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Buy the book. Feed the cat.

A crate containing 20 hardcover copies of this book arrived on my doorstep this morning:

The Apocalypse Codex

... Which means they're on their way to various warehouses and will be shipping in the next few weeks.

Want to order a copy? Use one of these links if you're in the USA:

The Apocalypse Codex (A Laundry Files Novel—via Amazon)

The Apocalypse Codex (Kindle version)

The Apocalypse Codex (Audiobook via B&N)

The Apocalypse Codex (Hardcover or Nook edition—via B&N)

The Apocalypse Codex (hardcover via Powell's)

Want it in the UK?

Due to an unfortunate production scheduling delay, it's going to take about two weeks longer to show up. (The US edition is published in hardcover by Ace, the UK edition in paperback by Orbit: it took a little longer than usual for Orbit to get the typeset files from the US and reflow them for the different paper size.) However, you can order it here (and it's cheaper than the US edition):

The Apocalypse Codex (Trade paperback, via

The Apocalypse Codex (UK Kindle ebook)

The Apocalypse Codex (via Waterstones)

Want it signed?

My local SF specialist bookshop, Transreal Fiction, will be stocking "The Apocalypse Codex" and can call me in to sign copies. Mike's happy to take orders via internet and ship books within the UK or overseas. (Please note that Transreal is a small business, and won't be getting stock in much before the official publication date; that means an inevitable delay in shipping. Also note that Mike is on vacation this week so may be slow answering his email.) Order signed copies here.



Pre-ordered on Amazon on Oct. 7. Awaiting with bated breath.


Was the UK kindle version delayed as well to allow time for reformatting in UK Bytes rather than the slighly smaller US ones ?


Yes, it was.

(The UK Kindle edition had to be submitted to the UK kindle store by the UK publisher, with the UK cover illo and the UK front matter/copyright/ISBN stuff. Because Ace -- in the US -- handled the editing and initial typesetting, a disconnect set in. Originally the UK edition was scheduled to come out three months late, but some nagging resulted in the delay being reduced to two weeks. Previous books ... well, after Orbit caught up with my US sales track in 2007, they managed to get publication on both sides of the pond running pretty much simultaneously: but I've gone through two new editors in 12 months there, and they're still getting on top of the workflow. Managing simultaneous publication dates from two different publishers in different countries takes a bit of juggling! Hopefully books will come out simultaneously again in future.)


Wow - not keen on the cover so I hope the UK version is different, but I've been looking forward to the book for ages. You really nailed it on Fuller Memorandum so I've no doubt how good this will be!


Excellent, really looking forward to this one, your best series I think.

What other books are people looking forward to? Becasue surely the best place for book recommendations is among fans who share one's taste.

I'm quite up for Ben Aaronovitch's new one, out in a few weeks - the supernatural policing genre seems to be taking off!


So i'll have the choice of getting the eBook on my Nook or popping across the street to Barnes & Noble and buying the hardcover. Which buys more cat food?


Here's the British cover:


What gets the author more money?

1. Hardcover, then ebook.

2. The smaller the discount off SRP, the more money is flowing back to the publisher and author. e.g., Amazon demand deep discounts off publishers; B&N have a little less leverage so I probably get a few cents more: Transreal is a one-man store and pays regular wholesale price and can't deep discount, but I get the full royalty cut from that sort of sale (and if you order from Transreal you can get your copy signed and personalized).

3. Remaindered books (not this one, obviously!) pay no royalties to the author.


Mr. Stross,

That's great news but... Having read your iteresting series of posts about "Common Misconceptions About Publishing", and being a humble reader of The Laundry Series outside the US and UK (but within the EU), is there any legal way to purchase an ebook copy of The Apocalypse Codex?

Thank you!!



Looking forward to this. For access reasons, the Ibook store seems to be my supplier of choice. I'm expecting it will be there fairly promptly. They carry all your other titles.


It's also available from Powells, of course; they say they'll actually have copies to ship out on July third.


My experience as a 20-year Terry Pratchett fan forces me to ask: what are the differences between the UK and US editions?

Schöne Grüsse,
Amelia in Seattle



(I knew someone would ask me that question.)

In theory you should be able to legally buy an English-language ebook edition outside the USA and UK.

In practice $BIG_RIVER_CO, and most other ebook stores, insist on applying territorial rights restrictions more tightly than the publishers require them to. (e.g. if a US publisher has world English language rights, they can legally sell ebooks in the UK ... except Amazon insist that a British rights-holding publisher must do so! If there's no British rights-holder, the ebook can't be sold there, according to Amazon. Or so I understand after listening to a peeved publishing executive venting over coffee in New York last week.)

My advice would be:

1. Acquire a spare Gmail email account.

2. Use it to open an or account.

3. Link that account to an address in the USA or the UK. (I'd suggest googling for Amazon's headquarters ...)

4. Feed the account a credit card that is not associated with any other Amazon account. Use it to buy the book.

5. Install a copy of the Kindle application in a user account on your computer that isn't currently associated with an Amazon account. (If necessary, create one.)

