Eclipse Two – in print!!

Eclpse TwoI got home from the office today to find a large box full of copies of Eclipse Two, fresh from the printer, waiting for me.  This book has been such mixed experience to work on over the past year, that I was surprised at how pleased I was to finally hold it in my hands.

I finished Eclipse One in June of 2007 and pretty much immediately jumped into working on the follow-up volume.  I had several long discussions with Jason Williams about where the second book should go and, as I’ve discussed here before, decided to make this new book very much a ‘science fiction’ anthology.  That affected who I invited, but I was, as I always am, surprised and humbled by the array of talented and generous people who agreed to write for the book.  I then sat back to wait and see what stories would come.

And they did come: first one, then another.  Slowly at first, then more quickly.  At the same time. there was an open reading period where more than 400 stories came in during February.  It was a mixed success, but if nothing else had me reading a number of writers I’d not experienced before.  As is always the case, as time went on and the June deadline approached, some writers dropped out, and others came on board.  I don’t remember which story first really impressed me, and I hate to mention favorites, but the book had really come together by the beginning of June and had developed its own character.

On June 16 I delivered the book to Night Shade, about a week late.  I posted the table of contents and the book sort of exploded before my very eyes, or at least it felt that way.  There was a long passionate debate, which regular readers would be well aware of, that centered around gender equity in the book. I have nothing more to say on the subject, other than to say it very strongly soured me on the book. I was eager to get it done, get it published and move on.

Time then did what it does, and passed.  I was waiting for a clearance on one story – a very good alternate history/time travel tale by Harry Turtledove.  Harry was wonderful to deal with, but copyright clearances are long and complicated things, and sadly we couldn’t find a way to run the story in the book (hopefully it’ll appear elsewhere before too long).  I posted something to that effect here in late August, and suddenly Ted Chiang and Margo Lanagan appeared with the final two stories for the book. Last minute additions, they changed the tenor of the book, and really began to make me feel a lot more positively about it.

With the final version of Eclipse Two done, we raced through copyedits and other things, saw the cover design and waited for the book.  Sadly, for reasons beyond my control, the book didn’t make it for its intended World Fantasy launch date (I think it would have been the toast of the convention), but advance reviews began to trickle through and they were extremely positive.   It also became clear that several stories were going to make year’s bests and hopefully might make awards listing.

But, until today, no book.   I’d honestly wondered if it would come out in 2008, but it has.  Eclipse Two is done, and I hope you’ll check it out.  I’m incredibly grateful to the authors who sent me their stories, to my friends and family who supported the book, and to Night Shade who’ve published it.  It’s a book I’m very proud of.  I wish contributors all had their copies today too, but I’m guessing they’ll go out soonish and should trickle through during January.  I hope they are as pleased with it as I am.

And now I’m hard at work on Eclipse Three.  I’ve already bought a story or two, but I’m not going to tell you from whom.  I think this one will be a bit more like the first volume, though that’ll depend very much on what stories come in.  I’m very aware that you can’t predict that, though there are some people I’d kill to have in the book.  It will, almost certainly, be the last book in the series, so I want to make it even more special.  The one thing I do know is that these books are always an adventure, so it’ll be interesting to see what the book we launch in San Jose at World Fantasy is like.  I hope you’ll be there to see.