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Author Topic: "The Sky Pirate", by Garrett P. Serviss - help bring it back  (Read 503 times)
oldskoolpunk
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« on: November 03, 2016, 08:17:49 am »

In 1911, Garrett P. Serviss published "The Sky Pirate", a novel with airships, pirates, and other fun steampunk features. It was published not as a book, but as a serial in newspapers. No one has ever collected the work into book form. Until now.

Read Chapter I

Serviss was the author of "Edison's Conquest of Mars", which was intended as a sequel to H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds". This is a classic of early pulp SF. Serviss was an astronomer, not a writer, so his science isn't bad, but his romances and dialogue... Well, you'll see.

I've set up the text for editing as if it were source code, on Github.  Here's the project on Github.

Because this is a work in progress, it's set up for editing, not easy reading.  If you want to read later chapters, use https://github.com/John-Nagle/Sky-Pirate/blob/master/src/chapter01.odt?raw=true, changing the chapter number as needed. You'll need OpenOffice or LibreOffice to read the files past Chapter 1. Chapters 1-7, of 20, are available. 

If you'd like to help convert more chapters, please let me know. They're available from the Library of Congress, in two forms - giant images of entire newspaper pages of the El Paso Herald in .jp2 format, and text generated via OCR of entire newspaper pages.  Converting each chapter is about two hours of work. I'm a bit busy right now to spend much time on this, so I'm asking others in steampunk to help.

You first have to find the images of the right pages. The El Paso Herald used this story as filler; there's about one chapter per day, but it was cut to fit, and chapters and days don't line up. Then you extract the correct blocks of text from the OCR text, which will have everything on that newspaper page, including garbled versions of ad headlines. The text then needs to be cleaned up, looking at the images of the newspaper pages. You have to insert line breaks and join lines; the OCR system doesn't understand newspaper layout. Finally, each chapter is put into OpenOffice or LibreOffice. Then make a Github pull request to add the new chapter file, and I'll allow that and it will upload. Or just email me the file at "nagle@aetherltd.com". Anyone interested?

When this is all done, I'll submit the text to Project Gutenberg. It's over a century old and the copyright expired long ago, so it's public domain now.

 




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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2016, 01:12:11 am »

Interest in this seems very low. Is it worth converting chapters 8-20?
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RJBowman
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2016, 12:13:28 am »

There was a newspaper comic strip called "The Airship Man"; it ran for a couple of years, and was cancelled around the time of the Wright Brothers first flight. I've seen one strip reproduced in once of Maurice Horne's comic encyclopedias, but other than that. it's never been reprinted. The one strip in the Maurice Horn book features air pirates. If I had a source for copies of the strips, I might publish them myself as a print-on-demand book.

Addendum
I followed the above link to the Library of Congress archives and searched the archives for The Airplane Man. I didn't find it, but I did find another comic strip featuring an airship. This link will take you to it:
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085421/1904-10-29/ed-1/seq-11/#date1=1789&index=1&rows=20&words=airship+man&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=&date2=1922&proxtext=the+airship+man&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1

Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2016, 12:36:38 am by RJBowman » Logged
Kensington Locke
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2016, 07:31:57 pm »

I can't imagine using a programmer's tool for document management.  Though obviously, it gives you change control tracking.

If I was doing it, I would probably just use Google Docs and share files with key individuals.  But that's how I do my writing projects. Which I'm deep in the middle of.

I wouldn't say there's no interest, but perhaps the right person hasn't seen this yet, or folks just don't have the time.  Me thinks this is a labor of love, which might culminate in an e-book or something.

Just be patient.  A real book takes time to produce.  So will this.

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RJBowman
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2016, 08:02:31 pm »

There is a publisher that has been releasing English translations of a French pulp series called "The Nyctalope" and I've purchased other little-known early science fiction works in new editions. I'm sure that if a decent digital text were available you could find some kind of outlet to publish "The Sky Pirate".
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