Discussion Board Archives: October-December, 2004

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DEADLINES
Posted By: Alex Tolley, Los Gatos, CA - 12/30/2004 08:08:09 PM

Greg,
I see that there is a movie "White Noise" appearing in January 2005 that appears to be (based on limited trailers and websire promos) similar to Deadlines. If the movie is a success, I wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood decides to option your book.

Great to hear that Darwin's Radio will be serialized for SciFi channel. I'm hoping they do as good a job as Dune, which was a superb treatment.

Regards,


Response: Deadlines
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/31/2004 03:00:56 PM

I'm getting early word we have a fine screenwriter for DARWIN'S CHILDREN. More news to come...

WHITE NOISE sounds like fun. I look forward to seeing it.

SORRY I MISSED YOU
Posted By: Vicki Bickford, Vancouver, WA - 12/29/2004 03:09:31 PM

I just finished reading Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children - I haven't felt so involved in a book in years. Couldn't put it down. The kidlets suffered leftovers, and it'll take a while for them to forgive me. Okay, rambling again, am I? Came to your website because you mentioned it in the back of the 2nd book, and read here about Elizabeth Chater. I was amazed and a little sad to read you two had taught the science fiction class at San Diego State just 3 years before I got there. I guess I missed you, or was too involved with music at that time. I don't know. But I've been reading science fiction since 8 yrs of age. I would have loved being a class full of folks with that interest in common. It was so rare, growing up.

Read on, to find that she was in Irvine in 1991. Another near miss. I moved there in 1997 and just left there for Vancouver in October. Like I mentioned, having contact with others who lived with so much science fiction was rare, and to see that two such lovely opportunities, to meet you and Ms. Chater, attending the classes, were mised is really disappointing.

I love your work. I found Blood Music through the Science Fiction Book Club a very long time ago, and now that my boys are old enough, I'm taking the time out of my day to catch up on what you've been up to since then. Mostly, the past 3 days. Lord, was that fun! So thanks very much for working so hard, being so clever, stretching my mind with your stories.

Regards,
Vicki

Response: Sorry I missed you
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/29/2004 03:32:05 PM

Thanks, Vicki! Elizabeth actually lived in an upscale trailer community in Irvine until a few years ago, when she moved to a board and care home not far from there. She was a fine teacher and friend and she will be missed.

THE MILLENNIUM PROJECT
Posted By: Scott Hendrix, Oshkosh, WI - 12/29/2004 04:45:09 AM

Has anyone shown any interest in this idea ?

Response: The Millennium Project
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/29/2004 12:26:00 PM

Looks interesting, but I was not invited to participage. Info about this project can be found at

http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/html/about.shtm

HE'S OK
Posted By: Mike Glosson, San Diego - 12/27/2004 03:11:02 PM

Alright. I am impatient. Found this on the Clarke Foundation Page:

http://www.clarkefoundation.org/

His family and household OK, but Sri Lanka is a major disaster.

Response: He's OK
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/27/2004 03:36:35 PM


STATUS OF ARTHUR C. CLARKE
Posted By: Mike Glosson, San Diego, California - 12/27/2004 03:09:00 PM

Greg: Has there been any word out of Colombo regarding Sir Arthur? I have been trying to find out news about him via some commercial space flight contacts, but everyone is on Holiday Season vacation. I originally did not worry about him too much when the news of the Sumatra Disaster came to my attention yesterday afternoon, but as I have been monitoring the media today an found that Colmobo was not spared I have seriously worried...knowing that he had at one time lived close to the water for ease of skin and scuba access.

---MG

Response: Status of Arthur C. Clarke
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/27/2004 03:35:54 PM

Sir Arthur appears to be fine. Here's a message he sent to friends soon after the tsunami. (Thanks to Bill Warren and to Tim Lucas and their connections for this message.)

Here is the statement from Arthur C. Clarke that my friends received, reproduced with permission:

Thank you for your concern about my safety in the wake of Sunday?s devastating tidal wave.

I am enormously relieved that my family and household have escaped the ravages of the sea that suddenly invaded most parts of coastal Sri Lanka, leaving a trail of destruction.

But many others were not so fortunate. For hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans and an unknown number of foreign tourists, the day after Christmas turned out to be a living nightmare reminiscent of THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW.

Among those affected are my staff based at our diving station in Hikkaduwa and holiday bungalow in Kahawa ? both beachfront properties located in areas worst hit. We still don?t know the full extent of damage as both roads and phones have been damaged. Early reports indicate that we have lost most of our diving equipment and boats. Not all our staff members are accounted for ? yet.

This is indeed a disaster of unprecedented magnitude for Sri Lanka which lacks the resources and capacity to cope with the aftermath. We are all trying to contribute to the relief efforts. We shall keep you informed as we learn more about what happened.

Curiously enough, in my first book on Sri Lanka, I had written about another tidal wave reaching the Galle harbour (see Chapter 8 in THE REEFS OF TAPROBANE, 1957). That happened in August 1883, following the eruption of Krakatoa in roughly the same part of the Indian Ocean.

Arthur Clarke
27 December 2004

MISSSING LINK
Posted By: Tony Barnes, Jacksonville, Florida - 12/27/2004 03:04:27 PM

I have read Eon, Eternity and Legacy. Has, or will a book be written that fills in the events fully, in real time so to speak, between the end of Legacy and the begginning of Eon?

Tahnk You

Tony B

Response: misssing link
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/27/2004 03:33:25 PM

Never say never...

There's even room for a novel exploring the time just before the opening of the Way. But I have no plans to write it for now.

MESSAGE FROM EON
Posted By: Pasquale Di Rago, Melbourne - Australia - 12/24/2004 02:49:04 AM

Why is a Raven Like a Writing Desk ?

Because thoughts fly away.

Why did you put this in "Eon" and neglect to answer your own question.

I'd be interested in knowing, as ever since I read the book "Eon" a decade or so ago, it has been bothering me.

One observation I will make is that if you solve one mystery, it only opens you to others. Some which are best left alone.

Yes you could say I have a story to tell, But one not worth publishing.

Best wishes for the festive season.

Pasquale Di Rago

Response: Message from Eon
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/24/2004 01:12:45 PM

Why is a raven like a writing desk? Because Poe wrote on both of them...

There may be better answers, but I have yet to hear one!

YOUR WORKS
Posted By: Gary Clark, Lynnwood, WA - 12/23/2004 01:24:29 PM

I have noted that you are now publishing some of your work in a limited, signed, numbered, edition. I will search your site on how to be notified in advance of these as they come out. You have seen me at the University book store (several times) and at the Nubula Awards. I have managed to collect most of your works and I have recently come into posession of a publicity poster board for Deadlines. I am going to mount it and put it up on my walls. Question: Should I contact you about the possibility of obtaining more of these poster boards or do I contact the publisher / publicist? Any help would be appreciated - Thanks, the pest control guy in Lynnwood

Response: Your works
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/23/2004 01:33:00 PM

Hello, Gary! I rarely see or come into possession of these poster boards--in fact, did not know they had been done for DEAD LINES. Best to contact your bookseller or the publisher.

Easton Press has done a number of my novels in their signed first editions series over the years. Typical press run: nine hundred to twelve hundred copies. I sign the plates and they're bound into these nice leather editions. Rarely, over the years, other publishers have done signed and limited editions: ANVIL OF STARS from Legend/Random Century UK (200 copies), HEADS ditto, as well as SISTERS, BEAR'S FANTASIES, and SLEEPSIDE STORY, which you can probably find on ABEBOOKS.COM




ON TOPIC: INFORMATION MECHANICS
Posted By: Mike Glosson, Sunny San Diego, California - 12/23/2004 10:54:46 AM

Fresh off the pages at Nature:

http://www.nature.com/news/2004/041220/full/041220-12.html

Quantum Darwinism.

Yowsa!

Response: On Topic: Information Mechanics
Posted By: patrick - 12/23/2004 07:41:48 PM


i dont buy it, though. i mean, i dont buy quantum uncertainty. this group does, so theyve constructed an argument to reinforce it.

INFORMATION MECHANICS?
Posted By: Christopher Pearson, Cambridge, MA - 12/22/2004 04:00:54 PM

Hi again Greg-
First, sorry to hear that you have lost some people dear to you, i truly empathize...
Second, happy holidays and all that...
And now to the meat and potatoes- I'd always been fascinated by the theory of Prof. Gogarty's character in "Blood Music", observation and it's effects on the universe/reality, what have you...
I'm now on an obsessive quest to find some decent books, whether they be physics and/or philosophy, on the concept of what the nature of "reality" is, in terms of being influenced by "observation".
Someone suggested "the Holographic Universe" by Talbot, I googled it, and it sounded a little new-agey for me, but I'd be willing to try it. Also found out a bit about David Bohm and his "Undivided Universe" concept... (plus I also googled "Information Mechanics" and found out about Frederick Kantor?)- This is wild stuff! I'm just really fascinated about this right now, (i get this way when it's cold, dark and snowy out), and want to seriously explore/research and read more serious stuff about these concepts.
Any suggestions you could give me would be greatly appreciated. You've pointed me in some great directions in the past. Apart from being a great writer, you know your stuff, and you're a great guy, too. Look forward to what you've got for 2005!
Cheers, and all the best, thanks,
Chris.

Response: Information Mechanics?
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/22/2004 04:55:24 PM

Hello, Chris! I've sent people off to Frederic Kantor in the past, but his work is long out of print. Other pioneers in the area of information-based physics include David Deutsch and Ed Fredkin; Deutsch has books out there well worth reading. Wolfram's A NEW KIND OF SCIENCE discusses aspects of computationally based physics in considerable detail. I must say I haven't been keeping up on the weird physics scene as much as I used to--perhaps readers know of other, more up-to-date sources?

Response: Information Mechanics?
Posted By: patrick - 12/23/2004 07:10:52 PM

as for physics-related stuff, just google.
the holographic universe is a very interesting book. however, it is of the 'psychic' (vs new age) nature - something i think is quite relevant, but steeped in popcul subjective relativism, and not really approached by standard physics - so if youre a straight science guy, pass on it. if you do pick it up and want more, at least in this area, look up fred alan wolf.

DARWINS CHILDREN VS DYSLEXIA
Posted By: mark wallman, london - 12/22/2004 08:07:07 AM

Hi,

I was recomended you by a friend who works in genetics in Cambridge (England). I loved your books which also made me think about dyslexia.

In the same way your characters are "altered" versions of humans is dyslexia an old mutation passed down through generations?. If the theory was expanded on what kind of stories could you tell?

I get rather annoyed when people tell em I just have work blindness.

Although I am 29 and cannot spell very well, know the dates of the year, alpherbet and short term memmory I have a visual perception way abouve average. I notice I am much more perceptive (body language, people's moves etc) than any women I know.

I seem to be able to see in a "higher frame rate" than most people.

It is little wonder that instead of having an academic carier I work in 3D animation for Films.

I can re-play scenes in my head moving to different angles or looking in shop windows. I seem to be able to think laterally.

In the same way more males are coulour blind giving them better night vision was dyslexia a mutational advantage when we were hunter gatheres in the open planes?

If you could increase the effects of dyslexia and not force them to think the standard way what kinds of things could be achevied??

Good luck with the SiFi mini series!

Mark


Response: darwins children vs dyslexia
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/22/2004 12:00:30 PM

Thanks, Mark! There are all kinds of intelligences working in our heads, and all kinds of people working together in the greater whole--your ability to do 3D manipulation is a real marvel to other people! Whether dyslexia is a mutation or simply a sign that you have co-opted those brain areas for other purposes is unknown to me. Either way, you're talented and useful--and that's what it's all about. (Now if someone could explain to me how our visual centers participate in creating the terrific "CGI" characters and landscapes of our dreams...)

Response: darwins children vs dyslexia
Posted By: Vicki Bickford, Vancouver, WA - 12/29/2004 03:16:58 PM

Mark, interesting, and a nicely made point. I have an autistic son, recently diagnosed, and the more I learn about the condition, the more I recognize the signs in myself and in my ex-husband. In the boy they are much more pronounced. It's now considered to be inherited, only now aggravated to a greater and more obvious nature, possibly by toxins in the environment. Meanwhile, it's becoming more and more clear that the condition delivers remarkable gifts, just as your dyslexia has.

Just wish folks could learn tolerance of the difficult social behaviors my boy has. Let him be as productive as you are.

Response: darwins children vs dyslexia
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/29/2004 03:50:29 PM

I hosted a discussion at the Philadelphia Worldcon in 2001 about the contributions to sf and sf fandom of those with autism, HFA, and Aspergers--very interesting and productive meeting, with a number of parents and their HFA kids in the audience. Sometimes, however, I've touched a nerve when discussing these issues... It's difficult to know who's sensitive and why. Myself, I'm a strange mix of many mental conditions and traits, and find many of them useful, and all of them contribute to my understanding of human nature.

There's an excellent book by Deirdre V. Lovecky: Different Minds: Gifted Children With AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome, and other Learning Deficits.

Dr. Lovecky kindly provided advice and assistance on Darwin's Children, and her work is inspirational.

HEROES AND VILLAINS
Posted By: John Holtom, England - 12/21/2004 09:38:02 AM

Dear Greg Bear

As a recent discoverer of your books, I would like to tell you of the pleasure I have had in reading them.

