I can hardly believe it myself but True Path, the second book in the Timesplash series, has been shortlisted for an Aurealis Award in the Best Science Fiction Novel category. For those who don’t know (probably everyone outside Australian speculative fiction fandom) the Aurealis Awards are the premier spec fic awards in this country. For an Aussie writer, it’s like being shortlisted for a BAFTA or an Oscar, except, you know, without all the eight-page spreads in women’s magazines and the scandalous clips of me twerking at the awards ceremony.
“I’d like to thank all the little people…”
Since the chances are slim that I’ll actually get the award (Lexicon by Max Barry gets my vote, on the premise alone), I’d like to mention a couple of people who deserve a bit of credit for this book. My agent, Ineke Prochazka, started it all by sending the manuscript of Timesplash to a new digital-first imprint of Pan Macmillan’s called Momentum. It wasn’t part of my career plan to approach digital-first publishers and I had already self-published Timesplash quite successfully. Yet the guys at Momentum were so enthusiastic, and were getting great publicity at the time, so I thought, What the hell? There was a condition though, Joel Naum at Momentum wanted me to do a sequel and let them publish that, too. In fact, many readers of Timesplash had also asked for a sequel so I was pretty well softened up to the idea. So I wrote it. Then my editor at Momentum, Tara Goedjen, took a hammer to my manuscript and, flexing her mighty muscles, knocked off all the roughest edges. I’ve said before how great it is to work with Tara , but it’s nice to have the chance to say it again. Finally, some kind soul at Momentum (probably Mark Harding) nominated the book for an Aurealis Award. And the rest, as they say…
I’ve got to say, it’s nice to get some recognition for my work. I’ve got some great readers who are extremely flattering about my novels but a national award is just so much more official. We writers all like to feel that we don’t need the validation of publication or awards but, when stuff like that happens, it really does feel good. Of course, even without them, we keep on writing and we keep looking for ways to get our work out there. It’s like trudging through an endless desert sometimes. It is hard and it’s lonely and the desert stretches out ahead, bleak and barren, and you know you will be crossing it your whole life long. And these little moments of appreciation are like finding water holes along the way.
So, while my cup is running over, I’d like to raise a glass of cool water to the people at Conflux, Inc. and the Aurealis Awards team.
Those of you who have been following my main writing blog (http://grahamstorrs.cantalibre.com/) will have heard that I have a new sci-fi novel, Heaven is a Place on Earth, coming out in January 2014. Of more relevance to readers of the Timesplash blog is that there is a third Timesplash novel in the works too.
Tentatively named, FORESIGHT, the new book picks up the story of Jay, Sandra and Cara about two-and-a-half years after their adventures in True Path. Jay is working for European military intelligence in Berlin, Sandra is continuing her life of quiet obscurity in Oxford, while Cara, now 18, has started university. They might have continued like this forever but an inexplicable global catastrophe plunges the world into disarray. Earthquakes shake the world, bizarre and frightening apparitions appear everywhere, and causality is fractured in a way that suggests someone is again playing with time. In the aftermath, our protagonists are dragged into the hunt for the perpetrators and are soon fighting for their lives against a dangerous enemy.
I’m hoping the new Timesplash novel will be published in mid to late 2014.
Right now, it feels as if FORESIGHT brings the story of Jay and Sandra to a close. But, on the other hand, I wrote the first Timesplash novel as a stand-alone book, and had no plans at all for a sequel, let alone a trilogy. So I’ve learned never to say never again.
I haven’t mentioned much about the great reviews I’ve been getting for True Path (I was just reminded by another one appearing today) but I thought I should say a big thank you to everybody for writing on your blogs and on retail sites like Amazon about the book. If you’re not a writer, you may not appreciate what a wonderful thing a good review is, and you may not appreciate how very grateful I am for each and every one of them.
So, thank you.
And, if you feel like dropping along to Amazon and writing a couple of sentences about Timesplash or True Path, you too can earn my eternal gratitude.
My publisher has decided a Timesplash giveaway is needed to kick sales of the Timesplash series into a higher gear. So, right now, you will find Timesplash – a novel of time travel, terrorism, the desperate struggles of a deranged young woman, and a shoot-out in Edwardian London – is free on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo and several other ebook retail sites. You can even get it free direct from the publisher.
So, please, accept this free gift. Many others already have. When I looked this morning, Timesplash was #1 in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy chart on the iBookstore, #2 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com, #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.de, and #3 in Science fiction on Amazon.in (the free charts, of course). I am particularly happy about the take-up of this free offer in Germany and over the moon to think I now have some readers in India.
And, can I suggest that, even if you already have a copy of an older edition, you might like to grab one of the Pan Macmillan/Momentum editions because the book was extensively re-edited and, of course, has a great new cover.
