Friday, July 28, 2006

Then There is the T Word!

Last time, I weighed in about the missing "V Word"... asking why even opponents to the Iraq Mess aren't mentioning the greatest American mistake of the 20th Century, our misguided and disastrous intervention in Vietnam.

Yes, there are differences aplenty. Still, the similarities are so numberous; they imply that at least we ought to be considering what went wrong then... and what mistakes we might be repeating now. The budget-busting, inflation-spurring, readiness-diminishing, alliance rupturing, World-popularity-destroying, and internally-nation-dividing effects are all too similar to blithely dismiss.

Nor should the hypocrisies go unchallenged. For three decades we heard ninnies declare that we "lost Vietnam because politicians interfered in military affairs"... only to see professional military judgements trampled beyond belief in Iraq, by a clade of draft-dodging preppies who always know-better and can never acknowledge a mistake.

Both land wars of attrition in Asia showed diametrically opposite decision-making skills from the agile, quick-effective methodologies used in the Balkans... methodologies that were refined by the US Officer Corps - in collaboration with allies - in direct effort to AVOID quagmires like Vietnam.

Only now, with newspapers mentioning "ink-blot counterinsurgency tactics"... while never mentioning where the technique was last tried (!!) we appear to see an almost psychotic "V Avoidance" from not only the Messopotamia's defenders, but its critics, as well.

Now bear with me while we veer from the "V Word" over to another ghost at the banquet, that nobody seems inclined to mention...

... the "T Word."

I'm talking about Tobacco.

For a while now, I've been trying to picture the some kind of parallel to the jibbering dance-of-distraction that we are seeing from the "it's not proved yet" anti-global warming crowd. Their frantic need to discredit the entire scientific community. Michael Crichton's astonishing claim that "consensus has no meaning" in science. (So a political party that wins questionable elections by slim pluralities somehow has a huge "mandate"... but a belief shared by 90% of reputable scientists can be dismissed out of hand?)

Yes, we have seen this kind of frenetic holding-onto obsolete and reactionary opinions, before. Racism and sexism, for example. In fact (here Brin goes again!) the left has its own loony shiboleths and hypocrisies, aplenty! Though usually less harmful ones.

merchants-of-doubt1Then it struck me when we last saw the closest parallel. TOBACCO AND CANCER!

Recall how the behavior on the part of elite "suits" could only be called identical!

Hypocrites and self interested liars would BOTH claim that "there is not enough evidence, WHILE strenuously blocking the research that would get the evidence!

The same anti-science maneuvering, while chest-thumping that science has no such thing as "consensus." The same relentless refusal to see any public good... or the blatantly obvious truth, that some things are so dangerous that better-safe-than-sorry is a reasonable proposition.

In other words, those who say that it is perfectly okay to go about fouling our own nest should be the ones with a burden of proof, called upon to offer evidence, instead of the other way around.

Um, duh? I find myself often wondering... "what would Cotton Mather think?" Or Silas Marner, or the other founding Puritans? Yes, they might not like tolerance of gays... or tolerance of any kind. But let's put that part of it aside. There were other values. Other aspects of conservatism in the American sense. Aspects that conservatives still claim to support... and get away with the claim only because people let them!

Pay-as-you go refusal to go into debt.
Waste-not, Want-not.
A stitch in time, saves nine.
Mind your own business.
It takes a Village.

I could go on and on, but this is another topic. ("How the hell did Democrats become the party of puritan conservative values?")

Getting back to the issue at hand... let's consider the T Word... and whether these dipso-kleptos really are as smart as they think they are.

One the one hand: it is clear to any sensible person what they are doing. They aren't idiots. They KNOW the climate is changing and there will be huge disruptions. Watch land purchases and shifts in the stock market. These guys have a LOT of equities that will be dogs in the new era. they need time to dump them and reposition! That's got to be the core reason for the delaying tactics.

On the other hand,will this really work? Just look at tobacco! The precendents must be terrifying. Because the Tobacco industry stonewalled, they were later judged at fault for billions in liability claims. Today, the entire industry backpedals like mad, spewing warnings about health risks... too late for millions.

Don't these anti-climate-change people realize that this precedent WILL apply to them? Has it even occurred to them that the civilization that's been harmed by their shuffle and delay act may want... well... compensation when the heat hits the fan? Indeed, when the damage looks vastly greater than that from tobacco, can they really trust their lawyers’ assurances that they are personally insulated?

As in tobacco, is this liability thing that may cause a turnaround? A change in attitude, suddely seeing-the-light?

The likelihood, looking ever-greater in this heat wave, that The People may not LET them sit on their new, reconfigured portfolios?

Not when the rivers run dry and the sands begin to blow.


And now for something Completely Different....

An appeal from a bright young writer, Jeff Carlson. (We’re working together on a project!) Jeff doesn’t have my vast coterie of pre-readers, savvy and picky and oh so good at CITOKATE! Hence, I am passing on this request for him:

A Call For Genius !

