Cheeseburger Gothic

The sci fi machinery of publishing

Posted August 22 into Books by John Birmingham

Jason Lambright has a really lovely piece over at his Interstelar Valley blog pondering the wonder that is the production and release of a book...

A book launch by a major publisher is an astonishing display of logistics, marketing, programming, and execution.

As I stood in the little book store thousands of miles away from the author, these thoughts went through my head. I picked up a copy, leafed through it, and carried it to the register. It seemed that I wanted to purchase another hardcopy as a gift to my old Team Sergeant, so this book, copy XXXX of who knows how many thousand, left the store with me.

It rode on the back seat of my car. As I drove, I marveled at all the threads that came together to make the book’s journey complete. Had the idea to write this article, put the book in front of some Indian corn and took a picture. Sent the picture via my phone to the computer. This is another technological marvel that we take for granted.

Totally worth a read at the Valley.

2 Responses to ‘The sci fi machinery of publishing’

she_jedi asserts...

Posted August 22
That was a really lovely piece, I enjoyed reading that.


However, is Jay Lambright mostly sensible space tourist related in any way to Jason Lambright author? :)

jl would have you know...

Posted August 22
Maybe. If so, I wear my redshirt with pride.

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The Cruel Stars released

Posted August 20 into Books by John Birmingham

Today The Cruel Stars began to appear on bookshelves around the country. They'll magically pop up in stores across the US and the UK tomorrow, progressively rolling out through the week. Of course anyone who ordered the digital version will have their's by now. I'm confident they'll enjoy it.

I'll start pimping hard in the morning. I've learned there's not much point jumping the starter's gun.

To everyone who helped with the beta read, sincere thanks. It's a much stronger book for your assistance. I'm very happy with it. All of the various editions look great, but the British hardback in particular is stunning. A real tribute to the bookbinders art.

The audiobook should also drop overnight and I'll grab copy for myself. One of the things I do enjoy about the audio versions, it's just a little bit like getting to experience the story for the first time. That is something special.

Now of course, I'll have to fire up the anti-matter drive and fold into the sequel.

23 Responses to ‘The Cruel Stars released’

KreepyKrawly mumbles...

Posted August 20
Yup, the beast dropped the ebook into my email this morning, getting into it tonight ß-Þ

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she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted August 20
I have been in a state of eternal *squeeee* ever since my ebook appeared on my devices last night. Cruelly I have been stymied from diving into The Cruel Stars completely due to having to turn up to my job and actually, you know, work. It is an OUTRAGE.

jason is gonna tell you...

Posted August 21
I think Mr Birmingham needs to address this terrible oversight. I too need to go to work, do family stuff, all of the things which stop me from hunkering down for a serious reading session. I believe Mr Birmingham should show some consideration and time book launches to coincide with my holidays, or at least weekends. Sadly all he thinks about is providing for his family and not a skerrick of consideration for my needs.

NBlob reckons...

Posted August 22
Wrong. Mr Birmingham artfully times his releases to coincide with my birthday. Making gift from daughter most excellent.

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted August 20
Ordered the UK HB from Forbidden Planet as "Them Across The Lake" (as the Redmondians call them) don't ship to Oz from their UK outpost.

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 11
Your Scalyness, it has been some time.

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted August 20
My e-book is loaded and ready for the train ride tomorrow, good luck and godspeed Birmo on the sequel.

Presume the usual threats to provide 5 star reviews to the Bezo's beast.

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insomniac mutters...

Posted August 20
I ordered mine from the US Amazon purely to use my stranded gift card. Actually I ordered three (for obvious reasons). I feel like ms insomniac is going to question my sanity even more than usual. It will be nice to re-read after such a long time.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted August 20
OMIGOD. I HAVE NO OTHER FAVOURITES.

insomniac reckons...

Posted August 29
UPDATE: The precious has arrived and there was no questioning of the sanity. In fact some acknowledgement of a good decision having been made. And she likes the cover art, so bonus.

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jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 21
This process of watching TCS unfold has been excellent. Very sweet to see it on the shelves!

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted August 21
I think i'm going to pick this one up at an actual brick and mortar and have some enforced "reading time for dad". I have a huge blackberry patch that i have been carving a tunnel into with the plans of making a nice cool arbor for summer (and, well, it relieved the boredom of pulling the stuff out if i had a goal other than "lets just rip all this stuff out"). I have dreams of sitting down in the cool shady tunnel and picking blackberries nonchalantly off the canes without getting up whilst reading a book where the kids can't find me. The reality of course will be the thorns ripping a gash in my head because i didn't duck enough on entry and the juiciest blackberry is juuuust out of reach and if only i could poke through that gap... ouch! And then when i get up for another one i tread on a tiger snake because he came in to get out of the blaring sun as well and found a nice shady spot and some rude bugger just trod on him and it won't be a dry bite because that guy was asking for it anyway treading on an unsuspecting snake trying to relax.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted August 21
Spookily, this scene, or something like it, is in the book.

