiny opening--not quite a window--that alone confirms a wider existence beyond my cold cell. If daylight still obtained I might spy from that aperture the very spot where logic was forever confounded, where love and hope were undone in a single instant of intercosmic confusion. By what perverse inspiration was this courthouse erected upon a hilltop?

1: OF KLO-NAR

The stars were only a recent nuisance when KLO-NAR set out into the heather on his errand. His name wasn't really KLO-NAR of course. Still less was it heather: it was a sprawling sheet of aborning galaxies, fifty million lightyears across! To later eyes, living quick lives on hard specks of congealed matter, the plasma field might have seemed dark and insubstantial, a hint of structure here and there promising future things but on the whole a place oppressive in its formlessness--dank even--and in any case too simple a thing to warrant more than a passing reflection (perhaps) on galactogenesis or fluid dynamics. Simple to simple minds, the nebular field! But to KLO-NAR it was wild, and lustrous, and sweet enough to bring tears-not-tears to his eyes-not-eyes.

KLO-NAR was himself fully two hundred light-years across. That a movement (say) analogous to the raising of one of our arms took KLO-NAR an age to accomplish is of course irrelevant, his metabolic and psychologic processes being correspondingly slow. I CAN tell you that his metabolism was greatly more intricate than the human. But of KLO-NAR's precise shape and anatomy it is difficult to give a coherent account to the layman. How strange still is the idea that all the richness and variety we know as life might emerge from nonlinear filamentation in conductive cold-quantum plasmas!

Cosmic in stature then, was KLO-NAR. That is what I mean to say. Cosmic, yet a clap of the hands would have dispersed him. The dawn of creation into which he was born was a spectral place, fragile and vast.

Yet if the cosmos had achieved little on the smaller scale, it was rampant, in its ghostly way, on the large--weaving from sibilant ripples, from playful eddies and coruscating interference-patterns of shockwave-gas, from endlessly diverse interplay of magnetic shear and transverse-filamentation, a tapestry more detailed, more fraught with significance, than any landscape of our own silly planetary mote! And if KLO-NAR's life was slow it was finer-grained in equal measure, his perceptions more exquisite. In that heyday of creation immense breadth of time and relative freedom from catastrophe were fortuitously combined to create an environment where beings of KLO-NAR's sort might accrue themselves with a craft and precision utterly impractical to later, vulgar forms such as we...we who in the end will no doubt swarm verminous through space--matter things, bacteria--disrupting the fabric of these godlike entities' existence with trivial radio-clatter, ionizing coherent light and foul streams of fusion radicals (and this without even knowing what we've done). Bah! The very thought of it, of human frailty and selfishness, fills me with an insatiable rage, an irresistible impulse to--No!

What I meant is...what I mean...

Say now! Did you know, do you realize, how dusty protogalactic environments can be?

Oh, yes! Dusty and contaminated with all manner of exotic compounds, some even far-wandered into furtive anticipations of organic chemistry! Here in my cell I've worked out a set of dimensionless parameters for no less than seven diffusive-convective impurity transports, which yield to dynamic ones where nonisothermia is a given. Seven!

I'd demonstrate the theorem to my jailers if they'd only sit still and let me. Once dynamic invariants are derived for particles moving in polarized electromagnetic waves of arbitrary time-dependence propagating transverse to a uniform background field, the rest of the parallel with biology is easy!

Ah, biology. How subtle its threads, how pervasive its strange need. Would that I had never been ensnared by it. Would that I had known that in the fullness of time even the crystal may become muck through the sly insinuations of biology. At least the Earthly sort--that horror practiced by shambling mechanisms of fat and brine. Give me KLO-NAR's life of light! Woe are we whose burning is slow, whose nuclei remain muffled in electron shells. Only in flame do we catch something of the true dance, we shameful planetary parasites whose biology is dark and furtive!

But all of that was hence. If there were a single planet yet formed in the universe (there may have been) KLO-NAR had never heard of it.

He would scarce have been able to imagine it. The character of his mind was as artless before the idea of geology as yours or mine must be before his experience of that shining protostellar heather. In point of fact KLO-NAR's life was (and is, for he yet lives!) so alien it's hardly meaningful to say that his universe and our own are the same--so little do the circumstances of the one impinge upon the other (indeed it was some time before the parallel between KLO-NAR's experience and the facts of cosmology conjoined in my mind, so that his real nature became clear to me). Hardly meaningful, yet one thing demands it. That KLO-NAR and I were, for a time, friends.

What is this nonsense, you ask? How could minds as different as I have attempted to convey, minds at different times and on different timescales, achieve any sort of commensurate intercourse? Only this allows it: the fundamental affinity of pattern for pattern that underlies all natural law.

Glistening the hoary field, bright and musical! Cool the microwave breeze, sweet scent of muons evoking memory of youth and splendor, reckless clamors over shoals of helium and infrared, the sly new virgins shimmering, polymerizing! Slyest of all FLEYLA-RI, she whom KLO-NAR now went to confront!

This was his errand in the heather. Just as I went to confront the woman who'd betrayed me (the one you say is dead) out in the corn.

A great flux of dark energy in KLO-NAR's sky--in the sky over Oakbend a blinding Nebraska sun sudden-breaking through layers of dark cloud. A catch in my breath--in KLO-NAR's neutrino oscilation--at the beauty of the cornfield--of the rippling magnetoscape--then horror renewed at the prospect they held!

I'd intercepted a note from Flavia; that intoxicating student (of mine, at the university) who'd opened my lonely philosopher's eyes to the world of the heart, becoming my first, last and ideal lover! A note to her new paramour, a younger man she now believed she loved, the tiny loops of her dear, whimsical script affirming her (unimaginable) intent to meet him in that whispering cornfield, therewith to consummate their unholy lust!

I did not go to harm Flavia but only to reason with her, to confront the adulterers outright with the heinousness of their intended act and so rekindle Flavia's love for me by the passion and earnestness of my forgiveness. And KLO-NAR--high and transcendent KLO-NAR--went likewise to prevent the female who'd bewitched him from commiting her own hideous compromise of dawn-being taboo.

Like myself, KLO-NAR intended dialogue and not destruction, couching all his hope in a desperate appeal to FLEYLA-RI's higher nature. Obviously in the grip of some uncharacteristic madness, she meant to merge mentality with MAL-KRO, an upstart intellectual of low birth who'd beguiled her with the pompous vaguery of his speculations, and his insistence that only she possessed the requisite characteristics to (in union with him) unravel the perceptual axioma defining conscious individuality and open a portal into some unspecified higher plane of unbridled fulfillment.

Glistening the heather! Golden the corn! Vibrant the dark flux and brilliant sun! Crackling the leptons--and the hot wind that blew that afternoon up from the waters of the Platte. And in each of our hearts anguish, anguish...

Came the terrible moment, the strange attractor, the crisis of space and time! In that moment, we were one. On that afternoon the character of KLO-NAR's grief and mine coincided so closely that for an instant our experience fused.

I do not mean we were "as" one--understand me! We were ONE. The phenomenon was not additive but subtractive, peeling away the layers of confusion that conceal from mortal creatures the essential unity of all being. Vanishingly small the odds may seem, yet I beg the reader consider the scale of our universe! In a cosmos so vast and old such coincidences may occasionally occur, it must be granted. How many times (I am forced to wonder) has history turned on such an event?

Yet the profane and holy instant of which I speak--the instant that left a scribbling shell of a man weeping icewater in this tiny cell--though entirely unpredictable, was yet anticipated! Foreseen! Even this mockery of justice plays its role in the mad scheme woven across time by a perverse gestalt of flesh and fire.

Prepare your mind! Attend!
 

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published
Date: 07/28/2009
From: Greg Bear

I'm prepared, Bill! Now that I have a cosmic mind, what's next?
 

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published
Date: 07/28/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Bill & Greg:

I will have to screen capture Bill's Piece and read it later.

The larger work "The Hidden Earth" seeped out of did get a restart a few weeks ago, so it's back on the active projects list, but with no definite delivery time.

And a fourth iteration of "The Hidden Earth" did see "print" elsewhere, but last time I'll be getting "paid" that way...
 

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published
Date: 08/02/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Shucks, I dunno...a glowing, white hotel room?

Big Name Authors ought not to tempt Fan-Fic Wannabes...but since you have--and at the risk of offending Mike by parasitizing his thread like a sphexes wasp implanting its young--here's the next installment:

II: REVELATION

Before you can understand why it is that I am innocent of Flavia's murder (or any murder other than my own) I must give you a glimpse of the shocking new science--I should say metascience--whose broad outlines were laid bare to me one night in our local railroad ravine.

I loved the young Flavia with a desperation I wouldn't previously have believed possible. I'd never been a passionate man but a scholar--it was in the whispering fields of mathematics I found fire: fire of a better, a cosmic, kind. Then--as if a dam had burst!--the advent of Flavia unleashed from me a torrent of unsuspected passion.

I'd been a solitary child. A broken home, an abandoned mother peering into her son's armored visage as if looking for answers there. Visitors to the dark house looked askance at me, some were doctors I think, I know not which. There were whispers of autism. But what joys the child they called "emotionless" knew! How I loved to gather the ever-accumulating thriftshop knick-knacks from mother's bookshelves and kitchen counters, arranging them in rows along floors and down halls, rocking back and forth, spending hour after hour devising secret systemizations of my own!

I was no fool. I knew I was different--I watched television, after all, and read and understood more than anyone could have guessed. But beneath the quiet exterior brewed a giant's soul, masterful and grand; full of life and swagger but biding its time (or so I told myself).

And time was bid! Forty years in the wilderness, spent I. Forty years in halls of academe, accumulating credentials like knick-knacks themselves, propelling my slim form through the aisles of libraries like dreaming brains, cultural cerebrums whose dendritic fibers wove only faded carpet and gray hair. Then, at last, Flavia! Bright cactus flower whose prickly exterior was but teasing preamble to the heady mescaline-juices within. An alkaline brew to shatter the thickening icepack of my long neglected inner ocean.

Oh, those delicate loops of fairy handwriting! Such dutiful craft, which even in her first hesitant proofs showed an innate faith in what is highest and most just. Surely our meeting was in fact reunion, surely we were met to synthesize our inwardly divided selves, even as each, externally, sought fitting and delicious completion in the other! Individuation through coalescence--proof of another kind against the implacable specter of entropy.

Oh, ivory skin and licorice hair! Features like a stellar cluster--dancing, shifting, ever unpredictable. Ample septum, generous lips curled in amusement or set in inscrutable resolution, bold mammaries, back like a muscled snake, toes like mushrooms new-erupted after predawn rain. The merry bells of laughter that probed, punished and celebrated. The shining eyes, whose understanding caressed the crinkled contour of my long-suffering intellect--to discover what was yet fertile there, and discovering, to me reveal. As what was fertile in herself was so frankly revealed.

What imp's impulse moved this vortex of life to descend upon her curmudgeon instructor, calling forth answering storm from within? I shall never know. A walk along the railroad tracks was her first sally: an escort needed, questions to be asked, an umbrella to be shared. The rain never came. With bees for companions we sucked from honeysuckle blossoms, myriad little suns in the leafy firmament that tumbled down the banks of the cut, a peculiar gully joining Oakbend with its sooty suburb Oakback (which the students call Smokestack). She was amazed, I recall--and for some reason amused--that I'd never known of the sweet drop that may be extracted from every honeysuckle flower. Why else the name? I'd never considered it. It was intractable, I explained. This convulsed her.

She displayed me the next day at the local dive of the avant-garde, a place of smokes and sly understandings.

There I saw the side of life denied to my early giant's soul. The red-maned proprietrix of OAKBEAN ruled her coffeehouse with a sparkle more formidable than either tattooed bicep of her sandwich-making beau, burning like a spindle of freckled fire at the axis of cyclones of cheesecake and java, casting forth nets of laughter and reeling them in full of men and money. She winked when Flavia introduced me, as if they shared some secret. From a little stage in the corner, a stubbly sixteen-year-old played blues riffs to hypnotize women twice his age. Clove-cigarette women with shoulders like white Dover cliffs, firm Aztec women--caterpillar-browed--with glossy brown breasts like loaves of egg bread, abundant reggae women like wide-hipped fertility fetishes from the dawn of time, they sipped coffee and listened and narrowed their eyes in unashamed appraisal, warm with desire for his talent-flame. In another corner a massive graybeard of an author scrawled pages which, falling away, were as flypaper to midge-swarms of nymphets: long-haired, pond-eyed girls who (I was told) cluttered his wake, different each time but always the same.

Had this world always existed? It was not the world I'd seen on television, these were not unions to be achieved by proper toothpaste and deodorant. I was taken away in a daze. Taken by Flavia to the garden-apartment lair where she pressed her own particular brand of grape into tangy feline wine.

And so I gave up the chastity that had served as rampart against worldly chaos, preserving within me a garden of philosophical delight. Was not that pruriance, that single-sidedness, also a perversion? I like some sterile shadow of Augustine's libertine youth had been a slave of appetite, albeit an intellectual one. Till the voice from over the wall bade me, "Take up and read!" And the book to be read was none other than Flavia's paper-white flesh, leaves all-to-quick seized in my trembling novitiate hands.

Intellect, having rested, wakes refreshed. Enriched no less--the soil of the mind turned and infused with new and unexpected mineral wealth. I verily burned on my way home, drinking blue fire from the hosts burning overhead, scattered suns sleeting radiation down into the musty loam of the winding, nineteenth-century railroad cut.

Yet as I strode (and often stumbled, compelled for some reason to a speed unsuited to soft and uneven ground) my mood began to falter. Like a crystal snowfall shining in moonlight, my mental field had been. But now, as adreniline ebbed, the snow melted and became a slime.

What had I done? Where was the clean and sacred surface where I calculated my life in figures that never question or disappoint? I'd been made molten in a forge--of that, there was no doubt. But now, congealing, I was taking a frightening and unplanned shape.

What reason to live when one is no longer what one has been? Expansion I craved, but transformation? I'd been exiled from myself! Into a fascinating country, assuredly--a tropical clime, humid and rich--but forever?

Understand! I couldn't exist inconsistently! It was mathematically untenable. Oh, the torments I was made to suffer in that winding ravine, winding like a dark reflection of the Milky Way overhead, that river of unearthly fire. I wonder if I can convey--to those who've not known pure mathematics--the rich and proliferate nature of that matrix where my spirit had been kindled. Dry and lifeless, the abstract equations may seem. Yet in the Platonic realm I found more than mere escape from ambiguity. I found novelty and joy--indeed, all the latitude for zest and creation that others demand from the physical world, but without that world's hideous taint.

What taint is that? Call it uncertainty if you like, call it disloyalty, call it the gratuitous action of energy upon its own self-aggrandizing ends. Call it pleasure. Pleasure, that most insidious of narcotics, to which all living things are addicted, and in the squalor of addiction age and die before learning how to live. I lifted my face to the stars, and felt they shunned me as a traitor. I wailed aloud.

Deliberately, I mastered my despair. A choice had been presented. Cast from my lonely (but solid!) precipice, I must now either fall, or fly. To abandon the life of mind for the squalor of sensual reality, and to do this for sensation's sake alone, was of course unthinkable. Yet here, perhaps, was the opportunity for something more than mind or matter, singularly or together. Desperately I groped for some formula to tell me how I might return to myself, while yet moving forward...

I didn't know it yet, but the approaching instant of sympathy-fusion between KLO-NAR and myself was even then exerting its influence on the fabric of my thought. The dread paradox that is the mainspring of creation is revealed in all such singular events, calling the soul to audience as those events draw near just as surely as it demands interpretation when they recede.

In the matter of Flavia (as I saw things at the time) it was simply too late. The die had been cast. Now a man of the world, I might regain my former austerity only by embarking on a voyage transcending what the common herd understood that world to be. I must reconcile the irreconcilable, pierce through to a realm encompassing both astrophysics, in all its heavenly joy, and those base pleasures which, in Flavia, were somehow a sacrament taken in faith of that realm.

Sacrament--that was the key! The wafer had been eaten; in my shame and exile the return to blessedness was already accomplished! For I desired nothing more in that starlit gully than to be clean, and what else is desire but the retroactive shadow of achievement?

Something in the picture of the dark ravine dreaming under the Milky Way (moist blackness moving in tandem with fire-purged heavenly light) had been nagging at me. Just so may the subconscious occasionally guide us to locations suggestive of the wisdom it longs to reveal. Some dire intuition was trying to resolve itself--I actually stopped in my tracks, not wanting to frighten it away. I lowered my eyelids with exaggerated precision, till all was black. I inhaled a draught of cool night air.

Spiritual and sensual realities (I told myself) were related in the same way as coupled-functions in quantum mechanics. Each referred to and corrected the other; the dialogue was essential if either was to avoid becoming grotesque. Thus, if I truly cherished my spiritual life (for that is what physics was to me), I must not view my momentary venture into the sensual one as disloyal. Did not each provide necessary context for the other? Did not both share common foundation in the paradox of consciousness?

Eureka!

Paradox--not mere nonsense but true paradox, the actual Coincidence of Opposites! This was what consciousness really represented...a puzzle solvable neither by spiritualism nor neurology; a singularity like the ones in my equations, where terms are exacerbated to the point of infinity and logic leads beyond its own bounds.

Dry philosophy? Nay. These abstractions were infinitely relevent! Through paradox I might return at any time, so long as I kept this principle, Singularity Through Opposition, firmly in mind. The truth of it blazed in the cricketsong and camphor-scented air. True Being lay not in experiences that curl away randomly, like ribbons of shed bark, but in the main trunk that was ascendant, Eschatological Time! My eyes popped open. I'd entered one end of the gully human, I would emerge from the other superhuman.

Something snapped under the stress of my internal struggle. There was a tear and a rupture, and the sanctity I'd believed lost rushed back into me like liquid oxygen, an incandescent pleroma speeding outwards along the billionfold fibers of my being to flash and tingle at every periphery. All the threads of my mad existence were being gathered together, accelerating toward some overmastering synthesis inevitable for my newly awakened self.

Now I knew what destiny had brought me to Flavia. Across the bridge of flesh I'd not retreat, but rescue, rather, one whose glorious essence lacked only a focal-point (me) around which to assemble itself. And this would be my means--this new philosophy. There'd been no formal proposal yet, but surely Flavia's fervent undulations bespoke a need for permanence and purpose. My fame would insure this security. At a stroke I named my incipient system, dubbing it Inverse Emblemism.

Soon great books would flow from my fingertips, bringing in fortunes beyond all my previous underpaid imagining. Already the first took shape in my mind. In Relativity Reversed I would show how Einstein's equations, inherently solipsistic (though this was never discussed), may be inverted-through-consciousness into new understandings of self and society (which I would soon get around to formulating). Philosophy had just become an empirical science--what Kant couldn't, I would!

Fearful clarity. Profane and holy celestial sight.

And in that epiphanal instant a VOICE dawned. Yes, dawned. For the message was visual as well as auditory--or both and neither, or some sense-form wholy other. I can only tell you that my impression at the time was one of light, although a light which included everything that sound--deafening sound!--had always been. All the senses came into play, lit from within as if by a radiant body-knowledge proper to some other existence. The episode did not manifest instantly but began with a kind of premonitory quiver running through my nerves and mood...it smoldered softly for a few moments and then, like sunrise in the desert, mounted quickly to a scotomic brightness (or loudness) that galvanized every perceptual structure of my brain.

It was the voice of KLO-NAR, and the voice was KLO-NAR. A voice that was not a voice, but more like memory--or anti-memory perhaps--the very illumination missing from my every mental record presently in this, my ruination.

And the voice said only:

"SOON."

 

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published/Klo Nar II: Dynoelectric Boogaloo
Date: 08/11/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: Poway, CA

Finally had the time time to sit down and read part I during my lunch break at work...first work Lunch break I've taken in a Month and a Half...

Part I appears to fall either between or some where in the neighborhood of Stapledon's NEBULA MAKER and Benford's THE SUNBORN.

Hopefully it won't take me another three weeks to get to part II...
 

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published
Date: 08/12/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Sphex. Singular.

Always a thrill and an encouragement to see one's words here--thank you! It would be silly to go on...and the story of astrophysicist Clovis Newmar's decent into madness ("or is he?") is unfinished--a pile of overwritten nonsense--anyway. I'll leave off with a snippet from further in, should you choose to post it.

Apologies again to Mike for my stowing away. Re: The Hidden Earth--I can't tell you how much I groove on this stuff. The Earth hiding out inside the sun is fantastic. I'd subscribe in a moment to "The Meta-Platonic Times!"

From "I Who Am Destroyed" by Bill Goodwin:

The inphase periods (as I called them) were also more sharply defined, and more amenable to voluntary initiation, be it mine or KLO-NAR's. At first the distinction was obvious: KLO-NAR surprising me in the middle of explaining some nuance of orbital mechanics to a student, for instance, or me intruding upon KLO-NAR during one of his long, introspective "walks" on the feathery boundary between shear and compression wave-space where he liked to watch plasma-birds pick neutrinos out of the Cherenkov-radiation plumes.

Gradually, however, the difference between KLO-NAR's intrusions and my own seemed to fade and become irrelevant. We were simply We...a gestalt organism whose wakings were both unexpected and intentional.

KLO-NAR used this fact to illustrate the key principle of a plan I already half-knew was gestating in his protocosmic mind.

"There is nothing but information [he informed me]. Which individual is informer and which informed is ultimately an arbitrary distinction, as are their locations in space and time. In the end there is only the absolute, innumerate self in whom all possible arrangements of data coexist."

"A Self equivalent in its numerated expressions to Selflessness," I ventured hopefully.

"If you like," relplied KLO-NAR. "Be as may, all living things emerge from and return to this Self, their former individuality an but an illusion of temporarily-veiled understanding.

"Consider these things, books," he entreated. "You read from one whose encoder is long dead--yet in your solitude discover meaning appearing miraculously in your mind!"

"Perhaps," I mused, "the letters function as discrete sensations, specific enough in shape and character that the mind of the author and the mind of the reader are in a thousand little ways each moment fused, hence accessing the hypermental substrate from which all meaning upwells. Even as our own dialogue upwells from the hypermind that is We."

"That WILL be we," KLO-NAR corrected. "Do not forget that our instant of union--although implicit in this conversation--still lies, in its explicit form, hence.

"And in this we come to the crux of the matter," KLON-NAR continued. And his tone grew sly. "In the instant of our sympathy, there shall lie concealed an even deeper instant, in which all conscious agency throughout spacetime dwells manifest. Indeed it is the point that all beings must soon or late discover to be both the origin of matter, and the culmination of spirit. In this instant, the particulars of the assignment of conscious agency may be modified."

"Modified?"

"The situation at that instant is in principle infinitly malleable."

Situation was a word KLO-NAR frequently used to mean universe. But here I intuited a more personal connection.

"I am in love with Flavia," I stated bluntly.

"As I with FLEYLA-RI. And I perceive that your agenda like mine own is in jeapordy. Both sets of circumstances are in the midst of immoral and untenable modification. Do you not sense it?"

"Why...no!" I replied, unnerved.

"And yet I do. It is a characteristic and perhaps defining element of our resonance. This bodes ill in the matter of that approaching instant which draws our thought into harmony. But perhaps disadvantage can be turned to advantage."

Never had KLO-NAR's emmanation seemed so dry, so emotionless. Yet neither had I heard him, before that moment, venture a moral opinion.

"What must we do?" I asked.

"Wait," was all he replied.


IV: MY SPEECH

Came the time I was scheduled to address an international conference of cosmologists, assembled without precident in our small Nebraskan hamlet.

The catalytic event was an eclipse of the sun. Presently the shadow of the moon would sweep across the farmlands nigh unto Oakbend; naturally a host of tourists and astronomers arrived to admire and analyse the spectacle.

What an atmosphere of carnival siezed our sleepy village! A bustle of rodent humanity generated, as it seemed, spontaneously out of the surrounding fields. Over amber waves the SUVs came sailing; the single airstrip used by crop-dusters became a crowded bottleneck for chartered flights shuttling theorist and thrillseeker alike from the larger hub at Kansas City.

All of this I missed, concealed in my dark apartment, mind awash with light. Almost I forgot my appointment. But a frenzied colleague called from the old theater in Oakback that had been secured for my talk, and bade me come (the campus facilities were taxed beyond limit and the abandoned vaudeville house had been unboarded and rented out as a venue for certain of the more speculative seminars).

I'd been discussing certain fine points of projective geometry with KLO-NAR, and now it seemed I was going to be late. With arms like oversized wooden forks, I tossed the salad of my flat, siezed a checkered hat from out of the jumble and jammed it over my head.

Perhaps the crowd--a crowd of twelve--was strained by the interlude. Perhaps joint and tendon distracted. I see this now, in hindsight. But I have no head for such things. At the time I made no apology, but simply ascended to the podium and began.

"Good evening. I have been invited to present to you various aspects of current thinking on the matter of the Higgs boson and its problematical cousin, the graviton--with special emphasis on work carried out by myself and my graduate team under the auspices of the University of Nebraska at Oakbend Laboratory for Deep-Sky Studies."

I cleared my throat and set aside my notes. "This however I now choose not to do."

A murmer from the quiescent sacks of saltwater, a slight alteration of their calcium-precipitate support apparati.

"I mean instead," I continued, "to correct certain deeply-ingrained notions that have become impediments to progress, both in our own discipline, and in science, generally. I will begin by explaining certain anomolies in the trajectories of NASA space probes in light of reveations recently recieved by me from fiery inhabitants of the early protogalactic environment..."
 

Please have a book published!
Date: 10/01/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

@ Bill Goodwin,

Why are you giving us the threads of your story line? Are you hoping that Greg will get you published somewhere? I'm perplexed.

The reality is whether Obama will disclose our involvement with ET's this year or next. Sword and magic stories can wait till later.I suggest that the greatest story of mankind will soon be revealed. Disclosure should be our prime motive right now..not fairytales!
 

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published
Date: 12/07/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Andrew: More like bringing a homemade comic book to school, to show around the sf club at lunch. In this case the Starmaker/City At The End Of Time club.

Disclosure? Not fairytales?

No argument from me!
 

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published
Date: 12/17/2009
From: Greg Bear

Hey, I used to do that! Show comic pages around school, that is.
 

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published
Date: 12/17/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Well of course you did!

Get this--in junior high I tried to market my own homemade Star Trek gumcards on the playing field. I've still got a few, somewhere, welded to petrified sticks of Wrigleys. I must have had a deathwish! Bound businees cards together in printshop and drew little animated flip-books, too.

Print Shop...*sigh*
 

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published
Date: 06/21/2010
From: Al Brady
Location: st neots

This is awesome, no one at my school like science fiction at all! Id've liked to have hung out with you guys comparing notes instead of smoking.
Here's my Stapledonian rip off, complete with dodgy discriptions of what a galaxy looks like from a distance; ouch.

http://velocitykendall.blogspot.com/p/living-room-story.html

Just when I'd put the Fate Shifters out of my Mind

Date: 06/20/2009 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Absorbed in work...one of my "network" stumbled on this:

http://www.quantumjumping.com/

It's New Agey Prosperity "Religion/Spirituality" thing that has the "Students" learning to hop from one alternate reality to another to pick up skills, wealth, and avoid problems.

Check out the prices for the materials on his Products Page.

Sheesh...if he was actually bopping around between world lines you'd think he would bring back an useful invention not found here and make a bazzilion dollars, insteaded of pedalling modal-snake oil.

I'd be very CURIOUS if the term "Fate-Mire" shows up in any of the stuff, but not curious enough to fork out $197!

MG
 

Re: Just when I'd put the Fate Shifters out of my Mind
Date: 07/28/2009
From: Greg Bear

Gosh, this science fiction writing is a mug's game. Gulling the gullible is muy profitable. Maybe I should invent something called Fateology? But then--someone would pronounce it FAT-ee-ology...
 

Re: Just when I'd put the Fate Shifters out of my Mind
Date: 07/28/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Your response came in on my work email address, I must have been jumping back and forth between my virtual office and the house that night.

So tracked "That Guy" down on YouTube actually...and the Quantum Jumpers scam is just one in a long line of Self Hypnosis/Hypnosis Empowerment Success for Suckers routine.

What little bits I found on YouTube just had a small peppering of Multiverse-Jargon thru it, and all sweetness and light possibilities, nothing really about seeing life as a Multiple Choice Game where you could potentially play all the choices.

