In the Shadow of Summer…
Just an update, given that the inevitable summer disruption of my habitual routines seems to have already commenced.
First, SFF World aficionados were kind enough to include The Prince of Nothing in their top twenty all time best fantasy series.
Second, I gave a version of a science fiction novella I wrote entitled White Rain Country to my agent, who loves it. Hopefully, I should have some publication news soon.
I also submitted the short story solicited by the esteemed Midwest Studies in Philosophy for their special issue on philosophy and science fiction. Apparently there’s some worries about the ‘uncooked’ nature of the content, so some kind revisions might be necessary.
And lastly, things keep dragging on with my publishers regarding The Unholy Consult. My delay turning the manuscript in and the quick turnover of editorial staff in the industry means that no one was up to speed on the series–but six months on from submission, and still we have no word. My fear (not my agent’s) is that they might be re-evaluating their commitment to the series–the way all publishers are reviewing their commitments to their midlist authors. I know for a fact that other publishers are interested in snapping the series up, so there’s no need to organize a wake, but who knows what kind of delay would result. Perhaps shooting them emails explaining why they should believe this series will continue growing might help? I dunno.
The market only grows more and more crowded, and still there’s nothing quite like The Second Apocalypse. Distinction is key in this day and age…
I note not a single graphic novel or comic book/manga made the list. This echoes the prejudice of the World Fantasy Association, which voted to exclude such things from consideration for Fantasy Awards after Neigh Gaiman’s The Sandman: A Midsummer’s Night Dream won in the short story category.
And of course, perish the thought that some Japanese or Korean writer/artist might break into the list via some manga or anime series.
I fear I don’t understand: do best of manga lists include western novels?
Exsqueeze me? White Rain Country? Is this one I have not heard of?
Also, it would be helpful to know where to direct our onslaught of e-mails? Where might our words engage to the greatest effect?
Hope this finds the Bakker Clan well. Cheers, buddy.
Absolutely! Who do we need to nag?
Someone at Westeros.org suggested email@example.com.
Happy Father’s Day Scott!
Thank you, bolivar. It was a special one, to be sure.
I never stop writing, Mike, even when I swear mighty oaths to stop writing! WRC was meant to be a short story, but it got away from me. How’s summer treating you?
Never stop writing, man. The world needs writers who approach genre the way you do.
As for where to send the emails, I haven’t the foggiest! I suspect all I’m trying to do is duck blame: I’ve stopped reading emails from people I don’t know simply because I’ve had too many days ruined by well-meaning vitriol.
What’s really sad is the fact that there are too many crappy things being published that should’ve never seen the light of day. The critical appraisal of fiction has gone by the wayside. Publishers are only after the fast buck, rather than providing literature that is of quality. So they publish as much garbage as possible in their search of profits. Capitalism as its maximus terminius…
Here’s hoping you’ll find a path forward, buddy …. 😉
Hell, even your present works in e-book format would be nice: is this coming? I keep checking amazon and other sites but haven’t seen it change? Problem for my old eyes is the small print in paperbacks… just can’t read for long periods of time the smaller print like I used too… tires my eyes, so the digital version can be upsized and I can enjoy your works for hours on end. Dam them…
I’m not sure it’s ever been any different, except that the continued erosion of revenues has made everyone even more risk averse.
This issue with e-books is becoming something of a imbroglio. We’ve been told that it’s being ‘looked after’ several times now.
I understand. Yea, the corporate snakes have of late begun pulling the plug on e-book prices as well. So I expect most e-books will become exorbitantly jacked up to the point that many will stop buying again. That, of course, will have the opposite effect these jackals were hoping for: more profits in their coiffeurs. Once again the Cult of Capital becomes its own worst enemy: profit as self-destruct sequence…
Criticality is cheaper than SAMs choice bottled tap water, craig. the situation is just such that he can no longer police the attentional orientation of the masses.
Do we start emailing Orbit? Maybe hit them up on social media as well?
I genuinely have no idea: rocking the boat a bit can’t be a bad thing at this stage. I haven’t even been assigned editors yet.
Seriously fuck Orbit. i will be emailing those sons of bitches today. If they screw you over I swear to all the gods in all the realms that I will never buy anything from Orbit ever again and I will get on every major forum I can think of and curse their name to the end of days.
The Second Apocalypse is simply TOO important to not see it released to conclusion. There is absolutely NOTHING like it in speculative fiction period. It is touching on concepts and exploring themes in a way that nothing else has even attempted in fantasy. I would literally pay hundreds to get a copy of The Unholy Consult. THAT IS HOW FUCKING GOOD IT IS. Excuse my language but your publisher is pissing me off.
