- current news
new epic fantasy essay -- 2
My new essay, "Epic Fantasy: Necessary Literature," has just been published by The New York Review of Science Fiction, ed. Kevin J. Maroney, February 2015. As I've said before, some of the text--and many of the ideas--have been extracted from my previous essay, "Epic Fantasy in the Modern World." But "Epic Fantasy: Necessary Literature" goes further.
COVENANT audio books: UK only
Audible UK has just bought the rights to produce unabridged audio editions of the four volumes of "The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant." At the same time (so I'm told), Audible UK is negotiating with Ballantine Books for the rights to the first six "Covenant" books. At this early stage, I have no way of knowing when any of these editions will be released.
a new forthcoming book -- 3
I finally have the title Putnams is using for my two novellas. The book will be called "THE KING'S JUSTICE: Two Novellas." The other novella, of course, is "The Augur's Gambit." Despite the implications of the title, these two stories have nothing whatever to do with each other.
THE KING'S JUSTICE and THE AUGUR'S GAMBIT (UK)
Orion/Gollancz has accepted THE KING'S JUSTICE and THE AUGUR'S GAMBIT for publication this fall (2015) in the UK. Their publishing strategy is new to me. They plan to release each novella as a separate book in what they call a "low cost" hardcover edition. Later--presumably in 2016--they will publish the two novellas together in a trade paperback edition. Who knows? Maybe it's a good idea.
a new book forthcoming -- 2
Putnams has announced October 13, 2015 as the publication date for a book they refer to as THE KING'S JUSTICE. I don't yet know what the official title will be. At one point, I had reason to think the book would be called "THE KING'S JUSTICE and THE AUGUR'S GAMBIT: Two Novellas." Now I'm not sure. But I'll post more reliable information when I get it.
new epic fantasy essay
An essay that I wrote recently called "Epic Fantasy: Necessary Literature" has been accepted for publication by the New York Review of Science Fiction. Publication may be next month. Or perhaps not. Much of what I have to say is not new: it will be easily recognizable from "Epic Fantasy in the Modern World" (available for download from this site). But I've extended my argument considerably. The new essay covers more ground and draws bigger conclusions.
a new book forthcoming
Some readers may wonder what I've been doing since I finished "The Last Chronicles." The answer, of course, is: many things. But along the way I've written two substantial novellas, "The Augur's Gambit" and "The King's Justice." And both have just been picked up by Putnams, to be published together in hardcover and paperback. I don't yet know the title Putnams will use. As for when the book will be published: rumor has it that the pub date will be in October 2015. But at this point that is *only* a rumor, not an announced fact.
Do I need to add that these two stories are entirely unlike each other? After all, I wrote them. But they are both fantasy.
THE LAST CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT audiobooks (a refresher)
(I didn't realize how badly this refresher was needed until I tried to buy the audiobooks myself....*sigh*)
"The Runes of the Earth," Penguin Audio, currently available as CDs and downloads from Amazon.com, or as downloads only from Audible.com.
"Fatal Revenant," Scott Brick Presents, currently available as CDs and downloads from www.brickbybrickaudiobooks.com
"Against All Things Ending," Audible.com, available only as a download from both Audible.com and Amazon.com
"The Last Dark," Dreamscape Media, available as CDs from www.dreamscapeab.com and as downloads from Amazon.com and Audible.com
All are unabridged.
Donaldson audio books and Scott Brick: THE LAST DARK etc..
Scott Brick's long-term goal is to record all of the remaining Donaldson titles as audio books, but he has been absent from the project for reasons of health. Now he is able to return to work, and his first task will be to do the reading for THE LAST DARK for Putnams. Then he intends to tackle everything else.
To date, he has done 1) the first three "Covenant" books; 2) the two "Mordant's Need" books; 3) the five GAP books; and 4) the first two installments of "The Last Chronicles" (AGAINST ALL THINGS ENDING was recorded by someone else). But eventually he hopes to release "The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant," both of my short story collections, and all of my mystery novels. I certainly hope he succeeds! His work is highly regarded by many people, and he is *very* conscientious.
MORDANT'S NEED ebooks
I have now delivered clean texts for THE MIRROR OF HER DREAMS and A MAN RIDES THROUGH to Ballantine Books so that MORDANT'S NEED can be published as ebooks. The lag for Ballantine in situations like this one seems to be roughly three months. But when A MAN RIDES THROUGH finally becomes available, *all* of my books will be accessible as ebooks (with the exception of "REAVE THE JUST and Other Tales," which is temporarily out of print).
WHITE GOLD WIELDER ebook
I have now delivered to Ballantine a Word .doc of WHITE GOLD WIELDER suitable for conversion into an ebook. How long their part of the process will take, I have no idea. But I have--at last!--done my part to make all of "The Chronicles" available in ebook formats.
COVENANT e-books: the current state of "The Second Chronicles"
Readers of COVENANT e-books will probably have noticed that only the first five are available: there's no sign of "White Gold Wielder." Indirectly, at least, this is my fault. I had set in motion a mechanism to supply e-texts so that my publishers wouldn't repeat the horrors of the GAP books; but after five books the wheels came off, my mechanism ground to a halt, and I've done nothing to fix it because I've been making myself crazy over "The Last Dark." But maybe now? It is certainly my devout intention to restart the process as best I can.
THE LAST DARK: finally some progress!
I have just delivered the third draft of THE LAST DARK. Under the circumstances (the circumstances being that Putnams has already put the book on their schedule for October), I have no doubt that this will constitute D&A. For me, the next step will be copyediting; but of course my publishers have a variety of things that they need to get done.
Just to provide a frame of reference: this draft is 932 pages (not counting WHAT HAS GONE BEFORE and the Glossary). I've done some rather draconian cutting, all of which I believe was necessary. I deliberately wrote the first draft *long* because I wanted to be sure that I didn't leave anything out. But the result was an unusually high number of repetitions and digressions; and weeding them out--while creating more effective or at least more efficient alternatives--has been a very long and arduous challenge.