Mostly just "Positive Thinking" and "Self Hypnosis" Tricks.

Feh...I could whip up something with more meat along those lines using a SubGenius Mystical Scam Generator.

I wonder what his sales are like...but in these trying times stuff like this sells better than street drugs.

M
 

Re: Just when I'd put the Fate Shifters out of my Mind
Date: 08/03/2009
From: Greg Bear

Only if he CHOOSES to succeed, of course...

Blog vs forum

Date: 06/10/2009 From: patrick
Location:

I'm going to bring this up again. Things here are getting mighty close to being a forum. And as you did start a forum for Quantico, perhaps it's time to go ahead and make one for your site in general?
 

Re: Blog vs forum
Date: 06/10/2009
From: Greg Bear

Good thought. I'm still learning how to use the blog software. Perhaps it will all come together!
 

Re: Blog vs forum
Date: 06/10/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Something else that came to mind....well, because I never visit your front page, so I hadn't seen you'd started a 'journal' blog....is that having a general forum you could have a sub-forum for your journal stuff, everyone could comment, but you could lock out others starting threads in it. Then all your stuff would be in one main area and all.
 

Re: Blog vs forum
Date: 06/13/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

I was wondering if there is a problem with a forum if that what this is, as opposed to a blog. If this is a forum where fans and/or participents can confer and communicate..especially with a host like Greg Bear who takes time to comment to us mortals when many other writers would just shove us into a blogspot..speaks reams and reams for the quality of this author.

Personally I find it amazing that he answers mail at all! ..especially as many of us have a particular view on things..For my part I say ..Long Live Discussion! and BOO! to Forums!

Thanks Greg for your work and participation whatever you decide to do.

Andrew
 

Re: Blog vs forum
Date: 06/17/2009
From: Terran
Location: Florida

Hi everyone - yes, since this portion of the site was really functioning as a discussion board/forum (it was originally going to be a combination of a discussion board and a blog), I renamed it as such, and Greg has started a seperate blog (which is actually a blog) at http://blog.gregbear.com. There is a link to it on the top menu bar of the page.



The home page (http://www.gregbear.com) has teasers for the most recent blog postings, too. Both the blog and the discussion boards have RSS feeds, too, for those of you that find it easier to keep track of everything. The discussion board's RSS feed is at: http://www.gregbear.com/gregbear.xml and the blog's RSS feed is at: http://blog.gregbear.com/?feed=rss2



Personally, I like having the blog and the discussion board separate, because they have slightly different purposes, and some people might want to only follow one and not the other. Does anyone else have any opinions on this?
 

Re: Blog vs forum
Date: 06/23/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Actually, I can't see an issue with them being incorporated, except that some might get distracted with the 'discussion' threads of the forum. MM.

And on that note, a true forum is far handier when re-dressing old, especially very old topics, as they are shuffled to the top of the cue.
 

Re: Blog vs forum
Date: 07/28/2009
From: Greg Bear

Still trying out the blog format vs forum format. I need to post more blogs...

The Final Theory

Date: 06/07/2009 From: Steven Calvert
Location: Wiltshire, UK

Hi Greg

As someone whom I have long admired as one of the world's true thinkers, I wondered if you have stumbled upon Mark McCutcheon's 'expanding atom' theory, published under in the book 'The Final Theory'.

If so, any comment? If seems to me remarkably compact, elegant and succinct, and notably, willing and able to tackle many of the ignored flaws in standard theory. I'm not a scientist, and I'm not qualified to comment on its accuracy. It just 'feels' right, and with what knowledge I have, I am unable to find flaw with it.

The book has promoted extensive layman debate on the net, but very little 'establishment' response. This would seem to be because it is either not worth commenting on ... or it is correct, and it's impact so profound that the scientific community does not know how to respond.

If you have read it and can fault it, I'd love to know. If you have not, may I (humbly!) recommend it as incredibly intriguing, and most definitely of interest to a creative mind like yours.

Regards

Steve C
 

Re: The Final Theory
Date: 06/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

Haven't come across this one yet. Thanks for the reference, Steven!
 

Re: The Final Theory
Date: 06/09/2009
From: patrick
Location:

I've heard of this. I think there was a bit of discussion on Sabine Hossenfelder's blog, Backreaction (http://backreaction.blogspot.com/), by her and those who frequent it, and as they are largely phycisists and cosmologists and such, they are worth listening to.

J,G.Ballard

Date: 06/06/2009 From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Dear Greg,

I concur with your admiration of Msr Ballard..he was a top author. His story of life inside a Japanese concentration camp was vivid and bold. My Aunt (Marie Kwan Torres) lived in Shanghai before the outbreak of war..she was put in a camp (I cant spell interred, sorry) became a Shintu Bhudist and married the camp Commander.

He eventually killed himself in the ritual manner and she hiked up with a German lesbian and somehow drove a chinese Army jeep all the way to Spain from China.

She was the Mother of Nancy Kwan the actress (World of Suzy Wong) and Keung Kwan the Australian architect. I'm very proud of my cousins, but I'm more proud of my Aunt (who knew Ballard)

Unfortunately my Aunt didn't write a diary, but I think that road trip between China and Spain would have blown Keruack off of the planet.

Thanks for listening, sorry for my errors (Dyslexia rules sadly)...Goodnight

Andrew
 

Re: J,G.Ballard
Date: 06/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

What a story!
 

Re: J,G.Ballard
Date: 06/09/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Indeed. And a long trip. I would be curious to know the continental route they took.
 

Re: J,G.Ballard
Date: 06/11/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

Patrick,

That I can do..although she never wrote a diary, all of her passes, dockets, visas, repair bills, maps, photos etc survive. My cousin has them, as she's been trying to write a book about it for the last 30 years (she's still stuck on paragraph 2, and has been for 20 years!).. I'll get the route and post it here.

Cheers

Andrew

Quantico corrections

Date: 06/06/2009 From: Leslie Cunningham
Location: Elkhart Indiana

This may be old news. I just finished reading Quantico, which I enjoyed. Towards the end of chapter 27 Rebecca mentions the Challenger disaster. Problem: the shuttle that broke up on re-entry in 2003 was the Columbia, not the Challenger. The Challenger came apart during launch in January, 1986.

I don't know how difficult it is to correct a book once it has been issued. If subsequent printings allow for correction, there is a missed word in chapter 68 also. First sentence of the paragraph beginning "We believe there are three trucks involved.." uses the word "one" when it should be "on".

Thanks for putting good books out there. I tripped over this one at the library and remembered how much I enjoyed Darwins Radio. Looks like I have some catching up to do.
 

Re: Quantico corrections
Date: 06/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

Indeed, and thanks, Leslie. This was supposed to be corrected in the paperback--but somehow names got twisted up in my head, and the correction itself is all wrong. So sometimes I can't win!

Eon &Eternity

Date: 06/04/2009 From: Lesley Jill McDonald
Location: Australia

I was lucky enough to find two of your books at a second hand shop -- Eon & Eternity. When I opened Eon I discovered the following message inside - For Ben, Glad to see you in Sydney- (signed) Greg Bear '91. this is circled & you have written 'not a potato!' at the bottom. In Eternity the following is written -- For Ben, Who may take an 'ETERNITY' to finish this! (signed) Greg Bear '91.
Are these genuine? I wonder what happened to Ben?
Cheers,
Lesley
 

Re: Eon &Eternity
Date: 06/04/2009
From: Greg Bear

Hello, Lesley! I did an Australia/New Zealand with Tad Williams back in '91. Ben was captured by renegade 'roos who forced him to sell his book collection to finance their tobacco habits. (Where do 'roos keep their tobacco, you ask?)
 

Re: Eon &Eternity
Date: 06/04/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

Up their bums surely!! Pouches with Joey would be too easy!

Cheers Andrew

BANNER'S RADIO

Date: 06/02/2009 From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

An interesting piece on lateral gene transmission, the entire genome of one species in this case having been discovered inside another's: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2007/08/the-great-bacte/#previouspost

Viewed an old episode of The Incredible Hulk last night. Bill Bixby meets paleontologist Kim Cattrall and the two investigate a prehistoric occurance of "Hulkism" (Bixby theorizes that radiation from an ancient nova might have triggered the gene that he himself carries). Epigenetics in 70s sci-fi tv...the mind boggles!

Heads and Forge of God

Date: 05/26/2009 From: Bill W.
Location: Moclips, WA

Are these two titles available as ebooks anywhere? I haven't been able to find them and they are among my favorites.

Thanks!
 

Re: Heads and Forge of God
Date: 05/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

Apparently not yet! But soon, I hope. ANVIL OF STARS is available from e-Reads.
 

Re: Heads and Forge of God
Date: 06/02/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

Never mind EBooks...I had to hunt around for a paperback of "Heads" via Amazon...within a few hours it blew into my pool...so I ordered another (original first copy) which somehow fell into my sink of washing up!..From now on I've renamed "Heads" papier mache!

My prized signed copy of "Anvill" was destroyed by a cellar flood so all I have left is Eon and Eternity which are my treasures that have followed me from home to home. I have decided that water is my enemy,

So I'm obviously not an Aquarian!..Like Greg I prefer to sit on hot rocks and bake like a younger Picasso...If I have reptillian roots then so be it!...I love watching Lizards run free in the Sun

I just re-read "Blood Music" and it highlighted for me , the potential for man made viruses runnung amock (amuck)...I hope our leaders have the sense to leave well alone!

Cheers

Andrew
 

Re: Heads and Forge of God
Date: 06/05/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Oh, pshaw. Blood Music ended quite wonderfully. Were it that we'd be so lucky.

Darwin's Radio and Children

Date: 05/26/2009 From: Sue Thompson
Location: Georgia (HotLanta area)

I'm rereading my copies of both and wishing once again you'd revisit the story.(Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children) I do see how its "over" and has come to a natural conclusion, but we all like to catch up on old friends even when we know things workded out for them.
I'm not hard core Sci Fict, but LOVED the above mentioned.*monsters are not my thing. Which would you suggest as another path to take to broaden my base of sci fi, and oh...How much sci and how much fi led you to this theorization and its outcome?
Mainly wanted to get the mention of these 2 awesome books back out there. I pass them along and rebuy them when they aren't returned. Never know when the desire to read an old favorite will strike.
And I'm so Old I have Lots of Old favorites! But there's always room for new favorites too, and I also have them.
Thanks for you! And congratulations on your accolades, all well deserved, if not more!
Thanks ever so for your time!
ST
 

Re: Darwin's Radio and Children
Date: 05/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

Many thanks, Sue! I do hope you'll stick with me for my next novel, soon to be written... a few monsters are guaranteed!
 

Re: Darwin's Radio and Children
Date: 05/30/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Just wanted to make mention of (something that DS has often talked over with regard to himself) the fact you're able to write wildly-different thematic content. It's nice.
 

Re: Darwin's Radio and Children
Date: 05/31/2009
From: Greg Bear

Some call it lack of discipline. I call it "not getting bored"!
 

Re: Darwin's Radio and Children
Date: 06/03/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Sounds like they mean you're not being dogmatic. Forsooth!
 

Re: Darwin's Radio and Children
Date: 06/03/2009
From: Richard Zander
Location: St. Louis

Darwin's Radio resonated with my research on evolutionary (not geologic) Lazarus taxa. If you have an evolutionary tree, and the same group or species appears in two different molecular lineages, then the inference is that a "virtual fossil" may be mapped at the juncture of their lineages on a molecular evolutionary tree. That virtual fossil is the direct ancestor of all the lineages coming off the tree farther out on the branch. This is new stuff. I notice that you found Caporale's (thought experiment) work, citing it in Darwin's Children. Your scenario of course drives the Darwinian advantage of preadapted (exapted) trait complexes to the extreme, but that is the joy of it. Thanks! for the two most enjoyable stories. Yes, yes, you must finish them, Olaf Stapleton be damned. For more info, search the Web for "evolutionary Lazarus taxa."
 

Re: Darwin's Radio and Children
Date: 06/05/2009
From: steven Becker
Location: San Jose

patrick,
Thank you for pointing this out. I never picked up on this before, but I couldn't agree more that it is one of the great pleasures of reading Mr. Bear's works.

Darwin's Radio and Turkey

Date: 05/23/2009 From: Burcu Gler
Location: Turkey

Dear Greg Bear

This mail is about your book "Darwin's Radio" which was published in 1999. I'm studying biology in " The University of Ege" in Turkey. My name is Burcu Gler. First of all I'd like to thank you for this beautiful novel.

Last month in Turkey an article about Charles Darwin was banned by the Institude Of Science and Research. Because of the pressure cames from the scientists and non-conservative people, the institude stepped back.

An other important thing is a book called "Evolution Delussion" which was published in the 90s. This book claims, as it is understood from the title, Evolution is a big lie. And this book is delivered in almost every school in Turkey free of change. With these propagandas a conservative political party rised and came to the government.

But still the evolution teory is in the biology books of high schools and in the universities students can specialize in Evolution biology.

But the same time the internet site of Richard Dawkins is banned only in Turkey in the world. His books are in the book stores but his site is banned. Funny but true.

As a result the athmosphere about this matter is nothing but a caos in our country. There is still hope and we're still fighting.

It was always a dream for us to be a publishing company and we were working on this for a long time.

Our aim is to show people that science fiction is not only space ships and light sabers but another way of looking to the world. In addition to that our goal is to look in todays world with the spectacles of science fiction. We chose a name parallel to this view which is "Dnyaya Seyahat" that means "Travel to Earth"

We want to publish your book in Turkish as our first book.

We're waiting for your answer on this matter and we'd apriciate if you could answer us.

Thanks
Your sincerely
Burcu Gler
 

Re: Darwin's Radio and Turkey
Date: 05/25/2009
From: Greg Bear

Many thanks! This is fascinating news--I had not heard about conflicts regarding evolutionary theory in Turkey, but it sounds even more hardline than the problems we've had in the United States. I will pass along your information to my agents, and sincerely hope that we can work out a deal for publication.
 

Re: Darwin's Radio and Turkey
Date: 05/31/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Greatings to Burcu in Turkey.

While it sounds like the powers that be are fixated on a great denial of Evolutionary processes in Biology for keeping a hegemony of theological constructs their very behavior may infact be a manifestation of Devolution, a mental stepping back from what may be to some an unpleasant truth and in the long run undermining their own cultural survival.

This mental draggging backwards into what may be outmoded ways of human being has been keeping the futures dreamed about fifty years ago from happening in the last quarter century.

Misused words, phrases, and poor research

Date: 05/23/2009 From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA

Okay, I'm assuming some budding writers read this forum, and so am posting this here, with, of course, the permission of Mr. Bear.

One of the things that really bugs me is when authors yank me out of a story by misusing words, common phrases, or by not doing their research.

A common and simple one regarding words is the use of modifiers on the word "unique." "Almost," or "nearly" I can accept, but things like "very unique" I cannot. "Unique" means, literally, one-of-a-kind; the only one on Earth. Something is either one-of-a-kind, or it is not. It can't be "very one-of-a-kind." If you are tempted to say "very unique," say instead "very unusual."

Next are misused phrases, like "He vowed never to step foot in that place again," or "chomping at the bit." Both are common, and both are wrong. These are only two examples, but I could go on and on. Please endeavor to get these right.

Regarding everything else,please do your research. For example, many authors know that when it comes to music, "flat" is bad. Furthermore, they know that "sharp" is the opposite of "flat." Therefore, they think, "sharp" must be good, which leads to sentences like "Every note was sharp, and clear as a bell."

Without giving you a music lesson right here, flat means below the optimal pitch, and sharp means above it. BOTH are bad, and to the trained ear, sharp is often the worse of the two.

Then there are technical things. Stephen King, for instance, knows almost nothing about vehicles, and proves this repeatedly, even though he frequently writes about cars. One does not, for example, "shift the engine into low."

Anyway, rant over, I suppose. As the old saying goes, write what you know. However, if you write a good story, occasionally your characters will take you into territory you don't know. So, for example, if you find your characters leading you onto a sailboat, throwing a few words in like "port," "starboard," "anchor," binnacle," and having your characters say things like "Aaarrrh" probably isn't going to cut it. Research the terms, or have your researcher do it, and become familiar with them. Then, when you write about them, you can do so with confidence, and your readers will believe you.

If you are lucky, you will garner some intelligent readers. Don't drive them away by venturing into their areas of expertise and then convincing them you're an idiot.



 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 05/23/2009
From: Greg Bear

All right, Kelly, I'll bite (or chomp): what's the proper phrase for pulling or rotating the shift lever into a lower gear on an automatic transmission? (Or, in Christine's case, a Heimlich-Teufel Planetomatic Hydroclutch Vroom transmission.)
 

Shifting
Date: 05/24/2009
From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA

Well, Greg, the problem is not with the shift lever. It's that you don't shift the engine, you shift the transmission. :)
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 05/26/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Um, while I agree in general, and commend you for explaining yourself in most of your points, you didn't for those phrases you mentioned. What's wrong with and about them?

Also, the 'sharp' thing I think is meant in a timbral sense, rather than pitch - though arguably most writers....um, most people....don't know dick about music, sound, and acoustical physics. Incidentally, it's obvious Greg did his homework for SONGS OF EARTH AND POWER. Which has continued to bear....fruit.
 

Shifting
Date: 05/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

Hmm... point taken, but I do hope that most readers won't throw the book across the room! I've made similar mis-phrasings in my career. But if you were my copyeditor, no doubt I'd follow your advice! Now--challenge: find similar misphrasings in Dickens or Joyce. (No, not Finnegans Wake...)
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 05/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

Fruits of the loom, no doubt!
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 05/30/2009
From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA

Patrick,

Well, I sort of hoped that people who misuse phrases like these would be inspired to look them up, but since you ask, I'll explain these two.

"Step foot" is not grammatically incorrect, of course, it's just that the traditional phrase is "set foot." I am reminded of the bloodbath in the elevator in one of the "Die Hard" movies, when the hero realized he was with the bad guys because of their misuse of common phrases. (Yes, some of them used European versions, but they were posing as Americans.)

"Chomp" merely means to chew, granted, perhaps noisily and vigorously, but "champ" means to show impatience due to delay or restraint. When someone says "...chomping at the bit," they mean someone is ready and impatient to do something, and champ, in this case, is the more appropriate word, as well as being traditional.

Regarding "sharp" and timbre, a short, loud noise like a gunshot could certainly be described as a "sharp noise." However, no musician I know would ever apply the term "sharp" to the tone or timbre of anything musical. For that we have words like "shrill," "bright," "tinny," or "brittle."

I've not yet read "Songs of Earth and Power," but now it seems I shall have to. :)
 

Shifting
Date: 05/30/2009
From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA

Greg,

Ah, now that is a challenge, indeed. Not only to spot misused phrases, but to spot them in literature from other eras. I've read Dickens, of course, but not terribly recently. As I recall, the last I read, or rather re-read, was "The Prince and the Pauper," and I think I do remember there being at least one in there. Something involving their residence on the bridge, I think.

I assume you mean James Joyce? I must confess, I don't believe I've ever read him. Where would you recommend I start?
 

Shifting
Date: 05/31/2009
From: Greg Bear

DUBLINERS is excellent and straightforward, particularly "The Dead." ULYSSES is magnificent and a challenge, but worthy of the effort. FINNEGANS WAKE is the Mount Everest of "novels," a book you never stop reading, even after many run-throughs.
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 05/31/2009
From: Cheryl
Location: Lynnwood, WA

An open invitation to (local)readers who cannot tolerate writers' deliberate misuse of phrases, colloquialisms, or other 'creative' abuses of grammar...the University of Washington has several physical science and engineering libraries filled with technically and mechanically accurate scientific journals. You may find a new appreciation of the fine line between art and science.

The map room, located in the basement of Suzzalo, has USGS maps of Mars. Additionally, the research of Prof. Roger Buick may be of particular interest to some.
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 05/31/2009
From: Greg Bear

Highly recommended--it's a beautiful library and resource. (But I'm not sure writers deliberately misuse words and phrases... Just finishing revising/inputting copyedits to a manuscript now, and thank goodness for good copyeditors!)
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 06/01/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

I'd even stay clear of "nearly unique," it's like "nearly infinite" or "more certain every moment."

With increasing frequency I hear grating mispronunciations like mischie"VIOUS" and "ZOO"ological in the mouths of newscasters, as well as epidemic misuse of "Begging the question."

Mistakes in classic literature? Hamlet's taking "arms against a sea of troubles" and Captain Kirk's "to boldly go!"
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 06/01/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Another peeve: I've never heard anything but "condominiums" when of course the proper plural is "condominia," and double-plurals like "medias" and "encyclopedias" bug me, too.

Patrick: "Bear Fruit," I love it! An alternate blog title, if Greg should tire of Kicky Baby?

Checked out the University of Washington Materials Engineering page. Nanoparticles, scorpion venom, metalic foam...time, more time!(USGS maps of Mars I've got on my wall--doesn't everybody?)
 

For Goodness Sake! Please leave the Writer Alone!
Date: 06/01/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Dear Greg,

I firmly believe that use and misuse of the "bloody" written word adds spice and character..and your use of "english" is probably why I've been reading your stories for nearly 20 years.

I originally commented on this issue as a kind of jest..however; it seems to have been taken up by all and sundry as a critical remark.

From my point of view Greg, I want your immagination to fly like an Eagle and entertain me for a third decade...by the way its a gear stick! (in England)

Cheers

Andrew
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 06/02/2009
From: Greg Bear

"Nearly unique" fits in with "nearly pregnant."

One of these days, we will learn how to split the infinitive and unleash tremendous power...
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 06/02/2009
From: Greg Bear

Not like these maps, I'm willing to bet... Cheryl, description?
 

For Goodness Sake! Please leave the Writer Alone!
Date: 06/02/2009
From: Greg Bear

Better to be shiftless than stickless?
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 06/03/2009
From: patrick
Location:

"Better to be shiftless than stickless?"

Oh, Greg.


On 'champ': that's gotta be pure British english there. Never heard of it. There's a certain indirectness that's cool - but there's a certain redneck-ness to some am english that's just tasty. If you enjoy the flavour - and I do.



"Patrick: "Bear Fruit," I love it! An alternate blog title, if Greg should tire of Kicky Baby? "

Ha, no shit, huh? Alas, it was rather spontaneous. Often the best.


"Regarding "sharp" and timbre, a short, loud noise like a gunshot could certainly be described as a "sharp noise." However, no musician I know would ever apply the term "sharp" to the tone or timbre of anything musical. For that we have words like "shrill," "bright," "tinny," or "brittle." "

There are sharp sounds, and sharp pitches*. Easily, the context is presented. Nails on board could be shrill. A 'sharp' sound is something very sudden, with a tight sonic envelope.

*Incidentally, you do know that, ultimately, nothing is sharp or flat. It's completely contextual to the tuning system in use - as well as the harmonic system used and the voice-leading in a particular piece, not to mention the instrumentation used.

Small story: one of my exes was a violist. She was practicing this William Walton concerto, and she got to a passage where I could tell this cadencing pitch at the end of an upward figure was flat. I don't think I'd heard the piece before. I hadn't heard the recording she had for reference. She said, "that's how it's written!" I said it was wrong, and had her play me the recording she had, to see how this guy did it. He did exactly as I suggested, and she was all "OH". Cos it sounded so sweet. Given the context of the composer and the work, it was obvious that was a desired effect in the texture.
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 06/03/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

"Yes, it's true. This man has no shift."

The Interim Adverb: I thought "nearly pregnant" was nonsense...then I read Darwin's Radio!

To Infinitive And Beyond!

--Bill
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 06/03/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Not worth your time but my honor is at stake: Encyclopedia is from the Greek (enkiklios paideia, literally [well-] rounded education) and so "encyclopedias" (or better, "encyclopaedias") is right after all--OOPS.

 

"Nearly unique" fits in with "nearly pregnant."
Date: 06/06/2009
From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA

Greg,

Okay, I can maybe buy that. Barely. However, it could be thought of as correct to say, for instance, if there were only two of a particular item in the entire world, that one of them is "nearly one of a kind," which is effectively the same as saying "nearly unique." Whereas a thing simply can't be more than unique, so one cannot use modifiers such as "very."

From the top side down, a thing is unique, or it is not; from the bottom side up, it still approaches uniqueness from varying degrees. I think it is only an either/or situation depending on the direction from which you approach it.

And, by the way, I also believe the "in" in "fits in with" is superfluous. :P

 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 06/08/2009
From: Summer Blackhorse
Location: Portland Oregon

Thanks for the information on what not to use. NASA and USGS maps of Mars should be on everyone's walls.

 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 06/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

"Back off, man. I'm a linguist!" (To those who haven't seen GHOSTBUSTERS recently, we're paraphrasing Bill Murray.)
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 06/12/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Giggling idiotically ("When someone asks if you're a linguist, YOU SAY YES!").

Maps of ALL the solar system's bodies should be on the walls, of schoolrooms if not houses! Do Gen-Xers realize what's happened during their lifetimes? (Google Mars on floor-to-ceiling screens, THEN I'll be happy!)

And so back to the thread...the opening crawl of "Revenge of the Sith" refers to "solar systems" (plural) when it should be star systems...grumble, grumble. Millions of dollars, but no one to tell the writers there's only ONE solar system (and it's not in the movie!)?

Ah, well. Someone will release a proof-reading virus and future downloads will magically correct themselves. Frightening thought, actually. Mr. Carpenter makes a good point about the bloody word. "Y'gotta sin t'git saved!"
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 06/13/2009
From: Bigmouth
Location: http://eyemsick.blogspot.com/

Although I'm not a grammar or usage Nazi, I am bothered by the erroneous conflation of "beg the question" with "raise the question.
 

Okay, here's another
Date: 06/15/2009
From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA

I'm not sure if this one is a result of poor research, or just plain human stupidity.

Having grown up in Edmonds, Washington, I also grew up in and around boats. I have only been seasick once, and that was under some pretty ridiculous circumstances, in which I was in a far too-large drysuit, with far too little weight, so I found myself bobbing up and down in choppy waters, being shaken like a soda can.

But what does almost every character in a book do, when they start to feel a bit seasick? They dash below and dive into a bunk, and then are heartily sick. This is exactly the opposite of what they should do. While I am not very susceptible to seasickness, I have experienced some queasiness while sitting below in rough seas. And, did I then climb into a bunk? Hell no. I went out on deck, where my eyes could tell my brain the same thing my inner-ears were telling it. And then I was no longer queasy.

So, why do characters almost always go below when they start to feel ill? Because the author has never been on a boat, or because that is just what most people do? Feel sick, crawl into bed.

I'm really not sure on this one.
 

Re: Misused words, phrases, and poor research
Date: 06/17/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Hey, Bill, kids these days don't even know their blood type. I've found a lot of adults don't know, either. Like, they've forgotten or something, cos I KNOW every kid was told in every year of grade school, when the whole class went to the nurse for their annual check-up (at least in the 70s and early 80s), what theirs was.
 

Okay, here's another
Date: 07/28/2009
From: Greg Bear

Don't come knocking if the boat is rocking...? Makes sense, Kelly.

Story Work

Date: 05/22/2009 From: Addison Kerr
Location: Maryland

Thanks for your questions about the Ghost Factory story - I appreciate it. I am researching the Industrial Revolution and doing some writing. I will email you with what happens when it happens!
 

Re: Story Work Indstrrial Revolution)
Date: 06/05/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

Dear Addison,

I totally agree with you; the Industrial Revolution in Britain was probably the great leap forward for most of humanity. One only has to look at Graham Robbs' biography of Arthur Rimbaud the poet, to realise the impact that an industrialised city on the scale of London would have on a French country boy...Robb says that it would have been like walking on the deck of Star Ship Enterprise.

I only hope that the next "Great Leap" will happen soon..its time after all..and when it happens the second revolution may encompass free energy, carbon free travel and an end to racial hatered..A pipe dream? perhaps, I hope to see it in my lifetime anyway

Cheers,

Andrew

Star Wars Anniversary

Date: 05/19/2009 From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Ten years today since Star Wars Episode I, The Phantom Menace was released. Yikes! Not without its moments, despite the flak. But I prefer the sequel...Rogue Planet!

Regards,
Bill
 

Re: Star Wars Anniversary
Date: 05/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks! Time doesn't bend as much as it used to, Bill.
 

