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I get book covers

Okay, so I wasn't too keen over the last couple of covers that Ace unleashed on me, but I think this one's a corker:


It's finally scheduled for US publication in trade paperback next January, at the same time The Atrocity Archives goes mass-market.



I was perusing in a bookshop yesterday actually, when I saw the UK (I assume) paperback of The Jennifer Morgue. I actually thought it was quite a nice cover (and if I didn't own the hardback, would have had it).

Sadly I spent my hard earned cash on the Leather bound tome of Lovecraft's work called the Necronomicon.

I mean - how could I not!?


I have an MP3 player manufactured by Apple.

It's name, when I plug it into my Mac, is ... NecronomiPod!


Much better!


Nicely done, only the "My name is Howard" bit is a bit strange.


Very swank! But it's from an actual scene in the book — isn't that taboo for SF cover illustrations?


Very nice! Do you know who the artist is?


What's a corker? Forgive a sdupeed Kraut for not undarstending proper British slang :-)


For a definition of "corker" please take a look at this:


Til @4: "My name is Bond, James Bond". Ring any bells?


Both amusing and appropriate; unusual! :)


Serraphin @1: According to my research, the binding's not Leather. I'd wear gloves...


Oh, that is fucking awesome! Love the hi-res jpeg. His expression is simultaneously calculating, surprised, intelligent, scared, and facetious. Totally Bob Howard.


I dunno kite - I mean really it's the most natural thing in the world. I mean - real leather is the cured scraped hide of a that's sick.

Hang on - the Shoggoth needs feeding.


I'd say that's more or less perfect. Be interesting to see how they tackle the Price novel...


Much better than the hardback Golden Gryphon version I just bought.

Speaking of releases, I was appalled to find that my local B&N in San Jose, CA had only I copy of Saturn's Children, displayed in the "new fiction" section and no copies in the "new SF" section at the start of the SF shelves. If I didn't know it was available, I would have been hard pressed as a reader to buy a copy. This is Silicon Valley, SF is lionized here. I just hope that this store is an anomaly, although it is the largest B&N for miles around.


And if you need real leather, American Science and Surplus has them on sale now.


Previously I said that the US "Saturn's Children" cover made me think of old pulp art. This one's even pulpier, excellent!

Looking forward to it.


Unrelated topic, William Gibson was in Lexington KY (where I live) June 13 for signing of paperback "Spook Country". Lexington Herald-Leader (I still like a hardcopy newspaper with breakfast in the morning) this morning had Gibson's, "What I'm reading now" -- 2nd item listed (and only genre item) was "Halting State", by Charles Stross. I looked for the article online (, couldn't find it.



Chris, I was at that signing, too. Gibson actually recommended Halting State while responding to the unavoidable question of "so what are you reading?". He mentioned some other book also that I have since forgotten.




Beautiful cover - but who is the illustrator?


It looks like they used the same cover artist as the TPB edition of The Atrocity Archives. If so, that makes the cover artist Mark Frederickson.


Thanks James. Much appreciated - It's a pet peeve of mine that people should always give props to the illustrator whenever possible when they display the artwork. Just checked out his work and it's very interesting!


@Charles (9) -- that's not what got me irritated (I guess I figured it out, Bond-pastiche etc.); it's the line after that -- "Please don't hurt me."


C.S., not bad, although I don't picture Bob looking like this. I liked the US Saturn's Children cover. Fun. And by the way, a fantastic story.


Chris @ 18: I don't know how it was printed in your paper, but the Gibson list is from the Parade Sunday supplement. The lest had: "The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon "Halting State" by you know who "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz "Little Brother" by Cory Doctor Ow (as my old iBook prononces it) "No Quite Dead" by John Maclachlan Gray

in case anyone was wondering.


I'm about half way through The Atrocity Archives with the red blobby cover and a hand reaching out. I like the cover (also had a similar design for Glasshouse). The Atrocity Archives is a Fun book thanks! Looking forward to picking up The Jennifer Morgue when I go on my next book binge.


