Are we all History geeks? (Was: American Revolution name)

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Ian Webb

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Feb 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/26/98
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Judging by the response to the American revolution thread (33
followups in a couple of days on my server), it would seem a large
number of us are...

So the question are:

1) Are we all big history readers, does it come with the job? Or do
you hate it?

2) Do you use your interest (if any) in your IF? More specifically,
does a game prompt you into research, or does your reading suggest IF
plots to you?

3) Anything else...

Ian.

Allen Garvin

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Feb 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/26/98
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In article <34f5c20...@news.dircon.co.uk>,

Ian Webb <we...@dircon.co.uk> wrote:
>Judging by the response to the American revolution thread (33
>followups in a couple of days on my server), it would seem a large
>number of us are...
>
>So the question are:
>
>1) Are we all big history readers, does it come with the job? Or do
>you hate it?

I got a degree in it for fun. Ok, actually it was an excuse to put off
graduation for a couple years. My period is 19th century Europe (and my
favorite role playing game is the incredibly stylish and just plain fun
Castle Falkenstein.)

>2) Do you use your interest (if any) in your IF? More specifically,
>does a game prompt you into research, or does your reading suggest IF
>plots to you?

Yes! Though I never finish anything, I've either scribbled down the
plots or actually coded a few rooms of over a dozen games. They include:
- a political adventure game set in Rome and surrounding country around 1860
and including Garibaldi and Cavour as NPC's
- a game set at the end of the 1871 Commune that includes escaping from
Paris with Thiers and Courbet and others as NPCs and cut scenes with
Bismarck and Marx and the defeated Napoleon. I mapped out a substantial
portion of Paris before I gave up on it *8-).
- a game set during the Irish famine (in Galway) where your child is
stolen away by fairies and you must enter the otherworld to rescue
the boy (I'm still working on this one)
- a magic romance game set during Regency England, inspired by Patricia
Wrede's delightful novels (and Jane Austen).
--
Allen Garvin kisses are a better fate
--------------------------------------------- than wisdom
eare...@faeryland.tamu-commerce.edu
http://faeryland.tamu-commerce.edu/~earendil e e cummings

Andrew Plotkin

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Feb 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/26/98
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Allen Garvin (eare...@faeryland.tamu-commerce.edu) wrote:
> - a game set during the Irish famine (in Galway) where your child is
> stolen away by fairies and you must enter the otherworld to rescue
> the boy (I'm still working on this one)

Finish this one, please.

(Not that there's anything wrong with the others.)

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Todd D. Cadwallader

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Feb 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/26/98
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> - a game set during the Irish famine (in Galway) where your child is
> stolen away by fairies and you must enter the otherworld to rescue
> the boy (I'm still working on this one)

Damn!! This is almost _exactly_ like the game I've been working on, 'cept
mine is set in 19th C. Wales, and you play the child's older
brother/sister, not parent. But almost certainly you're closer to
finishing your game than I am to mine (seeing as how all I have are a few
vague ideas and scribbled notes).

What do you, the viewers at home, think about two games coming out,
independently, with, well, similar plots? Maybe I'll just give up my
version. *sigh*.

Todd

"One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly
making exciting discoveries."
--A. A. Milne

Dancer

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Feb 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/27/98
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Those who do not learn from history are doomed to teach it...by example.

D


Ian Webb wrote:

> Judging by the response to the American revolution thread (33
> followups in a couple of days on my server), it would seem a large
> number of us are...
>
> So the question are:
>
> 1) Are we all big history readers, does it come with the job? Or do
> you hate it?
>

> 2) Do you use your interest (if any) in your IF? More specifically,
> does a game prompt you into research, or does your reading suggest IF
> plots to you?
>

> 3) Anything else...
>
> Ian.

--
Did you read the documentation AND the FAQ?
If not, I'll probably still answer your question, but my patience will
be limited, and you take the risk of sarcasm and ridicule.

