Bruce Sterling

Literary Freeware -- Not For Commercial Use

Game conference speech:  "The Wonderful Power of 
From the Computer Game Developers Conference, March 1991, 
San Jose CA

     Thank you very much for that introduction.  I'd like 
to thank the conference committee for their hospitality 
and kindness -- all the cola  you can drink -- and  mind 
you those were genuine twinkies too, none of those 
newfangled "Twinkies Lite" we've been seeing too much of 

     So anyway my name is Bruce Sterling and I'm a science 
fiction writer from Austin Texas, and I'm here to deliver 
my  speech now, which I like to call "The Wonderful Power 
of Storytelling."  I like to call it that, because I plan 
to make brutal fun of that whole idea...  In fact I plan 
to flame on just any  moment now, I plan to cut loose, I 
plan to wound and scald tonight....  Because why not, 
right?  I mean, we're all adults, we're all professionals 
here...  I mean, professionals in totally different arts, 
but you know, I can sense a certain simpatico vibe....

       Actually I feel kind of like a mosasaur talking to 
dolphins here....  We have a lot in common, we both swim, 
we both have big sharp teeth, we both eat fish...  But you 
look like a broadminded crowd, so I'm sure you won't mind 
that I'm basically, like, *reptilian*....

     So anyway, you're probably wondering why I'm here 
tonight, some hopeless dipshit literary author...  and 
when am  I going to get started on the virtues and merits 
of the prose medium and its goddamned wonderful 
storytelling.  I mean, what else can I talk about?  What 
the hell do I know about game design?  I don't even know 
that the most lucrative target machine today is an IBM PC 
clone with a 16 bit 8088 running at 5 MHZ.   If you start 
talking about depth of play versus presentation, I'm just 
gonna to stare at you with blank incomprehension.... 

      I'll tell you straight out why I'm here tonight.  
Why should I even try to hide the sordid truth from a 
crowd this perspicacious....  You see, six months ago I 
was in Austria at this Electronic Arts Festival, which was 
a situation almost as unlikely as this one, and my wife 
Nancy and I are sitting there with William Gibson and Deb 
Gibson feeling very cool and  rather jetlagged and crispy 
around the edges, and in walks this *woman.*  Out of 
nowhere.  Like J. Random Attractive Redhead, right.  And 
she sits down with her coffeecup right at our table.  And 
we peer at each other's namebadges, right, like, *who is 
this person.*  And her name is Brenda Laurel.

     So what do I say?  I say to this total stranger, I 
say.  "Hey.  Are you the Brenda Laurel who did that book 
on  *the art of the computer-human interface*?   You 
*are*?    Wow, I loved that book."   And yes -- that's why 
I'm here as your guest speaker tonight, ladies and 
gentleman.   It's because I can think fast on my feet.  
It's because I'm the kind of author who likes to hang out 
in Adolf Hitler's home town with the High Priestess of 

     So ladies and gentlemen unfortunately I can't 
successfully pretend that I know much about your 
profession.  I mean actually I do know a *few* things 
about your profession....   For instance, I was on the far 
side of the Great Crash of 1984.  I was one of the 
civilian crashees, meaning that was about when I gave up 
twitch games.  That was when I gave up my Atari 800.  As 
to why my Atari 800 became a boat-anchor I'm still not 
sure....  It was quite mysterious when it happened, it was 
inexplicable, kind of like the passing of a pestilence or 
the waning of the moon.  If I understood this phenomenon I 
think I would really have my teeth set into something 
profound and vitally interesting...  Like, my Atari still 
works today, I still own it.  Why don't I get it out of 
its box and fire up a few cartridges?  Nothing physical 
preventing me.  Just some subtle but intense sense of 
revulsion.  Almost like a Sartrean nausea.  Why this 
should be attached to a piece of computer hardware is 
difficult to say.

     My favorite games nowadays are Sim City, Sim Earth 
and Hidden Agenda...  I had Balance of the Planet on my 
hard disk, but I was so stricken with guilt by the 
digitized photo of the author and his spouse that I 
deleted the game, long before I could figure out how to 
keep everybody on the Earth from starving....  Including 
myself and the author....

