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Upcoming travel

Assuming nothing goes too horribly wrong, on Monday I'm flying out to New York for a few days of meetings—my regular annual business trip, basically. (My agent and my publishers are all based in NYC so it makes sense to visit from time to time; Skype chats are all very well, but there's no substitute for serendipitously bumping into someone you've never heard of who works on your books in a back office job ...)

Anyway, I have two public things happening while I'm over there, and neither of them are in New York.

Thursday 16th is Pandemonium at Pandemonium—a multi-author evening event at Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, MA. I often do readings at Pandemonium when I'm in Boston, but this time's special: you can expect to find me along with Elizabeth Bear, Max Gladstone, Scott Lynch, Ada Palmer, Jo Walton and Fran Wilde, answering questions, doing an extremely silly storytelling game, and generally having fun.

Friday 17th-19th is Boskone 54, the regular Boston SF convention I've been going to for far too many years. I'm on the program, and if you search the program for my name, you'll find my fixtures. (One update: I won't be taking part in the First Contact/Close Encounters program item on Friday afternoon.)

See you around! (Or not.) And don't expect much blogging before I get home again on Tuesday 21st.

96 Comments

1:

Good luck with DHS!
Come back safe.
Tell us all about it.
In that order, of course.

Incidentally, I've just found out that Donaldo shat all over his own family, by denying a nephew/cousin of his ( who has bad cerebral palsy) any healthcare, bu cutting off monies, just so he could spite the boy's father.
What a turd.

2:

I'd leave your specific dates of travel off, and possibly rephrase it as "sometime in the next few days" or whatnot.

Trump said, "We will be doing something very rapidly having to do with additional security for our country. You will be seeing that sometime next week," earlier today. So how about you don't become the next Peter Watts?

3:

The claim about Trump's nephew with cerebral palsy was apparently true at one point, although there was a round of lawsuits and sealed settlements since then so we don't really know the final outcome. It's pretty common for people to present maximal negotiating positions at the beginning of legal action, so unless you discover the final outcome of that case I'd suggest a different talking point when arguing that Trump is evil. There certainly seems to be plenty of them to choose from.

4:

+1 to what Greg said.

Some Canadian citizens are getting stopped at the US border and turned back, for the crimes of (1) being brown and (2) being Muslim. This despite the rescinded travel ban. Fascists gonna fascist, I guess.

5:

Good luck, and I hope you don't need it.

I'm just wondering if you should obtain an Israeli passport. It doesn't mean you have to live there, and it might give you another option when you need to travel. Of course I may be talking out of turn, in which case I apologise, or there may be other problems that would introduce.

6:

or there may be other problems that would introduce.

Ya think?

My wife went to Israel last year. They didn't stamp her passport as the stamp would have blocked her from entering almost any other country in the area. I think they gave her some kind of paper "pass" that you carry with your passport during your visit.

7:

I think Charlie has an ethical objection to many of the current and past activities of the Israeli government.

8:

think they gave her some kind of paper "pass" that you carry with your passport during your visit.

Yeah, someone I know mentioned this a few days ago, said that they gave her a removable page for the passport, in case their flight had to make an emergency landing in one of the neighboring countries.

Also remember that Charlie was in Tel Aviv a few months ago, so I assume he knows this.

9:

Given that, in the past fortnight DHS have|:
a) - Ignored the Vienna Convention ( Norwegian ex-Prime Minister on Diplomatic Passport, detained, because he'd been to Iraq )
b) - Detained a VC holder, because he'd been to Iraq ( guess where he got his VC? )

Absolutely any shit at all is possible.
See also the Peter Watts' saga.

10:

I have strong ethical objections to many of the current and past activities of the British government, but that doesn't stop me having a UK passport. Politically, the climate in Tel Aviv wouldn't be uncongenial — much as Scotland doesn't march in step to Westminster's drum — and as a citien I'd be able to vote against (and campaign against) the politics I disagreed with.

However, there are practical reasons for me not to get an Israeli passport: I'm not quite out of the military service age range (and although I'm almost certainly medically unfit for conscription dealing with it would be annoying), and I'm crap at languages other than English but I'd need to have a working ability to read, write, and speak Hebrew in order to deal with the administrative necessities.

If (purely hypothetically) I intended to emigrate and was looking for a new adoptive nation, I'd give serious thought to Germany. But my plan A is to sit tight and vote for Scottish independence from England and re-entry into the EU.

