Minor Revelations

So much to reveal.

Sadly, most of it is either embargoed, and/or so rife with typos that I’m holding off on the link until they’re fixed. What’s left is, I suppose, one of those “cover reveals” people tend to inflate out of all proportion these days— understandably, since that’s the closest your average midlister comes to actual promotion any more— except this cover, or at least a pretty close facsimile, has already long-since been unveiled to anyone who’s been over to the relevant Amazon page.

There are a couple of other things to reveal, though, about The Freeze-Frame Revolution.

Not sure why they went with that generic io9 quote, though. It's from, like, 2014 or something.

Not sure why they went with that generic io9 quote, though. It’s from, like, 2014 or something.

There’s the back cover, for one thing. You’ll notice actual blurbs from some pretty big names (or at least, you will if you have very good eyesight, a very large monitor, or if you just click on the graphic to enlarge).  To my immense relief they continue to trickle in even now; as usual, I’ve stuck the lot of them over on the Pull Quotes page. As of yesterday there were fourteen, only four of which hail from personal friends.

Authors are rarely the most reliable judges of their own work, but based on these advance squees I’m gonna guess that either FFR is a pretty good novella, or that  Tachyon has a lot of dirt on a lot of people. (I will, for now at least, refrain from interpreting Paul Levinson’s blurb to mean that one of the things that makes FFR “one of [my] best” is the fact that it’s “short”.)

Maybe not their best song, but the album as a whole is, I think, seriously underrated.

Maybe not their best song, but the album as a whole is, I think, seriously underrated.

.

.

There’s also the section breaks. Freeze-Frame is broken into six large chapter-like things, and Tachyon has graced each with its own title page. Each is simple, each is evocative, each is perfectly suited to the ambiance of the pages that follow. The one on display here steals its name from an old Jethro Tull song, because you can’t copyright song titles. (Although I’m pretty sure ol’ Ian wouldn’t mind; he was cool with me quoting actual lyrics back in Blindsight. Sometimes I still sleep with his one-sentence, manually-typed letter under my pillow.)

I have to hand it to Tachyon; they’ve done a bang-up job on a project that, for all its modest size, cost them way more time, effort, and money than you’d expect for a trade-paper novella. Even the basic printing costs were unusually high, for reasons  which are apparent on almost every page.

There’s a reason for that. But you’ll have to work it out for yourselves.

raw-ensmallened

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Wednesday April 11 2018at 07:04 am , filed under Sunflowers . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

36 Responses to “Minor Revelations”

  1. Sweet, if I had anywhere to put it I’d get the hard copy, but my life lately forces me to travel light, so digital version it is.

  2. Pre-Order confirmed, cannot wait!

    So its the red letters right? You know the first thing we’re going to do it parse through the entire book and write down all of the red letters to find the secret code ;).

  3. Peter Watts:
    I have to hand it to Tachyon; they’ve done a bang-up job on a project that, for all its modest size, cost them way more time, effort, and money than you’d expect for a trade-paper novella. Even the basic printing costs were unusually high, for reasons which are apparent on almost every page.

    This makes it sound like I will miss out if I buy the Kindle version.

  4. Don Reba: This makes it sound like I will miss out if I buy the Kindle version.

    Not necessarily. Most ebooks are produced to be as close as possible to the physical versions. The most recent example I can think of that would have required an above average amount of work would have been Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer, and that one even had colored illustrations where the physical version is black and white. I wouldn’t worry, unless Tachyon is known to fuck up ebooks or something.

  5. Any author appearances scheduled? Is there a chance in hell that you’d make your way down south to the good ol’ USA?

    I suspect that you’d need a damn good excuse to cross that border again, and I doubt that touring to promote a novella is it. It was ridiculous of me to suggest and I respectfully withdraw the question.

    You can’t blame a guy for trying.

  6. Great – another book I really want to read that Chapters/Indigo, which has killed off all the competition around here, will not stock.

