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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Errata etc

Team OCD compiled a list of some 225 errata in the ebook, most of which were simple typos, for the final proof of the hardcover which went off to the printers yesterday.  That is actually pretty good in a book this size; the three EW books that were published by Pocket turned out to have over 300 combined in about the same number of words when we prepared the texts for the ebooks.  The upshot is that while I appreciate being sent the occasional typo or error spotted, it's probably not necessary in this case as we almost surely have it identified based on those that have been sent to me thus far.

I really have to thank everyone who ordered the ebook yesterday; we assumed there would be lower first-day sales due to the preorders and the higher price of A Throne of Bones compared to A Magic Broken.  And yet, the combined total of the preorders and the Amazon orders was higher than the Amazon orders for AMB; it was nearly half again as many as I'd anticipated.

Anyhow, I hope you're enjoying the book and encourage you to post reviews on Amazon when you finish it.  I'd also encourage you to tell others, particularly Martin fans, about it, since it's not going to be appearing in any bookstores.  If you are enjoying it, then you'll probably be pleased to hear that Kirk and I were discussing the cover for Book Two today; I can't guarantee anything, but there is a chance it will be even more striking than the one for Book One.  Speaking of which, I've seen the final dust jacket and can confirm that the rest of the it lives up to the cover.  I think those who have gone the hardcover route won't be disappointed; for all its size, it's shaping up to be a very attractive book. 

MJS has posted the second review; here is an excerpt from it:

The novel is more meat and substance than polish and style, though even the political intrigue was well-written enough that it kept my attention, which is often not the case. Vox does an excellent job of piquing your interest and then taking developments in way you don't expect. He's also not shy about killing characters, yet does so in a way that again compares favorably to Mr. Martin's nihilistic bloodbath. This is not a book for children; there is graphic violence and unflinching presentation of evil. Yet neither is glorified, and though the world is realistically portrayed with few truly good men, there is no moral ambivalence here either.

One thing that might amuse some of you is that it wasn't until reading that review that I suddenly realized I no longer need to write a sequel to Summa Elvetica anymore.  I had become so accustomed to thinking of Arts of Dark and Light as its own creature that I actually forgot the new series can reasonably be considered the oft-requested continuation of the story begun in the shorter novel.

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33 Comments:

Anonymous AXCrom December 06, 2012 8:16 PM  

Just finished my re-read of Summa Elvetica tonight after dinner, and while I appreciate the Kindle copy sent to me, I am waiting on the dead-tree version to arrive before beginning ATOB and am certainly looking forward to it.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 06, 2012 9:25 PM  

Well here's a question... I'm really not inclined to read things on ebooks or kindle or e-whatever (sorry I'm just too boringly old-school for that), and I generally don't read SF/F, but I'd consider making an exception for this one, seeing as how it's a substantial work and since you and SB are such gracious hosts of a very contentious blog. Can the hardcover be ordered through Amazon or Powells or B&N, or do you have to go straight to Marcher Lord to get it? Will it ever appear on actual physical bookshelves in stores?

Also, and you certainly don't have to answer this if you don't want, but I generally am of the same opinion as J.L. Borges, in the sense that most SF/F consists of interesting startling ideas, which can be more easily expressed as an imaginary book review or imaginary summary of an imaginary book, rather than slogging through the whole actual thing. After the sales have levelled off to an acceptable plateau, any chance you'd think to combine SE, AMB and ToB into a sort of Borgesian summary document of ideas that could be read by people such as myself who dislike giant tomes? I understand all the obvious problems of the question, so I would consider "No" to be a perfectly honorable answer.

Anonymous JT December 06, 2012 9:34 PM  

Ooooh oooh! Publish me!

Also, better if reviews take out Martin's name, and just refer to it as a nihilistic bloodbath. Heh.

Anonymous Daniel December 06, 2012 9:44 PM  

The blind author realization doesn't surprise me at all. One of the subtleties that really made SE work was the inclusion of shorter, seemingly unrelated works.

Amorr's history works very well as a palimpsest of recovered tales. Silmarillion notwithstanding, there is no 2nd Age literary corollary to the LOTR.