"The Last Dark": the progress so far
I have now completed the first rewrite for "The Last Dark." At this stage, the text is 1026 pages (not counting "What Has Gone Before" and the Glossary). As usual, the next step is that my agent will read the book and decide whether it's good enough to show to my editors. Assuming it is (and I do assume that), I'll start on the second rewrite as soon as I hear from my editors--which won't be any sooner than a month from now.
This first rewrite took longer than I wanted it to. Nevertheless we're still on track for publication in the fall of 2013.
MORDANT'S NEED audio books
"The Mirror of Her Dreams" and "A Man Rides Through" are now available as audio books from Audible.com. And other outlets? I don't know. The reader is Scott Brick.
"Covenant" e-books: finally!
Ballantine has just announced that "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever" trilogy will be released as e-books on May 16, 2012. This is substantially later than I was led to expect. Apparently the delay was caused (somehow) by the map.
In related news, "The Wounded Land" has been delivered to Ballantine; "The One Tree" is being checked; and work on "White Gold Wielder" hasn't begun yet.
US Audio Book update
I'm glad to report that Scott Brick will be the reader for Audible's recordings of "Mordant's Need" and the five GAP books. As he always does, Scott will consult with me about such things as pronunciation. But I still have no idea when the recordings will be released.
US e-book news: Covenant 1-6 and Mordant's Need
I've just signed contracts that allow Random House (owner of DEL REY/Ballantine) to publish "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever," "The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant," and "Mordant's Need" as e-books.
Normally this process would take 3 or 6 or 9 or even 12 months: Random House is a huge company, and the queue of physical books awaiting conversion is long. However, I've made the situation more complicated (and therefore more time-consuming? Maybe, maybe not). Because Random House (owner of SPECTRA/Bantam) did such a shoddy job with the original e-publication of the GAP books, I've attached an amendment to the contract requiring Random House to start with Word DOC files which I will provide. In other words, Random House has agreed NOT to use their normal scan/OCR/proofread-in-India procedure for preparing e-books. Of course, this puts the burden on me to supply clean texts. But better that than a repetition of the GAP debacle.
I have already delivered clean texts for LORD FOUL'S BANE, THE ILLEARTH WAR, and THE POWER THAT PRESERVES. If my support staff continues to function steadily (I really do not have time to do all the work myself), I should be able to deliver a subsequent volume every 6-8 weeks. So: once the first trilogy has been released (early April 2012, or so I've been led to believe), the later books should follow at roughly two-month intervals. Unless (he said shamelessly) poor sales persuade Random House to push my books back in the queue.
THE LAST DARK: progress report 1
THE LAST DARK (what I call Covenant 10: Book Four of "The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant") now exists. In other words, I've finished the first draft. It is 1176 pages in manuscript. At this stage, AGAINST ALL THINGS ENDING was 1181, so the difference is trivial.
As usual, we are still a long way from publication. I have at least a year of rewriting to do before I can hope to approximate a final version; and my publishers can't get started doing their part until then. But (alas) I may need more time than that. THE LAST DARK has been an extremely difficult book to write (at times it felt actively impossible), and I wrote it under extremely difficult circumstances. As a result, this first draft contains more authorial errors and miscalculations than my first drafts usually do. As a result, the challenges of rewriting will be especially complex. Look for further progress reports at my usual intervals.
Audio Books: new titles
My agent is negotiating terms with Audible to produce "Mordant's Need" and the GAP sequence as audio books. (I hope that Scott Brick gets the job; but I suspect that Audible only uses "in-house" readers.) These will be for download only. However, I believe that a single-use license will be available so that individual buyers can burn their own CDs.
As usual, I have no idea when these readings will appear. I'm told "ASAP," whatever that means in the audio book biz.
Donaldson E-Books: UK news
My agent has just negotiated terms with Orion/Gollancz to release e-book editions of the following titles:
"The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant"
The "Reed Stephens" Axbrewder/Fistoulari mystery novels
The GAP Sequence
All of these except "Mordant's Need" are already available as e-books from US publishers; but apparently the UK market is different. I don't have any publication dates.
As always, I'm making efforts to provide a reasonably accurate text. In theory, Orion/Gollancz is already in a position to produce clean versions of "The Last Chronicles" and "Reed Stephens," and the publisher has agreed to obtain the corrected text of the GAP books from Bantam in the US. That just leaves "Mordant's Need," which I was never given a chance to proofread in the UK. I'm hoping that the corrections I supply now will be applied to both the e-books and the physical editions.
GRADUAL INTERVIEW announcement
After May 21, 2011, the Gradual Interview will no longer
accept new questions or messages. I will continue to work my way
through the questions which have already been accepted, but I can't
do more. I'm too far behind on too many things, and the strain is
affecting my concentration. Discontinuing the Gradual Interview is
one of several things that I'm doing to simplify my life.
GAP e-books: an explanation for why they are so shoddy
I've just learned that the production AND PROOFREADING for Bantam/Spectra e-books is done...in India. By people who barely speak English. (Apparently this applies to every e-book published by the conglomerate which includes Bantam.) Maybe it's time we all starting paying attention to who publishes the e-books we want to read. (HUGE sigh)
GAP e-books: the results so far (3)
I have now reported to Bantam my corrections for the e-book version of "This Day All Gods Die." I suppose there are not literally more errors than in "Chaos and Order," but several of the problems are more substantive: significant blocks of missing text totaling perhaps as much as 200 words. I'm bringing pressure to bear on Bantam to actually make the corrections, but I don't know when--or if--my efforts will do any good. If you want to find out which version of the book you have, you might try searching for the word "hatchesair" (I swear I'm not making this up).
