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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

A THRONE OF BONES is out

In Selenoth, the race of Man is on the ascendant. The ancient dragons sleep. The ghastly Witchkings are no more; their evil power destroyed by the courage of Men and the fearsome magic of the Elves. The Dwarves have retreated to the kingdoms of the Underdeep, the trolls hide in their mountains, and even the savage orc tribes have learned to dread the iron discipline of Amorr's mighty legions. But after four hundred years of mutual suspicion, the rivalry between two of the Houses Martial that rule the Amorran Senate threatens to turn violent, and unrest sparks rebellion throughout the imperial provinces. In the north, the barbarian reavers who have long plagued the coasts of the White Sea beg for the royal protection of the King of Savondir, as they flee a vicious race of wolf-demons. In the east, the war drums echo throughout the mountains as orcs and goblins gather in great numbers, summoned by their bestial gods.

And when the Most Holy and Sanctified Father is found dead in his bed, leaving the Ivory Throne of the Apostles unclaimed, the temptation to seize the Sacred College and wield Holy Mother Church as a weapon is more than some fallen souls can resist.

I am very pleased to be able to say that A Throne of Bones is now available for $4.99 for Amazon Kindle and $4.99 for Barnes and Noble Nook, as well as $34.99 in hardcover from Marcher Lord Hinterlands.  It is 852 pages in hardcover and it is not at all necessary to have read either Summa Elvetica or A Magic Broken first.  Both SE and AMB are little more than an extended chapter in the story of a perspective character from A Throne of Bones.

The Responsible Puppet was the first individual other than the editor to read it, and he kindly took the time to review it on his blog in time for this announcement.
When I reviewed `Summa Elvetica', Vox Day's last fiction book, I wrote, `My feeling here is that this book could be a "The Hobbit"-like prelude to a much more significant fictional writing.' This, I'm pleased to say, is what the author has done. `Throne' is placed in the same universe as that book and only a few years (months?) later.  And what is this universe? Just like with Summa, imagine Rome in the fifth century, complete with a Christian heritage. Now add in magic. And elves. And dwarves and goblins and some kind of new immortal creature.

But the geography is completely different. The Empire is Amorr. In it, there are two very strong family houses that are growing more and more at odds with each other. In one of these houses, two brothers are in conflict – for good reason...

It is, in turn, humorous, shocking and exciting. There are beautiful moments, there is clever dialogue, there is deep mystery. It took some level of genius to write it. 
And because every epic fantasy needs a map, this one arguably more than most, I was fortunate to be able to once again call upon the artistic talents of JartStar.  This is the map of Selenoth and Imperial Amorr that appears in the book.

For those who have followed this process from the start and are interested in the minutiae, today marks 499 days since the two conversations with Spacebunny's cousin and the Original Cyberpunk about A Dance With Dragons that inspired the writing of the book.  A Throne of Bones contains 297,862 words, 15,875 of them unique.  This compares favorably with George Martin (295,929 and 13,717, respectively), Joe Abercrombie (191,393 and 11,260), and Louis L'Amour (94,297 and 7,598), but pales before the greatest author of my generation, Neal Stephenson (409,365 and 29,239).  And thanks again to those who preordered, as we exceeded our goals by nearly forty percent.  The hardcovers go to press tomorrow and should arrive well in time for Christmas.

UPDATE:  It is nice to see some appreciation for Kirk's superlative work from Instapundit: "VOX DAY’S NEW NOVEL, A Throne of Bones, is now out at Amazon. Very nice cover." By all means, judge the book by it....

UPDATE 2: Dr. Helen mentions the release on her site too.

UPDATE 3: I've posted an announcement at Black Gate too, with a brief summary of the connection between the book and some of my past posts there.

Labels:

101 Comments:

Anonymous Ferd December 05, 2012 4:18 AM  

Please,
How are 15,875 words defined as unique?

Crepocious fartalings are lougelis?

Anonymous Kyle In Japan December 05, 2012 4:34 AM  

I'm 25% through the ebook version, and really enjoying it. Thanks for the map; as usual, epic fantasy novel maps look awful in Kindle PC form.

I'm days away from finishing the first draft on my big fantasy novel, which I estimate to clock in at around 250,000 words for the final version. For the record, it will have taken me less than six months to write the entire first draft of the book, at a rate of five pages a day, five days a week (on average.) It'll probably take 2-3 months to edit and revise it, but I think it's safe to say that the Ilk will probably be interested in it if they like epic fantasy.

Blogger Peter Garstig December 05, 2012 4:38 AM  

Congratulations Vox. Well done. I hope the print version is well polished...

Which work of Stephenson did you take for the comparison?

300 pages in...

Anonymous VD December 05, 2012 5:11 AM  

How are 15,875 words defined as unique? Crepocious fartalings are lougelis?

Do you seriously need help with the concept of a unique word? Yes, making up words and having a lot of names will add to the total, as will simply writing a lot of words, but if you look at the difference between Eco, Stephenson, and Joyce on the one hand, and L'Amour, Asimov, and Rowling on the other, the difference is very, very clear. The former run from 14k to 30k unique words per book, the latter run from 7k to 9k.

