Discussion Board

Topic: As long as I am here: QUEEN OF ANGELS revisited

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: 07/28/2009


As I stated in a private post Bill Burgette sold me a paperback copy of QUEEN OF ANGELS late on Sunday, my Hard Back First Edition long gone (more on that in my longer revisit write up).

So, as promised, I'm going to give this Book a second chance. Granted when I read it in 1990 I was pretty much on the outs with most Science Fiction except for two very different authors...but that's another tale.

ANd when I came back to your work with MOVING MARS it was the Greg I remembered from earlier works, and as the FBI books are in the time line that results in Queen of Angels, I need to loop back and have a look, and try and figure out why I didn't like it on the first read.

With my Over the Top works schedule not exactly sure when I'll get to this, but you are almost always a fast and gripping read (to the exclusion of all else!) so it could conceivably occur on a day when I turn my back on the Computer Nets twined around the Earth and look at other things.

Back soon enough with my Report, nearly twenty years after the first read...


Re: As long as I am here: QUEEN OF ANGELS revisited

From: Greg Bear
Date: 08/03/2009

I hear Bill's store is having to move, and with the shuttering of Wahrenbrock's, I'm losing more and more of my history in San Diego! Wahrenbrock's is where I shopped as a teenager, and Chuck Valverde hosted my first book signing in 1979, for HEGIRA. All will be missed. (I'm hoping Bill Burgette will find another location...)

Re: As long as I am here: QUEEN OF ANGELS revisited

From: Mike Glosson
Location: Poway, CA
Date: 08/03/2009

What?!?! Bill's having to Move? Let me guess, the misguided land lord on Adams is demanding MORE MONEY than the place is worth.

We've been seeing a lot of that lately, Business Landlords not realizing that the rental market has crashed and thinking the Gentrification of Adams is still going on.

It's stalled and I fear Normal Heights might slip back into the decrepitude it experienced in the late 70s thru late 80s. Before the Book Store Revival.

That will just leave me with Adams Avenue Books, Book Tree, and Tibet Gift House along the Avenue.

Only three book stores on Adams Avenue, formerly Book Row.

Argh...Bill always had the best selections from his Estate Spelunking. I'm gonna have to zip down there and raid the paperback area.

I'd actually picked up the replacement copy of QUEEN OF ANGELS going down there to find a run of the Lensmen series.

But my book History of SD is more gone than yours: Book Stop 3: Gone in the 1980s. Amber Unicorn, gone before the early 80s. The Warenbrocks in College Grove, and Read-A-Rama...gone before the 1990s started. Just Paperbacks...gone...the Book store on the Corner of El Cajon and 70th with a wide selection of vintage PDK....long gone.

Will we be the only ones to remember them? Is this a sign that San Diego is a City stepping out of Time into a Digital Eternity?

Re: As long as I am here: QUEEN OF ANGELS revisited

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: 08/06/2009

OK...nearly two decades later I think, about 50 pages in (I really have no free time these days) I know where my original disappointment with this work was centered.

1. The original Crime was as you pitched at the '87 SDSU writer's workshop was that the Perp, a mass murderer, killed his victims as they were being loaded into Main City Memory. The Actual Crime in the Novel was physical murder...I think at the time of your presentation you were still quite Heady with Axis City and Thistledown, and also ramping up your "Planet Killer" Duet of novels.

2. The Indictment of the "Poetic Community" as untreated Neurotics...as I had been associating with San Diego's version of that in the '80s up thru '89...that and the Literati I took as something of a "personal" slap at the time. Looking back two decades later I think you might have been to lenient in your analysis. Little was I to know at the time that I was about enter a social mileau that would make the Literati seem like Vulcans...but that's another story.

3. The Voodon imagery in the Prep's "Country of the Mind"...reminded me too much of the appropriation of the Mythos of Voodon by the AIs in COUNT ZERO by Gibson giving me the impression of "This is Greg Bear 'doing' Cyberpunk".

4. The projection of "Temporary" or "Contract" services in the future for the "Unskilled" as you originally projected it in the '87 talk. As I was working thru a Temp Agency at the time, before it became trendy for starving "Artistes" to do that in the '90s I also took that a little on the personal side. Though my working thru those would end in the "Turn" of 89/90 until the Tech/Internet Revolution of the Mid 90s. I should have run the "Cops as Temps" past my brother at some point, since he's a State Cop having worked for two different CA agencies...and unlike me in my Tech career hasn't done a lot of Company Hopping, having an almost "traditional" life long job...not sure how that's going with the State of California being broke. I've not even been able to get him to read Quantico (at one point he wanted to work for the DEA, or be a G-Man)even giving him a copy...

You might have actually almost hit a social projection mark with that estimation of Temporary services in the future...as an Employeer I have utilized several big name services to fill either short term IT needs, or Temp to Hire situations. And I've known collegues who have ended up becoming full time "Employees" of such agencies, jumping from project to project. And in 2000 and and 2005 I jumped to the other side of that, being between full time jobs, doing Contract work on the IT side for months at a time at Big Corporations.


After two decades I had completely forgotten the substory of the AXIS probe.

And on the first read it looks like I had COMPLETELY missed the point about Ms Choy's "Transform" status, and the whole compare/contrast between her chosen skin colour, and that of the Perp she was persuing.

Just 50 pages in, looking at it with two decades of time and your later works, I think this might have been the first novel where your writing style started to get "tight"

And not that you were a slackard in any of your earlier works...but this one may be the one where you jumped to a different state of stylistic consistency.