Re: Star Wars Anniversary
Date: 05/22/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

That just took me back and dropped me on my head! As it was the first time I DID NOT see a STAR WARS moving on Openning Day. Saw it on the first Sunday.

Which reminds me, I still need to get a copy of Greg's Star Wars Novel...Rogue Planet...I think it's called.
 

Re: Star Wars Anniversary
Date: 05/23/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Nor is space as boundless...ain't it the truth!
 

Re: Star Wars Anniversary
Date: 05/23/2009
From: Greg Bear

Not to be confused with Rouge Planet...
 

Re: Star Wars Anniversary
Date: 05/23/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

The Angry Rouge Planet. A crew of astronauts is marooned on Mars. Written by Sid Pink, directed by Ib Maraschino...

I was a frequent visitor to the six-week line-campout for Episode One, in Westwood. I'm not saying I WAS camping out, you understand. But I'm in the documentary "Starwoids" for about fifteen seconds, answering trivia and quoting Greedo. Behold, I conceal nothing from you...
 

Re: Star Wars Anniversary
Date: 05/25/2009
From: Greg Bear

Starring Red Buttons and Lucille Ball... I think we got a movie going here!
 

Re: Star Wars Anniversary
Date: 05/25/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

We need to get in touch with Scarlet Johanson.

The Country of the Mind

Date: 05/17/2009 From: Andrew Carley
Location: Seattle, WA

Dear Mr. Bear,

I have read your book Queen of Angels (I read Slant first), and I was extremely fascinated by your idea of the Country of the Mind, specifically Emmanual Goldsmith's as it appears to Martin Burke toward the end of the book. I was disappointed that Goldsmith's Country was not described further. I did not understand what exactly we were seeing in Goldsmith's Country. If Goldsmith was not psychotic, then was Goldsmith's Country not the Country of an extremely psychotic person? It certainly had extremely disturbing, one would almost say psychotic, imagery. I seem to recall reading that standard psychological testing, done prior to Burke's foray into Goldsmith's Country, showed that Goldsmith was, in fact, NOT psychotic. If this was the case, what was Burke experiencing? A personality so distorted that psychological testing would miss the psychosis? (this strikes me as unlikely, assuming that psychological testing in the mid 21st century would be able to diagnose a pyschosis, regardless of whether the person was aware that he/she was psychotic). Was Goldsmith's personality completely annihilated by another, manufactured personality (Colonel Sir)? Again, wouldn't psychological testing have revealed such a condition? Goldsmith's condition, at the end of the book, was unclear to me. I am guessing that his primary personality had been destroyed and replaced by another personality, a personality that was little more than a manifestation of a primal and archetypal evil. But were this the case, it seems alarm bells would have been going off in IPR long before Martin and Carol (I think that's her name), placed themselves in his Country (especially with no buffer).

In any event, it is good to finish a book and want to know more about what is described in it, an by that standard I thoroughly enjoyed Queen of Angels (and Slant).

Andrew Carley
 

Re: The Country of the Mind
Date: 05/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

These questions are so primary and intelligent that I wonder if I'm the one to answer them, Andrew! Short response, entirely inadequate: Goldsmith was broken by upbringing. His internal landscape reflected damaged goods, but he did not have primary, physiologically-induced disease or dysfunction.

The Country of the Mind is an internal reflection of personality and thought processes, and some of my own "dreamings" and "imaginings" have been quite disturbing (QUEEN OF ANGELS, for example) without, I hope, implying psychosis!
 

Re: The Country of the Mind
Date: 05/23/2009
From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA

I think that all of us inherit behavioral traits from our parents, whether we like it or not. Sometimes even the ones we find the most abhorrent crop up unexpectedly, as when we deal with a child, and something like "Because I SAID so!" pops out of our mouths seemingly without our own volition.

And then we mentally clap our hands over our mouths, and say to ourselves "Oh, my God,I've become my (insert parent of appropriate sex here.)"

I am currently taking care of my 87 year old mother, and though I thought I had long ago weeded her negative behaviors out of my mind, I can still see where I am similarly imperfect, and where these imperfections were learned.

I, for one, can certainly see where Goldsmith could present one aspect of his personality to the world in general, and even to the people examining him, and yet have another, entirely different personality beneath it, perhaps while being unaware of it himself.

Ever meet an otherwise nice guy who was a mean drunk?
 

Re: The Country of the Mind
Date: 05/23/2009
From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA

Oh, and Greg,several years ago I saw a movie that dealt with this same thing. I can't remember the title, but I remember it was a similar situation, save that they had a chance to save the last potential victim. They entered the country of the mind of the villain, got trapped, yadda,yadda.

Inside, (among much else) there was a horse that got sliced to pieces, and a female bodybuilder with improbably inflated breasts.

Do you know the movie I'm talking about, and if so, would you care to comment?
 

Re: The Country of the Mind
Date: 05/23/2009
From: Greg Bear

The movie was THE CELL. No comment.
 

Re: The Country of the Mind
Date: 05/23/2009
From: Andrew Carley
Location: Seattle, WA

Greg,

On another subject, also related to one of your books (The Forge of God), I find the idea of Von Neumann machines absolutely fascinating and terrifying. The idea that the universe could be populated by malevolent species wielding incomprehensible technologies, and that we are inviting our own destruction by naively advertising our presence in the universe, is chilling and somewhat thrilling.

My question to you is this: What do you think the answer is to the Fermi Paradox? Is it just that we haven't been advertising our presence long enough? Are they among us? Are we alone? The zoo hypothesis? The Star Trek hypothesis (what I call the hypothesis that we will be contacted once we reach some kind of ethical or technological threshold; in the case of Star Trek, warp drive)? The "we've got it all wrong" hypothesis, which is the idea that our whole framework for understanding the universe is wrong and that asking the very question of aliens is meaningless? None of the above?

It is frustrating because this is fundamentally a question of knowledge--there is an answer, we just don't have enough information to know what that answer is. We can speculate and wonder, but not know. I want to know!
 

Re: The Country of the Mind
Date: 05/25/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Hahahahah. Yeah.

People are, as Freud discovered, inherently schizophrenic. There are also genetically-passed behaviors, for example a tendency toward onery-ness or frustration with certain kinds of circumstances. My grandpa had it (whom I never saw it in, but later heard about), my dad has it. It's a chemical element that gets transmitted. And there are substance-related things, as mentioned above, although a commonly-unknown one is, food-related. For example, too much spice makes me onery.

Regardless, there is something to be said for genetic potential in the sense of transcending socio-cultural environment. Admittedly few can.
 

Re: The Country of the Mind
Date: 05/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

Could be a mix of all these factors, of course--different reasons for different parts of the galaxy. David Brin and I discussed these problems back in the early 80s, and that led to my writing THE FORGE OF GOD; David produced a pretty comprehensive essay on the possibilities in 1983, available on his web site. (And we're all Von Nuemann devices, aren't we?--just squishy...)
 

Re: The Country of the Mind
Date: 05/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

Reminds me of the joke about sneezing...
 

Re: The Country of the Mind
Date: 05/30/2009
From: patrick
Location:

"(And we're all Von Nuemann devices, aren't we?--just squishy...)"

Yeah. Ditto, but in the reverse, for 'artifical intelligence'.


Andrew - wish for it. It may come to you.

Bittorrent Book Piracy

Date: 05/13/2009 From: Jim Duron
Location: Prairieville, La

Greg,
I noticed Ursala LeGuin was on a rampage about Bittorrent and E-Piracy in a NY Times Article. I was wondering about your thoughts on this subject. She found her novel Left Hand of Darkness on a site,What she was doing on this site is still a mystery.

http://www.p2p-blog.com/item-1048.html

I read half of my books from the public library collection do theses take away from your sales? How do Authors feel about Librarys and second hand book sales? I'm not into PDF Book reraders like the Kindle DX but understand the concept.

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/09/rampant-piracy-will-be-the-kindle-dxs-savior/
 

Re: Bittorrent Book Piracy
Date: 05/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

Big issue here. The copyright laws allow sale and exchange of physical books originally purchased from the publisher/author, and loans through libraries--an old tradition. In some countries, library loans are now accompanied by fees to the authors, an interesting and attractive concept--to authors. A similar pattern might be established for library "loans" of e-texts, if they can be made safe from multiple copies. The whole territory is rapidly evolving as Kindle and iPhone book sales grow. Some authors post their novels complete on the web--but that's their choice, and such postings might decline if they can be easily converted to more comfortable, accessible Kindle copies or iPhone copies. Fact is, authors are laborers and need to be paid for their work--they need to eat, and so do their families. If information wants to be free, then so do hamburgers!
 

Re: Bittorrent Book Piracy
Date: 05/22/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Check out The Venus Project. Sounds hokie, I know, but seemingly a sensible idea. I think I've mentioned this before.
 

Re: Bittorrent Book Piracy
Date: 07/14/2009
From: Randy Merkel
Location: California

More on the Kindle; why are only some of your books available on the Kindle? Is it a matter of cost (yours) or Amazon's interest, or??
 

Re: Bittorrent Book Piracy
Date: 07/28/2009
From: Greg Bear

We're putting together a number of back titles for the Kindle, and I'm impatient to see them too... As a new Kindle owner! Very cool device.
 

Re: Bittorrent Book Piracy
Date: 07/29/2009
From: Jim Duron
Location: Prairieville,La

Greg,
What is really appealing about these devices is also scary.

On the upside you can in theory replace all the paper, Ink and book covers and the gas needed to ship the books all around the world. You can by pass the retail middle man(Book Stores, publishers etc.). You can replace a Library in your home with a small device that takes up less space. Not standing line for a new book or waiting for the UPS/Fedx guy to come down your street and leaving it at someone else house.

On the Down side it could eventually replace books and the jobs associated with them, shipping, retail and even Libraries.
Without Libraries low income people may by pass up reading or resources for their children will be limited. The thought of literacy being class driven again is a nightmare book of it's own.

For me Piracy is the least of the issues, most of those people would not purchase most books anyway(ala. song and movie downloads people download things they would never buy. But the impact on our society positive or negative is what makes my mind spin.

My wife though loves the thought of having one device and thousands of books and thousands more in the near future to choose from.

Jim
 

Re: Bittorrent Book Piracy
Date: 07/29/2009
From: Jim Duron
Location: prairieville, La

Do you know what on average it cost to produce a book, ship it, and the actual amount you and or your publisher actually receive from each retail sale Online or From a book store?

Jim
 

Re: Bittorrent Book Piracy
Date: 08/03/2009
From: Rainbow Starchild
Location: London

I work in a Public Library here in England, and as far as I know, all authors receive royalties from book loans. I am also involved with bookcrossing, and have personally bought and wild released 6 copies of "Forge".
Without wishing to sound like an advert, blog readers may like to have a look at www.bookcrossing.com. I'll have a look for some statistics on Greg's books, but I know for sure he's popular among London 'crossers. My copy of Darwin's Radio is still travelling, but has so far visited France, Australia, and I believe it's now in the US.
 

Re: Bittorrent Book Piracy
Date: 08/03/2009
From: Greg Bear

I've been pondering some of these difficulties since the early nineties. There's nothing that stops physical copies being used in libraries, and special dispensation for limited-use e-copies for the poor--but that might mean having to register as poor. On the up side, the book industry is currently in a messy decline, and e-books are one of the few areas of real growth, with real potential for profit--for authors, at least.
 

Re: Bittorrent Book Piracy
Date: 08/03/2009
From: Greg Bear

Not sure what the actual price breakdown is for a hardback, but several dollars per copy is a good estimate for production cost, and about the same for shipping, stocking, etc. Publishers receive around 50-60 % of the list price for wholesale, less for some markets. Authors typically receive 8-10 % of cover price, less for heavy discounts. Returns have typically run more than fifty percent of print totals, more for mass market paperbacks--which of course are not returned, but stripped and pulped or thrown away. It's a hugely wasteful industry, from the publisher's perspective, and retailers often use inventory as a cash cow during times of economic difficulty--simply returning large numbers of titles and not restocking. Online or wireless, there are few if any returns, no shipping costs, and marginal stocking and conversion fees for each title. An author may receive fifty percent or more of the sales price. If the author is the e-book publisher, that could go even higher.
 

Re: Bittorrent Book Piracy
Date: 08/03/2009
From: Greg Bear

Books in used bookstores and libraries can indeed act like "chum" and attract fish--er, readers. But the new e-book markets give liberal samples to serve some of the same needs--and a few authors even give all the text for some of their books for free, an interesting strategy...

Fate-Shifting on National TV?

Date: 05/07/2009 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Last night's Episode of FRINGE on Fox bordered on an open disccusion of Fate Shifting, as the Lead Character kept either having visions of, or slipping slightly into, alternate snippets of the case she was working on.
 

Re: Fate-Shifting on National TV?
Date: 05/12/2009
From: Greg Bear

Alternate universes also pop up in the latest STAR TREK XI, with intriguing implications for both casting and plot!
 

The Wife just asked me
Date: 05/12/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Did Greg Bear tell you he's a Guest of Honor at Con this year?

Well, no, not yet...hadn't heard from him since I dropped a line last week.

And then your reply to my Fringe question came in...just moments ago.

So she pulled it up and showed me that you are Guest #4 on the Founders Panel.

#1, Richard Alf, we were responsible for finding and getting in touch with Mark. I hadn't seen Alf in almost ten years, and we had to have a friend get him to call me on my cell.

So, woot! Founders day at ComicCon this year.

MG
 

The Wife just asked me
Date: 05/12/2009
From: Greg Bear

Good work, Mike!
 

Re: Fate-Shifting on National TV?
Date: 05/13/2009
From: Patrick B.
Location: Vancouver, WA

A very similar type of fate shifting was key to the plot of U. K. LeGuin's novel "Lathe of Heaven" which then seemed to be the direct inspiration for that Ashton Kutcher movie "The Butterfly Effect".

There was also an episode of Star Trek: TNG that had the infinite variations of fate for the Enterprise all popping into the same region of space-time.

The idea of prescience as described by Frank Herbert in the Dune novels is also a type of fate shifting via precognition. A person's level of awareness is so heightened that they can see all possible outcomes of every set of inputs and choose the optimal path. Much in the same way that Greg has in CATEOT, Herbert saw this as an enslavement of the fate shifter to an optimal line. The notion that fate shifting is the ultimate freedom is overturned by the tendency to fate shift onto the lowest energy fate line. In the Dune novels, both Paul and Leto identified this trap and went to great lengths to break humanity away from prescience.

I could go on, there are many more. Variations on the theme of "Fate Shifting" are well discussed throughout the history of literature, especially sci-fi. What surprised me most about "City" is that Greg was able to bring something new and well developed to the table.
 

Re: Fate-Shifting on National TV?
Date: 05/13/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

"From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/12/2009

Alternate universes also pop up in the latest STAR TREK XI, with intriguing implications for both casting and plot!"

Leonard Nimoy is in danger of being type-cast again, as he played something of a time traveler, if but side ways in time, on Fringe last night, at the end.

JJ's writing staff seems to be "way to hip" about the Super World Alternate Reality Myth, as Nimoy's character's office was in the South Tower of the World Trade Centre, as they had no 9/11 there.

It's being a Bad Robot Day, caught the season end of Fringe this morning, off to Star Trek in a few mintues, and then LOST tonite.

I'm wondering if there will be cross overs on these three franchises...and when JJ's going to get around to bringing you in as a consultant.

Oh my...I just had a production thought for one of your properties...
 

Re: Fate-Shifting on National TV?
Date: 05/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

Good history lesson, Patrick! I was trying to remember the prior art here, and this is quite helpful.
 

Re: Fate-Shifting on National TV?
Date: 05/22/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Regarding Patrick's History of Hopping Realities: George Orr could only do it while asleep, and there was that Dickian aspect of "IS it real, or just something dreamed up by a dying man".
Zelazney pioneered the Demigod version of "Fate Shifting" nearly 40 years ago. And man PKD characters also finding themselves hopping from one possible world to another, the one being shifted out of usually a "Fake" reality.
And let's not forget Asimov's "Eternity, Inc." Where corporate culture makes decisions on the nature of history.

But what the lead Character "Olivia" on FRINGE did was very close to what the Young Fate Shifters do in the 21st Century parts of CITY...sans Collectors, SumRunners, etc. But slowly becoming aware of "other realities" and her relationship to them.

Which also seems to be exploring territory that I postulated as to whether or not advancing humans, not just Sum Runner driven Fate Shifters, would start to become aware and access other possible worlds to "fine tune" their fates.

J. J. Abrams seems pretty hot about such concepts, as exhibited in STAR TREK, LOST, and FRINGE, which all explore these concepts using different theories of time, time travel and the potential for alternate realities.
 

Re: Fate-Shifting on National TV?
Date: 06/19/2009
From: patrick
Location:

I'm noticing more and more a certain aspect of fate-shifting, in that I have a certain flow, and when I do certain things, I get out it and have to wait a spell to let it get back on track, find some way for it to get back on, or have an epiphany that either automatically re-orients me, or erases the past resonance altogether.

Of course, I prefer the last. The first option is fine, too, whereas the second is almost universally avoided, as an 'active' mode is generally what got me out of flow in the first place - that is, I indulged a very localized and constrained curiosity.

A poem to the Governments who send or boys to war

Date: 05/06/2009 From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

I could not dig
I dared not rob therefore I lied
To please the mob.

Now my lies are proved untrue,
And I must face the men I slew.

What lie shall serve me here among,
My angry and defrauded young....

I cant remember who wrote this but I dedicate it to all the international boys who fight old mens wars. You know who you are and God bless you.

A special God bless to my cousin Alex who at this moment is fighting in Helmund Province in Afghanistan..Come home soon my friend..Also come home safely to our American cousins. Lets hope there is some kind of solution to these bloody wars one day.

Regards

Andrew

Continuity of Existence

Date: 05/03/2009 From: Scott Maasen
Location: Springfield, MO

First let me say I am in awe of Greg Bear for his work. I am a wireless communications technician working on finishing my degree in physics. I have two questions that I am interested in that I have spent a lot of time considering. One is the apparent substrate that the Universe seems to align with (how do particles Know they have rotational velocity for instance). The other problem relates to continuity of existence.

What part of you is not replaceable? If an advanced race of aliens were to sneak into your bedroom late at night while you were asleep and remove your leg and replace it with an exact replica would you cease to exist? The obvious answer seems to be no, that you would go on being you and not even notice the change as long as the new leg performed the same and looked the same. But what isn't replaceable? Is there a soul that resides in your organic container that clings to you? What if they changed all but your head? What if they changed half of your brain with a perfect replica?

I have three theories about continuity of existence. First we have a soul and the continuity exists there. This is problematic in that we can observe that the brain appears to process information in a way that indicates it is a biological computer.

Second theory is perhaps a bit scary. It is possible that continuity exists but that it can be broken without our realizing it. We could have a continuity that goes on until something disrupts it such as trauma or perhaps even sleep. A person that wakes up may have all the memories of the person from the day before, but that person may have ceased to exist.

The third possibility is that continuity is only an illusion. I think this is the most likely but it has implications. We think we are traveling through time and our existence continues without cessation, but in reality every second we cease to exist and a new existence with our memories takes its place unaware that there is no continuity.

This problem can be seen clearly perhaps in science fiction technology such as matter transporters that would break down people into information and then re-solidify them. Also when considering electronic intelligences that could be paused and restarted, or even have copies started up on simultaneous systems and each believe they are the true beings with continuity from their conceptions.

Trying to keep this short and just give an overview. Existence interests me as it should everyone since it is significant to the question of life and death. I question the statement *I think therefor I am*. Don't panic however because even if continuity is an illusion, it is a rather workable illusion that we've been living with all our lives.

Since I'm taking up time I'll throw in a third question to ponder. Time. Is time infinitely divisible or is there a unit of time that is quantitative? It would have to be really a small slice, but if the universe is an information computer, what is it's processing speed? The speed of light comes to mind obviously, but does that mean that a particle traveling through space jumps from point A to point B with no intermediate location? I think if we could determine if time had a limit as to how divisible it was it might give us clues about how it really does work.

I want to thank Greg Bear for his work in Science Fiction. It stirs the imagination and that is truly a gift to the rest of us.
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 05/12/2009
From: Greg Bear

All great and fundamental questions, Scott, for which your guesses are likely as good as mine. Brings into question the whole idea of uploading into virtual brains--would we be the same, or just pale copies? There is no adequate answer, I think--but I wonder what it would "feel" like... What silicon would "taste" like compared to flesh?
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 05/18/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Mmm, fundamental questions for minds of a certain status. At least at some point, one might still ask the questions but not really care what the answers are.
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 05/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

In the EON universe, partials report back to their primary and their experience is integrated, so there's no lapse of "continuity," what ever that means under these circumstances! The same philosophical problems apply, of course.

As for "space time granularity," this has been part of my thinking--and pretty standard physics--for many decades now. I first heard of the "Planck-Wheeler length" back in the early seventies--a fascinating concept. Wonder why the attribution has been reduced to simply "Planck length"?
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 05/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

Until they come to upload you into the Kurzweil continuum... Can you still kick and scream, virtually?
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 05/26/2009
From: patrick
Location:

"Until they come to upload you into the Kurzweil continuum... Can you still kick and scream, virtually?"

I'm assuming you're responding to me, here. Well, that's what everyone ends up with - some kind of 'ultimatum' circumstance. Even Dan Simmons intones this. I refer, and perhaps somewhat defer, to Voltaire...

...on his deathbed in response to a priest asking that he renounce Satan: Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies.



By the way, the hologram thing goes back to the 60s. It's reached popcul in the 80s, and only pervasively in the mid-90s.
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 05/28/2009
From: m k o
Location: kl ont

I've got a different take on continuity. I think you're always just busy being somebody. It's always "me", no matter who it is. Being alive is the only
game in town. You're just born, apparently out of nothing. The Brightness!
As for uploading minds; when I think about the fact that there's roughly 60 trillion cells in the body, each one capable of computation and awareness, summing up into networks of networks of networks...well I think like Greg said, that mind IS the illusion. It may be no more transferable than digestion. Maybe our sense of "self" and separation and willpower is simply what it feels like to have an active and alert immune system, sharp and on the hunt. We may be able to grow odd little thinkers eventually, but the idea of getting "me" into some home-made matrix might remain academic for a long time
to come. More fun to just make babies.
p.s. Greg! Ursa Major! Quantico + Mariposa = Queen of Angels? I'm giddy.
QL found a good path. Can't wait to follow.
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 05/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

Ah! So they throw us into a wood chipper and scan us as we fly past, then reassemble us in VR? sounds like a good possibility for a Coen Bros. sf film!
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 05/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

In the 60s and 70s, VR was often expressed in terms of living in a networked dream world, for example, GRAY MATTERS by Hjortsborg or THE DREAM MILLENNIUM by James White.
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 05/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

Just putting the finishing touches on MARIPOSA now. November launch!
 

Re: Continuity of Existence MARIPOSA)
Date: 06/02/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

Cant wait!

Please let me know when I can pre order

Thanks

Andrew
 

Re: Continuity of Existence MARIPOSA)
Date: 06/03/2009
From: Greg Bear

Galleys will be out soon, so I assume pre-orders will be possible within a few weeks. There is no planned UK edition as yet.
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 06/05/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

To Scott Maasen: Ask not for whom the Bell continues...how do YOU know the particles have angular momentum?

Continuity goes right to the heart of what we are. As living beings we work to maintain internal continuity against external chaos; as thinking ones our identity depends on memory--in which experience seems to transcend time and space, remaining continuously "here and now."

Meaning that reality seems to sit on a fence with regard to spacetime. Phenomena like quantum entanglement suggest that in some sense (that infinitly useful phrase!) the universe never truly gave up its original point-state. I suggest that this fence divides mind and body (subjective and objective) quite neatly. When we speak of continuity, after all, we're just lending-out the wholeness of that undivided state, which we experience inwardly as "self." We "understand" by bring things under that umbrella, turning disparate elements into "systems" (speaking of selfhood is akin to speaking of a collection of objects having a single center of mass).

The upshot: one needn't worry too much over whether one is the same person as yesterday, or would be the same person stepping out of a matter transmitter. "Me, Now" is the original singularity, accept no substitutes, and any sensation of identity is it's own justification. All secondary understandings (including that of physical, post-big-bang history) are backtracking.
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 06/08/2009
From: Kevin N. Kaskey
Location: Norfolk, VA, USA

Hmm...

Guys, I've been pondering continuity, soul, and our ultimate effects upon the whole of the universe (or creation) for a long, long, time. When I was younger I flew between Carlos Castaneda, the Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, the evidence of physical inquiry, and comparative religion with grave and earnest intent to feel out my way through "It All". More than the simple, philosophical inquiry of "do we exist" I've been pondering on degrees of "do we matter" in the grand scheme of things. What parts of us are physical processes with inevitable inputs and outputs, and what parts of us are magic, mojo, music and voodoo? Are there distinctions, and ultimately, do they matter?

Well... just after I had figured I had "grown up" past care either way -- just as I was certainly going to continue to be whatever it is that I am for the foreseeable future, things in the day-to-day physical realm became regrettably impossible to ignore, and I had to deal with some VERY harsh physical issues that put a whole new spin on this stuff for me, personally. Death loomed near (again) in a new, personally unexplored way.

Last year, around March, I suffered an almost catastrophic heart attack. I didn't even know I had had it, if you can imagine that. But a month or so later after I had been stabilized sufficiently, I then underwent open heart surgery to have a triple bypass (I'm just about to turn 41 in a week, so I'm so exactly an "old guy" or anything -- so this was totally out of the blue).

I was "taken offline" on a heart-lung machine to keep things sorta percolating for a total of 5 (five!) hours of unconsciousness the first time, then there was another related surgery that put me out of commission in a similar fashion for another 3 (three) hours. Total of "not here, exactly, but definitely elsewhere" time of 8 (eight) hours. I stubbornly/critterly "came back" each time; however, "who" and/or "how much" of me "came back" is in raging debate within me still.

I have to personally testify that "not as much of me came back as went into the situation", and it is very existentially odd, noticeable to me, and frustrating and peculiar all around. It has definitely made me wonder again repeatedly just how "survivable" and permanent our real core programming and relevant "stuff" really is.

Did I come back only a caretaker of the reduced memories that Kevin once had full and complete mastery over -- a well-meaning Golem built of the very fabric of our chemistry for the sake of temporal "completeness" or something equally as weird? Or am I simply the same guy, just injured in a way that now forces me to compensate and adapt in ways I had never imagined before? I certainly do not have the answers here. But I am definitely appreciating the questions again.

Mr. Bear (and Co.) I've found your insights very intriguing for many years -- both in and out of fiction. My personal feelings toward the subject of our consciousness' continuity have been tested and shaken recently -- perhaps for a good reason, perhaps not -- nevertheless the parts of me that are left more-or-less intact occasionally squirm in uncomfortable adaptation to whatever process began when "I left involuntarily and came back" due to medical intervention. I am certainly not the same creature I was only a year ago.

My personal feeling is that, "yes, something of us persists between states of existence, but the quality of continuity of experience is directly proportional to the quality and integrity of the fundamental 'operating hardware and software' that is available to 'run' the current state of the individual in question." My hardware and software have been subtly compromised, and yes, I can tell the difference -- if there were something better to "run me on", I'd jump at the opportunity to migrate (though not necessarily as an early adopter -- see Alastair Reynolds ;-)

Thanks for your time and place to ruminate over this stuff,

Kevin N. Kaskey
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 06/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

Happens to all of us, to a greater or lesser extent! Discussing "waking up" with a friend who's a sleep therapist points to the extreme complexity of simply rebooting each morning, with attendant medical problems that for some folks occur... just after waking up.
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 06/21/2009
From: patrick
Location:

........I just never was compelled to think along most of these lines. The only thing I've been concerned with is 'order'. Specifically, my own funxion - that is, how accurate, and insightful, is the model in my mind of the cosmos of the cosmos. (Get that?) Death, personal meaning, purpose....all that shit has no bearing or is simply irrelevant. It also has the advantage of the analogue of a bullshit detector: it keeps one from internal drama.

Tangentially, I'll share something recent I experienced and wrote about, for exactly circumstances such as this:

My aunt translated yesterday. She didn't go out kicking and screaming. She was ready. I was ready. I saw her last Friday, just before I went to my 20th (and first) high school reunion. She'd been in a sordid physical state for the last two years, and I wondered if things might...change...soon. And around that day or before, and through yesterday, I'd been feeling bright and illuminated. Clean. I feel even more so. And I feel ever...closer...with her. Incidentally, my serenity, as she mentioned to me last Friday, is one reason she and I were so close.