Does more unique words mean the book is necessarily any better? No, of course not. I very much like the L'Amour book in question; if you haven't read Fair Blows the Wind, you should. It doesn't even mean that it is all that complex or difficult. R. Scott Bakker's 16,087 unique words make for more difficult going than either my 15,875 or Raymond Feist's surprising 16,640 for Magician. (Although that makes more sense now that I've looked it up and seen Magician is actually a two-book omnibus.) And Stephenson's 29k is much more accessible than Joyce's 32k. But it does give the reader some idea of what to expect.

I hope the print version is well polished... Which work of Stephenson did you take for the comparison?

Thanks to the proofreaders and Ridip's clever grep, the hardcover should be unusually clean. As for Stephenson, Quicksilver clocks in at 29,061 unique words, while Cryptonomicon is 29,239.

Blogger Brad Andrews December 05, 2012 5:31 AM  

Ordered the Kindle version. Will read it at some point.

Anonymous Broadhead December 05, 2012 6:04 AM  

Any love for international Kindle users?

Anonymous Kyle In Japan December 05, 2012 6:07 AM  

Broadhead, I live overseas (take a wild guess where) and I've never had any problems buying Kindle stuff off the US Amazon store.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 05, 2012 6:55 AM  

Good luck with the book, hope it's a hit!

Hmm, geographically, Selenoth looks suspiciously like a crunched-up North America. But that's OK, Middle Earth always looked to me like a suspiciously crunched-up Eurasia. I always wondered why some people thought TLotR was a metaphor for WWII and Nazis and such, when the shape and location of Mordor obviously resembles Anatolia/Asia Minor, and "orcs" sounds suspiciously like "Turks". In terms of European history, the Arab (or "Haradrim" I think he calls them) and the Turk, the "fury out of Arabia", are much more long-lived atavistic fears than the German or even the Russian, whose threats were pretty recent. Pity those very real fears seem to have been foolishly tossed aside in our era, and the gates left unlocked and unguarded. The One Ring as an idea even seems like it could be analogously related to the absolute militant Monotheism of Islam, and the Unblinking Eye of Sauron reminds me that the Koran keeps insisting that Allah is "the Seer, the Knower" of everything. But enough of that.

Neal Stephenson as the greatest author of this generation? Do you mean just in the realm of SF/F, or generally speaking? I don't keep up much with most contemporary lit and I don't read any SF/F, so I couldn't judge, but it did strike me as a questionable pick. Not an unreasonable or unjustified pick, but certainly debatable. I skimmed through parts of Cryptonomicon, maybe read about 40% of the book out of sequence. I thought it was pretty well done, on its own terms, but comparatively speaking it struck me as mostly sort of a watered-down imitation of Gravity's Rainbow.

But then again I can't think of another author offhand who I would champion in his stead. William T. Vollmann has impressed me considerably from time to time, but he's too voluble and too cranky to be considered "great". But when he writes with real heart, man, he writes with real heart.

Blogger Hermit December 05, 2012 6:59 AM  

I'm dying because I know my wife bought me a Kindle for Christmas, (not because I snooped but because she's bad at keeping secrets) and I have to wait til then to read these. Can't wait to kill a few days reading these.

Anonymous VD December 05, 2012 7:03 AM  

Neal Stephenson as the greatest author of this generation? Do you mean just in the realm of SF/F, or generally speaking?

Generally speaking. Between Reamde and Anathem, there is simply no question. Reamde is the Great American Novel for which the literati have fruitlessly been searching in Mailer, Irving, and Updike.

Anonymous Faust December 05, 2012 7:17 AM  

Not a big English fantasy reader anymore, but I'll throw down 5$ as thanks for the quality writing I've enjoyed on your blog.

Anonymous MendoScot December 05, 2012 7:36 AM  

Thanks to the proofreaders and Ridip's clever grep, the hardcover should be unusually clean.

1/10th of the way through the e-book and found one typo and two punctuation errors. Yeah, that's unusually clean.

Does the hardcover have the Latin footnoted? I can guess most of it - and the job descriptions are fun - but it's distracting to ask my daughter to translate the longer passages.

Anonymous VD December 05, 2012 7:46 AM  

1/10th of the way through the e-book and found one typo and two punctuation errors. Yeah, that's unusually clean.

That's actually prior to the final hardcover proof, which should be downright shiny.

Does the hardcover have the Latin footnoted?

Nope. I'm from the Eco school of thought on that one. Besides, it still cracks me up that the one reviewer genuinely believed the philosophical arguments in SE were actual ones from Aquinas.

Editor: "How would he have known the arguments weren't real?"

Vox: "Well, for one thing, Thomas Aquinas never wrote about elves."

Anonymous Koanic December 05, 2012 8:01 AM  

I assume that unique words means words not present against a dictionary check, and counts repeat instances. So a long book with a bunch of dialogue has a lot of hits.

