Thursday, June 07, 2007

Planet Stories to Republish THE WARLUS AND THE WARWOLF

Planet Stories to Republish THE WARLUS AND THE WARWOLF

For some time I've been aware that an American outfit was planning to republish THE WALRUS AND THE WARWOLF, the fourth book in the Chronicles of an Age of Darkness series, in a collection of classic sci fi texts with the Planet Stories imprint.

Earlier, I made no announcement of this, thinking that to be the publisher's prerogative, but recently, while ego surfing, I found that the word is out, and that there has been some discussion online about this upcoming event, which you can read about at the following url:

http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/planetStories/general/hughCook

On that page, publisher Eric Mona says as follows:

""I've read the entire series twice. I love them. When I got the green light to launch Planet Stories, I immediately contacted Hugh and his agent and licensed "The Walrus and the Warwolf" for publication.

""I chose this book for three reasons:

""1) It is my favorite in the series, an opinion others seem to share.

""2) It was never published in its complete form in America, which actually means that it _does_ continue the story for American readers who have read Wizard War, The Questing Hero, The Hero Returns, and The Oracle.

""3) The series has an extraordinarily loose temporal continuity. There isn't really a beginning and there isn't really an end. All of the stories weave in between one another. The Walrus and the Warwolf makes as good an introduction to the series as any of the books, and a better introduction than a few of them.

""I am very, very excited to be publishing this book. Hugh Cook's fantasy stories deserve a much wider audience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to take a shot at finding it.

""--Erik Mona""

On an entirely unrelated note, I've had a couple of people e-mail me suggesting that I try the Ubuntu distribution of Linux, but, having read about it on Wikipedia and having looked at some related web pages, I've decided this will not be the Linux I will go with.

Rather, at this stage I've decided I will go with CentOS 4.4. I've researched this fairly thoroughly, and have found the following resources to assist me:

First, a page with instructions for installing CentOS on a ThinkPad, and dealing with some installation issues, such as getting the beast to agree to suspend when the lid is lowered. The url is:

http://www.cs.umd.edu/~nakamura/miscellaneous/t43_centos4.html

Nakamura (I assume that's the guy's name) says the following of CentOS:

"CentOS 4, one of the popular "Red Hat clone" distributions, is basically a free recompilation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4. The structure of the distribution is more or less similar to Fedora Core 3, as RHEL 4 was being developed in parallel with FC3. (Therefore, there is a good chance that an RPM package for FC3 is compatible with CentOS, which comes handy.)"

If you're not up with the Linux lingo, then note that an "rpm" is a package that can be used to install a program. The problem with such installations is that you may run up against "dependencies," ie program X will not work unless you already have program Y installed, and program Y cannot be installed unless you first install A, B, C, K and Z.

Nakamura installed on a ThinkPad T43 and indicates that the instructions he gives related to CentOS 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4.

Since I have a second-hand T43 on hand, I figure this is the basic installation guide that I need.

Second, the site which will redirect you to a repository in your area from which you can download the iso images for CentOS. I've already been to the url, which pointed me to a site just down the road in Japan, from which I downloaded the isos for the four CentOS CDs. I then burnt the iso images to CDs using Nero.

The version I downloaded was CentOS 4.4.

To burn the iso with Nero you do the following:

Choose CD, move the cursor to Copy and Backup, choose Burn Image to Disk, navigate to the folder in which you have stashed the isos, change "Files of Type" to "Image Files" (*.nrg, *.iso, *.cue) and then burn the disk.

The isos are pretty big, each over 500 megabytes, but it took me only a little over half an hour or so to download each one. You will of course need broadband for this, unless you've cracked the secret of eternal life.

The redirect url to get at the isos is this:

http://isoredirect.centos.org/centos/4/isos/

Hint: if you work your way up to the parent directory from whatever site you end up at, you may find other flavors of Linux in the repository.

Note: it might be theoretically possible to download these huge files with your browser, but the correct tool is an FTP program, such as FileZilla, which is open source software which works under XP. The repositories which you are going to access are set up for anonymous FTP, which means you can go there and take what you want without identifying yourself and without using any special password. By default, FileZilla is set up for anonymous FTP.

Third, the documentation for CentOS 4, which is at the following url:

http://www.centos.org/docs/4/

Fourth, a site which provides detailed instructions for enabling mp3 playback and for installing Xine to play DVDs. This looks like a very long and complicated procedure. The site is at the following url:

http://wiki.centos.org/Repositories/RPMForge

The site provides the following information:

"RPMForge is a collaboration of Dag, Dries, and other packagers. They provide over 2600 packages for CentOS, including mplayer, xmms-mp3, and other popular media tools. It is not part of RedHat or CentOS but is designed to work with these major distributions."

Where I come from, New Zealand, a "dag" is a piece of dung-stained wool between a sheep's legs; "to dag a sheep" means to cut away such a piece of wool; "He's a dag" means "He's an amusing fellow" and "What a dag!" means "What fun!" But, obviously, I'm going to have to expand my dag concept.

Note that if you enable mp3 playback or DVD playback on your Linux box then you may be violating the law in the jurisdiction in which you have the misfortune to reside.

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