A recurring question has been How was the order of the books decided on? The answer is that Meisha-Merlin worried that subscribers--who, under MM's plan, were to receive one book every two months and would have the complete set sometime in 2099 (Actually, somewhere in 2012; Mayan prophecy, anybody?). They worried that subscribers (who were paying between $50 and $75+) would stop their subscription as soon as they had the big name volumes like Stranger in a Strange Land or Starship Troopers. (Why anybody would shell out that kind of money for what would be an obviously incomplete set, I have no idea. Of course, on that note, if that was their goal, I don't know why they'd front-load the set with (what I consider) the major volumes.
Nonetheless...that was the legacy we had inherited with commensurate files. Had it been a project of the Trust to begin with--allowing for our capacity to invest in this project over a longer term than Meisha-Merlin could as a small commercial entity--I should like to think we'd have ordered them as chronologically as possible--making exception for the collections of course--and then released all of the books at one time. To critical acclaim. While doves dropped confetti from above and beautiful women lei'd me. Hmmm...perhaps not, but that's the gist of how we came to the book order we have.
The New Year dawns on us and, with it, what is intended to be my last year with the Heinlein Trust. We're still talking with Windhaven to get a new schedule prepared. If we can't find a way to make up the missing month, the end of the project will be pushed back a commensurate amount, but should still be on track for completion this summer. I'll keep you posted as I get more information.
The fine folk at Transcontinental caught an error in one section of Red Planet that will need to be repaired. I've told them to go ahead and fix it--they'll get me a more specific quote shortly--but, since all of the books are bound and then shipped together, it'll result in a push-back of the ship date. Until I get the quote, I can't even give a valid estimate. (On the basis of the size of the error, my hope is that it won't make more than a week or two's difference, but I have absolutely no basis for saying that whatsoever.)
I have a really cool announcement about an unrelated project the Trust is taking part in. I've wanted to announce it for well on a month now and I still don't have the clearance. Just to share that with y'all. (Y'all is a perfectly valid grammatical construction, taking the place of the traditionally neglected and non-existent second person plural.)
One of the people at the UC-Santa Cruz library--where the Heinlein Archives are located--tossed Heinlein's Hugo (for Starship Troopers or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, I can't recall offhand and I'm not leaving my heater behind to go check) into a box with no cushioning and the lucite rocket shattered in transit. Thanks to the help o the people that run Worldcon, we're getting a replacement via their production folk.
The main reason I'm writing this particular post--aside from a pressing desire to work on something extremely simple and straightforward for a moment--is that one of our subscribers is the University of California -- Riverside (Home to one of the largest science-fiction collections in the world (or so I'm told). As you may or may not be aware, California's economy is less than magnificent at the moment and library budgets have been frozen. Their books are around half-paid for at the moment and I'm reaching out on their behalf to ask if anybody would like to help contribute to the cost of their set. I will check with the Trust to see if it might be willing to sponsor a portion of the remaining amount--perhaps a matching grant system?--however if anybody is interested in contributing to their account, please contact me at sean (dot) thompson (at) dula (dot) com.