Statistically improbable phrase density would be more accurate as a reflection of novelty. Still I wonder what Tolkein's numbers are.

Anonymous ridip December 05, 2012 8:18 AM  

I was enjoying the book Monday. Only had time to read a little more yesterday and now I'm thoroughly hooked. I hope this does very well for you.

Anonymous VD December 05, 2012 8:23 AM  

Statistically improbable phrase density would be more accurate as a reflection of novelty. Still I wonder what Tolkein's numbers are.

Tolkien shows 16,311 unique in 479,220 for the trilogy. Less than I would have imagined; I expected 20k+.

Anonymous Koanic December 05, 2012 8:37 AM  

He wrote pretty clearly. I bet the Silmarillion would be higher.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 05, 2012 8:45 AM  

"Reamde is the Great American Novel for which the literati have fruitlessly been searching in Mailer, Irving, and Updike."

Well I'll have to take a look at it, I suppose; but from checking the plot summary on Wiki (I know, I know) it sounded like a bizarre collaboration between Quentin Tarantino, Zadie Smith, and Randall Monroe. But who knows, maybe that's a good thing.

The Great American Novel, alas, was decisively written many years ago, and it's called Moby-Dick. New contenders of course do crop up in most generations; I think the only genuinely serious post-WWII claim would have to be Gravity's Rainbow. No other postwar American novel surpasses it, or comes remotely near even approaching it for its tonal range, thematic scope, and profound fellness of purpose. Pynchon himself was never able to top it or even equal it.

John Irving writes high-quality airport books; Mailer, as he himself basically admitted, was simply a walking advertisement for himself and his absurd persona, and little more; and Updike was basically a charming but minor feuilletoniste whose little leaves, when they grew too large and got out of hand, he labeled novels. But his actual little feuilletons were quite good, he was a very entertaining critic and essayist. Same thing with poor D.F. Wallace -- lovely essayist, ludicrous fiction writer.

Who knows? Maybe greatness is overrated, and quantity is a kind of quality, after all.

Blogger Peter Garstig December 05, 2012 8:55 AM  

Rate is more indicative. To summarize (how many time each word is repeated on average):

Vox: 18,7
Martin: 21,6
Abercrombie: 17,0
L'Amour: 12,4
Neal Stephenson: 14,0
Tolkien: 29,4

L'Amour wins!

Anonymous dh December 05, 2012 9:03 AM  

> Generally speaking. Between Reamde and Anathem,

I am really glad to know that Anathem was well received by others. I really enjoyed it. I've always been skeptical to bring it up around well read people because I was afraid it was like admitting to reading John Grisham novels.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 05, 2012 9:29 AM  

Since America as it was historically understood has essentially come to an end and no longer exists, I suppose somebody is going to have to write the Great Post-American novel. Maybe this REAMDE book is that.

Anonymous Stilicho December 05, 2012 9:29 AM  

Nice work Jartstar

Anonymous aviendha December 05, 2012 9:31 AM  

This is awesome Vox. I'll read the first chapter today (marcher just sent me the epub), but dammit I'm waiting for the hardback :P. Cover and maps (map-nerd here) are beautiful.
congrats

Anonymous Crispy December 05, 2012 9:51 AM  

Congrats, Vox. Now what will you do with all that free time?!

Blogger jamsco December 05, 2012 9:52 AM  

I envy those of you who get to read it with map in hand. In my brain Amorr will always be east of Savonder

Anonymous a good ROI December 05, 2012 9:56 AM  

Happy for you man, congrats on getting it out.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 05, 2012 10:05 AM  

Amorr, eh? And was it founded by the twin brothers Sulumorr and Sumerr?

Anonymous RedJack December 05, 2012 10:05 AM  

Bought it this morning, and will start reading it later today.

Look forward to it. Remember the first time you sent out the short stories to the Ilk, many years ago.

Glad you have decided to make it into a book series.

Anonymous cheddarman December 05, 2012 10:11 AM  

Looking forward to reading it over Christmas.

Sincerely

Cheddarman

Anonymous Crusader Corim December 05, 2012 10:19 AM  

Those of us who preordered, when do we get our complimentary e-book version?

Blogger Vox December 05, 2012 10:25 AM  

Amorr, eh? And was it founded by the twin brothers Sulumorr and Sumerr?

Actually, the name mostly stemmed from my amusement at the legend of the secret name of Rome. One theory has it that AMOR was the secret name, which I always thought was remarkably poor cryptography. I've also always found it rather stupid when an obvious historical version is "fantasized" with absolutely nothing new to it.

I mean, if you're going to do alternate fantasy Venice, just call it Veniss. Then we know it's Venice, only not exactly. It's not any more creative to call it t$!Jjiq3jwqi if you're just going to populate it with canals, prostitutes, and a complicated ducal electoral system. Elves are elves. Dwarves are dwarves. I use a different name for the Ulfin/Aalvarg because they don't fit a standard fantasy trope.

