Tuesday, February 27, 2007

One for the Morning Provenance...

I've really been behind the 8-ball getting other stuff done for deadline, so I put up the auction but am only getting around to hanging the notice here about it now. So here's the letter of provenance for the ONE FOR THE MORNING GLORY collection, which you can find at


where the auction will be closing on Thursday March 1.

Go ahead and ask all about the long stories relating to Item E. Go right ahead. Big hint -- some of them are also referred to in GAUDEAMUS ... any Pittsburghers around, can you tell me, is the Star of India still there?

And now, folks, the letter of provenance:

LETTER OF PROVENANCE regarding Materials Sold as the "One For the Morning Glory Collection"
To whom it may concern:
On March 1, 2007, I sold to [NEW OWNER] the following items which were used in the preparation of my novel, ONE FOR THE MORNING GLORY. To the best of my knowledge, this letter enumerates what each item is, its date of creation when known or an estimate when not known, its condition on March 1, 2007, and other information which may be pertinent to scholars and collectors.
If at some future time I discover further materials which would have been included in this collection if they had been found before March 1, 2007, they will be shipped to [NEW OWNER] at my expense, and with a similar letter of provenance, plus a revised version of this full letter.
PREAMBLE: This collection is sold as a unit. It is recommended that it be kept intact rather than broken up, particularly in light of [NEW OWNER]'s obligation to assist in scholarly access to these materials. (See the LETTER OF UNDERSTANDING).
DEFINITIONS: Besides ONE FOR THE MORNING GLORY, one other title occurs in this collection. The characters of Golias, Psyche, Mortis and the Twisted Man originated in a piece of performance art given by me in March of 1988 in Missoula, Montana, titled FOUR FACES AND A GRID. During that performance I drew a chalk grid on the floor of the performance space, recruited four members of the audience to sit on the compass points of that grid, and asked that they watch my performance through those masks. The masks are in surprisingly good shape. During most of 1992, while I worked on the novel at my desk at 5434 Howe Street in Pittsburgh, the four masks hung above the desk.
ABOUT MISSING MATERIAL: Much of the physical manuscripts of earlier drafts of One For the Morning Glory, including one in which I reset it into a blank-verse like structure to check cadences, were produced while I was doing consulting work in California in late July 1992. When I departed for a research trip to Mexico (the one behind MOTHER OF STORMS), I did not want to take along all those pages, or ship them back to Pittsburgh, so I threw away about one complete and two partial drafts of One for the Morning Glory at that time.

TAG Short description Dating (as much as is known) Long description and commentary
A Mask of Mortis, from FOUR FACES AND A GRID March 1988 Wood stick, styrofoam backing, hard surface drawing paper covered with mixed media (mainly oil pastel and gloss medium), yarn, and what looks like part of a plastic plate
B Mask of Psyche, from FOUR FACES AND A GRID March 1988 Wood stick, styrofoam backing, hard surface drawing paper covered with mixed media (mainly oil pastel and gloss medium), yarn.
C Mask of Golias, from FOUR FACES AND A GRID March 1988 Wood stick, styrofoam backing, hard surface drawing paper covered with mixed media (mainly oil pastel and gloss medium), yarn. Still has the wire attachment for hanging it on a wall.
D Mask of the Twisted Man, from FOUR FACES AND A GRID March 1988 Wood stick, styrofoam backing, hard surface drawing paper covered with mixed media (mainly oil pastel and gloss medium). Very different from the iron face described in the book.
E Purple steno pad, 80 pp, rough draft in handwriting of the first couple of chapters of One for the Morning Glory November 1990 Water stains on cover but the interior is fine. I got stood up for a date I had been dreading (long story there) at the Star of India restaurant on Craig Street in Pittsburgh. Actually there are several long stories associated with that evening. Anyway, I had hours to kill before going to Friday Night Improv, so I ducked down the street, bought this notepad, and began One for the Morning Glory.
F Green steno pad, 80 pages, many notes, partial scenes, outlines, ideas for One for the Morning Glory Late spring 1992 Seems to have been a general "think pad" – contains notes from several different classes, drawings, project ideas, etc.
G copyedit of One for the Morning Glory July 1995 A great copyedit; also includes a good deal of commenting and questioning back and forth to clarify my intentions
H submission copy of One for the Morning Glory October 1992 By this time we could send files electronically easily, so this is no longer a camera-ready copy for the agent to use; it's simply a paper copy of the final draft I sent to him. In excellent condition
I photocopy of first 63 pp of copyedit of One for the Morning Glory July 1995 I honestly have no recollection of making this copy or of why I did so, but it's a copy of the first part of Item G
J Corrected page proofs of One for the Morning Glory Fall 1982 Don Keller was the one who came up with the "etc." page headings; you can see our correspondence about that. Very nice page proofs, almost no problems, but some marks in my handwriting
K Pre-copyedited version of One for the Morning Glory submitted for copyedit May 1995 Has my somewhat fulminous notes to the copy editor; I was pretty paranoid about having this come out right. Those notes include a glossary of all the malapropisms. The notes are somewhat worn with some letters peeling off, apparently due to a shoddy printer; on request I can email a copy of the text if need be.
L Maps of the Kingdom and the City Probably November or December 1990 I did this about the time I first began to work on the novel. The maps are sloppy and crude and don't match the book; eventually I realized I preferred to use a map in my head that would be subject to drift and error, as more in keeping with the world of the book
M Reconciliation copy of One for the Morning Glory July or August 1995 This was the copy from which type was actually set for the finished book. In very good shape, lots of printer's marks; based off the copyedit you'll find in Item G

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Man Who Pulled Down Even More Old Manuscripts

Once again, I didn't get the additional material cataloged before there were bids, so here's the rest of what will be in the Man Who Pulled Down the Sky collection -- again, this is almost certainly complete now. You can find the auction at

where it still has a little time to run (closes just before midnight, mountain time, on Sat the 24th).