Writers often release the “playlist” for the books they’ve written. I’ve always found this a bit odd. Books take many months to write, sometimes many years. I don’t know about these other writers but in a period that long, I would listen to hundreds of different tracks, possibly thousands. So putting together a playlist for Timesplash – or the Timesplash series (Timesplash and True Path) – to reflect what I was listening to while I wrote the books is just not sensible.
However, what I can do is look through my music collection and consider which tracks might best reflect the mood I was in when I wrote various parts of the books. That’s much easier although still not dead simple. I have thousands of pieces in my music collection. Most of the time I play them on shuffle so that I gradually cycle round them all. However, some days, some weeks, I’m in a David Bowie mood, or a Bob Dylan mood, or I put on a soul playlist, or blues, or grunge.
So, here is the album that I’d compile to go with the Timesplash books. I haven’t thought much about the track order but that’s because I’d almost certainly play them on shuffle anyway.
1. My Dark Life – Elvis Costello and Eno
2. Time – David Bowie
3. There There – Radiohead
4. Calypso – Spiderbait
5. Until the End of the World – U2
6. Anarchy in the UK – The Sex Pistols
7. In Bloom – Nirvana
8. Home – The Mercy Bell
9. Fools in Love – Joe Jackson
10. Voodoo Child – Jimi Hendrix
11. Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix
12. Subterranean Homesick Blues – the Harry Nilsson version.
13. Scary Monsters – David Bowie
14. Never Get Old – David Bowie
15. Ode to My Family – The Cranberries
16. Mesoptamia – The B-52′s (sic)
What do you think? If you’ve read the books, does the playlist fit? Surprised there’s no dance music? If you haven’t read the books, would this playlist tempt you?
(And I don’t know where that image comes from, but something like that for the album cover would be good.)
Where did Jay and Sandra go after we left them at the end of Timesplash? Jay was madly in love with the beautiful but disturbed young woman. He had lost his job at MI5 but his friend, Jacques Bauchet, had invited him to go back to work at the Temporal Crimes Unit in Europol. Sandra was more ambiguous in her feelings about Jay. In so many ways she was the more experienced of the two but also the more damaged. Starting from a low base, her growth in self-awareness during the book had been greater than Jay’s. She clearly had a strong affection for our young, slightly nerdy hero, but she knew she had much more work to do on herself before she could commit to a relationship. Jay says goodbye to her at the gates of a mental institute where she is seeking help and he heads for Brussels to take up his new job.
Tomorrow, True Path, the sequel to Timesplash, is released and will reveal all.
I won’t spoil it for you by saying any more, except this. Three years ago, when I finished Timesplash, I had Jay and Sandra buzzing around in my head for weeks afterwards. I’d already lived with them for almost a year and I wanted to know what became of them. Then I saw a writing competition advertised. You had to write a piece of short fiction (1,000 words as I recall) about two people who meet in a laundromat. Obsessed with my two protagonists, I immediately put them in that situation – 40+ years after the events of Timesplash, in the year 2090-something – and wrote their story.
It was a terribly sad story – not least because laundromats were still supposed to exist in the 2090s! – and nothing like what you’ll see in True Path. One day I might put it up on this blog. Until then, I’m very pleased to say that True Path continues Jay and Sandra’s stories in a far more satisfying way. I hope you’ll pick up a copy tomorrow and that you will agree with me.
Meanwhile, don’t forget that the True Path 24-Hour Round-the-World Non-Stop Twitter Tour starts at 7pm EST (US) on July 1 (8am AEST on July 2 for Australians). For details see this post from my writing blog. AND there is a fantastic free prize to be won during the tour – the entire Momentum sci-fi and fantasy backlist! That’s over 20 ebooks, all for free, generously donated by Momentum for this amazing giveaway. To find out how to win, this post has the details.
First, the announcement. My novel True Path, the sequel to Timesplash, is featured on the Tor.com blog today. The whole of Chapter 1 is there for you to read. (If you’re quick, they also have the sales blurb on their front page if you’d like to see that too.)
I’m extraordinarily pleased about this for all kinds of reasons – the most tangible of which is that Tor.com gets around 750,000 readers per month. My writing has never had so much exposure in one hit before. But it’s the less tangible reasons that are the most thrilling.
For a start, it partly vindicates my strategy of seeking commercial publication for the Timesplash series. Timesplash did pretty well as a self-published novel. It found its way to tens of thousands of readers and I’m fairly confident I could have done the same for True Path. However, the number of people I can reach with my blogs and my Twitter account is really very small. As a publicity machine, I’m more on the clockwork mouse scale than in the Airbus 380 ballpark. Not so for the Big 5 publishers. They can reach audiences I can only dream of. Even if they don’t spend money on advertising the way they used to – especially not on newbies like me – they still have the market presence that makes websites like Tor.com massive.