So far I have read The Infinity Concerto (old version), The Serpent Mage (old version), Blood Music (new version), Dead Lines and I am part way through Eon.

Blood Music worried me. Both the two central characters are heroes and villains, characters without intention to destroy who do destroy the known world. Although they create the next world also.

I cannot conclude in my mind whether this is good or not.

I did not interpret a moral message concerning the conduct of fired research genius. I wonder whether you had a touch of glee in imagining such a clever creation of armageddon (is that spelt right?).

In the Infinity Concerto and the Serpent Mage again there is the one key character who binds the whole framework though he starts without knowledge of his power or capability. Wonderful dense detailed writing.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree......... The Ancient Mariner is actually one of my all time best poems - I wonder whether you could weave a story around this poem?

Dead Lines I was not wholly convinced by. The core narrative is intriguing but it does not have the depth, detail, discursiveness of the others I had read.

In Eon you have Patricia as the unknowing genuis. Again I love the density of the writing (although the politics seems passe now?).

All of the stories have ghosts - or rather, different forms of life - that slide through the narrative like hinges holding parts of the stories together.

Many interesting ideas.

The purpose of this note is not to make universal points, politcal attacks or endorsements - just good to read and be stimulated.

Respectful good wishes at Christmas

John Holtom
A recent convert from classic literature to science fiction and fantasy






Response: Heroes and Villains
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/21/2004 01:01:16 PM

Thanks, John! Your points are cogent and interesting. Lots of ghosts throughout--and Boojums, as well! The role of glee in upsetting people's views of their world cannot be underestimated. Sort of like knocking over outhouses, though on a larger (albeit fictional) scale.

SECOND GENERATION
Posted By: Jennifer Waer, Woodland Hills, CA - 12/21/2004 01:03:43 AM

Hi,

Just a short note to tell you that I recently discovered your books while browsing at a bookstore (though it turns out that yours was the first Star Trek tie-in novel I ever read, at the age of 7 (I went straight from Little House books when I was five to tie-in novels); _Corona_ caught my eye because Spock was standing with a woman on the cover and I wanted to know who she was). Eon caught my eye, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then, while going through a box of my dad's books (he passed away in 2000), I found a well-worn, obviously well-read copy of Eon.

Who knows? Maybe as I go through my grandfather's stuff, as he was also a sci-fi fan, I'll find a third copy!

Happy Holidays,
Jennifer Waer

Response: Second Generation
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/21/2004 12:54:26 PM

How wonderful to hear that taste breeds true! I'm sorry that your father is no longer with us, but it's obvious you're carrying the flag very nicely.

ONE MOMENT OF THE EXPANDING PRESENT AND MERRY CHRISTMAS
Posted By: Peter aka James Moni, Now... as an expression of tidal movement - 12/17/2004 08:36:11 PM

I opened Darwins Radio last night. What fun!..finished it this morning..... fondly remembering Blood Music. I still carry my copy onboard my sailing vessel and share it( within sight) to anyone who wishes to read what good story telling is about..... As i sit here in the bay window letting my thoughts wonder to the other side of the planet, i wonder what you would write if you were here.www.mckiegarden.com This living dynamic nexus still holds me after all these years.... thanks for all youre hard work and thoughtfull insights from many characters you have sent out to watch the tides.. peace. peter.ps.. thankyou for sharing your honor and memory of a true human friend...

Response: One moment of the expanding present and Merry Christmas
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/20/2004 12:44:44 PM

Thanks, Peter. Today is off and on sunny in suburban Seattle, otherwise I'd be very jealous... Well, maybe I am anyway!

REPUBLICAN / DEMOCRATIC - EUROPEAN VERSION
Posted By: Ivo Veldhuis, Southampton (UK) - 12/15/2004 11:14:57 AM

Dear Greg Bear,

Slight intoduction i feel, before i start making comments. Hi - my name is Ivo Veldhuis and i'm a phd student at the university of southampton in the uk, although i'm Dutch. My research focuses on the potential of liquid hydrogen as fuel for high-speed containerships. Maybe i was slightly inspired by Frank Herbert's books on Pandorra, but anyway that is not the reason for emailing.

Having discovered this weblog and read through some of the entires i happened to notice the entries on the Republican and Democratic stand points on political scene in the US. Although europe is predominantly social-liberal, with all the problems that entails, it's difficult to grasp the enormous political divide between the democrats and republicans in the us. However, to support your stance for the democrats i just wanted to add some to this discussion, which hopefully adds some understanding why there isn't any loveloss between europe (exclude britain in that though) and George Bush. The BBC recently aired a couple of documentaries on why the world has its current political scene and some of the background behind global terorism. The documentary was called: "The Power of Nightmares" and came in three parts. Some information about its contents can be found at:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/3755686.stm
and
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/3951615.stm
and
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/3970901.stm

Although i'm not sure if this documentary will be ever aired on US television, i think its rather essential watching for americans to gain a better understanding why some european countries take another stance against the US on global terrorism. Point to note though is that the documentary doesn't deny or defend current terorism as such, it just highlights the background behind it. On top of that it's the BBC program's opinion and not my personal opinion, although my opinion is formed by watching these documentaries. It was and is still a very daring documentary to make.

On a different note, i did enjoy Darwin's radio and Darwin's Childern very much and the quote that caused so much offence to one particular reader wasn't even noticed by me. It seems to make a difference as to where you read your books though.

I actually enjoyed your Songs of Earth and Power very much as it played with the concept of God in a novel way, but you use this concept more often. Although i'm swerving from topic to topic, i was just wondering what your opinion is on the UK SF writer Ian Banks and his Culture universe. I just think it's a rather novel way to modern SF writing. I would appreciate your take on it.

I haven't read your latest noverl Deadlines yet, but hope to do so in the near future after working through the latest Dune Prequel the Battle of Corin. Oh yes, also a Phd to finish before 2006, ah well, who said sleeping was essential.

Love to hear from you, kind regards,

Ivo Veldhuis


Response: Republican / Democratic - European Version
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/15/2004 12:09:50 PM

Thanks, Ivo! Europe has a lot more experience with terrorists and anarchists over the years--I seem to recall a major war being launched by one. It's tough to say quite what is happening in American attitudes today. The news media on TV is inadequate to the task of describing them in detail--they go more for extreme opposition viewpoints which skew the picture of our actual opinions and divisions. Intemperate talk radio has had a huge influence on some segments of our culture--young males in particular. I simply characterize it as a time caught between fear and greed. Fear of what--terrorists? Abortionists? Condom purveyors? Communists? Liberals? Crypto-Nazis? Church-goers? Brainwashed students at university? You'll find some beady-eyed commentator attaching our ills to all of these at some point or another. Greed for what? If you're not as rich as Bill Gates, it must be the government's fault. If you have a big-screen TV and an SUV or an iPod and a futon, and you're still not happy, it must be the government's fault.

What many Americans hate and fear most of all is paying their fair share to help keep America solvent and strong. As Walt Kelly once said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." (Quoting Walt Kelly proves that I'm a liberal elitist, I'm afraid.)

Iain Banks is a fine writer! I enjoy writers who spread their wings and jump from genre to genre, especially when they do well in all of them.

RADIOCHILDREN
Posted By: Rob , FarFarAway - 12/15/2004 08:42:15 AM

I just finished both your Darwin books. Took two days to burn through them. Wonderfully written. I recently re-read Heinlein's Requiem, and his description of good Sci-fi was fresh in my mind as I read your work. The social implications you explored are so vivid and believable I winced and shuddered throughout the stories. Wow. Write another one!

Rob

Response: RadioChildren
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/15/2004 10:46:39 AM

Working on one right now, sans virus children, however. Let's see what the publishers think after a TV miniseries gets under way--(not to count chickens too early, of course)...

KUDOS TO SCIFI
Posted By: Howard Miller, Augusta, GA - 12/14/2004 09:17:11 AM

The SciFi channel is making an honest effort to offer REAL science fiction and deserves praise.

It's so easy to conjure places, settings and conditions in print compared to visual art. I'm curious to see how .38 G will be handled in 'Red Mars'. Will they spend a lot of time sitting down?

Response: Kudos To SciFi
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/14/2004 12:49:52 PM

Haven't yet seen WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, but I've enjoyed the DUNE productions, and I eagerly anticipate RED MARS. Odd how there hasn't yet been a completely satisfying film set on the Red Planet--ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS being the best so far, I think!

FRAU IM MOND and THE CONQUEST OF SPACE are now available on DVD. I recommend viewing these films for a couple of reasons--FRAU moreso, as it's the better film, and by far the longer--almost three hours. FRAU has the first launch countdown and some remarkably prescient hardware, designed by Herman Oberth, as well as a relatively silly plot and breathable air on the far side of the moon. CONQUEST is visually interesting, dramatically quite poor, but Chesley Bonestell's renderings of a cratered Mars (with some obvious water-worn features) may be the first such.

Response: Kudos To SciFi
Posted By: Howard Miller, Augusta, GA - 12/15/2004 10:24:26 AM

Herman Oberth also was involved with DESTINATION: MOON, which was based on a short story by Robert Heinlein. This movie appeared in 1950 and has very little in it that wouldn't hold up today.

Response: Kudos To SciFi
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/15/2004 10:49:54 AM

Indeed. It's interesting to compare the two. In FRAU IM MOND, rich guys try to take over the moon launch to corner the market in potential moon gold. In DESTINATION MOON, the engineers go to the rich guys to get funding--and secure the prominence of America in space. Meanwhile, the public protests because of the launch of a nuclear-powered rocket! Heinlein and Pal got it much closer, no? (FRAU does have a three-stage rocket, however, and DESTINATION uses SSTO--single-stage to orbit.)

LIFE ON MARS IS A WAR OF THE WORLDS
Posted By: Charles Terhune, Someville, MA!!! - 12/13/2004 03:03:44 PM

Hello again, Greg. I thought you might liek to read this:

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/mars_life_041213.html

No doubt you already have. I am waiting with baited breath for Opportunity to bump into something and takke a picture of a Martian's foot it has rolled onto.

The mind boggles at this. 2nd Genesis. Life on Mars gone to Earth and Life on Earth goone to Mars?! Good thing I am sitting down!

Take care!

Response: Life on Mars is A War of The Worlds
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/13/2004 04:22:51 PM

Great piece. Thanks, Charles! (Beware of pop-up, however.)

JUST FINISHED
Posted By: Kelly Etter, Independence, MO - 12/12/2004 10:51:44 PM

I just finished reading Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children. AWESOME! I actually had tears in my eyes when I was done because I didn't want it to end! I read alot of books, these are the first I have read by you Mr. Bear, but I will definitely be reading more of them now! I haven't been this excited about a book in a long time. I picked up Darwin's Children on a whim cause it sounded interesting, started reading it and then realized this was the second book! I finished reading it, and then picked up Darwin's Radio, finishing them both in under a week! If I could go back, I still think I would read the second book first, I think it gave me a unique perspective. I couldn't put them down! I was very excited to hear that the Sci-Fi channel is planning a mini-series. I can't wait, I hope they do it justice! Any info on when the mini-series will be on? Any plans for a 3rd installment? Anyway, like I said the books are wonderful and I will definitely be picking up some more Greg Bear books. Thank You.

Response: Just Finished
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/13/2004 10:38:24 AM

Many thanks, Kelly! Things are just getting started on DARWIN'S CHILDREN as a miniseries--they haven't yet signed on a screenwriter--but I'll post news here as soon as I get it. The holidays are usually a very slow time for the biz in Los Angeles.

As for a third book--I'd like to write one. We'll just have to see how the Tarot cards fan out!

GREG...AREN'T YOU A BIT PUT OFF BY THE FACT SPIELBERG IS DOING A WAR OF THE WORLDS REMAKE?
Posted By: John simonich, Belchertown, MA - 12/10/2004 11:20:34 PM

I mean, come on. They seemed to put this enterprise together overnight. The movie seemed like it was in development for about a week, now its filming, and it will be out this summer.

Where the heck is your Forge of God / Anvil of Stars...which would (will ??) make for an infinitely better movie.

Why is this still in development hell??

Do you need a new agent?

Do you want me to go yell at a few studio exec's at Warner Bros for you.

Write the dang screenplay yourself, and let's get these made. I am so sad to see two of the greatest SF novels ever written languish in Hollywood limbo.

The Earth invasion / Interstellar war movie of Summer 2005 should have been your work...not a re-make of WOTW.

Response: Greg...aren't you a bit put off by the fact Spielberg is doing a War of the Worlds remake?
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/13/2004 10:33:13 AM

Hello, John! When I helped tour Steven Spielberg through the Science Fiction Museum last June, he hadn't yet signed on as director, but was heavily involved in production of WOTW, which had been in the works for some time. Shortly thereafter, with cast in place, he decided to direct. Usually that means he likes the cast and the script is great. I look forward to the film--should be fun. AI is one of my favorite SF films in recent decades, and I read WOTW several times while I was writing THE FORGE OF GOD.

FORGE OF GOD is being scripted now by Stephen Susco. Development hell is tough to define--but two or three years is not at all unusual for a large project, and Stephen worked with us six years ago to take F.O.G. around town, so he's an excellent choice.


