There Will Be War, Volumes II, III and IV Now Available

Three more volumes of Jerry Pournelle’s There Will Be War have been republished for the Amazon Kindle by Castalia House this summer.


There Will Be War, Volume II (originally titled Men of War), edited by Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr, has 19 stories, articles, and poems. Notable entries are —

  • Eric Frank Russell’s “Allamagoosa,” winner of the 1955 Best Short Story Hugo.
  • “Superiority,” by Arthur C. Clarke, first published in 1951, depicts an arms race and shows how the side which is more technologically advanced can be defeated. The story once was required reading for an industrial design course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • “Code-Name Feirefitz” by David Drake is a Hammer’s Slammers story.

375 pages, no DRM. Can be purchased from Amazon and Castalia House.


There Will Be War, Volume III (originally titled Blood and Iron), edited by Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr, and features 16 stories, articles, and poems. Notable entries are —

  • “The Spectre General” by Theodore Cogswell was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America as one of the finest novellas prior to the introduction of the Nebula Awards in 1965 and included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two anthology.
  • “The Miracle-Workers” by Jack Vance was a nominee for the 1959 Best Novelette Hugo.
  • Arthur C. Clarke’s oft-reprinted “Hide and Seek” tells the story of a single armed man pitted against a space cruiser, and succeeding.
  • “Silent Leges” by Jerry Pournelle is a Falkenberg’s Legion story.

382 pages, no DRM. It is available at Amazon and Castalia House.


There Will Be War, Volume IV (originally titled Day of the Tyrant), edited by Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr, features 21 stories, articles, and poems. Notable entries are —

  • “The Cloak and the Staff” by Gordon R. Dickson, winner of the 1981 Best Novelette Hugo.
  • “No Truce With Kings” by Poul Anderson, winner of the 1964 Best Short Fiction Hugo.
  • “Interim Justice” by William F. Wu.

378 pages, no DRM. It is available at Amazon and Castalia House.

Jerry Pournelle also wrote me a note about working with Castalia House —

I recently read your nice April piece about it nice April piece about [the reprints] and also read the comments which I don’t usually do. There seems to be some question about why Castalia is the publisher. It’s simple, really: they made the best offer. My first inclination for the whole series was to have my agent publish the whole series, but she was reluctant to do the bookkeeping and royalty payments to 20+ contributors per book for ten books; she hasn’t the office staff for that nor the computer skills to automate it.

Neither do I. I haven’t time for all that work and I wouldn’t be reliable or dependable — and it’s the contributors’ money, not mine. I don’t need and can’t do all that work, and I won’t take on the obligation, and no other publisher seemed interested. Then Castalia wanted to publish the 25 year old series, and when I said only if you do the bookkeeping and banking, they said yes; they thought it a prestigious series and they would do that.

When TOR published the original series, I paid the royalties to the contributors, and though John Carr was invaluable help, it was my obligation and I did it; even wrote a computer program to make it easier. Alas, that program is long gone, and if it weren’t I still would not take on the obligation.

Castalia contracted to do all that as publisher. Royalties are coming in, and Castalia is paying them, and I don’t have to do much but collect my share, as it should be.

Baen To Kindle More Sales?

Baen, a pioneer in ebook marketing, is about to relent and begin selling ebooks outside their own store – presumably through Amazon, predicts Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader.

Some of the early clues, says Hoffelder, were the shrinking Baen Free Library, and a request made to one webmaster to stop offering files of Baen books once given away free in CD format because of an imminent “new ebook distribution deal with an ‘unnamed third-party’.”

[Via Andrew Porter and Paul Di Filippo.]

Distributors Feud Over DC Graphic Novels

Paper editions of DC Comics’ graphic novels won’t be sold in Barnes & Noble bookstores while Amazon has exclusive rights to distribute the digital versions reports the LA Times:

DC Comics’ efforts to expand digital distribution of its graphic novels has gotten it caught in a battle between two book-selling giants.

Barnes & Noble said Friday it will not stock physical copies of 100 of DC’s graphic novels that the Warner Bros.-owned unit is making available exclusively on competitor’s Kindle platform, including the upcoming Kindle Fire tablet.

DC agreed to give Amazon exclusive digital distribution rights for the books, which include “Watchmen” and graphic novels featuring Batman and Superman, for four months starting with the launch of the Kindle Fire on Nov. 15.

F&SF on Kindle

Kindle customers who subscribe can receive all of F&SF’s editorial content and one short story at no cost. This includes editor’s recommendations, “Curiosities” (odd books of enduring interest), film reviews, book reviews, cartoons and humor, and “Coming Attractions” (highlights of each issue).

The complete content of each issue is available for $12 a year — with everything in the digest edition plus several additional short stories and novelettes. Individual issues of the extended edition are available for $2.99. F&SF publishes six times a year.

Stephen King, in his capacity as a long-time fan of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, applauded the arrangement: “This is the best fiction magazine in America. Kindle readers are in luck.”

