11/27/2006

Book finished! Keyboard down on Friday afternoon, followed by several hours of near-terminal collapse. Or finished enough to go to my agent and then hopefully straight on to Tor for editorial stuff.

Jamie, one of the Saturday night regulars, is hopefully going to get a chance to run it off at his work for me and then I can stick it in the post (yeah, yeah, I know, email, but my agent is a wee bit more old-fashioned than that).

I wound up in Nice n'Sleazy's in town, with Hal, Jamie, Chris and Andy and spent maybe half the time trying to blink myself awake, I was so wiped out after finishing SL. By some nefarious means, we wound up at a place called the Buff Club, which I've only ever been to once before, several months ago. It was actually better than I remembered, and it was pretty good the last time too.

I came across a mention of Stealing Light on the Pan Macmillan website, and saw they've already stuck up a blurb for it:
For half a million years an alien race has been hiding a vast and terrible secret.
In the 25th century, only the Schindleria possess the secret of faster-than-light travel (FTL), thus exerting an economic stranglehold on all interstellar travel. For a century and a half, mankind has operated within their influence, till now there are at least a dozen human colony worlds scattered along Schindlerian trade routes.

Sonja Merrick, while serving as a military pilot, has witnessed atrocities for which this alien race is responsible. Now piloting a civilian cargo ship, she is currently ferrying an exploration team to a star system containing a derelict starship. From its wreckage, her passengers hope to salvage a functioning FTL drive of mysteriously non-Schindlerian origin. But the Schindleria are not yet ready to relinquish their monopoly of a technology they acquired through ancient genocide.

Which is nice, except also terribly out of date. It should read (and I'll be emailing this off to Pan, now the book is finished):

For a quarter of a million years, an alien race has been hiding a vast and terrible secret

In the 25th century, only the Shoal possess the secret of faster-than-light travel (FTL), giving them absolute control over all trade and exploration throughout the galaxy. Mankind has operated within their influence for two centuries, establishing a dozen human colony worlds scattered along Shoal trade routes.

Dakota Merrick, while serving as a military pilot, has witnessed atrocities for which this alien race is responsible. Now piloting a civilian cargo ship, she is currently ferrying an exploration team to a star system containing a derelict starship. From its wreckage, her passengers hope to salvage a functioning FTL drive of mysteriously non-Shoal origin. But the Shoal are not yet ready to relinquish their monopoly over a technology they acquired through ancient genocide.

16 comments:

Ian Sales said...

Doesn't the blurb sort of, well, give the "vast and terrible secret" away?

neil williamson said...

I have a policy of "not reading blurbs". Just in case.

But well done on finishing it, Gary.

neil

gary gibson said...

Ian: actually, no, it doesn't. I racked up several vast and terrible secrets, although one or two are terrible and vast, as opposed to vast and terrible. Don't worry laddie, it's a doozy. Or I think so, anyway.

On the other hand, I DID worry about whether they were loading up the blurb with just a wee bit too much information. But then again, they need to get enough in there to get someone reading long enough to think that maybe this would be a cool thing to read on the bus trip/during the lecture/on the train/during the night shift. So maybe they need to load it with just enough info about the story without entirely giving the game away.

But then again, again, they're the experts in selling books, I'm just the guy who writes 'em. Perhaps I should trust to their relative expertise in these matters, he says, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.

Ian Sales said...

Any novel that features an intergalactic empire of fish (:-)) is going on my wants list anyway. So it's not as if the blurb is going to affect my purchasing decision... Mind you, they could have at least put a space fish on the cover. It's sell a lot more copies :-)

Jim Steel said...

Well done on finishing the book but - and I really hate to be the one to point this out - you seem to have spelt 'Steel' wrong in the title.

gary gibson said...

Jim: I'll be sure to fix that, right after I finish carrying out this shotgun massacre I've started in George Square while painted blue and dressed as the Queen.

Ian: I apologise for the lack of space fish. There is, however, a distinct surfeit of space squid. A glance at the cover for SL demonstrates a distinctly squid-like aspect. Wouldn't you say?

RWM said...

Ah, yes, Vorlons!
Knew it rang a bell.

Anonymous said...

Bah. Anyone can do squid. But it takes real talent to do space fish. You're a sell-out, Gary.

:-)

gary gibson said...

But you forget, I do have fishy galactic overlords in SL, and I for one welcome them. *And* squid. Fish *and* squid. Ha!

taleswapper said...

I'm just glad you moved away from Schindleria. That sounds like a group of galactic lift operators.

gary gibson said...

Taleswapper: originally it came from a song on Yes's 'Fragile' album called 'Schindleria Praematurus', also known as 'The Fish', which was also the nickname of the band's bass player. 'The Shoal' felt more succinct, more to the point, in the end.

gary gibson said...

In fact, you can hear it here.

Anonymous said...

Ooh nice, this sounds just like my sort of stuff. I look forward to it Gary.

I imagine 'Schindleria' was a working name with rather too-obvious antecedents to make it to the final draft.

gary gibson said...

Depends what you mean by antecedents. Apparently it's very like the name of some elevator manufacturer, or something. I just kept thinking of 'Schindler's List' myself, although there might be other things it's reminiscent of that hadn't occurred to me: like you say it was a working name more than anything else, so I never really bothered checking it out too deeply.

Sort of reminds me of how the protagonist in Richard Morgan's first three books came from a planet called 'Harlan's World', which when I read them I assumed was a deliberate reference to the 'Medea' collective book from the mid-Eighties or thereabouts. That was nicknamed 'Harlan's World' at the time, after its creator Harlan Ellison. According to Richard, it just lodged in his memory and he forgot the connection. Just shows what happens when you don't google something, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Schindler's List was precisely what I was thinking of, what with the Schindleria being responsible for an ancient genocide. It's the kind of working name you grab out of the air while writing writing writing - getting those words down is more important, and there's always find-and-replace.

I've just had to make some alterations like that myself; to the names of two races of adapted humans, and to the resultant adjectives (Schindlerian), just because they were too similar to the names for other groups in the book.

Anonymous said...

I suspect Gary is saving up the Schindleria for another novel, Stealing Lifts. Featuring a galactic war between the Schindleria and the Otisia. Both of which are not so much "transcended" races as "elevatored".