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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No More of Liz Williams' Inspector Chen Novels at Least for Now (Mihir Wanchoo)



Liz Williams at Live Journal
Read FBC Interview with Ms. Williams

Read FBC Review of the Inspector Chen short stories
Read FBC Review of The Shadow Pavilion
Read FBC Reviews of Bloodmind, Darkland, Winterstrike

Liz Williams is a prolific author & her books have always had absorbing subject matter be it her Sci-fi ones or her urban-fantasy comedic thrillers. I became a fan of her writing when I happened upon "Snake Agent", the first Inspector Chen novel. It opened up a world wherein Chinese mythology met advanced technology in a city called Singapore Three and therein resided characters such as Chen, Inari, Zhu Irzh & Badger. Thus with such intriguing characters and unique-ish world setting, Liz Williams gave us 4 tales set in the universe she had created.

After last year's "Shadow Pavilion" I was highly anticipating "Iron Khan" this year as February was supposed to be its release month. I asked Night Shade books for an ARC copy and they gladly obliged. However February went by without the release of the book & according to Amazon the release was delayed unto April or later. Even April went by with no release & the release date was further pushed back. It was around June that I thought of asking Liz Williams about this & then I happened upon this LJ post of hers; to my disappointment I discovered that Night Shade books had dropped her remaining 2 Inspector Chen novels [This year's Iron Khan & next year's Morning Star]

She also went to recount how she had not heard back from her publishers and so had to take this drastic step after she realized that her books were dropped without any formal communication from Night Shade. It is regrettable that the books have been dropped and even more so that Night Shade choose to do it in the manner they did. Liz also informed in another LJ post 4 days later as to how she received a formal apology & she accepted it.

Now while it's not surprising for any publisher to drop a series which they deem unsuccessful, I'm saddened that such a wonderful series has been dropped & all the fans will have to wait indefinitely for the further Inspector Chen novels. Though it must be said about Night Shade, that while a small press it has so far published an impressive array of titles in both Fantasy & SF.

The previous 4 Inspector Chen titles have been published in 4 gorgeous covers & also had a special edition wherein each title had an extra short story set in the same world released along with it. I hope that Liz Williams does manage to find another publisher for her remaining titles & hopefully if everything goes right Liz might announce it in the near future.

Now on a side note Liz Williams has also announced a short story sale on her blog the details which you can read over here and on the plus side there will be more Inspector Chen short stories along with other interesting titles about which you can learn more in Liz's post. I for one will definitely be subscribing & hopefully like the previous ones, will be reviewing them here as well.

Note by Liviu: Liz Williams is a favorite author here at FBC and while I am less interested in the Inspector Chen novels, I am a big fan of her sf novels which I have read almost all and of which I own all; Robert reviewed the duology Darkland/Bloodmind set in the universe of her debut The Ghost Sister , while I reviewed Winterstrike set in the universe of her multiply award nominated - and awesome novel by the way - Banner of Souls, so we all hope that these difficulties are temporary and we will see new Liz Williams novels and stories soon.

26 comments:

Bastard said...

This is a series I was planning to give a try in a couple of months or so, so this is a shame. Will probably wait a bit until things sort themselves out and some confirmation on future plans are made. Will hate to begin a series with the future of the series uncertain at the moment.

Jo said...

So now I know why our library's copy of Iron Khan has just been "on order" for a long time. Disappointing --- I've been a fan of this series for some time now, and other library patrons like it, too. Thanks for this post!

Jon said...

One of my favorite quotes from one of the Inspector Chen novels was "With that, he (the First Lord of Banking) rung off, leaving Zhu Irzh to contemplate the prospect of an eternity in the accounts department. The very thought made him sigh. Hell indeed."

Liz Williams, from Snake Agent.

The Reader said...

Hi B.

I would still recommend that you give this series a try as each of the first 4 books Snake Agent, The Demon & the City, Precious Dragon & The Shadow Pavilion are standalone stories.

