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January - June 2010

humor book inquiry

Date: 06/25/2010 From: Ben Ohmart
Location: Albany, GA



Hi. I'm collecting a book of responses to just one question:

Why isn't comedy taken as seriously as drama?

That is, why does drama win awards more frequently and is put
in higher regard (generally) than comedy, when it's SO
important to have a laugh and (some say) much harder to do.

Even if you disagree with the premise, I would welcome your
(serious) comments, regardless of length. If used, I would
be pleased to send you a copy of the book when it's ready,
and you will of course receive credit for your quote.

I will be publishing this book through BearManor Media,
which has almost 300 entertainment books in print. I've
written books on Don Ameche, Joan Davis, The Bickersons,
Mel Blanc, Paul Frees, etc, and I love humor. This is a
pet project for me, and I really appreciate your
attention. (I already have responses from many, including
Buck Henry, Piers Anthony, Rhonda Fleming, Monty Hall, etc.
which I state not to name drop, but to show you that this
is a serious comedic inquiry!)

Thanks very much.

Ben Ohmart
P O Box 1129
Duncan, OK 73534-1129
benohmart@gmail.com
 

Re: humor book inquiry
Date: 07/20/2010
From: Greg Bear

Great question. Imaginative literature and comedy have a lot in common--they're both very tough to do, and they both get (almost) no respect! I blame all the teachers who snatched away our copies of MAD MAGAZINE and stuffed SILAS MARNER back into our grubby little fists. Our revenge, of course, is that we get to make the jokes and imagine the alternate worlds where comedians and science fiction and fantasy creators win Pulitzers. That would be funny... Another category of entertainment that gets very little respect is children's book and young adult writing. Class clowns and nerds and kids don't count. Get serious, folks!
 

Re: humor book inquiry
Date: 07/20/2010
From: Chris
Location: England

My guess is it's because it's nigh on impossible to predict with comedy what will stand the test of time. You may think that shouldn't be an issue, but my suspicion is that it would be. Not just because something may not be considered funny by a future audience, but also because it could even be thought to be offensive with the way what is thought to be politically incorrect can change over time.

In short: avoid giving awards to comedy, stand less chance of looking a fool further down the line.
 

Re: humor book inquiry
Date: 07/20/2010
From: Greg Bear

Perhaps--but Aristophanes is still around and still profanely funny. And lots of serious books are now completely forgotten--except perhaps by academics and historians. The longevity of any art is dicey.
 

Re: humor book inquiry
Date: 07/20/2010
From: Ben Ohmart
Location: Albany, GA

Thanks Greg! Do I have your permission to put your response in my book? You can email me directly where you want me to send your copy when it's ready.
 

Re: humor book inquiry
Date: 07/23/2010
From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA

While I can appreciate the spirit of the OP, I have to wonder, is comedy really meant to be taken seriously?

I don't mean to poke fun, here, but what would be the result? Lengthy learned discussions of why Pratchett is superior to Adams regarding humor, or vice-versa? Theses written on Abbot and Costello?

Speaking of Pratchett, I think he spoke to this issue quite well through his character Verence II, who ultimately ends up as King of Lancre, but who began life as a Fool. Verence tells tales of how, as a child, for instance, he was beaten by his grandfather for having had the temerity to tell an original joke, rather than one approved by the Fools' Guild. Said guild takes its comedy very seriously.

Were I to participate in the above mentioned learned discussion, my vote would be for Pratchett. And, so I will close with a quote from him: "You can't map a sense of humor..."
 

Re: humor book inquiry
Date: 07/29/2010
From: aculturemind
Location:

G....Most folks need a translation of the classics even when they're in plain English. If it weren't for archival folks and stead-fast educators, even secondary or tertiary sources of the classics would exist in obscurity in a relative handful of people's collections, both physical and electronic.
 

Re: humor book inquiry
Date: 08/06/2010
From: Greg Bear

Soitanly. Uh... I mean, certainly. Let us all know when the book is out!
 

Re: humor book inquiry
Date: 08/09/2010
From: Greg Bear

Taking comedy seriously is one thing--likely very silly indeed--but giving comedy due credit as an art of equal standing with others is long overdue. Aristotle got it wrong, I think! But even he regarded comedy as essential and worthy, though below tragedy in "seriousness."
 

Re: humor book inquiry
Date: 08/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

True enough. That's what school is for--in part, and hopefully!

Forerunner Novels

Date: 06/24/2010 From: Chris Mann
Location: NC

From what I can gather, the first Forerunner novel that you are working on is to be released this summer correct? Regardless, I was wondering where I could go for news or updates on said book.

Thank you very much in advance!

-Chris
 

Re: Forerunner Novels
Date: 07/19/2010
From: Greg Bear

Late this year, under the present schedule. I'm doing a panel on HALO with the 343 folks at Comic-Con this Sunday at eleven am! See if it's streamed anywhere...
 

Re: Forerunner Novels
Date: 08/19/2010
From: Keifer
Location: L-Burg KY

The entire Halo Universe panel is up on Halo Waypoint's Youtube page. It's worth watching, along with the Reach panel.

Cooking on other planets

Date: 06/24/2010 From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett

I am rather loathe to give this away, but since I am unlikely to do anything with it, what the heck.

Authors often toss around data about other colonized planets of the future, like "It has 1.15 earth gravities," and so on, but I have never seen anyone address the issue of cooking.

All else being equal, lower gravity would make water boil at a lower temperature, and higher gravity at a higher temperature. Not only would this affect the boiling of water, it would also affect the cooking time of anything containing water. And, almost all the food we eat is mostly water.

Regarding books, is this just a non-issue that no one would be interested in, or is it simply that most published authors don't cook? :)


Kelly
 

Re: Cooking on other planets
Date: 07/19/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Kelly! I'm sure this has been addressed in one story or another, but I can't think of it just now. Low gravity boiling point? Thinking about that makes my head hurt! Any astronauts care to set us straight?
 

Re: Cooking on other planets
Date: 07/20/2010
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

It's not gravity but barometric pressure that's the issue, right? Unless there's a relevant effect on bouyancy, hence convection, in the material being cooked? Gravitational gradients may vary, but unless you're cooking an ocean I don't see that being a problem. But low-gravity worlds with Earth-normal air pressure are going to be colder, high-gravity ones hotter. Coloids? Azeotropes? And what about ammonia-based cuisine? Mankind's final hurtle...the Three Batter Problem.
 

Re: Cooking on other planets
Date: 07/20/2010
From: Greg Bear

I assumed gravity would not be a factor, but then those convection currents and relative buoyancy clogged my brain. I presume there's someone on the web who's an expert?
 

Re: Cooking on other planets
Date: 07/20/2010
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

The buoyancy thing I just threw out there. It's hard to imagine anything but air-pressure having an important effect (I did read the Wikipedia article on water, which led into emulsions and shear-mixing and stranger stuff). Lots on the web about "specific" gravity, but a casual search finds nothing on exo-cooking. It would be a perfect Asimov story, don't you think? "Murder by Thiotimiline Pie" or some such. Or a recipe that's only lethal if prepared on Ganymede...
 

Re: Cooking on other planets
Date: 07/23/2010
From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA

Hmm, isn't gravity the main reason for barometric pressure in the first place, though? The planet sucks the atmosphere down, and since atmosphere compresses, there is more of it the lower you go toward the planet. All else being equal, wouldn't barometric pressure be greater at an equal altitude on a world with higher gravity?

For example, two planets of equal size, rotation, atmospheric composition, etc, but one is more dense, and therefore has a stronger gravitational field. And, yes, I suppose that a planet of greater gravity would arguably have more atmosphere with which to create barometric pressure, but I am not talking about extremes, here. Let's assume a variation of no more than .25 earth gravities.

Ser versus sir

Date: 06/22/2010 From: Nick Owens
Location: Champaign, IL

Mr Bear,

I recently finished reading the Eon series, including Legacy. A detail that I missed in the books was the origins of 'Ser' as an honorific before names. Where did it come from? Why do the inhabitants of the Thistledown use it?

Thanks,
Nick Owens
 

Re: Ser versus sir
Date: 07/23/2010
From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA

"Ser" would seem to be a genderless honorific. Which, of course probably seems obvious. (Like, "Well, duh!")

As to the origin, I have often wondered this myself. It apparently is not original, or at least is not unique to Greg's writings, and has also been picked up by a number of games and so on, which makes the researching of the term all the more difficult. As you may have discovered, Google it and you will find various fictional game languages, such as Matei.

In real life, however, it was used, for example, in medieval times, apparently as an alternate, or perhaps original (or at least fairly recent, etymologically speaking) spelling of the word "sir," However, in these cases, it was gender-specific. Ser Brunetto, in Dante's Inferno, for example.

The only examples I have been able to find within the bounds of admittedly cursory research in which it is not gender-specific is in a Micronesian dialect, in which case it appears to mean "His/Her," and is therefore more of a possessive than an honorific. Assume the Micronesian word for ball, and "Ball ser" would mean "His or her ball," with he or she apparently being implied in context. (Or simply by pointing. :P)

I'm certain with fairly exhaustive research I could arrive at a definitive answer. I could no doubt establish at least tenuous precedence, which would involve finding out how, for instance, Austronesian (which is an ancient language family, and of which Micronesian is a part) relates to Latin, and so on, but even then it might not match Greg's reason for using the term. He may, after all, have merely used it on a whim, and I think the most important thing to him was that it not be gender-specific to contemporary readers, if I am recalling the book accurately.

I would certainly be interested in Greg's explanation, as well, however. :)
 

Re: Ser versus sir
Date: 07/29/2010
From: aculturemind
Location:

I think it first occured in Brin's STARTIDE RISING. In any case, it's non-gender-specific, yo.
 

Re: Ser versus sir
Date: 08/09/2010
From: Greg Bear

Simple enough--genderless honorific, blurring his/her. Cool background check, though, Kelly!
 

Re: Ser versus sir
Date: 08/13/2010
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Hi Mr. Marsh!

Interesting discussion re your comments on Greg Bear's use of "ser." I've nothing to add which bears (pun intended!) directly on "ser," tho. Intead, I was reminded of how, in the Terran Empire era of Poul Anderson's Technic Civilization stories, "Donna" was used as a polite honorific for women of respectable status. I would guess the Anglic "Sir" remained the equivalent honorific for males. But this use of "Sir" should not be confused with the knighthoods conferred on various persons--they would be addressed as "Sir Domininc Flandry," for example.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

New Halo Book

Date: 06/21/2010 From: Garrett B.
Location: Longmont, Colorado

Now I'm sure you have gotten a lot of questions about the newest Halo book recently, but I've been dying to know a general release time. I've been a fan of the series since The Fall of Reach book and I'm ridiculously excited that you will be the author of the much anticipated Forerunner Trilogy. Could you give a hint as to when the first book comes out? Thanks a bunch!
 

Re: New Halo Book
Date: 07/19/2010
From: Greg Bear

Current plan for publication, the end of this year!
 

Re: New Halo Book
Date: 10/19/2010
From: Terry
Location: Adelaid South Australia

According to http://halo.xbox.com/en-us/news/headline/science-fiction-legend-greg-bear-set-to-explore-the-time-of-the-forerunners/5011 and Amazon.com, Halo Cryptum: Book One of the Forerunner Saga is due on January 4 2011. Hope that's helpful.
 

Re: New Halo Book
Date: 10/30/2010
From: Greg Bear

Helpful, and all true.

Mysticon 2011

Date: 06/20/2010 From: Tina Vargo
Location: Lynchburg, VA

Hello Mr Bear,
I apologize for not getting back to you sooner about the convention. I had contacted you previously in May about possibly attending a convention that I was involved with. I am sending you the requested details.

The convention is called Mysticon, and is located in Roanoke, VA. It is to be held February 25-27th 2011. We are willing to provide your transportation, along with the room, a stipend for meals and a table if you wish in the Dealers' Room. We will also provide transportation/meals for your wife if she wishes to attend as well.

Please let me know at your earlier convenience if we may include you in our plans. Should you wish to view it, we have a website which is located at http://www.mysticon-va.com/.

Thanks so much for your consideration.
 

Re: Mysticon 2011
Date: 07/19/2010
From: Greg Bear

Sounds like a great con, Tina, but I am looking at an impossible schedule in February. Many regrets! Hope everyone has a fine time.

Greg

Kepler Data and FTL

Date: 06/17/2010 From: Jason Taylor
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/kepler20100615.html

Nasa seems to have realeased the Kepler data this week. That fact got me to thinking about how to communicate with whatever we find. And then it dawned on me, we do not have to figure it out. They will have already(assuming an FTL society.) So all we have to figure out is how to receive the data. I'd certainly like to listen in to the alien broadcast of 'Fix your own gravity drive' or 'nano's and you'
Whimsical thoughts!
 

Re: Kepler Data and FTL
Date: 06/19/2010
From: Greg Bear

Cosmic Public Radio (apt acryonym CPR) has a show called "All Things Considered... no, REALLY, All Things."
 

Re: Kepler Data and FTL
Date: 07/07/2010
From: Igor
Location:

I've always wondered if changes in gravity are instantaneous. If the sun was to disappear (as by magic), would Pluto change course instantly, or would it take several light hours for a gravitational tidal wave to reach it?

If gravitational changes are instantaneous, a device could be designed that creates gravitational pulses (setting off nukes on a moon might do the trick), and another device that detects them, allowing FTL communication.

If manipulating gravity proofs to difficult, it might still be worth the effort to create the listening device to see if something out there is doing it.
 

Re: Kepler Data and FTL
Date: 07/20/2010
From: Greg Bear

All part of the long-term search for gravitational waves, which according to general relativity, should exist... and should travel at the speed of light. And along with that wave goes the graviton... Anybody want to try a two-slit experiment just outside a wobbling neutron star?
 

Re: Kepler Data and FTL
Date: 08/12/2010
From: Alex
Location: st neots

I was reading in New Scientist about a guy called Petr Horava at Berkley whos (I think) rejigged the relationship between spacetime and the speed of light, removing the need for C to be the same for all observers at all times.
He thinks maybe in the early hot universe this symetry might have been different.
Apparently this allows our equations to give reasonable results for gravity at quantunm scales and makes them match up with observed vacuum energy level, two big issues with standard relativity.
And it emphatically supports the light speed graviton.
Its all very interesting and seems very elegant to a layman.

I think the fact that there's a speed of light at all interesting. What does it mean?
 

Re: Kepler Data and FTL
Date: 08/19/2010
From: Greg Bear

The limitation of c means "Slow down and smell the roses"?
 

Re: Kepler Data and FTL
Date: 08/20/2010
From: Alex
Location: st neots

Definitely, otherwise if you go too fast, youll blink and miss... everything.
 

Re: Kepler Data and FTL
Date: 08/22/2010
From: Alex
Location: st neots

Yeah! Slow and steady fills the universe.
There obviously are ways you can make things travel faster than light, like if you shine two beams of light parallel and then angle them toward eachother, the crossing point could easily go FTL. As I understand it no information can be carried with any of that kind of trickery though. Shame.

Anyone else like Macroscope? That featured several info broadcasts from aliens, one of which allowed FTL travel by melting people into liquid that could withstand thousands of Gs. That book blew my 15 year old mind!
 

Re: Kepler Data and FTL
Date: 08/24/2010
From: Greg Bear

My favorite Piers Anthony novel. Big and rich with ideas.

Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?

Date: 06/15/2010 From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

Is this going to be one of the reasons for commercially expanding into Space Travel... finally - Asteroid Mining?
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 06/15/2010
From: Greg Bear

It's certainly been a part of space planning for decades, and even fostered a few movies. The recent return of asteroid samples by the Japanese (a terrific achievement) is likely to spark more research.
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 06/16/2010
From: mko
Location: kl ont

If that planet-hunter Kepler finds a wet world anywhere nearby,
I think we might see a whole new space race in our lifetime.
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 06/16/2010
From: CAllenDoudna
Location: Grand Island, Nebraska

Once we get beyond the grip of Earth's gravity (we'll never be beyond its pull, but it trails off rapidly with a little distance), any part of the solar system is easy enough to reach cheaply and asteroids and comets are among the easiest and cheapest and most rewarding places to mine--once we've learned how to mine in Space. Greg I have not seen the Japanese results, but about thirty years ago a couple of guys included a table of minerals found in typical asteroids in a book they published. This was based on meteorite samples which were presumed to be from the asteroids, a reasonably logical deduction.

The average asteroid 10 km (6 miles) in diameter has enough gold to supply the entire world demand for the next 30,000 years.

Obviously we will need something a bit more advanced than a wash pan and a burro--but maybe not a whole lot more advanced than that in a relative sense. After all, the burro probably cost the miner about as much as a pick-up truck costs us today (Henry Ford could never have sold his Model T if it had cost more than a horse!), had about as many starter problems, and needed fuel that could, in its own way, be pretty expenssive out in the desert.

The middle of this century will see wagon trains heading out from Earth and in many respects they will not be so very different from the ones of the mid-1800s.

Imagine a parabolic mirror focusing sunlight on a pile of sand from the Moon, Mercury, or and asteroid. When the sand becomes molten it is blown by a tank of air into a lightbulb a little over 30 miles in diameter. At about that size in order to get Earth-normal gravity it would turn once every 24 hours. Dirt would be placed over half of it on the inside to form a bowl-shaped valley. The sun would rise over the eastern edge of the valley, travel across a blue, normal-looking sky, and set 14 hours later over the western edge of the valley. As the back of the valley rotated to face the sun the window portion of the bulb would rotate out to face the stars for a normal-looking 10 hour night. Total land area with near Earth-normal gravity available for homesteading: about the same as a typical American or British county or a typical Greek city-state of old. Comets, asteroids, and the ice moons of Jupiter and Saturn would be the source of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen.
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 06/17/2010
From: kurt9
Location: Portland, Oregon

Asteroid mining is one of the few economic drivers for commercial space. The problem is the long travel times (3-5 years) and, consequently, the long payback period. This is in addition to the currently high space transportation costs.
If asteroid mining takes place, it will be to obtain the Platinum group metals only, as these are the only metals whose values could justify the high cost of retrieving an asteroid.
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 06/19/2010
From: Greg Bear

"Nearby" is still unlikely to be closer than twenty four trillion miles... So we've got a lot of thinking and hard work to do to get there! Inertialess drive, anyone?
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 06/19/2010
From: Greg Bear

Sounds remarkably old-fashioned! My guess is the economics of mining won't be quite so simple, as getting the ore back to Earth economically probably means dropping it in the ocean at roughly twenty thousand miles per hour. And as Mr. Heinlein pointed out long ago, those in charge of drop-shipping pallets of ore are likely, on *rare* occasion, to imagine themselves capable of a little blackmail!

