Coming Up For Air…

David, after a somewhat long period of silence, has reappeared with some news and updates. Full text below the break. Big thanks to him for sending!


Coming Up For Air…

I know… I’ve been silent, very silent indeed. And you might be forgiven for wondering what the **** I’ve been up to. The answer is that I’ve been fully immersed, fifty fathoms deep, in writing the third and last of the ROADS TO MOSCOW books – THE MASTER OF TIME. What previously only existed as notes and a long synopsis is now a partially completed manuscript of 55,000 words, with another 3,000 or so words being added every day. Roughly about a third of the way through this final volume. The plan is to get it finished by the end of June and then to give it a final fine polish.

It’s great to be back working on this. I’d almost forgotten the sheer delight of doing it – the way your mind goes into hyper-drive and starts coming up with all kinds of stuff … among it some really weird shit that comes from the darkest recesses of my head and which, I guess, made me a science fiction writer in the first place.

Also, because it is a meticulously worked out time travel story, there’s the added joy of ‘returning’ to earlier scenes and linking up the loops and… well, like yesterday. I had a scene – scene 392 – which links directly back to scene 9, right at the very start of the story (page 28 of the trade paperback that you can buy seven days from now), only because you’ve had thirteen hundred pages between the two, the link is exceptionally strong. We return, sure… but with understanding.

Yes, and I’ll be returning to that later on today. First a brief catch-up.

The last few months have been dominated by Sue’s various injuries. First she had some problems after some pretty major dentistry, which caused her to be in serious pain for weeks. Then, just as that seemed to have resolved itself, she fell upstairs and broke her foot. Not that she knew that for eight days – until she final went into Accident and Emergency and got “a boot”, specially designed to encase her leg and foot. Since when she’s been hobbling around like Long John Silver, with her crutch, that’s when I’ve not been running up and downstairs to get things for her. The last few days she’s been up in Manchester, in the north of England, for a two day conference for Coronation Street, for whom she writes, but she’s back from that now, so our usual habit of both working at the big kitchen table has resumed, though, when the weather improves, one of us – probably me – will be re-locating out to the garden office.

My schedule for the next year is pretty straightforward. As I said above, I’ll be finishing THE MASTER OF TIME, and then – after a brief break for holidays – I’ll be getting back to CHUNG KUO, writing the last four books one after another (there’s a fair amount of it that exists already), with the aim of getting it all done by the end of 2015, or maybe Spring 2016. Books 9-14 are already reworked and polished, so – once we’ve decided how we’re going to do this – we’ll have six books to re-launch. Books 15 and 16 need refurbishment, otherwise they’re ready too. But, knowing how disappointed you guys get at the delays, I am not going to release anything until I can be absolutely certain that I can produce the books one after another, hopefully with a volume every two months, available on eBooks, but also – we hope – as Print on Demand trade paperbacks to try and match the first eight.

Which means CHUNG KUO will be going into hibernation as a project for at least a year-to-eighteen months. Fortunately, during that period, I’ll have the ROADS books coming out, so don’t despair.

I also have two finished and polished science fiction novels which I aim to get eBooks out of in the next year or so, IMAGINE A MAN and THE BEAST WITH TWO BACKS. “Beast”, the stronger of the two works, I might try with publishers, especially as I’ve got a sequel to it plotted and planned and in its very own filing box. It’s about two twins – brother and sister – who are both telepathic and psychopathic. A wonderfully weird combination…

As I said earlier, the first ROADS TO MOSCOW novel – THE EMPIRE OF TIME – will be out in the shops and available a mere seven days from now, on April 3rd. After what happened with Corvus, it’s particularly nice to have the promise of it being in the bookstores over here – something that simply wasn’t happening with the CHUNG KUO books, and I’ve every confidence that my wonderful editor, Michael Rowley, will get the trilogy the attention it deserves. Yes, and foreign sales, too.

Okay. That’s it for now. But I’ll be back here tomorrow, with some more comments on what’s been going on. In particular, a few words on my meeting with my (ex) publisher. So bye for now.


David Wingrove     27th March 2014


PS; just in passing, today is the thirty sixth anniversary of Sue and I meeting up, at a science fiction convention – the Eastercon – at the Heathrow Hotel (back in 1978). The late and wonderful Rob Holdstock introduced us (Sue was working for Faber & Faber, his publishers, as their publicity manager) and, having missed the last tube, she drove me home. And here we are… all those years later, with all our books and our four lovely girls.

A demain…



Oh yeah…

20 thoughts on “Coming Up For Air…”

  1. If book 9 to 14 are already finished, why do we have to wait two years for the first eBook? Why not start right away now, every three-four months an eBook? The five finished books will bridge nearly two years, until more are finished?

