A Sample Chapter of The Ghost Brigades
Posted on July 5, 2006 Posted by John Scalzi 14 Comments
This is another one of those “no one tells the author anything” moments: Apparently Holtzbrinck, the publishing multinational which owns Tor Books, has a blog thingie called Chapter Feeds, on which, as you might surmise from the name, are posted sample chapters from various books that are published within the warm and friendly confines of the Holtzbrinck empire, with the hope that you’ll be so taken with the chapter that you’ll rush out and buy the book.
And today, the chapter they put up was mine: The first chapter of The Ghost Brigades, right there for you to peruse. You know, if you want. Not that I was told this was going to happen, of course. Not like I might want to direct people there. Harumph, harumph.
Anyway, the Chapter Feed site is actually quite nice and friendly, and the chapters posted have a nice range of subjects to them (for SF fans, in addition to my chapter, there’s a chapter of Toby Buckell’s Crystal Rain up as well). My only complaint as an author is that the site doesn’t provide a book seller link with the sample chapters, which seems to me a lost opportunity. I mean, if you’re going to try to give the reader an itch, you might as well make it as easy as possible for her to scratch. But otherwise, nifty.
So you haven’t already picked up TGB (or, for that matter, Crystal Rain), now’s your chance to get a free taste. Entirely legally! Enjoy.
Great site! I’ve already read and enjoyed The Ghost Brigades, so no help there, but thanks to Chapter Feeds I won’t be buying Lovers and Players by Jackie Collins.
I finally gave up on getting OMW from a local store; and I ordered from Amazon a few weeks ago. I read OMW yesterday, and started on TGB. I expect I’ll finish tonight. Good stuff, and the first chapter is a decent enough grabber (though the first chapter of OMW was probably more engrossing).
Or as the late great Jim Baen said of sample chapters, “the first taste is free.”
I’ve already read and enjoyed The Ghost Brigade. Yet I’ve been hooked by many a sample chapter.
I can vouch for the free taste working — my fiance arrived home today carrying The Ghost Brigades and announced that “after reading 45 pages, I will be buying everything this guy has ever written”.
So thanks! I’ve been trying to get him to read science fiction for years and you did it in 45 pages. :)
If it’s any consolation, nobody tells the editor anything either. Your post is the first I ever heard of “Chapter Feeds.”
If someone, somewhere, isn’t, in the manner of a Zen student having their hands rapped raw, being illuminated, all this is quite a waste, no? I’m sure you understand.
A random thought that is vaguely related.
When I started college, I was asked what I wanted to do with my life by my father, who, basicaly was, in fact, asking “how much money you gonna make to take care of me.” But in truth, I went to university (purdue) for engineer, and thats what I wanted to do, I wanted to build a thing, but I really wanted to be a Marine, and I dropped out of college to be a Marine. (that previous is relatively insignificant)
I always had an answer of “what I wanted to do with my life” and Being a Marine was at the top of my list, but the underlying question of what do I want to do for the REST of my life, was “what would make you happy for the rest of your life?” I found 3 answers. The first was a childhood memory, I was raised in a city, that was rather smallish, but significant enough that it deserves more credit than it gets, and every day when I walked to school, I would pass up a bakery.
I would love to become a baker, and own a bakery, and to hier a few other bakers, to prepare breads and pastries for anyone who crossed my path, this was, in fact, supported by my time in the Marine Corps, cuz any Marine who ever served on Camp Kinser, in Okinawa, ran outside the camp lines, and smelled that FRIGGEN AWESOME sweet savory bakery preparing the morning bread, my gut would cramp (and I was something of a stud back then) at 5:30 am oki time, and it made me remember how wonderful it was to walk into celena’s (thats the old woman who owned the bakery) baker every morning on my way into school, to by ONE eclair, or 2 sugar cookies, or the 3″ american equivalent of a baggette.
So I always wanted to own a bakery.
