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Back home (part 29)

I'm back home from Berlin, beer, and sunbathing on a tropical beach inside a zeppelin hangar. For some tidbits about my vacation you might want to hope over to Penguin Group's blog where I'm guest blogger this week; alternatively, I'd like to bang the drum for my new novel, "Saturn's Children", which is published tomorrow in the UK and yesterday in the USA:

saturn's children - US cover saturn's children - UK cover

Orbit have kindly stuck an extract on the web, which you can read here. (Note: read this before you sound off about the cover artwork or I will mock you.)

Meanwhile, I have just realized that I haven't mentioned my big news here yet: the new book deal!

I don't usually discuss work that I haven't sold yet — I'm superstitious that way. However, although the contracts aren't signed, at this point my agent is working over the small print and someone at one of the publishers told Locus, so the cat is out of the bag: three books over three years, with Ace as the US publisher and Orbit as the UK publisher.

The books, which are due at roughly 12-month intervals, are:

* A new short story collection (provisionally titled "Palimpsest"), which will show up next summer in place of my usual SF novel. (I'm trying to complete two Merchant Princes books this year; I don't have the energy and time to do a new SF novel as well. However, I can promise that this one will collect a bunch of my short fiction from 1998 on, including the novella "Missile Gap", and a new novella/short novel, "Palimpsest".)

* A sequel to "Halting State", provisionally titled "419", set five years later. (It's not about Sue, Jack, or Elaine; it's about Inspector Kavanaugh, who has a singularly peculiar crime to solve — before it metastasizes and drowns the entire world in spam.)

* The third — but by no means the final — Laundry novel, "The Fuller Memorandum". ("The Atrocity Archives" was a Len Deighton tribute, and "The Jennifer Morgue" was Ian Fleming/James Bond; this time I'm planning to play chords in the key of Anthony Price.)

This is going to keep me busy for a while, but hopefully you'll enjoy the results!



The link to the Penguin Group blog is broken (well, 404:ing). Also, new book joy!


Given its title I was expecting "The Fuller Memorandum" to be in the style of Adam Hall's "Quiller" series.


Congrats on the release and the new book deals!


Charlie, Congrats! And further proof that my dad's comments about being your own boss means that you work harder than you ever have before. On the upside, you may enjoy it more...

Saturn's Children - Charlie, the pun... (rot 13'd for the innocent) cybg pncba?

Good one. Anyway, the book is a lot of fun and has merited a slower re-read.


Paul: it was originally going to be a "Quiller" pastiche, but Anthony Price is just too damn good a target to miss. And the title fits, for a particular reason I'm not going to discuss here (it's spoiler-iffic).

I have hopes of someday selling the fourth in the series -- "The Apocalypse Manuscript". (Which is, of course, going to be the Modesty Blaise one :)

(Penguin blog link should be fixed, now.)

Trey: yes, the pun made it in there.


I am just so proud to be an American. It certainly fills my fantasy of purple hair (just like in UFO) and large breasts barely contained. UFO, by the way, was a British show Here is the link to imdb


Congratulations, I almost bought Saturn's Children yesterday in FP London, but just resisted to wait for the ebook version :)


interesting bit of news re Saturns Children: had the Orbit Hardcover in my mailbox on monday (from, had it preordered a few months ago). Stupidly enough, I started a re-read of Iron Sunrise on Friday, so I'm trying to get that done in between rising workload at the job before I dive headfirst into Saturns Children.


I finally picked up the paperback of Halting State yesterday, and news of another Laundry novel has really made my day.

I think I'll order Saturn's Children from Amazon UK; I like that cover better.



It's already on the shelves in at least one of the bookshops I visited* today. I would have bought it, but I have promised my GF no more books until I get through the stack by my bed.

*I was only after maps, honest.


Mazel tov on the book deal. At least we'll have something to look forward to next year no matter which way our (US) election goes.

For the record, I do prefer the UK cover. It's a book nerd habit of mine to check out foreign covers online. Can't wait to see the Japanese cover of "Saturn's Children" --if it gets translated.


