22nd November 2002 Publication of Prize in the Game

A delivery guy just delivered a big box of books — twenty hardbacks of THE PRIZE IN THE GAME. Amazon still don’t have the cover up, and still claim it isn’t released until December, even if they do have the good Publisher’s Weekly review. But I have my copies. It must be published.

I’m reconciled to the cover — it is in many ways a good cover. It’s orange, which is regrettable, and the artist clearly has never seen a chariot, which is a pity when you consider how much chariot fighting there is in this book. (Hadn’t he seen GLADIATOR? Hadn’t he seen BEN HUR? Evidently not, but he had seen a bran tub.) But on the good side, it does show a climactic scene, and it’s obvious to me which scene, even if the participants can’t quite be identified. (I guess it’s Darag going down and Ferdia going up, but neither of them look anything like them. Never mind.) I like the way the crossed swords are the focal point, even if I would have chosen a spear myself. And, let’s face it, any picture is improved no end with the addition of my name in seventy point type.

Hmm, if I could have designed the cover I’d have had a spear in flight cleaving the space diagonally, with a peaceful feast in pastoral colours in the top left hand half and a battle in the bottom right hand half in reds and blacks. Or maybe the shape of a horse in silhouette. But never mind, this will do, which is just as well.

The penultimate chapter, the one I wrote during proofreading to replace the truly appalling penultimate chapter I had written in a fit of idiocy last year, looks great. And the last chapter is there, which it wasn’t on the proof I signed for someone at WFC. I wrote the first line of it in for the poor chap. I’d have written it all in, but I wasn’t sure of some of the changes I’d made when I took the linebreaks out. I originally wrote the last chapter in Netscape miniscule on Elise’s Juan’s computer, when I was in Minneapolis for Minicon two years ago. I emailed it to myself with a filename of “not28” because I knew that chapter 28 couldn’t be a poem. In modern fiction, unlike in real Celtic fiction, you can’t break out of prose for the climactic moments. More’s the pity. Taking the linebreaks out and hoping nobody would notice hadn’t occurred to me at that point. It wasn’t 28 anyway, I was right about that, it’s 32. The whole book is written in fours, the four POVs in repeated pattern order all the way through.

It occurs to me now that I should have written a novel in straight single person third between that and the Sulien books, which are in unrelieved first person. The one I am writing now is in Trollopean omniscient. When I get back and write the PRIZE sequel, which will be called BREAKING THE WARD, that’ll be a four POV pattern again, though I’m not entirely sure yet who they’ll be.

I feel like working on it, having just re-read the last two chapters of PRIZE in cold print. But I should get on with what I’m supposed to be working on. Dragon book. Only 941 words Wednesday, and nothing yesterday with Rysmiel home. And Zorinth is home today with yet another Ped day from school… he’s happily playing a computer game and probably won’t emerge until lunchtime, but even so it’s hard to settle to it. I don’t know why I find it so hard to work with other people in the apartment, but they seem to crowd me on a psychic level when I’m trying to get my brain in gear to get started. It might be because there aren’t any proper doors on this room.

Anyway, THE PRIZE IN THE GAME is out there, and the other two are both on the shelves (in Chapters and Indigo downtown, where I can see them) in paperback. This is already an achievement not precisely beyond my dreams, but beyond my expectations for most of my life.

One copy goes on the shelf, under W, in hardcover between Vinge and Whittemore, which is really cool — the paperbacks go between Walsh and Wangerin. One copy for Zorinth — between Walsh and Watt-Evans in there, one copy for Rysmiel, which will get shelved after work, one copy for Kate, and another to post to Lucy, who really helped so much with this one, and the rest go in the closet. I know people are supposed to put clothes in closets, but I have so few clothes that like to hang up, and so many reference boxes of books.

Posted in My Books, Sulien World