First off, the site maintainers (Ted, Carol and Nessus) would like to wish all of Larry's fans a happy new year.
Larry attended yesterday's First Saturday Chat, he spoke briefly about his new collaboration with Gregory Benford, a megastructure novel, currently nicknamed "wok world".Read the log here.
A new Draco Tavern story is published in March 2004's edition of Analog. Entitled "Storm Front" this new Draco Tavern tale describes a new race of beings to visit the Tavern, after the survivors of their species are rescued by the Chirpsithra ship, Spin Constant. If you are unable to get hold of the paper edition of Analog on your local newsstands, you can either subscribe via amazon, or download an electronic version of this magazine from Fictionwise.com.
Finally, a US release date for Ringworld's Children has been posted on Amazon's website, so you can now pre-order your summer reading material.. The title will be available from June 2004. Still no news of a US release date for Burning Tower but we can keep on hoping.
Also spotted a very, very, very, welcome re-release of The Flying Sorcerers by Larry Niven and David Gerrold in April 2004.
For those that don't know, this was one of Larry's first collaborations and David Gerrold was the writer of the classic "Trouble with Tribbles" episode of the Original Star Trek. This book has been out of print for nearly two decades now. Read this site's review of Sorcerers. The book is very funny and given Gerrold's Star Trek background it pokes fun several Star Trek elements, including The Prime Directive.
Carol Phillips went to visit Larry over the Thanksgiving period this year. She visited his home and saw for herself just how close the wildfires had come to destroying his home. Carol also gave Larry a gift, a miniture Fi' which Carol had made herself holding it's own miniture bottle of Glen Niven whiskey.
Man Kzin War Author Hal Colebatch has been awarded a Centennary Medal by the Australian Government for services to Writing, Law Poetry and Political Commentary, the only person to be awarded a medal for achievements in this combination of fields. The medals were a one-off award to celebrate the first 100 years of Australia's existence as an independent country. The medal and a certificate of appreciation signed by the Governor General and Prime Minister were presented to Hal by local Member of Parliament the Hon. Julie Bishop. (pictured with Hal, right).
New Ringworld Animations by Manuel Lohmann
Manuel has been working on a new Ringworld Fly-by Animation. At present it is still a work in progress as it is taking a considerable time to render all the frames (15 minutes per frame) for the animation.
To give you some idea of what the animation will look like here are the links to the preview animations. These are only pre-viz, (previews), the Snapshot file contains coloured rendered individual frames from the animation and the Wireframe Preview shows what the finished fly-by will be like. Manuel is continuing to work on them.
Larry and his wife Marilyn are safe and back at home after the Californian Wildfires have abated. Although his house had a very close call.
Below is a satellite image, taken over the weekend (from the BBC News website) showing the smoke plumes of the various fires around LA. Larry's home in Chatsworth was threatened by the most westerly of the fire storms. I've overlaid a map (courtesy of Yahoo) onto the satellite Image, allowing me to pin point Larry's home.
Larry and his wife Marilyn evacuated on Saturday when they saw the first of the fires cresting the Western Ridge. The Nivens went to stay with friends during the crisis and were never at any time in any personal danger.
Larry returned home on Tuesday to find that the fires had burned right up to the front and side doors of his house, but the house itself is intact. None of his possessions were harmed, the only "damage" being the smell of smoke in the house. Even Larry's Koi collection in the garden survived unscathed.
To read his own account of the fire, here's a letter he sent to Carol Phillips.
In a odd prophetic turn of fate, Larry Niven's and Jerry Pournelle's Most Recent Collaborative Novel was entitled "The Burning City" (published in 2000 by Simon and Schuster). In the fantasy novel, set in California circa 14,000 years ago; the magical power of "mana" is being drained from the world, leaving humanity at the fate of gods. The fire god of the story is called Yangen-Atep who periodically sets fire to Wandall's (the hero of the story) village.
I recently asked Larry in an email how he now felt after being at Yangen-Atep's mercy. He replied:
"Yangen-Atep was released from the La Brea Tar Pits by my ancestor, Edward Lawrence Doheny, at the beginning of the last century. Nothing could surprise me less than to find him running loose through California"
The sequel to The Burning City, "Burning Tower" will be published next year.
Like Ringworld's Children, Burning Tower's release date has also slipped. Although still being touted as a December release by Amazon.co.uk, Orbit Books, it's UK publisher still does not list it on it's pending release schedule which currently goes to April 2004. Likewise, no information is available from it's US publisher, Simon and Schuster.