Blogger Vox December 05, 2012 10:26 AM  

Those of us who preordered, when do we get our complimentary e-book version?

You should have received it two days ago. Email Marcher Lord and tell him if you want Kindle or EPUB. And check your spam trap. It's a pretty big file.

Anonymous jack December 05, 2012 10:31 AM  

I, too, love Neal Stephenson. You do Cryptonomicrom, and you feel worn to a nub. Then you pick up Reamde and the nub becomes microscopic. And, then, Anathem. Now, Anathem is more close to Summa and what Bones will be, I think. Minus most of the magic. I just wish Neal would somehow find the energy, time and creativity to do another monster length book. That said, for some reason, I have not been able to get into the Mongoliad et al. Not real sure why except that rewrites of history, or alternate time line stuff doesn't do much for me.

Throne of Bones is sure to be like this. And, I will once again be bereft longing for two long years down the road waiting for the second book.

I got the ebook two days ago and circumstances have prevented me from reading page one. I fully intend to get that read done before the infamous Dec. 21st. Not that anything will happen but why take the chance?

Anonymous jack December 05, 2012 10:37 AM  

Reamde is the Great American Novel for which the literati have fruitlessly been searching in Mailer, Irving, and Updike."

I would probably agree. I don't know how Stephenson's major books have not been made into movies. Unless he has style and taste and told hollywood to take a hike. Then, too, I'm not sure how you reduce something like Reamde to less that an 8 hour movie. Crypto now might make it into 3, but would still lose some octane.

Anonymous Crusader Corim December 05, 2012 10:40 AM  

That's why I missed it. I was a touch REALLY busy two days ago when my second son was born a month early. It'll give me something to read while we watch him pick up how to breath.

And prayers by the Ilk would be appreciated.

Blogger Peter Garstig December 05, 2012 10:49 AM  

I liked Reamde alot, but wouldn't consider it a master piece. Great American Novel? Because it has muslim terrorists in it? And I still can't get over with how he dragged those into the story. Chance has its limits. Reamde is a good thriller written by a genious and perfectly intermixing virtual/real worlds. (Even though he did it before in Snowcrash).

I find both his Baroque books and Anathem much more appealing.

Anonymous Daniel December 05, 2012 10:51 AM  

I think Rome's secret name is Eco, and I haven't anticipated a doorstop like this in a very long time. It better not suck.

Anonymous Koanic December 05, 2012 10:51 AM  

To me most of the cyberpunk junk reflects a fundamental misapprehension best summarized by the War Nerd: "Software, not hardware." The software that runs people is what matters, and that doesn't change.

I want to feel the belly of bestial humanity in my fiction. Don't try to sell me your shiny techno escape into conceptual play. Flinching is for the weak.

Nerds want to believe their grasp of systems and chaos theory gives them secret insight into the heart of things, but it doesn't.

Dune 1 was great scifi/fantasy because it combined human rawness with transcendence. I don't think Stephenson, with his stupid African enginerdettes and micro-balkanized futures, can ever get the biomechanics right.

I find it difficult to take seriously a writer who only understands the computer version of tarantino cool.

Anonymous jack December 05, 2012 11:04 AM  

Peter Garstig

Peter, I would consider Snowcrash a trial run for the Reamde effort. I liked Snowcrash but it can't compare to the scope of Reamde.

I find Koanic's analysis bizarre at best. But, each of us has their likes. My better half cannot for the life of her get into any novel that has plots and subplots dealing with techy stuff. Shame, too, since Reamde is so good.

Blogger WATYF December 05, 2012 11:09 AM  

Is there a way to get a e-version of the book that doesn't require a special "reader" (Kindle, Nook, etc)?

WATYF

Blogger Vox December 05, 2012 11:13 AM  

Throne of Bones is sure to be like this. And, I will once again be bereft longing for two long years down the road waiting for the second book.

Not entirely... I have a plan, you see. We're going to re-release Summa Elvetica in hardcover, but this time, with between six and eight novellas, at least three of which will be entirely new. I've already written two, A Magic Broken was one such creature that we decided to use to whet the whistle.

Is there a way to get a e-version of the book that doesn't require a special "reader" (Kindle, Nook, etc)?

Buy an EPUB direct from Marcher Lord. It will run on Calibre for the PC or any Android reader.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) December 05, 2012 11:14 AM  

Vox what's the deal with the hardcover price? Is it due to having limited distribution?

Are you running a sale for Christmas?

I'll wait.

Anonymous Mike LaRoche December 05, 2012 11:18 AM  

Just ordered and received my copy via Kindle, and am looking forward to reading it!

Anonymous Grendelizer December 05, 2012 11:19 AM  

May Godspeed and grand success crown your hard work!

Anonymous VD December 05, 2012 11:21 AM  

I haven't anticipated a doorstop like this in a very long time. It better not suck.

It's not perfect. But I think I can promise that it doesn't suck. I asked one early reader to put a number to it if A Game of Thrones was a 10, A Dance with Dragons was a 2, and The Wheel of Time was a -37. He said it was an 8. I'd say 7 myself, but apparently others find it less predictable than I considered it to be.

