Tuesday, December 16, 2008

To all and moondry,
I may start writing down my thoughts as I go back over each of these books. In many cases, this is the first time I've read one of these books since I was ten or eleven and it's remarkable to consider how much of the material I really failed to grasp. There is a great deal of material one misses simply through lack of context. Or, in another vein, the impact of a given book changes with time. Notably, as I read "Methuselah's Children," I am better able to engage with Slayton Ford's dilemma in dealing with the Families--particularly his reflection on the time it takes a man to become educated, to become known in his field, etc. I imagine that in another thirty odd years I'll have an all too great an appreciation for the dimming of the senses as well and perhaps it'll be time to take yet another glance through that book. (This, incidentally, is why updates become more sporadic during busy times, it's far too easy to philosophize with the Heinleinia and while away time better spent on productive affairs.)

After a great head-run through the bluelines to get them reviewed by the deadline, we are still on-track for our ship date of January 23rd for volumes 8-21.

I've finally received the artwork for Donato's "Heinlein's World" so I can take the steps to get that made into a poster for the subscribers--we'll definitely have enough made for ye current subscribers and, depending on Art's preferences, we'll probably go ahead and print another few hundred--the economies of scale on these things are absurd, as you increase the number printed, the price per unit plummets.

As of this past weekend, we have, in hand, all three of the letter volumes, both of the nonfiction volumes and both of the short fiction volumes. Effectively, the only thing we still need at this point are Mr. Kondo's files for "The Heinlein Century" when that's completed and the files for the Screenplay volumes from Subterranean Press.

I would like to take a moment once again to thank Bill Patterson for all the work that he's done to help us get all of this together. I think he's done quite a good job and that these volumes will be a substantial positive addition to the Virginia Edition.

So far as the subsequent sets--and since we moved the Future History volumes to print with Set 3, we've got one set of fourteen and one set of twelve books left to go before completion--I found out last week that, apparently, Windhaven did not have the introductions for the set 3 volumes and that was preventing them from doing the book layouts and thus from doing any work on volumes 24 onwards. This was not mentioned to me until I had sent repeated requests to find out what was happening with those volumes. While, normally, this might inspire a more than passing disquiet on my part, I am told that it will be possible to make up for the lost time without disrupting our printing schedule. As such, I will wait until I have had a chance to go over this with Windhaven and get an updated schedule. At that point, I will post it here. And there will be much rejoicing.

There have been a couple of issues with our billing system--affecting, at most, three or four people--which I've been researching and hope to have dealt with within the next week or so.

Once the New Year begins, I'll speak with Deb and Geo Rule--who manage all our website information--about a) updating our website with new and wondrous things (more the former than the latter) and b) the best way to go about setting Archives access for all subscribers so that Geo doesn't have to spend forty hours manually creating access codes.

When this project is completed, I have a strange desire to ask Art Dula if we can print a single book, any book, so that I can enjoy a simple project.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I saw a sign offering a free lunch so I wrote TANSTAAFL on it.

Hello All,
I look at the date for the last post and realize that it's been far too long since I've written on here and I do apologize.
As I believe I've mentioned--if only to the current subscribers--a hurricane hit Houston and we lost power, structure, and sanity for about two weeks or so. Most of my time since then has been taken up with catching up the lag both here at the office and elsewhere--a delay exacerbated by illness on the part of Nancy Hanger of Windhaven. We're about one week past where I wanted to have the second set ready to go, but the only ones left for me to work through are the Future History volumes, How to be a Politician, and Time for the Stars. I plan on getting through most of the Future History this weekend, How to be a Politician Monday/Tuesday and Time for the Stars as soon as I read it.
On a tangential note: It's been interesting reading through all of the juveniles--as much as I pray it be a long while before I have do so again--after a while they start to run together into a haze of PDF pages. When I first read Farmer in the Sky, for example, I didn't pick up on the English-Irish tension between the scouts when trying to name their troop. Then there are the recurring themes I didn't quite pick up on until I had to read all of them back to back--f'r example, that every boy in these stories was completely oblivious to the existence of the opposite gender or the use of the phrase "So? Skip it" and so on and so forth.
Bad news: After ten odd months, neither Scribners nor I have been able to track down the copyright holders for the illustrations in the juvenile volumes and, due to US copyright law with regard to orphaned works, we simply can't legally print them. This has been the first time I've ever seen the illustrations and I'm rather upset that we won't be able to include them.
Bill Patterson has been doing good work and has finished assembling the non-fiction and short story volumes and the volume of Heinlein-Campbell correspondence. He's currently working on the last two volumes of correspondence at which point we'll just need to keep trucking through the remaining twenty-four volumes with resolute good cheer.
As soon as I finish with the books from set 2, I'm going to go ahead and have the posters with the art from the original edition printed up and I've got a few ideas for some neat extras I'd like to try sending out, we'll see how that fares.
We've established archives access for those folk who ordered the old exclusive edition and we'll aim to extend that to all subscribers starting around the new calendar year.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Over the past month or so, I've been carefully nursing the project along to ease us over any particular kinks that might arise and so I am happy to publicly announce that the first seven books are now in customer's hands ready to be enjoyed.

