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The Library of Dream
September 23, 2010 11:18 AM   Subscribe

This is all rooted in a vision I had, of William S. Burroughs as a CIA agent, and Philip K. Dick as his young henchman, going head-to-head with notorious gangster and pervert Adolf Hitler somewhere in Hamburg to find out where Hitler is shipping all the computers he can get his hands on. - In another world Charles Stross wrote this sprawling work of Alternate History instead of the Merchant Princes books. Fictional books are of course themselves a common them in Alternative History stories, from The Grasshopper Lies Heavy in The Man in the High Castle to Adolf Hitlers pulp novel Lord of the Swastika in The Iron Dream. Stanisław Lem was particularly enamoured with the idea of the fictional book, and wrote two volumes of reviews and introductions for them, lovingly described here by Bruce Sterling.
posted by Artw (87 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
You mean "Metafilter's own Charles Stross."

Also, this is awesome.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:21 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, if you threw H.P. Lovecraft into that vision along with Burroughs and Dick – maybe as a double-agent working openly with the Nazis but secretly sabotaging them from the inside – you'd pretty much hit the trifecta of my literary idols.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:22 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


No Nazis in this timeline, though is suppose you could come up with a bit of handwaving as to why Lovecraft wouldn't die of cancer in 1937.
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on September 23, 2010


Charlie, if you're watching this, I would read this so hard my eyes bled.
posted by The Whelk at 11:28 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have more ideas for books than I have time to write them. Also, some of these ideas are of ... dubious, shall we say ... commercial value.

Vonnegut is rather famous for creating author characters to "write" all his sci-fi story ideas that he didn't really have time or audience for. On the other end of the spectrum, Borges was obsessed with novels that couldn't be written (one of my favorite of his stories is the one where an author attempts to recreate Don Quixote without ever having read it).

I've always loved Wonderboys, which partly a rumination on Chabon's own difficulties with a different novel; and I've only found out recently that before writing The Yiddish Policeman's Union, he wrote and scrapped a completely different novel with the same characters.

In short, I love this kind of stuff.
posted by muddgirl at 11:30 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Needs more Kilgore Trout.
posted by mosk at 11:31 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


WWII seems to have been a focal point for early Alternate History, and still remains attractive to writers to this day. When 2000ad started doing Past Imperfects, which were basically 5 page comics of the Future Shock kind but with an Alternate History setting, the two major no-no’s in the guidelines were WWII stories and JFK. Of course they ended up running both on of both in the end. I did one about Yuri Gagarin.
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't forget "Behind The Mask" in Watchmen.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:43 AM on September 23, 2010


Needs more Kilgore Trout.

I picked up a copy of Venus on the half-shell for $0.50, years ago. Still haven't cracked it open.
posted by nomisxid at 11:46 AM on September 23, 2010


David Foster Wallace's short stories (and novels, really) also often feature fictional stories embedded in them, usually taking the form of one character describing the story to another character. Like the ironic self-devouring stories Rick Vigorous is always coming up with in Broom of the system. I always suspected this was Wallace's way of exorcising stories he didn't have time or inclination to actually write, but which wouldn't leave him alone.
posted by rusty at 11:53 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, man, I really should have mentioned Kilgore Trout – a fictional writer who "escapes" and becomes real (or at least one of Philip Jose Farmer'sr "real" pseudonyms) much to his creators annoyance - that’s perfect.
posted by Artw at 11:53 AM on September 23, 2010


My addition to books about (and including parts of) fictional books: Italo Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveler.
posted by kozad at 12:07 PM on September 23, 2010


I love the idea of Ian Fleming as a Bond villian with Arthur C. Clarke as his evil scientist henchman.

No Nazis in this timeline, though is suppose you could come up with a bit of handwaving as to why Lovecraft wouldn't die of cancer in 1937.

That's easily fixed as Lovecraft's poverty-row diet directly contributed to his stomach cancer. Give him a job so that cold bread and beans wasn't a treat and he'd most likely had a longer life.

In another universe Kim Newman wrote his England-looses Nazi empire series. I'd love to go there.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:08 PM on September 23, 2010


Charlie, if you're watching this, I would read this so hard my eyes bled.

