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A Night at the Tarn House

I've just finished correcting the page proofs of "A Night at the Tarn House," the novelette I wrote for the Jack Vance tribute anthology, SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH. Tomorrow they go back to Subterranean Press, where the book is zooming into production. Appears we're looking at an August pubdate, barring unforeseen schedule changes. The limited editions -- both lettered and numbered -- are already sold out, but copies of the illustrated trade edition, with its gorgeous Tom Kidd artwork, can still be preordered from the Subterranean website at

Some writers actually like correcting proofs, I am told. Not me. I've always found it tedious. When the proofs are full of errors, it makes me wonder if I'm missing some of them, and I worry about mistakes sneaking by. When the proofs are clean, that makes me REALLY nervous and I end up going over the same pages several times, searching for the errors that I'm somehow not seeing.

These proofs were pretty clean, by and large, though I caught a few typos... mostly my own. In the old days before computers, most of the mistakes you found when proofreading were ones that had crept in during typesetting. No longer. These days, ninety per cent of the time, when I find a mistake in the text, it is one I made myself.

I'd read three-quarters of 'Tarn House' weekend before last at CoSine in Colorado Springs, but this was the first time I'd gone through the whole thing since mailing it off to my co-editor, Gardner Dozois. It held up pretty well, I thought. No one writes like Jack Vance but Jack Vance, which made this a rather intimidating assignment... but fun as well. Many of the other writers in the book attempted to recreate Vance's unique style, but I was content just to nod in that direction, and try my best to evoke his world and some of his wit. The readers will be the judge of how well I did, but my hope is that the Vance fans out there will enjoy meeting Molloqos, Lirianne, and the Great Chimwazle (whose name is an obscure Howard Waldrop swipe, I blush to confess) as much as I did writing about them.

And besides, you can't imagine how good it feels to have finished something.

Some writers enjoy writing, I am told. Not me. I enjoy having written.

Vance fans will also want to be sure to pick up the Spring issue of Subterranean's online magazine. Gardner Dozois was the guest editor for the issue, which will feature -- among other treats -- one of the other stories from SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH: "Sylgarmo's Proclamation," by Lucius Shepard. Consider it an appetizer.


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Feb. 4th, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC)
Mr. Martin

I just want it to be known that you readers enjoy you having written too. Keep on truckin'.

Feb. 4th, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
"Some writers enjoy writing, I am told. Not me. I enjoy having written." = legendary! =)
I can relate to that, I think^^ I tend to start lots of things and they seem to pile up quite a bit... sometimes I get them done. sometimes I don't.
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"Some writers enjoy writing, I am told. Not me. I enjoy having written." = legendary! =)
I can relate to that, I think^^ I tend to start lots of things and they seem to pile up quite a bit... sometimes I get them done. sometimes I don't. <_< when I actually <i>do</i> get something done, I feel as proud as an idiot

congratulations to having wrapped up your novelette^^
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 5th, 2009 02:59 am (UTC)
Awesome icon!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - misunderstruck - Feb. 5th, 2009 03:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 4th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
I am eager, eager, eager to get my hands on this. The weeks aren't passing by quickly enough!
Feb. 4th, 2009 11:41 pm (UTC)
Indeed. I salivate with anticipation. I cut my teeth early on Vance. The Tschai novels were among the first SF novels I read...
Feb. 4th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
I preordered the trade edition and am looking forward to this one a lot. Definitely one of the bigger books of the year, and I'm also interested to see what Dan Simmons and Neil Gaiman make of the world and setting.
Feb. 5th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
Nothing makes me buy a book faster than having your name on it George . I thoroughly enjoyed the Lies of Locke Lamora which had your recommendation on the cover and am now eagerly awaiting my limited edition Songs of a Dying Earth, the august publication date give me a chance to get hold of the Tales of the Dying Earth to read beforehand.

My number one priority now is somehow hiding the cost of all these books from my wife!
Feb. 5th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
"Some writers enjoy writing, I am told. Not me. I enjoy having written."

I feel much the same way, I think. As much as I enjoy the sound of the keys clicking away when the words are in my head begging to get out, most of the time it's not like that at all and I can't wait to be through the damned thing so I can finally sit back from my computer and say 'There. I've completed something.' And that feeling? The one that accompanies sitting back and reviewing the beauty of completeness? Oh it's a beautiful thing!
Feb. 5th, 2009 01:06 am (UTC)
Thank you George
Thanks for this update on the SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH anthology.
Feb. 5th, 2009 06:17 am (UTC)
Re: Thank you George
Feb. 5th, 2009 03:07 am (UTC)
Those who enjoy "having written" are the ones who end up with successful careers. Writers who actually enjoy writing AND having written are lucky, but in the vast minority. I venture past "minority" into freak-show territory. Not only do I enjoy writing, I HATE having written. The idea that something is complete (and therefore as good as it's going to get) frankly horrifies me. I can happily sit at my computer writing or editing all day... but I am so averse to actually having anything FINISHED that I will stop two pages from the end if that's what it takes, or permanently declare something a "rough draft" so I can keep tinkering with it for all eternity. I'm like the perennial student who is so terrified of the real world that she changes majors every semester and always manages to be just a couple of credits short of a degree.
Feb. 5th, 2009 05:44 am (UTC)
Excellent news!
I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that book, almost as much as to..um..*cough, cough*...Iain M. Banks' new novel?

Seriously, any new writing connected to anything done by Vance is cause for celebration!
Feb. 5th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
Proof reading may suck, but it is appreciated.
My daughter and I are thinking about getting T-shirts made that read: Spell check does not equal proof reading.
Feb. 5th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
Magnificent Wilf or Milf?
Cool t-shirt idea but..... - thehorn - Feb. 15th, 2009 04:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 5th, 2009 08:07 am (UTC)
off topic
can i just jump into the wild card sereies?

the only one borders has is like the lates one

they wer eout of heavenfall

Feb. 5th, 2009 09:12 am (UTC)
Re: off topic
While I suspect it's feasible to start the newest Wild Cards series with Busted Flush (the latest one), it probably makes more sense to start with Inside Straight. That's the first of the new series, and I think it probably acted more explicitly as an introduction to the setting and the new cast of characters.
Re: off topic - slojae - Feb. 5th, 2009 09:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: off topic - hippoiathanatoi - Feb. 7th, 2009 10:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 5th, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
Huh, interesting. I probably wouldn't order the anthology, but might read your novelette at Borders when I'm passing through sometime in the summer and then put the anthology back on the shelf where it belongs. Contrary to popular opinion, Jack Vance wasn't that great an author.
Feb. 13th, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
You do realize that your opinion is no more authoritative on who is and isn't a great writer than anyone who disagrees with you about Vance, right?
Feb. 5th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
I like Jack Vance, so will be interested to see how all the other authors interpret his world.

And thanks, George. Its always nice to get updates on the progress of stuff im looking forward to.
Feb. 5th, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
Wasn't there some other major project you have been working on?
Weren't you the guy writing the most amazing fantasy epic, what's it called? It's sometimes hard to remember that far back in time. It was unfinished as I recall. Yeah, seems like years now since there was any update about that.

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George R.R. Martin
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