6. Read the FAQs here or otherwise go poking around for DRM removal tools. Strip DRM, read ebook.

I hope to be able to announce that step 6 is no longer necessary, some time in the next year. Certainly future releases of my books from Tor won't come with DRM, and I believe my other publishers are having the same sort of internal debates that led to Macmillan's decision to drop DRM from the Tor/Forge imprints.


Differences between UK and US editions:

1. The US edition is a hardcover. The UK edition is a trade paperback.

2. The US edition is published by Ace, an imprint of Penguin Group. The UK edition is published by Orbit, an imprint of Hachette.

3. They have different covers.

4. That's it!


Hey, amazon: I've switched to B&N since you hosed wikileaks after a few phone calls.


Thanks, I added your link to Powell's to the blog entry.



(but thank you)


In the best of worlds, we would get the US hardcover with the UK cover art...


Ordered also, would rather have the UK cover to match the others, but really do have a fondness for hardback.

As for what else on my list, China Miéville's Railsea is waiting to be started, Iain M. Banks has The Hydrogen Sonata out later this year, Joan Slonczewski is working on a sequel to The Highest Frontier …


a note re this: lists a Kindle edition that it makes available on the same day (3rd of July) as the US Hardcover to German customers, not 2 weeks later when the UK paperback will be available in Germany.

Note: this is a marked difference to Scalzis Redshirts, where insists on us inhabitants of Germany getting the UK publication date for the Kindle edition (i.e. November) whilst still offering the US Hardcover right now.

Whatever. Ordered the hardcover, going on the principle that it should find it's place on my shelf right beside the other Laundry hardcovers. And I'm still mourning the switch away from Golden Gryphon, even though I fully understand why it had to happen. But those were two _really_ nice books, in terms of haptics.


Torn between the hassle to buy ebook, the fact that I'm about to die on a mulched tree avalanche, and the fact that I have almost all the Laundry books on paper and I like the UK cover a lot.

First world problems, I guess. Or well, not, as I'm in Spain and we arent First World anymore, right?

(Reading a good book would help my depression, newspapers arent)


Ah, good. So it's available in Germany (albeit in English).

Golden Gryphon: alas, newer books in this series sell so well that the unsold returns alone (i.e. the excess copies ordered by bookstores and then returned to the publisher) would dwarf a regular GG print run. I didn't want to kill the publisher!


I don't seem to have any problems ordering the (UK) Kindle e-book from Amazon here in Austria, and have just done so (since it also worked the last few times). I don't have an account either, just an one.


well, yeah. wouldn't dream of reading a book that is originally in English in a translated version. Some translations may actually be not half bad, but .. whenever, on a whim, I walk through a bookstore and pick up some German version of a book I know, I rather hurriedly put it back down in disgust after reading a few lines. It just never _feels_ right.

Re Golden Gryphon: like I said, totally understand, just sad .. (as in I am aware that my small-scale wishes as a consumer are not always compatible with my large scale ones (i.e. "Stross (and some others) should be wildly successful so he can write many more books!"))


Pre-ordered from the iBooks store in Finland for €5.99, which is uncommonly cheap.


At the risk of sounding like a nidiot... any word on an Australian release date, or do I just wait for Minotaur to import the UK edition?


"The Hydrogen Sonata [...] reportedly the longest Culture novel yet released."

Oh dear.


I would be interested in how a book which is set in a rather depressing world can help with depression.


Why is Michael Portillo on the cover of the US edition?


Been there, done that, any word on the tee-shirt?


4. Feed the account a credit card that is not associated with any other Amazon account. Use it to buy the book.

Talking to an employee at a the local Apple store in NC, USA last week he said they do a very non trivial amount of iTunes prepaid card sales to people from outside the US. And if asked the reason is always so they can buy stuff only available in the US iTunes store from where ever in the world they live.

Yes, the system is truly broken.


Sooner or later, I'll meet you again, and get a sig. om my UK copy ...
The next few moths are going to knock the SF purchasing ....
This one,
Pterry (&Baxter) "Long Earth" this month
"Rapture/Nerds" Sept, along with "Dodger" from PTerry, & "Fractal Price" from Hannu
"Hydrogen Sonata from Banksie in Oct & finally (so far) a new Bujold in November .....


I've never mashed the pre-order button so fast! :)


How do I shop at the various e-book sellers to guarantee that I don't have a DRM-protected copy?


#28 Because is honestly depressing with geeky dark humour in it.

Meanwhile if I turn the TV I have to see my politicians telling me being not-rescued to the tune of 100 billion € is the best thing since the discovery of chocolate.

Frankly, CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN looks like an improvement. At least is fictional.


Much as I have many reasons for disliking Amazon and the kindle store, I am looking forward to waking up on the 19th, turning on the wireless on my kindle, and watching as AC pops up on it.
If only I didn't have to wait a whole month :(


Totally agree with that - German translations of English SF taste like convenience food, not like the real thing.


