It’s Official.

It took way longer than I was expecting. It was about as pleasant as a date with Andrew Beaudry. I wondered on more than one occasion if it was ever going to happen.

But I have just signed a contract with Tor for State of Grace, and the terms are, well, better than they’ve been for any other book I’ve written for those guys. We also have overseas offers in hand — German, Polish, French for starters — which has never before happened so early in the process.

I have a good agent. Focusing more precisely on one of his virtues, I have a patient agent.

In celebration of this event, I’ve cleaned out the “In Progress” page (that Prolog was really starting to smell after all this time), and replenished it with the first chapter. And to maintain continuity between old and new (SoG is, remember, a sidequel), it also gives me great pleasure to present the work of one Jeff Arychuk1, from my home town of Calgary Edmonton:

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. You are looking at a life-sized, plushy scrambler. You are looking at Stuffed Awesome Made of Fabric. Plush Chthulhu, move over.

Finally, here is something I deserve. Here is something we all do:

——————
1Who also gets the photo credit.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Tuesday May 04 2010at 12:05 pm , filed under Dumbspeech, writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

117 Responses to “It’s Official.”

  1. Yo!!! Is that a giant squid eye? Too cool!!!

  2. Wooo! Though expected, getting the confirmation that you are locked in is great news. Is there any rule of thumb on what percentage of the advance should be spent on beer to lubricate the creative process?

    Also, since the overseas offers are in hand, will there be a service to replace the Tor cover with one of the overseas covers if necessary? I smell a market opportunity…

  3. That is an excellent plushy. I may have to construct one myself sometime.

  4. Excellent news! Any idea when it’s going to hit the shelves?

  5. I never drink…wine.

    Awesomeness.

    Now, a date. I’m imagining some folks being very good at clearing a table at a crowded restaurant, getting stuck car doors open, seasoning non-spicy food, and… Well, best leave the rest to troll imagination.

    “I don’t wanna spend the rest of my days
    keeping out of trouble…”

  6. Read the first chapter. First, when did you have time to write it, and second…INCREDIBLE!!!

  7. But what happens next?!?

  8. Holy shat! I know Jeff personally and I knew he was working on a scrambler, but I didn’t know it was that big!

    P.S. Unless he moved, Jeff is from around Edmonton, not Calgary :P

  9. This makes me so happy. Soon, I too will get to pull out a highlighter and have fun!

  10. Excellent. Back in the game, with a fancy New Yawk agent.

  11. Been a fan since I noticed one of those hand-written notes recommending Blindsight at Bakka and for some reason took a flyer on it.

    Have felt bad that I haven’t been in a position to contribute to your defense fund (but have mitigated feelings of guilt by making note of your predicament on Facebook and Livejournal, not to mention plugging your fiction when appropriate).

    Am thrilled to hear about new novel. Imagine outcome will depress me, but what the hell. “The Cold Equations” was published more than half-a-century ago. The Watts Method is the kick in the ass hard science fiction has been begging for for quite a while now.

    Yes, am drunk. Hence bizarre (possibly pretentious) syntax and arguably nonsensical comment.

    Oh well, pace Catch-22’s McWatt (no pun intended, nor any relationship implied), what the hell.

  12. Hah! Fantastic news! So much for detox, clearly…

  13. That’s beautiful Peter. See, I told you that you are loved… :)

    As for the plushy scrambler, so cute. So huggable. I would love to have one.

    “It” would be great in my bed. All those tentacly arms.

    But of course it would be just a cute cuddly bed warmer that would also serve as body prop-up in order to read in bed or on the floor, or snuggly head pillow while watching a cool, dark, scary spacey or tentacly-seamonster DVD.

    p.s. Why do you have HAL 9000’s eye lens?

  14. I’m trying to figure out whether or not I am going to have to leave it in Hong Kong – its a bit big to take with my luggage. And am not sure its acceptable carry-on.

    As soon as i get back from Korea I am gonna start working on some more managably sized ones.

    Thanks for the plug Peter! =P

  15. MOAR, MOAR! NEED MOAR WORDS TO CHEEEEEWWWWW!!!

    I love the first chapter!… but am now sad at the prospect of having to wait for moar…

  16. Congrats, Peter (and to your agent too). It was always disturbing that the best sci fi writer of the recent past has difficulties in finding a publisher for his work.

  17. When will “State of Grace” be available for purchase? Any chance of getting it through the publishing pipeline before the end of 2010?

  18. Awesome! I wait with baited breath for the release date.

  19. Is that Rickard’s or Keith’s red?

  20. The sheer awesomeness of this post cannot be described in pitiful human language:

    I require a direct empathic link to convey the joyous song that is in my heart.

    I require an electron microscope to display the giddy vibration of molucules in my body.

    I require a thirty six thousand foot titanium and diamond robot, powered by helium 3, unicorn blood and the bitter tears of sweet old grannies, to stomp the living shit out of the landscape while performing my dance of elation.