Penguin seem to be doing their bit to promote Saturn's Children: I just clicked on to the e-books section of their US website and there was the lovely femmebot gazing at me from the top of the page. I don't understand their pricing though - $24.95 seems very steep compared to the other books, even the new releases. Will they reduce the price when it comes out in paperback? Hardly seems fair when the format is identical.


gjm: ebook pricing is a sore point with me. Here's my position on the subject.


C.S. said, "the common complaint that readers don't like staring at a screen for hours on end doesn't hold water; we actually spend a lot of our time staring at computer screens, PDAs, and tiny little displays on mobile phones."

Cory has his hypothesis. C.S., don't you think books read for entertainment can have fetishistic value for many? I keep wondering what I'd do if all I had to hold was my mediatronic book, which would hold my entire library. I'd like it, but it wouldn't be the same as holding a paper book. But for many, paper books are too expensive. All books should be ebooks, and all ebooks should be free. I've already found Saturn's Children for free thanks to some enterprising young man in Norway. The paradigm is shifting faster than I predicted. Will Sat's Children be coming out in a limited edition? Something with leather and gold leaf?


Thank you for sharing the image. snarf

I like it even more than that on the HC, despite the nearly-inexplicable bubbles rising from the muzzle.


Jeff: I don't think SC is going to get an Easton Press limited edition -- I've had two in a row, but I normally get to hear about them (to sign the cover sheets) before the Ace hardcover arrives on the shelves.

Yes, there's a fetish aspect to paper. But paper's expensive in more ways than one; it's bulky (says the man who has an apartment with a 24' x 18' room that's shelved floor-to-ceiling with bookcases on the two longest walls -- the two short walls being blocked by (a) windows and (b) a large radiator panel).

Saying ebooks should be free is all very well, but I hope you've got a new business model in mind for those of us who write for a living! Because otherwise, by and by new books are going to become thin on the ground ...


C.S., if I had a workable business model (which I have), I would send it to Goggle (which I did), and they would offer me a job, (which they did). But I didn't want another job. The model includes lots and lots of ad revinue, which makes up for all the money wasted on paper, printing and distribution. But it requires DMR-ware. Also, the device (call it what you like) will be free in its basic form. Paradigm shifts need pushing sometimes. When Goggle anounces that it has some very Green authors who have signed up to be "ebook only" writers, you'll know it's really going to happen. No more book stores, besides the ones with POD capacity and second hand books.

The model also makes writers and publishers more money, but those details are a bit long.


I keep thinking that if we made it totally brain-dead easy to donate money to authors, many authors who distributed free ebooks would do very well for themselves indeed -- like if you could just tap the "Donate $5" button on your reader at those moments of pure reading pleasure. Readers would tip authors during and after after reading, which in some ways is more appropriate. I mean, authors have us quite prone, conjuring stories directly in our cortices.


We could work out ways to cut in the editors and publishers.



I finished reading Saturn's Children several days ago, and I finally have some time to post my appreciation to you. I will have to read it again soon, and look up all the references and easter eggs you sprinkled around in it, but I didn't want to do that the first time because it was so much fun.

Warning for other readers: Here be there spoilers!

First: you nailed the Heinlein voice, especially in the snarky "Those poor apes in the past didn't have a clue" sections (I particularly remember the critique of internal combustion automobiles in "The Rolling Stones"; Freya's snark compares favorably).

Second: It was a lot of fun; I really enjoyed the sex scenes (and they were authentic Heinlein, kicked up a notch or two). And it really did resonate off of "Friday", which is not my most favorite of his works, in a subtly sardonic way.

Third: I thought what you did with the 3 standard characters was great: Block 1 = the young man, Block 2 = the expert adult, Block 3 = the wise old man. And there were enough crossings of memory and identity among the sibs to remind me of "By His Bootstraps", which was another nice bit.

All in all, a lot of fun to read, and worth reading again to catch all the references. Good job, please keep up the great work.


