Monday, August 13, 2007

The Dragons of Babel


The funny thing about making a living as a writer is how eventless it seems as you’re doing it, and how varied when you sit back and take stock. When Marianne comes home after a long day protecting the health of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and asks how my day went, I’ll hold up my hands and wiggle my fingers: “Like that.” Because, really, that’s all I do. Writing as a spectator sport ranks right up there with World Federation Napping.

But take a glim at the picture to the right. That’s Stephan Martiniere’s original artwork for The Dragons of Babel, my new fantasy novel, coming out in December, 2007. Pretty nifty, eh? Martiniere is a jack-of-all-trades artist. He was the visual art director for games (like Uru: Ages Beyond Myst) that even I’ve heard of, was nominated for an Emmy for an animated film he directed, won an award for his work on a theme park, and on and on and on. And, of course, he does book covers.

So, yeah, that day wasn’t entirely eventless.

The scan was sent to me by David Hartwell, my editor at Tor, who also said I should start a blog for the express purpose of promoting the book. “But make it interesting,” he said. “There are a thousand sites out there with the first chapter of a novel and a scan of the cover. Nobody cares for that anymore. They want to see something different. The more different interesting things, the better.”

Okay, I said. That’s what I’ll do.

And here I am.

Reflecting on what I might possibly include or talk about as incentives for people to drop by regularly, I off the top of my head came up with the following short list:

bottled stories
the odd piece of art or three by the inimitable Jason Van Hollander
the single most collectable book to be published this coming November
electric pickles
photos from my research trip to Moscow this March
my many collaborations with Eileen Gunn
my noble and probably quixotic crusade to destroy a literary term
and (probably) more photos and stories from my upcoming trip to Chengdu, China.

Which, again, suggests that my life is not nearly so eventless as it seems to me.

But, of course, if I’m going to be flogging The Dragons of Babel, I’d better come up with interesting things to post that relate directly to it. Such as the list of Entities, Places, Things (below), which I created to speed the copy editing along. I learned long ago that if you’re going to fill a novel with strange words and Odd Capitalizations, a list like this can spare the copy editor worlds of trouble and thus make him or her more kindly disposed toward the author, and more likely to assume that I might have some rough idea of what I’m doing in the novel. Still, when I assembled this list, I was astonished how many different fairy types and characters there actually were in the novel. It’s as thronged with ‘em as Richard Dadd’s The Fairy Feller’s Masterstroke.

The list is slightly altered to avoid spoiling plot surprises. No “Norman Bates’s mother (actually Bates himself) here. Though such entries are indeed useful to the copy editor.

Another thing David Hartwell said was that the blog would have to be updated two or three times a week, “without fail.” So, all right. I will commit here and now to updating the blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Mondays and Wednesdays absolutely and positively, and Fridays if at all possible. (I threw that last bit in just to give myself a little wriggle room, but I don't expect to need it.)

If there’s anybody out there who doesn’t find this more than enough already, you can also check out my Web page, www.michaelswanwick.com, which is chock-a-block with fiction, essays, a writing column that does its best to cut off all new talent at the knees, and I forget exactly what else. There’s a lot of it, though.

See you on Wednesday!




Entities, Places, Things:

This list is for the assistance of the proofreader. It is not intended to go into the book.

A

abatwa (singular and plural)
the Aelfwine
Aesop
Ethan Allen
the Alphabet of Trees
alphonse (slang for a kept man)
Amnye Machen (not Amne Machin)
Annapurna
Anastasia, Aunt Anastasia, Auntie
Antiope
Ariel
the Armies of the Mighty
the Armies of Twilight
the Armory
the Army of Night
Alberecht
Alberecht & Ting, Gastrolitheurs
albino giants
Alcyone L’Inconnu, Alcyone, Allie
Muhammad Ali
an apple imp
Bessie Applemere, Hag Applemere
Ararat (both mountain and skyscraper)
the Assay
ATF (Alchemy, Tobacco, and Firearms)
Atlantean
Auld Black Agnes
Auntie Fox
Avalon, the Isles of Avalon
the awen