NEWSFLASH: New "Science Fiction" story literally makes readers eyes bleed. Tune in at 11 for more details.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:15 PM on September 23, 2010


A story by Peni Griffin called "Books" featured a bookshop with all the fictitious books mentioned in other books -- the unabridged Princess Bride, De Vermiis Mysteris, etc. It didn't have much of a plot, but the idea was so charming, I still remember it fondly.
posted by Zed at 12:15 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kim Newman has done some great Alt. History stuff, as well as the subtype of Alt History where you mix in a ton of fictional characters/story elements (that Anno Dracula is not in print whilst yards of second rate Streampunk clog up shelves is a tragedy).

In one of his Diogenes club stories there’s a rather spooky moment where a character realises that the mysterious instillation they are exploring is not quite right when they stumble into some living quarters and find a copy of 2001 A Space Odyssey by, IIRC, Ray Bradbury.

Dammit if I don’t want to read that universes 2001.
posted by Artw at 12:16 PM on September 23, 2010


You guys might be interested in a book called "The Weather Fifteen Years Ago."

The entire book is an interview between a character named Wolf Haas (the name of the author), and a book reviewer, about a book named "The Weather Fifteen Years Ago" that the character Haas has written.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:18 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Moseley is followed in 1942 by Chairman Blair, veteran leader of the Authority's forces during the Spanish Civil War.

Touché.
posted by dhartung at 12:25 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think I'd have enjoyed that series a lot more than Merchant Princes, which ended up being confused and directionless. Lots of interesting ideas there, but none of them ever got especially fleshed out, and the series as a whole goes pretty much nowhere. It felt like he spent way too many words on relative nonessentials, and then decided to change course about midway through the third book. The sudden and sweeping changes didn't square well with what we'd already been taught, and the whole thing ended up feeling awkward and a bit crippled.

They had a saying for writers when I was growing up, "once more through the typewriter". The theory was that plots improve every time you retype them from scratch, which was the only editing method in the old days. Merchant Princes had the core of a great story, but it needed two or three more trips through the typewriter.
posted by Malor at 12:26 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The last book in particular was very rough, but damn did it have a lot of nuclear bombs and explosions.
posted by Artw at 12:28 PM on September 23, 2010


I have more ideas for books than I have time to write them.

If you're in-thread, Mr. Stross...

Bang out a chapter-by-chapter précis and let me take a crack at it. I could use the leverage to get me out of full-time marketing and into full-time novelizin'*, you get a co-author credit for not so much work and no money down, and you might be surprised how commercial something can become when it is under the baleful gaze of the mighty MetaFilter.

*nothin' to lose but time
*nothin' to gain but everything
posted by Shepherd at 12:29 PM on September 23, 2010


Frequent and Vigorous... how can I direct your call?

One of my favorite DFW bits is the story Rick tells Lenore about second-order vanity. Where your vanity is self-consuming in that you are too vain to allow anyone to see your vanity as that would be an unacceptable flaw. So you go to crazy lengths to look good at all times but on the second-order level you go to even crazier lengths to hide the fact that you are servicing your first-order vanity.
posted by Babblesort at 12:29 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Kim Newman has done some great Alt. History stuff, as well as the subtype of Alt History where you mix in a ton of fictional characters/story elements

I'd really recommend his USSA stories about an alt history where the communist revolution happens in the US rather than Russia. Well with the caveat there's a lot of relatively obscure references in them - one's set in the UK mired in it's version of Vietnam is basically peopled by 70s British sit-com characters. One of these days I'm gonna re-read all of them and chase down every in-joke via the magic of the internet.

Actually talking of Vietnam I recently re-read D&D, a short story he wrote which is basically Vietnam in a Generic Fantasy World (TM). Was even better than I remembered.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:30 PM on September 23, 2010


From Kim Newman's wiki page: The short story "Famous Monsters", in which a Martian left over from the invasion in H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds gets a job in Hollywood, was included on an information package sent to Mars by a US-Russian probe in 1994. Blimey
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:37 PM on September 23, 2010


Nope.

Not gonna write it. You can't make me.

Anyway, I'd have to stop writing "The Apocalypse Codex" (aka Laundry book #4, the Modesty Blaise caper novel) if I wanted to have a go at this.

(Plus, the research required to do alt-hist properly? Is monstrous. I'm not a trained historian by background, and you don't want to read what I'd be writing while I was playing catch-up.)
posted by cstross at 12:40 PM on September 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


I love the idea of Ian Fleming as a Bond villian with Arthur C. Clarke as his evil scientist henchman.

I like the one where James Bond is a real person (name just a pseudonym, of course), an MI5 operative whose exploits and mannerisms Fleming appropriated for his fiction. And "Bond" didn't take too kindly to it, hence Fleming's early demise due to "natural causes".
posted by philip-random at 12:44 PM on September 23, 2010


(one of my favorite of his stories is the one where an author attempts to recreate Don Quixote without ever having read it).