For those interested in the books, we will be updating the website with images of the books as soon as I have a chance to show them to the Trustees of the Heinlein Trust--who are currently out of town. Another update that will be mentioned on the site: We will be processing new orders at the end of each month. That is, all orders placed during a given month will be shipped at the end of that month.

As for our current status--which one and all are eager to hear about: The next set to be published will be volumes 8-23: The Future History of Robert Heinlein Volumes 1 and 2 (originally The Past through Tomorrow), Stranger in a Strange Land, How to be a Politician, Rocket Ship Galileo, Space Cadet, Red Planet, Farmer in the Sky, Between Planets, The Rolling Stones, Starman Jones, The Star Beast, Tunnel in the Sky, Time for the Stars, Citizen of the Galaxy, and Have Spacesuit -- Will Travel.

By the end of the week, the first nine will be done and ready. The other seven volumes are in varying stages of completion, but we still seem to be on track for our original goal of having them to the printer by early- to mid-October. When I have a moment, I'll get an updated quote from our TransCon Rep so far as the estimated time for the books to be printed and shipped--though, rest assured, it should prove considerably shorter than was the case with the first seven.

Slashdot recently linked to the following item: http://kk.org/ct2/2008/09/heinleins-fan-mail-solution.php
It's an amusing form response the Heinlein's sent out in response to fan mail. It's worth a glance and a chuckle. An enterprising individual might also consider that this and similar items could be found within the sweeping reach of the Heinlein Archives...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Of BombShells and Shelters

I may have mentioned this before, but one of my favorite written lines is from Lewis Carroll in The Walrus and the Carpenter when the time has come to talk of many things, "Of cabbages--and kings--"

But on to relevant matters:

Things are *still* proceeding along and the books seem on track to be ready by the end of this week for shipping starting early next week. Clearly, this means the world is ending and I must go hide in my bunker with the emergency scotch supply.

In all seriousness, though, matters look positive.

In regards to my previous query about Podkayne of Mars:

We will be printing the volume in a manner similar, I believe, to that done by Baen recently. It will be printed with the original ending and an appendix will follow with the edited version that was originally published. We have correspondence which indicates that Mr. Heinlein was not pleased at having had to change that section of the work.

Also, for those who may have been wondering, it was decided to publish the extended Stranger in a Strange Land that Ginny released following Heinlein's death.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Unscheduled extra

I'm going to chat with Art and perhaps a few others on the idea, but I'm also curious as to the general tide out there:

Somebody asked which ending of Podkayne of Mars we intended to use. Of those of you that know the difference between the published and original ending, which do you prefer? (I'm intentionally not mentioning my thoughts or Heinlein's written thoughts on the matter, this is just to query the pool, as it were.)

Monday, August 4, 2008

I am back from vacation, nothing has exploded, the Earth still proceeds along its orbit, and, frabjous joy, Transcontinental has not exploded at the hands of alien aggressors.

Which is to say, Transcontinental is still on track to deliver books as of August 15th. They're a professional company with plenty of experience in these matters, but, nonetheless, we want to hear back as to how they perform. If books are delivered in poor form or the like, please let us know as soon as possible.

We have decided to grant archives access to all Virginia Edition subscribers. Those people who already have accounts will get access as soon as we set it up, those who don't will receive access when the letters volumes print and ship next year.

