New Agent. New Sale. Same Old Attitude. And One Unsubtle Highlander Reference.

Got me a new agent. Howard Morhaim, about whom everyone raves (Jeff Vandermeer told me he’d gladly get into a knife fight for the man— I remain undecided as to whether this implies fierce loyalty, or just a sick desire on Jeff’s part to get into knife fights at the slightest provocation). It was actually a pretty tough call. I would have gladly gone with three or four of those on the short list, all of whom came universally praised, all of whom were candid and insightful during our dates, and all of whom I’m sure would have been honorable and stalwart allies. But in the end, there can be only one. Howard it is. And I shall seek out the others at cons, and buy them beers for their time.

I am also pleased to report that my “evil Jew” story has sold to Nature — they have this on-again, off again feature called “Futures”, in which sf writers try to cram a bit of plot and some hard-sf extrapolation into 950 words or less. Henry Gee, the editor of the series, began his e-mail to me thus:

I won’t say I enjoyed your story “Repeating the Past” very much. Nonetheless I’d like to publish it in Futures.

which is pretty spot-on. “Repeating the Past” is not a story to be enjoyed. It is a prospect to be troubled by, and it grows inevitably from technology already gestating in R&D labs throughout the gaming and neuroimaging industries. It also makes a nice companion piece to the “Good Pedophile” story that Solaris picked up a while back.

And at <1000 words, it's the shortest thing I've ever written. I didn't know whether I could pull off any story at that length, and I’m actually quite proud of the result. But the real payoff in this sale is not the literary feat, nor the (very respectable) per-word-payment. The real payoff, as before, is being able to sit back and tick off the various tenure-track colleagues who looked down their noses at me as I slouched away from academia, and who have since devoted an unhealthy number of waking hours trying to get their work into Nature.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Wednesday September 19 2007at 12:09 pm , filed under writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

8 Responses to “New Agent. New Sale. Same Old Attitude. And One Unsubtle Highlander Reference.”

  1. Congrats on both sale and agent. May Howard be everything for you that He Who Shall Not Be Named was not, and may you have many large and exciting sales to celebrate.

  2. Congrats on the sale to Nature. 950 words. I look forward to reading it.

  3. keep it up, and please provide an update when these stories go into print.

  4. Hah, just joined you at Nature with a politically incorrect piece about bloggers and totalitarian Europe.

  5. Outstanding, Neal. Between the two of us, we’ll have that staid and proper journal down in the ghetto in no time.

  6. Um, shouldn’t the agent be getting into knife fights for the author instead of the other way around?

    Especially given the unsubtle Highlander reference.

  7. Either way, it’s an improvement over knife fights between the author and the agent, which was where my last such relationship was heading…

  8. Henry Gee of Nature here. I’d like to think that Futures is one corner of Nature that will forever wear its badge of political incorrectness with pride. I HATE political correctness.