    Peter, sleep well tonight knowing that you have made me feel thus.

  21. By the way Peter, tell them not to fuck up the cover this time.

  22. Wait for the polish cover to “State…” and use it in US;)

    Great news, really great news. Polish fans were getting little impatient.

  23. @keanani: “As for the plushy scrambler, so cute. So huggable. I would love to have one.
    “It” would be great in my bed. All those tentacly arms.”

    Do they deliver to R’lyeh? (I kid, I kid. xoxoxo).

  24. Yayyyyyyy new work!!!!

  25. @Brainbread ~ Dude, I love your deviant art! We think stuff like yours is “normal” over here.

    p.s. Is the Ladybug ok?

    @Chris in MN~
    Here’s a sweet lullaby to go with your cuddly scrambler toy dreams:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvnVdMpgQOk

    She’s lost control, again…

  26. Glad to hear SoG is doing fine, Peter – and thanks for the juicy update.

    @Brainbread,

    Man, you’ve got skill, kudos.

  27. Where can we send pre-orders for our very own plushy scramblers?

    A thot:

    If your readers love your work because of its intelligence and mental challenge to our brains, and zombies love brains….

    Does that make us readers zombies? :) Hmmm. Wombies?

    Naaahhh, too cutesy. But I still like the thot.

  28. The beer glass picture made me smile. Thanks, Peter, and have as many of those as you care to. :)

  29. Also, after that chapter one? Shit yes. Chalk me up for a couple pre-orders. :D

  30. @Janbo – Blombies.

    Maelstrombies.

  31. Awwwsome! Do want SoG! Like, right now… ok, I’ll wait.
    Glad to know you’re doing great!

  32. That’s a great news, Peter! Polish fans rejoice.

    And yeah, as far as I know, Polish publisher was interested in getting this book more than a year ago, so pretty early indeed. To be honest, many of us counted that the book would be first released in Poland, if no one in US wanted it for so long ;)
    But US publisher was required first for the book to be finished (or so I’ve heard), so we had to wait in a long and painful anticipation. Now though, anticipation will be bright and hopeful ^^^

    Cheers!

  33. Congratulations, Peter!!! I can’t wait to read it. :)

  34. @Keanani

    Thanks! I wasn’t expecting anyone to think it was “normal” – my roommate is apparently terrified of it. I guess they don’t see shit like this normally in Hong Kong.

    The Ladybug is doing ok. Its far more comfortable as a pillow than the scrambler, so I would never let anything bad happen to it!

    @01

    Thanks a ton. It took ~40 hours, mostly ’cause I was watching TV when I was making it. And then having to fight with locals over the use of rooms so I could make it.

    @Janbo

    I would give a timeline, but I am not sure I can legally sell them without Watts’ permission. You know, the whole copyright thing =P

    I’m going to make sure at least one of them ends up in his hands though. Not sure when that will be, but it should happen. After I get back from Korea, maybe.

  35. @keanani: That video didn’t load for me. …crat!…

  36. Yes! Finally.

    I will be buying it, in hardcover, the first time I find it in the bookstore after it comes out (or even before it does, if some kind of timeslip happens).

    Blindsight is one of my favorite novels, and I’ve been waiting for this ever since I heard about it.

  37. @Brainbread who said: “Thanks! I wasn’t expecting anyone to think it was “normal” – my roommate is apparently terrified of it. I guess they don’t see shit like this normally in Hong Kong.”

    You are most welcome! We like “tentacaly shit” like that in Hawai’i. :) Strange creatures are a part of some of the cultures in Hawai’i.

    and then said: “The Ladybug is doing ok. Its far more comfortable as a pillow than the scrambler, so I would never let anything bad happen to it!”

    I’m glad. From the picture of her on Deviant Art she looked like she was having quite the struggle…

    and also said: “…took ~40 hours, mostly ’cause I was watching TV when I was making it.” Lol. I used to draw and paint in front of the boobtube, and it sure did take too long to get any creative thing done. Now I listen to music instead.

    @Chris in MN ~ Search Youtube for Deep Forest – Sweet Lullaby (fairymx) :)

  38. LOL! Ooookay…

    Here’s something for your (undoubtedly, haven’t checked it as of late) bitter battle regarding vampiric rapists and where it hurts the most to get bitten. Two similar species of mole rats are at opposite ends re: sociability and monogamy. Hormones are the suspected reason, and may relate to human behavior.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10088502.stm

  39. Congratulations on the contract, and what a brilliant first chapter! Please write quickly.

  40. Chris in MN said: “Here’s something for your (undoubtedly, haven’t checked it as of late) bitter battle regarding vampiric rapists and where it hurts the most to get bitten.” A sausage that’s been sabre-toothed would indeed hurt!

