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The Last of The God Engines (Plus New Master Li)

Just a quick note about hardcovers of The God Engines: Subterranean Press tells me they’re down to the last 150 copies or so, and that since the book is now available in e-book form, there’s no plan to reprint the physical version of the thing. So if you want a copy to put on your shelf, now is a good time to get it. Also, if you want to get it you should probably think about ordering it from SubPress directly, since the copies are sitting in their warehouse at the moment. After these copies are gone, that’s that for the physical versions.

Also, as we’re sort of on the subject of Subterranean Press, publisher Bill Schafer tells me the press is planning a new edition of The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, a three-volume omnibus of Barry Hughart’s fantastic tales from a China that never was. The first of those tales, The Bridge of Birds, is one of my all-time very favorite fantasy novels — such a great balance of wonder, humor and adventure — so if you want some good reading, here you go.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

31 replies on “The Last of The God Engines (Plus New Master Li)”

So, will there be no mass market paperback version of “The God Engines”? I usually wait for that paperback versions just for portability.

I stumbled across “Bridge of Birds” when it first came out, and it is one of my favorites, too. I didn’t enjoy the second book quite as much, but never knew that Hughart wrote a third. This will be my chance to read it and replace my quite well-worn copy of “Bridge of Birds”.

I’m having a devil of a time finding the God Engines eBook. It’s not on the iTunes Store, and Amazon’s listing says it’s ‘not available’. I mean there’s always piracy but I appreciate the principle that if you would like an author to keep authoring, buying their stuff helps much more than appreciation. But still. What the what.

I’ll second/third/whatever the recommendations for Chronicles. I have one of the now-precious hardback editions, and dig it out every five or six years for a most enjoyable re-read. Glad to see the trade is coming back into print.

Hughart was treated most shabbily by the publishing industry. Alice Insley, aka “The Stars My Destination Books,’ moved heaven and earth to assemble Chronicles. She put most of the publishing rights back into Hughart’s hands after the initial run. There was a lot of hope that this would enable him to pursue the series further, but no joy. He had seven to ten books planned, depending on who you believe, and I’d dearly love to read them.

Sad that there will not be more of Master Li and Number Ten Ox; I can understand why, though. They are a splendid group of tales, glad to see them being reprinted.

Glad to see they’re putting the Hughart omnibus back in print–I hope they do a better job proofreading this time (my Subterranean edition from 2008 is rife with errors, including lots of paragraph breaks in the middle of sentences, which suggests scanned text and/or a very lax copy editor).

Darn, you had me going there for a bit: I thought there was a new Master Li book coming out, not just new copies of the old one. I am enveloped in a dark cloud now.

I got a free promotional copy of Bridge of Birds when it came out (I was at a convention at the time, and they were pushing the book HARD), but left it sitting on my bookshelf for weeks. Then a friend of mine who had ALSO gotten a free copy read it, and recommended I do so, as well.

I read it, I was hooked, and I happily paid full price for the next two books. In fact, through five moves now, and numerous “cullings” of books, I’ve hung onto them, because I enjoyed them so much, and will one day read them again.

I didn’t know there was a third book until I found it in a used bookstore a few years back. It was a pleasant surprise.

Hughart originlly planned on seven books in the series but decided three was enough.

I’ve always loved Mr. Hughart’s work and wished there was more, but I also have to acknowledge that I’d prefer there were no more given he doesn’t feel he can do them justice.

If my one novel ever makes it into the published field, however, a great big acknowledgment will go with it to the man with a slight flaw in his character, his beleaguered assistant and, most importantly, to Barry Hughart for bringing them to life.

God Engines is overpriced as a Kindle book. I’m intrigued by this one, and enjoyed the 4 other novels I’ve bought very much… but $5 for 136 pages of a story is too high, when OMW was double the size for $7 and Ghost Brigades was triple the length for $8.

Please consider asking for a price drop of some sort… $5 for an afternoon’s read in a format I can’t share once I’m done is too high.

Tony Dye:

“God Engines is overpriced as a Kindle book.”

No, it’s not. It’s priced more than you want to pay for it. There’s a difference.

Even if I did have control over the price, I wouldn’t be inclined to drop the price because it sells very well at the price point it’s at. Which, of course, suggests that it’s not overpriced in the least. Just as the $20 cost of the hardcover was not overpriced, because thousands upon thousands of people happily paid that amount for it, too.

Beyond this, I find the discussion of what’s “overpriced” in terms of ebooks profoundly boring and would prefer not to have it take over another thread.

Hah, fair enough. I didn’t know it was a regular thread-derailment topic. And you’re right, it’s more than I want to pay right now. Perhaps I’ll have a different perspective later!

I have several of the Sub Press books; they’re all beautiful, and the copy editing (if indeed there is any) is atrocious. I’m always tempted to red-pencil the damthings myself, and send them back.

John- You’re spot on with the price thing. $5 for an afternoon’s entertainment is a bargain. But, anyway. I’m curious about the French edition’s size; it’s like a 7 x 5.25 or something, isn’t it? I’m thinking of using that for one of my press’s upcoming books, and I have to ask, does it feel right? Some books just need a little more stoutness to them.

Usually I don’t buy books twice, but you’ve quickly become my favorite author, so I felt the need to support your endeavors further. Thanks for writing, keep it up!

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