Here, then, are the 11 more items I found, bringing the total to an even 30:

T Rough spec for a program for figuring out the populations of the space colonies for MEMOIRS OF A PAWN Jan 1984 Notation might only make sense to me but this was to be a program in BASIC; as I recall the submodules never did run well, and I abandoned it in favor of pen and paper calculation
U Short note on one page of graph paper about the makeup of the Orbital Republics (the bad guys in MEMOIRS OF A PAWN) Jan 1984 List of their names and of which nations founded them
V 80-sheet steno pad from Middle South Services; contains outline of Memoirs of a Pawn, title noodling, and pen and paper calculations of population of Orbital Republics Date in biz/proprietary material is 11/22/83 A few blank pages after the routine business material from development of a test generator, there are several pages labeled "Cats Away Dept." which contain extensive work on Memoirs of a Pawn – probably the outline written sometime before I began work in January 1984
W Yellow 8 1/2 x 11 notebook with revision plans for first 4 chapters of Memoirs of a Pawn Almost certainly July 1984; this was probably prepared just before packing up to move from New Orleans to Missoula. Letter found in notebook dates from August 1984 and there are some notes about the house-hunting trip to Missoula in the notepad. One set of notes dated 7/24 About half of notebook is empty. Many of the notes are research notes; as I recall, after we found an apartment in Missoula we had some days left, and besides hiking and exploring the town, I did some library work there (call numbers tend to indicate this was done at Missoula, not at Tulane). Other notes are questions about plot, characters, etc. for myself. Page numbers are consistent with Item X and Item R
X Heavily marked up partial draft (pages 1-79) of Memoirs of a Pawn July 1984 Page numbers are consistent with Item W and Item R. Very heavily marked by my standards in those days (I mark even more now)
Y Chart of units (Kaypro 4 required small units of text, no long files) and what happens in them up through Chapter 3 in rough draft of Memoirs of a Pawn May or June 1984 The plot was going badly astray and I was far into the book with nothing happening yet, so I tried to analyze my way out of the situation, with mixed results. I apparently meant to do more of a chart than this but stopped at Unit 140. I no longer have any idea what the column labeled "things communicated (see list)" refers to
Z Agency copy of THE MAN WHO PULLED DOWN THE SKY (hand-relabeled) July 1985 This was the copy my agent used to prepare photocopies to send to publishers
AA Markup copies of heavy rewrite units May or June 1985 A few units were almost totally re-written in the draft prepared after my agent gave me notes; I kept track of which those were, printed them out, and did an especially close going-over for typos of them (again, trying to deliver perfect copy in those long-ago days when it mattered)
BB Failed printer experiments with very first draft of MEMOIRS OF A PAWN Jan-Feb 1984 It took me a long time to get an answer back from Radio Shack and Kaypro about how to set the dip switches to make a TRS80 printer work with a Kaypro 4 properly; meanwhile I didn't trust disks, so I made these printouts, which were mostly a mess. But they're the very earliest typewritten forms of any part of the book. Most are labeled by unit and page numbering starts again at the beginning of each unit. Maybe 65 pages in all
CC Stray extra copies of pages 36-41 and 259-260 from final draft Unsure, but after June 1985 These may have been printer overruns or the tails and heads that I printed to make sure I got all the pages I needed for a draft. They are unmarked and identical to the text of the equivalent pages in Item Z and Item O
DD New front material – Mendenhall's economic/politics memo, early draft May 1985 Rough draft of the only table of marginal rates of return I've ever seen in a science fiction novel; I wrote in Mendenhall's voice as the economist. This became part of the prologue of the finished book.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Even more SIN for your money!

I discovered that trying to maintain catalogs of each collection while unpacking all the boxes was just too much for one me to get accomplished, so I got done with the unpacking and sorting today, and now I'm cataloging collections. SIN OF ORIGIN turned out to have twelve more items in addition to the 16 already in the collection. Bidding is still open as I write, and you can find full details at


But meanwhile, here's what else I found (check a few messages back for the original list that ended with Item P)