    Peter’s posters bitter battle? (Try saying that five times fast~ I bet you end up with something like peanut butter or brittle)

    Bitter? I thought it was rather heated and stuffed like a sausage with passion… :)

  41. That is a very nifty… ur… thing?

    And the chapter is as well. Definitely got a hook or two in me. The pacing seemed a little uneven, back and forth, but not enough to stall me. Some paragraphs did though, had to do a reread or two… might be because of complex description, maybe a touch too long for me to follow to the end (though I’ve also had little sleep so it might just be that causing difficulty).

    The mental impression of the zombies I got left with though, excellent, especially this line: “It was stripped down to pure reptile, and it was dedicated.” Definitely kept getting pings of curiosity throughout, nice little hops until the big question too. And found it a very good end for a chapter, intrigue and tension, with a nice kick of amusement.

    Definitely enough to get it added to my future list. And, actually, enough to bump up the priority of getting one of your other works up a number of places (since I still need to poke any of them – recommends for first read from anyone appreciated =)

    And nice to know things go well with Tor. I get a good impression of them in general… and they tend to cater to my craving.

    Be well, oh and cheers!

    ————

    Errors noticed:
    “Not to mentuon<- the fact that half the technical data"
    "and somehow they ended up rewriting brane<- theory"
    "His scissors lay the dirt."

  42. Great news Peter ! Congratulations, just what is needed, pursuing the path. Just to annoy you, I am on the West Coast and loving the ocean views from Victoria. Had a cool pint in the Barley Mill Pub in Penticton called, Midnight Ale. A dark deep brew I suspect you would love, almost as good as Old Peculiar. Cheers !

  43. INteresting.

    I liked the fact that we didn’t get “As you know Bob…” style data dumps, that you’re giving the readers credit for knowledge and intelligence. Keep it up.

    The zombies are terrifying. Do people do that to themselves? Or is it done to them? Especially since those in the vaults aren’t really able to complain.

    Kai, I think that instance of brane is correctly spelled. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Membrane_(M-Theory) The author will tell us. And I hope they put a good copy editor on this to catch the other errors.

  44. Ah, thanks for the link Trey, I thought the usage was odd. I’ve read a few books on string theory, but do not recall a brane ever being mentioned… though that could just be my brain sifting material and/or losing it ;P Good to know.

  45. @Chris in MN – Hormones are the suspected reason, and may relate to human behavior.

    Interesting stuff! Cool!

    Now here’ s one thing to consider – people experience way more interference in their sexual behaviors from their frontal lobes than do mole rats and related animals who don’t learn how to mate directly from a partner or via modeling. Mole rat mating, if they’re your standard rodent, is much more straight-forward – no meeting for coffee, no wondering “does she like me,” or that kind of socially-mediated wooing, mating and attachment stuff.

    It does fall in line with my completely anecdotal personal theory that some people don’t have the mental mechanisms for long-term mate attachment, and others do. Whether something as simple as the addition of one type of chemical could mediate that in humans is an interesting question, if I’m right about this.

  46. Hey Peter – Congratulations on the novel! We share an agent in the indefatigable Howard Morhaim. How did I not know that? Hope the new from here continues to be only good! – J

  47. A fantastic bit of news to follow up on last week’s fantastic bit of news. Consider at least one copy sold.

  48. Hljóðlegur, on May 6th, 2010 at 4:57 am Said: Whether something as simple as the addition of one type of chemical could mediate that in humans is an interesting question, if I’m right about this.

    Interesting hypothesis. I think Arnold agrees. Right, Arnold?

    IT’S NOT A TUMAH!!!

    See? I guess the question as to which is ‘normal’ is important. In the post-apocalyptic, low population scenario, I suppose it would pay to be a whore (ha!), but in terms of teaching the young modeling behavior, the long-term attachment would be preferable.

    Speaking of Mr. MW… Fun song by a YouTube star (who
    claims to like robots):

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/dead-sound/id289317908

    http://www.myspace.com/carlosgarciamusic

    The album is entitled Dead Sound (which almost sounds like it could have been the title of the third Scrambler trilogy book if Peter had gone with Dumbspeech instead of State of Grace)

  49. Congratulations on the contract! Nice to see good things happening in your life.

  50. Chris in MN said: “In the post-apocalyptic, low population scenario, I suppose it would pay to be a whore (ha!)…” In such a worldy scenario, I believe that “whores” will no longer be able to barter payment for their sexual services. Instead it will just be taken, forced or required. Like a combination of the “Handmaid’s Tale” & “The Year of the Flood”, by Margaret Atwood and “Children of Men” by Alfonso Cuarón.

  51. aaaaaand hooked on State of Grace.

    Well, more so. That line about judo still gives me shivers, but the new one is pretty good too. Definitely getting excited :D

  52. See? I guess the question as to which is ‘normal’ is important. In the post-apocalyptic, low population scenario, I suppose it would pay to be a whore (ha!), but in terms of teaching the young modeling behavior, the long-term attachment would be preferable.

    Do you mean in a mole-rat-pocolypse? Or a human one?