I think one of the most important elements of LoTR that distinguishes it from knock-offs is the suggested vast amount of material that is lost to the whims of time.

Anonymous Cormac McCarthy December 06, 2012 10:43 PM  

Needs less commas and longer sentences too difficult to read in one pass and more detailed descriptions of dying and death which is your destiny and the destiny of all men and sons.

Anonymous dh December 06, 2012 11:42 PM  

VD--

I enjoy books and the storytelling that goes with them, but I don't enjoy reading (I very often tend to sleep as soon as I read; years of working long hours has trained my mind to equate reading hardcover books to preparing to sleep).

I found that I really enjoyed the audiobook version of Anathem. The readers (Stephenson was one of them) did a great job maintaining characters, dialog flow, and keep pronunciations of complex made up words clean and clear. It was really much more of a performance than a straight narration.

Would you consider doing a self-read audiobook performance?

Blogger Desert Cat December 06, 2012 11:50 PM  

scoobius, this blog may serve that purpose to a degree. I've seen several themes discussed here and at Alpha Game illustrated in the story.

Also some stuff that Vox never (or rarely) touches on here definitely caught my attention. The forcible incarnation of demons is a tad disturbing, given all the Tom Horn material I have digested of late. Vox knows stuff...

Anonymous Kirby doesn't like to make toys! December 07, 2012 1:17 AM  

Congrats! Perhaps you'll be alive to see the movie deal for it!

Anonymous Jack Amok December 07, 2012 2:12 AM  

Oh, I'd love an audiobook too, but from what I've read so far, I'd wish for Frederick Davidson (aka David Case) to narrate. His ever-so-condescending British accent would have been perfect for something so Roman. Listen to the sample of his reading of I, Claudius by Robert Graves on Amazon.

Alas, he is no longer with us. Plus, professional narrators are damn pricey, so probably not an option even if he still was.

What ho, Vox old sport, can you drip that much casual condescension in an audiobook?

Anonymous cheddarman December 07, 2012 2:18 AM  

I just finished reading it, need to give it another read before i post a review...i really really like it, and want to do justice to it with a review on amazon

not to be unappreciative of your hard work, but when is the next one?

sincerely

cheddarman

Anonymous Kyle In Japan December 07, 2012 3:15 AM  

Even though Vox said that it wasn't going to have any subtext, I really enjoy the subtle integration of some of the themes often discussed on this blog (like Game and immigration.) Most non-Ilk readers probably won't notice these things but it's a nice treat as a regular reader of the blog(s).

I'm about 40% through. I think the scene where Severa's father calmly deals with her temper tantrum was one of my favorite parts yet.

Actually, despite inevitable comparisons to Martin and Tolkien, the book reminds me more of Dragon Age: Origins more than anything else (with its integration of fantasy Rome and France alongside elves, dwarves, etc.) And since I loved DA:O, that's not a bad thing at all.

Anonymous Sensei December 07, 2012 3:16 AM  

Glad my total lack of restraint when it comes to reading came in handy for something eventually, especially contributing to an authorial epiphany. Here I was imagining pacing myself nicely to at least fractionally offset the pain of waiting for the next installment, and the next thing I know it's the small hours of the morning and I'm on the last page. The sheer inertia carried me on partway into the table of contents..

Nice to see how many errata got caught, I encountered quite a few but with that number I'm confident the ones I noticed have already been recorded (along with those little editorial easter eggs).

Would you consider doing a self-read audiobook performance? -dh

Have you heard one of his radio interviews? Nothing wrong with the vox of Vox but it takes a special vocal timbre to record a whole book and not get annoying. And for 800+ pages of high fantasy with a single narrator you want someone who specializes in such things, believe me.

Anonymous VD December 07, 2012 3:24 AM  

After the sales have levelled off to an acceptable plateau, any chance you'd think to combine SE, AMB and ToB into a sort of Borgesian summary document of ideas that could be read by people such as myself who dislike giant tomes?

I doubt I'll do an official summary, as I'll be working on the new stuff, but I expect these things will come out in discussion on the blog and elsewhere.

Would you consider doing a self-read audiobook performance?