The cover art for the forthcoming Ringworld's Children (click on image left, to enlarge), due to be released next year by the publisher Tor (Orbit in the UK) has been prepared by artist Stephan Martiniere.
Stephan, a successful illustrator and director has previously produced a number of illustrations for books and magazine covers and has also worked as a conceptual designer on such SF projects as the Red Planet movie and Titan A.E. Stephan has his own website of his works: www.martiniere.com where prints of some of his other works are available to buy. No doubt a print of this Ringworld Cover Art Will Soon be available too.
Hal Colebatch, the successful author of Man Kzin War stories, including the most recent release, MKW 10: The Wunder War also produces factual works, and a recent title "Return Of The Heroes: The Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter And Social Conflict" is Hal's attempt at explaining the popularity of these heroic characters and people's need to believe in something, which has become all the more inportant is this post-911 world.
Review of Man Kzin Wars X: The Wunder War now available on this site.
A new Larry Niven/Brenda Cooper story called "The Trellis" is available in the November Edition of Analog.
A living sky cable between Pluto and it's tidally locked moon, Charon is made from genetically engineered vines. This is the story of a heroic rescue when a transport vehicle gets stuck in the vines, 160 km up from Pluto's surface.
If you can't get hold of a traditional paper-copy Fictionwise.com are currently offering this in Ebook format. Click on the title cover to download.
Larry attended the most recent Known Space Chat. Read the log here. Larry stayed for an hour and a half and chatted with us about the Man Kzin Wars and its authors and joined us in speculation about another Draco Tavern story, and how to kill off Gil The Arm.
Summary and Review of Scatterbrain now available on this site.
Man Kzin Wars 10: The Wunder War containing four stories by Hal Colebatch has now started shipping and Scatterbrain an anthology collection by Larry is now due out any day - hopefully our review copies will be with us soon.
More and more "flash mobs" have started happening around the world, with instances in London, Rome and Vienna. A flash mob is very similar to the "flash crowds" that Larry wrote about in the 60s. In Niven's Universe Flash Crowds occur when large number of people teleport into areas where news is being made at the moment, i.e. riots.
A "Flash Crowd" happens like this: Riot begins, more rioters transport in after seeing riot begin on the news, more news reporters transport in, every johnny-come-lately wanting a view of the riot transports in, every mad religious cultist wanting exposure transports in as well as looters who are coming in to take advantage of the overwhelming crowds. By this point, no one can transport out of the area as the transport booths are blocked by even more hawkers wanting to view the riot.
ABC Online News reported:
Is it performance art or the ultimate surprise party? A social phenomenon known as the 'flash mob', which began in New York and relies on e-mail, appears to be spreading worldwide.
Using mass e-mailing, the organisers bring together what their invitations describe as 'inexplicable mobs' - large crowds that materialise in public places and suddenly dissipate 10 minutes later.
Since the first flash mob was organised in Manhattan in May, by a mischievous underground group called the Mob Project, the practise has already spread to other U.S. cities, while plans are being drawn up for events in London, Rome and Vienna.
The concept's creator, a shadowy figure known only as Bill, started off by e-mailing 50 friends to gather at a retail store in downtown Manhattan. The plan was foiled after the store was tipped off, forcing Bill to introduce an element of subterfuge.
For mob number two, participants were asked to gather in advance in one of several bars and only then were handed a leaflet detailing the target - Macy's department store.
More than 100 people suddenly appeared on Macy's home furnishing floor and, as instructed by the leaflet, began discussing whether to purchase a 'love rug' for their fictitious commune. To the bewilderment of the sales staff, the crowd then melted away as quickly as it had formed.
As Bill's e-mail pool has expanded, so has the size of the gatherings. Mob number three saw nearly 200 people flood the lobby of the swanky Hyatt Hotel and erupt into synchronised applause in front of bemused guests, while number four involved the invasion of a shoe boutique in Soho with participants pretending to be hick tourists from the northern U.S. state of Maryland on a bus trip.
"It's a spectacle for spectacle's sake - which is silly, but is also, as I've discovered somewhat to my surprise, genuinely transgressive, which is part of its appeal, I think," said the mysterious Bill in an e-mail exchange. "People feel like there's nothing but order everywhere, and so they love to be a part of just one thing that nobody was expecting."
A spokesman for the New York police department was wary about commenting on the legality of the mobs, but said the police would intervene only if there was criminal intent. For the most recent event, on July 24, one group gathered in an Irish bar, trying vainly to act casual as they loitered around the jukebox mentioned in the invitation.
