Newsletter #16 mailed out 6 May 2003

Dear People,

The occasion for this newsletter is that I've completed the plot for the sixth Isles fantasy, tentatively titled MASTER OF THE CAULDRON. If I weren't writing this newsletter, I'd be telling myself that I ought to dive into the book right now... and frankly, I think I'd be better for a day's break, which I won't take if I don't have 'something to do in the meantime'.

This is pollen season and by choice I spend most of the time outside. Foreign proteins in my system (a virus can do the same thing) tend to leave me depressed and/or snappish. A focus on writing is my way of asserting control over my emotions. It worked pretty well when I was freshly back from Nam, too.

Speaking of being snappish, here's an assertion sent to Jim Baen (with copy to my webmaster) and my reply:

Date: Fri, 02 May 2003 14:33:30 -0500
From: Milton Austin <>
Subject: David Drake, "Ranks of Bronze", and Foreign Legions

Dear Sir,

David Drake's introduction to the book Foreign Legions gives no credit to
Jerry Pournelle's books Janiserries and Tran ( which Pournelle wrote with
Roland Green.

Since BAEN published Tran, this seems like a big omission.


Milton Austin
Date: Fri, 02 May 2003 16:32:55 -0400

Dear Mr Austin,
I still have the postcard Jerry wrote me in 1977 when he began to write Janissaries, congratulating me on my short story Ranks of Bronze published two years earlier.
I will not say anything intemperate, but I am surprised that a moron who cannot read a copyright date is able to type on a computer keyboard.
Jim, please have this exchange posted on the Bar.
David A Drake
Attorney at Law
For some reason I'm not-infrequently accused of plagiarizing Jerry; I recall one objection that the General series was stolen from The Mercenary. (No, both Jerry and I have read Procopius.) When I do steal from other writers (as examples from off the top of my head Clark Ashton Smith, Lord Dunsany, and Dashiell Hammett) I try to acknowledge the debt explicitly. But not Jerry Pournelle. (And by the way, he'd had Janissaries in mind before he read Ranks of Bronze; I just happened to get into print before he did. It's really dangerous--and potentially libelous--to assume direct borrowing by one from another.)

I now know more about the contents of the CD-ROM to be bound in with THE FAR SIDE OF THE STARS. They are supposed to include electronic versions of The Tank Lords; The Northworld Trilogy; Redliners; Old Nathan; With the Lightnings; Lt. Leary, Commanding; Cross the Stars; Killer (with Karl Edward Wagner); Paying the Piper; Seas of Venus; and Grimmer Than Hell. And thanks to Tom Doherty of Tor, there'll be an ASCII version of Lord of the Isles.
If things work out, The Sea Hag will be there too.

Hmm, and probably The Far Side of the Stars itself.

In addition to those (what I count as my books) there will be the books done from my outlines by Steve Stirling (the whole General series in the form of Warlord and Conqueror, and also The Reformer), and Eric Flint (the Belisarius series to date: An Oblique Approach, In the Heart of Darkness, Destiny's Shield, Fortune's Stroke, and The Tide of Victory, plus The Tyrant to complete The Reformer).

There should also be anthologies containing something of mine: More Than Honor, Foreign Legions, and The Warmasters.
I've asked that Eric Flint's 1632 be added, mainly because I like it a lot (it has nothing to do with me). In addition Jim is planning to run abbreviated versions of the disks that were bound in with Dave Weber's and John Ringo's latest books. (I assume that will include all the electronic books therein, but I frankly haven't asked.)

My webmaster Karen is scanning John the Balladeer by Manly Wade Wellman for inclusion. The John stories are some of the best American fantasies. They moved me long before I met Manly and are an influence of my writing.

There will be an audio version of The Far Side of the Stars, read by Jim's sales manager. (She read the audio version of John Ringo's Hell's Faire also, by the way.) There's also six minutes of me sweating blood to do an acceptable reading of the book's front matter. I'm not a performer, and the process cost me more than any benefit I expect other people to derive from the result. But it's there.

Portions of the Hammer's Slammers miniature wargame book to be published later in the year in Britain by Pireme will be included. We won't run the game rules, but as much other material is complete will be there. I'm really looking forward to photos of the painted 25-mm figures and vehicles myself.

A time-slice of my whole website will be there. Among other things this will provide notes for a lot of the electronic books on the disk.

Finally there's an oddity: a seven and a half minute targeting video from a Spectre gunship over Afghanistan. Some of you will have seen it (or portions of it) before, but I thought it was something that would interest a lot of my readers.

I've done little intros to John the Balladeer, the miniature material, and the targeting video.

I don't swear any of the above material will be present. It's supposed to be. In publishing (heck, in life) that isn't a guarantee.

There haven't been many changes on the website. We have the draft cover for the game book up, along with some pictures my webmaster took of the unpainted figures and vehicles just to give you a rough idea. [] I'll replace those with something better as soon as I have it. (But I'm not going to try to paint them myself!)

I also have some more Ovid up. Putting my translations on view makes me take the sort of pains on them which a craftsman as good as Ovid deserves. (That doesn't make them good translations; though in their way, I think they are.)

As for forthcoming books, Tor will be bringing out Goddess of the Ice Realm in September (I've gushed over Donato's cover already), and Baen will have The Far Side of the Stars in October with a striking Hickman cover. The paperback of Paying the Piper will appear in December, which seems late to me (but I have my own work to keep me occupied).

A Baen hardcover (Megabook) of The Reaches Trilogy is scheduled for January. In March the paperback of Seas of Venus should appear, and I guess I should mention the paperback of The Warmasters is due out. There probably isn't anything else of mine before June at the earliest.

Hmm. It occurs to me that most writers wouldn't need to add that last line.

I haven't done additional notes for books in my bibliography for a while. If there's anything people want to see, drop me a line through the FAQ form. (I'll say up front that I don't intend to discuss collaborations with Janet Morris.)

One final note. This newsletter isn't about current events, and that isn't going to change. I will say, however, that the troopers who had the skill and balls to make the dash to Saddam International Airport and then to make a Thunder Run through Baghdad have my unstinting respect. I am glad--I am proud--to have been in a very small way in their lineage.

Dave Drake

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last updated 6 May 2003 by