Keep fighting the good fight. Tons of fans out here who have your back. Keep us informed as to how we can help. We will fight this fight with you.
We may just have to rally Orbit into action!
Who’s with me?
Whenever and wherever The Unholy Consult arrives, I look forward to it with great anticipation, I’m not getting younger however.
Have a great week.
Thank you, Kenny. When the flood gates do finally open, I suspect you will be pleased, both quality and quantity wise. Swimming makes you young!
Will try to pester overlook.
What does ‘uncooked’ mean, Scott – you try to jam genre too much or get a wee bit ghetto in your delivery?
Good luck with it all!
Sex. Violence. You know the drill. All those things philosophy journals are only ever ‘about,’ and rarely even then.
All I read so far was like half of Light, Time, and Gravity. I was somewhat blown away by what I read. You really just nail the undulating and sprawling delirium, but also the claustrophobic immananece, of time and memory. It’s really where the BBH sunk it’s teeth into me. Like “fuck, what if this thing is right…”
Rewriting LTG is actually high on my list, but I really feel that the next two books in the fantasy series are going to cement things. Typically, embarking on side projects outside your primary genre is just a way for established writers to rediscover how crushingly difficult things were as a first time writer. I’ve resolved to experiment with timing as far as LTG is concerned.
Will hound Overlook. It’s unconscionable that they have been sitting on it for so long.
I can’t wait for Mimara to see Kellhus with the judging eye! Though I suspect I know what happens…
Orbit books: http://www.orbitbooks.net/contact-us/
Below is what I submitted. Use your own name, at least. And Bakker, for the record, I am of course being overly generous with praise. But hell, gotta fill that hole on the bookcase somehow, and I ain’t going to do it with Seswatha’s burning heart, am I?
I am a big fan of R Scott Bakker’s work in both the Prince of Nothing and Aspect-Emperor series. R Scott Bakker has created some of the most imaginative and creative science fiction writing with a deeply thoughtful and intelligent philosophical core.
As I understand it, the final book of the Aspect-Emperor series resides with Orbit and is awaiting some editorial review. Can I please encourage you to look at this title and push it towards publication?
(owner of all the books published to date in physical and ebook form)’
I sent my own version of your letter, ptolpa, rewritten a bit so it doesn’t just look like a carbon copy. Here’s hoping it helps.
Scott, enjoy your summer schedule disruption!
Should I use the Australian branch to contact, as that’s where I am? Or the UK one?
I sent Orbit an email about a month ago and never got a reply, hopefully more people writing will shake them up a bit. I really want to read the Unholy Consult!
I sent a ‘sternly worded letter’ to Overlook and Orbit, which really wasn’t stern or a letter, but it did have some words.
I basically said it would be a really bad idea to sit on this book for any longer than they already have. Who knows if it even gets to anyone that can actually make a difference though.
In most circumstances, authors have a primary publisher (in this case, I’ll guess Overlook) who handles editing, copy-editing and so on, and then that finalised copy is sent to the international publishers to prepare for publication. In that case, Orbit’s hands may be tied until Overlook gets a move on. I will enquire with Orbit, but that would appear to be the most likely scenario at this point. I know Scott’s books do very well for Orbit and they are keen to publish the book, so I doubt the hold-up is at their end.
I have said it before that the lack of a major US SFF publisher being on board with the series, getting it on the shelves and getting some marketing behind it is to its detriment, not to the mention the long delay in getting US paperbacks out. Overlook obviously took a big chance with the series, have given it some great cover art and their backing was strong up to WLW, but to take the series to its full potential may be now be beyond them. A move to, for example, Orbit USA would be massively beneficial. However, separating the rights to a series-in-progress and moving it to a new publisher is extraordinarily difficult. Just ask the excellent Paul Kearney, whose superb SEA-BEGGARS trilogy has been held up incomplete, despite the final book being finished, for almost nine years now because Bantam US refuse to either publish the last book or release the rights to Solaris, who are very keen to publish it.
To summarise, publishing is insane.
To help, I would also suggest tweeting Overlook and maybe Orbit (although their ability to act may be limited), following Scott (if you don’t already) and the Scott Bakker Fan Page as well. Pitiful as it may seem, publishers put insane stock in their authors’ social media presence and those 830-odd followers for Scott are not great numbers. I’d hope that Overlook would instead remember the quarter million plus copies of the books that they’ve shifted so far (for a publisher their size, that’s pretty damn good), but then see the summary above.
Reblogged this on Leona's Blog of Shadows and commented:
R. Scott Bakker explains the delay of Unholy Consult, the long awaited third book of his Aspect-Emperor series. The whole reason I haven’t started reading this series yet is cause the third book isn’t out yet and I’m tired of waiting for The Winds of Wintger by George R.R. Martin and Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss. The only unfinished series I started reading are from Mark Lawrence and Daniel Polansky cause they write the whole series ahead of time so it’s guaranteed a new book will come out every year.
