AndyRemic — author of the Clockwork Vampire Chronicles (Angry RobotBooks) and the Combat-K series (Solaris) — premiered his own ebookcompany this year with Anarchy Books, and one of his most recentreleases is Monstrocity.This is an ebook edition of my 2003 novel originally published byPrime, which was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Best FirstNovel that year. The novel is set in my frequently visited milieu ofPunktown, a crime-infested future megalopolis that makes Mos Eisleyspaceport look like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Add some CthulhuMythos to the mix and you have Monstrocity.
I’lladmit to having been leery of the whole e-book concept up until veryrecently. I grew up loving to read, and reading meant interactingwith these remarkable physicalobjectsyou opened with your hands, as one would open a physical door toanother world. When I was old enough to know I wanted to be a writer,it was so that I could bring more such magical objects into theworld, but these with my own name on their covers, and leading toother worlds of myinvention.
Hm.But once I stepped through those doors of old, even though I wasturning physical pages I was actually translating their printedinformation into intangible thought. It was in my mind those storiesI loved were actually located, not in those inked words that werejust like so many pixels, or binary numbers; merely a code to get theinformation across. And weren’t the imaginary worlds of my owninvention also intangible spells swirling in my mind, waiting to beconveyed by code to the minds of my anticipated readers?
Withthe slow, grudging acceptance of an aging man — no, of a little boywho fell in love with the book his grandparents gave him onprehistoric flying reptiles, and the paperback of Pierre Boulle’sPlanetof the Apeshe ordered with the fifty cents his aunt gave him — I have latelybeen coming around. How can I not, when nearly all my publishednovels and short stories have become available as e-books through onepublisher or another? How could I possibly begrudge something thatbroadens my audience, by exposing my imaginary worlds to minds moreattuned to new technologies than mine has been?
I’mseeing a crop of reviews of the ebook Monstrocity,and for these readers it’s like a brand new book. It’s like thenovel has a second life. That can only be a good thing. A writer whowrites of the future, however bleak that vision often is, should beopen to these new technologies — no? After all, they bring a wealthof fresh possibilities. One exciting aspect of the Anarchy Booksedition of Monstrocityis that they’ve also released a soundtrack, by the fascinatingoutfit Das Sombreros, to accompany the novel. Ah, such wonders! Nowif there were only a little spray device to squirt the smell of abrand new book — or musty library book — into your face as youread. Soon…soon…
Why,I might even buy an e-reader one of these days. Okay, so I don’thave one myself yet, though that’s partly a matter of finances.Partly it isn’t. I don’t need to rejectthe book as physical object, do I? But I no longer need to feeldismissive of the virtual book, either. Especially not when it putsroyalties in my pocket…ahem.
I’veeven begun experimenting with doing some e-publishing of my own,putting my Lovecraftian collection UnholyDimensionson Smashwords and a number of short stories on the Amazon and Barnes& Noble websites. So I’m trying to get into the mindset…giveme a little more time. We science fiction writers aren’t always onthe cutting edge in our day to day lives, you know. William Gibsonwrote Neuromanceron a manual typewriter. Isaac Asimov was afraid of flying on anairplane, as is Ray Bradbury, who has never learned to drive a car.
Neitherhave I. And that’s something I’m embarrassed to discuss, so fewpeople know it. I’ve often laid the blame on being blind in my lefteye, but I know it’s more about the mindset. And it’s time to hit“reset” on the old mindset. Today I went for a driving class.
I’mgetting there, I tell you. It’s a brave new world.