GAP e-book: the results so far (2)
My proofreader has now read, and I've reported corrections to Bantam for, "A Dark and Hungry God Arises" and "Chaos and Order." ADAHGA wasn't too bad; but I reported 15 (!) pages of errors for CAO. To check your e-text of CAO, search for the word "Xo". If you find it, you have an uncorrected version.
By all reports, "This Day All Gods Die" is much worse. I haven't been over it yet.
Audio Books: "The Second Chronicles" and other information
Scott Brick has just informed me that he is currently negotiating with Ballantine Books to obtain the audio rights for "The Wounded Land," "The One Tree," and "White Gold Wielder." No doubt there will still be a long wait until audio books are actually available; but progress is being made. In the meantime, readers who aren't sure where to get Brick's readings of other "Covenant" titles can find them at:
GAP e-books: the results so far
I have now finished supervising the proofreading for the e-books of "The Real Story" and "Forbidden Knowledge." "The Real Story" is pretty clean (no doubt because of the larger font). "Forbidden Knowledge" is a shambles. I've sent in the necessary corrections, some of which involve restoring large chunks of missing text. If or when Bantam will put those corrections into effect, I have no idea.
If you want to know whether you have a corrupt version of "Forbidden Knowledge," use your search function to look for the word "crybiting" (!). If that word appears in your text, you have the corrupt version.
Incidentally, preliminary reports suggest that "A Dark and Hungry God Arises," like "The Real Story," is pretty clean. The worst complaints I've heard are about "This Day All Gods Die."
"Against All Things Ending": audio version
Putnams, my US publisher, has contracted with Recorded Books to do the audio version of "Against All Things Ending." Therefore Scott Brick, who has worked on previous "Covenant" books, will not be doing the reading. The release date--I'm told by Recorded Books--is "sometime in the first quarter of 2011." But RB doesn't really know because they only do the recording: the actual production and sale is done by "Audible" (I assume that means Audible.com, but I'm not sure).
I'm unhappy about losing Scott Brick. As is my editor. But this decision, apparently, was made at a corporate level above her head, and she has no say in the matter. I certainly don't have a say.
"Daughter of Regals and Other Tales" and "Reave the Just and Other Tales"
I may have neglected to mention that my two short story collections are currently out of print in the US. However, Ace has just offered to republish them. I have no idea when the publication dates might be: we haven't gotten as far as signing contracts yet. In the meantime, those books are probably available from a variety of used book outlets and resellers.
Subterranean Press announces the publication of "The Best of Stephen R. Donaldson"
In March, 2011, Subterranean Press plans to release a collection of my short fiction, stories selected from both "Daughter of Regals and Other Tales" and "Reave the Just and Other Tales": approximate half of my lifetime output of short fiction so far. The edition will be a limited collectors' edition, so comparatively few copies will be printed. For more information:
GAP cycle ebooks: good news--with possible COVENANT implications
As of yesterday, the "missing" GAP book, FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE, is now available as an ebook. At the same time, the CHAOS AND ORDER ebook has been proofread by its publisher, and the corrected version (which I haven't seen) is available as well. Meanwhile proofreading (dubiously called QA--quality assurance--by the publisher) is underway for the other three books.
So why NOW? one might well ask, considering that the editor responsible has been strenuously unresponsive. Well, life is full of strange and sometimes beneficent coincidences. Not so long ago, the woman who was the original editor of the GAP books, and who loved them, and who also bought "The Last Chronicles" for Putnams/Ace, was promoted high up in Random House--and Random House owns both Bantam/Spectra (GAP) and DEL REY/Ballantine (COVENANT). So naturally my agent approached her with my complaints about the GAP ebooks. She took immediate action. The results are beginning to appear.
What does this have to do with COVENANT 1-6 ebooks? The woman I'm talking about wants the e-rights--but first she wants to prove to me that her company(ies) can produce a quality product. So I've let her know that if I'm satisfied with the "new and improved" GAP ebooks, I'll authorize my agent to negotiate the e-rights for COVENANT 1-6.
This will not happen quickly. Creating an ebook from, say, a Word document is easy: creating an ebook from a physical manuscript, or from a physical book, is both complex and time-consuming (or it is if you want to do it right). But events are moving in a positive direction for readers who want Donaldson ebooks.
Dare I hope for MORDANT'S NEED? We'll see.
Gradual Interview absence
It may be obvious that I've been away from the GI for a while. Illness (minor), family emergency (minor), travel (necessary), and proofreading (arduous). Maybe life will settle down a bit now.
A Personal Appeal to readers of the GAP books in their recently-released e-version from Bantam/Spectra
(I can't think of a better place to post this, so here it is.)
Readers of this site have mentioned that the text of the e-versions of the GAP books is significantly corrupt: corrupt in a way that commonly happens when a book is scanned and posted without proofreading. "Careless" is the kindest word I can think of to describe the problem. I have contacted Bantam/Spectra about this, but the editor declines to take any action unless I can provide specific examples (as many as possible?). Well, I don't have TIME to re-proofread the GAP books right now: I need to be hard at work on "The Last Dark". In addition, the mental gear-shift of going back into Angus and Morn while I'm working on Covenant and Linden would probably wreck my transmission. So....
Help? Anyone? If you have the time and the inclination to tackle such a laborious task, your efforts would be much appreciated--at least by me (my editor would probably curse and gnash her teeth).
"Against All Things Ending" trailer
If you're looking at "news," you've probably already seen the new trailer. So you'll understand why I want to express my particular thanks to William Springer, also known as "Blackhawk" on Kevin's Watch. He has not only donated his time and art: he has done so with incredible alacrity, while still doing beautiful work. On my computer, the bigger the image, the better it looks. So I hope you'll expand the image on your screen. That way, you'll be better able to appreciate the details.