I have been reading through the printer text of Stranger in a Strange Land for the first time since middle school and it's a strange experience. First, I'm amazed I missed how directly Heinlein was poking fun at the Scientologists--I plead youthful ignorance, I won't let it happen again--but, more than that, I hadn't realized how influential the book had been on my own development until rereading it and finding rational arguments and methods that I've used time and again.

What about the rest of you? Any examples of Heinlein's influence in your life?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Trails

We now have a confirmed ship date of August 15th. I realize this is not as soon as we might have preferred, but there we are. We also have a signed agreement with Transcontinental that the books will be ready for shipping on that date against a default of fifteen percent of the printing fees for those volumes (which would result in a modest refund to each of you). Presumably everybody watns the books in hand as much as I want them there, but feel free to hope for either outcome as you prefer.
Now, everything seems to be in place, my filing is up-to-date, there are a few things still extant, but they'll hold for a couple of weeks. I am claiming my two weeks vacation during which I shall read on hilltops in the park, enjoy the fresh swampy smog air of Houston, see family, all those lovely things. What this means for all of you: Hopefully, nothing. As of this weekend, I have gotten confirmation from every subscriber for address and some form of contact information--hurrah!--so there should be no worries about having the books shipped properly. If any emergencies crop up between now and, let's say, the 29th, please contact my office at 713-861-3600. I intend to keep my email checking to a minimum, hopefully no more than once every two to three days, but I will be checking if you want to try to get through. Compliments and niceties will be printed out for my scrapbook while complaints and death threats will be archived pending my inevitable return.
While I'm rambling on, I would like to take a moment to address our shipping arrangements for the first set of books. In the interest of saving some time and getting things out a bit faster, we're opting to bear the extra expense and have the first set shipped directly by Transcontinental. They are a rather large printing company with quite a lot of experience in the field. Nonetheless, we want to be informed if there are any problems with the packaging or books as they arrive. I'll reiterate this in roughly a month--Happy Bastille Day, incidentally--but if there are any problems, don't hesitate to contact us immediately.

Sean Thompson

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I've been emailing updates to subscribers for the last month and so just realized that independent observers might want to know what's happening. Okay, I'll admit, I forgot about the blog for a little bit.

To summarize all of the updates--which I've cut and paste below--we worked with Transcontinental to figure out why they were having a problem with the hot stamping of covers, decided on a solution, and it is now being implemented. Transcontinental was out for two days on civic holiday--their celebration of gaining independence as I understand it--and are now back, working on the last two stages before shipping--each stage was originally estimated as taking two-three days each for, presumably, a remaining four to six business days before the books are ready to pack and ship--and are getting me a final ship date.

It's the end of the day and I haven't gotten a date from them yet so I'll go ahead and post this and then edit it when I receive an actual date.

To All,
Our Transcontinental prepress contact has organized a meeting with the printing plant managers for Monday to figure out where the problem with the covers lies. We'll find out if it's on their end or ours.
In either case, here's what needs to happen at this point:
If it turns out that there's just no good way to get the iconography onto the leather and have it look good, I'm going to cut our losses, stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, as it were, and restrict the iconography use to the title pages from here on.
If we can get the icons to turn out nicely--and that would be such a gratifying end to this chapter--we'll have the series logo and the volume logo on the top and bottom of the spine, respectively, keep the cover simple and neat, and that will be that.
When I hear back about the meeting results, I'll let everybody know how that influences where things stand.

I apologize for all the delays that have taken place. Everything else is proceeding along smoothly, once we work this out, there should be no more foreseeable delays between ow and the publication of the last of the books.


Sean Thompson
Virginia Edition Publishing Company

To All,
Our Transcontinental prepress contact has organized a meeting with the printing plant managers for Monday to figure out where the problem with the covers lies. We'll find out if it's on their end or ours.
In either case, here's what needs to happen at this point:
If it turns out that there's just no good way to get the iconography onto the leather and have it look good, I'm going to cut our losses, stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, as it were, and restrict the iconography use to the title pages from here on.
If we can get the icons to turn out nicely--and that would be such a gratifying end to this chapter--we'll have the series logo and the volume logo on the top and bottom of the spine, respectively, keep the cover simple and neat, and that will be that.
When I hear back about the meeting results, I'll let everybody know how that influences where things stand.

I apologize for all the delays that have taken place. Everything else is proceeding along smoothly, once we work this out, there should be no more foreseeable delays between ow and the publication of the last of the books.