I am paying a small shot at fame and a free autographed copy of my first novel… for the name of my first novel… Yes, does that make sense?

My editor tells me the marketing dept. at Ace/Berkley feels that the title we’ve been using all this time is a bit “soft” and instead they’d prefer something grabby, evocative and amazing. Well, right.

Oof. To me, it’s always been THE INVISIBLE SEA. Briefly, the book is about a medical nanotech prototype that gets loose and devours all warm-blooded life below 10,000 feet elevation. No mammals. No birds. Entire nations throw on top of each other as they fight for land. Loads of action, intrigue, surprise twists, our heroes running around at great personal risk, you know the drill. And of course it's impossible to see the machine plague covering the entire world except for a few high islands because the nanos are microscopic. Hence the title. But apparently it’s too artsy.

Here’s what my agent had to say:

>> Very likely they are anticipating how major accounts (esp. Barnes & Noble) will react and order. B&N and a handful of other chains are 50% of book sales. If these few key buyers don't like the title, think it's too "soft", or whatever, well, then you're screwed. They want to be sure that B&N will place a healthy order. To an extent, I see their point. What B&N wants, they tend to get. It is possible that early feelers even have been put out. That happens. In any event, sales and marketing people are very twitchy about things like titles since it makes such a difference to whether they can "sell in" or not.

And my editor:

>> The concern is it doesn't convey the content of the book. Obviously, once you start reading it's apparent how the title relates, but the book needs to attract people from the cover and title alone--otherwise they won't even open the book and find out what "the invisible sea" is. I think something that indicates the nanotech plague / post-apocalyptic / survivalist nature of the book would be ideal.

Sadly, the best I’ve been able to come up with so far are substitutes like THE KILLING SEA or cheesy clunkers that sound like made-for-tv-movies such as NANO PLAGUE or WORLD OF DEATH. Or, when I’m feeling despondent, great stuff like THE TOTALLY COOL GLOBAL MUTHAFUCKA.

I think what they’re really looking for is something broadly commercial like SURVIVOR or even HIGHLANDER, but of course those have been done.

Heeeeeeeeelp! Help me! Aieeeee! Ug! Ohhhh. AYAAAIEEEEEEE!

I think I'd rather re-name our kids...



Anonymous said...

Snakes on the Plain

Xactiphyn said...

I assume you haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth, yet. Gore draws the parallel between the linking tobacco to lung cancer and the current fight against the link to global warming. He even makes the parallel personal, pointing out how his family gave up farming tobacco after the death of his sister.

Xactiphyn said...

Random novel names:

First, the thesaurus inspired alliteration section:
Picayune Parting
or Picayune Plague
Picayune Pandemic
Picayune Pestilence
Nano Necrosis
Bantam Bane
Runty Ruin
(ok, this is getting silly)

Or how about:
The Holocene Extinction
(someone must have taken that)

Ok, not great, though some of them seem almost reasonable. Perhaps, at least, this will inspire other ideas.

Anonymous said...

Well, you could always go for the obvious pun:

High Chapeau, Pal

But I think you're looking for a more direct title that conveys the idea of the story. First thing that springs to mind, which it largely incoherent, is:

Counting Cats in Steamboat Springs

Which I guess bears a little explaining. My brother and I have had a long conversation or two about what makes a title memorable, something that really grabs your attention. A story that always comes up is "Counting Cats in Zanzibar". Not because the story was so great, but the because the title got caught in our mental filters... it quite simply was something that, when you heard it, you wondered what the heck it was about, and couldn't easily forget. Or at least, WE couldn't.

So, what about 10,000 feet is unique and interesting in your book? That's where your title needs to fall.

Anonymous said...

Another parallel between the greenhouse denialists and the campaign to muddy the evidence for tobacco's deadliness:

For some reason, libertarians are scrambling to the side of global warming skepticism, much as they came to the defense of tobacco companies back in the day.

I remember a devout libertarian college friend blithely repeating the usual talking points, ending with an indignant "They're just attacking tobacco companies because they're selling a successful product."

The same style of specious argument is being used today by the likes of the Cato Institute. And virtually every libertarian I run into online sounds like a Michael Crichton clone.

The analogy falls apart when you consider the stakes. Tobacco use sickens and kills individuals. The cost of medical care and lost productivity can't be ignored. But there is an element of individual risk-taking to tobacco that kinda, sorta, lays the blame for one dying horribly of lung cancer or emphysema on the smoker himself or herself. (Second hand smoke? No choice in not breathing that if you're a kid or a barmaid. Thus the current campaign to discredit it . . . by Crichton amoung others.)

Global warming, on the other hand, will effect everyone. This puts libertarians in the situation of defending the "rights" of industries who harm everyone.

Gullible . . . tools.

Anonymous said...

Now for something slightly different, and hideous beyond belief.

