Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Missing are Deadly

(Reposted from 2005 and updated for 2007.)

I was rummaging through a list that I maintain of books that are yet to be published. I was amazed at the number of titles that we may never see. Whatever happened to...

The Star Conquerors (Ben Bova): Bova's first book, eagerly sought in its original edition by collectors (me!) everywhere. Mentioned on Bova's website a few years ago that they were going to come out with some sort of eBook (Adobe Acrobat, etc.) version. Never happened.

(2007 Update: This appeared on Bova’s website briefly. Then Bova’s website was redesigned and it vanished again. This is the last of the Winston SF books that I've been able to get. It looks like I'm going to have to significantly "up" my eBay bid to get a copy, as I always lose out at the last minute!) (Update: Published!)

"Winterfair", Lois McMaster Bujold: A short novel in the Miles V. series. It was supposed to be in a collection back in 2003, still haven't spotted it. No new Miles V.'s book either! I have learned that this will appear (next year?) in Irresistible Forces, edited by Catherine Asaro (not to be confused with Irresistable Forces by Danielle Steele!)

(2007 Update: This appeared in not one but two collections, I have heard. In any case, I eventually purchased it as a standalone eStory from Fictionwise and it will make an appearance where it belongs, with other stories of Miles V., in a volume called Miles in Love! It appears that we are couple of years away from seeing a new Miles V. novel as Bujold is deep into a number of other works. To keep me busy in the meantime, I've started re-reading the entire series from the earliest works onwards.)

Cyteen II (C.J. Cherryh): Well, we may see this one! There's some news about it on Cherryh's website (don't confuse this with the paperback edition of the first book...which split a single book into three paperbacks). However, some other titles that were floated years ago as possible new Alliance/Union books (Dublin Again, Africa, others)...nada...

(2007 Update: A relatively recent updating to Cherryh's site indicates that the books is done (huzzah!) and is now in the edit process. So, maybe a year from now for the book to appear.) (Update: Published!)

Mars Brat (Arthur C. Clarke): Mentioned in Locus several years ago. Unless this is what morphed into The Last Theorem, doesn't look like we'll see it.

The Last Theorem (Arthur C. Clarke): Mentioned several times in Locus and elsewhere. Latest news was that Frederik Pohl was being enlisted to help finish the book, but I haven't heard anything beyond that. 2008? 2009? (Update: Published!)

The Splendor and Misery of Bodies, of Cities (Samuel R. Delany): A sequel to Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand. A fragment has been published, but the novel appears to be abandoned.

Childe Cycle (Gordon R. Dickson): According to the introduction that I read in Three to Dorsai years ago, the cycle was going to be 3 books set in the past, 3 books set in the present and 3 books set in the future. Eventually Dickson came out with several books set in the future, but never the others. I wonder if they exist in any form as notes and if we'll ever see those notes released in some form.

(2007 Update: Dickson's long-time assistant came out with a "co-written" book set in the Cycle, but it appears to be more a "bridge" book than the book to wrap up the series. If it does well, maybe we will see the real cap to the series.)

Demon With a Glass Hand (Harlan Ellison): Years ago Ellison said he was working on a novel version of this classic Outer Limits episode (my favorite). Haven't seen it yet. Vaporware like the Demon-related episode that was originally to appear during one season of Babylon 5?

Vic and Blood (Harlan Ellison): Several years ago in the latest edition of the graphic novel version of A Boy and His Dog and Eggsucker, Ellison had a short excerpt of a third tale, Bloods a Rover (titled here as Run Spot Run). From the remarks Ellison made, it sounded like we'd see it in a year or so, first as a screenplay and then a novel. Still waiting...

(2007 Update: Still waiting! And this book is sadly out of print!)

(2007 Update: Hey, I was asked, what about Last Dangerous Visions? Good question! From what I recall, this might be as much a rights problem as a editorial problem. Also, as the lack of publication has been the subject of at least one book, I figured the subject had been sufficiently covered. And, I'll admit that the first two collections have not "aged" as well as it could be hoped.)

Variable Star (Robert A. Heinlein with the help of Spider Robinson): Announced a few years ago, but it looks like it is progressing (slowly) in the news on Spider Robinson's website. Still about a year away, according to an update at Robinson's blog.

(2007 Update: Well it is out. Alas, it appears that there is more Robinson in the book than Heinlein. Sometimes that it is not a bad thing, but in this case the mix does not appear to have worked. Any more notes or partial manuscripts out there?)

Space Pirates (Gentry Lee): Gentry Lee. From the description of Lee's book The Tranquility Wars, I suspect that this title became Tranquility, but I can't be sure. Mentioned in Locus at one point.

Unnamed Novel (Gentry Lee and Arthur C. Clarke): Another Locus hint. Novel based on a TV series that Lee and Clarke had proposed. Haven't heard a peep since.

The Ghost Ships (Larry Niven): Announced but never written. This would have been set in the same sequence as Smoke Ring and The Integral Trees.

Inferno (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle): They announced a revised/updated new edition, haven't seen it. (Update: Published!)

Purgatorio (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle): As above, to follow the revised Inferno.

(2007 Update: Notes at Pournelle's site indicate that the book is complete. However, these notes have been more or less the same for quite a while, so I wonder if this is a case of a book looking for a publisher?) (Update: Published!)

