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Issue Number : 22 - Kicking the Sacred Cow, Entoverse, The Home Front, Bulletin Board Remodeled


Kicking the Sacred Cow, Entoverse, The Home Front, Bulletin Board Remodeled

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Issue #22 - May 30, 2004 Back to main Archives page

KICKING THE SACRED COW

A lot of people have been waiting patiently for a long time, but Kicking the Sacred Cow: Questioning the Unquestionable and Thinking the Impermissible is now released as a June hardback from Baen Books and should be in the stores. My original tentative title was Truth Under Tyranny, but the folks at Baen opted to change it to what we have. Not being especially obdurate over such things, I figured that they probably have a better feel for what catches the eye and moves things from shelves. In any case, they write the checks.

We went through quite a list of rejections with this one, which was a prime reason for its being in the works for so long. A number of the publishers who turned it down were honest enough to say openly that they had no complaints about the content or the quality of the writing, but were intimidated by thought of the professional wrath that they would surely be inviting from at least some quarters. One stated that he had books on his shelves assuring him that theories which KTSC questioned were incontestable -- and that appeared to be the end of it. To me, both reactions speak pretty plainly of the need why such a book does need to be published, and my thanks to Jim Baen for making it happen.

The cover illustration is now up on the web site (link above), looking intriguing but I'm not really sure I follow what it's saying. There's a face looking celestially god-like out of some kind of a cosmic cloud, reaching with ethereal fingers toward a star -- I think it might be me. But a good overall summary of the book appears in the flap copy, which is probably worth reproducing here:

This book is not concerned with cranks or simple die-hards, who are entitled to their foibles and come as part of life's pattern. Rather, it looks at instances of present-day orthodoxies tenaciously defending beliefs in the face of what would appear to be verified fact and plain logic, or doggedly closing eyes and minds to ideas whose time has surely come. In short, where scientific authority seems to be functioning more in the role of religion protecting doctrine and putting down heresy than championing the spirit of free inquiry that science is supposed to be.

ENTOVERSE

I'm pleased to announce also that in keeping with their policy of maintaining a healthy SF backlist, Baen Books will be reissuing Entoverse, the fourth book in the Giants Series. (Original Del Rey hardback release, October 1991.) A number of people over the years have told me they weren't aware that a fourth in the series existed, so here's a chance to catch up for those who missed the original edition. This is especially with the recent completion of the fifth book, Multiverse: Mission to Minerva. We'll try to arrange things such that Entoverse appears before the release of Multiverse. I try to make each of these a self-contained story that doesn't depend on any required reading beforehand; but nevertheless, it helps to be able to follow events in the correct order.

HOME FRONT

The saga of Carthagesque demolition, followed -- hopefully -- by restoration of the farm that I bought outside Sligo continues, with three new floors laid to replace the original stone slabs that I suspect were constructed from megalithic leftovers, and which sloped from both ends toward the front door at angles suggestive of the Titanic's final plunge, owing to the traditional custom of cleaning the house by sloshing and sweeping everything to the outside with a bucket of water. We now have two modern, level, cemented expanses that will be underlaid and carpeted to become a living room and my office, and the third -- previously a dank, damp dungeon for captive Viking raiders -- dried out, rewalled with a new ceiling, and opened through to the kitchen as the dining room, now ready to be laid with oak boards. However, because of the risk of warping, it can't be attempted until the place has dried out from all the cementing and plastering. This entails the builders having the heating on day and night to empty the tank that I just had filled for the newly installed oil-fired system, which I'm told should achieve the desired result some time between now and the next ice age. This is despite a current week of sunshine that is guaranteed to encourage the farmers into demanding drought relief -- the usual reaction when it stops raining for a week in western Ireland. It could also mean that we actually get something meaningful in return for our fire-insurance premiums by making combustion an actual physical possibility.

It should hardly come as a surprise that I'm still in the flat above the pizza parlor in the center of town, with fifteen pubs located on the surrounding and adjacent blocks, eight of them visible from the window. In some ways that's probably not a bad thing, since I'm in the throes of working up outlines for whatever the next few books turn out to be, and not in a situation to take on major distractions. Suggestions continue to come in from the Review and Advisory Committee in McGarrigle's Pub and elsewhere as to what I might do with the zeppelin shed. One was that I might consider constructing a mammoth model railroad layout and make it available to local enthusiasts. However, I think that the local enthusiasts are currently tied up in prevailing upon the Government to reopen a real railroad in the form of the West Coast link from Sligo down to Limerick and Cork, which the Victorians were able to operate effectively, but later generations of expert were unable to justify continuing on account of the need for a road system costing twenty times more. In any case, I'm not sure I have such adolescent leanings as model railroads these days. Since being shown around Budweiser's brewery in St. Louis, what I really want is my own bottling plant.

BULLETIN BOARD REMODELED

We've changed the architecture of the web site Bulletin Board to download Headers only initially, with an added option for going straight to all postings in a given category of interest. The main reason was that the full set was becoming unwieldy and inordinately slow to load -- even people with fast connections were noticing. Also, this way enabled us to do away with the "Archives" section, saving sysadmin Tim Gleason the periodic chore of retiring items from the "New" listings page. This also prepares the way for putting the whole thing on a database with an enhanced Search capability, which visitors should find very convenient. The latter function is entrusted to oldest son Alex, completion date, as with the oak-floored dining room, somewhere between now and the next ice age.

There has been some objection on the grounds that it was nice to be able to scroll down the entire page and come across interesting things serendipitously, but in the main readers seem to prefer the changes. Those who disagree can take it up with ex-Marine Tim. I've already got the Irish construction industry to deal with.

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