People express themselves out of emotion. However, the emotion, let alone the intent, behind their expression isn't necessarily what the audience might think. I expressed the above for two, related, reasons:

- to share my experience of the event, which is that she transcended this frame, and it's a wonderful feeling I have. She is more 'with me' than ever. (No, she was not a Jedi. Heheheheh.)

- and to perhaps, at least somewhat, relieve you of your fears of something that isn't. Death.


This was my first such experience, I think. Before it, I was similarly untroubled/unworried. I do have the advantage of interest in and care for my physical (and 'spiritual') health, so ain't likely ahm gonna have a heart attack or stroke. I recommend the same to others.
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 06/21/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Whoops. After "simply irrelevant" it should say something like, 'the lack of these.....has the advantage....'. Proof reading in those little boxes, ehn.
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 06/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

A good passing. Thanks, patrick.
 

Re: Continuity of Existence
Date: 08/18/2009
From: Greg Bear

Very good!

Swine Influenza

Date: 04/29/2009 From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

Dear Greg...Hi all,

If you are worrying about this potential pandemic, then apart from the usual sensible measures (washing hands, using sterile gel) ...the pandemic after WW1 proved that a lack of Vit D contributed to the mass infection. Vit D is found in fish and fruit.

Personally I dont eat much of either, so I'm going to the health store tomorrow to stock up on ' one a day' supplements. Probably better than "Tamiflu" as I'm very suspicious of drugs that deal with viral infections. The boffins will probably argue against this, but thats their problem.

Be brave people!...Dont panic!..even if you get you have a 90% plus chance of survival with modern medicen...Cheer up!

Best Regards

Andrew
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 04/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

I don't know of any scientific support for the efficacy of Vitamin D against viral infections. I've never heard this theory about lack of vitamin D being behind the pandemic in 1918--and I severely doubt it really contributed. Best advice--if you're sick, stay home (other than seeing your doctor) and don't go to work or travel, and if you're not sick, wash your hands and don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with your fingers. Viruses can survive on dry surfaces--doorknobs, countertops--for hours. Cough into your arm--your sleeve--rather than your hand. And when a vaccine becomes available for this particular virus, or its possible mutations, get vaccinated. Get your loved ones vaccinated. Go with the real science on this one, or put your friends and family--and yourself--at real risk. Diseases prey on our weaknesses.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 04/30/2009
From: Patrick B.
Location: Vancouver, WA

I'd be extremely skeptical of this assertion. As Greg has mentioned, I've never heard of any evidence to support this either. Besides, a vitamin D deficiency for someone in the US is unlikely since our milk and many common food products have supplemental vitamin D added (as well as A). Also, your body is able to create D through skin exposure to sunlight.

There's a lot of talk about the abuse of "big pharma" pushing drugs, but remember, the supplement industry is a huge business as well without the government oversight or scientific scrutiny that pharma is under. Any extraordinary claims made about the efficacy of supplements needs to be held to the same standard of evidence.

To add to what Greg has mentioned about sticking to the science, I whole heartedly agree. There is already a paranoid movement in place telling people to avoid any future vaccination programs, citing the 1976 swine flu scare as evidence. This worries me.


 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 04/30/2009
From: Jim Duron
Location: Prairieville, La

Greg,
My understanding of vitamins and flu is that with normal yearly influenza vitamin "C" is a commonly subscribed by doctors to strengthen the immune system. Does it help who knows?

On the flip side the Spanish Flu virus of 1918-1918 that killed 40 million used strong healthy immune systems against the body. The virus was much worse on people 25-55 and killing them within days of the first symptoms. This flu came in three waves first in March, then November (the most deadly) and again in 1919. It only took a month to reach the USA in 1918.

Two ways of reducing the 1918 virus was minimal social contact 50-75% less chance of contacting the Virus. And sterilizing any and all hand contact, Door knobs, money grocery carts Etc.

Sounds like a great book Greg. Survivors was recently remade in the UK on BBC how fitting.

Stay safe and smart.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 04/30/2009
From: Greg Bear

Agreed. If anyone traces the source of this Vitamin D rumor to a supplement company, or any such industry group, I'd like to know the details.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 04/30/2009
From: Greg Bear

Excellent point--an overactive immune system was a big cause of mortality in 1918. As for vitamin C, it had a huge vogue back in the 1970s--in large part because Linus Pauling supported and promoted its efficacy against viruses--but today, the science seems pretty weak on that assertion. As for vitamin D and sunlight, I take a supplement (as recommended) since we don't get a lot of sunlight in Seattle, and I'm allergic to milk! But whenever possible, I spend some time under the sun to get the real stuff--straight from the skin.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/01/2009
From: patrick
Location:

The best D comes from your body, yes. There's lots of stuff related to D deficiency, though, and looking in the mainstream is going to get you dick. Literally. Medicine is not the same as science, and there's lots of bad medicine out there, much of it mainstream. Has been for ages. The best and simplest are:

1) hygiene as noted above - but all the time folks - don't be slackers.

2) consumption according to your metabolic type (and try to avoid all the gimics that have jumped on that wagon, sheesh).

As for milk, I suggest not even thinking about that shit. Unless it's raw, from range-fed cattle - or, even better, goats or sheep.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/01/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Influenza "pandemic?"

Hi,

I'm not a nutritionist or a supplement abuser, I just wanted to say to everyone dont panic during this non pandemic.

Just one point though... I bet if you offered my Great Grandfather some supplements, while he was sitting up to his waist in filth in the trenches of the Somme battlefield in WWI..and gave them to his family who'd been living on turnip leaf soup for two years he would have taken them like a shot! (that pandemic ripped through my family like a scythe). I dont think that they had a chance to enjoy a Californian diet much then or in WWII when Nazi bombs were dropping on them three times a day.

I say this as a non scientific person..but hopefully this fact wont preclude me from this debate.

Best Regards

Andrew

 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/01/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Greg,

I'm sorry..it is me who started it..the same guy who has the slugs (who eat all my new lettuces!) ..I didnt mean to start a "whodunnit!" about Vit D I just thought that hand washing was a good idea..maybe some vitamins. I so dont represent any drug company...I take the odd asperin for headache!

In my business we regularly get ill people coming to stay. In the first year we were all sick as hell but then my Mum told me about Vit C,D and B+ and lo!...sickness..colds and coughs no more! (also French cider helps...its full of tannin). I am a mere human with a point of view (perhaps not very educated)

I suppose I'll get someone warning me about excess tannin next,..well I'll take a chance on that...I refuse to wear a mask...if I get proper flu like I've maybe had twice in my life then I suppose I'll get over it like most people will.

Newspapers are primariily to blame for this nonsense..also the net. I have mentioned before that I am dyslexic so I'll leave you with this..

"I used to think I was dyslexic, but now I'm not really ruse!"

God Bless Greg,

Pity us mere mortals
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/02/2009
From: Scott Maasen
Location: Springfield, MO

Speaking of 1918 Spanish flu, I have read that it is the first and so far only species brought back from extinction. I think that's a bit disturbing.

A link to citation:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/indepth_coverage/health/birdflu/1918flu.html

Probably folks here that know a lot more about it than me. I don't have a significant point, it was just something I stumbled over and related to this topic.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/04/2009
From: Jim Duron
Location: Prairieville, La

We had our first confirmed case of HN1N1 virus in my Parish this weekend (10 year old boy). Our Neighboring Parish has 7 confirmed and 14 suspected and they have closed 5 schools. All have been to Mexico over spring break and none are related. There is no panic yet but I did keep my oldest son from Hockey Practice since some of the kids he plays with attend those schools.

CNN said it is believed the Virus may have started in Wisconsin not Mexico. It seems that a Large corporate Pig farm is the origin for the first cases in Mexico(that's were the Mexican boy got it from) and Wisconsin(Both American owned). Prior to the Virus this Farm was causing all sorts of enviro-issues, water run off etc, in Mexico.

Greg should write a Book about a super flu virus with a Alien terrorist twist. A smart X-files meets Terry Nation's Survivors.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/04/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

I'm coming on this discussion late (Anniversary over the weekend and all) and all the traffic about the Swine Flu...which since the weekend the Media has somewhat fessed up to having blown it all out of proportion. There were emergency rooms in SoCal, and probably elsewhere, where people with a slight sniffle thought they were going to die of the Swine Flu.

Everyone over-reacted. Has the media spiraled out of control over the "If it bleeds it leads" mind set? Further Exaggerated by 24 hour cable news services that have to keep their ratings up, with something...and the Economic Depression just doesn't drive the viewer numbers any more.

What of the 60,000-75,000 people who die of Flu every year?

One of my videographer connections went into Urgent Care last week for lower back pain and they over reacted and thought she might have Swine Flu (she pulled muscles moving furniture) and made her sit in the waiting room with a mask on...which she actually liked cause none of the other patients bothered her (she is literally a "hot mama" and gets sweated by total strangers all the time in public).

The Media and the Public were starting to act as if this was Ebola or Aire Borne AIDS, not just a mutant flu coming back from Spring Break. It's fueled that fantasies of those who WANT to see Civilization Fall, as THE FINAL CRISIS. Even the slightly over-reactive saw it as "Captain Tripps".

While there was a porcine origin biovirus infecting tens or dozens of people (maybe hundreds at this time) the real virus was a mental one: Hysteria spread thru the Vector of sloppy news reporting.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

Hm... raw milk has a potentially large range of health problems, unless you know it comes from a very trusted source! Have you been introduced to the cow?
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

Supplements are useful, but good food will get you along better than supplements alone. In the trenches, they were likely dealing with bad food, rats, other diseases, and not much in the way of sunshine. German trenches were a little less inhospitable, as they dug them to stay in them for a while and provided proper sanitation. Our discussion here, however, is averting flu with Vitamin D, whose efficacy in this case I doubt. (Anybody have contrary scientific evidence?)
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/09/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Hey, Greg. In fact, in most cases, if it can be sold at all, it's done by owning shares in the cow/goats/sheep, meaning it's local, and you have every opportunity to see them and their environment. Further, people who do this often are largely struggling (not only due to the scarcity in the market, but from the animosity of the milk industry and their LOBBYISTS). For them it's a severe labor of love.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/12/2009
From: Greg Bear

I suspect the French cider has a lot to do with it!
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/12/2009
From: Greg Bear

Resurrecting a virus is not quite the same as bringing back a mammoth--but it could be almost as problematic as resurrecting a dinosaur... Still, the DNA/RNA formulae for many viruses are readily available, and some viruses are being reconstructed from scratch in labs--including polio and some HERVs.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/12/2009
From: Greg Bear

I'm intrigued by the sudden appearance of factory farms as possible culprits. Animals on factory farms are often stressed to the max, making them perfect hosts for viruses. In an ironic way, a factory farm is a lot like World War I...

Numerically, this flu does not seem out of the ordinary, though it's late in the flu season. Chief concern seems to now focus on the fall, when it might return with strengthened virulence. By then, if there's a vaccine, I'll definitely be getting a shot.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/12/2009
From: Greg Bear

Given the composition and nature of this flu, I don't think the concern was overblown. We're not over this one just yet--and in November, we might be much better prepared. Had there not been an outcry and "overreaction," particularly in Mexico, what would the outbreak be like now?

Remember, when running from a herd of engraged elephants, not being squashed is no reason for not running the next time as well...
 

Re: Swine Influenza (factory Farms)
Date: 05/17/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Dear Greg,

The mass movement of cattle in the U.K was one the main causes for the spread of BSE back in the day. So it surprises me that even after all those lessons were learned, that the French and other countries still transport animals in jam packed trucks all over the place..State to State; Country to Country..contamination is very possible under these circumstances

As A Chef, I wont buy meat unless the animals have been reared no more than two miles away..my customers demand it..and I'm lucky to be able to control the quality of the meat that I supply to them. In the same way, I either use my own vegetables, or the ones from my neighbours. Believe me..I've cut up and cooked hundreds of kilos of meat in my time...and there is a huge difference in the taste and texture of animals that were looked after prior to their demise.

I dont know what its like in the States..(well I do cos I look into it a bit) but it seems crazy that you have so many farmers producing awesome stuff, going bust and "repo'd" every year.( see Neil Young Farm Aid) The demand for low quality, mass prouced cheap gunk will hopefully decline in the "crunch", and hopefully pave the way to more thoughtful consumation.

Anyway..this is my comment in response to yours on the upsurge of factory farms. For once this is a subject I know a little about, hence this contribution

Cheers

Andrew
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/18/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Another thing about vaccination: I've met two women, now, who have autistic children. Both of one of the women's sons are. And in each case, including incidentally all others I've talked with via other media who have autistic children, the conditions manifested after a PROGRESSIVE VACCINATION schedule in infancy, where the children developed high fevers and even brain swelling after being vaccinated. This is still apparently not being looked into by mainstream medicine.
 

Re: Swine Influenza (factory Farms)
Date: 05/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Andrew! I think the chief concerns here are about price. Mass-produced food reaches far more consumers than local, "boutique" meat and vegetables--costs are lower. Quality of course is also lower (though I wonder if it has to be, given some clever re-thinking), and the risk of creating and spreading "zoonotic" disease must be taken into the economic equation. Mistreatment of animals--including unnatural rearing, compressed herding, and stressful transport--is of concern for so many reasons.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

The scientific verdict is in: no form of vaccination has had a verifiable statistical link to autism. How many other children went through those same procedures and did not develop autism? Millions, more than likely. The family tragedy here is immense, but this does not appear to be a cause, and any reduction in vaccination schedules will lead to many, many more illnesses and deaths.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 05/22/2009
From: patrick
Location:

re: vaccination and autism: Mmmmmm, it seems that for those who experienced such a coincidence, there is not other factor available. It could very likely be a genetic factor that is unobvious/unknown. Like playing roulette.
 

Autism and Other Vaccination Scares
Date: 07/14/2009
From: Fiona Reynolds
Location: Stockport, UK

Only two months late for a comment here I suppose, but here goes.

This is an extract from a book by Ben Goldacre who writes "Bad Science" for "The Guardian" newspaper (UK) and he sums up the problem with vaccination scares far more succinctly than I can. (http://www.badscience.net/2008/08/the-medias-mmr-hoax/#more-772)

"Before we begin, its worth taking a moment to look at vaccine scares around the world, because Im always struck by how circumscribed these panics are. The MMR and autism scare, for example, is practically non-existent outside Britain*. But throughout the 1990s France was in the grip of a scare that hepatitis B vaccine caused multiple sclerosis.

"In the US, the major vaccine fear has been around the use of a preservative called thiomersal, although somehow this hasnt caught on here, even though that same preservative was used in Britain. In the 1970s there was a widespread concern in the UK, driven again by a single doctor, that whooping-cough vaccine was causing neurological damage.

"What the diversity of these anti-vaccination panics helps to illustrate is the way in which they reflect local political and social concerns more than a genuine appraisal of the risk data, because if the vaccine for hepatitis B, or MMR, is dangerous in one country, it should be equally dangerous everywhere; and if those concerns were genuinely grounded in the evidence, especially in an age of the rapid propagation of information, you would expect the concerns to be expressed by journalists everywhere. Theyre not."

* Of course, Andrew Wakefield is weaving his own brand of magic in the US these days. He's speaking at the National Autism COnference later this year (http://www.nationalautismconference.org/speakerbios.htm). Despite discredited research alleging a link between MMR and autism, triggering the MMR vaccination panic in the UK and being investigated by the GMC.

Happy Days. Grr.
 

Autism and Other Vaccination Scares
Date: 07/14/2009
From: Greg Bear

An excellent overview from an international perspective. Thanks, Fiona.
 

Re: Swine Influenza
Date: 07/22/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

Dear Greg,

I hope that anyone reading this site will run away from any enforced vaccination programme. I sincerely hope that we are all given the choice, but it seems to me that mandatory vaccination is coming to us all.

None of the anti virals have been properly tested and I've heard that "Tamiflu" could potentially kill as many people as it saves. I believe that it is toxic to many people and should be avoided. For my part, I refuse to take any anti viral medicine; I always have and I always will; and if anyone tries to force it on to me...they'll have to contend with my Basque neighbours and our dogs.

Its an interesting time, but I dont believe the crap that is coming out of "Project Camelot" right now..if I did, well we might as well shoot ourselves now..Niburu..chemtrails..morphing influenza virus..what next? I think that they are very dangerous folk!

Cheers

Andrew

Arab Dawn?

Date: 04/22/2009 From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

5:57 AM PDT: Venus emerges from behind the moon's dark limb, across from the bright crescent.

Wow. The symbol of Islam, rising in the east. Now there's something to think about!

Nobody awake but my laptop!

Date: 04/22/2009 From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

Just wathched Venus "set" over the limb of the thin crescent moon, 5:07 AM PDT. A silent, lovely sight through binoculars. As I write, Luna is directly between us and "the morning star."

Haldeman, Harrison and Silverberg doing a panel together this weekend at L. A. Times Festival of Books. That'll be a treat, too.



 

Re: Nobody awake but my laptop!
Date: 04/25/2009
From: Greg Bear

Indeed! I'm missing that and the Nebulas, but will be down at Eaton in Riverside next weekend, barring quarantines for this new flu...
 

Re: Nobody awake but my laptop!
Date: 04/26/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

The SF Conference! Glad to have you in the neighborhood--have an "extraordinary voyage!"
 

Re: Nobody awake but my laptop!
Date: 04/30/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks! Might even drop by to see the premiere of STXI. Nothing like flying on crowded airplanes and hanging with large crowds during a flu epidemic...

Aye, what is this?

Date: 04/17/2009 From: patrick
Location:

Alas, I'm probably the ONE who pestered the library to get book copies - vs only those audio book copies! - of City until they finally did, several of them, and supposedly I was on the list, perhaps in or at least near the very front, and now that they have them, they're all out.
 

Re: Aye, what is this?
Date: 04/25/2009
From: Greg Bear

Good on you, and thanks, patrick. The audio version is excellent.

Halo!

Date: 04/17/2009 From: Justin Chaschowy
Location: Canada, British Columbia

Hello, big fan of the Halo series and I recently heard of you on taking a three series novel introducing the forerunners. I cannot wait, I've read the previous books and in comparission I've heard that your the best of the authors to take on the Halo challenge. I don't want this to jynx you of course. Just want to tell you I'm looking forward to reading your stories very much! Good luck and make them great, though of course you will! ;0
 

Re: Halo!
Date: 04/25/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Justin! We are patiently awaiting a contract before I start announcing things on the web site. But it looks like a done deal, if the lawyers get their work in before school's out...

Ghost Factory

Date: 04/16/2009 From: Addisson
Location: Maryland

GHOST FACTORY

Pieces of dead matter float in a viscuous blue liquid. Dead in the last stages before being set into molds for parts of artificial ghost limbs. Matter is sent through several sessions of purification before certification. The research facility concerning paranormal activity hardly recognizes this behavior. They are so busy chasing crop circles anything not manmade slips under the radar. The ghosts can get away with anything, including setting up an entire military-industrial complex.

Paranormal Researcher: "I pretend to be fascinated by the unknown, but it's really myself that fascinates me. I share my findings online with my research partners, but in reality I see them all as extensions of my own solipsistic world, a tidal pool with no end."

I don't want to die, but parts of me do.

In life, the real ghosts evade me. Searching for plateaus until the long slide downward, I install tiny receptors in my eyes to augment my vision. Overlay displays of deceased colonies, even the dead move on. Their populations are moving, leaving behind cities Youth catches up to me as ghosts from my past manufacture my own demise. It's inevitable that the research must end. The End approaches, beneath detection, not out of malice but to manufacture future haunting.
 

Re: Ghost Factory
Date: 04/25/2009
From: Greg Bear

Very cool, Addison! Now turn this into a story--or pitch it as a TV series...

Arthur C. Clarke postulated that there have been one hundred billion humans on this world since the beginning. Makes for a crowded planet if they don't move on!
 

Re: Ghost Factory
Date: 04/26/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Actually brings some death metal to mind. Maybe something in the vein of Nocturnus.
 

Re: Ghost Factory
Date: 05/04/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

I actually looked into recently Sir Arthur's estimate of the number of ghosts standing behind us. The actual figure is between 95 Billion and 145 Billion, with 120 Billion probably being closer to the mark.

Remember that he came up with that figure around '67 or '68, with fewer people on the planet than now, and maybe half a billion less dead historically.

I think it just fit in with that image of his that "Behind every man alive stands 100 ghosts"
 

Re: Ghost Factory
Date: 05/12/2009
From: Greg Bear

And with all those ghosts queued up, what are they waiting for? Did they take a number? And is the guy at the back last in line, or first? Questions to ponder as we approach that signpost up ahead...

Thank you for Eon.

Date: 04/12/2009 From: Austin
Location: Michigan

Greg,

I could probably write a whole lot but I'll try to be succinct. Thank you for Eon. I feel fortunate to be so easily taken away by music, films, and books, but nothing takes me farther than the type of story you've created in Eon. The concept / implications of 'first-contact' scenarios have intrigued me since I was a kid (I have the Lucasarts PC adventure game "The Dig" to thank for that. Do you know of it?). Something about them makes me feel humble with regard to my own existence, and the existence of 'mankind' / intelligent life in general. What a profound and drastic impact -- potentially dangerous at first but ultimately positive -- such an event would have in real life. It generates a sense of wonderment rarely (if ever) felt. What I'd give to live out the story of Patricia or Lanier...

Sincerely,
-Austin
 

Re: Thank you for Eon.
Date: 04/15/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks for the kind words, Austin! The big one for me was probably CHILDHOOD'S END back in the mid-sixties.

Before you watch it tonite: Mnemosyne & LOST

Date: 04/08/2009 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Hi Greg!

The Writer & Philosopher Douglas St. Clair Smith brought this Wiki article to our attention this morning to kick around for a while:

http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Apophenia#Forced_Connections

As he's extremely interested in how Apophenia works in Human Consciousness. And he came to view LOST only recently, the first TV show he's watched regularly in decades...he did one of those Marathon DVD viewings to "Catch Up" having heard the lot of us go off about the show for a while.

I'd just skimmed the above article during our session over it, but went back and did a close read, and found this way down in it:

'Mrs. Hawking's line "The universe, unfortunately, has a way of course correcting" from "Flashes Before Your Eyes" has led some fans to speculate that everything that ever happened on Lost is related to universal "course corrections". The crash of Oceanic Flight 815? A course-correction, because all of the survivors had evaded death before. All the deaths since then? Another course-correction. The Others? Servants of the universe bringing forth course-corrections. And so on.'

Sounds like the Function of a "Healthy and Integrated" Mnemosyne from CITY.

There was a link on course corrections in that original passage I quoted above

http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Course_correcting

The Time Travel aspect of The Universe of LOST is one without the possibility of Paradox, Alternates, etc.

A Mnemoysne type "Structure/Process" Turbo-Charged?

Something in the MIX is always correcting things, though cause and effect often loop on themselves, such as last week's Jack not Helping Young Ben actually leading to the events that make Ben, well Ben.

Anyway, just some things to think about before tonite's episode.

MG
 

Re: Before you watch it tonite: Mnemosyne & LOST
Date: 04/15/2009
From: Greg Bear

Catching up with LOST last week--seems to me they're working through an intricate and fairly well-thought-out variation on fixed and interwoven time lines and time travel. Of course, Mnemosyne is in part a bit of self-satire at how novelists (and screenwriters) improve their own rough drafts...

Question about City" the audiobook...

Date: 04/06/2009 From: Russell Clark
Location: Palo Alto, CA

Hi Greg,

I have become a big fan of audiobooks and now I mostly listen to the unabridged, audiobook version of books. Every book of yours that I have listened to I have enjoyed immensely and have stayed with me afterwards. One of the important aspects of the audiobook experience is of course the narrator. I wanted to ask you how much control do you have over who will be the narrator of the audiobook version of your books and also how much control do you have over the whole production? Charles Leggett does a remarkable job narrating "City". His use of accent, pitch and inflection are outstanding and I especially enjoyed his voice potrayal of Glockus. Will he be doing more of your books? and have you considered having just one person be the narrator for all of your books?
Thanks in advance for your answer,
RC
 

Re: Question about City
Date: 04/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

I've attended panels by audiobook narrators/actors at Comic-Con in San Diego and greatly admire their professionalism and talent. I've had very good luck with my narrators, and Charles Leggett has done a fine job with CITY, as you say--a very difficult project! I don't get to choose readers, but have been quite satisfied with the results.
 

Re: Question about City
Date: 06/12/2009
From: m k o
Location: kl ont

Great! Thanks. Every time I read "Glaucous" I had this Glockus/Glaussus/Glawshuss superposition thing going on.
Thanks for clearing that up.
So, Charles doesn't do Ginny's dialogue, does he?

I could hear the deep voice of Security Mars warning of a pressure curl,
like Lorne Greene.

I know you watch LOST and Heroes: Do you ever watch Supernatural?

Date: 04/03/2009 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Supernatural is a show my wife's heavily into, besides those other two above.

We have a guest over tonite, so I am watching this episode with them:

"The Monster At the End of This Book"

Having actually watched last weeks's episode:

"It's a Terrible Life" which used the Copala motif.

Anyway...If you are not watching it, it's a meta story episode where the two main characters find they have had all their adventures written about...and show up at the author's house as he is writing a new book where he meets them face to face.

A Kurt Vonnegut does Kilgore Trout kinda thing.

Very Very Meta Meta Meta-Fictional.

MG
 

Re: I know you watch LOST and Heroes: Do you ever watch Supernatural?
Date: 04/04/2009
From: Greg Bear

Just heard about this one--have yet to catch up on the last three episodes.

Google Authors lectures..Your lecture on "City" and other topics

Date: 04/01/2009 From: Andrew
Location: France

Dear Greg,

I used to regard myself as a tuned in guy...now I know I'm a schmuck!

Your lecture was so far beyond my tiny braincells that I think I'll revert back to "Janet and John" and even then with a hot water bottle on my brow!

I'm going off now to scribble with crayons and maybe make a raffiah basket at the back of the class...way behind where the smart kids dwell!

Cheers Greg...cant wait for your next tome!

Andrew
 

Re: Google Authors lectures..Your lecture on
Date: 04/01/2009
From: Greg Bear

Seems like the Google folks were tuned in--questions I had to figure out over months they cracked in minutes!
 

Re: Google Authors lectures..Your lecture on
Date: 04/01/2009
From: Andrew
Location: France

God you must be online right now!..my ciggie fell in my flipflop when your response came..a minor burn..dont worry about it...yes Google is awesome for their YouTube links..I check every day for updates (not in a weird kind of way I hope)

I was sitting contemplating ultra violet as your mail arrived...and I was wondering if there could possibly be some kind of synapse involved...Or I could be thinking bollocks as usual at this time of night..I should be more worried about my bank balance of course!

Cheers Greg..and thanks for your supersonic response!

Andrew

Science spending - a move forward?

Date: 03/30/2009 From: patrick
Location:

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/38362


""New US energy secretary Steven Chu has outlined how the Department of Energy will spend $1.2bn of the $1.6bn in research funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which became law in February. Chu says most of the money for science from President Barak Obama's stimulus package for 2009 will be spent on accelerating the progress of existing "shovel-ready" research projects and lab construction programmes.""

Quantico: great style

Date: 03/26/2009 From: Forkbeard
Location: Rotterdam

Hi Greg, I finished your book Quantico. It's not my cup of tea, I'm into hard SF, not (techno) thrillers. I decided to read the book anyway because you're the author and I loved all your other books.

It's not a bad story, indeed it is quite absorbing. However the thing I liked most about it is seeing how you exercised your writing style, the technical side of it: how the story is set up, and on a higher level, how you paint a very detailed scene with a minimal amount of words. You get to know the characters very well without knowing when that happened. I remember one quote, though I think not correctly: "I didn't vote for him the first time".

I congratulate you on a yet another masterpiece!


 

Re: Quantico: great style
Date: 03/26/2009
From: Greg Bear

Many thanks, Forkbeard! I'm just putting the finishing touches on a new novel in the Quantico sequence, MARIPOSA. I will be delivering it to the publisher shortly. Hope you enjoy this one, as well. (It has some physics, nanotech, and AI speculation in it, this time around, rather than biology.)
 