Sean Thompson
Virginia Edition Publishing Company

To All,

The stamping test was successfully carried out at Transcontinental's
facilities. They believe that they've done a superior job with this
batch and are overnighting the samples to me. They will arrive
tomorrow and I will then be able to give yea/nay approval on the work.

Sean M. Thompson

Hello everybody,
Okay, I've received and reviewed the results of the stamp test and I have to agree that it definitely looks better--Transcontinental actually took the time to do the test on seven different materials so we could have a spread to choose from. At the moment, I think we're best going with the matte finish on the original material, but I want to get Mr. Dula's rather more worldly perspective before I rush the decision out the door. Art is out of the office and so I'm going to try and talk with him either over the weekend or first thing Monday to see what he thinks before I let Transcontinental know our decision.

Have a good weekend,
Sean Thompson

Dear Homeown--Bookowner,
After review, it does seem that Transcontinental can do a much better job at stamping than their originally hired contractor. We are sending them updated cover files and will receive a response with an estimated ship date which I will pass on to each of you. As the volumes ship, I will send the tracking number of your package to you.
Also, I have sent queries to everybody to confirm your mailing address. If you are reading this message, but have not a) seen a message from me to confirm your address or b) bothered to respond, please contact me by the end of the week to help ensure your books can actually reach you rather than being stranded in postal limbo.

Best wishes to all,
Sean Thompson

Hello all,
First, I'd like to thank everybody for their kind words and patience over the last month or so, it is very much appreciated and makes my job far more pleasant than it has to be.
Second, we've got the cover files in to Transcontinental so they should have everything they need to press forward. I haven't gotten confirmation back yet because apparently today is a civic holiday of some sort in Canada/Quebec. The last estimate I received for how long the remaining steps will take was two to three days per step for two steps (printing the covers, binding the text into the covers) for a total of four to six days before they're finished and ready to ship. I've asked to receive an updated estimate to confirm that and will pass it along once I receive it. After that step is through, the books will be packed and shipped and tracking numbers will be sent out to each of you.

Best wishes,
Sean Thompson

Friday, June 6, 2008

I realize it's Friday again, but I wanted to have actual progress to report:
Our artist was delayed in his return from vacation and didn't get back to town 'til today--if I hadn't been able to get hold of him today, I was going to try to get help from an artist I know of here in Houston, fortunately, however, that is not necessary. He's back in town and we're talking with the printers to work out what needs to be changed. Ideally, we'll know what requirements we have to meet by the end of the day today, Fraser will fix up the work for the first books, we'll continue onwards and confetti will fall from the sky.
I will post again as soon as we have confirmation from the printer that everything is A-OK and the covers are being printed.

Also, everybody should have received an email or letter from me to confirm contact information. If you haven't, please email me (sean (dot) thompson (at) dula (dot) com) and let me know. It occurs to me that you might want confirmation that I've received your reply so I will send confirmation of receipt to everybody.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It seems that the best course of action right now is to just wait for Fraser, the artist, to get back from his vacation on Monday. Once he's back, we'll be able to patch up this last snafu without too much muss and everything can continue onward.

Two Windhaven-related notes: After speaking with Nancy Hanger, I realized that the schedule we had them on for the second books was theoretically doable, but inordinately tight. As such, I'm going to revise our earlier timeline and push everything back one month so that the second set of 17 books gets all the attention it deserves. I feel this is an acceptable delay which will greatly benefit the final set.

On another note: In my last post, I had no intention of indicating that Windhaven was dedicating anything less than its full attention to the Virginia Edition. They've been putting in an extraordinary amount of time and effort on these books and we couldn't manage this at all without them.

I don't have time to do it today, but I have pictures of a subscriber's replica office from Destination: Moon that I have permission to post on here. It's pretty cool for the Heinlein fans out there--I'm assuming that's most of you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Okay, after talking to Transcontinental, it seems that the original approval we received on the stamps was somewhat erroneously given. Luckily! Luckily, all the other work is done and the actual stamping process is only a day or two in length. We're raising the artist posthaste and, with any luck, this will resolve itself rather quickly.

Monday, May 19, 2008

First, I would like to proffer an apology for not posting on Friday. My birthday was Thursday and my family surprised me by flying in from England to see me and I needed to properly show them about.

