These came in the post today – which means that the new edition of Nights of Villjamur should be on the shelves shortly. These will probably be phased into stock as and when bookstores reorder them in over the next few months. Amazon should have them online pretty soon though. And I believe it’ll take a few more weeks or so until City of Ruin makes it in, due to there still being some books at the Pan Macmillan warehouse.
Anyway. It’s going to be great to have the series in stores with one coherent look.
For completists or those looking to start the series, there’s a new edition of Nights of Villjamur which will be published on the 25th of October. Look for the above cover art (I’m sure Amazon will have it updated soon). I also think that ebooks will be updated with the new version, so acquiring the new edition might vary depending on your chosen device. Let me know if you have any problems with that and I’ll chase it up.
There are about 200 minor alterations, all in all. Some of the more unusual words have been cut out and replaced. The occasional bad sentence has been removed. Swearing has been reduced. Ultimately, they’re to make for a smoother reading experience. It’s not a full re-edit by any means, but it’s certainly allowed me to get rid of the worst of those first-novel excesses.
I’ll be at the Wantage Literary Festival on the 3rd of November with Ben Aaronovitch, Mark Chadbourn and Mary Hoffman. The panel is a general fantasy and science fiction discussion, so there should be some pretty broad chatter.
We’re actually, and rather bizarrely, going to be having the panel at Wantage’s Shush nightclub at 3.30pm, that most coveted of DJ slots. Bring your glow-sticks.
Anyway, more details here – come and say hello.
Still working on the edits for the new Drakenfeld novel, which has gone back to being untitled – that’s a brief way of saying my original title was considered crap. Fair enough. I’m toying with the idea of just going with Drakenfeld, since the book is really about him as much as anything else.
The edits aren’t major, but there are plenty of ways to improve things. I actually really like being edited, though the process is a bit of a chore. I’m always amazed at the psychology of it all – how your foibles and thoughts seem to present themselves again and again. Not necessarily in terms of errors, but the things that seem to preoccupy you as a writer. Death is one of those things I think I’m still obsessed with – or maybe it’s part of my psyche. Hopefully I’m not simply regurgitating that theme in this book, but doing something slightly different with it. Can a writer ever escape those things though? Probably not.
I’ve tried to keep some distance between myself and genre for the past year, as well, which I think is only healthy for a genre writer from time to time. The older I get, the less things like genre taxonomy really appeals to me. Not even being focussed on categories or boundaries or debates about what makes a book fantasy has been rather liberating. I like to think the benefits are now showing in the book, but perhaps few will actually notice.
As for publication date, Drakenfeld is going to be published October 2013 now – not because of the edits, but to avoid clashes on the schedule. It also conveniently gives me more time to
be lazy work on refining the book that little bit more. I’m also told there will be proof copies, too, so reviewers will be able to get their hands on it earlier.
There have also been discussions on the cover art for the new book – I’m sure more than a few people will be pleased to know there’s not a hooded figure in sight…
The edit for A Death Devine, first in the Lucan Drakenfeld series, has arrived, which means in ten days time I’ll start to feel like Bill Murray in Rushmore (which, incidentally, I always feel like watching at this time of year).
I both love and hate edits. I’m one of those authors that loves being messed with. I love the tinkering. It’s necessary, it’s challenging, and it’s all to make the book better. However, it’s also one of the most difficult parts for me, because you end up having to untangle and rethread ideas that are both logical and abstract, from a giant mass of ideas.
Also: edits point out things like overused words, which is pretty humbling.
Person, that is, not bases or gears. I’m not going to talk about what you should use third or first person voice for – you make your own rules on that. These are just a few thoughts on why I decided to change from third person to first for the new Drakenfeld series, which will be out next Summer.
I spent four books (and the stuff before that) writing in third person. Most of my writerly life was spent doing that, jumping around from character to character, giving a different perspective of things. I made the switch for a few reasons. It was not to create a hard-boiled or noir style – I think those are among the most incorrectly used words to describe a certain post-Hemingway style, but that’s not my issue today. I chose first person because:
1) I wanted a sense of intimacy that I’ve not used before. I’m writing about a character who is sensitive, who would rather preserve a life than remove one without a second thought, and who views the world in a way that would be best expressed through such intimacy with the reader.
2) A challenge. I was well aware that I’d filled previous novels up with characters, perhaps too many, and I wanted to restrict myself utterly to one point of view. If you choose first person, there’s no escaping that.