Dancer

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Feb 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/27/98
to

Bah. There're only a finite number of really distinctive plots about. If it
makes a good story, then do it. Maybe yours will be better. Maybe it won't.
You won't know if you don't write it.

D


Todd D. Cadwallader wrote:

--

Giles Boutel

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Feb 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/27/98
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Ian Webb <we...@dircon.co.uk> wrote in article
<34f5c20...@news.dircon.co.uk>...


> Judging by the response to the American revolution thread (33
> followups in a couple of days on my server), it would seem a large
> number of us are...
>
> So the question are:
>
> 1) Are we all big history readers, does it come with the job? Or do
> you hate it?

Put me in the hate camp (though some of my best friends are history buffs).
I tend to read either for money or for escapism and history books don't
seem to involve either. I did it at secondary school and passed well
enough, but I could never say I enjoyed it particularly. In terms of real
world application, the most common use I've seen for it is people sitting
around in bars arguing what kind of rifles were used in the Boer war. Still
- it's probably more exciting for them than sitting around in bars arguing
that New Zealand literature is an interminable tradition of tedious
middle-aged realist angst (as I tend to do) would be. Different strokes and
all that.

>
> 2) Do you use your interest (if any) in your IF? More specifically,
> does a game prompt you into research, or does your reading suggest IF
> plots to you?

I've got a few pages of notes on victoriana for my next game - mostly so I
can get the object descriptions right, but I don't think I'd ever write the
next Jigsaw.

> 3) Anything else...
>
Have you noticed that Bob Dylan appears to have learned how to sing?

-Giles

Lynn Johannesen

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Feb 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/27/98
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Ian Webb (we...@dircon.co.uk) wrote:
: Judging by the response to the American revolution thread (33

: followups in a couple of days on my server), it would seem a large
: number of us are...

: So the question are:

: 1) Are we all big history readers, does it come with the job? Or do
: you hate it?

In between; sometimes a particular event or period will catch my
fancy, and I'll spend some time reading about it. This is especially
likely to happen when I notice contradictory descriptions of
something, which happens astonishingly often, even allowing for
differing biases of the authors.

: 2) Do you use your interest (if any) in your IF? More specifically,


: does a game prompt you into research, or does your reading suggest IF
: plots to you?

I was making some progress on a game with this general plot:
You start in 2000 AD-equivalent in the worldwide Empire founded
and ruled over for many years by Alexander the Great, which has
been at peace for centuries. Unfortunately, the world is invaded
by evil aliens for whom your puny war technology is no match.
Your mission is to go back in time and change history so that
devastating military technology is developed, enough to
deal with the aliens. Obviously, you'll start by killing Alexander
prematurely(?). Next you'll need to help Jesus fake his resurrection
(the time machine helps a lot) and go on from there to help Napoleon,
Lenin and Hitler, among others. Working title: "Sympathy for the Devil".

OK, the aliens are a bit tacky, but I thought the idea of creating
all those alternate histories was pretty interesting. Some have
been done to death (e.g. the Nazis win) but others haven't. People
could argue endlessly about whether some small change could really
have that big an effect centuries later. (For starters, I consider
a lasting peace of any length to be wildly unlikely, but you need
a pretty compelling reason for all this history-changing.)

Then I found Jigsaw. Oh well, there's already a topnotch
time travel game. GN even used Lenin's sealed train, as I
was planning to.

Some other objections occurred to me too:

- It would be hard to do it in a way that didn't require the player
to know history. Is this an undesirable thing, do you think?

- It's inherently linear.

- Most of the good puzzles I can think of involve better
NPC interaction than text adventures are capable of.
Language would be a real problem for NPC interaction. (Some
authors like to sprinkle Latin quotes through their games,
but even they will probably agree that making the player
talk to the Romans in Latin is going too far.)

- People would think I stole the idea from Jigsaw.

So I don't think I'm going to finish this. But if you want to,
go ahead.

