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Tomorrow (Wednesday) at zero dark o'clock, I'm setting off for Sydney, Australia. I should arrive late on Thursday evening, if there are no delays. It's not quite antipodal from Scotland, but it's close enough — I'll be airborne for about 24-25 hours.

While I'm there I will be doing a couple of readings and book signings.

First up is Infinitas Bookshop (Shop 22 Civic Arcade 48 - 50 George Street, Parramatta), where I'll be reading and signing from 5:30pm to 7pm on Wednesday 25th.

And if you can't make that one, there's a joint signing (with Kate Elliott and Karen Miller) at Galaxy Bookshop (143 York Street, Sydney) from 5:30pm on Thursday 26th.

Then I'll be showing up at Aussiecon 4, the world science fiction convention, in Melbourne (from September 2nd to 6th). I don't have my program schedule yet, but when I do I'll list it here.

39 Comments

1:

I'd like to hear you sometime about festivals and signings. You have quite a rationnal point of view on being a writer, and on the book industry in general, and I'd like to know how you evaluate the usefulness of those events.

(Unless you already wrote about it in the past, but I found nothing in the archives)

Have a nice trip.

2:

Sounds great, I hope I get to meet you in Sydney. The weather should be pretty damn perfect too.

3:

*sigh* Pity I'm on the wrong side of the continent. Ah well, enjoy yourself in Sydney and Melbourne, and best of luck with the flights.

4:

You're on the wrong side of the continent, and I left for the seventh state three and a half months ago. Sigh. I'd love to be there to hear Charlie speak in person, but I just can't justify it to myself. Alas.

Have a great time, Charlie, and I look forward to hearing your commentary on God's Own Earth. :)

5:

I'm looking forward to being there - it's all of four blocks away from where I live!

6:

I thought you meant you would be doing a couple of signings on the flight - that's dedication!

7:

Life would be so much more civilised with a regular zeppelin service to the antipodes. Faster than surface ships, with more comfort than a jumbo, and time to socialise properly.

8:

*bzzzt*

I'm sorry. It's a nuclear powered ekranoplan here, or nothing.

(Although I will agree that long duration trips are rather fine. Crossing a continent by train does allow proper socialising.)

9:

So, no trip to NZ this time, as you talked about previously?

10:

Charles Stross reasonably stated on this blog that Robert Heinlein "was driven and immensely (if not uniquely) talented, and he set his hand to enough enterprises that success in one of them was inevitable."

I would hardly have been in the real Space Program were it not for Heinlein "juveniles" that I read at an impressionable age, a space program that might not have happened with RAH having convinced so many youngsters. Half the Astronauts that I worked with said that their career goals were set by what they read as teenagers by Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, and Heinlein -- those being the 4 names that they volunteered most often.

I think that "Stross" is a name that will resonate to a later generation as "Heinlein" does to mine. Charles Stross is driven (and gives us blow-by-blow descriptions of the costs of being so driven). Stross is immensely (if not uniquely) talented in software, pharmacy, politics, and (I 'm grateful) short and long fiction.

I apologize again for posting some paragraphs of my own fiction without invitation here. I was in the sway of powerful motivation, for which I thank the Stross explanations of what a prolific author's life is really like. Coupled with my having re-read Ray Bradbury's "Zen in the Art of Writing" (I said so at his 90th birthday party this weekend) and the newest edition of Stephen King's great and funny textbook on how to be a professional writer, I have typed 140,000 words of Science Fiction since 6 July 2010, my longest sustained stretch of Stross-level output.

I'm sorry not to be at AussieCon 4 (as I so loved Aussiecon 1). But I know that Charles Stross will make the software start-up hip space-program insightful subcultures look good On Panel and In Party.

I am one of many fen who await his con report and digital photos.

Have fun. I am happy to follow your lead, sir!

11:

You're probably already in the air by now. I'll try and catch you at Galaxy and tempt you out for a beer after...

Richard.

12:

Speaking of beer, when I asked the Plane Crazy Down Under podcasters for a place to meet them for a good beer, they linked to http://www.yourbars.com.au/guide/?action=search

Search by location, or use the beer finder!

13:

Charlie's NZ leg was cancelled due to time and money soaked up by being stranded in Japan during the volcano ash cloud. Which means I'll be carrying ToQ all the way to Melbourne, and not just to Wellington.

14:

While you're airborne you'll be doing some signings? That's impressive. :-)

15:

Who needs an app - Go straight to the Mountain Goat Brewery on Wednesday or Friday nights - Corner North & Clark Streets, Richmond.

Any other night, look for somewhere that has Fat Yak.

16:

Thanks for the Mountain Goat tip, as we are aiming for Wed the 1st the brewery tour could be a goer. And the link I was sent was the beer finder for Fat Yak Pale Ale :-)

17:

The antipode(s) of Glasgow is/are approx. 1000km SSW of New Zealand. You can have hours of endless fun here seeing what is antipodal to where.

18:

*bzzzttt* - Ekranoplanes need fairly smooth water to operate over, and ISTR the Tasmin Sea being anything but same.

19:

Bad timing.. I just got back from there :-/.

BTW, just bought The Fuller Memorandum. The "Fiction" part of "Science Fiction" really stood out in this one... Who ever heard of a 64GB IPhone?!? I mean come on, thats just ludicrously far fetched.
:-)

Enjoy Australia

20:

I hope your flights and pre-con events go well. Look forward to seeing you at Aussiecon.

21:

*bzzzt*

Big ekranoplans don't need smooth water. They just need to avoid running into waves big enough to sink conventional ships. Or into conventional ships too, but they can hop over those.

You have read Missile Gap, I trust?

