Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Jim Baen's Universe 05 - Eric Flint

Firstly, the non-fiction:

Examination of solar sail type technology.

Cobb reckons he has a groovy star diagram.

Resnick talks about joining the magazine, and stories.

Flint talks about the lies bandied around by the media organisations with respect to DRM and copying.

"... I put the terms "pirate" and "piracy" and "pirated" in quotation marks. And I will continue to do so throughout these essays.

"..the terms are another lie. They are words which—I speak as a professional author of fiction, here, who makes his living working with words and manipulating them consciously for a desired emotional effect on the reader—are consciously and deliberately designed to obfuscate the real issues involved by substitute hysterical terminology for rational discourse.


That's preposterous. Piracy is a crime that involves such things as:

Armed robbery.

To claim that an author or publisher has been "subject to piracy" because someone infringed their copyright is grotesque. They have suffered absolutely no physical damage, pain or indignity whatsoever. Their property as such has not been destroyed in any way, shape or form."

It is barely petty theft, he says, and electrons ain't molecules.

He also talks about J. K. Rowling's incredible idiocy when refusing to sell electronic copies of her books, and how her latest novel was available on the internet about an hour after it came out.

"the book was so popular—bought it, raced home and copied it on an OCR scanner and uploaded the resulting file onto the web. In this instance—which is rather uncommon—they even did a fairly decent job of proof-reading the text and getting rid of most of the typical OCR scanning errors.

How are you going to prevent this by encryption?

You can't. It's as simple as that. You cannot."

Again, he isn't shy with an opinion:

"...the reality is that all the encryption being used by publishing houses is ultimately pointless—and they know it perfectly well.

So why do they do it? Well, in the case of the publishing industry, the most common reason is stupidity, and it descends from there."

Or, they can't be bothered to think about new ways of doing things.

As seen recently, this may be starting to change.

Malzberg talks about the long term effect of critiscism, and the possible role of sf literature.

As far as the fiction goes, the highest rating so far, with an average of 3.43. This may be an artifact of being down to 14 stories from the whopping 25 of the bonanza opening issue, but that is still a good level for a magazine. Whatever they are doing appears to be working, and it, as always, a pleasure to read as far as any of the formats go.

The non-fiction part is not quite as interesting this issue, apart from Flint and solar sails, so overall we'll give it a good solid 4, call it 4.25 if you like, not quite enough to round up to 4.5.

War Stories,Elizabeth Bear
A Stranger in Paradise,Edward M. Lerner
Demonstration Day,Ian Creasey
I Could've Done Better,Gregory Benford, David Brin
Marklord Pete,Wil McCarthy
The Spiral Road,Louise Marley
Rebel the First,Edd Vick
Pawn's Gambit,Carol Hightshoe
Research Alpha,A. E. van Vogt, James H. Schmitz
Slan Hunter Part 2,A. E. van Vogt, Kevin J. Anderson
Fish Story Episode 5,Eric Flint, Andrew Dennis, Dave Freer
Storm Warning,Robert Cruze
Old Folks' Home,John Kratman
The Goblin Hunter,Jeff Stehman

Seems this is the Jenny Casey from her trilogy. A grizzled veteran now, she reminisces about saving a kid, and living with a guy she wanted to shag, and his dying wife and sick kid to help them out.

3.5 out of 5

Colonist rediscovery is repellent.

4 out of 5

Whacky gear.

3 out of 5

Modern man finds past Pharaoh harem life can pall, priestesse are bloody annoying, and the beer isn't cold enough.

4 out of 5

IP revolution revolution.

4 out of 5

General war issues.

3 out of 5

Redneck pope and pooch.

3 out of 5

Witchy assassin queening test.

3.5 out of 5

Energy serum evolution.

3.5 out of 5

"Mutants are cropping up everywhere—it's a veritable plague!"

The tendrilless have control of Earth, and Jommy and company turn to his shotgun packing granny for help, hoping to find some allies.

3.5 out of 5

Jonah in the court, boinging whale, and Thor.

3 out of 5

Solar steel scorching snafu survival to Mars metallurgy move.

3.5 out of 5

Space station retirement orphanage.

3 out of 5

Reverse psychology useful for the little buggers.

3.5 out of 5

4 out of 5

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