In the hope that one of the marketing geniuses responsible for the US cover might read this: based on its cover, I would never, ever buy that book. I'd be deeply ashamed if anyone saw me reading it. As someone noted above, I'll go for the UK import if at all.


CP: the US edition is printed on acid-free paper (the UK one wasn't, last time I looked). And it's a removable dust-jacket on a hardcover -- you can hide it, if it embarrasses you. Alas, the paperback will be a little less flexible.


Congratulations on the book deal. I got my UK edition of Saturn's Children in the post here in Spain yesterday and was very disappointed to have boring old balloon cover :-)


Congratulations on the deal. I'm really glad to hear that there will be a sequel to Halting State.

From what I've seen, British SF book covers generally tend to be better (in my opinion) than the US covers. I'm not sure why though.


Glad to hear about the new books. Especially the next Laundry book.

Will either Penguin or Orbit produce an ebook of Saturn's Children? I couldn't see it at either site yet. [And will they price it at something less than extortionate? I note that fictionwise has quite a few of your books at $7.99 but Halting State is at a "you have got to be fucking kidding" price of $24.95 ]


Francis: I don't have the ebook rights to the novels I sell to Ace, Orbit, or Tor -- and whether the publishers decide to release an ebook is not up to me.

This is my opinion on the subject of ebook pricing.

EDIT: Good news and bad news. Ace have released an ebook edition via Mobipocket ... but it's priced at US $24.95! Which is absolutely fucking ridiculous considering that Amazon will sell you a hardcover for $16.47.

I'd go moan on my editor's shoulder, but (a) the office is closed tomorrow and Friday, and (b) I know what she'd say. ("Blame management policy on ebooks.")


Congratulations! I can't speak for the whole planet, but I personally really appreciate and enjoy all of your hard work. My copy of Saturn's Children should be delivered to me today, and I'm looking forward to another great read!


I bought Saturn's Children Sunday morning at a Borders in New York... Almost embarrassed to admit that I finished reading it already.

Will re-read it on my long flights this weekend :) Double the pleasure. And don't worry about the cover, it kinda grows on you once you start reading the book.


Dear gods, there's apparently a demographic that would actually buy a book with the US cover? Can't we organise some kind of petition, stating in no uncertain terms that the artist, and whoever decided upon it, should both be forced to swim through hydrochloric acid every morning for 10 years? Or, at the very least, state that we will be purchasing the UK version in preference. Of course, I'm in the UK anyway, but...


Wowee, you're a machine! Great news. I just hate that we have to wait so long for "419". Maybe if I advanced you a fee? Heh.


Great! (yeah, not much content to this message, but I'm just so happy!)

Speaking of your Laundry books, have you seen the new Crowley bio, Secret Agent 666? It details his connections with British intelligence during the world wars. Maybe your books aren't so far-fetched,,,

(thanks for defending the boingboingers on the stupid Mefi thread, BTW)


I saw the US version of the book in a store the other day, and I would like to say that it's not nearly as hideously wrong in person. Dunno why, I think it might be due to some matte/gloss whatsit that doesn't come across online.

Of course, it's still hideously wrong. Just less so. I figure I'll pick it up anyway, since I don't have the patience to order from amazon UK and wait for it to make its way to Hawaii.


Great! I'm looking forward to sauntering down to WHSmiths with my ill-gotten horde of vouchers and buying the latest Stross novel.

Of course, first I've got to finish (and start) Thraxas (Martin Scott), Halting State (Some guy), The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), White Riot (Martyn Waites, N.B. You should check him out, he's a seriously underappreciated writer of extraordinary talent), Smoke and Mirrors (Neil Gaiman), and Wanted (Mark Millar).

Then I promise my money will be lining your pockets... or your publisher's pockets... or your agent's pockets... or WHSmiths pockets :D Well, I suppose technically a very small percentage of my money will eventually find its way in your general direction. The life of the author, eh!

Obvious observation but isn't the UK cover for Saturn's Children in a whole league of better in comparison to the US cover? Isn't this true of all of Stross' books? Point of information - the UK cover of Halting State is absolutely brilliant, while the US cover looks like William Gibson's Neuromancer designed by an 8-year old with ADHD. Just my personal opinion there.


