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Issue Number : 41 - New Novel Released, and Two Short Stories In The Pipe, Web Site, Bulletin Board, Some New Heretics Titles, and From The Farm
NEW NOVEL RELEASED
After an unusually long delay, Echoes of an Alien Sky is currently shipping to the stores as a February Baen title. Inhabitants from a future cooled-down Venus explore the ruins of the extinct civilization that once existed on Earth. In some ways a kind of Inherit the Stars in reverse.
AND TWO SHORT STORIES IN THE PIPE
To be featured in the online magazine Jim Baen's Universe. The world's illustrious leaders have a bad day and try to start the Big One. But nothing gets launched when nobody can get the computers to work. I'm sure that the inspiration for this came to no small degree from assorted personal experiences.
To be included in a forthcoming anthology focusing on the dreaded Vinge/Kurzweil "Singularity," compiled by Eric Flint and Baen Books. Convicted killer accepts a deal to be the first guinea pig for a mind downloading experiment. The researchers think that a reprieve from Death Row should be adequate compensation for testing a new super-body and its online-capable enhancements. But the subject has other plans.
Finally the new version of the web site is online after providing a whole education on the joys of involvement in software development projects. The main upgrade--behind the scenes and not immediately apparent to visitors--was the transfer of virtually the entire web site to a database. With years of accumulated material, this turned out to be a far larger and more complex undertaking than anyone imagined. One of the things that it makes possible is a comprehensive Site Index and Search capability. Try playing with them. I've already been told that it's good for hours of browsing. Comments and suggestions welcome.
Also, the Bookstore has been reorganized to combine the catalogs of both JPH and "Heretics" titles into one list. The advantages of this may not be immediately apparent, but should become clear when we've implemented a further upgrade that's in the works. Essentially, this will be to enable the inclusion of Third Party titles shipped directly from other sources, allowing mixed lists on one order without the buyer incurring double shipping costs. Another thought we're considering is adding a Used Books department where readers can sell, buy, and trade. After all, amazon.com and Barnes & Noble make a few dollars out of used JPH titles. So why shouldn't JPH?
The new site also means that we can end the hold that was put on the Bulletin Board and further Heretics additions (since last summer, no less--far longer that I had anticipated), which many readers have been asking about. To mark the occasion, I have posted a few additions to at least get things moving again. However, I'm also engrossed in the time- and thought-consuming early stages of the next novel, Moon Flower--see under "Current Projects" on the News page--so the site activity thus far has not been quite what one would call frenetic.
In view of the hysteria currently engulfing the planet far more effectively than anything permeating the atmosphere could possibly do, I've posted three new pieces on Global Warming in the spirit of the grand old rallying cry of the Fenians: "Now is the time for the futile gesture!" One deals with the Great Ice Melting that isn't, and another takes a look at how people who might have been scientists before they were seized by a quasi-religious mania for saving the world fudge the data to yield the desired results. There's also a link to a hilarious UK collection of results attributed to Global Warming, from crumbling roads and crocodile sex to rioting, nuclear war, and spiders invading Scotland. More soon on why the trend over recent seems overall to have been cooling rather than warming, and why Russian and Chinese scientists, among others, find the evidence stronger that it's going to continue. But what's new in that? There were dire predictions of imminent doom by freezing in the mid 1920s and in the early 1970s.
As with the BB, we have some additions to the list to get things moving again, but with many more in line to follow as soon as I get a moment to attend to them. The current new listings are:
The AIDS Cult by John Lauritsen, a collection of essays on the psychological and social influences that conventional medicine tends to dismiss.
Get All The Facts: HIV Does Not Cause AIDS by Dr. Mohammed Ali Al-Bayati, an exposition of various toxic causes routinely denied by the orthodoxy.
Serious Adverse Events: An Uncensored History of AIDS, by journalist Celia Farber, from her twenty years of covering the subject.
Nature's Destiny by Michael Denton, a molecular biologist's fascinating account of evidence for the universe being preprogrammed to produce life, pretty much as we know it.
Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity, by John Stossel, a worthy addition to any iconoclast bookshelf.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science by a good friend, Tom Bethell. Including a sober assessment of the realistic prospects in stem cell research to offset the politics and hype.
AND FROM THE FARM
No mailing would be complete without something on life in Western Ireland's Rural-tania. A while ago, a reader in Massachusetts e-mailed me to ask if I would be willing to autograph his Hogan collection if he sent it over and covered the return post. Sure--if somebody can afford twenty-something dollars (or seven-odd for a paperback) to buy one of my books, I can afford twenty seconds to sign it. I cautioned him, however, that shipping is not cheap these days, and maybe he'd like to consider signed bookplates instead. No, that was okay--he'd send the books.
They duly arrived in a cubical box measuring about a foot and a half along a side and weighing 42 lb--or 20 kilograms as we're now being told we have to think. The cost by U.S. Surface Mail was close to $40, and so he enclosed a check for $50. The fun started when it got to returning them. It turns out that in its infinite idiocy, the Irish Post Office has abolished all forms of surface mail, letter and parcel. (What this does to the small businesses that the government is constantly advertising its various support programs for, I can't imagine.) The price I was given for sending them back was 229 euros, which with the dollar turning into laundry detergent coupons is getting close to $300. Some might have had the brass where it's needed, but there was no way I could stick that on a dedicated fan.
We're not far from the border with Northern Ireland, so I tried comparing the rates for posting them from there. (For the benefit of other Americans like the many I've met who weren't aware of the fact, it's a different country. They are part of the UK; the South is a republic. But these days you just drive from one side to the other and there's no indiction of crossing any line, apart from that the road signs are suddenly different, and the pubs in the south have clusters of people choking in blue clouds outside the doors because smoking has been banned in workplaces.) Yes, the UK still has a surface parcel service; but compared to the U.S. the rates were daunting.
So I started phoning around again, and lo and behold, a denizen of some lower basement of a Post Office holding somewhere in Dublin that I finally located revealed to me that the Post Office does make an exception for books, and offers a special rate: 5 kg max, for 20 euros. Taking into account the boxes, this meant I could break the consignment down into six packages for a total of 117 euros--still a bit of a bite compared to $50, but evidently the best we were going to do, short of paying the $50 to someone flying to Boston for taking it as checked baggage, and have them leave it in a locker there and mail the key to the reader. The reader, however, was not only happy with the deal but upped the figure to add in copies of three more books that he didn't have.
But of course, it didn't end there. Three local post offices that I tried said they'd never heard of the book service and wouldn't accept the boxes--even when I invited them to look at the An Post web site and see for themselves. So I ended up calculating and buying the necessary stamps myself, and hauling the lot into the main sorting office in Sligo town--which, thankfully, turns out to exist on the same planet as Dublin. The basement denizen in Dublin who originally put me on to the existence of the special book service had mentioned that "It isn't used very much." I wonder why. And some people accuse us of not caring about our readers.
Anyway, that's it for now. Thanks again to all for your ongoing interest.
James P. Hogan