A few years ago my response to the news of a new culture book was generally "Cool!". Now it tends to be "Please don't".

At least it will be too big to fit in my book case so I can't be tempted.


I shall soon start making regular trips to my nearest B&N until I find it--just in case it gets shelved early. I found "Saturn's Children" a week before the official release date, and more recently, the Pyr edition of MacLeod's "The Night Sessions" a month early.


Australian release would be down to Orbit -- they hold the rights there. And no, they haven't told me anything about it.


It's not meant to be Michael Portillo, it's a dodgy televangelist. (Can you tell the difference?)


How do I shop at the various e-book sellers to guarantee that I don't have a DRM-protected copy?

You don't. The publishers selling this title still insist on DRM on everything, so "The Apocalypse Codex" is only available with DRM right now.

(I hope this will change.)


Feed the cat"
Hmmmm ...
I was bumbling home last week, parked the Great Green Beast, and Hex(adecimal) our 11-year-old Birman/Norwegian cat, medium-sized, very fluffy, black-shading to v. dark chestnut colour, looks like THIS recognised the engine-note ... "It's MY car!" and dropped straight out of the Wisteria, as usual.
Unfortunately, a "hoodie" was wandering down the road, off in dreamland (headphones in,probably on interesting subsatances) as she plummeted down right beside him.
He jumped about a foot, straight up, and broke into a run - plainly not expecting an attack of the minature tree-panther!
Took me a long time to stop giggling.


Both Amazon and B&N US show the AC list price for around $26 and $16 for hardcover shipped. If I go to my local B&N on July 3 rather than pre-order, do you get more of the $26?

Does it really cost that much more to keep a bricks and mortar presence going? If so, I can see why there was a proposal to spin off Nook as a separate company. Physical B&N is doomed.


Sort of related - In what World is there a relationship between a picture of someone's cat and the "M&S" lingerie department?


Bought. (eBook version.) Surprisingly cheap: I paid more than that for _Rule 34_. Preorder price or a policy change?

Interesting to hear about how long _Hydrogen Sonata_ is: I managed to hose my Kindle the other day, by getting it wet. The replacement arrives tomorrow but in the meantime I'm reading my dead-tree copy of _Against a Dark Background_. I can barely lift it. I always used to say that ebooks where an inferior alternative to real books, but... I think I'm changing my mind.


Preordered through in early May (along with a copy of Rule 34). Am very much looking forward to it!


Yay! One question that Science Fiction people debated before the term was invented, was whether Engineer or Scientist was the ideal day job for someone describing the future through narratives. Or, today, software start-up techie and biochemically trained pharmacist. In which case, how does that connect with Horror and Fantasy? As Brian Aldiss famously put it: “Science fiction is the search for a definition of mankind and his status in the universe which will stand in our advanced but confused state of knowledge (science), and is characteristically cast in the Gothic or post-Gothic mode.”


The one thing that isn't clear to me is:

How do I get a signed copy of the Ebook? :)


US hardcover ordered and eagerly awaited. Shipping to Canuckistan from the lower 48 can be "interesting" sometimes. Hopefully there will be minimal delay this time.


The author hashes the book, takes his private key and encrypts the hash. You confirm the validity of the signature using his public key and your own hash of the data.

Simple :)


I should add "ordered from my local (non-franchise) book store" as I'd rather wait for a book then get instant gratification and then find I no longer have a local book store.


Hardcover pre-ordered months ago from B&N; I"m thinking of hanging a webcam on the porch so as to see delivery in realtime and grab the box before it gets left there. :-)

O.T. in news of DRM, I was searching the Springer Verlag website yesterday looking for ebook versions of some recently published works and found that all the ones I was looking for are DRM-free. Given that the cheapest of those was US $99.99, it's refreshing to see a publisher who realizes that DRM is a bad idea for the buyers. Another interesting data point: the ebooks were all cheaper than the corresponding hardcovers. With some books from technical publishers going for over US $300, and most of the ones I'm interested in over US $100, that's another strong motivation for switching my purchases of technical books to electronic form.


My most "local" book shops are:-
1) 1 hr drive + 2 hr ferry trip each way
2) 2.5 hr drive + 0.75hr ferry trip each way.

55: lists a Kindle edition that it makes available on the same day (3rd of July) as the US Hardcover to German customers, not 2 weeks later when the UK paperback will be available in Germany.

Ditto for the, the US hardcover and kindle are listed on july 3rd, the UK paperback and kindle on july 19th.

(The US kindle version is at 15€, the UK kindle at 5€. Yes, we have both)


Ordered. Nice one Mr Stross.


Two thots/questions ...
Paws4 ... IS there a connection between M&S & the/a cat?
Uh? No comprende, senor.

"Hydrogen Sonata" is listed on the "fantastic fiction" web-site as a NON-"culture" novel.
Who is correct?