Hopefully I'll have some time on Sunday to burn my way thru more of QUEEN, but as it is I already have four major projects lined up for the weekend, three upgrades and yet another deeper level system audit.


Re: As long as I am here: QUEEN OF ANGELS revisited

From: Greg Bear
Date: 08/18/2009

I don't remember doing a workshop in 1987--perhaps it was early in the year? We moved to the Northwest that summer. And FORGE OF GOD was already finished and was published in 1987.

Re: As long as I am here: QUEEN OF ANGELS revisited

From: Mike Glosson
Location: Poway, CA
Date: 08/18/2009

I think it was late January or Early February, so it was early early in the year.

It was early in the afternoon of a Saturday as well, east facing classroom, I think in one of the "original" SDSU buildins.

From what I remember of that day you must have JUST finished FORGE, as that was the main subject matter of your talk, and then the segue into proto Queen of Angels...but as I read the Axis City parts of EON again (burned thru 400 pages on Sunday!) the crime that is central to Queen may have been set in the Way instead.

Dare we contemplate "The Alternate Bears?" (the Asimov collection of a similar name has the original version of End of Eternity"

But all that is 22 years "downwhen" of us now.

Hope to finish EON in the next few days, if life and work will let me...enjoying it more the second time around...now with the perspective of time will I enjoy ETERNITY more or less on this third read coming up? Imagery from that one stuck with me a long time.

And the Jarts have always creeped me out. The BORG on Trek seem to have bitten off parts of the Jarts game.

And before CITY hit the stores I was wondering how much of the behavior of those at the end of time was goin to be ransacking history ans storing it like ants in amber.

Re: As long as I am here: QUEEN OF ANGELS revisited

From: Vincent L. Diaz
Location: San Diego, California
Date: 10/29/2009

I came to this board just today after a search for any use of Arbeiter in other venues. I am assuming from the discussion on this page that Greg Bear, Himself as the Irish say, is personally monitoring and responding to this discussion ;>)

I have been a life long Science Fiction fan and was immediately attracted to your novel, Queen of the Angels. In fact, I bring up your novel, narrating the plot, every chance I get to interested students of mine. Being a native of San Diego I appreciated the locales updated in the far future, (also just finding out you're a native of San Diego, yourself). I have two questions for you.

I was puzzled about the use of your term YOX in the first novel. Of course I knew what future technology you were talking about from the context, but not the meaning of the term. I deduced that YOX might have been short for Your Own Experience. Am I wrong?

Also your use of the term Arbeiter. Clearly a name of robots of all sizes and purposes. I came to the meaning from a rather unusual circumstance. I have been a Tenor for the San Diego Master Chorale for many years. Recently, we performed again Brahms' choral masterpiece, Ein Deutsches Requiem.

As we were rehearsing the work, I had an English Translation of the German beside my music. I suddenly noticed that the German word Arbeit meant Labor or work and Arbeiter meant worker or Laborer. Was this an inspired guess on my part or merely a coincidence?

Finally, after three novels based on the original Universe you created in Queen of the Angels, might we dare hope for more in the series? I am anxious to know where Mary ever reconciled with her family in West LA !

Thank you for your response.

Vincent L. Diaz
(An "Arbeiter" of San Diego)

Re: As long as I am here: QUEEN OF ANGELS revisited

From: Greg Bear
Date: 11/05/2009

Thanks, Vincent! Yox was meant as a brand name that went viral, rather like Google or Xerox. But Your Own Experience certainly works. Arbeit seems to be similar to the root word that Capek used for his term robots in R.U.R. back in the twenties, so you got that right, as well! And MARIPOSA will shortly be connecting the QOA universe with QUANTICO's timeline, in a rather nifty way, I think.

Re: As long as I am here: QUEEN OF ANGELS revisited

From: Chris p
Location: San francisco
Date: 12/25/2011

I think another book in this universe us in order.....!!!! As the years go by, I become more and more impressed with Queen of Angels and Slant..... A human expedition to rendevous with AXIS would be epic!!!!!

Re: As long as I am here: QUEEN OF ANGELS revisited

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/17/2012

Many thanks, Chris. Maybe AXIS will team up with Voyager...? A deep space date!

Re: As long as I am here: QUEEN OF ANGELS revisited

From: Vincent L Diaz
Location: San Diego, California
Date: 01/19/2015

Greg: It's been over four years since I wrote to you puzzled by your use of YOX and Arbeiter in Queen of the Angels. I must confess that I am much behind with your output of novels, but will try to remedy that soon.

The reason for this post is that today I saw an article in the Drudge Report entitle: "Liberace Is Going Back On Tour...As A Hologram". As I read it I quickly realized that a prediction you made in your novel, SLANT, has just come true!

As I recall there was a scene where a character was attending a party in a private home. You proceeded to describe some unique entertainment that the owner of the house was providing for the amusement of his guests.

Specifically, under the supervision of the house's "Thinker", there were rented Holographic images from the "Estates"of long dead Hollywood stardom, holding forth live and update conversations with anyone who addressed them.

I remember the scene when the "social worker" went to the rest room and encountered an live image of Marilyn Monroe emerging from a virtual toilet stall saying "Its' your turn, Dearie!"

Congratulations! Your fiction has just become real! Below is a link to the article.


Vincent L. Diaz
San Diego, California

Re: As long as I am here: QUEEN OF ANGELS revisited

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/23/2015

Thanks, Vincent! Not at all sure this idea is original with SLANT (Connie Willis wrote a novel about this, REMAKE) but celebrities do make a party...

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