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May 1, 2013 at 10:29 am

Well, gosh.  It feels strange and a little bittersweet to say it, but I guess it's true: with yesterday's release of Necessary Evil, the Milkweed Triptych is officially finished. 

Necessary Evil is now available in hardcover (US), softcover (UK), ebook (US/UK), and audiobook editions.

I'm feeling slightly bemused as I stare at the completed trilogy now sitting on my bookshelf.  And feeling more than a little grateful for all the kind words, encouragement, and lovely feedback from readers and colleagues as this new book makes its way into the world.

As I've mentioned several times, the great folks at Tor have arranged a signing tour to celebrate the release of Necessary Evil.  I'm very excited (also a little nervous). 

Meanwhile, the great people over at Orbit have been sharing their impressions of the Milkweed books. It's enough to make a fellow blush.

And I'm gobsmacked (in a very good way) by the wonderfully positive reception for Necessary Evil.  It's a top pick at RT Book Reviews. Boing Boing, Publisher's Weekly, and Kirkus all have great things to say about it.  So do Bookworm Blues, The Bookbag, Civilian Reader, and Fantasy Book Critic

It's so strange to see all three books sitting together on the shelf.  I remember when the ink on the contract was still fresh, daydreaming about some far-off day when there would be a completed trilogy in the world.  It was easier to fathom that someday I'd have one book, a debut novel, out in the world.  But the thought of a completed series has always been more difficult for me grasp.  And yet… here it is.  

It's interesting, too, finally having the complete story released into the world.  On one hand it's a bit of a relief that I no longer have to play these card tricks in the dark.  On the other hand it's a little bittersweet—I feel like I'm waving a permanent farewell to old friends (well, ok, frenemies).  Even though I've written entire books since completing Necessary Evil, it wasn't until its publication yesterday that the Milkweed books were, to my mind, officially finished.

Now, for better or worse, the complete story is in the world and out of my hands.


