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Issue Number : 38 - On The Road, "Giants" Movie?, More Short Fiction Online, The Web Site Ploddeth On
ON THE ROAD
As indicated in the last newsletter, I'm spending August whistle-stopping through a series of engagements across the American West and West Coast. Predictably, the three days that I had allowed to take care of e-mails, web stuff, and other chores before leaving Ireland were wiped out by the late materialization of the blocklayers, roofers, and "digger men" who were supposed to have started the work on the extension to the cottage in the weeks before. But when people like that finally show up in Ireland you daren't let them go again, with the result that I didn't manage to get a newsletter out in July.
After having a good time at the Conestoga convention in Tulsa, and acquiring a cowboy hat that I'm told is most becoming to be comfortable in the heat, I spent last weekend at the DDP conference in Portland, Oregon, and this is being typed in a hotel in Austin, Texas, where I've arrived early for the forthcoming ArmadilloCon. The DDP program comprised two days of speakers covering sides of various scientific issues that you don't find in the Sunday supplements or see on the news, such as why nuclear energy is the only way to go, ultimately, that makes any sense; how radiation is not only harmless but actually beneficial in small doses, and the Russian theory that oil is not of biological origin and is effectively unlimited in supply. One of the hot issues, of course, was the current hysteria over global warming. The upshot of the evidence presented was that climate varies naturally on a cycle that can be identified as going back for thousands of years, and there are no good reasons for concluding that humans are making any difference at all, and hurricane frequencies and intensities were higher in the 1940s and 1880s than today. Measurable warming has been reported for such other bodies in the Solar System as Mars, Neptune's moon Triton, and Pluto, and the primary driving force appears--surprise, surprise--to be cyclic variations in solar output. Several members of the audience urged caution in publicizing such information, however, fearing that the GW lobby and mass media would take it as showing that our industrial activity is affecting the Sun. There were no rave reviews for Al Gore's movie. Personally, I think it tells us a lot when the same techniques of selective reporting, hyped language, and emotive imagery that we've come to expect in promoting an election campaign are used to advance an agenda that's supposed to have to do with scientific fact. I'm not sure which poses the greater menace: politicians meddling in science, or scientists getting sucked into politicized religion--especially when they think they're "saving the world."
Many readers have inquired over the years about the possibility of a movie adaptation of Inherit the Stars and the "Giants" series. A number of them have even been enthusiastic enough to ask if they could go about producing a screenplay version themselves if the industry seemed disinclined to. Well, I can set your minds to rest now by reporting that after talks that have been going on since early in the year, we have recently concluded a deal with MGM for the movie and TV serial rights to the collection.
This in itself doesn't guarantee that anything will become a reality. You could probably paper half the homes in southern California with book option rights that were taken up and never went anywhere. An encouraging aspect in this case, however, is that it was MGM who initiated the negotiations by contacting me. Their Head of Business Affairs informed me that the President there is "one of your biggest fans," and in a later phone call I had the pleasure of chatting with him for a while. So we'll wait and see what happens. In the meantime, it makes a great tale to relate in the pubs around Sligo town and rural Leitrim. "We all hear these stories about writers hanging around Hollywood bars and studio gates, trying to get noticed," I tell the lads. "But when MGM's President calls you at home, that's doing it in style."
MORE SHORT FICTION ONLINE
Fictionwise Inc. have been doing a great job of making the short fiction that I've accumulated available online. A reader asked why the three stories that came after "Silver Shoes for a Princess" to make up the series that became Star Child were not included. A good question, and so we've added them to the Fictionwise JPH Author Page. The three titles are, "Silver Gods from the Sky"; "Three Domes and a Tower"; and "The Stillness Among the Stars."
THE WEB SITE PLODDETH ON
The web site Bulletin Board has proved popular, and it was with reluctance that we decided to hold off on further postings while the work of upgrading the site is being completed. Some of the scientists at the DDP conference above expressed amazement at learning things which in some cases we had posted over a year ago, so we are as anxious to see it up and running again as the people who have written in to ask. The task currently being tackled is a databased Index and Search for the whole site, which is proving formidable. But I have no reservations in promising that it will be worth the wait.
Thanks again to all for your ongoing interest.
James P. Hogan