So maybe the miners keep it all for themselves. Which means they also need an icy/volatiles supply, which comets and some asteroids and even a moon or to might provide.
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 06/19/2010
From: Greg Bear

Rare earths, anyone?
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 06/20/2010
From: kurt9
Location: Portland, Oregon

Naw, Rare Earths are actually not that rare and China, which is the largest consumer of them (because they are now the world's leading manufacturer) also happens to have the largest actively mined reserves of them. However, there are other known reserves of these that are not mined at the present time because the price is too low.

The mining economics of Rare earths are such that if the prices of them double, and remain sustainably high, new mines open up all over the place that are not commercially viable. The radical increase in "known reserves" of mineral (and oil) associated with modest price increases is well-known in mining industry.

Indium is a material that could be mined from asteroids. However, it is likely that a replacement for ITO (used in displays and solar cells) is likely to be developed long before the space industry gets it act together to fetch an asteroid.
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 06/21/2010
From: Al Brady
Location: st neots

"If asteroid mining takes place, it will be to obtain the Platinum group metals only, as these are the only metals whose values could justify the high cost of retrieving an asteroid"

Id mine asteroids because theyre already up in space, not to bring back stuff to Earth. Stuff costs tens of thousands of dollars per kilo to lift to orbit from Earth (or the moon etc). A quadrillon tonnes of steel or water already in space would make building interplanetary ships and orbital cities lot easier.
I thought Stephen Baxter's explanation of robot mining an asteroid and driving the refined products along chaotic orbits back to where theyre needed was good.
 

Inertialess drive, anyone?
Date: 06/24/2010
From: mko
Location: kl ont

>twenty four trillion miles...

Well, that's only 24 years at ~114 million mph. Of course there's all that interstellar crud that might be out there once you get past our sun-swept
little backyard. We may need a General Products Hull Zero Three for that.
Anyway, I thought Charles Franklin had this all figured out years ago.
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 06/29/2010
From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

So I guess it could be a while before I can order a drink at the space asteroid bar...
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 07/06/2010
From: Olaf
Location: The Netherlands

IMHO survey and exploration are bigger issues to get around to make it interesting.

The succesrate of finding big enough processible quantities and distance to processing facilities or "users" of these materials determine feasability and profitability.
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 07/15/2010
From: qiiiss
Location:

From: CAllenDoudna

"The average asteroid 10 km (6 miles) in diameter has enough gold to supply the entire world demand for the next 30,000 years."

While industrially this might be great, economically for those who 'own', it would be bad. Nope.


From: Greg Bear

" 'Nearby' is still unlikely to be closer than twenty four trillion miles... So we've got a lot of thinking and hard work to do to get there! Inertialess drive, anyone?"


Yeah, no shit. When does the lock on Tesla's work open??


From: Greg Bear

"Sounds remarkably old-fashioned! My guess is the economics of mining won't be quite so simple, as getting the ore back to Earth economically probably means dropping it in the ocean at roughly twenty thousand miles per hour. And as Mr. Heinlein pointed out long ago, those in charge of drop-shipping pallets of ore are likely, on *rare* occasion, to imagine themselves capable of a little blackmail!"

Um, Wind from a Burning Woman, anyone?
 

Inertialess drive, anyone?
Date: 07/19/2010
From: Greg Bear

Have to take both fuel and reaction mass with you, of course. TAU ZERO is one of my favorite novels, but apparently there's not that muchstray gas in our local region...

I'm directly addressing that problem in HULL ZERO THREE.
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 07/20/2010
From: Greg Bear

On the rocks, no doubt!
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 07/20/2010
From: Greg Bear

Of course the more people live in space, the more demand for raw materials in space! And avoiding all those gravity wells sure cuts shipping costs.
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 07/20/2010
From: Greg Bear

Don't try to pick Tesla's lock, is all I can say...
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 07/23/2010
From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA

"Sounds remarkably old-fashioned! My guess is the economics of mining won't be quite so simple, as getting the ore back to Earth economically probably means dropping it in the ocean at roughly twenty thousand miles per hour. And as Mr. Heinlein pointed out long ago, those in charge of drop-shipping pallets of ore are likely, on *rare* occasion, to imagine themselves capable of a little blackmail!"

Um, why drop the ore back into the gravity well at all? For one, it would take a long time to get it there, which would be a huge waste of time for the people who were delivering it, enough so to make it unprofitable, unless, say, iron ore were worth way more than refined gold. Of course, I suppose they could just do the math and fire it at Earth so it would drop harmlessly into the ocean months later. I don't think this likely, however. A very slight miscalculation could be as bad, or much worse than a nuke. I don't think this would ever be allowed. So, if the goal were to send ore back home to process, I don't think it would ever be deemed practical or profitable. Spend months going out, collect a few tons from the mining ships, turn around and come back, deliver it over a week or so in safe amounts to drop, spend months going back out... It's not, after all, as if there are a plethora of asteroids just beyond the moon, lined up and ready for harvest. The asteroid belt is a long way out.

However, it seems to me that by the time we are able to mine asteroids, our focus will be outward. There would be no sense at all in dropping things back to Earth, refining them here, and then shooting them back into space, even if by that time we DO have mag-lev launchers, or something even better, capable of shooting a payload into space easily and cheaply. Worst case, we could initially refine the ores on the Moon, although this would also cost more than what it is worth. In the grand scheme of things, the asteroid belt is every bit as far from the Moon as it is from Earth. There's just not Earth's pesky gravity well and atmosphere to deal with.

It is my feeling that most of the metals we refine from harvesting ore from asteroids would be best spent founding and supplying colonies, and the ships used to create and sustain them.

"Of course the more people live in space, the more demand for raw materials in space! And avoiding all those gravity wells sure cuts shipping costs"

Yup. :) Build ships in space, so they don't need to be sturdy enough to escape a gravity well. At the same time, build landers that are able to survive entry and escape from gravity wells. Colonize the moon, and use that as an initial starting point, as the gravity well is not nearly as "deep." Sure, the asteroid belt is way out there, but there is no reason space-faring refineries could not eventually be built. We could thereby leapfrog our way out of the galaxy, and by then, who knows, FTL may become possible, not through real space, but via some of the things theoretical physics is even now causing to seem not so theoretical.

The major problem I see regarding mining, once the technical aspect is overcome, is simple human nature. It is containing the tailings, and having the foresight to do so. I think the obvious thing to use for mining would be explosives. Drill into a rock, sink an explosive device, blow the rock apart, and presto, its interior is available for plunder. However, this would eject many a small rock into the surrounding space. Some would then be travelling slower, on average, than the bodies in the asteroid belt are currently travelling, relatively speaking. Some, however, would be travelling much faster. It would depend upon the direction in which they were ejected. Large asteroids, by the time we are able to mine them, should be relatively easy to avoid, but the smaller, faster ones created by mining operations, if simply left to drift, could ruin your whole day, were they to impact your ship, even were they merely the size of a pebble. It all comes down to relative velocity. Yes, mass is a factor, but we're talking HUGE discrepancies in velocity, here.

Sadly, I don't have much faith in human foresight. What will probably happen is that we will use the fastest way to get to the interior of the large asteroids, and let later generations worry about it when their ships start getting holed by shotgun blasts of pebbles that have been orbiting the sun for years.

Oh well, enough doom and gloom. In any event, I think asteroid mining will not be only plausible and profitable. I think it is inevitable, at least assuming the human race survives long enough to get there.
 

Picking Tesla's Lock!!
Date: 07/26/2010
From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

I'll bet you Greg or one of your friends could pick Tesla's lock. Magnetic/Electric/Electromagnetic are interchangeable forces from one to the other (according to Wikipedia and relativity theory or is that maxwell) I'm sure its crackable - alas I am not a mathematician or a physicist however you can make a small amount of electricity tested on a rudimentary device with an old hard drive magnet (removed from hard drive) attatched on one side of a large/medium size coffee tin lid - two coffee tin lids with a few sheets of paper sandwiched in between and the magnet attatched to one coffee tin lid (so it sticks together with the paper and other lid). A multimeter shows a small voltage being produced as difference between the two plates!. One plate is negatively charged the other is positively charged!! Or two metal sheets with something sandwiched in between and a magnet. This produces a small amount of electricity and is an experimental proof in principle. More advanced materials and techniques etc will get a bigger zap! Or arraying a series of these primitive ones them with germanium diodes etc.

Have fun... and I have a series of more devices if this gathers interest. Tesla just waiting for his lock to be picked...
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 08/01/2010
From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

So anyway, I've started mining asteroids in the space game "Eve online", now about that drink - it may not be real but its better than nothing - I'll sell asteroid ore to anyone at the right price(virtually)
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 08/02/2010
From: Robin
Location: San Francisco

I suspect that the majority of the materials harvested from asteroids will go toward building human civilization across the solar system. Very little of those materials will make there way back to Earth's surface. What material does find its way back to the Earth/Moon system will be used to construct large structures in Earth and Lunar orbit and at the Lagrange points.
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 08/12/2010
From: Alex
Location: st neots

Itd be good to send metals and volatiles back to Earth orbit rather than land them on the ground I think.
Itd make building cities up there a lot easier which would speed generally moving people and economies off planet.
I think its crucial we do this and get a few hundred million people in space just as insurance against a climate change forced spasm nuclear war.
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 03/16/2011
From: Tim
Location: Saint George, UT

Yes, it is feasible, and might just be going on today! We have nuclear powered ion engines for unmanned satellites that go out and collect good sized chunks of rock, return them to earth where the satellite releases its cargo on a planed re-entry path; the cargo then falls to earth and is recovered. It is Simple, cheep, and safe. Keep looking up!
 

Re: Is Space Asteroid mining truly profitable/plausible ?
Date: 04/10/2011
From: Greg Bear

Of course, there might be a few protests as space mining corporations make a few re-entry miscalculations!

The main problem with space mining is still cost, but Elon Musk and others are already working very hard to bring those costs down.

World Building

Date: 06/14/2010 From: Nick Burnette
Location: Port Angeles Wa

Hi Greg,

I'm a writer and I've been reading the novel Eternity. I admire your world building skills! I wonder what techniques you use to create such detailed worlds, or if you're just born with it :) Specifically some of the detail in technologies that don't yet exist, the amount of technological lore is impressive. Is much of that there in the first draft or not until the later drafts?

Science Fiction is tricky and I just like your style.
 

Re: World Building
Date: 06/14/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Nick. It ain't easy--and it does develop in layers, like glazing a painting. The desiderata and crude visuals come first, and then the long, perspiring hours of trying to figure out how that MIGHT be made to work--followed by copious swearing, trimming, and enhancing. Building a future is not a pretty sight!
 

Re: World Building
Date: 07/23/2010
From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA

Greg, thanks for the "copious swearing" bit. :) Well I know it. You figure out how to make something work, and are elated. For a moment. Then you realize your new solution renders a previous one impossible. Copious swearing (and much revising) ensues...

Thank You

Date: 06/10/2010 From: Christopher B. Black
Location: Manchester England

Hello, Greg.
First of all, you're probably wondering what I'm thanking you for. Well, it's just a general thank you for being my favourite ever author and giving me so many hours of pleasure. Not just the hours I've spent actually reading the books, but even now thinking back about the stories still gives me much pleasure.
I'm not even sure why I'm telling you this, I've never wrote a fan letter to anyone before. It's just, I wanted you to know how much pleasure you bring. And I thought if I was a writer would I want to know if people appreciated and enjoyed what I was doing, and the answer was probably, yes. So here I am, wondering how to put into words what I would like to say.
First, I will tell you my favourite ever book is Eon. That's not just favourite book by you. I mean favourite book by anyone, anywhere ever. In fact I love all The Way books.
I was trying to think what it is, for me, that makes your stories stand out. I think it's the fact that they're idea driven as much as character driven. As much as I love your characters, it's the ideas that give it that wow factor for me. Nothing can blow my mind like a well thought out big idea. One that you've gone to the trouble of putting some flesh on its bones too. I big meaty idea to get your teeth into. I'm probably doing you an injustice calling it an "idea". It may start off as an idea but by the time it's fleshed out it's so much more.
One thing I do like about your characters is that you get into the head of strong female characters. It's an angle that intrigues me muchly as a male reader.
I'm sure there's so much more I could say about why love your books but I wouldn't want to embarrass you by fawning over you any more than I already have, so I think I'll leave it at that, for now.
Thank you again for all the good work. Looking forward to reading your latest book. I loved City at the End of Time, by the way.

Christopher.

 

Re: Thank You
Date: 06/14/2010
From: Greg Bear

Many thanks, Christopher! I blush at all this praise--but it energizes me to get more work done today. Back to describing the Forerunners!

Mariposa typo

Date: 06/09/2010 From: Rob Chapman
Location: edmonton

I just finished the thrill-a-minute, Mariposa. Thank you Greg. I only came across one typo. On page 137, bottom third of the page the paragraph:
"Newsome shook his head with a look that Rebecca new well--"
I believe that there should be a 'k' before the 'new'.

I hope there is a followup - with augmented humans and crying baby AI's!

Rob
 

Re: Mariposa typo
Date: 06/09/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Rob! I'll correct it in the ms., but don't know if we'll have time to slip it into the paperback...

Question about very ending of Anvil of Stars

Date: 06/03/2010 From: Gabe Reasoner
Location: Iowa, United States

Hi Greg. I just finished reading Anvil of Stars, and Forge of God before that, and they are amazing books. I love what you've done with them and how you wrote them. It was an amazing experience and they're definitely on my top ten favorite books. Anyway, I was just wondering about the last perspective of Anvil of Stars, which is Six/Eye on Sky. At the very end, after he is done with his perspective, it says:

Alderwood Manor, Washington
August 30, 1991

I was wondering what the significance of that was? It's probably very simple and I'm probably just too dumb to figure it out. But I was just wondering.
Thanks! :)
 

Re: Question about very ending of Anvil of Stars
Date: 06/08/2010
From: Greg Bear

That's the community where the book was written, on planet Earth... which still exists! Thanks for the kind words, Gabe.
 

Re: Question about very ending of Anvil of Stars
Date: 03/02/2015
From: Keri
Location: Plattsburgh, NY

Hi:

I was wondering the same thing. I read an electronic version of the book and I couldn't tell if those two lines were the author's or if they related to the braids.

If I am reading the above correctly then. It's just where and when the book was written and does not have anything to do with the content of the book?

 

Re: Question about very ending of Anvil of Stars
Date: 03/05/2015
From: Greg Bear

Yup. Alderwood Manor is now called Lynnwood.

Forge of God ebook

Date: 05/30/2010 From: Davis Gentry
Location: Richmond, VA

Greg -

I purchased Forge of God and Anvil of God in dead tree format many years ago. I now have a Sony Reader and am in the process of buying LOTS of ebooks - about 200 in the last six months. I got Anvil of Stars from Webscription (the source of 90% of my ebooks to date - they have the only reasonable pricing model on the net) but cannot find Forge of God in any legal format. I strongly support buying legal copies of my books, and won't download other than legal copies. I also strongly object to paying more for an eBook and a paperback - around $5 is good, or $9 for the first six months of a new release. I have found several authors who have set up their own websites to sell older works, and have bought books there - like CJ Cherryh. Is there a spot where one can buy a legal copy of Forge?

Thanks,

Davis Gentry
 

Re: Forge of God ebook
Date: 05/30/2010
From: Greg Bear

Looks like we're still working through some issues with the original publisher. I hope to have answers soon, Davis--and thanks for only reading legit material!
 

Re: Forge of God ebook
Date: 06/06/2010
From: Jim Duron
Location: Prairieville ,La

My wife uses Amazon Kindle and loves it but some of the prices are out of wack on older books since there is no printing or other markup cost. Amazon has been trying to get publishers to lower prices under $9.00 but greed and a lack of understanding the customer's needs and choices is causing a bit of a stand off.

We stay away from illegal copies but if prices are not reasonable people will find ways to get cheaper copies.
That equals lost revenue.
 

Re: Forge of God ebook
Date: 06/08/2010
From: Greg Bear

I agree that e-books pricing should run in that range, but reasonable pricing won't stop some people from going for the free copies anyway. Sigh.

Meanwhile, Astrid and I are studying the world of pirated book downloads. It's a nasty place out there, full of pitfalls and viruses and corrupted texts. But they ARE free... heh heh heh!
 

Re: Forge of God ebook
Date: 06/09/2010
From: Davis Gentry
Location: Richmond, VA

Yeah - I found a copy of Forge of God on one site - Russian - along with thousands of other books. And even if I was willing to download a pirated copy, I strongly suspect that it would be very likely to give my pc the computer equivilent of weaponized ebola.
 

Re: Forge of God ebook
Date: 06/14/2010
From: Greg Bear

Not a pretty sight--bleeding from the USB ports!
 

Re: Forge of God ebook
Date: 06/20/2010
From: Robert Grenader
Location: Los Angeles

One of my favorite books of all time. I too, would love to have it available in ebook format.

Thanks to Mr. Bear

Date: 05/28/2010 From: Robert
Location: Pac NW

I'd like to thank Mr. Bear for his excellent representation of the EOD community in the book Quantico. Made it believable and enjoyable. As a former EOD tech it's hard to read most techie thrillers that deal with the subject. Good research is hard to find, and most appreciated.
 

Re: Thanks to Mr. Bear
Date: 05/30/2010
From: Greg Bear

Good to hear, Robert! Thanks. EOD work requires very special people and very special training.
 

Re: Thanks to Mr. Bear
Date: 06/08/2010
From: Jon Kroll
Location: Ann Arbor Michigan

I also recently "read" (technically, listened to the audiobook) Quantico and absolutely loved it. I am very anxious to read Mariposa.

I am sorry, but I am missing the EOD reference. What does this abbreviation stand for?

I also found a reference in Quantico to a company that sounds very familiar to the one I work for... purely coincidental... :) Maybe I will take a few moments to relate it to Mr. Bear sometime.

Keep the good work. The praise is well deserved.

Jon Kroll
Ann Arbor Michigan
 

Re: Thanks to Mr. Bear
Date: 06/14/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Jon. EOD refers to Explosive Ordinance Demolition. Bomb squad.

resource, and Mariposa

Date: 05/27/2010 From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Imperial Beach

Hi Greg,

I think this may interest you:

http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge319.html#derman

For me at least, it touchs on very many of your levels and topics, including the one about ways a person may elide where there's something they aren't ready to look at squarely. At the same time, there's something about it having to do with essential healing activities, which I think is very interesting too.

The rest of the long list of subjects, I am sure you will see.

I also finally reached my equilibrium with Mariposa, and I will write a nice review on Amazon as soon as I can get past what I am working on at the moment.

Summary: well, you really are an artist ;). Others may also appreciate it.