Posted By: Nick K., St. Johns, Michigan - 12/09/2004 12:59:59 PM

Hi. I am a high school senior currently taking Advanced Placement biology. I first found your book 'Darwin's Radio' while looking for a book for a project in a literature class. I've spent all my free time reading your works, and with what little time I have, have enjoyed them immensely. I've only read Darwin's Radio and am currently working on Darwin's Children, but I love the fact that what I am currently learning in my classes is put to use in your books. I am able to enjoy what I am reading while learning more about the things I am interested in. I hope to make my way through all of your books as I have time. Thanks for your time and plese, keep writing!!

Response:
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/09/2004 02:07:23 PM

And thank you, Nick! Keep up the good work in biology--it's an absolutely amazing field. You'll find some more resources listed at the back of DARWIN'S CHILDREN, and in this weblog as well.

MR. SIMMONS !! CHEERS FROM SUNNY SPAIN
Posted By: Juan Mielke, Marbella, Spain - 12/09/2004 09:53:19 AM

Mr. Bear,
I am very happy to find this way to send you a few words of appreciation. I have read Eon several times and I think it is really one of the masterpieces on SciFi. I must recognize Eon was a present from a friend who was not able to really enjoy such an intrincated plot with all that speculative fiction within.

Unfortunatelly, your books are not easy to find in Spain, I was not able to find at any store none of the following ones ( to Eon), perhaps it is because your writting is not for everyone... I know there is another book on the reconstruction of Earth following the "Death" and I am dying to read it.... I wonder what happenned to Patrikia in an Alexandrian time line or alternative universe... you really left me thinking there.

Cheers Mr. Bear, I will in time read everything you can produce, your style and "tempo" is fantastic, and some of your ideas.... excellent, and do not worry, I will find the rest of your titles ASAP.

Juan M.

Response: Cheers from sunny Spain
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/09/2004 12:25:07 PM

Thanks, Juan! Keeping all my books in print isn't easy. I'll check on the status of ETERNITY and LEGACY. Meanwhile, my most recent novels--DARWIN'S RADIO, DARWIN'S CHILDREN, VITALS, and soon, DEAD LINES--should all be available in fine editions in Spain.

MORE ALONG THE LINES OF YOUR CURRENT INTERESTS
Posted By: Mike Glosson, Stormy San Diego, California - 12/07/2004 02:29:07 PM

http://www.nature.com/news/2004/041206/full/041206-2.html

Manmade Cells! Would have caught this for you yesterday when it broke, if I wasn't celebrating our anniversary.

I keep saying Wow every day when I get up.

Mike

Response: More along the lines of your current interests
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/07/2004 04:03:33 PM

Very interesting work! Let's not call them "frankencells," please...

OLYMPIA TYPEWRITERS.......
Posted By: Brian McKinley, Silverton, Oregon - 12/07/2004 01:03:58 AM

Mr.Bear,

I have read the Forge of God and The anvil of Stars too many times to count. Needless to say I am very taken with them. I have a question that might not have an answer. The typewriter hanging in Harry Feinman?s office, what does it mean?

Response: Olympia typewriters.......
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/07/2004 10:53:38 AM

My first typewriter was that brand. I learned to type with two fingers on it, all by myself--and today, I seldom use more than four fingers!

NEW VIEWS ON EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY
Posted By: leon , London - 12/06/2004 12:27:43 PM

Dear Greg

I've read a number of your books and enjoyed them greatly as science fiction (of which I am an avid secret fan...)

I recently had the good fortune to take Darwin's Radio on holiday with me and became utterly fascinated with the concepts of evolution.

Can you recommend any books or articles that helped you come up with your very believable sounding ideas. At Uni we all read Dawkins but it seems that reality might be more complex and subtle than he implies.

I feel utterly ignorant and would be very grateful if you could prescribe me a cure!


Response: new views on Evolutionary Biology
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/06/2004 02:50:57 PM

I'd recommend, of course, Dawkins--as a beginning--and E.O. Wilson and Ernst Mayr, of course, but then move on to the most recent works by two Lynns--Lynn Margulis (with Dorion Sagan) and Lynn Caporale. An excellent text to refresh you and update you on modern genetics is Ricki Lewis's HUMAN GENETICS (McGraw-Hill). There's a list of good reading at the back of DARWIN'S CHILDREN, including one of my favorite science books of the decade, LATERAL DNA TRANSFER by Frederic Bushman.

Doesn't matter how much I read these days--I STILL feel utterly ignorant! The discoveries and innovations are coming so thick and fast I doubt that any of us can keep up with them.

DARWIN'S CHILDREN SOCIETY 2 (PLEASE IGNORE FIRST ONE)
Posted By: Kevin Moreno Tirado, Barcelona, Spain - 12/06/2004 10:35:02 AM

Concerning my message:

---
Hi Greg.

I've been reading your books for a couple of years now ( since I found Eon in my father's library ), and have to admit most of them are really great.

I've just finished reading Darwin's Children ( sorry if here in Spain we get the translation almost a year after ), and it was a really emotive, beautiful and deep reading.

However, I wonder if you'll write ( maybe in some years, not in short time ), a sequel for the book. I always love to read about new societies ( from the ones that are almost like the one right now, to the ones were there are major changes in humanity ), and I'm sure the one proposed in this book, could make a quite interesting and great story ( Will the old humans adapt? How does the world change? How does the new kind react?... )

Keep up with the quality of your writing, I'll be waiting for Dead Lines to be translated.

Kevin Moreno Tirado
---

I sent you this letter a couple days ago, but, now that I?ve reread it, I notice it doesn?t contain the real message I intended to give ( sorry for my low knowledge of English, now I?m having help from a friend of mine to write this ).

What I meant is that, Darwin?s Radio has a good enough end, and could have been left like that. However, with it?s sequel, Darwin?s Children, you opened a lot of questions which you didn?t conclude ( some like the ones I told above ).

That led me to wonder ( in fact, more than a wondering it?s a question I?d appreciate to get answered ) that maybe you are planning to write another sequel to the book, as it?d presumably be a good scenario to explain how could survive a society where two different species coexist ( which, I must admit, would be rather interesting ).

I hope you could understand my ideas ( I again apologyze for my plain English ), and please, if you don?t, don?t bother and tell me so, I?ll blissfully try (once again) to get myself clear.

Kevin Moreno Tirado

Response: Darwin's Children Society 2 (please ignore first one)
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/06/2004 11:13:56 AM

Hello, Kevin! Good to hear from you. I'd like to continue the DARWIN saga through one more novel, but do not yet know whether that will be possible. With the potential TV show in the works, it may happen--and if it does, I'll answer your questions through the best medium I know--a story!

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Posted By: Paul Sirotta, Biloxi, MS - 12/05/2004 04:44:01 PM

In your Darwin books you mention "immaculate conception" in referenece to conception without sex. I was tought this is not its meaning. The Immaculate Conception refers to Mary herself, that she was born without the burden of original sin that afflicts the rest of humanity, thus making her fit to be the mother of God, not that Jesus was conceived without sex. Mary is the Immaculate Conception. Check it out with your local priest.

Response: Immaculate Conception
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/06/2004 11:18:33 AM

You're quite correct, of course! Let's call this an immaculate misconception. It's interesting that readers did not point this out to me until about two years after the novel's publication. If I make an error about guns (in VITALS), I hear about it right away!

(There are a few other errors in DARWIN'S RADIO, and these of medical nomenclature--one reader caught me out for confusing pediatrician and obstetrician a couple of times.)

STAPLETON AND DOC SMITH PLANETARY FORMATION?
Posted By: Mike Glosson, Stormy San Diego, California - 12/05/2004 04:31:17 PM

Finally catching up on News after finishing project. Saw this on CNN today:

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/12/02/solar.flyby/index.html

Reminding me a bit of what the theory of planetary formation was like back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, with Solar Systems only forming when stars nearly collided.

Doc Smith's Lensman Universe being tied to such an idea on a galaxy wide scale.

It's been a weekend for forgotten theories back in the news, the item about the DOE and Cold Fusion research had me tapping my head to see if I was awake or not.

Response: Stapleton and Doc Smith Planetary Formation?
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/06/2004 11:20:24 AM

Ah, yes... When Cold Fusion heats up!

PLAUSABILITY SCHMAUZABILITTY!!!
Posted By: Charles Terhune, Someville, MA!!! - 12/03/2004 12:41:51 PM

Hello, Greg.

I am yet another boring ardent fan. Read the Darwin books, Moving Mars, /Slant, Queen of Angels, etc. I am dying to see it in televised form and hopefully not too tragically altered (having seen too many favorite things destroyed, i.e. Dune, Dagon, etc.).

I love your work and how much painstaking research you put into it and making the hard science stick. It's what makes it so strong becuase your science and your writing blend together so well.

My point - and I am closing in on one - is this. I was recently reading a book about how to write "plausibly" about aliens and alien societies. And I found myself getting absolutely indignant and annoyed. The book itself was mostly a simple science primer and useful for that (it mentioned Dragon's Egg quite a bit, for instance). Buut nothing else, really.

What I took issue with is the whole concept of what is plausible. How the hell do we know? Bumble bees shouldn't be able to fly, but they do! We know so much but so little about anything and everything - including the lump of gray cheeese in between our ears (some lumps are lumpier and some are cheesier, of course. This much I know). I just think that sometimes we can be so engrossed with making things plausible that we can make it dull and boring. I mean, who gives a tinkle if some writers science is right? Yours of course is, but does everyone's have to be?! Is the story good? Does it make you think? Laugh? Frustrated? I bet plenty of people found Star Trek outlandish and HIGHLY implausible, and yet if I remember correctly at least one Shuttle astronaut is up there because of their love of Star Trek and it's damned implausible ideas. And Buck Rogers, too!

So I ask you this: Though it is obvious that you stand firmly on the ground of plausibility in your own work, how do you feel about it in general? For instance, would you consider writing a story where there was in fact sentient life on Mars?

Thanks for your time. I am now off to go buy Blood Music and Dead Lines from my local booksmith. And read them after I finish Shackleton's account of his journey to the Antarctic!

Thanks again for making me think, laugh and read sci-fi again!

Charles R. Terhune

P.S. Sentient martians. Think about it. Seriously, man.

Response: PLAUSABILITY SCHMAUZABILITTY!!!
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/03/2004 02:33:11 PM

Hey, Charles! I'm with you--up to a point. Our ignorance is profound, and the really hard part of writing "hard" science fiction is trying to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge in a plausible way. But sometimes we get completely blindsided. For example--I went out on a limb by suggesting in DARWIN'S CHILDREN that we'd find Homo erectus remains less than twenty thousand years old. But if someone had suggested we'd find the remains of Homo erectus toolmakers only three feet tall, and with one fifth our brain size, AND less than twenty thousand years old, (Homo floresiensis), I'd have said, No thanks. Too implausible! So reality must always be our guide.

That said, wait until you read DEAD LINES...

I feel good that we'll find life on Mars within the next ten years. But three feet tall, tool-making, and sentient? Hmm...

Response: PLAUSABILITY SCHMAUZABILITTY!!!
Posted By: Mike McCaa, Huntington Beach, CA - 12/06/2004 07:47:36 PM

This is a great point, Charles!

I've also been regularly stimulated by Mr. Bears inclusion of imaginative science concepts. But...the thing that I tell all the people to whom I suggest his books to, is the amazing talent he has in relating absolutley intimate authentic human thoughts in the minds of his protagonists.

In all the fiction I've read from famous authors, not-so-famous authors, and not-a-chance-to-ever-be famous authors Gregs ability to capture the fears, hopes, dreams of his characters that are so deep to them that they never are uttered out loud is second to none.

There were moments in "SLANT" where I was awestruck at the insight into relationships....and too many others to mention here.

Anyway...greg...don't change!! Er...keep doing what you've been doing.

Response: PLAUSABILITY SCHMAUZABILITTY!!!
Posted By: Greg Bear - 12/07/2004 10:39:58 AM

Many thanks, Mike. I actually wish I DID understand how people think! And aliens, too.

WHAT IF HERV ACTS UPON THE RECENTLY BORN?
Posted By: Brad, Ottawa, Ontario - 11/26/2004 09:45:06 AM


I can't get HERV out of my head, and the ideas brought forward in your Darwin series.

My line of thought here is quite unorthadox and mere speculation.

However, what if HERV acts only upon the young?

That is, after birth, HERV actually makes adjustments to the genome, which assist the child in its new environment? The most sensitive of any species, to stress and change in the environment, is the young. Things will effect them that do not effect the more mature of the species.

HERV could still work as described in Darwin's Radio, but what if adults were not involved in the process at all? What if only the very young were? This would allow for the young to change after birth, to meet the demands of the world. Young that had not changed correctly, and find themselves under additional stress, would obviously express that to others as well.

For HERV to work as well as it should, I think that significant genetic change should occur in smaller steps, in every generation, and that said change should occur before the body has started to adapt.

Probably within the first week of birth.

In a natural environment, most babies would likely be born at the same time. Summer/spring.

Anyhow, mostly quick speculation.

Response: what if HERV acts upon the recently born?
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/26/2004 12:50:42 PM

Intriguing ideas, Brad! We understand now that genomic rearrangements do occur in young animals--zebrafish, for example--and that transposons can be involved. The role that viruses and HERV play in actually adapting embryos or newborns (other than tuning their immune systems) could be a very interesting area for research!

Another interesting area being studied more now is epigenetic adaptation in newborns. It's been demonstrated that epigenetic activation and de-activation (turning existing genes on or off, or otherwise modifying expression) can cause behavioral and perhaps even phenotypic changes in offspring. Another level of environmentally-induced genetic change...

