Last week I emailed the edited version of The Departure back to Macmillan and, just ten or so minutes after that, Julie Crisp replied telling me she was already printing the thing up. Next the copy editor will be giving it a going over, I’ll see it once or twice more, and the Macmillan millstones will grind, Jon Sullivan will doubtless do something brilliant, then copies of the book will drop steaming off the presses. August, maybe.
Now I’m back on Zero Point. On beginning to read through what I’d already written, I felt uncomfortable with particular events in it and excised them, tightening up the plotting. I’m still reading through and know that there’s a particular section later on I may well remove. It strikes me as gratuitously violent for its own sake and turns what I think is a particularly well-considered villain into a bit of a parody. Now we all know that I’m not particularly averse to a bit of gratuitous violence, but there’s plenty of that in the book already, and definitely more to come.
The book is at 65,000 words, an extra 1,500 word section recently added to fill in a plot hole even before I reach the end of this read-through. I’m currently wondering about time, distances, radio delays, slingshots, planetary orbits and relativity, and wish I had an Alastair Reynolds on tap. As it is, when I’ve easy access to the Internet, I’ll have to do some of that stuff which in interviews I’ve constantly denied doing: research. Made-up solar systems are easy, but a hell of a lot is already known about our one and I could easily write something that’ll have the anoraks emailing me in protest.