The Moon Bowl/Moonmites (Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn): I was looking forward to this one. Set in the relatively near future (2050), this was supposed to be a novel in the spirit of the Heinlein YA novels.

Solar Queen II (Andre Norton): There was an omnibus of the first two Solar Queen novels by Norton. Haven't seen a follow-on collection.

(2007 Update: Most, maybe all, of the books in this Norton series are available at Project Gutenberg and some other sites. I'd still rather have a nice hardcover to complete the series!)

Falkenberg on Kennicott (Jerry Pournelle): A planned for Falkenberg novel. Announced long ago. Still in "outline" stage last I saw on Pournelle's website.

Mamelukes (Jerry Pournelle): An announced book in the Jannissaries series.

(2007 Update: Pournelle’s site indicates that he is working on it. Fingers and toes crossed!)

Spartan Hegemony (Jerry Pournelle): Another book in the overall CoDo/Empire series. Who knows?

The Return of the Space Viking (Jerry Pournelle): Based on H. Beam Piper's Space Viking. The penultimate vaporware, next to Ellison and "Demon"! Probably the oldest title in my list of books I've been waiting on. Announced in Pournelle's introduction to Space Viking back in the early 1980's. He talked about being the literary executor of Piper's estate, he had permission to do a sequel, was making notes, etc., etc., etc. Since then? Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Arggggggggghhhhhh.....

Unknown Novel (E.E. "Doc" Smith): According to a report by Robert A. Heinlein, "Doc" Smith had a novel that would take place after The Children of the Lens. Alas, he took it to his grave.

Dave Trowbridge and Sherwood Smith: This team produced the excellent Exordium series. Haven't heard of it? Darn shame, if you haven't, it out-space-operas most space opera out there! Wish Tor Books would bring these out in an omnibus edition (preferably hardcover), or the author's would let Baen Books do them as eBooks...anything to keep interest up until the long-awaited extension of the saga is finished! (Update: First two books are revised and published but the project seems to be stalled...)

Irontown Blues (John Varley): Varley wrote The Golden Globe and Steel Beach as a sort of revision/reworking of the earlier Eight Worlds sequence (Opiuchi Hotline, etc.) Every now and again he mentions that he's still working on Irontown Blues, allegedly the last Eight Worlds tale to be told. Still waiting, John!

(2007 Update: Ummm...still no Eight Worlds goodness to devour!)

Heaven Chronicles (Joan Vinge): Revised/expanded from a couple of tales like Outcasts of Heaven's Belt and Media Man. A darned good set of tales that incorporates both a post-holocaust and seedy asteroid belt civilization setting. Some of the earliest stuff I read when I first subscribed to Analog. To include a joint story that she did with her ex-husband in the sequence. Announced in 2000 in Locus. These were good stories, and I'd like to get them all together. Vaporware, I guess, alas.

(2007 Update: Sources tell me that this might be moving ahead!)

Title(s) Uknown (James White): Tor (in its Orb line) came out with three ominibus editions of White's Sector General Hospital stories. These are nifty tales, and I highly recommend them. Based on what they did in the first three editions, there ought to be one or two more of these omnibus editions. It's been a couple of years, and nothing from Tor.

Seed Ship (Jack Williamson): Announced in Locus, but given Jack Williamson's age and health, I don't know if we'll ever see it.

The Stellar Convergence (Jack Williamson): Announced in Locus. Could be what is now been published as The Stonehenge Gate, but who knows?

(2007 Update: Jack Williamson, alas, passed away about a year ago. Stephen Haffner, Big Poobah of Haffner Press (which is printing a lot...maybe all...of Williamson's short works) said to me when I made a query about these titles:

I'm guessing that Seed Ship is the original title of Manseed (Del Rey, 1982); at least there's an excerpt from Manseed in an Amazing Stories (Nov. 1982) digest under the title, Seed Ship. The Stellar Convergence was planned as a sequel to Terraforming Earth, but Jack told me that the ideas weren't coming to him—he said that it must mean that he said all he had to say with those characters in Terraforming Earth. The Stonehenge Gate is a standalone work, but it does have many familiar Williamson tropes, including my favorite of a nude girl astride some bizarre flying creature—just like on the cover of the paperback edition of The Gate Girl.

That clears up that mystery at least! Alas, the mystery of Seed Ship may never be known as I got the title from Locus well after Manseed had been published. So I kind of assumed that it was a sequel to Manseed.

I keep hoping that Haffner Press will stumble across a footlocker full of unpublished Williamson manuscripts. Along with folks like Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein, Williamson's works help to form my life-long love of science fiction. The hope is dim, but it is still a hope. In the meantime, I'm about due to visit the future of our solar system again, fight the dreaded Medusae, and stand alongside the Legion of Space!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Haffner Press continues to publish the Williamson collections. If you enjoy pulp, if you enjoy science fiction, if you want to see the field develop: buy these books!)

2008 Update: I was pleased when SF Signal linked to this posting and specifically mentioned it not once, but twice. That's the way to give credit. I applaud them. I am less than pleased at this mention at io9. Folks, it would have been nice to go one step back and have at least made a passing reference to the original posting that inspired SF Signal. Frakking toasters.

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