Fast Forward 2: original sf from the cutting edge, including "True Names," a novella by Benjamin Rosenbaum and me!


19 Responses to “Fast Forward 2: original sf from the cutting edge, including "True Names," a novella by Benjamin Rosenbaum and me!”

  1. Matt Katz says:

    #7 – that’s .txt for ya.

  2. ralsina says:

    Using pdftohtml was not so successful. It kept some italics, but some things got merged into single words, and not all formatting was kept.

    It also has more cruft:

    It’s probably easier to edit txt version than this one.

  3. mcmikedermott says:

    Here is a MS Word version – again, no italics, but most of the other formatting and section breaks:

  4. Avram says:

    Charles Platt @15, I’d presume it wasn’t accidental at all. Cory’s also written a story called “I, Robot”. And then there are “I, Row-boat” and “Anda’s Game”, which play with well-known SF titles rather than reusing them exactly.

  5. mcmikedermott says:

    …and for what it is worth – when I open the original PDF, I get an error about missing embedded fonts, and I don’t see any italics anyway…
    I’d never have know they were there, except for the comments above.

  6. ralsina says:

    My HTML conversion has them, it’s just that it also has all the annoying header/footers.

    I’ll try producing a cleaned-up version later today.

  7. arbitraryaardvark says:

    I think you mean “taut”.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Re:Turning pdf to ASCII. I’ve done that several times.
    Adobe Acrobat have an OCR function that’s more or less workable.
    And I suppose that you can find better OCR programs out there if you look.
    Good Luck!

  9. mcmikedermott says:

    And again, for what it is worth: an HTML version based on the MSWord version.

  10. Bloo says:

    Adobe Reader Pro (sorry, don’t have it) can ‘Save As’ RTF. It shows up in the About.. help for Plug-ins in the standard reader, but it will only Save As .txt unless you have the Pro version.

  11. shiva7663 says:

    It sounds like this True Names is quite a bit different from the Vernor Vinge novella of the same name.

  12. Anonymous says:

    what about uploading the pdf to scribd, and allowing them to do the automatic conversion to txt? it might not be the best solution, but is quite fast.

  13. Cory Doctorow says:

    Thanks for all the conversions — but we really need to preserve the italics!

  14. ralsina says:

    Here you go. I used pdftotxt and some sed magic(hey, I’m a linux guy) to clean it up:

    There are some minor issues but nothing a couple of hours of manual editing won’t fix, and it’s in “one-loooong-line-per-paragraph” format, so enable word wrapping in whatever you use to read it.

    I will only keep it there for a few days, so take it while you can ;-)

  15. cnawan says:

    Would ‘pdftohtml’ not do it for you? That, and the similar ‘pdftotext’ have been handy for me in the past – they’re in the Ubuntu repositories.

    Unless the pdf is made of images of text, in which case, do shout the name of the best open OCR solution nice and loud when you find one – I’d like a local alternative to evernote.

  16. cnawan says:

    Pff. It’s almost not worth playing these games. ;) You just know that while you’re typing, some geek a couple of levels higher than you is going one better.
    Ralsina, I tip my Darth Vader helmet to you. (not that I have a Darth Vader helmet, but, y’know)

  17. pgt says:

    I agree with Charles Platt. Vinge’s 1981 novella held the first appearance of what we now call the Internet in SF, written by someone who had actual Arpanet experience. It is an important work in the field, foreshadowing cyberpunk.

    Homage and reference is one thing. Confusing duplication another. Why not “Turing Names” or something like that?

    I’ve downloaded the mp3, and look forward to listening to it. But I hate the title.


  18. charlesplatt says:

    The (presumably, accidental) recycling of a title first used by Vernor Vinge is unfortunate, especially since Vernor’s work was likewise shorter than normal novel length, and was a very important predictor of shared virtual reality. Not quite as awkward as naming a novel something like “Schismatrix,” but, close. Unless the new novella is intended as a tribute of some kind?

  19. Cory Doctorow says:

    Ralsina! That’s fantastic, but it’s stripped out all the italics!

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