Thursday, February 3, 2011

Footnotes and fancies

Two of my absolute favorite fantasy novels are Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mister Norrell and Jack Vance's The Green Pearl. Both are big hefty tomes that suck you into richly detailed, immersive universes, and one of the techniques the authors use to do that is the liberal sprinkling of footnotes. These serve as little asides, often mini-stories in their own right, that you can dip into to get a sense of the broader world behind the action of the novel.

I reckon that's one way that e-publishing and regular publishing can co-exist and feed into each other, instead of fighting it out to the death as some publishers seem to fear. Ebooks are ideal for flash fic that you can snack on in between longer episodes of the main narrative. And with that in mind, I've corralled all our whimsical letters to the Royal Mythological Society from Mirabilis and packaged them up as a Kindle book that goes on sale on Amazon today.

The Year of Wonders comprises more than fifty fantasy and SF tales in vignette form, from the mysterious giant hand found in a wood in Yorkshire to the best way to deal with a dragon that's taken a shine to the gold reserves of Fort Knox. Best of all, you won't actually need a Kindle because I've sneaked a preview up on free flipbook site BookBuzzr. And thanks to the magic of widgetry it's right here:


  1. That is AWESOME!!!! I love this kind of thing!!!! Fantastic work, Dave, as usual going above and beyond the call of duty to make a story become something REAL! Just excellent!

  2. Thanks, Lorenzo. It's all down to those newspaper reports and stuff in the back of the Watchmen comics. First time I saw those I thought, *this* is how to put across all the layers of background in an invented world. Not that I'm saying our little book holds a candle to Alan Moore, mind you! But he was the inspiration and the light :)

  3. Ah yes of course! It's such a nice way to paint the world without it feeling too spoon-fed! Very cool!


  4. what he said. also great that you're exploring the new media possibilities... i love the notion that they can complement each other.

  5. Thanks, Will. I keep coming back to that line that the artist's biggest enemy is obscurity - especially true for those of us working in this medium that we love but that isn't, let's face it, very widely accepted in ol' Blighty.

    It's brilliant that we can now get a sampler up on BookBuzzr, or even a whole taster book in the Kindle Store, with just a few clicks. And that feeds back into trad media too, because I'm convinced that by reaching new readers via new media we also encourage them to explore the old. (Old media I mean, not old readers...)

    More importantly: when can I get Bodkin & the Bear on my iPad?!!

  6. heh, could be a long wait i fear, dave...

  7. Noooooooo. Well, if you get the rights free and you need an iPad conversion done, Leo and I will be only to happy to help out.


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