Outward Bound
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Sometime in 1995, I think it was, My agent, Eleanor Wood, passed on a letter from Charles Sheffield (who is also with Eleanor's agency) concerning a project that he and Jerry Pournelle were putting together with Tor books, and wanting to know if I was interested in getting involved. Basically, the intention was to produce a line of high-quality books introducing teenager readers to the kind of upbeat, adventure style of fiction based on solid science and characters worth admiring, typically with a juvenile protagonist--the kind of thing that Robert Heinlein and others did in the sixties. This would be called Tor's "Jupiter" series of young-adult fiction. Not long afterward, Charles had collaborated with Jerry to produce the first, which was entitled Higher Education, and Charles had followed it with the second, Billion Dollar Boy. These were hardcover releases with effort put into producing some nice cover art and professional packaging, and I thought yes, it was something I'd like to contribute to. Charles's original letter had also contained a sketch of a plot that I might consider using--although if I had other thoughts of my own, that was all right too. I quite liked the line that Charles and Jerry had suggested, and decided to go with it.

Writing for a younger audience than I was used to turned out to be an interesting and educational experience. Young people to be generally more direct and honest in their criticisms when a book wanders of the subject, goes nowhere, or otherwise loses their interest, and trying to bear this in mind results in writing on a shorter leash.

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