My webmaster and I intend to maintain a link to William Springer's website(s) so that you can see more of his splendid work.
"Against All Things Ending" acceptance
Both my US and my UK editors have officially indicated that AATE meets with their approval. They are now surrendering the text to the machinery that produces books (starting with copyeditors), working with artists and art departments for cover designs, and planning for publication in October 2010 (specific dates yet to be determined). They are also adjusting to my announcement that I will NOT do an author tour for this book. Author tours take too much out of me, and I need my very best for "The Last Dark".
My webmaster and I (but mostly my webmaster) are working on a "trailer" for AATE. We should have one ready before too much longer. And when I receive permission from my editors to do so, I'll post the first chapter (as I've done with the previous two books). Other news as it develops.
"Against All Things Ending" delivery
I have now sent in the latest (the final?) draft of "Against All Things Ending". This is the "delivery" part of D&A. The "acceptance" part is in the hands of my editors, and won't happen until January (or later?), what with xmas and all. However, I have no reason to expect requests for additional rewriting.
Not counting the "front matter" (table of contents, dedication, map, etc.), "What Has Gone Before," and the Glossary, AATE now stands at 1019 manuscript pages. At this same stage, "Fatal Revenant" was 1062, while "The Runes of the Earth" was 915.
Covenant 1-6, UK editions (warning)
As part of my quest for internal consistency, I'm re-(re-)reading the earlier "Covenant" books; and on a whim, I decided to use the UK paperbacks. I'm only 100 pages into "Lord Foul's Bane," and already I'm appalled by how corrupt the text is. There are many typos, a number of which substantially alter the meaning. So be warned: what you read isn't always what I wrote.
Naturally I wish that I had caught this problem while I was still on speaking terms with HarperCollins. But back in those days (late 70s through mid-90s), my UK publisher never asked me to proofread the text; and I didn't offer because, well, because I didn't know I needed to. It's not like proofreading is fun or anything.
Just so you know: I DID check the text for the Orion/Gollancz republication of the GAP books--but not for "Mordant's Need". And I have been proofreading "The Last Chronicles" for both the UK and the US.
Personal News (follow-up 2)
I'm back home now, after being honored by the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland. I received an honorary Doctor of Letters (LittD) from the School of Divinity, delivered by Professor James Davila, Dean of the School of Divinity, and confirmed by Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson, Principal of the U. of St. Andrews. It was a splendid occasion, utterly unlike anything I've ever experienced: one of the high points of my professional life. Now all I have to do is live up to it.
To see a photo and read Professor Davila's "laureation" address, go to this URL:
"Against All Things Ending" (second draft)
I've now completed my first rewrite for Covenant 9, "Against All Things Ending". At this stage, the manuscript is now 1076 pages (not counting WHGB or the Glossary). Just to put that number in context: at this same stage, "The Runes of the Earth" was 1032 pages; "Fatal Revenant," 1088. Not much difference.
So what happens now? The text has been sent to my agent, who will read it and decide whether it's good enough to show to my editors. Assuming that he thinks it IS good enough (I believe he will), he'll send it on to my editors. And sometime, oh, 5-8 weeks from now, my editors will give me the benefit of their insights. At that point, I'll start on the third draft. In the unlikely event that my agent gives me a thumbs down, I'll start on the third draft sooner.
At present, I've made up some of the time that I lost in the first draft. But now matters are out of my hands, at least temporarily. All I can do is wait for my agent's verdict--and for feedback from my (badly overworked) editors.
Rare Public Appearance
On Sunday, May 17, 2009, at 2pm I'll be at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. I may even do a short (and necessarily tentative) reading from "Against All Things Ending". For details, contact the bookstore: www.mystgalaxy.com.
E-Books from Bantam/Spectra
I've just signed an amendment to my contracts with Bantam/Spectra which will allow them to release the five GAP novels and "Reave the Just and Other Tales" in e-versions. I don't yet have any information about when the books will become available, or in which formats. But at least those books will eventually be "in print" electronically.
Personal News (follow-up)
Despite my fears of an elaborate hoax, I now have confirmation that the University of St. Andrews, in Fife, Scotland, will be giving me an honorary degree (Doctor of Letters). The confirment will take place as part of the University's graduation ceremonies on June 25, 2009, at 10:30am in Younger Hall. I'm delighted.
"The Power that Preserves" (audio version)
Scott Brick, who has previously produced "Lord Foul's Bane," "The Illearth War," "The Runes of the Earth," and "Fatal Revenant" in unabridged audio versions, plans to release "The Power that Preserves" on April 1, 2009. By all reports, Brick does an outstanding job. Downloadable only. Check www.scottbrickpresents.com.
"Against All Things Ending" (first draft)
"Against All Things Ending" now exists. I have the whole book on paper for the first time. Sadly, I'm behind schedule. I'll try to make up lost time during the revisions. But the airlines always say the same thing, and we all know how THAT turns out. (sigh)
For those who are interested: this first draft is 1179 pages. At the same stage, "The Runes of the Earth" was 1052 pages; "Fatal Revenant," 1209. As with previous books, I'll do one complete revision before I show the book to my editors. After I get their comments, I'll do a second complete revision. When that's done, we can all hope for D&A. D&A will enable my publishers to decide when they'll release the book.
GAP film option (follow-up)
Fully Loaded Pictures has renewed its option on the GAP books for an additional 18 months. Draw your own conclusions--but remember that roughly 99 out every 100 options do NOT result in actual movies.
"Covenant" unabridged audio from Scott Brick: UK rights
Scott Brick has now obtained the UK rights for his unabridged readings of "Lord Foul's Bane," "The Illearth War," and "The Power that Preserves." This issue has been a sore point in the past: now one significant stumbling block as been removed. This does not mean that Brick can sell CDs of his reading. Those stumbling blocks--whatever they may be--remain. But at least now people in, say, England, New Zealand, and Australia can buy Brick's readings legally.