B

Baal-Peor
Babel, the Tower of Babel, the Tower, the Dread Tower, the Tower of Whores
Babylonia, Babylon, Babylonians
Captain Bagabyxas
The Ballad of Oberon’s Arse
banshees
barnacle geese
basilisk
Bast
Battery Park, the Battery
the battle-light
the Bay of Demons
Behemoth
Beluthahatchie
Puck Berrysnatcher
bindlestiffs
bird maidens
a BlackBerry
William Blake
the Blessed Isles
Block A
Block G
Fata Bloduewedd
bluebell sprites
Blue Mountain coffee
Bobby Buggane
bodhran
boggart
Sergeant Bombast
Bonecrusher, ‘Crusher
les bonnes meres
Boodles
Bowie knife
the Bowery
Bowling Green Station
Bowie knife
the Breakneck Boys, the Breaknecks
the Brig o’ Doom, the Brig-O
Brigadoon
Broadway
Brocielande
Brocielande Station
brown men
Bruegel
bucentaurs
the burning man, the Burning Man (first usage is l.c.; thereafter, a proper name), the lancer
Burroughs


C

cacodemons
Cadillac
Fata Caldogatto
Master Cambion
Campaspe
Camp Oberon, Oberon Displaced Persons Camp, Oberon DPC
Candlemas eve
capricorn (lower case)
the Cauldron Boy
centaurs
the center square (later known as Tyrant Square)
the Century of the Turbine
Ceridwen
Cernunnos
chalkies
the Chansons Amoreuses de Merlin Sylvanus
Charlemagne
chimney-bounder
chimneysweeper (dandelion)
Chippendale
Chittiface
the City Garda
City Council
City Hall
City Services
clabbersnappers
Le Club Frottage
Cluricauns, cluricauns (capitalized when short for the Society of Cluricauns; lower case
otherwise)
the Society of Cluricauns
a cobber
cobbley, cobblies
Coleman lantern
the Commandant
the Lord High Comptroller
Conestoga wagon
the Contingent Territories
Coronata
Corpsecandle Green
the Council of Magi, the Council
crones
crystal goon, goon
the Criminal Vengeance Division
the Cult of Profane Love
Cuvier
cyclops
cynocephali

D

Daiera, Damia, Danae (names that are not Deianira’s)
Daisy Jenny
daliphants
the Darul as-Salam Arcades
the Daughters of the West
the dawn-times
day of the Kraken
day of the Labrys
day of the Toad
the Debatable Hills
Deianira, Deianira the Diener (a diener)
Jack Dempsey
Fata d’Etoile
devil
Diddy-Wah-Diddy
dinters
dire wolf, dire wolves
Division of Signs and Omens
djinni
the Dockalfar
Dockweed
Donkey Ears
downs trolls
Downtown
House sayn-Draco
a dragon (also known as the old war-drake, the Worm, Father of Lies, Lord Dragon, etc., etc.)
dragon-mouth
dragons, war-dragons, war-drakes
Dragon Stout
Pippin Droit-de-Seigneur (old Stinky)
drows,
Drumbelo
the Duchess
The Duchess’s Hole
Duesenbergs
Dullahan the Deathless (Bobby Buggane)
Dunbar
duppy, duppies, duppy-man
dwarf, dwarves, dwarven, dwarvenkind.
Dwarvenhelm
dwarves, black (black hair, pale skin)
dwarves, red (ginger hair, swarthy skin)
the dwellers-in-the-depths


E

the East
Eitri
Duke Ellington
elf-brat, elf-girl, elf-lady, elf-lord, elf-pack
elle-mays
Fata Elspeth (‘Speth)
elven, high-elven (not elfin)
Embarr
the Empire of Night, Lord Weary’s Empire
Blind Enna
Enoycla
Epona, the queen-mare
Ereshkigal (one of the Seven)
Esme


F

Fabergé
Fäerie
Fäerie Minor
Fäerie Major
Falstaff
the Fane of Darkness
Faulkner
fauns
Fennbennech Ai
Eilrik von Fenris
fetches
feys
feyling
the Fifth Amazons
Fifth Avenue.
Daddy Fingerbones
fire-hopper
fire-mites
the First Age
the Fisher King
the Fisher King’s disease
Gustave Flaubert
the flesh folk
Florian of House L’Inconnu, Florian L’Inconnu
fluffer
follet
the Fôret de Verges
the forges of the sunset
fossegrim
Kim Freydisdottir
Fuji