  53. I actually picked up “the end is here” by Thomas Baehr about a year ago at a convention. It’s a graphic novel about the penguins dealing with Armageddon. Baehr had done a lot of cutesy penguin children stuff, so this was how he re-balanced his psychic diet after too much mental syrup.

    Moleratpocalypse… I like it. Was extrapolating to humans, yeah. BTW, saw an article on BoingBoing that unless one is pureblood African, then grandma or grandpa (with many, many greats prepended) did the nasty with a Neanderthal.

    @keanani Guess I should have said “promiscuous” instead of whore. But then, food, clothing, roof over one’s head may not be bartering, but it’s payment, no? But then you get into who’s the best candidate for birthing and who’s the most fun for the Man-Who-Lives-On-The-Hill, which could involve favors-for-favors.

  54. Congrats Peter.

    And you have no idea how much I want a pet scrambler.

  55. @Chris in MN who said: “@keanani Guess I should have said “promiscuous” instead of whore.” :)

    No, not at all. “Promiscuous” and “whore” are not the same thing, of course. Although I have never been called one…yet. The “B-word”, yes, by a pimp. The “C-word” once when I was in 7th grade. But never “whore”.

    I have had the unfortunate experience of being asked if I was one, though, as in “how much”, or “are you, uh, waiting for someone..uh…what do you charge?” I even had to deal with pimps trying to recruit me for their “stable”.

    But that is all in the past. No hard feelings, or feeling bad, naughty and trampy that I had been mistaken for one. :)

  56. AWESOME! And thanks by the way….now I want a Cthulhu plushie. After all what’s not to love about a giant squid-headed, bat-winged alien god who wants to destroy the world?

  57. What a coincidence! When I was walking home from a rehearsal years ago some guy asked if I was “with this stable here”. Even waved a money clip about. Took me several hours to figure out WTF he was talking about and what he meant by “stable” took even longer IIRC. Assumed once I figured that out that it referred to gigolos (ie, studs) and not the ladies.

    I’m thinking I only told a handful of people that story. If you’d have mentioned “Sting’s birthday” (same week) I’d have to assume we’re suffering from synchronicity or something. :)

  58. @Chris in MN ~ “Waved a money clip about”? Gee, I’m a bit jealous. There was no money flashing. Nor was there anything else flashing when I was asked, although two of the pimps had a huggy bear flashy bling and fedora thing going on… Hey, gigolo and stud are actually eupemisms while “whore” is a meany word used solely for females.

    I suppose that “traditionally” females are more likely to “sell sex”, so you’re excused for taking hours to figure out just what went down with Mr. Moneyclip Flasher’s equine fetish proposition. I figured it out with the non-pimps right off the bat because they came right up close to me, alternating between talking to my face and chest. Hmm, but then don’t all men do that? Uh-oh…

    Speaking of Dead Sound and Dumbspeech, sometimes I feel like my blatherings on here amount to dumbtalk…

    Flanders had stated that Allister was in all of us(the Peacock Theory and Time Travel to Hot Cavewoman Days), well, it appears that Mr. Neanderthal is in some of us~

    Neanderthal genes ‘survive in us’
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8660940.stm

    Sometimes a human finds love and commitment across species lines~

    German man marries his dying cat
    “The cat and groom have lived together for 10 years.
    ‘Cecilia is such a trusting creature. We cuddle all the time and she has always slept in my bed,’ Mr Mitzscherlich, a postman from the eastern town of Possendorf, told Bild.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8658327.stm

  59. Chris in MN: “BTW, saw an article on BoingBoing that unless one is pureblood African, then grandma or grandpa (with many, many greats prepended) did the nasty with a Neanderthal.” Oh, you noted it before I posted it. Sorry. :) The many greats would be quite a “deep ancestry”.

    The nasty? Well, from their perspective, they probably did not view sex as nasty cause they were not shackled by notions of morality, religion, social norms or legal codes. They probably mated just like the Chimps…and Bonobos.
    (~in a whisper ~ and according to Peter, they probably had proud and mighty appendages – being more evolved beyond Lucy and Arti)

    See Allister, I found a way to sneak the junk sociobiology, cave-people and possibly more Pea-cocky talky in this thread)

    Should We Clone Neanderthals?
    http://www.archaeology.org/1003/etc/neanderthals.html

    Cloning Neanderthals
    http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/treder20090812/

    Sigh ~ yeah we should be discussing cuddly communicating space squids though, and let the proud and mighty members rest…

  60. Indeed. More discussion of the cute and cuddly scramblers. Just because they are horribly inhuman, rely entirely on game theory, and use magnetic fields in order to communication with each other doesn’t mean that we can’t find them adorable.

    They do remind me more of cephalopods more than anything else. Like, if octopi spend less of their wiring in controlling their arms, and more of their wiring in intellect, they would come a lot closer to anything else on this earth to inhuman monsters. Just like scramblers.

