Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In Which Your Humble Correspondent Deciidedly Does Not Die For Anybody's Sins

Friday has been reviewed and carefully sent away to have revisions implemented before it goes through prepress. Future History 1 came in well ahead of schedule--though I'm due an update on scheduling for the following volumes sometime today so we'll see how that goes--and I am currently working through # of the Beast.

Normally, as recurring readers may be aware, I keep my humble opinions to myself. I am simply the technician striving to bring you a quality product, no vain talking head I!

That said, I would like it known that I am currently reading through # of the Beast. Again. For what I believe is the ninth time. I have read the apocrypha, the Panki-Barsoom ending which, to my mind, calls up the ending of The Puppet Masters and is far superior to the published Beast ending in that it, y'know, has an actual ending. The conclusion *concludes.* Perhaps structure is simply madness in a post-modern world, I hesitate to comment as it was the...absence of substance or structure which once upon a time led me to decide against the topless towers of the English academe.

A quick search of # of the Beast turns up 16 uses of the word "teats," 11 uses of "nipples," and 2 uses of "Spung!" to describe nipples coming erect. I didn't think to search for "breasts" or any other terms. I think I'll write a "# of the Beast Unabridged Summary (Abridged)" as I go along to keep myself sane.

My point being, I'm reading this again. For you. Oh dear me.

PS: I'd like to draw people's attention to which started yesterday--07/07/09, Heinlein's 102nd birthday--where a number of Heinlein afficionados are making an effort to centralize all the muck that's fit to rake about Heinlein. I encourage everybody to take a look, maybe toss in some content contributions or the like.

PPS: The absolute best way to get my attention is to email me at sean dot thompson at dula dot com

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A subscriber (or two) pointed out to me that, email announcements to subscribers notwithstanding, I have not updated this blog in ages. Not quite the best of things considering this is meant as a window in for prospectives and the like. To keep from posting an absolute sea of text—from c to shining c—I'll aim to post several updates over the course of the week until we've got everything up to speed.
We lost a fair bit of time due to a series of unfortunate events that befell Windhaven, but they've recovered and are working towards the following schedule.
We will be printing the remaining books in two tranches. The first will go to the printer at the end of August and the second will go to print about mid to late January. At the start of July and December, I will confirm mailing addresses and instructions for each of you. We've decided to rearrange the print order somewhat as well. Volumes 22-47 will be as follows:
The Future History of Robert Heinlein Vol. I
The Future History of Robert Heinlein Vol. II
The Number of the Beast
Job: A Comedy of Justice
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
To Sail Beyond the Sunset
Creating a Genre (Fiction compilation)
Sixth Column
Podkayne of Mars
Expanded Universe
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
New Worlds to Conquer
Glory Road
The Puppet Masters
Farnham's Freehold
Tramp Royale
Heinlein Century
Nonfiction #1
Nonfiction #2
Letters 1 (Heinlein - Campbell Correspondence)
Letters 2
Letters 3
Screenplay #1
Screenplay #2

The nonfiction, letters, and screenplay volumes are all shaping up to be fairly hefty volumes and we felt it would be more aesthetically and functionally pleasing to collect these volumes towards the end rather than have them sandwiching the smaller volumes. At the same time, this allows the volumes to transition from the fiction volumes to the autobiographical Tramp Royale to the collections Heinlein Century and the nonfiction and letters at the end in a manner similar to reference papers.

Below follows the schedule we have at present for the completion of the of the next tranche of books. This is intended to leave a fair amount of wiggle room and we believe it not unreasonable that we will be able to move somewhat faster than this.

Future History Vol 2 (Complete)
6/12 - The Number of the Beast
6/25 – Friday
7/21 - Job
7/23 - Sixth Column
7/24 - The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
7/29 - To Sail Beyond the Sunset
8/3 -  Future History, volume 1
8/7 -  Podkayne of Mars
8/12 - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
8/14 - Expanded Universe
8/18 - Creating a Genre
8/18 - New Worlds to Conquer
8/20 - Glory Road
8/31 - Farnham's Freehold

We will go to press with each volume we have ready by August 15th. We readily expect to manage the first eleven of these, however we believe it's reasonable to think we'll be able to manage several more for the deadline. More information will be forthcoming as it is available.

The Number of the Beast and Friday have arrived from Windhaven—Friday arriving a week early, in fact—and we seem to be progressing well at this point.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The New Year

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.