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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 12:11 pm:   

A reader in California asks if we can identify these three stories (they're probably books):

1) A long haul trucker on insterstate 10 going west. He meets up with a lady hitchhiker and they head off. A few minutes on the interstate and they approach an offramp he never saw before so they decide to take it. The only thing at the offramp is a man. The man indicates that they have two choices. They can either go back up the ramp and die in a fiery crash. The other alternative is to take a boat ride and help him save his universe. There they find goblins, castles, and other sorts of fantasy fun.

2) A series deals with the different aspects of life. Earth, Death, Heaven, Hell, and the Devil. Death, according to this author, has the job of going to the midpoint between Heaven and Hell and deciding which way the undecideds should go.

3) A fellow makes trips to an arena of some kind. The rich people are constantly wagering on the outcome. As we read the story, we find there are two alternate universes. His, which is all mechanical, and the other, which is all natural. Both sides are afraid someone will try to destroy their lifestyle. Eventually we find out that it isn't destruction that was inevitable but the recombination of the two back to a "normal" way of life.

Any help is welcome.
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ET
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 12:27 pm:   

Hard to fully tell from what's given here, but 3 sounds somewhat like a Piers Anthony series I started reading once (haven't read all of it, so don't know if the ending fits). A quick google search shows it's The Apprentice Adept series and the first novel is Split Infinity.
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Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 12:35 pm:   

2. is very vague and I am sure many fit that basic description. It sounds slightly off but pretty close to "On a Pale Horse" by Piers Anthony It is the first in a series, starting with Death incarnate. I believe the next is Time incarnate then Fate and a few others but I forget whom.

Not sure that this was helpful but it was a fairly good series when I originally read it. Of course it might be it.

-Pat M.
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Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 12:37 pm:   

Wow, what timing and both piers anthony... Hmmm, maybe we are on to something. I never read the Adept series but I read a lot of his other work.
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 07:30 pm:   

Gordon --

The first book listed which your California reader is inquiring about, is; "The River of Dancing Gods", by Jack L(aurence) Chalker (1944 - ), the first of five books in the "Dancing Gods" series, which was published in 1984, and the last book ("Horrors of the Dancing Gods"), published in 1995.

I have listed below, each title in this series by Jack L. Chalker, and year in which they were first published;

Dancing Gods series

1. The River of Dancing Gods (1984)
2. Demons of the Dancing Gods (1984)
3. Vengeance of the Dancing Gods (1985)
4. Songs of the Dancing Gods (1990)
5. Horrors of the Dancing Gods (1995)

As a special bonus, for everyone's reading enjoyment, I have included the following link found at "Del Rey Books", which is a sample chapter from the reissued (1995), two-books-in-one "The Dancing Gods: Book One", by Jack L. Chalker.

"THE DANCING GODS: BOOK ONE, by Jack L. Chalker" http://www.randomhouse.com/delrey/sample/dancinggodsone.html

Here, too, is author Jack L. Chalker's web site, for those who may be interested;

"The Official Web Site of Jack L. Chalker" http://www.jackchalker.com

I just got home about an hour ago, did a search on the title and author of this book in question, and haven't had the opportunity to check out the other two books yet, which I have planned. But, I'm willing to bet, that both ET and Pat are right on the money with their replies. ;-)
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 08:20 pm:   

Here is my answer for the number two book in question;

Pick your poison! ;-)

"ArmageddenMUSH Recommended Reading/Viewing" http://www.trailing-edge.com/~cchang/arm/arm-books.html

Actually, I think it may be "The Damiano trilogy" of books, by Ms. R.A. MacAvoy, which your California reader is seeking.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 11:06 pm:   

Can anyone identify the reader in California based on the three titles he or she could not remember?
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 11:55 pm:   

Sorry, Sam, don't look to me.
I just came back to call for time out, for the night. I'm stumped on that third book title and author. Can't find anything on it anywhere. Maybe I'll throw in the towel altogether on this puppy. It's a tough one.

Hey, Sam, you can fill in for me while I take a break. Hokay? ;-)

A high-five to you, pal, on your sell!
Congratulations, Sam! ;-)
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ET
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 12:52 am:   

Pat, after thinking of '3', I thought that '2' might be that Incarnations of Immortality series (I was reminded of it when I've searched for the other one, and I'd also read part of this one), but on second thought it didn't seem like an exact fit.