I do have a strange new respect for the incoherence of Steven Erikson's Malazan series, though, as well as Martin's struggles. The bigger the story gets, the easier it is for it to spin out of control. I'm not going to let that happen.

Anonymous VD December 05, 2012 11:26 AM  

Vox what's the deal with the hardcover price? Is it due to having limited distribution? Are you running a sale for Christmas?

Purely size. I expect most people to read it as an ebook as the more economical option. We weren't even going to do a paper book due to the cost, but then, I realized that the hardcore readers would want one. That's why we're not doing any paperbacks, just the hardcover straight to the bibliophiles. We can't go through Amazon with it because the numbers don't make sense.

But you should note that the ebook is actually very inexpensive for a book of this size. That's why there won't be any sales. The nature of the modern small press is that there is no excess stock. It's all very small quantities done on demand.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) December 05, 2012 11:30 AM  

I am not a hardcore reader but I always like to have the physical copy in hand when reading.

If the price stays the same I'll get around to buying it sometime, just like I bought RGD.

Anonymous Crispy December 05, 2012 11:52 AM  

Thanks for the note about the epub version. It should be wending its way through the intertubes to me instanter!

Blogger Markku December 05, 2012 12:08 PM  

"Email Marcher Lord and tell him..."

I wonder if the good lord has time to respond, what with the marching and all.

Blogger Markku December 05, 2012 12:16 PM  

I'm disappointed that the map doesn't say "here be dragons" anywhere (except, there actually be dragons there)

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 05, 2012 12:36 PM  

Maybe somewhere in the book there's a tavern with a sign that says "Here be Flagons."

Anonymous Stilicho December 05, 2012 12:50 PM  

Amorr, eh? And was it founded by the twin brothers Sulumorr and Sumerr?

More importantly, is it located west of Drofulb?

Anonymous Daniel December 05, 2012 12:53 PM  

but apparently others find it less predictable than I considered it to be.

I'm actually okay with predictable, even if it was that (which, based on your other books, I doubt very much.)

I actually found Dance With Dragons quite unpredictable, for example. Even though I could see how many pages I had left to read, I still couldn't predict when the story would begin.

I'm getting the hardcover - the first I've bought in several years, but anyone who thinks that north of $30 is especially high, they haven't been buying hardbacks lately (and normally I don't blame them). $25-$35 is the going rate, mates.

Steve Jobs list price is $35.
Kill Alex Cross is $29.

A decade ago, bestsellers went hard back at $25. 20 years ago, that godawful sequel to Gone with the Wind cost more than RC monster trucks at Radio Shack. Do not ask me how I first learned this or why I remember it.

My guess is that some giant blockbuster book in the 60s or 70s like Thorn Birds or Roots blasted hardcover rates up. Now - hardcover is a big driver for "bridge" revenue because mass market paperbacks are declining in sales (profits are being gleefully made up at the e-reader distro, in part because it is much easier to hide those numbers from writers, thus robbing royalties. Banksterism in the book trade, who would have thought those self-described collegial paragons of virtue would have ever gotten in bed with the devil?).

In the case of MLP, of course, the cost is in production. When you order the book, you get it personally printed at Santa's Workshop. There's no economy of scale. My guess is that it costs the publisher (all told) something like $30 (just a made up number. That much paper, ink and weight is a significant cost, that much I know.) just to get the giant thing made and shipped. Then (hopefully) MLP splits the remaining profit with Vox once MLP covers its editing labor and production (not printing) costs.

In any case, I'd have paid $40 without blinking (i.e. the 34.99 already feels like a discount price), but I may be an outlier.

Anonymous Koanic December 05, 2012 1:19 PM  

I'm to Xiamen in Reamde and can find no indication of the great American novel; more like the great gamma novel.

Blogger James Dixon December 05, 2012 1:20 PM  

I was going to ask which L'Amour book, but I see you answered it in one of the comments.

And I agree, L'Amour books have never been a significant challenge to most people's vocabulary.

Anonymous Sensei December 05, 2012 1:37 PM  

Read/devoured the e-book yesterday, most fun I've had since Kraken, in a very different way. As someone whose opinion matters not in the slightest, I give it a 9.5 for creative content, and 7.5 on average for execution. (Some parts rose to greatness, others might have benefited from a little polishing)

I found many erratta in the ebook (my brain always notices them), but assume most were caught for the hardcover version.

Vox, I did notice two places you wrote that something ought to have been described already. I'm curious as to whether these are notes to yourself that you didn't catch, or a tongue-in-cheek breaking of the fourth wall?

Excellent story, now to wait (im)patiently for more Selenoth material.. if SE aroused interest, ToB has awakened a great hunger..

Anonymous Sensei December 05, 2012 1:38 PM  

Ah, forgot to mention I did love the map as well.