One thing I would mention is that it's probably a good idea that Mariposa is off Kindle's list apparently for the moment. It took me picking up the print version in the library to realize what had happened there, as they has made a serious formatting mistake. This broke up your train-of-points-of-view style, whereever you used it, into bullets separated by great washes of space, and at least for me, it really altered the senses of continuity.

Hopefully they will get this fixed and put the book back up there -- and update the copies on our downloads. Hmmm ;).

Greg, thanks.

Regards,
Clive
(Roald a bit longer, anyway)
 

Re: resource, and Mariposa
Date: 05/28/2010
From: Greg Bear

Fascination resource, Roald/Clive! Thanks.
 

Re: resource, and Mariposa
Date: 05/30/2010
From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Imperial Beach

Wonderful, Greg.

I presume you discovered the actual Derman essay itself, after the long introductory piece by Brockman.

Maybe he did that because he thinks we won't otherwise follow Derman through his maze, but as you express, I found it just a fascinating gem.

I realized I may have something else quite different that could be interesting to you as well, from another figure - let me see about that.

Best in all,
Clive

Is NOACH around the corner?

Date: 05/20/2010 From: tucker
Location: austin, tx

Looks like NOACH could become a reality.

http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/05/quantum-teleportation-achieved-over-ten-miles-of-free-space.ars

I'm imagining live manipulation of space probes throughout the solar system. How cool would that be!
 

Re: Is NOACH around the corner?
Date: 05/28/2010
From: Greg Bear

If this is actual quantum entanglement, and the sending of information has been confirmed, then we have something really revolutionary here--instantaneous transmission of information. FTL. Happy to see where this goes!
 

Re: Is NOACH around the corner?
Date: 05/30/2010
From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Imperial Beach

The abstract linked off the bottom of that article is pretty interesting, and it is about free space transmission, but there seems to be some disconnect in its stating that fiber optics experiments have only gone a few hundred meters.

I remembered some Swiss had done it between villages 20 or so km apart, and the reference is at the end of the Wikipedia article on quantum entanglement.

"A 2008 quantum physics experiment performed in Geneva, Switzerland has determined that the "speed" of the quantum non-local connection (what Einstein called spooky action at a distance) has a minimum lower bound of 10,000 times the speed of light.[13] However, modern quantum physics cannot expect to determine the maximum given that we do not know the sufficient causal condition of the system we are proposing."

Here's the paper with some readable discussion about the experiment, http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0808/0808.3316v1.pdf, and it did give that thought that we're moving further on this.

For me brought Moving Mars more to mind ;).

And a moment's reflection the Chinese abstract - maybe they don't acknowledge this work because it's published out of the review process? Or just don't know it because of some reason like that? Politics might sometimes be the most 'spooky action at a distance of all, mightn't it?....

A chuckle for us all. We seem to make up the differences anyway. After a while.

Regards,
Clive

 

Re: Is NOACH around the corner?
Date: 05/30/2010
From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Imperial Beach

Whoops, looks like it wasn't right what I said about not being in a refereed journal.

It's been published in Nature, with a good summary abstract here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v454/n7206/full/nature07121.html.

Still, though, is this the same as being in the 'deep grind' academic journals like the Physica series??

Another way uncertainty creeps into our universe is definitely us ;)

Have you been following "The Cracks in Time" Story Arc on the current Doctor Who

Date: 05/17/2010 From: Mike Glosson
Location: Normal Heights, San Diego, CA

I almost yelped seeing the crack in time in the Openning adevnture of the current Doctor, and then the Return of the Dalek's episode where it shows up after all the players have left.

But the last episode that aired on BBC Amerika pretty much sealed it for me. "Flesh and Stone" with an Army of time Traveling and Time Eating Weaping Angels...both repulsed by and attracked to this crack in space time when fully open flows thru "The Fire at the End of The Universe" and walking into said crack completely erases one's time line, future...present...and past and the universe knits and adjusts around the change...those watching with us last week heard me declare "Sweet Mother of "Bob" they've lifted "The Gape" out of Greg Bear's novel".

With the Doctor Delcaring also that "There's an explosion some where/when when it reaches full extension will wipe out all moments of time, erase all history."

******

Anyway...I almost forgot what I was going to say here when I say the teaser for "Hull Zero Three": which project is this one? I've been a bit over busy with LIFE since the start of the year to keep up with what's going on with your site.

And ofcourse, there's an endless wondering for opinions on the wind up of LOST and just where J. J. Abrams is lifting his Multiverse and time watchers mythos from.

Walternate/The Secrectary's alternate time line is almost too close to what "The SuperWorld" would be like...

Mike
 

Re: Have you been following
Date: 05/28/2010
From: Greg Bear

The Doctor does get around, doesn't he! I do believe we have some readers on staff there, but Dr. Who is doing very well--and I'm happy to see where they go with this idea, just so long as they stay away from the Queen in White. She's dangerous.
 

Re: Have you been following
Date: 06/01/2010
From: Joy Mott
Location: WV

The weeping angels line began with the David Tennant epidsode "Blink," which was meant to be a one-off and not part of the larger story line involving the Master over the past few years. The angels were creepy enough then and are, in my opinion, the most ominous of the Whovian villains since the series began (well, at least the ones to which the Americans have been privy.)

Now, with their reappearance and the crack in time story arc, it will be interesting to see if The Gape has been misappropriated. As the Doctor has traveled through past and future, he is the rather omnipotent being that many people seem to need right now. He cannot die. He knows all and masters dimensional shifts, and always, just like Mighty Mouse, is there to save the day.

Don't get me wrong. I've loved the show since it was first imported here with Tom Baker. I'm just not sure the writers have really thought this story arc out and that's bad for the show.

Let's just hope he doesn't land on a planet of clowns. Now that would be really scary.
 

Re: Have you been following
Date: 06/01/2010
From: Greg Bear

What I've seen so far doesn't seem all that similar. I loved BLINK and the Angels--they are indeed creepy!
 

Re: Have you been following
Date: 06/01/2010
From: Mike Glosson
Location: Normal Heights, San Diego, CA

Oh, not whole-sale lifting of the cosmology of CITY. But there are some vague simularities, such as one of the major rules of the Dr. Who Universe for time travel: You cannot changed Fixed Events. From what the Doctor said in the second part of the Angel Army episode, History is being re-written. Amy doesn't remember the Daleks from 'The Stolen Earth'. And other things are off line.

But the Clerics walking into the Crack/Light and ceasing to have every been at all, and most time bound people forgetting them...if not THE GAPE, then what? Something reconciled them out of existence.

I think I have pretty much figured out what has caused the Crack in Time to appear, but not who is using it...all wrapped up in the final David Tennant episode THE END OF TIME, the last 30 minutes.

I owe you a personal update, a lot of stuff "went down" causing my lack of posts here and elsewhere,

I'm mostly intact.

Mostly.

MG

Hi Greg, I know I have pestered about the endless wait for film treatment of "Forge" and "Anvil"...

Date: 05/14/2010 From: John S
Location: Western MA

But I have never asked you this question:

Do you have any plans (however tentative they may be), of continuing and expanding upon your Planet Killers cycle/universe. Is there possibility of further novel(s) explaining the fate of the Children (and possibly the Brothers)...and perhaps further adventures within the story's universe?

Thanks in advance...and can't wait to read your upcoming "Hull Zero Three"!

Cheers,
John
 

Re: Hi Greg, I know I have pestered about the endless wait for film treatment of
Date: 05/28/2010
From: Greg Bear

I've long had plans for a third book, but it's not under contract at the moment. Perhaps soon!

Sketches of a Massarat structure

Date: 05/11/2010 From: Alex Brady
Location: st neots

Hi Greg!
I just read Beyond Heavens River and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Im a broke designer in the UK, but like you I love drawing the things I see in the books I read, (illustrating sf books would be my dream job!), but had a really hard time visualising the Massarat structures that house many of the worlds people.
Achieving a sense of scale that the mind doesn't just rebel against is so tricky, as is trying to guess what sort of surface details would be visible on such an immense building.
Here are a couple of sketches; scaled against the tropopause tops of the thunderclouds they might even be a bit small (!) but Id love to know what you they should look like!
Regards
Al Brady

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j208/rodmcban/mASSARAT2copyb.jpg
http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j208/rodmcban/MASSERAT3D-1.jpg

PS Colani is god!
 

Re: Sketches of a Massarat structure
Date: 05/15/2010
From: Greg Bear

Beautiful visuals, Alex! Very much what I was thinking of. (I take Colani's books to meetings with film and game designers whenever I can... Marvelous work.)
 

Re: Sketches of a Massarat structure
Date: 05/20/2010
From: Rolf Mohr
Location: Austin, TX

Very nice, Alex!

Rolf
 

Re: Sketches of a Massarat structure
Date: 05/21/2010
From: Alex Brady
Location: St Neots

Wow Greg thank you very much!
Its hard to condense the into a few lines how inspiring and astonishing and frightening your books have been since I first read and reread them as an adolescent, but you've been a wonderful, thoughtful guide to worlds that seem very real in my imagination; Thistledown, Leviathan, The Noosphere, The Realm, Lamarckia. I like how you never let death go lightly too.
Along with my treasured, dogeared copies of Syd Mead and Roger Dean, and Cordwainer Smith and Theodore Sturgeon, they provide an amazingly rich imaginative landscape, and became a prism through which seeing the real world a bit more deeply is made a little easier. So thank you very much indeed!

PS Do you like Charles Stross?

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j208/rodmcban/CoastSlabcopy.jpg

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j208/rodmcban/gvIIinteriorday3copy.jpg

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j208/rodmcban/orbital4.jpg

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j208/rodmcban/orbital3-1.jpg

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j208/rodmcban/orbital2.jpg

 

Re: Sketches of a Massarat structure
Date: 05/28/2010
From: Greg Bear

More excellent work! I've had the pleasure of hanging out with Syd Mead in San Francisco at the Academy of Art University. Great conversations! And of course we run into him on occasion at Comic-Con. Syd's illustrations helped inspire the visual concepts in EON. Let's not forget the major influence of Paolo Soleri in the sixties and seventies, as well. (And of course I like Mr. Stross and his work!)
 

Re: Sketches of a Massarat structure
Date: 05/28/2010
From: Summer
Location: NW

Wanted to pop in and say the graphics are wonderful. Although Alex, I wonder how you managed to configure the Masserat sketches? Or perhaps this is just what happens when someone divides by zero ;)

Mr. Bear, you captured my mind when I read Blood Music back in '85 at age 16. Fortunately for me, you continue to do so. Thank you, sir.
 

Re: Sketches of a Massarat structure
Date: 05/30/2010
From: Greg Bear

My pleasure, and thanks, Summer.
 

Re: Sketches of a Massarat structure
Date: 06/03/2010
From: Alex Brady
Location: St Neots

Hello Summer! Thankyou having a look, youre very kind! I was interested in the Massarats as many sci fi city illustrations seem to essentially show future cities as basic accelerations of the trends of our own; rising land prices equal taller sky scrapers. Fair enough. But Greg's stories are never so prosaic, and these were a good visual example. On the scale of the big washing machine-like cubes normal skyscrapers like would be almost invisible threads and glints of light reflecting off glass down at the ground. Thats why the cubes themselves seem almost bare of detail; my imagination failed a bit there but to be honest all human-scale stuff would be too small to see, in the same way London from 60000 feet would be a grey-green carpet.
To scale them I built some simple shapes in a 3D program I like called 3DStudio Max. I scaled them at about 60000 feet high, twice as tall as the clouds next to them and tall enough to show distinct shapes on the limb of the earth, as mentioned in Beyond Heavens River. At that height, most of the atmosphere would be below you, so I figured they would appear to be sitting in and rising out of a pool of grey blue air. There are few things more beautiful or majestic to me in nature than distance-blued mountains, and these babies are bigger than mountains.

Syd Mead's imagination never fails. His work is dazzling and I strongly recommend anyone to pick up copies of Sentinel, Oblagon and Sentury fom Amazon or Ebay. Better, by two copies, one to keep in good nick and one that will eventually crumble and collapse from use. His technical skill is astonishing, his ideas solid and his composition and colour never less than utterly convincing. His artwork dovetails beautifully with Greg's writing, and Im not suprrised to find he had an influence on Eon. If you look up his Megabeam illustration it is a good fit to the stupendous structures in Thistledown City.

Where Syds work is often cool and rational, Soleri creates beautiful fun objects like I eat hot dinners. I have a huge collection of his work in my interesting things file, and especially love his trains. His architectural concepts are 500 years ahead of their time. Many of my designer pals think they are ludicrous, but they havent spent their imaginative life in the world of architectural nano, thinkers, easy manipulation of matter at atomic scales or things like binding energy at macroscopic ones.

By the way I just read Moving Mars (I bought a foot of Bear stories at Waterstones the other week and have been consuming them one every three days). Its absolutely fantastic. Everything from the human-scale relationships to the inexorable and finely discribed political movements seemed spot on, and the sheer imaginative scope and realism stunned me. Greg talking to you is quite intimidating, what a brain you have!!

Speaking of Division by Zero Doug Chiang has just slotted into my favourite SF authors. Most of his stories are very short and available online. I especially loved understand, a dramatization of which was recently on BBC Radio7 and just blew me away. It was a real insight into how the first days and weeks of a Singularity might play out, thematically similar in some ways to Blood Music, which I also read when I was 16 in 1998. Crunchingly frightening both. I asked Iain Banks if he believed a Singularity might occur but he said it was a failure of imagination.. He also said if it happened I could come back in a time machine and sue his ass. I told him Id see him in hypercourt :)
 

Re: Sketches of a Massarat structure
Date: 06/03/2010
From: Alex Brady
Location: St Neots

Oo btw I have a blog of all sorts of stuff here: Id love to hear from sci fi enthusiasts, other people who are addicted to drawing, everyone in fact! Theres a lot of yawnsome property visuals that pay the bills on the first page but if you click Older Posts at the bottom after that theres some more fun stuff.

http://velocitykendall.blogspot.com/

ANAEROBES

Date: 05/04/2010 From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

A step closer to the conjoined twins in VITALS? http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/04/scienceshot-animals-that-live-wi.html
 

Re: ANAEROBES
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Ah, a tiny step closer! Extremophiles rule. Thanks, Bill.

Hawking says avoid contact with aliens!

Date: 04/26/2010 From: Ricardo
Location: Encinitas, CA

New show on the Discovery Channel, "Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking". I haven't had a chance to see the show yet but it sounds interesting.

I suppose he finally got around to reading Forge of God!
 

Re: Hawking says avoid contact with aliens!
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

When Hawking speaks, the universe listens!
 

Re: Hawking says avoid contact with aliens!
Date: 06/10/2010
From: Jim Duron
Location: Prairieville, La

I'm Guessing infection would be the number one reason to avoid contact. I would send robots so they would not get an infection or bring one back. Alien micro-organism could wipe us out by accident or them.

But what if Aliens had a Insect like view of life, we would be nothing other than a food source or slave labor at best. The Planet would be nothing but usable resources to them.
 

Re: Hawking says avoid contact with aliens!
Date: 06/14/2010
From: Greg Bear

Hmmm... rather like the Spanish and Portuguese view of Mexico and South America! (And not them alone, of course.)
We have met the aliens AND the insects... and they is us!
 

But what kind of aliens?
Date: 07/06/2010
From: Max
Location: Kansas

The general assumption is that a species advanced enough for interstellar travel is also benevolent and wise.

Considering the conquistador analogy, I would worry more about an intelligent and opportunistic race than an insect-like one. Hungry enemies are easier to defeat than smart, greedy ones.
 

But what kind of aliens?
Date: 07/20/2010
From: Greg Bear

Neighbors covet. That's a basic rule in nature!

The Singularity is here!

Date: 04/13/2010 From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

Ray Kurzweil's Singularity movie is coming out apparently April 19th or something I hope this movie will usher in a new era of futurist believers.
 

Re: The Singularity is here!
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

The past through tomorrow!

Space Measure

Date: 04/13/2010 From: C. Allen Doudna
Location: Grand Island, Nebraska

As we all know, aliens are going to speak English and use the Metric System, the meter being originally 0.0000001 the distance from Earth's North Pole to Earth's Equator and calculated by multiples of 10 because that is how most human languages count.

Astronomers have proposed using the wavelength of hydrogen--21 centimeters or 8 inches--as the standard unit of measure in attempts at communicating with ET because that wavelength would be universally well-known--but what to multiply it by? Base 2 would likewise be universal--but so awkward why bother at all. Enter Base 8.

For some reason Base 2 and Base 8 translate directly into each other. Take a string of 1s and 0s and break them down into periods of 3 as we do Base 10: 111,110,101,100,011,010,001,000. Now write down the Base 10 (or whatever Base you use) equivilant of each of those periods and voila: you have that long string of 1s and 0s in Base 8!

Multiplying 8 inches (21 centimeters) by 8 gives us some interesting results:

8 x 8 = 64: About the right size for an intelligent creature. Much smaller and there would not be enough brain; much larger and it would be so busy eating it wouldn't have time to think.

64 x 8 = 42 ft 8 inches: About the area such a creature would consider its home--dwelling and a little space for privacy.

42 ft 8 inches x 8 = 341 feet: About the right size for a city block of such homes; much larger and there would not be enough streets for traffick.

341 x 8 = half a mile: A useful unit of measure.

1/2 mile x 8 = 4 miles: As a square the size of a city large enough to be practical but small enough to be friendly.

4 miles x 8 = 33 miles (there was some rounding and these are only approximate figures): About the size of a county or a city state where we would live most of our lives and have most of our government.

33 x 8 = 264 miles: About the size of a typical country, the limit over which a unified culture, language, and government could be maintained through all the thousands of years of horse-drawn transport or its equivilant.

264 x 8 = 2,112: A continant about the size of Australia.

2,112 x 8 = 17,000 miles: The equitorial circumfrence of a planet smaller than Earth but larger than Mars and a surface gravity about 90% that of Earth.

17,000 x 8 = 136,000 miles: Can't think of anything.

136,000 x 8 = 1 million miles: Considered the beginning of Interplanetary Space?

1 million x 8 = 8 million miles: About halfway to the nearest planet.

8 million x 8 = 64 million: About the orbit of Venus. Since most stars are smaller than our sun this would probably be the common orbit for a habitable planet.

64 million x 8 = 512 million miles: About the size of a sunlike star.

512 million x 8 = a billion: About the orbit of Pluto.
 

Re: Space Measure
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

The Sumerians, as I recall, preferred basic 60! That yields many interesting results for navigational calculations on today's globes...
 

