Charles Gannon on Reddit April 20th

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Re: Charles Gannon on Reddit April 20th

Postby Cralis on Wed 20 Apr 2016 03:43

artbraune wrote:Will Arachnid Suicide Riders make a re-appearance?


Ooooh! Or worse, some sort of improvement on them? Nice question!
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Re: Charles Gannon on Reddit April 20th

Postby artbraune on Wed 20 Apr 2016 09:19

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Re: Charles Gannon on Reddit April 20th

Postby Cralis on Wed 20 Apr 2016 16:59

As soon as I get home I'll post the Starfire related questions and answers for everyone!
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Re: Charles Gannon on Reddit April 20th

Postby Cralis on Wed 20 Apr 2016 23:17

https://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments ... or_of_the/

Here are the Starfire parts of Charle's Reddit: (Bold part is the first question of a series of posts)

[–]arthurbraune 4 points 13 hours ago
On the topic of Starfire (and this does involve spoilers)...
Will Arachnid Suicide Riders make a re-appearance?


[–]CharlesEGannonAMA Author[S] 3 points 11 hours ago
Well, if you're asking whether the Arachnids make a reappearance, I can only presume you have not yet read Imperative...and so, encourage you to do so.
If you are speaking specifically about one of their tactics...well, let's just leave it at this: the Arachnids' great problem in the first conflict was that they did not fundamentally learn from their mistakes. IOW, they improved bits and pieces of their war machine and logistics, but it was all a matter of retrofitting and modification of the basic paradigm. They did not (were not capable of trying to) embrace a true paradigm shift. That has changed--and while their willingness to employ strategies that involve certain death for various elements of their forces, they have changed how they do that.
Indeed, given the size and weapons of the ships that exist now (in comparison to those of the first war) they have no choice but to adapt in terms of technology, which in turn, dictates that they must evolve both in terms of strategy and tactics.

[–]Aeolusdallas 2 points 4 hours ago
Having read Imperative I have to ask. When do we get the next book!

[–]CharlesEGannonAMA Author[S] 2 points 4 hours ago
Your question is oft heard! Answer: the final copy was delivered back in January (it was really ready in late November but Steve and I had trouble coordinating proofreading time). However, when it hits Baen's schedule I have no idea!

[–]Aeolusdallas 1 point 3 hours ago
I just want to add that I really loved the last one. I have always been a big Starfire fan and the Omnivoracity were my favorite villains.

[–]DocFather 3 points 13 hours ago
When writing in a shared universe, how do you make the story you own besides the characters? Do you find it hard continuing a story with characters that have been shared across multiple authors?


[–]CharlesEGannonAMA Author[S] 2 points 11 hours ago
[snipped other stuff]
In terms of Starfire, Steve and I pretty much split up the characters and then blend what we write separately. I handle Ossian, the Arduans of the first Dispersate, and the folks around them. Steve handles the "legacy" characters that are all in the orbit of the series' lead, Ian Trevayne. And there, no character sharing is involved. Indeed, even our story arcs have tended to be not just structurally, but astrographically separate. Which makes the collaboration quite easy because we're never getting tangled in each others' narrative threads. However, preplanning is a must, so there is a pretty detailed outline from which we're both working.

[–]arthurbraune 3 points 13 hours ago
Also on the topic of Starfire - when can we expect the next Starfire book and can you give us any spoilers?


[–]CharlesEGannonAMA Author[S] 3 points 11 hours ago*
I take it you mean the next book after Imperative? If you do, it was completed last fall and turned in (proofed) in the first week of January. As to when it comes out, that's a decision made by Toni at Baen.
Spoiler: hmm...
How's this: just when you think you've seen the enemy's last ploy, their last bid to permanently destroy the very heart of the Pan Sentient Union which they make even as they die--they've still got one more trick up their sleeve.
The one with which they started, in fact.
Is that cruelly vague enough for you? ;)

[–]safewrite 2 points 8 hours ago
Ah - he asked my question! And yes, your reply was sufficiently evil.

[–]MaxKaygee 3 points 10 hours ago
I met you at Ravencon a few years back when you were about to publish Fire with Fire. you were kind enough to give me some tips about writing that proven helpful. Love your books by the way!
My question is do you ever still make the convention circuit with the Baen folks anymore? It would be nice to be able to thank you in person ;)


[–]CharlesEGannonAMA Author[S] 2 points 9 hours ago
Actually, you can see me regularly at Balticon, Capclave, and, going south, Libertycon and Dragoncon, almost every year. And the latter two always have a very big Baen presence.
However, as it is, I'm doing about 10 cons a year and that is expensive both in terms of time and money (earlier I mentioned those four kids...) So a lot depends upon whether con runners are willing to help me get there. I am cleared to announce today, for instance, that I'm next year's Guest of Honor at Jordancon (Atlanta) and Albacon (Albany) and am in negotiation for several in 2018, one of which is already committed: Manticon (in Bloomington, Minnesota).
I confess an extra fondness for Ravencon: it welcomed me very early in my career, and I made a lot of friends there who have proved to be both new family and excellent colleagues. So I sure do hope to get back there soon!