     I'm especially fond of SimEarth.   SimEarth is like a 
goldfish bowl.  I also have the actual goldfish bowl in 
the *After Dark*  Macintosh screen saver, but its charms 
waned for me, possibly because the fish don't drive one 
another into extinction.  I theorize that this has 
something to do with a breakdown of the old dichotomy of 
twitch games versus adventure, you know, arcade zombie 
versus Mensa pinhead...

     I can dimly see a kind of transcendance in electronic 
entertainment coming with things like SimEarth, they seem 
like a foreshadowing of what Alvin Toffler called the 
"intelligent environment"...  Not "games" in a classic 
sense, but things that are just going on in the background 
somewhere, in an attractive and elegant fashion, kind of 
like a pet cat...  I think this kind of digital toy might 
really go somewhere interesting.

      What computer entertainment lacks most I think is a 
sense of mystery.  It's too left-brain....  I think there 
might be real promise in game designs that offer less of a 
sense of nitpicking  mastery and control, and more of a 
sense of sleaziness and bluesiness and smokiness.  Not 
neat tinkertoy  puzzles to be decoded, not "treasure-hunts 
for assets,"  but creations with some deeper sense of 
genuine artistic mystery.

     I don't know if you've seen the work of a guy called 
William Latham....  I got his work on a demo reel from 
Media Magic.  I never buy movies on video, but I really 
live for raw computer-graphic demo reels.  This William 
Latham is a heavy dude...  His tech isn't that impressive, 
he's got some kind of fairly crude IBM mainframe  cad-cam 
program in Winchester England....  The thing that's most 
immediately striking about Latham's computer artworks -- 
*ghost sculptures* he calls them -- is that the guy really 
possesses a sense of taste.   Fractal art tends to be 
quite garish.  Latham's stuff is very fractally and 
organic, it's utterly weird, but at the same time it's 
very accomplished and subtle.  There's a quality of 
ecstasy and dread to it... there's a sense of genuine 
enchantment there.  A lot of computer games are stuffed to 
the gunwales with enchanters and wizards and so-called 
magic, but that kind of sci-fi cod mysticism seems very 
dime-store stuff by comparison with Latham.

     I like to imagine the future of computer games as 
being something like the Steve Jackson Games bust by the 
Secret Service, only in this case what they were busting 
wouldn't have been a mistake, it would have been something 
actually quite seriously inexplicable and possibly even a 
genuine cultural threat....  Something of the sort may 
come from virtual reality.   I rather imagine something 
like an LSD backlash occuring there; something along the 
lines of:  "Hey we have something here that can really 
seriously  boost your imagination!"  "Well, Mr Developer, 
I'm afraid we here in the Food Drug and Software 
Administration don't really approve of that."  That could 
happen.  I think there are some visionary computer police 
around who are seriously interested in that prospect, they 
see it as a very promising growing market for law 
enforcement, it's kind of their version of a golden 

     I now want to talk some about the differences between 
your art and my art.  My art, science fiction writing, is 
pretty new as literary arts go, but it labors under the 
curse of three thousand years of literacy.  In some weird 
sense I'm in direct competition with Homer and Euripides.  
I mean, these guys aren't in the SFWA,  but their product 
is still taking up valuable  rack-space.  You guys on the 
other hand get to reinvent everything every time a new 
platform takes over the field.  This is your advantage and 
your glory.  This is also your curse.  It's a terrible 
kind of curse really. 

     This is a lesson about cultural expression nowadays 
that has applications to everybody.  This is part of 
living in the Information Society.  Here we are in the 
90s, we have these tremendous information-handling, 
information-producing technologies.  We think it's really 
great that we can have groovy unleashed access to all 
these different kinds of data, we can own books, we can 
own movies on tape, we can access databanks, we can buy 
computer-games, records, music, art....  A lot of our art 
aspires to the condition of software, our art today wants 
to be digital...   But our riches of information are in 
some deep and perverse sense a terrible burden to us.  
They're like a cognitive load.  As a digitized 
information-rich culture nowadays, we have to artificially 
invent ways to forget stuff.  I think this is the real 
explanation for the triumph of compact disks.  

     Compact disks aren't really all that much better than 
vinyl records.  What they make up in fidelity they lose in 
groovy cover art.  What they gain in playability they lose 
in presentation.   The real advantage of CDs is that they 
allow you to forget all your vinyl records.   You think 
you love this record collection that you've amassed over 
the  years.  But really the sheer choice, the volume, the 
load of memory there is secretly weighing you down.  
You're never going to play those Alice Cooper albums 
again, but you can't just throw them away, because you're 
a culture nut.