Re: Quantico: great style
Date: 03/28/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Hi Greg,

Well I'll be on the list for your new book..cant wait actually. There's ony two authors whose books I read many times over a number of years...you and Patrick OBrian.

God bless

Andrew
 

Re: Quantico: great style
Date: 04/01/2009
From: Greg Bear

I know quite a few POB fans, and am among them, and have the benefit of having yet to read the majority of his novels!
 

Re: Quantico: great style
Date: 04/04/2009
From: patrick
Location:

With your writing schedule, I'm curious how you have time an all. I guess it helps that the kids are grown. (Jeez, I'm getting so used to posting, I'm thinking it's a forum, and forgetting to do the 'validation' thing.)
 

Re: Quantico: great style
Date: 04/29/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Dear Greg,

With regards to POB its always been a pleasure for me to slip "Master and Commander" in friends rooms as they start their holiday..by the end of their stay they end up ordering the whole series when they get home.

In the same spirit, I also put a copy of "Eon" or "Forge" or "Moving Mars" and get the same result...I'm afraid that Amazon is letting you down a bit Greg!..Us Expats rely on a service such as theirs and they are saying that they cant get hold of your books!

I need to order a whole new batch as some of the ones I've re read over the years have snuffed it! Can you give your publishers a shove to supply Amazon, Play etc...It seems a shame that we cant buy your books as and when we want to.

Greg I envy you discovering POB books for the first time..like I envy readers discovering yours.

Cheers!
Andrew
 

Re: Quantico: great style
Date: 04/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

As far as I know, Amazon can get copies of MOVING MARS, EON, FORGE OF GOD, ETERNITY, ANVIL OF STARS, and LAMARCKIA from Tor in the United States. Some of these titles (from Hachette) have been reverted in the UK, but EON is just out in a lovely new edition from Orion, and BLOOD MUSIC is still available in the UK as well. We're working to get the others back in print.

Appearances

Date: 03/24/2009 From: Todd
Location: Portland

Hi Greg,

Just finished City, and I finally found a copy of Psychlone which I just cracked. You are by far my favorite author, and I have read almost every book & story you have written.

I was just curious if you have any appearances scheduled any time this year, local or otherwise. I make trips up to Seattle a couple times a year and thought I could plan around an appearance.

Thanks! Can't wait for the next novel.
 

Re: Appearances
Date: 03/24/2009
From: Greg Bear

Nothing planned at the moment, but keep tuned to this website. Books are in the offing and there may be some travel and events, certainly around the Northwest.

In defense of the word "gotten."

Date: 03/22/2009 From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA

Hi Greg. I know you have been taken to task in the past by our friends in the U.K. for your use of the word "gotten." And while I have had similar friendly disputes with Englishmen, I have never before been able to come up with a good reason why the word should exist. Until now.

Just a few minutes ago, I read the following sentence: "Museums have got to be a whole lot more interesting these days." Now, if this had been written by an American, we would immediately know that the author meant "must be" when he said "have got to be..." If he meant "have become," he would have written "have gotten to be..."

But, since the sentence was written by an Englishman, the meaning isn't nearly so obvious. It could either mean "must be," or "have become." And yes, often we can tell what the author probably meant, from the context, but the only way to be absolutely sure would be to ask him. And yes, authors could avoid the problem entirely by writing "must be" or "have become," but this was dialog, and how many characters would talk like that? ("Okay, now he sounds like a toff, but this is the only way I can make his meaning clear without using that Yank abomination 'gotten'.")

And THIS is why the word "gotten" is not only valid, but necessary. And to the naysayers, I will add "SO THERE!" :P
(Just by way of keeping the discussion on an adult level.)

Kelly

 

Re: In defense of the word
Date: 03/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

Good analysis. Most of these "yank" abominations actually come out of Elizabethan or even Anglo-Saxon roots, far earlier than any snobbish purist attitudes.
 

Re: In defense of the word
Date: 03/22/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

My only input is this,

An Englishman would never use the word gotten, but even so does it make it less of a word?

For years I used to assume in the days (in Europe) of capital punishment, that one was hung until dead...not so in correct English...one is HANGED by the neck until dead...which somehow makes it seem more macabre!

You say tomato etc...whats in a word

Andrew
 

Re: In defense of the word
Date: 03/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

No contemporary Englishman, perhaps--but who else was speaking Middle English back in the day? Or have we forgotten our roots, in hopes of ill-gotten gains? Beget, begotten...

Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, 1,3: "He was gotten in drink." Etc. etc. I rest my case.
 

Re: In defense of the word
Date: 03/26/2009
From: Robert
Location: Manchester

"An Englishman would never use the word gotten"

Rubbish :)

The word 'gotten' is in common use in England at least in colloquial use. I wouldn't write it in written English but that applies to lots of words.
 

Re: In defense of the word ..my last word on gotten
Date: 03/26/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

Hi Greg..hi all,

I dont want to sound like a "gotten" freak and I'm most definately not an English snob (either in culture or the written word), but I do want to chuck in some pre rennaisance words which are not in modern day parlence..ie "begat" "begot" and also I believe "begotten" ref the Bible (King James Edition).

I'm sorry if I sounded like an English prig. I didn't mean to..I just wanted to be slightly amusing. I'm afraid my dyslexia doesn't help...but it does excuse my aweful spelling.

Greg do you believe that fingers can paint colours on a querty keyboard? From the age of six or so, I trained myself to regard each key as a colour...example A is crimson, G is verdigris L is violet..otherwise the whole keyboard is a blobby blur (there's English for you)


Best Regards and sorry for offending..I didn't mean to

Andrew
 

Re: In defense of the word ..my last word on gotten
Date: 03/26/2009
From: Greg Bear

Absolutely no offense taken, Andrew! This has been a delightful and free-ranging discussion. That keyboard/letter color sense is a rare gift--I believe it's sometimes referred to as "synesthesia," and I've never experienced it myself.
 

Re: In defense of the word
Date: 03/28/2009
From: patrick
Location:

I don't think that's synaesthesia, though. He just developed a recognition system utilising those elements , vs inherently associating colors with letters, which as far as I know would be a very odd kind of synaesthesia.

As for the topic at hand, again, culture is a culprit of many facets. Ultimately, it's as the original poster intoned, a matter of functionality, and hence in a social sense for humans a mental issue.
 

Re: In defense of the word
Date: 04/07/2009
From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA

Actually, if we are to comment on my delivery, I would prefer "declaimed" to "intoned." The latter sounds rather sepulchral, don't you think? :)

Regarding hung/hanged and the rest,there is much precedent. However, my point was that in MODERN English, gotten is valid.

However, by saying this, I suppose I am also defending such actual abominations as "donut."

I used to have a girlfriend who would look up words on the internet, and challenge me to spell them. My sole "cheat" was the ability to ask her from what language they originated. I don't recall ever having been beaten. My current problem with words like "donut" is that they are totally "Americanized," and give no clue as to their origins.

I suppose this is another thing entirely. I've lived long enough to learn that languages evolve. The way I learned to spell things are often no longer correct, at least according to the spell-checkers. And you gotta love the grammar-checkers. :)

I fairly frequently use semicolons. And every time I do, the grammar checker responds with a comment that basically says "Er, you used a semicolon. I'm not sure what that means, and, by the way, I'm pretty sure you don't either, so I think it would probably be better if you stuck to less controversial punctuation."

So, while it is inevitable that the English language evolves, I would really rather it did so more slowly. It's REALLY annoying to be taken to task for having done something properly.
 

Re: In defense of the word
Date: 04/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

Kurt Vonnegut absolutely abhorred semicolons, making me feel guilty whenever I use one. And after I use it, I often pluck it out in commemoration of Mr. Vonnegut. Now I'm self-conscious about "gotten"! What next--split infinitives? Beginning a sentence with "but"? A writer's worries never end!
 

Re: In defense of the word
Date: 04/09/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Sepulchral? Hmmm. I'll cogitate on that one (hmhmhmh). In any case, Kelly, some of the 'evolution' of language is, at least in America, IS an abomination. Ten more years, and net speak will be in the goddamn dictionary. Freakin kids...of course, many adults are involved in the proliferation, too. Ack.

Also, like in the case of 'donut', you could ask whether it's colloquial American usage....hmhmhmhmh. But there's no *winning or losing* in such matters. There's only functionality, which is determined by context. And that is where I always reckon from, regardless of others' predilections.

As for using semicolons, I don't worry. I never use grammar or spell checkers, either. Errors be what they may if I miss them.
 

Re: In defense of the word
Date: 04/14/2009
From: Andrew
Location: Cauterets, France

Greg,
I wish I'd never " gotten" started on this subject...in old English lets say "ballocks" and lets eat drink and be merry...for tomorrow!!!

Peace to all and if you like I'll give you my recipe for chartreuse of quail..(I know you're a gourmand Greg)

Cheers

Andrew
 

Re: In defense of the word
Date: 04/15/2009
From: Greg Bear

By all means, quail away! Astrid is my expert chef.
 

Semicolons and Kurt Vonnegut
Date: 05/02/2009
From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA

Greg,

The last thing I want to do is make you self-conscious about semicolons, gotten, and split-infinitives. (oh my!)

Greg, and Astrid, the Bears, oh my! (Sorry, popped into my head, and I couldn't resist. I know, like you've never heard THAT one before. However, try growing up as a male with the name Kelly.)

Anyhoo, despite the opinion of the inestimable and revered Mr. Vonnegut, (and I mean that sincerely) I quite like semicolons. They are wonderful vehicles for connecting two independent clauses that are nevertheless linked in concept, and often to me a comma used in the same place looks clumsy and inappropriate, as does splitting the whole thing into two sentences. Whenever I try the latter, it usually makes me feel like Michael Blake. "He woke up. He was thirsty..." Prose for the brain to atrophy by.

By the way, I believe it was in "City of Angels" that it seemed you even shied away from a few commas. Okay, more than a few. I assumed this was intended to take into account the future evolution of the language. Was I correct? I hope so, as the alternative would seem to be that I am an annoying picker of nits.

Kelly





 

Freakin kids
Date: 05/02/2009
From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA

Patrick,

I agree whole-heartedly. However, language, and especially English, as it comprises and constantly adopts terms from so many other languages, seems to evolve the fastest of all.

The problem I have is that with the advent of the internet and other mass media, it is evolving fast enough to make my head swim.

And, the people who keep track of this, namely the editors and publishers of dictionaries seem, these days, to be total wimps about it. They just throw their hands up, and say something to the effect of "If enough idiots are saying, or spelling, it this way, it is by definition correct."

Therefore, for example, it is now officially correct, or at least officially acceptable, to pronounce the "t" in "often."

It used to be that such people held the line, and said things like "Despite the fact that the ignorant and uneducated frequently pronounce the "t" in "often" in an effort to sound more educated than they actually are, it is nevertheless silent in the correct pronunciation." These days, it seems they just wimp out when it comes to such things.

Lately I have noticed a near pandemic of such atrocities as "noone" for "no one," and "loose" for "lose." I have no doubt these will show up in dictionaries as "alternate" spellings in the next couple of years.

Yes, language will, and should, evolve. It just disturbs me that the ignorant and uneducated should have such a hand in it these days. Anyone who has a computer and an internet connection now seems almost compelled to do their part. Are spellings that include numbers, like "gr8" soon going to be "proper"?

I was born in the fifties, and have gradually learned to let go of certain spellings, like "aluminium," and "catalogue." However, I get annoyed when I encounter things like "Omelets, often misspelled Omelettes..." This is NOT a misspelling, any more that "night" is a misspelling in regard to "nite." AND, as I recall, it used to be "mis-spelling."

Okay, rant over. But, anyone who takes exception to this needs to read books a bit more. Older books would be "favourite."

Kelly

P.S. Greg, you will note that I start sentences with words like "And," and "But" quite shamelessly. And, I am frequently guilty of ending sentences with prepositions. The only rules regarding these apparent infractions were made up by the sort of people who pronounce the "t" in "often," or in the case of Englishmen, add "haitches" where they don't belong, like "HI'm sure HI don't know what Hyou're talking about." If you doubt me, ask a well traveled Englishman. :)

K.
 

Semicolons and Kurt Vonnegut
Date: 05/12/2009
From: Greg Bear

Right you are, Kelly--QUEEN OF ANGELS thew out a lot of punctuation, including commas. I still use semicolons, but only sparingly--in fear of a semicolonoscopy, I suppose!
 

Freakin kids
Date: 05/12/2009
From: Greg Bear

Ah, language and class snobbery--another long topic!
 

Re: In defense of the word
Date: 06/05/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Greg,
I suspect that a semicolonoscopy would be would be helped by a good shot of rohipnol..then you wouldn't care about punctuation..in any event..you wouldn't remember it!

Cheers

Andrew

Immortality

Date: 03/21/2009 From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

Great Lord Bear!

I hope you are continuing your quest for immortality, your life extension is very important for everyone and yourself.

The work you have done has inspired so many around the world and science has increased everywhere from what you have done. Never give up on living a longer healthy life and exploring space and the inner and interdimensional realms.

Yours in Second Life
Nemo
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Greg Bear

Hello, Aaron! If you read my books, especially VITALS, you'll see that I'm not a big fan of biological immortality--and have severe doubts about uploading into silicon. But I'll happily stick around to watch somebody else try it. I've got a big freezer in the garage... There's a guy with a yellow sweater inside at the moment.

Mr. Rogers... in the twenty-fourth and a half century!
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

I actually remember you addressing the social factor of rejecting easily available Biological Immortality way back in your first "Interstellar" series of Stories, Novellas, and Novels...especially in BEYOND HEAVEN'S RIVER.

At the time it reminded me of the slightly expensive bio-immortality in Niven's Known Space stories.

And there's always Frank Herbert's Biologicial Phantasy that everything we experience get'd download into genetic memory...and what's up-to date get's passed on at conception...the "Other Memory" of the Bene Gesserit, and the Abomination state of Alia and Leto II.

Me: Living for ever? Not so sure? Living a few centuris or thousands of years opens up all sorts of options for getting the full human experience. Millions of years? Hmmm...I'm not Alvin of Loronei, pining away in Diaspar being ignored by the Stars....
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 03/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

Heinlein also described a few problems with immortality(for Lazarus Long), as did Poul in BOAT OF A MILLION YEARS. One of the best novels on this topic is Joe Haldeman's THE LONG HABIT OF LIVING, aka BUYING TIME.
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 03/22/2009
From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

Great Lord Bear

I thought your novel Vitals was about the quest for life extension and the disruption of the quest by "men of ill will" as part of its plot. City memory in eon and eternity I thought was a type of life extension and the multiple lifetimes corporeal as well as partials etc.

Strength of stones had the "builder" who incarnated periodically to inspect his cities which lived for thousands of years. Thinner and Jeshua lived longer as mimics etc.

Lamarckia where olmy was trapped until found at old age and repaired. I kinda thought with the amount of books on extended life that it was part of your quest.

Your Partial in Second Life
Aaron

 

Re: Immortality
Date: 03/24/2009
From: Greg Bear

Uploading is one issue, with its own problems both practical and philosophical. But biological immortality--keeping a single physical body for long periods of time--comes with some very dire consequences for society, if the individual is allowed to continue to accrue power, knowledge, and wealth. Which of course we all would...
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 03/28/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Not necessarily, Greg. The problem, as it's always been, and as I've always 'opined', is that humans still have 'animal brains', and hence maintain a social system that enables 'power', etc.

One of the reasons Iain M. Banks' Culture universe works is because Minds have taken over for humans, to keep them safe from themselves. And as Minds are essentially immortal, it begs the question what they may do for eternity. Or, orthogonally, how tied is one to their memory?
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 04/01/2009
From: Greg Bear

Hmmm... Minds without biology? Minds unconstrained by motivation, competition, but still curious and benevolent? Sounds a bit like gods and angels to me!
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 04/02/2009
From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

Yeah, I guess life extension in a human form may only be possible for a few centuries before the individual and society encounters challenges.

I read recently in a physics book that every particle in the universe is attracted to each other via gravity, this amazed me because I guess that means everything is connected as a totality and nothing is forgotten even cause and effect perhaps. Maybe the spiritual beliefs hold some water and salt dissolved in it as an afterlife in spirit.

I can't experience the universe as a human body. Gods and Angels wouldn't surprise me, disembodied intelligences and all that. Maybe a yoda type immortality or something.
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 04/04/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Greg. How honorous of you.
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 04/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

Hmm... honorous, or onerous?
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 04/09/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Actually, it would be honorary.
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 04/17/2009
From: little river
Location:

actually, not honorary either...

but indeed, there are minds as such. unconstrained by, and despite even, their biology. curious, benevolent, and not at all competitive... without needing to be honored as a god, or given the honorary title of angel. patrick may merely wish to recognise the great respect greg is expressing regarding such individuals.
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 04/25/2009
From: Greg Bear

As I have something immaterial watching over my shoulder right now, I can't comment. Can angels have a facebook page?

Do angels have faces?
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 05/10/2009
From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

Is there anyway to speed up technology faster than Ray Kurzweils predictions for the singularity, since I don't want to wait to 2035 or 2045. I hear evolution somtimes jumps ahead quickly instead of gradually evolving over time. Hopefully this will happen - instead of a long wait till the singularity...
 

Mr. Rogers... in the twenty-fourth and a half century!
Date: 05/31/2009
From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA

Greg,

Now THAT is funny! I literally laughed out loud at that one. A cross between the seventies television show (Beedeebeedeebee) and the WB cartoon with Daffy Duck, I believe.

Regarding angels, this brings up an important theological subject for the modern age: How many angels could fit on a facebook page? And, would they be required to dance? :)

I suppose this is another topic, but regarding freezing people, I've always wondered how the proponents of this plan on patching up all the perforated cells, or preventing them from being punctured in the first place? I can just imagine thawing on a drip tray in a pool of stuff that's supposed to be inside me, like the roasts I've taken out of the freezer.




 

Re: Evolution
Date: 05/31/2009
From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA

Aaron,

Indeed evolution does occasionally jump ahead quickly, but only under unusually adverse conditions, and, regarding vertebrates, at least, only if your idea of "quickly" is "within a few millennia. :)

Also, evolution is notorious for not happening within the lifetime of an individual, at least to that individual, so most likely we'll just have to keep plodding along as we are, in that regard.

Technology, on the other hand, often progresses in leaps and bounds, and who can tell what may or may not happen within the next decade or two?

Most people were still riding horses as little as a century ago; then (with a lot in-between) in the sixties came the space program, and most of us back then thought people would be living on Mars by now, or at least that we'd have flying cars. :)

It would indeed be nice to be able to spur technology along, wouldn't it? I still want my flying car!
 

Mr. Rogers... in the twenty-fourth and a half century!
Date: 05/31/2009
From: Greg Bear

Even pack in the old days, corpsickles were perfused with subtances that supposedly prevented ice-crystal formation. The goal was a "glassy" freeze rather than a "quartz" freeze. Cold vitrifying, anyone?
 

Re: Evolution
Date: 05/31/2009
From: Greg Bear

And once there were flying horses...
 

Re: Evolution
Date: 06/02/2009
From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

I was wondering if perhaps the Greek mythology hints at some sort of earlier mastery in biotechnology and other things more profound than modern science (so called) believes was in the ancient times. Pegasus, centaurs, minotaurs and other high end chimeras, like some weird experiments with human and animal DNA. I wondered if perhaps the science in mythology is from the future - now in the past - or whether the ancient world had high sophisticated technology that only now is being rediscovered after the Romans "civilized" the world. Do you have any beliefs or ideas regarding practical time travel or an alternate viewpoint on the technology of the past?
 

Re: Evolution
Date: 06/02/2009
From: Greg Bear

As a Trekkie, I'm well aware what those Greek gods were up to... But personally, I think imagination is a more likely explanation. (I'd hate to have people blaming my aliens and beasts and such on time travel or superscience or alien interventions. Wait a minute--there's a blue police booth buzzing into my office corner...)
 

Re: Evolution
Date: 06/04/2009
From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

Have to show you my Tardis in Second Life sometime lol will endeavor to send pics at least.
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 06/12/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

TASTY FREEZE: Kzinti or their like arrive at Earth to find humans all gone...except for the Alcor folks of course, frozen in their double-walled dewers. "How thoughtful!"

I wonder what will happen when we finally clone animals (people) capable of speech. Might the "duplicates," exposed to the right stimuli, begin to pick up the interupted memory-strand(s) of the originals, like Heinlin's telepathic twins? Might that be all memory is in the first place: a "telepathic" resonance with this-or-that former self (the one who's ALSO smelling jasmine, for instance, or hearing a favorite song)? Maybe if I want to "upload" myself I should just listen to a unique musical phrase (a mental "address") over and over, devloping an intense association between my "Billness" and a one-of-a-kind (but reproducable) experience, which I could leave for posterity along with a record of my genetic sequence (physical address).

I console myself that it's already taken care of "in the nature of things--that music, or language, or ANYTHING, conveys meaning to us because we're ALREADY immortal, drawing on our eternal foundation in the Matrix/Akashic Record/Bell Continuum/Omega Point/Whatever for the very ideas we juggle when we worry about dying.

Sometimes, in fact, materialists scare me more than Kzinti. "Logic is the BEGINNING of wisdom..."

Out of my depth too early in the day,
Bill
 

Re: Immortality
Date: 06/13/2009
From: Greg Bear

And we used to call them corpsickles... would Kzinti lick or chew?

Nader's Reaction

Date: 03/17/2009 From: Kevin Frushour
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Thanks so much for the mental playgrounds you've given us to romp in! I've just finished rereading Eon and Eternity. (I'm digging back into Blood Music now - half my paperbacks have been in storage at my parents house since I got married ten years ago - I've got a lot of rereading to catch up on!)

Anyway, I have been searching the internet to see if Ralph Nader ever knew or reacted to his popping up in Eon as "The Good Man". I've always wondered, and can't seem to find any references to it online.

I also did some quick calculations to if I could do make a model of the portion of The Way used in Eon, but best as I can figure it if I used empty paper towel tubes I'd need to have a mile's length just to get to where Axis City was at the beginning of the book. We don't use THAT many paper towels around here - even with three kids - so there goes that idea!

Thanks!
 

Re: Nader's Reaction
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Greg Bear

Actually, cut those tubes up into seven roughly one inch lengths, string them on a straw--with the straw running down the empty middle--and then embed them in a lump of plaster about a foot long... Your problem comes when you try to approximate the seventh chamber! So just attach a garden hose that goes on forever.
 

Re: Nader's Reaction
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Kevin Frushour
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

I'll see if they have any infinite garden hose down over at Home Depot. I might need to borrow a big truck to bring it home in, though...

You may have already seen this if you were at the memorila

Date: 03/17/2009 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

http://scifiwire.com/2009/03/forrest-j-ackerman-has-a.php

There's a video link halfway down the page...4E's last video appearance in his life.

MG in SD
 

Re: You may have already seen this if you were at the memorila
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Greg Bear

Very touching. Forry to the end!
 

Re: You may have already seen this if you were at the memorila
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

I passed that also on to my co-hort Susie. who did a whole Radio Show Memorila about Forrey...back at the start of November when it looked like he was about to go...4E's last message got a full ten minutes of tears out of her.

A friend raised an issue of the Ackermonster might not have left hundreds of Pre-Taped messages waiting to be played at conventions and events at preselected times...a la Hari Seldon.

I wouldn't put it past him...4E manifesting electronically for decades if not centuries...semingly randomly.

Audio

Date: 03/13/2009 From: Blaine Moreau
Location:

Are any of yor books available on audio? Thanks.
 

Re: Audio
Date: 03/17/2009
From: Greg Bear

Absolutely. Most of my major novels are available on audio, either through Recorded Books, Random House Audio, or BBC Audio.

Petra Movie?

Date: 03/10/2009 From: Theo Kipnis
Location: Arizona

Hello,

I was just looking up information on your short story Petra, which I've realized has stuck with me all these years, and found a reference to it being used as the basis for a movie. I found nothing by that name on IMDB, nor any movies crediting you as the writer. Was that movie ever made? If not, are there plans to do so in the future? I'd love to know.

Best regards,

Theo
 

Re: Petra Movie?
Date: 03/17/2009
From: Greg Bear

A short screenplay was written over ten years ago, and even some design sketches made, but it was never produced.
 

Re: Petra Movie?
Date: 03/17/2009
From: Theo
Location: Tucson

Thanks for the response! I guess the bright side about nobody making the movie is that nobody has yet made it badly. Hopefully, someone will come back to you about it in the future and follow through with adequate vision. I dare say CGI has improved since the last script was made.

I've just ordered a copy of Sleepside. Do you have any other stories that involve a world like the one in Petra?
 

Re: Petra Movie?
Date: 03/18/2009
From: Roald Laurenson
Location:

Hmm, and always think this is kind of a great story.

It is for adults, though, and I would think it's one of those experiences that works best with words and the private imagination.

Best,
Roald
 

Re: Petra Movie?
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Greg Bear

There's a touch of "Petra" in CITY AT THE END OF TIME--but not Notre Dame.
 

Re: Petra Movie?
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Greg Bear

CITY OF LOST CHILDREN is also for adults, a wonderful fantasy film that seems to have something of the same mood. I was honored to meet co-director Marc Caro in Nantes recently.
 

Re: Petra Movie?
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Mike Glossons
Location: San Diego, CA

Oh Greg...I REALLY wish you HAD NOT mentioned Petra and the Morte Dieu in connection with CITY.

I've really been trying to put that aspect of the NOVEL out of my Mind for a while now.

Think I'll go waste some brain cells on CRADLE.
 

Re: Petra Movie?
Date: 03/24/2009
From: Theo
Location: Arizona

Thanks for the recommendation! I'll get City of the End of Time soon and check it out. I'm looking forward to it -- and precisely *because* I'm looking for more stories along the lines of Mortdieu. That general premise has clearly infinite potential for storytelling in any direction, and I'm interested to see what else you may have done with it.

Incidentally, I'd run into Petra via the Mirrorshades compliation originally, so the other stories in Sleepsides are new to me and I'm enjoying them. Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
 

Re: Petra Movie?
Date: 03/24/2009
From: Greg Bear

My pleasure. There's also an omnibus anthology from Tor available in trade paperback, "Collected Stories."

Media Monoply

Date: 03/08/2009 From: David P. Johnson
Location: Twin Cities

Greg,

Your none to subtle critique on what conservatives further validates my point. Lib's love to pidgeonhole their opponents, marginalize and even label them as intolerant. After spending a lot of time on various college campuses, I believe it safe to say that the prevailing liberal mindset is by far and away the most INTOLERANT of the two.You say talk radio is sort of narcotic for the right? How then would you characterize the the remaining media outlets, as unbiased? Obviously anyone with a shred of common sense would conclude that the majority of the TV and printed media, overwhelm any rightward bend elsewhere. (and please don't bring up Fox) CBS, NBC and ABC are unabashedly liberal. If one doubted that, look at the election coverage from the last election cycle. "Barack, what's your favorite color?" "Michelle, are you proud of your country now?" Folks, socialism is a failed ideology because it leads to people relying upon government to make their choices and having zero control over their lives. 'Stalinesque' I'd say. If there are any college students reading this, then please evaluate your prof's political leanings. Then look at the length of time they've spent on college campuses. In most cases there is a correlation, the longer the duration, the more liberal. Liberalism is all about feelings (see political correctness) not about facts and reality. School text books have been altered as to be more inclusive so people FEEL more included. I'm old enough to remember what Jimmy Carter did to this country and we're still paying the price. (see Iran) The average Iranian would gladly trade the Ayatollahs for the Shah, or so I've read.

Enough pontification...strap in folks, we've done this to ourselves here in America. The only CHANGE we'll see is what's left in our pants pockets after Comrade Obama get's finished...
 

Re: Media Monoply
Date: 03/17/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Ahem. We'll see if Greg posts this...alternative....response. As I've mentioned here before, humans tend to personalize things. Most things, if not everything. The need for social groupings, to be included in them, is a related emotional element, and a constraining one. Transcend culture, lad.
 

Re: Media Monoply
Date: 03/17/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Sorry David, I'm having a hard time grok'n Greg Bear as a Fount of Liberalism, or even painting the major medias as Liberal...I'd say they might pay lip service to it some times, but deep down they are about as CORP as you would find in any William Gibson Novel.

