Frequently Asked Questions


Toggle answer When did you start this site?
  I don't have an "official" start for the site.
  I do recall that the site was up and running prior to September 1st, 1999, but at that time, it was really more of a work-in-progress than a polished site. That is why I specify August 1999 in the site header.
  In true geek fashion, I've always mused about claiming September 13th, 1999 as the official start date.

Toggle answer Why did you start this site?
  Because Jim Baen was a Sick-Assed Bastard!
  Now… I've always said that in the fondest of ways!
  
  Back in the summer of '99, Jim Baen was looking for new and exciting ways to promote his upcoming releases. He hit upon the idea of copying a thousand or so words from the manuscript for A Civil Campaign and pasting them into posts on Baen's Bar in random message threads. Every few days, the next block of text would be posted. The fans of the series eagerly awaited the hunt for the next randomly-posted snippet.
  I was lucky enough to have missed all of that.
  On the other hand, I was a member of the Bar when Jim started getting more creative with some of the snippet posts for Ashes of Victory.
  Legend states that we got the entire book posted at one point where all of the words had been alphabetically sorted. Another post had the book - minus the actual text - all punctuation and spacing was reported to be intact.
  That's much of the reason why Arnold Bailey is affectionately referred to as 'Evil Henchman'.
  By the time chapter three of the book was snipping, I was hunting down the randomly deposited pieces on the Bar and getting mighty tired of it. Even worse, I discovered that while Jim was posting the snippets in neat, well-contained pieces, the flow of the chapter, in my opinion, was being broken up badly.
  My solution was to collect them in one place where I could read the chapters at one sitting. I figured one or two other people might also find collecting them together might be handy, so I published them on a web server in my basement office.
  Never did I dream that traffic would spike up to several hundred visitors daily, with the current average (October 2009) running to more than 2000 unique visitors to the site each day.

Toggle answer Where did you get the name for this site?
  The site's primary tag 'Collected Driblets of Baen: A Frankly Promotional Endeavor…' was suggested to me by Jim Baen, himself, in an email exchange we had when I first started the site.
  
  Many of the other names used on this site will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has read David Weber's series Empire from the Ashes, which starts with the volume Mutineer's Moon.
  The name 'Dahak' was taken from Babylonian myth and used as the name for the self-aware central command computer of the Imperial ship-of-the-line Dahak in Mutineer's Moon.
  The name 'Jiltanith' was taken from one of the major characters from the same book, Mutineer's Moon.
  The term 'The Fifth Imperium' was taken from the name of the new human-led empire which flourishes after the events of Mutineer's Moon, The Armageddon Inheritance and Heirs of Empire.
  
  In an example of perfect 20/20 hindsight, it would have been much better to have chosen a shorter name from the series to be the fully-resolved name of the site's sub-domain name.
  I chose the domain 'thefifthimperium.com' primarily because I thought it would be neat to have email addressed to my accounts in the fashion of 'account@thefifthimperium.com'. Sounding out the commercial-at symbol simple as 'at' made selecting the 'the' part of the domain name a good idea, at the time.
  Not anticipating the number of people who might actually use the site, I then made what I have long-since felt was a really bad decision to create the snippet site's subdomain name as 'jiltanith'. That character's name is, I believe, the longest given name in the series (unless you want to stretch things with 'Colinfrancismacintyre-Jil').
  If I could do it all over again, I'd probably have named the site after Anu.

Toggle answer What are 'snippets'?
  Snippets are advertising for new books.
  
  In 1999, Jim Baen hit upon an effective way to drum up interest in his upcoming releases.
  He discovered that fans of an author's work would be eager to see even tiny extracts from an author's soon-to-be-released work.
  By taking an early, unproofed copy of the manuscript, he could post to Baen's Bar small pieces of an unreleased work in serial fashion and the fans would eagerly await… no, beg for more.
  This was on the heels of the Echoes of Honor 'hacking' of the slowly released preview sample chapters.