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Vovchara mumbles...

Posted August 21
I like it. I was a bit apprehensive when I've read the excerpt before. All that fancy-schmancy technology is something I actively avoid in sci-fi, but you turned it around. Making something which is often a weakness in fictional storytelling into a strength.
Besides, I love the characters you create. In every single book up to date. This one is no different.
The only minor complains, would be Navy personal, and the way they behave, not quite Jack Campbell and H. Paul Honsinger :P But still good characters.

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Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted August 21
As a practicing Luddite* I intend to hie myself to purveyor of Paper Books forthwith to get me a copy.




*not really - I just prefer a paper book because the batteries never run out, and also as an Up Yours to the phone junkies on public transport (although I tend to ride my motorbike these days, and reading is bloody hard when riding)

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 22
+1

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SAS is gonna tell you...

Posted August 22
JB nearly finished my kindle copy, you mentioned an Audio version any idea when the UK Audible will be out? want to listen at work :)

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted August 22
I've asked my agent to get on it. The audio rights were sold for the US but not outside. Audiobook available on American store, if you have an account there.

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Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted August 22
OT- Canberra visit?

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thetick mumbles...

Posted August 22
This is the best fucking thing you've ever written. I am so jealous at the tech stuff you've thought up, the way the action simply explodes off the page.

I mean, it's fucking great. You cannot write the next one fast enough.

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Marccarno mutters...

Posted August 23
Picked up email this afternoon (Thursday), downloaded and read in 3 hours (I know, but what can I say - I was supposed to be working and that slowed me down a tad).

I’m not going to blow smoke up your proverbial because, after all, I am a fan and love everything automatically. So hurry up with the next book please!oh. And while I’m here, did you get a kick out of your melange of the classic monologue from Blade Runner? I loved it and because I love the monologue so much, am shamelessly putting both here...

"Vikingar attack ships burned among the glittering wreckage of C-Beam fortresses. A Tannhäuser Gate, shattered by kinetics, tumbled off the shoulder of Odin’s World;"

“I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die”

Your fab. Don’t stop.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted September 4
Thanks, Mac. I'm on it.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon mutters...

Posted September 2
Really enjoying this. Got through a good chunk during my purgatory in airport space today. Even finished beers early tonight so I could get back and read some more. Can I ask if the XD chamber that Booker is destined for is a juxtaposition on the emoji XD and the function of the room? Or did I miss the obviousness of that during turbulence? (cause that's all I see when I read it and I chuckle each time)

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Beautiful objects

Posted July 23 into Books by John Birmingham

A couple of days ago I received notice of a package waiting for me at the post office, a box containing a dozen limited edition proof copies of The Cruel Stars.

"Limited-edition proof" sounds a lot more impressive than it actually is. These are pre-release copies, usually generated from the text before the proofreader has had her evil way with it. So you get the occasional typo. But you also get to feel the book as an object in your hands for the first time. It's always exciting.

I gave a copy to Thomas (who's already told me it's a bit thinky - he hasn't got to the shooting and the swearing yet) and to some friends who were visiting for lunch over the weekend. The others will get salted around to various science-fiction fans in the city's bookshops and to a couple of journalists. I'll keep one or two copies for myself, because although proof copies are imperfect by nature, they're also very rare. A couple of dozen, as opposed to the tens of thousands of finished copies which will soon hit the bookstores.

Today, however, another package arrived. Much smaller. All the way from London. My English publishers, who have the rights to release the title in Australia and New Zealand, had emailed a couple of the finished hardbacks. Having already handed out a couple of copies of the proof edition, I didn't tear the packet open with trembling hands. In fact I put it on the kitchen bench, made a cup of tea, and went back to my work, forgetting about it for an hour or so. When I came up for lunch a bit later, I was surprised to see the parcel sitting there. My books, I thought. I should have a look at them.

Holy shit. I knew as soon I lifted them out of the bubble wrap that they were very, very different. They are beautiful. Hardback books often are of course, they have to be to justify the price. But the artwork, the finish, the fine details such as the light blue ribbon to mark your place, they all suggested an objet d’art rather than some gross commercial unit that would soon be making its way into the back of a goods truck for delivery into the retail channel.

In many ways they are the same object that arrived last week; the same pages, the same cover, the same contents. And yet holding them in my hands I am still taken, many hours later, by the way in which the aesthetics of the final artefact make it something quite different from all previous iterations. That, I suppose, is the magic of publishing.