And not to say that Greg is a Font of the Right either. I've watched his writing and "political stand" develop over the last three decades, and without speaking for him (the man speaks for himself well enough) I'm not exactly sure where I would put him, or even want him to come out and publish a "Manifesto of Where Greg Bear Stands."

But he does have a track record of actually looking into things and telling us how he either sees them or how they will play out.

What Jimmy Carter did to this counry? How about what Nixon did to our Space Program? And don't get me started on what Reagan did.

But I actually know some one who was a General in the Shah's army, and was tortured by the new Regime for same. He doesn't blame Carter, he goes all the way back to what the British did after the end of WWI to the region as the cause of all the problems.

We could sit here and play the blame game until the sun burns out. Instead the world needs to get beyond its current state of ideologies standing against each other with crossed or folded arms screaming like frightened chimps at each other...unfortunately I think it will take a global disater for that kind of unity and understanding to occur. Lots of SF novels address just that theme. I think Greg may have tackled it a time or too as well (such as the alternate time line that Launched Thistledown)

Mike Glosson
 

Re: Media Monoply
Date: 03/18/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

That's amazing. I wonder if it hurts. Do you suppose he does some kind of limbering up, first?
 

Re: Media Monoply
Date: 03/19/2009
From: Jim
Location: Baton Rouge, La

Wow! were to begin? When you begin with labels like Libs,Stalinesque and Comrade I wonder if responding to you is a waste of time but here I go. First why not bring up FOX?

Second Media outlets are mostly owned by a small number of large companies that are driven by ratings and advertiser dollars with little or no real journalistic integrity except for a few News Papers. They are about ratings and will go with the flavor of the month. Read what Soc. 101 has to say about Common Sense, Facts and Reality.

As far as School books go most Public schools don't use them now(I have kids in school). I've seen no political correctness and in fact have seen more detailed teachings then when I was a kid. My kids are learning things in middle school that I did in high school or college. I also am old enough to remember Carter/Iran and you have some revisionist history lessons I'm guessing?

As far as Talk Radio being Narcotic for the Right, I would say Bulls Eye!!!!!



 

Re: Media Monoply
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Greg Bear

As long as key Republicans keep behaving the way Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter want them to behave, I'm a Democrat through and through. Remember, folks, my very conservative and patriotic friend Jerry Pournelle was booted out of the Republican party by David Frum a couple of years back... because he had nuanced, intelligent opinions about such things as the Iraq wars, which he opposed--both of them. Now, Mr. Frum is trying to re-structure the conservative movement into something cohesive and constructive... More power to him, but why did it take a massive election loss to show him how corrupt his party had become?
 

Re: Media Monoply
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Greg Bear

Right now, Huckabee and Limbaugh and Coulter are throwing out the history books to tell us FDR didn't do anything to help in the last Depression. No serious historian accepts this--it's an outright lie. Recently, a very conservative colleague (a self-confessed Bush fan) did his damnedest to convince me that some lower official in the Clinton administration was the first Attorney General to ever be convicted and go to jail. Pointing out that this person was never attorney general (that was Janet Reno) and that the first AG to go to jail was John Mitchell, from the Nixon adminstration, caused hardly a ripple of concern. Three times he insisted on this as a fact, and finally I gave up.
 

Re: Media Monoply
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Jim Duron
Location: Baton Rouge

I'm not convinced Limbaugh and Coulter actually believe in the crap they spout. IMO they are about ratings and book sales and know how to pander to the lowest common thread. That being said I think there overall message is poison to there party and the country as a whole. McCain's daughter recently said the same thing.

I have not had a chance to listen to Huckabee and maybe I should be grateful for that. Conservative Radio sounds a lot like early European church spreading fear/lies and condemning any non confirmed train of thought as hierarchy against God or in this case socialistic anti-American thinking. The Problem for me is they mix opinion with so-called facts and present it as Gospel truth (common sense). Whatever the motive is they sell and spread fear very effectively (David is proof of that).

 

Re: Media Monoply
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Mike Glossons
Location: San Diego, CA

Greg:

OK...I've been living under a ROCK, definitely. Didn't know Jerry P got kicked out of the Republican party. No wonder they've become RepubliCANTs.

As I sit back and watch the Republican party unravel and let Rush Babel...I wonder just how far the impolsion will go, before some Jerry Ford Middle of the Road truly concerned for the Party kind of Republican STEPS FORWARD and starts talking real Republican Sense for the first time in a quarter century.
 

Re: Media Monoply
Date: 03/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

Waiting is... (As a Martian named Smith once said.)
 

Re: Media Monoply
Date: 03/28/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Hah. No shit. For everything. Totally.

Eon, Eternity etc

Date: 03/05/2009 From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

Hi,
Forgive me if you've already answered this question, but have you ever been approached to make the above series into a movie or movies? I read once that you had, but that you thought CGI wasn't up to it yet (this was some years ago)

For my own part, although I would love to see a GOOD adaption on screen...your writing is so superbly descriptive that when I read any of your books..the movie is already in my mind!

Thankyou for the many many hours of enjoyment that you have given me over the years...at some very bad moments in my life, your stories have whisked me away to places where all is ok with the word!..Thankyou Greg.

Andrew
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 03/06/2009
From: Greg Bear

Other than the CGSociety EON challenge (mentioned elsewhere here), there have been no options or adaptations of the Eon novels. Patience is a virtue...
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 03/06/2009
From: Dan
Location: San Diego

Greg, have you ever been tempted to write a movie script? Or one of those scripts pretending to be a book?
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 03/06/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

I actually think those two novels would make a great MINI Series for some Cable Channel. They are BIG BOOKS and trying to condense either of them down to two or so hours might result in a Cinematic Train Wreck.

Or let's be ambitious here: maybe even a long running series like LOST.

Gonna have to put those two into the re-read list...it's been a while...though a lot of scenes from ETERNITY are perm burned into my imagination.

But what I'd REALLY LIKE TO SEE is PSYCHLONE brought to the Big Screen. Read that upon first publication as a teenager one rainy Saturday night and had my self scared and horrified so hard that I didn't sleep until Sunday.

The effects of a Nuclear Blast on the Soul were even read by none other than William S. Burroughs...who makes mention of that in passing in THE WESTERN LANDS if memory serves correctly. Even Wild Bill Burroughs was reading your SF.

And as I was reading QUANTICO two summers ago I saw that as easily filmable.
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 03/17/2009
From: Greg Bear

I've written several scripts--and even been paid for one--but none have yet been produced.
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 03/17/2009
From: Greg Bear

I wonder if Bill Burroughs was actually reading James Blish, whose novel, BLACK EASTER, first proposed this bizarre notion...
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 03/17/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

What?!?!? The Nuked Souls thing wasn't your original idea? All this time...I know, good writers borrow, great writers steal.

Hard to say where Bill incorporated the idea...but it's highly probably that he may have been reading your work in the 1980s when he was down in Lawrence, Kansas. Spent part of Friday night trying to find the passage in THE WESTERN LANDS, but couldn't. Another book I have to wait on, as I was reading that and THE LAST MUSEUM shortly after my Dad's death...with refernce to both "Books of the Dead" those novels are based on/in.

The description though, which was just one paragraph, sounded a LOT like your descriptive passages on the formation of the Pyschlone
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 03/21/2009
From: Greg Bear

Very possibly Burroughs did read PSYCHLONE, but credit where credit is due. GHOSTBUSTERS came out after both BLACK EASTER and PSYCHLONE--a lovely film that takes these ideas into a whole new realm. And I have to credit Richard Matheson's LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE for advancing a few ideas about ghosts and physics--and strongly influencing my take on spooky tales.
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 03/22/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

Hi Greg,

I wonder if you've looked into the project Camelot/Aavelon websites..I've been researching them for a while and it occurs to me that the likes of Bob Lear have been reading your books!..especially with regard to the drive system he found on the dark side of the moon.

I withhold judgement cos they just look like shadows to me..but as everyone is talking about 2012, I wonder what your "take" on that is. I live in the French Pyrenees, supposedly right next to where the Annunaki (sic) are supposed to dwell...well I can report nothing so far!..I keep looking though.

Cheers Greg, Loved the City book..a bit lost at the end but am trying to solve 1298..not a date for sure...not a metalic compound either I'm sure...Do I come close if I mention a Chinese Sage?

Cant wait for your next installment

Andrew
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 03/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

You do come close, Andrew. (Not sure what's on the dark side of the moon, since there is no dark side--only a far side! Where no doubt great cartoons go to live.)
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 03/24/2009
From: Todd Gustafson
Location: Portland, OR

I completely agree with your assessment of making a mini-series rather than trying a feature out of Eon/Eternity. Look what happened to Stephen King's "Christine". A decent movie, but if kept to the original context of the book - it would have been a 4-5 hour movie itself. They really had to butcher a few of the major plot points to cut it to script.

I should make some calls to Hollywood ;-)

 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 04/13/2009
From: The Spoon
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Re 1298: Wang Zhen? Very apt if so, otherwise stumped!
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 04/15/2009
From: Greg Bear

You've got it!
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 04/23/2009
From: Andrew
Location: France

I had it first!!! aaargh! I just didn't name the name...remember I asked "is it a chinese (oriental) sage? Blast! Well done spoon! you pipped me to the post!

Greg the penalty is that you must come and stay with Astrid in my Chambre D'Hotes in the French Pyrenees the next time you're over this way! enjoy my food and sign my books ok?

Cheers Greg...Cheers Spoon ( I wish I could have remotely knackered your google search!..well done anyway)

Andrew
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 04/25/2009
From: Greg Bear

As long as we can be introduced to those lovely creatures you describe... How far are you from the Pic du Midi?
 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 04/26/2009
From: andrew
Location: Cauterets, France

Hi Greg,
I must stop commenting on your site after too many glasses of "Bearne" Rose! Its very hard to do so living with these French mountain folk who roast a hog (at least I hope its a hog), at the drop of a hat! and pump their local booze into one!

To answer your question, my place is about an hour away from the Pic du Midi and about thirty five minutes away from the " Circe de Gavarnie" and about the same to the "Ponte de Espagne"..Its an awesome area. with near extinct species hanging around my front terrace almost every day.

I am a city guy Greg and country living is a shock..but apart from those disc cutting flys I mentioned..where else would a marmot come down and pinch my sanwich? (while I'm holding it!) At the moment we're fighting the mouse sized slugs off of my vegetable patch...they're relentless!

Greg if you're ever this way with you Astrid; please come as my guest..it'd be a pleasure (I promise I wont be a bore ). I'll leave my website addy below so you can have a look if you would like to...I'm not advertising so delete it if you like.

Best Regards,

Your fan and friend

Andrew

website as follows:- www.lesruisseaux.com

 

Re: Eon, Eternity etc
Date: 04/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

We know from mouse-sized slugs here in the Northwest! We call some of them "banana slugs." I'm waiting for a novel set in Forks dealing with vampire banana slugs...

BOOK SEARCH

Date: 03/03/2009 From: BILL ARCHER
Location: SNOHOMISH WA

Where can I find the book CRYPTOIDS AND THEIR DICOVERERS BY DAVID BANDLE??

YOU HVAE MENTIONED IT IN SEVERAL OF YOUR BOOKS.

THANKS, BILL ARCHER
 

Re: BOOK SEARCH
Date: 03/04/2009
From: Greg Bear

Hello, Bill! This book doesn't exist (it's only mentioned in CITY AT THE END OF TIME) but one of the books that inspired the reference is THE LOST ARK by Dr. Karl Shuker, published by Harper Collins UK in 1993. Very enjoyable.
 

Re: BOOK SEARCH
Date: 03/04/2009
From: Terran
Location: Winter Park, FL

There are some other cryptozoology books listed at: http://www.librarything.com/catalog/polybiblios&tag=cryptids
 

Re: BOOK SEARCH
Date: 03/06/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Greg:

Haha! I Figured the Bandle Book was "fictive" when my Wife didn't recognize the author or the title. She's a HUGE Cryptid "Fan"

Fictive here, as in made up here...but in the various Seattles in CITY it's all too real, and in numerous alternate printings.

Not sure if it counts as a special fictive book within a book like "The King in Yellow" or "The Necronomicon" or any of Kilgore Trouts' titles...and it's something I haven't really considered in my various essays about CITY...which is ODD on my part with BOOKS playing such an important role all up and down the muddy turbulent time stream.

Mike

You have GOT to read this one: Did Ancient Viruses Spur Human Evolution?

Date: 03/03/2009 From: Avi Dardik
Location: Israel

Hi Greg,

I read your book - Darwin's Radio - a few years back, and it definitely left an impression.
yesterday I found a scientific piece that immediately threw me back to your book. Big time.

I was so impressed (can you see the future?!), I posted a piece on my blog:
If you have 2 spare minutes - Please read http://www.avidardik.com/2009/03/04/did-ancient-viruses-spur-human-evolution/
 

Re: You have GOT to read this one: Did Ancient Viruses Spur Human Evolution?
Date: 03/04/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks for the nod, Avi! The original New Yorker article interviews John Coffin, who was one of my virus experts years back when I researched DARWIN'S RADIO, for his contributions to the massive textbook, RETROVIRUSES.
 

Re: You have GOT to read this one: Did Ancient Viruses Spur Human Evolution?
Date: 06/22/2009
From: Bill Sutherland
Location: Tennessee

Harks back more to VITALS, I think. Good SF, that...except for the "Smith & Wesson thirty ought-six" that was found on a stack of books. Fact-checking is just too much to ask in this era, I think.

Thank you again for your work, which I have enjoyed for many years.
 

Re: You have GOT to read this one: Did Ancient Viruses Spur Human Evolution?
Date: 06/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

Ah, I'll never live that down--along with calling an Irish whiskey "scotch" in BLOOD MUSIC long time back. But never fear--there's another Smith and Wesson in MARIPOSA, this time a set of restraints--cuffs and chains.

new book store

Date: 03/02/2009 From: Brad Kinne
Location: Boston, MA.

I just wanted to let you know about a new Used bookstore opening in Boston, MA. USA on April 30th 2009 specializing in sf/fantasy & horror.
www.seekbooks.org
Best
Brad Kinne
 

Re: new book store
Date: 03/02/2009
From: Greg Bear

So posted! Good luck with the new store, Brad.

Question about The Third Industrial Revolution

Date: 02/26/2009 From: Sean Van Duser
Location: Los Angeles CA

Dear Mr. Bear
My name is Sean and I currently work as a Paramedic in the city of Oxnard. On my down time at the station I love to read sci fi. I am currently reading your book Moving Mars and I find it fascinating. The uses of nano technology and the integrated systems between man and machine "quantum logic thinkers" have been the most interesting to me . I have been reading many articles about the use of carbon nano tubes being used more frequently in industrial purposes. Do you know of any company that currently produces them in mass quantities, and if so have they gone public yet? I recently read Harry Stine's the third industrial revolution and wondered after reading why have we not set up the similar processes already. The one that stood out most in my mind was the use of a mylar sheath orbiting the sun to truly harness its power . I am 26 and I feel that moving from a type 0 to type 1 civilization "as professor kaku callls it", is with in our reach. What advice can you give to me and people of my generation in order to further the development of these systems and the private space technological industry?

Thank You for your inspiration!
 

Re: Question about The Third Industrial Revolution
Date: 02/27/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks for your kind words, Sean! I don't know of any sources, but there's a fine intro on Wikipedia that might start your hunt for you. And be aware--there are likely health concerns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_nanotube
 

Re: Question about The Third Industrial Revolution
Date: 03/02/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Another "General" web-place to track advances in Nano Technology is

http://www.nature.com/news/index.html

But one has to be quick since they went Pay-Premium a few years back: Many news items are free for the first few days after publication, but you have to $$ out for nearly anything archived.

Benefit of this: The discovers/papers are peer reviewed on Nature's site...and the news items point that process.

I've seen a mix of carbon nano tubes, tiny molecular motor machines, DNA used as a computing matrix, tailored viruses for gene insertion, etc. etc...and all stuff seen speculated about in a fictive context in Greg Bear's work going back at least a quarter century or more!

Hope that helps.

MG
 

Re: Question about The Third Industrial Revolution
Date: 03/02/2009
From: Greg Bear

Access to NATURE Online is well worth a subscription to the paper version of the magazine, and can even be purchased separately, I believe...
 

Re: Question about The Third Industrial Revolution
Date: 03/02/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Well, you could look here (a sort of lark that panned out) : http://nanoworld.com/

Here's a companion to PhysicsWorld: http://nanotechweb.org/cws/home

Or just google 'nano', 'nanotech', etc.
 

Question to Greg Bear
Date: 03/03/2009
From: J. Mailes
Location: Lancaster CA

You mentioned in your original response that there are health concerns, I was wondering what were those concerns?
 

Question to Greg Bear
Date: 03/04/2009
From: Greg Bear

Carbon nanotube fibers may be bioreactive, and thus cause health problems if inhaled, ingested, etc. The data still seems to be mixed, but caution is certainly warranted.
 

Re: Question about The Third Industrial Revolution
Date: 04/17/2009
From: little river
Location:

There are people who have, for a long while, been working on bringing about this new type of age, who claim the only thing standing in the way are the economic and political models currently being utilized that rely on competition and scarcity to drive profit/progress. Decades of research into working alternatives have produced some amazing interpretations of how we could be living right now, using technology that already exists. Here is one such project: http://www.thevenusproject.com/
 

Re: Question about The Third Industrial Revolution
Date: 04/25/2009
From: Greg Bear

Cool-looking structures, but without dipping too much deeper, I have to say this site's philosophy seems a little vague. I've always been skeptical of solutions that insist we change human nature, rather than learn how to work with who we are. Can you give a two-paragraph synopsis of how this is all supposed to work? Thanks!

Science Fiction and the literary canon

Date: 02/25/2009 From: Imelda Gonzalez
Location: San Antonio

Dear Mr. Bear,

I am currently a graduate student of English at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, TX. I am enrolled in class titled Literary Forms where we are focusing on Science Fiction stories. My classmates, professor and I have discussed Science Fiction writings and their place in the literary canon. My question, or questions, to you is: What are your thoughts on Science Fiction writings being included in the literary canon? For the most part, when we think of what would be considered literature, we think of Charles Dickens, William Faulkner, even H.G. Wells. As you may know, literary scholars may not be too welcoming of Science Fiction stories. Do you think S.F. stories can be included in the canon? Why or why not? Your response would be greatly appreciated by my professor, classmates and me. I'm also working on a presentation about you, so your response would be a great addition! Congratulations on all of your achievements!


Thank you very much,
Imelda Gonzalez
 

Re: Science Fiction and the literary canon
Date: 02/26/2009
From: Greg Bear

Good writing is good writing, and good stories live outside of academic judgments. Not to drop names, but Nobel Prize winners in both literature and a number of sciences have confessed to reading and enjoying my work--and that's not exceptional for science fiction writers. Whether or not we're part of any established literary canon means little as long as we have many happy readers--and we do.
 

Re: Science Fiction and the literary canon
Date: 02/26/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Hey, Imelda, this is an old, old row. Decades, in fact. Something that's been run through here, and extensively and perhaps definitively at Dan Simmons' forum. Do a search through here, and check on over there for illumination...although Greg's first sentence above is essentially all one needs...in the event the sentiment isn't personally arrived at before reading it.
 

Re: Science Fiction and the literary canon
Date: 02/26/2009
From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Imperial Beach

Imelda, there's a book that may interest you, if you can get hold of it. Perhaps it is in your school's library

This 'Forms of Attention', by Frank Kermode, a very respected person and an entirely unusual writer. I say that because of the ways he can make you really enjoy 'critical' writing.

Here's a NYTimes review which would give you a name for an idea I'd like to pass along from him

http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/06/25/specials/kermode-forms.html

That word, 'omnisignificance', is in the second paragraph, and I found it a very useful concept when first reading Kermode's book some years ago.

He argues that what brings art such as that of Botticelli the painter, or Shakespeare (he uses Hamlet as example) or others into our sense of 'canon' is that the work contains many, many views into life, mixed into it in such a way that we enjoy, and the find the parts that mean most of us for our own time and place.

He feels that the more presence of this multiplicity, the more likely the work is to be not exactly remembered, so much as rediscovered -- and thus lives down to us and beyond us in the ages.

There is a very rich sense of life, I feel, in this view, which is probably why I like it so much.

In the case of a work of Botticelli, he traces through his Oxford resources several times the painting had been lauded, then lost, and then rediscovered, a generation or two later. These examples are clear, not only because of this scholarship, but because each time the painting is described very differently, according to what is seen important in that time. And thus, it contained what could be seen each time.

I've also thought it interesting he used Botticelli, whose distortions and so forth could have you questioning his calibre, compared to the evident perfection of Leonardo da Vinci.

Anyway, it is a short but very rich book, due to Kermode's writing.

And in connection with speculative fiction, I have long felt Greg is one of those in it who have a great deal of this multifaceted depth in their writing. Another is Ursula Le Guin, to have named two favorites.

And then I have to say the powerful imaginings in many persons' stories have something of this flavor, a very human thing, and probably why I enjoy sf as much as I always have.

There are those in other fields too - try the later, very adult works of Chaim Potok - The Gift of Asher Lev is a great book, and The Book of Lights. These are not sf, but they are culturally as removed as sf gets in some ways, and very rich in surprise and homelike feeling equally.

Maybe that is something of my own definition like Kermode's ;). How much an author can let you feel at home in our world, intricate as it is.

Best regards, Imelda,
Roald
 

Re: Science Fiction and the literary canon
Date: 02/27/2009
From: Patrick B
Location: Vancouver, WA

A stock answer I have when the "literary" merit of SF comes up is two names: Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury.

Vonnegut is probably the greatest American satirists since Mark Twain. His work and the poetic writing of Bradbury easily stack up against anything presented as literature.

Going back further in antiquity, SF and Fantasy form some of the greatest and most enduring of classic literature, all the way from Homer to HG Wells.

Jonathan Swift's (arguably the best English speaking satirist ever) best known work, "Gulliver's Travels" is primarily a SF&F story, incorporating fantastical elements and extrapolation of the then current understanding of science, to cast a mirror on contemporary culture. It was as effective as it was because of these elements.

More modern SF allows authors to investigate, contemplate, and debate complex issues in a way not open to more prosaic fiction. Heinlein was able to discuss alternate political ideologies, altered gender roles, and cultural taboos so effectively only because of the imaginative freedom SF offered.

I personally feel that SF&F have done more to influence the zeitgeist more than any other fictional form.
 

Re: Science Fiction and the literary canon
Date: 03/02/2009
From: patrick
Location:

"I personally feel that SF&F have done more to influence the zeitgeist more than any other fictional form. "

Well, certainly, yes. It comes to mind that the Enlightenment, in its fervor to dispel notions of the fantastic, particularly in any religio-supernatural sense, is the culprit. Alas. In a grey sense, popcul has accidentally come to the rescue, making Scifi okay across the board, while only somewhat including/allowing SF, and hence many are mired in the fantastic again. Hm.
 

Re: Science Fiction and the literary canon
Date: 03/02/2009
From: Greg Bear

Which brings up an interesting question: which is healthier for our culture, Buffy or Doc Smith? One leads to TWILIGHT, the other to STAR WARS.
 

Re: Science Fiction and the literary canon
Date: 03/14/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

To Ms. Gonzalez I'd suggest looking at New Maps of Hell by Kingsley Amis. His evaluation of science fiction as literature makes a good read even after nearly five decades.

Wasn't it Asimov who said, when asked why he wrote sf, "What else is there?"

Phil Farmer dead at 91

Date: 02/25/2009 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

http://www.pjfarmer.com/

Don't know if you are keeping up with yoru news feeds at the Conference, but this just broke this afternoon.

Ah, he had a great run!

I remember in June of 1980 when you encouraged me to check out his Riverworld Novels, and you were quite excited about the Epilogue Novel to the whole set GODS OF RIVERWORLD which you had just received and read.

And I ended up re-reading that entire series twice: one a year before my Mom died, then a year before my Dad died.
 

Re: Phil Farmer dead at 91
Date: 02/26/2009
From: Greg Bear

Sad to hear--Phil Farmer remains one of my very favorites. A master storyteller with a wide range of worlds.
 

Re: Phil Farmer dead at 91
Date: 03/02/2009
From: Terran McCanna
Location: Winter Park, FL

I'm so sorry to hear about Mr. Farmer's passing. The Riverworld books greatly influenced my tastes in fiction when I started reading them as a young teenager.
 

Re: Phil Farmer dead at 91
Date: 03/02/2009
From: Greg Bear

Phil always managed to stir things up each decade in new and different ways. I doubt there was a more unpredictable and creative individual in American literature. In the early eighties, the Riverworld series--along with the Dune books--were among the few science fiction works accorded a regular place on the bestseller lists--and hence, respect from execs at major companies.
 

Re: Phil Farmer dead at 91
Date: 06/03/2009
From: Ric hard Zander
Location: St. Louis

What a shame. I have always checked the "F" authors in book stores on the off-chance Farmer had generated another book. I've got most of his work, including originals of the two semi-porno volumes that I just happened to notice years back while rapidly passing the relevant bookstore racks, eyeballs impossible to stop scanning the covers. "What's that? Farmer? What's Farmer doing here? Oh, ..." Kickaha is gone, long live his memory.

Is Greg Bear Bill Maher's pen name?

Date: 02/23/2009 From: David Johnson
Location: Minnesota

Greg/Bill,

I'm not sure where to start, but here goes. I am a voracious reader of fiction, nonfiction or what have you. Not being familiar with your 'work', my wife purchased your book at a Dollar Store here locally. I attempted to read Quantico, really I did. For an author to make the word choices that you did in Q, it absolutely screams of an intellectual insecurity of untold proportions. I've read Flynn, Forsythe, Griffin, DeMille to name a few and they were actually written so reader can actually identify with the characters. I'm sure Michael Moore may enjoy your poorly penned anti-Christian screed, but not a retired veteran like myself. You chose to alienate roughly half of your potential readership; brilliant! I was only only able to muddle through the first 20%. Alas my gag reflex let me down after that...

I'm almost sorry to be so brutally honest, but someone who has to advertise all his of credentials on his product, such as all of the FBI seminars, really needs a dose of reality & humility. I've read authors with differing world views than mine and still enjoyed their work. Sadly, the same cannot be said about your book.

Dave

P.S.: I'm familiar with the liberal mindset of trying to marginalize or ridicule one's critics. That said, I attended the U of MN, lived in Europe for seven years and am bilingual. I've seen first hand that secular socialism isn't the answer, and eventually leads to a failed society. See western Europe. Bankrupt, childless, selfish and brainwashed across the pond dare I say.
 

Re: Is Greg Bear Bill Maher's pen name?
Date: 02/24/2009
From: Greg Bear

Ah, David, where to begin? Dollar store gripes. Wow.

I'm attending parts of the Homeland Security conference this week in Seattle and meeting with DHS S&T scientists, using that opportunity to firm up details on the sequel to QUANTICO. They're hardly flaming liberals. If you've pegged me as an intelligent Bill Maher-style leftie, you're mostly correct--but to my surprise, QUANTICO received positive reviews even from super-conservative web sites. Maybe it's a kind of IQ test. Pass and you get brownie points--fail and you get red in the face and start shouting. You're correct, of course--some of the biggest bestsellers do their best to be inoffensive. Not my style, I'm afraid.
 

Re: Is Greg Bear Bill Maher's pen name?
Date: 02/24/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Wow...I'm stunned at Dave's response to Quantico...which I found even more fast paced and immersive than your SF works.

Have been wondering where you stood politically these days, after the flack you got from the Religious Right regarding the Darwin Books...but then again you are also a consultant/ThinkTanker for Homeland Security...and organization about as far from the Left as one can get.

Was wondering how Quantico II was going...hopefully this week will get you over that Bump and get it complete.

Mike Glosson
 

Re: Is Greg Bear Bill Maher's pen name?
Date: 02/24/2009
From: Greg Bear

Actually, there was no flak from the religious right about the DARWIN'S books. They tend not to read SF. The flak came from libertarian, largely atheistic SF readers who had apparently been seduced by Grover Norquist into voting for Bush and co. I don't get much complaining from that quarter now--and QUANTICO was well received there. Mr. Johnson's letter is a rarity in these troubled times. But talk radio still has a huge influence on conservative discourse. It's the crack cocaine of modern conservatism.
 