On to business:
I still haven't gotten a response from Transcontinental so far as the hold-up with the first set of volumes. I have a number of outstanding queries with them at the moment that haven't been answered. Transcontinental has been fantastic throughout the process so far, so I can only presume that they're being swamped and that explains why they haven't been able to respond as promptly as normal. They have a national holiday today and tomorrow we're supposed to have a conference call and, rather than make any guarantees, I'll report back on what comes of that.

On positive business news, we were speaking to Windhaven and it seems that the proofing and typesetting department have gotten through the set-up and teething of the process, have ramped production up to about full-speed, and we now have dates for when each set of books will be ready for printing.
The second set of books--volumes 8-23, 16 volumes--will be ready as of the start of September.
The third set of books--volumes 24-35, 12 volumes--will be ready as of the start of December.
The fourth and final set of books--volumes 36-47--will be ready as of the start of March, 2009.

We found a disc with a copy of Heinlein reading "This I Believe" for Edward R. Murrow. It's now hosted on the Heinlein Prize website, just click on the link to hear the master read the piece.

I'm going to try to include one tangential piece at the end of each of these, some interesting aspect of Heinleinia or something interesting that people have done with Heinlein's works. I think it'd be a simple, yet pleasant, addition.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm going to do a largish post on Friday--when I believe I'll have a plethora of news-worthy offerings and a few neat pictures to share.

One note I was told about today: The original TC print run got started with the wrong paper used for the tip-in/serialization page and so that may cause a slight delay, however we may be able to circumvent that by shipping the first sets to customers as soon as they're ready rather than waiting for the full run to complete. I'll know one way or another n the next couple days, in any event.

Monday, April 21, 2008

All is going as planned.

I wish I had a cat to stroke while I said that. The following will have to do.

lolcats funny cat pictures

Monday, April 14, 2008

Today has been consumed by accounting.

Also the post office. Friendly advice: Don't go to the post office around April 15th if you don't have to.

Everything is still on track for the May 14th date. I'll try and get together a rough and tentative time table for the rest of the project in the next week or two.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008



We have a ship date--the day on which the printer will have the books ready--of May 14th--the day before my birthday, oddly. I will check with Apogee and see what sort of average turnaround time we're looking at from there to get the books into people's hands.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Irony tastes strangely like Velveeta

So I had to go out of town for part of last week and wound up without internet access come Friday. I believe this is at least a little ironic. But I'll steel myself against such ferrous and base assaults on my precious nobility and boron 'til the bitter end.

We've been shifted to a new contact point at Transcontinental--which, I must admit, was not a foreseen event, but we seem to have gotten through the transition hurdles and they have all of our files and corrected files, genotypes, phenotypes, hair and blood samples, and I'm expecting to hear back in the next day as to what the ship date will be on the first set of books. I will post that information here as well as emailing it to everybody in a test of the mailing list.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I was going to make an April Fool's post telling you we'd found the Nehemiah Scudder stories, but I realized I'd be mailbomb angry after having something like that pulled. So consider yourselves almost fooled.

I'm going to move substantive posts to Fridays 'til I miss another day. EIther way, I'm not expecting terribly event-heavy posts most weeks for a while.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Either my immune system has decided we're no longer friends or Houston has become a swirling cesspool of allergens. Both are possible and, potentially, self-reinforcing. Especially in the adipose-connected, PCB-rich, ozonated swamp that I love to call Houston.

So far as items directly related to the Virginia Edition:
There was a problem--now resolved--with the resolution and detail of the icons. It's no longer an issue, but that ended up pushing the final date back by about two weeks.
Blue lines have been reviewed and returned.

As I promised a week or so ago, here is the status report on the Heinlein Archives as prepared by Deb Rule:

We're pushing forward very hard toward completion with the online
Archives currently 90.4% complete and online.

There are 182,091 pages of documents and photos online. 19,228 pages
remain to be added, of which 5789 are photographs. The remaining page
total may vary as Geo just discovered a duplicated file of over 2000
pages. He's working to reconcile those two files now. You can see Recent
Additions at:

The online Heinlein Archives has 151 registered users from at least 10
different countries. While the majority are from the US, we have 8 users
from Canada, 3 from France, 2 from Japan, plus others from Italy,
Brazil, Ireland, the Netherlands, the UK, and Bosina & Herzegovinia.
These are registered users--the site stats show visitors from numerous
other countries around the world.

