I am delighted to announce that my ebook single, DEAD PIG COLLECTOR, will now be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, under their FSG Originals imprint. I’m especially happy with this – which worked out mostly thanks to the kindness of editor Sean McDonald – because I’m in the middle of writing my non-fiction book SPIRIT TRACKS for the very same editor and imprint.
Release date and other details to follow.
Once again, all my gratitude to my book agent, Lydia Wills.
The UK product page should be up very soon, to join the US page for the thing. Still waiting for the links to other ereader systems to process. I think we’ve settled on “digital short story” to describe the monster. Live date is June 18 for the US, and June 20 for the UK. I know nothing about its availability in any other territory at this time. Proper press release and quotes and things are to come soon.
This may not be of interest to anyone but me, but it turns out that fully one quarter of the traffic to this site comes from the autoposter that sends out “new post” links to Twitter.
I was talking to Craig Mod the other night about blogs and websites, “home bases” and domains and the way things are changing. An apt time to talk about change, when I’m here hawking a short story being sold by a big publishing house…
“It is very important,” Mister Sun said, lifting the hammer again, “that we pulverise the teeth and facial bone structure as well as possible.” Crunch. “If we are caught in ten minutes, then, yes, we are standing over a dead body in the bath tub.” Crunch. “But we will, by god, force them to do a DNA test to identify the body. This purchases us useful seconds.”
“What about fingerprints, though?” Amanda said. “They won’t need DNA. He has fingerprints.”
“Well,” said Mister Sun, as the hammer’s impact reports degenerated from crunches to sounds like glass dust being pounded into pork chops, “that’s why there’s a thirty-dollar brulée torch in my bag. We will need some air freshener, by the way.”
DEAD PIG COLLECTOR is a long short story that will be released by Mulholland Books as a digital ebook single on June 15.
It is a love story. It is also about killing people and effectively disposing of their bodies.
Listen, if you’re in America, haven’t bought a copy of GUN MACHINE yet but intend to pick one up, there’s a thing. Barnes & Noble – GUN MACHINE was on their Best Sellers list all through January – are re-upping their promotion on the book. The book is going back on their New Releases tables from March 12 for about ten days. If you intend to buy one and don’t have a commitment elsewhere (like, a promised sale to an indie bookstore), it’d help me out if you bought one from B&N next week. It would certainly make my publisher very happy. In any case, I understand it’s quite unusual for a book to go back into the New Releases displays at this point in their cycle, so, you know, tell your friends or something…
(My publisher, Mulholland Books, would like to add that your relatives probably want copies, but they may not have mentioned it to you, so you should totally go ahead and buy them copies. I do not know how my publisher knows this. Perhaps they have special powers. It may be best not to argue with them.)
…a novel’s a novel, regardless of how it’s displayed. I don’t think about the container at all. It’s words on a surface. Digital doesn’t actually change that. The only real changes digital have brought, as far as I’m concerned, are delivery speed and the ability to lift three Neal Stephenson novels at once.
The thing about John Cassaday was that you could just throw anything at him, and it’d work. So I did, and it did.
The overall concept for the PLANETARY covers was that, every issue, the book would simply look like nothing else next to it on the shelves, and that was how it would stand out. Look for the thing that looked like none of the other things. I think we mostly managed that. These are a few of my favourites.
Hong Kong Action Film issue. The title and credits were actually supposed to appear as film-style subtitles under the image, but that was a step too far even for the fairly laid-back editorial office. I’m still kind of sad about that.
I would often just throw shorthand and free-association at John, for the cover images. In this instance, I think I said something like, “doom, sorrow, monochrome, abstract, Joy Division. Yes. Joy Division.” And probably the title of the story, which was “Magic And Loss.” (Thereby also summoning Lou Reed.) This was just a perfect conjuring.
In comics, when you say “Steranko,” you mean a pure shot of Pop-Art/Op-Art Sixties mad-science spy story.
”Steranko” may in fact be the best name anyone ever had.
Kubrick and 2001: A Space Odyssey. RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA and Seventies science-fiction paperbacks. At this point, we were putting letterer/designer Richard Starkings through such horrors every time that he started crediting himself on the covers as revenge, which we were perfectly fine with.
Our “Doctor Strange” issue, connecting that character’s Sixties origins with psychedelia. Right off a Fillmore poster, in classic period colours.
And this one. Which I provided no notes for, had no idea for, and had nothing to do with. The penultimate issue. And John just generated the perfect image. I remember just looking at this and saying, “you clever, clever bastard.”
Can you see the logo? It’s just a bit of type above the Wildstorm mark in the top left. By this juncture, we’d proven our point – readers found PLANETARY, every time we released an issue, by looking for the thing that did not look like the other comics. And that’s all down to the brilliance of John Cassaday.
We had great cover artists on that book. I mean, in a perfect world, Darick would have done them all. But it’s not, and so we had some of the greatest artists in comics taking turns with him. Not a bad cover in the lot. I was just thinking about it today. Some of those covers live with me still, and never got the kind of applause they deserved. Here are a few of those.