It looks like a flying boat with clipped wings, jet engines clustered by the sides of its cockpit — but no flying boat ever carried a runway with a brace of MiG-21s on its back

22:

Yes thanks, and I'd:-
1) Heard of the "Caspian Sea Monster" years earlier.
2) Seen a documentary where the builders of the CSM reported that its operability even in the Caspian was limited due to the need to hop over ships, and the roughness of the water on a stormy day.

With the note that I'm not an aerodynamicist, I think how high you can fly and get the "wing in ground effect" lift that ekranoplanes rely on is directly related to the wingspan. The highest I've ever heard of a WIG cruise being sustained is 50 feet, by the Dornier Do-X flying boat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do-X although the Wikipedia article doesn't mention this.

23:

think how high you can fly and get the "wing in ground effect" lift that ekranoplanes rely on is directly related to the wingspan.

That's correct. The rule of thumb is basically that the WIG effect only matters when you're less than half a wingspan from the ground. And so a suitably huge ekranoplan (one that was, say, nuclear-powered!) would be able to deal with much greater wave heights. Airliner-size is up to 80m wingspan, so that would give you 40m of grace: and you don't get many waves over 40m high. Ships would still be a problem.

24:

Yep - it's wing span that controls altitude. The figures I see for the CSP are an optimum altitude of 20 metres. Charlie's nuke Ekranoplans, being much larger, should be capable of cruising at a higher altitude. I'm assuming in this alternate world that we'll be looking at craft at least as large as the Beriev_Be-2500 or the Boeing Pelican.

(Regarding the Dornier, the Spruce Goose appears to have been a better - if inadvertent - example of a ground effect aircraft, reportedly managing 70 ft.)

Avoiding ships shouldn't be too much of a problem with modern radar systems, even with a relatively low-mounted radar. Out on the open ocean rather than in the Caspian, the traffic density should be less, too.

For a Britain to Australia trip, the Ekranoplan couldn't take the direct great-circle route (so say about 22,000 km instead of 17,000 km). But being able to go three or four times faster than an airship would more than make up for that. I'd go for a 2 day transit, on something big enough to have proper bedrooms and dining rooms and showers and saunas (I know of only one sauna on a 747). That should be pretty acceptable. Compare to that the airship, with a 5 day transit, and everything highly weight constrained.

25:

[Version without Wikipedia links - our host being in transit, I expect the one with links will be stuck in moderation for a while.]

Yep - it's wing span that controls altitude. The figures I see for the CSM are an optimum altitude of 20 metres. Charlie's nuke Ekranoplans, being much larger, should be capable of cruising at a higher altitude. I'm assuming in this alternate world that we'll be looking at craft at least as large as the Beriev Be-2500 or the Boeing Pelican.

(Regarding the Dornier, the Spruce Goose appears to have been a better - if inadvertent - example of a ground effect aircraft, reportedly managing 70 ft.)

Avoiding ships shouldn't be too much of a problem with modern radar systems, even with a relatively low-mounted radar. Out on the open ocean rather than in the Caspian, the traffic density should be less, too.

For a Britain to Australia trip, the Ekranoplan couldn't take the direct great-circle route (so say about 22,000 km instead of 17,000 km). But being able to go three or four times faster than an airship would more than make up for that. I'd go for a 2 day transit, on something big enough to have proper bedrooms and dining rooms and showers and saunas (I know of only one sauna on a 747). That should be pretty acceptable. Compare to that the airship, with a 5 day transit, and everything highly weight constrained.

26:

Two days in relative luxury definitely sounds good, considering what an awful state you'd be in after a 24-hour conventional jet flight anyway. That or two hours in a Sanger...

27:

Budget wouldn't stretch to NZ on top of AUS. As it is, the piggy bank is grievously wounded.

(Oh, and we're going to be at least 12 hours late, thanks to CityJet, one of whose RJ-85s went tech with the result that we were two hours late into Paris CDG on a 110 minute connection.)

28:

The antipode(s) of Glasgow is/are approx. 1000km SSW of New Zealand.
You mean SSE of course. If you change the map to Sat view, you can see Antipodes Island, opposite Cherbourg.

29:

Perhaps we (that is, I and/or any other Melbournians) should set up some sort of meet for the followers of Stross at the Mountain Goat for Wednesday the 1st.

Any takers?

30:

I didn't want to be burdened down with books for my flight to Melb from Sydney for the con. There's only so many you can carry-on on the cheap flights. Now, thanks to Mr Stross, I may be able to get a least a couple of books signed in Sydney. Yay.

31:

Thanks for the link. I'm a brewer (I created the Barons beer range) so I'm familiar with the good beer joints in Sydney and Melbourne. If you are in Melbourne, the Goat boys is a great location. Also good is the Local Taphouse, Beer Deluxe, Cookie or the Little Creatures Dining Hall. Even better, try and fit in all 5!

32:

I've already been busy on the beer front, as the task of organising the traditional pre-Worldcon pub crawl has fallen on my shoulders this time. If you check out the facebook event, you'll see I already arranged for it to start at the Mountain Goat. You'll also find there a link to my Melbourne beer Google map which summarises my findings so far.

33:

I shall be there, then!

34:

Hmm, well I will be at the other end of the country the day before, but might be able to make it.

35:

FeĆ²rag@32: Is there a version of that page visible to those who don't have Facebook access?

36:

Poor bastard will be there for the end of an election campaign. It's bad enough for Australians, for visitors it must be like torture.

37:

No, it's over *now*. Looks like we may have a hung parliament, too!

38:

I'll post the details to LJ. Meanwhile here's my map of promising beer bars in Melbourne.

39:

What's the antonym of "entertaining"? Whatever that word is describes the 2010 Australian election campaign. I'll wager that this word also describes the aftermath.

Regarding the Stross visit to the lesser States, I reiterate: "poor bastard".

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on August 17, 2010 12:33 PM.

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