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Rinse, Drain, Spin ... more Laundry!

I mentioned this in early July, but it bears repeating:

I have written a new Laundry Files novella, titled "Equoid" (if you're interested in continuity, it's set between the events of "The Jennifer Morgue" and "The Fuller Memorandum", after "Down on the Farm"):

 
Tor.com (cover on left) will be publishing it on their web site on September 30th, and selling it for $1.99 as an ebook on October 16th. If you enjoy it and want your very own copy, consider this a way of giving me (and my editors) a kickback. American ebook store links can be found via the menu here; so far the only UK store I have a link for is Amazon.co.uk.

If you want the deluxe limited edition signed hardcover, Subterranean Press (cover on right) are going to publish it in 12 months' time. They're planning on printing just 500 copies of the signature run, illustrated by Steve Montiglio (who did the covers for the original Golden Gryphon editions of "The Atrocity Archives" and "The Jennifer Morgue").

As for your questions: (1) it's a novella, meaning it's about a third the length of a full novel (around 100 pages), (2) I'm not going to tell you what it's about, (3) there should be no DRM on the ebook (if there is, let me know and Tor will get it removed), (4) if this leaves you wanting more Laundry Files, you will have to wait until July next year, when "The Rhesus Chart" is due to be published (it's officially In Production—meaning, on its way to the copy editor—as of last Friday). Anything else? That's what the comment thread is for!

77 Comments

1:

This is one of the few times in my life that you'll hear me (virtually, at least) say this: Yay! More Laundry!

2:

Novella happily pre-ordered.

That's a shiny cover, too.

3:

Another "yay" from here

... but its about Equus, right? :-P

Yea yea not telling yes I shut up now :-)

4:

I will confess to having read Peter Shaffer's "Equus". And Stella Gibbons' "Cold Comfort Farm". Both during the research stage for this book. And a bunch of H. P. Lovecraft's letters ...

5:

"The Rhesus Chart" is ... In Production—meaning, on its way to the copy editor—as of last Friday

Yay Charlie! You mentioned that your deadline was the 14th, and I was hoping you'd made it. Looks like you did it with 24 hours to spare!

6:

Actually, the deadline of the 14th was for the next book but one after "The Rhesus Chart". I'm building up headway because I'd like to take a year-long sabbatical later in the decade ...

7:

The artwork has me intrigued, not exactly what I think of when I picture the Laundryverse. If I'm gainfully employed by the time the hardcovers are released I'll be sorely tempted to purchase a copy.

8:

Moar yayz!.
Pre-ordered a la twitter links-cast the other day.

9:

I have to have that hardcover. Just have to. If they all sell out, and owners start disappearing... well, I'll say no more.

10:

so uh .. we'll be told how and where to pre-order that hardcover as soon as it is possible, right? Because 500 aren't that many ... *panics*

11:

Yes, I'll let you know where to order them in plenty of time.

It's likely that if they sell out, Bill will print a subsequent run. But they won't be signed up-front -- you'll have to track me down in person.

(Pre-signed hardcover runs means Yr Hmbl Crspndnt has to sign his way through a foot-deep stack of frontispieces for binding into the print run. As I've got intermittent bad repetitive strain injury these days, and don't normally write anything longer than a name and address on an envelope by pen any more, that's all I felt able to commit to signing.)

Incidentally, this is one of the reasons why I suspect I'll never be as commercially big as some authors I could mention: I don't have a lot of stamina and my hands hurt if I use a pen too much, so serious signing tours are a bit traumatic.

12:

Any need to have read all the previous books? I'm quite behind in the series.

Also: When Tor sells a book for $1.99, does Amazon take the 70% cut it does on KDP for books under $2.99? Or is that only for us small fry?

13:

Any need to have read all the previous books? I'm quite behind in the series.

It should stand alone. And it's set after book 2, before books 3-5 (5 is forthcoming next July).

Also: When Tor sells a book for $1.99, does Amazon take the 70% cut it does on KDP for books under $2.99? Or is that only for us small fry?

No idea. I'll ask.

14:

Surely there's some acceptable alternative to signatures - a thumbprint? bitemark? lip-smack? hmmmm ...