Let’s help Mr. Bakker by bugging his publisher to hurry up the release of Unholy Consult!
The whole reason I haven’t started reading Aspect-Emperor is the lack of a release date for Unholy Consult. I guess I will do my part to bug the publisher to hurry it up. GRRM and Rothfuss made me shy away from incomplete series.
Off topic but interesting in regards to memory/identity and public responce (well, public as in posters on reddit) : http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/3b2cek/brain_connections_last_as_long_as_the_memories/
I just sent Overlook an email as well, and have a large group of friends who love the Prince of Nothing series doing the same as well. Cant tell you how many times Ive googled ‘Horns of Golgotterath’ later changed to ‘Unholy Consult’ release date over the past few years. We gotta help get this sucker published! Best of luck Mr. Bakker, love your work
Rattling the cage:
Scott, for your info, I mailed Overlook ( firstname.lastname@example.org is indeed the address as I posted at Westeros) back in April asking about TUC, as I periodically do, and I was told that they did not have a specific date, but that “it will be published sometime in 2016”. I felt somewhat re-assured at the time but from your posts here it seems the contact between your side and Overlook is very poor indeed. It’s strange to me that that they would not be able or willing to provide you or your agent with a date, or any sort of solid info, or that you do not even have an editor for a manuscript submitted at the start of the year. I know the editing process can be a time consumer, even a major publisher like Tor can mess that up. But it seems like they aren’t even giving you guys basic info. Surely they can say what they think of the book, whether they still intend to publish it, and if yes, roughly when that would be? It all sounds very unprofessional.
How bizarre would it be for them not to publish the 6th book, after having published the first five?
And on a related note, I am becoming quite outraged at all of this.
We have been waiting for years already. The absolute last thing we need is for the publisher to start playing coy and delay the release of the book. I hope others will continue to be bothering them until we at least have a response from Overlook.
I called Overlook a week or so ago to ask about TUC. Nice young lady said she didn’t know but would have someone call me. No one called. I also emailed that day. No one responded.
So, today, I called back. Got the same young lady who checked with her sales team (whom, she eventually told me, know better about production schedules and timelines than she) and shared that TUC not currently on their schedule or production timeline.
I asked what hold ups there might be, since the manuscript is finished and shared that I (and others) have been waiting a considerable time for the novel. I also noted that I was keenly interested in purchasing TUC and was curious why they weren’t moving forward on completed manuscripts. No responses to any of this, except to share that they’re a small publishing house and as a result could alter course quickly and move to starting the publication process abruptly.
So, two thoughts:
First, that last part makes me think everyone should be calling (their U.S. number is (212) 673-2210, their contact page is http://www.overlookpress.com/contact-us) and asking and reiterating our interest in giving them money in exchange for a book that’s already been written. They want to change abruptly? Let’s help encourage them.
Second, Scott: any chance you want to send a copy of your manuscript my way for “review?” I’d be happy to make a donation to you or your kid’s college fund or a cause of your choosing in exchange. That is to say, if Overlook wants to get in the way of their consumers, I’m open to circumnavigating them. I’ve been waiting a long time to reach Golgotterath, and I’ve resisted the urge to read the posted draft chapters until I could read the full story… But desperate times…
The chapter excerpt is fairly non-spoilery but I commend you rare breeds who have not read any of TAE in hopes of reading it all at once.
Also, that’s interesting that she mentioned that they could change their focus abruptly. How abrupt could that potentially be?
HEY OVERLOOK ( ° ͜ʖ͡°)╭∩╮
I know zero about publishing, but could it be that Overlook is intentionally dragging its feet due to the uncertainty about the publication date of The Winds of Winter? In other words, they don’t want to publish TUC at or around the time TWOW is released because they are afraid it will negatively affect sales of TUC, but they can’t pin down a target publication date to minimize this risk without knowing the anticipated publication date for TWOW.
Personally, I’m putting down whatever I’m reading once TUC is finally available, but it’s just a thought.
A friend of mine refers to Prince of Nothing/Second Apocalypse as the True Detective of novels, because like True Detective, it’s so much better than what else is out there. Maybe you could get Nic Pizzolotto to put that endorsement on the series?
I think the best way to get the publisher’s attention is if everyone that reads Prince of Nothing makes it their personal responsibility to get at least two other people each year to pick up the series and to have them recruit two more people themselves, etc. I plug this series at every opportunity.
I also thought the article in Grimdark was a great idea. I’ve tried books by several authors featured in there that I wasn’t familiar with.
