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

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