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Another job done

I've just finished writing what I hope will be the final pre-delivery draft of "The Trade of Queens", book #6 of the Merchant Princes series (and the successor to "The Revolution Business").

I haven't delivered it to my editor yet — I'm running it past my usual focus group in the hope of spotting the most egregious errors before I hand it in — but unless they spot anything really wrong, it's substantially finished. Which means it should hit the shelves next April, a year after "The Revolution Business".

No cliff-hanger on this one: it has a genuine series-sized climax. There may be a subsequent series ("Merchant Princes: The Next Generation") but I'm taking a couple of years off before I even think about it.

As a point of reference, this novel ran to 98,500 words. The series as a whole runs to 628,800 words. That's roughly 40,000 words more than "War and Peace", or about 1900 pages in paperback. I've been writing it since late in 2001; I can't believe I finished it!

44 Comments

1:

Wow, congratulations!

2:

You deserve a pint or two!

3:

Congratulations!

I look forward to the next installment making it out in the UK. Presumably you'll be taking a well deserved rest for a bit?

4:

Fantastic news. Time for you to start working on "A Song of Ice and Fire"?

5:

Great!

How about some new Laundry novels next?

6:

Russ: I'm taking at least a couple of years off this series (if not a permanent break: I've parked it at a reasonable stopping place).

I can now take a whole month off before I resume work on the next novel. Which is only 1200 words long so far, and well behind schedule ...

7:

Fazal: Laundry novel #3 is already in the works -- on an editor's desk, due out in either 2011 or 2010 (if they pull the schedule forward).

Plans for Laundry novel #4 are advanced, but first I need to write the sequel to HALTING STATE (which was due in summer 2010, but will probably get swapped with Laundry #3). And as Laundry novel #4 doesn't have a contract yet, I won't know whether or when I'm going to get to write it for, oh, probably another year.

8:

Hooray!
You get a little rest; we get another bang-up novel.
Thank you.

9:

As everyone else has said, "Congratulations!"

You going to be able to squeeze in a celebratory drink on Friday by any chance?

- Neil.

10:

Neil: if you mean in Edinburgh, yes.

11:

So, any chance of you signing my ebooks next week? :)

12:

Kudos and congratulations on the final word Charlie. It'll be really awesome to see where all this has been heading (now just got to survive any oncmoing buses for long enough for it to get published!).

And as eager as I am for more Laundry goodness, I am secretly hoping you slow down for #4...in case you get into your head to enact CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN before the series is long enough to take up a full shelf!

13:

#12, potential spoiler: CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN starts in THE FULLER MEMORANDUM. And it's due to continue for 72 years ...

14:

Given the nail-biting cliffhanger at the end of TRB, I would sincerely like to offer my services as an advance reader for TTOQ. I offer only out of the sincerest desire to help you. Really. (Is he buying it?.)

15:

Congrats, looking forward to reading whatever you publish next.

16:

Congratulations Charlie! Time to have a pint or two and put your feet up. Turn the writing part of your brain out to pasture for awhile and enjoy life. I look forward to being able to (re)read the entire Merchant Princes saga from start to finish.

17:

so, that word-count, how does it compare to, say, the Baroque Cycle? *idle musings*

18:

I am very much looking forward to it, though I am honestly tempted to wait to read The Revolution Business until this one comes out so I can finish in one go.

I've been really enjoying these.

19:

Charlie: It's funny, I remember having conversations with you on MeFi before your books (except maybe the first) were out here in the US. I picked up Singularity Sky because of them and wow, was I impressed, and Iron Sunrise showed me you belonged on my read everything list (except the horror stuff, don't care much for anyone's horror). Accelerando is on my All time Top 10.

Looking forward to reading TRB and ToQ but the sequel to Halting State will probably be more my speed.

Thanks for the fish!

20:

Woot! Congratulations! Finally some time to let that brain marinate a bit and see what else you come up with.

21:

Simon: "So, any chance of you signing my ebooks next week?"

PGP signed? :-)

22:

Just had TRB delivered today from Powells only to find out they have copies in Transreal.
When's the next pub signing after tonight Charlie I can't make it this evening to His Nib's Local.

23:

shm: I may stick my nose in Dagda late tomorrow night, assuming the Red Men haven't packed the house. Failing that, I'll probably be in the usual place a week on Wednesday (but not this Wednesday, as I'll be somewhere in London instead).

24:

Congrats!

25:

Charlie @ 23 I thought Dagda was The Usual Place. I'm obviously not in the know. I have a round trip to Liverpool by train tomorrow to pick up a coffee grinder for my other obsession.