Re: Space Measure
Date: 06/08/2010
From: Al Brady
Location: st neots

Is there a lower limit to how small you can subdivide space? I read that at something like 10x10-31metres it might be granular or a foam. (I feel vaguely privildeged to have been born at a time when at least some kind of asnwer to that exists incidentally) If that pixel resolution was smooth I might measure distance as multiples of that basic length. Thats probably be simplstic though, maybe you could divide together the 'addresses' of two places somehow and the resulting 'number' would be a relative coordinate set. That seems more flexible like. Boy I wish I could download current physics and maths to a reasonable level with some tools for integrating them, that would be such a ride.
 

Re: Space Measure
Date: 06/14/2010
From: Greg Bear

Some time back, the Planck-Wheeler length was described, below which space becomes unpredictable as to metric and quality--foamlike is a good word, but without defining what fills the void in the foam. Or possibly what the foam is made of! I recall that was about 10E-33 cm.
 

Re: Space Measure
Date: 06/15/2010
From: CAllenDoudna
Location: Grand Island, Nebraska

"4 miles x 8 = 33 miles (there was some rounding and these are only approximate figures): About the size of a county or a city state where we would live most of our lives and have most of our government."

If I might add: A glass jar about 33 miles in diameter to get Earth-normal gravity would rotate once every 24 hours. Slightly less than half the sides of the jar would be covered with dirt to form a great valley about the size of New Jersey and slightly over half the jar would be a window. With 33 miles of atmosphere the sky would be blue. The sun would rise over the eastern edge of the valley, travel across a very normal-appearing daytime sky and set over the western edge of the valley 14 hours later. There would then follow 10 hours of night as the valley rated to block the sun and the window rotated out to face the stars.

Arrange a few dozen of these in a circle and place an artificial sun in the center--like wagons around a camprire--and place a large sheet of aluminum foil ahead as a sail. The light radiating equitorially from the artificial sun would provide daylight for the wagons. The light radiating in polar directions would propell the wagon train through intersteller space either directly or by being reflected from the sail. The build-up of speed would be slow and the first couple of generations could still make it back to Grandma's house for the holidays. After that nobody would care because you wouldn't know your cousins anyway, although you could beam video letters back and forth.

In theory you could reach the speed of light, but there are rocks out there and these would impact with the force of a nuclear explosion at greater than 1% of the speed of light. But you've got several New Jerseys to live in and about every hundred years you'd come across a solar system orbiting a planet like Jupiter--probably five times more numerous than those orbiting stars.

The Fortean Times

Date: 04/12/2010 From: Joe
Location: Montreal

Hi there-I am not sure which comment by me you are refering to-but here is a thought anyway-I have tried about a dozen times to get replies from the UK magazine of the unexplained called The Fortean Times to no avail. I have read many articles in that magazine that are quite informative, but for some reason they seem to have one of the worst track records for replying to e-mails I have ever come across-I more recently e-mailed them about the new Google Earth 5.0 and that in the lagoon off Robinson Crusoe Island off the coast of Chile thee seems to be underwater ruins-and not of a ship sunk there in 1915 much further out from the shore-check it out-it is truly puzzling...
 

Re: The Fortean Times
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Fortean Times no doubt has a limited staff. Why not send a letter? That might get a better response. That said, I've taken a scan around Isla Robinson Crusoe and don't see those ruins. But there's plenty of amusement looking across the South Pacific and examining the sites of open-air nuclear tests. Try Bikini and Eniwetok for starters!

Other things I have found puzzling...

Date: 04/10/2010 From: Joe
Location: at the moment in New Brunswick...

When I look at the history of the Mars landings I am always bothered by the fact they never landed on the Martian icecaps...I suppose the reason is the landing trajectories to do so where just a bit too complex to be done with the Mars approach vector the spacecraft had for achieving a Mars orbit arriving from planet Earth...maybe someday.
 

Re: Other things I have found puzzling...
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Actually, the Mars Polar Lander crashed and was destroyed in 1999. We were in Pasadena at the time--a rather gloomy day!
 

Re: Other things I have found puzzling...
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

An additional gloom was that it crashed on a Friday, and the organizers of Planetfest were counting on success to bring in people over the weekend. I recall seeing Louis Freidman looking positively ashen. Some compensation was provided by seeing full-scale prop vehicles from Disney's "Mission to Mars"--and by hearing Greg Bear speak!
 

Re: Other things I have found puzzling...
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Also, we met Donna Shirley there, and have loved working with her since.

Movie adaptations possible?

Date: 04/08/2010 From: Jeremy Lindstrand
Location: Sacramento, CA

It has been all over the internet that James Cameron waited over a decade to attempt production of his ambitious Avatar movie due to the pace of computer graphics technology development. Now that it seems that ever cheaper yet visually stunning movie effects are available, is there a possibility of seeing Blood Music or possibly Forge of God making the move to the small or big screens? The size of Blood Music might make a decent theater transition and I could definitely see Forge of God making an amazing miniseries for a network willing to spend the money and effort on such a project. Are there any talks in place for any of your fiction to be seen on screen?
 

Re: Movie adaptations possible?
Date: 04/10/2010
From: Greg Bear

Projects still in the works include FORGE OF GOD/ANVIL OF STARS. The technology is certainly there, but not necessarily cheap... yet! AVATAR pushes the bar on visuals, and that raises costs for everybody as they try to keep up.
 

Re: Movie adaptations possible?
Date: 04/10/2010
From: Jeremy Lindstrand
Location: Sacramento, CA

Thank you for the response Mr. Bear. I am thrilled to hear about the talks involving Forge of God/Anvil of Stars as it's one of my favorite Sci-Fi series. I've them multiple times over the years and it would be very nice to see your creative vision on film. Hopefully the talks are successful and lead to more of your wonderful books being adapted. Let me add that along with Forge of God, Blood Music, Eon and Psychlone have provided me with countless hours of reading enjoyment over the years. They are just as entertaining to reread as they were the day I picked them up.
 

Re: Movie adaptations possible?
Date: 04/17/2010
From: Darel Robinson
Location: London

Forget the special effects, Forge of God is a story about people. Granted some work would have to be done about the finale (I won't give it away in case there are any poor people who haven't yet read this marvel) but that could be done conventionally, by which I mean with models and the like. Sure CGI may be simpler to work with on an ongoing basis, but some of my favourite films are ones where Ray Harryhausen worked his magic. Ok you could see it was stop motion, but with a modicum of imagination (which I hope most SF fans have) one can suspend any disbeleif and enjoy the plot, just my twopennyworth. Keep writing Greg, I'm onto Vitals right now, but Forge and Anvil are still my favourites.
 

Are movie adaptations the goal?
Date: 05/03/2010
From: Keith Greene
Location: South Bend, IN

These days, is writing a book the ultimate goal, or a means to a hopeful end - a movie adaptation? In other words, are novelists creating film manuscripts disguised as books?
 

Re: Movie adaptations possible?
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Michael Gue
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

I would much prefer to see a film adaptation of EON myself. I got so psyched when I saw CGISociety doing an Eon film trailer.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/forumdisplay.php?f=215
 

Re: Movie adaptations possible?
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

We're into negotiations with good directors. However, these things obviously take time. A very intricate dance! I marvel at the patience, skill, and stamina of producers who shepherd movie projects over the years.
 

Re: Movie adaptations possible?
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

I love stop motion and Ray Harryhausen, obviously, and I do share a liking for photographing real objects... But the kind of work necessary for ANVIL OF STARS puts it squarely on CGI, which is neither easier to do, nor cheaper. But CGI has expanded the range of what can be done on film almost infinitely. Take a look at CLOVERFIELD... A marvel of medium budget creativity and barely-seen beasts.
 

Are movie adaptations the goal?
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Some writers have a knack for doing both well. Jack Finney and Stephen King and Richard Matheson pop immediately to mind. But the shorter the novel, the easier the transition!

New iGadget for iGoogle!

Date: 04/01/2010 From: Terran
Location: Atlanta, GA

Great thanks to Jon Kroll, who developed a Greg Bear iGoogle add-on (aka, iGadget) that you can incorporate into your iGoogle page!

To use, log in to your iGoogle account, click on 'Add Stuff,' then click on 'Add Feed or Gadget,' and then insert this URL: http://www.gregbear.com/igadget/gregbear.xml

 

Re: New iGadget for iGoogle!
Date: 04/01/2010
From: Greg Bear

Very cool! Thanks, Jon and Terran. Hope you'll all check this out...

Eon movie I hope

Date: 03/31/2010 From: Steve
Location: Canada

Hey sorry about the email name but Brins' dolfins are cool.
I just found the CG Society site. Loved the trailers and was wondering, now that James Cameron has made Avitar, can this tech be used to make Eon come to the screen.
 

Re: Eon movie I hope
Date: 04/10/2010
From: Greg Bear

Of course! A 3D version of EON seems just about right.
 

Re: Eon movie I hope
Date: 04/13/2010
From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

And hopefully 3-D game spinoffs too
 

Re: Eon movie I hope
Date: 06/10/2010
From: Chris B Black
Location: England

Do you know if the film/tv series Stargate/SG1 was inspired by Eon?
 

Re: Eon movie I hope
Date: 06/14/2010
From: Greg Bear

Influences abound in any creative endeavor, but I suspect Fred Pohl and Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick and lots of other masters can take far more credit for inspiring any of the STARGATE franchises.

Any update on possible Forge of God / Anvil of Stars Films?

Date: 03/30/2010 From: John S
Location: Western MA

I haven't heard anything new in some time now. I was just wondering if there has been any forward movemement / momentum in getting these wonderful novels to the big screen?
 

Re: Any update on possible Forge of God / Anvil of Stars Films?
Date: 04/10/2010
From: Greg Bear

Still in progress!
 

Re: Any update on possible Forge of God / Anvil of Stars Films?
Date: 04/11/2010
From: Simon H
Location: New Zealand

Please, don't let Michael Bay or George Lucas get involved!

I'm torn actually - I'd love to see these books made into movies, but I don't want my mental imagery irrevocably replaced with someone else's vision.
 

Re: Any update on possible Forge of God / Anvil of Stars Films?
Date: 04/13/2010
From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania

The sooner the better...
 

Re: Any update on possible Forge of God / Anvil of Stars Films?
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Both of these gentlemen have made fine movies. Lucas has been responsible for some of the best moments in 20th century cinema, and Bay consistently crafts amazing roller-coaster rides. I'd be happy to work with either, if, of course, they were willing to work with the story's strengths and not reshape it for some other agenda. But that's a big if, isn't it?
 

Re: Any update on possible Forge of God / Anvil of Stars Films?
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Amen!

Creative Freedom for Forerunners?

Date: 03/25/2010 From: Larry Tanng
Location: Spotsylvania, VA

Dear Greg,

How much creative freedom are you being given to write the Forerunners story aside from what's already been told by other writers. I hope you have all the freedom in the world.
Don't let Halo fans and Microsoft rush you. I have plenty of patience and so should everyone else. You're the man!

Thanks,
Larry Tanng
 

Re: Creative Freedom for Forerunners?
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

Lots of freedom, but even better than that, lots of really helpful, collaborative interaction. Thanks, Larry!

Astrid's copy of "Orbit Unlimited"?

Date: 03/20/2010 From: Rob Crausaz
Location: Ohio

Hi Greg,

Today I bought a used copy of Poul Anderson's "Orbit Unlimited" (can't underline here so...) at Half Price Books (a used book store chain). On the first page of the book (which has blurb for the story) the name "Astrid Anderson" is written in pencil (cursive) with a line drawn underneath it. The name is slanted upwards to the right at about a 45 degree angle. This paperback edition is a second printing from Jan. 1963 (cover price 40 cents). Is that the signature of Poul's daughter (your wife)? Was this her original copy?(I'd be happy to send you a scan of the page with the signature and the cover.)

BTW, I recently read "The City at the End of Time" and thought it was a masterpiece. Truly, this is the achievement of a lifetime and you should be proud to have written it. Even though I haven't read all of your books (I was fortunate enough to read both "Eon" and "Eternity" back in the mid 1990's--both were really good), I can still see why Charles N. Brown thought it was your best book (it would be any SF author's "best book"). Truly, it should be considered a modern day classic in the genre. I was shocked when I went to Amazon and didn't see all rave reviews (really!). Is it because I read a lot more SF than some of those reviewers? Is it because I'm from an older generation than some of them(I'm about 7 years younger than you)so naturally more patient (they were the ones that thought patience was a requirement, to me the story was NEVER, EVER boring). I don't know why every SF fan wasn't as enthralled as I was with your novel (clearly, they should be :-), but I hope its greatness is recognized some day.

My best to you and your family (tell Astrid "Hi" :-),

Rob
 

Re: Astrid's copy of
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

No need for the scan--thanks! Copies do go astray, especially when they get loaned out. And thanks for the kind words about CITY. I don't dip into the Amazon reviews often. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between thoughtful but critical reviews, and the effluvia of wandering trolls. But the division over truly unusual books can be interesting. Let's hope this is an indicator that CITY is truly provocative!

Insect Vaccinators

Date: 03/20/2010 From: Jason Taylor
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

I was browsing my news sites this morning and came across this. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/19/mosquitoes-turned-flying-vaccinators/

It made me think of your 'virus' booths in Moving Mars. Now the booth comes to you.

And I realize writing this that I never officially thanked you for the signed book. I told everyone I work with that I won a signed book from my favorite writter. Thanks again.

 

Re: Insect Vaccinators
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

Fascinating piece! Glad you enjoyed the book, Jason.
 

Re: Insect Vaccinators
Date: 03/31/2010
From: qiiiss
Location:

Better than the 'manual' method. Rather, tailoring the environment. Still a ways off from a natural symbiosis, but parts of the map.

Forge of God

Date: 03/15/2010 From: David Lewis
Location: Chico, CA

Mr. Bear: I came across your name in an old interview with Doris Lessing, where she brings you up as an example of a fine (science fiction) writer. Always eager to read someone new, I visited the library to find Blood Plague, but as they didn't have it I came home with Forge of God. Having read it, I can only say I am completely confused. Leaving aside personal issues (whether or not I find characters such as xyz interesting or attractive...), the story seems to me consist of an unknown assailant carrying out an unimaginably heinous crime; another unknown agent working to help a small fragment of humanity survive; that small fragment now being charged with carrying out a similarly heinous act (punishment???) on the original perpetrators. Have I missed anything? It left in me an acrid, rotten taste, particularly knowing that there was more to come. It seems to me that writing a novel is a tremendous amount of work -- What did you have in mind when you wrote the book? When you finished, what gave you the most satisfaction about your creation? What were you exploring? Everything (everything!) that was offered as a response to the situation was revealed to be insignificant, meaningless, or worse. A slice of humanity was saved, then immediately given marching orders to do exactly what humanity would tend to do anyway -- to what end?
Well, in the event you care to respond, I would like to hear your thoughts. Regards, D. Lewis
 

Re: Forge of God
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, David! FORGE OF GOD is indeed a pretty intense and unforgiving novel. But the motives and schemes are pretty well spelled out, and certainly followed through in ANVIL OF STARS. The pair are about murder and vengeance. BLOOD MUSIC is the title you're looking for, which Doris commented on so kindly.
 

Re: Forge of God
Date: 03/29/2010
From: Paul Houle
Location: Ithaca NY

I agree with Dave that it's a disturbing novel; it's lingered in my mind for a long time. It's one of those few books, like Frederick Pohl's "Gateway" that have taken Science Fiction to a higher intensity.

Anvil Of Stars follows it, but is something entirely different. It stretches the bounds of sci-fi and leaves me feeling a mixture of grief, wonder and excitement.

I appreciate that Bear knows his physics, knows that fission, fusion and concentrated solar energy aren't sufficient for star travel, so he postulates an alien technology based on inexpensive conversion of matter to antimatter. How I wish I could unbreak that symmetry, Greg.
 

Re: Forge of God
Date: 03/31/2010
From: qiiiss
Location:

While I adore an 'omniscient view' of an author's universe, I realise that sometimes such a view would dispel a particular story. Many of them, actually. I think people forget that an author's aim may be to emulate the real world, as closely as possible.
 

Re: Forge of God
Date: 04/10/2010
From: Greg Bear

HULL 03 (coming from Orbit this fall) takes a different tack on interstellar travel...
 

Re: Forge of God
Date: 04/11/2010
From: David
Location: Chico

Hi qiiiss: I see your point. A line from the book that remained with me was when one character (forgot who) notes that the universe is 'a jungle...' But there is no jungle that features dynamics like those described in the book. The insect and animal world are pretty simple, and vengeance appears not to play a role. Only with humans (and perhaps occasionally apes) do you see behavior like that.
 

Re: Forge of God
Date: 04/14/2010
From: CAllenDoudna
Location: Grand Island, Nebraska

Well if you want a differnt tack on space travel how about just screwing a lightbulb on the back of a spaceship? A light bulb would provide about as much thrust as an ion engine without any of the tricky glitches inherrent in ion propulsion. Of course you could have a bank of stadium lights for a large spaceship, or you could screw a 40-watt bulb on the back of your kids' bicycles and they could go pedaling around the solar system--or among the intersteller comets--and be back home in time for lunch.
 

Re: Forge of God
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Vengeance arises in social animals, but anger is pretty common throughout nature. If we look on vengeance as a complex series of chemical/emotional responses, then similar forces no doubt operate throughout nature--and when we say "It's a jungle out there," we mean, all bets are off!
 

Re: Forge of God
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

A spacesuit and a flashlight... But no potty breaks!
 

Re: Forge of God
Date: 05/21/2010
From: Al Brady
Location: st neots

I always found the idea that the iron logic of survival of the fittest and market economics would rule the galaxy so chilling. Reefs are full of life but/therefore are home to the most poisonous, tenacious species, engaged in constant struggle just to not die. That we are too simple-minded or disorganised as a species to take the hint about silence from the Fermi Paradox is equally frightening.
 

Re: Forge of God
Date: 05/28/2010
From: Greg Bear

Agreed. Biochem warfare is the norm on the reef!
 

Re: Forge of God
Date: 06/03/2010
From: Al Brady
Location: St Neots

Essential. That or good camoflage or a friendly client relationship with someone powerful. I suppose our only hope is that with immense power comes compassion, a la The Culture. I remember first reading Macroscope as a teenager and seeing how unlikely that was, in that every economic model we have developed requires growth, and that inevitably results in Easter Island. In polynesia, islands (ie star systems in the reef) were surrounded by neighbours all running out of resources and warring till everything was used up. Then they all died.
Stephen Baxter covered this theme too I remember.
Theres an excellent short story called The Pardoners Tail that talks about how The Entities turned up and enslaved us one day, just like that. In the context of the reef that might be getting off lightly. Makes you hope we are alone...

Break from Blog

Date: 03/12/2010 From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

I'm giving this site a break for at least a year, which is no bad thing as far as I can see. I found myself saying dotty things on this site, and it's time to bail out.

In the meantime I've got orders for Gregs books via Amazon...so tata for now..see you next year!

