Old Wine in Nice Bottles, and a Pimpy Postscript.

Okay, I was going to hold off on this until closer to the pub date, but I see the new collection has already landed on SF Signal and it seems to be getting some tweets and links, so: yes. I’ve got a collection coming out in the fall, from Tachyon Press. It’s basically a greatest hits package, a baker’s dozen chosen by editor Jacob Weisman. I’ve written a 4,500 word essay for the back end: not quite sure what the final title’s going to be, but “Are We There Yet? En Route to Dystopia with the Angry Optimist” is what I put on top of the page when I was writing it. It’s a rumination on dystopias in fact and fiction, and how I don’t really do dystopias myself no matter what you people say, and how getting arrested and maced at the border has so greatly improved my outlook. I think it hangs together as a coherent whole; I’ll post an excerpt or two closer to the release date.

I like the cover. I like the layout. I like the way the teaser text down there in the corner kinda leads one to think that Blindsight won the Hugo even though it didn’t. I’m a little surprised by the pull from the NY Times — it’s lifted out of context and not, I think, really descriptive of my work overall — but I get the sense I’m in a teensy minority when it comes to characterizing my own work anyway, so okay. “Seriously paranoid” is a punchy little eye-catcher at the very least.

I gotta say I’m a bit taken aback by the synopsis, though.

Not the story thumbnails, mind you: those rock. Whoever wrote that text did a bang-up job. No, what raises my eyebrows is the description of me: “a highly controversial author”.

Highly controversial? Seriously?

Grumpy, misanthropic, nihilistic, cuddly — I’ve been called all of these things before. I don’t necessarily agree with any of them (except maybe that last one), but at least I’m used to them. I don’t think anyone’s described me as controversial before, though (much less highly so). As far as I know, the closest I ever came to real controversy was getting charged with imaginary crimes in Port Huron, and even the jury that convicted me seemed to agree that it was the border guards who wore the asshole hats that time around.

Still. So long as it sells copies, I guess.

While we’re on the subject of collections with pretty covers, I was surfing around MAG‘s site the other day to see if my upcoming Polish collection had surfaced in their catalog (the title for that one translates as An Antidote for Optimism). It had not; but I see they’ve released a third edition of Blindsight. For some reason, each new edition gets spiffy new cover art— and man, I defy anyone to tell me that this new cover doesn’t kick all kinds of ass. I didn’t think it was possible to put a vampire front and center without descending into cliché almost by definition. But wow. (And just between you and me, if the vampire had been female this would have made an even better cover for Echopraxia.) I’ve liked every cover these guys have put out (and come to think of it, ArsMACHINA have also served up relentlessly awesome covers for the Rifters trilogy. Must be something in the water over there.)

Can’t wait to see what cover Fata Libelli slaps on the Spanish e-minicollection.

This is actually turning out to be a pretty good year, collections-wise.


Finally: some of you may remember that writer’s workshop thingy I participated in last year, the one presented by Starship Sofa.  Well, Tony’s doing it again; a Video Writers Workshop, this time with Mike Resnick and Paul Di Filippo. June 16th, live online, the usual £20 but if you’re one of the five who springs for £99 you also get one of those guys to personally critique your work in realtime. (I’d assume this last perk would be a private affair following the main event — at least, if there were the option of bringing in onlookers to watch the blood spill, I can’t imagine that Tony wouldn’t be advertising the fact. And charging extra.) (Not that it wouldn’t be worth it, mind you.)

If you’re at all interested in doing what I do for a living (such as it is), you should probably look into this.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Thursday April 25 2013at 09:04 am , filed under writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

22 Responses to “Old Wine in Nice Bottles, and a Pimpy Postscript.”

  1. Oh man, super exciting, and pre-ordering as soon as I can. 😀

  2. And…. pre-ordered!

    Always wonderful to see new stuff of yours come out! Here’s hoping it sells like hotcakes (which, apparently, are quite the high-profit margin item with a supply that is always short of demand.)

  3. I love them both, but the second one is especially fantastic!!

  4. Congratulations on your newest progeny! A new Watts publication is a wonderful thing. And the toothy cover is cool! I am baffled that Tachyon Press appears to have no social media links on their website, however. WTF? Yes, me, who chooses to live in a frozen wasteland with patchy connections and no cell phone coverage outside of (so-called) town, looking for easy links…and…they are not there. I can only imagine the responses of…well, pretty much everyone else, really… Mind-boggling lack of a basic marketing tool…

  5. The Polish covers are especially nice.

    I have to say that I had to look up what actually got you the Hugo — turns out to be “The Island”; and I have not even read it. Well, now I can right that wrong.

