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  Ambassadors from Earth: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft (Jay Gallentine) (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Ambassadors from Earth: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft (Jay Gallentine)
Jay Gallentine
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From: Shorewood, MN, USA
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posted 10-28-2006 09:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mike Dixon:
To be perfectly honest, I didn't mind Jay's initial subtitle ...seemed to "flow" well.
Thanks very much for the input and feedback on possible titles! Much appreciated.

Tonight, I am sweating it through the precursor to Voyager called 'TOPS', which was a JPL technology effort to see whether or not they could realize the mission. The spotlight briefly shines on Algirdas Avizienis, a Lithuanian-born computer programmer at UCLA who though his nifty idea for a self-fixing computer would be ideally suited for a trip to the end of the solar system.

Philip
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posted 10-29-2006 04:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Finally ...the most exciting bit is written. Looking forward to it!

Jay Gallentine
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posted 01-06-2007 09:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excited to report this evening that I have finished a draft of the entire work. It's quite rough in the tail end, but the major bits are now laid out and I can delve into the most fun part of writing for me: seeing how much better I can make the text.

I plan to spend the next couple of months revising, then send the work out to roughly half a dozen space folks and 'regular' folks to see how it measures up in their eyes.

Ray Katz
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posted 01-07-2007 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ray Katz   Click Here to Email Ray Katz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jay, I don't know if this would be of interest to you, but the guy who put in a new staircase at my home worked on the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory -- which was, I believe, the first space telescope. If you're interested in talking to him, I could try and track him down.

He also gave me a spare part from the OAO, which was something to help orient the vehicle. It was slightly cracked, so they didn't use it...

Jay Gallentine
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posted 01-07-2007 08:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Ray, thanks for the post. Sorry to say I am not covering that mission... only Sputnik 1 through Voyager at Neptune. I slashed down the scope after finding too much good stuff on the early flights!

Philip
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posted 01-17-2007 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Post-1977 might be for a follow-on book covering the last 30 years 1977 - 2007

Jay Gallentine
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posted 03-18-2007 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, by this time I figured I'd have the final chapter about buttoned up and be deep into editing the front section. Not to be. Having just come off the Voyager Neptune encounter, I'm trying to sum up what I call the 'redemption' of JPL by way of this mission. That is, what, exactly, did the Lab do to learn from the mistakes of Ranger and plow ahead into success?

So that dovetails into a discussion of how things are different today in the world of unmanned exploration. The main themes there are sophistication and bureaucracy. Then I get up-to-date with the major characters, and whammo that's about the end. The catching-up section won't be so hard, but I find myself constantly reworking the Voyager analysis, and what it contributes to the argument that unmanned spaceflight has contributed many multiples more of scientific discovery than manned flight ever will.

I have some exciting news I want to share about the cover, but that's a tricky one. The publisher enjoys every right to modify or delete the proposed one, so in that sense the news might fizzle if it doesn't come to be. So I guess I'll be keeping that one close until it's finalized!!

Hey, here's a question: I know that Voyager has been used in the first Star Trek movie, and the movie Starman and whatnot, but are there any other instances where people have noticed this particular machine? Video games? TV shows? Just thought I'd ask.

And a big welcome to Chris Dubbs as a new author in the series!

Onward with the big push!

Jay Gallentine
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posted 03-18-2007 10:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh - sorry, forgot to agree with Philip's statement. Yes indeed, a follow-up book would be quite nice, perhaps going as far as the recent and very thrilling discovery of 'seas' on Titan!

I am also quite certain that in the present volume I will not be able to give the Soviet Union its due attention on the Venera landings of the Seventies. But I can't cover everything....

FFrench
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posted 03-19-2007 03:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay:
Hey, here's a question: I know that Voyager has been used in the first Star Trek movie, and the movie Starman and whatnot, but are there any other instances where people have noticed this particular machine? Video games? TV shows? Just thought I'd ask.
In the first Star Trek movie, it was the fictional, never-built "Voyager 6," so it depends what you mean by "used." Design elements of the real Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft were widely used to make the movie mockup.

There are a number of other cultural references to Voyager on this page (including X-Files), under 'Fiction and Popular Culture'.

Another memorable moment is the Star Trek V movie, where the (real, this time) Pioneer 10 (or 11, I am not sure if any differences can be identified onscreen) spacecraft, having lasted to the year 2287, is destroyed by a Klingon spacecraft as a bit of target practice...

Philip
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posted 01-19-2008 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What's the latest on the book Jay?

Jay Gallentine
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posted 01-19-2008 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for nudging me on this, Philip!