15:

Yes a thumbprint please, so we can hack into Charlie's JesusPhone.

16:

And gosh, don't mass-produced biometric-enabled phones totally sound like something in a Laundry files novel. :D

17:

Does this mean we have a valid reason to say "omg ponies!"?

I'm looking forward to this. I've run out of new Laundry material and could do with a fix.

18:

Yay... Anti-sparkle ponies!

Regarding signatures, noseprints or other appendages are equally as personal under the circumstances. Though you might feel weird inking your nose at cons.

We'd understand.

19:

I skip generations of iDevice, so you will have quite a long wait before you can hack into the NecronomiPod that way -- I'm still on an iPhone 5. (Before that, iPhone 4; before that, iPhone 3GS; before that, Palm Treo 650.)

20:

Anything in the Laundryverse sparkles if (a) you shoot it with a Basilisk gun, and (b) it contains carbon.

21:

... (2) I'm not going to tell you what it's about...

Hmm, it's called "Equoid", and there is a horse with a horn on the cover. Nope, I've got nothing.

22:

Hi there -- will I find this in the Google Play store or should I fire up the ol' Kindle app?

Also -- very pleased! Love that series. Thanks!

23:

I could only think of one (student) joke - but it was too corny.

24:

illustrated by Steve Montiglio

Do you mean just the cover, or are there internal illustrations for the story, and if so, what type?

Price?

25:

Out of curiosity, does the basilisk gun effect penetrate some significant distance into a non-carbon material if that's the first thing it encounters?

Just wondering what would happen if you BG'ed a jetliner full of ... things, or a bus. I can't recall off the top of my head if any of the demonstrated uses in the series so far were against a non-exposed target...

26:

And gosh, don't mass-produced biometric-enabled phones totally sound like something in a Laundry files novel. :D

It occurs to me that there doesn't seem to be any reason to think said phones can't report that information back to the company, or the NSA. In fact, adding in such a feature would be very simple...

27:

Is it not the first part of http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/04/psa-new-book-deal.html I'm sure a tweet mentioned unicorns....

My pre teens have been looking forward to that for years.

29:

My understanding is that Basilisk guns (like their biological prototypes) rely on on the target being directly visible to the weapon, and that if you're hidden from view by something inorganic, no matter how flimsy, then you're safe. Also no bouncing off mirrors :-)

As I recall (I don't think there's any significant spoilerage in this) the "trigger" on the early example Bob uses in The Atrocity Archive is actually a button marked "Observe" and if the effect could penetrate metal to any extent then The Concrete Jungle would have been a significantly shorter book...

30:

The Basilisk gun apparently works through glass, so pointing it at a jetliner might get someone looking out of the window at short range.
Mind you, now I'm wondering if they're restricted to visual wavelengths. The weapons mentioned so far probably are, because they rely on visual light sensitive cameras (or MK1 eyeballs), but I wonder what would happen if you replaced those cameras with something sensitive to xrays...?

(I now have this tune stuck in my head, because who better to answer the question?)

31:

Ask me again in a year's time. (The book isn't going to production for several months ...!)

32:

Even if they are restricted to visible light, you could use something like the Keck telescope to wage interstellar war. The only restriction would be the axis of the target planets rotation.

Maybe Dyson spheres are poplur in the Laundryverse?

33:
The Basilisk gun apparently works through glass, so pointing it at a jetliner might get someone looking out of the window at short range.

and with mirrors according to the Fuller memorandum. Might be interesting to replace/reprogram the ccd in a big optical telescope and point it at any handy hostile planet.

34:

Charlie, not to sound like a tight ass, but if I buy the cool duluxe hard cover, do I still get to read the ebook before the physical copy gets delivered?

35:
Even if they are restricted to visible light, you could use something like the Keck telescope to wage interstellar war. The only restriction would be the axis of the target planets rotation.

Maybe the effect is non-local. A time gun!Shoot now, they get blown up 50 years ago...

36:

a) They're being sold by different publishers.

b) You can read it for free on tor.com if you want. You don't have to buy either edition (the Tor $1.99 ebook or the Subterranean $35 deluxe signed hardcover).