We also have several users at the US Naval Academy from Herb Gilliland's

The most popular item to order is Heinlein's First Scrapbook and Photo
Album, with Opus 52: A Spaceship Navy second. Destination Moon files,
and Blassingame Correspondence are also popular. There are a number of
academics regularly and thoroughly using the Archives (as paying

Most frequent searches are done on Stranger in a Strange Land, Moon is a
Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, To Sail Beyond the Sunset.

Since the Archives launched there have been 103,000 visits with almost 2
million individual page hits. February had 8857 visits. January had
12923 visits.

In the last month we have updated/upgraded the DORA document processing
interface in several regards--it now supports multiple source document
directories to better balance disk space distribution in a large
collection, plus a watermarking failure of a single page will no longer
halt the entire process; it now 'fails gracefully', substituting the
single (very rare) troublesome image yet completing the order. We're
also exploring a shopping cart upgrade that would include features such
as gift certificates and coupons.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It isn't really within the scope of this blog, but, nonetheless, I'd like to wish safe passage to Arthur C. Clarke. The world is poorer for his absence.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Grade 19! The 19th highest grade there is!

Transcontinental is shipping me fabric swatches so I can decide what color the ribbon/bookmark should be. I feel strangely like I'm married. In addition, the printer proofs are, for lack of a better word and love of alliteration, being printed and shipped to us so we can review and sign off on them to avoid any end-game errors.

As near as I can tell, the website is fully functional and when people order, they should be receiving automatic notification of success. I've also got recurring payments set up so I can just go in and turn them on for everybody who needs them.

That's all I've got at the moment that's really related to the production of the books. In a couple of days, I plan on posting the report Deb Rule sent us about the Heinlein Archives.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sing to me, O Muse

Perhaps I'm an oddity, but two of my favorite moments in literature are the introductory lines to the Odyssey and the Illiad, Sing to me of the Man of Twists and Turns, sing of the Rage of Achilles. The confluence of the history divined from the muse, the confluence of story and mythos, always made me shiver.

In any event...

Our files for the first volumes were uploaded last week, but it looks like the icons we had done were *too* detailed so we're scrambling to...unrefine...them. It's a shame, but we'll still be able to use the full versions, so it should all still work out.

Having spoken with Transcontinental, international shipping will come to two hundred fifty dollars (as opposed to the, apparently, one thousand Meisha-Merlin was charging).

As always,


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I was about to walk out the door when I realized that I hadn't updated on Monday.

(I apologize for my brevity, but there's something rather pressing to which I must attend)

In terms of wonderful news for all, the first set of volumes have been successfully uploaded to the Transcontinental Mass Transit servers. What ho! Also, as of today, counting drafts, we have spine art for each of the volumes completed.

Also, we've got recurring payments working on the website so anybody who had a Meisha-Merlin account and still owed money after the change-over can sign up for the "Returning Subscribers" option to get into the system and I'll adjust it to charge the appropriate amount. This seems like a far more sensible solution than setting up a unique option for each person.

To make up for the death of information, on Monday, I will update again and include some of the neat statistics Deb Rule has supplied us with about Heinlein Archives usage.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Be Wary of Setting Precedents

Here we are again on a rather beautiful day in Houston--we get about ten of them a year and so it's difficult to resist the temptation to go sit on the deck for a few hours. Alas.

All of the refunds have been sent out as of Friday and should be arriving within the next two days. I abhor doing mass mailings; we're not really set up to do them and, due to some bastardized offspring of Murphy's Law and the Peter Principle, our machines all seem to seize up when I ask them to start printing mailing labels. Nonetheless! those are complete.

We have an ETA of between April 14th and 18th for the first set of VE books--Volumes 1-7. In addition, the second set of books--Volumes 8-19--are beginning to hit second pass proofing, so things are moving along nicely.

I checked on what kind of leather "Taratan II" is meant to be and received the following description from Transcontinental:

Taratan II is a bonded leather. Lido grain is one of the embossing patterns available in the Taratan II bonded leather. It is made by a company named Cromwell. The thickness is 0.35mm.

I've received an acceptable number of initial responses concerning a Virginia Edition version of Variable Star, all of whom also seemed interested in getting Bill Patterson's Biography of Heinlein as well. In a month or so, I'll start putting out feelers on the status of those and do a more formal inquiry to the subscribers about whether or not they'd want the volumes.