I emailed a link to this to DB, but it may not have gotten through. (If it did, I think I would have heard the retching all the way up the coast :-)

Peggy Noonan, former Reagan era presidential speechwriter, is a pundit and columnist. Her latest rant is almost beyond belief:


"If global warming is real, and if it is new, and if it is caused not by nature and her cycles but man and his rapacity, and if it in fact endangers mankind, scientists will probably one day blame The People for doing nothing.

But I think The People will have a greater claim to blame the scientists, for refusing to be honest, for operating in cliques and holding to ideologies. For failing to be trustworthy."


For twenty years you and the other faithful lapdogs of industry have dutifully parroted the sophistry fed to you by the fossil fuel crowd and by free-market ideologues. As the evidence mounted, you moved on to the next set of bogus arguments . . . and you blame scientists for being dishonest?

Later in her column:

"I note here what is to me a mystery. It is that people with lower IQs somehow tend, in our age, to have a greater apprehension of the meaning of things and the reality of life, than do our high-IQ professionals, who often seem, in areas outside their immediate field, startlingly dim. I don't know why intellectuals--or cerebralists or eggheads or IQ hegemonists--seem to miss the most obvious things, floating on untethered by common sense. If you talk to a brilliant scholar at a fine university about social policy, chances are he will say with honest perplexity that he cannot understand--really cannot understand--why people would not want men to marry men, or women women. I wish there were a name for this, for the cluelessness of the more intellectually accomplished, the simpler but truer wisdom of those who are often less lettered and less accomplished."


Here we see Noonan for what she is: A pandering demogogue who works for think tanks and advocates policies which benefit the kleptocracy, but coos soothingly about the humble wisdom of plain ordinary folks.

John O'Neill said...

Re: book titles. I like The Invisible Sea. Bear with me while I brainstorm a bit.

Grey Goo . . . Get Gone!

Actually, you might consider going with something simple:

Grey Goo
Grey Plague
The Grey Plague
Grey Menace
Death Lattice
Accidental Release
Iron Pestilence

The idea reminds me a little of Cat's Cradle. What about a title that doesn't describe exactly what's going on in the book: something like Ixaccihuatl?

High Ground

Some others that came to mind:

Honey, I Shrunk the Self-Replicating, Flesh-Eating Robot!

How Nano Eater Got Made, Got Loose, and Made Everybody Run for High Ground.

Invisible Pest

Oprah, Read This Book

Anonymous said...

Something simple and commercial?

How about this:


Your characters have to always be aware of how high up they are, or else the nanobots will get them. It sort of makes sense, doesn't it?

Xactiphyn said...

I have to second n8o's "The Invisible Flood". It is basically what the author wanted in the first place, but with Action, Suspense and Pizzaz!!

I kept trying some play on 10,000 Leagues Under The Sea, but got nowhere.

Tony Fisk said...

10000 feet doesn't leave we mammals with much room! Oh, well! Here's my suggestions:
- Elevation
- The Yak Zone (I believe they already have this problem)
- Yak (to be brief and pithy)
- Forbidden Planet (OK, so it's been done!)

(I must say I like 'Altitude', though!)

Tony Fisk said...

Just getting back to the 'V' word for a sec.

I've just read an article by Sidney Blumenthal which dwells on the NeroCons delusional belief he calls the 'Rice Doctrine'. He refers to it as a new 'domino theory' in reverse.

You're right, David, the V word is not mentioned. However, it occurs to me that the use of Vietnam-era rhetoric (in this article, at least) is so deliberate that maybe the author is trying to get the reader to connect the dots and draw their own conclusions?

October is shaping up to be an interesting month over there!

jbmoore said...

Her'e a few ideas for titles:
Molecular Sharks
Raw Entropy
Deadly Entropy
Reach the Beach

After all, we wade in a Molecular Sea all day. He's just talking about a new form of predator and molecular deconstruction is just pure entropy.Or is the story about a race to safety from these new predators?

Kelsey Gower said...

I also like The Invisible Sea. It gives potential readers a sense of an eerie calm, like there's something deadly underneath the invisible sea, and in this case it would be nanobots.

My mind seems to be stuck on the word "line", so here's all I have for potential titles:

-The Safe Line (inspired a bit from n8o's post.)

-The Invisible Line (Your title basically, but more decriptive, if that's what you want)

-The Silver Line (You could even make a pun on the saying "Every cloud has a silver lining.")

Max Andersson said...

The Year the Lowlands Died

Refuge Above the Clouds

Survivors of the Cold Heights

Anonymous said...

I'll have to third the suggestion of The Invisible Flood, or some variation thereupon. I don't actually think any of my suggestions are as good, but I can't resist an attempt to name anything, so I have to try my hand.

Along the same lines as the original, but perhaps too similar to a particularly disappointing film is Phantom Flood.

I feel like there's some distance to be had with the word "Tide," but the only things I can think of are along the very silly lines of Deadly Tide. I can't resist suggesting Nanotide Rising; please forgive me. I suppose High Tide just doesn't quite do it.

I think the trick is to convey the predatorial menace of the plague at the same time as its invisibility. Find a good word (or words) for this, and combining it with "sea," "flood," or "tide" may get you a winner. The Lurking Sea? Phantom Tide?

