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Just a brief update ...

Glasshouse is finally out in paperback in the US, and picking up notice elsewhere; lately it's been reviewed in The Times (the British newspaper of that name, which does not bear the name of any particular city). Meanwhile, The Atrocity Archives is out in paperback in the UK; here's me talking about it on Bookzone.TV. Finally, I'm pleased to be able to say that the Atrocity Archive's sequel, "The Jennifer Morgue", is due out in the UK on September 6th!

37 Comments

1:

"lasshouse is finally out in paperback in the US,"

Yes it is (does happy dance)!

Read a bit last night... mind slightly bent. Looking forward to having mind completely blown.

2:

Glasshouse is also reviewed at Martin's Booklog, a slightly less prestigious institution. (Upshot: liked it, as if you couldn't guess).

3:

Didn't I hear you in an interview somewhere saying that the Atrocity Archives would also be coming out as a bargain priced e-book in the UK? Any news there?

4:

Colin -- that's what they told me, but I haven't heard any details; let me ask my marketing manager.

5:

Charlie, any plans for computer games based on any of your books?

6:

Stephen, major computer games overlap with medium-sized Hollywood movies in terms of budget and investment and size of development team. Even smallish games tend to be rather big projects, compared to writing a book.

Let me get back to you when I've sold some movie or TV rights. Okay? (Please let me sell some ...!)

7:

It was nice to see and hear you on the interview. Good job!
And make sure to hold out for the real money on those movie and TV rights!
They've got it.

8:

Sorry if I sounded a bit simple on the games question, but it occurred to me that the games market was in need of new and interesting IP and that 'ready made' universes that are as detailed/entertaining as your own would attract them. Now that I think about it though, I'm having a hard time coming up with previous sci-fi books -> game conversions. Perhaps like so many films/tv series, the games just don't/can't do justice to the author's ideas?

9:

Stephen, there have been some SF/F book to game conversions, though I can't think of any recent ones. Piers Anthony got his Xanth books turned into a game, there were 2 games based on Frederik Pohl's Gateway books. There were 2 games based on the Dune novels as well. "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" was adapted too, but I don't think it was popular.

Apart from the Dune games, they've all been interactive fiction, a genre that's not very popular anymore. Which is unfortunate, because it probably has some of the lowest development costs.

10:

Andrew, thanks, I didn't know about the Xanth ones, I've never read them either. I'm interested in the Gateway ones, I'll try and track them down. The No Mouth/Screaming one I had heard of, but only in a magazine review, I've never seen it on sale, ever(!) and the Dune ones, I played them all, loved them. Am I right in thinking that they only came out after the film though? Would they have been made without it?
I think IF would work very well for Charlie's books, but like you said, would not make much money, so not that interesting to Charlie. I actually asked secondary students to make IF games on a game design summer camp this year. None of them (aged 15 - 16) had ever heard of, played or considered playing a game they required reading and writing/typing. They enjoyed it very much when it was introduced however.

11:

Yeah, the Dune ones came out after the movie, so I can't be sure if they would have been made anyway.

Another one that I can't believe I forgot was Lord of the Rings. There have been a bunch of games since the movies came out, but before that there were a couple based on the books. My favorite was called "War in Middle Earth" which was a very well done strategy/rpg hybrid game. You basically controlled groups of the characters from the books as well as various middle earth armies and tried to hold back Mordor until you could destroy the Ring. There were a number of special items hidden around the world, and many different routes and strategies for winning. A fun game, each time you played it it was different -- I was able to defeat Mordor with military strength once, without destroying the ring...

12:

Back in the 90s I worked on a high-quality children's CD-ROM multimedia title which incorporated some game playing activity. The budget ran to about a million bucks. Hardly anyone recouped costs on those things. let alone made a profit. Starting without a branded franchise is extraordinarily difficult. Disney brought out a Lion King title which sold bucketloads despite the crappy technical quality.

13:

Finally, I'm pleased to be able to say that the Atrocity Archive's sequel, "The Jennifer Morgue", is due out in the UK on September 6th!

Excellent! I'm looking forward to it very much!! :-)

14:

Charlie, as you probably already know, short stories or tight-focus novellas are far more "filmable" than novel-length works.

Not to say it _can't_ be done, just that movies-of-novels tend to be more "somewhat similar stories set against a somewhat similar background with a dramatically reduced cast of characters" rather than faithful in every respect.

Which tends to be (and this should be unsurprising) rarely an entirely satisfactory exercise...

15:

Hi Charlie,

Just want to say I thoroughly enjoyed Glasshouse. It's certainly one of the best books I've read in recent years. Keep up the good work.

regards,
Dorian

16:

I'll say it until I die.

Atrocity Archives. Mini-series. BBC.

Maybe I should camp out in protest - now they're moving their headquarters up to Manchester.

17:

For better community relations, Charlie could add a new character, a hijab-wearing lass who's both a ninja and a trained Djinn-wrangler.

18:

Aahhh.
Now to get a version without the authentication rhyme glitch.

19:

Thank goodness they finally released Glasshouse on paperback in the US. I finished reading it last night and almost yelled in suprise when I figured out where the end of the story was going. Fantastic writing and great character development.