37:

Only 500 copies! Suppose I have another bout of un-wellness at the wrong time!! Oh, the Horsey Lovecraftian Horror of it! So,I've sent an e mail to Subterranean Press ...


" Greetings and salutations,

I appreciate that this is rather early for a pre -order but Charlie Stross has just posted on his blog ..

" If you want the deluxe limited edition signed hardcover, Subterranean Press (cover on right) are going to publish it in 12 months' time. They're planning on printing just 500 copies of the signature run, illustrated by Steve Montiglio (who did the covers for the original Golden Gryphon editions of "The Atrocity Archives" and "The Jennifer Morgue"). "


Can I pre-order now it, even in advance of it being listed for pre-order?


Arnold "

38:

I will confess to having read Peter Shaffer's "Equus". And Stella Gibbons' "Cold Comfort Farm".

From which I deduce that Bob will find something nasty in the woodshed. As this is the Laundryverse, no change there, except for location.

39:

Mind you, now I'm wondering if they're restricted to visual wavelengths. The weapons mentioned so far probably are, because they rely on visual light sensitive cameras (or MK1 eyeballs), but I wonder what would happen if you replaced those cameras with something sensitive to xrays...?


Digital cameras do pick up more wavelengths than visible light. Point a TV remote with an infrared LED at your digital camera and you'll see a white dot. And there are digital X-ray machines. Presumably you can make CCDs to sense almost any wavelength.

And, apparently the human retina can see more wavelengths also. Arthur C. Clarke wrote about early cataract surgery patients, where the lens was removed and either not replaced, or a glass lens was used (I don't recall which) and they were able to see ultraviolet. I haven't seen reference to this elsewhere, but then I haven't looked either. Then there are possible human tetrachromats.

40:

I'll have to remember to keep an eye out for the hardcover edition, $35 for a signed copy seems reasonable. It would be nice if Subterranean's site had info about payment options. Meanwhile, reading it from Tor.com will do.

41:

Yay, this made me so happy!
pre-ordered it and put the date in my calendar so I have the evening free for reading.

42:

Arthur C. Clarke wrote about early cataract surgery patients, where the lens was removed and either not replaced, or a glass lens was used (I don't recall which) and they were able to see ultraviolet.

A friend of mine was born with congenital cataracts and had his lenses removed at an early age. He sees UV lights as purple white and finds clubs which are dark to standard vision but with UV lighting brightly lit.

43:

I love you, charlie :)

Btw, managed to slip Rule 34 to a friend, I'm quite proud of it: Not only does this seldom happens, but this is the first time I've done this for a book in english :)

Thank you for everything, the books, and the blog articles.
And, while I'm at it, thanks to the community here, too. I seldom have the time to read it all, but I find the comments and discussions really interesting.

44:

If ordinary people are careful, they can see polarized light, in the form of haidinger's brush. I've managed to see it once or twice.

45:

Gee, unicorns. Didn't the unicorn kill traitors? And isn't there some heraldic connection between Scotland and unicorns. Hmmmmm. I'll have to wait and see, obviously!

46:

Ah, so that's what that yellowish shape that sometimes turns up on my TFT is!

47:

Interesting.
Both of my parents have had cataract surgery in the last decade, apparently modern artificial lenses block UV.

48:

Well it is harmful to the eyes.

Riddick's eyes were supposed to be like that, operated in a prison by a fellow inmate to be able to see in the dark where there were precious few other light sources. Which is why he wore goggles and was vulnerable to bright light in the original pitch black. I suspect they retconned that one later to something more high tech

49:

Nope; in the latest one Riddick's "shine job" is still as it was.

50:

Mr Stross,

I've read CMAP. I know you're not the one who draws the cover. Even so: would you care to comment on why the cover on the right features a horse's head with hoof-ended woman's legs bending in an optically confusing manner against a background of an octopus growing plant-resembling excrescences in such a way that the background resembles a fractal? [1]

Not asking you to give the game away here. I'd just like it if my mind were bent in fewer dimensions.

[1] Today in sentences you didn't think you'd say.

51:

That cover art is a pretty good depiction of the subject matter of the novella. The one on the left, not so much.