Toggle answer Where do you get the snippets?
  Primarily, I get them from the Baen's Bar web forum maintained by Baen Publishing Enterprises.
  Most snippets are posted by an author, or someone he designates, to various forums on the Bar.
  The helter-skelter, scattershot posting of the early days has given way primarily to posts now being made in the author's own forum, or a designated forum if he does not have his own.
  Eric Flint has normalized the early random-posting to a machine-like system: he posts them now on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule to his own web site and a Loyal Minion reposts it to the Bar. The regularity of this system has actually resulted in a Pavlovian response from the regulars, always looking for that next hit.
  If the snippets are available from a non-Baen server, I tend to go to the remote site as a source for my own re-posts, since those tend to better preserve the formatting markups from the original novel.
  Many times I get them straight from the Bar.
  I also regularly include a few non-Baen authors and the occassional request by an author is made directly to me. In those cases, I either raid their own web site for the material, or they email it directly to me.

Toggle answer Is the snippet collecting automatic?
  No.
  I manually go to the Bar or author's site and stea… collect each new snippet as I am made aware of them.
  I actually did have an automated script that scraped Eric Flint's Rivers of War site, since those snippets were stored in a primarily standardized manner.
  Otherwise, it's all done by hand.

Toggle answer Do you edit the snippets?
  No*.
  
  * OK, there is an asterisk on this one.
  I do edit the snippets I collect, but only for formatting, not for content.
  I could simply copy and paste the text, unedited, directly to a page on this site. This would save me a ton of time, actually. Unfortuately, many of the snippets would then be so poorly formatted as to be nearly unreadable due to browser-related linefeed issues. Many snippets would show up as one, long run-on sentence.
  Since I manually download the snippets from their sources, I take the time to clean up the formatting. For most snippets, this is no more taxing than one or two search-and-replace actions. I also replace the common scene breaks used and insert a centered horizontal rule to make it look a little better. Some authors go scene-crazy and seem to have scene-breaks after every other paragraph (I'm looking at you Flint!). It can get kind of old, after a while. Especially when a lot of books are snipping together.

Toggle answer Do you get an author's permission to collect the snippets?
  When Jim Baen first started things, he made it clear that the snippets were advertising. Rightly or wrongly, that has been interpretted as giving blanket permission to reuse the material as further advertising. Jim knew all about this site and the site's long-time tag-line, 'Collected Driblets of Baen: A Frankly Promotional Endeavor' was suggested by him in an email. (He actually used the term 'Collected Snippets', but, as you can see, I changed it minutely.)
  Baen's current publisher knows me well enough to spot me trying to sneak quietly into the back of large conference rooms and call me out.
  For my site's use, I prefer to also have the author's permission and, when asked, most have gladly given me permission to repost their material here.
  Some authors have contacted me directly, requesting snippetting. This is how a few of the non-Baen titles have made their appearance.

Toggle answer What else do you do with the snippets?
  Since the very beginning, I have been known to post my 'Comments from the Peanut Gallery' that are appended to the bottom of each snippet chapter. I don't do so on a regular basis anymore, but should I find a continuity error or spot something that strikes me as particularly amusing or ludicrous, I'll add a comment.

Toggle answer Do you work for Baen?
  No.

Toggle answer What's with the comics?
  The comic samples I put on the home page are, in effect, simply more snippets.
  These are snippets of comics that I enjoy, like Schlock Mercenary, Sluggy Freelance and Vexxarr. Howard Tayler, Pete Abrams and Hunter Cressall have all graciously granted me permission to 'snippet' their comics and repost them on my site.
  Each comic links back to the original strip from which it was extracted.

Toggle answer What's with some of the index page colors?
  The color I choose for a new collection's index page is not quite random.
  I set the color in the initial collection configuration file when I first make a collection directory.
  Sometimes, the colors can be… odd, or even eye-searingly bad.
  When I do that, I do so deliberately.
  As an example, I collect the John Ringo books here. John tends to write rather manly, red-meat types of stories and characters. As a bit of a running joke, I usually try to select a lighter, pastel color: something decidely "unmanly."

Toggle answer What's with section border colors?
  The site's default setting includes putting a colored border around the main sections of the page (which can be turned off through the use of a cookie or a URL parameter).
  When I was first contemplating a site re-write, I decided that I wanted section borders, but I couldn't decide what color to use.
  During that time frame, whenever I ran across a color I liked as a border, I'd add it to an array from which the development site would select randomly.
  After dithering about it for a while, I came to the realization that leaving the system to randomly select the border color was an effect that I liked.
  While the border color is selected randomly, the palette from which it selects is rather narrow, with only ten values as I type this.

