Journal Entry #12

February 29, 2008

Asimov's has picked up "Welcome to Valhalla." Also, Baen's Universe will publish "Indomitable" in its April issue. "Indomitable" is the story mentioned in the first journal entry, inspired by a visit to the Calgary, Alberta, Aerospace Museum. The idea came from seeing a WWII RAF bomber that was described as being the last of its kind. The experience is as good an example as I can think of illustrating how story ideas arrive. If you have a chance to read the story, think of that bomber.

Recommended science fiction book: Sheila Finch's The Guild of Xenolinguists. A treasure trove for those of us who enjoy stories about encounters with aliens.

I've gone back to reading the H.L. Mencken Chrestomathy, which I've been away from for a long time. It is as sharp and witty as ever. Mencken never loses his touch. As I've mentioned elsewhere in these journals, the Gregory MacAllister character from the Priscilla Hutchins novels was inspired by him. He's also remembered for bring in Clarence Darrow to defend John Scopes in the Tennessee Monkey Trial. (And yes, it's no coincidence that MacAllister got his own version of the Monkey Trial in Odyssey.)

I expect to make up my mind within the next few days which way the next novel will go. I'd been expecting to follow The Devil's Eye with another Alex Benedict mystery. (I've an interesting idea for it, but it will take time to sort itself out.) I'm still thinking about the NASA/SETI conference I attended during the summer, and the issue it addressed: If life really can happen more or less easily, given liquid water and stability and whatnot, why do we hear only a vast silence around us? If the novel goes as expected, the title will be The Armageddon Club.

Finally, Subterranean Press is gearing up to publish Cryptic: The Best of Jack McDevitt. No release date has been set yet. We're putting it together now. It will probably incorporate about forty stories and run to approximately 200,000 words. Rob Sawyer is on board to do the intro.

— Jack

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