Until next time

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I want it known, if you are responsible for working on the HP 8100DN, your job is as incomplete as the infernal machine currently jutting out behind my chair.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The wheel keeps turning...

...but that only matters to the ones on the rim.

Frabjous joy (Have I already used that line? Alas.) Okay, I've got a basic printing timeline from Transcontinental. Everything will be ready to be bound as of March 19th. The time between March 19th and completion of the first books depends on a few options I confirmed this morning and so we should have a final date for that in the next couple of days.

Beyond that, volumes 8-13 and 15-19--Stranger in a Strange Land, How to be a Politician, Rocket Ship Galileo, Space Cadet, Farmer in the Sky, Between Planets, The Rolling Stones, Starman Jones, and the Star Beast--have been scanned and will be moving to the proofreading part of the process. Volume 14 (Red Planet) was delayed due to shipping problems. Uncountable, unspeakable, unholy shipping problems. Books will be moved along and completed at the rate of 3 to 4 a month. If we assume a bare minimum, we'll be seeing the next twelve completed in four months--about June--and at flat-out rates, we'll have 'em in May or so.

We'd originally planned to do volumes 1-10, 11-22, 23-34, 35-46 (roughly). The original volume 8 was lost to redistribution, volumes 9 and 10 needed more work done, and two volumes of screenplays have been added. Now our first two print runs will be volumes 1-7 and then 8-19. I'll double-check, of course, but I believe the best course of action hereafter will be to print 20-33 and 34-47 together. (I'm also open to all of your thoughts on the matter.)

Due to clerical and administrative delay, the refunds did not go out last week. I have everything I need now, however, and will be sending them out today and Wednesday. Frankh, don't worry, I'll make sure your leaves with the first batch.

More than a few have asked me whether or not Variable Star would be included with the Virginia Edition. Our plan is not to include it as, though it is based on Heinlein's outlines, it is not Heinlein's writing. Nonetheless, given what appears to be reasonable interest, I *might* be able to start talking with a few people to see if we can get the rights to print a copy of it in the same format as the rest of the Virginia Edition.

If we did do this, it would be an add-on you could choose to purchase. Before I do any of this, however, I'd need to know how many of you would actually be interested in purchasing the volume. (It'll likely be a little while before I find the time to make inquiries, but go ahead and either respond to this post or to my email.)

Also, Donato has completed his work on the painting and is just awaiting an address to which he should send the plate. I'll keep you posted on the status of that as it develops.

I believe that's all for today.

Ad Astra

Monday, February 11, 2008

To those who have requested to receive money in lieu of books, we will begin sending those out starting Wednesday. If, for some reason, there is a delay in a person's account, I will contact them directly and let them know what's happened.

I may have mistaken the type of leather being used--I copied the exact name from the Transcontinental quotes, it may well be an in-house name--so, when we're uploading all the files, I'll ask for a common name.

We're currently waiting for somebody to finish rechecking the reflow of Time Enough for Loved--ETA for completion being today or tomorrow--and I'm double-checking to see if there's any reason we can't have the higher-res version of the VE logo on the book's title page. I am not currently aware of any other obstacles to going to print.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Today's title is blank in honor of transparencies, the unsung heroes of the classroom.

The website is now nearly completely functional. We've had transactions run successfully and I've been able to add a basic ordering option, but I'm apparently not nearly as technically brilliant as I thought and thus need our beloved webmistress's* help to set up options for people who need to make multiple payments.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but a number of Heinlein's screenplays were found and will be published as a two-volume set by Shadow Press. These volumes will also be included in the Virginia Edition.

One side of this is that all the material for Volume 8: Destination Moon will be included elsewhere in the edition. As such, we're going to get rid of it as a discrete volume, move them all up a stage, and move from there. We're going to send Shadow Press all the pictures we have from Destination: Moon so that they can create a much nicer production than might otherwise have been the case.

Talk to you all Monday (though it may be a bit of a quickie).

Monday, February 4, 2008

A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.

I would like to apologize to Zarf--tentatively termed My Number 1 Fan--for the lack of updates last week. There's been a whole lot of work without a whole lot of tangible results. (The intangibles, however, are off the charts.) Nonetheless, in all seriousness, sorry Zarf. And everybody else.

