Tuesday, 1 June 2004

A Staple Diet

The Virtual Stapler.

And although it's still several months to International Talk Like A Pirate Day, there's a pun in the Talk Like a Pirate Song that's too awful to keep for that long :
- And you! WHAT are ye doin' with that salmon?
- I'm grillin' it on a hunk o' cedar, what d'y'think?
- Ye CAN'T do that in a JAPANESE STIR-FRY, ye bilge rat!
- Oh HO! Ye never heard o' "wokkin' the plank"?
Age has mellowed my propensity for punslinging. But not my proprinquity, penchant or passion. I can still recall when me good mate Spider Robinson and I inadvertently clashed words... I'm not kidding when I say that a large, filled room emptied within 30 seconds, and we both looked at each other and said 'Where'd they all go?'. No-one had screamed (OK, there were a few loud groans), chairs weren't knocked over (OK, maybe one or two), they just...ran. Fast. For any available exit.

And for all the SF fans reading this, please go over and have a look at Spider's latest post in his diary.
...the first [Heinlein Prize] was, by unanimous vote of the judges, awarded posthumously to Virginia Gerstenfeld Heinlein, Robert's widow, who had just passed away a few months earlier, and under whose stewardship the Heinlein estate had multiplied in value five times since Robert's passing. It presently serves as the main foundation for the Heinlein Prize Trust, which intends to give away half a million dollars a year to whoever does the most that year to advance commercial manned spaceflight, from now until the money runs out. (The principal purpose of VARIABLE STAR is to help keep that pot full.)
Bob James, being an archives veteran, had some of the best stuff. Okay, one quick example: he described a treatment for a Robert Heinlein screenplay entitled, swear to God, Abbott and Costello Move to the Moon. No, really.

And then, a few items later, someone--I believe it was Bob, but I'm not certain--happened to mention that he'd come across a full, detailed, outline for a novel, complete with character sketches and other notes, which Robert had set down in 1955, but never got around to writing. My ears grew points.

And from somewhere in the back of the room, a woman's voice called, "You should get Spider Robinson to finish that book." And there was applause. Immediately on my left sat the man who controls the copyright to all Heinlein material.

So that was a good day.

So I went home, and received a copy of Robert's outline and notes, and loved them, and wrote two sample chapters and a proposal and a title (Robert had put down seven possible titles, but even he didn't like any of them much), and they were all approved by Art Dula, and in the fullness of time the book, to be known as "ROBERT A. HEINLEIN'S VARIABLE STAR by Spider Robinson", sold to Tor for the proverbial six figures.
And there was much rejoicing.

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