Felix Gilman, Author of The Half-Made World, on Promoting His Novel
Felix Gilman's new novel The Half-Made World came out late last month, and its a powerful reimagining of the West with amoral characters and a hard-edged Steampunk feel that puts the "punk" back into the subgenre with a vengeance. It also features a strong and compelling female main character in the person of Lyvset Alverhuysen, tons of mad invention, and an ingenious plot. The evocations of landscape, the conflict between the servants of the Gun and the servants of the Line, both of which involve either the supernatural or super-advance science, the interactions between the characters are all masterfully written.
Mike Perschon recently posted an interesting review of The Half-Made World on Tor.com, in which he said in part, "When I began my study of steampunk by reading Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day, I wondered if its theme of the loss of frontier, of unexplored and untamed spaces, was also a theme evoked by the steampunk aesthetic. It’s clearly a major theme in The Half-Made World, which Gilman explores with a page-turning narrative, engagingly complex characters, and deftly descriptive prose."
Advance praise has been equally effusive:
“Vivid and accurate prose, a gripping, imaginative story, a terrifically inventive setting, a hard-bitten, indestructible hero, and an intelligent, fully adult heroine---we haven’t had a science-fiction novel like this for a long time.” ---Ursula K. Le Guin, National Book Award--winning author of The Farthest Shore and The Left Hand of Darkness
"The Half-Made World is refreshingly unlike any other novel I've read. Felix Gilman writes like a modern-day Dickens drunk on rich invention and insane war."---Stephen R. Donaldson, New York Times bestselling author of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
“Felix Gilman’s The Half-Made World takes the brutality of the Wild West and twists it into an epic fantasy that left me staggered. It brings the sense of wonder back to fantasy by creating a complex and visceral world unlike anything I’ve read. This is a stunning novel.” ---Mary Robinette Kowal
This novel is a major release for Gilman, so I asked him how he would be promoting the book. His answer, since Gilman the person is slightly less serious than Gilman the writer, was as follows...
Felix Gilman on publicity: I’m writing this on October 8th, four days before the book (I think of it as The Book) comes out. I don’t know when it gets posted. Probably in that unthinkable future time Post-Book. This is a small part of my publicity campaign for The Book, other parts of which are planned to include:
1. A free short story set in the world of The Book, featuring inventors, conmen, businessmen, madmen, soldiers, rain-making and perpetual motion devices and weird adventures on the frontier and in the hills.
2. An evangelical pamphlet for the Smilers, a half-religious half-self-help outfit who also play a role in The Book.
3. Something something twitter something I think.
4. Drinking, swinging madly between hope and panic.
5. I am hereby preemptively letting it be known that I refuse to be on Oprah’s Book Club. Do I consider myself too good for it? Maybe! Controversial stuff.
6. I called up Tor’s publicist. Let’s get a giant laser, I said, maybe steal one, there’s a bunch of labs around Columbia and NYU, one of them must have a giant laser, if not what are my tax dollars paying for? Anyway, I said, two words: Giant laser. My name. The moon. I mean six words. You’re drunk, she said. No, I said, you’re drunk. She hung up. Well, we’ll see, won’t we? Oh, you’ll all see.
7. Or failing that, steal a zeppelin, put advertising on it, float it in stately old-timey majesty into Times Square. A zeppelin, because The Book is Steampunk, more or less, and therefore: zeppelins.
8. Something something facebook something.
9. I hereby issue a formal apology to Oprah for item 5. I am prepared to repeat this apology face to face on television if necessary.
10. See item 4.
I am cautiously optimistic about the zeppelin thing.
Tomorrow: Gilman talks more about his novel.