  6. Bloody marvelous news! The collection should help keep the hunger pangs at bay until the novel is out (thought I might die of Watts related literary starvation).

    May I too wholeheartedly recommend the writers workshop (I may be biased, here), if not only, but also to see the antics of host Tony Smith in full blown HD. I watched the Niven/Benford/Pournelle webinar on SSS last week, and, setting aside their assumed political bents, watching Tony watching three cranky old geezers trying to work out how to plug in headphones was comedy gold.

  7. Great news! Looking forward to it!

  8. Indeed good news. Looking forward to it.

  9. Good news. Thanks for the heads up. Pre-ordered via amazon.

  10. Yukon Val,

    Interesting, okay I just found http://www.tachyonpublications.com/book/Beyond_the_Rift.html and tweeted that to my 3 followers 🙂

  11. @Sheila…for sure and I shared it on Facebook, but I went there with that intention…and there were no site cues to remind me about/facilitate linking. I don’t get how anyone in the business of selling stuff on-line can ignore the free marketing opportunities of social media. If Tachyon press is a really small shop, I can understand their reluctance around Twitter…it’s a total time-sucker. Facebook just needs the occasional update and some comment monitoring, though…so easy Mom and Pop restaurants can manage it!

  12. @Sheila…ha! They DO have a Facebook page, but don’t have it linked to the website’s book pages. I found it when I went to their blog…sigh…so I guess you can provide some free marketing for them IF you are willing to spend your time doing it!

  13. @Peter


    Apologies for the off topic, I couldn’t find a contact info thing.

    I just discovered the website tulpa.info and was wondering if you knew anything about the stuff?

    Looks like ritual/self-hypnosis/meditation induced multiple personalities. Better than rape, that’s for sure, and if it allows some degree of control on the resulting personalities…

  14. Ill be looking forward to reading this, your short stories are always great.

    So no hardback edition? Or are they waiting to see how it sells? I have a strange attraction to hardback editions and always go for them if available.

  15. Peter,
    What’s in the water over there is called vodka!
    Love your books. Thanks

  16. OK Mr Watts, give it me straight. I was just on Wikipedia, your Wikipedia page, and it mentions you are working on 2 books. Echopraxia, which I know about and am eagerly awaiting its eminent release. The second one was named Sunflowers. I immediately went to the crawl and discovered this was a topic from back in 2008. Originally called Gerbils, then Sunflowers and then mentioned again Aug2012, a story named “Pidgin” or “Tardigrade” or “Remus”. Did Sunflowers turn into Beyond the Rift, or is this something else entirely?

  17. Those are seriously awesome covers all around. Can’t wait for the collection!

  18. I’m waiting for more your great books, especially for Echopraxia ( I wish would be polish translation). It’s awesome that someone could make today something like this. Your novels aren’t really hard SF, I think.
    Better If we call them concrete or diamond SF.
    Blindsight is one of the best SF books in my (quite short frankly) life.
    Good Luck. Best wishes from Poland

  19. Cris: I just discovered the website tulpa.info and was wondering if you knew anything about the stuff?

    Uh, no. This is the first I’ve heard of the term. If you squint, it does seem as though it might almost be applicable to the warring personae of alien-hand victims, though.

    Also, I can’t tell if the quote on that website is from GlaDos or They Might Be Giants…

    Jeremy: So no hardback edition?

    Not that I’m aware. Which isn’t all that surprising,m actually; short story collections aren’t generally big sellers anyway, so adding a hardcover price to that might not be the shrewdest business move.

    Jeremy: Did Sunflowers turn into Beyond the Rift, or is this something else entirely?

    Sunflowers is the working title of a linked collection of stories that take place on an STL ship dragging its ass through space to the end of time. Each story stands alone, but each also contributes to an overarching epic narrative (think Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles; think Stross’s Accellerando). Only two of those stories are in the can (“The Island”, which came out a few years back, and “Giants”, which comes out this fall), but I have a number of others sketched out.

    Beyond the Rift is just a greatest-hits collection of (generally unrelated) stories that have been published all over the place over the past couple of decades. It’s pretty much reprints, except for the retrospective essay I wrote at the end.

  20. You forgot curmudgeonly.

  21. And the upcoming Polish collection is now online: http://mag.com.pl/ksiazka-1347–0-0-Odtrutka_na_optymizm.html
    It’s a hardcover and should hit the bookstores on July 3rd, together with the 3rd edition of Blindisght (also a hardcover).

  22. I love the cover. Looks just like me.