Then there’s the genre cred factor. There are a few places around the Web that I think of as the cool places to be seen if you’re a sci-f writer. One is SF Signal. Another is Scalzi’s The Big Idea column on his Whatever blog. And another is Tor.com. (There is a small number of others too, like io9 and SFScope but I won’t bore you with the full list.) I want the Timesplash series to hit these spots as often as possible, not just for the publicity, but because these are the places it belongs. I like to call myself a sci-fi writer but to really feel like one, it helps to see my books on sites like this and know that other hard-core sci-fi fans (like me) are seeing them there too.
So a big thank you to my publicist at Momentum for setting this up! (And that’s another thing, he has asked a number of big-name sci-fi authors to “blurb” the Timesplash books. I don’t suppose they will but one of them is a personal hero of mine and I’m sacrificing goats on the hour in the hope of persuading the gods to inspire a charitable urge in him.)
Ever wondered why you get time paradoxes but not space paradoxes?
Imagine your grandfather has one child, who in turn has one child: you. Then you go back in time and shoot your grandfather before his only child is conceived. It’s clear that we now have a problem because you exist and, without both of your parents being born, you shouldn’t. If we set in motion a chain of events such that the last event in the chain leads to one of the earlier events not having existed, we’ve got a time paradox.
Now imagine you’re walking across a room. You start at point A, move to point B, then C. Then you go back to point A and cause it never to have existed. You have the same kind of paradox. You can’t be at C because you can’t have gone from A to B to C because there is no A.
Of course, put like that, it just sounds ridiculous. You can’t make a place not ever have existed. Yet you were happy to consider the possibility of making an event in the past cease ever to have happened. For some reason, our intuitions about space and about time are completely different. Yet these paradoxes are logically identical. We’re just not seeing how ridiculous it must be to make an event cease to exist the way we can see how odd it is to make a place disappear.
You might also notice that in both the time paradox and the space paradox both time and space were intimately tied into what happened. In the time paradox, you not only had to go back in time to your pre-conception grandfather, you had to be where he was so you could shoot him. In the space paradox, not only did you have to be at point A to eradicate it but you had to be there before you initially moved away from it. Leaving point A and your grandfather’s baby-making are both things that happen is space and time – Einstein called them space-time events. In fact, all events, without exception, are space-time events and you can’t unravel the space or time from a space-time event. It just doesn’t make sense. You can see how odd it is for places, but it’s harder to see with times.
And why should that be? Most people think it’s because time and space behave differently. You can move forwards and backwards in the three space dimensions, giving you a limited kind of random access to all of space (limited by the speed of light), but you can only move forwards in time.
This extremely peculiar fact makes time just feel so different. Yet our leading theory of time – Einstein’s General Relativity – doesn’t insist that you can’t go backwards in time. It simply says that, if you did go backwards, you would be retracing your steps exactly – time itself is one-dimensional, remember. So you would be, effectively, rewinding the Universe, like running a video backwards. Which means that you couldn’t go back and shoot your grandfather because, by the time the Universe had rewound that far, you wouldn’t be there, and things would be exactly as they were in the time before that happy space-time event that spawned grandpa’s only child.
Today, in about two hours time, a shiny new edition of Timesplash will be released worldwide by its new publisher, Pan Macmillan (Momentum). I know most of the people who read this blog have already read Timesplash so I won’t give you guys yet another sales pitch*. I just want to say a big thank you to you all for sticking around on this long journey. Timesplash was conceived in May 2008, so it’s taken almost exactly 5 years to get to this point – and it’s had many adventures and a couple of incarnations along the way.
I hope you’ll stick around for at least the next five years too. In a month, on July 1, the Timesplash sequel, True Path, will also be release by Pan Macmillan. The few people who have read it tell me it is a worthy successor to Timesplash, so I hope you’re going to think so too. I have a number of other books that are under the noses of various publishers right now and I hope they will begin to emerge in the next couple of years. And – dare I even think it? – I’ve just begun work on a potential Timesplash 3.
Keep playing the splashmusik, guys.
*Although, if you were a collector of digital first editions, you’d probably be considering buying this beautiful new incarnation. And, if you did, I could only compliment you on your far-sightedness and taste – and, of course, your great-grand-children will one day applaud your foresight. What’s more, it’s available at a special, low launch price from Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, eBook.com, and loads of other places, all DRM free to future-proof your investment.
At last I can unveil the stunning new covers for Timesplash and its sequel, True Path.
You can click on each of the covers to see a larger version. Momentum says there will be higher-res versions to see soon – but I just wanted to get these images out there asap. As you can probably tell, I’m very pleased with what the Momentum cover artist has done. The images and fonts are simple and the concept is very literal – especially in the case of Timesplash. Even the colours are minimal. Yet the overall effect is just great. The feeling of movement and drama is what I really like about the covers. Timesplash and True Path are fast paced, action-oriented stories and I think these covers really do tell the reader exactly what they can expect.
Click to enlarge
My thanks to the team at Momentum for putting together two great covers.
So, don’t be shy, tell me what you think. Would these look good on your Kindle Fire (or iProduct, or Kobo…)?