Don't be fooled by the title of this blog. I don't discuss herbs very much here. This blog is general-purpose, although I do like ranting about politics and religion.

Friday, October 07, 2005

What a Story!

This evening I finished reading my mother-in-law's tale of what it was like to live in Soviet prison camps for three and a half years. This was 20 pages, single-space typed, on what had to have been originally a European paper format for size. The copy of the manuscript I have is on 11" x 17" paper, and the typewritten part is about 10" x 13", and it is thickly typed without paragraph breaks. My coauthor, Rita, typed it from a tape recording of her mother made years ago.

The story is a little hard to follow sometimes because Mom Baltutt did tend to go off on tangents in her tale (as anyone would do while speaking freely telling a story that hadn't been told before), but it's pretty clear what was going on — except for some German words I had never seen before, and some unfamiliar idiomatic expressions. This is one tough story, though. This would have made a good book, if an interviewer had had some time to sit down with Mom Baltutt and elicit more details and background. As it is, I am afraid it is going to delay completion of the book by a few months! Maybe I'm being pessimistic. But whatever I am being, the book cannot go out without this part of the story.

One thing that I found worthy of mention (among many others) is that she ran into a number of Germans held in servitude in the Ural Mountains who had been taken prisoner during World War ONE! And were never released.

Demon Tech

I really love science-fiction. Not so crazy about fantasy, but occasionally some of it seems readable enough. My favorite SF writers are Jerry Pournelle and David Sherman, and interestingly enough, both have taken on fantasy projects that I found very worthwhile. Pournelle started out with Burning City (of course, written with Larry Niven), and Sherman came up with a military-themed series he called DemonTech, based on a very clever notion of different kinds of demons who would respond to desires (and food!) to do the bidding of humans.

At first I thought Sherman's notion was silly, but after finishing the first DemonTech novel, featuring two marines (naturally), I was hooked. Because I delayed getting into the series, I was able to read the first two books (Onslaught and Rally Point), in one sitting, so to speak, and in short order the third (Gulf Run) as soon as it came out. This was an excellent series, with each book getting better and better, and I was really enjoying the characters, too. Oh, was I ever looking forward to book IV! They're in a pretty pickle at the end of Book III, so I was on the edge of my chair, metaphorically speaking, to find out what was going to happen next!

And now, this. I wasn't paying attention, and yes, this news was put on Sherman's website eight freeping months ago, but the publisher has bailed on the series! Oh, yeah, and now I am truly ticked off. I don't suppose I can prevail upon David Sherman to finish the last book and publish it online, at least, but that would be nice. I would even work with him to put the book on the web, for free!

DemonTechers Unite!

I don't know if Sherman's suggestions for helping to resurrect the series would work:
The publisher has told me that if sales pick up, they'll reconsider. If you want to continue reading DemonTech, there are a couple of things you can do: You can write reviews at or other online booksellers, and personally urge friends, relatives, acquaintances, whoever, to try DemonTech.
But I will do what I can, at least.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Book Done? Not Really!

My coauthor just rediscovered something she had forgotten all about, and that was a transcript she had made of her mother's experiences in the same time as the book. I have just started to read it, and of course as a transcript of a audiotape it is in German -- which of course I speak and read fluently, so no problem. I am very happy to find that the manuscript describes Rita's mother's experiences in the Russian prison camp! Woo hoo! That is wonderful!

It also means that I am going to have to find a place to put this in the book. This is a good thing, and I think I know how I am going to do it.

So, back to work!