Our current status isn't especially different now than it was last week--when I asked Nancy to put together the layouts, I must, rather sheepishly, admit that I forgot to send her the graphic files we'll be using. This delay's rather entirely on me.

Of course, I realize I should also mention, while this business is being taken care of, progress is still continuing on future volumes--I need to get a status update and then I'll be able to post with the current progress on said volumes. Just so you know, we're not ramming our head into a brick wall.

The offer deadline came and went. I spent a lot of last week contacting those people who hadn't yet responded to make sure that nobody got left in the cold. (On a tangential note: I was unaware that Texas A&M had a science-fiction collection. I'm going to have to make a trip up to see it some weekend or another.)

As of this point, I've run an offer by the Exclusive Edition subscribers as to what we want to do for them and everybody seemed amenable to that solution--if you're an Exclusive Edition subscriber and *didn't* get the offer, please email me at sean (dot) thompson (at) dula (dot) com--and so all that really remains is for us to write a more formal agreement to mail to those subscribers.

I need to check with Donato to find out about where he is with the painting, I don't believe he expects to take too much longer to finish it. I'd like to take a moment to voice my appreciation for the complementary work he's doing on the piece. I believe it indicative of a dedication to one's art and work that's too often lacking.

In addition, my major task for the day: Getting the bloody shopping cart on the website to be fully functional. At this point, I believe, our beloved webmistress--long may she reign--has done all she can towards setting things up and we're at the point where I have to sort through the last of it. But sort I will! And now I'm rambling because I despise setting these galvano-mechanical monstrosities up.

Once again, I apologize for not updating last week. I will try (emphasis on 'try') to post again Friday to make up for it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I didn't quite make it to the posting stage on Monday and, while work is calling, I figured everybody'd be happy with at least a quick post to let you know I'm thinking of you. Yes, even you.

Upon realizing that our files for Time Enough For Love had no proper fonts embedded in the files--the reason for the Italics problem in that volume, a solution to which I've been chasing like my own tail, is that a, so far as I understand it, fake italic font had been created and so the printer's computers couldn't recognize it, substituted their own and that caused the spacing to go hay-wire--we're going to have somebody apply a new font--the one we'll be using throughout the books, will look the same--and go through to make sure there are no reflow problems as a result. That should take about a day or two all told.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I've been back in the office for about a week now and it's time to start keeping my promise of weekly updates. Every Monday, I shall set aside a little time to update everybody on the events of the past week and expectations for the coming week to make sure everybody knows about where we are.

Virginiaedition.com no longer looks like something that crawled out of the Atlantic Dead Zone. It still needs a little work on a few things, but it is looking rather respectable.

With a little snooping, I've managed to get hold of the font styles used by Transcontinental and applied to the Meisha-Merlin volumes and I'm double-checking to see if I can get hold of the exact ones Meisha-Merlin used when they created the original files. Thus we should be good to go in and fix the errors that have been noted in the originals without completely messing everything up.

The image at the top of the post is what we drummed up to be the official "Virginia Edition" icon, however we may have to change/replace it as it seems that one might not work particularly well with Transcontinental's printing.

I need to pick out the fonts for use for the text on the spines and covers of the books--I'm so excited, it's almost like picking out drapes!--and sign off on the layout. Once I have that done, we should be good to send the books for prepress and printing and I'll have a lovely little timeline for when the first books will be printed.

Work has also begun on the juveniles. I'll double-check to see where we are on the production for those and when we can expect to have them ready for printing.

We're nearing the February 1st deadline we set in the letter and while the majority of people have responded, we still have a substantial amount of people who haven't responded so I'm going to begin calling directly to make contact with these people.

This doesn't apply to many, but we don't have the email addresses for a few of those who ordered the Exclusive Edition. I believe we have phone numbers for all of the people whose email we don't have so I'll be setting time aside to call them, but, if you've ordered the Exclusive Edition and haven't received an email from me, please contact me as soon as you have a chance.

That's all I can think of at the moment so I will bid you all adieu, ad espera, ad astra (I don't speak Latin, cut me a break) while I go and make sure my home isn't destroyed by a gas leak.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I'm afraid that I came down sick and as a result have been rather completely out of the loop for the last week and a bit. Please bear with me as we resume normal broadcasting service.