And of course these systems could all work together, or against each other.




MORE BLACK HOLE NEWS
Posted By: Mike Glosson, Stormy San Diego, California - 11/23/2004 02:00:34 PM

From CNN via Space.com

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/11/23/black.holeformation/index.html

Readers may need to cut and paste the link.

*sigh* I regret getting discouraged after that Science Fair in 1978 and not pursuing a career in Astro-Physics. I'd done a piece on Super Massive Black Holes and trying to model their formation. Super Massive Whats? Well, it was 1978...

Response: More black hole news
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/23/2004 04:12:55 PM

I was heavily into black holes throughout the seventies, trying to read GRAVITATION by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler... Those were the days!

DEAD LINES
Posted By: Loretta Parker, Missouri - 11/22/2004 01:47:11 PM

I'm confused.Page 149,"his 10 year old daughter",and on page150,her twin is 11 years old.?

Response: Dead Lines
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/22/2004 02:21:41 PM

Daniella was ten years old when she was murdered. Two years have passed since Daniella's death. Lindsay is now twelve. She was eleven at the time that Peter is describing on pages 149-150.

SIBLINGS
Posted By: Marc Schreiber, Broken Arrow, OK - 11/22/2004 12:55:24 PM

Greg,
I'm currently reading "Dinosaur Summer" and relayed the premise to my brother Mike. He seems to recall an anthropoogist named Bear while he was working at UC Berkeley. This would have been late 60s or early 70s. Perchance, are they related to you?

Marc

Response: siblings
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/22/2004 02:12:38 PM

No relation I'm aware of, Marc! There are actually a fair number of Bears out there. Old English name...

PROOF ONE CANNOT ESCAPE POLITCAL POLARIZATION
Posted By: Mike Reinhardt, St Louis - 11/18/2004 10:02:52 PM

Mr Bear, I've read and loved everything you have written and just discovered this site this evening. As I read down through the postings I froze as I reached the series of jabs and counter jabs over your politcal slant in DC. Where can I go to escape the lib vs conservative battle? I can read a SF novel w/o feeling compelled to attack the writer regarding the politcal leanings of the novels CHARACTORS!!! Note: Dispite finishing DC I am still a bible reading gun loving Republican. The brainwashing effect of the book I read may have been reduced because I bought it in a used book store. To each his own-unless you're not one of us. Mike

Response: Proof One Cannot Escape Politcal Polarization
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/19/2004 11:13:38 AM

Thanks, Mike. My brainwashing techniques can be remarkably subtle!

Which shall it be--polarization, or bipolarization? During elections we tend to get a little manic, no? 'Twas ever thus. Just means that we care passionately for our country. As my friend David Clark describes it, sometimes living in the USA is like riding in a car driven by a crazy uncle. We get taken on some wild trips! Still, he's the best uncle there is, or at least, the most memorable.

Politically, I think anyone who's read most of my books knows that I am a deep egalitarian--that I resent and despise discrimination or elitism of any sort. Imbalance leads to arrogance, and arrogance leads to bad rule.

I also believe that government, by and large, should keep its mitts out of our private lives and intimate decisions.
A government that lets me own guns, but interferes with all my other rights, is hardly a prescription for civil accord.

As Mark Twain might have said, your freedom to swing your used copy of DC ends at my royalty statement... I'd protest mightily, Mike, except that I do love to visit used bookstores!

Response: Proof One Cannot Escape Politcal Polarization
Posted By: Paul Eisenberg, Chicago area - 12/09/2004 07:43:53 PM

Having just finished "Slant," I have to admit that The Kiss of X makes some great points on this topic. Of course he/she may display liberal tendencies. Nevertheless, the book (and the Darwin books as well) was great entertainment. Likewise, "Lucifer's Hammer" by Niven/Pournelle, which is about as conservative as a fiction story can get, was also a great read. As a liberal libertarian, I think people have placed themselves into these two bitter political camps that encourage hatred of the other. Can't we all just get along and revel in our shared delight of great fiction?
Paul

PRODUCT PLACEMENT?
Posted By: Mike Glosson, San Diego - 11/18/2004 11:52:09 AM

Just got back from a shopping run for eatables at a Health Food Store. I've developed the "healthy" vice of buying various kinds of bottled water as a treat. One caught my eye, and I bought a rather expensive for its size small bottle of:

EON

Just a heads up. The tech explanation on the back of the bottle might be complete hooie, who can say. Since you have a novel by the same name, maybe they would ship you a flat of them free?

Mike

Response: Product Placement?
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/18/2004 12:45:25 PM

Tried a bottle of EON. Not bad. Liked the paperback better. The science was more believable.

Response: Product Placement?
Posted By: Howard Miller - 11/19/2004 03:51:25 PM

Next .. a tequila called 'Eternity'?

Response: Product Placement?
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/19/2004 03:59:46 PM

With a Jart in every bottle!

Response: Product Placement?
Posted By: Howard Miller, Augusta, GA - 11/27/2004 05:43:42 PM

When you get to the bottom of the bottle - do you eat the Jart, or does the Jart eat YOU?

Response: Product Placement?
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/29/2004 10:19:10 AM

Bottle? I only have a cookie jart.

TRO SHINK
Posted By: Howard Miller, Augusta, GA - 11/18/2004 09:56:45 AM

I Googled the phrase 'Tro Shink' today - don't ask me why I do these things - and was surprised to see how many results I got and how it's penetrating the vernacular. It's getting right up there with 'grok' and 'vid'.

My question is, where did you get the phrase? My guess, it's meant to be a corruption of the phrase 'très chic'.

Response: Tro Shink
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/18/2004 10:53:26 AM

Not quite up there with Grok. Tro shink fills one page of Google, and most of it refers to a band from Portland, bless them. QoA has a lot of mixes from French, Haitian, etc., though I don't remember quite where I pulled "shink" from. Tres chic (or trop chic) works!

Response: Tro Shink
Posted By: David Wright, Texas - 01/24/2005 12:02:56 PM

As I recall, the characters in QoA guess that 'tro shink' is from Vietnamese, maybe a slang phrase in that language. Might not be where Mr. Bear got it from, however. And my understanding of it's meaning was "very" or "very much so", not quite "tres chic".

Response: Tro Shink
Posted By: Greg Bear - 01/24/2005 04:31:32 PM

Wherever I actually got it from, no doubt I messed with it. And now Googling ultimately brings up nothing more than references to this book. The Vietnamese origin seems to resonate with my recall of its origin, however.

BEFORE REAGAN'S STAR WARS
Posted By: Mike Glosson, San Diego - 11/15/2004 07:10:39 PM

Greg Bear Wrote:

Don't recall--how did we disagree? This seems in line with what the visionaries talking to the Reagan administration thought might be possible. From 1983 on, I was part of the group that met in Tarzana... The whole idea
took heat at the time! Now, it's so bipartisan that Bill Clinton supported it.

It was when you were teaching our old School as a visitor, and we were sitting around after class chatting. Nova or some PBS program had done a show regarding Nuclear War and how to bring down missles. I being very young and eager threw out: Why not use high power lasers to bring them down. Your stance was enough fog or dust would make the laser useless, and that anti-missile missles were the thing.
With 1980's level of Laser technology, your stance at that moment was actually more logical. But maybe I left you with an image...

Like I said, long before Reagan got worked up about Star Wars...the Lasers for that I believe were supposed to be space based X-Ray lasers, with the powering mechanism a possible violation of the 1967 UN Peaceful use of Space treaty.

The Tarzana Group: That wouldn't happen to have been Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven's Think tank, would it? I used them as an example of interest in the uses of space with the Head of TransOrbital. I have their position paper around here some where, with some High Frontier takes on the commercial uses of the asteroid belt. I think. Don't quote me on that!

And another place where Arthur C. Clarke threw away a Zillion Dollars: I recently found one small paragraph in the 1968 THE PROMISE OF SPACE where he casually sketches out a system very much like that described by Reagan's Star Wars.


Response: Before Reagan's Star Wars
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/15/2004 07:17:07 PM

This makes sense. And it explains in part why it took so long to make lasers work! (The Tarzana group was indeed the one chaired by Jerry Pournelle. We met at Larry's house through the eighties and nineties--the Citizen's Advisory Council on National Space Policy.)

SET THE WAY BACK TO 1980
Posted By: Mike Glosson, San Diego - 11/15/2004 06:18:21 PM

I'd updated nature and forgot to check it, due to a rare Migraine, and found this:

http://www.nature.com/news/2004/041115/full/041115-1.html

This took me back to our very first serious difference of opinion: on missle defense. Once again my imagination was ahead of the technology...24 years later things seem to be different.

I love living long enough to watch technology catch up to what I think it should be.

Mike

Response: Set the way back to 1980
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/15/2004 07:15:22 PM

Don't recall--how did we disagree? This seems in line with what the visionaries talking to the Reagan administration thought might be possible.
From 1983 on, I was part of the group that met in Tarzana... The whole idea took heat at the time! Now, it's so bipartisan that Bill Clinton supported it.


MANY THANKS
Posted By: Mike Ward, Boston - 11/12/2004 07:01:37 PM

Mr. Bear:

Just this minute finished "Darwin's Children," having read "Darwin's Radio" a year or two ago. As always, I loved the book, felt connected to the characters, feel a sense of loss now, having closed the book and my connection to the lives of people who, for a short time, become so real to me. Of your many books, my absolute favorites were "Queen of Angels" and "Slant," which haunted me for months after I read them. The work was deeply psychological, and I was entranced (in a kind of literal sense) by the stories and the multiple levels of conscious/subconscious/unconscious. Many thanks for providing me with so many hours of stimulating, thought-provoking, emotionally satisfying reading. I hope you and your family are well. Very best regards, Mike Ward

Response: many thanks
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/12/2004 07:12:27 PM

And many thanks for reading my books, Mike. I hope I can keep satisfying!

BASE-12 [RE: DEAD LINES]
Posted By: Robb Perrone, Santa Rosa, CA - 11/12/2004 07:01:24 PM

Not that I'm a picky person - more or less - but I just finished reading Dead Lines and ith mentions that the phone keypad is in base-12. But it then says that the keys go up to '12'.

Wouldn't that be base-13 [Zero being the first digit]?


Response: Base-12 [Re: Dead Lines]
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/12/2004 07:11:00 PM

Thanks for writing, Robb! We've covered this several times in the weblog--check below.

AUTHORSCAPE
Posted By: patrick - 11/12/2004 01:05:43 PM

something recursive ive experienced, in the last year: where is the threshold between an author embodying characters'personalities in writ, and actually hosting your own conversation?....or, is this an inherent actuality in competent writers?

Response: authorscape
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/12/2004 01:57:32 PM

Little of both. Characters have to have their own belief-system of course, and violating that breaks credibility. So authors frequently have to get into the heads of characters who are not like them at all... It's a delicate balancing act.

QUEEN OF ANGELS
Posted By: Dawne Kirkland, Danville, CA - 11/11/2004 06:58:04 PM

Hi Greg,
thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly on my last email. I did forget to ask one thing. I happened to notice the similarity in names between Emmanuel Goldsmith in this book, and Emmanuel Goldstien in Orwell's 1984. (We are reading that book in the philosophy class as well.) Was this on purpose, or just a coincidence? If it was on purpose, what parallels were you hoping to make between the two men?
Thank you

Response: Queen of Angels
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/11/2004 06:59:54 PM

Probably accidental. Emmanuel means "God is With Us."

QUEEN OF ANGELS
Posted By: Dawne Kirkland, Danville, CA - 11/10/2004 03:11:58 PM

Hi Greg. I really enjoyed Queen of Angels, and am in fact writing a philosophy term paper on it right now. There are so many themes in it, that i probably won't get them all in there.
Anyway, there wasn't really an afterword to the book. And i'd really like your take on it, what you were going for, what you felt the driving theme was, etc... I did a web search and didn't find any real comments on it per se. I just like to get a feel for what other people see in it, in case i missed anything good.
Anyway, i know you are busy, but if you had a few comments for me, or even a prepared statement, i would love it.
Thanks.

Response: Queen of Angels
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/10/2004 05:03:15 PM

Hello, Dawne! My major themes in QoA were the origins of self-awareness and the search for justice, as defined in Mary Choy's society--including revenge and punishment. Curiously, that same theme of crime and punishment occurs in FORGE OF GOD and ANVIL OF STARS. And it's still on my mind to this day. Our society is pretty much a revenge-oriented, kick-ass society, even now.

Elaborating on an idea first expressed, to my knowledge, by Julian Jaynes, in QoA I describe self-awareness as a feedback loop created when we model our behaviors to see how we will fit into a social order. The model of our "self" becomes an entity unto itself. It begins to believe it is in charge, rather than just being the strawboss of dozens or hundreds of major subroutines. (See Minsky's "Society of Mind" for more on this view of psychology.) When we revert to a less self-aware mode, we are generally less socially engaged, at least in the immediate moment. So perhaps we "lose our selves in our work."

I'd go on--but I'd rather hear your take!


SOME COMMENTS ON THE DARWINS RADIO & QOA UNIVERSES
Posted By: Kristin A Ruhle, Bay Area CA - 11/08/2004 07:16:56 PM

On David Brin's site, he refers to Darwin's Radio as a "dire warning." In other words "we had better prepare or else." Did you intend it that way? In other words, is the basic idea to tell people how civilization would respond in all the wrong ways to an evolutionary event, treating it as a disaster instead of the wonderful thing it is, in the hope that we'll heed the warning and things won't be as bad as they are in the book?