20:

With stories like Glasshouse, I'm seriously wondering if I want to get rid of my old LPs. It seems our civilization may depend on hard copies of information surviving any sort of digital plague or covert editing.

Jeff

21:

Just finished the Atrocity Archives and Jennifer Morgue - excellent work, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your titles.

22:

Alex @19, you are bang on. I actually went through a moment of betrayal, and seriously thought "but I read 80% of one story and now I am reading the last 20% of another?"

Charlie, maestro, please continue to stamp on my nuts (in a literary sense). I loved it.

23:

I promise you, the next SF novel is utterly different ...

24:

What I'd really like to know is to what extent was Desperate Housewives an influence on the 'suburban hell' passages of Glasshouse?

25:

D. O'Kane, What's "Desperate Housewives"?

26:

Charlie, it's US prime time soap opera that's insanely popular for some unfathomable reason.

27:

Someone's being reading Glasshouse:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6265976.stm

In a former life I wrote software for IBM which could automate the conversion old data files of any format to any other newer format (such as XML or whatever). It worked as long as you had the file format description of the source file (or where willing to define it yourself). It was stunning the variety and sheer number of undocumented, stand alone formats out there, and this was before DRM was common (or even defined as that I think). It occurred to me as I read Glasshouse, that the sheer volume of data (coupled with the inability to read certain files) might inhibit future historians. It's already a problem. In searching for my ancestors, I found a farm accounts book from the 1850s stored in the National Archives in Dublin. It was a fantastic economic source, with daily accounts and payments to rat catchers etc. for years in it. But it's never been studied because indexing systems in use don't tag 'farm records' on the document, simply 'ledger'. In the future, how will historians know whether the document stored in the deep dark archives of the 20th century is a unique document worth studying, or just another readme or Windows manual? People are (mostly) too lazy or unwilling to tag everything, and unless computational linguistics advances gives us automatic tagging I fear a future mess of files which can be read, but no one knows which one to read.

Sorry for the long comment, loved Glasshouse (and everything else so far) very much.

28:

Stephen @27: I'd like to refer you to my forthcoming short article on the BBC website (I'll link to it when it's up).

29:

Vernor Vinge gets into software archeology in the Zones novels. It seems credible.

30:

I always interpreted Vinge's references to software archaeology as a crack at Windows NT, which glommed and glommed over 5 versions and was never fundamentally updated. Until it was.

Personally I find it difficult to believe that a software platform designed along deterministic lines is going to survive any major tectonic shift in hardware architecture. In other words, when we all migrate onto computers made from bio-engineered lobster parts, We Will Not Be Running Linux.

Data archaeology, though, there's a subject. I'm sure we all have similar horror stories about extracting discrete entities from variable-blocked VSAM files stored on one-inch tape, written at a rate of furlongs-per-fortnight, via a reader which does metric only.

31:

@Genghis: I can't think of any major software engineering product that is going to get fundamentally re-done in a period of less than a decade (in which those 5 versions came out). You basically succumb to faddism and never actually get anything done from a commercial POV.

I do agree with your fundamental point about architecture.

32:

Watched the interview and ... Geek alert! Geek alert!

I'm afraid tho I must agree with the other comments re, job well done, nice interview. Must have been particularly hard to pull off, given that, dat chick be hot!

33:

It's also a finalist for this year's Prometheus Award (given by the Libertarian Futurist Society), up against novels by Card, Scalzi, Vinge, and Wilson. The deadline for members to vote just passed; which book wins will be announced at the WorldCon, presumably in a "minor awards" ceremony separate from the Hugo Awards—that's how it's been done in the past.

It was definitely one of the nominees that I enjoyed reading, along with Vinge's Rainbows End.

34:

I've always thought of software archeology in terms of excavating layered strata of software architecture, one piled on top of another over time. After awhile, no one remembers what the design criteria for a given layer was; they just wonder why there are so many inefficient paths through so many layers.

For instance, it's going to drive people batty trying to figure out why our client-server interfaces were so incredibly complicated, until they realize that HTTP was never intended to do most of the stuff we make it do; we just kept adding more layers on top of it when it wouldn't do what we wanted.

35:

Bruce @34, most of the software I work with is *designed* that way - assembling a tall wobbly stack of components (database, authentication layer, messaging layer, app server, runtime environment, applications, authorization abstraction, content repositories...) with varying levels of interoperability. This is entirely because it's easier to sell a monolithic integration job than it is a monolithic engineering job.

OTOH - If you're not part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem.

36:

Genghis

That's all too true, since it's so easy to do integration badly, and without knowing much about what you're doing, and do a good enough job that the problems don't show up until someone else tries to run the system other than with the acceptance tests.

But it's not just the contractors and the consultants who do this. A lot of open-source software has similar problems because different development groups get into religious wars over what the interfaces between layers and subsystems should look like, or which functionality should go in which layer. And integrating open-source into systems has created a whole new class of integrators.


37:

In the interests of disclosure, Bruce, I are one of them consultants ;-)

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on June 30, 2007 6:55 PM.

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