But before the reasonably large Old Man’s War news, a quick link to this review of OMW, from Dave Munger. His review is from a relatively unique perspective, since we went to college together, and he married a dormmate of mine. One of the things Dave notes is that “the book seems practically made with the screenplay in mind,” which is an observation more than one person has made, including my agent, who once asked me if I had written it as a screenplay first and then adapted it into a novel.
Truth to be told, neither this book nor any other book I’ve written has been fashioned with an eye toward turning it into a movie, because if nothing else that would seem a bit precipitate on my part; if you’re aiming past your book to the screenplay, chances are you’re not actually writing a very good book. However, I also don’t deny the books feel screenplay-like: I use quite a lot of dialogue to carry story, and I also have three act structure to most of what I write, which is standard issue for screenplays. Why do I do this? Well, for the former it’s because I find dialogue easy to write; for the latter, well, I have been a movie critic of one sort or another for a dozen years, you know. It’s gonna seep in.
As to whether OMW or any other of the books will sell to Hollywood: You got me. Prudence and a realistic grip on things suggests “no,” if only because movie companies are quite literally flooded with pitch ideas from sun up to sun down, and when my agent pitches these, it’s just one more drop in the flood. And of course I’d rather have a book go unsold than to be made into a movie by, say, Paul W.S. Anderson. But in short, the books I write are written to be what they are, not with the intent of transmuting them to some other form. If it happens, swell. But if not, they’re still fine in the form in which they exist.
Now the reasonably large news: As many of you know, Old Man’s War was bought with the idea of it having a hardcover release followed by a mass-market (i.e., ordinary-sized) paperback about a year later. Well, plans have changed; Tor has revamped the strategy. In between the hard cover and mass market paperback, there will now be a trade paperback release (those are the larger, glossier paperbacks) which will feature new cover art by John Harris (he did the art for this book, and this one, too).
The idea is to use the trade paperback edition to take advantage of some of the good press OMW has gotten so far, and to help set the stage for the Ghost Brigades hard cover, which will follow on the release of the OMW trade paperback. This is of course good news — I’m deeply pleased Tor believes in the book enough to make the additional effort. This is yet another reason why I’m glad Tor is my publisher, and that I am pleased to be in their stable of writers.
And for those collectors among you, it’s another reason to snatch up the hard cover: Not only for the relatively small first printing, but now the hardcover cover art will become something of a rare specimen. Makes me glad I went ahead and bought the original.