Re: Is Greg Bear Bill Maher's pen name?
Date: 02/26/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Damn, yeah, that was an interesting message, though not remarkably so. Humans are an emotional lot....well, this is an old saw from me, yeah?...in any case, there's always going to be something they're attached to. I find few real barbs in Dave's message. His rubarb was just ruffled, via his own meanderings, etc. As for the info he claimed was grand standing: I rather like to know that stuff, and it's cool we've talked about it an all.
 

Re: Is Greg Bear Bill Maher's pen name?
Date: 02/26/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Ah, shit, I forgot to mention: so the sequel to Quantico is set, huh? You's so funny.
 

Re: Is Greg Bear Bill Maher's pen name?
Date: 02/26/2009
From: Greg Bear

Finishing it now. Working title: MARIPOSA.
 

Re: Is Greg Bear Bill Maher's pen name?
Date: 03/09/2009
From: TomA
Location: London

"secular socialism"

You lived in the Soviet Union?

"See western Europe"

Huh? There is no secular socialist state in Western Europe and never has been
 

Re: Is Greg Bear Bill Maher's pen name?
Date: 05/31/2009
From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA

Geez! I wish I had seen this one long ago. First, though I know David was referring to Maher's "Religulous," for any of you who might be wondering, I met Greg many years ago at a writer's workshop. He certainly is no Bill Maher. Maher is acerbic and clever. Greg is polite, pleasant, intelligent, and very easy to have a conversation with. Although I was somewhat in awe, he very quickly put me at ease. He, Megan Lindholm, another guy, and I had lunch together, after traversing the campus while Megan regaled us with stories of her neighbor who claimed to be channeling, Ra, I believe it was. (Greg, in case this is ringing a bell, the other guy was very small and slight, and had a shaved head and a Vandyke, long before that look could be thought of as anything other than "Mad scientist." He only lacked the lab coat.) :)

Anyway, isn't it nice to see how people react when they feel the foundations of their religious beliefs being eroded by such pesky things as logic? Suddenly the whole philosophy of turning the other cheek becomes overwhelmed by the need to lash out.

Regarding Greg's characters, character development, and the resultant ability of the reader to identify with them, I will say that Greg sometimes does take the long way around. He often gives the reader little pieces at a time, instead of just describing a shallow character right up front, as, for instance, Burroughs did. But, by the time I finish a book, I feel like the good guys are old friends, rather than muscle-bound paragons of unattainable virtue, athleticism, and heroism.

When I was younger, I sometimes found it difficult to "get into" some of Greg's stories. Basically, the problem was that not enough stuff blew up. Now that I am older, and going back and re-reading them, Greg is in my top four, along with such greats as Terry Pratchett, Tim Powers, and John Varley.

When it comes to religion or philosophy, there is really no point in attacking someone due to their beliefs. You are not going to convince them that you are right. You may get them to SAY you are right, but only because you have a weapon, and they wish to go on breathing.

I often wish "Christians" would follow the actual teachings of Christ. But, then, so did a lot of people who ultimately wound up on the wrong end of a sword. And, unfortunately, more modern weapons as well. The crusades aren't over, I'm afraid.

However, before anyone gets the idea that I'm against Christians, I should add that I've met some really annoying Buddhists as well. :)



 

Re: Is Greg Bear Bill Maher's pen name?
Date: 05/31/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Kelly! But "not enough stuff blows up"? I used to have the reputation for blowing EVERYTHING up. And MARIPOSA has lots of stuff blowing up, including a unique and new type of bomb which, fortunately, no one will be able to make for ten or twenty years. If ever. (I tried to live down my Earth-destructive past, so now in my stories I only blow up small stuff--convention centers, barns, that sort of thing.)
 

Re: Is Greg Bear Bill Maher's pen name?
Date: 07/14/2009
From: Fiona
Location: Stockport, UK

Hmmm. Dave wrote: "...to make the word choices that you did in Q, it absolutely screams of an intellectual insecurity of untold proportions."

An accusation usually made only by those who are intelluctually insecure themselves? Perhaps someone could send him a dictionary.

Secular socialism in Western Europe? I wish!

P.S. I've just finished reading "City at the End of Time". Loved it.
 

Re: Is Greg Bear Bill Maher's pen name?
Date: 07/14/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Fiona!

Trimurti embedded in the back mythos of CITY AT THE END OF TIME

Date: 02/22/2009 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Greg:

I hadn't planned to do any serious thinking about CITY until my Next Re-Read, sometime near the end of this year or next. A "Chance" re-examination of Hinduism over the last few days has blown out the Alexandrian induced cobwebs of that part of my mind that processes Mythologies.

It struck me, while in a relaxed state a few minutes ago, that the Trimurti concept of Hinduism pervades CITY. The Obvious part being the 100 Billion years of Brahma's creation, including dropping whole galaxies into place without their histories...and the muses having to go back and reconcile.

The use of the name of the Muse of Memory, and the great metaphysical FOE of the novel, The Typhon...a name also from Hellenic Classical Myth: the last son of Gaia (or in our case the aging universe) who tries to over throw Zeus.

So how does Trimurti fit into the picture, the progression of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva? These are the three fold gods of Creation, Preservation and Destruction.

Brahma, named in your novel, is pretty much asleep...and possibly not even dreaming. Shiva is active, i.e. in the manifestation of Typhon, which is busy ripping up the original creation, down to the last little bits of Earth and Kalpa City. Also Typhon as Shiva fits well in with the speculation of Bidewell that the Chalk Princess is Kali, a Muse gone bad.

But where is Vishnu, the Preserver? Easy and Obvious: The Librarian fulfills this function, with his creation of the Babels and projecting them back to the beginning of Brahma's creation, summing up the possible outcomes of the universe. In the Reality Generators that protect the integrity of Kalpa City. In the ancient breeds who recreate the fate-states of Original Humanity. In the Multifaceted aspects of Humanity 100 Trillion years after the Heat Death of the Universe.

In Sum: Humanity is Vishnu, with the Librarian as Prime Avatar of that aspect of Trimurti.

*******

As a side note I wonder if later aspects of Humanity, somewhere along the lines to the development of the Nooetic Humanity with optimized fates, might become aware as they learn they exist in a multifaceted potentiality of manifested fates of a lesser aspect of Trimurti, a spin of deity as it were: Ganesha, the Lord of Obstacles. Ganesha sounds like he would be a deity even Fate-Shifters would embrace, being both the remover and creator of Obstacles. I have speculated about More Fate-Aware versions of Humanity between now and Kalpa, still made of bosonic matter and its ability to drift between the strands of the possible: would becoming aware and accessing something like a Ganesha, before during and after the 100 Billion years of the Creation of Brahma, lead to a state when the Muses would start having a hard time reconciling histories.

For your readers here unfamiliar with Ganesha: Currently amongst Earth's Hindus this "god" is invoked before beginning ANY serious undertaking...and is called on in a nearly daily basis by Hindus.

Mike Glosson
 

Re: Trimurti embedded in the back mythos of CITY AT THE END OF TIME
Date: 02/25/2009
From: Greg Bear

Ganesha... related perhaps to that famous purveyor of unexpected consequences, Murphy?
 

Re: Trimurti embedded in the back mythos of CITY AT THE END OF TIME
Date: 02/25/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

I noticed there was an error in my summation about the Librarian: He would be the prime Avatar of Vishnu, not the entire Trimurti.

Ganesha related to Murphy? Something I had never thought of...as Murphy is often invoked with THINGS GO WRONG. Perhaps Murphy as the Creator of Obsticles aspect of Ganesha?

DEAD RUN

Date: 02/20/2009 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Greg:

We just finished screening the Twilight Zone Adaptation of yoru short story "Dead Run", which aired today for the first time in a long while on The Chiller Channel on cable.

This is my Wife's favorite "New" Twighlight Zone episode. I managed to miss it (and most of the series) back in the mid to late 1980s.

But I've read the Story twice: Once when the collection TANGENTS for came out, then again fall of 2007 when I replaced my copy of that collection.

As we were watching this I was trying to identify what I remembered clearly from the story that seemed to be a direct port-in, things that were changed to adapt it to the small screen, and things that were left out (Like the drive into the City of Hell itself).

Had my wife save a copy of this episode for me to watch again, after I re-read the original story again.

And I'm having to do that with Clarke's THE STAR which which watched last night on the New Twighlight Zone...which I also missed during its original airing. A story I well know, as I adapted that and another Clarke story as a short play way back in 9th grade. I was UNHAPPY with the twist the Show put on Clarke's original twist in the story, to make it Nicer and happier (it was the second story in a Twighlight Zone Xmas Episode).

I think they did a better job on your story, it appears to stay true to the original spirit of the tale.

The episode "Dead Run" on the Twighlight Zone of the 1980s is set to repeat some time in the next month or so, for any of your readers here who missed it today.

So I'm blocking some time tomorrow morning to re-read and rewatch this Story/Episode.

Mike Glosson
 

Re: DEAD RUN
Date: 02/25/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Got a chance to do the reread and re-viewing of both versions of "Dead Run". I noticed they softened down John De Lancie's role and who he was supposed to be, other than the guy in charge.

I think splitting the Truck driver into two characters works for the TV Series, one the Vetern, one the Rookie...which gives the viewer a way into the whole scenario easier.

Otherwise: THEY GOT IT DOWN. And did it right.

Mike
 

Re: DEAD RUN
Date: 02/26/2009
From: Greg Bear

Screenwriter and friend Alan Brennert and I do commentary on the DVD...

Call Me Joe

Date: 02/18/2009 From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Bear. I've been wanting to offer you a few comments about the wondeful collection of your late father in law Poul Anderson titled CALL ME JOE. To which you added an interesting preface.

My reading of this collection has forcefully brought home to me how and why PA's works gave me so much pleasure. I have in mind stories like "Call Me Joe," "The Helping Hand," "Wildcat," etc. "The Helping Hand" esp. impressed because of how EARLY in PA's career it was written. I'll only say the ending of that story packed a real emotional punch.

I do have a few quibbles to make, tho! On page 8 you wrote: "He wrote of the Time Patrol; space merchant Nicholas van Rijn; Dominic Flandry of the Polesotechnic League;..." The last example I cited should have been "Dominic Flandry of the TERRAN EMPIRE." Also, an error was maded in the title of the story called "Journey's End." In GOING FOR INFINITY, PA wrote of how Anthony Boucher had to struggle with pedantic proof readers to eliminate the apostrophe. The title he wished wss "Journeys End." Iow, PA did not want an apostrophe there!

But these are minor nitpicks in a wonderful collection I'm glad to have!

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Call Me Joe
Date: 02/24/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Sean! A few readers at Boskone pointed out these and other lapses. I hope NESFA Press can correct them in subsequent printings.
 

Re: Call Me Joe
Date: 02/25/2009
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Bear: I trust you are well. Many thanks for replying to my previous note.

Yes, I too hope NESFA Press will correct the mercifully few textual blunders I noticed in future editions of CALL ME JOE. And since this book it subtitled "Volume One of the Collected Short Works of Poul Anderson," I'm already eagerly looking forward to Volume Two.

I hope no one will take offense if I suggest Volume Two should concentrate on stories which has either never been collected at all or only once. PA's "Sargasso of Lost Spaceships" is a rather famous example--among his works--of a story never having yet been reprinted.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Call Me Joe
Date: 02/25/2009
From: Greg Bear

I think they're projecting five or six more volumes. Should cover all of Poul's short fiction!
 

Re: Call Me Joe
Date: 02/28/2009
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Bear: I hope you don't mind one more note about PA's CALL ME JOE.

I hope Volume Two of the "Collected Short Works of Poul Anderson" comes out next year! And, a separate volume for PA's non fiction: articles, essays, perhaps some of his letters, would also be good.

CALL ME JOE contains an amusing short story titled "Barnacle Bull." The point of view character is Erik Bull, who got dumped by his girl friend. The passage I thought esp. entertaining is this (page 406): "The someone else turned out to be a bespectacled writer who had just completed a three volume novel about King Harald Hardcounsel (1015-1066)." I, um, immediately thought of your bespectacled father in law PA, who actually did write a three volume novel about Harald III of Norway called THE LAST VIKING. Altho not till more than 20 years after "Barnacle Bull" was first published in 1960. I just had to smile when I saw this!

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Call Me Joe
Date: 03/02/2009
From: Greg Bear

Hmm... wonder if we're looking at a bit of courting history here?
 

Re: Call Me Joe
Date: 03/12/2009
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Bear: Many thanks for replying!

Ummm, I had not meant to unintentionally rattle any family skeletons! (Chuckles)

This mentioning of your father in law's novel about Harald Hardrede got me interested in trying to find THE LAST VIKING online. To my astonishment, I could not (except for one of the three volumes). No matter where I googled, I could not find THE LAST VIKING. As far as I could tell, it seems to have disappeared. And I had little trouble finding any others of your FIL's books. Even titles I would have thought hard to find.

I only did this out of curiosity. I do have a copy of all three volumes of THE LAST VIKING (which I purchased in 1980).

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Call Me Joe
Date: 04/14/2009
From: Rick Katze
Location: Framingham MA

The title of "Journeys End" will be fixed in the next printing of the book. Along with some other glitches.

"The Queen of Air and Darkness, volume 2, will be out this August. An incomplete table of contents can be found at www.nesfa.org, select nesfa press and then forthcoming books.

Unfortunately I do not expect to publish all the fiction but there should be a significant amount in the 6 or 7 volumes that are planned. Poetry and non-fiction articles also appear in volume 2.
 

Re: Call Me Joe
Date: 04/15/2009
From: Greg Bear

We should correct my own lapse in the introduction, as well!
 

Re: Call Me Joe
Date: 04/16/2009
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Katze: I read your comments to Greg Bear with great interest. And I plan to purchase a copy of THE QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS by August. Despite my probably not really NEEDING to do so. I'm reasonably sure I have an unusually complete collection of the works of Poul Anderson, both hardback and soft cover.

I hope you won't take it amiss if I suggest that NESFA might look into having Jean Daniel Breque's book about PA, ORPHEE AUX ETOILES, translated into English and pub. by your organization. I would like to think enough readers would purchase copies to enable NESFA to cover the costs.

Good to know there are still enthusiasts for the works of Poul Anderson!

Sincerely, Sean

Where is Lamarckia

Date: 02/16/2009 From: Jenny Moore
Location: Plant City, FL

Dear Mr. Bear:

I LOVE your books. I have read "Eon", "Legacy" and "Eternity" over and over. At the end of "Eternity" there was a small paragrah stating that you were working on a book entitled "Lamarckia" which (I assume) would continue the story of Olmy.

Did you decide not to continue the story? I really enjoyed the stories of Olmy and the cities within the chambers of Thistledown. I would also like to see another book about The Way or even Thistledown...I have done numerous searches on the internet and I have not been able to locate the book "Lamarckia". I hope some day you decide to take up the tale again.

Kind regards,

Jenny Moore
 

Re: Where is Lamarckia
Date: 02/24/2009
From: Greg Bear

I still think that LAMARCKIA might have been the better title for the novel published as LEGACY--but that solves the mystery, Jenny! They're one and the same.
 

Re: Where is Lamarckia
Date: 03/28/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Where is Lamarkia?

Its in my back yard!!!...Spiders who attack you and dont run away..horse flys who cut a disc out of your skin which never heal up! bind weed that traps your feet and makes you fall flat on your face..these are surely scions designed for the downfall of mankind..well me at least! God help me!!

Andrew
 

Re: Where is Lamarckia
Date: 04/01/2009
From: Greg Bear

Sounds like you've stumbled into a John Wyndham novel! Tell us more.
 

Re: Where is Lamarckia
Date: 04/21/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France

Hi Greg,

As per my previous post, Scions definately dwell in the French Pyrenees where I live! Being a total "townie" I knew I needed to be prepared for wilderness and wildlife; but I never would have believed how a whole mountainside could represent your book so clearly (with obvious exceptions)

Attacking spiders? sure...disc cutting flys? every day! but also blonde boars, black marmots the odd black bear and leaping black sqirrels ( I suppose its cos of the shade or disguise)..I,ve never seen anything like it!

The strangest scion of all are the locals! Cagots and Toys..(Google it) Unutterably kind but totally alien folk...Wyndham must have been here! as was Hugo, Georges Sand, Edward VII..Why dont you come?

Best Regards Greg...I'm waiting for one of your books from Amazon..its taken five weeks so far!

Andrew
 

Re: Where is Lamarckia
Date: 04/25/2009
From: Greg Bear

Sounds lovely, Andrew! Those flies are no doubt secretly sampling your DNA to include you in the mix!
 

Re: Where is Lamarckia
Date: 04/29/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets France

Dear greg..its hardly a glowing add for my place is it?

However if one sprays the usual "Buzz Off" kind of stuff...the disc cutting 'samplers' tend to lay off. The Adders and Vipers (they differ here) tend to just rest on hot rocks and flick their tongues at you.

Andrew
 

Re: Where is Lamarckia
Date: 04/30/2009
From: Greg Bear

Sounds like paradise! Hot rocks and lots of sun... I might lie doggo (snake-o?) and flick my tongue out, too, basking after a long Seattle winter. ("Lying doggo" means remaining motionless and quiet to escape detection...)
 

Re: Where is Lamarckia
Date: 05/01/2009
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, Haute Pyrenees

Hi Greg,

I like the sun too..in fact the older I get, the more I like it.! I'd be quite happy growing into old age rather like Picasso; sitting by his pool getting browner and browner..thinner and thinner day by day..having a load of kids having fun running and sunning about the place.

I think after another year here I might move on..North Africa draws me in..Not as far as Rimbaud..Steamer Point in Aden holds no charm for me.. Maybe a Riyadh in Marrakesh.

P.s I've asked your views on litarary subjects before...so I ask again. Do you have a view on"poetry? If so, who are your favourites? For my part, Rimbaud,"Bateau Ivre" ,"Voyelles", J.Keats "Ode to Autmn" and the war poets, Brooke, Owen etc. I ask out of pure curiosity.

In the meantime..enjoy your summer! you're sure to have some nice days.

Best Regards

Andrew

 

Re: Where is Lamarckia
Date: 05/12/2009
From: Greg Bear

Lots of favorite poets, including Dylan Thomas, Yeats, Coleridge, Cavafi, Eliot, on and on--and of course Rimbaud, though my French is mediocre at best!

Shades of Darwin's Radio in the News Today

Date: 02/11/2009 From: Terran
Location: Florida


http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090211/sc_nm/us_genes_humans_2

 

Re: Shades of Darwin's Radio in the News Today
Date: 02/11/2009
From: Greg Bear

Very intriguing. Copies of genes can be made by retrotransposons... wonder if that's the next part of this discovery?
 

Re: Shades of Darwin's Radio in the News Today
Date: 02/14/2009
From: patrick
Location:

If I'm not missing something here, my question is, what invoked and drove the changes?
 

Re: Shades of Darwin's Radio in the News Today
Date: 02/24/2009
From: Greg Bear

Excellent question. My theory is that it's a confluence of environmental signals relayed through stress-induced chemistry--but no doubt other causes are involved.

suggestions for G.Bear

Date: 02/08/2009 From: Tim Voigt
Location: Oshkosh, WI

To G. Bear

You are one of the best SF writers today. You have a flair and talent that makes you legendary in the genre. Your books will last for years and rank you with Asimov, Clarke, Wells, and others as one of the great SF writers.

So far you have only wrote one Star Wars novel. The Star Wars universe is a magical fad in SF that will outlive G. Lucas. You are so great at writing, I am personally asking you to write Star Wars novels (at least 10 of them). You and T. Zahn are the best Star Wars writers and your works will live on.

Please collect a list of SF ideas like Dyson Sphere, hyperspace, Fermi paradox, SETI, supernova bomb, and so on. Please incorporate SF ideas in your work, they add zest and interest to your writing. Your fans love your works and want your talent to continue. You are a rare genius of the SF word. Keep going, you have much to give. Have a happy life.
 

Re: suggestions for G.Bear
Date: 02/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks for the suggestions, Tim! No new STAR WARS books in the offing, alas, but I'm happy to keep incorporating great ideas into my books. Looks like you're ready for FORGE OF GOD and ANVIL OF STARS, since these novels develop a fair number of the ideas you list.
 

Re: Tim Voigt
Date: 04/15/2009
From: andrew
Location: france

Tim,

If you haven't read "FORGE" or "ANVIL" yet..you're in for an awesome treat!

Cheers

Andrew
 

Re: Tim Voigt
Date: 04/15/2009
From: Greg Bear

No doubt deep space radiation is making me blush...

A geometric explanation of a regenerative Universe

Date: 02/08/2009 From: Richard Dasheiff
Location: Dallas, TX

I was trying to decide whether to post this to the Physics (Astrophysics section) of http://arxiv.org/ or this blog (my double bachelor's was in Physics and Astronomy). Let me remind Greg who I am:

Tue, 5 Aug 2003
Dear Dr. Dasheiff,
It's been twelve years now! But in tearing out our kitchen recently,
my wife found a letter you had send to me through Warner books, unopened-and never read.

Next, I recently read City at the End of Time and appreciate why you wrote 500 pages, after all, once you finally got your mind around the idea and could generate prose describing such an alien space-time environment, you'd want to explore every aspect of it. Another excellent novel, and kudos for not making it 2 books.

And last, I'd like to share an idea. I was going to draw a picture (since this is geometry) but my 3-D drawing skills are poor and thought I'd try my prose. We need to consider two geometries (1) space; (2) gravity. In the beginning the Universe was a 1-D point and quickly became an expanding sphere of energy and then energy+matter. I'm going to skip any distinctions of baryonic vs dark. Gravity was presumably only attractive. After a good 10E+7 years we had a large energy/matter sphere and an Einsteinian rubber mat representing gravity. The gravity geometry was mostly flat (empty space) but was developing deep negatively contoured sink holes where neutron stars and black holes were seemingly dropping out of our Universe. Everything is still inflationary, but the idea that insufficient matter (dark and baryonic) would not pull the Universe back to a singularity was suggesting the energy/matter (space-time) Universe would continue to expand forever (although at a low enough energy density time loses meaning and forever is no longer a valid concept). The gravity geometry now plays a major role, and whether gravity is now itself repulsive at long scales, or it is another force is not important. The gravity landscape is filling with black holes which drop "worm holes" through space. These worm holes drop so deeply that they can re-connect on the opposite side of our spherical space geometry Universe. These deepening worm holes appear differently in the gravity rubber mat geometry. They curve back and re-connect at different places on the rubber mat, and slowly "pull" the mat from being flat to convex and finally into a ball. This makes the gravity geometry a sphere, riddled with worm holes. The positive curvature of the sphere would make the space Universe expand while the negative holes would attract everything at the event horizons around the black holes down to the center of the gravity geometry sphere. The balance of these forces (can we say Omega) would cause the gravity sphere to contract and eventually shrink to a 1-D point. All energy and matter at that time would also have to shrink to a point, and we get to close the loop (regenerate). The Universe rebounds and we start all over again.
 

Re: A geometric explanation of a regenerative Universe
Date: 02/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

This is a version of one of my favorite cosmologies, but so far, it seems that spacetime is flat, not spherical. Of course, our conceptions change every thirty or forty years or so--maybe a cyclical cosmos idea is itself cyclical!
 

Re: A geometric explanation of a regenerative Universe
Date: 02/14/2009
From: patrick
Location:

There seem to be lots of ideas on this stuff...however, I have the feeling that it isn't relevant. I think there is a multiverse, worm holes, black holes, etc being portals between them; hence whether a particular universe eventually collapses, there's a constant exchange of energy between them.
 

Re: A geometric explanation of a regenerative Universe
Date: 02/14/2009
From: Eric Andresen
Location: Olney, Maryland

I was wondering if you knew Mr. Bear of any sites that actively posts of differing cosmologies that should be taken seriously...maybe..lol. Also, should I write down my own ideas and possibly have them notarized.
Some of my conjectures, or truths...they were coming out in a rush...involve the application of the idea of superconductivity in explaining our misunderstanding of quantum phenomena. Also, the idea that there are NO forces, but only Graviton Aspects...think about it. I believe that Hoorft once commented that these univesal forces we see sure don't seem to be actually forces...I wish I could remember where he stated this.
Also, I came into ascribing this Universe as three different spaces: Positive, Negative, and Null. It is the Null Space of which nothing enters or leaves, but it contains what we may term the Time particle. Time actually "hides" this Universe from any others. We may see the void of what appears as space as separate from ordinary matter, but matter is space...hard to explain. One of the weird aspects in my conjectures is that the Universe is expansive, but cyclic with nodes.
To reiterate, I believe in what I imagine, conjecture, read from the Muses, or whatever. Should I have it totally assigned to ME as in notarization?
 

Re: A geometric explanation of a regenerative Universe
Date: 02/24/2009
From: Greg Bear

Which makes standard thermodynamic views of closed systems irrelevant, no?
 

Re: A geometric explanation of a regenerative Universe
Date: 02/24/2009
From: Greg Bear

Science is about open discourse. Putting your ideas on the web and dating them is effective in establishing some sort of priority. There are archives kept of such postings. Notarizing a document page by page is also possible.
 

Re: A geometric explanation of a regenerative Universe
Date: 06/07/2009
From: patrick
Location:

"Which makes standard thermodynamic views of closed systems irrelevant, no?"

Whether you're answering me or Dashieff: essentially, or ultimately, yes. Which I think isn't a liked idea in the field. However, it would seem to reinforce conservation of energy in a remarkable way that might allow for some form of GUT, but again it has to be considered first.

"Moving" Google Mars

Date: 02/06/2009 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Greg & his readers:

The National news reported Ocean Bed Features on the new Google Earth, but I didn't find out about the mars features until I received my Astronomy update this morning:

http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=a&id=7889

So there goes my afternoon...

Mike Glosson
 

Re:
Date: 02/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

Now I'll never get that book finished!
 

Google Mars
Date: 02/09/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Greg:

It gets worse. I just realized tonite that the Day/night feature of Google Earth shows real time Day Night positions for ANY DATE.

And it works for Mars as well.

Right now it is NIGHT on Olympus Mons and the Tharsis Bulge.

We're doomed if they ad the major Jovian Satelights and Casini Data.
 

Re:
Date: 02/14/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Naaa. Just wait a couple decades till bio-nano devices are commonplace. (Don't think so?...we'll see.) Then you'll just scan the data.
 

Re:
Date: 02/16/2009
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles

I've been roaming Google Mars like a ghost for several days. Not often I get Future Shock like this--never could've imagined such a thing in the Viking Lander 70s! "Walking" across the ocean floor from Catalina island and up to my front door in West LA was an eye-opener, too.

And it's only 2009...

Be fun to navigate a 3-D simulation of the Jovian atmosphere. Complete with ecology of course.

Greg Bear Fiction returning to TV!

Date: 02/03/2009 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Hi Greg!

Just wanted to let you and the readers of your Blog here know that The Twilight Zone from the 1980s has returned to TV on the Cable/Satelite channel CHILLER. My wife scrolled ahead thru the schedule and found that her favorite episode from that version of the TZ, based on your short story "Dead Run" will be airing on February 20th.

I've only read the story, so am eagerly awaiting the broadcast.

 

Re: Greg Bear Fiction returning to TV!
Date: 02/03/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Mike! Quite a few really good episodes in that series.
 

Re: Greg Bear Fiction returning to TV!
Date: 02/05/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Don't hold us to that air date for Dead Run. We've been finding that the episode descriptions in the Guide don't always end up being what shows in that time slot.

And the IMDB is not giving any info on air dates for the show, even though Chiller is showing these daily.

Chiller is showing the episodes totally out of sequence...though my wife just pipe'd up to say that Chiller's own website is still saying February 20th.

If so, it will almost be 23 years to the day since that episode first aired: February 21, 1986.
 

Re: Greg Bear Fiction returning to TV!
Date: 02/09/2009
From: Greg Bear

Don't remind me how long it's been! I thoroughly enjoyed being on the set while they filmed that show, courtesy of my friend, screenwriter Alan Brennert. Alan has a new book out next month that's already gathering great buzz: HONOLULU.

Have you had a "God" experience?

Date: 01/29/2009 From: Greg Popwell
Location: Helena, AL

Hi Greg,

Just completed Darwin's Radio and was wondering if you've had an experience anything like Kaye Rafelson? I'm a lapsed Christian and atheist because I've never had that kind of experience.

