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Back home

I got home yesterday after a 25 hour journey, door-to-door, and am now merely fuzzy-headed with jet lag. Talking to fellow-passengers on the short-haul from Paris, it sounded like everyone had a horror story of volcanic disruption to tell. Anyway, my plan for the next few days is to take things easy, catch up on the domestic stuff that has been waiting for me for the past month (have you any idea how much junk mail a British general election campaign can generate?), and get back to work when my head's clear again.

(Incidentally, there won't be a trip report like the one in the "Specials" to the right — at least, not for a while. Not because I'm not writing one, but because Hayakawa SF, Japan's largest written SF magazine, are buying it. It'll show up here eventually, when their readers have had their exclusive.)

Believe it or not, I'm not going to work on "Rule 34" today — or any other fiction. William Gibson wrote in "Pattern Recognition" that when we travel long-haul, our souls take hours to catch up with our bodies — and that's how I feel right now.

In other news, "The Fuller Memorandum" should be at the printer now. Barring production hiccups, this means it should be showing up in the warehouse in June, and available in bookshops for the July 6th launch (US hardcover). British readers can look forward to getting it earlier, and cheaper, in paperback on July 1st — a reversal of the usual "rip-off Britain" syndrome.

Normal blogging service will now be resumed ...

32 Comments

1:

I had a person who, in retrospect, I believe was the actual real live in person Labour candidate, come to my very door over here in Edinburgh East. Which was a first ever for me.

I'm afraid I dropped into the default 'no thanks, not interested' random doorsteppers get without even a thought on my part. Not even giving the poor woman an opportunity get a word out.

Clearly I suck.

That whole door to door thing must be a thankless task.

2:

OK, as soon as I can get to a bookshop after returning from 1538, I'm buying the Fuller memorandum.

Good to have you back.

3:

Terry Pratchett's _Strata_ (one of his two highly underrated SF works) has an instant space drive which can move your body faster than your soul, which has been experimentally shown to travel no faster than 0.7 light years per second. The wait for it to catch up is highly unpleasant.

Also, can anyone recommend a decent non-Amazon online mail order bookshop?

4:

Your troubles make me feel rather embarrassed; we only got stuck on Lanzarote for five days, having taken our first-ever foray as a family into the world of package holidays (stand on a volcano in the afternoon, see a volcano on the next day's news). If you're going to be stuck somewhere, it might as well be at a four-star hotel on Thomas Cook's tick. The 0100 flight ACE-GLA wasn't much fun, though - the seat pitch in cattle class was so tight that a book in the seatback touches your kneecaps, and I'm only 5'11"...

@1 - I met our current Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1987, when he was a prospective candidate doorstepping our student flat in Glen Street; I didn't see any of the other candidates. He got elected, even if he didn't get my vote...

Fortunately, it wasn't our flat's Gaelic Nationalist who answered the door... (what do you call three bagpipers sharing a tenement flat? Very quiet, because if you play you _really_ annoy the neighbours).

5:

Welcome back Charlie.

Glad to hear about The Fuller Memorandum. The Laundry books are the most reread books on my shelf and I'm eager to get my hands on a new one.

david.given, you might want to try the Book Depository. I've had good service with them.

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/

6:

I thought that the whole "Soul only travels at 50km/h so if you go faster you leave it behind" explanation for jet lag was from Alan Moore myself.

7:

Nestor@6: it could indeed have come from Alan, who seems never to have missed an opportunity to reuse ideas (mostly well and entertainingly enough for me to part with my money, I hasten to add).

8:

Welcome back. :)

9:

William Gibson wrote in "Pattern Recognition" that when we travel long-haul, our souls take hours to catch up with our bodies — and that's how I feel right now.

I was tempted with a Hitch Hikers Guide reference, but as Someone else has trod that ground I'll content myself with. Now you're home, relax!

10:

Good news on the impending release of The Fuller Memorandum in paperback in the UK. Does this mean that there is no UK hardback edition?

11:

Fuller Memorandum - just in time for my birthday.