G

Galadriel, Gal, Laddie-girl
Fata Gardsvord
gargoyles
the Gates of Dawn
geas
Generalissimo Lizardo
ghast
Ghostface
the Gihon
Ginarr Gnomesbastard
Ginny Gall
Givenchy
Glaistig
glamour (delusory magic) is given the British spelling to distinguish it from glamor
glamour-wallahs
gnomes
goat-girl
goblin market
the Goddess
godemiché
Gog, Magog, and Gogmagog
the Gorge
Grammarie Fields
Grand Central Station
Grandfather Domovoy
Grangousier
Grannystone Hill
the great forges of the East
the Great River
great-great-great-grandmother (Will’s stone-mother)
Green Knight
the greenshirties
‘griffer
griffins
grig
grimhounds
grimpkin
the Guardians of the Four Quarters
gutter-haints


H

Captain Hackem
Hagmere Pond.
hags
haints
the halls of granite
the hammermen
Handel’s Water Music
the Hanging Gardens, the Gardens, the Hanging Gardens of Babel
Hard Rock Cafe
Hardy
Harlem
Harleys
harpy
the healing-women
Hell
hell-hounds
Hell’s Kitchen
Hengroen
Hermes
Herodotus
the hero-light
hippogriffs
His Absent Majesty
His Absent Majesty’s Air Force, the Air Force
His Absent Majesty’s governance
thane-lady Hjördis
hobs
hobthrushes
Hodge
Holvarpnia
the Holy City
the holmgangulog
Annie Hop-the-Frog
horned-god’s paintbrush
the horse-folk
Fata von und zu Horselberg.
Hotspur
Hound of Hoolan
houris
Fata L’Inconnu
House L’Inconnu
huaca
hudkin
hulders
Lord Humbaba
humble-bees (not bumble-bees), p. 188
hummingirls
Hy-Brasil
hytersprites


I

Ice
the Ice Tongs Man
Ichabod the Fool
ichthyocentaur
igoshas
Imate li što za prijaviti?” (Croatian)
Immigration Control
imps
Inanna
incubae
the Inner World
Iria
Irn Bru
itchikitchies
the Ivory Gate


J

Lord Jaegerwulf
Jasconius
Fata Jayne
Jenny Jumpup, Jenny, Jen
Jeyes Fluid
Jimi Begood
johatsu (both singular and plural)
John-a-dreams
John the Conqueror root
Joyeuse (Charlemagne’s sword)
Jumping Joan
the Just and Honorable Guild of Rogues, Swindlers, Cozeners, and Knaves


K

the ka
Fata Kahindo
Kashan
Kawasaki
the Khazar Dynasty
Kilimanjaro
kinderofenfrauen
the King’s Master of Revels
kitty-witches
klude
kobolds
Koboldtown
Kokudza
korigan
kraken
K-Y Jelly


L

Lady Favor-Me-Not
Lady Nightlady
the lancers
the Land of Fire
the Land of Youth
Lapland
Lord Lascaux,
the Legless One
lemans (lovers)
Lemuria
lex mundi
lex talionis
Liane the Wanderer
lidocaine
the lighthouse of Rhodes
Queen Lilith
lily-maid
Lily St. Dionysée
Fata L’Inconnu
House L’Inconnu
the Lion Guard
the Liosalfar
Little Thule
Little Tommy Redcap
Litvak night-hags
Lords of Babel
Lords of the Governance
Lords of the Mayoralty
the Lower East Side
lubberkins
lubin
Sergeant Lucasta
luck-eater
lunars
lux aeterna


M

Queen Mab’s lace
the Mad Dog
mages
Magh Mell
magicks
Maglites
mahoff
St. John Malice
manticore, manticore cub
Marduk, Marduk XVII, Marduk XXIII, Marduk XXIV
Big Red Margotty
Little Red Margotty
Mariachi pants
Marlboros
Martin Pecker
Masamune
mawkies
Maxwell’s imp of the perverse
the Mayoralty
Mary McCarthy
the Master of the Tests
McDonald’s
McKinley
Meadows Trail
the Meatpacking District
mermaids
Meru
Midtown
milchdicks
Milton
the mirror-boy
Fata Misericordia
Molotov cocktails
Mom-Mom
Hornbori Monadnock
monoceros
moonsilver
mosstroopers
the Mother of Beasts
the Mother of Darkness
Mother Griet, Mom-Mom, Grietchen
Mother Night (one of the Seven)
the Motsognirsaga
Mozart
the Mountains of the Moon [see Ptolemy]
Mud Street
muera
Mumpoker