Charlie got onto Amazon UK's email of new SF and fantasy, last week, alongside Pratchett. Sent out on the 6th June, listing four Pratchetts, China Mieville, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ken MacLeod and Charlie Stross.

This is good going, I think.


Happy happy joy joy ELDRICH HORROR happy happy ....


Sounds Culture to me. Two clues: it's by Iain M. Banks, and:

"Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command — find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old"

Also sounds like a good read which I hadn't noticed was upcoming.


Is there any functional difference between a Bat-Winged Squid God and an investment bank? I have my doubts. "Ia, Ia Goldman Sachs, wgah'nagl fhtagn."



I've been looking forward to this and as long as Bob doesn't get demoted to HR functionary what could possibly go wrong?!

Irrelevantly: Does anyone else think the guy on the US cover looks like Joe Don Baker (Edge of Darkness, 1985, as Darius Jedburgh)?


For those of you who care about such things (either pro amongst the good, or anti amongst the libertarian dimwit brigade) the workers at Powell's have a collective bargaining agreement (Local 5, ILWU). Shopping Powell's sends your money to workers invested in their job, who are dedicated to bookselling, and who have decent pay and benefits.


Question to Charles - how do you deal with translations of your books? Or is it entirely up to the publisher?


I've got some problems (to say the least) with Aaronovitch's treatment of female characters; otherwise I do like the books, but unless things improve drastically on the sexism front I'm probably not going to be able to face the third one.

More like the "Laundry" books in some ways, although rather less like them in others, are Kate Griffin's excellent series about London Sorceror Matthew Swift. The first three of these are all quite dark, in different ways (although highly enjoyable), but the fourth is an absolute riot while retaining all the things that make the first three good reads.


Dirk: I retain foreign language rights. My agent then sells them direct to foreign publishers, who then translate them. My English language publishers don't get cut in on those rights. Of course, this depends on us finding willing foreign publishers ...


Charlie said:

My agent then sells them direct to foreign publishers, who then translate them.

Have there been any arabic translations?


I reread the Apocalypse Codex a few months ago, and was surprised that CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN was originally scheduled for 2007. Then again, I've learned to expect schedule creep in any bureaucracy.

Note for non-followers of the Laundry series: CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is code for the end of the world as we know it.


Sounds like the same situation I was in years ago when I lived a lot further up the coast of British Columbia. That, however was long enough ago to predate online book stores so I used to return from my semi-yearly trips to Vancouver with the car half full of books and the other half full of imported foodstuffs and malt whisky.


That in itself is a good enough reason for me to order from Powells if I can't get something locally.


What e-book dealer would you prefer I purchase this from?


(Arabic translations)

Not that I know of.

Turkish, in progress.


"Is there any functional difference between a Bat-Winged Squid God and an investment bank?"

The former is better-managed.


"Is there any functional difference between a Bat-Winged Squid God and an investment bank?"

Better management, and possibly better customer relations.


Crap -- I was certain this hadn;t posted!


Is there any functional difference between a Bat-Winged Squid God and an investment bank?

The former gives more prompt customer service? Is less likely to do irresponsible things with your money? Does not hide sanity-eroding mental attacks inside Trojan horse paperwork?

One would destroy human lives because it was hungry, the other because it could make money doing so.

The author hashes the book, takes his private key and encrypts the hash. You confirm the validity of the signature using his public key and your own hash of the data.

Presumably you'd want to prepend a unique identifying dedication to the beginning of the text, or else anyone you showed it to would also have a "signed copy." :) Which, nothing wrong with that, but I suspect it negates the intended signal...

Personally, the more I like a book the more I want it in dead tree format. It's an ambiance/enjoyment thing - like the difference between microwaving a steak and ordering a steak in a nice restaurant.

Is there any functional difference between a Bat-Winged Squid God and an investment bank?

I've never seen a cuddly plushy of an investment bank. Some things are too evil to snuggle.


Slightly off-topic, but someone else mentioned plush cthulhu first...

I'm re-reading The Quantum Thief. Is that a plush Cthulhu cameo?


FWIW, iBooks store has it for AUD$11.99, estimated release date 19th July


that would be _so_ cool .. .epub file, with added dedication and then gnupg-signed by our host.

I'd definitely buy the ebook as well for that (in addition to the hardcover).

(serious note: William Gibson has noted that on his book tours he has been asked to signed various Kindles and stuff like that, and he does it with a sharpie on the back side)


#57 Part 1 - That was a comment on what your photo host thought was an appropriate choice of advert!

#69 - My record is having a car about Vw Golf/Rabbit size loaded to window level behind the B-post, and in the front passenger footwell.


Yeah. At one pub meet-up in NYC I was asked to sign two paperbacks ... and six assorted ebook readers. On the back not the screen :-)


Cool I managed to pre-order for kindle here in New Zealand, it doesn't work via the link your post though.

