Publisher Jim Baen, a true giant in the literary science fiction field, passed away on Thursday. He was 62. The company he started, Baen Books, has been responsible for publishing the best of the best of modern science fiction (including David Weber's Honor Harrington series) and for significantly advancing the concept of unencrypted electronic publishing. Wing Commander fans know him best, however, for having published seven Wing Commander novels between 1992 and 1999. Freedom Flight, End Run, Fleet Action, Heart of the Tiger, The Price of Freedom, Action Stations and False Colors form the detailed core of what Wing Commander fans consider their own universe today. Rest in peace, Mr. Baen. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends - including the online community that he made his home. He made an important part of Wing Commander possible; he will be missed. Writer David Drake has posted a touching obituary for his friend at his web site.
On the lighter side, acclaimed author William Forstchen has posted an update to his website.
Dr. Forstchen had a hand in writing all of the Baen Wing Commander novels except the first, Freedom Flight. He doesn't do hard science fiction anymore, but we're happy to see his first comprehensive report in a year or so. Some of his story ideas stalled in that time frame, and he's looked to new inspiration to continue his work. His upcoming novel "One Second After" is described below, and details about some of his other active projects available at his site. Dr. Forstchen also recently purchased an airplane. It's ¾ scale replica of a P-51 Mustang that he is currently restoring in his free time. That sure sounds like a fun project!
The other project is one that just kind of burst on me a couple of years back. Actually the genesis is ten years back when I came up with an idea of aliens using EMP to shut down the global power grid, and then just drove away. No invasion, no machines stomping around, just let us stew in our own technological collapse and after twenty years or so, come back to finish us off. It went no where. And then I had a conversation with Newt, about the current real threat of a terrorist or rogue state EMP strike on the continental United States. All it would take is one weapon:
Thus "One Second After" will be published later this year by St. Martin's Press. The story is personal, very personal. Some years back a writer who was a real role model and mentor, Jean Shepherd, (who actually was my neighbor up in Maine) told me to "write what I know, write what I love." So I set the story of a post EMP world in my home town, a sort of alter ego of
me, the main character, struggling to keep his family alive, while his small town and college up here in the mountains of western North Carolina, slowly disintegrates after the entire power grid and computer-based world we live in, is shut down. It was a very hard, grim tale to write and my intent is that it is a warning of a very real, and very present danger that needs to be addressed.