11:

That is no good either, actually.
Given the utter screw-up the SNP have made of the NHS in Scotland, whilst in charge of it & also being ( as openly stated by Brussels ... that you'd be at the tail-end of the prospective entrants.

Much better to campaign for either the softest possible brexit or agin it entirely.
I still think the "borders" problems ( Ireland, Scotland, Gibraltar) will shaft Brexit.
We will see ...

12:

That's funny, I'm in Scotland and haven't heard of our NHS being in a mess. The news is full of the English NHS, you'd think it was in trouble or something.

13:

Both are in trouble, for two simple reasons.

Firstly, appalling communications, at the most basic & simple levels, between different staff sectors ( Guess how I know this? )
Secondly, compared to other European countries, we simply are not spending enough.
Thirdly, in your case, the local direction is even worse than ours, strange though that may seem.

14:

Fourthly, Scotland has a lot of small pockets of population scattered around some rather rugged terrain. Getting a patient from a remote village to the nearest hospital can mean a considerable journey over decidedly non-straight and non-level roads. Without even considering the weather. This is not an easily fixed problem though.

15:

Seconded Greg's post @ #1 on the travel.

Have a safe and pleasant trip with zero inconveniences, please.

16:

It's also hard to find articles on Donald's grand-nephew with cerebral palsy because of another kid with cerebral palsy who was treated horribly more recently. (Link goes to NZ coverage for a non-US perspective.)

17:

The NHS is doing just fine in Scotland, compared to the train-wreck south of the border — but then, the SNP are committed to public ownership and are buying out public-private partnerships rather than trying to privatize the whole system.

I'm speaking as a customer who gets to deal with various clinics; from my PoV, it's working fine.

(As for EU re-entry, the signals are vague but suggest an independent Scotland would be fast-tracked for membership simply because, unlike most of the countries queuing for admission, Scotland's legal and regulatory frameworks are already EU-compliant. However, it's hard to get a clear read on the situation because what's going on right now is basically a gigantic game of political chicken in the run-up to May triggering Article 50.)

18:

In reverse order
because what's going on right now is basically a gigantic game of political chicken in the run-up to May triggering Article 50
SPOT ON - give the man a sausage voucher!

the SNP are committed to public ownership and are buying out public-private partnerships rather than trying to privatize the whole system.
Err ... no-one, apart from a few mad ideologues are trying to privatise the NHS down here.
Don't believe what any politician, of any party tells you about the NHS, because they are all lying, or at lest doing some very heavy slanting.

19:

Just for Greg, I found this:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/oct/27/scottish-nhs-failing-demand-watchdog-audit-scotland-nicola-sturgeon

From last year. But basically all it says is that more money is required, and accuses the SNP of nebulous unexplained problems in controlling the NHS. Which is entirely normal. No goverment that I've ever heard of has managed to run the NHS well at all, and the situation remains much better than south of the border.
And in both cases more money would help.

And your naievety about privatising the NHS is noted; you have presumably missed the ongoing handover of contracts to private companies, I read of one worth 500 million recently, as well as the destruction of the GP as a small local business and it's replacement with corporate employees, not to mention the desire to start charging people more to see their GP sooner.

20:

I simply don't understand your bit about: "The destruction of the GP"

But then, I only realised recently that mast GP surgeries/practices require an appointment, which can take ages - no "popping in" at all.
Because my GP doesn't do appointments, except on one day a week. The rest of the time -during appointed hours - you turn up, you get seen, everyone gets seen.
Why can't others use this simple model then?

21:

If (purely hypothetically) I intended to emigrate and was looking for a new adoptive nation, I'd give serious thought to Germany.
Equally hypothetically, would you be interested in a driver with similar tastes and interests, some German, and different ailents?

22:

"...different ailments."

23:

I've enjoyed living in Germany, but it has its own, er, "features". And I'm somewhat insulated being here in an official capacity, with things like driver's license being handled by the Army. So, how good is your German, and your tolerance for bureaucracy?

And, how would emigrating to, say, the Republic of Ireland compare?

24:

Looking at the time, you're probably en route. Travel safe!

25:

Don't forget to do some shopping if you're not going to be back in the US for a while.

Maybe take some time to sightsee and grab some memories of a wonderful country with many lovely people - that just happens to be going through a rough patch.

ps: I recall you mentioned an electronic guitar toy you were trying out. How did that go?

If you ever want a left-handed guitar I have loada & would be happy to gift you a ahitty but playable one. Feel I owe you for all the books and blogs.

As for emigration, Eire used to have advantages for artists?