    This might be why I have an obsession for squid and octopi =P

  61. I’m sensing another Freud quote “waiting in the wings.” Peacock envy? Or Tower of Babble?

  62. Hm. I thought the Planck Institute was sequencing DNA and decided that Neanderthals and modern humans just don’t share enough similarities to have interbred outside of Africa?

  63. Linky (as opposed to slinky):

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010/05/06/hot-human-on-neander.html

    Bonus fact: male octopii have detachable penises:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byDiILrNbM4

  64. So, since I live in Hawai’i, my finding out about stuff is late…just like that cheeky kleptopus, I suppose many have seen this already :)

    Monster colossal squid is slow not fearsome predator~
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8664000/8664542.stm

    Not fearsome predator?

  65. Brainbread said: “More discussion of the cute and cuddly scramblers. Just because they are horribly inhuman, rely entirely on game theory, and use magnetic fields in order to communication with each other doesn’t mean that we can’t find them adorable.” Certainly! Don’t forget “huggable” and “squeeze-worthy”. :)

    ~and said: “They do remind me more of cephalopods more than anything else. Like, if octopi spend less of their wiring in controlling their arms, and more of their wiring in intellect, they would come a lot closer to anything else on this earth to inhuman monsters. Just like scramblers.”

    Yes. When I first read Blindsight, I was envisioning something cephalopodish, and more octopi-like. Not “squidy”. (So, even the Giant squids’ depiction of his own invented “inhuman monsters in space” blows his squidy squirty at the octopus being all klepto, sneaky and hiding in the deep dark waters, as was evident in that discussion about that cheeky kleptopus, right out of the ocean and into the stratosphere, in a blasty trajectory towards scary, beautiful, cold, lonely, deep dark space) :)

  66. Michael Johnson said: “I may have to construct one myself sometime.”

    Chris J said: “Any idea when it’s going to hit the shelves?”

    Chris in MN said: “Awesomeness”

    Allister01 said: “Holy shat!”

    I said: “As for the plushy scrambler, so cute. So huggable. I would love to have one.”

    Janbo said: “Where can we send pre-orders for our very own plushy scramblers?”

    Kai said: “That is a very nifty… ur… thing?”

    Brian Prince said: “you have no idea how much I want a pet scrambler.”

    Brandy said: “…what’s not to love about a giant squid-headed, bat-winged alien god who wants to destroy the world?”

    Brainbread said: “I have an obsession for squid and octopi…”

    So much cephalopody and scrambler love on here…it’s all so cuddlesome, so warm and fuzzy, especially the adoration expressed for the intelligent, scary, inhuman, deep space tentacly ones.

    For those of us who wish for Brainbread’s plushie…what was that Peter…something about it being made to go with Blindsight in anticipation of State of Grace…? How wonderful of you to think of doing that…

    I suppose next could be a Siri zombie doll, and then, more importantly, a Jukka Sarasti doll for all those female humans who think he’s a hottie…

  67. I am happy for you. And glad that I will be able to buy and read this book, as I can assure you I will. :-)))

  68. “I only need to know one thing: where.they.are!” Or where to order one on the series’o’tubes, natch.

    I’d buy a Siri doll, too. As for Jukka, well, if this doesn’t change your mind, keanani, nothing will:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAAT84zrpk8

    If you can fin the older live version, it’s even more precious.

  69. Chris in MN said: “I’d buy a Siri doll, too. As for Jukka, well, if this doesn’t change your mind, keanani, nothing will~” Oh well, the sad sacky fact is my home computer is running on “dinosaur dialup”, hence I can’t watch any videos, among other things…I will have to wait until Monday…one day I will upgrade from my old iMac & Tiger OS (cause it’s a dinosaur too) and eventually get that highspeed stuff…but at work, well that’s a different situation. :)

    Kraken Things Up~

    Things in the tentacly realm are heating up, so it’s great you are able to get kraken’ Peter, and hopefully your book cover will be awesomely drool worthy…

    I like the UK Book cover, but the U.S. version is cool~
    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/china-mieville/kraken.htm

  70. This is really exciting news, reading the description of the zombies was great. I’ll look forward to buying State of Grace.

  71. Badass update is badass. Can’t wait to read the rest of it.

  72. Hate to prejudge, but I think Mr. Mieville’s schtick is showing. MacGuffin right in the title and on the cover? A possibility. Besides, it testicles, not tentacles that leads to the Apocalyptic… Figuratively.

    Dial up, eh? At least it’s not candles and incense. :)

  73. Chris in MN said: “Besides, it testicles, not tentacles that leads to the Apocalyptic…”

    Hmm, or possibly tentacles with testicles…you never know what may evolve into what from what…male bass fish carrying eggs in their testes, gender changing fish, and that cute smiling salamander, the alien looking axolotl with its’ “evolutionary quirk of spending its entire life in an external-gilled larval state.”

