Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Happy Holidays to all. I'm popping back in to work for a moment and found these wonderful images ready to go. I'll post 'em a few at a time.

Double Star

Destination: Moon

Beyond This Horizon:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In my defense, I was going to post Friday

Hello one and all,
By now, it seems that most of you have seen the letter in some fashion or another--I've received responses from about half the subscribers at this point, mainly positive response, which is a plus.
I was going to update Friday and got sidetracked by trivium--and I dearly wish I meant grammar, logic, and rhetoric. *ahem* Regardless, I found out we actually have access to Meisha-Merlin RAH's quickbook client lists! This simplifies things so very much so I've been spending a wee (not really) bit of time organizing our files so we've got full contact and subscription info on everybody. As painful as this is to do over a long stretch of time--physically, mentally, anthropomorphically--it's so very convenient to have a full break-down of everything on-hand in a single centralized location. I still hate doing it, though.
While it means we can't get the poster ready for Christmas, I've decided to let Donato take the time to work on the painting so it'll look nicer. I've also checked into it and we can get a special cut of the poster that'll be the exact right size without too much difference in the price.
Jeff Cook is going to take one last look through volumes 1-8 for us, which I certainly appreciate him taking the time to do. As for volumes 9 and 10, I'm personally uncomfortable with the state of The Past Through Tomorrow volumes as they stand. Rather than just tossing them forward, I've decided to send them through another round of proofing. I will be unabashedly--and probably undesirably--forthright and admit I'm feeling slightly tremulous at the moment; there've been rather a lot of comments about things that have gone wrong and I'm being a few steps more cautious than might normally be the case.
Fraser Sandercombe has been making icons to go on the spines of each of the books so they'll be more readily identifiable at a glance. They're rather nice; I'll upload them at the end of this. We've got two choices for Stranger in a Strange Land, so let me know which you prefer--I think the first one is better, personally.
I was going to update on Friday, but ended up consolidating our client info 'til 7 at night and decided to wait 'til this week. I'll be going to visit Family Friday-Sunday, Monday-Tuesday is Christmas and then, assuming I've managed to get everything into a simple, self-sustaining set-up, I very much plan to take two weeks off and be back around the 4th or so. Expect no real updates during that time period, though I will have access to my email if you have specific questions that desperately need answering.
I should be able to eke out the time to finish consolidating the subscriber info at which point I'm going to send out a mass e-mail (Don't worry, I'll BCC) just to double-check that they all work. If we've communicated via that email in the past, don't feel compelled to respond.

And now the pictures!

Edit: Okay, I can't actually upload PDFs--apparently!--so I'm going to see about getting jpegs or some such from the artist to upload.

Second Edit: Betsy asked if there was a way to contact me on the net. My work email is sean dot thompson at dula dot com.
I'm not entirely sure why the Meisha-Merlin website has *changed* to include credit card processing. I was under the impression that they were shutting down their site, but I'll check into that.
As for the new site, the new coding got patched up appropriately, I found the time to write the content, and at the moment Kevin Murphy is supposed to be updating it all and is turning it back over tomorrow. We purchased both and to host the site--as God is my witness, please, please, please do not visit those just yet. We've put up a flimsy shell of nothing but text so we can show it to the people we're getting our merchant account from. It is a hideous monstrosity and viewing it will yield nothing except unhappiness and lonely nights.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The world is filled with interesting facts. For example, did you know that neighborhood post offices don't have IRCs (International Reply Coupons) and so you've got to go to the main city branch? So it is in Houston, in any event. Another interesting fact: Office Space was not a work of fiction, printers really will tell you there is a paper jam when there is no paper jam. When there is a paper jam, printers will lie to you and tell you the jam is on the right side of the printer when, in fact, it is on the left.

All of which is to say that, after hours of struggling with the world's most accursed machines--finally bear-wrestling it into submission where it now weeps at my feet--the letter/update has been successfully mailed to everybody and, barring those outside of the US, should arrive by week's end.

For those who are especially anxious, I present the full text of the letter--less the papercut potential--for your perusal.