I've been very bad in my updating of this, but of course the days have been very busy with writing.

Right now, the book is due in about one calendar month. I will be submitting the manuscript, permissions, photographs - the whole bit.

As the snow begins to melt up here in Minnesota, the text will be gone through by a copy-editor, whom I will be depending upon greatly to correct grammatical errors, clarify any confusion, and perhaps slim it down a bit.

The photographs have been much more of a difficult process than what I imagined. I have space for about fifty of them, and my initial choices brought the count to three times that! With the help of my highly decisive wife, I was able to (eventually) slim that down to the magical fifty. However, I've also sent out several 'last call for photographs' requests to several individuals, so we'll see if anything fun comes through.

Still targeting a Spring 2009 release!

With that, I'll now get back to the final revisions.

Thanks again to all for their interest and enthusiasm on this project. It's been quite an adventure, to say the least.

Jay Gallentine
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posted 02-17-2008 10:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well Folks, yesterday I boxed up two rather heavy printouts of the manuscript - double-spaced and all - along with my photographic selections and other tidbits, to mail out to the publisher.

And then I celebrated, with a righteous hot fudge & banana malt at Snuffy's up in Minnetonka. Ex-x-xtra malty.

In the middle of it all, I paused to massage my ice-cream headache and inquire, "Hey kids, guess what I'm NOT doing this weekend?!" And in unison they both cried, "Working on the book!" In the case of my seven year-old, this is very strange indeed. I started the project when he was three, and the boy has no memory of his dad not writing a book about space probes.

This afternoon, I found myself before the computer, looking over at my 'Hot-Sheet' - which is a running list of to-dos, facts to reconcile, photographs to check on. The list is empty. It hasn't been like that since 2004.

No e-mails to file; no binders to shelve.

At this point I'm no longer doing any day-to-day writing on the book, but it's still a long road to release day next year - much copy-editing and proofreading to do still. It is not finished, but another milestone has been (successfully!) reached.

Thanks to everyone for your interest!

stsmithva
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posted 02-17-2008 10:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations! What a tremendous accomplishment. I putter around with writing, but I can't imagine the dedication and skill it takes to write a detailed nonfiction book. We look forward to seeing it!

FFrench
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posted 02-17-2008 10:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations, Jay! A great milestone, and I am looking forward to seeing the final published book (which is going to grab a lot of people who never knew there were such great stories about people in the world of unmanned spaceflight)!

ColinBurgess
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posted 02-17-2008 11:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When Jay and I first discussed the possibility of him writing this book, he sent me an article he'd written about speed king Craig Breedlove, and I knew straight away he was the perfect choice to write this book. I've recently had the privilege of reading Jay's first draft, which he's now tightened up considerably, and I think this is going to be one very popular book. When, as series editor, I was asked a long time back for my appraisal of Jay's writing skills, I suggested that his book could become "The Right Stuff" of umanned probes and planetary exploration - that's how good I thought Jay's book would be, and he certainly hasn't proved me wrong.

This book is no mere chronology of objects being fired into orbit or on to other celestial destinations; this is the incredible and often controversial story of the dreamers and doers who devised and built the satellites and probes, and those whose genius brought us lunar and planetary images and explorations of incredible complexity. It's a breathtaking ride, and though it will be quite a big book (the copyeditor will need to be paid much overtime), this book will definitely become the classic of its genre.

But if Jay thinks he can now hang up his pen, rest his typing finger and see the sun again, then I may have some disturbing news for him ...

Philip
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posted 02-21-2008 12:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A long awaited book since Oran Nick's "Far Travellers" ...I'll be the first buyer.

Jay Gallentine
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posted 02-27-2008 10:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Last week, my son Ben's fourth-grade class was finishing up their unit on writing. Somehow Ben's teacher got wind of the book project and asked me to come speak to the group.

I told them about the series, how it worked with me proposing the book, and the process of creating it. I had a little handout packet with the questions I had to answer for the proposal, part of an interview transcription, and examples of first, second, and third drafts of the same page. I brought along an interview tape to play back while the kids read the part of the transcription I was playing. We discussed the concept of 'getting your ideas on paper', then going back to revise. The teacher really wanted me to punch revisions. I also talked about using quality references like original interviews, special-interest magazines like 'Spaceflight', or books that have stood the test of time.

I was able to work in many details about space exploration in general, and Voyager in particular. Voyager is always a good place to start. "If you made a phone call to your friend on Neptune, it would take hours for your voice to get there." "If Neptune is over two billion miles away, how'd they get this great picture of it?" and what have you. I was there for an hour and the kids seemed to have a good time, although you never know for sure.