       But if you buy a CD player you can bundle up all 
those records and put them in attic boxes without so much 
guilt.  You can pretend that you've stepped up a level, 
that now you're even more intensely into music than you 
ever were; but on a practical level what you're really 
doing is weeding this junk out of your life.  By dumping 
the platform you dump everything attached to the platform 
and my god what a blessed secret relief.  What a relief 
not to remember it, not to think about it, not to have it 
take up disk-space in your head.

     Computer games are especially vulnerable to this 
because they live and breathe through the platform.   But 
something rather similar is happening today to fiction as 
well....  What you see in science fiction nowadays is an 
amazing tonnage of product that is shuffled through the 
racks faster and faster....  If a science fiction 
paperback stays available for six weeks, it's a miracle.  
Gross sales are up, but individual sales are off...   
Science fiction didn't even used to be *published* in book 
form, when a science fiction *book* came out it would be 
in an edition of maybe five hundred copies and these 
weirdo Golden Age SF fans would cling on to every copy as 
if it were made of platinum....  But now they come out and 
they are made to vanish as soon as possible.  In fact to a 
great extent they're designed  by their lame hack authors 
to vanish as soon as possible.  They're cliches because 
cliches are less of a cognitive load.  You can write a 
whole trilogy instead, bet you can't eat just one...  
Nevertheless they're still objects in the medium of print.  
They still have the cultural properties of print. 

      Culturally speaking they're capable of lasting a 
long time because they can be replicated faithfully in new 
editions that have all the same properties as the old 
ones.  Books are independent of the machineries of book 
production, the platforms of publishing.  Books don't lose 
anything by being reprinted by a new machine, books are 
stubborn, they remain the same work of art, they carry the 
same cultural aura.  Books are hard to kill.  MOBY DICK  
for instance bombed when it came out, it wasn't until the 
1920s that MOBY DICK was proclaimed a masterpiece, and 
then it got printed in millions.  Emily Dickinson didn't 
even publish books, she just wrote these demented little 
poems with a quill pen and hid them in her desk, but they 
still fought their way into the world, and lasted on and 
on and on.  It's damned hard to get rid of Emily 
Dickinson, she hangs on like a tick in a dog's ear.  And 
everybody who writes from then on in some sense has to 
measure up to this woman.   In the art of book-writing the 
classics are still living competition, they tend to 
elevate the entire art-form by their persistent presence.

     I've noticed though that computer game designers 
don't look much to the past.  All their idealized classics 
tend to be in reverse, they're projected into the future.  
When you're a game designer and you're waxing very 
creative and arty,  you tend to measure your work by stuff 
that doesn't exist yet.  Like now we only have floppies,  
but wait till we get CD-ROM.  Like now we can't have 
compelling lifelike artificial characters in the game, but 
wait till we get AI.  Like now we waste time porting games 
between platforms,  but wait till there's just one 
standard.  Like now we're just starting with huge 
multiplayer games, but wait till the modem networks are a 
happening thing.   And I -- as a game designer artiste -- 
it's my solemn duty to carry us that much farther forward 
toward the beckoning grail....  

     For a novelist like myself this is a completely alien 
paradigm.  I can see that it's very seductive, but at the 
same time I can't help but see that the ground is 
crumbling under your feet.  Every time a platform vanishes 
it's like a little cultural apocalypse.  And I can imagine 
a time when all the current platforms might vanish, and 
then what the hell becomes of your entire mode of 
expression?   Alan Kay --  he's a heavy guy, Alan Kay -- 
he says that computers may tend to shrink and vanish into 
the environment, into the walls and into clothing....  
Sounds pretty good....  But this also means that all the 
joysticks vanish, all the keyboards, all the repetitive 
strain injuries.

       I'm sure you could play some kind  of  computer 
game with very intelligent, very small, invisible 
computers....  You could have some entertaining way to 
play with them, or more likely they would have some 
entertaining way to play with you. But then imagine 
yourself growing up in that world, being born in that 
world.  You could even be a computer game designer in that 
world,  but how would you study the work of your 
predecessors?  How would you physically *access* and 
*experience* the work of your predecessors?  There's a  
razor-sharp cutting edge in this art-form,  but what 
happened to all the stuff that got sculpted?