[–]Cralis-SDS 3 points 11 hours ago
In the Starfire-series novel Imperative, I was fascinated by the introduction of the Relativistic Acceleration Weapon... was it intended only as a plot device to keep starship sizes from continuously increasing? Or is there better tech coming from it like perhaps the ability to jump small craft or small ships using a larger version (perhaps station-sized) of the device?
Is the weapon literally incapable of targeting ships smaller than DV and SDV ships or does it have a reduced chance that falls off?
What about ships moving slowly or not at all? Based? Asteroid Forts? Space Stations? ... planets?


[–]CharlesEGannonAMA Author[S] 1 point 9 hours ago
Great question. The device has not foreseeable communication or transportation applications. To do communications, you would at least have to be able to control some aspect of how and when the accelerated subquanta reexpresses into space-normal. There isn't, and the range is so short (comparatively) that it isn't even useful as an on-off binary-code signally mechanism. Transportation would require an even more difficult second step: that of not just using random quanta, but reducing a space-normal object into a quantal stream that reexpresses intact when it emerges. Not at all within the foreseeable technology of the Starfire universe. This is however, the means whereby the Wasserman Drive works in the Caine Riordan universe...more or less. It is about "exchanging potentialities" from one point of space time to another, but the power costs are enormous (about 40-50 % of the input, either as velocity or raw compressive energy, of the power cost of accelerating an object to .95 cee).
Now, targeting smaller ships. Possible, certainly if they are motionless. And that is a logical further refinement of the system: smaller resolution frames. But in general, the effect is so imperfectly understood and created that it's the difference between hitting something with a mortar and an anti-tank gun. So, if you got a battery of RAWs lined up, sure, you'd get a hit eventually--but at what cost?
OTOH, watch for the next book--Oblivion--for much more about the danger the RAW presents to larger stationary targets... ;)

[–]Cralis-SDS 2 points 9 hours ago*
It seems like, in the Riordan series, you write more "hard" science fiction where the technology defines part of your story. It's part of what I really love about the Terran Republic series.
But in Exodus and Imperative, the Starfire series, it seems more "soft" science fiction where the tech is incidental to the story. You don't spend as much time defining the technology and how it works, why the differences in the alien cultures, etc. as you do in the Riordan series. This kind of surprised me given that Steve White's naval background has seemed to lean more towards the hard science fiction.
So why is one series hard scifi and the other soft scifi? Which do you prefer and why?


[–]CharlesEGannonAMA Author[S] 1 point 8 hours ago
Well, frankly, the choice of focus in Starfire really wasn't mine: I came in, read it all, looked at the game rules from which it was derived and harnessed myself to that ouvre. Actually, I've tried to introduce more science into the series to explain how and why thinks (like the reactionless drives) work, and how it is that a pilots cheeks will rippled during a high gee maneuver if there are inertial compensators. (All things that were canonical before I ever got to the series in the 6th book, Extremis).
For me, there are three reasons to go along with it as is: Firstly, it's what fans have come to expect and if that's what makes them happy, that's what I should help deliver. Secondly, it's not my sandbox: it's Steve. And I try to be a good guest. In addition to the implicit critique of saying, "hey, I wanna change the way we're doing all this borderline science," it would also be more than a bit disrespectful to all that he and David (Weber) achieved--about which, mutliple NYT bestselling ain't a minor credit. And lastly, the amount of retconning required would be so vast that, on reflection, I think it would break the universe under its own weight. Example: thousands upon thousands of anti-matter warhead missiles being launched. Hmmm..... So where are they getting all that energy to make antimatter? And to store it? There is no theoretical model, BTW, which allows the input-to-output efficiency of antimatter to be better than 100 : 1 . So somehow, all that energy is available. Well, if it is/was, and they have anti-graviy (which they do) and tractor beams (which they do) and gee beams (which they do), I could come up with about half a dozen planet-killing system in about twice as many minutes. Frankly, the notion of large fleets facing each other begins to become rather ponderous, requiring a lot of special explanations why you can't do x, y, or z instead.
Which do I prefer? Well, that's a loaded question! Obviously, though, I think if you look at a writer's solo work, you will see what they like best--or at least, what most captures their imagination. For me, as a writer, I write most easily when I have absolute simulational belief in what I'm writing. Not that things will, or even necessarily can, occur that way, but--in the context of the givens in that universe--it is consistent that they do. In the case of the Terran Republic series, I not only know how much a kilogram of antimatter costs to make (including amortized production costs for the facility) but where and what it's used for and why it's not weaponized, and etc. etc. And the best ratio of input to output is 1000 to 1, a theoretical possibility (whereas our best current guess in 10,000 to 1, but that presumes that we never understand, nor manipulate, high energy field physics any better than we do today).
As a writer, that kind of accountability--whether in physics, politics, or character components and behavior--is the key to ease of storytelling and a sense that I'm on the scent of the next thing. That universe doesn't even feel like an act of creation: it feels, frankly, like its revealing itself to me, like balls moving on a pool table. Once their initial courses and energies are determined, much of what follows has a sense of inevitability about it. And that's just another part of my desire to keep my authorial hand well back from the narrative: it should feel organic, not forced, in all its particulars.