Andrew XXX
 

Re: Break from Blog
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

See you soon, Andrew! A year passes so quickly now...
 

Re: Break from Blog
Date: 04/13/2010
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Dotty = bad? Oh, man.

Hello there, a request

Date: 03/10/2010 From: Daniel Vera
Location: California

Dear Mr. Greg Bear,



I am very glad to hear that youll be writing the Forerunner Trilogy in collaboration with Bungie Studios and 343 Industries. I am an avid fan of the franchise, and looking through your work, I am sure youll be the best one for the job.



I write because I have one small suggestion in hopes that it would help improve your novelization and explain a certain controdiction that has come up many times in the Halo canon. This issue is the problem of Borens Syndrome.



In the canon, Sergeant Major Johnson is immune to the Flood because of his Spartan-I enhancements(kept secret with the fictional disease Borens) The problem is that if the Forerunners were really so advanced, why couldnt they figure out this cure for themselves?



My suggestion is this: include Borens, but dont make it Flood IMMUNITY, make it Flood DORMANCY. Those who receive this supposed cure appear to be perfectly immune, but Flood DNA is still dormant within them, and as soon as they die, the Flood within makes itself present. This could be a powerful device to use because it triples the threat of the Flood, so even if all Flood are gone, a 2nd wave can easily emerge. Perhaps this is why the Forerunners had to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the galaxy. Perhaps this is why Librarian did not want to return to Didact. Perhaps, perhaps, possibilities abound.



I hope you find this suggestion useful and I greatly look forward to your upcoming work. Regards.



Daniel Vera
 

Re: Hello there, a request
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

No comment! Working along with the 343 masters on some amazing reveals. The first book is well under way.

Comments on this and that from Joe

Date: 03/07/2010 From: Joe Merlin
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Hi There and Greetings. I just wanted to say that Blood Music is one of my favorite SF/Horror books of all time. I have been a fan of SF for a while and I have always been interested in the idea of the SETI searches for "ET's". I remember reading about the August 15, 1977, "WOW" signal apparently caught by The Very Large Array. They said the signal originated near the constellation Sagittarius, yet that constellation is in the southern sky and would not be visible from New Mexico, where The VLA is located. Sounds like a hoax to me...I also came across something set up by Washington State University that talks about newly discovered planetary systems. It seems that Mu Arae is a good bet for a place where extra terrestrial life might have developed...I think they're getting TV signals from 1960 right about now, since they are 50 light years distant. By the way, do you know of Aricebo is still active?
 

Re: Comments on this and that from Joe
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

Ah, so they're watching "My Mother the Car" and have determined we are not a threat! Though Bill Gordon passed away recently, Arecibo does indeed seem to be very active. Take a look at their web site.
 

Re: Comments on this and that from Joe
Date: 03/29/2010
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

I just want to assure Mr. Merlin that Sagitarius, like all the other constellations of the zodiac, is visible from New Mexico. If it weren't, that state would be in perpetual darkness during most of December, because that's when the sun is "in" it.

Sagitarius IS located south of the celestial equator, and thus in the southern hemisphere of the SKY--probably this is the source of the confusion. One does gets tangled trying to visualize all these angles and viewpoints. Suffice to say the only place a sky-hemisphere is entirely occluded is from the opposite pole of the Earth.
 

Re: Comments on this and that from Joe
Date: 04/10/2010
From: Greg Bear

This probably goes along with the thesis that the only way we'll ever travel to the sun is to go at night.

Another Mariposa

Date: 03/05/2010 From: Roald Laurenson
Location:

Ever slightly related: http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=5587.

Greg, I continue to have very interesting senses about that book, having read it twice, the second time with deliberation. More thought came this morning before this article turned up. You will no doubt hear from this ;).

Regards

Moving Mars

Date: 03/03/2010 From: Kevin
Location: Stamford, CT

Fantastic book! I hated to see it come to an end.
 

Re: Moving Mars
Date: 03/04/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Kevin!
 

Re: Moving Mars
Date: 03/09/2010
From: truth serum
Location: California

My second all time favorite book after Slant.

btw, Greg Bear should use the secret code word to reactivate Jack Giffey, the future needs him.
 

Re: Moving Mars
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks for the kind words! And what would Mr. Giffey (in SLANT) do if he returned...? Which he might, at the latter end of the MARIPOSA/QUANTICO sequence...
 

Re: Moving Mars
Date: 04/09/2010
From: Jon Kroll
Location: Ann Arbor Michigan

I finished the audio-book from iTunes last night. I absolutely loved this story. It is a masterpiece. I was also sorry to see it end, but on the other hand it had a brilliant, complete ending I was utterly satisfied.

As far as the audio-book goes, the narrator did a beautiful job, and the quality of the production was outstanding.

This is now one of my favorite sci-fi stories.

Thanx again greg Bear.

Jon Kroll
Ann Arbor Michigan
 

Re: Moving Mars
Date: 04/10/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Jon!
 

Re: Moving Mars
Date: 04/10/2010
From: Kevin Kelly
Location: Stamford, CT

Has there been any talk/discussion on making this a movie? On the other hand, Hollywood might change it too much.
 

Re: Moving Mars
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Option over fifteen years ago... nothing since.

City at the End of Time

Date: 03/02/2010 From: Ron Cosgrove
Location: Nanjing, China

Have/had you read Lampman's poem " The City of the End of Things" or Falk's In Search of Time? I have 100 pages to go in your novel. Thanks for the read. Ron
 

Re: City at the End of Time
Date: 03/04/2010
From: Greg Bear

No, I haven't encountered those two... but a lot of other similar titles, poems, stories! CITY OF ENDLESS NIGHT, for example.

Your own Against the Fall of Night/The City and The Stars

Date: 02/21/2010 From: Mike Glosson
Location: Normal Heights, San Diego, CA

This post falls somewhere between or discussions of CITY and the Entirety of your Published Work.

This evening, as some side research on my discussed project, I pulled the Wiki on AGAINST THE FALL OF NIGHT, which I had posted against a year or more ago that it was too short, that that work needed more expansion, etc. etc. And some other editor went back and followed my suggestion and expanded it.

Unfortunately it is sprinkled with seveeral errors, the worst of which taken from the back blurb of the 2005 edition, which I will have to think about going back and fixing some time soon.

Ofcourse I had to jump over to the CITY AND THE STARS wiki, at which point I had the following thought:

What if Greg did this level of rewrite to one of his books, would the outcome be the same, i.e. both versions remaining in print and having propular followings.

Of the two versions of Clarke's novel, AGAINST THE FALL OF NIGHT is my favorite, though THE CITY AND THE STARS is the better work. While you've never actually stated which camp you are in, I think you are more partial to The City and the Stars, from various talks you've given over the years, and from your body of work.

Now HEGIRA was your first published novel, and the last version I owned was a second edition, which had some mild rewrites.

If I remember correctly, when you combined the Sidhe novels into SONGS OF EARTH AND POWER there was some slight re-writing done, but also nothing major.

Recently here on your discussion board, you had written briefly about updating EON to match it to 21st Century Politics, as the end of the Cold War dated some of the plot action in that novel...

So...here's my thought experiment: Of all your novels out there, which one would really want to do a complete re-write, expansion? This could be from anywhere along the curve of your out put, from your earlier slimmer novels, thru ones in the 1990s that may have come dated due to either history turning out different, or the years of the events already having come and gone, such as the Planet Killer Books.

Now I may have to disqualify BLOOD MUSIC from this, as this was already and expansion from a Novella.

Or even pressing Uber-Hard on the way back button and going back to that original "Future History" you set many stories in back when Galaxy was in it's final decade, the capstone of that set being BEYOND HEAVEN'S RIVER.

This resides some where between temptation and thought experiment.

Mike
 

Re: Your own Against the Fall of Night/The City and The Stars
Date: 03/04/2010
From: Greg Bear

I read both AGAINST THE FALL OF NIGHT and CITY AND THE STARS while writing CITY AT THE END OF TIME. I like both--but do have a preference for the rewrite. No vacuum tubes a billion years in the future... But then, vacuum tubes are highly favored in fancy audio setups. Hmmm... Maybe analog makes a comeback in the giant computer world?
 

Re: Your own Against the Fall of Night/The City and The Stars
Date: 03/04/2010
From: Mike Glosson
Location: Normal Heights, San Diego, CA

Vacuum Tubes in AGAINST THE FALL OF NIGHT...?!?!? From all the several hundred readings of that book over the last 34 year I must have missed it...but will put a note in for the next read!

Relatedly, I did find Vacuum Tubes in the Earlier Generation SpinDizzies in the grounded IMT and found that jarring, especially when Blish wrote that one.

I'm still bracing for my next, second reading of THE NIGHT LAND...which hopefully won't be so much "work" the second time thru..and I need to do more intensive comparisons between X's voyage out in the NL and the March into the Chaos from CITY. So many images from TNL haunt my imagination...and that one Image of the wrecked Ships in the Chaos still spooks me somewhat...as I have the feeling I have seem something like it before, but can't place it...especially the view from the top of the valley and what it changes to when the marchers are right next to the ships.

M
 

Re: Your own Against the Fall of Night/The City and The Stars
Date: 03/05/2010
From: qiiiss
Location:

I think that, by and large, books should be kept as is. They show various elements related to the time of the writing. They show a sense of 'history'.

As for Clarke's Fall of Night, you might look into the 'sequel', written by Gregory Benford, BEYOND THE FALL OF NIGHT, and the follower to that, BEYOND INFINITY. Nuff said.

Drylands End/ Felice Piccano

Date: 02/18/2010 From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Greg,

Did you ever read that book? I think that there was personally a nod towards your story telling despite its overtly gay theme.

I think that it is an awesome book and well written with fantastic allegories and descriptive power that for sure comes from you!..I know that you don't write "Gay" themed stories, and why should you? I just think that "Drylands End" is a superb book and stands on its own.
 

Re: Drylands End/ Felice Piccano
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Andrew! I'm not familiar with this title.

prions and Quantico

Date: 02/16/2010 From: Bruce Onisko
Location: Kensington, CA

Greg,

I was thrilled with Darwin's Radio, and enjoyed Quantico.

However being a professional prionologist (search pubmed Onisko BC) I need to state that mammalian prion genes in host cells (E. coli or yeast) are not at all dangerous. My lab routinely grows engineered E. coli under Bl1 conditions.

Furthermore, no one knows how to make them infectious, despite alot of work by a lot of good people. (Stan Prusiner believes in an undiscovered Factor "X".) But once we know how, look out!

If you ever want a scientist to review your work or ideas, drop me a line any time.

Best regards,

Dr. Bruce C. Onisko
 

Re: prions and Quantico
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Bruce!

Last Para., Pg. 1, Mariposa

Date: 02/16/2010 From: Lukman Clark
Location: Long Beach, CA

Disappointing to see that your editor let this go by...

"Outside, the president was still [repeat: still] in the hospital..."

Then, two sentences later she makes a remarkable recovery...

"Fortunately she was out of the woods -- out of the hospital..."

Really?
 

Re: Last Para., Pg. 1, Mariposa
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

Oops! Anyone got a time machine? Thanks, Lukman.

Respects to Poul Anderson

Date: 02/16/2010 From: C. Allen Doudna
Location: Grand Island, Nebraska

Having learned that Poul Anderson has passed away I suppose I'll share with you what I thought last night I might share with him. Doubt I'll ever get these finished, but back in the 1970s I had the idea of a circa 1700 airship sailing across America. To date I think I've gotten one page written.

Here's a brain-teaser: Alien astronomers learn about us by studying our radio and TV broadcasts--but what are they going to learn? Our most powerful broadcasts are radar. But guess who has the second most powerful? Christian missionaries beaming the Gospel of Jesus Christ into China, the communist Soviet Union (as of back when the signal left Earth), and the forbidden lands of Islam. Every missionary society that can owns a transmitter like this or they're among the biggest paying customers on secular transmitters. (They're also making sure they get in on satellite broadcasts.) Almost certainly some young alien research associate translating these broadcasts is going to become converted. He will be fired and blacklisted and have not where to lay his head. Friends, family, collegues and the curious will seek him out to learn what it was he did that could possibly have resulted in this--and what could possibly be worth more than his bright future. Most are dismayed and perplexed that he won't listen to good sense--but a small following gathers around him, dedicated to sharing the Gospel to all the world and to all the Universe. In human history it typically takes a radical new philosophy about 300 years to go from a band of lunatic outcasts to harmless wierdos to the dominate force of Society. By the time humans reach them they have built huge huge orbitting transmitters that have broadcast the Gospel to every star in the Galaxy. Several solar systems have been convered and have built transmitters beaming the Gospel to every galaxy in the Universe.
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

Sounds like a bestseller to me. Next step--the aliens come to Earth and tell terrestial Christians to shape up and get it right, or else. Shades of DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, no?

Get writing!
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 02/19/2010
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Montgolier-Punk airship over pre-Lewis-and-Clarke America--love it! The second idea is reminiscent of The High Crusade...Mr. Anderson would have smiled, don't you think?

Love "The Man Who Would Be Kzin"--the tale you spun with S.M. Stirling for Man-Kzin Wars IV (also included in The Best of All Possible Wars, both available from Baen Books). Since we're talking about alien converts, I'll confess I outlined a story recently about a Kzin pope.

A warcat wanders into a church on Fafnir, sees a bloody crucifix and judges it to have a distinctly Kzinti flavor. At first impressed and then obsessed, he enters a novitiate, ends up a cardinal and finally (to much acclaim/controversy) pope (or antipope).

By then he's convinced himself that Jesus could only have been a stranded kzin telepath, and teaches same. There's a schizm and a holy war, and in the end...well, it turns out he's right.

Title? "The Kzinti Code," of course.
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 02/25/2010
From: qiiiss
Location:

Or they wait for them to construct a [M]acroscope.
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 03/04/2010
From: Greg Bear

Hmmm... an albino Kzin brings bad luck?
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 03/14/2010
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA, USA

Dear Messieurs Doudna, Goodwin, and Bear.

Very interesting comments! Especially since I'm such a strong Poul Anderson fan.

But, one short story by PA which touches on similar themes was overlooked. That being "The Word to Space," in which it was ALIEN religious broadcasts which were deliberately beamed to us. Rather than accidental human broadcasts reaching other stars. The amusing thing about "The Word to Space" was how a Jesuit priest and astronomer turned the tables on the aliens, by asking subtle questions of the aliens which insidiously undermined what looked a lot like an Islamic theocracy on the alien world.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

Poul was opposed to ANY theocracy! And remember, Islam is six hundred years younger than Christianity...
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 03/28/2010
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA, USA

Dear Mr. Bear. Thanks for your comment. Of course PA would be as opposed to theocracy as he would for any other kind of tyranny. But I don't see what the age of either Islam or Christianity has to do with this. To me, concentrating just on politics, a crucial difference between Islam and Christianity is how the Koran lacks any thing like the "rendering unto Caesar and God" text you find in Matthew 22.15-22. Which is one cause of the Church resisting attempts by many states over the centuries to controlling it. And that resistance helped to define the idea the state should have only LIMITED powers. An idea you can find in PA's THE SHIELD OF TIME, in the section called "Amazement of the World." Islam, by contrast, believes, at least in theory, in merging mosque and state. And many Muslims still hope for a restoration of the theocratic caliphate. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

But this has strayed rather far from commenting on PA's short story "The Word to Space."

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 04/10/2010
From: Greg Bear

All true. However, what Mohammed hoped to achieve was a religion where no priest would intervene between God and the faithful. The state would then be a convocation of the faithful. That hasn't worked out in most instances.
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 04/11/2010
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Bear. Again, thanks for your comment. I don't know if Mohammed wanted to leave no one between God and man. From what the Koran says, it sure looked like HE would be the mediator. And, of course, Islam has developed a de facto clergy of imams, mullahs, doctors of Muslim law, etc. And rather more than merely de facto in Shia Islam to boot.

And I have fears for the next century or so. I think we are in for increasingly worse jihads from fanatical Muslims who dream of setting up that ideal of "The state would then be a convocation of the faithful." Complete with again imposing the code of dhimmitude on non Muslims unlucky enough to fall under Muslim rule. We may live long enough to see!

Sincerely, Sean
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Right now, what's going in with this so-called War Between Civilizations is an extended mopping-up operation conducted by Western Culture, after a long series of horrible blunders in the 20th century stripped the autonomy and dignity away from nearly all the Muslim states. Any other view seems to neglect the simple analysis of where the power lies, where the military strength lies, and ultimately, where the money lies. We're addicted to foreign oil and share responsibility for the Middle East much as we're responsible for the drug war in Mexico and elsewhere. We change our habits, the power shifts away completely from those who naively believe they can control the world's destiny. Of course, if we're too undisciplined or foolish to change our habits...
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 05/07/2010
From: CAllenDoudna
Location: Grand Island, Nebraska

It's fairly predictable that we will eventually do to the Moslems as we did to the Indians: kill most of them off and herd the survivors onto reservations and settle their land. Whether someone thinks that's Good or Bad is beside the point, the simple Fact is that's what will happen. At this time there is the rising possibility the Moslems have colonized Europe and will out-populate the Europeans. But that overlooks the rise of Neo-Nazism in Europe, which will recieve a tremendous boost as the Economy there collapses exactly as Germany's did before World War II.

The importance of Oil is largely over-played. Oh, sure, it's extremely important right now, but of far greater significance is the simple fact the Middle East is simply in the way. The cheapest way to travel is by water. Try getting a ship from China, Japan, or Australia without going through Islamic waters. Europe needs food and a lot of that food comes from Australia. Trade between Europe and Asia goes back to the days before Marco Polo and has played a powerful role in the development of the West. Trying to avoid the Moslems led to the discovery of America and the colonization of Africa.

And then there is Russia. Russia is a vast and powerful land--that needs to get permission from Denmark before it can go out and kick the living daylights out of some other country. The reason has to do with seaports. When England or France or America wanted to go out and kick the crap out of somebody the Navy picked the Army up and took them there. But Russia basically doesn'thave a coastline and so has never been able to do that. Russia has a coastline on the Pacific--but that's halfway around the world from Russia. Russia has a coastline on the Arctic--but that's frozen solid nine months out of the year. Russia has a coastline on the Black Sea--but can't get from there to the Atlantic without first passing through a narrow chanel controled by Turkey which has been Russia's ancient enemy for centuries. So that leaves the Baltic Sea. The exit from the Baltic Sea is controled by Denmark and Denmark happens to be on good terms with everybody Russia wants to kick around. Looking at this situation, Peter the Great--a contemporary of our Pilgrims--declared that Russia's future as the World Power it ought to be lay southward to the warm water ports of the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. Grasp this simple fact and you will understand Russian Policy for the last several centuries. It was for this reason the Russians took the area between the Caspian Sea and China and why they invaded Afghanistan in 1979. It is why the Russians tangled with the British over India in the late 1800s. It is why when Hitler and Stalin announced their non-agression pact on the eve of World War II and Hitler and Mussolini declared the areas of the world they would dominate Stalin said that Russia's interest lay "in the direction of the Persian Gulf." It is why the Russians occupied northern Iran during World War II and delayed in withdrawing afterwards. It is why the Russians sided with the Arabs against Israel and with India against Pakistan. It is why Russia has stood on the sidelines while Israel and America pummel the more powerful ragheads just south of Moscow: When we get tired and go home no power on Earth will be in a position to stop the Russians from rolling South. to the warm water ports and the gateway to true World Power. oh, yeah, they'll also get more Oil with which they can put a major squeeze on Europe, China, and Japan, but that's just frosting on the cake.