52:

Just working my way through the Cthulhu Mythos "Megapack", so this is ... timely ...

Can't help but wonder if anyone's done something Mythos in Wales with mushrooms and psy-trance. Apart from Pete Loveday, obv.

53:

Just pre-ordered it on Google Play. (I believe in actually paying for stuff. And $1.99 is like not even paying). Looking forward to reading it!

54:

Those are some nice looking covers!

The latest Riddick does seem to be a return to the source for the character, so perhaps they un-retconned his eyes. I'm almost certain I read somewhere about his eyes being a more high tech implant type thing, perhaps the videogame...

Available on google play? Excellent! Ordered.

55:

Interesting that the Tor.com cover is 666 pixels wide but they've obfuscated that by forcing the picture into a different form when displayed.

56:

"NecronomiPod"

The cursed mp3 player, of which we dare not speak.

Thanks, Charlie, that made my morning a little lighter.

57:

A few topics ago, you mentioned something along the lines of 'Life is fractal', the artwork here is a beautiful example of that ...

BTW -- these covers are/would make for beautiful poster art ... Autographed by artist and writer would be a really lovely (awesome!) gift.

58:

There are two limitations on astronomical basilisks. Firstly, that the effect needs a stereo-optical set-up; Bob's basilisk gun is a stereo digital camera in The Jennifer Morgue. I anticipate that it would require a very long baseline or some advanced electronics to make it work at interstellar distances.

Also, it would probably require the target to be in a similarly thin bit of space to the volume that will cause CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN on Earth. The Basilisk effect is an exploit of the altered laws of physics in this particular piece of spacetime, after all.

59:

I anticipate that it would require a very long baseline or some advanced electronics to make it work at interstellar distances.

Hm...what about a few hundred kilometers? Given the kind of stimulus CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN offers it's not unreasonable to put basilisk gun systems aboard matched pairs of spy satellites, ready to Look And Kill from well outside the probable lethal radius of your Tentacled Horror du jour.

Someone in the Laundry universe must have done experiments on minimum and maximum baseline-to-range ratios - possibly Pinky.

For a more tactical system, it wouldn't surprise me if several air forces were deploying high altitude recon aircraft with matching camera pods on the wingtips...

60:

Nelc:
There are two limitations on astronomical basilisks. Firstly, that the effect needs a stereo-optical set-up; Bob's basilisk gun is a stereo digital camera in The Jennifer Morgue. I anticipate that it would require a very long baseline or some advanced electronics to make it work at interstellar distances.

Hipparcos, anyone? ...

scott-sanford:

Someone in the Laundry universe must have done experiments on minimum and maximum baseline-to-range ratios - possibly Pinky.

For a more tactical system, it wouldn't surprise me if several air forces were deploying high altitude recon aircraft with matching camera pods on the wingtips...

Ooh. Very nice.

And; "Why are there *two* quadcopter drones.... Oohhhhhh....."

61:

A new laundry story. On my 50th birthday. Now that is timing.

62:

It’s probably worth buying BOTH – simply because both covers are beautiful ( I think I might )

Charlie @ 6
Sez you … “A year-long sabbatical” … somehow I think you will find yourself writing something in that period. The NSFW series of cartoons, with your muse smashing the desk & ordering you to work comes to mind, also this piece about David Attenborough – who feels he must carry on …


Which reminds me, talking of non-this-Earth organisms, what do you think of THIS ONE ??
Note the caveats, about doing proper isiotopic analysis, to make sure, though.

63:

Charlie @ 19
Thanks to your advice, ages back, I now have a better phone (Samsung SII mini), that WORKS, unlike my completely shit BlackBerry & I can get "Android" freebie-apps - I've finally caught up to about 2009, I suppose ....

64:

I remember a couple of focusing aids on pre-auto-focus SLR cameras, which used some sort of prism on the focusing screen and worked better the wider the lens aperture was. So maybe a Basilisk gun doesn't need multiple lenses, just a wide-aperture lens in front of a suitable Basilisk unit.

It puts those huge telephoto lenses used by some photographers in a new light. And the misidentification of such lenses as rocket launchers.