Other random ideas:
The Plague Line
King of the Hill
To Drown on Dry Land

Glen said...

I like "invisible flood" too.

There's a fight going on between a small group of paleoclimatologists (Mann et al) and a small group of statisticians and economists (McIntyre, McKitrick and now Wegman). What we've been discovering is that the conclusions seem to have jumped a bit too far ahead of the data. Sometimes "We don't really know" is the correct answer, and this seems to be one of those times.

Read the Wegman report; it's not bad. Here's the Summary Fact Sheet.

Anonymous said...

Hypsography refers to the distribution of elevations on the surface of the Earth.

Who knew?

Doesn't look like there's much land above 10,000 feet.

Looking over the Biblical account of the flood brings up some cool terms like:

The Windows of Heaven...but there's already a book with that title.

A Bible reference might sell a few extra books.

How about something like...

Seizing Ararat

Woozle said...

I like your original title as well, but in the interest of appeasing the high priests of Marketing... Erik Wennstrom suggested "Nanotide Rising"; how about just "Nanotide"? Seems catchy enough, but I'm not The Great Buying Public (much less one of the Marketing Faithful). (If it's a hit, "Nanotide Rising" can be the sequel...)

Other ideas: "Nanotsunami"; "Grey Flood"; "Nanosphere" (like "atmosphere"); "Nanocean"; "Gaiavore" (only works if the absence of mammals significantly affects the climate, I guess); "Island Earth"; "Nanocalypse"... (I'm trying to think of Michael Crichton-ish thriller titles because it sounds like that's what the higher-ups want; when I'm buying books from previously unknown authors, though, though, I tend to be suspicious of such titles because it usually means the book is all premise and "high concept", with nothing much else to say.)

Anonymous said...

Grey Tide Rising

With apologies to Mr. Clancy.

The Grey Sea

Finity's Shore

With more apologies, obviously...

It's so hard to come up with a title that conveys a sense of the book while at the same time being marketable.

Good luck!

Rob Perkins said...

Stefan, you're out of Noonan's league. So am I. Plus, you're not in her audience and don't share her premises.

I think she has a point. Probably, it's not the point that she wants me to draw, but still, I share the opinion that "[Science] too, like other great institutions, is poisoned by politics. Scientists have ideologies. They are politicized."

It can't be any other way, if scientists, like artists, have to appeal to other institutions for their funding. I don't agree with the eloquent demagoguery which followed ("scientists are"; nonsense: scientists are not that monolithic) but that much, at least, is true.

The actual work of corrupting scientific effort then stems not from the scientists themselves, but rather from funding only the science which doesn't propose this or that paradigm shift.

We've all been doing *that* for all the years that scientific method has driven policy. I don't blame scientists themselves for that problem, except insofar as they're also humans and they also vote and err just like I do.

So even while being capable of naming the reason "scientists" can't do what Noonan lists in her opening paragraph, I share the sentiment that they really ought to. That is: someone other than Al Gore should organize the data and present it.

Why not Al? Because he lacks the credibility, merely due to his being a politician all those years, to come across as a "scientist". And he chose to make a scare movie about it.

Scaring won't convince "conservatives". Appeal to the benefits of doing what we have to do anyway to slow down global warming trends: operating fuel-efficient vehicles *costs less*. Using fuel cells and bio fuels *costs less*.

In that sense, any Democrat decrying the rising price of gasoline probably ought to silence himself, if he is an environmentalist. I've never seen a condition before where the interests of "big Oil" and environmental causes have converged so completely as on the issue of the high price of fuel...

Kevin said...

Descent of Death

Rob Perkins said...

Re Novel Titles,

I think that the titles I like best come at the plot obliquely, with a little bit of cleverness. _Glory Season_, for example, touches on Brin's coming-of-age story elements at several levels: there's a seasonal environmental change on Brin's fictional world which serves as a plot device, a metaphor about Maia's coming of age, other things. He chose a title which ties into more than just the surface plot of the book, it also spoke a little about the story's other elements.

The same sorts of things are present in titles from other authors. Heinlein's _Time Enough For Love_ became something his main character actually said somewhere in the depths of his storytelling. _Tau Zero_ refers to some kind of constant in physics and to the final obstacle the characters have to overcome at the climax, sort of.

Consider, too, Poul Anderson's _The Boat of a Million Years_. Comes from a poem cited in the story, or referred in one of the interstitials, I can't remember.

In other words, I don't know if I can apply my genius without seeing an ARC of your book... or at least a sample chapter or five... :-)

Rob Perkins said...

I tried talking about Vietnam with my father and an uncle once. Dad is a "Reagan Democrat"...

I brought up a youthful observation about the war, at which point they both looked at me and said, "We don't like to talk about Vietnam."

This would have been in 1983 or so.

Is it possible the V-word is unmentioned or unnoticed simply because there's a cultural aversion to it, rather than some kind of willful ignorance or unwillingness?