20 Responses to ‘Beautiful objects’

Barnesm asserts...

Posted July 23
I trust Thomas will still give a 5 star review on Amazon after all as the bard would put it "“If she must teem, Create her child of spleen, that it may live And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her! Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth, With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks, Turn all her mother's pains and benefits To laughter and contempt, that she may feel How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is To have a thankless child!”

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jl has opinions thus...

Posted July 23
Yeah. There's something about a finished proof. I've got a few of them hanging around here- pretty sweet to hold your baby toward the end of the process and look it over. I've never had a hardback, though.

Ceramic mutters...

Posted July 25
Same. To hold (or in my case, hug) something I created that didn't exist before - priceless.

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Sparty is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23
they look "class" and I know the contents are pretty outstanding....

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted July 23
British publishers, mate. Still setting the gold standard.

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she_jedi reckons...

Posted July 23
Gosh, they’re just SO beautiful!

jl ducks in to say...

Posted July 23
Agreed. First class.

Ceramic puts forth...

Posted July 25
They really are stunning!

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insomniac puts forth...

Posted July 24
The one lying flat looks like it's charging.

insomniac puts forth...

Posted July 24
Nice, but

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon would have you know...

Posted July 24
no question that they look the goods. I wish i could stack my shelves with hardcovers. Paperback will just have to make do! Been on a fantasy stint lately - looking for a bit of a change and scifi might just fit the bill . . . . : )

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WA n'ker puts forth...

Posted July 24
...meanwhie, city ways,
Life goes screaming on....

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NBlob reckons...

Posted July 29
I wants the precious.

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pitpat would have you know...

Posted August 2
Just a quick question. Will there be an audiobook ? Asking as a new convert.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted August 2
There will indeed!

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted August 16
Please Sir, can you tell us when they may be released into the wild. I have a handful of sweat stained notes awaiting.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted August 16
Magic 8Ball says 20 Aug.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted August 17
Noice.

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she_jedi mutters...

Posted August 19
One more sleep until this baby drops on iBooks. I am beside myself with anticipation!

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KreepyKrawly has opinions thus...

Posted August 20
Has finally dropped at the beast. lucky, just finished a book. ß-Þ

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Did an interview. Did not disgrace myself

Posted July 11 into Books by John Birmingham

I spoke to Pete Wells from the Herald earlier this week abut writing for audio. I seem to recall meandering through the convo like a complete mofo.

But he has some pretty sharp editing chiops, so it came out all right.

Considering the very bleak premise of Zero Day Code, I asked if Birmingham is optimistic about the future of humanity.

“Look it depends what time of the day you catch me. Whether I've had a cup of coffee or not,” he laughs. “There are times, like everyone, where I feel pretty bleak about the future.

“But then I see some of the work that's being done, some of it by technologists, some of it by activists, some of it by people who were bad guys and became good guys … There's an awful lot of people who used to work in petroleum who've left it and they are working very, very hard to repair the damage they've done.

“And of course, you know, once we develop a carbon-free energy market there will be trillions of dollars to be made out of it. And never, ever underestimate the motivational power of human greed to solve the problems that human greed has created.

“But right now I'm in my nice office, looking out into the forest. It's a sunny day. So today, I'm optimistic. Ask me in an hour.”

Full report here.

6 Responses to ‘Did an interview. Did not disgrace myself’

insomniac asserts...

Posted July 12
Sometimes I wonder what sort of world my young grandchildren will have to grow up in. Yeah there's lots of good stuff happening out of sight but I still think it's going to be a shithole with widespread and catastrophic population declines.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon would have you know...

Posted July 12
I'm a pessimistic optimist : ) but i must say i have caught myself in the dark wee hours thinking about my kids future. Not the usual "are they going to be successful, will they get on okay" but more "is there going to be a future". Terminator 2 is seeming more like an instruction manual on what to teach your kids. Although i think the "AI is going to kill us all" is a red herring with years we have left. We are going to do it ourselves way before AI is smart enough to do it for us.

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she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted July 12
That was a great piece from Mr Wells, you did more than simply not disgrace yourself!

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pitpat asserts...

Posted July 14
Just finished it . Fantastic Thanks for the effort in research writing, and editing. This is only my second audio book ( first was World War Z) and it was a right up there with that. I loved the Rupert Degas's narration although I found some of the dialogue didn't mesh with my mental image of the accents and intonation. I'm not sure the medium is suited to wordy, snappy, info dense conversation - for me at any rate.

Hope it kills it and that you have a follow up ready to roll.