  7. I approve of the cover at any rate. A nice bold, heavily abstracted graphical treatment. Always preferable to a substandard illustration, if you don’t have access to a great one. I still cringe at my Blindsight dust jacket which I’ve removed from the book, but cant bring myself to actually discard.

  8. So why make it a novella? Why not expand it to a more conventional length?

  9. Any chance of getting an audio book version?

  10. You’re a dick and a clueless liberal with typically uninformed views on all the things about which you know next to nothing. You’re a walking, breathing example of why people should be forced to undergo two decades of work as a political reporter before they are allowed to have any political opinions at all. But you are a great science-fiction writer and are excellent at thinking about stuff you actually know about, so I will buy this novel as soon as it’s published and I’m sure I will love it and praise it to the skies, like all the others.

  11. Preorded pretty much automatically. I wish there could be an Amazon Kindle option for automatic preorder from my favorite authors.

  12. Oh, look, a conservative gate-keeping the right to political opinions that disagree with theirs.

    I’m sure you’ll be more than happy to offer us all your profound insights, to correct our poor, foolish, liberal, ignorance. Thanks in advance, David.

    Anyway, Pete: I’m not sure it would help sales, but I always imagined you might plump for the Stewart Lee style of marketing: https://cdn.waterstones.com/bookjackets/large/9780/5713/9780571329038.jpg, for example

  13. I remember the uk paperback edition of Iain Banks “The Wasp Factory” had a couple of pages of alternately positive and negative pull quotes at the start.

    The negative ones were impressively negative.

  14. livens: You know the first thing we’re going to do it parse through the entire book and write down all of the red letters to find the secret code ;).

    Good luck working through all the typos we deliberately stuck in to throw you off the track.

    Don Reba: This makes it sound like I will miss out if I buy the Kindle version.

    You’ll always miss out if you buy the Kindle version, but it has nothing to do with this particular title. You’ll miss out because Amazon doesn’t actually let you buy Kindle books; they just let you kind of lease them, and they reserve the right to sniff around in your device, keep an eye on what you’re reading and how, and— if the mood strikes them— delete your books entirely.

    Lars:
    Great – another book I really want to read that Chapters/Indigo, which has killed off all the competition around here, will not stock.

    I don’t know about your particular neck of the woods, but Indigo.ca has it available for preorder. You can’t ask for much more than that when the book doesn’t even come out for a couple of months.

    David Roman: You’re a dick and a clueless liberal with typically uninformed views on all the things about which you know next to nothing. You’re a walking, breathing example of why people should be forced to undergo two decades of work as a political reporter before they are allowed to have any political opinions at all.

    I don’t have political opinions. Only scientific opinons.

    And sometimes, when I’m slumming, aesthetic ones.

    dpb:
    I remember the uk paperback edition of Iain Banks “The Wasp Factory” had a couple of pages of alternately positive and negative pull quotes at the start.

    The negative ones were impressively negative.

    That’s one of the reasons I have both positive and negative quotes on my own blurbs page, actually. Although sadly, my positive quotes haven’t been so positive as Banks’s. Nor my negatives so negative.

  15. DA:
    I approve of the cover at any rate. A nice bold, heavily abstracted graphical treatment. Always preferable to a substandard illustration, if you don’t have access to a great one.I still cringe at my Blindsight dust jacket which I’ve removed from the book, but cant bring myself to actually discard.

    You do realize I offer a wide selection of hi-rez downloadable boutique covers, for those who don’t wish to be seen in public with the official one? There’s even a Smell the Glove tribute.

    And while I generally have nothing but good things to say about Tachyon, I must admit the cover looks a bit too much like a geometry textbook for my liking. I love the concept, but I think an overhead shot of an actual barred-spiral galaxy in the background, against which the stylized course of Eriophora could be laid, would have popped more.

    Sardathrion:
    Any chance of getting an audio book version?

    Too early to say. Usually what happens is, some audiobook company approaches me after the optical release.

    It would be nice, though.

  16. Peter Watts: Although sadly, my positive quotes haven’t been so positive as Banks’s. Nor my negatives so negative.

    I dunno. The “utterly repellent porn” one is pretty good. Personally I think that should go in the “pro” column.