     As I was saying, I don't think it's any accident that 
this is happening....  I don't think that as a culture 
today we're very interested in tradition or continuity.  
No, we're a lot more interested in being a New Age and a 
revolutionary epoch, we long to reinvent ourselves every 
morning before breakfast and never grow old.  We have to 
run really fast to stay in the same place.  We've become 
used to running, if we sit still for a while it makes us 
feel rather stale and panicky.   We'd miss those sixty-
hour work weeks.

      And much the same thing is happening to books today 
too....  Not just technically, but ideologically.   I 
don't know if you're familiar at all with literary theory 
nowadays, with terms like deconstructionism, 
postmodernism....  Don't worry, I won't talk very long 
about this....  It can make you go nuts, that stuff, and I 
don't really recommend it, it's one of those fields of 
study where it's sometimes wise to treasure your 
ignorance....  But the thing about the new literary theory 
that's remarkable, is that it makes a really violent break 
with the past....  These guys don't take the books of the 
past on their own cultural terms.  When you're 
deconstructing a book it's like you're psychoanalyzing it,  
you're not studying it for what it says, you're studying 
it for the assumptions it makes and the cultural  reasons 
for its assemblage....  What this essentially means is 
that you're not letting it touch you, you're very careful 
not to let it get its message through or affect you deeply 
or emotionally in any way.  You're in a position of 
complete psychological and technical superiority to the 
book and its author...   This is a way for modern 
literateurs to handle this vast legacy of the past without 
actually getting any of the sticky stuff on you.  It's 
like it's dead.  It's like the next best thing to not 
having literature at all.  For some reason this feels 
really good to people nowadays.

     But even that isn't enough, you know....  There's 
talk nowadays in publishing circles about a new device for 
books, called a ReadMan.  Like a Walkman only you carry it 
in your hands like this....  Has a very nice little 
graphics screen, theoretically, a high-definition thing, 
very legible....  And you play your books on it....  You 
buy the book as a floppy and you stick it in...  And just 
think,  wow you can even have graphics with your book... 
you can have music, you can have a soundtrack....  
Narration.... Animated illustrations...   Multimedia... it 
can even be interactive....  It's the New Hollywood for 
Publisher's Row, and at last books can aspire to the 
exalted condition of movies and cartoons and TV and  
computer games.... And just think when the ReadMan goes 
obsolete, all the product that was written for it will be 
blessedly gone forever!!!  Erased from the memory of 

     Now I'm the farthest thing from a Luddite ladies and 
gentlemen, but when I contemplate this particular 
technical marvel my  author's blood runs cold...  It's 
really hard for books to compete with other multisensory 
media, with modern electronic media, and this is supposed 
to be the panacea for withering literature, but from the 
marrow of my bones I say get that fucking little 
sarcophagus away from me.  For God's sake don't put my 
books into the Thomas Edison kinetoscope.  Don't put me 
into the stereograph, don't write me on the wax cylinder, 
don't tie my words and my thoughts to the fate of a piece 
of hardware, because hardware is even more mortal than I 
am, and I'm a hell of a lot more mortal than I care to be.  
Mortality is one good reason why I'm writing books in the 
first place.  For God's sake don't make me keep pace with 
the hardware, because I'm not really in the business of 
keeping pace, I'm  really in the business of marking 

     Okay....  Now I've sometimes heard it asked why 
computer game designers are deprived of the full artistic 
respect they deserve.  God knows they work hard enough.  
They're really talented too, and by any objective measure 
of intelligence they rank in the top percentiles...  I've 
heard it said that maybe this problem has something to do 
with the size of the author's name on the front of the 
game-box.  Or it's lone wolves versus teams, and somehow 
the proper allotment of fame gets lost in the muddle.   
One factor I don't see mentioned much is the sheer lack of 
stability in your medium.  A modern movie-maker could 
probably make a pretty good film with DW Griffith's 
equipment, but you folks are dwelling in the very  
maelstrom of Permanent Technological Revolution.  And 
that's a really cool place, but man, it's just not a good 
place to build monuments.  