I bloody love Anthony Price. Found A New Kind Of War on some book stall, using my standard technique of "you can judge a book by looking at its cover, and it's got bullets on it", and have been scouring charity shops ever since to pick up anything else of his. And needless to say I love the Laundry; David Audley cameo, maybe?


Although I'm from Europe, I think I'll get the US edition of Saturn's Children - mainly in the interest of balancing all those negative comments, but also it looks much more shiny and fun (not that the UK cover isn't beautiful). Also, £15.19 = €19.21 while $16.47 = €10.45 - not sure about postage from, but it might even be cheaper!



Thanks for the tip re: paper. I was trying to decide whether to buy the US edition or import the UK, but if the UK isn't acid-free, I guess I'll just hide the US dust jacket in the crawlspace or something.


Any idea on which cover will appear in the Canadian market? I'm just wondering if I'll need to ask for a plain paper wrapper or not.


Bought SC last week (Thursday or Friday, I forget) at Waterstone's, even though I thought I was going to wait for the paperback. It just looked so attractive, and I knew it was likely to be well-written, so.... finished it by Monday.


Received my copy of SC from Amazon today so I've got some good holiday-weekend reading to look forward to. I've already taken my share of abuse from the wife about the cover, so that's over with.

Self-defeating behavior from the wife -- you are the only author we both enjoy, so when she asks to read the novel when I'm done with it, I can heap upon her abuse in return.


I ordered SC from SFBC today, and it has an entirely different cover. (If SFBC locks you out, I can scan the cover from the flier.)


Based on this entry, I'm getting a belated flash of suspicion into the literary origins of the Festival in Singularity Sky.

I found the US version of SC yesterday (liking it so far) in the local Borders and paired it with this to see if I could get a rise out of the conservative-50-some woman running the register, but alas, to no avail.


Saturn's Children: Is there a list of in-jokes and references?

I got the Scalzi museum and Heinleinburg, but I'm sure I missed a bunch. In particular, why is the starship called Bark?


I too was hoping for a Quiller pastiche with the new Laundry title. After all, the Laundry already seems to bear more than a passing resemblance to the Bureau :) Have never read Price, will have to check him out.

on the cover for SC, will have to pick it up soon in spite of it. Finally getting around to reading Tim Power's Declare (based on the postscript to The Atrocity Archives).


What's amusing is that Freefall, one of my favorite SF comics is involved in a storyline about AI which addresses a lot of the issues that Saturn's Children has been bringing up. A recent strip (came out before SC came out) pretty much summed up what went wrong in the SC universe:


A Reader @32: Possibly a reference to The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy's 'B' Ark?


Amazon has promised to deliver mine in a plain brown wrapper in 4-7 days. ;)


I was happily surprised to find a copy of SC at a local Border's early last week (Monday or Tuesday). It had to wait its turn until I finished The Dragons of Babel, though.

32: Did you spot Freya's carrier for the package to Mars? Also, speaking of Heinlein, the sound effect for part of her disguise a bit later on?

My copy of Saturn's Children arrived in Portland yesterday afternoon, according to UPS tracking, and has gone in and out of the warehouse three times since, probably on a joy ride around the city. It's scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, so I guess they're holding on to it until it's time ("We will sell no Spice before its time." - Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, as portrayed by Orson Welles). Or maybe they're giving me time to finish "Implied Spaces", Walter Jon Williams' new book, which got here day before yesterday.


SC looks good! I like a bit of class war. I've just ordered my copy.

I have to admit I've never read any Anthony Price so I'm not sure how well that's going to work for me. I'm reading Sebastian Faulks's Bond novel at the moment and it reads like pastiche. Not having read any Fleming for a decade at least I'm worried I'm being hypercritical but Faulks's style seems less artful than Fleming's, especially in the descriptive passages, yet Faulks is supposed to be a lit'ry writer and it has been suggested that he demeaned himself by writing this. Does not compute!

