What a long strange trip it’s been…

20 September 2017

The System Knows Everything...

Paperback Day! (In which I am King of Everything, Ever)

05 February 2009

Happy author

Yeehaw! It’s paperback publication day!

Right then! Toggle the disambiguation engine, fire up the structural declunkifier, step up the reactor power three more triangles! I’m ready to go! Tell my soldiers I said this: that today is our great day, our shining moment! We shall march forth from this confinement and we shall sluice the wickedness from the world of letters, we shall shatter the oppressive chains of mediocrity, we shall…


There’s nothing for me to do?



That’s just weird.


Actually, there are a couple of things I can do. I can mention Charles Lambert and Charles Cumming, both of whom have paperbacks out around now and who are superb and talented people despite being, of course, the competition, and therefore when my dark armies swarm like crawling flies across the face of the Earth and I am crowned on a throne of iced and gold-leafed chocolate by Fidel Castro, Tricia Helfer, and Kinky Friedman, and Mrs Harkaway is carried to my side by the entire cast of Mama Mia, I shall outlaw the name Charles and make them wear the pointy slippers and tinfoil hats of opprobrium, and they shall write only for the royal line, lest someone get the idea that they ought to be king instead of me.

Yes, really, this is how I think about the world.


I can also confirm that the Barnes & Noble on 86th & 2nd in the great city of New York is filled with awesome people! Step forward Irene, Christine, and Daniel, whom I met last week and who are superfantastic in all ways. Seriously. Go find these people, seek them out, marry them, give them beer, offer them early-release copies of your best television and films. Forget Andie MacDowell, these guys are worth it. (And that applies to Doug and Meredith, too, even if I didn’t get to meet you this time. And guys, in general, I cannot believe we did not take a single picture. I destroyed the work ethic in your store for an entire afternoon and there is no photographic evidence. How much do we suck?)


I can also point out that if anyone wants to spend a thousand dollars making me happy (and isn’t thinking of giving that money to Reprieve, who need it just as much now as they did last year, by the way, because although President Obama is amazing he does not actually exhale perfect legislation and enlightened behaviour along with the smell of dollars, love, and eucalyptus) they should buy me a keyboard from Datamancer. Or maybe better yet, pay the guy a massive sum to pimp my Prius.

Can you imagine? Wow.


And I can talk briefly about the weird, cool process of translation. The Gone-Away World is now being translated into Italian, French, German, and Russian. It’s fascinating to watch – so many things you take for granted are just not there. In Italian, for example, the word for “silverback” doesn’t have the same connotations as it does in English, so we can’t use that description for Humbert Pestle. There’s no translation for “pencilneck”.

As I look at it, it seems to me there will be places where I should write a couple of extra lines to introduce a concept which works differently in English – so if we end up using “calamari” and “leviathan” instead of “pencilneck” and “silverback” (which may or may not work in Italian, by the way, I just came up with it a second ago) I’ll maybe do a thing talking about how squid have their fingers in everything and grow up to be corporate monsters devouring everything they can, and so on. And that will only ever exist in the translation. (Well, okay, if I do it I’ll also publish the English text here, for fun.)

Really interesting, though. Mind-expanding, even.


It’s paperback day.


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Cheers, NH





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