January 2017 Archives

Looking back at the horror show that has been this week's news—the first week of the Trump administration—two things are clear: firstly, Trump is to be taken at his literal word when he threatens people, and secondly, it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Consequently I'm revising my plans for future visits to the United States.

I'll be in New York and Boston for business meetings and Boskone in mid-February (I unwisely booked non-refundable flights and hotel nights before the election), but I am cancelling all subsequent visits for now. In particular, this means that I will no longer be appearing as guest of honor at Fencon XIV in Texas in September.

I'd like to apologize unreservedly to the convention committee; this is not your fault and you did nothing to deserve this. I would like to attend a future Fencon, and if anyone else had been elected President—or if Trump had walked back the hateful insanity once in office—my appearance would be unaffected. But conventions book guests of honor many months, sometimes years, ahead of schedule: so I felt it best to pull out of the committment sooner rather than later, to allow as much time as possible to find and announce a replacement.

As for why I'm cancelling this appearance ... I have two fears.

(Empire Games is officially published on Thursday in the UK; see previous blog entry for how/where to buy it.)

Whenever you tell someone that you've written a book, they almost inevitably have questions. And if they're a reader, usually the first words off their tongue are some variation on "what's it about?"

Any fictional narrative is a multi-layered structure, and "what's it about" is a question that speaks to one specific layer—the most abstract level, the numinous thing we call theme. Theme trumps genre as a high-level construct; it's all about the intent behind the work, insofar as a work of fiction is an attempt at communication. When you ask what the theme of a story is, you're asking for a synopsis stripped of all context. If your theme is "coming of age" you can write that story as romance, as SF, as horror—it transcends and overlaps with all these fields. So: what is the theme of Empire Games: or, more broadly, what is the Empire Games trilogy talking about?

Empire Games

Empire Games, the first installment in my new Empire Games trilogy, launches in Thursdy 26th in the UK!

If you're in Edinburgh, I'm going to be reading from and signing copies of Empire Games at the launch event at Blackwells Bookshop, at 6:30pm on Wednesday the 25th; it's a ticketed event but tickets are free and can be booked here.

Unlike the USA, where it's a hardcover, Tor UK have chosen to publish in trade paperback. (This led to some hitches with supplier databases which choked on the last-minute update, but it should all be straightened out now.)

You can buy it in bookstores, but here are some handly links to ebook formats and mail-order outlets:

[Amazon.co.uk Trade Paperback][Waterstones Trade Paperback]Amazon Kindle ebook][Kobo ebook]

Signed copies can be ordered from Transreal Fiction and Blackwells Bookshop (Edinburgh); email for details.

To celebrate—or maybe promote—the book launch I've been putting myself about shamelessly all over the internet: here I am, on Tor.com, with a list of five books about espionage and codebreaking—non-fiction research that was all grist for the mill when I was writing Empire Games. Meanwhile, at Tor UK, I answer five questions about Empire Games; and on io9, I felt the need to talk about why near-future SF is still relevant today.

Empire Games, the first installment in my new Empire Games trilogy, launches on Tuesday 17th in the US market! (EU residents and Brits will have to wait until next Thursday—Tor UK and Tor USA, despite the name, are different companies and use different printers and sell through different supply chains.)

You can buy it in bookstores, but here are some handly links to ebook formats and mail-order outlets:

[Amazon.com Hardcover][Barnes & Noble hardcover][Powells City of Books Hardcover]]Amazon Kindle ebook][NOOK ebook][Kobo ebook]

(I'll provide UK links and updates on author events in a couple of days time.)

So what's it all about?

Sorry about the protracted silence.

This year has been kind of busy for me, and I've been head-down in a mountain of work rather than keeping up the blog. First on the agenda was my space opera for 2018, Ghost Engine, which is still not finished; it just keeps on growing. I'd been aiming to finish it before the new year, but a chest infection and some unforseen plot recomplications have kept it in play. And I was still writing when the copy edits for "The Delirium Brief" landed in my inbox for checking.

So here's the final (only slightly late) installment of my predictions for 2017.

Have a happy new year!



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