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Topic Archive: Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual
Now you can get ‘The Lair of the Clockwork Book’ for your Kindle reader

Filed under Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, Works in Progress

The Lair of the Clockwork Book, eBook edition

Your eyes may have glazed over in that last post before you realized that I was working on this: that’s okay. I don’t mind. It’s not like I’ve taken down your name and recorded it in a little book where I keep track of my enemies and schedule their amusing, unfortunate fates.

It’s not exactly like that.

So you’ve probably got nothing to worry about even if you don’t rush over to Amazon and get yourself a Kindle edition of The Lair of the Clockwork Book. But honestly, just to be absolutely sure, you might want to do that anyway.

The Kindle Edition

See the pretty cover! I’ve always liked the dust jacket I designed for the limited edition hardcover. So I based the eBook’s cover on that version.

This eBook edition is almost identical to the hardcover and paperback editions, except that the illustrations have been converted to greyscale. The great majority of Kindles render pages in grey, after all; and the greyscale image files are smaller than they would be in full color. (There are more than 120 of them!) That makes a big difference in Amazon’s delivery fees, which are paid by the publisher.

The publisher? Well, in one sense that’s me. In another sense, it’s Radio Planet Books. You’ll be hearing more about Radio Planet in the months to come.

The Kindle edition is priced at just $3.99, a big savings over the full color print edition. If you bought the paperback from Amazon they’ll even let you buy the eBook for $1.99 – provided they’ve figured out that the books are linked. I’m not sure how long that takes.

You don’t use a Kindle? An ePub version will also be available, but probably not until June or July.

Oh, and at the end of the book there’s a bonus sample from Patently Absurd, my collection of illustrated stories about the Retropolis Registry of Patents. You’ll hear more about that later, too.

 
 
Captive breeding population of ‘Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom’ about to be released into the wild

Filed under Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom, Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, Works in Progress

ARCs of Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom

Having nearly completed their prolonged breeding program, these rare Advance Reading Copies of Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom are seen here, in New York’s historic Flatiron Building, as they await their release into their native habitat. It’s a happy day for the book’s well-wishers everywhere.

At the same time we can’t forget that hunting season for these books looms just ahead: starting on June 13 anybody – with or without a hunting license – is authorized to capture the book at will.

It’s hoped that these copies, slated for delivery to trade publications and reviewers, will help to promote the book’s ultimate success in what we hope will be a friendly, welcoming environment.

 
 
The Files of the Retropolis Registry of Patents will conclude in ‘Patently Absurd’

Filed under Patently Absurd, Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, Works in Progress

Cover for 'Patently Absurd'

For the first Wednesday in more than six months, there’s no update today for a story at Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual. And that’s not an accident: it’s all part of my nefarious plan for the Files of the Retropolis Registry of Patents.

Yes, Mister Bond: you just sit there in those nearly unbreakable chains, and I will tell you everything.

We’ve seen some major changes for Ben and Violet after the events of Professor Wilcox and the Floating Laboratory and Ben Bowman in the Vault of Terror. Those changes lead us into the conclusion of the series, which will appear for the first time in a collection called Patently Absurd.

That will collect the entire series together in one illustrated book in print and digital formats. The launch for the book and its new imprint will be fueled by a Kickstarter project during the summer, following the release of Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom.

I’ve had a lot of fun with this series of stories. They follow the everyday lives of ordinary people, both human and mechanical, in a place that’s extraordinary… to us. But it’s just home to them, of course. They take its mad science and its unique difficulties in stride because, at the end of the day, the thing that really interests and worries them is office politics. Like I said: ordinary people.

My plan for the series has always been to collect it, and that’s the reason why the stories have departed from the format I set for The Lair of the Clockwork Book. There’s more text to go with each illustration, for one thing. That makes the print layout a lot simpler than it was for the earlier book.

And the black-and-white illustrations for Patently Absurd, because they cost less to print, will make it possible for me to sell the book in more markets.

So those of you who’ve been following the stories can look forward to their conclusion later this year or early in 2018. We won’t talk too much about Patently Absurd until after Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom is released. (That’s on June 13!) But it’s out there. Or it will be, anyway.

Also, I’ve added preorder links for Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom in several places, like this one, even though the retailers’ cover thumbnails are (still) pretty awful. I continue to hope that we’ll get that straightened out.

 
 
‘Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom’ has a real release date; also, a new blurb from Lawrence M. Schoen

Filed under Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom, Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, Works in Progress

I just realized I’ve never mentioned that Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom now has a release date that we can believe. It’s June 13! That’s the day we Mockup of the finished book need to think about.

Okay. I’m thinking about it. I don’t know what you’re doing.

We’ve been through the line and copy editing passes, and though I’ve yet to see a galley with all the illustrations in place it seems like the book has begun to make its stealthy, mysterious passage through the world. If you define “the world” as “people who know my editor”.

The reason I think this is true is that there’s a new review in the book’s feed from Macmillan.


“Schenck presents the best future from our past. Robotastic and charming.”

― Lawrence M. Schoen, author of Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard

So, yep. Robotastic. And charming, a word that’s been used to describe the book before. I never suspected that it was charming, and the idea took some getting used to; but I’m on board with it now. Charm away. Get all charming, book. Go forth and be charming. On June 13. In bookstores, and everyplace else.

 
 
Starting Wednesday: Ben Bowman in the Vault of Terror

Filed under Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, Works in Progress

Starting Wednesday: Ben Bowman in the Vault of Terror

What do you do after you’ve dropped a building on your boss’ head? Well, in many cases, you rethink your life. There are also those who dance around the building, singing about it. But we pretend we don’t know those people.

Even at the Retropolis Registry of Patents there are several approaches to this kind of trauma. Violet, the Registrar’s secretary, is in the “rethink your life” camp; Investigator Bowman is off on a tangent of his own. He’d just really rather not have to spend any time down in the Registry Vault (the “Patent Registry Models and Samples Repository”).

Nobody likes to go down there. It’s full of the working models and prototypes for every invention that’s ever come out of Retropolis’ Experimental Research District. If you get posted down in the Vault, you can’t help knowing that at any time something really dangerous and irreversible is likely to happen. And when it doesn’t happen? Well, there’s a statistically identical chance that it’s going to happen now. That sort of thing can wear you down.

Really dangerous and irreversible things almost never happen, of course. Almost never.

Meanwhile the Registry is expecting its new Registrar (again) and so that’s what’s on Violet’s mind. She’s made a resolution not to do anything to this one.

We’ll see how that goes, starting on Wednesday, in Ben Bowman in the Vault of Terror.

 
 
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