Anonymous Athor Pel December 05, 2012 1:39 PM  

" Koanic December 05, 2012 10:51 AM

To me most of the cyberpunk junk reflects a fundamental misapprehension best summarized by the War Nerd: "Software, not hardware." The software that runs people is what matters, and that doesn't change.

I want to feel the belly of bestial humanity in my fiction. Don't try to sell me your shiny techno escape into conceptual play. Flinching is for the weak.

Nerds want to believe their grasp of systems and chaos theory gives them secret insight into the heart of things, but it doesn't.

Dune 1 was great scifi/fantasy because it combined human rawness with transcendence. I don't think Stephenson, with his stupid African enginerdettes and micro-balkanized futures, can ever get the biomechanics right.

I find it difficult to take seriously a writer who only understands the computer version of tarantino cool."





So many straw men, so little time to burn them with fire.

Anonymous Athor Pel December 05, 2012 1:41 PM  

Jartstar,

When you asked me for map making advice was this map in mind when asking?


You did a great job on the map.

Blogger Res Ipsa December 05, 2012 1:45 PM  

Vox,

How do those of us with autographed copies of Rebel Moon, get these autographed as well?

Blogger JartStar December 05, 2012 1:51 PM  

When you asked me for map making advice was this map in mind when asking?

Yes. It was far along, but your advice helped. Thanks for the compliment.

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick December 05, 2012 2:08 PM  

I just bought my copy. Looking forward to reading it.

Anonymous RedJack December 05, 2012 2:09 PM  

Crusader Corim

Prayers up.

Blogger Vox December 05, 2012 2:14 PM  

I found many erratta in the ebook (my brain always notices them), but assume most were caught for the hardcover version.

I would hope so. We'll arrange to get the ebook readers updated in the near future once we get those corrections in the files. I'd encourage you to pop a review up on Amazon if you've already finished it.

I did notice two places you wrote that something ought to have been described already. I'm curious as to whether these are notes to yourself that you didn't catch, or a tongue-in-cheek breaking of the fourth wall?

Shoot me an email. I'd like to see what you're talking about.

Blogger Markku December 05, 2012 2:15 PM  

From Black Gate:

“So, why don’t you?” came the response.

"Ten bucks says you can't" would be a much better reason to write a tome.

Anonymous Koanic December 05, 2012 2:15 PM  

The conversation with the Hakka tea vendor in Reamde is some of the most jarringly unrealistic, blockheaded and uninsightful dialogue I have ever read.

An instant's glimpse into the perspective of Sokolov is enough to drop him two sex ranks.

Stephenson has no social insight beyond his modern western male middle class nerd perspective. There is more talent in Vox's David short story.

Basically, he writes Facebook-fiction.

Blogger Desert Cat December 05, 2012 2:57 PM  

I'm only about a third of the way through, but have found myself smirking numerous times as I see common themes and concepts from this blog and Alpha Game woven into the story.

Very good so far. I don't think you'll be unseating Tolkien with this one, but a damn fine piece of epic fantasy in an amazing political/religious setting.

Could you have possibly started any more separate story lines in the first few chapters though? Probably my having read A Magic Broken and SE were the only reason I had any inkling of how they might fit together later. Nearly overloaded on the character and place names at first also.

Blogger Desert Cat December 05, 2012 3:01 PM  

Also, you keep killing off your characters. "Damn, there goes ANOTHER one!" I suppose that's one way to deal with the initial overload. LOL!

Anonymous Koanic December 05, 2012 3:14 PM  

His attempt at a plausible explanation for the black terrorist in China fell SO flat. Generating an unreadable singularity of token-diversity-implausibility.

Wonderfully pathetic how he got enough nerdy details right about china while completely missing the human picture. There wasn't a single real Chinese in the book.

There are no interesting people in Stephenson's novels. Only superficial shadows of such.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza December 05, 2012 4:05 PM  

Awesome cover!!

Anonymous David December 05, 2012 4:14 PM  

Looking forward to reading the book. Seeing the map I now have to ask when you plan on licensing out the rights for a board game or wargame based on the IP.

Anonymous Daniel December 05, 2012 4:50 PM  

So...Koanic, if I'm reading your subtleties correctly you aren't yet sold on Stephenson yet?

Prayed twice Crusader Corim.

Anonymous Daniel December 05, 2012 4:52 PM  

Love the Map - wish I'd had it for the otherwise straightforward literary geography of SE. Didn't know that Iron Mountain was THAT far away. A long way for little legs.

Anonymous a_peraspera December 05, 2012 4:53 PM  

Started Throne last night - first impression: irritation at the number of names that end in "us", like Ahenobarbus. I mean, I know it's supposed to be a Rome analogue but geez....

I hope this can be taken as constructive criticism.

Other than that it's good so far.

Anonymous Daniel December 05, 2012 5:19 PM  

Latin is redundant, but it would have been much worse for him to come up with false differences. See also Sauron and Saruman. Otherwise you are going to get stuck with the mighty @#$thOi facing off against Rhonda the Evil Clericess.