26:

Some Canadian citizens are getting stopped at the US border and turned back, for the crimes of (1) being brown and (2) being Muslim. This despite the rescinded travel ban. Fascists gonna fascist, I guess.

I live on the Canadian side of the US border and have Muslim/brown friends. They have been turned back at the border/hassled for years. It has 'just' gotten so bad that even non-brown / non Muslim people are really noticing.

27:

Available to all EU residents, and the scheme's still available. Which - among other consequences - means the Irish government has a form to allow people apply to have their creations officially determined to be Art.

28:

The US/Canada border cops have considerable on-the-spot authority. Not sure whether they do any official paperwork about who they turn back and why which means very low likelihood of any reliable analysis on how consistently and legally the regulations are applied.

29:

The US/Canada border cops have considerable on-the-spot authority.

You aren't telling us something we didn't already know. Those of us who have travelled regularly across the border were always very aware of their authority to make our lives hellish. What would be amusing, were it not causing so much pain to so many, is watching the shock on the faces of all the people who thought the stories were all exagerrations or it was only a few bad apples.

And yes, they sometimes do paperwork but they do not reveal it to anyone (including congresscritters) therefore we have no idea of how they are applying this authority. Some people who are turned back are later allowed to enter. Others are not.

Speaking as someone who has been in one of the 'pull aside' rooms, it is a (sometimes literally) chilling experience.

30:

Well, it's all part of the ongoing gifting of business to larger private interests. Sure, GP's are basically small businesses, but at least they are working for themselves. Instead, the aim, if the government is lucid enough to have an aim, I'm not sure they are, is to give all our money to large corporations instead, and let them drive down wages and work.
E.g. http://www.gponline.com/virgin-set-outstanding-gp-practice-forced-close-400000-cuts/article/1399128

I've read of various things like this happening in England the last few years. Eventually if the corporations own enough of hte health service in a union crushing England, you can imagine the consequences.

31:

Re: 'Speaking as someone who has been in one of the 'pull aside' rooms, it is a (sometimes literally) chilling experience.'

Agree ...

A cross-border mini-vacation: no traffic on the highway and had a clear view through the border crossing lane - for a change! - as I pulled up at the gate with my passport. Border cop immediately took my passport and without even looking at it told me to pull into a garage for a complete search - person and car. I was the only civilian in the border/customs office for about 20 minutes until a bunch of white 70-90 year olds (mostly women) entered . Their vehicles had also been pulled in for a thorough search. Next was a staccato of questions ... some following a path of logic/conversation, most not. Very different from past years of travel between these countries for business and personal. Took about one hour before I was given back my passport and car keys. Some time later read about a drug bust near that entry point and that border offices had been told to be extremely vigilant, as in, check everyone. (Perp demos: white, older than usual.)

That said: This was a pretty crappy experience. If I knew I'd have to go through this every time, I'd probably stop traveling.

32:
That said: This was a pretty crappy experience. If I knew I'd have to go through this every time, I'd probably stop traveling.

I live close enough to the American border that I know lots of people who used to cross regularly. It has always been more problematic for entire groups of people than for others. It got worse after 9/11 but clearly predated it. And it has been getting progressively worse over time.

One group about whom I really worry are diabetics and other individuals who can suffer real permanent injury if not allowed access to food and medication on a regular basis.

I, for one, will no longer cross the border, and many people I know are changing travel plans or changing jobs to avoid going to the US.

Indeed, some Canadian schools are cancelling class trips across the border until further notice.

33:

Speaking as someone who has been in one of the 'pull aside' rooms, it is a (sometimes literally) chilling experience.

It's unnerving for me entering Aotearoa or Australia, even though I expect it. I almost always travel with camping gear and a bicycle, so the biosecurity people don't even look at my pasty middle-aged face before excitedly grabbing me for a chat. I always fear that one day I'll meet the uniform that decides to open everything up themselves and destructively search the bits they don't understand (I use a recumbent bike and hammock, there's lots not to understand). I also trigger drug dogs for some reason. So I get those searches too. But white, male, educated, fairly well off... I don't really expect to have major problems.

The idea of doing that at the US border, while brown... just, no.

34:

I know people who have had that policy for some time. It is hard, and getting harder, to fly out of Canada without transiting the US and very hard to find flights that are unlikely to divert there if there's a problem. You need to fly to Europe first, then your destination - even the Pacific routes are risky.