He read it.

“The Quixote ,” clarifies Menard, “interests me deeply, but it does not seem— how shall I say it?—inevitable. I cannot imagine the universe without Edgar Allan Poe’s exclamation: Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted! or without the Bateau ivre or the Ancient Mariner , but I am quite capable of imagining it without the Quixote . (I speak, naturally, of my personal capacity and not of those works’ historical resonance.) The Quixote is a contingent book; the Quixote is unnecessary. I can premeditate writing it, I can write it, without falling into a tautology. When I was ten or twelve years old, I read it, perhaps in its entirety. Later, I have reread closely certain chapters, those which I shall not attempt for the time being. I have also gone through the interludes, the plays, the Galatea , the exemplary novels, the undoubtedly laborious tribulations of Persiles and Segismunda and the Viaje del Parnaso . . . My general recollection of the Quixote , simplified by forgetfulness and indifference, can well equal the imprecise and prior image of a book not yet written. Once that image (which no one can legitimately deny me) is postulated, it is certain that my problem is a good bit more difficult than Cervantes’ was. My obliging predecessor did not refuse the collaboration of chance: he composed his immortal work somewhat à la diable, carried along by the inertias of language and invention. I have taken on the mysterious duty of reconstructing literally his spontaneous work. My solitary game is governed by two polar laws. The first permits me to essay variations of a formal or psychological type; the second obliges me to sacrifice these variations to the “original” text and reason out this annihilation in an irrefutable manner . . . To these artificial hindrances, another—of a congenital kind—must be added. To compose the Quixote at the beginning of the seventeenth century was a reasonable undertaking, necessary and perhaps even unavoidable; at the beginning of the twentieth, it is almost impossible. It is not in vain that three hundred years have gone by, filled with exceedingly complex events. Amongst them, to mention only one, is the Quixote itself.”
posted by empath at 12:50 PM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


League Of Extraordinary Authors.
posted by The Whelk at 12:54 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Close enough. On a similar vein, I have to keep reminding myself to find a copy of Rise Above.
posted by muddgirl at 12:57 PM on September 23, 2010


League Of Extraordinary Authors

Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, and Henry James were honest-to-god members of The Anti-Imperialist League. Why there hasn't yet been a comic book featuring their two-fisted adventures, I couldn't tell you.
posted by Zed at 1:05 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Charles Fort, Arthur Conan Doyle, H. P. Lovecraft and Harry Houdini versus Charles Lindbergh and the Illuminati.
posted by Artw at 1:10 PM on September 23, 2010


THE FIVE FISTS OF SCIENCE
posted by The Whelk at 1:27 PM on September 23, 2010


On the subject of Leagues and Bonds, the Bonds of both the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen universe and the Anno Dracula universe are both nasty pieces of work and very well done.
posted by Artw at 1:37 PM on September 23, 2010


I'd really recommend his USSA stories about an alt history where the communist revolution happens in the US rather than Russia. Well with the caveat there's a lot of relatively obscure references in them - one's set in the UK mired in it's version of Vietnam

Oh god, yeah. I've got this somewhere, in Seven Stars, I think. It features Richmal Crompton's William as a savage tunnel fighter who everyone's terrified of. It's awesome.

There's a few Anno Dracula short stories online as well. Coppola's Dracula stands alone pretty well.
posted by permafrost at 1:41 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Inklings vs. Aleister Crowley

Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard vs. Lovecraftian horrors

James Joyce, Aleister Crowley, and Albert Einstein, um, get up to something or other.

And Clark Ashton Smith's off-stage but important in Our Lady of Darkness
posted by Zed at 1:42 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not gonna write it. You can't make me.

Ya ever read Misery, Charlie? Didya?

[would degrade self for more Eschaton-universe stuff. or even just a short-story-length description of what's going on and things turn out, and the answer is not "He grows up and marries me."]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:43 PM on September 23, 2010


the series as a whole goes pretty much nowhere

Carpet-bombing with megaton-range thermonuclear warheads is certainly somewhere.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:44 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I liked that bit.
posted by Artw at 1:55 PM on September 23, 2010


Carpet-bombing with megaton-range thermonuclear warheads is certainly somewhere.