Publication news: "Fatal Revenant" and "The GAP Sequence"
I've been away: hence my absence from the Gradual Interview. But on my return, I learned that Ace (US) has just released "Fatal Revenant" in trade paperback. Meanwhile, Gollancz (UK) plans to begin releasing "The GAP Sequence" in four mass market paperback volumes, beginning this month.
To my vast astonishment, the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, has just announced a desire to offer me an honorary degree, Doctor of Letters, in June 2009. I sure hope nothing goes wrong!
Technical Difficulties (Gradual Interview)
The server for this site has been having trouble. Everything appears to be OK now; but if you posted a Gradual Interview question between May 2 and May 10, 2008, it's just gone. (As are the answers I attempted to post during that time. ) Such is life.
"Fatal Revenant" (and "Lord Foul's Bane") unabridged audio: a further update (at last?)
Scott Brick, the man who did the reading for the unabridged audio version of "The Runes of the Earth," has faced an appalling list of obstacles in his efforts to make his reading of "Fatal Revenant" (and of "Lord Foul's Bane," and of--eventually--more "Covenant" titles) available. I'll only mention the thorny problem of "international rights": any web-based outlet is international almost by definition; but publishers are very wary about granting international rights because those rights affect other publishers (e.g. Orion/Gollancz has an automatic interest in anything and everything that Putnams/Ace might do with international rights). But now it appears that the problems have been thrashed out. So:
On May 1, 2008, "Fatal Revenant" and "Lord Foul's Bane" should be available from: www.scottbrickpresents.com. If all goes well, other outlets will follow. Many of us have been waiting a long time for this, so let's all keep our communal fingers crossed.
"Fatal Revenant" unabridged audio (update)
Diligent visitors to audible.com will have noticed that "Fatal Revenant" has NOT appeared there as promised. Scott Brick, the reader and producer, has changed his, well, let's call it his marketing approach. Instead of making a series of individual deals with outlets like audible.com, he now wants to negotiate a contract with an "audio distributer" (Random House Audio), who will then make the book available through outlets like audible.com, iTunes, eMusic, and Amazon as a matter of course. I don't know when--or even if--he will have a contract with RHA. I also don't know how long RHA takes to distribute a book once they have it under contract. All I know for sure is that Scott Brick is serious. He's working hard to make this happen.
"The Runes of the Earth" and "Fatal Revenant": US trade paperbacks
Ace has picked a publication date for the trade paperback of "Fatal Revenant": August 2008. In addition, under pressure from the sales force, Ace has decided to repackage "The Runes of the Earth" so that it will look like it belongs with "Fatal Revenant". John Jude Palencar has just agreed to do the cover art. The new-look "Runes" (still as a trade paperback) will go on sale with "Fatal Revenant" in August 2008.
Donaldson and Kindle
So far, there are five Donaldson titles available for Amazon's Kindle: my four mystery novels and "Fatal Revenant". Putnams may (or may not) also release a Kindle version of "The Runes of the Earth". (Fingers crossed.) But don't expect to see the GAP books or any of the first six "Covenant" books in *any* (legal) e-version. Bantam won't spend the money to support the GAP books (apart from barely keeping them in print). And Ballantine doesn't hold the e-rights to "Covenant": I do. But I can't release my own e-books (under the "competing editions" clause of the contracts). Ballantine is willing to do e-books--but they want me to give them the rights free. Impasse.
"Fatal Revenant" unabridged audio version
I am now assured that Scott Brick's reading of "Fatal Revenant" will be available from www.audible.com early in January. He is also "in discussion" with iTunes, eMusic, and even Amazon, but those outlets remain uncertain.
"Fatal Revenant" audio (oops!)
An earlier news item--now deleted--announced that an audio version of "Fatal Revenant" read by Scott Brick was available from www.ereader.com. Sadly, I was misinformed. Brick does indeed have a contract with Putnams to produce an unabridged audio version of "Fatal Revenant," but at present I have no idea when/how it will become available. I'm trying to find out.
"Fatal Revenant" (e-book)
"Fatal Revenant" is now available from some e-book outlets, notably ebooks.connect.com and www.mobipocket.com.
the GAP books (UK)
My 5-volume science fiction epic (collectively known as the GAP books), long out of print in the UK, has been picked up for re-publication by Orion/Gollancz. Publication dates have not yet been announced. Orion/Gollancz now has a substantial Donaldson backlist, including "Mordant's Need," my four mystery novels, and the GAP books--as well as, of course, "The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant".
"Fatal Revenant" (audio version)
As I announced earlier, Putnams will not be publishing an audio version of "Fatal Revenant" on CD. However, Scott Brick has obtained the rights to produce and sell an unabridged audio version of the book in digital format(s). I assume that his reading will be available from such outlets as www.audible.com. However, I don't yet know *when* his reading will be available.
"The Last Chronicles" in other formats (US)
I've just learned that Ace has no plans to (ever?) release "The Runes of the Earth" as a mass market paperback. The book is not selling well enough to justify the additional expense. In addition, Putnams will NOT be releasing "Fatal Revenant" as an audio book. (Again, poor sales.) However, Scott Brick (who read "The Runes of the Earth") is apparently negotiating with Putnams to produce and sell his own audio version of "Fatal Revenant". We'll see what happens.
On the plus side, Putnams does plan to release "Fatal Revenant" in a variety of e-formats.
"Fatal Revenant" in Australia
The announced publication date for "Fatal Revenant" in Australia is October 25, 2007. I believe that the art and design will be the same as the UK edition.
Book Tours for "Fatal Revenant"
I've now--reluctantly--agreed to do short book tours for "Fatal Revenant" in both the US and the UK. Concrete information will be posted under "appearances" when it becomes available.