     Okay.  Now I live in the same world you live in, I 
hope I've demonstrated that I face a lot of the same 
problems you face...  Believe me there are few things 
deader or more obsolescent than a science fiction novel 
that predicts the future when the future has passed it by.  
Science fiction is a pop medium and a very obsolescent 
medium.   The fact that written science fiction is a prose 
medium gives us some advantages, but even science fiction 
has a hard time wrapping itself in the traditional mantle 
of literary excellence... we try to do this sometimes, but 
generally we have to be really drunk first.   Still, if 
you want your work to survive (and some science fiction 
*does* survive, very successfully) then your work has to 
capture some quality that lasts.  You have to capture 
something that people will search out over time, even 
though they have to fight their way upstream against the 
whole rushing current of obsolescence and innovation.

     And I've come up with a strategy for attempting this.  
Maybe it'll work -- probably it won't -- but I wouldn't be 
complaining so loudly if I didn't have some kind of 
strategy, right?   And I think that my strategy may have 
some relevance to game designers so I presume to offer it 

     This is the point at which your normal J. Random 
Author trots out the doctrine of the Wonderful Power of 
Storytelling.  Yes, storytelling, the old myth around the 
campfire, blind Homer, universal Shakespeare, this is the 
art ladies and gentlemen that strikes to the eternal core 
of the human condition... This is high art and if you 
don't have it you are dust in the wind....  I can't tell 
you how many times I have heard this bullshit...  This is 
known in my field as the "Me and My Pal Bill Shakespeare" 
argument.  Since 1982 I have been at open war with people 
who promulgate this doctrine in science fiction and this 
is the primary reason why my colleagues in SF speak of me 
in fear and trembling as a big bad cyberpunk...  This is 
the classic doctrine of Humanist SF.

     This is what it sounds like when it's translated into 
your jargon.  Listen closely:

"Movies and plays get much of their power from the 
resonances between the structural layers.  The congruence 
between the theme, plot, setting and character layouts 
generates emotional power.  Computer games will never have 
a significant theme level because the outcome is variable.  
The lack of theme alone will limit the storytelling power 
of computer games."

     Hard to refute.  Impossible to refute.  Ladies and 
gentlemen to hell with the marvellous power of 
storytelling.   If the audience for science fiction wanted 
*storytelling*, they wouldn't read goddamned *science 
fiction,* they'd read Harpers and Redbook and Argosy.  The 
pulp magazine (which is our genre's primary example of a 
dead platform) used to carry all kinds of storytelling.  
Western stories.  Sailor stories.  Prizefighting stories.  
G-8 and his battle aces.   Spicy Garage Tales.  Aryan 
Atrocity Adventures.  These things are dead.  Stories 
didn't save them.  Stories won't save us.  Stories won't 
save *you.*

     This is not the route to follow.  We're not into 
science fiction because it's *good literature,* we're into 
it because it's *weird*.  Follow your weird, ladies and 
gentlemen.  Forget trying to pass for normal.  Follow your 
geekdom.  Embrace your nerditude.  In the immortal words 
of Lafcadio Hearn, a geek of incredible obscurity whose 
work is still in print after a hundred years, "woo the 
muse of the odd."  A good science fiction story is not a 
"good story" with a polite whiff of rocket fuel in it.  A  
good science fiction story is something that knows it is 
science fiction and plunges through that and comes roaring 
out of the other side.  Computer entertainment should not 
be more like movies, it shouldn't be more like books, it 
should be more like computer entertainment, SO MUCH MORE 

     I don't think you can last by meeting the 
contemporary public taste, the taste from the last 
quarterly report.  I don't think you can last by following 
demographics and carefully meeting expectations.  I don't 
know many works of art that last that are condescending.  
I don't know many works of art that last that are 
deliberately stupid.  You may be a geek, you may have geek 
written all over you; you should aim to be one geek 
they'll never forget.  Don't aim to be civilized.  Don't 
hope that straight people will keep you on as some kind of 
pet.  To hell with them; they put you here.  You should 
fully realize what society has made of you and take a 
terrible revenge.  Get weird.  Get way weird.  Get 
dangerously weird.  Get sophisticatedly, thoroughly weird 
and don't do it halfway, put every ounce of horsepower you 
have behind it.  Have the artistic *courage* to recognize 
your own significance in culture!