Also, Pretty much all of my friends were musicians, or fanatical fans of music, so, I wanted to be a manager, a producer, a sound engineer, a studio manager or some such, so I could experience that.
third, and this is the one that I dedicated the most time to. I wanted to be an editor, but then I realized, that I had friends who actually wrote stories, or books, granted, they weren’t good, but I always wanted to find a way to kick off a local publishing company, not so I could be rich, I don’t give one flying F about money, i can live off of about 5K a year, and sometimes I do. But I want people with talent to have a venue with which they can show their talent.
Movies are lazy, and expensive, the writen word is cheap, and it exists only on the passion and desire of the author, who benefits from the input of an editor.
I would say the most overweighted “artform” in terms of income is the written word. A 280 page book doesn’t cost 9 bucks cuz of diversity, but rather from BAD! non-fiction speculation, and publisher arrogance. I wish daily that I had the cash to finance a real literary publishing house.
I would go broke (if I wasn’t already) just to give people a chance. You said it took years for “Old Mans War” to hit the presses? WHY!?
Your language was flogging BRILLIANT! You used old mans sentimentality when he was old, young mans language, as though it was a foreign language to his tongue, and then you combined the two all at once the day he was rescued, and moved at last as an envoy to the conzu, and finaly against the wrey! You Manipulated the language of the old and the young perfectly, the sensations of the old and the young, and the middle ground in such a way, that you don’t even really root for the protagonist, as you do for Sagan!
GREAT! form, great writing, and You will win the hugo, assuming the voters read the people they are voting for.
Wickedpinto…just how many of those caffeinated mints have you had tonight? ‘Cause it sounds like you’re about to rupture something if you don’t take a breath in there somewhere. (Spleen, maybe.)
They weren’t caffeinated, that would make me crazy :)
But no, I just thought of a childhood dream, and then I expanded on it, in my early adulthood, and the only memories I find pleasant in my later, though not yet LATE adulthood.
Everyone has dreams of what they want to experience, and know and be, and I have that habit of speaking thoroughly on a personal level, thats why that last of mine was so . . . . verbose Soni.
I’m unwilling to tell a lie, and when I speak oddly, or outside of normal forms, I feel the need to share a story to go with it.
I Just happened to share 3 truths, one possible, the other two being hypothetical fantasies. I dream about being the guy who can make enough money, to invest into the art that others create.
I care NOTHING of money? Soni? Because I don’t create things, I was at best a mediocre engineering student, but while I helped my musician friends? I pushed them towards accomplishment, though I failed.
I Loved the pastries of my childhood, and I loved the music of my friends, and I loved the efforts of my friends and acquaintences in literature though they were not at all accomplished, I HOPED that, while I’m not a fraction of their creative power, I hoped that I could be monetarily powerful enough to support them, even if it had taken everything from me.
That was my point Soni, understand?
Ever care about something that you yourself couldn’t take part of? I was Marine, I was AWESOME! but Marines can’t really work to that dream. Most of my life fantasies have to do with supporting other peoples goals, I’m lucky enough to know many people with GREAT talent, MUCH greater than I.
Would you disagree, that the people I know are probably more talented in their various foci, than I? :)
Yay! I’ve linked to that in a discussion forum now along with my recommendations of the books.
I’ll also look into some of the other books featured there.
Being able to read a sample of a book before ordering can make a big difference – in fact, I bought OMW after reading the first chapter on Amazon. It just spoke to me, so I had to buy it.
I don’t think I would’ve bought it if it wasn’t for that sample.
As surprised as you and Patrick were to see this, I’m sure that Jennifer Fallon will be equally surprised to learn that (according to the copyright notice) she wrote TGB.
Short-period comets have elliptical orbits.
Not in my universe!
That was an interesting insight and I think you are unique in that you’ve listed three specific areas you have interest in (most people are lucky to be able to list one) and you want to be a helper instead of the doer. Not may people opt for that role.
Now that you are ‘post-Marine’ how do you fill your time?
Dayum, son — that was an amazing chapter. And yes, I’ll be buying the book.