    Some adult humans still seem to be in a larval state…

    ~then said: “Dial up, eh?” Yeah. So lame.

    ~and said: “At least it’s not candles and incense” Hmm, I like that Eagles’ song “Witchy Woman”, but no candles and incense conjuring.

  74. Chris in MN revealed: “I think Mr. Mieville’s schtick is showing.”
    I take it your not diggin’ his books~

    How about this interesting book about digging dinosaurs?
    http://www.neatorama.com/2010/05/07/fake-science/

  75. No, I dig China and the “new weird” (new genre is a very neat thing), just that I’m not often a fan of the MacGuffin. To me, it’s like doing a short story to get at something else. He does cool new locales and creatures right. MacGuffin stories are often great for character studies, taking the emphasis off of what’s important beyond the psychology of the protagonists and antagonists.

    But once one understands Moore’s The Comedian and what makes him tick, well, most other character revelations are downhill from there. I wonder if larvae (or vampires, who in Watts’ world went extinct—for a reason?) are capable of that kind of insight. Guess it depends on what one places importance on; the point of view.

    Speaking of China, Happy Belated Year of the Tiger! February 14th this time around. Lousy meal, but even that can be enlightening.

  76. Chris in MN said: “No, I dig China and the “new weird” (new genre is a very neat thing)…” :)

    Year of the Tiger ~ Kung Hee Fat Choy!

    This is what really happened to that “digging dinosaur” (above, on neatorama)~
    http://www.tonmo.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/679/cat/5/title/giant-squid-vst-rex

  77. Hi, Enjoyed your talk at Ad Astra last month.

    I’ll have to re-read Blindsight before your sidequel hits the shelves…after I finish Behemoth, though.

    By the way, any chance SoG will be published in an ebook format?

  78. Peter, that’s some damn sweet news. Looking forward to SoG.

    @Brainbread

    That scrambler is damn impressive. Also, phrase “media artifact” is almost arousing…you know, that term has a ring to it – “SIR!!! We have located a media artifact!” he he :)

    @Chris in MN

    Regarding the whole (post)apocalypse and whores:
    even assuming sex assets exchange does take place, given the harsh mores of postapocalypse, how would one insure himself against being backstabbed during/after sex in order to be robbed of whatever assets he planned to exchange?
    If I have a spare gas mask filter and intend to exchange it for sex, what prevents a postapocalyptic whore from just stabbing me during sex and taking the precious consumable?
    Or, more in general, how would one establish notable amount of trust in a world where most social institutions are gone and most interactions are ad-hoc?

    Regarding the video:
    nice find.

    P.S.:
    Can someone please give me the accepted definition of “new weird”? I often stumble upon it…

  79. there was supposed to be a bidirectional arrow between sex and assets :(

  80. RandomJ asked: “Can someone please give me the accepted definition of ‘new weird’?”

    I have books and anthologies of this particular genre. “The New Weird” is grounded in speculative fiction.

    “A thumbnail definition of New Weird: a sub-genre which merges elements of science fiction, fantasy and horror, while being written in a literary prose style.”
    http://www.irosf.com/q/zine/article/10431

    It’s a subgenre often attributed to M. John Harrison~
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._John_Harrison

  81. @RandomJ: Guess I’m agreeing with keanani that there will still be some sort of order in the PA world (a la Handmaid’s Tale and Children of Men) and not Road Warrior or even the Fallout series (first two were two of the best PC games ever made, IMO). At least in pockets (who cares what a bunch of skinheads do to each other in the woods, anyway?).

    Where we disagree (I think) is who actually has the power is such a situation. Even “God’s favorite” bowed to his 6,000 wives eventually. :) Guns will only get you what you want while the threat is perceived as being real. But the Beast-With-Two-Backs and nesting instincts, well those lives deeper in the genes than fear for many species and/or indivduals within a species.

  82. (Okay, I can see how an Edit function would be troublesome, but a Preview button would save budding writers some embarassment ;) ).

  83. Chris in MN said: “But the Beast-With-Two-Backs and nesting instincts, well those lives deeper in the genes than fear for many species…”

    I read a lot of Shakepeare as a kid, but I seem to have forgotten that “two-backed beast” phrase.

    I take it you mean this~
    http://www.scq.ubc.ca/filter/?p=713

    not this, although this goes well with the bitter battle within the Sarasti thread~
    http://www.breaktaker.com/albums/pictures/animals/CatHumpingDog.jpg

    Googling about cyberspace, I also found this~
    “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming…”

    There is just so much laughter emanting from me as I decipher some of the words and terms on here. Cyber-searching almost always nets some weird and eye-startling stuff. :)

  84. That’s the idea:

    http://www.online-literature.com/shakespeare/othello/2/

    Toward the end. I thought for sure you’d remember that one.

    Re: pic. LMMFAO as well.