Xactiphyn said...

FYI: The first blog I visit each day, The Washington Monthly, brings up the V word today.

Adrian Cotter said...

Somebody already took my idea of tides. I actually like your original title if that's any consulation.

The Islands Above
Islands Above Ruin
Grey Wave
Grey Pressure
Life's Shores
Life's Reach
Short of Air

Anonymous said...

Association with Vietnam implies "we'll lose" - the Neo's can't stand for that.

And the Dems/liberals got the blame for Vietnam and don't want a repeat of that, nor do they want to associate any eventual pull-out from Iraq to be associated with the loss of Vietnam.

But there is another way than stay the course or cut and run...

Alternative Invisible Sea Titles: "Empty" should be "hard" enough, in some combination...

"Empty Below"
"Empty Sea"
"Empty Tides"
"Empty Waves"
"Wave of Emptiness"
"Sea of Emptiness"
"Sea of Nothing"
"Sea of Nothingness"

Or maybe "

Anonymous said...

Death below 10,000
Alpine Islands
Don't fall off the mountain!
The floor of the world
Deadly Nano Sea
Escape! to Mt. Everest Island (with the word "escape" in big swooshing letters) :-)

Admittedly some of these are more fun than serious

Tony Fisk said...

If there is a cultural aversion to the V word (although, some time ago, when wondering how Vietnam had avoided the 'axis of evil' label, I was quickly told you folk were over it!), then allusion to v-isms is one way of pointing out the connection without being too in your face. The Neros may want to avoid the reference but they are betrayed by their mental laziness and, in reverting to the old euphemisms, bring it to the surface anyway!

(And this stuff so *needs* to be bought out into the open!)

OTOH, I thought Blumenthal was being quite deliberate.

Lest we get too serious, more titles:
- The Grey Archipelago
- The Grey Sky Below
- To Sail the Nano Sea
- The High Prison

learner said...

I like the previously mentioned "Safe Line" or
"Safe Line- 10K" or maybe "Contour 10K - The New Shoreline" everyone will think it is about global warming and the waters rising so you should be able to hook the environmental crowd as well. Then when Noonan writes to attack it as being preposterous that the flood waters would ever reach that high you will be able to say "Gotcha!"

Anonymous said...

" . . . someone other than Al Gore should organize the data and present it."

Al Gore struck me as an excellent presenter, and is as well qualified as a non-scientist probably could be. He may not be your cup of tea, but recall that a plurality of voters wanted him to be president six years ago. An Inconvenient Truth was not intended to sway conservatives; it was intended to inform and motivate his half of the political spectrum.

As far as far as extemes of the other half of the political spectrum, I suspect it doesn't matter who presents the data; scientists have presented paper after peer reviewed paper, and gotten smeared as biased and labeled as fearmongers by the pundits.

For the greenhouse denial crowd reality is what you create through perception management, and right now it is in their interest to cast doubt, sow confusion, and mock people who show concern about the subject. Their ultimate aim is to prevent policy changes that would hurt their patrons.

A rational discussion of alternatives? Oh, please! Every attempt at even modest boosts to CAFE standards has been shot down; the car industry is even now fighting tooth and nail to keep California's new pollution standards from spreading.

'Scaring won't convince "conservatives".'

Sweet irony! Scaring people is how what passes for "conservatives" these days operate. Fear of foreigners, fear of minorities, fear of taxes, fear of gays, fear of giving up "traditions" that didn't exist a generation ago, fear of women getting uppity and running for office . . . oh, and for the intolerant sorehead contingent, cultivating good old fashioned resentment.

The good old fashioned Republicans that John Rogers spoke of missing might have gotten out the spreadsheets and listened to economic arguments, but they've been outmoded by the neocons.

Anonymous said...

"Is it possible the V-word is unmentioned or unnoticed simply because there's a cultural aversion to it, rather than some kind of willful ignorance or unwillingness?"

I think you're dead on.

Digging deeper: I don't think it is USEFUL to bring up Vietnam, because what it MEANS varies from person to person! The cultural aversion Rob refers to may be a reflection of this dissonance:

"Vietnam? The war that we helped stop by marching in the streets?"

"Vietnam? The war we lost because traitorous hippies marched in the streets?"

"Vietnam? The useless waste of lives and treasure we got into on false premises?"

"Vietnam? The war we could have won if only we were allowed to bomb a little more?"

Etcetera, and so on!

The "lessons learned" vary just as widely:

I believe that our current military leadership does remember "the lessons taught by Vietnam" and is acting on them . . . by trying to eliminate the factor that they believe prevented them from winning: Criticism! (Press people allowed to wander the battlefield; civilian body counts; stories about disaffected soldiers; stories about soldiers getting high; stories about soldiers committing atrocities . . . what a nightmare for a leadership that wants things to go as planned back in the Pentagon!)

learner said...