Anonymous Koanic December 05, 2012 5:35 PM  

I am saying that Reamde is no more the great American novel than is Ender's Game. Both are geek friendly panders filled with gamma-ey fake humans. They appeal to the spirit of a decadent soon-passing age.

The only value to Reamde, the 64-bit speculation, will age about as well as golden age of sci fi's "rocket ships" obsession, and faster too.

Anonymous Athor Pel December 05, 2012 5:51 PM  

" Koanic December 05, 2012 3:14 PM
...
Wonderfully pathetic how he got enough nerdy details right about china while completely missing the human picture. There wasn't a single real Chinese in the book.

...
"



Do you live in China or have you ever been to China?

Anonymous Koanic December 05, 2012 5:53 PM  

That's not completely fair. Ender's Game at least has the excuse of being children's fiction, written through the eyes of a child. It's perfectly fine for a pre-pubescent male reader, and should therefore enjoy some longevity. Reamde simply confirms the worst adult gamma naivete of its geek audience, providing a conceptually elaborate soporific escape. Great fiction should ennoble, not enervate its audience.

This class of fiction is like the heroic self-made success stories of the 20's-40's. Cartoonish crap nobody reads: wildly popular in its time, forgotten thereafter.

Of course, if you're obsessed with the immediate future of video gaming, that is an adequate excuse. However, the broad popularity of Reamde is simply an indication of the psychic dwarfism of its audience. Or, their failure to adapt to the post Cro-Magnon world.

Yes, I've lived in China for years.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) December 05, 2012 5:55 PM  

I'm starting at the beginning: Summa Elvetica.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 05, 2012 5:55 PM  

Assuming A Magic Broken meets with her approval, I will be ordering the kindle for my wife shortly.

And I agree, L'Amour books have never been a significant challenge to most people's vocabulary.

But of course the purpose of a novel shouldn't be to challenge the reader's vocabulary. It may augment, increase, amplify, magnify, expand, enhance, perhaps even swell the reader's vocabulary, but if the author tries to intentionally up the unique word count, the writing is likely to come across as poor, substandard, mediocre, even wanting.

Anonymous Kyle In Japan December 05, 2012 5:58 PM  

By way of comparison, I was reading through The Eye Of The World before this came out, and pretty much ground to a halt in the middle of it. I thought, "there's no way this series really sucks as much as Vox says, right?"

Well, out of all the fantasy I've read this year (um, a lot), this was by far the most tedious and uninteresting. Halfway through the book, none of the characters are even remotely interesting or engaging, the plot is the exact same sort of thing I've read/played/seen a million times before, and I can't find a single reason to keep reading it.

That being said, Rand isn't as annoying as Vox makes him out to be. At least not yet. He's just totally boring and unmemorable. I can't figure out why Brandon Sanderson - whose books I love - likes WOT so much. His own novels (Mistborn, Stormlight) are much better.

So far, ATOB trashes Wheel of Time in just about every way I can think of. That ought to make Vox feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Anonymous terd December 05, 2012 6:23 PM  

I'll give the book a chance, but it doesn't bode well that you ripped the dedication off from an early 90s pop band.

Anonymous VD December 05, 2012 6:24 PM  

That being said, Rand isn't as annoying as Vox makes him out to be. At least not yet. He's just totally boring and unmemorable.

Give him time. If I recall correctly, he has not yet even begun to whine.

ATOB trashes Wheel of Time in just about every way I can think of. That ought to make Vox feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Your words are like a properly made Milanese cappucino, uplifting and energizing with just a hint of chocolate. By all means, do include that line in your Amazon review....

Anonymous VD December 05, 2012 6:27 PM  

I'll give the book a chance, but it doesn't bode well that you ripped the dedication off from an early 90s pop band.

Have you no romance, sir? Have you no soul? Besides, I was IN an early 90s pop band. That dedication should be the least of your concerns.

Anonymous terd December 05, 2012 6:30 PM  

Surely your pop bad wasn't as terrible as savage garden? Being derivative seems to be something you've embraced, so my concerns seem founded. Like I said, I'll give it a chance.

Anonymous VD December 05, 2012 6:39 PM  

Surely your pop bad wasn't as terrible as savage garden? Being derivative seems to be something you've embraced, so my concerns seem founded. Like I said, I'll give it a chance.

I wouldn't know. I like the one song, which is a tight, well-written pop love song. I know there is another song that I always think is Roxette, but isn't, which sucks and is tedious exactly like Roxette. And I think I heard another song once which was really, really bad dance pop. That is the sum total of my knowledge of the band. I'm more into David Sylvian and Disturbed.

As for embracing the derivative, well, that's certainly true. I have come to terms with it, because I've learned that otherwise my stuff is too out there. Summa Elvetica may be the most structurally original book published in SF/F in 20 years or more; not only did that originality interest absolutely no one, it went so far over people's heads that the whole thing became unintentionally hilarious. See the little dialogue above.

But give it a shot. That's all I'd ask. Perhaps you'll even decide it doesn't suck.

