A bunch of fun stuff recently. John H. Stevens has reviewed The Troupe, and got the Great Big Metaphors I was trying to do in it exactly. It’s good thinking-material, for those who wish to think about things.
Rob Bedford has reviewed The Troupe for SFFWorld, and he suggests it might be his favorite book of the year so far, which greatly pleases me.
The new blog Weird Fiction Review has also reviewed The Troupe. I think their estimation of it is mostly positive – I find it a little tough to say. This is one of those cases where I think, “I don’t recall actually trying to do that, but if you think that happened, I’m completely fine with it.” And while they do describe George’s exploits as “boring,” I don’t think it’s in a negative sense, nor do I think they’re wrong: The Troupe is, partially, a workplace story, with characters going their jobs and getting along, and part of that – and a big part of how vaudeville was – is being stuck somewhere waiting for something to happen. So while segments might be boring, I’d at least hope they’re interestingly boring, since George is sitting around being bored with, essentially, a bunch of magical people.
But maybe the biggest win of the past week is that The Troupe got a writeup in The Washington Post.
This is, as you might expect, a pretty big deal. While print may be dead, and while the bloggers have supported The Troupe with great and endearing enthusiasm, at the same time, newspapers still have an enormous amount of clout. And so far, The Troupe has not received a huge amount of print coverage.
Some of you might ask, “Why not? Didn’t your publisher send it to them? And it’s evident people really like the book, so why don’t they review it?” The answer is, yes, my publishers sent my book to newspapers. They send all their books to newspapers. Every publisher sends their books to newspapers. Hence the issue.
It would be nice to be the sort of author where newspapers just run reviews of my stuff by default. Though most people assume that’s the case, it isn’t. Most books get ignored, by newspapers and bloggers. There’s just too many of them. Debuts tend to get a lot more attention: people like new things, they like new voices, they like wunderkinds. They don’t have baggage: they could be anything. Every debut is a potential smash hit. Books and authors with history behind them, less so. (Mr. Shivers is a great example of the sort of attention a debut can get.)
So this is a good sign. If The Washington Post pays attention to it, others might follow. Having a book out – especially if it’s one that doesn’t have an enormous publicity push behind it – is a lot like waging a political campaign. If you get a win, you use that win as leverage to get another one. As such, it never really stops.