Toggle answer What are those counters for and why do they vary so widely?
  The origin of this site dates back to the summer of 1999 and I was a complete newbie to the whole web site scene.
  Like many newbies, at that time, I thought having a hit counter on my pages was a great idea - the more hits there were, the more it validated my effort.
  Like many, I grew tired of the whole hit counter thing.
  They'd been a part of my site since the beginning, so I've kept them on because of historical reasons (and because it doesn't require any effort on my part to include them).
  The numbers often don't make sense due to the manner in how the snippets are released and how they are viewed.
  As a rule-of-thumb, most chapters are released as two-to-four pieces, requiring a reader to revisit a page when new material is added.
  Sometimes an author may release a chapter as One Big Snippet. As a rule, this means that most readers would only visit that chapter page once, thus artificially depressing the page total.
  Sometimes an author may release a chapter in many pieces - I've seen chapters reach ten pieces. This means that readers who visit as each piece is released will hit the page multiple times, artificially inflating the page total.
  The snippets are also available through several varieties of RSS feed, which are not directly recorded in the hit counters, since they never actually hit the chapter page.
  Basically, they boil down to being pretty numbers that fill in blank areas on the page.

Toggle answer What's with the chapter watermark image?
  Most people familiar with David Weber's works are aware that at one time, ADV Pro was working on an animated version of David's Mutineer's Moon. (The current status of ADV Pro seems rather muddled after the implosion of AD Vision and the status of the Mutineer's Moon project is unknown.)
  During pre-production, ADV Pro produced quite a bit of concept art, among which was the three-headed dragon unit ensign they designed for the Imperial ship-of-the-line Dahak that appeared as a background to many of their images.
  I really liked the design, so I decided to ste... pay homage to it by using it on my own Weber-related site.
  I once asked David that if ADV ever decided to sue me, could he put in a good word for me. He didn't answer me directly, probably for what are sound legal reasons, but primarily because my question launched him onto a long-winded extremely detailed tangent from which he never returned.
  The basic image was not found in its entirety on the (now defunct) mutineersmoon.com website, but I was able to take one graduated background image, enhance it, outline it, then adjust such things as the two sideways-facing heads and the Imperial starburst between its paws to be more to my liking.

Toggle answer How do you pay for this site?
  I have two ways to pay for my site, neither of which require any extra action by any visitors.
  
  1) Google Ads.
  By placing the ads on my site, I get a fraction of a cent for every time the ad is served up to a visitor. The ads are context-sensitive, so the results you get might be fairly unusual.
  With David Weber's Safehold series, I've seen ads served to allow people to buy actual patents of nobility.
  With David Drake's RCN series, I've seen ads for 'torpedo and ordnance handling equipment' come up. (I had to click on that one. It was a Florida company dealing with naval-support equipment.)
  If you click on any of the links provided, I get an extra click-through bonus.
  The more ad impressions served, the more I earn, albeit slowly (impressions can range from 2000-6000 on an average day).
  The more clicks you make on the served ads, the more I earn, at a slightly faster rate (click-throughs can range from 0 to 10, or so, for an average day).
  
  2) Amazon Associates links.
  For most story samples, I have links to the books as they are available via Amazon.com.
  What these links do, is once you click on any Amazon link on my site, everything you buy in that ordering session is tagged with my site's reference. You don't even need to buy the item that you linked through to.
  If I recall correctly, the site tag is active until: A) you complete the purchase, B) it expires in 24 hours, or C) you click through someone else's affiliate link, at which time, everything in your cart reverts to the newer affiliate tag.
  The beauty of this approach is that anything you buy through those links goes to support my site and you don't have to pay any more for your item - the referral bonus comes out of Amazon's profits as a bonus, to me, for sending a customer their way. (I always refer to this as my 'profit-skimming' operation.)
  So... planning on buying a big-screen HD TV through Amazon.com and you like my site? Feel free to click on the Amazon links on any of the books here and spend away! (I once did see that someone made just such a purchase through one of my links - thanks, whoever you were!)
  
  Between the two methods, I easily cover the modest financial costs involved in hosting my two primary sites. I could probably double the income by including ads on the CD site, but 1) I don't need to and 2) to me it violates the spirit of the 'Copy But Don't Sell' motto of the CDs.
  
  The 'costs' for the site are primarily my time involved in its upkeep, not the financial costs for the hosting services.
  