Q MFA Thesis version of Sin of Origin May 1988 Sin of Origin was my MFA thesis in creative writing at U of Montana. Actually it was a last desperate way to claim the thesis after a series of catastrophes; being able to ask "Will you take a published novel?" saved my degree
R Cutting draft of THE LIMIT OF VISION August or September 1987 This is a draft on fanfold of Part I of Sin of Origin, which I edited very tightly to get it down to acceptable length for Asimov's SF Magazine, where it ran as the novella "The Limit of Vision"
S Agency copy of Sin of Origin (stamped by agent) January 1987 This was the master hardcopy my agent used to prep and mail copies of the novel (we weren't tied in to the Asimov Presents series so he submitted it some other places as well)
T Draft 3.1 of Sin of Origin, unburst fanfold, some duplicated pages Late November 1986 I remember this thing grinding away in the background (on a noisy daisy wheel printer) while we had guests over for Thanksgiving. This is the copy I marked up and edited to create the final draft from.
U Pages 1-19 of second draft of Limit of Vision October 1987 Only pages of this version I found, unburst fanfold, incorporates marked changes from Item R, occasionally marked in my handwriting
V Photos of South Dakota Badlands, visual research for Sin of Origin Summer 1985 When I can I often take pictures as research; the Spens Desert, where much of the action takes place, was based of the South Dakota Badlands, which I drove through that summer
W one page note, torn from notebookl, about novel structure for Sin of Origin May 1986 Dated by other material around it (the notebook mostly contained other material for other books)
X Final draft of SIN OF ORIGIN December 1986 Draft from which agent draft (Item S) was photocopied; the original. No hand markings, this was basically the "camera copy" in those long ago days when printing was expensive
Y Final draft of THE LIMIT OF VISION November 1987 Photocopy of this was submitted to Gardner Dozois
Z Photocopy of the original SIN OF ORIGIN, reduced to 70% (2 pages to a sheet), copy used to prepare copies for my MFA Thesis committee April 1988 Unmarked. This is what the members of the committee read in order to approve my MFA thesis; their copies were shot from this
AA Davis Publications (Asimov's SF) galleys for THE LIMIT OF VISION Postmarked Feb 3, 1988 photocopy, many corrections in my handwriting
BB Revised galleys of SIN OF ORIGIN Jan 7, 1988 The first page proofs (Item L) were such a mess that we had to make a second pass; this copy too is very heavily marked; it's the security photocopy, not the original

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

More new discoveries and some very good questions

I don't know whether eBay doesn't let me revise after the bids are up, or because it's so close to closing time, but the Century Next Door collection became considerably more complete today. First of all, the missing CANDLE tapes were located, so there are now five tapes, all from Jan 1998, of me dictating the first draft of CANDLE. Secondly, you can add to the letter of provenance:

HH Cover letter and the NON-corrected galley pages for ORBITAL RESONANCE Letter is dated 4/20/91 No copy of the corrected pages found, so these are only the pages that did not have errors and consequently don't have my handwriting on them

II Backup photocopy of copyedit of ORBITAL RESONANCE with my cover letter 2/8/91 Photocopy of my letter returning the copyedit of ORBITAL RESONANCE, with which I was very pleased

JJ Folder with all drafts of "Delicate Stuff", only short story set in the Century Next Door Spring 1987 Contents are 5 pages of ideation (scribblings and notes), handwritten draft ripped from notebook, first typed draft, "corrections" draft, final draft as sent, and copyedit returned from Amazing Stories

So all that makes it even cooler and I wish the people bidding were seeing this right now!

Now, for the other item for tonight, one fan/potential bidder who is also a longtime occasional correspondent sent me several questions that I thought were very good ones about how the scholarly access would work. With his permission, here are his questions and my answers:

1. if high-resolution scans (probably pdf) were made available via
the web of the materials, would that cover the majority of the
accessibility/copying requirements specified? do the actual materials
have to be available for scholarly study or just reasonable
duplications? scanning this stuff once and making it available
somewhere (password protected) is a lot easier than shipping stuff
around the world. i have no complaints if the occasional scholar
requires direct access but it seems so much easier to distribute a
digital copy if that is satisfactory and agreeable with the scholar.

That seems like an absolutely brilliant solution if you're willing to put the time in. The occasional scholar may want to look at backs of documents (for dating) or at other notebook contents (to see what else I was thinking about), but what you're describing would be absolutely great.

2. would requiring people to 'sign up' (provide a unique e-mail
address or postal address or some sort of personal identifier) to
access said web site be authorized or is anonymous access a
requirement (i am not in the giving-away-bandwidth business, however
i'm not sure what a fair access fee would be).

Considering access would have to be much cheaper than their making photocopies (or hiring someone at your end to do it), then yes, absolutely. It is not my intention that the collector ever bear the cost of scholarly access.

3. would the people that accessed the materials (or copied them) be
free to redistribute them? this doesn't seem to me to be addressed
and if they are granted rights to reproduce materials there is a
potential dilution of value of the materials for the owner.

Redistribution would be up to me, and after my death, up to you or your heirs; what the Letter of Provenance grants is freedom to quote for scholarly purposes, along the (admittedly murky) Fair Use lines. So, for example, putting three different unpublished drafts of a short story next to each other in columnar form, iwth extensive notes and comments, might be okay (but any academic press will make them ask me first), but simply reproducing them in an anthology for reading would not. Sales of reproductions -- e.g. some of my silly cartoons -- would not be Fair Use but commercial use, for which no license is granted.

To be very fussy about this, what I grant the collector is ownership of the physical materials, with a requirement that scholars be allowed to look at and communicate about the content. I retain the copyright, and normal permissions are required for that. I intend to be liberal for scholars and tightfisted for commercial ventures; wholesale reproduction would be in the same class with a commercial venture.