The world has been rubbing shoulders more and more over the last several centuries. The Moslems don't like it. They're in the way and they will be eliminated as the Indians were.

Oh, by the way, the Chadian Sea (Lake Chad) was once half the size of the Mediterranain and rain from it made the Sahara something like Texas. It could be restored either by daming the Congo or by laying a couple thousand black pipes from the sea to the mountantops of North Africa. Sunlight would cause water vapor to rise in the pipes then condense out in underground chambers on the mountain tops to flow down as streams. A similar thing would transform Arabia. North Africa and Arabia would become the Land of Opportunity for Europeans fleeing economic Depression.
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Sounds like an extensive future history here! Let's not forget that Russia may soon enjoy ice-free northern seaports.
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 05/08/2010
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Bear: Many thanks for your comments, despite me disagreeing with some of them. Candidly, when I think of the horrors conquering Muslims imposed on Jews, Christians, and pagans in lands they overran, I find it difficult to have much sympathy for the far milder "mistreatment" they received from an expanding Europe in the 1700s to early 1900s. One writer I recommend are the works of Bat Ye'or, author of books like THE JEWS OF ISLAM, THE DECLINE OF EASTERN CHRISTIANITY, etc.

What I see in Europe these days is supine cowardice in the face of Jihadist terror from too many European leaders. And the same problem exists in the US. Yes, I mean the Democrats and their President, Obama. For both of whom I have only contempt.

I do agree with you about the oil and drug problems. As writers like Jerry Pournelle have long advocated, freedom and prosperity depends on cheap energy and a limited gov't. That means we need to get SERIOUS about nuclear power and space based solar power. And any decline in oil would also take a lot of the wind out of jihadism.

And we Americans need to get REAL, I agree, about drugs. I would legalize marijuana, regulate it the way we do alcohol and tobacco. Let the tobacco formers of TN, VA, NC, GA, etc., have the profits from pot! Legalization would, I hope, take the profits out of the hands of terrorists and criminals. And that would help restabilize Mexico.

Ah well, this has again strayed from any discussion of PA's books. Altho he did write in one of his letters to me about his fear that Islam was entering a jihadist phase.

Respectfully, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 05/15/2010
From: Greg Bear

Hmmm... When the Christians laid siege and entered Jerusalem, they slaughtered every man, woman, and child within the city. This was not an uncommon practice. But Saladin allowed the citizens to depart, and did not slaughter them.

Jews (and Christians) were allowed to live and work in many medieval Islamic cultures, accepted as "people of the book," relatively safe. In Europe and Russia, under Christian rule, Jews were reviled, preached against, subjected to pogroms and massacres and appropriations of wealth at regular intervals. The conquest of Muslim Spain resulted in hideous reprisals against the Jews, including forcing them to convert or die. Christians frequently slaughtered Christians. (It's also true that Muslims freqGermany, a Christian country, finally attemped to get rid of the Jews in Europe.

History is cruel. The historical record of Islam, by and large, is no worse than than that of Christianity--or even early Judaism. Consider Joshua.

Show me--specifically--how Islam was or is worse in its cruelties and I will concede your point.

If Islam is our enemy, as you suggest, then how does it advance our "war" by failing to understand the truth of history?

That said, getting loose from Middle Eastern Oil is a goal we can all agree on!

 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 05/15/2010
From: Greg Bear

Hmmm... When the Christians laid siege and entered Jerusalem, they slaughtered every man, woman, and child within the city. This was not an uncommon practice. But Saladin, at the conclusion of his siege, allowed the citizens to depart, and did not slaughter them.

Jews (and Christians) were allowed to live and work in many medieval Islamic cultures, accepted as "people of the book," relatively safe. In Europe and Russia, under Christian rule, Jews were reviled, preached against, subjected to pogroms and massacres and appropriations of wealth at regular intervals. The Christian conquest of Muslim Spain resulted in hideous reprisals against the Jews, including forcing them to convert or die. (To be sure, Islamic extremism in Spain contributed to the end of a prosperous and learned period.)

Christians frequently slaughtered Christians, as well. It's also true that Muslims frequently discriminated against other Muslims, and even fought them.

I offer Salo Wittmayer Baron's SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY OF THE JEWS, if you have time to skim through 27 volumes...!

Germany, a Christian country, finally attemped to get rid of the Jews in Europe.

History is cruel. The historical record of Islam, by and large, is no worse than that of Christianity--or even early Judaism. Consider Joshua.

Show me--specifically--how Islam was or is worse in its cruelties and I will concede your point.

If Islam is our eternal enemy, as you suggest, then how does it advance our "war" by failing to understand the truth of history? (And why do so many of my atheistic Libertarian friends and colleagues feel the need to defend Christianity over Islam? Both historical extremes would burn atheists at the stake, given their moral druthers.)

That said, getting loose from Middle Eastern Oil is a goal we can all agree on!

 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 05/28/2010
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Bear: Many thanks for your comments. I hope you are well.

You were quite right to mention the atrocities committed by the Firs Crusaders when they conquered Jerusalem in 1100. Christians are not guaranteed freedom from the temptation to be cruel and ruthless. But historians like Bat Ye'or have pointed out not all Muslims leaders were as chivalrous as Saladin (who, btw, gets an honorable mention by Dante in his poem INFERNO).

You might also have remembered the genocide of the Christian Armenians committed by the Muslim Turks from 1915 onwards. Some estimates say the slaughter reached 1.8 millions. I would say that was both a lot worse and far more recent than the First Crusaders massacre in 1100.

While Jews and Christians were, in theory, accorded an inferior "protected" status in lands ruled by Islam, this was not in real life all that different from what Jews endured in Christian ruled lands. Bat Ye'or, cited MANY instances of persecution and "reviling" of Jews and Christians by Muslims. And Ibn Warraq, in his book WHY I AM NOT A MUSLIM, lists many instances of Jews being massacred by Muslims in North Africa and Moorish Spain. I'm sorry, I don't buy the image of "tolerant Islam."

And considering how the National Socialists of Germany also hated Christianity as well of Judaism, I don't consider that a good example. Hitler persecuted Christians as much as he thought it was politically safe to do so.

I've tried to tell you my basic view, the belief in Islam that mosque and state should merge into a theocracy will inevitably lead to tyranny. Or for wars against the non Muslims. One telling text of the Koran which has stuck in my mind is Sura 48.29: "Mohammed is Allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers, but merciful to one another." And that was merely one of many similar texts!

This does NOT mean I beileve all Muslims are consumed with hate for all non Muslims or are hell bent on waging war on them. But I do believe Islam qua Islam, as distinct from PERSONS, allows for these things. That is why "moderate Muslims" have fared so badly in developing a political/theological response opposing Jihadism.

What does the first WTC bombing, the Embassy bombings in Africa, the sawing off of poor Dan Pearl's head, Nine Eleven, the Ft. Hood massacre, the Pantybomber, the Times Square attack, to list just a FEW, have in common? The perpetrators were motivated by fanatical belief in Islam. Or, if you like, "radical Islam."

And the truth of history you mentioned will have to include as well the "tendency" of Islam to be hostile to all non Muslims and to its being willing to tyrannize them.

I do not advocate waging war on Islam the way Jihadists do on us. My view is basicallty that of former President Bush, to use military means sparingly while trying to reach out to "moderate" Muslims. And it's my hope the best ideas of the West will eventually "tame" Islam. Altho that, of course, is why so many Muslims are hostile to us. The fanatical ones, I mean.

Btw, I disagree with you about atheists. It's far safer to be an atheist in mostly Christian nations than in Muslim countries.

And thanks for agreeing with me that we need to wean ourselves off oil. Alas, that will not happen till we get SERIOUS about both nuclear power and SPACE based solar energy.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 06/07/2010
From: Alex Brady
Location: st neots

This is really interesting. Returning to the theme of the opening posts, I know Allen you were making a point about religion reaching aliens (and I thought the story idea was awesome!!) but think an advanced alien culture like the one at Leviathan could gather a lot of information on us and get our measure quite quickly without learning much new or groundbreaking.

I also think comparing atrocity scores between Christianity and Islam and basing hawkish views on the percieved outcome is a mistake for several reasons.
As a child of the 90s I feel any war is like lighting a
fire in an airliner- the biospehere is very fragile and shouldnt be messed with by wars.
Such tribal conflicts (religions are surely just super-tribes) exascerbated by climate change flooding, famine, mass migration, could easily turn nuclear, and that would be a real horror as we saw in Eon. SoI think we need to chill on that front. Sadly I suspect only a limited holocaust will wake us up. Again, Eon wasnt optimistic.

History is as cruel and Hobbsian as the jungle or the reef. Jihadis are inevitable in a system of extreme inequality, as are the black market and the war on drugs; intelligent humans dont like to be treated badly and get rightly angry, or are willing to do a lot to try and improve things for their offspring. They want honour and fun.
So the actual philosophy fanatics latch onto is surely almost irrelevant given the details mask simpler emotions.
I guess the only solution is a sort of anarchist utopia like the Culture, or a harmonised upload ultra hive culture like the one hinted at in Moving Mars.

Another issue is that as Greg mentioned, Islam was set up with the intention of removing the middle man between man and God. This is obviously a metaphore for establishing an immediate and spiritual connection with the universe. Whether or not you believe in a specific creator deity the universe is obviously a spectacular and wonderous garden, the contemplation of which bring can deep philosophical well being. My point modern or histroric radical Islam, or any religion, is more about tribalism, righteous anger, revenge, hatred, and the simple desire to be a controlling force in ones environment, than it is about the original message of its prophets. If advanced aliens read the Sufi philosopher poets, I think theyd love them, and feel sad about the harm the other aspects of belief and its manipulation has had.

Im not trying to be reductionist by religions mask simple desires. The desire to gather resources is an obvious survival benefit, as is the cooperative aspect of religious organisation, but religions are complex constructs.
The human mind is complex and to survive and spread a religion has to be a subtle thing.
They have been honed by evolution to be in some cases logically slippery (ie christian Faith) or vaguely all encompassing (like buddhism). Personally I prefer the imaginitive space afforded by the buddhist idea better than the strict guides of Islam. Islam originated in a harsh environment, where imaginiation was probbaly less important than just staying alive and reflects this, encoding survival benefits for desert life, but just as our desire to gather resources is damaging the biosphere, desert sensibilities are sometimes incompatible with a machanised world.

Finally I think Sean Brooks listing atrocities committed by people identifying as muslim is a manipulation of the way we as humans interpret facts, to push a mildly racist agenda.
Hearing about all those horrible acts, a complete newcomer might thing muslims are all horrible. This is based on a limited data set though isnt it? The data is limited to a bunch of nasty killings. There have been a billion, largely unnoted times, when people were kind to each other too.

I went on a bit there but I hope that makes some sense.
PS I agree about nuclear energy. My dad is right now heading a tendering commitee thing to build a new one here in England. Im dead proud. Im sure new tech can make fission work pretty well, and Im hoping for a tour of the construction site if it all comes off!

Here is a bit of ancient Sufi poetry I was talking about earlier, by Rumi. Its not as calm as Basho, and I like it very much. He was a gay you know, another group radicalism tends to target.



-------

God said,  I am a hidden treasure. I wanted to be known, so I created the Universe in order to be known.

-------

The way of love is not
a subtle argument.

The door there
is devastation.

-----

You have been a prisoner of a little pond.
I am the ocean with turbulent flood.
Come merge with me.

-------

The elders we knew
Are only a few
Wine is overdue
Else silently sigh


And here is some ancient islamic art.

http://www.zombietime.com/mohammed_image_archive/islamic_mo_full/

See Allen its not all bad!

 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 06/08/2010
From: Alex Brady
Location: st neots

One other thing, the way a religion gains real political power is when it is coopted from its original adherents by powerful people who see an angle. So the original loonies get sidelined (or exectuted) and a religious hegemony forms.
This has surely been the case with some aspects of Islam, what with Mullahs pushing their own agendas through radicalisation.
I lived as a kid in Brunei, a muslim country, and I think my friends there would disagree it is "fairly predictable that we will eventually do to the Moslems as we did to the Indians: kill most of them off and herd the survivors onto reservations and settle their land."
Thats just a bizarre idea.
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 06/09/2010
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Brady: Many thanks for your comments.

Truth to say, I don't really disagree with most of what you say, so I'll concentrate on the "atrocity list" bit. If I listed so many horrible things done by SOME, not all, Muslims, it's to correct the fashionable tendency to see only bad Christians as evil doers. But, I would reiterate my contention that the SYSTEM of ideas and beliefs called "Islsm" itself gives fanatical Muslims grounds to claim their crimes were justifiable or even commanded by God.

And just to correct the balance even more, I point out how the ATHEISTS of the USSR and Maoist China killed vastly more people than all the bad Muslims, Jews, and Christians combined (e.g., see Solzhenitsyn's THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO). The phenomenon called "fanaticism" is not limited to religious believers.

And your mentioning of the "fragility" of the world reminds me yet again of my firm belief that we need to get into space in a SERIOUS way simply to save our high tech civilization. Poul Anderson wrote an excellent short essay discussing this for the collection of short stories called SPACE FOLK.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 06/14/2010
From: Greg Bear

Good points, Sean--atrocities committed in the guise of furthering non-religious politics, in the 20th century, tops all past atrocities. Religion certainly has no monopoly on fanaticism. Of course, Stalin conveniently invoked God and Mother Russia when fighting off Germans--and the German Catholic Church remained strangely silent in the face of execution of the mentally ill and, soon after, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, communists... Religion is, after all, a major arm of politics! Just ask any king.
 

Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 06/15/2010
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Bear. Thanks again for commenting.

Perhaps not quite so coincidentally, your remarks about Stalin reminded me of the five chapters about that evil man which Solzhenitsyn wrote for the unexpurgated version of IN THE FIRST CIRCLE. In this context, because of the shock of the German invasion, Stalin was reverting to the ideas and terminology he had learned while a atudent in the Russian Orthodox seminary where he studied for the priesthood. The world would have been vastly better off if he had not started dabbling in Marxism!

But I don't agree the German Catholic Church was "strangely silent" in the face of the estermination of the mentally ill, etc. It was PROTESTS and pressure from courageous German Catholics which stopped at least some of the Nantional Socialist atrocities. I only need to point out examples like Clemens von Galen, Bishop of Munster. Throughout the ENTIRE rule of Hitler, he was a thorn in the side of the Nazis. And John Toland mentioned in his biogaprhy of Hitler that it was the CHURCH which saved more Jews from Hitler than everybody else combined.

And your comment that "Religion is, after all, a major arm of politics! Just ask any king.," needs nuancing. Throughout the history of Christianity, the role of the Church in politics has more often been one of RESISTING attempts by states at either destroying or controlling her. A very partial list of examples would be the persecutions by the pagan Roman Empire, the repeated state sponsored hereseies in the Eastern Empire, the Investiture Controversy between Pope Gregory VII and the Emperor Henry IV, the quarrels of Henry II of England with St. Thomas a' Becket, right on down to attempts in OUR country to coerce the Church to assent to morally objectionable practices.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 06/15/2010
From: Anang
Location: VA

I would say fascists and dictators are actually more religious than religion itself. That is to say they appropriated religious elements in order to establish themselves as godheads of a marxist/socialist/fascist state. Stalin, Hitler indulged in personality cults where people adored and venerated them. Kim Jong il was born on a sacred mountain, birds heralded his birth with songs etc. As Christopher Hitchens would tell you, North Korea is one dead dictator away from a Holy Trinity.
There are elements of fanaticism in every form of philosophy, including religion. The second temple was destroyed due to the agitations of the Jewish zealots, which led to hellenized jews promoting a form of judaism that centered around the family and the community rather than the fanatic devotion to the state of Israel.
So please, don't blame the atheists, because those leaders weren't really atheists in the sense of supporting rationalism and humanism.
But I also don't support the current vein of atheism that elevates moral relativism over rationalism and is content to condemn western religions for their own socio-political reasons and far too quick to declare other cultures as superior because they are exotic, foreign and just not american, so they must be better.
It was the religious and tribal connections to ancient Israel that led the survivors of religious fanaticism (for that is what nazism was) to look to their religion and its tradition of secularism and create the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious state of Israel.
Israel is a Jewish state. But it is not a jewish state in the sense that Saudi Arabia is a muslim state.
So religion is good for something.
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 06/15/2010
From: Greg Bear

Indeed, but with regard to Iraq, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Though I would have supported Bush 1's following through on the first Gulf War, I felt very different about the team that was in place for Gulf War 2, the rationale, the strategy or lack thereof, the financing (or lack thereof)--virtually everything about that massive effort. Because of such a huge screwup during the initial stages, the eventual outcome is still uncertain. Of course, all that might have happened to Bush 1, as well.
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 06/16/2010
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Anang:

Thanks for your comments,altho I'm a bit puzzled how to reply. There's nothing in them I would strongly object to. Except for your comments about atheism. More exactly, the state sponsored atheism of the late, unlamented USSR.

That is, I would stress that for manny many years, the Soviet regime was DOGMATICALLY atheistic and hostile to any beiief in God. Avowed atheism was, after all, a necessary prerequisite if you wanted to rise to positions of power and influence. To say nothing, of course, of the vicious persecution of religious believers, especially Catholics and Russian Orthodox, in the USSR.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Respects to Poul Anderson
Date: 06/19/2010
From: Greg Bear

Long before Russia went Communist/atheist, the various powers that be of all persuasions persecuted the Jews. In some parts of the Czarist empire, upstart Muslims and other ethnic groups also became targets--along with Jews. Stalin was just following the guidance of many who came before, religious and otherwise, and added a more groups to the list until one day in 1953 or so absolutely nobody felt safe. "First they came for..."

Rationalism has little to do with it. In fact, a fanatical rationalist may be even less likely to listen to other opinions, because quite clearly they are... iwwational! (Lovely bit in Gilliam's BARON MUNCHAUSEN.)

