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November 20, 2008


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True, neither those projects nor computer programming are like writing, but it worked out even though the physical world is quite unforgiving.

I think the underlying concepts of (1) making a plan and (2) breaking a task into segments are valid across many, many types of work, at least for those of us whose minds run along those lines.

Okay, having finally found time to read the posts James linked to, it seems that at least back in 2002 it was not that Weber wasn't permitting editing of his work and that one reason his writing got wordier was that he switched (due to a serious injury to his wrist) to dictating rather than typing. I'll assume that these conditions still pertain several years later. But I actually found the Tor book to be relatively less wordy and somewhat more tightly plotted than the last few Harrington books. It just reflects all of Weber's more irritating political-religious hobbyhorses and writing tics, and then some. He's entitled to ride his hobbyhorses; I don't have to read his stuff. But I'm entitled to point them out. And the writing tics and stupid little jokes are beyond irritating. So if it isn't Weber refusing to be edited, that leaves me with two possible rationales for this stuff:

1. Tor cynically decided not to edit because Weber's sales do not depend on quality.
2. His editor at Tor (Patrick Nielsen Hayden) didn't think there were any problems.

This is why it's affected my opinion of Tor and among the reasons my "Best Editor-Long Form" list looked the way it did.

It's also possible that Weber developed an overgrown ego and changed his mind about being edited in the interim. I don't know the guy. But Tor/PNH should have forced the issue.

I've had private email about this issue which at the moment I don't feel comfortable citing, so I'm being more even-handed about this than I actually feel. I debated whether to comment further on the topic at all, 'cause it's a little uncomfortable to be hiding pertinent info. (If anyone who doesn't already know precisely what I'm talking about wants this unpacked, email me privately.)

And yes, I really need to write that post about the book so I can explain the irritations. I'm thinking it's going to be Christmas before I manage it. Sorry, AJ!

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