Are you (re)reading Price's oeuvre in preparation for your book Charlie? I only ask because I'm deeply ambivalent about the thought of re-reading Bond for the second or third time - maybe better to have the happy memories than be disappointed. Maybe it's just me though - I have been a bit of a grouch recently.


gjm: I devoured Price last year (all but two books which I couldn't find; I think 17/19 should be enough to get the flavour). Note that the earlier books in the series contain essential back-story (there are continuing plot strands between books) but are somewhat dated products of their time -- it's in the later books where he hits his stride. And it helps to have a taste for 70s spy thrillers, because his roots are pretty firmly embedded in the early 70s home counties tory squirearchy. (On the other hand, the early books are short and relatively easy to digest. Lots of period detail too, notably the drinking and driving!)

I'm avoiding Faulks on Bond. (High risk of "Aaargh! Aaargh! You're doing it wrong!" Followed by headmeat go explodey.)

A. Reader @32: yes, SATURN'S CHILDREN contains unexploded in-jokes and puns. Yes, the Bark is a Douglas Adams reference (hint: what are Freya and Jeeves' professions, exactly? And who ended up on the B-Ark in HHGTTG?). And you might want to google for the definition of a plot coupon.


And there was me thinking that the use of a 'THE % %' %('name', 'noun') title implied a Robert Ludlum pastiche.


Alex: nope. The format I'm using is 'THE % %' where the nouns are something-related-to-the-story and type-of-document-or-archive. (For example THE JENNIFER MORGUE refers to Project Jennifer and a newspaper morgue (or back-issue archive) respectively.)

THE FULLER MEMORANDUM is a bit of a cheat insofar is it refers to a memo from Major-General J. F. C. Fuller to Winston Churchill during WW2 (during which Fuller was notably distinguished as the only British general officer not recalled to active duty -- officially).


Charlie Stross @ #40: Yes, the Bark is a Douglas Adams reference

Darn, it was a HHGTTG reference. And there I was, hoping it was a reference to BARK and (by association) BESK.


I second the request for a list of SC annotations. Seeing that our heroine was no longer in 'the squares of the city' had me grinning.


I have to say, I'm looking forward to all of the above - and I'm glad I'm gainfully employed (so I can afford to buy them)!


bit of thought re US vs UK hardcover: first, I tried to find out which one would get more money to our host. He told me it basically didn't matter. Second, I tried to decide based on the cover, but IMO they both have their (totally different) merits. So in the end I decided based on size of the book .. I already have a few US and a few UK hardcovers of the respective publishing houses, and the UK ones are slightly smaller and just sit nicer in my hand for in-hand-reading. They sortof feel more "bookish", if that makes sense. Plus, I figured since it was a space-related book, it should sit next to Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise and look similar, not next to the Merchant Princes stuff .. (or Halting State .. will have to get 419 in US version so it fits there .. aagh, this is all complicated)


something else: please, please, more of Eschaton vs the ReMastered at some stage? pretty please with sugar on top?


Michael: no, no more Eschaton books.

That universe has hidden flaws. Besides, I invented it in the early 90s. As you might have noticed, I'm currently booked up through 2011. Would you enjoy going back to a project you last worked on more than a decade ago and have outgrown?


The Saturn's Children excerpt includes the line "I am old and cynical and have a flaw in my character..."

Is this a deliberate Li Kao reference (the sage with the slight flaw in his character)? Will there be others?


Actually, I like the US cover. But only because I recognize it as a parody of the (in)famous cover of Heinlein's Friday.


Charlie @ 48 no, no more Eschaton books

Phooey, I thought you had once implied a third book sometime last year.

I'm not too sure that I want a list of in-jokes/references. I was really amused by all the Tiptree, Cordwainer Smith, etc. references in "Glasshouse". Well, maybe a list later, I'm sure I'll miss a few.


Ajay: yes, it's a Li Kao reference. Probably the only one, though.

I'll leave the master list for later. Got another novel to write right now -- from where I'm standing, "Saturn's Children" is the novel before last (because since then I've written and handed in "The Revolution Business", and am halfway into writing "Palimpsest" and planning "The Trade of Queens").


Re: no more Eschaton books

I understand the reasoning, but why not do something else with that universe besides writing a new novel, i.e. comic book adaption, self-parody, yule special short story edition, ...?


Til: it's the universe that's broken, rather than the characters. A bit of a show-stopper, that.


