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Baen dive-bombs Navy ...

17/12/2003. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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... with science fiction e-books?

The commanding officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise has sent an official fleet thank you to Jim Baen of science fiction publisher Baen Books, expressing the gratitude of the sailors and marines aboard the 20,000-ton nuclear-powered naval aircraft carrier for Baen's donation of books and reading material to the carrier's library.

Baen is the publisher of Baen Books (, an independent science fiction and fantasy imprint, well known for its military-flavour SF.

According to the commanding officer of the Enterprise, the thank you is for a job well done in keeping the ships and submarines of the U.S. Navy supplied with reading material.

"We ship select Baen books and CDs to every surface ship and submarine in the U.S. Navy on a quarterly basis," says publisher Jim Baen. "On the CDs are dozens of additional novels that a sailor can read on a computer screen - with no encryption or unusual software required to access them."

Baen has shipped 5,000 books, and accompanying CD-ROMs this year alone (target for 2004: 10,000) as part of the program.

"The CDs are especially beneficial on board submarines, where storage space is very limited," says Bill Winters, head of the Special Projects and Programs Section for the U.S. Navy's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Division. "Each one contains maps, charts, artwork, interactive games and most importantly, several complete novels that can be read on a computer or downloaded to a palm pilot."

Baen Books has just begun participating in the Navy's Commercial Sponsorship Program and should be doing so for a few years to come.

Baen joked, in his best Vulcan accent, "We have achieved Mind Lock on most powerful surface fleet in universe!"

More seriously, adds Baen, "These men and women patrol the front lines, protecting our freedom in a very dangerous and unkempt world. To be able to entertain, amuse, or inspire those who place their frail bodies between us and harm's way is an inspiration and an honor for us."

Nice one Jimbo. Although we're not so sure about the 'frail bodies' bit. Most the US military types we've ever met look like they could lift a truck with one arm tied behind their back.

Any chance of a few books for the ever badly-funded ground-pounders of H.M. services currently sweating it out in Southern Iraq alongside the GIs?

Check 'em out, soldier, at


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