Will get a five star review on audible once I've bought a gen set, some long life supplies, cans of beans, some seeds. Have the Hilux and a good little petrol driven pump, need a winch tho - a manual one-, some decent fishing kit, maybe another compound bow and a fletching kit, a couple of flints, epoxy resin and a few other things that might come in handy. The rest can be sourced during the early days of the pillaging. Getting peeps out of the kill zones will be the tricky part.

Generally a bit of an optimists simply because the alternative seems such an interminable drag on the very limited time we have on this watery rock and enormous enjoyment can be had simply by sticking your head in some nature and sucking back. But love a good catastrophe novel to bring it back to the mean.

Cheers and Beers, Get Some Fun.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted July 15
Thx mate. I'm taking notes on your To Do List.

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Therbs asserts...

Posted July 15
If there's one thing which Zero Day Code tells us is that go-bags need to be really handy. One in the car, one at home, one at work.

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Zero Day Code

Posted June 14 into Books by John Birmingham

Those of you who've been following my End of the World project over at Patreon will know by now that Audible picked up the exclusive rights to the series a couple of months ago. The first audiobook drops on July 4, but there is a sample chapter available now on Soundcloud.

You can have a listen here.

Some of you may want to grab it on pre-order. If so, hit up this link.

And if you don't have an Audible account, you're in luck because you can get the whole book for free, by signing up for a trial. You get one title to keep, no charge, even if you cancel out.

Zero Day Code started life as my homage to Stephen King's The Stand. I've always wanted to write a big, conventional end of the world epic. ZDC is that book, and the start of a much longer story. It bakes in elements of cyber-war, espionage, climate crises, civilisational collapse and a classic old school military techno-thriller, with my favourite part of the whole of apocalypse genre - shooting and shopping as the world burns.

My thanks to everyone who's helped out over at Patreon.

14 Responses to ‘Zero Day Code’

Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted June 14
Wait just a gosh-darned minute, does this mean that it won't be available as something that I can absorb using my eyeballs?

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted June 14
Eventually. But the Beast paid a pretty penny for audio exclusive rights.

Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted June 14
Coollio- I'll investigate my options.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon mumbles...

Posted June 14
Absolutely no offence meant to our stateside friends - i find a british voice over more listenable for some reason. But Rupert Degas seems to smooth in straight away. Sometimes the various US accents take a while getting used to . . . how does he go voicing the female parts? . . . . i guess i should get a copy! . . . . and i just looked him up - he's British/Australian, maybe that is why it fits in so easily! : )

jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 15
Ha, not so odd I have the opposite problem! I did find that Degas did an excellent job. Very smooth, enjoyable.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted June 15
I'm on-board, though with all these pre-orders I have, that recent experience when I went to pre-order the Cruel Stars only to find I have already pre-ordered its a ridiculous combination of happy surprise and 'do I have enough money in that account?' when they are released.

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jl puts forth...

Posted June 15
This summer is going to be amazing. Two hits from JB in the same season. Spoiler: Cruel Stars is a very good book; I've pre-ordered two. One for me, one for my sci-fi junky dad. And yeah, of course I claimed my copy of Zero Day Code when it hits.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted June 16
Please Sir will a dead tree version available for Bribane based #1 daughter to procure for my late August birthday?

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted June 17
No! No soup for you!
(Because the contract is audio exclusive for 18 months)

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted June 17
Sad face.

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she_jedi mutters...

Posted June 17
Right, I have finally succumbed to the Beast and I've set up an Audible account. I have used my free credit to pre-order Zero Day Code. Huzzah!

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted June 17
This. This is how you become my favourite.

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Oldy has opinions thus...

Posted June 18
Same. Looking forward to it.

Reading chapter by chapter on the Patreon is super-cool, but getting the finished version all at once will be another great experience.

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spiral would have you know...

Posted July 7
preordered it as soon as i could, i'm listening to it right now, the only gripe i might have with it is that almost all the women seem to be valley girls :D

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Jason Cox’s first book

Posted March 28 into Books by John Birmingham

A couple of years ago when I was collecting stories for the Dave Hooper anthology, I got this great little short from a guy called Jason. And then I got another one. And another one. And another. It just went on and on like the bombing of Dresden.

Except Jason’s word bombs were really good. All up he sent me seven pieces, and I’m pretty sure I used them all.

It’s been satisfying to watch him graduate to his own story worlds. His first novel, THE HARD MAN, dropped this week and he was kind enough to let me have an extract which you can read below.

I’ve already bought my copy right here, so I’ll be reading that.

2 Responses to ‘Jason Cox’s first book’

jl asserts...

Posted March 28
Good stuff by Jason, I was privileged to have Beta'd this. Enjoyed this book, recommend for anyone wanting an entertaining, fast-paced read.

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted April 3
Its sitting on my kindle yelling at me to start. Who am I to deny a hard man?

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