Yeah, but all the nice things one can do with broken stuff ;-)


(Sorry for the double-post, but that idea came a microsecond too late: explaining to us humble readers here the worldbuilding aspect of the Eschaton universe incl. pointing out some of the ruptures would not really be a replacement for the not-to-be third novel, but entertaining nevertheless.)


Congratulations, three times.

The Anthony Price titles spring to mind (as launching pads for your variations): * The Memory Trap [very Halting-Statey] * The Labyrinth Makers [very D&D] * War Game [ditto] * Our Man in Camelot [espionage meets historical fiction] * Tomorrow's Ghost [future meets horror] * New Kind of War [not to be confused with New Kind of Science] * Here Be Monsters

Viewpoint character might be the subtle, aristocratic, history-haunted, brilliant Doctor David Audley, employed by one of those mysterious, de facto unnamed British Intelligence outfits: "not a field man, never had been and never wanted to be." Yet the Unseen Hand intervenes from time to time.



I have been trying to work this out myself.

The only problem I have come up with so far is that IIRC the Eschaton distributed the humans through the universe by moving them back one year per ly distance, so the earth started receiving signals from pretty much everyone simultaneously.

If you then give everyone FTL travel, and assume that most of them have no idea of exactly where they are then it becomes virtually impossible for a "colonist" to avoid violating causality on earth just by pootling around their local neighbourhood.

Still thinking.


Actually, as Jon R @ 23 pointed out, the US version comes across quite differently in person.

Spathic qualities aside, the entire look of the cover really jumps out at you from the shelf. It has a very different appearance compared to most of the F/SF it's shelved with, from the color scheme to the fonts, while still projecting quite clearly that it's a SF book. And a fun one at that. I'm beginning to appreciate what the design team did with it.

Congrats on the new books! Can't wait!


I have to say i'm looking forward to the new Laundry book. My first impression on seeing the title was that R. Buckminster Fuller had been doing strange things with angles.

I just looked up J. F. C. Fuller - he sounds a lot more interesting.


dave b@58: If you then give everyone FTL travel, and assume that most of them have no idea of exactly where they are then it becomes virtually impossible for a "colonist" to avoid violating causality on earth just by pootling around their local neighbourhood.

If you have FTL travel at all, haven't you already tossed global causality violation out the window?


Yes you have, but causality violation was always possible in theory, it was just severely punished.

My point was that with the setup given you could get your civilisation destroyed for the crime of flying left instead of right. The casualties would be horrendous.


Now I'm curious what's broken in the Eschaton universe.


Charlie @ #42: [In WWII J.F.C.] Fuller was notably distinguished as the only British general officer not recalled to active duty -- officially)

I suppose this was because he was openly fascist. So what did he do during the war while officially retired?

Oh, and SC is out? Bloody hell, and I'd failed to pre-order. Well, it's ordered now. Sadly, seem to have fixed the thing when you could order some stuff and pre-order some more, and they'd send it as it became available without charging you extra - even with a ridiculously large order at two months' waiting, they'll now insist it's "one shipment".


welcome back to the crazy.


Having read Fullers "Decisive battles of the WEstern world", as well as another of his books, whose name escapes me, I thought I had an idea of what he was like, but somehow the occult connection has been kept rather quiet.


Wasn't Fuller one of Crowley's most ardent devotees, at least up to the '30s? That seems as though it would fit right in with the universe of the Laundry.


re Eschaton: sad (for me, I really like it) but of course that's about all there is to it. Plus I like all the other stuff as well, so no loss for you. Damn. Bad bargaining position ;)

I also add myself to the list of ppl interested in a more detailed account of the flaws of that universe

Plus: yay for more laundry!


Received the US copy of Saturn's Children last night. Great! I agree with Jon @23 -- not a bad cover once you see it for real. My wife didn't mind it! And the author photo on the inside flap is great.

Very much like Freya, another way to say "Friday". :-)

(Where do I stick tedious reports of typographic errors? There's one on page 9...)


As predicted, I got my copy of Saturn'e Children today (it enjoyed the extra couple of days of riding around the city). I agree with all those who say the cover isn't done justice by the images online; you can't tell how iridescent the inks are, frex. It's truly tacky; but it has to be a parody. She's cross-eyed, fer Ghu's sake!


