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A taste of nightmares to come

A stack of US hardcover copies

So "The Nightmare Stacks" is just 11 days away in the UK (and 18 in the USA) and my UK publisher, Orbit, have kindly posted an extract from the first chapter:

A vampire is haunting Whitby; it's traditional.

It's an hour after dusk on a Saturday evening four weeks before the spring gothic festival. Alex the Vampire strolls along the sea front, his hands thrust deep into the pockets of his tweed jacket. There's a chill breeze blowing onshore, and he has the pavement to himself as he walks, eyes downcast and chin tucked into his chest, lost in thought. What profound insight does the creature of the night contemplate as he paces along the North Promenade beside the beach, opposite a row of moonlit houses? What ancient wisdom, what hideous secrets haunt the conscience of the undying?

Let's take a look inside his head ...

Carry on reading "The Nightmare Stacks"

In case you were wondering where to buy it, here are some handy links:

[US Hardcover via Amazon] [US Kindle store] [All formats via Barnes and Noble]

[UK Hardcover via Amazon] [UK/EU Kindle store] [Via Waterstones]



Poor Alex. That last paragraph reads like the opening of the Crack of Doom, followed by a raspberry... and the game is afoot!


Cursing my travel schedule. This would've made perfect beach reading in Crete, and it's out a few weeks too late. Looks great though.


I would have ended the extract a bit further on, myself ...

(And they seem to have lost the italics in the text, but ho-hum, it's just a taster.)


two thoughts :

  • First time we hear of the Dm in the series, but explicable inworld : a) our first narrator was unreliable b) he didn't think of him as important c) he don't intervene in all missions.
  • Dr Schwartz is perhaps a jew, if it is the case, it would be interesting to use this in situation (not the first time in fiction, I know).
  • 5:

    There's an origin story novella for the DM waiting to be written.

    I originally meant to write (and publish) it last year, but it didn't happen, because reasons. Maybe next year.


    Rereading, I see a DM who uses "a rule set isomorphic with first-order transdimensional summoning algebra" coming on stage just after you introduce a character who LISPs. Nicely done!


    ...possibly implying a DM on the other side.


    Haven't read the excerpt, prefer to wait until I have book in hand.

    But I've been meaning to ask if Alex Schwartz is a Landsman?


    Hopefully they haven't jumped the gun by doing this, but Google Books posted an even more substantial excerpt- most of the first 60 pages - a few days ago.


    Looking forward to this Sadly while I have been to every major conurbation in Scotland, I have never been to Leeds, so I will just have to enjoy it being devastated in your minds eye


    But I've been meaning to ask if Alex Schwartz is a Landsman?

    In what context? (Dictionary offers several meanings, and it's not a word I'm familiar with in colloquial use ...)


    This indicates it's North American Jewish idiom, which may be why it's alien to you.


    Thankfully doesn't seem to show up on the default pages Google books sends you to from a UK IP. Neither or are showing it. Unless Im doing something really dumb of course.


    That brought to mind the old adverts, for "Scarborough, Whitby and Filey".

    I shall have to wait to see what's in store for Alex, but I'm pleased that he got his coat back.


    and Bellingham@12: Sorry about that. I hadn't realized it was a particularly American Yiddish term. Usually used to refer to a fellow Jew, so definition 3 in my link--which should have gone to the etymology section.


    meant to add; I was imagining a possible scene where he has to attempt an explanation why he can only visit his perhaps observant parents after Shabbes has begun, and candles lit. That is, working and travelling during sabbath.


    Squee. Looking forward to this.

    Nice to have another new narrative voice, though I also miss Bob's. (And interesting how having Mo's internal narrative made me less invested in shipping Bob/Mo -- somehow you see the relationship from both sides, and as with real people, just feel it would be sad if they split up, not tragic.)


    I just understood, courtesy of the NYT, the typographical oddness of your handle. Is this something you picked up from the NYT, or has this meme genuinely spread in the wild?

    ((( null-I )))


    I think it's fairly safe to say that even if Alex is of Jewish ancestry, he's not noticeably observant, and nor is the rest of his family. In that sense he's quite British: we're a pretty godless bunch these days. Not all of us, but an awful lot of us, which gives a different vibe from the US.

    (I visited a company last year in Charlotte, NC. Seeing Bible verses and Crosses in people's cubicles was deeply weird to me.)


    Alex isn't visibly Jewish. (His actual background is indeterminate: could be of German descent, could be of secular/assimilated Jewish descent; don't know.)


    THE DELIRIUM BRIEF is the next Bob novel. I'm working on the final draft now, for publication in June '17.


    Yes, very odd. Triple-evaluation, no arguments... At least your handle isn't NIL, otherwise I'd no idea how to interpret (((null-I)))


    Don't know if it's spread much outside of Twitter, I first learned of it in an article nearly two weeks ago--I linked to it here in a previous thread. And as I said before that, it's probably pointless to use it here, but I am for now, and have elsewhere. I tried to use it on a certain social site, but their Real Names policy won't let you use punctuation marks. I haven't decided how long to bother with it, maybe until the US election. Though if an ignorant pile of orange crap is somehow elected, it may last longer.