    Peter Watts: You do realize I offer a wide selection of hi-rez downloadable boutique covers, for those who don’t wish to be seen in public with the official one?

    I’d always know it for the lie that it was. I can never un-see the Blindsight cover. Plus, I’ve come to enjoy the tome with its jacketless black binding. It suits it.

  17. That’s one of the reasons I have both positive and negative quotes on my own blurbs page, actually. Although sadly, my positive quotes haven’t been so positive as Banks’s. Nor my negatives so negative.

    Well, that explains why I thought you would…

    And now I kind of want to see what a Peter Watts/Stewart Lee collaboration would look like.

  18. DA: Peter Watts: You do realize I offer a wide selection of hi-rez downloadable boutique covers, for those who don’t wish to be seen in public with the official one?

    Goddamnit, I somehow didn’t include the link to those covers.

  19. Johan Larson:
    So why make it a novella? Why not expand it to a more conventional length?

    In hindsight that might have worked better; I find parts of it a bit rushed, and would have liked to linger on some elements for a bit longer than space allowed (although early reviews praise the “breakneck pace”, so maybe that’s not an issue). But Tachyon contracted me for a novella, so that’s what I delivered.

    Even so, it almost wasn’t. Final word count was around 41K, which my publisher decided was novel length. So they started marketing it as a novel. Which might have got me into trouble with Tor, who contractually has right-of-first-refusal on my next “novel-length” work. Tachyon was worried that FFR’s length would let it drop through the cracks in terms of awards— no one would know what category to put it into— and I was worried that readers would get pissed off if they bought a “novel” only to find it was only half as long as any reasonable person would expect. My agent got involved. Ultimately the words “a novel” were taken off the cover, but “a novella” never replaced them, so I’m afraid there might still be some confusion.

    On the plus side, when it doesn’t get nominated for any awards I’ll be able to tell myself it was only a length issue.

  20. Peter Watts: Goddamnit, I somehow didn’t include the link to those covers.

    >

    You did. For some reason it was stripped by the quote function, as was this one.

  21. ken,

    Seconded

  22. Great, I just discovered you’ve written another book that will hurt my brain. I can hardly wait!

  23. Peter Watts: You’ll always miss out if you buy the Kindle version, but it has nothing to do with this particular title. You’ll miss out because Amazon doesn’t actually let you buy Kindle books; they just let you kind of lease them, and they reserve the right to sniff around in your device, keep an eye on what you’re reading and how, and— if the mood strikes them— delete your books entirely.

    I can see how it might be scary to an author who wanted to leave a lasting mark, but, personally, I almost never re-read fiction, so it is not a practical issue for me. Besides, if I was restricted to reading only paper books, I would be reading so much less.

  24. Peter Watts:I’ll be able to tell myself it was only a length issue.

    Hey, it’s what you do with it that counts. :o)

  25. Horrifying flashbacks to almost every standardised high-school test being handed back to me with a bold bright-red ‘F’ emblazoned on it’s cover, Peter why have you dragged me back to such a low point in my adolescence?

  26. Not only preordered, i will try my damndest to convince my boss so that he lets me stock them in our english fiction section. Any word of a german translation/release date, so that i have an easier time preaching the gospel to my unsuspecting customers?

    You may see yourself as a Mid-Lister, but you have some fans overseas, i still pride myself on selling quite a few copies of “Echopraxia” back when it was released here.

  27. Peter, I was going to comment on how you hate self-promotion so much that you can’t even bring yourself to include some pre-order links until I re-read the first sentence of this post. Reading comprehension FTW!

    I assume this is part of the Sunflower series? Will those ever be collected do you think?

    Also re: print vs ebook, amazon.ca seems to show that if you buy the Kindle version, you will get it on May 29 but the paperback looks like it doesn’t come out until June 22. So that’s one reason for me to go Kindle.

  28. Peter Watts,

    “You can’t ask for much more than that when the book doesn’t even come out for a couple of months.”

