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Brief publicity note

I have an interview in The Guardian today.

And I just opened a parcel from New York via FedEx, which turned out to contain (a) a mass market paperback copy of Halting State and (b) a shiny hardcover of Saturn's Children.

(While they're officially due out on June 24th and July 1st respectively, what this means is that they've been printed and are on their way to the warehouses; they'll begin appearing in bookshops anything up to a week before the official pub dates.)

Oh, and it turns out that "Halting State" is available to Kindle owners for $9.99 (although I expect that'll drop when the paperback starts shipping).



Does the US edition have translations of the Doric or are the hapless American readers left to fend for themselves?


John: assuming you're asking about Halting State, there are no translations. (My agent did lean on me to down-tune the Scots dialect in the early draft, but as my English test readers were also having difficulty in places ...)


Does anyone actually pay $9.99 for an ebook?


Ten bucks for a ebook? Highway robbery! But I've ranted (in my own space; not here) about ebook selling before.


Charlie@5 - Is there a second installment? I'd love to hear your thoughts on what is to be done.


Luke, let me think about that. Trouble is, stuff is happening, but some things I've been tracking and was getting ready to bang the pulpit about have been delayed (due to legal and/or technical hitches). I was hoping to declare 2008 the year Publishing ditched DRM; looks like I might have been a little optimistic (at least, so far).


That was a pretty nice interview. I really liked the penultimate para: "I think that if there's one key insight science can bring to fiction," he says, "it's that fiction - the study of the human condition - needs to broaden its definition of the human condition. Because the human condition isn't immutable and doomed to remain uniform forever. If it was, we'd still be living in caves rather than worrying about global climate change. To the extent that writers of mainstream literary fiction focus on the interior landscape exclusively, they're wilfully ignoring processes and events that have a major impact on our lives. And I think that's an unforgivably short-sighted position to take."

Looking forward to getting hold of "Saturn's Children" as soon as I get back from my Bahamas vacation. Pity I won't be able to read it on the beach, but few things in life are perfect.


Charlie@7 - Well, 7 months is plenty of time to still be right. So many little things seem just a refresh click away.


I note the art work on the cover of Saturn's Children:

I hope you are thoroughly ashamed of yourself for endorsing such exploitative images. I hope you look to correct yourself in the future. I hope you got the model's phone number.


I just need to say - the Guardian possibly has the most...friendly picture of you I've seen yet Mr S! You should try and get this in those dust jackets!

Some of your older dust cover mug shots are thoroughly scary!


I really don't get the DRM for ebooks thing. When music (music!) has given up, and music can be perfectly enjoyed in digital form (computers, mp3 players) why do publishers insist on it? Especially given they don't even get something for the money! I can't be the only person to know that Microsoft Reader's DRM has been broken for, oh let me think, the better part of 4 years now, and counting, and MS doesn't even bother issuing patched versions. While I'm blind, and therefore DRM for ebooks pretty much makes them unusable for me, and ebooks are the reasonable way for me to read (reasonable meaning I don't have to invest 4-5 hours flipping pages on a scanner) it seems that empirically most people just don't like reading on screens, so you'd have to heavily discount ebooks to sell them, much more so DRM-laiden ebooks. The fact they have about 0 cost of duplication for the publisher means they should be just about pure profit, too! So it seems really inexplicable, ebooks should be treated more as a sort of full-profit money-for-nothing side of the business, that competes only very weakly with printed books.


Is that a new picture? Are you letting your hair grow again?


Marilee: my hair varies on a seasonal (or even weekly) basis. Hint: nobody sane goes through winter in Edinburgh with no hair.


I'd love Baen-priced eBooks but as it is I'll probably bite the bullet and go for the hardcover of Saturn's Children.


Charlie, re 14: Not all of us had much choice in the matter! Fortunately Berghaus do a nice line in thermally-lined ski caps, which proved most helpful on the icy traverse from Bruntsfield to the Auld Hoose...


I don't know if this is now a typical male thing but in high summer I'm clean-shaven and the hair on my pate is as short as my daughter will let me get away with. I usually get my last haircut of the year in September, and stop shaving sometime in November. By the middle of March I've got a rather impressive growth of chin foilage, if I do say so myself, and hair down to my shoulders. Rinse and repeat with the first haircut/shave of the year in March.