    (I visited a company last year in Charlotte, NC. Seeing Bible verses and Crosses in people's cubicles was deeply weird to me.)

    I wish that were a rare sight here, but here is Colorado Springs, so it's not. I thought Charlie once mentioned his parents were somewhat observant, but I may be misremembering and it's no business of mine. The local Chabad Lubavitch (the fedora wearing black-hatters) representative is British, but I know he's in no way representative of Jews in the UK--or anywhere else, just very visible.

    I was just curious about Alex, and like Charlie says Schwartz is one of those names that can go either way.


    They were somewhat observant, but (British) Reform, which is like nothing that really exists in the US -- it's somewhere between (American) Liberal and (American) Conservative Judaism. Best description for outsiders is, "try to imagine a Jewish equivalent of Lutheranism."


    Ah, then they've - well, not so much removed it (it seems my google books library link to it still works) as de-indexed it...


    The local Chabad Lubavitch (the fedora wearing black-hatters) representative is British, but I know he's in no way representative of Jews in the UK--or anywhere else, just very visible. (Bold mine). "Very visible" is the intent. Our local Chabad rabbi (mid Hudson valley NY) has a very large (and a little rusty :-) Hanukah menorah in front of his house, which is on a main shopping road. It is the biggest in the area. Not complaining; he's sincere, and when my wife hosts a Rosh Chodesh get-together the rabbi's wife always shows up. Engaged the rabbi once for several minutes (yes, regularly said Kaddish for deceased father, etc.) before informing him that I wasn't Jewish. He was disappointed but a little amused (or maybe bemused - that was the intent - the whole "Jewish Soul Thing" is ... mildly irritating.).

    (Have had my kindle copy of The Nightmare Stacks on preorder for months.)


    Okay, thanks. I was about to go on about the differences in the various American and British movements but too confusing. Seems like same names but differing views on theology. I don't know if there's a UK equivalent to Jewish Renewal (with Kabbalah woo and drum circles). Anyway, sorry for the tangent. Counting the days until the book is available.


    Chabad Lubavich

    Totally OT, but we're in Puerto Rico for a family funeral and I noticed that there's a CL center in the Isla Verde section just north of the San Juan airport. A major tourist/party area and not really where I'd have expected to find it.

    Chabad Lubavitch of Puerto Rico 17 Calle Dalia, Carolina, PR

    Back to vampirism and other occult matters.


    I tend to think of Chabad as Jewish Hare Krishnas. To me they seem to tick off most of the cult boxes; funny outfits, devotion to messianic leader, missionaries, etc. But generally decent people, not too insistent on converting other Jews to their ways, and they don't bother non-Jews.


    Come to read about unspeakable horror, learn about modern practice of Judaism in UK and US - I love this blog!


    Come to read about unspeakable horror

    At least we aren't discussing the nightmare that is conservative politics, or other recent events. Way too scary.


    It certainly says something about the state of the world that a trip to the Laundry-verse is soothing. Well, maybe just the first chapter or two.


    I'm looking forward to seeing what you have planned for Leeds - and hope The Events don't happen on a work-day, I think I'm probably within range of whatever it is :P


    I don't think you want to be within 50 km of Leeds to be honest.


    Sure, but what about the book?


    Hi, I really enjoy your novels and am looking forward to seeing what happens to Alex. I've been rereading The Rhesus Chart as preparation for The Nightmare Stacks, so I noticed on page 77, while Alex and Evan were researching 'Jesus stuff', it says that Alex's family are technically Church of England, according to what they put on census forms. But his family has so little connection to the institution of the CoE that Alex is in alien territory when he finds himself in a Church.


    So, I'm the only person who thought that the DM is Bob, possibly channeling a bit of Angleton?


    My guess was that the DM was Peter-Fred, who got saddled with the nickname "DM" after the events in the short story "Pimpf."

    40: just informed me that they intend to ship the book (specifically the Orbit edition) to me tomorrow. I thought the street date was still a week away?


    Yes, that's about how 80% of the folks who describe themselves as "Church of England" relate to it -- it's the traditional default option, but in the past couple of decades people have begun identifying as "no religion" instead (which is why atheism is suddenly gaining ground massively in the census returns).


    Nope. Derek, the DM, has a back story -- I just haven't finished and published that novella yet (it's been on my to-do list for 2-3 years now).

    43: are about to get their knuckles rapped by the EU publisher (Orbit).

    The reason for the embargo on shipments ahead of time is that book bestseller charts are compiled on a strict weekly basis, and the first week sales -- when preorders ship -- are the best opportunity for debuting on the bestseller list. Being a numbered bestseller even for one week pushes bookstores to shelf the title front-of-store with the other bestsellers, so inevitably generated additional sales.

    By leaking copies ahead of schedule, booksellers actually risk damaging the book's longer-term sales prospects.


    Same thing with "Jedi" which should be read as "my religious observance, if any, is none of your business".



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