I have to say it's tempting me
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:12 PM on September 23, 2010


We're being a bit spoilerific here, because part of the charm of that is that it tops off what started off as a sort of low key medieval fantasy.
posted by Artw at 2:16 PM on September 23, 2010


Really must read Our Lady of Darkness some time. I forget - is that one of the ones where the original short story is better?
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on September 23, 2010


Wow. That's crazy. But it's my kind of crazy.

Sometimes I'll start reading summaries of stuff on Wikipedia or elsewhere, and I'll read the whole thing and think "that sounds great, but damn, I shouldn't have just spoiled it for myself" but I'm honestly relieved because I don't even have time enough to read all the books I want, let alone write them. This is like that except nobody spent time writing the book, so I don't have to feel guilty about not reading it. Win-win!

I haven't read very much alternative fiction but I always like what I've read. Sometimes though, I'll admit, I'm afraid my limited knowledge of REAL history prevents me from enjoying it all the way.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:19 PM on September 23, 2010


I liked that bit.

I liked the idea of Cheney-and-Rumsfeld's America spreading like a particularly painful cancer across the multiverse. Until someone out there is moved to excise it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:23 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


We really are spoilering the hell out of it.
posted by Artw at 2:25 PM on September 23, 2010


This seems like a good place to mention that perennial MeFi favorite, The Invisible Library is still around, though it's hard to tell if it's been updated recently.
posted by EvaDestruction at 2:26 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Art. This is why I read the MetaFilter.
posted by Mister_A at 2:40 PM on September 23, 2010


We aren't really spoiling it; the novel itself already did that for us.
posted by Justinian at 2:42 PM on September 23, 2010


ROU_Xenophobe: you really need to read "Cowboy Angels" by Paul McAuley. Paul stole the plot for Merchant Princes #7-9 — three years before I began plotting them! (If I ever find where he hid the time machine, he's going to be sorry.)

More seriously: there'll be no more Eschaton books. There might be more Merchant Princes books. There will be more Laundry books ... and I'm seriously considering a space operatic sequel to Saturn's Children.
posted by cstross at 2:45 PM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yay, Laundry novels. Let's hear it for CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN!
posted by Justinian at 2:47 PM on September 23, 2010


ROU_Xenophobe: you really need to read "Cowboy Angels" by Paul McAuley. Paul stole the plot for Merchant Princes #7-9 — three years before I began plotting them!

I think either StarShipSofa or Escape Pod did a story set in the same world as that, and it was very good. Though now I wonder if it and the hypothetical Merchant Princes #7-9 are in some ways descendants of Mozart In Mirrorshades by Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner, from the Mirroshades anthology.
posted by Artw at 3:04 PM on September 23, 2010


More seriously: there'll be no more Eschaton books.

I know, I know. But if you're ever looking for things for another short-fiction collection, I hope you might think about doing something in the tradition of Niven's "Down In Flames," wherein he describes where he might have taken the Known Space universe but didn't.

(will put "Cowboy Angels on the Ecksmas wish list; hopefully I'll be done with The Quiet War and the The Whichever-Is-Newest Void by then)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:07 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, here we go:

A Brief Guide To Other Histories
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on September 23, 2010


This reminds me a lot of A Nomad of the Time Streams, which just might be my favorite of Moorcock's Eternal Champion series (though Behold the Man is still my favorite book of his).
posted by Kattullus at 3:13 PM on September 23, 2010


descendants of Mozart In Mirrorshades

"Mozart in Mirrorshades" + "The Lady Eve" = the highly recommended Corrupting Dr. Nice by John Kessel (whose title in the Spanish edition was the catchier Love in the Time of Dinosaurs. But in Spanish.)
posted by Zed at 3:21 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Time Ships has a very fun shifting history, which goes in somewhat steam/dieselpunkish directions as various Wellsian inventions get introduced into history.
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on September 23, 2010


Speaking of fictional books in alternate universes, Stephen King has featured writers as protagonists in several of his novels--Misery* (already mentioned above), 'Salem's Lot, The Shining, The Tommyknockers, IT, etc.--and Carrie has excerpts from at least two books written after the main events of the story. King also wrote a Kindle-only novella, Ur, about a quasi-magic Kindle that can download books from alternate universes where Hemingway didn't commit suicide or your favorite author wrote hardcore porn or whatever.

*The paperback edition of Misery featured this cover for the book-within-a-book, Misery's Return; the joke should be obvious. Also, the book mentions that Paul Sheldon, who is of course quite sick of his best-selling character Misery Chastain at the beginning of the book, has written, printed (in an extremely limited edition) and distributed to his friends a novella, Misery's Hobby, in which she has sex with her dog.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:42 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Art. This is why I read the MetaFilter.