I'm not sure about '3', either, since it's technological vs. magical, not technological vs. natural (and hey, isn't technology natural?), but the rest seems to fit.
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Pat M.
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 05:50 am:   

ET - I thought Incarnations of Immortality was a stretch. Death, according to this author, has the job of going to the midpoint between Heaven and Hell and deciding which way the undecideds should go sounds exactly like it but the rest...Well, it's been 12-14 years since I read it. I've been considering reading Split Infinity for a while. I'm not sure though. I recently re-read "A Spell for Chameleon" and wasn't as enamored with it as I was the first time I read it.

Let me give props to Alan, who either has incredible knowledge or research time and skills...I'd love to see the Google Query...

Sam, It sounds an awful lot like "William" but it could be "Eric" or "Tina" too. Maybe if Gordon could provide another 3-6 titles that the reader in California has read. It's a dead on match for "Chris" except Chris lives in New Mexico... :-)
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 02:17 pm:   

Sam, the reader in California is probably not anyone you'd recognize. He's just an F&SF reader who doesn't have access to the Web on account of being incarcerated. I'm going to print out this thread and mail it to him. Thanks for all the input, ET, Pat, and Alan.
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ET
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 03:12 pm:   

I don't remember loving A Spell for Chameleon that much. I did read a lot of Piers Anthony. Some of his stuff is decent. I liked On a Pale Horse (don't know what I'd think about it if I read it again), but the series became worse as it went on. Although nothing is as bad as Tarot, where it seems he deliberately tried to offend as many people as possible.
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 06:35 pm:   

Pat --

The meticulous system that I have perfected, which I utilize to gather up information on a particular subject, is a trade secret. I can only say that I use an unimaginable amount of resources at my disposal, including that of my own (incredible) wisdom. I hate to brag, but I can honestly say to you that I'm very good at finding things.

Last night was one of those rare moments, in which I spent a little over 3/ straight, frustrating hours, attempting to find information on that third book mentioned (title and author), but without any success. I use up a lot of energy when I search, and have to admit that I had one helluva splitting headache afterwards.

I wanted to confirm ET's answer for that third book in question, but just couldn't. This evening, since I've been home, I found a few clues which help support his answers for the "The Apprentice Adept" book series . But, still, I'm not entirely sure if those are the correct ones. I confess, I have not read those books by Piers Anthony.

But, headaches or not, it was a pleasure for me to be of help here. ;-)
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JJA
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 08:16 pm:   

May I ask what you do for a living, Alan? Seems like you should be able to make money using that skill, somehow.
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 10:00 pm:   

John --

I make my living as a landscaper for a large nursery, that I've been working for, for over fifteen years.
Before that, I was in the warehousing business, on a military base (Air Force) which was unfortunately shut down due to cut-backs. I had been working there, ever since I was discharged from the US Navy in 1976.

I have thought about what you said, many times, but I don't think I could stand working at a desk for a 9 to 5 job. I need to be moving physically when working with my hands, otherwise I wouldn't be worth a darn.

I've even thought about becoming a writer, which some people have told me over the years I should, because I have a very creative mind. But, nah, not right now, anyway. I'd rather be outdoors.

Maybe someday, John, I'll heed your sound advice. But, for now, I'm pretty happy doing what I do.

Thanks, for asking, John!
I just want to say that I really admire you for all of your very hard work that you do, and continue to do in your profession. The results show, and are absolutely outstanding, pal. ;-)
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 06:00 pm:   

(A continuation of the last part of my message to John)

...But, John, that doesn't mean you should maybe think about opening up a shop at CafePress.com selling custom JJA gear; apparel, accessories, and lots more, with your likeness emblazoned on every damn thing!
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JJA
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 08:11 pm:   

Alan --

Thanks for the post. Speaking of Navy -- While I was on vacation, I walked around the Washington Naval Yard, where my buddy works. Got to see the naval museum they had there. Pretty cool stuff.

As far as a CafePress shop goes... I don't know what I could possibly sell. T-shirts with pictures of *me* on it? Why would anyone want such a thing?

Now, if I had a nice holy symbol which signified the slush god, that would be something. Then all my worshippers could walk around cons wearing them...
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 01:30 am:   

John --

Perhaps you can get an artist to draw up an animated character likeness of yourself sitting at your desk in the offices of the F&SF Headquarters, all decked out looking like a holy God of terrifying thunder (nameplate seen on your desk reading, "The Slush God", included in the scene), a stack of manuscripts seen in front of you, with you holding up two enormous rubber stamps in each hand, both dripping profusely in green and red ink each, one reading "ACCEPT", and the other reading "REJECT". And, the words printed across the bottom of this scene reading; "Go ahead, make my day!" ;-)

After I graduated from boot camp in early 1972, I was sent to New York where I spent a year and a half, stationed aboard the Navy Reserve destroyer, USS Dyess (DDr-880), which was homeported at the old Brooklyn Naval Shipyards. I really loved it there, too! Saw practically everything that both New York and New Jersey had to offer back then. I have an aunt (my mom's sister), who lives in South Plains, NJ.

