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Issue Number : 21 - Fifth Giants Novel Completed, What's Next, Web Site, The Farm


Fifth Giants Novel Completed, What's Next, Web Site, The Farm

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Issue #21 - April 24, 2004
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FIFTH GIANTS NOVEL COMPLETED

After the usual frenzy and run of late nights that usually mark the final stages of writing a book -- when just about everything else in life gets put on hold for the duration -- the fifth Giants novel, tentatively entitled Multiverse: Mission to Minerva, is finished at last and sent off to the publisher, weighing in at 130,000 words. Hunt, Danchekker, and a small group from Earth team up with Thurien scientists to explore the physics of the bizarre event at the conclusion of Giants' Star, when the fleeing Jevlenese spacecraft were hurled back 50,000 years in time and across light-years of space to appear at the planet Minerva. The results of the investigation make it possible to send an expedition back to the planet before the time of its destruction in an attempt to create a new history. A new Title Page is up on the web site, giving further details, along with a few sample chapters.

This book will also (I hope) satisfy those readers who have been asking for something more along the lines of Paths to Otherwhere, dealing with alternate realities and parallel universes. These themes stem from the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics, which posits all possible realities as being equally real and existing in the form of a vast, treelike, branching structure of time lines from every "present" unfolding toward multiple alternate futures. In the early stages of conceiving the book, I was talking about this with oldest son Alex, and such being the way of curious and imaginative offspring, he wanted to know why the time lines couldn't come together as well as diverge, and what would happen if they did? The notion is intriguing. What it would mean is that instead of different future universes springing from the same present, each carrying the same memories and records from it, we would have a present universe composed of parts that arrived from different pasts. So people would be unable to agree on what happened yesterday, or even two minutes ago, and physical objects might carry evidence of histories that contradicted. The temptation to play with such thoughts proved irresistible. Eventually, they formed the basis of a curious local effect produced in the vicinity of the equipment that the Thuriens have built to test their theories, giving Danchekker grounds for being even more cantankerous than normal and disagreeing with everybody. Also, since good plotting calls for it, the phenomenon is turns out to be not just an amusing gimmick on the side, but in true melodramatic tradition, provides the means for foiling the villains when all hope seems lost. To say more than that here would risk spoiling things, however.

AND NEXT? . . .

Earlier this week, I finished the editing and corrections of the proofs for the nonfiction book on scientific heresies, Kicking the Sacred Cow: Thinking the Unthinkable and Questioning the Impermissible and sent them off, so that should be appearing on schedule in July. I was pleased with the way it reads, even though I have no doubt there will be disagreements from some over the various cases that it makes.

The next contracted work is another mixed collection of short fiction and nonfiction pieces along the lines of Minds, Machines & Evolution and Rockets, Redheads & Revolution that has been outstanding for some time now. We think the title will be Catastrophes, Creation, Convolution, which says something about at least some of the intended content. More on this in future newsletters as the book takes shape.

The future beyond that is unclear at this stage. I'd like to do a novel-length story featuring the "Knight" again, but there isn't anything definite yet to report. Some months ago, I took time off from Giants 5 to write an outline for a proposed story set in an oppressive America gone totalitarian, but on rereading it today I find myself less enthusiastic. And that seems just as well, for Eleanor Wood tells me that the folks at Baen Books weren't grabbed by it either -- which, of course, happens. But there should be something in the works by the time CC&C is done.

WEB SITE

Ordering Page

Tina, the daughter who runs the recently-added Order Page is doing a steady business. It seems we've been able to help a number of people who were otherwise having trouble locating particular titles. We still plan to add a section offering foreign-language editions. One of the things that's held this up is finding sources of replacement stocks, since many foreign editions are out of print. Some people have suggested letting readers offer their used copies for resale via the site in return for a commission. It seems a good idea -- after all, if amazon.com and Barnes & Noble are making a few dollars from used JPH titles, then why not JPH?

In connection with the above, I'm told that "Affiliate Software" is available that does the whole job of tracking other vendors' products advertised on the site, forwarding the orders for them to process, and recording the appropriate percentages. The ones I've looked at, however, either aren't suitable or the blurb describing them is incomprehensible. If anyone knows of a good program of this kind, I'd be grateful to hear about it.

BULLETIN BOARD

Recent postings include:
  • An electric motor turned inside-out that doubles as a wheel -- being road tested in the Netherlands
  • The opinion poll that shamelessly reversed the for/against buttons when the answers weren't coming out as desired
  • Fascinating account of how evidence pointing to the existence of modern humans existing long ago is suppressed because it doesn't fit with approved theory
  • How the recent findings for water on Mars are consistent with a remarkable theory that Mars cycled close to Earth in comparatively recent times

HOME FRONT

The forces of chaos have been let loose on the farm (See November 2002 newsletter) in the form of Irish construction workers equipped with "digger" (backhoe), picks, sledgehammers, and shovels. So I'm still installed in the flat over the pizza parlor in Sligo town center -- probably just as well, in view of the amount of work that needed clearing in the last two months. The demolition part of the proceedings is now pretty much through, giving me the impression in the course of a visit this weekend of a scene from the Somme battlefield in 1916. It remains to be seen if the crew will prove equally adept at putting it all back together again. Although I'm assured, "Ah, t'will be no problem at all, at all," I've asked Toni Weisskopf at Baen Books to reserve space in CC&C for "Sorry About That 2." Time will tell if it was perspicacious.

My thanks again to all for your ongoing interest,
James P. Hogan
 
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