I think the correct one for us is this one instead, I'm not sure since I did it on the device itself but that page has a pre-order button instead of "pricing not available" so that's fairly good evidence.


:) It works great - my husband and I live in Bulgaria and have US kindle accounts. Althought 3) made me laugh out loud - we totally shoud have registered with that address.

Looking forward to reading the book!


...I've got some problems (to say the least) with Aaronovitch's treatment of female characters; otherwise I do like the books, but unless things improve drastically on the sexism front...

While sexism irritates me, the Aaronovitch books didn't trigger a reaction on my part. So either I'm being dense, or I'm being unwittingly sexist (I couldn't resist asking my young sons "where are the female X-wing pilots?" when they saw Star Wars for the first time, and then explaining that female combat pilots and female soldiers are far more commonplace now compared to 1977).

What is it about the treatment that irritates you? The hardest and scariest copper in the stories is the female Detective Sergeant, and the protagonist admits freely that his female probationer colleague is a far more able beat officer than he is...


Two sexist aspects:

1. Said tough female detective sergeant is a caricature,

2. Any woman who gets involved with $PROTAGONIST comes to a sticky pass, or so it seems

On the other hand:

It's a first-person narrative by a 20-22 year old male. Who is, I suspect, deliberately written as being as unreliable a narrator as Bob Howard in the early Laundry stories, and for the same reason; he's got a lot of growing up to do.


Heh. Yep. I asked him to sign my Archos MP3 player when I saw him in Bristol a couple of years ago. (Was before I had an Ipod.)


TBF I can't see the signature. Just wanted something, knowing it was there. I thought about asking him to record a quick hello, audio note on the device instead. But A: Seemed it might be a bit embarrassing. And B: The batteries were shot by this point. Only runs off mains.

@Charlie, how would you feel if someone asked you to record a quick audible signature, hello type message, on their device, in lu of an autograph? Is that wierd? If I ever meet you at a con, I might ask, if not too embarrassed...


Two sexist aspects:

1. Said tough female detective sergeant is a caricature,

Well, yes, we certainly wouldn't want that, would we... Pinky?

2. Any woman who gets involved with $PROTAGONIST comes to a sticky pass, or so it seems

That's a sample size of one so far. Or two, if you count Beverley Brook, and she's happy and healthy as of the end of book 2.


Hmm, very interesting. I like the way you simply cannot miss this book by STROSS.

Also, the two shootists and the birds are a very nice touch.


Test post - Just got new pooter


In addition to the points Charlie notes, there's the amount of wordage that's spent describing how tight the clothing of the female characters is, and how much the protagonist wants to have sex with them (whether or not he eventually actually does this). I don't have copies to hand to quote, but I remember feeling there was a very substantial qualitative difference between the descriptions of male characters and female ones.

As Charlie also notes, this may be a question of viewpoint character rather than author. But I'm afraid I don't care whether the sexism is in the author or the character; I find it offputting, and while I'm sure there are plenty of men in their twenties who really do think like that, I know plenty who don't.


Booo books-not-published-by-Tor. This is the first time (and hopefully this year will be the last time) I actually care who the publisher of a book is.

But anyways got my pre-order in on

(Arabic translations)

Not that I know of.

Turkish, in progress.

I was kind of wondering how arabic readers would take to a mythos where one of the basics is Abdul Alhazred...!


Yea! - Now I have something fun to read this summer!

Love 'Laundry'! This is the first SF series in a very, very long while that had me roaring out loud and occasionally even crying with laughter as the hero discovers and faces his true nemesis.

For me, what makes a book a good read and/or classic is the accurate day-to-day depiction of what is usually consider trivial in our/the characters' lives, especially in how easily life/people can get derailed, and how despite humans' otherwise boundless stupidity, some can/do smarten up and get their lives back. IMO, this is true optimism and 'Laundry' does this beautifully.

Someone once defined the difference between comedy and tragedy as: comedy is if it happens to the other guy; tragedy is if it happens to me.


Once more I'm waiting with bated breath to see whether the local library (they usually import the US edition coz it's a hardback) will beat my pre-order of the trade. The library has won twice in the past (I don't mind. Either way I get to read it twice :)

Also - while digging out The Fuller Memorandum for a re-read a question for OGH occurred...

Do publishers do "marketing" releases of ebooks (as opposed to Nth editions to correct typos, etc.)?

Something I've noticed with my ebook reading is that, on finishing a book, I'm often very tempted by any links that follow "the end". I'm obviously in the mood to read something at that moment and I'm extraordinarily lazy, so I can end up purchasing another book rather than getting up and walking to the bookshelf :-)

Would pushing out a version of FM with a link to AP at the end make financial sense?

Can publishers do split testing with services like Amazon? Push out N different versions of the end-copy in a book to see which causes most post-sale conversions?



Do publishers do "marketing" releases of ebooks (as opposed to Nth editions to correct typos, etc.)?

Not usually -- it has to be so bad it generates lots of complaints before they'll think about it.