"Are you with the mob?" whispered one anxious first-timer, only to be shushed with a knowing nod and wink, followed by a nervous giggle. A Mob Project representative surreptitiously handed out instruction leaflets, guiding that group and others to a grassy knoll in Central Park, opposite the American Museum of Natural History.
The mob began at 7:18 pm precisely - the 300-plus participants having synchronised watches with a time zone website - and the surreal instructions were followed to the letter:
"It was over before I could work out whether it was really clever or really dumb. But either way I kind of enjoyed it," said Lorien Poole, 24, who was e-mailed by a friend.
Just a few hours later, the event was the subject of heated discussion on several website chatrooms devoted to the flash mob trend. "It seems to me that while this is all fun, harmless and interesting for now, that it is just a matter of time before a fight breaks out and the mob becomes a riot," wrote one pessimistic participant.
Bill has made it clear he intends to wind up the project before it gets out of hand, although the concept appears to be taking on a life of its own.
San Francisco, Minneapolis and Phoenix have all staged their own events, while the first European mob took place this week in Rome, when 300 people entered a music and bookstore and asked for non-existent titles. The idea has also been adopted and given a more political agenda by other groups.
In Detroit, a group of gays and lesbians organise the 'Detroit Guerrilla Queer Bar', which targets a local straight restaurant or bar for 'swarming' on a designated night. And in Boston, Reggie Cummings, a black software developer, coordinates 'friendly takeovers' by crowds of black yuppies of downtown bars with a traditionally white clientele.
Real "Flash Crowds" Take Manhattan (was at http://www.cheesebikini.com/blog/archives/000261.html)
The Cheese Bikini Website reports that New Yorkers are using e-mail to coordinate "inexplicable mobs" huge crowds that materialize in public places and suddenly dissipate 10 minutes later.
New Ringworld artwork submitted by Dave King of Scifiimages.com
Dave's previous submission to the gallery was created for purely artistic effect, but with his recent one, the Ringworld is depicted accurately to scale. The new art is available exclusively here before Dave adds it to his own website.
Our Public Appearances section has been updated with more information about Larry's future convention attendances, including Westercon, Crescent City Con and of course, WorldCon, which Larry usually attends every year.
Is Larry booked to come to your convention? Let us know.
Brenda Cooper attended the First Saturday Chat - together with a couple of members from the HARDSF Yahoo Group we had quite a good discussion of Protector. Read the log here.
New Mote Art Gallery created, with works by John Ottinger and new submissions from Paul Lloyd.
Larry is 65 today! Read your birthday greetings here
Confirmation from Orbit Books UK: Ringworld's Children moved back to a Spring 2004 Release. For US readers Tor will be releasing Ringworld's Children in January 2004, which may mean it may still be available for Christmas.
Man Kzin Wars author, Hal Colebatch recently sent me an article from his local paper "The Post", the article is reproduced on the Man Kzin Wars website courtesy of POST Newspapers, Subiaco, Western Australia.
Larry attended April's First Saturday (of the month) Chat on our new IRC server (irc.illusionary.com). You can read the log here. Larry spoke about coverart and in particular the works of Michael Whelan.
A New Draco Tavern story has been published in May's Analog magazine. The story, entitled "The Death Addict" is about an Immortal Turtle with a taste for extreme sports.
Get your copy from the News Stands now, or alternately download an electronic version from Fictionwise.com.
In his latest letter, Larry tells us that the Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring are going to be re-released by Del Rey in July in a combined paperback volume, and that there will never be a sequel published, he says "...The Smoke Ring is a finished playground, the gates left wide open..."
Slashdot.org have posted an Interview with Larry. The Slashdot readers submitted their most popular questions for Larry and he answered the top 10, which were:
David Gordon has been working dilligently on his new Ringworld RPG Website. David has created this site to booster interest in the Ringworld RPG game and hopes to eventually be able to provide access to PDFs of the Rules and information from the original game and Ringworld Companion.
Larry is due to appear today (18th February) on "Screen Savers" a TV Call in Show for computer users. Please check the show's web pages for channel access information: Tech TV. The show is on Tuesday 2/18, 7 p.m., 10 p.m. Eastern and will be repeated Wednesday 2/19 2 a.m., 12 p.m. Eastern.
Larry has also agreed to appear on "Sex TV" on the 22nd February, for an interview about "sex and science fiction".
You can read Larry's latest letters to the site, where he talks about the above TV appearances, a European Convention (Dortmund) and news that he has been invited to visit Industrial Light and Magic (THE special effects makers), to speak at the Skywalker Ranch, who have expressed an interest in possibly turning some of his short stories into movies.
Click here for even older news .
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