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Old May 1 2006, 02:44 AM   #1
Becky
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Default Interesting bit on Firelizards

I was going thru my collection and being sure I had everything recorded in my Guide (and taking a picture of me with it for the 40th Anniv!) and happened upon a book I'd bought titled "The John W Campbell Letters Vol 1". I bought this book because it mentions Anne in one way or another and read thru the bits pertaining to her a long time ago and then basically forgot about it, until I re-read it today.
Anne is mentioned in passing in a couple of letters, no big thing, I know, but there is one letter that is entirely about her. What does this have to do with firelizards, you may be thinking about now. Well, I'll get to that in just a bit. This letter is from John to Virginia Kidd March 19, 1970. The first half of the letter is about Anne's troubles with her husband. He writes very nicely about what her (then) husband may have been feeling about her writing successes. The other half of the letter deals with him returning a novel by Anne to Virginia. He says mainly it's because he's got too many other novels already, but that there are a few problems. (I believe it's Dragonquest that he returned, tho the title is never stated in the letter)
He says that she's got too many characters with similar names and it's too hard to keep track of them (even if she provided a score-card, - his words ) And that there is a lack of focus (maybe due to the husband issue?, my thought) He says the only new thing she introduces is the "flame-lizards" and that otherwise it's a "rehash of Dragonrider".
The following is quoted directly from the letter.......
"Couple of technical points:
1. If the Threads burn holes in any organic material - how come the flame-lizards and the grubs eat them.
2. If dragons are derived from flame-lizards - why didn't the ancient breeders retain the Thread-eating ability? (Possible answer: flame-lizards are small and can follow Threads into their burrows, where, obviously, a dragon can't. And they don't eat live Threads - they eat fresh-baked Threads. They don't burn them to ashes, as a dragon does; they just cook them tender!)
3. If the Red Star's atmosphere is so searingly hot - the Threads must be extremely thermophilic organisms. They'd be cooked at home if they weren't. And if they are so thermophilic, they couldn't stand Pern's unbearably fridgid climate.
4. Possible out for the Thread-eating grubs: the grubs have a silicon-rubber like material. Their digestive juices can break down the carbon-metabolism of the Threads a damn sight faster than the Thread's strictly carbon enzymes can work on the grub's tissues. You might have someone find that not even HNO3 would destroy the grub's tissues completely."

I think he comes up with some really good point and it's interesting to think that someone was thinking these same thoughts before the book was even published! Thank goodness changes were made and it did get published! (if it's Dragonquest, which I'm 99.99% sure it is)

So, as to why Kylara says her firelizard ate thread? Maybe that bit got left in by accident? Or maybe the firelizard just baked the Thread and then ate it.

I just thought it would interest some of you all to get this info. I thought it was pretty neat!
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Old May 1 2006, 03:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coelura1
(And they don't eat live Threads - they eat fresh-baked Threads. They don't burn them to ashes, as a dragon does; they just cook them tender!)
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Old May 1 2006, 04:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

WOW, I want to read that whole letter, Becky, Please, Please!

As for the manuscript, I think this might be the Dragonquest manuscript that Anne says was returned with the advice to burn it and start anew? Anne says, she actually did that in her garden and started fresh with a better Dragonquest.

The owner of this letter has a fortune in his hands I think That letter could be sold for several thousands of dollars.
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Old May 1 2006, 08:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

Wow, thanks for sharing this Becky! You know, I have this book but I'm not sure whether I ever read all the bits about Anne in it. At the most I read all the letters to her directly -- I'm sure it never occured to me that other letters could be about her but not to her!

Hmm, it does make you wonder if Campbell read the original DQ or the complete revision after the burning of the first text. With Campbell rejecting it, it would seem that she submitted it to Analog originally, which indicates it may have been shorter than the DQ we know and love.

I was curious as to the date of this letter vs. the publication date of DQ, so I looked it up. The letter is dated Mar 19, 1970. DQ was published in May of 1971. Books are generally published 6-12 months after the first draft is done, so if it was the original DQ that went to Campbell, Anne had to have been fairly quick about rewriting the whole thing.

I was also curious as to how many stories Anne had previously published in Analog, since Campbell said he'd had too many of her others already; the count stands at 5 by that date. And it wasn't until Jul 1973 that she got another one into Analog.

Hans, I can make copies of the letters for you, save Becky the trouble!
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Old May 1 2006, 10:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

That would be wonderful, Charyl. Thank you!
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Old May 1 2006, 11:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

Yes, Cheryl, thank you! You're way ahead of me there, but then you knew right off that Hans would want the info.
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Old May 1 2006, 11:15 AM   #7
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

Cheryl, I also figured this was DQ by it's publication date. But since it was published so soon after this letter was written I wondered if it was something totally different. But then the things he spoke about were so similar to DQ it could be nothing but that book.
And you said there is a section on just Anne in the book? I'll have to check it out! I only went to the Index and looked for her name and found that one letter. So I'll be poking around in that book some more.
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Old May 1 2006, 04:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

I always assumed that Kylara didn't really see the fire-lizard "fly right up to a patch of thread and - eat it!" but that the lizard flamed it and she didn't realize it - since they had only just rediscovered flits and didn't know the golds could flame.
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Old May 2 2006, 02:43 AM   #9
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

I just figured that Kylara was trying to impress everyone and fabricated the whole tale.
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Old May 2 2006, 04:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

And since Anne wrote only that little tidbit about it we can imagine to our heart's desire

Erm... when we leave Todd's idea's out of it of course
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Old May 3 2006, 07:57 PM   #11
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Yes.....
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Old May 3 2006, 11:29 PM   #12
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coelura1
I just figured that Kylara was trying to impress everyone and fabricated the whole tale.
That's exactly what I thought. Kylara was a notorious attention whore. I wouldn't put it past her to make that claim, even if she knew full well that it wasn't true, if it would make people notice her.
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Old May 4 2006, 12:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

Only thing is it doesn't make sense for an attention whore to lie about something like that. Something so unusual and never before experienced, coming from the mouth of such a person is often dismissed--but for her to lie about something as important TO HERSELF as her little queen mini-dragon is too preposterous.

It only points out a possible plot element that Anne likely wanted to write more about and may have changed her mind later and was left in.

Logic would suggest that it was a detail implying that NOT ALL Thread was the dangerous kind. The disection of the ovoids in AtWoP would support this theory as Piemur, Jancis, and Jaxom are seeing all the different organs within the ovoid carcass.
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Old May 5 2006, 10:55 AM   #14
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

Ah, but to me her firelizard wasn't as important as the attention she would get, the only thing more important than attention was Prideth, and that was iffy at times. And this was in the early days of the rediscovery of firelizards. There would not be anyone who could say the queen DIDN'T eat thread. And with the info from John Campbell's letter, it could be that the queen toasted it first then ate it. Pure speculation, but that's part of the fun.
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Old May 6 2006, 12:22 AM   #15
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Hmmm... Her attention to Prideth was very iffy at times, wasn't it?
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Old May 6 2006, 07:22 PM   #16
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

And then she assuaged her own guilt by deciding it was everyone else's fault.
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Old May 8 2006, 04:29 AM   #17
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Like many people I know.
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Old May 9 2006, 12:57 AM   #18
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Default Re: Interesting bit on Firelizards

If anyone is interested in this book and reading the letter, there are several copies available on eBay right now. A couple are even signed by Kelly Freas who did the cover art. http://search.ebay.com/search/search...rclo=&saprchi=
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