26:

I just finished reading Halting State this week (found in my favourite Berlin english language bookshop), so perhaps having read whatever else I've got my hands on of yours I'll go there tomorrow and start the Merchant Princes series to celebrate.

27:

Steve Burnap @18, the cliff hanger at teh end of this one is nail-biting enough I almost wish I had done that. It was such a good read though...

28:

Good to hear; I'm just finishing reading book five, and liking it a lot. One thing I've wondered (about the whole series) though - often the American characters use British instead of American idioms. It's a bit jarring to read. Is this something you care about? If so, do your publishers help to minimize this?

29:

Charles @28: that's something the copy editors should be flagging up, but don't always spot. (In my case, I'm crap at spotting them for the same reason that you can never spot your own habitual spelling mistakes.)

30:

It's always a bit jarring to find a dangling plot point, factual error, or typo in print, and good to get them nipped in the bud. I've been in the editorial racket before, both in college and in my first job slaving away for an electronics magazine, so I've fixed a lot of things and seen a few slip by. If you ever want another Monk in your proofing pool, just yell.

31:

Since I first posted, I finished the fifth book and really liked it. Even though you'd worked up to quite a good pace and cliffhanger and I'll have to wait nearly a year for the sixth one.

The American/British idiom examples aren't big. For example, characters often use plural verb forms for collective nouns: "the army are" instead of "the army is", for example. Phrases like "car park" instead of "parking lot". Getting things "sorted". There was a point where an official showed his "warrant card". I've seen that before from British writers - I guess it's the equivalent of a badge or ID? It may not even be inaccurate in the US, I've just never seen it used by American writers. I don't see any way you could catch this kind of thing, but American readers at your publisher should be able to.

Anyway, don't take this negatively. I love your writing, and I'm pretty sure I've bought every book you've had published (even one or two I had to order directly from the UK because they weren't yet available here in the US). As long as you keep writing it, I'll keep buying and reading it.

32:

Congratulations Charlie!

Should you happen to be in Austria one of these days I'll buy you a beer :)

33:

Congrats! Tell you what... take the weekend off.

34:

Just adding my Congrats to the list!   I'm continually amazed with your literary output.

35:

I shall make squee noises now. The fifth book is currently in transit from Amazon, so I haven't got to it yet.

36:

Yes, congratulations. Any idea when you will be back in
Australia ?

37:

Congrats!

38:

Fantastic, since I'm in need of good books to fill up my new bookshelf.

39:

I'll add my congratulations to the pile. I'm very pleased to read this news. I was afraid this series might never end! Not that I mind the length (it's certainly entertaining), it's just that since everything I like gets killed somehow, I figured something would happen to stop this series from reaching a conclusion. Glad to see that it will make it to the end after all!

40:

Fantastic. Just finished The Revolution Business. Looking forward to the conclusion.

41:

Charles @12: I was thinking in London after your FP signing. I'll be bringing my hardback copy of Atrocity Archives to be scribbled in.

- Neil.

42:

Charlie,
Just finished TRB. I love the way you keep upping the ante and changing the game in this series, not to mention crafting so much raw material into so many interweaving plotlines. A tour de force!

43:

Charles:

I also just finished TRB: it was a pretty fast (but excellent) read, and now, to wait for the last one.

(forgive the fan-boy and wandering all over)

I particularly liked the way you kept in the sense of the quietly professional military, often doing interesting things beyond the edge of public perception. If anyone's going to go do these things, why not them, and of course, they'd be doing them with care and skill.

The research for these must be awesome, but it's part of why we own everything of yours we can put our hands on, both in hardcopy and on the Kindle. (I've missed more than a few hours of sleep finishing out a great read of yours, and also keeping the last 10-20 pages of something til I get home so I can savor it with an excellent adult beverage)

Here's hoping they can ship #6 as quickly as you'd like: I pre-ordered #5 when Amazon told me you had something new coming out, and couldn't wait for it to show.

I was looking at the box this morning, and recognized that this is what was really great about the book clubs I'd subscribed to in high school: a nice brand new novel comes wrapped in mid-grade cardboard, and then gets carried around as a prized treasure, a prime time-suck, but also a great way to warp the head in new directions.

Between yourself, V. Vinge and Stephenson, this is a great time to be reading near-future and tech-candy science fiction and fantasy.

Thanks again, and I'm just starting to dig through the blog, but now that I know it's here (not sure why I didn't google for it before), I'll be adding it to the top of my daily reading list.

44:

I know this post is old, but I couldn't resist commenting that I can't wait to see what happens to Daddy Warbucks. In this timeline he seems to have become very talkative.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on April 24, 2009 3:27 PM.

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