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Catastrophes, Chaos & Convolutions
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Background

This one went onto the back burner for some time before finally coming together as a reality. The two previous mixed collections of this kind, Minds, Machines, & Evolution and Rockets, Redheads, & Revolution proved popular with readers, eventually resulting in inquiries as to when we would see another one. Eleanor Wood and I both liked the idea, put it to Jim Baen, and the outcome was this latest offering. Jim was very patient. The completion date should have been sooner, but life went into one of its convulsive periods (Freudian association manifesting itself in the title?) that included selling the townhouse that I had in Florida and acquiring the farm cottage in western Ireland that led to another of those episodes of renovation that the death-wish side of me seems to seek compulsively whenever life threatens to become tranquil. The decision was to put CC&C on hold through most of 2004 and concentrate on the 5th "Giants" novel, Mission to Minerva, which also appears to have been the choice that readers preferred.

Actually, the "Convolution" in the title doesn't arise from anything Freudian -- as far as I can be aware, anyway -- but refers to one of the included stories, in which a time-traveling professor is harassed by versions of himself coming back from the future to retrieve lost objects. In answer to the question "Where do you get your ideas from?" (also the subject of one of the autobiographical pieces) the story started out as a comment from youngest son Joe. "Catastrophe" refers to a nonfiction piece on the political and religious background to 19th century British geology; "Creation, " to a discussion of the difficulties that molecular chemistry presents for evolutionary explanations, and why the Intelligent Design alternative merits consideration on scientific grounds and is not just "Creationism in disguise" as it opponents maintain.

 
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