12:

Halting State graffiti in Adelaide:
http://i.imgur.com/RyspA.jpg

13:

@David Given, #3
I've always found play.com to be cheap and with a good delivery service.

14:

I'm happy to hear to made it back home, and excited to read your next Laundry novel!

15:

Will: TFM will be published in the US in hardcover on July 6th, and in the UK in paperback on July 1st. Obviously, I'd prefer you to buy the hardback because I get a higher royalty percentage of a higher cover price for it -- but you'd find hardcover copies hard to come by in the UK. (Who'd import them, against a cheaper local paperback edition?)

16:

well, amazon.de will sell you both versions, as always. no idea what shipping-costs may be but presumably lower than when ordering from the US.

17:

Charlie @ 15:

Forbidden Planet, hopefully. I want a hardcover!

ObElection:

The only problem I have with the concept of a hung parliament
is that it does not involve lengths of hemp and lamp posts.
The Lords will no doubt insist on silk, and in view of the way
Mandelson bounces back, they'd better use bungee cord for him.

Bah!

The paper recycling bin is half full of election propaganda leaflets here.

18:

Glad you guys made it home. A friend who was once in Japan said that a melon wasn't a purchase but an investment! But,I guess there are worst places to be stuck.
I buy most of your books through the S.F. Book Club. Since they sold the previous "Laundry" tales in one book,they should have "Fuller". I'm puzzled why they didn't offer your Merchant series?
AND don't your elections last a fortnight,which is-umm-TWO WEEKS!? ROFL! It never seems to end in the US. Somehow I got on the Republican mailing list-George Bush would thank me for my support(?)and ask me for money.Then there is the Endless Parade of Commercials! 8-P

19:

Welcome back, Charlie!

Good news about The Fuller Memorandum; the timing is very good because I just got done rereading The Atrocity Archives, and plan on rereading The Jennifer Morgue in a couple of weeks.

20:

David @3:
Another vote for the Book Depository. They don't charge freight & deliver to a decent number of countries, including mine.

21:

Don't think of it as "hung parliament" but as "minority government." We've made it work a number of times in Canada; granted the current situation sucks a bit because the Liberals are gutless and let the Tories get away with too much, the Tories are constantly holding the public's fatigue with elections over the other parties heads (not to mention the current crop of Tories being dirty-fighting neocon shitbags), but still.
Think of how things could turn out if Labour manages to squeak back in with a minority (are the reports of the Tories shooting themselves in the foot enough to make this possible true or what?) and require LibDem approval to get business done, with the consequent influence on policy. We've enjoyed a situation or two like that over here over the years...

22:

Charles:

I'm not sure how to put this, but is there any way to give you more money while still buying just the paperbacks?

I absolutely loathe hardbacks, and am sufficiently furious with the ridiculous "Oh, you actually want to read the book in a format you like? Sure! You can wait a year!" setup of publishing that I refuse on principle to pay money for them, but I would happily pay hardback prices for the paperback if they were available at the same time.

I'm rather expecting the answer "No, not a chance" here, but one can hope...

23:

No party, even in the British system, is a monolith. Every party has members with local concerns which can push against the official line. Austin Mitchell (Labour, Grimsby) might have some common ground with a Conservative MP from Cornwall, or an SNP MP from Scotland, all with fishermen as constituents.

Since 1979, there hasn't been a UK government which has had a small enough majority to worry about "back-bench rebellions".

Whoever wins this time, I'd hate them to have the sort of big majority the politicians have become used to. I want them to have to work for the laws they pass. And I want the individual MPs to be anxious about retaining their seat at the next election.

24:

There's something that looks a little bogus about that Halting State graffiti in Adelaide.

It's the pixellated image. It's too precise to be quick. I'm in two minds about the possibility of a Photoshop fake: it doesn't look difficult to do.

25:

Welcome back to blighty!

I'll be getting the hardcover import for myself, and then probably by the paperback as a gift for my gf who's recently started reading the Archives. And loves it.

I can sympathise with your door stoppage problems Charlie - we ignored the post for two days, and I scooped up a literal pound of flyers. Sad thing was nearly half of them were from our local labour candidate, talking about her 'green' vision.