FATAL REVENANT progress (2)
I've just received the page proofs for "Fatal Revenant" from Gollancz. Their text is 746 pages, not counting either "What Has Gone Before" or the Glossary. Their text for "The Runes of the Earth" was 560 pages.
FBH finishes off "Lord Foul's Bane"
Episode 40 of "Heatherly and Julie's Fantasy Bedtime Hour" is now available. In this, the dreaded (because we don't want it to end) Final Episode, Heatherly and Julie complete their incomparable study of "Lord Foul's Bane," modestly assisted by yrs trly. Civilization as we know it will never be the same again.
FATAL REVENANT progress
I've recently finished proofreading the Putnams (US) text for "Fatal Revenant," so I can now report that in their edition the book is 590 pages long, not counting either "What Has Gone Before" or the Glossary. "The Runes of the Earth" was 513 pages.
I've done a couple of podcast interviews recently (Australia and the UK). As links become available, they will be added to the "structured interviews" page of this site. I can't vouch for them because I don't yet know how to download and play them.
GAP novels film option
A production company called Fully Loaded Pictures LLC has just purchased a 12-month renewable option to develop a film or films based on the GAP novels. The agreement covers all five GAP books, so I think we can safely assume that Fully Loaded Pictures does not intend to squeeze the enTIRE story into one movie. As is usual in these situations, the contract covers every conceivable eventuality, ranging from one half-hour cartoon in a non-English-speaking TV market to an endless franchise of "major motion pictures." But the (privately) stated hope of Fully Loaded Pictures is to tell the whole story in three films. I've agreed to "consult" with the producers on a very limited basis.
"Fatal Revenant" pub dates
In the US, Putnams/Ace plans to release "Fatal Revenant" on October 9, 2007. In the UK, Orion/Gollancz has the book scheduled for October 18. (The countdown on my home page is for October 9.)
Curiously, October 2007 will be the 30th anniversary of the first publication of "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever" in simultaneous hardcovers by Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
"The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant," Book Three: new title
My editors and I have agreed on a new title for what I call Covenant 9: "Against All Things Ending". It lacks the thematic "resonance" of my previous title, but I have to admit that I like the way it sounds.
"Fatal Revenant" D&A
Both Orion/Gollancz and Putnams/Ace have just declared "delivery and acceptance" for "Fatal Revenant". This surprises me, since my editors haven't yet had time to read the third draft. But it does mean that my publishers are firmly committed to releasing the book in October.
"Covenant" film news: it's over.
The producers who optioned "Lord Foul's Bane" have tried everything they could think of, without success. Now their option has expired, and they have declined to renew it. Bury it now, folks, 'cause it's dead.
current state of "Fatal Revenant"
I have now delivered the third draft to my editors. The manuscript is 1061 pages not counting WHGB and the Glossary. I'll post more news when we reach D&A.
"Fatal Revenant" cover art
To my surprise, my US publishers have already chosen an artist to do the cover art for "Fatal Revenant": John Jude Palencar. I don't know his work, so I don't know what to expect.
FANTASY BEDTIME HOUR appearances
I've just finished taping my final Guest Expert appearances on "Heatherly and Julie's Fantasy Bedtime Hour." If you're interested in such things, I'll be in Episodes 39 and 40. And I also took a turn playing Drool Rockworm in the Fantasy Action Sequence for Episode 36. (Or is it 37? I'm confused on this point.)
even still more "Fatal Revenant" news
Both G. P. Putnams Sons and Orion/Gollancz are putting "Fatal Revenant" on their schedules for October 2007 (the 30th anniversary of the publication of "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever"). They can do this because I've agreed to produce a "finished" third draft by the end of January--which is pretty fast work for me, but I think I can do it.
still more "Fatal Revenant" news
My editors (US and UK) have now read the manuscript and given me their comments and suggestions. The bad news is that I still have plenty of work to do (no surprise there). The good news is that what I've been asked to do is considerably less "global" than it was in the case of "The Runes of the Earth." As a result, I'm hopeful. Perhaps the third draft will not take as long as the second did. If so, "Fatal Revenant" may indeed be published in the fall of 2007.
"Mordant's Need" in the UK: addendum
Orion/Gollancz has announced that they will be releasing an "omnibus" edition: "The Mirror of Her Dreams" and "A Man Rides Through" in one volume. I don't yet know the publication date.
more "Fatal Revenant" news
The second draft of "Fatal Revenant" is now complete. It currently stands at 1088 pages. Now it goes to my agent, who will then deliver it to my editors (US and UK). At that point, I will be 7 1/2 months "ahead" of schedule. But this is misleading. I don't know how long I'll have to wait for my editors to read the manuscript and request changes--and I don't know how extensive those requests will be. A third draft is inevitable; but I don't know when I'll be able to get started, or how long the revisions will take. In short, I still have no idea when "Fatal Revenant" will be published.
Mordant's Need (UK)
Orion/Gollancz has obtained the rights to re-publish "The Mirror of Her Dreams" and "A Man Rides Through" in the UK. A format (omnibus, hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, abridged audio) has not been announced. But in one form or another, those books should become available again in 2007.
"Fatal Revenant" news
The first draft of "Fatal Revenant" is now finished. But don't get your hopes up. I anticipate a year of rewriting--and editorial to-ing and fro-ing--before D&A ("delivery and acceptance"); and my publishers may not commit to a schedule for release until after D&A.
"Fatal Revenant" is roughly 150 pages longer than "The Runes of the Earth" was at this stage. As I recall, I cut about 125 pages out of "Runes" before publication. I think we can assume that the same thing will happen to "Fatal Revenant," so the final version will still be somewhat longer than "Runes".
Incidentally, the first draft of "Runes" took me 20 months. I put "Fatal Revenant" on paper in 16.
"The Runes of the Earth" in Dutch
Luitingh Fantasy intends to release "De Runen van Aarde" in November, 2005. The cover art is the same Whelan painting used by Putnams/Ace.