Anonymous VD December 05, 2012 6:46 PM  

As for the band, decide for yourself. It's definitely a terrible 90s video. The sad thing was that it was actually better than the first one Wax Trax! produced. We could have done much better ourselves if they had given us $500 and two days of camera rental.

Anonymous vales3 December 05, 2012 7:05 PM  

Vox,

Awesome sir! Waiting for next pay check then I'm gonna grab the hardcover. I can't wait to read this. I'll have to shove a few books aside but this is going to the top of my list. Hardcover or ebook? No choice. Must get the hardcover. Best of luck with this.

Blogger James Dixon December 05, 2012 8:09 PM  

> But of course the purpose of a novel shouldn't be to challenge the reader's vocabulary.

I didn't say I didn't like L'Amour or that he wasn't a good writer, Jack. In fact, my favorite book of all time is probably "The Daybreakers".

Anonymous Kyle In Japan December 05, 2012 8:21 PM  

"Your words are like a properly made Milanese cappucino, uplifting and energizing with just a hint of chocolate. By all means, do include that line in your Amazon review...."

Well, I fully intend to write a comprehensive and honest review of this when I finish it. Stay tuned...

Anonymous Kyle In Japan December 05, 2012 8:23 PM  

Also, the Psykosonik video kind of reminds me of the intro to Bill Nye The Science Guy.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 05, 2012 9:53 PM  

I didn't say I didn't like L'Amour or that he wasn't a good writer...

Ah, excellent. L'Amour isn't really my favorite author, but I do like him and he is very good. He gets short-shrited because of his genre. Funny, The Daybreakers is like one of my favorite books in one interesting way. Three Men In a Boat is probably my favorite book of all time. It was published in 1889 and the language is a bit archaic - and British - but after a page or so it feels perfectly natural. Sackett's hillbilly yokel jargon is off-putting at first, but after a while it just fades into the story. It's a hell of a trick for an author to pull, writing in a style that ought to be self-conscious and distracting but ultimately isn't in the least.

Blogger Rantor December 05, 2012 10:02 PM  

Quarter of the way through and except for one chapter, it keeps me interested in the stories and wanting more.

The chapter I thought slowed things a little, the one with the family at the games, the female character bored by it all, had me bored by it all. So I guess it was well written as I was submerged in the characters boredom.

Wy am I reading this when I should be back in the story?

Blogger DmL December 05, 2012 11:24 PM  

@Corim: You're on my mind.

@Daniel: That was the most hilarious thing I've ever read, "when the story would begin." I've been laughing for the last 10 minutes.

@Vox: Bought the ePub just now, perfect use of my leftover paypal balance. I loved the structure of SE, don't call me nobody! Are you the bald one in the video?

Blogger Markku December 06, 2012 12:24 AM  

Aaaand THERE he is.

Blogger Duke of Earl December 06, 2012 2:13 AM  

About a third of the way in and there are still a couple of interesting characters that haven't been killed off yet. Just saying.

Otherwise, good book.

Anonymous Ferd December 06, 2012 3:59 AM  

"Do you seriously need help with the concept of a unique word? Yes, making up words and having a lot of names will add to the total, as will simply writing a lot of words, but if you look at the difference between Eco, Stephenson, and Joyce on the one hand, and L'Amour, Asimov, and Rowling on the other, the difference is very, very clear. The former run from 14k to 30k unique words per book, the latter run from 7k to 9k."

I find it amazing " The Throne of Bones" has that many "made-up" names and words. I will have to read the book and count them. It is impressive that someone took the time to keep track of them all. Granted, "Lord of the Rings" does have some whacky names that you never hear in regular conversation.

It might an incentive for people to buy the novel!

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 06, 2012 4:50 AM  

Well if you want to talk made-up words in a novel then it's pretty hard to beat Burgess's original "A Clockwork Orange" where practically every fourth word is made up. Granted they aren't made up from scratch they have a linguistic basis, mostly Russian, but still. Tolkien's words are largely derived from stuff like Old Anglo-Saxon, aren't they?

btw, always hated Kubrick's movie version of "Clockwork." Very original production design, it's cool but it's all wrong; everything in that movie gets it wrong. It looks rather nice on its own terms, but lawd, what a ghastly piece of crap.

Blogger James Dixon December 06, 2012 10:57 AM  

> Sackett's hillbilly yokel jargon is off-putting at first...

Not if you grew up in Appalachia.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 06, 2012 5:26 PM  

Sackett's hillbilly yokel jargon is off-putting at first...

Not if you grew up in Appalachia.


Folks there can read? Next your going to tell me they have dentists too. I've seen too many Hollywood movies to believe that.


Ordered the Kindle version of ATOB and read through the preview on Amazon. I have to say, as far as predictability, it has an odd sort of post-hoc predictability. Several times after reading a sentence I found myself thinking "Of course Vox would write that..."

Blogger Desert Cat December 06, 2012 11:57 PM  

"Of course Vox would write that..."

Yeh, the story has Vox written all over it. Surprise that, eh?

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