Is this what most older guys do these days? Given my background, might as well be practical about it.


can you not do an interview without mentioning ken?


I bet opening a parcel like that is a very very nice feeling.


Charlie @14, ah, I've always seen recent pictures with baldness. Here, people who don't have much hair wear hats year round -- keep them warm in the winter and keep from sunburn in the summer.


From the interview: "the future is always a lot stranger than we expect - probably it's stranger than we can expect".

Great shades of Haldane!: "The Universe is not only queerer than we imagine it is queerer than we can imagine."

(Before anyone complains that's not the way they've read it, A.C. Clarke usually used 'stranger' because he new of Americans propensity to misunderstand the word queer.)


ScentOfViolets @ 17

I've varied from full beard to clean-shaven over my life, but usually had long hair. For the last 15 years I haven't gotten a hair cut; the hair got about halfway down my back and stopped. I pull it back in a pony tail in the summer to keep my neck cool, but that's the extent of the change in my coiffure. It's finally turning gray and I'm starting to lose it in my 60's; sometime soon I'll cut it short, as soon as I can figure out how to cut it so it will look good (my hair is very fine, and almost uncontrollable when it's short).


Sean @18: who would you like me to mention in interviews -- John Norman?


Now that would be a challenge for a panel at a convention, well outside English libel laws.

"I owe everything to John Norman and Butlins. There I was, bored out of my skull, lusting after the teen girls who ignored this teen boy, and they were selling these books, next to the Daily Mail, full of reworked history. strange worlds, and naked girls who weren't allowed to say no. And I thought, I can write better than this..."


Hmm, the logistics department at your publisher probably needs to get a new calendar if that edition of Halting State is due on june 24. I got it from a bookstore in Stockholm, Sweden a week ago.


Infraljud: was it the big trade-paperback edition with the pixel people on the cover? If so, that's the British (trade paperback) edition. The one I'm talking about is the American (mass market paperback) edition.


Speaking of Halting State:

Better than the "Metropolitan Police" cover art

Wrong force, but at least right country this time (Semper Vigilo, "I'm Always Watching", is the motto of Glasgow's police, and the story is from Aberdeenshire)


Clarification of Del's comment @27 for irregular readers: the first version of the Ace cover art for HALTING STATE featured a London Metropolitan Police police badge and a London skyline, because, yanno, Scotland Yard polices Scotland and London's the capital of Scotlandshire, or something.

(I will confess I threw my toys out of the pram and used up all my hoarded "author objects to cover" tokens in one go, thus leaving me out of ammo when it was time to blow a gasket over SATURN'S CHILDREN.)


I kind of love the Saturn's Children cover, we being so close to the irony event horizon and all.


er, I mean the self-awareness level of the cover is indeterminate (as Heinlein homage). We wouldn't judge the book by it, at any rate.


Charlie @ #26 - Nope, It was the mass market paperback, just the one you linked to ( They had the Orbit edition ( as well but strangely enough that edition was more than twice as expensive in swedish currency. Thank the EU for the free market.


Infraljud: Note that the ratio of royalties an author gets for the different editions is roughly 1:4:5:6 for a US mass-market paperback, a UK trade paperback, a US hardcover, or a UK hardcover.


Charlie @ 32

FWIW, those are the ratios of a just major triad*. So you can at least sing on the way to the way to the bank.

  • I noticed this because I was just (npi) reading about triads in the chapter on Scales and Temperament in a book called "Music, a Mathematical Offering", a fascinating book that covers the math of music from Fourier Analysis of musical generation in instruments to the mathematics of musical composition. The sections on psychoacoustics are especially interesting; a lot has been discovered in the 45 years since I last studied this subject.

Any chance of getting Saturn's Children on the Kindle?


That's not up to me, it's entirely up to my US publisher (Ace).


Turns out that Ace put it up on the Kindle same day it came out on HC. Please give your publisher some Kudos from me! (I'm in Germany, so this is by far the easiest/cheapest way to get the book)

Brief review here:



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on June 9, 2008 3:41 PM.

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