So - this makes me sad.

I want to read it. Badly. Right Now. But I read on my iPad now, for lots of reasons. It's not available on the iPad (either via iBooks or a DRM-free copy bought somewhere)? Sigh - that means I'd need to buy a physical copy, then pirate the version for my platform if I want to read it the way I want to. Note that I could skip the "buy a physical copy step" - I won't (I'm a big fan, and THE CAT MUST BE FED!), but many will. I also won't do it today, whereas if I could push a button I might have impluse bought.

It's available DRM-free (as a physical book). It's available as an ebook. But not both - I can pick inconvenient, or inconvenient (or, again, a torrent in a day or so with a large side of guilt). This isn't to knock Charlie - I'll bet this is very much outside of his control - but it is to knock the booksellers. Seriously - sell me a PDF, or epub, no DRM, and I'll fill your pockets with gold...


Where is it available as a book? It's set to be released July 3rd in the US, and says it's only a pre-order there, as well.

Excellent, really looking forward to this one, your best series I think.

My favorite is Charlie's Merchant Prince series. But I seem to be in the minority on this one :-(


Pre-ordered from Powell's.


Pre-ordered months ago via The Book Depository, should take a week from the 3rd to turn up in New Zealand :D


I hope to have some good news on the Merchant Princes front in the coming months. (Think in terms of a cheap, DRM-free, bugfixed re-release, rather than a new series ... for now. A new series is under consideration, if I can figure out how to write it without taking a 50% pay cut for 18 months while I do so. Which is the main reason it hasn't happened so far.)


Any idea about the number of people who really really want that? (new Merchant Princes books)

So any idea whether using something like kickstarter might work to add to the money you'd get from the publisher?


#101, and 104 to 106 - I prefer the Laundry to TMP, but that's splitting hairs; I've bought every story (inc shorts and novellae) in both, and will continue to do so.

Treat the next para as brain-storming.

Charlie, could you and would you sell the IP in TMP World_1 and the World-walking tech to one of, say Baen's military SF guys subject to them not being allowed to visit New Britain, and would that part-finance future TMP stories, or do you have ideas of your own for World_1 that don't requre New Britain, in which case could that be sold separately?


Want, want, want, want, want.
*realise I live in Ausfailia*

Book Depository it is, then. Nice work, Mr Stross - can't wait to get hold of a copy!


Since they've come up...
Will the new British edition of The Merchant Princes fix how, twice in every chapter of "The Hidden Family", someone 'pulls a face', usually Miriam and Paulie? Was that intentional or an editorial fail? Not that I object to the phrase, but it got to the point where I wondered where it would show up.

I certainly wouldn't mind more in the series, to at least tie up the loose ends--what happened to Paulie and Mike, did the Revolution work out, and what was going on in Europe and Asia? Perhaps a series of short stories, giving their side of the story, or some exploring other worlds?

Just a thought, I know you're busy with actual writing.


Well, it will make sense for the operative to be narrated by a woman, but I'll miss Gideon Emery for Bob. (For all I know, Our Host has been waiting three books to be free of him...though anyone, given a choice between him and the guy who read "Antibodies"....)


Re: More merchant princes novels: Sell the rights to the Beeb, HBO or showtime? Game of thrones is doing quite absurdly well, and it is not alone "lengthy novel series with intrigue and memorable characters" is the basis of an insanely high percentage of the worthwhile tv being made at the moment.

Of course, the most likely response would probably be "Can we buy the rights to the laundry?"

though anyone, given a choice between him and the guy who read "Antibodies"....

I liked the guy who did "A Colder War," Pat Bottino though apparently a lot (well, two people I know of) don't.


I can just imagine the fun the "Ring of Fire" lot would have with TMP...



I thought it was obviously Ted Haggard.


I wish it were possible to buy books in mass market PB format at hardcover or trade PB prices at the time of first release. I'd happily pay the extra to (1) get the book sooner and (2) help make OGH rich, but bulkier books are less comfortable to read in bed and don't fit so well on the shelves.


Er, no.

The point that the size/format issue conceals is that books are sold by reverse auction. Want it early? You'd better pay more for the limited, signed, numbered first-edition. Wait a bit longer? Get a regular hardcover. Then a trade paperback. Then a cheap mass-market paperback. Then a special big-print-run/high-discount paperback. It gets cheaper with each iteration -- except you wait longer before it's available.

Unfortunately the cost of setting up print runs and distributing the various price points makes it impossible to do this with really fine discrimination, e.g. introduce a book at $30 then cut the price by 5-10%, compounded, every month until it bottoms out at $3. (It ought to be possible to do this with ebooks, but the contractual boilerplate is, shall we say, complicated.)


As I remember you left some damn big hooks for fresh
stories towards the end of the series.

However, the Ring of Fire cycle and Man-Kzin Wars
show the real possibilities for that sort of shared
authorial universe taking off.

