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PUBLICATION DAY! Something More Than Night is Officially Out

December 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

You know what?  I cannot imagine a future scenario where I tire of saying, "So, yeah, hey, by the way, my new book is officially published today."  Because, sheesh, I have to admit it's a fun thing to say.

In fact, I think I'll do it right now. 

My newest novel, Something More Than Night, is officially published today!  

(ETA: Be warned.  There be spoilers in the comments.)

Something More Than Night is my fourth novel and my first standalone.  It isn't a Milkweed novel, and it isn't the first book of a new series.  It's its own thing.  It also happens to contain some of my favorite things that I've ever written. 

You can read an excerpt here.  There are hardcover and ebook editions courtesy of my print publisher, Tor, and a fantastic audiobook edition courtesy of Audible.com

That kickass cover art is courtesy of the amazing Will Staehle and Irene Gallo.  The novel was edited by Claire Eddy, editor par excellence, for whose insight and wisdom I am deeply indebted.  Bess Cozby is a superb assistant editor, handling countless details with great aplomb.  I'm also grateful to Edwin Chapman for his painstaking work on the copyedited manuscript.

If you're fixing to listen to the audio edition, you're in for a treat.  Something More Than Night is narrated by the legendary Scott Brick.  His performance is absolutely pitch perfect.  I'm telling you the honest truth when I say that when I go back and read the book to myself—you know, read the book that I wrote by listening to the voices in my own head—I now hear the book in Scott's voice.  He's that good.

Kirkus has called Something More Than Night one of the best books of 2013: "A doozy," and a "[b]rain-bending combo of angelic cosmogony, high-level physics and meta-noir... The result is both dazzling and dark, and more than a little quirky."

But don't take their word for it.  Others have called it "impossible to put down."

This book had been simmering in the back of my mind throughout the writing of the Milkweed Triptych.  It was the carrot that I used to nudge myself through the days when the writing felt like a slog.  Writing it was my treat to myself, a reward for finishing Milkweed.  As I said to Kirkus recently, I used it as a palate cleanser.

To celebrate its release, here's some trivia about the book.

(1) Something More Than Night is dedicated to my friends Mark Lopez, Mary Lopez, and Mark Falzini, "For a birthday."  That was a little over a decade ago.  I had been living out in New Jersey, far away from everyone I knew and more than a little lonely.  I got to know Mark and Mark (who will forever, in my mind, be the New Jersey Marks) and Mary (who classes up the joint) through the Princeton Amateur Astronomy Association.  When they found out that I was about to turn [a round number that ends in 0] without celebrating the milestone birthday, they immediately put together a party for me.  They hadn't known me very long at all.  It was incredibly sweet, and something I've never forgotten.  Years later, I was out in their neck of the woods for a conference, so I had a chance to say hello and catch up.  They asked me about my writing projects, and I mentioned that I had this idea I wanted to tackle about a murder in heaven, and it would have angels in it, but also be sort of noirish…  They embraced the idea with great enthusiasm, which was uplifting and gratifying and exciting.  Since then, whenever I talk to the Lopezes, they always ask about the angel book. 

They're wonderful lovely people who have brightened my life with their kindness and friendship.  This book is for them.

(2) I list Linda Piper in the acknowledgments as the real-life model for Ria's tattoo.  That's the truth.  The fictional Ria's fictional tattoo is taken directly from Linda, with her permission.  Linda worked in my dentist's office, though she has since moved on to greener pastures.  One day we were chatting about books (I happened to have a checkup scheduled for the morning of The Coldest War's release day) when I noticed something on the inside of her arm.

"What does your tattoo say?" I asked.

"Oh, it's a line from an Édith Piaf song."  And then she rolled back her sleeve to show me this gorgeous tattoo rendered in a stunning cobalt-colored copperplate French running from wrist to shoulder.

"What does it say?"

"Even if I'm wrong, leave it to me," she said. 

"Holy shit," I said.  "I have to put that in a book."

So I did.

(3) Also in the acknowledgments, I thank my friend Corry Lee for "Feynman diagrams and discussions of quantum angeldynamics."  That's a sincere acknowledgment: Corry has a Ph.D. in particle physics from Harvard.  I picked her brain while writing a particular portion of this book, and over coffee one morning we busted out the Feynman diagrams to sketch out a framework for what we dubbed QAD: quantum angeldynamics.  Heh.

(4) The title of this book is a famous phrase from a Raymond Chandler quote.  When speaking about his early stories in Black Mask (an early pulp where writers like Chandler and Hammett cut their teeth), he said, in part, "The law was something to be manipulated for profit and power.  The streets were dark with something more than night."

(5) Bayliss, one of the two point-of-view characters in the book, speaks in the style of a 1930s detective.  In order to incorporate that delicious noir vocabulary, I read widely among noirish books of the period (many by the masters, Chandler and Hammet) and extracted all the slang I could.  Then I assembled those notes into a noir slang glossary that eventually ran to 80 pages.  Every single Bayliss scene in the book required heavy consultation with the glossary.  It was hard work, but I'm proud of the effort.

Writing Something More Than Night was incredibly fun.  And if you choose to pick it up, I hope you enjoy it, too.