[–]JulieCFrost 2 points 10 hours ago
Hi, Chuck! Can you tell us about your pitch to Baen and what you think sold your first book to them?


[–]CharlesEGannonAMA Author[S] 1 point 8 hours ago
I'm smiling at I read that. You see, my first pitch to Baen wasn't, exactly.
I know, I know: "what?"
Here's the story.
Steve White had started on the book Extremis (Starfire series) and I'd met him at a con a year before. We ran into each other twice again, became pretty good pals (he is a GREAT guy). Now, although our friendship was moving forward steadily, Extremis wasn't. His collaborator was unable to produce and the project was uncertain. I joked about always being ready to do him a favor and fill in. We laughed and sipped a bourbon. Or three. This was all in jest. Steve is a hell of a nice guy (did I mention that?) and he was very loath to let the collaborator go. But eventually push came to shove from several different directions and the collaborator was removed.
But just before that occurred, Steve asked me if I would actually be willing to jump on board as per our jocular banter over the past two years. My answer was very professional on the outside, but on the inside, my reply was something like, "Is the Pope Catholic?" With a bunch of emphatically positive expletivies deleted, here. So my first book wasn't the result of a proposal: it was an arranged marriage which Toni Weisskopf blessed. She had already seen some of my work: the first version of Fire With Fire had been sent to her and narrowly rejected, without an open door to resubmission. But I really reworked it and was able (with the help of my agent, naturally) to get her to reconsider it. And here I am!

[–]JonniVRB 3 points 10 hours ago
Will you be teaching writing anywhere soon?


[–]CharlesEGannonAMA Author[S] 1 point 9 hours ago
I won't be teaching in a classroom as far as I know, although I was just at a college on Monday that asked me if I'd be able to come in for presentnations (honorarium, not a regular gig). And that will only happen if I have all my deadlines tamed.
I will be teaching a seminar at this year's Balticon 50, which is going to be a total event: GRRM plus tons of their GoH returning from over the past thirty years. If you're there, please sign up and introduce yourself!
And anyhow, no matter where you might find me--if you're there, please come up we can meet in person!
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Re: Charles Gannon on Reddit April 20th

Postby LordKron on Thu 21 Apr 2016 01:38

I see that I need to pick up Imperative. Looks like RAW is eventually be a weapon that will put damage off the charts.

On a lighter note, since this is war, will the PSU respond with NITRO (don't ask for a technical explanation, it's essentially a joke)?
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Re: Charles Gannon on Reddit April 20th

Postby Whitecold on Thu 21 Apr 2016 11:56

Haven't finished Imperative yet, but from what I read so far, I don't particularly like the RAW. Hyper effective against large units immediately dropping to completely useless against smaller ships makes me wonder where the transition period went and why it is so extremely sharp.
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Re: Charles Gannon on Reddit April 20th

Postby Cralis on Thu 21 Apr 2016 18:53

Whitecold wrote:Haven't finished Imperative yet, but from what I read so far, I don't particularly like the RAW. Hyper effective against large units immediately dropping to completely useless against smaller ships makes me wonder where the transition period went and why it is so extremely sharp.


If you look at the questions, you'll see that I asked if RAW was intended as a plot device to reduce ship sizes. He avoided that part of the question :)

That's my suspicion. And it will cause large fixed defenses around planets to be less useful. If I had to wager a guess, I'll bet they make a version to attack planets and/or stars. Why? I think he's suggesting that in his answers... along with a subtle hint that the Arduan Dispersate was not accidental...
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Re: Charles Gannon on Reddit April 20th

Postby LordKron on Thu 21 Apr 2016 20:25

Why do I foresee similarities between the current and potential events in the novels to the Human-Melconian war in the Bolo setting.
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Re: Charles Gannon on Reddit April 20th

Postby LordKron on Sat 23 Apr 2016 18:50

Imperative will have to wait. Book a Million doesn't stock it in store and their only option is to order online and have it shipped to my house (last time I did that it was a joke due to the Post Office). May pick it up at Balticon. If not then, definitely Shore Leave.
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