These are mostly white male info-warrior types, who just want to avoid the hassle of having their carefully assembled kit of electronics confiscated or face imprisonment if they can't decrypt them to the satisfaction of a border official. I know one of them spent several hours persuading officials that they should be let go, albeit without their kit. Another has emigrated after a similar experience (I hope simply as a result of having a lot of time to think about whether the border was likely to get better or worse, rather than anything nastier... but we know that those situations are also prime recruiting grounds for various agencies).

35:

And there's bill C-23 to worry about, too:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/pre-clearance-border-canada-us-1.3976123

Howard Greenberg, a Toronto immigration lawyer who has chaired the immigration law committees at the Canadian Bar Association and the International Bar Association, says the law raises the prospect of a Canadian being arrested simply for deciding he or she has had enough with a certain line of questioning.

"At some point, it may change from a situation where you're simply responding to a question, to a situation where you're failing to respond to a direction of an officer. So the ambiguity is somewhat dangerous for the traveller."

A spokesman for Public Safety Canada said C-23 limits how far a U.S. agent can go in questioning a traveller.

"The change is that once a traveller indicates their wish to withdraw, pre-clearance officers would be authorized to exercise certain authorities, such as question the traveller as to their identity and reason for withdrawing," Scott Bardsley told CBC News.

"This authority is provided in order protect the integrity of the border but can only be exercised to the extent that doing so would not unreasonably delay the traveller."

But Greene said the bill fails to define what constitutes an "unreasonable delay."

"What's reasonable for them may be a very long interrogation. Whereas for the individual it may be, 'I'll tell you why I don't want to answer any more questions and then I'm leaving.' Well, the problem is, if that person tries to leave, then they can be charged with failing to co-operate, which under this bill is an offence they can be arrested for, and then charged and given a federal record."

Currently, getting into the US is more hassle than getting into China. (China requires a visa, but doesn't collect fingerprints/biometrics/computer passwords on the way in.)

36:

It has always been more problematic for entire groups of people than for others.
Weird
Here (UK) it's the other way around - an obvious group, travelling together, gets a lot less hassle.
It's "odd" ( by some very odd definitions, too! ) single travellers they tend to target.

37:

I don't think they meant people who are in groups, but people of certain groups such as Blacks and Muslims.

As for single travellers, many years ago my sister was flying into Orlando and was held for 6 hours by INS. Single traveller, light luggage, foreigner ... obviously suspicious. Would they listen to her explanations? No. Would they allow her to be vouched for by her Floridian native husband who was waiting for her? No. (And he was going quietly frantic as he couldn't find out what had happened to her — last contact she had been at Gatwick Airport.)

Oh, and they'd not let her call her employer to vouch for her either. The employer who had sent her to Gatwick for a short training course (hence light luggage). The employer who trusted her to check people's ID before they were given boarding cards. The employer that was the airline that operated the flight between Orlando and Gatwick. Yes, she was effectively being held at her place of work.

If that can happen to a well spoken, natural blonde English lass with a UK passport, I dread to think of what happens to those 'further from the US ideal'.

(She now uses a US passport. And she's no longer got the husband, but I don't think she consciously got the former so she could dump the latter without having residency issues.)

38:

I wonder if this is directed at the situation when US customs is operating in Canada.

For those who don't know US Customs operates in the airports at Toronto and Vancouver and likely a few places. If headed for the US you clear customs there instead of when you land. So I think you are legally still in Canada and I suspect have the right to turn around and just leave if you want.

Which would not be the case if you've just landed in Iowa.

39:

Word of the day: kakistrocracy

40:

Yes, it is. Hence the disquiet at losing the ability to terminate the interview and walk out.

41:

I think this also applies if you're flying on a US airline and at Shannon (ROI).

42:

I think you are legally still in Canada and I suspect have the right to turn around and just leave if you want.

That is currently the case, as I understand it.

C-23 changes that. They can detain you for an unspecified period of time, and failing to remain is a federal offence.

As Peter Watts found out, unspecified time periods can be legally tricky.

43:

Yes, that's groups as in classes of people.
My sister-in-law was one of 8 Women Respond to Trump's Immigration Ban profiled by elle.com a couple weeks ago (hint: the one with the Scottish name). She has citizenship, but I doubt she'll chance leaving the country any time soon. Hopefully her mother will be able to come back without too much trouble. You'd think that TSA/DHS would know that the Kurds have been reliably fighting Da'esh, but never underestimate organizational stupidity.