No, between my sibilant S and the time it would take to do it, it would be a very bad idea. Not when I could almost have another book written instead. If a group of Ilk wish to produce a crowd-sourced one, I'll give permission if it's done to a reasonable standard.

not to be unappreciative of your hard work, but when is the next one?

The plan is to do them every two years. Next year, the hardcover of SE will be published, including AMB and the various Selenoth short stories. This will include at least two brand new ones, such as The Last Witchking.

Anonymous VD December 07, 2012 3:42 AM  

Can the hardcover be ordered through Amazon or Powells or B&N, or do you have to go straight to Marcher Lord to get it? Will it ever appear on actual physical bookshelves in stores?

You have to go to Marcher Lord. It will only appear at bookstores if a major publisher picks it up. The numbers just don't work. The only reason the hardcover even exists is due to the fantasy readers among the Dread Ilk; ML knew there were enough of them to justify the effort of putting it together and printing it.

Anonymous T14 December 07, 2012 5:18 AM  

I did mean to buy it but I seem to have lost my kindle. Given the size of my apartment, that is quite a thing. Hardback it is, I suppose. I hope the dwarves (my favorite of all fantasy races) are muscular and vicious.

Anonymous VD December 07, 2012 5:58 AM  

I hope the dwarves (my favorite of all fantasy races) are muscular and vicious.

(laughs) I can GUARANTEE you will not be disappointed in that regard.

Anonymous T14 December 07, 2012 7:04 AM  

Well damn, hardback bought. Looking forward to stocky bearded men swinging axes, warhammers, and/or clubs. I'll be interested whether you make them Scottish, Cornish or Jewish (per Tolkien).

Anonymous Rantor December 07, 2012 7:15 AM  

Half-way through, I only wish I could read faster....

Blogger Positive Dennis December 07, 2012 10:29 AM  

I am enjoying it as well. I do not like the way Vox spells magician, but I can live with it.

Anonymous Heh December 07, 2012 10:35 AM  

I'll be interested whether you make them Scottish, Cornish or Jewish (per Tolkien).

Or have them as Welsh comic relief (per Peter Jackson).

Blogger Duke of Earl December 07, 2012 1:47 PM  

In Tolkien's own words, "no one ever laughed at a dwarf." Nobody laughs at Vox's dwarves either.

I got a local radio host to mention A Throne of Bones last night. I don't know if it'll translate into sales, but any publicity is good publicity.

Anonymous Thuvia December 07, 2012 6:07 PM  

Okay, I'm confused. Is there something wrong with the Lodi chapters? I'm reading the download from Amazon and there's a huge gap in the action. The first chapter of Lodi wasn't resolved and this second chapter he's in a completely different place. I don't want to be more specific because of spoilers. Is there a chapter missing?

It's good so far.

Blogger Desert Cat December 07, 2012 9:51 PM  

Hah! Further along now, I see an interesting adaptation of the Book of Enoch, and my suspicions are confirmed. :P Veddy interestink! I read on now with heightened curiosity...

Blogger Duke of Earl December 07, 2012 10:48 PM  

I think the story of Lodi is he gets the shield, loses a dwarf to the dragon, and next we find him carrying the shield off to the dwarf who's paying him for it. Of course, being Lodi, he gets sidetracked.

He just can't help himself. Didn't anyone ever explain to him, diligence, diligence, diligence.

Anonymous VD December 08, 2012 6:32 AM  

Okay, I'm confused. Is there something wrong with the Lodi chapters? I'm reading the download from Amazon and there's a huge gap in the action. The first chapter of Lodi wasn't resolved and this second chapter he's in a completely different place. I don't want to be more specific because of spoilers. Is there a chapter missing?

No. I simply didn't see the point in wasting an entire chapter explaining that in the dark, he couldn't see that what the drake was carrying was NOT his companion. Think about what they run into next and how many of them there are... as a general rule, I don't always explain what can be figured out with a little thinking. Most of my disagreements with my editor revolve around this habit of leaving it up to the reader to figure out rather than explaining everything in detail.

It's good so far.

