Discussion Board

Topic: How is "City at the end of Time" going?

From: Adam Crowl
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Date: 10/17/2007

Hi Greg

That perennial British SF serial, "Doctor Who" seems to have scooped your timeframe for the new book - the season 3 episode "Utopia" sends the Doctor to "the end of time" in the year 100 trillion (more or less.) Wasn't badly handled either - space-time seems to be collapsing into black-holes all over the place, and all the regular stars are dead.

I've been reading the reports of memory molecules in recent science news with interest because that might indicate a molecular interface for the brain to interact with our DNA - including HERVs - and invasive DNA from exogenous viruses and bacterial plasmids hitching a ride.

Also there was a speculative journal article on life based on plasma crystals - charged dust can form stable helical structures it seems akin to DNA and proteins. What do you think of the chances of plasma based life? I think Olaf Stapledon would have smiled to learn of "dust life" and all the intensely electrical "dust-devils" that inhabit Mars - his Martians, from "Last, And First Men" were cloud-like distributed organisms.

Life has some strange possibilities indeed.

Re: How is

From: Greg Bear
Date: 10/17/2007

CITY has been delivered to my U.S. and UK editors. I've caught a fair number of the recent DR WHO episodes, and many have been excellent. I wonder if that year-number is entirely coincidental...? (I also sometimes wonder if EON's success in the UK was due in part to its resemblances to DOCTOR WHO. A time traveling object bigger on the inside than on the outside, leading to any number of times and alternate universes... an ambiguously human male who kidnaps a human female and makes her his partner... You decide!)

Interesting parallels

From: Adam Crowl
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Date: 10/17/2007

Hi Greg

Hey I hadn't thought of "Eon" and "Doctor Who" but it makes sense - and the "Lords" of the Infinite Hexamon manipulate time don't they? The Jarts are rather Dalek-like in their single-minded crusade too. LOL

Glad to hear the book is on its way. I'll be looking out for it here in Oz. Any teasers you can leak to us?

Interesting parallels

From: Greg Bear
Date: 10/17/2007

No teasers. Wouldn't want the Time Lords to hear!

Re: How is

From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Switzerland
Date: 10/17/2007

Greg, many congratulations on getting that draft out!

and kind regards...

Re: How is

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 10/17/2007

I don't know about the Dr. Who/Eon thing. The Tom Baker episodes were my favorites, but honestly the whole thing was, and continues to be, a bit wonky. I'm still waiting for a serious, in many respects, film.

More on topic: for insight into speculated plasma life forms, check out Gregory Benford's Galactic Centre series.

Re: How is

From: Greg Bear
Date: 10/20/2007

Now for a bit of a breather, before the revisions come due...

Re: How is

From: Greg Bear
Date: 10/20/2007

The old WHO series are great fun. The new ones have equal manic energy, a very wonky imagination, and sometimes great heart as well.

Half the appeal was wonky sets

From: Adam Crowl
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Date: 10/20/2007

Hi again

Before the revived "Doctor Who" was aired here in Oz our ABC began playing all the old "Who" it could blow dust off over a couple of years, so we had the pleasure of seeing all the surviving wonky old episodes from 1963-1969, as well as the more complete 1970-1989 canon. There were many lacuna - a lot of BBC archival videotape had been "recycled" in the late 1960s. The dodgey model work and silly SFX were rather charming, making the old series more like stage-plays than SF TV.

By Jon Pertwee's era (1970-1974) things had improved immensely, though the monsters were pretty rubbery, yet clever TV work gave it real suspense value. Tom Baker's early episodes seemed a bit slip-shod compared to Pertwee's better episodes, but in time that improved. I always remember being genuinely terrified as a child by some of Baker's adventures. The Antimatter Monster of Zeta Minor remains my favourite, perhaps because it reminds me so much of "Forbidden Planet", another old fave. The fact even the Doctor couldn't over-power it and could only placate it always impressed me.

Peter Davison and Colin Baker's era (1981-1986) passed quite quickly when played back-to-back. Davison I actually liked as the Doctor, contra most other Who-nuts. Not much stood out the second time around for Colin Baker's episodes for me - his first runs were never repeated until this point.

Slyvester McCoy's revival (1988-89) was a kind of weird transition between old and new in my mind - first season of the New Who was showing by this time. In the 16 years between them a lot of back-story happened - the Time War/s and so on - but something stylistic survived.

I've never heard the radio-plays, so there's a fair bit of 'canon' I've missed. Some of the old "Who" future history has changed too - is the New Who in a parallel time-stream established post Time-War/s?

Re: How is "City at The End of Time going"?

From: Richard Blaber
Location: Northamptonshire, England
Date: 10/22/2007

The old WHOs _were_ great fun - particularly from the mid-1970s, during the Robert Holmes/Philip Hinchcliffe era, with Tom Baker as The Doctor. My favourite episodes are 'Pyramids of Mars' and 'The Talons of Weng-Chiang' (Seasons 13 & 14, available on DVD), both written by Holmes, the former under a nom-de-plume.
Do you have a favourite episode/episodes?

Re: How is

From: Michael Pine
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Date: 10/23/2007

Greg,

this certainly is great NEWS about City, can't wait for this book to come out.

Do you believe in eBooks ? Or will this only be delivered via good old Paperback/Hardcover.

Good luck with City as well.

Re: How is

From: Greg Bear
Date: 10/24/2007

CITY will no doubt be brought out in ebook form by Random House/Del Rey. (They helped put DARWIN'S RADIO and DARWIN'S CHILDREN on the top ten list of ebook bestsellers for a long time.) A lot of my books are also available from eReads, as well as other sources.