  I've also seen people set up Amazon Wish Lists so that site supporters could buy items directly for the person building the list. I never really considered something like that seriously. It smells too much like asking for a handout.

Toggle answer There's someone named 'Joe Buckley' who keeps getting abused and/or killed in recent books, any relation?
  Yes. That would be me.
  It's not directly related to what I do here.
  
  David Weber did it first, but John Ringo turned it into a cottage industry.

Toggle answer What's the real story on why you've been Tuckerized?
  I'm writing this now, because I just finished reading an old review of a Baen book which goes into Yet Another (Incorrect) Version of why this happens.
  Like I said above, David Weber did it first, but John Ringo turned it into a cottage industry.
  
  Back in the '98-'99 timeframe, I wrote a couple of small Visual BASIC applications for my own entertainment - a date converter and an intercept calculator for use with David Weber's Honor Harrington series. David was nice enough to give me input on how they should work and I gave him copies of the programs. Later, just after I started this site, when Ashes of Victory was in the early days of being snippeted, I got an email from David with the most lovely attachment: a copy of the manuscript for Ashes of Victory with the notation that he'd named a character after me. Of course, my character had zero lines of dialog, that rat!
  I continued collecting the snippets, because I didn't want anyone to know that I had a copy so early.
  It was this first exposure to an early draft which lead me to appreciate how a book develops: how scenes and 'color' detail get added to more fully realize the story.
  As to the whole story about being involved with David in a game or tournament of cutthroat spades, I had nothing to do with that. The rest of the unfortunate crew of HMLAC Cutthroat, now, they were pretty much the target of David's literary wrath. It seems that David then decided that this was a golden opprtunity to add my name to the casualty list! (As I usually tell the story, David killed off the rest of the crew of Cutthroat just to get at me.)
  At about this same time, I was also conversing with Baen's newest author, John Ringo.
  John offered to let me read the manuscripts for A Hymn Before Battle and its sequel, Gust Front. A Hymn Before Battle was well on its way to publication and Gust Front was in the early stages of the publishing pipeline.
  What I then did was something that quickly developed into a habbit: I would load the stories into my Rocket eBook reader External link and use its notation ability to point out typoes, continuity errors and general questions about some minor points I noticed.
  I don't recall ever giving him advice on how to write something, along the lines of "Gee… this scene would work so much better from the younger Billy-Bob's perspective." Mainly typoes and continuity errors with a small smattering of "What the heck is this supposed to mean, since you said that several chapters ago?"
  John never asked me for it. I just thought it would make life a little bit easier on John and his proofreaders if he could hammer out the small stuff before he turned in the manuscript.
  He never told me to stop, either.
  So it became an automatic action on my part.
  Then came John's collaboration with David Weber on March Upcountry.
  The first copy of that I ever saw was under five chapters after a late-night AIM chat on space warfare tactics (in reference to the early loss of the DeGlopper).
  We quickly got into the habit of John's sending me the manuscript after he'd added a few more chapters to it.
  I'd read and read and reread the same things from the begining and do my notation bit. I figure that by the end, I'd read parts of the book close to twenty times.
  Sensibly, John was adding new material to the book and not bothering to go back and correct the small-fry issues that I kept pointing out to him.
  Now, we have the book getting longer and longer and my list of questions, comments and typoes was getting longer each time.
  By the time the story reached just past the point where John and David stopped the book (the first major event in what became March to the Sea), my list of uncorrected items was getting long.
  It turns out that my Rocket eBook reader's capacity for notations on a single title was only two hundred notes - I hit that before the end of the book! But I soon discovered that while the number of notes had a fixed limit, the number of items I could simply underline seemed to be effectively unlimited.
  So the small-fry issues, like typoes, that are pretty obvious once pointed to, would get underlined, saving the limited notes for things that required some sort of questioning or explaination.
  That week, John got a big list attached to his email. (To be fair, I trimmed it before sending, so I don't believe the total of all points was over two hundred.)
  I heard later that John's groan could be heard throughout the house. "What'd Joe do this time?" was how I heard the reaction to the groan phrased.
  John saw the list. Got annoyed (honestly, we never really talked about it, but I think it was more in amusement, than anger), decided that Something Must Be Done and fired up his word processor and changed the name of the character 'Peterson' in Gust Front (the unnamed 'Lefty' in A Hymn Before Battle) to 'Buckley.'
  People took notice of how 'Lefty's Bad Day' in A Hymn Before Battle got so much worse in Gust Front and decided that I must have done something really horrible to John to deserve that sort of treatment.
  People were also greatly amused with the whole concept.
  Things really went off the rails with 1634: The Galileo Affair by Eric Flint and Andrew Dennis. I remember Eric dropping broad hints that something was in store for 'me' in the story. He was actually rubbing his hands with glee and cackling like some B-movie, moustache-twirling villian as he dropped his hints.
  At that point, the meme had taken on a life of its own.
  