Glad to hear it. I hope you'll feel it holds together throughout. Do consider writing a review when you're done.

I think the story of Lodi is he gets the shield, loses a dwarf to the dragon, and next we find him carrying the shield off to the dwarf who's paying him for it. Of course, being Lodi, he gets sidetracked.

No, check the name of his companion. And he's not sidetracked; check the map.

I see an interesting adaptation of the Book of Enoch, and my suspicions are confirmed

Am I so predictable? C'est la vie....

Blogger Desert Cat December 08, 2012 2:37 PM  

"Am I so predictable? C'est la vie...."

Predictable?! I hardly think one in 100 of your readers will recognize what that is based on, nor what it suggests to the plot. "To be continued..." with so much left to that potential story will make for a hard couple years wait.

That business of the Watcher ensconced in the Sanctiff's palace was certainly intriguing, given what allegedly took place in the Vatican in 1963. You mention 2012 dismissively in a post above, but there are a number of researchers (or crackpots, if you will), that see good reason to believe that TPTB will attempt to open one or more gates on or around that date. And then there is, of course the business of Petrus Romanus who could very well make a showing in the near future. Ancient Rome, indeed! A confluence of threads that run through BC and AD Rome and to the present day, instead.

Very, very intriguing what you've done (are doing) here. I think you may have failed your goal to simply tell a great tale. There is much more to this tale than meets the eye of the casual fantasy reader. Doubtless I've overlooked quite a bit more yet.

So yeah, I'm hooked. You have a guaranteed audience for the remainder of your planned works in this setting.

Anonymous Sensei December 08, 2012 10:16 PM  

"Am I so predictable? C'est la vie...."

Predictable?! I hardly think one in 100 of your readers will recognize what that is based on, nor what it suggests to the plot. "To be continued..." with so much left to that potential story will make for a hard couple years wait. Desert Cat


Ah, I was excited at the Book of Enoch reference as well (read a chunk of it in seminary, though I didn't read enough of it to know what its significance may to be the plot), guess I'll have to go back and finish it now..

Blogger Desert Cat December 09, 2012 9:32 PM  

The Book of Enoch strikes me as a whole lot of hooey with a handful of extremely interesting passages sprinkled in.

Anonymous Ten41 December 09, 2012 10:05 PM  

Ok, I finished it and find myself quite disappointed. Two years? I have to wait two years to find out what happens next? If I had known, I would have read slower. I will get over it. Have too I suppose!

Good book. Initially wasn't a huge fan of the story jump from one person to another that happened so frequently, but over the course of the book, I was able to adjust.

If I had to sum up in 250 words or less; "Good book, would buy again, fast shipping"

Anonymous VD December 10, 2012 5:49 AM  

I finished it and find myself quite disappointed. Two years? I have to wait two years to find out what happens next? If I had known, I would have read slower. I will get over it. Have too I suppose!

1. The perspective jump is somewhat of an epic standard now.

2. I'll be putting out a pair of short stories set in Selenoth on Kindle Select in a month or two. A few longtime readers will recall Qalabi Dawn, while The Wardog's Coin is entirely new.

3. If you liked it, POST A REVIEW ON AMAZON! Or Barnes, if you're of that persuasion. Even if it is just something as simple as "Good book, would buy again". I'm glad to hear it, of course, but it's the potential readers who need to hear that. It may not make sense, but those reviews really do matter more than one would think. People browsing are much more likely to take a shot on a book with 100 reviews than 50, and 50 reviews than 10.

Anonymous VD December 10, 2012 5:50 AM  

Two years?

Oh, and now you know how Martin fans feel. If, that is, you multiply that by three.... Part of why I wrote ATOB was because I thought it might give them something with which to occupy the time waiting for The Winds of Winter.

Anonymous Ten41 December 10, 2012 10:01 AM  

VD

"If you liked it, POST A REVIEW ON AMAZON!..."


Done!

Blogger Magson December 11, 2012 11:09 AM  

I just finished it last night myself and am now at work running on caffeine and energy drinks. Couldn't put it down. I posted a review on Amazon including words to that effect. 2 thumbs up from me, and I'm looking forward to the next installment.

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