I thought Darwin's Children was the first book I ever read where the "villain" was not any one person, but an outdated scientific paradigm. People are guilty only of wrong thinking, answering the question, "How could the smartest minds....do the STUPIDEST thing?" (Not to mention unspeakably cruel!)

Both the Queen of Angels/Moving Mars cycle, and Darwin's Radio/Darwin's Children, are about "upgraded" versions of humanity. In the former, humans have been upgrading themselves; in the latter, nature does it.

Both ideas have fascinating implications. Either could lead to a utopian society, but from the bottom up rather than the top down. Most "rationalist" utopias in SF have been so-called "planned societies" (and sf readers, being rugged-individualist types, often find them horrifying!)

Having read the QoA series in publication order, rather than the order in which the stories happen, Slant strikes me as a slight retreat (even though we know from MM that all the problems Slant poses were presumably solved!) A brain chip? What if somebody hacks it? Would you really want to live in a world where people prefer virtual sex to the real thing?

In Slant I also see a transition from "silicon" oriented thinking, (in your writing), to more of a biological model. The bio-based AI actually strikes me as more plausible than a silicon one - although a giant ant farm like that would be a bit unwieldly. Characters like Mary move to an environment (Seattle) where things are less extreme than in Los Angeles (although by the time of Moving Mars the whole Earth is going in extreme directions, and Mars has a kind of version-compatibility problem!) Do you think of Slant as a sort of farewell to emphasis on Drexlerian "magic nanotech" and a move to biology?

I could go on forever with this, but how about it?

Response: Some comments on The Darwins Radio & QoA universes
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/08/2004 07:32:29 PM

Excellent points, Kristin. The last word has yet to be written on nanotech, as Drexler knows very well! Most of what is called nanotech today is simple micro- or milli-tech. The best is yet to come--and the greatest challenges as well!

Most of my fiction is not so much about specific points of view winning out as processes swaying back and forth. Few individuals can actually control their destiny for very long, and larger forces are often too complex for individuals to comprehend. Scary? Yes, indeed! But when we read a novel, we can at least temporarily feel that we understand some of the forces well enough to make judgment calls. So there is some comfort in reading disturbing books!

Response: Some comments - biotech and virtual sex
Posted By: patrick - 11/10/2004 01:30:51 PM

there're lots of others who have pondered the implications and ramifications of using organic constructs and such, instead of conventional technologies....

there's the opportunity - and not just weird stuff for sickos - to experience things that might otherwise not be possible....like, being a different gender.
theres also the issue of disease: could have 'sex' with anyone and not worry about it....well, unless there was such a thing detailed in their virtual profile - and then you might get it, like a virtual virus....or, wait!, it might manifest for real, even - you know, psycho-somatic response.
well....you can change the world, but not people....or can you?

Response: Some comments on The Darwins Radio & QoA universes
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/10/2004 02:04:36 PM

Probably started even before Westworld brought robot sex to the attention of the kiddies...

BLACK HOLE NEWS
Posted By: Mike Glosson, San Diego, California - 11/08/2004 06:34:26 PM

Not sure if you are as excited about Black Holes as you used to be in the late 70s, but this just got posted to Nature:

http://www.nature.com/news/2004/041108/full/041108-2.html

Interesting News of multiple condensed objects at Galactic Centre.

Does two count as a Multiple?

Response: Black Hole News
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/08/2004 07:27:07 PM

Caught part of this a.m. today...

Getting even more complicated! If a baseball encyclopedia is thrown down a black hole, will Shoeless Joe return?

ORDER OF BOOKS
Posted By: karen berry, portland, OR - 11/08/2004 11:42:40 AM

Greg: Just discovered you...wow!! You have made my miserable commute a joy with Darwin's Radio. My background is anthropogy/law/investigator... so you are like manna from heaven. What order should I read your books in? Thank you, Karen Berry, Esq

Response: Order of Books
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/08/2004 12:28:12 PM

Depends on what series! DARWIN'S RADIO, then DARWIN'S CHILDREN, of course. In terms of time, the Thistledown series begins with "The Wind from a Burning Woman," then "The Way of All Ghosts," and moves on thereafter to LEGACY, EON, and then ETERNITY. The Quantum Logic succession begins with QUEEN OF ANGELS, then SLANT, HEADS, and MOVING MARS. FORGE OF GOD, then ANVIL OF STARS.

DARWIN'S RADIO/CHILDREN & AOL
Posted By: Butler, Wetumpka, AL - 11/07/2004 12:39:35 PM

Suggestion: Your newletter may be tripping AOL's 'Spam Filter.' If AOL members who sign up also add the e-mail address from which the newletter is sent to their AOL address books, it should be passed by the filter.

Question 1: Noticed in Darwin's R/C that you sling a lot of Bio-jargon with minimal explanation. Do your editors or readers ever complain? I would be pleasantly suprised to find that the readership at large was so well informed (have a Bio degree myself).

Question 2: Though active/violent measures were mentioned, plot lines focussed on people fighting 'within the system.' Main Characters' extra-legal efforts were limited to passive resistance. Traditional SF plotting would've used more active measures, and/or use of New Childrens' abilities. Was this an intentional statement of belief on your part in the fundamentally self-policing nature of Democracy in particular, and human society, or even Ecology, in general? Do/did anyone ask for 'more Action?'

Response: Darwin's Radio/Children & AOL
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/08/2004 12:24:16 PM

Thanks, Butler. We may not have sent out a newsletter recently, and should get on it and test this technique.

Bio-jargon met with minimal complaints, and may in fact have helped move DARWIN'S RADIO along in sales--since a lot of biotech types purchased the book, just to marvel (perhaps) at all the bio-jargon! But seriously, most sf readers are a hardy lot, and sensing authentic lingo, will go with the flow. (I compare it to the legalese on LAW AND ORDER, which fascinates me. I want to know more.)

Nobody requested more action. In fact, some readers complained about the action conclusions in both SLANT and VITALS.

SHORT STORIES
Posted By: Stefan Johansson, Renton - 11/06/2004 07:52:01 PM

Hello again, been awhile since I stopped by the site. I have been reading a collection of short stories and wanted to tell you how much (again) I'm enjoying your work. One in particular, "the Visiting" just blew me away. I had to read it again. What a treat to read a piece of work that grabs you and gets you thinking from a different perpective. I'm enjoying the introductions to these stories just as much because of their candid and honest nature. I find myself saying to my wife "would love to have this guy over for pizza and coffee and just talk."
Maybe if you're in the neighborhood. Hope you are well.

Response: Short stories
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/08/2004 12:17:07 PM

Thanks, Stefan! Compare "The Visitation" with a few chapters in DARWIN'S CHILDREN and I think you'll see an interesting contrast...

COVER ART
Posted By: George Lee Stuart, Lismore NSW Australia - 11/04/2004 05:03:18 PM

Hi Greg

I'm interested in cover art in general and the authors relationship with the cover and the artist in particular. I love the cover of Slant. It's so evocative in many ways and if my memory serves me well, featured in a magazine article on nanotechnology (Scientific American maybe).

The cover to Queen of Angles in contrast is rather dull and uninspired. Except that my copy, which I assume is the English printing, has a rather surreal rendering of the interstellar ship. It looks rather like a series of kiddies fairy wings linked together with a guitar neck sticking out forward. Solar sail and utilities I expect.

How much input do you get to the cover and do you get to talk to the artist? And as an afterthought can you put the superior Queen of Angels cover up on your site for others to enjoy ?

Regards
George

Response: Cover art
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/04/2004 05:40:13 PM

I've only once nixed a cover, and that was the originally proposed art for the U.S. edition of QUEEN OF ANGELS. The present cover is a real improvement. I own the original art for both the Jim Burns and the Peter Jones covers of SLANT and QUEEN OF ANGELS, which shows you how much I like them, as well. SLANT had the same cover in both the UK and the U.S.

YOUR BOOK EON INTORDUCED ME...
Posted By: The Frant, Frant Homeworld - 11/04/2004 04:36:31 PM

Your book Eon introduced me to your writings and you as a person just a few months ago but since then I have been reading every book of yours I can find. I would like to thank you for intorduceing me to a mind and story telling style as wonder full as yours
thank you
The Frant

Response: your book Eon intorduced me...
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/04/2004 04:41:16 PM

Thanks! I can't post anonymous postings, unfortunately--unless, of course, you're a nonhuman, which you are.

NOT EVERY ONE CAME FROM AFRICA.
Posted By: Jana Mallory, Rollinsford, NH - 11/04/2004 04:09:50 PM

You replied:

If by blacks, you mean African Americans, you're off my grid, Jana. Do you regard Republicans as a separate race, once kept in extreme conditions of servitude, and now suffering from the lingering after-effects of centuries of economic and political repression? Surely you jest.

You support abortion rights, drug legalization, and as an atheist, you seem not to be an evangelical Christian. So you must have voted for Bush because of his take on taxes and national security. Doesn't that fit into what my congressional assistant says about the Republican core?

I enjoy tell-all books about the White House. Right now, I'm reading Ronald Kessler's two excellent books about the FBI. Richard Clarke's book seems to fit in that category, as well. But I never did see FAHRENHEIT 9-11, because I while I think Moore is an interesting propagandist, I didn't need to get any angrier about this election than I already was. I wanted to keep my perspective as much as possible.

But compare the current Republican Party to blacks? No. I would not do that.

My response: You miss the point entirely. You have chosen a group of people to be the evil, bad guys, but you would not EVER have them be Blacks (and by the way, many people with dark skin are NOT from Africa, and will TELL you so, so why should you lump them all together, too? My black friends don't like the term one bit).

Why would you not ever have them be the bad guys? Because you would not want to insult them, and I think it likely you might be ashamed of yourself for it if you did. But bashing all Republicans is just fine, no matter who gets hurt, no matter how many good people belong to the group.

Lumping all people together and treating them as if they were all the same because they belong to a group is sterotyping whether they are black, white, Republican or Democrat. (That is why I direct somes of my comments at liberal elitists, not Democrats, because I am describing a certain type of mindset.)

Yet sterotyping is exactly what you do in "Darwin's Children", period. There is NO balance that I could see. It was clear that it was "the Replublicans", not individual people, that were responsible...plug in the word Blacks instead, and maybe you will see just how ridiculous, and offensive, this thinking is.

As I said before, conservative Republicans are always fair game. Everyone else cries foul and gets away with it.

Response: My 2 Cents
Posted By: Terran McCanna, A Red State - 11/06/2004 04:48:41 PM

"As I said before, conservative Republicans are always fair game. Everyone else cries foul and gets away with it."

As far as I'm concerned, whoever is in control (and that happens to be conservative Republicans for the next 4 years) is fair game. The only way for our democracy to work is if we all educate ourselves and question the choices of our leaders. We should not blindly support or attack them just because of the party they belong to, but we do need to watch to make sure they are doing what is in the best interests of their entire constituency and not just the vocal part of the constituency.

NO GUTS NEEDED
Posted By: Jana Mallory, Rollinsford, NH - 11/04/2004 03:26:09 PM

Well Mr. Bear,

I appreciate your comments concerning your beliefs. Let me give you a challenge: Read "A Matter of Character" by Ronald Kessler. I will finish your book. I love the basic story concept and it takes no guts to finish it, because the implication indicting the Republicans is ludicrous anyway.

I can set aside my dissappointment in your choices. It IS, after all, only fiction. Still, I would have liked you to answer my question: Would you have used Blacks as subject for your "bad guys"?

If you have the guts to read what a real person found out about George Bush (and Clinton and Reagan and Carter) when he hung around the White House and interviewed the White House staff and Secret Service, you might be a bit surprised. Balance, remember?


Response: No guts needed
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/04/2004 03:45:02 PM

If by blacks, you mean African Americans, you're off my grid, Jana. Do you regard Republicans as a separate race, once kept in extreme conditions of servitude, and now suffering from the lingering after-effects of centuries of economic and political repression? Surely you jest.

You support abortion rights, drug legalization, and as an atheist, you seem not to be an evangelical Christian. So you must have voted for Bush because of his take on taxes and national security. Doesn't that fit into what my congressional assistant says about the Republican core?

I enjoy tell-all books about the White House. Right now, I'm reading Ronald Kessler's two excellent books about the FBI. Richard Clarke's book seems to fit in that category, as well. But I never did see FAHRENHEIT 9-11, because I while I think Moore is an interesting propagandist, I didn't need to get any angrier about this election than I already was. I wanted to keep my perspective as much as possible.

But compare the current Republican Party to blacks? No. I would not do that.

SIGH
Posted By: Jana Mallory, Rollinsford, NH - 11/04/2004 02:12:56 PM

Mr. Bear:

My original message, which I will attach at the end, was sent because your story line did not sound as if only the speaker (the character) felt the way he did about Republicans, but the entire premise of the book was that evil, right-wing Republicans were the cause of all the horror occuring in your book...and so far, from what I read, (it wasn't crunchy granola people who torched Riverside, was it?) the "the Republicans" are at fault.

Frankly, I am sick to death of this attitude from a large portion of liberal Democrats. The hatred and rage I have seen directed at George Bush blows my mind. Yes, I detested John Kerry (as a phoney con artist, among other reasons), but it didn't turn me into a screaming maniac. I saw this happen with a Bush hater, first hand, at work one day. Scary and shocking.

