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joe_haldeman
20 September 2016 @ 10:25 am
From Gay: The BookBub Newsletter is supposed to be featuring Joe's book 1968 today for only $1.99. BookBub.com
 
 
joe_haldeman
21 August 2016 @ 09:42 pm
Vala, I'll finish the new book, PHOBOS MEANS FEAR, soon; a lot of travel in the way -- like now, the Worldcon.  It will come out about a year after i finish it, unless they have some reason to rush it.

Joe
 
 
joe_haldeman
09 August 2016 @ 09:43 am
I guess every fiction writer slips into autobiography every now and then.  Yesterday I wrote (from the viewpoint of a middle-aged female character, whose mother died years before, at the beginning of the book)

"Sometimes I really wish I had my mother here, to laugh with me about the ways we torture time and space to bring it into alignment with the linear illusion that we inhabit.  Here in the provisional reality of cyberspace."

-- and in fact that is literally true.  My mother's been gone for more than twenty years now, but I still miss her presence, especially as an old woman when I was an adult myself.  So now I'm a couple of years older than she was ever allowed, and on this rainy morning I feel deprived of those decades I've traveled without her.  Far better, I think, than being relieved to be free of her, which I know is just as common.

Joe
 
 
joe_haldeman
30 July 2016 @ 08:57 am
I could use a bottle of that stuff myself.  Do they make it for computers?  (In sff.net, someone referred to "slippery" ink.)
Actually, there is a pronounced difference in the "slickness" of various fountain pen inks.  Like most people, I think, I prefer a brand with a little drag to it.  Especially with an italic nib.
You don't want to go zooming off onto the desk!
I'm off to studio this Saturday morning.  Hoping for a female model.  Perhaps an attractive one.
No, I should hope for an old man who resembles a toad.  See what haooens.
Joe
 
 
joe_haldeman
24 July 2016 @ 07:25 am
Gay and I find ourselves hanging around in Chicago now, after a hectic but not high-pressure week at the biannual Ernest Hemingway conference, which was in Oak Park, Illinois, EH's birthplace.

Heading back tonight to the steamy hellhole of Gainesville, Florida.

We had an interesting time yesterday.  Went into town and met Gary Wolfe and Stacey for a boat ride, an architectural tour of the Chicago harbor.  There are many buildings around the harbor, as you might have guessed.  Then we went up to their apartment, I think on the East Side, and played with their two old cats for awhile, drinking a fine little bottle of Eiswein.  (No, the cats didn't have any.)

We had dinner at one of Gary's favorite neighborhood restaurants, a cavernous rib place, where the fare was indeed remarkable, tender slow-grilled ribs with a fine spectrum of sauces. 

Enough of this high living, though.  I must hie me back out to the asteroid belt, where real men make a living hoisting verbs and adjectives, muttering imprecations as they worry them into place.

Hope I can get into high gear on the novel.  In the best of all possible worlds, to which I always aspire, I would finish it before Worldcon.  But Worldcon is early, mid-August.  So open a fresh bottle of that new high-velocity ink, and write harder!

Joe
 
 
 
joe_haldeman
05 July 2016 @ 09:12 am

Mitch, a lot of people turn to self-publishing in response to the vast silence from New York.  That doesn't mean you won't be famous some day, so you'd better brace yourself for eventually becoming rich, or providing riches for future obscure relatives.

Stephen Crane self-published his first novel, which he then had to burn in his wood stove one copy at a time, to stay warm in the winter of 1894.

(Worth $8500 now.)

In another couple of years he was famous, for the rest of his short life.  Don’t emulate him!  Be like me and publish your stuff in pulp sf magazines.  Nor doubt that fame and fortune lie beyond the bourne!

Joe

 
 
joe_haldeman
04 July 2016 @ 03:23 pm
An old friend wrote with a familiar question:  I've written a book.  Should I just send it to a publisher, or is it smarter to send it to an agent?

