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Gratuitous Self-Promotion

A crate of Nightmare Stacks

We interrupt this blog to bring you a news flash: somewhere in Scotland, an author just got home from a trip (hence the recent quiet) to discover a crate on his doorstep! A crate of nightmares! Grimoires bound in lurid magenta-on-black sleeves, pulsing and squirming to escape into the wild!

(The American edition is somewhat more discreet, and is probably a week behind.)

Publishers always ship authors a box of books right before publication. It's evidence that the thing has been printed and over the next few days cartons like this will be winging their way to warehouses, distribution hubs, and the stock rooms of bookstores who have pre-ordered it. It's not due to go on sale until June 23rd in the UK, and the 28th in the USA, but it takes a couple of weeks to filter through the supply chain so that stock is on hand everywhere.

I'm going to be in London on the 22nd, where Professor Ed James will be interviewing me on behalf of the British Science Fiction Association from 6pm; all are welcome. (Hopefully there'll be video of the event afterwards.)

The next day (the 23rd) I'm doing a launch/signing at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore at 6pm! Again, all are welcome, and FP are taking pre-orders (via that link).

And on Friday 24th I'm doing a reading and signing at Blackwell's Bookshop in Edinburgh from 6:30pm!

(These bookshops—and Transreal Fiction in Edinburgh—will have some signed copies for sale afterwards as well; they're generally happy to sell via mail order.)

The following week I am off to the west coast of the USA, for a number of events starting with the launch of the US edition, which comes out five days later (because supply chain reasons). I'll put up a separate itinerary on the blog in due course.



Always good to have something to look forward to. Though I'll have to decide which box it'll go in, since 99% of my books are boxed up in the garage. I left out a small box of the ones I plan on reading until I have a new place to unpack. However I recently added a "Help! I can't stop buying books" box.

Who am I kidding, of course new laundry book jumps the TBR queue. But first have to finish "Throne of the Crescent Moon", which is taking a while through no fault of the book, just tired out from packing/cleaning house. Ought to be done by time the new book is available in the States.


Is it safe to assume you'll be swinging through Portland -- maybe an event at Powell's, followed by beverages?


Ha ha ha ...

I'm starting in Portland with the usual drinks-at-a-brewpub session to get me onto local time the evening I arrive. Then there's a launch event at Powell's City of Books, downtown, and then I'm one of the guests at Westercon 69. So I'll be around Portland for a whole week. OK?


Maybe an event at Powell's?

You would certainly enjoy Westercon 69 (and prereg closes Friday!) but if you insist on meeting at Powell's you'll want to drop by on Thursday, June 30th, at 7:30pm.



Oh, look at that -- Scalzi and Naam and other interesting folks. I think I can swing a day pass.


Any chance you'll be swinging down to SoCal? If you're only making it to LA, I might drive up, but otherwise, I'd prefer to purchase from Mysterious Galaxy, the local SF specialty bookstore.


I got to read an ARC, wicked good read.


Those covers look awesome...


Yeah, I wish the US release had the same art - instead there are tanks on the cover?!


I'm unlikely to make it anywhere south of Mountain View on this trip.


It would be that week, wouldn't it - my diary is already insane ... I expect to be at "FP" by 17.30 ... See you there ( I hope )


There's a Kettenkrad on the cover of the US edition, ridden by a guy in 16th century gothic plate armor. Yes, that features in the novel.

Alas, the cover artist got the other tanks in the background wrong; the turrets are those of Challenger-1s, which were all retired circa 1991 -- the current British Army Challenger-2 is rather different in appearance (and they don't make it up the motorway in time for action in the book, because logistics).

Both covers, however, feature the right building: Quarry House.


Oh! It's on pre-order in the .au Kindle store now. Simply said "unavailable" yesterday. This is promising!


And your first orbit of responses from the English-speaking countries is complete.


We should see how many time zones we can cover - I'm in CET (GST +1).


I assume the non dead tree versions launch at the same time as their physical brethren?

Do Amazon let you AB test the covers yet on kindle? I'd love to see if there were a preference, particularly given the lurid nature of the UK version.


And yes, I'll be ordering the latest nightmare tonight.


I'm hoping the UK release date coinciding with the EU referendum is merely coincidence and your "fiction leading real life" curse hasn't hopped series from Halting State-Verse to the Laundry-verse?

Otherwise the voters in Leeds might be wishing they postal voted?


Already on the queue at the library.


Yes. Ebooks launch exactly on the publication date; some bookstores leak copies a few days earlier. (This is bad for me because sales figures are compiled weekly for the charts, and first week sales are the best bet for showing up in the bestseller lists, which in turn drives sales to new readers who simply buy whatever is popular. Grabbing a copy 24-48 hours early probably doesn't make a huge difference, but if you see a bookstore -- especially part of a big chain -- with copies on sale the week before publication I'd appreciate being told about it.)

I don't think Amazon allows A/B testing of covers, but in any case that's not my department -- I've got no input on covers.