I wanted you to know that I have been a big fan (and I buy only new hard cover books, by the way). I really like your stories. I just wish this one was told without the obvious poltical bias. In my opinion, it is a huge distraction.

Making people think about the future and considering what it might be like is fun, and sometimes disturbing, but that is what science fiction is all about. Making crystal clear that a nasty future is "the Republican's" fault is political commentary, incredibly devisive and, again, in my opinion, best avoided in order to transcend the present.

I would not enjoy a story with the roles reversed either. Having an evil entity is fine, but could easily be accomplished without lumping every member of a present day party or group of people together. Would you have even considered writing a story in which the "pit bulls" were all Blacks? That it was the Blacks who had risen to power that were the cause of the nasty future? Unthinkable. But conservative Republicans are always fair game. It is just unneccessary unless there is an agenda. That is what I protest. (Again, I am NOT a conservative Republican...I have been an atheist since age 13, think all drugs should be legal, and do not think abortion should be illegal...that should just about cover it.)

In our community, the Bush/Cheney signs were slashed, stolen or sprayed with paint...I only know of one Kerry sign that was ever removed (it is a small community and easy to keep track of what was put up and what stayed up). Twelve of my signs were stolen. One Bush/Cheney headquarters was shot at, and in Boston, volunteers were beat up and the headquarters ransacked.

Then to begin reading what I thought was going to be some escapism after the election, only to have Republicans depicted, again, as the evil bad guys after putting up with the nasty hatred for George Bush we have seen, was just the last straw.

Anyway, I was really bummed out that politics got in the way of great fiction.

J Mallory
Rollinsford, NH

Original Message (Having reread it, my sentiments still stand about what I think of liberal elitists and their treament of anything they don't agree with, but perhaps it was an unfair review - however, I really cannot be sure because of the strong reaction I had when I started reading "Darwin's Children").

Dear Mr. Bear:

I own almost all of your books. I have read and enjoyed them very much. Right up until "Darwin's Children", that is. I quote, "The Republicans are the country's pit bull, Mitch. Barking in the night, all night, every night, right or wrong, and savaging their enemies without mercy."

Really? Have you been paying ANY attention this year at all? Michael Moore, Mr. Soros, Whoopie Goldberg and the rest of the so-called tolerant (what an oxymoron THAT is when applied to these people), peace loving liberal Democrats...never in my not very short life have I seen such bald, naked hatred as these people, and their friends, have demonstrated. They have a lock on mean-spirited nastiness. Self-serving, narcissistic opportunists all.

I am a Republican, and I know many other Republicans, and none of us resemble anything like the picture you paint. You, Sir, are part of the vicious, hate mongering, country dividing, maniacal left wing that has torn this country apart ever since Al Gore legitimately lost the 2000 election but did not have the balls, or apparently the brains, to admit it. At least John Kerry had the good sense, and decency, to do the right thing. I was pleasantly surprised at his actions, but I can admit it.

Now, you continue your vitriolic behavior by incorporating your hatred into your stories. I have never read a novel where the author tried to paint the Democrats, as a whole, evil (even though I might think there are a few who would qualify for that title -- I am intelligent enough to know that there are evil people in both parties). These authors have wisely left their political opinions at home where they belong.

Unfortunately, what seemed like promising fiction turns out to be nothing more than another hate filled vehicle, written by a blind to reality, intellectual elitist who thinks he knows what is best for everyone else and is just certain we all want to hear it.

You should be ashamed of yourself. But my experience with people like you is that you are incapable of that emotion.

Rather than pass this book on to someone else, someone not smart enough to know they are being brainwashed, I will just take it to the dump on Saturday, where it will join the rest of the garbage.

Response: Sigh
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/04/2004 03:13:56 PM

Thanks for writing, Jana. Here are the lines from the passage in DARWIN'S RADIO that offended you (and remember, they're spoken by the assistant to a long-suffering Democratic congressman: ?Want to really learn how to suck eggs, from an old hound dog? I?ve spent ten years with Wickham. He?s the smartest hound there is, but he?s up against a bad lot. The Republicans are the country?s pit bulls, Mitch. Barking in the night, all night, every night, right or wrong, and savaging their enemies without mercy. They claim to represent plain folks, but they represent those who vote, when they vote at all, on pocket books and fear and gut instinct. They control the House and the Senate, they stacked the court the last three terms, their man is in the White House, and bless them, they speak with one voice, Mitch. The president is dug in. But you know what the congressman thinks? He thinks the president doesn?t want Emergency Action to be his legacy. Eventually, maybe we can do something with that.? Gianelli?s voice dropped very low, as if he were about to blaspheme in the temple. ?But not now. The Democrats can?t even hold a bake sale without arguing. We?re weak and getting weaker.?

Written in 2000 and early in 2001, these lines reflected my guess as to how the country would react to a serious challenge to its internal security. Under a Republican presidency, the country would have its fears fanned by a constant litany of warnings about the threat at hand. Republicans would appoint themselves as chief protectors, and paint their opponents as mamby-pamby liberal bleeding hearts. Emergency Action vs. the Patriot Act and Homeland Security. Anything inaccurate here, either as prediction or as description? (There's even a bit about Fox Media.)

Off and on, for the last twenty years, I've worked with Republicans (mostly) to help prevent threats to America's security. I write my novels to make people think, and often take contrarian points of view that get me in trouble with impassioned true believers. Kaye Lang's epiphany in the middle of DARWIN'S RADIO has gotten me equally vituperative comments from secular humanists, but absolute silence from the religious right. (See previous correspondence in this weblog.)

Remember, for me, politics is biology. I describe unbalanced and balanced systems. A nation in a fever, facing a severe challenge, is an unbalanced system, and it will tend to extremes. A nation's immune system, left unchecked, may prevent disease--but it will also cause real damage.

What are my politics? I believe in balance, not extremes. If the Democrats run the country too long, I may vote Republican. But that doesn't seem likely to happen soon.

Be well, Jana--and if you have the guts, the stomach, and the stamina, finish my book, and let me know what you think.

Response: Ok...truce
Posted By: Jana Mallory, Rollinsford, NH - 11/04/2004 06:02:36 PM

Fair enough. Patriots are good. I will try to get through "Darwin's Children" and judge for myself.

J Mallory

Response: Sigh
Posted By: patrick - 11/05/2004 04:43:35 PM

well....some hot stuff here. first off, jana, the character in darwin's was presenting its viewpoint (not greg's), within the auspice of greg conceiving of a particular set of circumstances.

second, i agree that those who vandalised the bush stuff in your locale were behaving insensibly, that they were much like those protesting the vietnam war, in the 60s: thinking they were upholding high ideals, but not psychologically capable of really embodying them. (see: ken wilber's, a theory of everything.)

last, i commend you on your non-religious-right status. however....why be republican or democrat? why not be liberal or green? why be anything? basically, morals are illusory (see: never whistle while youre pissing, by hagbard celine)....which is why i'm not registered at all.

Response: Sigh
Posted By: Christopher Pearson, Cambridge, Massachusetts - 11/13/2004 06:24:13 PM

Jana- as a Republican who is pro-choice, and an atheist (as you have pointed out), I thought you might want to be aware of this. I assume Jana is a woman's name, so forgive me if you are male, this is still relevant- and by the way, I'm neither a Democrat or a "liberal eltist". In fact I think the 2 party system we have in this country is a joke. I like to think of myself more as a "humanist" more than anything else. Anyway, here goes- taken from Reuters news service and sent to me buy a female friend of mine (admittedly with some of her comments thrown in)- and eerily similar to some of the plot developments in "Darwins Radio/Children"-

President Bush has announced his plan to select Dr. W. David Hager to
head
up the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs
Advisory Committee. The committee has not met for more than two years,
during which time its charter lapsed. As a result, the Bush
Administration
is tasked with filling all eleven positions with new members. This
position
does not require Congressional approval. The FDA's Reproductive Health
Drugs
Advisory Committee makes crucial decisions on matters relating to drugs
used
in the practice of obstetrics, gynecology and related specialties,
including
hormone therapy, contraception, treatment for infertility, and medical
alternatives to surgical procedures for sterilization and pregnancy
termination. Dr. Hager, the author of "As Jesus Cared for Women:
Restoring
Women Then and Now." The book blends biblical accounts of Christ
healing
Women with case studies from Hager's practice. His views of
reproductive
health care are far outside the mainstream for reproductive technology.
Dr. Hager is a practicing OB/GYN who describes himself as "pro-life"
and
refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women. In the book Dr.
Hager wrote with his wife, entitled "Stress and the Woman's Body," he
suggests that women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome should seek
help
from reading the bible and praying. As an editor and contributing
author of
"The Reproduction Revolution: A Christian Appraisal of Sexuality
Reproductive Technologies and the Family," Dr. Hager appears to have
endorsed the medically inaccurate assertion that the common birth
control
pill is an abortifacient. We are concerned that Dr. Hager's strong
religious
beliefs may color his assessment of technologies that are necessary to
protect women's lives to preserve and promote women's health. Hager's
track
record of using religious beliefs to guide his medical decision-making
makes
him a dangerous and inappropriate candidate to serve as chair of this
committee.

So, Jana, how do you like them apples, eh?


Response: Sigh
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/15/2004 10:33:20 AM

Thanks, Christopher. This piece has been circulating for some months now. Turns out it's probably going to come true. More details can be found at http://www.snopes.com/politics/bush/hager.asp

The Right to Life initiatives often include somewhat more subtle attacks on all forms of birth control. Many among the current group of Republicans would like to return us to good old fashioned patriarchy. We'll have to wait and see how much influence they will actually have on the Bush administration. So far, the prospects do not look good.

For a frightening look at patriarchy gone wild, I highly recommend OSAMA, about life under the Taliban, written and directed by Siddiq Barmak. As frightening as anything imagined by Orwell.

WOW, WELL HERE WE GO AGAIN: THIS IS YOUR RESPONSE AND MY REPLY TO MY RECENT MESSAGE CONCERNING "DAR
Posted By: Jana Mallory, Rollinsford, NH - 11/04/2004 11:58:36 AM

Wow, well here we go again: This is your response and my reply to my recent message concerning "Darwin's Children":

"Thanks for writing. I assume you wanted your message posted, so unless I hear back from you, positively denying me permission to post, I will do so,?"

My answer: I would be honored.

"and with the following answer:...The dialogue quote from DARWIN'S CHILDREN that you throw at me comes from a Democratic character who has spent many years under a strongly conservative Republican administration

My Answer: "strongly conservative" to you (I mean, your character) means wholly evil and all inclusive it seems.

"that has consistently catered to frightened people, to those who fear the consequences of incomprehensible change."

My Answer: Do you mean the shameless scare tactics used by the Democrats over the years, long before 9/11? "Old people will have to eat cat food" "There are homeless people everywhere and you are next" "The economy is terrible and it is all George Bush's fault" "George Bush is going to take away old people's Social Security" and similar nonsense? The implication that only Republicans prey on peoples fears is laughable.

"(I wrote that section before 9-11.) Are you telling me that no Democrat would say such a thing about Republicans?"

My Answer: I have no problem with A Democrat saying it about A Republican (nor did I say so), but I do have a problem with your obvious portrayal of the entire Republican body as evil, Nazi-like people. And, according to another Amazon.com review, I am not the only one who took notice of this.

"And that Republicans have never said anything unfair or unjust about Democrats?"

My Answer: Why is it that so many liberals resort to this type of hyperbole? I never said that NO Republican has ever said anything unjust about Democrats.

"With your permission, I'm also going to pass along your letter to my Republican friends, and get their reaction."

My answer: Please do so.

"Thank you for being such a gracious and conciliatory winner in this election year,?"

My answer: I am not sure whether you are attempting to be sarcastic or not, but it would have worked better had I said anything about winning.

"and for destroying a copy of my book."

My answer: I have not done so yet. The dump is not open until Saturday. Unfortunately, I simply cannot think of anything else to do with it. It is a political slam against conservative Republicans disguised as fiction (by the way, Mr. Bear, contrary to your assumption, I am NOT a conservative Republican) and I don't want to pass it on to others as an endorsement. You are being disingenuous.

"Please get your friends to burn my book. Please try to get my book banned, in schools or wherever you can."

My answer: Here we go again with typical liberal hysteria. I never said I was going to burn your book, like some nut job with an agenda, not would I ever tell anyone else whether to read, not read or burn your book (or anyone else's). Please, try to stick to reality.

"I've been wanting to have one of my books banned by people like you for decades now. And please post to this website and describe your activities in detail. I'd love to hear from you again."

My answer: ROTFL...see the previous answer.

And please, you have my permission to publish this, in its entirety, if you dare.

Response: Wow, well here we go again: This is your response and my reply to my recent message concerning "Dar
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/04/2004 12:32:02 PM

Thanks, Jana. The way to go about this is to re-send your previous post and indicate permission to post. Then, re-send this post as a response to my answer.

By the way, here's a line from my newest novel, spoken by an FBI instructor at the Academy to a group of agents in training: "Liberal-ass social losers and users tell themselves that Tart is a harmless organic performance enhancer. It produces long-lasting feelings of angelic well-being. But in five percent of users, Tart leads to a degenerative neuromuscular disease called Kepler?s Syndrome. You end up in a wheelchair, drooling, unable to control your bowels and in constant pain."