4. 'contact information for the collector' - what does this consist
of? an e-mail address? is a telephone number required? i do value
my privacy.

For the time being I'll be happy to be the go-between; academics, scholars, critics, etc. can contact me and I can forward their emails. If I become unable to do this, an email address would more than suffice. There is no reason for you to have to receive voice mail for this.

And for those coming late, once again, the auction (which closes in just a couple hours as I type this) can be found at

New Discoveries!

I'm holding off a bit on FINITY and MOTHER OF STORMS because I'm finding so much material for the collections I've already listed. For THE CENTURY NEXT DOOR collection in particular -- that auction closes tomorrow -- I just found two really cool items -- the final-for-the-editor draft of WITH HIS CANDLE LIT INTO THE SUN (which became CANDLE), and the original of the Future History Chart (I thought I only had a bad photocopy) on the back of four sheets of fanfold (and the front side is four pages from my produced-just-once play, EYE HEART SHOES, which is the story of a young foot fetishist who loses his job in a shoe factory but finds happiness by responding to advertising. Heartwarming fun for the whole family, if there are any directors out there looking for scripts I suppose ... (I do have a complete draft of the rest of it, but that's not part of this auction!)

And you can find it at

or maybe blogger will even let me insert some html this time --

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Man Who Pulled Down the Sky (by John Barnes) Collection Letter of Provenance

You know, one thought that occurs to me is that the minimum bids on these collections are low enough so that for the price of one term of books for a typical grad student these days, it would be possible to have complete access to my working papers. So anyone who'd like to do a thesis on the cheap, step right up!

The Man Who Pulled Down the Sky really reaches pretty far back into my life; the short story that was the germ of it was begun when I was 23 and published when I was 25; I wrote the short story in St. Louis, started the novel in New Orleans; finished it in Missoula. I can't quite imagine how dedicated I was, once upon a time.

I packed everything that had survived into boxes in my files long ago, so I think this one is probably fairly complete, but who knows what else may turn up as I unpack more boxes. Unofficially, I'm trying to have the last of these collecton auctions finish on or before the 28th, because that's my 50th birthday, and the idea of getting rid of so much of my past is very appealing to me. As Dad always said, fewer witnesses, better life.

Okay, now, forthwith: the letter of provenance for my first novel --

LETTER OF PROVENANCE regarding Materials Sold as the "Man Who Pulled Down the Sky Collection"
To whom it may concern:
On February 24, 2007, I sold to [NEW OWNER] the following items which were used in the preparation of my first published novel, THE MAN WHO PULLED DOWN THE SKY. To the best of my knowledge, this letter enumerates what each item is, its date of creation when known or an estimate when not known, its condition on February 24, 2007, and other information which may be pertinent to scholars and collectors.
If at some future time I discover further materials which would have been included in this collection if they had been found before February 24, 2007, they will be shipped to [NEW OWNER] at my expense, and with a similar letter of provenance, plus a revised version of this full letter.
PREAMBLE: This collection is sold as a unit. It is recommended that it be kept intact rather than broken up, particularly in light of [NEW OWNER]'s obligation to assist in scholarly access to these materials. (See the LETTER OF UNDERSTANDING).
DEFINITIONS: Besides THE MAN WHO PULLED DOWN THE SKY –title of the published work – two other titles occur in this collection. "Manuel's Tears" is a novelet-length short story, first published in the Fall 1982 issue of CoEvolution Quarterly, from which the novel was eventually created. MEMOIRS OF A PAWN was the working title of the novel until Congdon and Weed purchased it and requested a different title. Manuscripts and other items listed below are referred to by the title they use internally. Additionally, for much of the working period, I abbreviated the title of the book as MOP.