44:

About who gets stopped at the border - I can't remember if this has been discussed, but there was just in the last week or so an incident where a NASA employee, from JPL was coming back from South America, and DHS grabbed him, and literally forced him to not only hand over his NASA-owned, JPL-issued phone, but to give them its encryption key. JPL is *seriously* upset over the security breach.... Oh, the guy is, I believe, of Indian ancestry, but a native born legal US citizen.

mark

45:

The JPL case is one where IIRC the guy could be charged with treason for handing over the decryption key... by the US government. It's kinda funny if you're not involved.

I do wonder whether they're doing the "violate the T&S" test that some employers use. Viz, ask potential employees for something that's both stupid and illegal to provide. Then reject those candidates on the basis that you don't want staff who will sign a contract then ignore it. Knowing full well that other employers will reject any application that doesn't come with those.

In this case I can see JPL being told that since they can't maintain even NASA levels of security they're not longer eligible for work at higher security levels.

46:

Dublin too. Think the ready supply of Guinness and Irish lads and lassies to fraternise with counteracts the standard SS programming they get.

It's almost worth doing a stopover out of Heathrow for if you can stand 2-3 more hours travelling.

47:

Much as we'd like to take credit for the amelioration of the misery, apparently it's a sought-after posting & you have to be good to get sent, so it's down to the quality of staff rather than the environment.

48:

Re: '...ask potential employees for something that's both stupid and illegal to provide. Then reject those candidates on the basis that you don't want staff who will sign a contract then ignore it.'


Catch-22 updated!

49:

Don't forget to do some shopping if you're not going to be back in the US for a while.

Hah bloody ha, with sterling at this level you expect me to go on a spending spree?

(Well yes, I'm doing some shopping for stuff that's unobtanium in the UK -- but mostly I'm being fairly restrained. Mostly. Don't ask me about the laptop ...)

NB: I had zero problems at immigration and customs, but I've been quiet because I've had about five meetings in the past two days and I'm exhausted.

50:

When can I find you in a Boston bar, and which one?

51:

You probably can't. I'll be doing the multi-author event at Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge tomorrow, then at Boskone all weekend ... and flying home on Monday.

52:

About who gets stopped at the border - I can't remember if this has been discussed, but there was just in the last week or so an incident where a NASA employee, from JPL was coming back from South America, and DHS grabbed him, and literally forced him to not only hand over his NASA-owned, JPL-issued phone, but to give them its encryption key. JPL is *seriously* upset over the security breach....

I have a bit of trouble with this in multiple ways. US customs has been asking various people to unlock their computing devices for well over 10 years. Anyone who is serious about travel out and back into the US knows this. EFF has been trying to limit this for a very long time. But at the end of the day, if you're out and coming in, customs can inspect anything you have on (or even in) your body or luggage. This is true of most all countries on the planet. Yes I know that the EU doesn't do this but then again that was one of the reasons for forming the EU, to make those internal movements more like crossing province boundaries and not country boundaries.

As to JPL getting upset that it happened, I'm a bit of unbeliever on this. JPL would know the rules given how they work around the world. If someone is making a stink they are making it for secondary reasons.

Everyone I know who's into tech knows about this. Not that we agree with or like it. But we assume that if you want something confidential, don't take it out and then bring it back.

53:

I suspect the problem is that NASA/JPL expects the courtesy due one part of government to some other part of government. Not having received it, someone's headed for the chopping block.

54:

customs has been asking various people to unlock their computing devices for well over 10 years. Anyone who is serious about travel ...

Knows this indeed. Someone I know is travelling soon with a bunch of stuff on their laptop, and I think I've persuaded them that key things should be stored on deniable media. Ideally including checksums of key files and filesystems. But really, the question is just how critical it is to their trip vs how much work it would be to re-create it overseas vs how much hassle it will be should the laptop get stolen or broken. I favour remote logins using small key files and bootable media, for at least the illusion of security.

55:

Maybe some person or few at JPL is upset but the agency in general, I really doubt it. I know people[1] who work for such places and trust me they know the drills.

[1]When you go out and buy a discman CD player and a $10 watch with sweep hands so you can listen to tunes and tell time when you have to work in one of the special rooms you and everyone around you knows how border security affects your trip.

57:

Well, Trump just gave a press conference, and if Bob Howard had been in the room he would have recognized all the signs of extradimensional entity possession.

I hope this doesn't mean that Charlie has to tear up yet another novel. :-(

58:

I never said it didn't happen. Just that it is "normal" and has been for over a decade. It likely predates 9/11. Basically since "mortals" started carrying laptops and such out and back into the country.