     Okay.  Those of you into SF may recognize the classic  
rhetoric of cyberpunk here.  Alienated punks, picking up 
computers, menacing society....  That's the cliched press 
story,  but they miss the best half.  Punk into cyber is 
interesting,  but cyber into punk is way dread.  I'm into 
technical people who attack pop culture.  I'm into techies 
gone dingo, techies gone rogue --  not street punks 
picking up any glittery junk that happens to be within 
their reach --  but disciplined people, intelligent 
people, people with some technical skills and some 
rational thought,  who can break out of the arid prison 
that this society sets for its engineers.  People who are, 
and I quote, "dismayed by nearly every aspect of the world 
situation and aware on some nightmare level that the 
solutions to our problems will not come from the breed of 
dimwitted ad-men that we know as politicians."  Thanks, 

     That still smells like hope to me....

     You don't get there by acculturating.  Don't become a 
well-rounded person.  Well rounded people are smooth and 
dull.  Become a thoroughly spiky person.  Grow spikes from 
every angle.  Stick in their throats like a pufferfish.  
If you want to woo the muse of the odd, don't read 
Shakespeare.  Read Webster's revenge plays.  Don't read 
Homer and Aristotle.  Read Herodotus where he's off 
talking about Egyptian women having public sex with goats.  
If you want to read about myth don't read Joseph Campbell, 
read about convulsive religion, read about voodoo and the 
Millerites and the Munster Anabaptists.  There are 
hundreds of years of extremities, there are vast legacies 
of mutants.  There have always been geeks.  There will 
always be geeks.   Become the apotheosis of geek.  Learn 
who your spiritual ancestors were.   You didn't come here 
from nowhere.  There are reasons why you're here.  Learn 
those reasons.   Learn about the stuff that was buried 
because it was too  experimental or embarrassing or 
inexplicable or uncomfortable or dangerous.

     And when it comes to studying art, well, study it, 
but study it to your own purposes.   If you're obsessively 
weird enough to be a good weird artist, you generally face 
a basic problem.   The basic problem with weird art is not 
the height of the ceiling above it, it's the pitfalls 
under its feet.   The worst problem is the blundering, the 
solecisms, the naivete of the poorly socialized, the 
rotten spots that you skid over because you're too freaked 
out and  not paying proper attention.  You may not need 
much characterization in computer entertainment.  
Delineating character may not be the point of your work.  
That's no excuse for making lame characters that are 
actively  bad.  You may not need a strong, supple, 
thoroughly worked-out storyline.  That doesn't mean that 
you can get away with a stupid plot made of chickenwire 
and spit.  Get a full repertoire of tools.  Just make sure 
you use those tools to the proper end.  Aim for the 
heights of professionalism.  Just make sure you're a 
professional *game designer.*

     You can get a hell of a lot done in a popular medium 
just by knocking it off with the bullshit.  Popular media 
always reek of bullshit, they reek of carelessness and 
self-taught clumsiness and charlatanry.  To live outside 
the aesthetic laws you must be honest.   Know what you're 
doing; don't settle for the way it looks just cause 
everybody's used to it.  If you've got a palette of 2 
million colors, then don't settle for designs that look 
like a cheap four-color comic book.   If you're gonna do 
graphic design, then learn what good graphic design looks 
like;  don't screw around in amateur fashion out of sheer 
blithe ignorance.  If you write a manual, don't write a 
semiliterate manual with bad grammar and misspellings.   
If you want to be taken seriously by your fellows and by 
the populace at large, then don't give people any excuse 
to dismiss you.   Don't be your own worst enemy.  Don't 
put yourself down.

      I have my own prejudices and probably more than my 
share, but I still think these are pretty good principles.  
There's nothing magic about 'em.  They certainly don't 
guarantee success, but then there's "success" and then 
there's success.    Working seriously, improving your 
taste and perception and understanding, knowing what you 
are and where you came from, not only improves your work 
in the present, but gives you a chance of influencing the 
future and links you to the best work of the past.  It 
gives you a place to take a solid stand.  I try to live up 
to these principles; I can't say I've mastered them, but 
they've certainly gotten me into some interesting places, 
and among some very interesting company.  Like the people 
here tonight.   

     I'm not really here by any accident.  I'm here 
because  I'm *paying attention.*  I 'm here because I know 
you're significant.  I'm here  because I know you're 
important.  It was a privilege to be here.  Thanks very 
much for having me, and showing me what you do.  

     That's all I have to say to you tonight.  Thanks very 
much for listening.