My characters speak their minds. I give them voice to express their views, whatever they may be. And in this new novel, nearly all my main characters are law-enforcement types, and therefore conservative, and my villain is a crazy John Brown type with a hideous agenda. So, with that in mind, have at me. I'm a moving target, Jana.

You also neglected to mention the next few lines in DARWIN'S CHILDREN (spoken by the same Democrat): "They control the House and the Senate, they stacked the court the last three terms, their man is in the White House, and bless them, they speak with one voice, Mitch. The president is dug in. But you know what the congressman thinks? He thinks the president doesn?t want Emergency Action to be his legacy. Eventually, maybe we can do something with that.? Gianelli?s voice dropped very low, as if he were about to blaspheme in the temple. ?But not now. The Democrats can?t even hold a bake sale without arguing. We?re weak and getting weaker.?

How would staunch Democrats feel now about that assessment?

I've worked with Republicans and Democrats over the years. Whatever my politics, my novels reflect political realities and personalities, politics as biology. And tell me that that scene, written in early 2001, is unlikely to be an accurate assessment of the next few years.

Response: Wow, well here we go again: This is your response and my reply to my recent message concerning "Dar
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/04/2004 01:16:59 PM

Thanks, Jana. The best way to proceed is to re-send your first message with permission to post checked, then send this message in response to my answer.

In response, I'm going to quote the entire offending passage from DARWIN'S CHILDREN, so perhaps you should re-read it to its Democrat-bashing conclusion. And also a passage from my next novel, which is unfair, since you haven't read it: but here goes. This is an FBI instructor at the Academy addressing agents in training: "Liberal-ass social losers and users tell themselves that Tart is a harmless organic performance enhancer. It produces long-lasting feelings of angelic well-being. But in five percent of users, Tart leads to a degenerative neuromuscular disease called Kepler?s Syndrome. You end up in a wheelchair, drooling, unable to control your bowels and in constant pain."

In this novel, most of my characters are law-enforcement types and therefore conservative, and my villain is an impassioned, super-radical John Brown type with a hideous agenda against the world's religions.

I'm a moving target, Jana. Whatever my politics, I let my characters speak their minds, whatever their beliefs. (The "villain" in DARWIN'S RADIO changes over time to become a kind of good guy in DARWIN'S CHILDREN. And you apparently did not read on to the middle section of the book, where Kaye Lang has a shattering religious epiphany that gets her in hot water with her secular scientific colleagues. This section got me a vituperative and anonymous letter from an offended and apparently atheistic reader.)

My feeling is, if you're not making people mad, you're not doing your job, and if I'm making EVERYBODY mad, on both sides, I've made them think. Forgive me for wanting people to think outside their boxes.

And I encourage people to destroy my books after they read them. It keeps them out of used book stores, where I make no money whatsoever.

You may amend any of your messages if you wish.

WHAT A SHAME I CAN'T FINISH YOUR BOOK!
Posted By: Jana Mallory, Rollinsford, NH - 11/04/2004 10:28:32 AM

Dear Mr. Bear:

I own almost all of your books. I have read and enjoyed them very much. Right up until "Darwin's Children", that is. I quote, "The Republicans are the country's pit bull, Mitch. Barking in the night, all night, every night, right or wrong, and savaging their enemies without mercy."

Really? Have you been paying ANY attention this year at all? Michael Moore, Mr. Soros, Whoopie Goldberg and the rest of the so-called tolerant (what an oxymoron THAT is when applied to these people), peace loving liberal Democrats...never in my not very short life have I seen such bald, naked hatred as these people, and their friends, have demonstrated. They have a lock on mean-spirited nastiness. Self-serving, narcissistic opportunists all.

I am a Republican, and I know many other Republicans, and none of us resemble anything like the picture you paint. You, Sir, are part of the vicious, hate mongering, country dividing, maniacal left wing that has torn this country apart ever since Al Gore legitimately lost the 2000 election but did not have the balls, or apparently the brains, to admit it. At least John Kerry had the good sense, and decency, to do the right thing. I was pleasently surprised at his actions, but I can admit it.

Now, you continue your vitriolic behavior by incorporating your hatred into your stories. I have never read a novel where the author tired to paint the Democrats, as a whole, evil (even though I might think there are a few who would qualify for that title -- I am intelligent enough to know that there are evil people in both parties). These authors have wisely left their political opinions at home where they belong.

Unfortunately, what seemed like promising fiction turns out to be nothing more than another hate filled vehicle, written by a blind to reality, intellectual elitist who thinks he knows what is best for everyone else and is just certain we all want to hear it.

You should be ashamed of yourself. But my experience with people like you is that you are incapable of that emotion.

Rather than pass this book on to someone else, someone not smart enough to know they are being brainwashed, I will just take it to the dump on Saturday, where it will join the rest of the garbage.

Jana Mallory
Rollinsford, NH

Response: What a shame I can't finish your book!
Posted By: Alicyn Henning, Portland, Oregon - 11/11/2004 04:15:16 AM

Perhaps the trigger was the events of the 2000 election, when the GOP, through George Bush, made a mockery of our electoral system and usurped the office of the Presidency? Its just a stab here, but I think that pissed off enough "peace-loving liberal Democrats" to action, whether that be vocal or physical. I know a great number of Democrats who do not fit the stereotype you set for them as a whole. If you want a list of Republican pitbulls, start with Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and the lot at Fox News, just for starters. Everyone's a jerk, just some of us are bigger jerks, and that's why we're taught in elementary school that stereotypes are a bad thing and generally warned against making any assumptions based on them.
On a side note, just because a character in a book has political views, doesn't necessarily state that the author holds the same feelings; Kaye Lang is a fictional character, and not Mr. Bear in print.

Response: What a shame I can't finish your book!
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/11/2004 11:31:05 AM

Kaye Lang's situation is also fictional, to be sure--but it's possible the unpleasant parallels between events in DARWIN'S CHILDREN and the real world have struck a sore nerve with a number of readers, sensitized to world events. As I've pointed out before, I planned and wrote a substantial portion of this novel before 9-11.

And I might also point out that the weak-kneed president in THE FORGE OF GOD is a Democrat. So go figure. No Republican-voting reader ever complained about that portrayal.

JUST A WEE LINE
Posted By: Alan McWilliam, Dundee Scotland - 11/04/2004 10:15:17 AM

Just a wee line to commiserate on you having to put up with 4 more years of the jarts in power!!

Response: Just a wee line
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/04/2004 10:41:22 AM

As with most Americans, I voted against my economic interests. Most Americans voted for Bush. I voted for Kerry. We'll see what the future holds. To my dismay, QUANTICO is right on track...

LAS VEGAS FANDOM
Posted By: Woody Bernardi, Las Vegas, Nevada - 11/03/2004 02:21:47 PM

Hello, my name is Woody Bernardi I'm from Las Vegas. I was the conchair for SilverCons II and III, held in Las Vegas back in 1993 & 1994 respctively.

We had Poul Anderson as ProGoH at SCon II and Gregory Benford as ProGoH at SCon III.

I rec'd a posting from a Yahoo! Group to which I belong which identified your website as follows:

"The Science Fiction Weekly ? Site of the Week
http://www.scifi.com/sfw/issue393/site.html ?November 1, 2004 belongs to Greg Bear http://www.gregbear.com/"

I subsequently added your website to the Links Section of the Vegas SF Association (VSFA) Yahoo! Group, found at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VegasSFAssociation/

If you would like to check it out you may do so by going to the above website. While there you may join our Group if you so desire, we have many members who live outside of Las Vegas & Nevada.

We will be doing conventions in the future and this is a good way to keep track of what is going on in Las Vegas Fandom. We encourage those who do not live in LV to let us know when they may be visiting our fair city and to attend any event(s) we may have scheduled to coincide with said visit.

We have several fanzine fans in residence, including some who are either current or past members of FAPA (myself included, as a past member of FAPA) and have regular twice monthly gatherings of fanzine fans and love to entertain visiting Fans/Pros to Las Vegas.

Hope to see you online and/or in Las Vegas on some future date! :-)

Thanks,
Woody Bernardi
Vegas SF Association (VSFA)

Response: Las Vegas Fandom
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/03/2004 04:04:51 PM

Good news! Thanks, Woody. Consider yourself posted!

QUANTICO?
Posted By: Mike Casassa, Virginia Beach, Virginia - 11/03/2004 12:05:16 PM

Hello,

Sent a message yesterday, but think it did not go, so if you got it yesterday please ignore this.

I have seen on a Web page that Mr. Bear has a book due out this month, Title- 'Quantico'. Is this book being published in the US? or is this only a UK publishing?
if so, why not US?
if US, any idea when?

thank you,
Mike

Response: Quantico?
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/03/2004 04:02:35 PM

UK catalog is jumping the gun. I'm finishing this novel now, and it should be published next year.

DESCRIPTOR THEORY
Posted By: patrick - 11/02/2004 01:11:18 AM

regarding the advanced principles of descriptor theory... such implications became ramifications in moving mars. wowzers!)


Response: Awesome work
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/01/2004 10:29:59 AM

Carrying it all to extremes in DEAD LINES as well. How far can theory be stretched? Well...

i did wonder if there was something involved, there; however, the style of the story obviates any direct correlation.

Response: descriptor theory
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/02/2004 11:26:11 AM

I could have called it "The Ghosts of Mars," but that's been taken...

TRON SCREENING
Posted By: Vince Keenan, Seattle, WA - 11/01/2004 05:13:42 PM

Mr. Bear,

I had the pleasure of attending the screening of TRON at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame that you hosted this past Friday evening. It was a treat to see the film on the big screen again, and your insightful comments added to my appreciation of it. Many thanks.

If you're at all interested, I posted my reaction to the screening on my website at www.vincekeenan.com.

Thanks again for a wonderful evening.

Best,
Vince Keenan

Response: Tron screening
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/01/2004 07:30:17 PM

Thanks, Vince! Your web site is well worth a visit.

SO THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS?
Posted By: Carole, UK - 11/01/2004 12:21:55 PM

I have read your novels for many years and constantly return to two in particular, the forge of god and blood music. Both of these works evoke something in me which resonates with my belief in Gia and an innate awareness of my existance within it. You have made me watch my planet die, then shown me its evolution into light. Thank you

Response: So this is the way the world ends?
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/01/2004 01:18:17 PM

Thanks, Carole! Now, I only blew up Earth once... BLOOD MUSIC simply turned everything into lime Jello. Happy lime Jello!


BOOKS TO FILM
Posted By: Mike Glosson, Drying Out San Diego, California - 10/30/2004 12:27:31 PM

Got a chance to read the release regarding the Darwin Project on SciFi channel. They've done some good work converting major works into miniseries.

While not 100% perfect I did enjoy very much their Dune and Children of Dune miniseries...if not exactly true to the books, much more true to the "spirit" and intent of them than David Lynch's Over-The-Top Edited-to-Death High-Opera version.

I'd mentioned that I thought "Anvil" would make good cinema, but had completely "spaced" on an earlier and more recognized work of yours, that also might REALLY find a film going general audience right now, with all the debate on Stem Cell Research, and basic Genetics information perculating into the pop culture via CSI and it's numerous spin offs/knock offs: BLOOD MUSIC.

The Debate about Genetics, it's Engineering, etc. is only going to get hotter. There are friends of mine who refuse to shop at major super markets because they believe all the produce is GMO Frankenfood.

I can even think of a good director match for the project:
Steven Soderbergh, who directed the 2002 version of Solaris. The Cinematogrophy was the best of any SPACE film I had seen since Kubrick's 2001 (which is often a joy to watch just for the way it was shot)...though I was a little annoyed with his attempt to do a Stargate/Star Child ended for his Solaris.

From having enjoyed his more personal projects like "Schizopolis" I can see were BLOOD MUSIC would fit in with his world view...the little chunks of "Traffic" that I have seen also argue for this.

My copy of BLOOD MUSIC has a little blurb at the top "A Childhood's End for the 1980s" With the way Soderbergh ends Solaris he'd think your ending to your novel was perfection.

Response: Books to Film
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/01/2004 10:37:03 AM

I love thoughtful sf films, and thought Solaris was a worthy addition. I'd still like to see more of Lem's marvelous novel on film however, with a REAL visit to the planet's surface...

Response: Books to Film
Posted By: John K. GOodman, LA - 02/02/2005 09:59:26 PM

Did you ever see Tarkovsky's 1972 version of Solaris?

Even more navel gazing than even thought possible, albeit in a gritty and humanistic manner. Kind of good, though like David, I am still waiting for a really good adaptation of one of my favorite Lem books.

Response: Books to Film
Posted By: Greg Bear - 02/03/2005 10:58:32 AM

I enjoyed Solaris at home, but once walked out in a theater--the seats were terrible! Now I'm quite a fan of both the film and Tarkovsky's other works. While it was often lovely and thought-provoking, I found Soderbergh's new version of Solaris perhaps too faithful to Tarkovsky, and I, too, would like to see a faithful adaptation of Lem's novel--adventure, splendid visuals of the planet, and all!