  So… that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
  
  David Weber did it first. John Ringo industrialized it.

Toggle answer What books have had an appearance by a 'Joe Buckley'?
  Known appearances:
  
  Ashes of Victory, by David Weber, March 2000. Tactical Officer of HMLAC Cutthroat. KIA.
  
  Mission of Honor, by David Weber, June 2010. Lovingly introduces Dr. Joseph Buckley and the concept of the 'Buckley Curse'. KIA. (Depending on how you count, as many as six KIAs.)
  
  A Hymn Before Battle, by John Ringo, August 2000. Unnamed chew-toy character introduced. WIA.
  Gust Front, by John Ringo, April 2001. Chew-toy character is named and the really bad day he had in A Hymn Before Battle gets worse. WIA.
  When The Devil Dances, by John Ringo, April 2002. Same guy, bloody end. KIA.
  
  Cally's War, by John Ringo and Julie Cochrane, October 2004. Recorded personality of the chew-toy from A Hymn Before Battle used as the operating system overlay for Cally's PDA. Gets unstable at high operating rates and often needs 'resetting.' KIA… KIA… KIA… KIA…
  Sister Time, by John Ringo and Julie Cochrane, December 2007. Ibid.
  Honor of the Clan, John Ringo and Julie Cochrane, January 2009. Ibid.
  
  Eye of the Storm, John Ringo, July 2009. The Cally's War personality overlay returns. KIA… KIA… KIA… KIA…
  
  1634: The Galileo Affair, by Eric Flint and Andrew Dennis, April 2004. Uptime reporter is killed in a grisly fashion. KIA.
  
  The Anatomy Lession, by Eric Flint, The Grantville Gazette IV, June 2008. A different Joe Buckley, a downtime brigand, in the 1632 Universe. As an added bonus, the cover art includes Jim Baen, Paula Goodlett, David Drake, John Ringo, David Weber, Eric Flint, and artist Tom Kidd as the downtime doctors, starring Joe Buckley as The Cadaver (yes, that is my likeness - I didn't think it was very recognizable, but it is based on me). KIA.
  
  One Day On Mars, by Travis Taylor, October 2007. Travis reaches for a new pinnacle in grisly deaths. KIA.
  
  The Tau-Ceti Agenda, by Travis Taylor, May 2008. One Day On Mars's son, Joe, Jr. WIA.
  One Good Soldier, by Travis Taylor, December 2009.
  
  Boundary, by Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor, March 2006. Chew-toy. The authors were amused by the idea of subverting the 'Buckley Must Die' meme. Multiple-WIA.
  Threshold, by Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor, 2010. More fun & games with the chew-toy from Boundary. WIA.
  Portal, by Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor, 2013. More fun & games with the chew-toy from Boundary. Only threatened with WIA.
  
  From The Badlands, by Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett, October 2007. Not seen on-page. KIA.
  
  A Brother's Price, by Wen Spenser, July 2005. Sgt. Buckley. Does this even count? I'll have to ask her.
  
  Better To Beg Forgiveness, by Michael Z. Williamson, November 2007.
  
  Contact With Chaos, by Michael Z. Williamson, April 2009. KIA.
  
  Monster Hunter Alpha, by Larry Correia, July 2011. Death is not necessarily a permanent condition in Larry's books. "Deputy Joe Buckley never got a good look at the creature that tore his guts out." KIA… KIA… KIA…
  
  Cobra Guardian, by Timothy Zahn, July 2011. '"Buckley," Uy mused, and she saw him relax fractionally at the news that the Troft's violent response hadn't taken his own son. "Inevitable, I suppose, that it was him. You didn't know the man, but Joe was one of those who courted death on nearly a daily basis, yet always came cheerfully back for more."' KIA.