First: Embarq appears to have pulled its head out and restored my Internet connectivity. Yes, I missed you too. No, don’t hug me.
Second: Tor has gotten its shipment of Zoe’s Tale Advance Reading Copies and sent me a couple, which makes me happy. Now it looks like a book! The ARC is taken from the first pass of edits, so there are little fiddly bits still in the text (for example, the hermaphrodite characters are still occasionally referred to as “he”), but people who read ARCs are generally aware that most of the fiddly bits will get fixed before the final printing. They won’t hold a little inappropriate gendering against me, hopefully.
The arrival of ARC is also interesting because it means the book is going out to reviewers and critics, and as always it’ll be interesting to see what they think of the book. Naturally, I hope they like it. I also hope they figure out what I was doing with it, in terms of Zoe, who I think with this book becomes one of the more fully-realized characters I’ve written. Early on in the writing process I got feedback from the Tor marketers, who were concerned about the title and suggested we might want to think about something else; we communally thought about it but eventually “Zoe’s Tale” won out. I’m glad it did, because it is precisely descriptive of what goes on in the book. It really is about Zoe, and her growing up over a certain stretch of time. We’ll see what they think.
I know what I think: I’m pretty happy with this book. And I think Zoe — the character — is a kick. I hope in August, when most of you will have a chance to spend some time with her, you’ll feel the same way about her, too.