I rather liked Freya's "I'm a generalist" scatological riff on the Lazarus Long definition of what it is to be a human being. ("I can't plan a building, conn a boat, ..."). It's on page 270, for those who want to check it out.

Not to mention the argument between the robot creationist and the robot evolutionist.

Lots of fun stuff!


I'm not going to get a lot of these references and I'm certainly not going to reread any Heinlein - but what the hey - I didn't get most of the geeky references in the Laundry novels and still thought they were great. A genuinely geeky mate of mine who I lent them to didn't see any of the thriller stuff but enjoyed them on a completely different level from me. This is a tribute to Charlie's skill as a writer of course, and his encylopaedic knowledge. I should really have prefaced this OBN.


FYI Saturn's Children is 18th on Orbit's bestseller list behind multiple Trudi Canavans, Terry Brooks and other usual suspects.

"Another chart debutant is Saturn's Children by Charles Stross, selling very well indeed on the back of a successful online advertising campaign that we've been running on Google Adwords, Facebook and elsewhere"


Gratifying! And yesterday Saturn's Children and Halting State were at #23 and #24 respectively on's bestseller list in SF/Fantasy. However, about half the items above them were misfiled detective/thriller titles, graphic novels, and the usual classics (1984, Fahrenheit 451, Ender's Game).

But it would be wrong to draw the conclusion that I'm on my way to fame and fortune. SF/F accounts for something like 6% of all fiction titles sold, and SF is just one third of that market -- a 2% market share! You can be a very big fish in the SF pool and still be a minnow in real terms.


C.S., its so refreshing to see that you have a healthy perspective with regards to your own share of the glory. But your market share would increase if you would also give your ebooks away. Just like Cory does (ah, maybe.) And my spell checker doesn't like the word Google for some reason. Sorry 'bout that.


Jeff: my market share would increase if my publishers would give my ebooks away. Hint: this is a sore point, but not selling them the exclusive ebook rights is a deal-breaker right now, and they don't see fit to do what I want them to do.


Nice cover, rather splendid.

Although incidentally I have the wavey raindrop face which suits the enigmatic image I'm failing to cultivate.

Well done, publisher. Now all they have to do is convince Tesco to put it on their shelves, and you'll sell 100,000 books. In a single week. Hurrah.


Something tells me the impending launch is going to change the game quite a bit, at least by increasing the publisher-readership-author bandwidth. The SF community is down with rapid uptake! It's who we are.


Charlie, yeahh! I can't wait.

Two questions, though: 1. I seem to recall reading somewhere here that Jennifer Morgue was supposed to come out sometime earlier this year. What gives?

  • Are you or the artist who came up with the coat of arms for the Laundry going to be selling T shirts?
  • 46:


  • It was originally scheduled for January 2008. It got rescheduled for January 2009.
  • (Note that the original hardcover came out in 2006 and the UK mass market paperback in 2007.)

  • The arist who did that coat of arms is my wife. No plans for T shirts, but we'll think about it ...
  • 47:

    Chaz-man, I won't ask you to talk about the changing culture of publishing--it seems too political at the moment and not that interesting to the average reader. Tor may be happy to promote their authors with Free, since it works (?) But then, it's probably different when you're C.D.and you can spend a HUGE amount of time promoting your stuff and can then proclaim how great giving stuff away in e-form is. As a futurist, I'm almost sure that you can see a future where paper is out for the most part. How many f-cking awards do you need to earn before your publisher does what YOU want? If you don't have the best shark of an agent, then you should (and I'm not saying your rep isn't the best...but). How do we get your numbers up? There are ways. Book tours are not it. Book tours are great for fans, but from what I've heard from insiders, they do not increase sales numbers. And if they do, it's minimal.


    Jeff @47, many of us would prefer that famous writers don't get to do what they want. We have some amazingly awful examples in late Heinlein, current Bova, current Anderson/Herbert, and more. When an author gets to make their own decisions, things don't always turn out well.



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    This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on July 14, 2008 4:27 PM.

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