Nicholas Daley

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Feb 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/27/98
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Ian Webb wrote:
>
> Judging by the response to the American revolution thread (33
> followups in a couple of days on my server), it would seem a large
> number of us are...
>
> So the question are:
>
> 1) Are we all big history readers, does it come with the job? Or do
> you hate it?
Last year I did History as one of my topics in 7th form (Don't know what
that is for Americans, or Brits, but thats basically age 17). The first
quarter of the year was on Tudor-Stewart England while the rest was
local history. I enjoyed it the year before last, but I'm glad I'm
finished with it now.

>
> 2) Do you use your interest (if any) in your IF? More specifically,
> does a game prompt you into research, or does your reading suggest IF
> plots to you?
Though I haven't finished my first game, I'd have to say no. I'm a
sci-fi nut, so all of my ideas so far are scifi.
>
> 3) Anything else...
>
> Ian.

--
Nicholas Daley
<mailto:link_...@geocities.com>

"Retail:The art of making money by convincing others that
they need or want things which they don't."
- Me

Den of Iniquity

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Feb 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/27/98
to

On Thu, 26 Feb 1998, Ian Webb wrote:

>Judging by the response to the American revolution thread

>... Are we all big history readers, does it come with the job? Or do
>you hate it?

Detest it. Could never get to grips with history. Yuck. Exam scoring
seemed to be based on some sort of subjective scale whereas the sciences
and languages were at least partially objective. How was I supposed to
know what the examiner wanted me to write? Down with history!

--
Den (but 'Geography' was worse. Social bloody sciences...)


Den of Iniquity

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Feb 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/27/98
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On 27 Feb 1998, Giles Boutel wrote:
>I tend to read either for money...

Cool! How does one get to do this sort of thing?

--
Den :)


Joe Mason

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Feb 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/27/98
to

In article <34f5c20...@news.dircon.co.uk>,
Ian Webb <we...@dircon.co.uk> wrote:
>
>1) Are we all big history readers, does it come with the job? Or do
>you hate it?

I suppose I am, seeing as how I'm taking two courses in it. This'll be the
last year I do that, though - next year I'm going to have all my electives
filled up with courses for my Cognitive Science option. Bummer. On the
other hand, the Cog. Sci. courses are very cool, too.

>2) Do you use your interest (if any) in your IF? More specifically,
>does a game prompt you into research, or does your reading suggest IF
>plots to you?

There were a couple of times in my class last year that the Prof. said
something and a game idea just clicked for me. On further reflection, most of
them are gone. However, I can still remember two (with the exact quotes that
led to them):

"How many of you have been to Vimy Ridge? What, do none of you travel anymore?
You should really go there to see the Canadian memorial if you get the chance,
it really is fascinating... There's these paths going in which are blocked off
by fences, and there are signs saying to saty on the paths. Because, you see,
the ground around - which was no-man's land - is still just full of unexploded
shells. 80 years later it's STILL a minefield."

And I thought to myself - WOW! What a great intro to a time-travel story! You
start as a tourist going to see the War Memorial, and for some reason you have
to go off the path into no-man's land, and through some fantastic twist of
time and space you end up back in the REAL Battle of Vimy Ridge! (The closing
music from "Read All About It" starts playing in Joe's head. Anybody remember
that show?)

The other quote also involved being in a battle, so I can't see myself doing
both of them. Probably it'd be Vimy Ridge that gets done, because the only
hook that I have for the other is that I think the name is really cool. Here's
the quote:

"And pretty much all historians agree: if there was a Hell on Earth, it was at
Passchendaele."

Joe

Graham Nelson

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Feb 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/28/98
to

Given the way computer games are going these days, I'm inclined
to re-read your question as "Are we all History, geeks?"

--
Graham Nelson | gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk | Oxford, United Kingdom


Gene Tang

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Mar 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/1/98
to

Lynn Johannesen (ly...@netcom.com) wrote:

: I was making some progress on a game with this general plot:


: You start in 2000 AD-equivalent in the worldwide Empire founded
: and ruled over for many years by Alexander the Great, which has
: been at peace for centuries. Unfortunately, the world is invaded
: by evil aliens for whom your puny war technology is no match.

