June 5th, 2006, 03:24 AM
The cover is now available for Polity Agent, the fourth Cormac novel, due October 2006:
and from the Press release:
From 800 years in the future, a runcible gate is opened into the Polity and those coming through it have been sent specially to take the alien 'Maker' back to its home civilization in the Small Magellanic cloud. Once these refugees are safely through, the gate itself is rapidly shut down - because something alien is pursuing them. The gate is then dumped into a nearby sun. From those refugees who get through, agent Cormac learns that the Maker civilization has been destroyed by pernicious virus known as the Jain technology. This, of course, raised questions: why was Dragon, a massive biocontruct of the Makers, really sent to the Polity; why did a Jain node suddenly end up in the hands of someone who could do the most damage with it? Meanwhile an entity called the Legate is distributing pernicious Jain nodes ...and a renegade attack ship, The King of Hearts, has encountered something very nasty outside the Polity itself.
June 6th, 2006, 03:38 AM
Hah! Not so good for me at the moment since I'm presently grinding my way through the final page proofs. I enjoyed writing it, but once you've read it backwards and forwards about seven times, it gets a bit wearing. Thanks for that, Hobbit.
June 6th, 2006, 08:35 AM
Of course, I should be sympathetic.....
Sure it'll be worth it in the end, though, Neal.
It is interesting to see a publishing timeline on this, though.
June 6th, 2006, 10:02 AM
I shouldn't complain. Prior to 2000 I would have sold my entire family into slavery for the opportunity to do what I'm doing now.
October 4th, 2006, 02:47 AM
Here's a reminder for those who might be interested or in the vicinity:
I'll be signing copies of Polity Agent this coming Saturday the 7th October between 1 – 2pm at Forbidden Planet, 179 Shaftesbury Ave London WC2H 8JR. This shop is at the Junction with Neal Street. Nearest Tubes: Tottenham Court Road, Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Holborn.
If you can't make it to the signing, don't forget to pre-order your signed copy from the store. I'll also probably be chilling in the pub around the corner afterwards too.
have a good one
November 28th, 2006, 06:07 AM
Lord of the Wild Hunt
The next Polity books is called Line War then? When is that due for release?
Is Hilldiggers completely unrelated then?
November 30th, 2006, 04:00 AM
Mithfanion, yes, the next book in the Cormac sequence is called Line War, but the next book to be published by Macmillan will be Hilldiggers. This book is set in the Polity (but further in the future) and stands alone. Here's a brief blurb for it and the cover:
During a war between two planets in the same solar system – each occupied by adapted humans – what is thought to be a cosmic superstring is discovered. After being cut, this object collapsed into four cylindrical pieces, each about the size of a tube train. Each is densely packed with either alien technology or some kind of life. They are placed in three ozark cylinders of a massively secure space station. A female scientist, conducting research there, falls pregnant, gives birth to quadss, then commits suicide.
By the end of the war one planet has been devastated by the hilldiggers – giant space dreadnoughts employing weapons capable of creating mountain ranges. The quads have grown up and are assuming positions of power in the post war society. One of them will eventually control the hilldiggers.
Last edited by nealasher; November 30th, 2006 at 04:05 AM.
Reason: Trying to reduce size of image.
November 30th, 2006, 05:09 AM
Lord of the Wild Hunt
I'm a bit confused by that synopsis.
What are these quads?
Are the Hilldiggers part of the new technologies found in the four cylindrical pieces which are stored in the space station, or do they have nothing to do with them?
Great cover btw.
Finally, I read that Line War is due for an April 2008 release, is that correct?
December 18th, 2006, 02:58 AM
"What are these quads?" Four children.
"Hilldiggers" – giant space dreadnoughts employing weapons capable of creating mountain ranges.
Your question about the relation of the hilldiggers to the bits in the space station ... well, it's in the book. That's the whole point of a blurb: to stimulate curiosity and hopefully get potential readers to open the book!
