The Order was my second novel. I rarely re-read my old books, as in doing so I always encounter things I could have written differently, with the benefit of a few decades of hindsight.
When the original print edition sold out, it migrated to an Amazon e-book edition.
CreateSpace, Amazon’s original print-on-demand paperback book channel, seemed like a superb renaissance for my older books. With no financial commitment to a large print run, no need to warehouse lots of books and no call to have Alchemy Mindworks’ shipping department mail them at the Canadian post office’s extravagant parcel rates, print-on-demand offered all the fun of small-press publishing with pretty much none of the downside.
CreateSpace is in the process of being inhaled by Amazon itself at the moment, which probably won’t make much of a difference to readers of the books they print, but does constitute something of a streamlining for authors.
In preparation for its reprinting, I decided to dust off The Order and revise it. The undertaking turned into something of a total re-write.
I’d forgotten how raw, violent and licentious The Order was. In another age, it would unquestionably have been banned in every civilized country on earth, and become a timeless best-seller.
The Order is a month or two away from its return to print as I write this. I like to think that it’s preparing to outrage readers who weren’t born when it was originally published.
LizardLand was something of a “lost” novel for a time — I knew exactly where it was, but several literary agents and publishers made a point of pretending they didn’t. One of them said with considerable weight of authority that satires just don’t sell. I asked him what does sell, and after some consideration he suggested a book having to do with teenage vampires. No doubt he was right, but that was a manuscript I could have lost with real enthusiasm.
After almost a decade of pondering over it, we decided to do LizardLand as an electronically-published work through Amazon Kindle. Aside from being state-of-the-art and massively cool, Kindle represents something of a proving ground for speculative books. Publishing a book to Kindle doesn’t involve sinking a big blue barrel of money into a press run, and then potentially having stacks of unsold books hanging around for the rest of time to embarrass everyone involved in the project.
It subsequently appeared as an Amazon print-on-demand book, for everyone who likes to turn real pages.
Cat lovers are going to go ballistic over this one. So will parents, orthodontists, psychiatrists, documentary film-makers, paleontologists, gift-shop owners, natives of Alabama of German descent... the list is extensive. With a bit of luck, they’ll all want to buy a copy of it so they can become outraged and delete it or burn it in protest.
Darkmatter, my most recent novel, has been released as an Amazon print-on-demand book.
Set in an alternate history London, in a 1961 nobody’s ever been to, Darkmatter is a re-imagined cold war in which there never was a second world war, and as such, no Manhattan Project, no atomic weapons and no Soviet Union to steal them. Actually, there’s still a Soviet Union, but they’re busy stealing something much more dangerous.
The physicists who brought us “the bomb” have brought this lot “the project,” a barely understood, barely working technology to project things through time.
You don’t want to think about what the KGB has in mind to project through time if they manage to pinch it.
Legacy was my first proper sequel — it’s a continuation of Coven, my first novel. It was the first of my older works to be re-edited, tidied up and polished to be re-released as an Amazon print-on-demand book.
As with The order, earlier at this page, I hadn’t looked at Legacy in ages. It was surprisingly cool to return to it, improve on the original prose and story line in a few places and fix a few typos.
Having it printed with larger type on nicer paper was pleasing as well.
Legacy has attracted a substantial amount of e-mail over the two decades or so since it was initially released — both praise and flames. A whole lot of people still seem to think that witches do nothing but ride around on brooms and turn the unwary into newts. What that it were...