Peter Tillman's Reviews > The Family Trade

The Family Trade by Charles Stross
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really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, reread-list, award-winner, science-fiction

I liked this book a lot in 2005, but never reviewed it. Nicholas Whyte has a good review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Stross's story notes, as usual, make interesting reading: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-... (no real spoilers, that I saw). It's the story of how the Merchant Princes series came to be, about the publishing business, and about the writing process for the series. It’s quite a story:
“The first six Merchant Princes books weigh in at 640,000 words. I had to fix any errata, redraft, and edit them into three books in three months. [Compare to] War and Peace (Nikolai Tolstoy) — 620,000 words[!]”

Proofreading: “Checking the proofs to the Merchant Princes in three months nearly broke [the proofreader]. The stack of foul paper — marked-up papers: he likes to work it old-school — is more than a foot deep.”

His earlier story-notes are fun, too: https://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog... World-building for the series:
"Rule 2: Steal from the best! ...
Rule 3: If you steal an entire outfit from one writer's wardrobe, people will mock you for being imitative. So steal from at least two, and mix thoroughly. ...
Rule 4: When choosing the themes to pilfer, only pick ones that you, personally, find interesting — if you pick something boring you'll only have yourself to blame if it's successful and you end up chained to the desk to write more of it for the next decade. ....
Rule 5: However much you're stealing, make sure it doesn't look stolen. Genre publishing is a beauty show, and originality wins prizes (but not too much originality). ..."

Around 2004, the first book was bought by David Hartwell at Tor. After editing, it came in at "just under 200,000 words. Then the dread words came down from on high: "can you split this into two volumes?" This is my sole apology to those readers who are annoyed at the abrupt ending of 'The Family Trade' — it's the first half of the original book, splitting them so that the series would run in 300-page chunks (rather than 600-750 page doorsteps) wasn't my idea (in fact, I protested it), but in the final analysis I can only tell my publisher where to get off if I'm willing to get off (and go find another publisher. ..."
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May, 2005 – Finished Reading
June 15, 2016 – Shelved
December 1, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy
December 1, 2018 – Shelved as: reread-list
December 1, 2018 – Shelved as: award-winner
August 16, 2019 – Shelved as: science-fiction

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