Attention: Book Name Change for The Widening Gyre

The Widening Gyre, the second book in the Interdependency series, is getting a name change to:

The Consuming Fire. 

Please note it for your records.

(Also note: The Last Emperox, which was formerly the tentative title of the second book of the Interdependency series, until I changed to The Widening Gyre, now The Consuming Fire, is now tentatively the title of the third book in the Interdependency series. Tentative, people.)

(Also, yes, there will be a third book in the series. It’s now a trilogy.)

Why did we change the title?

1. It’s conceptually a better fit for what I have going on in the book.

2. No one can agree on how to pronounce “gyre,” which I discovered listening to multiple people say the title back to me. It’s the same problem as the “gif” thing which by the way is pronounced with a hard g. Yes, I know the dictionary says “gyre” is pronounced with a “j” sound, but that’s what they say about “gif” as well, and that’s fucking wrong. Anyway, everyone knows how to pronounce “fire.”

Also I’ve seen the artwork for the cover and it’s amazing. I’ll let you know when there will be a cover reveal (we have to change the title on it first).

Also also, The Consuming Fire will be out October 16. Still.

Hmmm, I guess I should write more in that book now.


68 Comments on “Attention: Book Name Change for The Widening Gyre”

  1. Good call, not in the least because I suspect it pleases the segment of your fans that you share with the late Robert B. Parker; the 10th Spenser installment — from 1982! — is also called “The WIdening Gyre.”

  2. Thank you. I can now tell my husband that he is officially wrong on the pronunciation of gif. Because if you and I prononce it with a hard g, then by God, that is the only way to pronounce it.

  3. I just realized: the reason I pronounce gyre with a hard G is that it’s paired with gimble in Jabberwocky. Somehow wanting “gyre and gimble” to start with the same sound overrode any associations with gyroscope, gyrate, etc. in my head.

  4. I was going to upgrade my Jiraffics Card but the derpcoin miners have driven up prices!

  5. So we have:
    The Collapsing Empire
    The Consuming Fire
    The Last Emperox

    Tell me you’re thinking of changing that last one to make it rhyme and have a gerund that starts with C. I need it.

  6. While i tend to be a prescriptivist myself, in the long run English grammar and pronunciation are driven by usage, and (in the long run) there is no such thing as “the wrong way” to pronounce a word, nor a “wrong” use of grammar. If a pronunciation is in wide usage and has been for generations, it is by definition not “wrong”. I do agree that I personally find the “Jabberwocky” alliteration mentioned above persuasive.

    My biggest personal peeve on such issues is people who pronounce “protein” as “Pro-teen” and not as “Pro-TEE-an”. This is because it loses etymology and history. The term was originally coined to indicate how widely applicable such compounds were, and how many roles they fulfilled (“protean”, cognate with the Greek demi-god “Proteus”). But that one is probably a lost cause.

    As to “GIF’ as the name of a file format, it should obviously be pronounced “Gee-Eye-Eff”, that is, as an initialism, not an acronym. (I still laugh at a would-be net censor i saw on a TV program many years ago who told the audience that GIF stood for “Girls or females”. I guess he had only seen it used for erotica.)

  7. *tries to come up with a different pronunciation of “fire” to make a snarky comment*

    *can’t do it*

    …yeah, alright, fair enough.


  8. … but “gyre” is a real word, and “gimble” is not (though it resembles “gimbal”), and yes, they are definitely alliterative, and that alliteration is “jyre and jimble,” CLEARLY.

    My 13-year-old self thought this was clear, anyway.

  9. I’m with @Chetman. Parker already “owns” the title. Yeah, you can’t copyright a title, and that was >30 years ago, and the overlap between Parker’s audience and yours is small (but not negligible, and I guarantee not zero), and it will definitely cause confusion in an Amazon search. Which is too bad, because the reference to The Second Coming is terrific. You and Joan Didion, bookends…. :-)

  10. Yeats rhymed them too,

    O sages standing in God’s holy fire
    As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
    Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
    And be the singing-masters of my soul.

    God’s holy fire is presumably the same as the consuming fire, Hebrews 12:29
    let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.

    Works well.. and of course Cormac McCarthy raided that same poem for his title. Yeats is a rich source of novel titles..

  11. I had no idea anyone pronounced it with a hard g. Of course, I have no idea why I pronounce it with a j sound since the pronunciation guide in dictionaries is a series of meaningless symbols to me. Other than The Second Coming, or references to it, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered the word.

    The correct pronunciation of gif is obvious, since it’s an acronym. No idea why anyone uses the j sound. (I know the creator claims it’s correct, I just find it baffling.)

  12. I agree with Marcelo Teson above. My Book 3 title suggestion (made happily without knowing a darn thing about it): The Crustacean Pyre.

  13. I can tell that I’m going to be less popular on this thread, but I am with the hard ‘g’ gif and the soft ‘g’ gyre. I just don’t think those are very similar words, though, etymologically. We’ve had the word gyre for centuries (it’s comes to us from Greek via Latin), whereas gif is an accident of modern technology (it is an acronym of “graphics interchange format”) and we’ve only had it since the 80’s.They just have nothing to do with each other.

  14. This GIF thing is an incorrect take!

    For the “soft G” crowd, this issue was settled in 1987 when CompuServe engineer Steve Wilhite first designed the GIF format. He’s always been adamant about the pronunciation, as in this interview with the New York Times last year:

    “The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,” Mr. Wilhite said. “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”

    As for JIF, it’s a peanut butter, man!