Well today Ben brought home a stack of Thank-You cards, which I found to be quite moving. I would like to share some of them. All grammatical errors are verbatim from the kiddos, which only adds to it all:

Dear Mr. Gallentine, Thank you for coming in and explaining all that stuff, I thought it was really interesting. Someday I might do what you did, I think it was awesome Sincerely Jack K.



Thank you for being our guest writer. I was very kind of you to that for my class. Thank you for the pakets. You were very kind. Thanks, Abby



Thank you for talking about the book it sounds good I would like to read it but it is too long.



Thank you for sharing wonderful things



Thank you for telling us about space. I didn't know that much about space so thank you again. Matt C.



Thank you for coming in and talking about space. Also thanks for giving us steps to write a book. Last I think space is awesome! Sincerely Erik



Thank you for coming into our class and sharing important things about writing. I'm a big fan of writing myself and want to be an author when I grow up. I've always wanted to learn more about the solar system but I don't have time. Thanks again! Anna
...these are the kind of things that make it all worth-while.

medaris
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posted 02-28-2008 03:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for medaris   Click Here to Email medaris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It sounds as if the talk worked really well. It's very difficult pitching things at the right level for different ages of kids, and it's great that it went so well. Congratulations!

STEVE SMITH
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posted 02-28-2008 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for STEVE SMITH   Click Here to Email STEVE SMITH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excellent job Jay. The 4th grade is an awesome time. The kids "Yearn to Learn" and are just little sponges.

Jay Gallentine
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posted 04-28-2008 09:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thought it might finally be time to share a picture!

This is a shot of myself with The Man, James Van Allen, taken on May 5, 2005 at the close of our interview.

Dig the office: no set dressing here. Not only was it always and forever like this, but he knew exactly, precisely where everything was. One memorable moment for me was asking about the night of Sputnik I. Without hesitation he walked directly to a shelf and plucked out his original notebook from the night of October 4th, 1957. Amazing!

Amazing man indeed. We miss you, sir.

Jay Gallentine
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posted 09-28-2008 09:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a quick update: the manuscript has been accepted by the publisher, including photographs. Soon it will enter the copy-editing stage. We're still on track for a Fall 2009 release.

Now I'm starting to plan the party...

ColinBurgess
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posted 11-16-2008 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An early heads-up for those who are following the Outward Odyssey series of books on the social history of space exploration produced by the University of Nebraska Press. Following the recent and well-received release of "Homesteading Space," the next book in the series will be Jay Gallentine's extraordinary work, "Ambassadors From Earth: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft." Even if your interest is centered on human spaceflight make sure you do not miss this one; Jay (a collectSPACE regular) has produced a sublime work that I feel will be every bit the 'robotic equivalent' to Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff." As series editor I have of course reviewed Jay's manuscript and it makes for fascinating and irresistible reading. This is the story of the people who devised, developed and controlled these amazing spacecraft, and amid many amazing stories related for the first time Jay does not shy away from the highly-controversial subject of who first conceived the idea of the Grand Planetary Tour carried out by the twin Voyager spacecraft. He has even interviewed the major protagonists and has presented a very balanced account of this ongoing squabble.

Overall, "Ambassadors From Earth" is a very engaging story; one of human frailties, high-visibility failures and ultimate triumphs against the odds. Principal among the leading characters in this book is the late James Van Allen, and Jay was fortunate enough to carry out what was probably the last extensive interview with the great man.

Unfortunately, due to an irretrievable slip in the publishing schedule, "Ambassadors From Earth" will not debut until the Fall of 2009 (i.e. released about this time next year), but Jay's manuscript is now undergoing the formal copy-editing process, so everything is currently on track for what is going to be yet another magnificent addition to this very fine series of books.

cspg
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posted 11-16-2008 11:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does that mean subsequent volumes are also pushed back 6 months? "Footprints in the Dust" was "due" for Fall 2009.

ColinBurgess
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posted 11-17-2008 12:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chris, there were unresolvable problems that eventually caused "Footprints" to drop out of the publishing sequence for next Spring - hence the gap between "Homesteading" and "Ambassadors." But we will then be back on track with a new release every six months. The multi-author "Footprints" is currently scheduled for a Spring 2010 release.

cspg
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posted 11-17-2008 03:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Colin, ok, thanks for the info.

dss65
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posted 11-18-2008 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Too bad for the delay, but I'm excited to see some great reading coming up for some time into the future. Good job, guys.