I personally think you need to do the expansion of
Palimpsest real soon now - but I appreciate that
might not fit with your desire to have your cats

-- Andrew


Oh, I do understand why my personal preferences don't happen to match how book sales work. I just felt like whingeing. Sorry.

(And, for the avoidance of doubt, by "I wish X" I didn't even slightly mean "Will someone please make X happen?". My apologies if it came across that way.)


I like the US cover much better. The UK version lacks a certain deranged kookiness.


Another data point for both of:
Pre-ordered this book from the Book Suppository months ago

Would also like to see more of the Merchant Princes if you feel like writing it.


I think Charlie is in the wrong place in his career for a Merchant Princes sequel.

It's too small a thing for the now-Charlie to take a chance on. The likely return isn't worth the effort.

And now-Charlie isn't yet big enough for "Charlie Stross's Merchant Princes" to work.

To me, apart from the marketing aspect, it doesn't look viable as a setting for one of those spin-off anthologies, where several authors write stories about new people. I could be wrong.

I could see there being a world-walker, on the run in now-tech North America, struggling to find somewhere else to go, and there being an interesting piece of short fiction. I can see ways such a story can be a promotional tool for a re-release.

I don't see a novel any time soon.


This is going to sound like I'm angling for an Order of the Brown Nose, but. . . I don't want to see Charlie do retreads of his old work, however excellent that work was.

Charlie's USP, IMO, is that he keeps us guessing as to what he'll do next and how he'll do it. Ken Macleod's work is great, but you know pretty much what you're going to get from him. With Charlie, you don't know, and that's what keeps me buying his books (when they come out in paperback, at least).

I could see there being a world-walker, on the run in now-tech North America, struggling to find somewhere else to go, and there being an interesting piece of short fiction. I can see ways such a story can be a promotional tool for a re-release.

Ah. I was thinking of the series as being an exposition on what happens when the irresistible forces of innovation and economics collide with the immovable barriers of culture and inherited privilege. Cross-time finance doesn't get the air time it deserves in sf and what little it does get seems to be mostly didactic 'Go Libertarians!' rah-rah.[1] I'm not looking for more stories in that universe, btw (though I wouldn't mind reading them). I'm merely stating a preference . . . though I probably will get the update since I only have two books in the sequence.

[1]If anyone deserved to think of herself as an unappreciated Slan, it's Miriam: "Look, I know how economic development works. And I was expecting some skepticism. But your biggest objection is that I happen to have a pair of tits!?!?!?!?! AAAAARRRRRGH!!!!" That's the sort of righteous wrath we science fictioneers can get behind ;-)


"...exposition on what happens when the irresistible forces of innovation and economics collide with the immovable barriers of culture and inherited privilege."

That may turn out to be the sequel to Rule 34. (We could really use some alternatives to libertarian rah-rah)

When Charlie ran the "be creative, write some fan-fic" thread, I thought of connecting TMP and Bob's alternate worlds. Miriam's exploration team is finding stranger and stranger universes. Maybe some are in Bob's set, or in the magellenic cloud of A Colder War. Or in heaven. Or in Niven/POurnelles Inferno. Lots of possibilities.


@ 124
And hasn't Weber started something like this - except they are all Earth, with differing levels of technology/magic... (erm: "Hell's Gate / Hell Hath no Fury", I think)
Seems to be the trope for now, since I think the joint PTerry/Baxter one due out this month is another, except there (according to pre-release blub) humanity only exists on, err, our one.


I read those Weber novels; they weren't badly written, but felt there was too much idiot plot. Okay, so First Contact went badly; maybe you should be a little slower to whip up a war with a civilization you don't know anything about? In this case 'anything' covers how many planets they own (to the nearest hundred) and weaponry (airborne dragons are a surprise to one side, machine guns to the other). The quirk in the second book which promises a strategic stalemate makes the whole thing seem even more pointless.


Gosh. I really did enjoy it when OGH posted the first few chapters of Rule 34 in the weeks before the book was released.

Not that I'm... keen... to read the further adventures of Bob, Mo et al or anything :-)


Well, that did sell me Rule 34 in TPB; OTOH I pre-ordered TAC months ago.


Probably your best solution involves buying a smallish ereader. That way - you can get subpaperback size early.

That, or just pretend that all authors are 6 months late but no longer publish in hardcover.



In general, academic publishers are much less worried about piracy than trade publishers, and Springer, even taking its "APress" imprint into account, is most definitely an academic publisher. My library buys what we call "the big deal": everything Springer publishes this year in ebook format. And it's all DRM free PDFs of each chapter.


Given the general fun being Yazidi is and noting the even nastier values for 'fun' this means in Turkey, reactions to "The Horror at Red Hook" should be, err, interesting...


Trottelreiner @ 131
So ... just as (?) batshit-crazy as all the other religious believers, then?


Well, personally I think religious believers are just a subset of 'strange human quasi-tribal group customs', where some of the other offenders are soccer clubs etc. But I digress.