N

the Nameless Ones
Nanshe (El Sonámbula, der Träumengeist, L’Oneiroi des Reves)
Mullah Nasreddin
Nat Whilk
neuromancers
Niflheim, Niflheim Station, Niflheimers
night-gaunts
Night Striders
King Nimrod
Nineveh Station
night-gaunts
nissen
nixies
Nixon
nkisi nkonde
nocnictas
North Sea
nymphs


O

the Obsidian Throne (the Unmoving Pivot of the World, the Perilous Siege)
Oceanus
ogres
ogress
Old City Hall
the Old Forest
oliphaunt
Olympus
onis
Oracle
oroborus (not ouroboros)
the Outer World


P

the Palace of Leaves
Papa
Phidias
Phobetor
phoenix
Phragmites
Dan Picaro
pie-powders court
Pierrot, Monsieur Pierrot, Lord Pierrot
Little Pikku
pillywiggins
pixie dust
poldies
the polis
the polits
the political police
Political Security
Popocatépetl
Pop-Pop
Porte Molitor Station, Porte Molitor
the potter and her ‘prentices
les poulettes, une poulette (the political police)
a Power
Prester John
the Pretender
the prisoner of Elfland
the Public Library


R

Radegonde de la Cockaigne
Ralph the Ferrier
the Rat’s Nose
Raven
Red Stripe
Rembrandt
Jack Riddle, Captain Jack Riddle, Captain Riddle, Captain Jack, Jack the Lucky
the River Road
the rock people
rock troll
the Roxy Movie Theater
russalka
Ruthenians


S

sackbut
saddle-owl
salamander
Salem Toussaint, Alderman Toussaint, the Big Guy, the Boss
Saligos de Gralloch
Salinger
Fata Melusine Sansculotte
satyrs
Schuyler
the Scissors-Grinder (old Tanarahumra)
Scorpion
scorpion-men
the Scrannel Dogge
the Scythe
Scythian lamb
the sea-elves
selkies
Selene (the moon)
Dame Serena
the Seven
Seville
the Shadowlands
Shelley
shellycoats
Sherlock Holmes Junior
Shorty (Hrothgar Thalwegsson)
Detective Shulpae
sibyls
the Sigil of Inspiration
Siktir git! (Turkish)
simurgh
Sinai
Sirrush
Sixth Avenue
Slovaks
Christopher Sly
snake’s-head
soleils
Solomon
the Sons of the Blest
the Sons of Corrin (crows)
The Sons of Fire
sorcerer-elves
Sousa
the Southern Seas
Soyez
Spadefoot
Sparrowgrass
Spillikin
spook (racist slang for haint)
Jack and Nora Sprat
sprets
sprites
spunks
Stardust, stardust (the song is capitalized, the substance not)
the Starveling
Sterno
stickfellas
the Straits of Hyperborea
straw man
the Sucker Punch A.C.
the Sullen Man
swamp-gaunt
Swiss Army knife
the swordsfey St Vier (no period after St)
sylphs


T

Tabriz
T’ai Shan (not to be confused with Tai-hang Shan)
Tartarus Station
Tatterwag
tatzlwurms
Teggish (informal adj. for the Tylwyth Teg)
the teind
Tenali Raman
Thai shit demons
Hrothgar Thalwegsson (Shorty)
Third Street Station
the Thousand Races
three card Monte
the tidewater
the tinker
Tir na bOg (not a typo for Tir na nOg)
Titans
tokoloshe
Tomba
Tom Nobody
the Tower of Whores, the Dread Tower, the Tower of Kings, the Tower (Babel)
the transit police
trolls, trollish, trollweight
trooping fairies
truth-tellers
tusse
Tylwyth Teg (golden-skinned, leaf-eared)


U

Unca Will
Uluru
undine
ungodsly (not ungodly)
unicorn
the Unmoving Pivot of the World (the Obsidian Throne)
the Upper West Side
Uptown, uptown (capitalized when a place or adjective, but not when a direction)
Ur
the Urals
Urdumheim
urchins


V

"Vašu putovnicu, molim!" (Croatian)
Vendemiaire
Lord Venganza
Vespa
Vickie, Victoria il Volpone Sheherazade Jones, Contessa Victoria il Volpone
vila
the village
the village elders
the village moot
the vixen
vodniks