TAG Short description Dating (as much as is known) Long description and commentary
A box of 5 1/4" floppies; all the surviving Man Who Pulled Down the Sky floppies Jan 1 1984 to October 1985 (including revisions requested by agent) These would require an old-media specialist to crack but there's a pretty complete set of all drafts (at least according to the labels there should be) and they seem to be in good shape
B 80 page 8x10 notepad with numerous notes about "MOP" First date is Jan 31, last definite one is April 8, 1985 Mostly this notebook was the one I used for Kershner's playwriting class, in which I drew many silly cartoons. There's also a lot of notes from acting classes and some from econometrics. But scattered in and among are my gradually developed plan for revising Memoirs of a Pawn, after I got notes back from Ashley Grayson
C Unburst fanfold printout of the draft of MEMOIRS OF A PAWN printed out in the first week of 1985 and sent to my agent, Ashley Grayson (that is, it's a copy produced by the same printer) labelled "Orig as Sent" First week of January 1985 Has an embarrassingly trite and silly beginning – covering history by beginning with a history lecture – but this was it, the first time I thought I'd finished a novel. Note that it's mostly printed on the back of an Iconics, Inc. programming manual, and Iconics manuals are definitely proprietary, so I cannot grant any permission to refer to or discuss that material. The reason I had it was because I worked with the Iconics product at Middle South a couple of years before, and it was a good source of cheap fanfold paper.
D Unburst fanfold labeled TYPO-PICKING COPY of MEMOIRS OF A PAWN Mid-December 1984 In those long ago days before spell and grammar check, it was necessary to go over a computer printed manuscript slowly and by hand to get things perfect – which was essential for a first novel by an unknown. (At that time my second short story had not yet come out). This is the copy that I worked my way through backwards, circling typos, spelling errors, etc. so I could fix them before printing the final copy.
E Cover flat with note from editorial assistant for THE MAN WHO PULLED DOWN THE SKY Spring 1988 Cover flat for the WorldWide Library (Harlequin) paperback edition published in August 1988
F Letters from and to Donovan Vicha (editor at Congdon and Weed) about galleys of THE MAN WHO PULLED DOWN THE SKY Dec 17 and Dec 29, 1986 Fairly detailed discussion of both production process and the exact changes made
G copy of my letter to Gardner Dozois answering various publicity and production questions Sept 11, 1986 Book was in a very hurry-up mode of production so a great deal of material had to be covered very fast; much that might interest someone trying to get the political context of the book
H Letter to Isaac Asimov (copy), thanking him for introduction and discussing various ideas from the introduction Dec. 29, 1986 Asimov had a habit of thinking he knew what writers intended in their work (though he was infuriated when critics thought they knew what he intended); I was trying to tactfully and courteously address his erroneous introduction, but unfortunately at the age of 29, I was neither tactful nor courteous.
I Final draft of Manuel's Tears August 1980 Final draft of my first published piece of fiction. Note that it was prepared on cheap paper on a manual typewriter (nb the margin marks at lower left of each page). A photocopy of this is what Stewart Brand accepted for CoEvolution Quarterly.
J Fall 1982 Issue of CoEvolution Quarterly Fall 1982 Contains my first story, "Manuel's Tears." In excellent shape, and now in retrospect I'm extraordinarily flattered that I was first published here; CoEvolution was an exciting magazine in those days!
K Notes from graduate novel-writing workshop at U of Montana, where I submitted Memoirs of a Pawn October 1985 My notes, on notebook paper, on what people said in discussion, plus their notes to me. The "John" in the notes is John Rember, who has gone on to a successful writing career also. PLEASE NOTE: scholars and historians are limited to fair-use quotation of these notes – they belong to their authors – EXCEPT for my notes on the class discussion, which may be quoted more freely.
L 2nd draft fixups and progress for Memoirs of a Pawn 12-20 to 12-26, 1984 Draft before the final draft; this was more about assembling than editing, because the Kaypro 4 didn't allow for very large files, so every chapter was made of several small blocks.
M Second (oldest extant) draft of Manuel's Tears finished May 31, 1980 (diary entry) Messy typing and much messier pen editing; done on an electric typewriter on the apartment's covered porch for the most part. Rough draft is probably lost for good.
N Third draft of Manuel's Tears Probably mid-July 1980 another very messy draft; last one before I put it into "proper" manuscript format
O Redraft of beginning of Memoirs of a Pawn June 1985 My agent had simply said that he didn't feel the novel started quickly or in an intersting way, and didn't want to put it out till it had a fast, energetic beginning; hence the space battle that it starts with now. I was teaching and in grad school and didn't have time to get it done until school was out.
P Markup of first part of Memoirs of a Pawn, preparing for redraft March-May 1985 These are the pages I carried around and scribbled notes on as I got ready to wade back in and get a proper front end on the book. Mostly unburst fanfold, mostly labeled with "2nd draft," not to be confused with the real 2nd draft that is Item L
Q "Unit inspection" of the first few files of Memoirs of a Pawn March 1985? Preliminary work on editing per my agent's request, while I was still sure it just needed a few little fixes and before I waded in to do it right. Just a few fanfold pages, some bad wrinkling, not much marked up
R rough draft of Memoirs of a Pawn (partial, begins on page 80) October 1984 quite a lot of marking up, though not nearly as much as it should have had. Some pages are duplicated, more are absent. Mostly on unburst fanfold. One part is on the back of some pages from THE NOOSE IS UP, a truly terrible play I was working on at the time.
S pages 41-340 of revised version of June 1985 of Memoirs of a Pawn – the draft that the published Man Who Pulled Down the Sky derives from June 1985 Mix of photocopies and unburst fanfold; I must have just thrown all these together when archiving. There might be occasional duplicated or missing pages but it's fairly complete from Chapter 3 (page 41) on.

And again -- I seem to fight many battles with blogger over whether it will take my html tags -- here's a url for the auction (closes Feb 24, latish), a link I hope but at least something you can cut and paste:


Dealing in Sin! letter of provenance for the Sin of Origin collection

One very logical use of this blog is to record what's in these collections as I sell them off, because things hang around on the blogs for years, and this creates a public record. Presumably I'll know who I sold it to and that will mean that if some grad student wants to do a thesis about me, or some assistant prof with tenure to think of wants to do an article, they can find out what's available here, contact me, and find out who's got the stuff. Anyway, it seems inefficient in retrospect that I put the Letter of Provenance for the Century Next Door down in the comments of a previous post, so this time, here it is, front and center, with searchable words John Barnes and Sin of Origin and all in the post. If you actually want to bid on it, get over to eBay by late afternoon on the 24th of February (if you're in the US) --

(copy and paste http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150093935503&ssPageName=ADME:B:EF:US:2 if a link doesn't appear)

