Cheeseburger Gothic

Into the last laps

Posted June 13, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

... but not the final straight, yet. The first of the Dave Hooper books has moved from electroinc to paper, going off to production at Random House in NYC and soon enough at Pan Mac down in Sydney. The second book won't be far behind.

All of the structural and character arc edits are done on those two, although Murph suggested a small but brilliant change to one character this morning that we're going to go with.

I'm hoping to wrap the draft of book 3 in about a month and send it to production by September.

It's been fun doing all three at once. Gives me a chance to retcon earlier volumes in light of stuff happening later in the story. Characters who dont work out can be swapped for characters who did, and they can be given more prominance and action as needed. Plot twists can be properly signposted or deliberately hidden. The laws of the story can be drafted and redrafted before they're set in stone upon release. It's unusually powerful advantage. I expected that to be the case, but have been surprised at how damn useful it's been.

I'm almost reluctant to send the copy to paper, but I think I might work like this more often in future.

Anyways, gots to get back to it. Might have some artwork soon.

13 Responses to ‘Into the last laps’

JG puts forth...

Posted June 13, 2014
Three books written over such a short timespan is an amazing achievement, JB. Great to have a stalwart Murph as your researcher and second pair of eyes. Cheers to you too, Murph.

Good luck with the final stretch. I'm glad all three books will be available in paper form as I don't like reading off screens. Great too that all three books will be in bookstores, staggered throughout 2015. Hope you will do book signings.

I look forward to your Dave Hooper/monsters vs techno series, JB.

All the best,


Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 13, 2014
I'm the winner in this relationship, Red.

In many ways, I consider my work as something of an apprenticeship.


On the Outer Marches

yankeedog reckons...

Posted June 13, 2014
Always there are two-a Master and an Apprentice!

Surtac asserts...

Posted June 13, 2014

And on that note I've just heard that Jim Keays has died. :(

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Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted June 13, 2014
Please don't ban me JB, but there are some people who need taking down and I'm abusing your hospitality for the purpose.

Dragon killing (part 1)
Hooper rarely had time to reflect on his life since the rig had opened up Hell or the Dungeon Dimensions or God's little practical joke. Still, crouching at the bottom of a disturbingly coffin-shaped hole with a poisoned spear, Igor and a smelly hobbit for company wasn't the career path he'd anticipated. Not much choice though. Once the Orcs had wiped out most of the human's air assets, the Dragon fighting had definitely favoured the lizards. Then the Hobbits turned up from England.

Physically they looked like the ones in the kids books but Tolkein must have met a different bunch. Or maybe they just paid him off with some of their recreational chemicals. The "pipeweed" was bad enough - worse than the strongest hydroponic cannabis - and their version of ale was lethal. But those didn't scratch the surface of what the little
buggers had brewed up from mushrooms or squirrel shit or whatever they used for raw materials. Luckily for humanity they were natural poisoners and even luckier, they hated dragons in a way that takes thousands of years to perfect. Their chief chemist seemed to be Beezo or Farmer Jon as they called him. A bald, more or less spherical little
creature with goggles that made him look like a Minion from Despicable Me. Sparse tufts of hair, usually singed, seemed to be intended as a beard and the only link to farming Dave had ever noticed was a faint farmyard odour, like cow manure in his foot-hair. But he did the job and sometimes a bit more. A marine sergeant named Murph or the Hoff or something had been hazing Beezo whenever he had the chance, until he collapsed in the mess one night and started ... changing. He'd never been a handsome man but as a woman he was even worse. No one could prove Beezo had done it and anyway, some of the politicians were probably going to make him an offer, if and when we won. You could make millions with a potion like that. And Beezo (or Guran as the Phantom fans called him behind his back) made a poison that killed dragons when nothing less than a 20mm shell could dent their scales. The only problem was that it had to be smeared on a spearhead, which then had to be inserted in one of the very few weak spots in the dragon's armour. From underneath. The heat from passing down a barrel made it impossible to simply coat a bullet and most people couldn't drive in a spear, even at the weakest points. So that left Dave with his "mana" or whatever it was, absorbed whenever he killed an underworlder like in those crappy Highlander movies. And if Boylan didn't stop muttering "There can only be one" in that mushy Connery accent, there would be another accident.

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Dino not to be confused with mutters...

Posted June 13, 2014
Ok JB I don't mind you cappin' me from fkn orbit, and such, cause libel and slander and leagle shit, and such, but you must dlete the post above this.
For the love of fkn 'obbits JB!
Even fkn Dragons and GOT shit!
Be Fair...

Darth Greybeard swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 13, 2014
Oh Dino . . .

Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted June 13, 2014
Don't worry about me GreyBeard.
Life Sucks, that's the bad news.
The greatest evidence for God is that life is temporary.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted June 13, 2014
But Dino, the Beard was on topic.

Dino not to be confused with mutters...

Posted June 13, 2014
On topic on shmopic!

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Therbs reckons...

Posted June 13, 2014

Speaking of Masters Apprentices, vale Jim Keays.

And GB - nasty, nasty stinky hobbitses. At least now we know that Beeso hasn't simply been perfecting the art of cheesemaking.

Darth Greybeard mutters...

Posted June 13, 2014
Ah yes, I haven't forgotten you Mr Therbo.

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Darth Greybeard swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 13, 2014
Dragon Killing (part 2)

Dave's current partner/poison-master was Yobbodoc, a gingery little squirt who'd discovered a taste for American beer that disgusted the other hobbits. Some of the Aussie "military advisors" joked that even if hobbits had souls, ginger hobbits definitely wouldn't. Before that there'd been Therbadoc, son of Egfroth (call me Therbs) who'd become quite a friend considering he'd held a knife to Dave's balls within thirty seconds of meeting him. Poor Therbs had shown them that dragon dung was almost as corrosive as their fire when a dying lizard took a dump on his head from a hundred feet up. Then Alfroth the Accurate who'd retired after losing a leg to an Orc. He was rumoured to spend most of his time on the Internet now, looking for Dwarf Porn. Hooper had no idea what the hobbit population was back in Europe but there were always replacements if there were dragons to be killed.

And then there was the shuddering thump of a landing dragon and the sound of dragging scales as the lizard headed for the bait, passing right over their pit. The dragon was in the perfect position, legs either side, belly covering the pit completely, radiating scorching heat and cutting off the light. Igor switched on his lamp and Dave tightened
his grip on the spear shaft. Yobbodoc belched foully in the confined space and opened the poison jar, quickly smearing the spear head with black goo. Igor peered through the mesh, waiting for the dragon's cloaca to be exposed. "Shoving it up the Clacker" as the Aussies called it. Igor lifted his hand and Yobbodoc sneezed so explosively that the dragon leapt forward and started to turn. "KNEE!" Igor roared and Dave thrust up and right between the scales. Not the best or quickest spot, but the dragon would die, eventually.

The lizard - one of the black ones they called a Hungarian Horntail for some reason - twisted to the side, leaving the top of the pit clear. "Get to the Choppa" shouted Dave, pointing at Choppa creek a hundred yards away. All three of them ran like hell, Igor in the lead with Dave close behind and the angry scream of the dragon encouraging them to
go harder. Both men dived into the creek and stayed down as long as they could stand. Dave surfaced cautiously but everything was quiet. When they peered over the bank, they could see the dead dragon with two ginger-haired feet still poking from the side of its mouth. Igor smiled shakily "When you and a hobbit are being chased by a angry dragon, you don’t need to outrun the dragon. You only need to outrun the hobbit." He sounded as if he was quoting something but Dave had never heard it before.

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