Face. Palm.

26:

Vic, I'm told that SFBC are taking "Fuller Memorandum" as a featured book of the month.

Actually, our elections last more than a fortnight -- it's more like eight weeks of campaigning, start to finish. But those eight weeks are intense: parliament is dissolved and every seat is up for grabs, with MPs and candidates working 90+ hours a week on campaigning. It also ignores the previous years of will-he-won't-he strategic posturing as the party of government reads the opinion poll entrails and tries to work out whether now is the perfect time to dissolve parliament and hold a snap election in hope of being re-elected, or whether to cling on to the bitter end (five years max) in hope that conditions improve.

27:

Since 1979, there hasn't been a UK government which has had a small enough majority to worry about "back-bench rebellions".

Yes there has. Post-1995, if I remember correctly, John Major's majority was so eroded that he had to rely on the Ulster Unionists voting the Conservative whip to get business through. The UUs had about twelve seats. Therefore a six MP rebellion would have been enough to defeat the government.

The only reason such rebellions didn't happen was because, well, sinking ships ...

28:

Hah, we don't get many flyers (and no door to doors as yet), but then we're in a safe Lib-dem seat, so why would anyone bother wasting time+money canvasing us?

Also, as far as coalition/minority governments, hasn't there been one in the Scottish assembly for a quite a while now? And yet English politicians have been deriding it as something that only happens in third world countries (and then fails).

Another +1 for Book Depository, they have sold me books, for not too much money, and have so far not screwed me over. (ooo, and a free bookmark!)

29:


We've had only a couple of flimsy leaflets through our door so far, but we're a 'safe' lib dem seat, so it looks like no-one can be bothered to try and canvas us.

Regarding minority/coalition governments, hasn't the Scottish assembly been a coalition for a while now? I keep hearing english politicians slagging off both proportional representation and coalition governments, as if there wasn't a (at least) fairly successful example of both, just a few miles away...

gah, comment got eaten, bad blog-o-beast! :(

30:

phuzz@29 -

Nope, the Scottish Assembly was initially a Lab / Lib Dem coalition. There was some unintended fun when the Lib Dem Deputy First Minister had to take over as an acting First Minister because the Labour First Minister had to "resign" (Henry McLeish did some political funding naughtiness, got caught, followed by lying about it, and got caught lying).

After the last election, we went from coalition to minority government - the SNP got one more seat than Labour, but not an absolute majority. It almost seems to be working; the more rabid (sorry, "idealistic") types are held in check by the need to achieve sufficient consensus.

31:

For my sins, I live in a safe Tory seat and I've only received one leaflet... from UKIP. Needless to say, it went straight in the bin.
Although I'm pushing 40, I can only recall one general election where the constituency I was living in was marginal enough for my vote to mean anything much, and even then I had to vote tactically against the Tories.
I do think we need some electoral reform, even it's just to give lazy bastards like me a little bit of incentive to drag myself out to the polling booth.

32:

We've had only a couple of flimsy leaflets through our door so far, but we're a 'safe' lib dem seat, so it looks like no-one can be bothered to try and canvas us.

Speaking as a Lib Dem member and sometime activist, I doubt very much it's a case of "can't be bothered" as of a lack of resources. All the political parties are staffed by volunteers, and recruiting new blood has become more and more difficult in the last couple of decades so in most areas for most parties the activist base is aging and decreasing in number. I used to be very active in my 20s: leafleting canvassing, taking local party office, but now in my 40s with a long commute and a wife who would rather I spend my spare time with her, I'm, guiltily, sitting on the sidelines. Paid campaigners sometimes exist, but are few as they are expensive and the spending limits for election campaigning are very tight.

So if you do live in a very safe Lib Dem seat, I dare say the party has decided to spend its scarce resources elsewhere. It may well be that the particular part of the constituency you live in is where the LDs are particularly strong (are your local councillors Lib Dems) and so they're focusing (ha!) their campaigning in the more competitive areas. The other parties may well be doing the same.

Specials

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on April 27, 2010 10:01 AM.

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