Now, About That Novella

Since people seem to be curious about it, here’s what’s up with the novella I just finished.

First: It’s called The God Engines. If the title seems vaguely familiar to fans/stalkers/others, it would be because last year Locus suggested in one of its upcoming title features that I would have a novella with that title for sale in April ’09 (i.e., right now). That information was a result of a miscommunication; nobody’s fault, it just happens.

Second: It’s fantasy. Why fantasy? Well, because I’d never written fantasy before, and I thought it would be interesting to try, and writing something novella-length seemed a whole lot less pressure that writing something novel length. And it was; aside from the usual procrastination issues of me being distracted by shiny objects, this one moved along nicely in the writing. It’s also dark fantasy, because I thought, hell, as long as I’m doing something different, might as well exercise a whole bunch of different writing muscles. Which brings us to our third point:

Third: It’s a lot different than what I usually write. Not just in subject matter but in tone and style and such. It’s always good to try new things to see if you can do them. And again, novella-length was a good length to try this stuff out in. I don’t doubt it’ll confuse some readers — I had that happen with “The Sagan Diary” as well, which was another short work drastically different from what I’d done before — but hey, that’s what happens from time to time.

Fourth: I’m pretty happy with it. Which is nice, because I hate working on something for a while just to figure out I don’t want anyone else on the planet to see it. This one was fun to write, as noted, but I also think it’ll be fun for people to read, and it’ll be interesting to see the reactions to it (as again, it was interesting to see the reactions to “The Sagan Diary” when people read that).

Fifth: TGE will be published by Subterranean Press as a standalone book, in the usual excellent and special-nifty Subterranean Press style, and will most likely show up either late this year or early next year. We’re still figuring out all that stuff. Quite clearly I’ll let you all know the details when I know them.

And that’s where things are with that.

23 Comments on “Now, About That Novella”

  1. Oh, crap. Another gorgeous SubPress Scalzi book I’m gonna hafta go buy and enjoy. Can’t you just stick to the free blogging? It’s easier on my wallet.

  2. Well, acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to recovery. I’m glad to see you now have your DSL line plugged in again and your priorities straight. Now where’s that 6,000 word discourse on Somali pirates we’re all waiting for?

  3. davidhill76 – Well, I never really know what to say here. I'm complex, just like everyone else. I love Finance, working out, and helping people and that's what most of my blog is about.
    David Hill

    Well I, personally, can’t wait to read it.

  4. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang

    Oh, cool! Looking forward to reading it. I’ll have to google “dark fantasy” (dork fantasy of course yields the obvious results) for other works in the genre. Unless you care to recommend some.

    Guess I’ll have to finally crack the spine on Richard K Morgan’s Steel Remains while I’m at it. This is of course after finishing Starfish. Gotta go. gotta read.

  5. “Third: It’s a lot different than what I usually write. ”

    Are you saying there’s no snarky characters in it? If there’s no snark, I’m not reading it.

    (just kidding)

  6. This will be interesting. How exactly do you put a large fart joke into a “Dark Fantasy”? I for one can’t wait to find out.

  7. Sam Brady – Sam Brady is a prolific thinker and plotter and schemer, if not a prolific writer. He hasn’t written in far too long, and is trying to get his muse to come back from the vacation she has been on the last few years. He begins writing novels but doesn’t finish them, dabbles in short stories, and enjoys obsessing over word count and looking for the proper motivation to write.
    Sam Brady

    Exciting news! Just curious… how long is your novella, in terms of word count? How does “novella-length” compare to “novel-length”? I’m slogging through revisions on my own project and am always curious to hear different interpretations of how long a novel is “supposed” to be.

  8. JS – really? you have you written something that you never want out? I would imagine that being the case when you started but the quality of what I have scene leads me to think you are really consistent now.

  9. Rob:

    I’ve written some stuff I didn’t like, but usually I stop writing it as soon as I know it’s not working.

  10. JS – I really hate to pry, but is that because you cannot get into story itself? Or is it that you like the idea of the story but either the characters or structure you built for the story you discover is the problem?
    Thanks

    PS – it is the whole “mind of the author” when they write that I find interesting. Orson Scott Card wrote several articles/book about the subject from his point of view.

  11. Swords?
    Dragons?
    Elves?
    Vampires?
    Wizards?
    Schools for wizards/sword-swingers/etc.?
    Magically summoned beings of great power?
    Dark rights of worship?
    Unicorns?

    Definitely interested. Looking forward to see what u did thar!

  12. Chang @ #6: The Steel Remains is excellent and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Read it now!

    And yeah, I’m going to have to buy this.

  13. When you say dark fantasy, what exactly do you mean? Vampire/werewolf romance fiction? Urban paranormal mystery? Or real, honest to god fantasy with careful world-/magic-building and deep philosophical undertones?

    Uh, yeah, I’m a bit picky.

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