RIPE FOR UNORIGINAL HOLLYWOOD...
Posted By: Christopher Pearson, Cambridge, Massachusetts - 10/30/2004 11:30:13 AM

Hi Greg-
I met you many moons ago, in 1992, when you were doing a readercon out here in Massachusetts. I was in a band at the time, Green Magnet School, and we had just released our first CD on the Seattle-based record label, Sub Pop. The name of our CD was "Blood Music", in honor of your book, as everyone in the band had read it, (on my recommendation), and LOVED it. I had a hardback first edition of "Blood Music" that I wanted you to sign, and I also brought along our CD to give to you. You were so nice and funny- you insisted (in a very tongue-in-cheek way) that you would only sign my book if I signed my CD for you! I was thrilled by that experience, and have fond memories to this day (as well as my copy of "Blood Music" that says "Chris, thanks so much for the album! All the best, Greg Bear").
So, here we are 12 years on, and I'm kind of amazed that a film hasn't been made from any of your works (although I'm very excited about the "Darwin's Radio-Children" miniseries in the works for SciFi channel.) I did recently hear something about "Forge/Anvil" being a possible film in the works? Is this true? With special effects these days, and the lack of imagination in Hollywood (how many more rehashed TV series being made into films do we have to sit through?), I find it hard to believe that your books, like "Blood Music", "Queen of Angels", "/"(slant), "Eon", and so many others, aren't being turned into film. Your fully developed characters and unbelievably original ideas are ripe for the picking, I would just hope the writer and director of a film would try to stay true to your vision. I love Philip K. Dick, too, but maybe Hollywood should give his works a little rest, and turn YOUR way for some really GREAT s-f films to be made again. So what's the deal?
Anyway, just read "Dead Lines" and really enjoyed it. Thank you for your talent and inspiration. For me, you are the only author out there that if I see a new book by you, I don't even bother reading the jacket, I just head right to the register. Oh, and by the way, I hope you at least got a kick out of the "Blood Music" CD!
Keep up your consistently great work! I'll keep reading! I just wouldn't mind seeing a movie based on ANY of your stuff!
take care,
Chris

Response: Ripe for Unoriginal Hollywood...
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/01/2004 10:40:23 AM

Hey, Chris! Thanks again for the great album! Where is it available now?

I'll be patient about movies, but I'd hate to end up like Frank Herbert and Phil Dick and miss out on the premieres...

Response: Ripe for Unoriginal Hollywood...
Posted By: Christopher Pearson, Cambridge, Massachusetts - 11/01/2004 12:04:20 PM

Hi again, Greg-

Quick answer to your question about the availability of the Green Magnet School "Blood Music" CD-
Technically, it's out of print, but I do know you can get it online at the Sub Pop records website (www.subpop.com), and, even better, you can usually find it pretty darn cheap on eBay most of the time. It was also released as a vinyl LP, but only in Europe.

thanks for your response and take care,
Chris

AWESOME WORK
Posted By: Jeffrey, Singapore - 10/29/2004 07:14:23 AM

Hello Greg.

I confess to reading almost all of your works. Only Mr Robert L Forward comes close in my humble opinion, and I cite Dragons? Egg as the most pertinent example. It?s amazing how a basic knowledge of science opens gateways that I?d struggle to see a less interested or less informed audience appreciate. Your creativity is awesome, and ability to extrapolate the present is equal, such as the internet as we have it today in Slant.

I thoroughly enjoyed Eon, Eternity and Legacy, and could not help draw parallels to Clarke?s Rama, even only for the image of a cylinder floating in space. But The Forge of God and Anvil of Stars take the cake for me. It is novel that captures nearly all aspect of why someone like me reads science fiction. Interstellar travel, alien biology and technology, human - alien interaction and scientific extrapolation. An all-in-one compendium, what more could a reader ask for. I?m a true science fiction appreciator, so I had just one small gripe if I may, on Anvil that my imagination could not overcome. That?s the endgame at Leviathan, in which I could not seem to fathom how the moms could create a defense shield of the Killer?s noach weapons for the Shrike, Greyhound and Trojan Horse ships, but that the Killer?s immense and evolved systems did not have a similar defense of their own planets from noach weapons. The Killer's missed this one minor detail? No chance. But can I think of a better way to defeat a system described as experienced and evolved as Leviathan, no, and pointless of course.

The revelation of a possible movie combining Forge and Anvil is very exciting. The special effects I just saw in the movie ?The Day After Tomorrow? might lend some ideas as to how awesome the final could be.

Dead Lines is next. Cant wait.

G

Response: Awesome work
Posted By: Greg Bear - 10/29/2004 11:02:34 AM

Hello, Jeffrey, and thanks! In the land of super-science, making up rationales might seem fruitless--but what I had in mind is that the defenses that work for small ships might not work for planets. Still, it's worth pondering...

Special effects today are the least of our worries in movie-making!

Response: Awesome work
Posted By: Christopher Pearson, Cambridge, Massachusetts - 10/30/2004 11:34:56 AM

What's this about a possible movie combining Forge and Anvil? That would be amazing. I've been waiting WAY too long for a film adaptation of any of Mr. Bear's works.
Any more info on this would be greatly appreciated!

cheers,
Chris

Response: Awesome work: more on anvil and descriptor theory
Posted By: patrick - 10/30/2004 04:00:30 PM

first off, i dont remember being presented with a specific cognitive model of the killers, hence, we would have no idea what directions and depths their technological development might go. we are, however, aware that the moms know a lot more than theyre letting on - the kids surmise this - and there is an inherent advantage in this, if the kids can ferret the relevant data out of them; which, they do.

second, regarding the advanced principles of descriptor theory which the kids discover, one might wonder whether they couldnt just teleport and stuff, allowing them greater manueverability and such.

(this i thought of when reading anvil - and guess what?.....exactly such implications became ramifications in moving mars. wowzers!)

Response: Awesome work
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/01/2004 10:29:59 AM

Carrying it all to extremes in DEAD LINES as well. How far can theory be stretched? Well...

Response: Awesome work
Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/01/2004 10:38:04 AM

Thanks, Chris! Right now, Stephen Susco ("The Grudge") is scripting a combo version of the two novels as one film. More info as it's sent to me!

THANK YOU
Posted By: Tim Lockman, Franklin, Illinois - 10/28/2004 11:20:06 PM

Thank you for rekindling my interest in reading. Your books are intelligent, well researched, and incredibly entertaining. Characters are compelling. Story lines are cutting edge and believeable. While I have yet to read all your books, I plan to do so asap. Thanks again for providing all of us with such terrific reading.

Response: Thank you
Posted By: Greg Bear - 10/29/2004 10:59:45 AM

Thanks, Tim!

RESEARCH QUESTION
Posted By: Alicyn Henning, Portland, Oregon - 10/27/2004 03:56:04 PM

Hello, Mr. Bear -
I would like to start by thanking you for crafting some of the most interesting and well-written sci-fi novels I have ever read. Your work is fantastic.
Currently I am an undergraduate at Portland Community College and am writing a thesis on how science fiction, in all its forms, contributes and in some cases controls the direction of research and development. Do you have a viewpoint on this idea that I may cite within my paper? I am curious to know how current innovation trends influence authors in science fiction, and likewise how scientists are influenced by what they read in literature. My focus for this thesis is on the development of computers, cybernetics and nanotechnology - any thoughts you may have on these topics would be of great interest to me.
Thank you for your time, and have a great day -

Sincerely,
Alicyn Henning

PS - will you be coming back to Portland some time? I would love to have my copy of Dead Lines signed ^_^

Response: research question
Posted By: Greg Bear - 10/27/2004 06:28:52 PM

Hello, Alicyn! Your question requires a long answer--wish I had the time to respond in full. Briefly, science fiction and science are part of the same spectrum of discovery in modern culture--science fiction the dreaming side, and science the heavy lifting, the side of hard work in field or lab, and finding proof. Both are important. I think that science fiction works most often as literature and entertainment, ordering our opinions about our relationship with the world--but on occasion, it can inspire real scientific speculation. Science, of course, helps create the foundation and the background for all of science fiction. So who benefits the most from the relationship? You tell me!

SO MUCH FOR PERFORMANCE ANXIETY
Posted By: Mike Glosson, San Diego, California - 10/27/2004 01:10:30 PM

Thanks for the speedly reply on word out put. The 5000 output is only when I'm really hot, and then there's a lot less the following days.

Normal days are closer to the figures you quoted. Great days are in the 2000 range.

I was wondering where I stood as far as production.

Even with the few nonfictional pieces I've had coaxed out of me over the years most of the WORK toward it was the back ground research, then 2300 words in less than two hours(I'd been think about the piece for two weeks, notes, etc). It took my longer to format the footnotes than write the piece. The editor took it on the second draft.

It helps that I type 100+ words a minute. Thank Gates for Spell checkers!

Going through some of the items I have here...there's the account of a climb and hike I did above Warner Springs back in March, 1700+ words in about as many minutes divided by my typing rate...never tried to place it, but shared it with some fellow climbers who thought it was publishable material...perhaps how I got back into all this again more seriously.



Just getting back up to speed this week after having to mothball a memoir project about my Dotcom Experiences that I was working on with the blessings of our CEO. We did a softlanding and got bought out by AOL. But not enough time has passed and the market/society is not quite right for the telling of such a story, which will be a combination of survival saga and cautionary tale.

Anyway, thanks taking the time to talk shop with me. This should reduce the risk of my fingers catching fire.

Mike.

ps: My girlfriend tells me some of your "Darwin" material is being picked up for Film or TV production?

Response: So much for performance Anxiety
Posted By: Greg Bear - 10/27/2004 03:27:28 PM

Indeed. Take a look at the news releases at the Sci Fi Channel, available through the home page here.

A QUESTION OF CRAFT
Posted By: Mike Glosson, Rainy San Diego, California - 10/27/2004 12:41:53 PM

This is a question I've been meaning to ask for a couple of weeks now regarding the craft of writing and your own output.

You've been writing pretty much for three decades now, and very few of your novels are the slim volumes of your early work.

So my question is, when you are in project mode, what is your daily word output? Since I started writing again outside of my endless hard bound journals (which are notoriously hard to share with others), and espeically in the last few months, I'm currently topping out at 5000 words per day, when I'm hot. When I'm not, it's 1000 a day or less.

Today's projects (since I can't do any bonobo observations) are song writing and "boostering" for commercial space flight. I've already wrung out about 2000 words so far today. Taking a break from that to catch up on news and research.

Thanks.

Mike

Response: A question of Craft
Posted By: Greg Bear - 10/27/2004 12:48:31 PM

5000 words a day is incredibly prolific, Mike! I try to write about 1200-1300 words a day, and on difficult passages, am happy with two or three pages--about six hundred words. Plotting is the major delay--making all the elements fit together. And even with ideas in mind, there are delays as I go through all the critical functions to see whether the ideas make sense, aren't silly, are reasonably original--and so on. To coin a phrase, it's hard work!

JUST A HELLO
Posted By: Andy Levine, Colorado - 10/26/2004 11:19:44 AM

Greetings Mr. Bear,

I have just finished reading your Darwin novels and must say they are extremely wonderful. It has been a while that I have read a novel and immersed myself comepletely in the story and the characters. I find your story lines to be profound and socialogically valid. I do have one question and that is how much biology and science background do you have? Were you a student at a time? The scientific issue you discuss in your novels are daunting at times and it is amazing to me that you know so much about this. I am a high school english teacher who teaches SF lit and this question will surely help me in discussion with my students. Thanks for your time, thanks for your stories, and keep on writing that SF stuff, it is a precious addition to the literary world and you have caught my attention and your work will be read on a regular basis... so thank you.

Sincerely,
Andy Levine

Response: just a hello
Posted By: Greg Bear - 10/26/2004 11:32:45 AM

Hello, Andy! Good to hear from a teacher. I took a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in science, but have been a student of things scientific since I was a wee lad. Most of my biology is self-taught, with significant help from scientist friends, who have been kind enough to chip in with sources and advice. (Many are listed in the backs of the novels.)

SEQUEL TO FORGE/ANVIL?
Posted By: chris danvers, australia - 10/26/2004 09:20:02 AM

Hello Greg, It truely is a pleasure. I've been a fan for a while now, first coming across your work because my lecturor at university was named Greg and he was nicknamed the bear. But seriously I only recently found a copy of Queen of Angels (which helped me get through Slant with easy, got to remember to read these in order!) and Anvil of Stars. After I read Forge my first thought was "this would make a great movie". I'm a Director/Composer and it broke my heart to see that you already have licenced Forge of God without letting me get renowned first (keep me a job!). But i beg please don't force Forge and Anvil together. I think you should do a Forge movie and then have an Anvil spin-off TV series, Which is the only way to really get any of the depth of the stories across. Lots of your books would make great, lasting, evolving programs. Eon would be fantastic as well. Come on!! Stargate still does business so this to me is a no brainer.

Also it says somewhere that there is also another sequel to Forge/Anvil if this movie thing goes ahead. Are you going to write that anyway? The people in the Ship of the law weren't about to go home were they? I think they should even if they were thousands of years out of date, they have to let someone know they suceeded or at least killed someone. Its the most important decision any human would have ever made, I think they would have liked to share the guilt (god i would need to).

I could ramble forever, If you ever make it to Australia, look me up... if you ever make it here that is...
Chris D

Response: sequel to Forge/Anvil?
Posted By: Greg Bear - 10/26/2004 10:33:48 AM

Thanks, Chris! Current plans are indeed to combine the two into one film, but as you no doubt know, things can be very fluid in film development. If this movie gets greenlighted, there will almost certainly be a third novel in the sequence--

Fingers crossed!