[Thanks to Michael Walsh for the link.]

Cheap E-books, Boon or Bane?

Or both?

Discussing 99-cent e-books here the other day, Michael Walsh concluded YMMV.

Author Jeff Carlson tells readers of the SFWA Blog he is getting high mileage — he has sold 13,000 copies of his novella “The Frozen Sky”. To celebrate he’s giving away freebies of his other short story collections as Mobi or ePub files.  

However, users of the Amazon Kindle are being forced onto 40 miles of bad road warns the Globe and Mail, because there’s “Spam clogging Amazon’s Kindle self-publishing”:

Spam has hit the Kindle, clogging the online bookstore of the top-selling eReader with material that is far from being book worthy and threatening to undermine Inc’s publishing foray.

Thousands of digital books, called ebooks, are being published through Amazon’s self-publishing system each month. Many are not written in the traditional sense.

Instead, they are built using something known as Private Label Rights, or PLR content, which is information that can be bought very cheaply online then reformatted into a digital book.

These ebooks are listed for sale – often at 99 cents – alongside more traditional books on Amazon’s website, forcing readers to plow through many more titles to find what they want.

Casting this as a crisis may be the smart play for the Globe and Mail‘s news editor, but who is really doing any plowing? As a rule people don’t browse Amazon’s zillions of titles at random. Forcing Amazon’s search engine to sort through more titles is not my idea of a public emergency.

Independent Publishing and the Kindle

Nancy Fulda offers interesting and persuasive advice about self-publishing in “Kindle Starter Kit” on the SFWA Blog.

Fulda analyzes the impact of content (yes, quality writing matters – shock!), covers, reviews, the blurb, Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought” algorithim, promotion and pricing.

For example, she makes a provocative argument in favor of setting a low price:

That purchasing urge gets stronger the lower the price goes. Get down into the $0.99 range, and you are in Happy Impulse Purchase Land. People won’t think twice about buying; if the book looks remotely interesting, they’re likely to just toss it in the shopping cart.

Here’s something I didn’t know a month ago: The kindle market is not primarily populated by early adopters and techno-geeks. The Cheap Book Crowd — the customers who never even made it onto most publishers’ radar because they go to libraries and shop in used book stores — has fallen in love with kindle. Buyers have been known to spend up to $200 per month on $0.99 books.

Price matters.

Amazon Invents the Novella

Amazon is bringing another amazing product to market, reports eBookNewser. Hold onto your hats. Amazon now will sell short fiction in digital form – and for less than what it charges for a novel (gee, thanks!)

These new books [Kindle Singles], which are categorized as between 10,000 and 30,000 words –or about 30-90 pages– will have their own section in the Kindle Store and be priced less than a typical eBook.

This is essentially the length of a novella as defined in the Hugo Award rules (between 17,500 and 40,000 words). The science fiction genre has been marketing novellas in electronic form for some time now. So what immediately came to my mind were the Cold War-era jokes about the Soviet Union’s latest announcement that a Russian really had invented some appliance or technology the West credited to Thomas Edison or the like.   

Yet it will be news if Amazon has learned to use its Kindle platform to sell short fiction, having deemed the original Amazon Shorts program too unsuccessful to continue.

[Thanks to John Mansfield for the story.]

Konrath’s Kindle Success

Curious about the sales of self-published books? Wonder about the effectiveness of different ebook marketers? Good luck, because that kind of information is seldom made public. Whenever somebody pulls back the curtain that’s news in its own right.

Thriller author Joe Konrath told readers of his blog that he sold 5,850 ebooks and made over $4200 on Kindle in March 2010. And later this year he expects to be doing a lot better:

In June, Amazon is switching to the agency model, which means ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99 will earn the author a 70% royalty, minus a 6 cent delivery fee. Instead of making 70 cents per ebook sale like I’m currently doing, I can make $2.04 per sale.

Konrath also speculates about selling a book to a conventional publisher but holding back the ebook rights.

“This is a very interesting blog post,” says Francis Hamit. “My own results with e-books have not been anywhere near this, but Mr. Konrath obviously has a following.  I will have to think anew on this.  My concern is that a lot of people are going to jump in and expect similar results but miss the fact that he is probably in the levels of what makes a “best seller” in volume sales in this niche.  However his points about keeping the rights and the impact of that on the bottom line are compelling and a real argument in favor of self-publishing.”

[Thanks to Francis Hamit for the story.]

Digital Outsells Paper on Christmas Day

Amazon reports that it sold more books in digital format than in paper form on Christmas Day.

Just coincidentally — Diana gave me a Kindle for Christmas. Honestly, I did not mortgage the house to buy the entire Boxcar Children series for Sierra! I only bought Patrick O’Brian’s Navy and accidentally bought something else they quite readily cancelled with a second click of the Kindle. I’m enjoying it a lot so far.

Also in e-book news — Borders has joined the digital bookselling gold rush via an investment and business relationship with Kobo. 

[Thanks to John Mansfield for the story.]