3) I can express my ideas in a much more subtle way in a first person narrative. Ideas become rather blunt in the third person format, but they can be approached far more gently and deceptively in first person. (Writing’s largely about deception, right?)
4) First person worked better with respect to the locked-room mystery. The character could never be aware of the full orchestration of the murder and, therefore, neither could the reader. If I was writing in third person, there would always be the chance that I could reveal something to the reader that I hadn’t to the character. Where’s the fun in that?
5) Reinvention. I wanted to start afresh – pretty self-expanitory, since it’s a new series and a chance to reach to a new audience.
The thing that surprised me more than anything was how much I preferred to write in first person. I mean, I had to settle into the style – I rewrote the start several times because I wasn’t happy with it (in fact, I scrapped the original first chapters and started afresh twice) – but I found that it was far more rewarding, far more interesting, and far more immersive. Hopefully readers will think the same.
From my overlords at Tor UK:
From today, Tor UK, Pan Macmillan’s science fiction and fantasy imprint, has made its ebooks DRM-free and available to purchase from Torbooks.co.uk and Panmacmillan.com, as well as through other retailers. In a move announced earlier this year, Tor UK has joined sister company Tor Books in New York in removing Digital Rights Management from all its titles so that once you purchase a Tor book, you can download it as many times as you like, on as many ereaders as you like.
“We believe that making our Tor ebooks DRM-free is the best for our readers, allowing you to use legitimately-purchased ebooks in perfectly legal ways, like moving your library from one ereader to another,” says Jeremy Trevathan, Publisher at Pan Macmillan. “We understand that DRM can make your ebooks less easy to read. It also makes building and maintaining your digital library more complicated. For these reasons, we are committed to remaining DRM-free.”
China Miéville called the decision ‘a game changer’
‘The decision by Tor Books to ditch digital rights management signals the beginning of the end of the ebook format wars’ Guardian
‘DRM hasn’t stopped my books from being out there on the dark side of the internet. Meanwhile, the people who do spend money to support me and my writing have been penalised for playing by the rules. The books of mine they have bought have been chained to a single e-reader, which means if that e-reader becomes obsolete or the retailer goes under (or otherwise arbitrarily changes their user agreement), my readers risk losing the works of mine they’ve bought. I don’t like that. So the idea that my readers will ‘buy once, keep anywhere,’ makes me happy’ John Scalzi
About Tor UK
Tor UK is a Pan Macmillan imprint specialising in science fiction, fantasy and horror. We also publish YA crossover fiction and novels based on internationally bestselling computer games franchises. Our team is fully committed to bringing the best imaginative fiction, in its many forms, to the reading community’s bookshelves and ereaders. More news and views from Tor can be found on twitter and torbooks.co.uk
Chloe Healy, Tor UK Press Office
T: 0044 20 7014 6186
What would I do differently in my first novel, Nights of Villjamur, if I had the chance to do it again?
One of the issues I had with the original was the use of occasional esoteric language in order to reflect a disconnect with a culture of the far future. That, I suspect, failed – and instead created a disconnect with a few readers instead. So in the edition that comes out in a couple of months, I’ve managed to iron out well over a hundred of these instances, as well as making some other minor alterations – for example, I’ve toned down the swearing, and taken out the c-word. Loads of swearing isn’t big and isn’t clever. There.
Read the rest over at Pornokitsch.
I’ve written a post on the Tor UK blog about China’s challenge, where he would sketch out some fabulous creature, and I would have to write it into The Broken Isles.
I could of course be flexible in these decisions, as there was no small print – I merely took delivery of the wasp. As it happens, there was a way around this challenge. I knew that a monster was arriving, but I didn’t know what. So I could pretty much structure the novel with a lacuna, a vacancy for whatever was coming. Also, I didn’t just want this to be a one-scene monster, I wanted this to play a pretty inclusive role in the book. That, surely, was more in the spirit of the challenge.
Check out the rest of the post to see how I went about fitting in China’s Mourning Wasp – the final sketch is actually printed in The Broken Isles, which I’m rather chuffed about. Also, I was featured on the latest SF Signal Mind Meld, talking about the genre’s desire for monarchies in fantasy fiction.
Even today, we’re under the illusion we have democracy, but it’s much more wishy-washy than true ancient Athenian democracy, where power was genuinely more equally distributed, and more citizens played a role in the functioning of society. Today our monarchs and empires now are largely trade-based hegemonies, imperial campaigns given the spin of delivering peace through drone bombings. We are now subject to political and financial kings and queens…
Take a look at what else I have to say – there’s quite a line up of authors on this one.