Is there anything in the printed edition whichj tells you who the cover artist is.

(No, I don't use my own name on CGI sites either.)


Clifton @67: yes. Fuller's a fascinating guy -- a strategic genius, a fascist, and a thelemite! He's a natural fit for the secret history of how the Laundry was formed.

As for how he might have been used during the war, I refer you to "The Hour of the Donkey" by Anthony Price (which is, incidentally, a stand-alone that requires no knowledge of the David Audley books, making it a very good taster/entrypoint into Price's writing).


Thanks for the news.

Have you considered doing a Laundry book gving tribute to Le Carre? Or perhaps it would be too bleak? (what with the byzantine bureaucracy, the realpolitik & Cthulhu Sanity Destruction [TM])

Just asking bc I'm a fan of LeCarre ofc (discovered the books in my father's library when I was a teenager).

Kind regards,


Which two Anthony Price novels are you missing? I've got most of them (and some duplicates) if you want to borrow them.


"Tidbits"? Surely this is the one post where UK spelling would be more applicable.


72: It's a good one; I always remember the line "Well, it seems that our anti-tank rifle has contracted orchitis."


I am not going to do Le Carre, partly because I don't like his style, and partly because Tim Powers nailed him better than I ever could (see the afterword of "The Atrocity Archives" for details).


Charlie - Here is where I make my biannual entreaty to let us see CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN.


You can see it if you want. I'm running for the hills!


dave b - I failed my SAN check long ago, so what's the difference?


dave b: that's a good long way up the story arc! (I have provisional plans for the next three Laundry novels, but would hope the series runs to at least ten. Because I enjoy writing them ...)


dave b #79: Yeah, but by then the hills will have eyes.

Charlie: Yay for more Laundry stories.


charlie, when will you be doing your next book signing event in edinburgh?


shm: got no idea, but if you know where I go drinking, just turn up with a bag o' books and I'll sign 'em. Alternatively, ping me via the email form (I'm not going to put it in the blog comments where it's on the public interwebtubiething for all to see).


I'm glad to hear the news about the short story collection. We don't see enough of your short stuff these days. Also good news about the Price Laundry novel. The Price novel that sticks most in my mind is Gunner Kelly, mainly for a long and painstaking sequence where a West German intelligence officer infiltrates a remote valley community somewhere in the West Country which is presumed to have been taken over by a Soviet agent. I finally finished Halting State. Very nice. Liked that a lot.


Dave: I haven't been writing much short stuff lately, because I've been churning out novels flat-out. (Being on two concurrent multi-book contracts with major publishers will do that to you, if you get ill.)

Hopefully by the end of this year I will have worked through the train-wreck of my schedule for the past 2-3 years, and will have a bit more spare time for experimental shorts in 2009 or 2010.


Charlie: I know you've been a bit busy recently; it wasn't a complaint, just an appreciation of your short stuff. I keep thinking I'd like to have your contracts, and then I think about your workload and I think, hmm...maybe not...


My take on the Eschaton universe is that it appears to be broken because the Eschaton was/is/will be seeking a stable universe that includes itself, using evolutionary algorithmic methods. It appears messy to us humans because it is a mess, just like our own genomes. But the Eschaton doesn't care how elegant it is, as long as it works.


NelC: a major reason it's broken is because the two novels were written too far apart, and because Ace kinda-sorta insisted on the second one being a direct sequel to the first. In retrospect, I'd have done better to have explicitly made IRON SUNRISE a clean sheet break from SINGULARITY SKY, with a new back-story and characters. Then I might have been able to take a stab at continuity. But alas, it was not to be.

(Right now I'm working on PALIMPSEST the novella, for PALIMPSEST the story collection. It's already bigger than MISSILE GAP, with -- I think -- more gosh-wow per paragraph than ACCELERANDO. Will that do it for you? :)


Eh, part of the reason I'm sooo disappointed is that I was, what, three? four? chapters in before I realised that it was a sequel. Well past the Idid Amin Dada scene, whichever that was. So my enjoyment ratcheted up a notch from an already high -- because good sequels to good books are good -- then broke the meter when I finished it with another sequel implied with all the loose ends that were left dangling.