LETTER OF PROVENANCE regarding Materials Sold as the "Sin of Origin Collection"
To whom it may concern:
On February 24, 2007, I sold to [NEW OWNER] the following items which were used in the preparation of my second published novel, SIN OF ORIGIN. To the best of my knowledge, this letter enumerates what each item is, its date of creation when known or an estimate when not known, its condition on February 24, 2007, and other information which may be pertinent to scholars and collectors.
If at some future time I discover further materials which would have been included in this collection if they had been found before February 24, 2007, they will be shipped to [NEW OWNER] at my expense, and with a similar letter of provenance, plus a revised version of this full letter.
PREAMBLE: This collection is sold as a unit. It is recommended that it be kept intact rather than broken up, particularly in light of [NEW OWNER]'s obligation to assist in scholarly access to these materials. (See the LETTER OF UNDERSTANDING).

TAG Short description Dating (as much as is known) Long description and commentary
A 50 page blue steno pad. Contains about 10 pages of planning for cutting Part I of Sin of Origin down to length to become THE LIMIT OF VISION, which ran in Asimov's SF the following year Most dates in the pad are from April 1988 Pad also contains my notes from Dr. Jim Kriley's grad class in analyzing and interpreting text for performance, which was a seminal influence on my thinking (Kriley and I didn't get along at all but he was one of the more useful professors I ever had). Notes from some other classes as well. PLEASE NOTE: the lecturing professors may retain some rights in the material in these notes, and any copying or quotation of them should be in Fair Use quantities only. ALSO NOTE: I often wrote down what I thought the professor should have said rather than what s/he said, and at this late date I cannot be certain which is which.
B single page letter to Ashley Grayson (my agent) handing over final draft of SIN OF ORIGIN December 31, 1986 Contains a paragraph discussing our attempt to get in on a consulting gig with Microsoft on a then-new product that pretty much no one had heard of: Windows. We didn't get the gig, by the way.
C 100 page 8 1/2 by 11 notebook, yellow, containing much idea work and worldbuilding calculations for SIN OF ORIGIN Earliest dates appear to be from May 1986, last from July Planning for finishing the book happened in here, probably roughly simultaneously with production of the first, partial rough draft (Item ). Calculations about orbits, gravity, etc. for the various planets, scribbled partial outlines, some notes and calculations about nearby stars and about physics of an atmosphere with a drastically different Reynold number from Earth's (very sticky air in this case). Also contains the couple noodling pages where I figured out a new title for MEMOIRS OF A PAWN – the MAN WHO PULLED DOWN THE SKY. And the first outline for the story that became "Restricted to the Necessary." Also course notes and rough drafts of memos.
D 80 page 10x8 notebook with colored pencil checkerboard drawn on front; my continuity and consistency notebook for SIN OF ORIGIN Late summer or early fall 1986 Because Kaypro Perfect Writer (my first word processor) could only reliably write files a couple thousand words long, the novel was written in very large numbers of very small pieces, so much of the notebook is a list of what happens in each of those units, as I reshuffled and reassembled them. Notebook is tabbed with index tabs; first section is the unit by unit breakdown, last section is a new outline very like the final structure of the book plus several pages of revision notes, second section is blank, third section is blank except for a single page of language notes, and fourth section is an elaborate hand calculation, using some invented graphic notation, for how long it would take human expeditions to reach planets as distant as Randall using my imaginary "Runeberg Gate" STL technology
E 80 page steno pad, mostly handwritten rough drafts of scenes from SIN OF ORIGIN Contains a personal letter dated 8/19/1996 Some extensive calculations at back look like they're for a story but not for Sin of Origin – almost certainly "Under the Covenant Stars"
F one page of notebook paper with notes about structure of Sin of Origin Spring 1986? was carried around in other notebooks a lot and seems to have been the note that solved the structural problems
G Box of 5 1/4" floppies with various drafts of Sin of Origin on them 1986 Format would be Perfect Writer for Kaypro 4, a CP/M program; if you have the tools and skills you can probably hack into these, they seem to be in good shape
H Cover flat for paperback of Sin of Origin Spring 1989 In excellent condition with a hole punched in upper left corner; cover painting was by Vincent di Fate
I Six unburst runs of fanfold paper containing early prints of first few chapters (up through page 145) of SIN OF ORIGIN One is still attached to an old gradesheet bearing the date 6/20/86; this is consistent with material found in them Most pages occur more than once. Some handwritten notes including a list of short Perfect Writer files making up the novel that seem to indicate it was less than 1/4 written at the time the list was made up. Corrections made on these pages were erratically entered (some were, some weren't) into the first full draft, which is Item J below, but there are relatively few marks on this one, not more than 1-2 per page.
J Five unburst runs of fanfold paper containing the first full rough draft of SIN OF ORIGIN Fall 1986 Very heavily marked and annotated in many different colors of marker and pen. Blank fronts and ends of fanfold paper, and some backs, have been used for handwritten notes, lists, maps, etc. as well. The printed part incorporates some modifications from Item I.
K notes to myself between rough and second draft of SIN of origin – 3pp unburst fanfold that is just comments and questions as if I were a different reader, 2 pp that list the file names of all the small units the book was then made up of Fall 1996 most of the notes I responded to in blue ballpoint pen so there's quite a bit of my own handwriting in this as well, and in effect you can see me arguing with myself
L Photocopies of page proofs of SIN OF ORIGIN as marked by me for return 10/20/87 This was typeset by the then-new technique of optical scanning, and was riddled with errors, some of which the copy editor caught. It also seemed to have had a copy edit that I didn't get a look at prior to that time, introducing many severely empurpled passages, so there are many places where I pasted in corrections, sometimes just the original text and sometimes whole replacement blocks of text.
M The first two attempts to start SIN OF ORIGIN, on a typewriter, and some handwritten notes Early spring 1983 At the time I thought SIN OF ORIGIN was going to be a novella for Analog. Item M is fewer than ten pages, and it predates my buying a computer by several months
N Second draft of SIN OF ORIGIN, on 3 runs of unburst fanfold paper, up through page 214 November 1986 Relatively less marked, and very close to the final text. Incorporates many changes proposed in Items J and K.
O 43 page first draft of SIN OF ORIGIN, first time I wrote a story with that title. Summer 1983 Clearly prepared with Item M at hand. Not much resemblance except first scene to later novel. Also, frankly, not very good!
P Rough drafts of proposal for SIN OF ORIGIN to my agent; on unburst but stripped fanfold paper Attached gradesheet page refers to 4/8/85 7 pages, daisy wheel printer seems to have had an old ribbon on the day this was printed.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

