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About Mamelukes

Jerry Pournelle’s Janissaries series is alive and well. Drop in to discuss it and — especially— the latest addition: Mamelukes by Jerry himself with a little posthumous help from Phillip Pournelle and David!
About Mamelukes
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:29 am

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Those of you not already familiar with Jerry Pournelle's Janissary series are in luck. The entire earlier series — the first book, Janissaries was released in 1979 — is still available, at least on Kindle, and Baen is looking to rerelease the original books as well as releasing this one sometime next year.

I was in my late twenties when Janissaries appeared, and I loved it. Still do. The initial concept — a bunch of CIA volunteers/mercenaries fighting the Cubans in Angola being shanghaied by a flying saucer just before they get overrun and sent off to grow drugs for an alien cartel on a planet in a trinary system and a 600-year cycle of wildly erratic weather — would have been enough to tickle my fancy all by itself. But it was also an intelligent examination of what a group of perhaps 50 twentieth century individuals could accomplish on a world where the alien cartel used "skyfire" to bomb their lackeys back to the Stone Age after each 600-year growing season. And it was an examination of the moral responsibilities of the (often seriously flawed) individuals in question. One of my favorite observations from the first book is that morality can be a survival tool.

There haven't been any new books in the series in the last 20 years or so, although Jerry always had a strong notion of where he wanted the series to go if he ever got back to it. Unfortunately, he's gone now, but before he died he completed the first half of the manuscript for his final novel, and he left extensive notes for where he was thinking about going in the second half. In particular, he left a very specific statement of the theme of the work, which we have tried very hard to honor.

I was deeply honored and very pleased when Toni Weisskopff invited me to be one of the authors — along with Jerry's son, Philip — who completed the novel. I think it is a strong book, I hope it is one of which Jerry would approve, and I think there is the distinct possibility that it will serve as the launch platform for a resumption of the original series.

It isn't often that a writer has the opportunity to help complete the final work of someone who was one of his own iconic authors when he was younger. It's been a challenging assignment, because we needed to stay true to Jerry's vision and not step on anything he had done.

With Philip's approval, I will be posting snippets here on the Forum. There is still one point in the novel that needs to be thoroughly nailed down, but it is a relatively minor point and will not affect the way that the rest of the book works out.

In addition to the snippets from the current book, I sort of envision this forum as an opportunity for others, like me, who read the books long ago (and for those of you who haven't already read them but find yourselves enticed into doing so), to discuss the original books and how well they have/have not aged over the years.

As I say, the first half of this book is almost entirely Jerry. There were a couple of points where hooks were needed for something that happened later in the story and they had to be added, and there were several places where Jerry had continuity issues that he would undoubtedly have smoothed out himself in the final edit process.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy it even half as much as I enjoyed working on it.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: About Mamelukes
Post by Joat42   » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:20 am

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Finally!

I read the series a long time ago and had given up hope that the series would get a conclusion. Time for a refresher read then! :)

---
Jack of all trades and destructive tinkerer.


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Re: About Mamelukes
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:34 pm

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To quote Senator Arthur Jellison from Lucifer's Hammer "Well I will be dipped in shit!"

I believe that I actually chastised Mr Weber for not leaving a message on the Well Wishing page. Now I didcover that he is helping to finish MAMLUKS. Hopefully Weber will contrive to have Tamarla and Gwen in a shower scene.

I traded some correspondence with Doctor Pournelle on politics as well as the physics of fusion powered photon drives. Niven and Pournelle took literay liberties on performance, grossly overstating the Specific Impulse. Jerry responded by suggesting that if I built it, he would test it. Only later did I actually crunch the numbers on the performance of lightsails. I was amazed when I realized that the Delta Vee from any star is given essentially by the same equation as gravitational potential energy except with a change of sign. The net Delta Vee actually tends to increase with stellar mass because of the increased luminosity. I was also amazed by the realization that the Motie lightsail did not need such massive launching lasers operating for decades. However; it was a brilliant artistic device that was well worth taking liberties for.

I confess that Jerry was correct to be oppossed to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars which I supported. The post WW2 order is an aberation and the US can not spread democracy at the point of a bayonet. The Islamic world is destined to be dominated by theocrats or despots. With many countries on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons as The Brenton Woods Order collapses, the US has no alternative to becoming energy independant and retreating into Paleo-isolationism.
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Re: About Mamelukes
Post by Thunder Child Actual   » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:27 am

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Dang, to bad you did not post this back in May. My copies of those books got culled in June as I thought with Pournelle's death the series was over and finances/storage space preclude me from rebuying them.
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Re: About Mamelukes
Post by Joat42   » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:59 pm

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Thunder Child Actual wrote:Dang, to bad you did not post this back in May. My copies of those books got culled in June as I thought with Pournelle's death the series was over and finances/storage space preclude me from rebuying them.

You got rid of books?!? :shock:

I still have every book I bought, although some of them are in storage.

---
Jack of all trades and destructive tinkerer.


Anyone who have simple solutions for complex problems is a fool.
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Re: About Mamelukes
Post by Thunder Child Actual   » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:11 pm

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Joat42 wrote:
Thunder Child Actual wrote:Dang, to bad you did not post this back in May. My copies of those books got culled in June as I thought with Pournelle's death the series was over and finances/storage space preclude me from rebuying them.

You got rid of books?!? :shock:

I still have every book I bought, although some of them are in storage.


When you have spent the last 7 years cleaning out 5 storage units and a house full of books due to the death of a relative that was a hoarder of books your perspective might change. Before this happened it was rare that I got rid of books.
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Re: About Mamelukes
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:01 pm

TFLYTSNBN
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Joat42 wrote:
Thunder Child Actual wrote:Dang, to bad you did not post this back in May. My copies of those books got culled in June as I thought with Pournelle's death the series was over and finances/storage space preclude me from rebuying them.

You got rid of books?!? :shock:

I still have every book I bought, although some of them are in storage.


Fortunately, i have my mancave where I bitterly cling to my guns and my religion where I can store my books.
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Re: About Mamelukes
Post by drothgery   » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:02 pm

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Joat42 wrote:
Thunder Child Actual wrote:Dang, to bad you did not post this back in May. My copies of those books got culled in June as I thought with Pournelle's death the series was over and finances/storage space preclude me from rebuying them.

You got rid of books?!? :shock:

I still have every book I bought, although some of them are in storage.


Prior to acquiring my first Kindle in 2010, my books were not in easy to carry, zero-space-consuming electronic formats. And when books have still been in boxes for almost two years, I think you have to face that you're not reading them again ...
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Re: About Mamelukes
Post by bigrunt   » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:31 am

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I had not read this series until I saw these posts. I got halfway through snippet one and had to stop until I read the first 3 books. I am half way through the second one and I am sure I can get by with 4 hours of sleep tonight to get the third one finished by tomorrow.

runsforcelery wrote:I sort of envision this forum as an opportunity for others, like me, who read the books long ago (and for those of you who haven't already read them but find yourselves enticed into doing so), to discuss the original books and how well they have/have not aged over the years.
___________________________________________________________
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Re: About Mamelukes
Post by JimWatson   » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:06 pm

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Great news. I'll probably have to start from scratch so I will recall what is going on.

I think it is wonderful for an established author to ride out another well known writer's work.

But, say, whatever happened to Roland Green? Is he still extant?
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