This weekend is ConFusion, the virtual 2021 edition of Eastercon (the British National Science Fiction Convention). I'll be on the following panels:
Sat 3rd April, 12 midday: Influences beyond the literary canon. Our panel chat about their biggest influences beyond favourite authors; from cartoons to games to tv shows and beyond.
Mon 5th April, 12 midday: Storytelling through repetition. Time loops, time travel, and replaying games: how narratives are built by repeating actions & discovering new elements - including building relationships, and positive queer depictions.
I'll also be doing a reading of an excerpt from Meet Me in Another Life - this is scheduled for 7pm on Fri 2nd April. You can see all the events I'm involved in here.
UK cover and advance copies
Last week was the cover reveal for the UK edition of Meet Me in Another Life. My publisher pulled out all the stops for this one!
On Monday, cryptic messages started showing up across Twitter. (I'm not cool enough to be on Instagram, but I'm told they were showing up there too.) If you spotted them, you might be wondering what they meant. The answer is: they are chapter titles from the book, each corresponding to a graffiti message written on the wall of a certain ruined clock tower. (The wall writing concept also shows up in a different form on the gorgeous US cover, designed by Mumtaz Mustafa.) I've linked to the messages above in the order the corresponding chapters appear in the book. If you've read the first chapter, you might have recognised Welcome to Forever...
Then, at midday on Tuesday was the cover reveal. A beautiful animation showed the UK proof transforming into the final cover, designed by Micaela Alcaino. Among her other amazing work, she is the genius behind the dreamlike, trippy cover for Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, one of my favourite books (and covers) of recent years. I tend to describe it as "if Harry Potter was written by Kafka and set at a Russian technical college", which has been surprisingly effective at getting people to read it.
Anyway, I digress. Thanks so much to Abbie and Katy from HarperFiction, and to all the wonderful book bloggers who got involved in the cover reveal - it was amazing to see so many people responding who love the cover as much as I do.
I feel incredibly lucky to have two covers that suit the book so well in such different ways. It's been interesting to learn a little about the factors that go into cover design: from genre, to trends in specific markets, to the intersection of the two. A particular style of cover might say "romance" or "YA" in the US market, but communicate something completely different in the UK (or vice versa). Complicating this still further is the fact that the book is a bit of an odd duck that falls between genres. I've been heartened to see early reviews that appreciate this as a positive, but it can be tricky, too: if a reader feels they have been promised romance or sci-fi or mystery or literary fiction, and then gets something that doesn't quite fit in any of those boxes, you can't really blame them for being disappointed. I hope both covers will help the book to find readers who are looking for something a bit different.
The other big news is that UK advance copies (featuring a variation on the cover and a truly epic amount of gold foil) have been making their way to booksellers, bloggers, and recently, my house. I wanted to take another picture with my cat, but these books are genuinely so shiny they freaked her out and she ran away. I mean, look:
Seeing this proof circulating was a big moment for me. It was both exciting and terrifying to see, emblazoned on the cover of a Real Book, the names of these two people I made up in my head. I can't wait for you all to meet them.
Meet Me in Another Life
MEET ME IN ANOTHER LIFE comes out next year! Publication day is April 27th in the US and Canada, 8th July in the UK and the rest of the Commonwealth. I've updated the Books page with blurbs, preorder links for both editions, and the starry starry US cover. The UK cover is also stunning, but still under wraps at this point -- watch this space. In the meantime, you can read an excerpt from the book if you so choose.
US advance copies are not only being sat on by my cat, they are also out there in the world and starting to get some good reactions on Twitter and Goodreads! If you're based in the US and would like an advance copy, my publisher William Morrow is running a series of Goodreads giveaways -- the current one is open until December 21st. If you miss that one, there will be a couple more running in January and February. More news on UK advance copies coming next year.
Another semi-recent happening was that I took part in a panel discussing one of my favourite films, Arrival. The event was part of the Imagining Better Futures series, organised by University College London to welcome new Arts and Humanities students. I really enjoyed this event -- I got to wear both my linguist and my author hats, and it was great fun talking about everything from language-trained chimps to fate versus free will.
The freezing fog is drawing in here in Cambridge, and it's starting to feel like this year may actually be coming to an end. May the next one bring good things for you and yours.