Tank commander, operating head-out, and a sniper with Basilisk gun. What sort of radiation dose do the turret crew get?

Looming CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN: is independent production of Basilisk Gun devices easier?

If the single lens method does work (and if may have to for some existing-story events to work), you might have a new sort of terrorism. Which leads to much stricter control of press photographers.

Cultist paparazzi assassins?

(I hereby grant Charles Stross an unlimited and perpetual license to use these ideas as he sees fit.)

65:

FYI to everyone, Subterranean has posted the pre-order for Equoid on their website already. Seems enough of us asked about it that Bill decided to put it up earlier than anticipated. I already set up my order...

66:

I could see a larger scale basilisk gun being mounted on a black version of the AC 130 gunship which i am sure the black chamber have.

67:

Thanks for that. I had enquired of the novela special of Subterranean but the e mail bounced from the address given on their site and I had ment to get back to them Real Soon Now but hadn't just yet. Anyway, here is their response..which isn't anywhere near sufficently Eldritch nor yet Gibbous or Squamous enough nor yet ..oh, wot the - insert word of choice - Our Host has every Rite to be Proud to have inspired a - insert word of Choice - .. and thus to be filled with nameless, proboscidian, squamous, fungoid and rugose pride.

" THANK YOU FOR YOUR ORDER
Order Data
Order Date: Friday 20 September 2013
Order ID: Order #19286
Billing
Arnold
arnold. ....

Total number of purchased items: 1.
ID Description Price Qty Item Total
50370 Equoid: a Laundry Novella (preorder)
Limited Edition $60.00 1 $60.00

Shipping: $19.75
Tax: $0.00

Total: $79.75 "

a tenny bit pricy maybe BUT

that is the ..


" We hadn't intended to offer this title for preorder yet, but have received so many requests it seemed crazy not to. Equoid, our first Stross offering since the time travel novella Palimpsest is a long (32,000 words) tale set in his popular Laundry series.

***

For Bob Howard, a working day tends to alternate between desperately trying not to fall asleep in committee meetings and being menaced by tentacular horrors from beyond spacetime. That’s because Bob works for the Laundry, the secret British government agency tasked with protecting the realm from occult nightmares. So when his manager Iris sends him off to the countryside to liaise with a veterinary inspector from the Department of the Environment, Fisheries, and rural Affairs, at first he takes it as a pleasant vacation. But why is Edgebaston Farm’s livery stable buying a hundred kilos of raw meat per day? Why does his briefing file contain the death-bed confession of that old fraud, H. P. Lovecraft? And why is his contact from DEFRA so deathly afraid of unicorns…?

Limited: 350 signed numbered copies, bound in leather: $60 "

So .. bound in " Leather "is just 'Bound ' to be of a "Rule 34" ish nature whilst ..well, who knows what provided the " Leather " ?

68:


Oh, and PS ..you have all come upon this havent you? ..


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxScTbIUvoA

69:

Whats needed is a G - Gibbous - and R -Rugrose - i device that enmeshes itself with its users Very Soul!And of course Eats Him/Her a Byte at a time.

70:

Didn't firing a basilisk gun through an opaque surface play a significant role in Atrocity Archives or did I miss someone carving a hole in the casing of the device?

71:

That was Bob hiding Top Secret info, such as how to get the cover off a nuclear demolition charge without setting it off.

72:

Why does his briefing file contain the death-bed confession of that old fraud, H. P. Lovecraft?

I think the Laundry files should contain several deathbed confessions from H.P. Lovecraft, all different in text and with different dates, several of them well after March 15th 1937.

"That only raises more questions!"

73:

I had assumed that it was the directed radiation from the basilisk gun hitting the surface messing up the internal workings of the nuke.

74:

Nope, Bob explicitly mentioned going after the RDX (basilisk guns work on carbon atoms, remember?). But I will point out he had a drill. We know he used it on the back of the chair, but we don't know that's all he used it on...

75:

True but if the case is steel that will have some carbon atoms.

77:

Are there any plans in the works to anthologize all of the shorter Laundry stories into a single volume?
If there aren't, who would we lobby to get such a thing?

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on September 17, 2013 3:48 PM.

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