"The Runes of the Earth" in audio formats
A regular visitor to this site has informed me that "The Runes of the Earth" (unabridged) is now available in various downloadable audio formats (e.g. iPod and Palm PDA) from audible.com. The cost is 10%+ less than Penguin Audio's 22-CD set. If you are a first-time user of audible.com, please let the site know that you were referred by "marQ".
FANTASY BEDTIME HOUR update
The already-legendary Episode 27 of "Heatherly and Julie's Fantasy Bedtime Hour" will be posted on the web (www.fantasybedtimehour.com) on Friday, July 29. The episode itself--and, I'm told, some "outtakes"--can be viewed as a Quicktime movie.
Donaldson books in unabridged audio
I've just been made aware that the Books on Tape collection through the Library of Congress contains a number of Donaldson books, including (I'm told) all of the earlier "Covenant" books and "Mordant's Need." Specific information is available in the "Book Spin-Offs" and "Writing & Publishing Process" sections of the Gradual Interview.
"Heatherly and Julie's Fantasy Bedtime Hour"
I've just returned from San Francisco, where I participated in an episode of "Heatherly and Julie's Fantasy Bedtime Hour" (www.fantasybedtimehour.com, firstname.lastname@example.org). I won't bother to post showtimes, since the show is only broadcast on public access cable in San Francisco and Portland, Maine. However, episodes are available free from the FBH web site. I'll be in episode 27, which I imagine will become available by mid-August or so. Those who have not experienced FBH might wish to indulge themselves in a real treat (any episode will do).
May 29, 2005
"The Runes of the Earth" in trade paperback
Somewhat to my surprise, Gollancz (UK) has already released "The Runes of the Earth" in trade paperback (April 21, 2005). I'm told that the "package" (art, design, paper, type, etc.) is the same as the hardcover. In the US, Ace will be releasing "Runes" in trade paperback at the end of August, 2005. The art is the same as the Putnams hardcover, but the design is slightly different.
Possible "Lord Foul's Bane" film: bad news
It doesn't look good. So far, the project has been rejected by Fox, Sony, and Dreamworks. "Too dark." "Too much like LOTR." The prospective producers have decided to change their tactics. They are now hoping to get a reputable director "on board." If they succeed, this may increase the project's credibility.
I'll post more news when I have some.
"The Man Who Killed His Brother" in Dutch
Luitingh has announced the publication in 2005 of "The Man Who Killed His Brother" in Dutch. This will be a "first" for any of "The Man Who..." books.
This past week, "The Hollywood Reporter" announced that "Covenant" is coming to the big screen. This is both premature and misleading. Here are the facts to date.
The production team of Mark Gordon ("Saving Private Ryan") and Peter Winther ("Independence Day") is quite serious about wanting to make a "Covenant" film. "Revelstone Development" has a design in place and a screenwriter on board (John Orloff, "Band of Brothers"). What Gordon and Winther do *not* have is a studio (i.e. money); and without a studio little or nothing is likely to happen. Since Hollywood basically shuts down in December, Gordon and Winther plan to start approaching studios in January.
I would like to emphasize that I have no control over any aspect of this process. After all, the film rights are held by Ballantine Books, not by me. I've met Winther and Orloff, and I'm convinced that their respect for and excitement about "Covenant" is genuine: for that reason, I'm starting to get excited myself. And I have no doubt that Revelstone Development will consult with me from time to time, and will take whatever I have to say seriously. But I have no actual power here. Nor do I want any. In fact, I've refused every offer to give me any power. I love movies; I hope a "Covenant" movie (or several) will be made; I hope it will be good; and I hope it will be successful. But I'm simply not qualified, either by experience or by personality, to make the kinds of decisions--and compromises--which are essential to film-making. And I have my own work to do, work which pretty much consumes all of my creative energy. So I'm rooting hard for Revelstone Development; and if Gordon, Winther, and Orloff ever want my opinion, I'll give it to them. But really this is all out of my hands.
More news as it develops....
P.S. I'm just guessing here; but I suspect that peculiar references to "Saturn" in "The Hollywood Reporter" are a confused conflation of "Satan" and "Sauron." I can't think of any other explanation.
"The Runes of the Earth" available as an e-book
I'm pleased to see that "The Runes of Earth" can now be purchased and downloaded as an e-book from www.ereader.com. I have no experience with such formats, so I can't comment on them. But I'm happy that Putnams is doing this.
Mystery Novels in Dutch
The Dutch publisher Luitingh-Sijthoff has just acquired the translations rights for "The Man Who Killed His Brother," "The Man Who Risked His Partner," and "The Man Who Tried to Get Away."
A reader of the gradual interview has informed me that two of my mystery novels, "The Man Who Fought Alone" and "The Man Who Killed His Brother," are legally and legitimately available in e-format at:
I didn't know about this, but I'm glad to see it.
Note that the publisher is Tor/Forge. I think we can assume, therefore, that my two remaining mysteries will also appear as e-books eventually. But so far none of my other publishers has displayed any inclination to follow Tor's example. Which may or may not mean anything. In situations like this (where very small sums of money are involved), I'm often the last to know.
UK Collector's Edition
Gollancz is preparing a limited (1000 copies), signed collector's edition of "The Runes of the Earth." It will have a slipcase, and may perhaps boast other special features which haven't been mentioned to me. But it will only be available through Waterstones (a UK bookseller chain, for you non-UK readers). The book should be available in mid-November. I don't know what the price will be
UK Audio Publication
Orion/Gollancz has confirmed that they will be releasing an abridged version of "The Runes of the Earth" on CD. I'm unclear about how many CDs will be involved, but I think we can safely assume that 2/3 of the book will be lost.