Re: How is/ No Teasers

From: Mike Glosson
Location: Less Smoky San Diego, California
Date: 10/26/2007

You had replied above in the thread:

"From: Greg Bear
Date: 10/17/2007

No teasers. Wouldn't want the Time Lords to hear!"

So, from what little I've been able to glean from one of your replies and the net, it's definitely gotten me intrigued, and the following just kinda popp'd into my head a few minutes ago:

All I know is that it is set on earth 100 Trillian years from now, and there's a metaphysical plague that threatens to corrupt all of history.

I visualize a teaser campaign, like maybe along the temporal freeway in Zelazny's ROADMARKS, along the lines of the Billboards along the I-8 in Arizona and then on the I-10, teasing motorists and families driving cross country on vacation, about THE THING. "What is it?" We passed it four times, twice in the 1960s, and Twice in the 1970s, and my Dad, whose driving mottos were "We're burning daylight" and "We're making good time", would Never never never ever stop there, how much we pleaded.

So I see this Billboard Campaign set up along the upwhen side of THE ROAD, starting just a little past the last exit to Babylon and ending just past the sign that says "Diaspar before Alvin of Loronei: 600 Million Years"

With cryptic hints every 30 million years. I will have to jump back into my study of BEING AND TIME to distract myself.

On a different note: While the fires are still burning on the mountains, the air cleared out in the city at 1:30 PM today, and temps have dropped back down into the 60s. Breathing isn't as much of a challenge. But's not over yet...

Mike


Re: How is

From: Chris C
Location: Durban, South Africa
Date: 10/31/2007

Noooooo not eBooks. I like to go to bed with a good paperback.

:-)

Re: How is/ No Teasers

From: Greg Bear
Date: 11/02/2007

Sounds like a great campaign--now, can you suggest an advertising firm that will last that long? Good to hear the pollution is subsiding. Lots of friends and family in the area.

Re: How is

From: Greg Bear
Date: 11/02/2007

I'm sure there will be a paperback as well, Chris! A nice thick one... Though Sony's new reader looks intriguing. Might have to get one, finally.

Re: How is

From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston
Date: 11/06/2007

Greg,

Will you be signing copies of CITY at the University Book Store (like you did with the UK edition of QUANTICO)?

BTW - just purchased a signed 1st of HEGIRA and SLANT, and they are on their way. (Apparently you reissued HEGIRA in hardback in 1988.)

Now, if I could just find PSYCHLONE...


Jimmy

Re: How is

From: Greg Bear
Date: 11/06/2007

I'll probably be doing a signing at University Bookstore. They've never failed to invite me--even had two signings for QUANTICO!

Big Rip, the Ripper....

From: Steve Guy
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Date: 12/03/2007

I am not certain about this, but in only a few billion years, won't all the matter in the universe have been torn apart by the Big Rip? If not that, we will have to contend with proton decay in the future as well.

The story of a civilisation facing the Big Rip might be very interesting!

Big Rip, the Ripper....

From: Greg Bear
Date: 12/05/2007

Not quite sure what the Big Rip is--but yes, there are likely lots of strange phenomenon down the road a ways--and lots of opportunities for clever people to do New and Interesting Things. And new nemeses, as well.

Ripping yarns and catastophes

From: Steven Guy
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Date: 12/06/2007

Stuff on the Big Rip:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rip

On Proton Decay:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton_decay

Another worry! M.31 in Andromeda on a collision course with the Milky Way galaxy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy
http://www.cita.utoronto.ca/~dubinski/tflops/

One of these is going to do us, or life in our galaxy, 'in' well before a trillion years has past, I think.

Sorry to bring the bad news!


Ripping yarns and catastophes

From: Greg Bear
Date: 12/10/2007

Only if we stand still...

Re: How is

From: Fabi Quitales
Location: Manila
Date: 01/07/2009

hi, greg! just wondrin' if there will also be a pocketbook version of your latest sf "city..."? i usually keep sf books in pocketbook version. what we have here in Manila are only those in paperback.

Re: How is

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/13/2009

There's a paperback of CATEOT due this summer, U.S. edition.

Re: How is

From: JJ Gianelli
Location: Honolulu
Date: 01/19/2009

As a fan of Eon, I plowed through "City.." and to me it was a tremendous waste of space. I'm not into fantasy generally, but I'm really abhor pointless fantasy. How was I enriched or educated in any way by the time I wasted on this book?

Having said that and having invested the time in the book, I have some suggestions since celebrity and reputation will lure others:

1. Put in a glossary: What the hell is a "Gape"? After reading the book, still don't have a clue.

2. Tidy up the conclusion. We invested a lot effort in getting to know your characters and locales and at the end we know what happened to just 4 of them. What of the rest? Did they just cease to exist? End up in the garbage heap? Create their own fantasy universe? Seriously unsatisfying.

3 Explain specific fantasy references: e.g. on page 137 of the 1st Edition there is a reference to "that dark day of August 9, 1924 in Rheims". Nothing happened of relevance in our reality on that date/location and nothing is ever revisited in the book to explain what happened in the "reality" experienced by Glaucous.

Re: How is

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/23/2009

I suspect a lot of readers found EON confusing as well. No glossary there, either! Some books request a little extra effort as they attempt to plow new land. Sorry this one did not connect for you. But compare the very enthusiastic reaction of other readers... what's a poor author to think?

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