darkly May 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm
...but if you ever write another book set in England then please get some (more) English proofreaders to catch the Americanisms! Great job otherwise.
Jim Kakalios May 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm
Congrats, Ian. You have not just written a trilogy - you have created a fascinating plot-driven story, with engaging characters, told with care. If I had known you were such a good writer - I'd have had you doing my grant proposals! Now - when is that mid-west book tour? No love for your roots? (And your Capachan thingy mis-spelled cthulhu!)
Steve Halter May 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm
A hearty round of applause for the series being out. That dichotomy of relief and bittersweet angst at the finish of a long project is an interesting emotion. I expect I'll feel an echo of that as a reader when I get to the end of the book. I'm on Chapter 4 at the moment. It's lovely.
Ian May 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm
Thanks! Very glad you enjoyed it. We do the best we can. It's a bit like writing in a foreign language, and it goes both ways. But I've learned to not get my dander up when I read books set in America written by Brits :)
Ian May 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm
Thanks, Jim! I've been writing science fiction for years -- it's just that much of that work was published as "papers in peer reviewed journals". I'd love to go back and do a signing in Mpls someday. I hope to make it back to MN this summer/fall. If I do I'll let you know and at the very least I'd be happy to swing by my alma mater and say hello! Or who knows, maybe Don at Uncle Hugos will let me take up room in his store again. I have to make a trip out to MN at some point, because I need to get my copies of YOUR books signed, too. (It might not spell "cthulhu" correctly, but it does spell "cthulu" correctly.)
Ian May 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm
Thanks very much, Steve. I hope you enjoy it. It's strange having the whole story finished and out in the world. But also a nice feeling.
TDEngland May 2, 2013 at 7:30 pm
Congratulations. It does seem a while ago that I was reading the very first drafts of the part the one. Sorry I wasn't there to read part the three at the group, but I'm sure it's as great as the others.(It better be.) Besides, three books strapped together make a better doorstop.
Dylan May 3, 2013 at 3:13 am
Thanks for such great timing in releasing this final book just in time for my birthday ( May 1st). Downloading the audiobook as I type this, ready to head out and tidy up the garden (Bark yard ?) listening the the final book in one of the most enjoyable series I've read in years. I'm half tempted to buy the ebook version too for my shiny new Kobo Mini but I suspect trying to switch between audio and ebook would drive me potty. Congratulations !
DMS May 3, 2013 at 7:37 am
Congratulations, Ian. This reader has thoroughly enjoyed the ride and looks forward to reading these other books you've been writing.
Brook May 3, 2013 at 11:43 pm
I'm blaming you for my lack of sleep over the last couple of days! Congrats Ian, you did not just finish a series but one of the best I've read over the last few years. I'm sad it is over now.
E J Frost May 5, 2013 at 4:59 am
Heya! just informed me that "Something More than Night" is available for pre-order in addition to "Necessary Evil" shipping to me by 13th May. Wee! You need to come to the UK to do a signing and give your thanks to the nice guys (and gals) at Orbit in person. We may not have hot, pressurized showers, but there is organ meat a-plenty . . . Em
Richard Guion May 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm
You just bumped out the book I was primed to read, The Friedkin Connection about the film director of the French Connection. That will have to wait until I read how Marsh resolves his predicament!
Den Wesolowski May 6, 2013 at 10:51 am
Way to go, Ian! My copy is sitting on my nightstand, waiting to be read when I finish up my current freelance proofreading job and have a bit of free reading time again. I also would endeavor to make it if you had a MN tour!
Ian S May 6, 2013 at 5:18 pm
I've been waiting for years for the rest of the story to be published after reading Bitter Seeds, and then Coldest War, and it did not disappoint. Thanks so much for the great story and I look forward to reading your next book. SPOILER... I did feel a little bad for G. at the end, though. She really was my favorite character.
Ian May 7, 2013 at 1:57 am
I remember very well how you were there for the beginning, Terry. In fact I'm pretty sure you were there for the night of Critical Mass when I submitted the very early original idea for this story (when it was just one book) to the group. There's a reason you're in the acknowledgments, man! And my gratitude is sincere.
Ian May 7, 2013 at 2:04 am
I hope you enjoy the finale, Dylan! (And how appropriate that you should be doing some gardening work while listening to the continuing adventures of Marsh...)
Ian May 7, 2013 at 2:06 am
Thanks, Dawn. I appreciate it very much. Of course I live in dread of the day when people decide that my best books are behind me.
Ian May 7, 2013 at 2:07 am
That's music to a writer's ears, Brook. I take a sinister delight in knowing I've caused you sleep deprivation ;-) I'm glad you enjoyed the finale!
Ian May 7, 2013 at 2:10 am
Dude! I sincerely hope you enjoy the end of the story. You *particularly* since you've been there since the very, very early beginning of this story in its embryonic no-longer-canonical short story form. Back in the dark ages... I just realized that I posted "Heart of Oak" (if you remember that story?) to the OWW 10 years ago in October. Wowsers. Also, you deserve special thanks because you were the one who suggested "Gretel" as the name of the mad precog. Previously she was named "Magda". Bet you don't remember that :) I'm hoping to make World Fantasy in Brighton this year. Are you going?
Ian May 7, 2013 at 2:14 am
Thanks, Richard! I hope the resolution is satisfying. Or, at least, entertaining. Or, at the very least, not infuriating!