Steve, times have changed radically from when I was sending out stories and book proposals.  We used to look in Writer's Market and check out the listings, and choose a publisher/editor more or less at random -- someone who does books you admire -- and shoot off the manuscript with a self-addressed stamped envelope to one of them.  Then when it came back, send it to the next one on the list.

Nowadays, people look at the agents' listings instead.  Agents publish lists of the writers they represent.  You look for an agent who does writers you like, and send your story or proposal off to him or her.

One thing apparently is the same:  an agent who's any good doesn't have lots of spare time to read manuscripts.  So it's best to write up a killer proposal, rather than send the whole book.

The supposition (which is only sometimes true) is that if you can write a wonderful proposal, you will write a wonderfuller book.

Of course it's really just a sales job, and the reality is that Hemingway or Joyce or Faulkner would probably be crap at writing a sales pitch.  But what does reality have to do with it? 

I have a book at home (we're on the road now) that is a compilation of query letters that worked.  Googling turns up a half-dozen possibilities.

The proposals I've done that worked were either short, a couple of paragraphs, or very long -- pages of detail.  So who knows?

(I think my most successful proposal was for Forever Free.  Five words:  "A sequel to The Forever War."  But first you have to write a best-seller.)

Good luck.
 
 
joe_haldeman
04 July 2016 @ 08:59 am
Fingers crossed for the Juno spacecraft.  Jupiter's my favorite planet anyhow.  This mission will take thousands of high-resolution photos of its interesting "surface" -- cloud-tops, anyhow.

As a lad I spent hour after hour trying to draw my low-resolution versions of the same.  It was the most rewarding of all the planets to draw, with a relatively small telescope.

Yesterday we went into Chevy Chase -- or was it Bethesda? -- and treated ourselves to pedicures.  My nails were becoming dangerous weapons!  Careful and serious small Vietnamese woman.

Also picked up a bucket of fried chicken from sister Wendi's favorite place, very yum.  We went to the vegetable market and picked up this and that.  I prepared a pot of greens therefrom, with bacon and onion, likewise yum.

Today being the 4th of July, we'll have to plan carefully to work around celebrations.  In the evening we'll probably just walk to a nearby field with a picnic, and watch the Washington display, which will of course be prodigious.  These old bones don't look forward to reclining on the ground, but I'll manage.

Joe
 
 
joe_haldeman
24 June 2016 @ 11:14 am
I need a program that will tell me the positions of the inner planets on a given day in the 21st century.  Specifically, I have people on the Earth and Luna, in cislunar space, and enroute to Mars.  The distances between them can be as small as fractional light-seconds and as great as light-minutes.  Putting aside for a minute the writing challenge of relating a conversation among several people with varying time delays -- does NASA or anybody have a program that will output those distances (or just positions) at a given moment?  Or is it computationally more difficult than it looks?
 
 
joe_haldeman
17 June 2016 @ 08:59 am
This is in answer to a letter from a reader . . . .

Actually, I should be content to just let the text stay, and explain itself, but there's a lot that was more clear forty years ago than now -- and wasn't completely clear to everybody then. 

The ideas of, first, compulsory sex among soldiers and, later, compulsory homosexuality among everybody, were meant to be tongue-in-cheek; absurd.  That I employed the rhetorical devices of hard sf to that end was supposed to be the big McGuffin, if you will.  If people didn't think it was funny . . . well, as they say in literary criticism, fuck them if they can't take a joke!

Does that mean that the novel was not intended seriously?  No.  But one could write a book -- a deadly boring one -- about what seriousness means in a comic novel.  (Using "comic" in its broadest literary sense.) 

What I would probably do differently now, maybe because I'm becoming politically correct in my old age, would be the feminization of a couple of the gay male characters, and masculinization of a couple of the female ones.  That wasn't necessary then and would be doubly unnecessary now.  (A couple of gay readers did take me to task for that even back then.)