December 2007

Dear Virginia Edition Subscriber,

On June 29, 2007, the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust sent you a letter discussing the proposed transition of publication of the Virginia Edition from Meisha-Merlin to the Heinlein Prize Trust. From the responses we received, it seems that a large number of subscribers did not receive our letter, so we are enclosing a copy for your information. If you did not receive the June letter and have not spoken with us about it, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.

In the June letter, we stated that volume seven would be published sometime in September, however, as we examined the situation, we found that the Virginia Edition, as begun by Meisha-Merlin, was economically unviable. While the Trust wanted to move ahead as quickly as possible, we realized that rushing into this project could easily doom the entire enterprise and we might never see a completed Virginia Edition. As a result, we have spent the intervening months examining how best to ensure the continued production and completion of the Virginia Edition as a quality set of books.

The Trust received no royalties from the subscription payments received by Meisha-Merlin. While the Trust has no legal obligation to honor contracts subscribers made with Meisha-Merlin, the Trustees do feel morally compelled to do everything within their power to ensure that the original Virginia Edition subscriptions are honored. Taking over the production of the Virginia Edition would create a potential liability to the Trust of over a quarter-million dollars. Since the Trust is a non-profit organization, this potential liability has complicated our business planning. On advice of our attorney, the Trust has organized a new company, The Virginia Edition Publishing Company(VEPC), to take over production of the Virginia Edition.

After taking many factors into account, the VEPC chose to completely republish the Virginia Edition. The new Virginia Edition will be in full leather, will be serialized from 1-2000, and will not have artwork or slipcases.

The respected and experienced folks at Windhaven Press have contracted to scan, typeset, and proofread the text. Bill Patterson will reprise his role in organizing Robert Heinlein's letters, fiction, and non-fiction within the volumes. The leather-bound sets will continue to be printed by Transcontinental Printing, and Apogee Books will handle marketing and distribution. Printing and distribution of the books will be done in groups of volumes. The first group of ten volumes will be printed in the first quarter of 2008. Following that, the VEPC expects to release ten additional volumes every three to four months, completing the Virginia Edition by the first quarter of 2009.

The Virginia Edition Publishing Company is making the following offer to all current Virginia Edition subscribers: Subscribers may return their books to VEPC and receive a full refund of the monies paid. Alternatively, subscribers who elect to retain their subscription at the original subscription price may keep the original six slipcased volumes and will receive a new complete set bound in leather at no additional cost. They will also receive posters of Heinlein artwork that the Trust has commissioned, and a poster of the painting originally designed for the Virginia Edition slipcase. Subscribers to the clothbound version will receive a free upgrade to leather; subscribers to the leather version will receive an entire second leather bound set at no additional cost, which they can keep, or donate to a library or school.. Exclusive edition subscribers will receive further communication from VEPC on this matter. Please send VEPC your response and confirm your contact details in the enclosed envelope. VEPC’s offer expires February 1st, 2008. After February 1, 2008, subscribers who have not made an election will be entitled to retain the books they have received in full satisfaction of the subscription price paid. Additionally, after February 1, 2008, the price of the Virginia Edition may fluctuate with the market.

We understand that you have all committed a substantial amount of money to the Virginia Edition and that the aforementioned problems have made this a trying time for everyone. We thank all of you for the patience you have shown while we have worked to ensure that we will not be subject to the issues that have plagued the Virginia Edition to date.

The Trust and the Virginia Edition Publishing Company invite each of you to share your thoughts and feelings about the Virginia Edition with us and the VEPC. The VEPC has established a blog at to keep subscribers updated with the status of the Virginia Edition. If that does not provide enough information or does not adequately address your concerns, please feel free to contact Sean Thompson of the Virginia Edition Publishing Company at or 713-861-3600.


Arthur M. Dula
Trustee of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust

J. Buckner Hightower
Trustee of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust

James M. Vaughn, Jr.
Trustee of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust

Sean Thompson
Manager of the Virginia Edition Publishing Company