W

the War
water dragons
Lord Weary
Wedgwood
the West (a region)
the West (a Titan)
the West Side
the Western Paradise
Nat Whilk
Whinny Moor Landfill
the whisperer, the Whisperer (first three times lower case, upper case thereafter), Whisperer
Whistler
the White Ladies
whitesmiths, the whitesmith
wild man of the forest, wild man, wild men
Will le Fey, Will, Master Le Fey, Unca Will
[Winds]: the Anemoi, Boreas, Zephyros, Notos, Euros, Tramontana, Ponente, Ostro Levante,
Maestro, Libeccio, Siroco, Greco
Le Wine Bar
winged bulls, bulls, man-bulls, bull-man
witch-women
witches
witchwart
wizards
wodewose
woods-elf
Woolf
wraith
Frank Lloyd Wright
Wyrm
wyverns


X

Detective Xisuthros
Xylia of Arcadia


Y

the yage-witch
yakshis
yarbles (balls)
the Year Eater (one of the Seven)
the year of the Grasshopper
year of the Monolith
yellow-jackets (soldiers)
Yggdrasil, the world tree
Yoshi
Ys


Z

Zorya Vechernayaya.

14 comments:

pnh said...

Tell us about your crusade to destroy a literary term!

Eileen Gunn said...

Wow.

I am not sure which I am more surprised by, the very existence of your blog, or its appearance, with a promise of regular updates, immediately before your trip to China. You'll become preternaturally savvy at finding Internet cafes....

Cheers,
Eileen

Zack said...

I have gone and preordered the book just because I have to know how you got all those words into one book.

Keith Ferrell said...

Here's a marketing approach that has the advantage of, so far as I know, never having been tried. Tor should print a pamphlet containing your copyedit list, slugging it: Look At All The Words You'll Learn in Michael Swanwick's New Novel!

Distribute the pamphlet to papers, pundits, pedagogs, English teachers, bloggers, with a simple cover letter: Spread the Words!

Eats, Shoots and Leaves lovers would flock unstoppable to lexical leadership; the shade (as it were) of Nabokov would smile.

Best of luck with the book -- and all the words inside it.

Keith

Mario said...

It's "fix-up" right? Isn't that the literary term you want to destroy?

Welcome to the world of blogging. I put you on my bookmarks before I even read the first post.

I want to know more about bottled stories.

Dave Truesdale said...

I too would like to know the literary term you are out to destroy.

Dawno said...

Welcome to the blogosphere. I followed the link from Making Light, subscribed to your blog's RSS feed and am very interested in electric pickles.

I also look forward to reading your book.

Michael Swanwick said...

My apologies for not posting sooner. I decided to prep for my trip to China next week by taking a 400-mile jaunt down to Roanoke for a few days.

Thanks to everybody for your comments, particularly Zack. People who buy books on spec drive the culture every bit as much as writers do.

I'll get to all the promised topics just as soon as I can, I swear. Right now I've got to rush out and buy some socks. It's the inevitable consequence of making sudden trips without advance planning.

Second blog entry in not too many hours.

Derryl Murphy said...

Well. Not that I was planning to not buy the book, but now I have to buy the book. If that makes any sense.

I agree with Eileen. But don't spoil your trip by planning things around Internet cafes too much.

D

Keith Ferrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keith Ferrell said...

Jeez -- if I'd known you were coming to Roanoke (my farm's about 20 miles south) I'd have asked you to bring some rain.
Keith

Steve Buchheit said...

Also added the RSS feed to my list. It was neat meeting you at Confluence. I, too, look forward to see how you fit all those works into one book. :) Anything with the Yggdrasil, but not the Narns, and the Just and Honorable Guild of Rogues, Swindlers, Cozeners, and Knaves should be interesting.

Richard Mason said...

At MichaelSwanwick.com you promised updates on Monday and Friday certainly, and Wednesdays possibly. Now here you promise updates on Mondays and Wednesdays certainly, and Fridays optionally.

We are alert to your flim-flammery.

Each contract is individually binding.

Michael Swanwick said...

Wait. Wait. You're expecting consistency from a science fiction writer? A man who makes his living telling lies in a genre that's synonymous with "lies nobody in his right mind would believe"?

Oh, Richard. Have I got some stock options to sell YOU!