  2. Hopefully you’ll pass this on to David or I hope he reads this…

    I’m writing from the States and I’m pissed… at Corvus. I don’t know what went on behind the scenes and who made the decisions on Chung Kuo (I’m guessing Corvus) but it was stupid to have this whole epic published in 20 volumes, specially since we know how the original publication went down. Then for the publisher to have done no publicity whatsoever is even more infuriating. I can’t believe that a sci-fi epic that rivals Dune can not get the same notoriety and publishing prestige. What are all the publishers saying? What’s their excuse for not picking it up and doing it justice? It boggles the mind… As for a film/TV adaptation… David, BE CAREFUL. I find it hard to believe that given the subject matter China would be ok with the movie version and/or the TV series, let alone contribute money to help make it. I know something about Hollywood (been in the thick of it) and I’m here to tell ya that with China being a HUGE market for Hollywood movies, and Hollywood tailoring movies to foreign markets in all kinds of ways (including casting stars of foreign countries to sell more tickets in those countries, such as was done with del Toro’s Pacific Rim) I find it doubtful that Hollywood will be able to make Chung Kuo work. It makes no sense for them to make a movie that they won’t be able to sell in China. If they do make it, they will alter it significantly and will butcher it, or at least will be forced to with the Chinese version. Best case scenario… you end up with two versions, one following the original storyline where the Chinese are the aggressors and another re-edited version for the Chinese market to make it benign or to show China in a good light. Worst case scenario… Hollywood flat out butchers the entire thing. Either way it goes, you would anger and alienate a lot of your fans and they would come after YOU (for the most part) for selling out to Hollywood. Seen it lots of times.

    So just be careful, and hire a really good entertainment lawyer so you are not screwed over in any way, specially with the money! Maybe JK Rowling can give you some pointers. In the meantime, if you’re not happy even with all the revisions and additions you have done to Chung Kuo for the Corvus edition, then why don’t you just do it the way you want it and self publish the damn thing so we can finally read and enjoy the DEFINITE, FINAL, ABSOLUTELY FINAL, THIS-IS-HOW-IT’S-GONNA-STAY-BECAUSE-THIS-IS-HOW-I-WANTED-TO-DO-IT-IN-THE-FIRST-PLACE edition.

    I’m sure you can understand the frustration…

    Best regards,


  3. Hope Sue heals quickly and correctly. A broken foot is excruciating.
    Chung Kuo deserves to be in hard copy, on bookshelves, so that when the crapocalypse finally craps its last crap, later societies will at least uncover some fine literature and know we weren’t entirely daft.
    Everybody who’s come across the series here in the far wet West has loved it.
    Looking forward to Empire of Time.

  4. I’m really angry at Corvus about this. I got a friend onto the series and he not only ordered for himself, but also purchased one of the collector editions as a gift for me, but also to support David and the magnum opus.
    Don’t publishers and wider readership support the long game, and the complex story anymore?

  5. Thanks for the update, David. I’m looking forward to finally reading book 1 of Roads to Moscow in two days. Also, my brother’s birthday is coming up and he’s a sci fi fan too so i’ll buy an extra copy for him as a birthday gift. We both own amazon kindles. By the way, i’ve been slowly improving my weichi skills. My current rank on kgs is 7k, but i mainly hover around 10k. It would be nice if you and i could play an online match sometime :).

    Oh, and thanks for the great news regarding your other books. I’m certainly intrigued about “Beast with Two Backs.” I cannot wait to read it!

  6. um, David? :(…i just saw something terribly disturbing in the usa amazon site: “this item currently not available for purchase” for the kindle edition of Empire of Time. Please tell me this is not going to be another “only available in the uk” nightmares!!!

  7. OK, this cannot be happening!!!!!!!!!!! What’s with this nonsense of not having The Empire of Time available to usa kindle owners???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


  9. For those living NOT in the UK and want to get David’s latest book(s) on your Kindle, simply create a fake UK address and then migrate your Kindle over via the Country Settings page.

    It took me not even five minutes to log into -> Change settings to UK -> Go to the Roads of Moscow Kindle page on -> Buy book via wifi download -> make Kindle USA again. It’s very simple to the point where I’m sure Amazon not only knows users can and do do this, but encourages it.

    I’ve done this for just about all the Chung Kuo re-release books and never had any issues.

      1. I think they may have increased their validation processes since I last tried it. Maybe try putting in an actual address and phone number. I know some others have used friend’s addresses. I’d probably just choose something random… Like, say, the Arsenal Museum:

        75 Drayton Park
        London, United Kingdom
        +44 20 7619 5003

  10. I’ll look forward to the Ebooks of the remaining Chung Kuo novels and hopefully the paperbacks as well.

    Just out of interest, what does it roughly cost to get a book published and on the shelves? In the UK?

    Needless to say, I’ll also be supporting David’s Roads to Moscow project. This man deserves far better than what he’s been given by his publishers over the years. It’s a crying shame for David and his fans as well.

  11. Yes, i got it. I did the UK registration thing, got the book, then changed it back to the usa setting. I cannot get it for my brother’s kindle now as a b-day gift, though, because he’s not willing to change his kindle settings for this book. It would have been best if this ebook were simply available on the usa site as well. Anyway, the important thing is that i get to read this book after all, so thank you all for your help.

    1. Yeah, its a workaround and workarounds always suck. When it was announced that The Roads to Moscow trilogy would be published through Random House I had high hopes that American distribution would happen pretty smoothly. Unfortunately, it appears that it hasn’t worked out that way so far.

      The optimist in me is hoping that this is just so they can do more focused and staged marketing campaign. Release the book first in the UK. The hardcore fans elsewhere will do whatever it takes to get copies and help to build interest (combined with a good reception on the UK market). Then release into the US market, when it can be something more than just another unheralded new release book on the shelves.

      Of course that is all crazy speculation, but a man can dream, right?

      In the end, I recognize that Chung Kuo (and by extension Roads to Moscow) is very solidly inside a very small niche within the niche market of science fiction, which is itself a small niche of the market of published works. And in that context, I am happy that these books even exist and are available, even if I have to do extra work (or in this case wait a week or so for my hard copy) to get them.

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