Most vets, like myself, are long gone from the service and the difficult lessons learned with them. We have even moved on from the defense industry for the most part. A few are around as CEOs etc. The fact is we are making some of the same mistakes, many more than we should have. Seems like these new guys never read Jean Larteguy's"the Praetorians" or even "The Ugly American". But there are some great differences between the U.S. Military then and now. First and foremost it is a much smaller military establishment today than we had in the Sixties. While it is a volunteer professional military and not a conscript military, we have replaced conscripts by calling up Reserve and National Guard units. This is another form of conscription, just ask the reservists and national guard troops facing second and third tours. One of the benefits of a draft military is that the professionals were continuously under the eye of these civilian types who were going to go back to the real world after their tour and take their stories with them. In addition with the large numbers of fresh bodies available career military could expect two tours in combat but three was the exception. Not so today! Constant immersion in bloody guerilla/urban conflicts can drive one insane. We all saw that movie, right. The other interesting thing that has been pointed out recently is the make up of the reserve and national guard units. They tend to come from small rural communities, mostly from Republican states and Christian communities. If I was a Republican congressman today I would be very nervous.
The neo- conservative movement has become adept at taking every difficulty that our country has ever faced and turning it on the Democrats. They have done this with Vietnam claiming first that we lost the war and then blaming it on lack of support implying that the lost support was because of Democrats. This has been made to stick even though both are false. I submit that we did not lose the war we lost a battle. We lost the battle for Vietnam but the laptop I am writing on came from Taiwan and parts from Singapore. Thailand has remained a great place to vacation if you avoid tsunami. Had we not put up a fight in Vietnam would those places have avoided the communist wave? I think not. and by the way who was it that basically resigned due to the war? A Democratic president. And what president actually pulled the plug on Vietnam, a Republican.

But we will be coming home sooner rather than later. We should offer all of our Iraqi friends immigration to the US and two years support stipends(cheaper than fighting two more years), get ready to lose access to Middle east oil and start a true national emergency program to replace oil in our economy in three to five years.

learner said...

Big tobacco made a major mistake by not accepting the findings that nicotine was a drug and that cigarettes were a drug delivery system. I know they did this to avoid FDA drug regulations. But what if they had accept it as true in the beginning. If they had then cleaned up the tar would we all now be getting our legal drugs by smoking a cigarette just like some get illegal drugs today. Just think, cigarettes could be like all that flavored bottle water out there today.

learner said...

What is next?
Asbestos and tobacco can only keep the lawyers going so long. A new target is needed. Republicans are after illegal immigrants but they have no money so it will not be them. I am betting on either cell phones or corn syrup.

David Ivory said...

4 approaches

Take the High Line! - description

Nanofage Limit - invented words

Sea Change - Literary Quote (The Tempest)

Last way is to use something cryptic - code that has a meaning for the plot.

A line above an X in Roman numerals means 10,000 so you might be able to use that instead of 10 K ...

Very difficult - and I agree with the poster about Glory Season - very cool. Buy Jupiter is another fun one... very easy to slip into cheese though.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! Step out for a day and I come back to… well, a sea of ideas!

You guys are great. Thank you, everyone, and please keep the notions coming. My hope is to have at least a handful of solid alternates when Ace gets back to me with their own list. Ideally, a few of our suggestions will be the same.

I especially like Mark’s THE HOLOCENE EXTINCTION. Nice work, man -- it’s big and spooky and personal all at the same time -- but I have to assume that “holocene” is way too non-commercial. I mean, do one in ten people know what that means? Or even four in ten sf readers? Probably EXTINCTION, one word, is the big flashy fix.

NANOTIDE by Woozle, that’s not too shabby, and friends have also hit me with NANOCIDE and NANOSWARM. There is also the very obvious NANO PLAGUE, of course, or, a little more respectable, THE NANOTECH PLAGUE. Two hot buzzwords right there in one title.

Don’t get me wrong. Like the publisher, I would much rather sell a bazillion copies of NANO! than four thousand copies of THE INVISIBLE SEA. But it’s not a cheesy book. In fact, I like to think it’s a powerful, layered, keep-you-up-all-night-and-croggle-your-mind -and-even-touch-your-heart-a-little page-turner.

Or heck, here are the words of our host:

“Frightening, plausible and action-packed, THE INVISIBLE SEA is one of the best debut novels in years. Jeff Carlson packs riveting storytelling with a lot of fresh ideas.”
--David Brin, New York Times bestselling author of KILN PEOPLE

Hard to beat that, right!? (Insert new title, of course.) It’s just that it’ll be a bit embarassing to always be the guy who wrote anything called NANO!

Right now my personal top picks are DEATHLINE, courtesy of Ian Randall Strock, which is punchy and plays on the altitude barrier so crucial to the story, and THE NANOTECH PLAGUE, which again is very obvious but still fun and foreboding.

Keep that gray matter churning! And thank you all again. I’m glad too that everybody’s having some fun, which really took the edge off of my skull-crunching. Matthew Harrington, who recently wrote one of Larry Niven’s Man-Kzin War books, got back to me this afternoon with A MAGNIFICENT VIEW OF HELL and also LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Wise-ass.