John Cassaday. We worked together on PLANETARY for years, where he amazed people with his covers. But, weirdly, I still think this is the greatest cover he’s ever done. It’s just too exquisitely imagined for words, really. A beautifully drawn and incredibly simple, incredibly clever piece of work.
Well, it’s Moebius. Therefore your argument, if you had one, is invalid.
Moebius was the pen name of Jean Giraud, one of the very best comics creators and artists France produced ever. He was one of those rare people who genuinely deserved the tag “genius,” as far as I’m concerned.
I’m fascinated by how raddled and awful Spider looks under Moebius’ ink, too.
Jaime Hernandez. Therefore, the comment above mostly applies here too. How the hell my editors convinced these people to do covers is beyond me.
What interested me here was that artists usually went to the frenetic or the scowly with Spider Jerusalem, but Jaime Hernandez cages up this moment of quiet desperation that I love.
There is something purely Tanino Liberatore about JG Jones’ cover. I don’t know what Jones is doing these days, but I presume it’s not kinky Euro-style science fiction, and I am sad for that. Because this picture is just beautifully set up, and I like how it communicates Spider’s relationship with his “filthy assistants” – that they could basically kill him any time they liked because he was a physical wreck with all the implicit fighting ability of an old dishrag.
My favourite of Darick’s own covers. Pure joy, and yet, at the same time, pure Id. Spider’s expression says “I am alive and having great fun” and somehow also “I just shat on somebody’s baby.”
Crop of a screenshot that Pamela Brown at Mulholland sent over, because I’m in the UK and therefore cannot access it. But, this week, GUN MACHINE is Editor’s Choice on the Apple iBookstore, and if you’re in the US, you should be able to see it with this direct link here – as well as, of course, on the iBooks front page.
The book also made the Barnes & Noble, and ABA independent booksellers’, best-sellers lists last week. It seems to be doing okay.
So the book finally launched last week. We had a few hiccups, including physical copies not reaching Barnes & Noble bookstores (at best) in the launch week, and both Amazon and Amazon UK selling out twice, but it’s out there. This link should tell you where to find it. At one point, GUN MACHINE was the 112th best-selling book on Amazon. This weekend has mostly been about people telling me they can’t find physical copies to buy, which is really not a warming thing for someone who would like to sell copies of their book.
Jim Batt, Ben Templesmith and Wil Wheaton, folks. They did me proud, and it’s not a thing I’ll ever be able to pay back.
The American reviews I’ve been shown have all been very kind. The New York Times reviewed it twice, even. Got one in the UK, yesterday, too, which was nice. I was also on The Nerdist podcast – Chris and his team were just great.
Book Trailer 2 is coming, which will hopefully keep things rolling along. I know it’s going to look amazing.
Last week was mostly about watching screens and processing email (and blasting away my “holiday” time). Today I go back to the actual job of writing things. But if you’re one of the people who tweeted about the book, or blogged about it, over the last week: thank you. Seriously. You made the week a lot easier for me, and I’m grateful.
Today, ten years later, I can’t hear the birds. There’s just that constant low-level hiss of dronerotors, which always seems to blanket over the sound of birdsong. You have to go deep into the countryside now to hear birds. Out to one of the coverage holes, like the drowned towns in the West Country. Stand at the western end of the M4 motorway that the locals call Bristol Pier. And, perhaps, the distant and distorted tone of church bells softly striking under ten metres of rainwater…
In this week’s issue of Publishers Weekly, the American book trade magazine, my next novel GUN MACHINE received a “Signature Review” from one Jason Starr. I got sent a scan, and it’s an awfully long image, so I cropped it on my iPad to get the text in, sacrificing the headers and footers. Apologies to them and to Jason. But here’s what they said.
Motherfucking QUERNS from OZ. And, of course, since you are all educated people who have seen THE WIRE, the magnificent Norman Wilson:
So what we have here is a crime book read by one of the best actors from America’s best crime television series. More details as I get them, but, basically, I couldn’t be happier. I mean, good god. Reg fucking Cathey. That’s a hell of a man to have associated with your book.
Seriously, just take five minutes a day to make yourself look around. Just a couple of minutes to be where you are, take it in, and compare it to memories of ten, twenty years ago. I’m in the middle of writing a thing for Vice right now, and I opened it by talking about how we can measure the contemporary day by the things that have become absent. Things we perhaps only notice peripherally.
I am causing a book trailer for GUN MACHINE to be created. On the left, we have my old friend Ben Templesmith (I have no explanation for the hat), and on the right you see new friend, director Jim Batt.
Book trailers are often fairly shabby things. We’re trying something else. There is a third element to this trailer, which we haven’t announced yet. If you’re on my newsletter you’ll learn it first.
All of these photos were kindly provided by Ben and Jim. Work should be done by the end of November, I believe.
These are just the parts. It will be something other than the sum of its parts.
WARREN ELLIS is a graphic novelist, author and columnist. His new novel, GUN MACHINE, available now from Mulholland Books, is being developed for television by Chernin Entertainment and FOX. His first non-fiction book, from FSG, is due in 2014. RED 2, the sequel to the Bruce Willis-Helen Mirren film RED based on his book of the same name, will be released in August 2013.