  85. Hooray! This is great news! Looking forward to adding a new Watts to the collection!

  86. You can report your publisher two copies sold to me. Is it already possible to pre-order?

  87. Hmm, seems my posting from last night went straight into the spam or garbage bin, oh well… :) I posted a link to a “Weird Genre” website and said something about having read the first chapter of SOG…

    I give 50/50 this may or may not post~

    Here is an upcoming film about messing with human DNA~
    http://www.splicethefilm.com/

  88. @Chris in MN: “Re: pic. LMMFAO as well.”

    Which one? Just kidding, of course. :)

  89. Ha!

    Hey, had another dream perhaps you can help me with. A piano playing in a greasy spoon (weird enough), but it had two full sets of keys plus a small set of seven more. Couldn’t hear the conversation (which was in German in any case) for the little Arabic girl playing Ode to Joy. There was a banner playing with a black bird (crow or raven? Don’t know which) on it, three words in French, but I couldn’t recall them when I woke up.

    Too much to decipher…

  90. Kitty video of the day~
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-6ho1DVs3w

    @Chris in MN~ Are you on Jango? I am. Same handle there as here. :)

  91. That’s much better than mine where I find a draft copy of a column I wrote back when I was in Britain, in praise of some aspect of Indian culture, and remembering that I got into real trouble – veiled warnings, possibly even a firing – for unknowingly offending some toffee-nosed git with friends in the House of Lords. His grandfather had been in India with the East India Company and was killed there. In any case, the dream was about looking at the draft copy. Boooooring.

    Yours is much better. Very full of symbolism. I’d assume it has to do with your take on pianos. Keys can be teeth, a verbal pun in which they are metaphoical keys to unlock something, all kinds of cool things.

    What comes to mind when you think of pianos and piano keys?

  92. Unknown
    Wednesday December 23 2009 05:31 AM
    “ A very Happy Christmas , and a very good New Year :)

    What would Phoebe say? Well, if she weren’t so damn interested in the plot of SitC2 (that is, if she could find her ass with two hands) we’d know. She means well, though.

  93. Congratulations on the contract! I am looking forward to reading the (rest of the) book in a format I can manage on the subway. Yay for more of the Blindsight world/universe!

    Fabric scrambler is very awesome, but also makes my eyes go O.O while I plot how to flee. (An installation of a room full of those things would be /so cool/ but so disturbing.)

  94. @Hljóðlegur, how’s the brick lobbing technique coming along? The compound is winding up for berries and veggies, so your services may soon be needed…

    @Chris in MN, whoring in post-apocalypse? HHMMMM…

  95. @proudinjun: Thanx for asking, I’m becoming more deadly by the week.

    Note to other brick lobbers – do not try to hold the raccoon down whilst bashing. Those lil b*st*rds have little hands with claws, and very long memories.

  96. PETA on the wrong side this time. Nothing wrong with devouring Carlos T. Cuttlefish, dead or alive. Get jiggy widdit!

    http://www.care2.com/greenliving/live-octopus-being-served-at-nyc-restaurants.html

    @Hlj and PI: :D

  97. Hey, what’s with the cutesy fucking icon? I thought they weren’t allowed on this blog? We’re bricking raccoons? Never ate one before, and I’ve eaten some weird stuff. But I’m not too proud to give it a shot! It’s my understanding that opossum are a little easier to hit. They like to play dead.

  98. @M(c)N and PI :O ;P

    Also, no use of the word “flounc3.” Like “nee!” es ist ein verbotenes Wort.

    You know, I’ve not eaten possum – I understand they are sort of a greasy meal? The problem with scavengers is you have no idea what they’ve been eating before you got around to eating them. It’s why catfish are a bad deal, I feel.

  99. From the last karaoke song I stuck around for last night:

    “Ce que j’ai fais, ce soir la”

    LOL.

  100. 100th!

    w00t.

    So this Jeff Arychuk appears to be quite the little tailor, someone we could use post-apocolypse to sew the bashed animal hides into trousers, say, or shoulder bags for carrying those berries about in.

    What I wanna know is – what is plush scrambler made of and why all the teeny tiny strips of it – to get the shape right?

  101. Anyone want ham with their scramblers? Perhaps “green ham”, to go with the color scream?
    http://rifters.com/real/uploaded_images/scrambler-707080.jpg

  102. Hljóðlegur asked: “…why all the teeny tiny strips of it…?
    I am thinking it creates the look of “segmented” appendages…

  103. The fabric is something I found among piles and pile of fabric in Hong Kong. It is fairly indeterminable to all inquiries into its making.

    Other than that, Keanani is right. The photo is what i used to form the basis for the scrambler.

    Before seeing it, I had this strange desire to sew human-esque hands onto the end of its arms. Fits in with the whole, “make it a tiny bit human to make it more terrifying”.

  104. Man, it looks like it woulda taken forever to piece together, like a 3D quilt. You must be super-patient!

  105. hawhaw james’ purple cephalopod face~
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/hawhawjames/3232436505/

  106. There was a comment from someone called Patrick on another post (A Farewell to “Gerbils”) predicting LOLscramblers as the next big thing. There’s something to work with now. I really liked Patrick’s “I’m in ur saccades, bein invisible” suggestion.