What became of all that scholars and collectors and writers and intellectual property stuff, which a few of you may have been reading this blog for

I don't know if it's a sign of the times or what, but the four collectors and the six researcher/scholars who took the time to write to me all made it pretty clear that they didn't want to get involved in anything like a public debate or discussion. (The writers, on the other hand, uniformly wanted to be out in public right away. This tells us something about writers, ne?)

The final, revised version of the Letter of Understanding appears below. This is what I'm asking whoever wins a bid in any of the auctions of my foul papers to agree to. The most interesting thing about it is that it is now much shorter and less complex than it was originally, for a very simple reason: no collector expressed any anxiety about scholarly access – they were all happy to provide it if they win the bid, for a really simple reason, which is that they know that having the materials in the collection written about in the academic/critical press will make the collection more famous and thus cause it to appreciate in value.

On the other side, the scholars uniformly had one anxiety – not about being allowed access, but about accidentally damaging some collector's prized copy of a manuscript.

It looks to me like the articulate members of both communities are pretty good human beings, and I'd rather facilitate good relations among good human beings as the rule, and deal with jerkiness as the exception.

The one completely new feature is the buyback option; members of both communities suggested I needed a way to enforce this, so now the deal is this – if the collector won't let scholars look at it under reasonable conditions, I can refund the collector's money, take the collection back, and auction it again to someone who will. Obviously this is a very slow to load and slow to fire gun behind the door, but now there's at least some teeth in the thing, which weren't there before.

Ultimately, we all share an interest here. Scholars need access to the foul papers; it's how they can study artists (and yes, I include writers, even me, among artists), and write and publish about them. Collectors need the kind of publicity scholars produce, because over the long run of decades, it's the scholars and the aficionados who decide what will last (because they decide what will be taught. You've all heard of Ernest Hemingway; some of you have heard of Philip Wylie; probably relatively few have heard of James Street. All three were very popular, prolific writers of short stories in about the same era, but Hemingway is taught everywhere, Wylie is part of the history of science fiction which has a pretty strong amateur/hobby research press in its niche – and Street was just a guy with some good stories. I want to at least be Wylie!)

So here, then is the Letter of Understanding, in its current form, which will apply at least to the Century Next Door materials auction now underway. If anyone spots anything they REALLY think I ought to know about, whether it be typo, logic error, loophole, or gross offensiveness, email me muy pronto because I'm going to be putting up a lot more auctions in the next few days.

And thanks for picking through this!