The only way around it is to have a diplomatic status or maybe a military transport.

It would not have made the news except for the current Trump EO that was so badly worded.

59:

The only way around it is to have a diplomatic status

Diplomatic status may or may not be recognized.

60:

Essentially diplomatic status only works if the country you are entering doesn't want to piss off the country who issued your diplomatic credentials. And as the US remains the 800lb gorilla on the block ...

61:

I was really thinking of someone coming into the US with a US diplomatic passport and bag.

Customs demanding access to that would raise a stink so fast ....

62:

The old aphorism - what happens in a story has to make sense, or it won't be believable. Reality is under no such constraint.

Of course, I've been saying for nearly six months that this is *not* reality, that we've somehow been translated into an UNreality TV show....

I'm still betting that he doesn't make nine months. It's two days until the end of *one* month, and he's melting down. I can think of three possibilities:
1. Impeachment
2. "You can't fire me, I quit"
3..a) we really *don't* know the state of his physical health.
...b) I read, a week and a half or so ago that he goes upstairs at the WH at 18:30, mostly BY HIMSELF, and watches Faux News.
...c) Between his pet doc, and whatever other source he has... remember the first debate with Hillary, and a *lot* of people were thinking he'd snorted too much coke?
...and so... they find him upstairs, unresponsive.

And Melania is staying in NYC because she *sees* the crash, and is doing her best to stay outside of it.

mark

63:

Re: 'US customs has been asking various people to unlock their computing devices for well over 10 years.'

Believe this was a key reason for selling the cloud computing concept to orgs: You can access whatever confidential biz info you need from anywhere via any device without ever worrying about losing that data because said data happens to be parked on only the one device which is currently being used by employee-X.

Doubt that border cops have the authority to demand your user access codes to corp's cloud ... would be same as their asking you for your corporation's confidential market plans that you've got parked in your head.

64:

Completed bootleg homebrew translation of short story that was half posted earlier, now at comment number 26 of previous thread "Free E-books! Get em while they're hot!" Changed title of chapter one because the light bulb finally clicked in my head, it's a sly reference to Sir Edmund Hillary's famous quip when asked why he climbed Mt. Everest, "Because it's there." Probably a deliberate subtle avoidance on the author's part, so as not to ruffle feathers over an antique controversy (kind of like some on this blog) about which country the mountain's in. The original was "shan zai nar" literally 'the mountain is there'.

[[ It's not a good idea to violate a writer's copyright on another writer's blog - mod ]]

65:

"It's not a good idea to violate a writer's copyright on another writer's blog"

that...does sound sensible to me. Kind of a shame to waste, though. Any ideas about alternate sites that might not care, please forward to keithmasterson@yahoo.com

I've got better appreciation now for the work involved in writing, after finishing my little hobby project. The reason I figured it might not particularly matter to anyone, is because the story's got to be at least 15 years old (info not shown in original), since it refers to the movie "Legend of 1900" which came out in 1998, and because it mentions doubleclicking on computers, that phased out a while ago. I'd figured it might be a plus all the way around if some publisher liked the story, and decided to crack out the cash to hire a professional translator to do the job right. But how would they know unless they already read the original, which pretty much limits it to Chinese publishers. Not that they lack competent translators, which probably says something; they don't think it has commercial potential either. Still plenty of interest for Liu fans who've read the Three Body trilogy, because it introduced earlier versions of concepts more fully developed in the novels, like an alien Copernicus and Newton, the hollow spheres you could stick your head into, cannibalism on a ship,a few others. Yet another reason it's likely not saleable. So what's the harm, although the principle of the thing does matter. Sort of . I guess.

66:

Charlie, gaining German citizenship (and passport) as a backup plan and alternative is perhaps worth considering. A number of Britons of my acquaintance are working on that. Having an additional passport with good visa-waiver status seems good insurance against return of the very bad old days if major nation-states continue to adapt poorly to 21st C. realities.

(In my own case, I suspect I'll be an unwilling passenger on a Torquemada Pence joyride back to the 15th C., and so monitor possible options with some interest.)

67:


Charlie, gaining German citizenship (and passport) as a backup plan and alternative is perhaps worth considering.

There still is the problem that Germany requires (at least from a Wikipedia reading) working knowledge of German, and years of residence.

68:

Another option for Britons wanting to ensure retention of their EU citizenship: Become resident in Ireland (in either country) for three years, then apply for naturalisation to the Irish Minister for Justice in Dublin. Republic of Ireland's passport is very good for visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel.