    Just pissing and moaning about the general decline of small independent booksellers due to the big chains.
    Also, I like poking about the shelves in bookstores and being surprised and pleased by what I find. Years and years of fieldwork have ruined me, I suppose.

    Anyway, looking forward to reading this.

  29. Personally, the Amazon control issue is why when I buy books digitally (which these days is most of the time), I immediately strip the DRM from them and archive them for myself. A sort of personal piracy, I suppose, and technically under Canadian law that’s illegal these days, but *morally* there’s no problem. When possible I do try and buy from publishers who will provide DRM-free files themselves, since otherwise I’m encouraging the questionable practice of DRM.

  30. ken: Any author appearances scheduled? Is there a chance in hell that you’d make your way down south to the good ol’ USA? … You can’t blame a guy for trying.

    I’m actually banned from entering the USA. At great personal expense I launched a (currently moribund) process to try and get that overturned— not because I have a soft spot in my heart for incipient fascist shitholes, but rather because there’d been some interest about media adaptations that would have gone a lot better if I’d been able to fly to LA— but I have my doubts it’ll get anywhere. For one thing, it demands a “Letter of Remorse”, and I wrote a “Letter of Contempt” instead. (I’m rather pround of it, actually. Once the process grinds to a conclusion one way or another, it’ll make for a couple of interesting blog posts.)

    Antonio Barata: Hey, it’s what you do with it that counts. :o)

    Yeah, of course someone had to go there…

    Hubert:
    Horrifying flashbacks to almost every standardised high-school test being handed back to me with a bold bright-red ‘F’ emblazoned on it’s cover, Peter why have you dragged me back to such a low point in my adolescence?

    I dunno. Maybe it’s because I’m still emotionally stuck there myself.

    The K: Any word of a german translation/release date, so that i have an easier time preaching the gospel to my unsuspecting customers?

    You may see yourself as a Mid-Lister, but you have some fans overseas,

    That’s good to hear. I wish more of them wrote Amazon reviews.

    As to German editions, I don’t know. The Russians bought the damn thing sight unseen. The French and the Brits are looking at it, but I haven’t heard back. If there’s been any interest from Germany, I haven’t heard about it.

    val_lixembeau: Peter, I was going to comment on how you hate self-promotion so much that you can’t even bring yourself to include some pre-order links until I re-read the first sentence of this post. Reading comprehension FTW!

    No, no, you were right the first time. That link I was talking about was for another project entirely. I’ll post it in due course.

    I still hate self-promotion. Not because I’m humble, but because I hate being seen as needy.

    val_lixembeau: I assume this is part of the Sunflower series? Will those ever be collected do you think?

    Yup. Sunflowers. It actually tells a tale that’s referred to offhand by the characters in a couple of other stories.

    I’d like to see them all collected someday, but so far only 75,000 words have been written in that universe and I have several billion more years to cover. While the individual stories more-or-less stand alone, there’s an overall epic narrative arc to the thing that the stories to date have barely hinted at (FFR contains the most explicit hints so far) and which doesn’t pay off until the universe is about two thirds of the way to heat death. Any collection of Sunflower stories prior to that (such as what the Russians are doing this very year, I think) would just be a collection, not a cohesive arc. It’ll be years before the whole project is complete.

    Unless some AAA studio decides they want to base a video game on it, of course. In that case I can have the whole thing done for you in eight months.

    keithzg: When possible I do try and buy from publishers who will provide DRM-free files themselves, since otherwise I’m encouraging the questionable practice of DRM.

    Good point. Did I mention that Tachyon e-books are DRM-free?

  31. Pre-ordered both versions. :)

  32. Any fan of Jethro Tull is a friend of mine. Pre-ordered.

  33. Giving ‘rose colored glasses’ a new meaning.

  34. Terrible cover.

    Looking forward to reading it.

  35. Congratulations, Peter. You must be excited to be so close to having your book on shelves.
    Can’t wait to dig into it.

  36. Hello and about the red letters – is the mystery stuff already up? I’m currently trying to bruteforce my way past typos towards you know what, and so far i can find only 404s