1. For purposes of these rules, the "owner" is the person who has purchased the collectible materials from John Barnes, or who has purchased the materials from a previous owner. A "scholar" is anyone who is working on any work documenting or studying John Barnes's work; this includes university, museum, and institute faculty, but also hobbyists and students.
a. No requirement is made that the scholar be professional or previously published.
b. No requirement is made that the scholar's work be intended for publication; study for the purpose of finding a project is explicitly allowed as a scholarly purpose
c. No requirement is made for publication or intended publication in hard copy or in scholarly media. Preparation of speeches, slide shows, web pages, IM discussions, etc. are all explicitly endorsed as possible projects qualifying the person as a scholar.
2. The owner acquires the listed objects under the condition that access will be granted to reasonable requests for scholarly study. To this end:
a. The owner will permit scholars to examine the objects for sufficient time and under reasonably comfortable conditions for the scholars to complete the work necessary to their research.
b. The owner mayrequire all costs to be borne by the scholar, including but not limited to reasonable insurance and special shipping, but may not charge purely for access.
c. The owner will permit all non-damaging, non-destructive forms of copying, with copies not to be sold for profit or distributed in greater than Fair Use quantities.
d. The owner may prohibit any form of copying which unduly risks physical damage to the collections..
e. The owner must make copies of the letter of provenance received with the collection freely available, including answering reasonable questions about its content, providing copies (for which expenses may be charged), and so forth. As long as there is a copy of the letter of provenance on the web, along with contact information for the collector, this will completely fulfill this obligation.
f. John Barnes undertakes to maintain a copy of the letter of provenance on the web and to keep in touch with the owner, but if he becomes unwilling or unable to do so the owner must then arrange for similar access.
3. Scholars are explicitly granted permission to quote extensively from all these materials, but commercial distribution is prohibited without specific written permission of John Barnes.
4. Because some drafts and notes are printed on the backs of other materials, some of which may be proprietary, if the letter of provenance does not list the material on the back, it may not be quoted, unless otherwise specified in the letter of provenance. This restriction does not apply to, e.g., notes continuing on the back from the front of a page.
5. Until John Barnes's death all intellectual property rights in the collectible materials, including publication for profit, remain solely the property of John Barnes, and commercial publication (except as discussed above) will require his permission. Following John Barnes's death, intellectual property rights to all the collectible materials may be licensed by the owner non-exclusively.
a. Two thirds of any money received from licensing publication of collectible materials shall be kept by the owner, with the other one third being given to John Barnes's estate.
b. Such licensing must in no way impair the scholarly access rules described above.
c. If such licensing should interfere with rights already licensed by John Barnes or his estate to publishers, the publishers' rights will take precedence.
6. The owner will not re-sell these collectible materials, or any part of them, without imposing all of these conditions contractually and in full upon the next owner.
7. If any of these conditions are violated, John Barnes may at his sole discretion buy back the collectible materials at their purchase price.

Document auctions are underway and here's what's up

A collection of all of the manuscripts, notes, audio tapes, handmade charts, and everything else that went into making my Century Next Door series (which some fans call "The Meme Wars" series) is up for auction on eBay, at


and the auction closes on Wednesday night, Feb. 21.
Those four novels are
and although I haven't found any materials yet, I expect I'll be adding some things for "Delicate Stuff," the only short story set in that universe.
Right now there are 31 pieces in the collection, but the number of pieces will almost certainly increase because I'm still digging through my old files and records, and what a winning bid gets you is not just what I've found so far, but everything that I find that fits into the collection, even after the auction closes. No kidding, this is open-ended – but I expect to be done going through the files by the end of this month.
A Letter of Provenance, listing the entire collection to date, will be posted in this space shortly. You'll notice that many of the items are in my handwriting and that there's also some hours of audiotape – I often do rough drafts by talking them into a tape recorder while driving. If you don't mind the story being interrupted by "uh, er," and engine noises that may go on for a couple of minutes, the occasional random comment on someone's driving, and some caffeine-induced rants from late-night driving, they can provide hours of entertainment that should be kept away from children. There's also some hand-drawn charts and graphs that may or may not be readable to anyone else, and you can check my calculations for the design of the Flying Dutchman and find out just how bogus the whole thing really is, or watch me be rude to copy editors (in my younger and more fiery days).
I'm doing this for a lot of reasons. Some of them are trivial personal ones like letting go of my past creations (I've noticed I spend too much time thinking about books I've already written) and bluntly campaigning for a place in the academic and critical literature (which influences what is taught in the schools, and one thing my Generation-Y research has taught me is that school assignments are vital to most writers who are not Chuck Palahniuk or J.K. Rowling. I checked my driver's license, and I'm not).
Others are more political ones; as a culture historian who studies a different branch of the culture, I know that the library and museum system is failing as a cultural archive when it comes to popular culture, and I'm trying to develop a new, better way to make sure that materials are both preserved and available to scholars.
But most of all, I'm tired of lugging forty bankers boxes of stuff around behind me, and of having what amounts to a small room of space taken up wherever I live or work, and I'd rather have money than these documents.
For those of you afraid that this sale means the end of the Century Next Door, you may be right; the four books (and one short story) were all I ever actually intended to write. Yes, it ended with many unfinished threads – so do all centuries. But on the other hand, any of those threads may be picked up at some future time; I don't rule out doing The Century After the Century Next Door, or some epic set in the same future. I just have no idea when I would do it, or what it might be about, and won't know for some years. Meanwhile, I'm done with these documents, and they pass to the scholars and collectors.
For those of you wondering about other auctions coming up, the next four collections likely to reach the auction block, probably within days, will be
probably in that order. After those, I expect to be auctioning materials for:
the Time Raider series (Dan Samson – WARTIDE, BATTLECRY, and UNION FIRES. I've already found some materials for what would have been books 4-6 if the series had been picked up)
the Timeline Wars series (Mark Strang – PATTON'S SPACESHIP, WASHINGTON'S DIRIGIBLE, and CAESAR'S BICYCLE, plus the short story "Upon Their Backs, to Bite'em". I'm hoping to find my notes for NIXON'S FROZEN HEAD.)
Short stories up through 1990 or so; not sure whether to do those as a collection or individually, and what to do with early unpublished work.
My objective is to have all these auctions complete by the first week of March, ideally by Feb 28, which will be my fiftieth birthday, and seems like a good time to have my past all crated up and shipped out.
Two groups of material will probably NOT be offered for auction this year – the Thousand Cultures, and Jak Jinnaka – because in both cases there's a good-to-excellent chance that the series will be continuing.