Inherent problems here are
1. Tibet
2. Japan
3. Mongols
4. China

An empire founded by Alexander the Great would stretch from Macedonia,
through Thrace, Persia, Egypt, Arabia, and into India.
When he died, there would most assuredly have been a power struggle, much
like the one that occured after Caesar's death. Given the distance and
difficulty of travel within such an empire, it would certainly have
fractured.
And if not, traversing the Silk Road through the steppes would likely make
an army of this empire not able to stand against the Mongol tribes of
siberia.

: Your mission is to go back in time and change history so that

: devastating military technology is developed, enough to
: deal with the aliens. Obviously, you'll start by killing Alexander
: prematurely(?). Next you'll need to help Jesus fake his resurrection
: (the time machine helps a lot) and go on from there to help Napoleon,
: Lenin and Hitler, among others. Working title: "Sympathy for the Devil".

Not necessarily, a similar accomplishment may be taken by killing
Alexander, then fracturing China, so that it does not become a hegemony,
whereupon the technology of war is ever increased, instead of having a
relatively peaceful existence, where the curse "may you live in
interesting times" could never develop, because the times are always
interesting.

: OK, the aliens are a bit tacky, but I thought the idea of creating


: all those alternate histories was pretty interesting. Some have
: been done to death (e.g. the Nazis win) but others haven't. People
: could argue endlessly about whether some small change could really
: have that big an effect centuries later. (For starters, I consider
: a lasting peace of any length to be wildly unlikely, but you need
: a pretty compelling reason for all this history-changing.)

Well, you could start with the Emperor of China *not* ordering the fleet
dismantled, so that the Chinese Voyages of Discovery would proceed, having
China set up overseas colonies, discovering Europe by sea, etc.


Lynn Johannesen

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Mar 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/1/98
to

Gene Tang (ewd_...@ece.concordia.ca) wrote:

[proving that somebody finds the alternate-history theme interesting,
anyway]

: An empire founded by Alexander the Great would stretch from Macedonia,


: through Thrace, Persia, Egypt, Arabia, and into India.
: When he died, there would most assuredly have been a power struggle, much
: like the one that occured after Caesar's death. Given the distance and
: difficulty of travel within such an empire, it would certainly have
: fractured.

Since that's what happened when he actually died, I was aware of this
problem. Perhaps if he lived longer he would have developed some
interest in what was going to happen after his death, and put some
preventative measures in place. Particularly if he had an heir.
Plausible enough for fiction, anyway.

: And if not, traversing the Silk Road through the steppes would likely make


: an army of this empire not able to stand against the Mongol tribes of
: siberia.

The Mongol angle I don't know much about; I didn't actually do a lot of
research for this timeline. But I do think that the Mongols didn't
become a factor in the area conquered by Alexander until much later.
I wasn't planning to have the empire cover the whole world in his
lifetime.

: : Your mission is to go back in time and change history so that

: : devastating military technology is developed, enough to
: : deal with the aliens. Obviously, you'll start by killing Alexander
: : prematurely(?). Next you'll need to help Jesus fake his resurrection
: : (the time machine helps a lot) and go on from there to help Napoleon,
: : Lenin and Hitler, among others. Working title: "Sympathy for the Devil".

: Not necessarily, a similar accomplishment may be taken by killing
: Alexander, then fracturing China, so that it does not become a hegemony,
: whereupon the technology of war is ever increased, instead of having a
: relatively peaceful existence, where the curse "may you live in
: interesting times" could never develop, because the times are always
: interesting.

I don't know enough about China to evaluate this. I did think that
the relatively peaceful and isolated Chinese history was due primarily
to cultural differences from Europe; that is, changing a couple of
key events wouldn't be enough to change the overall pattern. I'd be
reluctant to posit major changes in a culture's way of looking at the
world without good reason.

