Cheeseburger Gothic

Del Rey Challenge Coin

Posted February 1 by John Birmingham

Sometimes publishers send you things. Usually books. But my publishers sent me this cool 'challenge' coin for Christmas. As the text explains, challenge coins have been given as tokens of 'valor, service and camaraderie' since Roman times. Legionaires who'd proved themsevles particularly stabby on the battlefield got an exta coin in their pay pouch at the end of the week.

Apparently some military units still gift their members with special one-off coins, and the soldier who cannot produce their coin when challenged is up for an expensive round of drinks.

Del Rey's heavy coin of solid black Adamantium was minted solely for Del Rey's authors and the letter professes that it is given as emblem of the comradeship of the house and in appreciation for our work.

But just quietly, to get one you have to straight up murder at least two authors from Baen Books first.

12 Responses to ‘Del Rey Challenge Coin’

she_jedi asserts...

Posted February 1
In an age of disappearing publishing houses and the sense that just to be published is an honour and a privilege, it makes sense for publishers to expand their operations into complementary industries like covert assassinations, and cross skilling their authors to contribute to both business models. Handing out sexy black coins would be a fairly cost effective way of identifying the more, shall we say, productive authors....

she_jedi asserts...

Posted February 1
This triggered an idea for JB’s next airport novel to replace the City and the Tribe. A novel about how the world’s publishing houses are fronts for secret groups of authorial ninjas who are at war with each other. An up and coming author gets their first book contract, only to discover that in order to be published they’ll have to train to become an assassin, and they’re horrified to discover that the world’s deadliest woman is a beloved children’s book author. The new author gets teamed up with a world weary international super author/assassin who writes books about ‘splosions and is renowned for his research and the realism of his fight scenes, but what the critics think is fiction is based on his exploits in his secret shadow career.

“Just be grateful you got recruited by Del Rey,” Birmingham murmured into his whiskey glass. “They just give you a black coin once you’ve made you bones taking out a couple of authors from Baen. Those psychos at Hachette take your pets and your family members hostage until you’ve earned your book royalties back.”

The ageing assassinauthor leaned back in his armchair and smoothed the lapel of his smoking jacket. “And leave the cooking book people alone. Christ, they make the stabby happy jerks at Simon & Schuster look well adjusted. Never trust someone who can poison you a thousand different ways AND has the tools to carve you up like a Christmas ham. They get worse when they cross genres too. The shit the Sales and Crabb team have pulled over the years…. I didn’t want any of this. I wanted to be a serious writer, creating dissertations on the fracturing of society as we know it. Instead I write airport novels where I’ve destroyed the world in six different ways, all with a contractually obligated number of explosions, in between book tours where I’m inhuming tinpot dictators and wannabe supervillains and dodging the freelance hitters at Amazon.”

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted February 1
"A novel about how the world’s publishing houses are fronts for secret groups of authorial ninjas who are at war with each other."

Jesus Christ.

How are you not in charge of Random House already?

she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1
I'm sure if you flashed your challenge coin around your fellow Del Rey authors we could get a hit squad together to arrange an "accident" for the incumbent at Random House and get moving on this :P

HAVOCK21 has opinions thus...

Posted February 1
Did somebody intimate violence?

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted February 1
I'm very excited by this.

Dirk would have you know...

Posted February 2
One word and Dan Brown sleeps with the fishes ...

WarDog mumbles...

Posted February 2
OK, I'm hooked, what's the release date? I think it would be a real writing challenge to keep it fresh past book 2.

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ShaneAlpha is gonna tell you...

Posted February 1
Poul Anderson and Bob Asprin never saw it coming.

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insomniac would have you know...

Posted February 1
I suppose you'll have to keep it about your person at all times, just in case there's a random book deal or some such. No pun intended.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted February 1
None taken, guvnor.

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jl mutters...

Posted February 1
This means I need to carry a coin with me everywhere now. In the past I'd only have one on Memorial Day or something.

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