Some preliminary musings on Mariposa

Date: 02/13/2010 From: qiiiss
Location:

You know, when I read this 'thriller' stuff of yours, I just shake me head at the legions of Grisham fans. This is, like, the real stuff - and, one could say, the descendant precursor to the stuff in Neuromancer. Goodness.

I totally identify with the view of genetics expressed by Plover, particuarly the 'pulling the stops'. Something I aspire to without such treatment as Mariposa, though I see that route as an imminent necessity.
 

Re: Some preliminary musings on Mariposa
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks! But I enjoy Grisham and a lot of other bestselling thriller writers. There's a lot to learn from a direct story line.
 

Re: Some preliminary musings on Mariposa
Date: 02/19/2010
From: qiiiss
Location:

Oh sure. But is it SF? That's the measure I'm implying.
 

Re: Some preliminary musings on Mariposa
Date: 03/04/2010
From: Greg Bear

Not all of it, but a considerable portion, in my opinion--and not just Crichton.

Kirkus Reviews gets saved

Date: 02/12/2010 From: qiiiss
Location:

This is sorta interesting:

"With the growth of e-books and e-reading devices, no one can really see the future of publishing. But turmoil like this creates opportunities," Simon said in a statement. "At a time when even the definition of a book is changing, my love of books makes me want to be part of the solution for the book publishing industry."

http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/media/kirkus-reviews-gets-unlikely-savior-indiana-pacers-owner/19353465/?icid=main|htmlws-main-n|dl5|link5|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailyfinance.com%2Fstory%2Fmedia%2Fkirkus-reviews-gets-unlikely-savior-indiana-pacers-owner%2F19353465%2F

Another step on the path to the America of Mariposa?

Date: 02/10/2010 From: qiiiss
Location:

Charles Darwin film 'too controversial for religious America'

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/6173399/Charles-Darwin-film-too-controversial-for-religious-America.html
 

Re: Another step on the path to the America of Mariposa?
Date: 02/11/2010
From: Greg Bear

That's a shame, but I suspect that's not the only reason. Hollywood has little problem tweaking the heartland. Still, I'd love to see Bettany play Darwin.

Image influences on EON/ETERNITY

Date: 02/08/2010 From: Mike Glosson
Location: Normal Heights, San Diego, CA

Greg:

While it's extremely obvius that parts of your novel EON are like Rendezvous with Rama on Steroids, how much of a thematic influence did Blish's CITIES IN FLIGHT have on the concept of Axis City and it's journey?
 

Re: Image influences on EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/11/2010
From: Greg Bear

I love Blish. I think his influence is obvious on nearly all my stories, including EON.
 

Re: Image influences on EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/12/2010
From: Joseth Moore
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

For the record, "Eon" was the first novel i read by Greg Bear. and every since then i've been a great fan of his work! Then "Rogue Planet" from the Star Wars universe, some short stories...

ANYONE ELSE WOULD LOVE TO SEE "EON" TURNED INTO A MOVIE? PERHAPS PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY J.J. ABRAMS? that would be nice, especially since he did such a great job with 'Star Trek'!
 

Re: Image influences on EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/13/2010
From: Mike Glosson
Location: Normal Heights, San Diego, CA

Me too! So much of Blish's work and the "mythos" he created has seeped into my tool-set...just got to novel to of CITIES IN FLIGHT and slapped my head with my hand hard...this was where I lifted my concept of San Diego's City Fathers...which have been woven into this urban legend myth I've been propogating: That the City Fathers have been keeping the worst of the weather and quakes out of here, giving is climate instead of weather, using a set of Reality Generators they found burried east of the central core...and I lifted those generators from another author...I think he used to be local...:)...mostly drop that one on Burners and Hipsters when they are more than buzzed...saying it with a straight face.
When Bill's store went out of business I replaced most of my missing Blish...it's been a fun rediscovery, as it's been 3 decades since I've read him...having wrapped up the Cities Books right before I spoke to you about Blish in the spring of '80.
As I am reading these books there is the historical "burp" that also sets EON/ETERNITY no in our time line: the continuing existence of the USSR into the 21st Century.
Which then jumps to the sense that Stapledon may have gotten it right for the 21st Century: A Show down between China and America...even though he got the rest of the 20th century totally wrong.
City Fathers...City Princes...I've been inspired enough to dig out my notebooks on Dazeit, crouching on an obsidian plain under a white dwarf noon, 30 Billion years from next tuesday. The City Fathers of Dazeit might not be to eager to have me spill the beans on their civic and temporal enginerring...>:)

Mike
 

Re: Image influences on EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Next topic of study= Blish!.. Greg, can you ask Amazon to stock more of your books? I'm finding it really hard to access them! One book of your still hasn't been available after about a year.
 

Re: Image influences on EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

Always good to dream!
 

Re: Image influences on EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

Watch it, Mike! My screen is starting to act strangely...
 

Re: Image influences on EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

Some are OP except in electronic or on-demand editions. We're working on that. And Europe is rapidly dropping my newer titles as the economy falters. Let's hope things improve soon!
 

Re: Image influences on EON/ETERNITY
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Mike Glosson
Location: Normal Heights, San Diego, CA

And our current manifestation of the City Fathers have been working overtime, making this last week one of those San Diego in Winter Postcards weeks...but they weaken, and the rains return.

We finally got around to watching the final David Tenant Dr. Who Episode last night, it's only been sitting in our DVR sinc Xmas...she dreading the end of the 10th Doctor, me vaguely anxious if their THE END OF TIME would have any bleed over/resonance with CITY, as "Utopia" vaguely did. I was expecting there to be Dr. Who versions of Gapes and Terminus...but the temporal anomolies they had were tame by comparison, and the Time War/Final play of the Time Lords whimpy compared to the Typhon's Multiverse sized Alkaseltzer moment....

Currently torn between another processing of Dazeit's Story, and my endless project on Blake's Mythos...and wondering just now of the two can collide.

Urizen staring as something like "The Mad Mind"? Never fully satisfied with Farmer's usage of that Mythos...

MG
 

Re: Image influences on EON/ETERNITY
Date: 03/04/2010
From: Greg Bear

Looking forward to the new series and the new Doctor. I was very impressed with the Torchwood finale, CHILDREN OF EARTH. Very John Wyndham.
 

Re: Image influences on EON/ETERNITY
Date: 03/22/2010
From: Jon Kroll
Location: Ann Arbor Michigan

Per Greg Bear's comment "I love Blish. I think his influence is obvious on nearly all my stories, including EON." I picked up a used paperback copy of Cities In Flight from the Dawn Treader used book store here in Ann Arbor. Thanks for the tip. I am anxious to dive in.

Jon
 

Re: Image influences on EON/ETERNITY
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

Take a look also at A CASE OF CONSCIENCE and BLACK EASTER.

Sarah Palin as genesis of Green Idaho

Date: 02/08/2010 From: Peter Yorke
Location: Camano Island, WA

After watching the Palin Tea Party speech, it occurred to me that she would make a good character as the instigator of the secession of Idaho.
 

Re: Sarah Palin as genesis of Green Idaho
Date: 02/11/2010
From: Greg Bear

She's fun, but for now, she's simply building up a big profit from speeches and book and Fox without laying down real political connections. Downside: she has to rap with Glenn Beck. For a beauty queen like her, that's got to be scary. Like being stuck in study hall, alone with the strangest kid in school.
 

Re: Sarah Palin as genesis of Green Idaho
Date: 04/15/2010
From: Steven Becker
Location: San Jose

Have a look at this article:
http://www.northjersey.com/news/national/90811954_Tea_Party_pushes_for_Oklahoma_militia.html

The fact that elected officials are participating in this craziness puts an exclamation point on Mr Yorke's idea.

The degree of extremism coming from supposedly reputable sources is edging towards disturbing.

It also hints that Mr. Bear's Green Idaho idea was more than a little prescient.
 

Re: Sarah Palin as genesis of Green Idaho
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Not so much prescient as observant, I think. These forces have been with us for centuries, and they're remarkably consistent in both outlook and behavior.
 

Re: Sarah Palin as genesis of Green Idaho
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Steven Becker
Location: San Jose

That's either reassuring or disheartening. I suspect a shot of strong scotch will clear things up nicely.
 

Re: Sarah Palin as genesis of Green Idaho
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Ah, but then there's the Whiskey Rebellion--where the rugged individualists were protesting taxes not on tea, but on spiritous liquors. George Washington himself had to violently roust those ancestors of the White Lightning Crowd! In act, I suspect there's more truth in calling themselves the tax-free Boozer Party. And of course the fast, fast hopped-up stock cars required to escape the revenooers and prohibition cops became both hot rod culture and Nascar...
 

Re: Sarah Palin as genesis of Green Idaho
Date: 05/23/2010
From: Joy Mott
Location: WV

I'm surprised by your use of this word: "revenooers" - a word which engenders the ignorance, poverty and meager lives of the Appalachian people. Would you have used a comparable word in describing other parts of America?

And yes, I know you're talking about how the Whiskey Rebellion influenced later and smaller populist rebellions. (Even though I grew up in Appalachia, I did receive quite a good education.) And, I'm certainly not trying to be the politically correct police.

I just wonder why you would use such a word with such heavy stereotypical connotations.

I never thought of your writing as that which would stereotype people geographically. In actuality, I don't care about Sarah Palin or her frenzied financial tour, but why use this word so clearly related to the outsider's view of the people of Appalachia? Especially when the Whiskey Rebellion took place in Pittsburgh and during prohibition, more alcohol crossed the Canadian border than was ever created in Appalachia.

Yes, some of the people of Appalachia are poor, ill educated and have been abused, used and poisoned by outside corporations for generations - and they certainly are easy targets because of that. But I just happened to think of one man who actually became the sort of man you write about - a real rocket scientist by the name of Homer Hickam who grew up in the coal fields. And he wasn't alone. He just happened to write a book about it.

We are easy targets and I'm sure I'll be flamed for even bringing this up, but why use this word and this particularly meaningful spelling of it? I just didn't expect it of you.
 

Re: Sarah Palin as genesis of Green Idaho
Date: 05/28/2010
From: Greg Bear

No disrespect meant. It's a part of American fable, and history, and I never suspected anyone would consider it a slur. I hope we haven't reached the point where we can no longer spell out regional dialect and accents! As a fellow of partly Okie heritage, I often have a hard time not saying "warsh" for wash. ("There is no R in Washington.") So maybe I actually talk that way myself, Joy, and you're the one making fun of *me*? Actually, when I'm in a region or country with a rich dialect, I have a hard time NOT trying to learn the speech patterns and pick up the lingo. I love this sort of diversity. It isn't mocking--it's appreciation of the local music.

Homer Hickam is terrific, by the way--as is MATEWAN. But Hickam idolized Werner von Braun, and he's hardly politically correct in some circles. Where does it all end?

And what ARE we going to do about books and films like DELIVERANCE and GRAPES OF WRATH and heaven forbid, HUCKLEBERRY FINN...
 

Re: Sarah Palin as genesis of Green Idaho
Date: 05/30/2010
From: Joy Mott
Location: WV

Ok, I understand what you were going for and I definitely was not making fun of you. Although the stereotype remains, the hill country accent and way of life dies a little more each day with the 24/7 news onslaught, the internet, and 900 channels of middle American accented television.

But even with this sea change, PBS did a special on the English language several years ago and they actually used subtitles for those Americans speaking who were from the coal fields. So I suppose I may be a bit touchy about the type of comment that comes close to Rob Reiner's quote of "fly-over" America - an attitude that sometimes comes from both coasts. (Especially in a state that many people think is part of Virginia.) If I had a dime for every time someone has asked me if I lived near Richmond, well, I'd have a lot of dimes.

As for Matewan, I loved it, not just because of John Sayles's fabulous work, but also he nailed it, without condescension to the people, time or place. And, because Matewan is part of my family history. (But that's another story entirely.)

Now, Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath - I could have a really long discussion with you about that book. I'm guessing that by saying that you were partly Okie in heritage, that you have your own thoughts on that novel.

Either way, this thread has veered far, far away from the original topic, but I do appreciate and thank you for your response.
 

Re: Sarah Palin as genesis of Green Idaho
Date: 06/01/2010
From: Greg Bear

My pleasure, Joy!

More On "Science Fantasay"...

Date: 02/02/2010 From: Joseth Moore
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Thanks for your response, Mr. Bear.
And I've always loved that phrase that the late-A.C. Clarke had said about advanced science...

I have to admit, "City at the End of Time", was hard for me to get into, given that I not only write hard core Sci-fi, but am an ardent reader of it. So Fantasy-ish was kind of hard.

But now I'm really starting to like it a lot more, especially with the part of going 300 Billion years into the future!

--Joseth Moore, author of "Asteropia" (Amazon.com)
 

Re: More On
Date: 02/11/2010
From: Greg Bear

I have to wonder what Sir Arthur would have thought if he could have read CATEOT a decade or so ago, back when his eyesight and energy levels were better... There's a lot of CITY AND THE STARS in my inspiration, of course.

What do we mean by Random

Date: 02/02/2010 From: John Bonnett
Location: St. Catharines, Ontario

Dear Greg,

I just listened to your interview on Tech Nation from a year ago or so when you were promoting City at the End of Time. It was a fascinating interview but one of the points you made that really caught my attention was the proposition that we really don't know what we're talking about when we say something has been "randomly generated." I was wondering if you had a reference or two you could recommend that discusses the limitations of what mean and know about random or contingent states in nature.

Thanks!

John Bonnett
Department of History
Brock University
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 02/11/2010
From: Greg Bear

Nothing specific in the way of references, unfortunately, comes to mind right away. A rigorous working definition of randomness is hard to find, however, and of course, random numbers are very difficult to generate efficiently. Radioactive decay does appear to be random, but physicists cannot discount the possibility that there are underlying rules--and thereby hangs the difficulty of making our definitions! If an apparently random set of genes--the so-called Junk DNA--turn out to be very important, and highly conserved, (and they are), then we were mistaken to call them random to begin with. And so on. My suspicions are that randomness if a useful concept up to a point, but has often been severely misapplied in the sciences.
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 02/12/2010
From: qiiiss
Location:

I think one needs to start with an understanding of what determinacy is. Although, google and Wiki are always handy...
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 02/12/2010
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

I remember hearing, or reading, the same statement by you, and I echo John's interest.

It's one of the things that makes the Babel in "City" such a fascinating concept--the mysterious relationship between meaning and "noise."

I suppose it's the subjective element that's intriguing. We call "pi" random, although in hindsight it's contingent. The temporal orientation of the investigator is relevant. As randomness increases, so does information content...apparently order and contingency are antithetical to consciousness! Has it occured to you that by treating information as a physical property, you declare yourself a mystic?
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 02/12/2010
From: Steven Becker
Location: San Jose

Would Bekenstein-Hawking radiation fit your concept of randomness, or is just an example of something too granular for our current ability to forecast, rather than something truly chaotic?

Thank you
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

That would lead us down the path as well to Many Worlds...
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

Absolutely. A mystic fond of Stochastic resonance.
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

Like any humanly unpredictable process, radiation emerging from a black hole seems to fit any definition of random--but then, Mr. Hawking did hand over the Encyclopedia of Baseball to Mr. Thorne!
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 02/19/2010
From: Steven Becker
Location: San jose

Dear Mr. Goodwin,
Your comment inre "As randomness increases, so does information content" is intriguing. Can you comment further on this. It's counter to my intuition, but your earlier comment about noise has my curiosity piqued.

Thanks in advance
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 02/25/2010
From: qiiiss
Location:

"That would lead us down the path as well to Many Worlds..."

Hmh hmh hmh - and, that statement could be a preface to your next...


"Absolutely. A mystic fond of Stochastic resonance."

Look up Iannis Xenakis.
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 03/04/2010
From: Greg Bear

Have many Xenakis recordings.
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 03/07/2010
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Steven (and anyone interested),

It takes more information to represent a random arrangement than an orderly one. It's harder to quantify a scribble, for instance, than a precise grid, or the position of molecules in a gas than in a crystal. A text file like this message can be sent faster to than a scan of my actual handwriting--the human-generated script would contain much more information because of all its random nuances.

Run time backwards to the Big Bang, and you have a universe that can be described with very little information. It's in a highly ordered state. Run it forward and things get more arbitrary--the shape of galaxies or the pattern of muffin crumbs on your breakfast plate.

So more order equals less information. But it does seem counterintuitive, and that's an interesting thing.

I say order is antithetical to consciousness because it leaves less for consciousness to do.

When we digitize something, we establish an arbitrary threshold and say we're not interested in any information below that level. It's beyond the range of our sensations, or irrelevant to our purpose in some other way. We call it "noise" and try to remove it.

If our perceptions were more discriminating, we might want that information back. It would become relevant again.

Take two "random" series of numerals: one completely meaningless, and the other, a decimal notation of "pi." The former has no "life" beyond the values that make it up. But the latter has a sort of soul--an analog existence at work "between the digits." I'm being poetic, of course. A biologist or radio astronomer would speak of noise in some other way.

Naturally that soul is one's own. The latter series is meaningful insofar as it remains consistent with one's INTENTION to describe a relationship that is intuitively understood. Were the scope of intentionality to increase without limit, noise would become a useless concept. Everything would be significant. To borrow from Poe: "The plots of God are perfect."

Noise has another name: Thought. Our inner world "boils" out of randomness, in a noncausal fashion that would seem to compliment the increasing entropy of consensual (read: digital) reality.

Seen this way, free will becomes a necessary and inevitable corollary to historical time. It takes over from Hawking's "imaginary time" as the universe complexifies. A picture emerges of a cosmic career whose beginning is compulsory, yet whose end is intention-dependent. So you get Stapledon's supreme moment or Teilhard de Chardin's omega point (interesting that those men were born at the same time).

Bacteria use transcription noise to cope with rapid change, yes? Higher animals start going nuts without dream-sleep. The fabric of reality starts getting wonky in Blood Music's "over-observed" world. Do we sleep because life doesn't stand up to prolonged scrutiny? Must Ishanaxade do her mending during our dreams, if we are to start the new day with faith in our own existence intact? Does the so-called "theory of mind" really make sense (Godel would say no)?

The upside is the possibility of life being forced into a transcendant dimension. Turn out the lights and the seance works. Stop thinking and you make the shot. HAL, an all-seeing being, goes crazy, and Dave must be reborn. One instant of time yields to the next--ah, the eternal blossoming of time! (Or is it just the coffee?)
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 03/14/2010
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

If I had the cash to be random, then I'd be like Arthur Rimbaud;..take off and forge a new identity totally obverse and precluded from my former life.

I'd re-invent myself in a different guise and walk until my feet fell through my shoes.. Greg, to me, being "Random" in Spirit is a close cousin to anarchy in its purest form!