But after all, I'm not going to write this game. Maybe you can
write one based on an ancient Chinese empire achieving world power.
Sounds interesting.

Giles Boutel

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Mar 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/2/98
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Den of Iniquity <dms...@york.ac.uk> wrote in article
<Pine.SGI.3.95L.98022...@ebor.york.ac.uk>...


> On 27 Feb 1998, Giles Boutel wrote:
> >I tend to read either for money...
>
> Cool! How does one get to do this sort of thing?
>

Two ways. Proofreading (which I'm pretty good at as long as it's not my own
writing) and reading the instructions for something that somebody will pay
you to understand. Pretty much the only reasons I tend to read non-fiction
these days.

-Giles

Gene Tang

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Mar 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/2/98
to

Lynn Johannesen (ly...@netcom.com) wrote:
: Gene Tang (ewd_...@ece.concordia.ca) wrote:

: [proving that somebody finds the alternate-history theme interesting,
: anyway]

<G>

: : An empire founded by Alexander the Great would stretch from Macedonia,


: : through Thrace, Persia, Egypt, Arabia, and into India.
: : When he died, there would most assuredly have been a power struggle, much
: : like the one that occured after Caesar's death. Given the distance and
: : difficulty of travel within such an empire, it would certainly have
: : fractured.

: Since that's what happened when he actually died, I was aware of this
: problem. Perhaps if he lived longer he would have developed some
: interest in what was going to happen after his death, and put some
: preventative measures in place. Particularly if he had an heir.
: Plausible enough for fiction, anyway.

Then again, he did prepare for his death, by dividing up his empire into
kingdoms, which he controlled through their kings, so that they would have
competent administrations in case of his death.

And using the Caesar example again, Caesar had an heird, it didn't help.

: : And if not, traversing the Silk Road through the steppes would likely make


: : an army of this empire not able to stand against the Mongol tribes of
: : siberia.

: The Mongol angle I don't know much about; I didn't actually do a lot of
: research for this timeline. But I do think that the Mongols didn't
: become a factor in the area conquered by Alexander until much later.
: I wasn't planning to have the empire cover the whole world in his
: lifetime.

The Mongols that we know from their conquests indeed were not a factor at
that time, but the mogol stock did prey on caravans on the east west
thoroughfare, and would be a definite factor, if a marauding army were to
try to get through.

: : : Your mission is to go back in time and change history so that

: : : devastating military technology is developed, enough to
: : : deal with the aliens. Obviously, you'll start by killing Alexander
: : : prematurely(?). Next you'll need to help Jesus fake his resurrection
: : : (the time machine helps a lot) and go on from there to help Napoleon,
: : : Lenin and Hitler, among others. Working title: "Sympathy for the Devil".

: : Not necessarily, a similar accomplishment may be taken by killing
: : Alexander, then fracturing China, so that it does not become a hegemony,
: : whereupon the technology of war is ever increased, instead of having a
: : relatively peaceful existence, where the curse "may you live in
: : interesting times" could never develop, because the times are always
: : interesting.

: I don't know enough about China to evaluate this. I did think that
: the relatively peaceful and isolated Chinese history was due primarily
: to cultural differences from Europe; that is, changing a couple of
: key events wouldn't be enough to change the overall pattern. I'd be
: reluctant to posit major changes in a culture's way of looking at the
: world without good reason.

Actually, this cultural outlook developed after the warring states period
(which is equivalent to the state of Europe during the middle ages, where
there are many warring states, etc). In the warring states period, China
was much like Europe, except at the end of this period, one state gained
dominance, and formed the basis for the hegemony we know today as China.
Having a single relatively peaceful state did change things, as did the
acceptance of Confucian values (humans are inherently good), loss of
legalism (a philosphy, not "law", humans are inherently bad), and the
assimilation of the various peoples into one hegemony.
You could conceivably transfer a mideval piece into the warring states
period (long before Europe's middle ages), have that event make sure that
China was never unified, resulting in more variety, and alot more war.
In China, war technologies were developed to the point of practicality,
but not to the point of refinement and improvement, because there was no
need to go that far. If there were, considering the great many
technologies deveoped in China, centuries before they came into use on the
battlefields of Europe, then you could have, say nuclear warfare in the
10th century AD.