Thanks,

Greg
 

Re: Have you had a
Date: 02/03/2009
From: Greg Bear

Yes--pretty much as Kaye's experience is described. These experiences are not rare, but the sort of prolonged "exposure" I went through--lasting off and on for about a month--seems unusual. Bottom line? I've never been an atheist, but now I have a very persuasive anecdotal data point!
 

Re: Have you had a
Date: 02/03/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

I had always wondered if that "event" with Kaye was autobiographical or borrowed from a family member. My Cognitive Scientist friend Daniel J. Plummer's PhD advisor at UCSD studies that phenom...I think the guys name is Ramachandra or something like that...and that there are specific parts of our brains that are just for "The God Experience". Which opens whole cans of Philosophical Worms, as such experiences are Politically Incorrect amongst much of academia and the Hard Sciences.

I've never had anything spontaneous like that, though thru various Yogic and other practices have at one time or another worked close to it...simulation? Hard to say.

But now I'm dying to know: what were you writing when it happened?

Mike Glosson.
 

Re: Have you had a
Date: 02/05/2009
From: Greg Bear

VITALS, as I recall--but I was planning DARWIN'S CHILDREN around that time as well.
 

Re: Have you had a
Date: 02/05/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Vitals is still one of your few books I haven't read.

Will have to hunt down a copy soon.

Mike
 

Re: Have you had a
Date: 02/05/2009
From: patrick
Location:

Not philosophical can of worms, but an emotional one. Modern philosophy (ie: since the beginning of the enlightenment) is in large part a fervent attempt to address the inherent insecurity in the human condition, and hence is a dog tail-chasing circumstance.

There is no balance in any camp, precisely because there are camps (or rather that there are emotional conditions that invoke them).
 

Re: Have you had a
Date: 02/27/2009
From: Dave Kelley
Location: San Antonio, TX (until May)

I have just finished "Darwin's Children" and was intrigued by Kaye Lang's epiphany. I have also just discovered your web site and this thread.

As part of your research for the book (or for yourself), have you heard whether or not anyone has taken a blood sample during an epiphany? I wonder if such an experience could be caused by an unusual release of excessive amounts of hormones, say endorphins, or by a rarely occurring combination of hormones.

Any new insights on this topic since the book was published?

Thank you for a pair of thought-provoking books on many levels. I use biologically inspired optimization methods for radio antenna design, and your speculations about retroviruses has me thinking about ways to improve the performance of genetic algorithms. Art and technology sometimes make good dance partners!

Best,
Dave
 

Re: Have you had a
Date: 03/02/2009
From: Greg Bear

Haven't heard much new about the physiology or physiochemistry of epiphanies. They're so tough to pin down--one is rarely in the lab or the hospital at the same time! And the measurement could be pointing toward a response, not a cause...
 

Re: Have you had a
Date: 06/08/2010
From: Al Brady
Location: st neots

Drugs like magic mushrooms salvia and ketamine can trigger powerful and lucid and persistent thought-environments, and many primative religions in particular utilise this to compelling effect. Im not saying there arnt spirits out there to be contacted in such a vision state, but the fact that chemicals can effect such states means they are partly chemical in nature. As I say thats not to reduce the experience; the mind itself is also 'just chemical in nature.'
I certainlly believe people when they say they have had a revelatory experience and acted on their interpretation of it.
I reckon there must be epiphany centres somewhere in the architecture of the brain as the mind and all its contents only exist in the meat of the brain, so all experience occurs in there. Some brains dont have them, like some cars dont have turbos, so some people dont get epiphanic revelations maybe.

One question Id like to ask people who feel theyve been transformed by epiphanies is do they feel the wisdom came from an external source or as a result of 'working soething out' inside themselves. Thatd be interesting, although obviously it would all be opinion at the end of the day.

Thank You from David Rushton with Honor!

Date: 01/25/2009 From: David Rushton
Location: San Diego

My Dean of Science Fiction, I am honored to have recived your personal E-Mail. As soon as the 1st of month comes, I shall buy printer ink, print out your E-Mail, frame it, and it shall over my work desk. It will hang beside the (About the Author David Rushton) Ray Bradbury signed for me back at Comic Con. 2002. I will be attening the S.D. Comic Con. At that time I hope to be allow to say a quick hello and shake your hand too. I understand how busy the Con. can be. There I shall give you my "BLURB" from my novel series. With My Deepest Thanks, With Honor, D.Rushton.
 

Re: Thank You from David Rushton with Honor!
Date: 01/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

See you in San Diego, David!

Dead Lines - Infinity Concerto

Date: 01/24/2009 From: Jenny
Location: Australia

Dear Mr Bear,
Firstly I can't say anything else until I've said this: I'm yet to find a story that has moved and inspired me as much as Infinity Concerto. After reading dog knows how many books it remains my all time favourite.
My reason for writing now, however, is not Infinity, but Dead Lines. As an avid reader of all things creepy and supernatural for more than 40 years, I wish to say that no other story of this genre has come as close to convincing me that ghosts may in fact exist as this novel. You've effectively blended science with myth and shown a plausible explanation for all things otherworldly. Bravo Mr Bear!
 

Re: Dead Lines - Infinity Concerto
Date: 01/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

Many thanks, Jenny! I've always loved a good ghost story, and it pleases me no end that you enjoyed my effort.
 

Re: Dead Lines - Infinity Concerto
Date: 08/17/2009
From: Emil
Location: Remiszewski

"Songs of Earth and Power" were one of my most profound emotion-laden experiences with fiction. But surprisingly, in regard of "all things creepy and supernatural" this title holds a short story of Polish SF writer S. Lem titled "Terminus". I would be very grateful for receiving your opinion about it.
Pardon my clumsy English. It's not my native language.
 

Re: Dead Lines - Infinity Concerto
Date: 08/18/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Emil! I'll look up "Terminus" and read it.

densities of angels

Date: 01/23/2009 From: Roald Laurenson
Location:

Greg, I have been reading a bit again in Queen of Angels, for my purposes in considering futures, and for the homecoming of just enjoying the imagination. Both are helpful ;).

I had noticed a week or so ago how you controlled the not-assured path of recovery for Richard, which I felt deserved much appreciation; and today am reading from the beginning of the book, right now at Martin's description for the end of his original relationship with Carol.

I keep thinking not necessarily with many words, about a difference in perception to Slant. This book is much the rawer book, right down to the synthetic syntax. In this way it's more as a poet might like to write, isn't it, or a certain kind of mind in taking notes. Then you made Slant more civilized, almost as much so as Moving Mars.

Should I say more? Some instinct felt not, and I erased a few paragraphs. Thank you very kindly for your traverses of experience in both books, Greg. This too can be very useful, and I am thinking how the cats would appreciate it ;).

Regards,
Clive
 

Re: densities of angels
Date: 01/23/2009
From: Greg Bear

Indeed, QOA was more experimental in prose--and that seemed to puzzle some readers. For me, the result over years has been that QOA remains unexpectedly fresh, re-readable, and unpredictable. SLANT isn't without its idiosyncracies, but I was trying for a more straightforward style.
 

Re: densities of angels
Date: 01/24/2009
From: Roald Laurenson
Location:

Good point, I think. QOA is indeed intriguing -- and re-enterable -- because of its edgy unpredictability, and because it has such a multiplicity of focal directions.

Yet Slant attracts re-reading in a different way. You have become involved in another field of complexity: the personalities of each of the future persons. Which can be the more complicated object ;) ?

This reminded of one thing I did want to mention. There was something about Alive Contains a Lie that made it somehow much more engaging than the free-form chapter introducers in QOA. I think it was a certain unity which was partially deployed just by the artifice of naming. But also, there was a consistency of tone, and since it was so interesting, you really wanted to find out what happened next.

Quite a back-and-forth about thinking things through, chosen layers of reflection, and relative shading of humans-victim-to-context vs. human character and personality (integrals) succeeding-through-circumstances.

Maybe it's the less completely dystopic, compromised but more individually progressing personal individualities that make Slant work as it does.

Somehow integrating complexity is very attractive - this is also a nice and open secret of Olmy. And Gennifer/Juniper/Geneva too, in short order... Some of your stories really just stay in mind, Greg. We are not going to speculate on individual whys ;)

Regards,
Clive

City at the End of Time

Date: 01/23/2009 From: Colon CrapSpray
Location: Denver

Sorry for using my online gaming UserID, but never posted before to an author. Picked up the above book at the local library and frankly can't put it down for a reason I can't quite figure out. I don't know if it's the interest in the relationship between Jebrassy and Tiadba, or the underlying physics involved in space/time mechanics. Watched a Stephen Hawking 2 hour show on Black Holes and superstring theory and couldn't help but think some of those ideas are presented in this book. So I'm up to Chapter 70 and need to know how these people in different time eras eventually connect. Should be interesting. Thanks for a great book, so far.
 

Re: City at the End of Time
Date: 01/23/2009
From: Greg Bear

My pleasure, er... Colon!

problem with reprint of Blood Music

Date: 01/22/2009 From: Howard Bennett
Location: Bethesda, MD

Dear Greg,

I am enclosing a copy of an email I just sent to E-Reads so you know about the errors in the reprinting of Blood Music. Best regards, Howard

To the Editors,

I am a big fan of Greg Bear and was delighted to find out that you recently reprinted his novel, Blood Music.

I just finished Chapter 4 and am writing to let you know that there are an incredible number of typographical errors in the book. In fact, I have never encountered this many mistakes in any book I've read in my entire life!

Here are just three of them:
" page 8, line 12: "I'm sonywhat message?" Bernard said. I'm assuming the word sony should be, sorry. The same error is repeated on page 9, line eight.
" page 33, line 14: the cabs and everything." She kept staring at nun. I'm assuming the word nun should be him.

Regards,
H Bennett
 

Re: problem with reprint of Blood Music
Date: 01/23/2009
From: Greg Bear

This one did indeed get through the filters. E-Reads is offering a free "upgrade" to all who purchased the defective download. Thanks for your patience!
 

Re: problem with reprint of Blood Music
Date: 02/11/2009
From: Rick Sizemore
Location: Cincinnati

It's not just the E-Reads copy, my new print via Amazon has the same typo's. It appears to be the same words being search and replaced, I've come across the sony for sorry error half a dozen times in the first hundred pages or so. I do agree that this is about as bad as I've seen, especially in a book that wasn't translated. Doesn't affect the enjoyment overall, but it does jar you out of the narrative if the replaced word is not just misspelled, i.e. nun vs him, although in the world of text messaging, twitter, and IM, you must interpret everything anyway lol :-), c ? I mn.
 

Re: problem with reprint of Blood Music
Date: 02/11/2009
From: Greg Bear

Looks as if this needs more checking into. I'll pass your info along to the powers that be. Thanks, Rick!
 

Re: problem with reprint of Blood Music
Date: 06/17/2009
From: Jason Keith
Location: Texas

I'm a reading through the trade paperback ereads version of Blood Music. It is my first Bear novel and I'm am enjoying it through the first 80 pages but I'm starting to get very frustrated by all the typos. Most seem like some sort of text scanning error. For instance there are lot of odd substitution errors like substitution of "d" for "cl" in ("close" as "dose" several times) and "t'" for "f " ("it's" as "if s"). I purchased the book from www.barnesandnoble.com/

The funny thing about it is I am a 30 year old scientist from TX who recently spent 7 years working in CA. I'm overweight and have glasses with thick black rims. When I keep hitting all the errors I keep thinking that I somehow got contaminated by a smartbug in the lab and it is messing up my vision.
 

Re: problem with reprint of Blood Music
Date: 06/17/2009
From: Greg Bear

E-Reads tells me it has corrected these problems. Is this a recent purchase? (And yes, reading BLOOD MUSIC does infect your brain...)

Sincere Thanks

Date: 01/21/2009 From: Paul Weaver
Location: Near Ft Drum, NY, USA

Dear Mr. Bear,

While I was deployed to Iraq last year, I enrolled in a website called "Books For Soldiers". This site was designed to provide deployed US Servicemen with reading materiel - and far exceded my expectations.

One poster mentioned she would be attending a book-signing by you, for your then-new book "City at the End of Time". She asked if anyone would be interested in receiving a copy signed by you, and I affirmed that, as a fan of your previous books, I would be grateful.

The book I received was far above my expectations. I was extremely surprised to see that the book I was given was a first edition - but even more so, I was amazed to see that you took the time to personalize your encription.

The writing reads "To Paul, who's working hard so that I can write my book in peace! With thanks - GBear".

Mr Bear, my thanks for your support of a deployed Soldier, and for your generosity in providing a personalized message to an unknown, unpresent stranger. Receiving this book was one of the highlights of my 14+ month deployment to Iraq, and I will treasure it among the most special of books in my library.

Sincerely and gratefully,
Paul Weaver.
 

Re: Sincere Thanks
Date: 01/22/2009
From: Greg Bear

Hello, Paul! This was the least I could do for someone who's actually put boots on the ground and done the real work. You guys are awesome. Thanks again, and stay in touch!
 

Re: Sincere Thanks
Date: 01/23/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Paul & Greg:

I had to set back and let the "mistiness" subside for a couple of minutes after reading this exchange: 1 that the Books for Soliders effort was working and 2: that at least one copy of CITY was involved. And hearing that it was received and read in Iraq during one of our Soldiers' off hours...wow.

Mike Glosson

More Darwin's .........

Date: 01/20/2009 From: Joe Murray
Location: Freezing in Ottawa, Canada's capital

I'm going to be 81 years old in a few months. Before I am 82 I'd love to have a continuation of Stella et al in your third book !
Of course then I'll ask for a fouth book!
(The nice thing about the -40 weather is that we will appreciate the summer so much more albeit it's for such a brief weather respite.)
Thank you for wonderful reading.
Zaideh Joe
 

Re: More Darwin's .........
Date: 01/23/2009
From: Greg Bear

Hello, Joe! We're not nearly as cold here, but we have freezing fog socking us in for weeks at a time. I'd like to continue Stella's story, too, but have no idea when that might happen. Thanks for your support!

A Thank You to you and Professor Lusk, back in...............

Date: 01/19/2009 From: David Rushton
Location: ElCajon

Dear Sir;
I met you at Grossmont Collage in the year 1980, or there abouts, under Professor Lusk. At the time, I never even dreamed of writing, S.F.,or anything. Now that I won my 100% V.A.disablity, I am 100% in retirement! I am now writing my "Hard Science based, Science Fiction", series.
"The Dragon Lord of House Rusher", Book One, House Established. It was you and Professor Lusk that set on this path that I now walk. I would of never met our Dean of S.F. the great Ray Bradbury, yet alone have him know me by name.
The S.D. Comic Con is where I met I first editor/publisher. She gave me her time, and the,A,B,C,s of publishing my novel.
I wish to honor you, and give you my deepest thanks.
This is my first computer and I am taking basic computer class. The The E-mail attachment Tec.,is still just out of my grasp. I have my own all-in-one printer, and can if possible, wish to fax you the "blurb", from the novel.
This is my way to personaly thank you. This is what you, the professor, and the Dean Bradbury have inspired me to write. I have a easyer time to recived an answer from you if you could reply to my E-Mail.

My Deepest Thanks Again,

David Rushton





 

Re: A Thank You to you and Professor Lusk, back in...............
Date: 01/23/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, David, and welcome aboard! This writing/publishing business is a crazy train, but there's no better ride on Earth. Keep in touch and let us know how it goes! And see you at the 40th Anniversary Comic-Con?
 

Re: A Thank You to you and Professor Lusk, back in...............
Date: 01/23/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego

Hi David! From over here in San Diego.

About the time you were linking up with Greg Bear at Grossmont, he was doing some visiting teaching at Will C. Crawford High on SF Story Writing, which was where I met him the second time, after a series of Seminars he ran thru the San Diego City Schools in 1978, which were in a small way mini-conventions. Greg Hosted these, which were either ever week or ever other week or so in Winter/Spring '78, starting and ending with Films at the KEN Cinema.

But let me clarify something: your post above states you are on your first computer right now, and have a novel coming out...did you write your first novel sans computer? If so, that's a major feat at the start of the 21st Century.

Mike Glosson
 

Re: A Thank You to you and Professor Lusk, back in...............
Date: 01/24/2009
From: Eric
Location: Botosani

Excelent articles !
 

Re: A Thank You to you and Professor Lusk, back in...............
Date: 01/25/2009
From: David Rushton
Location: San Diego

Hey! Mike Glosson,
Thank you for the contact. I am still learning the compter, so I don't understand your tern:"SANS". How ever I will explain how, I have suffer-LowTec. One must pay one's dues! In 2001, with only pens, notebook papers, and binders I began to write my novel series. I am now transcribing from hand writen, 1700 pages, contained in 2-ea binders. I am also producing,(WITHOUT FORMATING PROGRAMS),my book proposal, and the novel itself. Work product proper to be sumited, and has been, to a editor! Take Care,D.Rushton, THE DRAGON LORD OF HOUSE RUSHER.
 

Re: A Thank You to you and Professor Lusk, back in...............
Date: 01/30/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

David:

"Sans" was one of my continual lapses into Franglish, a horrid peppering of the English language with words directly from the french. I do that with Deutsche as well.

So, wow, I am impressed that you Hand Wrote 1700 pages of Novel Material. Haven't heard of anyone doing that since Tolkien and LOTR. Congrats on getting it sold, but sounds like a lot of extra work to transcribe.

Maybe I'll run into you at Con, if we go this summer...still up in the air about that.

Mike Glosson

Influences

Date: 01/14/2009 From: Shaun
Location: Chester

Hi,

All the best for New Year! I read an interview about some of your influences, and just wondered if James Tiptree, Jr (or her alias') were amongst any of your reading material early on?

Regards

Shaun
 

Re: Influences
Date: 01/14/2009
From: Greg Bear

She was--in the mid-seventies, before she revealed her true identity. Her fiction was powerful and had a unique voice--and I didn't care whether Tiptree was male or female.

Deadlines

Date: 01/11/2009 From: Chris
Location: Boothwyn, PA

Hi, Mr. Bear!

Been wanting to drop a line to you in some form ever since reading Deadlines. I have to say that I've never finished a science-fiction novel in tears before but Deadlines was a real tearjerker. Man-tears aside, I loved it. For someone who is labeled as writing hard-science fiction, you really now how to create characters I can care about. Right in the middle of Eon now and I'm hooked (make it a movie!). Thank you for thinking and putting it on paper!
 

Re: Deadlines
Date: 01/13/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks for the kind words Chris! I think Bruce
Willis could star in either film... though likely he will resist doing another ghost story.

A Message from Bill Burgett of Bill Burgett Books

Date: 01/08/2009 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Greg:

Hadn't planned on stopping by here today, but after I did an hours worth of intense business with Bill at his Store today he asked if I still see you from time to time...I'd only seen you twice in 2008, and before that it had been 21 years and more, but that I do communicate with you from time to time.

So he asked me to say "Hi!" for him, and ask if the two of you missed each other during any of your book store treks in San Diego during your 2008 visits. The man is in and out of the store A LOT, and I had to make an appointment with him today to ensure we were both at the same place at the same time.

I was doing a verbal download with him and one of his assistants while we did our business, and the College Grove Waldens & Read-A-Rama came up, as well as Book Stop III (and I learned the history of that "chain" for the first time today).

While talking about You with Bill I went on a mini-rant about CITY, the NIGHT LAND, the entire Dying Earth/End of Time Genre, emerging literary traditions in SF, etc, even mentioning the Quantico Book(s) and the forteld tie in between that book and the novels in the Queen of Angels sequence.

So, Bill says Hi and Stop by the Store when you are in Town. It's now on Adams Avenue across from the John Adams Post Office.
 

Re: A Message from Bill Burgett of Bill Burgett Books
Date: 01/13/2009
From: Greg Bear

I always try to get by Bill's store when in town, usually around Comic-Con. Lots of bookstore connections in my home town! Wahrenbrock's and Otento and so many others...

The Myth of Cats as Natural Fate Shifters from CITY

Date: 01/06/2009 From: Mike Glossons
Location: San Diego, CA

Greg:

Until today I thought the side myth about Cats being Fate Shifters was a cute little side fiction about Cats and Books, especially with all the Book Stores on Adams Avenue down here that have Cats.

I've even teased our Norwegian Forest Cat Paris Radisson Kat about it. And NFC's are super bright, and appear to understand what is being said to them.

This afternoon I mentioned to her that she would have to eat our Pug's rejected Science Diet Senior Dog Food as I was out of her canned food. She looked at me, said "blurp" ran around my legs then ran to the front door and left. Five minutes later the last paper towel on the role was used up, and when I checked we were totally out of paper towels.

So I ended up having to go to the store, and ofcourse restock her canned food at the same time.

As I wrote this said Cat/Natural Fate Shifter came running in, jumped onto the chair next to me, looked at the screen, than ran off again.

For a small being who may have access to alternate time lines she's not totally bright, as she thinks the ceiling fan is a hawk or eagle, especially when it is rotating.

Unless it is, in some alternate reality I cannot see, but she can.

The Cat Mythos in CITY is yet another one of many avenues that could be explored critically, especially in light of the Cats/Bookstores social phenomenon.
 

Re: The Myth of Cats as Natural Fate Shifters from CITY
Date: 01/13/2009
From: Greg Bear

Obviously she dealt with helicopters in a previous existence!
 

Re: The Myth of Cats as Natural Fate Shifters from CITY
Date: 01/13/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Both the wife and I are positive either a red tailed hawk or one of the Golden Eagles here on the rim dived bombed her last summer.

She's generally nervous of the ceiling fan when it is spinning, but when off, not so much.

Coincidentally I held her up to the "off" ceiling fan this afternoon, and she flinched from it.

She was not always so.

This places is thick with raptors and corvids...and mutant squirells...ComicCon Wednesday last summer I watched there of them, Fledged Red Tailed Hawks, not figure out how to catch the squirrel on the COX line...with me yelling at them "Get that Squirrel! Eat him now!"

I'm not fond of rodents.

Question from a fan - and possibly a Muse

Date: 01/04/2009 From: David Samuelsohn
Location: Katonah NY

What orbital perturbations might we see if the mechanical stability and gravitational equalibrium of the inner Solar System were to be disrupted by, oh say, the sudden disappearance of Mars?

I've been a big fan since the beginning.

ds
 

Re: Question from a fan - and possibly a Muse
Date: 01/05/2009
From: Greg Bear

Hello, David! Mars vanishing would have very little effect on the inner solar system, and not much if any on the outer. Now if Jupiter decided to vanish, we might notice the difference... Any astrophysicists out there willing to do the math... say, a ten body problem with asteroid blips?
 

Re: Question from a fan - and possibly a Muse
Date: 01/06/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

Hmmm...since I have been recently focused on Sunday's Perihelion Event, I have to wonder about this. Now it wouldn't cause Venus and Earth to go flying off from the orbital plane, but I have to wonder if earth's orbit wouldn't flatten a bit, become more circular.

Not that Perihelion and Aphelion have that much affect on earth's weather, as we are four million miles closer to the sun in January as we are in July.

But Jupiter suddenly vanishing, yeah, that would cause some changes PDQ...the Trojan Asteroids being the first thing that comes to mind...the shepherding affect that Jupiter has on the Asteroid Built and incoming comets.

Something that would definitely be "phun" to model on the UCSD Super Computer.

MG
 

Re: Question from a fan - and possibly a Muse
Date: 01/12/2009
From: ryan costa
Location: cleveland

Some speculate the melting ice caps will effect plate tectonic activity. The Caps themselves damper or are in some range of equilibrium with of the tectonic plates and vibrating mantle.

the melting caps will make the ocean heavier. the forces of the currents and tides sloshing over 3/4 of the surface of the earth will vary from the last few thousand years. we could see a few more volcanoes going off, a few more earthquakes.

Queen of Angels

Date: 01/04/2009 From: lisa
Location: Los Angeles, CA

I just wanted to pass along my appreciation for your book Queen of Angels, which I just reread after about a decade-long gap. This amazing novel opened my eyes in many ways, and I remain in awe of it all these years later. A great book. I've read many of your other works, but this one is perhaps the most personal to me. So, thank you. Besides Slant, which I plan on rereading next, have you followed up on Jill or the other characters in this book, or do you plan to? Thanks.

Lisa
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 01/05/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks for the kind words, Lisa! In fact, I'm putting the last chapters into order for a follow-on to QUANTICO which will link that novel with the QUEEN OF ANGELS timeline. The confluence of our real timeline with QOA and SLANT etc. is surprising even to me.
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 01/06/2009
From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA

OK...I'm going to have to give Queen of Angels another chance...as the novel I finally read in, what was it, 1990? was not quite the same novel you discussed at a writer's workshop in '87...where you talking mostly about FORGE OF GOD, which not only lived up to what you talked about, but exceeded it.

What was it that did not live up to expection? You'd changed the details of the crime commited...which original made it sound like something one wound find in your novels EON and ETERNITY.

But don't fret about it too much, as I was going thru a period where I wasn't reading much Science Fiction at that time...and I went on to read MOVING MARS, but some how missed the Darwin books until the last three years.

Still need to read SLANT. MOVING MARS though, not only the premis got me, which also reminded me abit of the indepenance move in Clarke's THE SANDS OF MARS...but more so...but I will be haunted to my last day by the discription of a rare rain storm on Mars and the martian life BLOOMING agressively in the aftermath. That was worth the price of admission on its own.

Mike
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 01/13/2009
From: Greg Bear

MOVING MARS actually refers more to THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, thematically. But there's also a touch of RED PLANET, of course... and likely SANDS OF MARS, just for balance.
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 01/23/2009
From: chris pickens
Location: fairfax, ca


Hi Lisa,

I have to agree with you: of all of Mr. Bear's books, Queen of Angels becomes more and more of a masterpiece with each passing year. I first read it in 1993 or 94 and was perhaps not old enough to appreciate it. I re-read it again after grad school and after I starting teaching physics and loved it. It seems to relieve a new layer with each reading. I now am the proud owner of a signed hard copy.
As it stands, Queen of Angels for me gives me the same feel of depth and texture as DUNE! It is an amazing feat of the imagination. I can SEE and HEAR the society Bear created in that novel.

Cheers
Chris








A Clockwork Orange,

 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 01/23/2009
From: Greg Bear

Many thanks, Chris! Great to know the books are still connecting.
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 01/26/2009
From: Lisa
Location: Los Angeles

Chris,
I agree completely with what you express in your post. I could live forever in that world, as long as those characters were around me. I loved QOA so much that I did attend Greg's signing for Slant at the Dangerous Visions book store back when it was still around.

Greg,
Thanks for your response. I just finished rereading Slant and taking in Quantico for the first time, scary book. I connected the most with Fouad's narrative and found him to be a deeply compelling character. Really looking forward to discovering how you link these two streams.

Thanks again for your wonderful works!

lisa
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 01/29/2009
From: Greg Bear

Linking away right now...!
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 03/26/2009
From: Chris Pickens
Location: Fairfax, CA


Lisa,

Thanks for the response about Queen of Angels. I am sure you and I are not the only people who are BIG fans of that book. I wonder if there are Queen of Angels CULTS... I have not found any on the web.

Mr Bear,
Thanks again for Queen. It takes a bold, intelligent and hard-working person to write such a fantastic book. I am in the middle of writing my own hard-sf novel and can appreciate the amount of effort required to create an
intelligent, and entertaining and original piece.
Every time I read Queen, I just shake my head in denial: I would have gone CRAZY writing it! Excellent!

On a more specific note, do you think the time have come for a great THINKER spin-off of these novels --- perhaps
a reunion between AXIS and Roger and Jill or a homecoming for AXIS. . . . I have dreams of it, 50 chapters under your name.

Cheers
Chris



 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 04/01/2009
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Chris--I highly recommend you take a look at John Brunner's STAND ON ZANZIBAR, which in part helped inspire QOA. (If you haven't already...)

Some of the early history of the "thinkers" will be arriving in MARIPOSA, which I'm editing now.
 

Re: Queen of Angels
Date: 04/03/2009
From: chris pickens
Location: fairfax, CA


Hi Mr. Bear,

Thanks for the reading tip. I heard of the story but never
read it. I'll give it go.
As for the thinker story ---- very exciting!

Have a great one!

Cheers
Chris