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Before They Were Giants Now Shipping!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

They say you always hurt the ones you love, and now that Before They Were Giants is shipping from the warehouse to subscribers and bookstores everywhere, I've looked back over the last few months of the blog and realized that I've only blogged about it once. Which is astonishing when you consider that this might just be the coolest product I've ever worked on in my life.

Before They Were Giants
Illustration by Kieran Yanner

Allow me to elaborate: With Planet Stories, we've published a lot of science fiction and fantasy that we felt was both fun and significant to the history of the genre. Which is why, about two years ago, I went to Erik with a proposal: what if we got together 15 of the coolest, most important SF authors alive—with an admitted bias toward the folks at the top of my own bookshelf—and convinced them to let us publish their first-ever SF short stories. In addition, we'd get new interviews from all the authors in which they would critique their own work, explaining what they know now that they wish they'd known then about writing, and giving advice for aspiring authors. It would be both an insightful look at the origins of my favorite authors (appealing to the fanboy in me) and a treasure trove of invaluable authorial advice (for which I remain a total sucker). Without question, it would be a lot of fun to put together. The real question was whether or not it was possible.

As it turns out, it was possible. Within a few weeks of beginning my quest, the anthology had expanded into an absolute powerhouse roster. While we already had good relationships with a few folks—preexisting friends of Paizo like China Miéville, Ben Bova, Nicola Griffith, and Piers Anthony—I was amazed to find just how generous and enthusiastic many of my favorite authors are. Cory Doctorow? Larry Niven? Mr. William "Invented-Internet-Culture" Gibson? Just seeing their names in my inbox was a childhood dream come true.

And now here's the result: an anthology full of advice and encouragement for writers, as well as rare early stories from your favorite authors—many that you may never have seen before, as they've lain fallow in out-of-print magazines. (For instance, when I first asked China to join the anthology, he sent me back not "Looking For Jake," which I had expected, but a bizarre post-apocalyptic short story that had been published when he was still just a kid, and which as far as my Internet research was concerned did not exist. That's the sort of discovery that can really make an editor's day.)

But I've rambled long enough. Below is the full table of contents, and I couldn't be prouder of it. If you decide to pick up a copy, be sure to head on over to the product discussion and post about it—I can't wait to hear which stories (and interviews!) are people's favorites!

  • Piers Anthony: "Possible to Rue"
  • Greg Bear: "Destroyers"
  • Ben Bova: "A Long Way Back"
  • David Brin: "Just a Hint"
  • Cory Doctorow: "Craphound"
  • William Gibson: "Fragments of a Hologram Rose"
  • Nicola Griffith: "Mirrors and Burnstone"
  • Joe Haldeman: "Out of Phase"
  • China Miéville: "Highway 61 Revisited"
  • Larry Niven: "The Coldest Place"
  • Kim Stanley Robinson: "In Pierson’s Orchestra"
  • Spider Robinson: "The Guy with the Eyes"
  • R. A. Salvatore: "A Sparkle for Homer"
  • Charles Stross: "The Boys"
  • Michael Swanwick: "Ginungagap"

James L. Sutter
Fiction Editor

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Before They Were Giants Ben Bova Charles Stross China Mieville Cory Doctorow David Brin Greg Bear James L. Sutter Joe Haldeman Kim Stanley Robinson Larry Niven Michael Swanwick Nicola Griffith Piers Anthony Planet Stories R. A. Salvatore Spider Robinson William Gibson
Dark Archive

:: adds to list of Gencon purchases ::

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

Wow.

Awesome in Awesome Sauce with a side order of Awesome.

This is definitely a Planet Stories book that I can flog to my non-Paizomaniac friends.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Yay, my first anthology as a subscriber! I wish I hadn't missed the previous one.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Big congrats, James- I well look forward to this!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Scribbling Rambler wrote:

Wow.

Awesome in Awesome Sauce with a side order of Awesome.

This is definitely a Planet Stories book that I can flog to my non-Paizomaniac friends.

+ a million!

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Thanks, folks! And please do spread the word... since Planet Stories doesn't have the same built-in audience as Pathfinder, it needs all the help it can get!


Way to introduce Spider Robinson! You would be doing society a great favor if you give all of Callahan's Crosstime Saloon the Planet Stories treatment.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

It's the Gibson story that will make this an easier sell, though I'm looking forward to them all.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

organized wrote:
Way to introduce Spider Robinson! You would be doing society a great favor if you give all of Callahan's Crosstime Saloon the Planet Stories treatment.

I know! I've actually talked to Erik and Spider in the past about that very idea, but those books are still more or less in print. I think the Callahan's series is phenomenal... "The Guy with the Eyes" is the lead-off story for BTWG.

Paizo Employee PostMonster General

I would squee like a little girl if we published Spider's stuff.

Grand Lodge

I'm reading The Callahan Chronicles right now (which contains the first three books in the Callahan series). Found a copy recently at a local Half Price Books! Good stuff.


Hm. I thought something was odd about this; Today is July 31st and I found the novel for sale at a used books store for half price--I was quite surprised since I wasn't even sure the book was released yet.

Could that possibly have been an advance reviewer's copy, or did someone turn it over that quickly?

Or did Paizo release the book to several used book stores across the country?

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Light Dragon wrote:

Hm. I thought something was odd about this; Today is July 31st and I found the novel for sale at a used books store for half price--I was quite surprised since I wasn't even sure the book was released yet.

Could that possibly have been an advance reviewer's copy, or did someone turn it over that quickly?

Or did Paizo release the book to several used book stores across the country?

sounds like they either turned it over that quickly or received two...

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Light Dragon wrote:

Hm. I thought something was odd about this; Today is July 31st and I found the novel for sale at a used books store for half price--I was quite surprised since I wasn't even sure the book was released yet.

Could that possibly have been an advance reviewer's copy, or did someone turn it over that quickly?

Or did Paizo release the book to several used book stores across the country?

That's very odd. And you're right, it definitely sounds like either somebody got their subscriber copy extremely quickly (as we've begun shipping), read it overnight, and likes to clear out their shelves as soon as they've read a book... or some reviewer is taking all the books he receives straight to the used bookstore and selling them. So it goes. :P

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Planet Stories Subscriber
Gary Teter wrote:
I would squee like a little girl if we published Spider's stuff.

So, since there's no PDFs for Planet Stories, can we get an MPEG of this as a subscriber benefit instead?

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

gbonehead wrote:

So, since there's no PDFs for Planet Stories, can we get an MPEG of this as a subscriber benefit instead?

It'll just be a webcam movie of me reading the book aloud. Storytime with Uncle Jimmy...

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Planet Stories Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:
gbonehead wrote:

So, since there's no PDFs for Planet Stories, can we get an MPEG of this as a subscriber benefit instead?

It'll just be a webcam movie of me reading the book aloud. Storytime with Uncle Jimmy...

So long as we get a squee from Gary, I think it's a win for all :)

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