November 25th, 2001

November 25, 2001: Mail problems

Posted at 6:58 PM by Jack Chalker

Important note! About 3 weeks ago my ISP’s mail server began to develop problems. Only some emailwas delivered, and it could be receive but not send, send but not receive, or nothing. The ISP got thousands of complaints butnone the less insisted there was no problem. Ten days ago their mail servers completely fried. That they couldn’t deny. Andalthough they’re a big shot cable company with enough bucks to put their name on sports stadiums, as of now, not only have I had no email service for that period but also no notice. People were told about it only when they learned about it. I apologize to any and all whose mail might have been bounced; at the moment, has been redirected to a mostly inferior and clunky web based ATT Worldnet mail account instead of Powerlink. It does mean that I can now send and receive text based messages again. Please excuse any problems, continue to use the address (it may go somewhere else yet) and be patient. Thanks.

November 7th, 2001

November 7, 2001

Posted at 6:55 PM by Jack Chalker

A few follow-up comments, including a bit more on being Cassandra while writing political science fiction. For years there were many people who didn’t understand my Soul Rider books. I recall some British critic writing that he couldn’t understand why I seemed such a nice, regular fellow when I could write that kind of stuff, as if it were compared to porn or John Norman’s silliness. I often think that those critics should talk to more than each other and read real books sometime so they’d know what they were talking about, even at the risk of losing their amateur standing. Soul Rider was one of my most serious and most complex projects, and I was very heartened that so many did understand it. My real contempt for critics, I think, came from the fact that none of them understood it while so much of the public did. They probably still don’t, but I hope that, now that you’ve been the Taliband, you have a much clearer idea of what I was talking about in those books. Interestingly, I can’t recall mail from any women who didn’t understand at least the concepts I was dealing with, but the men couldn’t see past their western hedonism and attitudes and their own hangups. I might also point out that my novel, A War of Shadows, way back in 1978 showed how some judicious and highly localized and limited use of biological terror could turn this country into a panicky group willing to surrender most of their rights. I’d like to be wrong now and then; it would be something of a relief.

     I’ve also received a number of emails from readers who generally liked my comments on September 11 but who were appalled that a writer would attack the “right” of Bill Maher and the like to say what they said. I’m a bit surprised, since I said no such thing. I am an absolutist on the First Ammendment and on freedom of speech and press. However, as much as I’ve looked at that ammendment, I’ll be damned if I can find the right to have your own television show, or the right to collect pay for said show by sponsors who think you’re an asshole who shocked them with your comments. If one is there, then I want to invoke my right to be paid the highest rates by Random House and Penguin Putnam and St. Martins. The right to say or write things is not the same as the right to be published or broadcast, nor does it say that even such freedoms can always be exercised without consequences. Few people today believe that actions might have consequences that are not in their favor. Maher, when faced with the possibility of losing his show, went on everybody who’d have him from Tonight to the morning farm report to say how sorry he was, and he’s still got his job. I’d have had much more respect for him if he’d stood by his word. The same goes for Av Westin, President of ABC News, who, when asked by a journalism student forum if he felt the Pentagon was a legitimate target for attack repleid glibly that he had “no particular feelings one way or the other about that.” I guess he doesn’t also have much feeling about the poor folks, men, women, and children, who were on the plane used as the bomb, or the bureaucrats who happened to be assigned there or people just there checking on relatives or pensions or whatever. He was certainly saying he had no particular feeling about being a citizen of the U.S. Only when it was broadcast on CSPAN and generated a storm did he “issue a statement” that he was “wrong” and “that wasn’t what I meant.” He didn’t even have the guts to face his fellow reporters and answer questions on it. Would this sort of thing compromise journalistic integrity? Being an American and proud of it didn’t seem to bother nor call motives into question when it was Ed Morrow on the rooftops of London reporting the Blitz in World War II, or the others he hired, like Charles Collingwood, William L. Shirer, Walter Cronkite, and many others who are held up as the models of what great reporters should be. That’s the sort of thing I have contempt for. I think I have a responsibility to my readers every time I write a book and it’s published and distributed, and you may disagree with the themes and messages but you will not find someone here who will run from them.

     I need a vacation (and a convention, maybe) to sit around and talk with folks and touch base. Alas, this Winter there are very few of them. Oh, well, I guess I’ll have to get back to writing…. jlc

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