If you ever see the movie "Shafts Big Score" (1972), look very carefully in the last 15 minutes of the film, and you will see the "Steamin' Demon", as she (the Dyess) was nicknamed, and all of us squids jumping up and down and waving at the camera while we had to remain on that tin can during the filming of those scenes.

Man, I really miss my buddy's on that boat, and all of them great ol' days we had together in New York City.
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ET
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 05:13 am:   

John, you could have T-shirts with "Didn't grab me" and "Didn't hold my interest", and once they're well known enough add the lewd versions "Grab me" and "Hold my ..."
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Adam-Troy@sff.net
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 07:50 am:   

The first book is definitely Jack Chalker, but NOT the River of Dancing Gods. I know, because I read the book but cannot recall its title.
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 07:50 pm:   

First things, first.

Although it is completey off topic for this thread, I'd like to make a correction to the above post which I made very early this morning.

That should read; "I have an aunt (my mom's sister) who lives in South Plainfield, NJ."

What happened, was that I fell asleep in my chair last night while reading "The Secret of Terror Castle", the first book in the series of "The Three Investigators", by Robert Arthur for young readers (Hey, who cares how old one is, who wishes to read them!), which I picked up at my library yesterday after work, along with all the other books I had ordered through the Interlibrary Loan System. When I awoke, it was after 1:00 am in the morning. Rather than go hit the sack after that, like I should have, I logged onto the Internet and came here to read any new posts which might have been made after my earlier one to John. After reading his latest, I decided to reply to it. I reckon I was half asleep when I did.

I haven't a clue as to what made me type South Plains, NJ.

Okay, now, Adam-Troy, did you not read that sample chapter of the reissued book "The Dancing Gods: Book One", by Jack L. Chalker, which I had included a link to in my above post? It is from the first book "The River of Dancing Gods" (The first two books of the series, were bound into this one).
All of the exact beginning details are found in that chapter which that California reader is seeking, except of course, for the boat ride, goblins, castles, and other sorts of fantasy fun. But, common sense can tell you that those things are bound to come, sooner or later in these writings! And, if not in that book, then, the next one, or one after that, in Chalker's "Dancing Gods" series.
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ET
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 04:05 am:   

John, just saw the Slush God Holy Symbol. That's great! You could definite sell that (with Mr. Tolbert's permission, of course).
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Pat M.
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:56 am:   

Slush God Symbol




For those who don't occasionally browse to JJA's site.

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JJA
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 08:14 pm:   

By popular demand, you can now buy Slush God gear at http://www.cafepress.com/slushgod.
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ET
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 12:01 am:   

"Slush God Classic Thong"! Imagine John wearing that while reading slush. :-)

Let us know how well this stuff sells.
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JJA
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 04:24 am:   

Ugh, ET, why would you even joke about such a thing. Come on man, those are for the ladies!
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Pat M.
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 09:11 am:   

Is it possible for you to add text to the Shirts? Since the aspiring often talk of rejections as trophies, how about
"I got Rejected BY: (Logo)"

or ET's suggestions above as well.
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ET
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 03:14 pm:   

Sorry, John, about that nasty image.
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 10:00 pm:   

ET --

I wouldn't worry about it, too much.
But the frightening thought for such apparel to be worn by all of us guys does occur.

We men (and ladies, too) must realize, that the day will come when we have reached that ripe old age, and our now healthy bodies have changed to our total disappointment, things will be all shriveled up, for maybe the need of such an item.


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Luke
Posted on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 09:51 am:   

Since people are already wracking their brains I was wondering if anyone is familiar with this one:

A plane crashes in some South or Central American country. The evil dictator makes the protagonist play chess on a life sized chessboard using his family for pieces.

Or was that just an odd dream I had?
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Adam-Troy
Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:50 am:   

I'm sorry, I think not. My memory insists that the plot described was a stand-alone novel. Indeed, I remember several of the worlds visited therein.
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 07:05 pm:   

Adam-Troy, I believe you! Yes, most certainly! Really, I do!


Hey, I've got it! We can both be right!
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 01:56 pm:   

That reader in California sent me a note to say thanks to everyone for identifying the books. #1 was indeed Jack Chalker's DANCING GODS series, #2 was Piers Anthony's INCARNATIONS OF IMMORTALITY, and #3 was THE APPRENTIC ADEPT.

So thank you all for reuniting a reader with these books.

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