27 August 2017

Wither the Commonweal

Under One Banner is written.  It needs the careful addition of dates to all the chapters.  When I wrote it, the presence of one immutable date in the text was going to give me all the other dates via relative offsets.  Looking at it now, I may have know those relative offsets while I was actively writing it, but I don't know them anymore, so this is going to be an annoying process.

The thing in the way of Under One Banner is The Human Dress, my long-ago attempt at a big fluffy fantasy brick.  Various logistical vicissitudes have attended on it, but primarily that it's about 320,000 words long.  This... slows things down.  I still hope to have The Human Dress out in 2017.  (It's been through pass-one copy edit; I have to turn it around for pass two.)

I expect -- presuming I stay employed and housed, there's an available copy-editor, no rifts in space-time devour Google's servers, etc. -- that Under One Banner will make it out during the second quarter of 2018.  This might well be optimistic of me.

The next one, A Mist of Grit and Splinters, has hit the point where I really need those dates from Under One Banner. It's got a beginning, a middle, and an end; the framework sections are all done.  I've figured out that the original draft involves two viewpoints, and that Slow and Duckling may have certain similarities of outlook but are not the same person.  I maintain a hope of publishing it in 2019.

(The one after that, The Hempen Jig, is going to be something of a horror novel and probably not have any Commonweal viewpoints in it at all, though the viewpoints will be interacting with Commonweal persons.  I have lots and lots of notes for this one.)

15 comments:

-dsr- said...

Huzzah!

In a probably meaningless bit of coincidence, I re-read The March North this weekend and started in on rereading Succession.

Unknown said...

You write 'em, we'll read 'em

CB said...

Many thanks for the update.

You publish them and I will buy them.

JD said...

Something to look forward to in 2018!

dd-b said...

I've enjoyed the three rather different Commonweal books I've read so far (I think that's all of them published), so I will certainly continue doing so. Nor would one I didn't love drive me off from the one after that necessarily (maybe a direct sequel to one I didn't like would get skipped).

That world, outside the Commonweal, could certainly be a setting for horror! I'm not much a fan of horror but sometimes it works for me (Thomas Harris, at least the first three).

For that matter, I've been talking them up when I could -- to no effect that I can tell, nobody has come back as a fan that I've noticed.

Graydon said...

+dd-b Thank you! I remain surprised that anyone likes these at all.

And, yeah, outside the Commonweal is inherently pretty horrific.

Brian M. Scott said...

I suspect that they’re the literary equivalent of liver: they may have a limited audience, but the members of that audience tend to be quite enthusiastic. At any rate, I’m quite looking forward to Under One Banner; that makes at least two things very much to look forward to in 2018, the other being Cast in Deception. (And with luck three, if War makes it out by the end of the year.) In the meantime I shall look forward to seeing the final version of the Doorstop.

TUG Daniel O'Neil said...

mmmmm....liver....

zeropixelcount said...

I think I understand why you are surprised that people like the Commonweal books - they are, after all, very different in ethos to almost anything else in print - but I also think (with my optimist hat squarely in place) that it ought not to be surprising; there are surely a lot of us out there for whom that glimpse of a society constructed on such different ideals is immensely soothing to the part of the brain that looks around at our own world and can do nothing but panic.

I have a long history of having to explain that I don't have "a favourite" anything, that I can't construct a "top 10" in any category, that my brain simply doesn't rank things like that, and that the closest I get is "here are some things I currently like a lot" - but your books shattered that utterly; the Commonweal is, without a doubt, my favourite set of stories and my favourite fictional world.

Graydon said...

+zeropixelcount I never quite know what to say; thank you!

I'm surprised people like them in large part because I am surprised to communicate effectively, ever. "You could write like a normal person if you just wanted to" is not of me a factual statement, and never has been.

TUG Daniel O'Neil said...

I love them; I am re-reading the commonweal books in anticipation of the fourth book.

Something has been coming up for me after about half of A succession of bad days and the conversations between the students, Halt, and Wake:

Aren't the Twelve basically slaves of the Shape of Peace? Halt might buy into it, but she and the others basically could be bound to it, or die. You'd think they would be more...difficult about that.

Graydon said...

+TUG Daniel O'Neil well, there are varying viewpoints about this, but the point of being bound to the Shape is to make it possible for them to participate in the Peace. The choice, as the Commonweal constructs it, is "Peace or death", and everyone is viewed as having the same choice, though it's not the same degree of difficulty involved in making it a meaningful choice for everyone.

Remember that even a modest-talent sorcerer is someone most people will obey, involuntarily, and that when you're getting into the range of former continental hegemons you're dealing with a superhuman intelligence you have to obey and which can consign you to a very long period of suffering basically on a whim. The constraints of the Shape of Peace are seen as the least much as will do to permit someone with little or not talent for the Power and someone like that to co-exist as political equals.

TUG Daniel O'Neil said...

I get the Peace or death idea, and I'm sure it was easy to *explain*; I'm surprised at its ability to be *accepted*.

The Power is less an issue than the preparation for the idea at all. Someone like Blossom, the Shape of Peace is an obvious ideological fit. Someone like Wake or Rust they are dealing with an idea that is so radical it would be like telling a Sith Lord to join a knitting collective.

I don't see how they can buy into it sincerely and not be seen, as you put it, "mad, bad, or aristocratic." Even if they knew they couldn't win, how were they ultimately able to, as Wake is, *appreciate* the shape of peace?

Perhaps it is an endless bittersweet thing. But I think of The Captain denying entry into the commonweal those survivors from Reems after the battle in the Folded Hills because they would be unable to fit into the Commonweal, and I wonder why it was different for the Twelve.

Graydon said...

+TUG Daniel O'Neil It's different in part because they're superhuman intelligences; they can accomplish things by sheer intellectual conviction that aren't possible to someone with a material substrate or the usual material range of cognition. Major sorcerers are nowhere near as human as they generally present.

Being a pre-eminent -- holding your own territory -- sorcerer is dangerous and rather overwhelming; you have to be constantly working at it. So for someone like Wake, who got so tired of being a god they fled from it, the opportunity to not have to do that is attractive. (Generally, the prospect of True Name security is attractive for any sorcerer.) For someone like Rust, the desire to avoid death exceeds, narrowly, the difficulty of acceding to the Peace. Roughly two-thirds of those overcome by Laurel and remaining to ask once the Shape was created couldn't do it, and were destroyed. So there's a bit of bias in that the Twelve that you see are the ones that didn't die.

TUG Daniel O'Neil said...

That all makes perfect sense and lines up well with how I was thinking about it. Thank you!