David Ivory, "Limit" is good strong word and I like NANOFAGE LIMIT, I'll have to play a bit with that... As for SEA CHANGE, Joe Haldeman tried to use it with Ace for what became CAMOUFLAGE (and then won the Nebula, so let us all bow down before the Gods of Marketing...).

All best,


Rob Perkins said...

@Jeff... So, no ARC's, eh? :-)

Best of luck selecting a good title.

@Stefan -

I like Al Gore just fine, thanks. The point I was trying to make is that his political affiliation is so well-known, and so polarized, that no matter what he says, half the country won't listen. That's supposed to be an observation on partisanship, not a criticism of Al Gore.

Scaring doesn't convince "liberals" either, it seems to me. But the thing I'm thinking of is more along the lines of, "what are you afraid of?!?!?!" than "booga!"

Want to send CAFE standards through the roof? Charge $4/gallon for gas. Instant market. Then, during a period of time when the auto industries best sellers are machines currently well in compliance with stricter standards... adjust the standards to a point where we get stricter standards but Detroit doesn't actually have to *do* much to keep selling what it's already selling, before inflation eats the value of that $4.

In that sense, think about this and the costs related to letting an oil "crisis" develop, all in the name of cleaner air on one side, and massive shareholder profit on the other, and we'll get a couple of years of heartache combined with fossil energy independence. And probably a power shift in the White House.

Meanwhile, this: Scaring people is how what passes for "conservatives" these days operate. Fear of foreigners, fear of minorities, fear of taxes, fear of gays, fear of giving up "traditions" that didn't exist a generation ago, fear of women getting uppity and running for office. is simply nonsensical demagoguery. I know hundreds of conservatives, and the single thing all of them are not is "afraid."

Anonymous said...

If it's not too late to enter the name game, can I suggest
The Shadow of the Valley of Death
(With the valley being everything below 10,000 feet)

And as for the Libertarians and Tobacco, I'm afraid that almost everything I've seen from the Libertarian movement has been Catoesque tools or well-meaning dupes.

Max Andersson said...

Two more:
"On the Beach of Mount Everest"
"Himalaya Beach"

Anonymous said...

Common phrases using "tide":

Out with the Tide
Approaching Tide
Against the Tide
When the Tide Comes In
The Tide Turns

Any of these could be used in combination with another adjective, as in "Against the Creeping Tide".

Quotations using the word "tide":

Dance the Tides
Swift Tide of Blood
The Stalking Tide

Short and sweet, but still stuck on "tide":

Blood Tide
Night Tide

Kevin Crady said...

Regarding the book title, do you know what's going to be on the cover? The title should probably go with the cover image.

Off the top of my head:


Mike Huben said...

Nanoscopic Tide
Nanoscopic Extinction
Nanoscopic Plague
Nanoscopic Refugia
Islands in the Nanosea
Refuge from the Nanosea
Lifeboats on the Nanoscopic Sea
Flight from the Nanoplague
The Sixth Great Extinction (title already used for an article)
The Sixth Extinction
Refuge from the Sixth Extinction
Refuge from Extinction
Above the Nanosphere
Many Specks of Nano (make the mighty ocean)
The Height of Safety
The Height of Refuge
A Small Problem
Holocene Refugia
We Dinosaurs
The New Dinosaurs
Echoes Of The Dinosaurs
If the Dinosaurs Were Intelligent
Neither Fire Nor Ice
Small Changes (at the End Times?)
Staying Warm
The Littlest Enemy
Bad Things Come in Small Packages, Too.

Anonymous said...

These Isles of Air
Eve of Extinction (but it's a videogame; trademark issue?)
Extinction Tomorrow

Anonymous said...

Noah's Peak

Anonymous said...

title it: (the) high ground
(steve mcclure)

Anonymous said...

"run to the hills"

(when they make the movie they can use the iron maiden song)

(steve mcclure)

Anonymous said...

Mike Huben, I like the words Nanozone and Nanosphere, they're both inriguing and vivid.

Erik, great minds think alike! I already had BLOOD TIDE on my list for the sequel and Matthew Harrington also made the same suggestion.

P.T., authors get no say in cover art and regardless it probably won't be commissioned for several months. I have my ideas and my hopes, of course, but at best my editor will forward a note on my behalf.

Anonymous, I also like NOAH'S PEAK, although that would have to be a very different book. My story takes place all through California and Colorado, with backdrop events in both Europe and Asia being important and then strongly coming into play again in the sequel.

Everyone, keep it coming! I do appreciate the skull sweat.

I had word from my editor today, preliminary but good. Nobody floated a balloon that said anything whatsoever like NANO! and that was a huge relief.

More as it develops...


Anonymous said...