: But after all, I'm not going to write this game. Maybe you can


: write one based on an ancient Chinese empire achieving world power.
: Sounds interesting.

Did write a few short stories on it, but I'm not a very good writer.
Grand visions are easy, as are sweeping histories, but I just can't turn
them into a good story, instead of a massive entry in an encyclopedia.


okbl...@usa.net

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Mar 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/2/98
to

In article <lynnjEp...@netcom.com>,
ly...@netcom.com (Lynn Johannesen) wrote:

> Since that's what happened when he actually died, I was aware of this
> problem. Perhaps if he lived longer he would have developed some
> interest in what was going to happen after his death, and put some
> preventative measures in place. Particularly if he had an heir.
> Plausible enough for fiction, anyway.

PMFJI, but what if AtheG had been immortal?

Or what if he'd been an alien impostor sent in advance to prevent any war
technologies from evolving? (If you were planning a galactic conquest, you'd
have to set things up thousands of years in advance.)

Just a thought.

-----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----
http://www.dejanews.com/ Now offering spam-free web-based newsreading

Andrew Duncan Heale

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Mar 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/2/98
to

Ian Webb (we...@dircon.co.uk) wrote:
: 1) Are we all big history readers, does it come with the job? Or do
: you hate it?

Last week I started reading history specifically for plot inspiration.
Truth is I'm a programmer rather than a story teller, and in high school
I hated history - the more modern the history, the less I wanted to know
about it. Now I'll take up a new topic purely for the sake of learning it,
be that history or physiology or engineering or politics or... (But
don't take that as meaning I'm actually -knowledgable- about any of
those!)

: 2) Do you use your interest (if any) in your IF? More specifically,


: does a game prompt you into research, or does your reading suggest IF
: plots to you?

When I read, irony jumps out at me - but I tend to think `that'd make a
great joke', rather than `that'd make great IF'.

Yours,
Andrew, who was at a comedy gig last night.

Chris [Steve] Piuma

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Mar 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/2/98
to

In article <01bd4551$9113bfa0$67330a0a@WC034319>, "Giles Boutel"

When I worked at a lit agency, we would send some of the manuscripts we
received out to readers who would, for a presumably small fee, read the ms
and report back. It was like a book review you'd do in school, except of
course that it was much much more likely to be a wretched book to read.

I have no idea how much money these readers pulled in.

--
Chris [Steve] Piuma, etc. Nothing is at: http://www.brainlink.com/~cafard
[Editor of _flim_, Keeper of the R.E.M. Lyric Annotations FAQ, MST3K #43136]
order your copy of rec.tribute.rem v.2 now, dammit! email: j...@u.arizona.edu
Also, I don't do the history thing much myself, but I seem to be fairly
well informed for someone who doesn't do the history thing. So there you
go.

Chris Marriott

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Mar 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/3/98
to

In article <cafard-ya02408000...@news.brainlink.com>,
Chris [Steve] Piuma <caf...@brainlink.com> writes

>When I worked at a lit agency, we would send some of the manuscripts we
>received out to readers who would, for a presumably small fee, read the ms
>and report back. It was like a book review you'd do in school, except of
>course that it was much much more likely to be a wretched book to read.
>
>I have no idea how much money these readers pulled in.

I've been a proof reader for a number of Windows programming books. Not
exactly the way to make a fortune - I got paid typically around £500 per
book.

Chris

----------------------------------------------------------------
Chris Marriott, SkyMap Software, UK (ch...@skymap.com).
Visit our web site at: http://www.skymap.com
Astronomy software written by astronomers, for astronomers.

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