[ETA: Be warned.  There are spoilers in the comment thread.  If you're planning to read Something More Than Night, you might want to skip the comments for now.  You can always come back later, after you've finished the book.]

Comments

Peter December 3, 2013 at 8:02 am

Already bought it, it's quickly percolating up my to-read directory (I used to have a to-read pile, then I got a Kindle...). 

Ian December 3, 2013 at 8:07 am

Thank you very much, Peter!  I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Andrew Healy December 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

It shipped today; my wife and I are expecting it sometime next week, and waiting impatiently until then.  It was interesting to learn various aspects of the novel from this post, thanks.

Ian December 3, 2013 at 4:26 pm
Thanks, Andrew!  I really hope you enjoy it.
DMS December 3, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Happy book day!


I just got home to find my copy waiting, and the actual cover is even more wonderful than the version I've been using as my iPad wallpaper.

Ian December 4, 2013 at 6:50 am

Thank you!  I can only hope the contents of the book live up to that fantastic wrapping.  I'm waiting on a call from the frame store to go pick up my framed Will Staehle print.  I sincerely hope you enjoy the book.

Tengland December 3, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Package arrived today carrying two books: "Dangerous Women", another anthology from Martin & Dozois, and "Something More Than Night" from that Tregillis fellow. Oh dear, which to start first? Y'know, it's kinda cruel when two books you wanta read come out on the same day and you know both are going to be top-notch and congrats should go out to all involved. Oh, well, just have to flip a coin, I guess. Ah, a New Mexico quarter. Appropriate. Fling it up, make it spin like it was connected to a tiny motor, call it -- "heads," the default, I suppose -- and it rises up sparkling with reflected light, then it comes down and lands flat in my right hand with a tiny splat, flip it over on my left wrist. Lift the the obscuring hand to see what side's up ...

Tengland December 3, 2013 at 8:08 pm

The "heads" being the Tregillis thing, I forgot to make clear.

Ian December 4, 2013 at 6:49 am

 Ah, it don't matter none.  Let's face it: when some two-bit scribbler comes out with a book the same day as a GRRM/Dozois anthology, all anybody's gonna talk about is the carriage trade.

Tengland December 4, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I dunno, man, the opening pages of yours have sucked me in like a druggie toward a fix. This could get serious ...

Ian December 4, 2013 at 5:14 pm

That's swell of you, pal, real swell.  I always said you were the real cream. And that's a card dealt straight from the top of the deck.

Susan December 5, 2013 at 10:16 am

Ok, I opened my mind to the possibility that Scott Brick could outdo you in reading this book.  He is a very good reader and I'm sure that anyone who has not heard you read this book aloud will be very impressed.  But I have heard you read it and you win hands down. Your voice put the angel in Bayliss for me.   

Ian December 5, 2013 at 10:46 am

That's very kind of you, Susan.  Thank you.  Scott is a stunning narrator, though -- I'm listening to the book just to enjoy his performance.

Susan Loyal December 19, 2013 at 4:01 pm

I finished it last night. The things for which you are responsible now include:  my visualizing the offspring of an octopus and a Klein bottle and attempting to follow the arrow of time that goes that way every night as I fall asleep (well, it beats counting sheep); my seeing Turner's "Angel Standing in the Sun," inevitably and eternally, as Molly.  How pleasant to see physics and metaphysics play nicely together.  I know I gave you some grief when you first wrote about the project, but I think you pulled it off.  Green-label juju.

Ian December 19, 2013 at 7:30 pm
I had wondered what you might think of it if you ever read SMTN.  I remember we talked here on the blog about the traditional role of women in noir stories, and that I said I'd given that quite a bit of thought, in fact.  I tried very hard to subvert, or at least comment upon, the usual gender setup-- that was one of the goals of the undertaking.
Ian December 19, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Oh, and thanks for bringing that Turner painting to my attention.  I was completely ignorant of it until you mentioned it. 

Susan Loyal December 20, 2013 at 1:44 pm

You're welcome.  It's not very frequently reproduced, and the reproduction that shows up online is a bit off.  I haven't been to the Tate since 1985, but in those days it was hanging in one of the smaller galleries right across from the door, and the blaze of the sun just overwhelmed everything else in the painting and in the gallery.  It took me a while to see those figures shielding their eyes down at the bottom, the way detail so often swims up out of the background in Turner's paintings.  Clearly, the angel is Molly, however.  I'm not sure whether the Trumpet is pretending to be a baton or whether she nicked Gabby's flaming sword when she pinned Bayliss to the MOC.  The later, maybe.  It somehow conveys both the glorious and the totally gutting qualities of cosmic remaking that you also convey.

Susan Loyal December 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm

The subversion and the commentary worked very well for me.  Bayliss, in general, is a subtle and complex creation.  I especially like the way that he acts as a fountain of metaphor-production, which draws attention to the way he plays with noir tropes and jargon.  Angels like their toys, concept-nudgers that they are, and reduced-seraph Bayliss plays with language in place of physical constants, while he's earthbound, it seems to me.  His voice is remarkably consistent.  First-person is a lot harder than it's cracked up to be.  And Molly is dismissive of his attitudes in just the right way, I think.  Her agency certainly is never in question. 

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