December 30th, 2006, 07:20 PM
Ok, I just have to know something about Polity Agent.
I'm in the middle of the US version. I've spotted some British spellings, but the measurements are in yards and miles. Gridlinked is in metres, kilometres, etc..
Did this one get localised? Did you write in English measurements, Neal? If it is localised, they did it with a find replace on the measurements only. Because, I can't imagine you wrote something was 225,308.16 Kilometres (140,000). Should I be thinking kilometre every time I read mile?
Ok, so not to be entirely nit-picky. I've now read Gridlinked, Line of Polity, Brass Man, Cowl, The Skinner (first one, St. Louis Airport find), and the Voyage of the Sable Keech. I'm partially finished with polity agent, brilliant so far, and have in my possession Africa Zero, The Engineer Reconditioned, and Prador Moon. Now that I've established my credentials, so to speak, two things strike me:
1 - This is the future. Like a lot of Herbert's work, it doesn't feel like 1986 with faster than light space ships. It's SciFi that deals with computers in a compelling believable manner. Herbert nixed the computers, likely due to the fact that he couldn't project they're ultimate place in societey. Azimov and Clarke gave them important plot elements in series where they'd previously been hardly mentioned. AI plays an important and believable roll. I like it.
2 - The pacing is excellent. Cliff Hangers are well used and the humour adds to the mix. My only complaint is that I read slow, and I am often left thinking everyone is going to die horribly on the next page when I go to bed.
December 31st, 2006, 07:37 AM
Novawasp, actually that was me. I was previously writing stuff in kilometres where my real instinct was to write miles, and I thought this time I'd go imperial. It's odd actually, having received my schooling when both were given equal importance I'm bi-measuremental? ambi-measuremental? or some such. My preference would be to use a combination of metric and imperial. I would use miles for larger distances, because I know what a mile is, but I'd use a mixture of inches, millimetres, centimetres etc where they would best apply e.g. armour and inch thick or paint a millimetre thick. Did you find the use of imperial measurements intrusive?
Last edited by nealasher; December 31st, 2006 at 07:46 AM.
December 31st, 2006, 10:15 AM
Not now that I know what I'm seeing is appropriate. I'm a big F1 fan and used to changing miles to kilometres or Litres to gallons on the fly. Having read the rest with mostly British printings filled with metrics, I wasn't sure if someone over at TOR had pulled out a find replace and hadn't converted the numbers to reflect the new labels, but when I came accross "centre" not "center" I was completely confused.
Throw in the occasional centimetre and milimetre and the reader will know how big a Dragon Sphere is when it's described to him / her / it.
Happy New Year.
January 2nd, 2007, 11:24 AM
Yeah, I should really just go with my instincts and forget to stick with either metric or imperial. Shuriken's blades are a millimetre thick (better than a sixteenth of an inch) and without them extended the weapon is two inches wide (not five centimetres).
February 8th, 2007, 06:31 AM
i loved the book but i got the impression the a.i.s and cormac must have been on 'stupid pills' to fall into such blatant traps so easily and underprepared (they knew the legate they were chasing had super advanced jaintech - take precautions!! i could almost hear Jerusalem shaking it's etched-atom brain). cormac also seemed a bit passive at times (although quite understandable given a. the scale of events and b. perhaps your hesitance about changing him into the pin-up 'posthuman' too quickly?)
but the canvas you paint of the polity is an awesome one - and quite possible really - and i love the a.i. characters you flesh out - especially jack - as well as the human ones. i do hope the line war won't be the last one in the series..... :-)
BTW your blog is starting to sound like 'grumpy old men' although you are not old, and neither am i - quite scary that i agree with a lot of your comments on british society wholeheartedly.....
February 8th, 2007, 07:21 AM
Ah, but the point about the trap is that it made no sense for Erebus to attack like that, and Cormac had to take risks to reveal the enemy. More in Line War...
Oh I'm definitely in the 'grumpty old man' bracket.
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