Jay Gallentine
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posted 11-18-2008 09:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Don, good to hear from you and thanks very much for the interest in this book. I've worked hard to uncover some previously unheard stories about some wonderful explorers. I've tried to keep the text engaging and nontechnical, as well as accurate. Also happy to report that the majority of the photographs are previously unpublished. I think you will find it to be worth the wait.

I'll try to keep you posted on the progress of this volume!

Jay Gallentine
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posted 01-05-2009 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The manuscript is back from the copy-editor. I have another few weeks to go through it and review his changes. Nice to see the changes are rather light!

From here it will be another round with the copy-editor for final revisions, and then in a few months I should see page proofs of the finished book.

That's all for now!
Jay Gallentine

Philip
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posted 01-06-2009 11:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Exciting and great to see this topic again, just read the start of it which goes back to November 2004...

Looking forward to have the book in hands!!!

Jay Gallentine
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posted 01-30-2009 09:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The reviewed copy-edit is on its way back to the editor!

It's been a busy month.

cspg
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posted 04-02-2009 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Folks, here you go, now listed on Amazon.com.

Jay Gallentine
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posted 04-02-2009 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Holy cow Chris, I think I'm going to cry.

Thanks for calling my attention to that. Wasn't sure I'd ever see the day.

ColinBurgess
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posted 04-02-2009 03:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many congratulations, Jay - this has truly been a long labor of love for you. To anyone out there who looks at the subject matter of this book and might think of this as yet another dry and dusty chronology of unmanned and planetary probes, I urge you to think again - this incredibly well written, easy-to-read book will actually impress and delight you. I'd urge any potential buyers to read the three wonderfully incisive reviews at that Amazon page, as well as the amazingly good and even humorous product description below these reviews.

By the way, at 544 pages it's a BIG book!

And of course if we offer Jay enough encouragement, he may complete this incredible saga with a follow-up book. Still many, many stories to tell that will bring the whole adventure up to the present day (and beyond).

MCroft04
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posted 04-02-2009 08:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
544 pages! Wow! Can't wait to read this book. Perhaps Jay's next book can be 644 pages! Keep em coming.

cspg
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posted 04-02-2009 11:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Gallentine:
Holy cow Chris, I think I'm going to cry.
What did I do? What did I do?

Looking forward to reading your book, Jay! - and the previous two, sitting on my pile of stuff to read...

DChudwin
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posted 04-03-2009 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations, Jay. Very much looking forward to reading your book. Nothing good happens fast, so the long gestation of your book is a good omen.

Jay Gallentine
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posted 04-04-2009 10:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding that page count, I'm almost embarrassed to report that the original draft was - drum roll - a full one-third longer than the final. Yup, a good 94,000 words had to be stricken. It's definitely made for a better book, though. The other was just way too much. In sending out all the draft copies I think I singlehandedly paid for the local Post Office's addition.

The situation prompted my wife to comment, "See? I always said you were long-winded!"

The aforementioned cut-down work was done over the Spring/Summer of 2008. "How did you spend your summer, Jay?" "I was taking out words."

Thanks again for all the interest in this!

Philip
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posted 04-06-2009 12:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
More on "Ambassadors from Earth" from University of Nebraska Press.

Richard Easton
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posted 04-06-2009 07:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Easton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a very impressive sounding book. I will definitely buy a copy.

Jay Gallentine
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posted 04-24-2009 11:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Folks, I'm told that the manuscript has now moved into the formal production process. I should be seeing page proofs some time next month. I will have a few weeks to review them, and then everything's due back at the publisher's again.

At this stage, only very minor corrections are allowed, and nothing which affects the page count. I'd been advised that this would be the case, so I considered the previous copy-editing stage my last real chance to make any significant changes. Gulp.

How strange to have this work "out of my computer", as it were, and nearly ready to meet the world like a child heading off to school.

With great excitement I've started handing out the University of Nebraska Press' Fall 2009 catalog, as it devotes the entirety of Page 10 to "Ambassadors". This evening I delivered a catalog to my neighbor, who laughed as she recalled moving in five years ago and encountering me, sitting on my deck with my nose in yet another space book. Before standing up for introductions I had to relocate all the highlighters and Post-it tape flags off my lap. She asked was I was reading, so I explained, "I'm researching a book on space probes." With a line like that you learn to expect a certain look: a "gee-that's-not-something-I-hear-too-often" look. Two years later she helped pick the title.

I've also been contacted regarding a few speaking engagements, so very happy to report that a bit of a tour is in the works!


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