French Foreign Rights
The publisher Presses Pocket has picked up the French translation rights to both "The Runes of the Earth" and "Fatal Revenant." Presses Pocket is also in negotiations with Ballantine Books to arrange the translation and publication of the first six "Covenant" books. Presses Pocket will undoubtedly do a better job than Flamme, whose "The Chronicles of Thomas the Incredulous" set an unbeatable standard for bad translations many years ago.
Putnams (US) plans to release an audio edition of "The Runes of the Earth" complete on (count 'em) 22 CDs. 28 1/2 hours. I believe the package will be available at the same time as the "Runes" hardcover. Meanwhile Orion (UK) is contemplating an abridged audio version of the same book on 5 CDs. So far no one has expressed any interest in producing audio versions of the previous six "Covenant" books.
US author tour
Increasingly specific information about my up-coming book tour is being posted in the "book tour" section of this site as it becomes available.
Tentative Tour Dates
Subject to change, I now have tentative dates for my various author tours. Putnams plans to send me around the US October 18-28, while Orion is looking at a British tour November 4-14. More news as it develops.
German and Dutch Foreign Rights
Translation/publication rights to "The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" have been sold in Germany and Holland. The German publisher will be Heyne. The Dutch publisher will be Luitingh. Apparently this deal means that the previous six "Covenant" books will also be reissued in those countries.
Putnams page proofs
The page proofs from Putnams have arrived. The text is 513 pages. This number does not include either WHGB or the Glossary. A casual glance suggests that Putnams has used a significantly smaller type-style (more words per line), but a slightly smaller trim-size (fewer lines per page) than Orion.
Orion page proofs
The page proofs for "The Runes of the Earth" from Gollancz/Orion arrived today. The text is 572 pages. This number includes 12 pages of "front matter" (including "What Has Gone Before"), but does not include the combined Glossary for all seven (so far) "Covenant" books.
"Runes" in Australia
Definite information has yet to be revealed to me; but today my UK publisher vouchsafed the information that they expect "The Runes of the Earth" to reach Australia in mid-November, 2004. This *will* be a hardcover release--which I'm told is rather rare for "imported" fantasy novels.
It's official: Hill House has formally contracted with Putnams to release a signed, limited collector's edition of "The Runes of the Earth." Hill House hopes to make their edition available within a month or two of Putnams' hardcover publication.
Russell Crowe/Thomas Covenant
As it happens, Russell Crowe has decided NOT to take on the role of Thomas Covenant, no doubt (drum-roll, please) because he considered it too taxing. Imagine my surprise. As you may know, money people typically commit to a movie, not because they like the project, but because a "bankable" star has agreed to participate. Therefore the "Covenant" film remains purely hypothetical.
"The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever" and "Daughter of Regals and Other Tales"
This fall, hoping to "catch the wave" of "The Runes of the Earth," Ballantine/DEL REY will repackage the first Covenant trilogy and my first short story collection. The "look" is entirely new. Sorry, no bonus points for guessing which other "wave" Ballantine/DEL REY hopes to catch.
Axbrewder/Fistoulari: the "Reed Stephens" mystery novels
This fall Tor/Forge will release "The Man Who Risked His Partner" in paperback and "The Man Who Tried to Get Away" in hardcover.
Re-release of Daughter of Regals and The First Chronicles
May 6, 2004 ... DEL REY / Ballantine is planning to repackage and re-release Daughter of Regals and Other Tales and The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, concurrent with the release of The Runes of the Earth. The draft covers for these can be found on this site's background/publications page.
D&A of The Runes of the Earth
April 19, 2004 ... Today marks the Delivery and Acceptance (D&A) of The Runes of the Earth. This means that the final draft of the manuscript has been submitted to the editors, and no further changes have been requested.
The novel is expected to hit the shelves in both the US and UK in mid-October, 2004.
G.P. Putnam's Sons Acquires Long-Awaited Conclusion
to Bestselling Fantasy Saga by Stephen R. Donaldson
New York, New York, January 14, 2004 ... Carole Baron, President of G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), today announced the acquisition of the final four novels in Stephen R. Donaldson's critically acclaimed and bestselling series, "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant." North American rights to the new quartet of books, entitled "The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant," were acquired by Jennifer Hershey, Vice President, Editorial Director, G.P. Putnam's Sons, from Howard Morhaim of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency Inc. The first book in the series, The Runes of Earth, will be published by Putnam in Fall 2004, with a Berkley paperback edition to be published by Berkley in 2005.
Ms. Hershey commented, "A return to this incredibly well-loved series - after two decades - will be a huge event for the millions of readers who have read and re-read the Thomas Covenant books over the years. Donaldson is a tremendously talented writer and we're thrilled to be the publisher of this new quartet of books."
Concurrent with this book deal, motion picture rights have been optioned by producers Marc Gordon and Peter Winther. Gordon's film production credits include The Patriot, A Simple Plan, Saving Private Ryan, and Speed, and Winther's credits include The Patriot, Godzilla, Independence Day, and Stargate. Howard Morhaim also sold the quartet to Malcolm Edwards of Orion in the UK.
The initial six books in Donaldson's series were published between 1977 and 1983, have sold more than 6 million copies, and have been published in ten countries around the world. They continue to sell tens of thousands of copies a year and have become modern classics of the genre. As The Washington Post Book World said at the time of the original publications, "[The saga] will certainly find a place on the small list of true classics." The Kansas City Star called the series, "The War and Peace of fantasy literature." The Los Angeles Times described the saga as having "remarkable scope and sophistication." The series is also taught in colleges, universities and seminaries across the country.
The Thomas Covenant series had a humble beginning, as Donaldson endured 47 rejections for the first novel, Lord Foul's Bane, before finally finding it a publishing home in 1977. Readers have been eagerly awaiting the conclusion to the series for more than twenty years.
Putnam plans a major launch for the "The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant," with extensive marketing and publicity.