  15. If you go with The Last Emperox for the third book, at least 99% of people who see the cover will believe it’s a typo. If any of them buy the book anyway, a good 8% will continue to believe the word is misspelled multiple times and wonder what’s wrong with the editing process.

  16. Soft-g GIF believer here, too. (The “It’s an acronym” argument fails because many acronyms ignore the pronunciations of their component words. Nobody rhymes SCUBA with BUBBA, nor does anyone rhyme the first syllable of LASER with LACE.)

  17. Louis F. Fieser, one of the pioneers of steroid chemistry, put it this way:

    It may be folly to make this bid
    But stand we shall for ster-o-id.

    It’s a lost cause, like co-ca-ine and caffe-ine.

  18. Messes with my book keeping. Can you please change it back to two books and keep the “Emperox” title? Thank you.

  19. iirc Yeats decided he wanted the hard ‘g’ in his poem even though it’s not the proper dictionary pronunciation.

  20. I don’t think Yeats ever weighed in on GIF, but he was well known to be a choosy mother. ;)

  21. Regarding “Pro-TEE-an” – I hear this pronunciation when I listen to old-radio shows (with commercials included); old radio, in general, is a great resource for tracking shifts in pronunciation, such as the shift in the way people say “Los Angeles.”

  22. @HelenS Huh. Oh well, that’s me down to two factoids I vaguely recall from university.

  23. Not bad….seeing as Fire And Fury had already been taken! Ha ha… oh God we are so doomed. Looking forward to more Interdependency, though!

  24. I pronounce it “heeeroscope” which is the only correct way.

    It’s more of a “y” sound.

  25. As long as you are lacking all conviction, as opposed to being full of passionate intensity over the name change, ’tis all good.

  26. So you can write a different book called The Widening Gyre? I really don’t want to find the title in Dream’s library.

  27. I’m with those who find the alliteration in “gyre and gimble” stronger than the first word’s etymology.

    But I simply can’t abide anyone who pronounces “slithy” with a short “I”! It’s “lithe” and “slimy”, so the “i” has to be long.

  28. Books, as with movies, may have working titles, semi-official titles, and continuously revamped “official” titles; mutatis mutandis. Languages too undergo change over time. This is why, when reading aloud (let’s say) the word “knife,” we do *not* utter “keh-NEE-fuh,” as we might have done when Geoffrey Chaucer was still writing his Tales.

    As my profs used to say, “Linguistics is the scientific study of language. We observe and report. We are DEEE-scriptive, not PREEE-scriptive.”

    This does not stop me from grinding off rather a lot of tooth enamel whenever I read a novel festooned with dangling modifiers, unsignaled character viewpoint jumps, and semicolons where colons are supposed to be. Not that our host would ever be guilty of these, naturally enough.

  29. Geoff.

    (And in “Jabberwocky,” I’m in the minority that also always pronounced it “jyre and jimble.”)


    Prior existence of .jif extension + the hard g of graphic = hard-g pronunciation of .gif

  30. I now realise that it’s Jabberwocky (whose associated drawing _terrified_ me as a child – I had to turn two pages at once to avoid it) which defines my pronunciation of gyre. I hadn’t realised that, or that so many people make the same association.

    Odd how the use of language is formed.


  31. I really wish you could release both versions of the cover art. It’d be cool to see how the name change affects the type layout beyond just the different words.

  32. For me: pre-existing words, coming as they do with their history and baggage, can have whatever pronunciation is traditional. On the other hand, if you make up a new word or transliterate from a different writing system for the first time, then you use the simplest/least ambiguous pronunciation (or spelling, if you make up the sound first). Under this system, G is always pronounced as the hard g because J is available for the soft g sound.

    (As an exception to this, portmanteaus inherit the traditional pronunciation of their components.)

  33. >> Everyone knows how to pronounce fire
    I pronounce the silent (invisible) q, but I think that may be a regional thing.

  34. “Gyre” has a soft G because “gyration” isn’t pronounced “Guy-ray-shun.”

    The Magnetic Fields will fill you in.

  35. @Theophylact You wrote ” “Protean” and “protein” are not homonyms. Not now.” I apparently was unclear above. They were never homonyms. But “protein”, when coined by Jöns Jacob Berzelius, was intended to be an allusion to “Protean” or more exactly to the Greek word proteios (πρώτειος). That piece of history is recalled by the three-syllable pronunciation, but obscured by the two-syllable form.

  36. By the way, i am pretty sure the first time that I encountered the word “Gyre” it was in “Jabberwocky”, and the second time was in Silverberg’s The Book of Skulls where a character (Ned, or possibly Eli) compares the group’s relations to “A pair of Yeatsian counter-rotating gyres”. At the time this meant little to me, but I remembered the phrase.

    According to Winkpedia’s article on Jabberwocky:
    “In the author’s note to the Christmas 1896 edition of Through the Looking-Glass Carroll writes, “The new words, in the poem Jabberwocky, have given rise to some differences of opinion as to their pronunciation, so it may be well to give instructions on that point also. Pronounce ‘slithy’ as if it were the two words, ‘sly, thee’: make the ‘g’ hard in ‘gyre’ and ‘gimble’: and pronounce ‘rath’ to rhyme with ‘bath.'”

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