I’m in a tough position simply because I’m such a bloody wanker, I think. I’ve read Thacker’s In the Dust of this Planet, which I’ve read that Pizzolotto likes (I still haven’t gotten around to the Ligotti book he also recommends), and like so much speculation on meaning in the shadow of modernity, it lacks any real theory of meaning, and so amounts to more riffing on the themes of the semantic apocalypse, rather than getting down into the guts of things. Most people don’t like the guts.
Maybe someone should send him Neuropath. I received a film rights query not so long ago, in fact. But I want someone serious to give it a whack.
Lol, you have the most off-handed manner of delivering news :P.
Was it a serious option for film rights? I read recently that “post-human” is the new hip television/movie milieu. I just reread Neuropath, actually, and it’s inspired me to grind over a TPB guest post, somewhere in the commons between yourself and Ben, if you’re interested.
I’ve fielded a good number of these requests over the years, so they don’t get me all that excited. If the offer were serious, then my film agent would let me know as much.
As for the guest post, I’m totally interested: send it over Mike!
I’m reading Pizzolotto’s short story collection, just to break-up the endless parade of genre fiction I’ve been reading and not enjoying that much — a good literary palette cleanser for me. Might read his novel after.
I haven’t read Thacker, but it sounds sort of like Cole’s line of patter in TD. Sounds great when stoned and it really does make the show stand out compared to others as well as providing a balance to Marty’s way of looking at the world, but ultimately kind of flimsy for a novel.
Thacker’s brilliant – don’t get me wrong. But he’s in the symptom description business, the level pretty much anyone can access. I’m all diagnosis… not very inspirational stuff, artistically speaking.
Maybe the purpose of diagnosis is to discover a cure? Cures can be inspirational things and there is a lot of artistic content in an elegant solution (so speaks the mathematician).
Neuropath directed by Gaspar Noe would be the most frightening thing ever.
Perhaps unwatchable. The man has certainly left scars on my visual psyche. Irreversible remains the movie I would most like to unwatch… thus the title.
Will do. My computer is out of commission for another week or so and in the interim I’m writing by hand. Cheers.
Shit, let’s hope your agent’s on the money, here. As you say, I can’t imagine that other publishers would pass by the Second Apocalypse, but this foot-dragging must be screamingly frustrating. Damn we need to agitate, educate, organise for a Netflix series.
I want to know what happens to the Violence Lord of the scars of non-emo kill lists. I think he was chasing a clone monster creature and then chatted with a bird monster man faced nogod minion. BUt I never get what happens to him? Did the bird eat him? Did he die of old age? Did he go to a mtn monk retirement home? Was he slain by a dark cloaked killer by order of K?
I admit I do not much like the nasty freakish deviant sex parts. So I skimmed now and then much like that RR Martin stuff – I have to skim his agony man on man violence too.
Anyway, I wish you Scott B. a long life- not for your sake but for my own selfish pleasure. I would hope you stay mid-rich and does not wax huge and 300 dollar brandy filled like that Martin fellow who likely will die in a hot tub of a fat clotted heart – God forbid it I pray….
No no God save your Soul regardless Mr. Bakker.
Thanks for all your writing – of Course as a US Marine Sailor of the Seas of fate who served The Empire under Sith Lord Lt Cols. I too had a great ordeal in wastelands on crusades… (Oatmeal Cookie Killer Lord of Violent hard cutting MRE pooping) But, I was kind and never hurt any civilians. I like to think the radar locking bunker hiding troops who got 2000 pound bombed in those Arab Wastes whilst I was there were Coptic Christians and went straight to Heaven after hot white phosphorus death. Regrettable; If I could do it all again I would have joined the Coast Guard and got stationed on Lake Tahoe confiscating beers from bikini clad coeds.
So ever and anon I thank you Scott- if you want to come shoot up some targets with my AR 15 rifle and 9 mil pistol here in Arkansas on my acres Mr Scott B. you will be my guest and the ammo is on me. You can teach me your Canadian Lumber skills too – I have quality Fiskars tree slaying weapons for you to employ. Not saying you have to work though – the bbq is on me.
Cheers and I will email that publisher right after this! I also am prodding my local libro to get your book – though months back they said Unholy Consult was e-read file only not physical.
Cool beans! Cheers back at you, and congrats on returning whole and trim. Scary times. Do you mean Cnaiur at the end of the Thousandfold Thought?
Yes Cnaiur- I did not write his name as I was afraid to misspell it I guess you mastered that. Anyway i was hoping he would get some no-men regen potion magic and get young again and become a somewhat better fellow. Even Conan the pirate thief becomes a sort of good King in his social development.
Anyway, sorry late reply- I have no internet at my tick invested razorback off the grid place.I am at a Starbucks now.