The UK cover follows a consistent design language with the earlier books in the series -- Orbit facelifted/reissued the first two to get this design, and the main variation this time round is the lurid magenta. (They're running out of colours!)

I like the US cover, both of THE NIGHTMARE STACKS and of THE ANNIHILATION SCORE, which is when Ace did the facelift/redesign ... but alas, they haven't redesigned the covers of the first five books to match, so we're left with the cartoonish earlier designs. I think the newer version could improve sales, but it failed to launch with ANNIHILATION SCORE because reasons (which I cannot discuss in public until on or after July 1st 2017).



Chronologically, THE NIGHTMARE STACKS is set in March/April 2014, in a parallel universe where the Laundry is real. (THE DELIRIUM BRIEF, next in series, is set in May-August 2014 and deals with the smoking aftermath of THE NIGHTMARE STACKS, and what happens when the public -- and a thinly-disguised version of the Cameron-led coalition government of 2014 -- finds out about the Laundry ...)


Hm, next book title: THE CRATE OF HORRORS ?


I'm so gonna miss this series when we finally get to the endgame.

If this should not be posted (for spoiler reasons, though it was a few books ago...) go ahead an mod it out, but on my list of favorite emotion inducing quotes from a novel is:

"Welcome to Mahogany Row, Mr. Howard"


Current plan is for either nine books (if books 7/8 tank) or twelve books (for the core series story arc) plus extra side-branches (if the series keeps on going).

But all plans depend on the author continuing to obey Rule Number One ("don't die") and you won't thank me for leaving it unfinished; also it gets increasingly hard to maintain continuity in my own head (there's over a million words of this stuff to keep track of now).

So my long-term plan is to look for a new world(s) in which to set stories that give some of the same feel when you read them. Even if it's an entirely different sub-genre.


Unfortunately on the 21st I will be busy having my Aorta re-lined with PTFE and Nitinol, so I will probably have to give it a miss


I don't think Amazon allows A/B testing of covers, but in any case that's not my department -- I've got no input on covers.

Just vaguely remember a story about Amazon announcing AB testing - not sure if it's for the kindle store though.

Would love to see some real data on the issue. The closest I've seen is Scott Adams on the cover for one of his books, at least in adverts.

Whilst I'm not sure it reads across directly, it at least suggests that the impact could be significant.


I think you missed an opportunity there: shouldn't it be LITTLE CRATE OF HORRORS?


Ok I live in Portland, (and work a few blocks from Powell's), and usually do Audable for new SFF since I can listen to it when doing some of my work. Otoh I want to best support the author and get an autograph/maybe get a drink with...


Well, break a stent or something. Hope your transition to android-hood succeeds beyond expectations.


I'll be reading/signing at Powell's on the 30th of this month. (And probably doing the beer thing on June 28th to stay awake until it's bedtime after a long-haul flight -- venue not decided yet.)


Just another one of those really bizarre and improbable things that seem to keep saving my life. I imagine that the multiverse is littered with my corpses by now.


If you think you're unlikely, Dick, consider James Nicoll...


PSA: sells both Kindle editions (Ace and Orbit) for 13.99€ vs. 11.99€. So unless you want to pay 2€ more for the kettenkrad cover...


Hey, I can easily get to Mountain View! Do you intend to make any public appearances near there?


Hey, I can easily get to Mountain View! Do you intend to make any public appearances near there?

Only if you're a Google employee. (There are no bookshops of note in the area.)


Maybe for a novella ;-)


"it gets increasingly hard to maintain continuity"

"Consistency is a Hobgoblin for Small Minds"


When quoting...

It's "A foolish consistency" etc. and the adjective, as in another context with a famous expression about liberty and security, is essential.


I'll wait for paperback. Sorry. Laundry stuff is fun to read, but just not "I must get the hardcover first edition" material.


Actually, the bookstore of note in Mountain View is the Printers Inc. bookstore on Castro Street in downtown Mountain View, an independent bookstore that has several author signings/talks a week. It's a general bookstore, not an SFF-specific one, and it isn't very big, but SF authors will make an appearance there if they or their publisher want a South SF Bay book tour stop. IIRC, John Scalzi, Brian Sanderson, Kim Stanley Robinson, and George R.R. Martin have had signings there before.

Just a suggestion for your publicist or publisher the next time you/they are planning a US book tour, if you want to spend multiple days in the SF Bay Area and want to go someplace instead of/in addition to Borderlands in San Francisco.

(and selfishly, a lot more convenient for me to visit than Borderlands, as someone who lives in the South SF Bay, and much more accessible than a talk in the Google campus, as I am not a Google employee.)


God damn it. I keep calling the bookstore by it's old name. The name of the bookstore in Mountain View is currently Books Inc. (Printers Inc.- Mountain View branch store was at the same location). Small independent California chain of bookstores.


Thanks for an interesting peek into how the some of the sausages get made Charlie (and Ed James also, as your interlocutor).

I hope the signing goes well tomorrow. See you on the other side of the British political singularity.

Regards Luke



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on June 8, 2016 6:05 PM.

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