I'm so glad I live in a world where I can thank cordoctorow for this wonderful site, and teresahayden for her wonderful moderation.
posted by benzenedream at 3:50 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm so glad I live in a world where I can thank cordoctorow for this wonderful site, and teresahayden for her wonderful moderation.

CASE VIOLET BLUE
posted by Artw at 3:56 PM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think you mean CS VLT BL, amirite? hurf durf.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:26 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Into the alternaverse she adds extra vowels.
posted by Artw at 4:28 PM on September 23, 2010


...but they're rugose, noneucliean vowels from the 182d dimension.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:13 PM on September 23, 2010


I'm reminded of the fictional notes written about the fictional manuscript of a fictional movie in the practically unreadable post-modernist masterpiece, "House of Leaves," by Danielewski.
posted by crunchland at 8:10 PM on September 23, 2010


> Anyway, I'd have to stop writing "The Apocalypse Codex" (aka Laundry book #4, the Modesty Blaise caper novel) if I wanted to have a go at this.

> There will be more Laundry books

Fuckin' yes!

Ahem. Sorry.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:23 PM on September 23, 2010


Can't help but cough loudly and recommend James Ellroy's The Cold Six Thousand right now...
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:07 PM on September 23, 2010


Funny, I couldn't get through it. But American Tabloid -- that shook me up.
posted by philip-random at 10:15 PM on September 23, 2010


Yep, I totally get that. Sort of like Robert Anton Wilson's Masks of the Illuminati for me, after reading the Illuminati Trilogy first.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:26 PM on September 23, 2010


I just finished reading Sinclair Lewis's "It Can't Happen Here" (which was quite amazing and ended up being rather different than I expected) and it made me realize there's a weird dreamlike literary sub-genre: things that are now alt-history but were speculations of a possible near future at the time they were written. It's a limited genre and one I would differentiate from old science fiction, such as a book written in the 70s that imagine a year 2000 where we have cities on Mars and regularly have tea with aliens.

Books in this imaginary genre would describe things in the very near future from the point at which they were written, wouldn't introduce any wildly new technology or cultures which would have have been out of place, and would be full of the details and in-jokes that only someone from the time period would fully recognize.

Not sure how many books would fit this description, I can think of only 3-4 off of the top of my head, not including the spate of military speculative fiction that came out in the early-to-mid 80's.

And speaking of imaginary books, I would love to get a copy of Buzz Windrip's "Zero Hour". A corn pone Mein Kampf would be oddly appropriate for these days of tea baggers.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:34 PM on September 23, 2010


Saturday Night Live ran a series of alternate history sketches: "What If?"

"What if the Aztecs had had escalators?"

"What if Eleanor Roosevelt could fly?"

"What if Napoleon had a fully armed B-52 at the battle of Waterloo?"
Answer: he would have won much easier.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:43 PM on September 23, 2010


But if you're ever looking for things for another short-fiction collection, I hope you might think about doing something in the tradition of Niven's "Down In Flames," wherein he describes where he might have taken the Known Space universe but didn't.

I have a very clear memory of reading something in the late 80s/early 90s about a projected anthology which would collect stories from a number of SF writers that completely trashed their own created universes. "Down in Flames" was supposed to be included, plus something from David Brin that pulled the rug out from under his Uplift stories, and a number of others that I can't remember now. I always thought it was an interesting idea.
posted by daveje at 1:55 AM on September 24, 2010


Huh. (The explanation for "where the Eschaton universe is broken" is going on the spike for the ongoing series of "books I will not write", right behind the deleted cat sidekick scenes in "Iron Sunrise" and the proposed collaboration with S. M. Stirling. (No, I'm not making this stuff up. (Er, I was, but in real life.)))
posted by cstross at 3:22 AM on September 24, 2010


I can think of only 3-4 off of the top of my head, not including the spate of military speculative fiction that came out in the early-to-mid 80's. --- I'm curious what these are, or have they already been named here? I find that mid-to-late 20th century speculative fiction that's already dated to be somewhat unreadable, and would like to try to find some that still work on some level.
posted by crunchland at 5:26 AM on September 24, 2010


I love The Iron Dream *so much*. And re. the Kim Newman stuff above - I still can't quite understand why Anno Dracula or Red Baron haven't been filmed yet. They've been around forever, the vampire fad thing is peaking for at least the second time since AD. Is it that Hollywood considers alt history *too* confusing. Like, it's okay to have scifi, or superhero stuff, because that's obviously *made up* stuff and visually distinct from "reality", but that introducing alt history into a "normal" narrative would be too confusing? The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a kind of alt history, and that bombed rather spectacularly.
posted by meehawl at 8:09 AM on September 24, 2010


the proposed collaboration with S. M. Stirling

Wouldn't this just involve replacing random characters with S&M lesbians?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:22 AM on September 24, 2010


The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a kind of alt history, and that bombed rather spectacularly.

