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Free ebooks! Get 'em while they're hot!

We interrupt this broadcast to announce ...

Empire Games came out a couple of weeks ago, right? And you might be thinking, "this is book seven in a universe, won't I be at a loss if I start here?" Well, Empire Games was written to be a new entrypoint into my Merchant Princes universe. But if you want to start from the real beginning, you need to read The Bloodline Feud, which is the revised omnibus edition of the first two books, reassembled into the original intended form.

And The Bloodline Feud is the Tor.com eBook club pick for the week of February 1st to 7th: if you click that link and sign up for the Tor.com newsletter, you can download a free copy in epub or mobi (Kindle) format. (Offer valid to USA and Canada residents; there is a dropdown menu that asks you to state your country.)

25 Comments

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1:

Offer valid in USA and Canada only
SNIFF

Even if I have got the dead-tree versions already (!)

2:

Greg: you give them an email address then select a pop-up that says "I am in ..." with a choice of "USA, Canada, Other". There's no fiendish electronic geolocation check or anything like that — it's purely an honor system.

3:

Sweet! I already have the other 6 books (plus I bought Empire Games. Its going to be a long 12 months for the sequel to come out), and this gives me an excuse to see if the Bloodline Feud is tighter than the original without forking out more money again.

It also makes me wonder what you and Scalzi know years in advance of the rest of us (in that your book is called Empire Games, his is called Collapsing Empire and both seem good titles for the existing political environment at the moment).

4:

Ah, that's different, then ....

5:

Charlie, I've noticed a couple of errors in the "Principal cast list" section of the UK version.

River Douglas is described as Rita's sister but is Rita's brother in the main text.

Both Brill and Elena Hjorth are described as Huw Hjorth's wife. I think Elena should be Hulius Hjorth's wife.

6:

I'm in the middle of the third book right now. I saw the trade paperbacks at Vroman's and decided to read them before I read Empire Games, and I'm really enjoying them!

7:

I bought the paperbacks back when, but was traveling when I decided to buy the omnibus ebook versions and re-read before starting the new series. So I literally just bought this. Oh, well, more money for our host to spend. Thank you to you and TOR for making this available!

8:

Thanks Charlie. Given that I bought the original books in dead tree, I don't feel too guilty about being slightly inaccurate regarding my place of residence.

Feel slightly more guilty about giving them a gmail account I never use to send the newsletter to, but I get too much stuff on this account already...

9:

You can unsub from the newsletter after you receive it.

10:

I love new entrypoints when a series is long enough to merit them, such as in this case. Not having explored this universe yet, I'm ready to stargate in :-)

11:

I'm not sure they even try to validate the email address, actually. But I reckon if I logged in to my Tor account I would have all the usual problems since they know where I live. Thanks, OGH, for the revised omnibus (an bendybus?).

12:

Same here, this is the only stross series i haven't dipped into yet so perfect timing.

I was going to get them from feedbooks but they're a bit pricey on there for my poor, unemployed self right now.

13:

Gateway drug! Hook 'em with a little free taste!

Seriously - I was recently in a conversation about how to develop better appreciation of science, and it was suggested that SF often leads people to science. Laugh if you will, but I ended up as a mathematician from being fed the Fantastic Four, Lost In Space, and a stack of How and Why Wonder Books.

Does anyone remember an article a few years back saying that the Chinese Govt. wanted to encourage Chinese SF to try to expand the imaginations of their scientists-to-be? I sought but found naught...

14:

Thanks, but it didn't work for me.

My browser crashed halfway.

It was 2/1, if that helps.

15:

I'm midway through the third (of six) and Miriam definitely does not learn quickly. But I'm very anxious to see what happens next!

16:

What a nice freebie! My impression from reading other authors' comments has been that Tor US is a great publisher to work with, and understands the genre. Charlie, how have your interactions with them been?

17:

This is the series that runs a bait and switch on the readers; the first omnibus looks a lot like a classic portal fantasy, except our protagonist is a lot more hard-headed than normal for the genre and there are no obvious signs of magic (beyond a single mcguffin).

Then in subsequent books the magic mcguffin turns out to be an uber-tech mcguffin, and the wheels don't so much fall off our mediaeval secondary world as get blown off by a car bomb, and then the US government notices and tries to take a hand ...

18:

Charlie, how have your interactions with them been?