    I wanted to link to two Dinosaur Comics strips on raccoons and cephalopods, but I dunno if my blow-in status prevented that. Anyway, they’re comic numbers 492 and 493. Check ‘em out – or don’t, if the idea of raccoons and cephalopods in cahoots disturbs you.

  107. Kudos on the book deal! Can’t wait to buy it and read it.

  108. w00t. I say again, w00t.

  109. By the way (completely unrelated to topic, but related to vampires from Blindisght) :
    Showing Necker Cube as an example of vampire’s doublethink is nice. But adding (at least to digital version of book) a Spinning Dancer spinning in both directions as an example, would be more … persuasive?

    Link : http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/21/Spinning_Dancer.gif

    My apologies, if this was already offered. I generally read only articles, but not comments. Googling rifters.com with “spinning dancer” did not produce any hits, so I assumed – it wasn’t considered.

  110. So. When will it be possible to pre-order this stuff?

  111. Great news about the court decision, though the civil liberty question (or lack thereof) is disturbing. The gov and cops should respect the public, not vice versa.
    Good news about the new novel. Looking forward.

  112. I. Am. Sold.

    I want this yesterday, in fact.

  113. @Everyone who asked: The due date for the manuscript is early next year (April 15, I think). I might get it in before then, but in any case it’ll probably take anywhere from 12-18 months post hand-in for it to hit the shelves. At least, that’s been my experience in the past.

    Also: I’ve received two reports that the new chapter isn’t loading. Only two. But if anyone else is having that problem, could you let me know? Also tell me browser, OS, and version # for both. (I myself have tested it out on a half-dozen browsers, under both Xp and Linux, and have encountered no trouble. So I don’t know what the problem might be.)

    There will be many fiblets along the way though, I imagine.

    Nick N said:

    Also, since the overseas offers are in hand, will there be a service to replace the Tor cover with one of the overseas covers if necessary? I smell a market opportunity…

    My contract gives me input on the cover. Of course, the Blindsight contract did that too, and Tor got around that by showing me only a fraction of the covers they were considering, then changing the artwork after I’d provided my input. I wanted stronger wording in the relevant clause this time around. Didn’t get it, but I’ve got a new editor who assures me I’ll be treated with a bit more respect this time around. I’m willing to extend the benefit of the doubt until I see evidence to the contrary.

    Anony Mouse said:

    Is that Rickard’s or Keith’s red?

    Neither. I’ve only recently stopped drinking Rickard’s — I imprinted on it during the mid-eighties — after having been told by my favorite server Hemingway’s that Rickards went seriously downhill after Molson bought them out. (I didn’t even know Molson had bought them out.) Apparently, now it’s basically Canadian with more food coloring. I never even noticed the change.

    I feel so cheap.

    Kate Baker said:

    Congratulations, Peter!!! I can’t wait to read it. :)

    You mean aloud, right?

    Kai said:

    The pacing seemed a little uneven, back and forth, but not enough to stall me. Some paragraphs did though, had to do a reread or two… might be because of complex description, maybe a touch too long for me to follow to the end (though I’ve also had little sleep so it might just be that causing difficulty).

    Where? which paragraphs? Details, mammal! I’m still writing the damn thing, I can fix the parts that don’t work you know…

    David said:

    By the way, any chance SoG will be published in an ebook format?

    The contract allows for that, yes. Whether Tor actually does that is their decision, I guess.

  114. completely sideways and after the fact, I would like to make a random fairly fannish comment about how cool it is that you used David Bowie from back when he made good music for your epigraph. yow.

  115. hit return too soon. Also,

    “cold crunchy outer shell, warm chewy center”

    Are you thinking of that Far Side cartoon? ( :
    The one with the polar bears?

  116. […] Congress 2010, day one By academicalism I’d like to thank whoever organized ACCUTE’s program for our “Runaway technologies” session this morning: three presentations about Canadian science fiction (assuming Atwood doesn’t mind her work being called that now) and its related discourses (see session title) played very well with each other. The session not only prompted keen questions for all of us presenters, but also generated more questions about connections among the papers than about the individual papers—a good sign of well-harmonized topics. The resulting discussion was really productive and engaging for audience and presenters alike. (Well, so I thought, anyway.) And in the process I made some fine new acquaintances. I also learned at least one new word. Atwood has described Year of the Flood as a “simultanuel”—not sure about that spelling, but it’s for a “-quel” that’s set next to a prior novel’s story (Oryx and Crake), not before or after it. Too bad our time was up before I got to ask if anyone likes Peter Watts’ word better: “sidequel.” […]

  117. […] bars this man should be behind are the ones that serve Toronto’s finest brews.  Expect his next novel to raise him to the very pinnacle of SF. Submit […]