Fans, Favors, Finance & Fur.

Evidently Starfish has sold in Russia.  I know this because I’ve just received a bunch of questions from a Russian translator.  You might think that I might have heard earlier — at the offer stage, perhaps, or during contract negotiations — but Tor retains the overseas rights to that title, and they tend to leave their mid-listers out of the loop on such matters.  (Starfish was my first book, a deal offered to me when I was literally sitting on the toilet with my pants around my ankles. I have since learned that this is perhaps not the best position from which to negotiate.)

The first time something like this happened — an Italian editor approaching me out of the blue, asking me to write a special introduction — I actually thought it might be some kind of pirate trying to print an unauthorised edition, and dutifully e-mailed Tor with my suspicions. These days I just roll my eyes. Oh, Tor. Is there anything more charming than your whimsical economy of effort when it comes to us mid-listers?  Will there ever come a day when it’s not too much trouble to drop us a line concerning the fate of some novel we poured heart and soul into?

Oh, how I hope not.  I want to remember you just the way you are.

Still, let us not dwell on such minor irritants. At some point I’ll get a small unexpected chunk of change from Russia, which is one good thing.  Here’s another:  a fan by the name of Ellen Herzfeld took on the gruelling and unenviable task of converting Blindsight into e-pub format, entirely on her own initiative.  I’ve posted it over on the Blindsight backlist page (or just save yourself a couple of clicks and get it direct), with awestruck thanks.  I still don’t even have an e-reader, much less the skills to convert such files, and Ellen did more than a simple conversion.  She checked my references, updated a couple of obsolete ones, and fixed broken links.  If I ever meet the woman face to face, I owe her dinner. A nice one.

Finally, in keeping with the traditional optimism of the season (Happy faux-birthday, baby Jesus! Only thirty-three years until the religious establishment nails you to a cross!), you’re probably all familiar with my incessant refrain about how we won’t have earned our own sense of self-importance until we use our big brains to control our instincts, instead of just making excuses for them.  Well, here’s something that might give us hope:


I mean, if these guys can put their hardwired instincts aside so easily, we should be able to, right?


This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Tuesday December 13 2011at 10:12 am , filed under misc, writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

20 Responses to “Fans, Favors, Finance & Fur.”

  1. Cute pic. Is that one of your cats with the bunny?

    It is interesting how some animals seem to put aside instincts. I’ve even seen cats who let pet birds climb on them.

    Speaking of cats and bunnies… Not sure if you’ve seen these or not, but they’re quite hilarious.
    Bunny’s revenge on kitty
    Bunny wants bed/litterbox back

    I could watch vids like that all day.

  2. As best i can tell, predators have no trouble putting away they hunting instincts if they are well fed from a easier source. Do not make the larger ones any less dangerous to us tho, mostly because they have no concept of pulling a punch…

  3. Coincidentally I spotted a French-translated version of Starfish prominently displayed on a bookshop table in Toulouse this afternoon.

  4. Large animals do know how to pull a punch, there’s plenty of videos of people who keep large critters as pets roughousing with them, and these animals play too, which requires “pulling a punch” as a requisite. They remain dangerous because well, they ARE dangerous, as the dude who had a pet hippo learned to his cost recently.

  5. ooh, it would be so awesome if you got invited to a Russian convention.

    Also, the comment above with the youtube links led me to one where a pitbull apparently thinks a rabbit is a puppy. Either that, or he’s taste-testing it.

  6. Do cats even recognize bunnies/rabbits (not an expert) as potential prey ?

    Having said that, 03 used to keep a pet grey rat and a cat together. Went fine for more than 3 years. Ended in tears.

  7. Sleeping with your food, now that is dedication.

  8. Collin, cane toads sometimes mate with their food. IIRC at least in one documented case right in the process of eating.

  9. “The gruelling and unenviable task of converting Blindsight into e-pub format”

    The magic word is Calibre. Normally when a manufacturer calls their product the “one-stop solution to all your [SUBJECT] needs” they tend to exaggerate just ever so slightly, but I was surprised at the many things Calibre does, including conversion to and from a truck load of formats.

  10. 01, ever watched La Grande Bouffe? (Although that is fiction.)

  11. Nope.

    The wiki, however, looks promising … Go go gadget torrentmobile!

  12. The moment I pressed enter I realized I haven’t seen that movie since I was a kid, and barely remember anything from it—except for a naked lady sitting in a mountain of mashed potatoes. (The Dutch kitchen is one that reveres meat and mashed potatoes, so that scene somehow resonated with me.)

    Now I too have switched on the internet video recorder.

  13. Tor is just helping ‘Starfish’ spread in a ßehemoth manner. By next year they will probably lose control over it.

  14. My MIL’s beloved late cat, Obie (wan Kenobi) used to leave her summer hunting offerings outside the deck door of their NB cabin. One morning, it was the bottom half of a young varying hare.

    There is a campground on Grand Manan where a population of domestic rabbits have been let go feral. When Sam stayed there for field work, back in the day, there was an obese cat in residence. Sam said it’s belly dragged on the ground. It didn’t move much, and the rabbits didn’t seem to be too concerned about it. The guy who ran the place said it took down and ate rabbits all the time, with very little effort.

    I’m not sure I would leave a rabbit alone with its cat friend. Someone who has owned a ferret might want to to confirm, but I understand they CANNOT be trusted with rodents under any circumstances. Too exciting.

    My dog snuggles with my less bright cat (Poet) all the time. My smarter, bossier cat, Gracie, will only dog snuggle when the outside temp drops below -30C and cold drafts creep in despite the furnace’s best efforts. All three pets are tuxedo and the resulting black and white ball covers the whole bed.

  15. Well, good news, especially for us in Russia 🙂

    Can’t you say, what publisher wishes to release your novel in Russian?

  16. I wouldn’t trust a ferret with a rodent. Hell, I wouldn’t trust a ferret with a kitten.

  17. Depending on the ferret I might not trust it with a full-grown cat. Remember, these motherfuckers are close relatives of the mongoose. Every once in a while one of them remembers that.

  18. Be very, very careful about leaving ferrets alone with cats. Wild urban ferrets actually hunt cats.

  19. Its even dangerous to leave a Liberal alone with a Conservative.

  20. Ellen Herzfeld took on the gruelling and unenviable task of converting Blindsight into e-pub format, entirely on her own initiative

    Now that’s a Fan.