69:

So this. I'm kicking myself for not following through on my application when I had the chance.

70:

Also
Check your ancestry very carefully.
The Irish are very generous about admitting descendants .....

Also, watch G Verhofstadt's proposals .....

72:


mm. The first Irishman in my ancestry lived in the 18th century, and I suspect he was an Ulster Protestant. Will that do? (I don't think so ... )

73:

If you have not seen the BBC website on Californian weather take a look here:-
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39010887

To all Californian commentators Stay Safe Please

74:

Was good chatting with you at the kaffeeklatch on Sunday. Looking forward to the books to come and hope the flight home is as uneventful as the flight here.

I did realize on the drive home that even if the enrichment level of the natural fuel is too low, the engine will breed materials that are suitable and may be chemically separated later...

75:

The reason I figured it might not particularly matter to anyone, is because the story's got to be at least 15 years old

The term of copyright on written works is lifetime of author plus 70 years.

You may not agree with this (I think it's too long myself) but you can get me into a world of trouble if you violate someone else's copyright on my blog; so please do not post transcriptions/extracts of works written after 1947 here, please.

76:

#63 3b - Which would explain his ranting about "fake news", if he actually believes that Faux News (sic) is true.

78:

Note the gullible screamers immediately attacking the Faux-News presenter, because he doesn't lick bottom quite hard enough?
That is almost as worrying as the initial attacks by Trumpolini

79:

That is almost as worrying as the initial attacks by Trumpolini

I'd say that ultimately, it's much more worrying. It's good to keep in mind the point Bob Altemeyer made in his book: murderous dictator types are a dime a dozen. Probably everyone knows one; the thing that makes them dangerous is their followers.

The thing that makes Trump dangerous is the movement behind his rise to power. The combination of anti-intellectualism, machismo, conspiracy, hatred of practically everyone, and nationalism that's infected the American far right is what's dangerous. All the crackpots (and most likely, bots) trashing every online forum with dog whistles and idiocy are the fundamental problem.

If not Trump, they'd find some other idiot to follow.

80:

"do not post transcriptions/extracts of works written after 1947 here, please."

an eminently reasonable request with which I will comply.

Hats off to another poster who has kindly provided space for it, story is now available at
http://filehost.serveftp.net/kmast/

81:

I'd suggest the pre-Mickey Mouse Protection Act (Sonny Bono Copyright Act of 1998) term of author's life plus 50 years (75 years for work-for-hire works) was still too much. The old 28 plus 28 with affirmative renewal fit better with the Constitutional "for a limited term" requirement and would make preservation and republication of older and less commercially successful works far easier (among other advantages). Larry Lessig badly dropped the ball in his Eldred v. Ashcroft argument, as he later admitted.

82:

Pence & Trump: I just saw an article from US News & World Distort (as we used to call it, a hard right conservative mag, as opposed to fascist pycho right), entitled President Pence, and noting it's usually the VP who plays bad cop to the President's good cop, but it's reversed here. It also notes that Kasich (gov of OH) was offered the job, as "the most powerful VP ever", in charge of both domestic and foreign policy" ("what are you going to do?" "Make America Great!"), and that it seems to be tending that way with Pence.

The Dimwit is delegating all the boring stuff, I guess... which means "governing".

Btw, Dem leaders are trying to stifle things like the petition, signed by hundreds of thousands, to impeach.

mark "it's only *one* month?!"

83:

28+28 was too short, and besides, it required ongoing per-item registration; bad enough when you have thirty books out, and a nightmare if you start to count short stories or magazine articles or blog posts.

Life-plus-50, however, was too long.

My preferred solution for human-owned works would be: life, plus ten years, with an option for the heirs of the estate to renew the author's copyright (on all works) for another decade repeatedly if they get off their asses and actively do so. In other words, if an author's work posthumously falls out of print and nobody bothers to file a renewal notice, then at the end of the current copyright period (of no more than ten years) it lapses into the public domain.

And for corporate copyrights I'm going to go for a draconian ten years, plus subsequent ten year extensions, which must be filed for on each work individually — the intent being that little-used work should lapse rapidly, while not preventing The Mouse from keeping Mickey in copyright indefinitely (but bleeding their licensing department for time and a small filing fee on an ongoing basis). (Reason: if you don't let The Mouse have their way they'll lobby to shit on the rest of us, which is how the USA ended up with the Sonny Bono act. Give them just enough to satisfy them and make them go away and leave us alone, in other words.)