In a nutshell: although they're part of Macmillan, a Big Five multinational, Tor are non-corporate to an eccentric degree — they still roll like a family firm. This can be very very good and very very bad, from an author's perspective. Things are now changing (CEO/founder Tom Doherty is 81; so Tor is gradually growing an actual management org chart).

Longer version: Tor has a huge list, a lean publishing operation, and multiple editors who run their own individual strings of authors, effectively like embedded mini-imprints. Who your editor is to some extent dictates how you're treated there. I was edited by David Hartwell until his untimely death last year; he was a great editor but his personal style drove me up the wall.

My new editor at Tor US is Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who is both editor in charge of Tor.com and associate publisher (one step up from editorial director) at Tor (the book imprint). Because Patrick is a very busy guy (associate publisher is something like a corporate vice-president) I'm also edited by Bella Pagan, who is editorial director of Tor UK who publish the series in the UK. (Tor UK is a lot smaller, so she has a bit more time for hands-on editing.)

I do not discuss my working relationship with my current editors in public, or with previous editors (unless they have died or retired or otherwise left the business). However, I've worked with Bella for the best part of a decade (she was previously my editor at Orbit before she left to take over Tor UK), and I've counted Patrick as a personal friend for a couple of decades (I met him long before I sold any novels).

19:

I do not discuss my working relationship with my current editors in public.

And before anyone reads too much into this, let me clarify: science fiction publishing is a tiny, tiny field. There aren't that many prominent editors working in it on either side of the Atlantic, and — at least among the more corporate publishers — they tend to move around when it's time to seek promotion (because like all big organizations, large publishing conglomaterates usually find it easier to promote by recruiting rather than by recognizing native talent: Tor bucks this trend to an unusual degree).

Let me put this in perspective: Tor USA, the largest US SF publisher by number of titles, has about 8-10 full time in house editors and maybe the same number of freelance associate editors working outside. I'd estimate there are no more than 50 full-time book editors working in original trade SF/F publishing in the USA, and maybe the same again working in media tie-ins (computer game/movie/TV serial novels) and the book packaging business. In the UK? Maybe 10-15 genre editors total.

Meanwhile, over the past 15 years, I have had three UK publishers (two still active, one went into liquidation), and in the USA I have had four publishers (one still active, one winding down, one went into liquidation, one active but only used for novella-length special editions).

So it's actually very likely that if an editor I work with today tells me they're leaving, or if I depart from a publisher they currently work for, I'll nevertheless end up working with them again in a few years' time.

(And this is why sensible authors never never never trash-talk editors!)

20:

"Chinese Govt. wanted to encourage Chinese SF to try to expand the imaginations of their scientists-to-be"

haven't seen that article, but readers of the Three Body trilogy may enjoy a short story by the same author which I'm translating as a hobby project. My progress so far is posted as comment number 182 of the inactive thread "The Dog Ate My Homework" from a few weeks back.

21:

Just finished "Empire Games" this morning and was somewhat taken aback to learn the name of the sniveling weasel who runs the Party security apparatus. No such thing as bad publicity, or so the saying goes. Other than that I'd say it's Charlie's best so far, definitely want more of Kurt and the Wolf Orchestra.

22:

Thanks for that. I think maybe that's why i was a bit put off by these novels in their original form but for some reason the revised editions are appealing to me a lot more. I guess i'm a lot more open to urban fantasy these days than i used to be though (thanks, humble bundles) and you've said previously your fiction may be trending more in that direction anyway.

23:

I strongly recommend the Tor eBook of the Month Club: They give away free books every month (and started with The Three-Body Problem :). The usual advice: Use a unique e-mail address, if you can.

24:

Apparently I live in Canada these days. Of course I have already actually purchased ebook editions of all these texts in their original titles previously, and I think because there was one I picked up as a single but the sequels were in a trilogy that I actually paid for twice (something I'm happy to see as the penalty for not researching the exact editions beforehand, and anyway I kinda wish it were easier to just send OGH the royalties directly).

Anyhow I'm really looking forward to sailing on Lake Ontario next summer.

25:

Do buy the new edition, vs the original 6 volumes, I think that the new 3 volume version is markedly better, usually, rereading years later, I just notice a few things I missed, with these, I think they genuinely are improved.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on February 1, 2017 3:11 PM.

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