Ian May 7, 2013 at 2:15 am
Thank you, Denne! I appreciate it. I'd love to make it back to MN sometime before long. I hope that I'll be able to do so, maybe even later this year.
Ian May 7, 2013 at 2:17 am
Ian, it's always a pleasure to hear from a fellow OWW alumnus! I'm honored that you read the series, and happy that the conclusion worked for you. (G. is my favorite, too, though I'm sure that's no surprise. Someday I'll write a story or two about her.)
Ian S May 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm
"(G. is my favorite, too, though I'm sure that's no surprise. Someday I'll write a story or two about her.)" Please do! I'd love to read more about her. It would be nice to think there's more for her than where she ended up.
Ian May 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm
I have (vaguely) in mind a followup to "What Doctor Gottlieb Saw," to partially cover the gap between Bitter Seeds and The Coldest War. ("What Doctor Ivanovich Saw," perhaps?) And who knows, maybe I'll finish out the sequence with something set after the end of Necessary Evil... If only I wasn't so slow to get short fiction out the door.
E J Frost May 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm
Of course I remember "Heart of Oak"! It could not possibly be 10 years ago now, though. Some time-slip occurred there, surely. I do remember suggesting Gretel. I don't remember why you didn't like Magda, though. I can't wait to see where Gretel ends up in "Necessary Evil." I haven't signed up for World Fantasy and in glancing at their site, they've closed their memberships for the time being, but I'll check back again next month. Whether or not I make it to the con, if you're in the UK, I'll take the train down to at least say hi and take you out for some organ meat if you're free! Em
IanS May 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm
"... maybe I'll finish out the sequence with something set after the end of Necessary Evil... If only I wasn't so slow to get short fiction out the door." Well, the obvious solution is to make it a full length novel! Just joking (sort of).
Ian May 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm
If WFC memberships are closed, you can always come down and hang out in the bar. I'll keep you posted on my travel plans -- I really hope I can make it. I bought a membership back in November but I'm still not listed among the attending members, so I've emailed them to inquire. Yes, much to my shock, it will be 10 years in October. You and I have already been corresponding for 10 years, btw, since it started soon after I joined the OWW, which was in March 2003. Back in the days of HKuza. I don't remember why I changed her name, either, but I'm glad I did. "Gretel" was a great suggestion and clearly the name she was supposed to have.
Ian May 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm
As a matter of fact I do have a vague notion for how another Milkweed novel would go. But it would have entirely different characters, and would more or less stand apart from the trilogy. Not that I expect to be writing it any time soon... even though I do appear to write an entire novel in the time it takes me to write one short story...
Dylan May 10, 2013 at 10:14 am
Finished at last, after 7 days of mixed reading/listening, clearing garden, changing nappies and work. Loved it, but..... I'm left with that feeling I always get at the end of any series of books where I don't know where to turn next. So, Ian , any recommendations for me ? I'm open to any ideas and would be interested to know what you've enjoyed reading recently.
Ian May 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm
Oh, gosh, where to begin? If you liked the Milkweed books, you might also enjoy Charlie Stross's Laundry series. The first is The Atrocity Archive. Great series. In my opinion you also can't go wrong with some Tim Powers. Declare is his spy novel, and my favorite of his works, although The Anubis Gate and Last Call are also boffo. If you like Urban Fantasy check out Phillipa Bournakova/Melinda Snodgrass. If you like Space Opera, check out James S. A. Corey's Expanse series, and Walter Jon William's Dread Empire trilogy. If you enjoy subtle magic and even more subtle writing, check out Deb Coates's novels Wide Open and Deep Down. Deb is one of the best and most underrated writers working today. IMHO. Hope this helps!
Joe May 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm
Haven't read Necessary Evil yet. But something just caught my eye over on Pat's blog. I'm sure that cover looks familiar. How do you feel about that repurposing? For that matter, I wonder how Modesitt feels about having a second-hand cover.
Ian May 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm
Hi Joe, That was a painting that John Jude Palencar created for The Coldest War. I've blogged a bit about it, here and here. It's a truly lovely image, and obviously it fits the original Bitter Seeds cover very well. I'd love to own that painting. But, hey, Tor paid Palencar for the artwork that they didn't end up using on my book. So it's theirs to use as they wish, and if they didn't repurpose it, they wouldn't make back the investment! So it makes sense. I don't understand why the post announcing the Palencar Project bends over backwards to not cross-promote The Coldest War at the same time, since it's also published by Tor. But whatever. That was over a year ago. I don't know Modesitt, but if the image inspired an entire novel, then it must have resonated with him in some way. I mean, come on -- there's nothing wrong with a second hand cover when it's a John Jude Palencar cover.
Steve Halter May 17, 2013 at 7:58 am
I'm glad that painting has found another home. It is really well done and evocative as the Palencar Project showed. Publishing marketing seems to be akin to casting chicken bones; I certainly don't understand how or why it operates.
elena May 26, 2013 at 9:16 pm
sorry I'm late to the party, just wanted to pass on my heartfelt congratulations on having your first trilogy completed and out, I'm so proud of you! :-)
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