84:

life, plus ten years, with an option for the heirs of the estate to renew the author's copyright (on all works) for another decade repeatedly

Not to start an argument or disagree (I tend to totally agree with your comment on this) but this seems to contradict your comments over the years about inheritance and privilege. Or am I missing something?

85:

if they get off their asses and actively do so

Hasn't that aspect of copyright law generally been negated by automation?

Maybe if there was no executor of the estate for some reason...

Or for self-published works? TOS TLDR; the user hereby assigns service provider the full and unrestricted right to redistribute and produce derivative works. Any dispute will be resolved only by an arbiter of the service provider's choosing.

Who really stands to gain here?

86:

My preferred solution for human-owned works
...
And for corporate copyrights

In thinking about this I realized that for many people in the US they will be producing under an LLP or LLC. Cost with a lawyer doing it right is under $1000 in most states. Do it yourself for most situations is under $200.

So now you have to define the difference between a corp that's a corp and a corp that's really someone setting up the corp for tax and legal reasons.

87:
now you have to define the difference between a corp that's a corp and a corp that's really someone setting up the corp for tax and legal reasons.

No, you just have to stop privileging corps over people in the law and tax codes. Which would, as a pleasing byproduct, solve a number of other problems. (But would, of course, be resisted tooth and claw by the corps that lobbied for their current advantages over mere humans.)

88:

As someone who has to deal with this as a sole proprietor there are all kinds of valid reasons to setup a LLC/LLP. Your sound bite ignores all of this.

To change this you'd need to totally change the legal foundations of business AND personal law plus the change the concepts of the tax code in ways that very very very few people are willing to contemplate.

In just the last year my brothers and I formed up and dissolved an LLC to deal with my mothers estate. This was so anything we did individually didn't have rights to come after the full amount of the estate. So if one brother got involved in a terrible car wreak and got sued the proceeds from the estate (all of it) could not be tied up in court for years.

89:

A CERTAIN MATTER HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION, specifically somebody told me my translation sounded like a story they'd read before. Scoffing with disbelief, I scrounged through Amazon looking for proof or disproof, sure enough there it was, part of a collection titled "The Wandering Earth", $9.99 on Kindle. I'd be embarrassed, except I still like my version better. Time to look for a new hobby...

90:

Or am I missing something?

Yes: what you're missing is that 95% or so of copyrighted works of fiction go out of print within 5 years of the author's death and are never reissued again; also, that new editions never generate as much revenue as the original unless they are priced vastly below it, because a reissue is in competition with copies printed and sold previously.

We're too early in the ebook uptake curve to know how this will play out for electronic media in the long term. But I'm willing to assume that the precedent will hold, unless proven otherwise.

For most successful authors, residual income from a backlist title will be under $1000 per year per book — probably dropping by an order of magnitude after their death. Also, most heirs are totally clueless about how a literary estate works.

My priority is therefore to ensure that after a reasonable period of time (a decade) about 90-95% of works fall into the public domain. The few rightsholders who see enough revenue for it to be worth the accounting overheads or litigation costs can hang onto them as long as they're actively reprinting/redistributing; when it's no longer commercially viable, the public domain will be waiting.

91:

Non-ficton, too. And it's infuriating. My copy of "I Tried To Run A Railway" (which is pretty much required reading for anyone with an interest in British railways) cost me 20 quid for a book that's falling to bits.

92:

Some of us bought it, when it first came out ....
Have you read the semi-sequel: "Feinnes on Rails", which was published just after Gerry F's death?

93:

That is one approach. Another would be to require all inactive copyrighted works to be licensable at a controlled price, without permission but with the payment of royalties. There are a lot of problems with the law in addition to the ones you mention, including the way that two of the main uses of copyright in the non-fiction arena (and some of the fiction) are for censorship as as a tool for maintaining monopolies.

94:

I haven't, but now that I know about it I'll be making it part of my next order :)

95:

You'd have to limit that somehow. I wouldn't want anyone deciding that they could publish one of my pictures for payment of a fee. Maybe I don't approve of the use, maybe I'm selling a limited number of prints*, maybe it was an early work and it's been superseded by later works…


* it's the act of limiting prints that keeps the value up

96:

A friend of mine just got German citizenship, because a parent was part German. The friend speaks no German. And has lived in London for 15 years.

Frankly, it seems every non-UK European country has just ....stretched... their citizenship requirements for people who were in the UK to let them escape. Let's call it "Reverse Dubs".

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