Possible title ideas:

Race to the Rarefied Air
The Rarefied Air War
Trapped Above The Timberline
"What Have We Done Now?!!!"
What Lies Beneath the Clouds
Patent #666-987654321
The Deadly Cloud Plankton
Let's Play King of the Mountain - You Lose!
In The End, The Dinosaurs Had It Easy
10,000 Feet....And Rising?!

Anonymous said...

If you hope to use "Blood Tide" for a sequel, it'll pay to set up the linkage in the first title, probably in the same Adj-Noun form as Blood Tide.

I.e. use either Blood or Tide in the first book's title, or something related, such as "Bone Sea" (maybe the phages don't use much calcium, and leave stripped bones? Or maybe they do, and it could be Boneless Sea)

Bone Sea
Sea of Bones
Sea of Skulls
Boneless Sea

Unseen Tide
Flood Tide
Hungry Tide
Hungry Sea

Gordon Mohr said...

'Invisible Flood' is nice.

Others ideas, some variants of veins already plumbed:

Blood Flood
The High Shores
Killing Tide
Life's Peak(s)
Death's Peak(s)
Aspirations of Survival
Blood Shores
Life Above
Death Below
Fatal Altitude
The Ascension Wars
The Ascension Extinction
The Thick(ening) Death
Thick Air Plague
Thickness Rising
Cemetary Earth
Embalmed Earth
Scoured Earth

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

A comment and a few suggestions:

The term "phage" is a shortened version of "bacteriophage" which is a virus that infects and destroys bacteria. Phage is from Latin and translates to something like "to eat." A "nanophage" would not be the plague itself, but a *counter* to it, presicely what the humans in the book need.

And some title ideas:

-Biophage (effectively, this is what the nano machines are.)
-Von Neuman's Plague (My fave)
-High Anxiety (tip o' the hat to Mel)
-The Killing Sea (IMHO, this is the marketing winner.)


Anonymous said...


High Apocalypse?

Apocalypse High? (sounds like teen slasher comedy)

The 10K Trail (is just outside of Albuquerque)

Sea of lost Dreams

No, no, Nano (children's version)

Islands in the Mist

A Hazy Shade of Grey

Larry Saudner and the Nanotech Stone

I really like Drowning on Dry Land, especially if the nanos are effecting hemoglobin or trying to fix/extract iron. Plus, Roy Buchanan does a great version of the song.

reason said...

I thought the sea analogy (from sea level) was a bit strong and sea has for me too many positive connotations. You can sail on it, swim in it, get food from it etc. This is much more terrifying.

Like an invisible sea would have been better but why not make it topical and use search engines as your friend. Like global warming gone mad appeals to me. Then I thought, there is another feeling in the story - the isolation and resource shortage. What about The peaks need oil.

Anonymous said...

More re: names

Drowning in the invisible sea (adding to the title).
Hell and high nanosphere.
Rare air
The vertical plague.
two miles and rising

or to please the big distrubtors:

The Noble Barns of Amazonian Borders.

reason said...

To be a bit cryptic what about homo himalayus or something similar. (For those few on this website who are slow on the uptake the area around the himalayas would be by far the biggest land mass.)

Anonymous said...

If it is not too late for titles, my wife and I had some fun brainstorming...some are awful, but maybe it will spark a better idea.

Apocolypse Rising
High Anxiety
Terminal Altitude
Plague of Altitude
Rising Tide
The Height of Civilization
Nanite Plague
Nanite Rising
Boundary Layer
Flood 2.0
The Last Safe Place
Boundary Layer Earth
The Scourge of the Earth
Prey on the Peaks

Anonymous said...

It was "The New Ice Age" impending in the late 1960-70''s (sci-fi books on this scary topic milked that chilling theory), and now it is "Global Warming" [or: the more amorphous "Climate Change" to hedge their bets].

The climate does nothing but change.

We can't predict weather patterns three days out, so this sudden fealty to the predictability of the world's climataological state years or decades ahead is risibily unscientific, at best.

Why was Greenland once warmer?

Why did the Ice Ages end 12,000 years ago?

Blaming ourselves for everything is both soothing to the self-lacerating and self-inflating to the egotistical.

Pollution control, preventing overfishing, keeping a handle on population growth in water-poor regions, etc., are more immediate concerns.

If there were to be a climate change for the worse it would be cooling (Ice Sheets two miles thick over North America, and Europe, Russia and China), not warming.

The latter may cause some worldwide coastline loss (low-lying islands, The Netherlands, etc.) which could be relatively-easily adapted to.

The former would result in the burying of the roots of Western civilization, the massive displacement of several billion people, and half of the arable land to feed the survivors.

Warming is to be wished for if the alternative is an New Ice Age.

But it may all (historical climate changes) be caused by a solar cycles (or an "unknown", like: the variations in the regions where the solar system moves in the galaxy, where some areas may have rises in cosmic radiation, or dark matter, etc.) more than any human "cause", and might leave us nothing to do to "prevent" it, but only to adapt to it.

Science is groping in this complex realm.

Don't oversell its "certain" knowledge.

Theories are otherthrown with regularity.

Hobbyhorses break.