Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gliding Flight and a Note from Praxis


A hawk does not know when a gust is going to bring it up, or slide it swiftly at a tree; the hawk cannot see the air. What the hawk can do, and does moment-to-moment, is adjust to the circumstances. Fighting the air is foolish, but good reactions are sufficient. A rising gust and the hawk simply wheels over and drops, smoothing its way back into glide. The hawk's flight is equal parts proaction and reaction.

And, below, part of a nice note back from Praxis Books, leaders in space exploration books. Though I find it hard to think about space colonization--the frustration with a world in perpetual war and wretchedness for billions is almost overwhelming--but the fact is this: if humanity stays on Earth, it will be incinerated with the rest of the solar system when the sun eventually collapses. Now that is simply a fact of plain physics, the sun is going to collapse on itself and then expand in a superhot helium blast, swallowing up the whole solar system. Ergo, a species that doesn't figure out how (or, more importantly, ante up) to move to other worlds, burns up. That's it, end of story. It's spae colonization or incineration, and I mean of everything; the pyramids, every flower, every jellyfish, every sculpture, the Globe Theatre, the the Library of Congress, Antarctica, all of it, gone. As H.G. Wells put it, "It's the universe, or nothing." So, my long-simmering ideas about why humanity must press itself to colonize space, a topic that so many people find 'far out', which only increases my frustration, well I've finally pitched these ideas as a book, to Praxis, and in the first pass, they've liked it, so they've sent the following note. I put it here for a chuckle, because it's so completely British, in every way;

Dear Cameron

This sounds an interesting project. To evaluate it we will need you to complete an Author's Questionnaire (AMQ). Please send the completed AMQ to us as an attachment, as well as a 500 word synopsis, made up of an historical backdrop setting the scene for the book, followed by promotion/information text detailing the content and attributes of the book and its importance, together with a draft Table of Contents, with subchapter headings where appropriate. Any specimen material would also be helpful.

Following internal evaluation, if the project is deemed appropriate, drawing on the referees you nominate in Point 10 of the completed AMQ, we'll send the complete proposal out electronically for peer review. Please be sure to include their e-mail addresses as well as their full postal addresses, including zip codes together with their professional title/affiliations.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,
Praxis Publishing Ltd
The White House, Church Lane
West Sussex PO20 3UR

Reading that, I am right back at Durham, in the shadow of Durham Cathedral!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have I told you lately that I love you? I hope so because I do , and your great big brain, and your "far out" ideas. Not only will the sun burn up, but in the mean time we have to maneuver asteroids, and watch as we slowly drift to our inevitable collision with Andromeda.I want to read your book NOW!