I think that had other problems, in the form of sucking so violently that it actually formed a mini-black hole which immediately dropped to the Earths core and which is slowly eating away the planet from beneath our feet as we speak.

As I mentioned, Anno Dracula can’t even seem to manage to stay in print, let alone get made into a movie. Quite how this is when vampires and alt-history Victoriana are huger than they’ve ever been I do not know.

That said:

Q2: There seems to have been speculation about a big budget Hollywood version of your novel Anno Dracula for ages. Any truth in this?

KN: It's been optioned a couple of times. I did a first draft script once. As it stands, I have the rights back - and have turned down a few offers which I thought weren't likely to lead to films or TV shows I could endorse (and, frankly, weren't likely to get made).

At the moment, a producer/studio would have to offer me either a) life-changing money, b) a really interesting director with a track record in expensive but personal films or c) a considerable degree of control and input. None are that likely.

A problem with the book as a film project is that it isn't the sort of thing that can be done cheaply - it's a period piece with special effects, a large cast of the sort of characters who need big (ie: star) personalities, and has a lot of background things going on arguably more important than the actual plot.


(The next question is "did you really wear a cape to school?")

Oh, and it looks like Titan may be doing a reprint of Anno Dracula. Hurrah!
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on September 24, 2010


(Really must do that big Kim Newman post one day)
posted by Artw at 10:05 AM on September 24, 2010


Had a bit of a WTF moment when Kim Newman turned up on The One Show tonight doing a filmed piece on media hoaxes to tie in with I'm Still Here.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:01 PM on September 24, 2010


I always liked the idea behind Turtledove's Hindsight, which struck me as a more realistic approach to changing history than murdering Hitler or whatever.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:33 PM on September 24, 2010


Oh, and it looks like Titan may be doing a reprint of Anno Dracula. Hurrah!

This is the best news I've heard in a long time. If I had a happy dance, I would be doing it.
posted by permafrost at 5:07 AM on September 26, 2010


Books I will not write, #2: Iron Sunrise Variations

Pretty sure this one is a bit of a repeat, I've read that tuna icecream bit before somewhere.

I'm looking forwards to the explanation of why there won't be any follow ups to Iron Sunrise, though it's a bit of a pity as I rather liked that one (and actually enjoyed it a lot more than the horribly named Singularity Sky).
posted by Artw at 7:26 AM on September 26, 2010


Alt History writing research AskMe question
posted by Artw at 7:30 PM on September 26, 2010


Oh, and it looks like Titan may be doing a reprint of Anno Dracula. Hurrah!

This is the best news I've heard in a long time. If I had a happy dance, I would be doing it.


May 3, 2011
posted by Artw at 10:59 PM on September 26, 2010


Books I will not write #3: No plan survives contact with the editor - Lots on the Merchant Princes books.
posted by Artw at 4:00 PM on September 29, 2010


Heh.

Behind the scenes, the major superpowers are feverishly building difficult-but-essential continuous-flow gates that will allow them to strip-mine the oil and natural resources of uninhabited parallel earths. (Genre references: "Mozart in Mirrorshades", "Corrupting Dr Nice".)
posted by Artw at 4:09 PM on September 29, 2010


Books I will not write #4: Space Pirates of KPMG - Why there will be no more Eschaton books.
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on October 1, 2010


Ridley Scott to executive produce four-part BBC1 adaptation of Philip K Dick's The Man in the High Castle
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on October 7, 2010


#5: Floater in the Sea of Time
#6: Halting State Variations

New Scientist interview
posted by Artw at 9:50 AM on October 12, 2010


Pretty much totally out of context, except being of interest to the MeFi SF-reading crowd -- Ted Chiang's The Lifecycle of Software Objects is online (previously.) (And just about two weeks after the print copy I'd pre-ordered at my local sf bookstore finally arrived, and which I still hadn't read. But, hell, I'm happy to push some money toward Ted and his publisher.)
posted by Zed at 10:35 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


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