So, hey, Internet, how’s it going? Long time no see. I’ve been a bit of a stranger here on my own website. Life has been crazier than normal the past few months. Like, super!crazy. How have you been?
What’s that? Why has it been crazy? Oh. Well, since you ask—I’m working on a brand-new trilogy for the awesome folks at Orbit Books.
I’ve been sitting on this news for months, and I’m delighted beyond words to finally announce the project. Hooray! But paperwork has been signed and countersigned, so now I feel comfortable talking about this in public. (I’m superstitious, you know.)
The Clakkers Trilogy is set in a fantasy alternate 1921. And I mean VERY alternate. History changed back in 1671, when Christiaan Huygens stole the alchemical research of Isaac Newton, and combined magic with his own knowledge of clockmaking to invent the first Clakker: a clockwork man bereft of Free Will. It wasn’t long before the Dutch conquered Europe with armies of tireless mechanical servitors… Fast forward 250 years, and the world becomes an incredibly fun playground for an author.
As I wrote in the proposal, “The Clakkers Trilogy is a tale of predestination and free will, magic and engineering, cold logic and blind faith, love and loss, spycraft and spectacle. But more than anything else, it is a story about the ticking of the human heart — whether it be flesh or metal.” You might call it a “gears and geas” story. (Hat tip to Vic Milán for that bon mot.)
This trilogy was inspired by my short story, “The Mainspring of His Heart, The Shackles of His Soul,” which appeared in the Human for a Day anthology. As I mentioned a long time ago, the moment I had the idea for this setting, I knew it was too large and rich to confine to a single short story. So I’d had it in the back of my mind for a while to someday return to this world and flesh it out in a longer work. And now I can, thanks to the wonderful folks at Orbit.
The individual books in the trilogy only have working titles/placeholder names at the moment, so for the time being (and it might be a while) I’m calling them Clakkers 1, 2, and 3. Catchy, don’t you think? The trilogy, as currently planned, will run about the same length as the Milkweed series. Needless to say, this project is completely distinct from both the Milkweed Triptych and Something More Than Night.
There will be explosions. But there will be no precognition, no Nazis, and no fallen angels with a Philip Marlowe fetish.
The books will be published simultaneously by Orbit in the US and the UK/Commonwealth. It’s too early to say anything about publication schedules, though. Part of that depends on me doing my part to deliver the books on time! So this’ll be keeping me busy through 2015. And, let me tell you, it’s a very nice kind of busy.
I am hard at work on the first volume of the Clakkers series, and having a blast with it. It’s always so much fun to start over with a clean slate. And I’m finding that with every project there’s a character who sort of leaps out of the notecards and decides to steal the show. There was Gretel in the Milkweed books, and (I hope) Bayliss in Something More Than Night, and now there’s… Well, I don’t want to spoil anything yet. Suffice it to say I’ve met her, and she’s bloody awesome.
Now I just need to start amassing a new research bookshelf.