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Issue Number : 28 - Christmas On The Farm, Remodeling The Web Site, What's New, Chicago Convention, Heretics Bookstore, Bulletin Board


Christmas On The Farm, Remodeling The Web Site, What's New, Chicago Convention, Heretics Bookstore, Bulletin Board

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Issue #28 - January 18, 2005
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CHRISTMAS ON THE FARM

With the work on the farm cottage outside Sligo town reaching a the point where I was able to move in by August and get comfortable, this was the first Christmas for many years that I'd spent outside the U.S. I'd long made it a resolution there not to set foot in a shopping mall after December 1, and although the craziness hasn't reached the same level of intensity here (yet), I was happy to keep to the same principle in Ireland. Not that we have huge U.S.-style malls (yet). But the people-density in smaller stores, coupled with long, thin parking lots snaking through what are still essentially medieval street layouts, add up to a comparable effect. When I got calls and e-mails from American friends describing things like stores besieged at 5:00 A.M the morning after Thanksgiving, 2½ hour lines at checkouts, and fist-fights in the local Wal-Mart, I rested easy in the reflection that I wasn't missing anything.

The local village, Dromahair, in County Leitrim, has four pubs, two hotels, and not a lot of concern about what the likes of people on the other side of the country in Dublin with nothing better to do have to say about when people should and shouldn't be allowed to have a drink. It all gets to be something of an extended family after a while, which I find very congenial after some of the vaster and more impersonal places that I've helped inhabit over the years. As an example, I was in "Martina's" at some small hour of a weekend night, still crowded with two parties going on along with the dancing, when Alan, the bar manager, leaned over. "Tell me," he said, "Do you drive a red Mazda?" "I do." Had somebody run into it out front on the street, had I left the lights on, or what? "It's just that my wife used to own it," he told me. "It's a nice car." Five minutes later, after I'd thought about it, I called him back. "Alan, how did you associate that car out there with me?" He replied, "I saw it outside, and you're the person in here whose car I don't know." You won't get away with much in a place like this, it seems.

A few nights later I was in there again, and asked Alan who a lively group of people were, sitting in a corner. "That's the local drama group," he informed me. So I picked up my pint of Guinness and went over and introduced myself, saying I was new to the area. They all moved around to make room, reeled off the names, and invited me along the next evening to see them rehearsing for their next production. I did, and within half an hour of walking in the door I'd been recruited for a part by the director--a very professional and merciless colleen (Irish = young lady) called Fiona, who brooks no nonsense from strangers. So when I next venture back to the rush and stress of a US metropolis, who knows? it might be to make a debut on Broadway.

REMODELING THE WEB SITE -- Reader Inputs Invited

After what seems like about a hundred years of talking about this, it seems that we'll be going ahead finally. The main projects that we have listed are:

  • * Redesign of the site to be all database-driven (not much change from the user's point of view, but it makes things a lot easier to maintain on the inside).
  • * Merging of ManyWorlds and Heretics Bookstore into a combined order catalog. The intention is to be able to handle things like third-party shipments (for example, rare titles not listed on amazon) and used books--JPH and other.
  • * Comprehensive site Search Index.
  • * Discussion thread capability.

This is your chance to tell us what you want. Comments are invited regarding likes, don't-likes, suggestions for doing things better, or anything else that you'd like to see. Click here.

WHAT'S NEW

Releases and Current Projects

We started 2005 off with the release of the Baen Books paperback edition of Anguished Dawn, the sequel to Cradle of Saturn, that a lot of people have been waiting for. Landen Keene and friends return from the colony at Saturn to begin rebuilding after Earth's devastating encounter with the white-hot protoplanet Athena. Incredibly, there are survivors, along with a new generation ignorant of the world that existed before and already reverting to savagery. It's an opportunity for rebuilding human civilization from the ground up, free of legacies from the past that led to all the bloodshed and strife, and with Kronian knowledge and technology to guide it. But nothing ever goes as planned. Starlog describes it as "more entertaining than the prequel."

The fifth Giants novel, Mission to Minerva, is through corrections and editing and scheduled for release in May. We get to see something of the world of Thurien, finally, when Hunt and his companions go there to take part in a joint investigation with Ganymean scientists into the mysterious physics that resulted in the fleeing Jevlenese at the end of Giants' Star being hurled back to Minerva at the time the Lunarians inhabited it. The resulting understanding of how the Multiverse works makes it possible to send a mission back there, carried on our old friend the ancient Ganymean starship Shapieron, suitably modified. Since the villains from the previous books are also there, the stage is set for some interesting developments.

A further novel, Echoes of an Alien Sky, is also in the works, that tells of archeologists and others from a future civilization on cooled-down Venus digging up the ruins of the extinct race that one inhabited Earth. But my more immediate project is completing the 3rd mixed collection of short fiction and nonfiction pieces, Creation, Catastrophes, & Convolution, which has been scheduled for a December, 2005 release.

CHICAGO CONVENTION

This coming February 10-13 I'm privileged to be Guest of Honor at the Capricon 25 convention, being held at the Sheraton, Arlington Heights. I haven't attended this particular con before, but I'm told it's a great one. Tim Gleason, who administers the www.jamesphogan.com web site, will be there too, so techies with questions or comments will have access to the best source in that department (and maybe quit bothering me with them). And, of course, I look forward to being able to say hello personally to anyone in the area who can make it.

THE HERETICS' BOOKSTORE

We've been adding steadily to the number of titles and getting some good comments back. A feature we're hoping to add when the site remodeling is complete will be the ability to stock or arrange third-party shipment of appropriate difficult-to-find titles. Some of the more interesting added recently are: Evolution Under the Microscope by the British biochemist, David Swift. A detailed look at some of the amazingly complex and precise molecular machinery underlying biological processes, and the problems faced by any evolutionary explanation--also a fine exposition on the history and philosophy of science. This would make a good companion buy with Dr. Lee Spetner's Not By Chance!, which goes into those numbers that conventional theory tends to gloss over or ignore. Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS, Harvey Bialy's story of the politics and vested interests that embroil cancer and AIDS research, woven around a biography of Peter Duesberg. For anyone not familiar with Duesberg and his work, I can only recommend his eminently readable and informative Inventing the AIDS Virus as an introduction. Two books by Oleg Jefimenko presenting his theory of electromagnetic retardation and how it more simply accounts for the effects conventionally attributed to Relativity. Reminiscent of Petr Beckmann's field-referred, as oppose to observer-referred, interpretation. Provocative and thought-provoking, but not for the mathematically squeamish. Forbidden Archeology by Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson. How the scientific orthodoxy applies double standards to accept findings that conform with preconceptions and suppresses those which do not. The resulting selected evidence is then cited as "proving" the theory. BULLETIN BOARD Recent postings include:
  • Stranded Nigerian Astronaut. One of those $25 million-for-you scams, too priceless to pass by.
  • The ruthless eviction of the island inhabitants of Diego Garcia by British political invertebrates at the behest of the U.S. Military to build a base for Middle East aggressions.
  • Research program to develop Artificial Stupidity
  • Faked data search and mathematical fudging to produce politically correct Global Warming pronouncements.

There's also some comment on the recent finding around Saturn and the landing of the European Huygens probe on Titan. Several readers have asked why they haven't turned up signs of any robots there. The reason is that what the cameras are seeing isn't really the surface. The Taloids have created a "Bozone Layer" to protect themselves from the stupidity being radiated by the rest of the Universe.

Thanks again to all for your interest. And slightly belated best wishes for the New Year.

James P. Hogan
 
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