So the other week I was reading the classic SF novel Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson:
As one might expect, Red Mars is about, yes, Mars, specifically, the human inhabitation and terraforming thereof, beginning with 100 colonists in the year 2026. Hmm. (checks watch) I don’t think we’re going to make it.
Spike: “I had a plan.” Angel: “You, a plan?” Spike: “A good plan, smart plan, carefully laid out. But, I got bored.” [Spike pushes Angel against a wall] Spike: “All that watching, waiting. My legs started to cramp.”
So this week I’m reading the Night Watch collection, the international best-selling dark fantasy series by Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko. The collection gathers the first three books in the series — Night Watch, Day Watch, and Twilight Watch — into a single volume. Being that this volume is around 2,000 pages long, I’ll probably be reading it for roughly as long as it takes to resolve a land war in Asia.
It’s been quite a while since I reached into my giant pile of rejection (and some acceptance) letters, so this week I spun up random.org to have it tell me which folder I should reach into. It selected folder I-J, from which I pulled an old contract from Hard Shell Word Factory (now an imprint of Mundania Press, home of some oddly specific genre categorizations), for the eBook rights to Night Watchman. “Hard Shell Word Factory” doesn’t belong in the I-J folder, of course, but, you know, sometimes things get misfiled. But anyway, I picked it, so here it is. Rather than reproducing all umpteen pages of the eBook contract, I thought I would just pull a few selected sections from it, which may serve as an interesting illumination of how the eBook world has changed since the year 2000 (or, as we called it back in those panic-stricken days, “Y2K”).
Well, for the one or two readers (both of whom are most likely in the UK) who are still waiting for the follow-up to Dragon Stones (which was once upon a time the #1 best seller on the Kindle fantasy lists in the UK), it is finally finished! The new book, Shards, is part one of a two-part fantasy series, and clocks in at about 111,000 words. For those who are keeping track, that’s somewhat shorter than A Flock of Crows is Called a Murder or Dragon Stones, but longer than Night Watchman or Long Before Dawn. Why release it as two books instead of one? Well …