I personally want Government to devolve power to the people, whilst recognising that most people can't even wipe their own bottoms. I have no answer to randomness..however synchronicity seems to have a place it time and motion..

Cheers

Andrew
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

Excellent points. Consider the feeling-forward of all alternate pathways by particles, and the collapse of the function to the least energy path. Is this a kind of decision making? Is it a reduction of disorder? Or is it a discipline imposed upon reality, that must not be reversed without "reinventing" at great expense all those unselected and vanished paths?
 

Re: What do we mean by Random
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

Hm. Chaos is not good for children and other living things... Or is it? In small measures, carefully applied, but then it isn't chaos... It's play. The first order of government is to prevent chaos, but allow play.

The space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels

Date: 02/01/2010 From: alex henderson
Location: Montreal

I have ended up with an odd tradition. Every time I travel to China, I am reading one of your books. I have taken QoA, Slant, and The Collected Stories with me on different trips. I will never forget sitting in a coffee shop in Beijing airport laughing at the amusing prequel connections between Moving Mars and Heads, which I read in that order.

It was with some joy that I planned a recent trip, as by chance it lined up with the release of Mariposa, albeit only in hardcover. It is extremely rare for me to buy a hardcover of anything these days, but some traditions die hard.

Anyway, my question is this: Will there be a gap filler book that paints in the space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels? We have seen the moment of the rise of Raphkind, and we know in theory how it ends, but the how and the why are always interesting. DO you have an intentions to fill in this blank space?
 

Re: The space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels
Date: 02/01/2010
From: Greg Bear

Indeed, I'm thinking it over right now. Thanks for the support and interest, Alex!
 

Re: The space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels
Date: 02/24/2010
From: kurt
Location: Portland, Oregon

I just read "Mariposa" and enjoyed it very much. I noticed that you are using characters and institutions that appear in the QoA/Heads/MM trilogy. I assume when you first wrote QoA that you created Raphkind as a 2040's version of Richard Nixon. Is this correct?
 

Re: The space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels
Date: 03/04/2010
From: Greg Bear

Much more complex, perhaps much worse. Working on his character now!
 

Re: Nixon/Raphkind
Date: 04/07/2010
From: kurt
Location: Portland, Oregon

Maybe Raphkind is more like Bush II. I noticed that Mary Choi, who is 28 in QofA, is 2 years old in Mariposa, which makes the time of the story 2021. If Raphkind became president in 2021, then the Raphkind you have in QofA, having committed suicide one year prior to the story, would have to be his son.

Perhaps Raphkind Jr. is a amalgamation of Nixon and Bush II (with a little JFK and LBJ thrown it), with daddy issues to boot! I'm sure you are having fun working on his character. He ought to be quite the piece of work.
 

Re: Nixon/Raphkind
Date: 04/10/2010
From: Greg Bear

Novelists reserve the right to tinker with time a little bit!
 

Re: The space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels
Date: 04/10/2010
From: alex henderson
Location: Montreal

Actually, considering all of the interesting things that may have happened in the Raphkind years, it wouldn't be unusual to see the two term limit revoked or at least suspended. I can imagine him as a near dictator, President of the RSA (Remaining States Of America) for 20 + years.

I could picture many changes coming after Mariposa that would dramatically shift the rules of the game going forward.
 

Re: The space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels
Date: 05/07/2010
From: Greg Bear

Interesting! All will be revealed in due time... but keep on throwing the ideas at me. They're very helpful zeroing in on this future history.
 

Re: The space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels
Date: 05/20/2010
From: alex henderson
Location: montreal

honestly, I would love to give you some ideas, but it might be plenty too long for this sort of forum. if you are so inclined, drop me a line or let me know where I might send you something a little longer, I would really enjoy that.
 

Re: The space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels
Date: 05/28/2010
From: Greg Bear

Not necessary to write my story for me, but happy to have you continue to post commentary, Alex. And keep me on my toes as far as continuity goes!
 

Re: The space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels
Date: 10/02/2010
From: alex henderson
Location: montreal

I would say that one thing for sure is that there is going to be at some point between the two what would be considered a major break through or two.

Actually, I wonder: Where does Moving Mars fall in the timeline? ;)
 

Re: The space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels
Date: 10/30/2010
From: Greg Bear

MOVING MARS is at the end of the cycle, after HEADS.
 

Re: The space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels
Date: 12/12/2013
From: alex henderson
Location: now in hong kong

Been a while, but I wanted to toss a couple of things out:

I always thought it would be interesting to see Mary Choi before and after transform, did the transform come before being a cop, or the other way around? The social / work related aspects could be an interesting area to play off of. I don't picture her as so much of a key character as in Angels, but perhaps a new recruit tagging with an experienced player (could a Mariposa character have moved into city law?)

Also, the building of the super city of Los Angeles might also be an intersting future historical time. The development of the technology to make these massive structures possible (and safe!) is perhaps a key to any plot or sitation.

There are huge technology and social gaps between the two stories, and the grinding of the gears as those events occur, against the political reality of the US breaking into so many pieces seems tasty and tempting.

Okay, 3 years for that seems along time... :)
 

Re: The space between Mariposa and Queen of Angels
Date: 12/16/2013
From: Greg Bear

Cool ideas. Thanks for writing, Alex!

Are You Experimenting With Fantasy?

Date: 01/30/2010 From: Joseth Moore
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Hi, Mr. Bear, my name is Joseth Moore, Sci-Fi author of the novels "Asteropia," "Lunar Legends," and "The Solar Bridge." You and I have actually corresponded several years ago with the publication of my first novel, "Lunar Legends."
I've been noticing a trend within the Sci-Fi field of Fantasy of late...what I'm wondering is if it's due to marketing reasons (since Fantasy is so popular these days--"Harry Potter," "Lord of the Rings," even Vampire tales such as "Twilight").
I've been reading your "City at the End of Time." Compared to, say, "Eon," and other works you've done, 'Time' seems a bit, Fanciful...
***Is this as a result of trying your hand at Fantasy? And if so, is it due to marketing reasons or more of an artistic direction?

Thank you,
Joseth Moore, author of "The Lunar series"
 

Re: Are You Experimenting With Fantasy?
Date: 02/01/2010
From: Greg Bear

I've always enjoyed fantasy--and written quite a bit of it over the years. As Sir Arthur Clarke once said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." So if you write far enough into the future, it will certainly seem more like fantasy!
 

Re: Are You Experimenting With Fantasy?
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Mike Glosson
Location: Normal Heights, San Diego, CA

CITY as Fantasy? Ouch...I think I just stubbed my brain. That's like seeing THE NIGHT LAND as Fantasy.

Now I did say in some of my early responses to CITY that the 21st Centuary and Early Sections, i.e. The Collectors and the Fate Shifters, reminded me A LOT of Tim Power's work...his So Cal/South West Metaphysical/Magickal-Horror/Thriller fiction, but instead of the Occult and Tarotic flourishes with Ghosts and Transpersonal Architype-Intelligences and entirely different "Mythos" and hidden history.

And I think I may have just "barked" my brain on a concept: A Secret History of the World in a World where History itself is unraveling/corrupting

Yet again, that's a concept I still want to play around in....

Get yer slate here!.....

Date: 01/30/2010 From: qiiiss
Location:

Well, Apple finally made your slate. I'm surprised no one has posted before this.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/27/live-from-the-apple-tablet-latest-creation-event/?icid=main|main|dl1|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.engadget.com%2F2010%2F01%2F27%2Flive-from-the-apple-tablet-latest-creation-event%2F
 

Re: Get yer slate here!.....
Date: 02/01/2010
From: Greg Bear

Oops! Now it's iPad. iSlate might have been better, but there could be trademark issues with Slate Magazine...
 

Re: Get yer slate here!.....
Date: 02/02/2010
From: Patrick,Berry
Location: Vancouver, WA

I think this about sums it up. :-)

http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/30/ipad-v-a-rock/

Patrick
 

Re: Get yer slate here!.....
Date: 02/07/2010
From: Scott Maasen
Location: Springfield, MO

Surely putting the i in front of iSlate would have been enough! What I heard is that they thought that calling it a Slate would have made it sound heavy and big. I think they messed up big time though. The term "Slate" could have been a far more reaching term than "pad" (shudder). Apple missed the mark on naming I think.
 

Re: Get yer slate here!.....
Date: 02/11/2010
From: Greg Bear

If they send one to Stephen Colbert, then they'll have to send one to me. Just to check it out, of course.
 

Re: Get yer slate here!.....
Date: 02/11/2010
From: Greg Bear

Wouldn't want to get caught in the Blackboard Jungle!
 

Re: Get yer slate here!.....
Date: 02/11/2010
From: qiiiss
Location:

No, 'pad' is cool and hip and small and touchy-feely-fuzzy-warm. Not just for the female demographic, but particularly for the cyberkiddies. 'Slate' would largely appeal to men and boys wanting to be men. No can do.
 

Re: Get yer slate here!.....
Date: 02/16/2010
From: mko
Location: kl ont

I always pictured your slate as a pane of metaglas, or Ice 8, or
something. More like a prism linked to a thinker, like you alluded
to in Heads. I can just bear-ly dig it!
 

Re: Get yer slate here!.....
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

Bears charge a can of grubs for every pun like that.

Evidence of a Post Typhonic Universe? ( a little humor re:City)

Date: 01/29/2010 From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego - Normal Heights

The Sminthians have not only moved into Cyberspace in this version of reality, they are cyberspace:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi8VTeDHjcM

What would Bidewell think?
 

Re: Evidence of a Post Typhonic Universe? ( a little humor re:City)
Date: 01/29/2010
From: Greg Bear

"Space-Time for Springers" by Fritz Leiber would make a great YouTube video, no?

PTSD treatment links - shades of Mariposa

Date: 01/22/2010 From: David Wright
Location: Texas

Here are several links about PTSD diagnosis and treatments, from Wired magazine:

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/06/pentagon-investigates-pill-popping-ptsd-prevention/

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/01/brain-biomarker-could-be-the-key-to-ptsd-diagnosis

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/03/mdma-ptsd/

There are other links about it as well (scroll to the bottom of one of the articles). That last link is about using Ecstacy to treat PTSD. Nothing about anti-cancer drugs yet, though.

I'm always amazed at the science in your books. I usually start off thinking that it's so far out there, and then come across articles like these that have reality quickly catching up to the story. In fact, here's one more link, this one about an EMP Cannon.

http://gizmodo.com/5454295/this-emp-cannon-stops-cars-almost-instantly

I'm going to start worrying about biosynthes and prochines now.
 

Re: PTSD treatment links - shades of Mariposa
Date: 01/29/2010
From: Greg Bear

Ah, to see a Fry's ad twenty years from now!

First ever observed asteroid collision?

Date: 01/19/2010 From: Tim Mundorff
Location: Fremont, ca

In short, there is buzz in the astronomy world about what looks like an apparent first ever detection of an asteroid collision in the asteroid belt. Looks like a comet, but then again, not.

Here is a link. Also Google "P/2010 A2 LINEAR" and check the forums...too faint for amateur observers. The pros seem very intrigued and concerned about getting enough eyes, even spaced based telescopes trained on it.

http://www.astroengine.com/?p=7086#disqus_thread


Anyway, reminded my of the opening scene of "Forge"...and we all know how that turned out! Put your "Trevor Hicks" hat on!

Thanks

Tim
 

Re: First ever observed asteroid collision?
Date: 01/29/2010
From: Greg Bear

Interesting! Let us know if moons start disappearing. Thanks, Tim...

Space Shuttles For Sale

Date: 01/18/2010 From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Ouch.

http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/nasa-slashes-price-for-usedassembly-required/19319937/
 

Re: Space Shuttles For Sale
Date: 01/29/2010
From: Greg Bear

Wonder what the Costco pack costs? And could a human being ever get through the plastic package?
 

Re: Space Shuttles For Sale
Date: 01/29/2010
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Buzz Aldrin was signing at the local Costco last month. Maybe you've hit on something. Save Constellation: Shop At Stores With Concrete Floors.
 

Re: Space Shuttles For Sale
Date: 01/29/2010
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Maybe I'll buy a Van Alllen Belt just to see if we "Humes" really melt!
 

Re: Space Shuttles For Sale
Date: 02/01/2010
From: Greg Bear

A Van Allen exercise belt? French-fried couch potato!
 

Re: Space Shuttles For Sale
Date: 02/01/2010
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Or if you need to shed pounds really quick, 90SR Weight Loss Cream.

Born of Hope

Date: 01/10/2010 From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Bear. May I again ask for your indulgence here for another off topic discussion? I don't know if, like me, you are a fan of JRR Tolkien's THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Have you ever seen or read of the fan movie BORN OF HOPE? This film is, IMO, a very good depiction of the story of Aragorn's parents Arathorn and Gilraen. The basic source is the first five paragraphs of "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" in Appendix A of LOTR. All interested persons have to do is go to the website of the same name (Born of Hope) to watch it.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Born of Hope
Date: 01/29/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Sean!

RE:Halo and The Forerunners

Date: 01/08/2010 From: Shawn Kandelac
Location: Muskegon, MI

Mr Bear,

I just received a reply from you adressing a "Keifer". I recommend making sure you addressed your emails properly!

Take care,

ShawN
Shawn Kandelac
 

Re: RE:Halo and The Forerunners
Date: 01/29/2010
From: Greg Bear

This isn't Mr. Sutherland? Sorry about that! I'll see if Keifer got my response addressed to you.
 

Re: RE:Halo and The Forerunners
Date: 01/29/2010
From: Shawn Kandelac
Location: Muskegon, MI

Haha, please tell him I'd make a vicious antagonist on 24!

:P

-ShawN
Shawn Kandelac

What Would Darwin Do Lecture Transcript?

Date: 01/08/2010 From: Mike
Location: St Louis MO

Was reading the thread about creationism from Sept and saw you mentioned your Nov lecture at San Diego State titled "What would Darwin Do"? Is there a transcript available?
 

Re: What Would Darwin Do Lecture Transcript?
Date: 01/29/2010
From: Greg Bear

I don't think there is. You had to be there! But it was a lively discussion.

DNA and Viruses

Date: 01/07/2010 From: Ian Wilson
Location: Newcastle, England

Hi,

Just came across this Darwins Radio related article.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107103621.htm
 

Re: DNA and Viruses
Date: 01/08/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thanks, Ian! This is the first I've heard of the Bornaviruses. Fascinating.

Poul Anderson Calendar

Date: 01/03/2010 From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Bear: I hope you are well and that you don't mind me talking about an off topic subject. My question is this: has there ever been or is there being planned, a calendar dedicated to your late father in law Poul Anderson? I mean a calendar with illustrations taken from book covers of various of Poul Anderson's books (Frank Frazetta's jacket painting for THE DANCER FROM ATLANTIS is particularly striking). And I'm sure other PA related artwork can be found suitable for a calendar.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Poul Anderson Calendar
Date: 01/05/2010
From: Greg Bear

It's an interesting idea. No plans in the present market, however. Very likely it would be difficult to get some rights, Frank Frazetta's in particular. I've always admired Michael Whelan's covers for Poul's uniform Ace paperbacks in the 1970s.
 

Re: Poul Anderson Calendar
Date: 01/07/2010
From: Sean M. Brooks
Location: Lawrence, MA

Dear Mr. Bear, thank you for replying. Yes, I see what you mean about the "present market." In these tough recessionary times, a Poul Anderson calendar might be hard to sell. Pity. And I also understand about the rights held by artists to paintings they did for PA books. All the same, I hope someone keeps this idea in mind for the future. Your faher in law deserves to be honored like that. The cover for the special Poul Anderson issue of THE MAGAZINE OF SF & FANTASY in 1971 would also be great for a memorial calendar. I was particularly glad to at long last read "Sargasso of Lost Spaceships" in NESFA Press' collection THE QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS. Been wanting to read it for so long!

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks
 

Re: Poul Anderson Calendar
Date: 01/29/2010
From: Greg Bear

Baen's omnibuses of Poul's novels are also lovely. The Falkayn covers are quite amusing... and I hope commercial!

Sherlock Homles/Mariposa

Date: 01/01/2010 From: David Wright
Location: Texas

In the new Sherlock Holmes movie (good flick), there is a scene at the start (and similar, later on) where Holmes watches a guard, the way he walks, tilts his head, moves, etc, and decides on how he (Holmes) needs to dispatch the guard. He goes through all the motions in his head, then at the appropriate time acts them out in reality. It is very much the way Nathaniel Trace's thoughts and actions are described in Mariposa. Interesting coincidence, I thought.
 

Re: Sherlock Homles/Mariposa
Date: 01/01/2010
From: Greg Bear

Thoroughly enjoyed SHERLOCK HOLMES, and I also was struck by the parallels. Glad MARIPOSA came out first--but there's zero chance of it having influenced the movie. So--great minds think alike!
 

Re: Sherlock Homles/Mariposa
Date: 01/01/2010
From: Patrick O'Loughlin
Location: Santa Barbara

Sherlock Homeless: A new story idea?
 

Re: Sherlock Homles/Mariposa
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

I have the original stories bound in the "Strand magazine" binder! You could get a pair of boots made bespoke for two quid and a Saville Row Suit for Four in those olden days. In the last page there is a signature of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but I think that it is a facsimile.

I'd never sell them, but I am prepared to loan them to responsible folk who could ensure their preservation for display purposes.
 

Re: Sherlock Homles/Mariposa
Date: 02/18/2010
From: Greg Bear

A good university might be the place--or perhaps the Maison D'Ailleurs?
 

Re: Sherlock Homles/Mariposa
Date: 02/25/2010
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Spot on Watson!

I'm currently re-reading " The Musgrave Ritual" which in my view is one the easier "whodunnits" from the Holmes cases.

I liked the Watson/ Jude Law character in the new movie..I also liked Robert Dny'Jnr, but not as Holmes. I understand why they chose him for the role and he was fun, but miss-cast.

I understand that Brad Pitt has been cast as Morriarty in the next movie..another case of Hollywood vs authenticity...let's hope that he can manage an English pukkar accent..and not fail as Dick Van Dyke did in Mary Poppins! (Although he was alluding to being a cockney of course)

God Bless

Andrew
 

Re: Sherlock Homles/Mariposa
Date: 03/04/2010
From: Greg Bear

One of my favorite Holmes films is MURDER BY DECREE, with a fine play-off between Christopher Plummer as Holmes and James Mason as Watson.
 

Re: Sherlock Homles
Date: 03/05/2010
From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France

Greg,

Did you ever watch "Without a Clue" with Michael Caine and Ben kingsley?

A spoof, but a real hoot..I thought.

Best Regards.

Andrew
 

Re: Sherlock Homles
Date: 03/26/2010
From: Greg Bear

I'll look for it.