Humph. Nothing for it but to write the damn thing myself, I suppose. But I'm going to kill Rachel Mansour -- and it's all your fault!


Wooo hooo more Laundry!


What did you think of Tropical Islands?

The novelty value of it was quite high in January, when I visited (chock full of Slavic charter bus-tour daytrippers), but it seems like it would be just sweltering in July.


I really enjoyed the new book! And the typesetting (of the US edition) was wonderful.

I think it may be my favorite commentary so far on the "robots as slaves" paradigm.

The cover was okay.


How did I miss the release date of Saturn's Child? I knew it was coming up. Anyway, I was actually upset enough about not having it yet, and being over an hour away from a book store and 11:00 at night I bought the Sony Reader version and I'm all set to start. I've actually gotten pretty fond of the weird/sexy lady on the cover of the book but the Sony version of the e-book doesn't have the cover art, so it's sort of a blessing but a little bit of a curse, I could only have seen her in grey-scale anyway, sigh.


Ugh... I haven't been able to convince myself to touch the book here in the US with such a juvenile cover. Had they used the UK cover, I would have picked it up in a second. Any way to get the UK version here in the states? Any place we can complain to the US publisher?


anon, you can just buy from Or you can join SFBC, which has a third cover. Actually, if you weren't anon, I might be willing to be the middleperson between you and SFBC.


Thanks #97 - I didn't think would ship to the US (guess I should have just tried). I wound up paying triple what it would have cost to pick it up the US version from :O


I like the SFBC cover too; think I might order it that way unless I get too impatient.

For those who aren't members, the SFBC made Saturn's Children one of the two lead attractions (aka "featured selections") for this month; they also used that to highlight along with it their other Stross offerings (Glasshouse, Halting State and an omnibus of the two Laundry volumes to date.) That should be good for a couple more ales, I mean sales.


Interesting . . . Janny Wurts told me once that her portrait-like covers were too intense for the UK audience, and she had been asked to paint new ones that were almost landscapes with tiny ants for people. Apparently the UK audience has people in its face all day and prefers not to have them in closeup on book covers. This surprised me, but I see it over and over; abstracts for the UK edition, and staring faces for the US. Argh. Does this mean we're lonesome for human interaction over here, needing some face time with our novels? Or is the UK ahead of us as usual in matters of taste? I always liked Richard Powers better than Kelly Freas, but maybe that's just me . . . congrats on the ales, or sales anyway.


dsb @100: you know how Japan is often portrayed in western media as being horribly over-crowded and densely populated?

I went there last year. Reminded me of home.

The UK is horribly over-crowded and densely populated by US standards -- if the continental USA was populated to the same density as the UK, you'd have around two billion people! And the UK population is 98% urban. So maybe there's something to that theory.


dsb @100, I'm disabled and other than errands, spend most of my time with cats. And people online. The doctors tell me spending hours a day posting back and forth with people, many of whom I've met in person, is not sufficient socialization. Nuts.


Charlie, thank you for mentioning the third Laundry novel. Even though there's a bit of a wait, I am already rubbing my hands in gleeful anticipation.


Marilee @ 102

A doctor told you that? A lot of the doctors I've met weren't socialized at all (and I used to work in a medical school, so I've met a lot of them). Pot, kettle.


Well, both covers reasonably have something to do with the novel. The UK cover is more attractive, if a bit generic. But I think the US cover better represents what the novel is about, even if it is no great shakes artistically. I expect both covers will serve their commercial role reasonably well. Of course, all that I need to make up my mind to buy is the name "Stross" on the cover.

It occurs to me that if anybody ever wants to make a movie out of Saturn's Children, it would be a wonderful choice for computer animation, with the uncanny valley actually an asset.


I have just received my copy of the US edition, and I can only say that the online pictures of the cover fail to do it justice.


Congrats-- but does this mean you're going to be too busy to write that comic book story we'd talked about?


Glen: Ping me by email. (This thread is overdue for closing.)



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on July 2, 2008 2:37 PM.

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