As for the Yazidi, they are both targets of religious violence and perpetrators of it, but the old devil-worshipper story would make it worse. for the actual belief system, I see some parallels to Gnosticism,

but for Gnosticism, they are somewhat tame. Guess that's the reason they are still around, since strict celibacy usually makes for short-lived religions...

BTW, some sources say the prohibition of exogamy along with the prohibition of proselytism was a way of evading persecution. Judeo-Christo-Islamic religions (I hope nobody objects here, enumerating and sorting some of the belief systems would be fun, e.g. Druze, Samaritanism) don't like converting their members and view children of any members as their own (yes, at least male jew - female gentile in Rabbinical Judaism is an exemption). Somewhat ironic, I know...


Interesting scene in "Meetings with remarkable men" with a Yezidi boy. Otherwise:


Well, I just had to explain the Yazidis to my mother some days ago, courtesy of the last not-exactly-Muslim honor killing in the news.

As for religion and social progress, well, my mother remembers the days Catholics and Protestants had it verbally after school. Err, that is Northwestern Germany, not Northern Ireland, for the curious. As for understanding the the underpinnings of these quarrels, see our debate at

(shit, what was I on when I wrote

and just wanted to say the subordinate status most religions ascribe to their members might be a feature, not a bug, and that removing the alpha male to skydaddy status might be benificial...)

she is quite firm in some areas, not so much in some others:

"No, even though Lutherans don't exactly believe in the Roman Catholic version of Transsubstantiation, they are Consubstantiationists, they don't think it's just symbolic. That'd be the Calvinist."

Yeah, Brothers, we should be struggling together!


cue Rogers & Astaire singing "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off":

Trotskyite, Trotskyist,
Let's call the whole thing off.


" .. batshit-crazy " ? Oh, come now ! How Un-Gratious and Un -Kind ..and all sorts of other stuff that begin with UN.

Even the Atheists can be ever so Cultist and intolerant you know. And then there are those of the Cultist Persuasion who, like a Jr Colleague of mine of Long Ago, who had good reason to be well disposed to me as a person, but who told me ...for my own Good .. that my soul ...oops ..SOUL!!!! ..would upon my Death be Dissolved since I had committed the Dire Sin of not being among the Elect of his little North East of England Sect of Christianity tm.

Apparently There Was NO Appeal!! NO Death Bed Conversion to Religion of the Right Kind tm. I was doo .... er DOOOOOMED !!!!! from Birth as it were.No typography is capable of reproducing Richards LOOK of UTTER Conviction and Sheer Certainty as had been drilled into him from earliest infancy.

I do hope that Richard gained strength and comfort from his beliefs ..that struck me as being silly enough to be entertaining way back then ... because some time after I took early retirement from our former Employers at an ever so large Northern University I learned that poor Richard had died slowly and painfully of a brain tumor leaving a young family behind as he journeyed on to his REWARD in Paradise ..Which was, no doubt, the Paradise of his specific brand of True believers Christianity and which therefore doesn't include the standard ration of Virgins of your /his choice of True Believers of other Cults but ... who knows ?

Since Bureaucratic errors aren't unknown Here on Earth it seem to me to be at least possible that a True Believer of whatever stamp might be issued with the wrong Reward due to some Entity or Other not having filled in form E sub section UN C properly and in Black Ink.

Dunno whether my Soul will be Dissolved On Death - D.O.D. would make a good Rubber Stamp equivalent wouldn't it ? - or pass on via the variant forms of Reincarnation or ..... what ever ..but it would seem to be likely that, since I lack the energy to have committed so many " sins " that I would be confined to everlasting HELLFIRE ... or Chilliness dependent upon the Circle of HELL that I'm dispatched to and not cruelly Disolved ... with a sound Effect GLOOOOOP !!! And, well, how long is " Eternity " anyway? In terms of our present scientific understanding of " Eternity " and ... oh, BUGGER!! the recording Angel is bound to call up this post at the last, err ....Post? as it were?

So many Questions, So much Uncertainty.


To go back to the Laundry universe, given the many manifestations of Nyarlathotep,

it's surprising we don't see that much intersectarian strife. Just looking at the, err, discussions about Monophysitism there are lots of possibilities.

And then, if some poor bugger wants to unite the faith,

we have n+1 opinions...


BTW, while going through some paleo-seti debunking site, putting some guys to Powers' 'Declare', I came about this:

Let's see how it turns out.


Going by page count in hardback, "Hydrogen Sonata" is about 20% shorter than "Surface Detail" or "Matter."


How long, now, do you think, before the Brit copy becomes available?
Then I can save time & get the PTerry/Baxter one at one go!


Update - just bought the Pterry/Baxter, but "Apocalypse Codex" won't be avialibe for another THREE WEEKS - or so my local Waterstone's is saying .....


I see The Apocalypse Codex is in the Google Play Store but not yet preorderable. Happen to know whether this edition will come without DRM?



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