If you read them back to back, it just adds up the fun quotient :) however in all fairness, I'm a fan and I would like more readers to discover these wonderful books!

@ Jo ... yeah unfortunately until Liz finds a new publisher, we will have to wait for the last 2 titles.

@ John ... that was definitely one of the funniest ones.

Mihir

Ed S. said...

Unfortunately Night Shade has been going down hill for a long time now. Financial problems are nothing new with small presses but it's rare to see such an serious attitude problem from a publisher in how they treat their authors and fans with a complete lack of communication and no credibility to what they do say. Frankly, they treat everybody like shit and just don't seem to care. I rarely buy their books any more and I think that the world would be a better place without Night Shade Books. They've blown their opportunity.

The Reader said...

Harsh Words Ed however I think you might be right, coincidentally John at Grasping by the Wind also had a similar post in regards to Liz Williams and Brendan Halpin.

There seems to be further irregularities in regards to Brendan whose book was apparently "stolen" you can read more about it over at John's blog http://www.graspingforthewind.com/2010/07/06/night-shade-books-is-alienating-its-writers/

Mihir

Anonymous said...

darn. I really liked this series.

but dosent this news sound somehow...familier? anybody remember the situation with tor and daniel abraham.

The Reader said...

@ Anon.

The situation with Tor & Daniel Abraham could be compared with the Inspector Chen series however there's 1 crucial difference. Tor published the last book in Hardback form but then dropped its mass-market paperback publication plans.

So in a way readers could still read the final entry, for us Chen fans, the remaining 2 books are still in Limbo.

Mihir

Richard R. said...

A real shame, this is a fine series, well worth reading wether or not any further will be published, though I hope they are. Seems ready made for another publisher to pick up. I hope that happens.

Anonymous said...

the reader:

thanks for clearing that up. although I like to point out another thing. both series feature asian elements (its more notacible with inspector chen). wonder if it has any thing to do with that

The Reader said...

@ Richard

Sooth my friend, I hope we get to read them in the future.

@ Anon

While that might be a stretch, I genuinely hope that it isn't the case as then this miasma would be something larger than what it is currently.

Mihir

Bastard said...

I blame The Last Airbender movie.

The Reader said...

@ B.

That debacle is something else entirely, M. Shyamalan could/should have stayed true to the series roots and kept the character ethnicity as it was in the original series.

Mihir

Anonymous said...

The reader: I hope that isnt the case either. but I guess that it isnt really since both situations seem to stem more from other things (is it just me, or am i the only person mystified at why night shade is fucking up all over the place).

bastard: come on, now. i dont really think thats a palpable reason. like i said up there, its probably just other reasons. if they didnt like the books just because their asian-inspired then we would have most certainly found out by now. unless....well, never mind. the publishing industry is absurd buisness after all.

Liviu said...

I think the Airbender comment was a joke guys :)

Regarding canceling series and/or not publishing more from an author, sadly it happens often - some recent series that are on hold and I really would like to see sequels to are Paul Kearney Sea Beggars stopped at 2 with hopes now for more since Solaris is getting serious about his work with reprints and all, then the Tony Daniel Metaplanetary trilogy that stopped at 2 also when things were really heating up...

I loved the Mirador series by Sarah Monette and while it was finished the author's contract has not been renewed and i think there will be no mmpb release for book 4 either; then there was a UF series I remember reading the first novel that also was canceled at about 4 or 5, though i saw the author is publishing more with a smaller press...

So I think that it's simply a matter of expectation vs how much the books in cause sold

The Reader said...

I think Liviu is spot-on with his judgment, the most likely cause for Night Shade to have dropped the Inspector Chen series would have been sales related.

Though why such a wonderful series wouldn't sell well is beyond me but there have been many instances similar to this in the past as well[Liviu has quoted a few of them]. So we"ll just have to wait and see how Liz Williams publishes "The Iron Khan" & "Morningstar".

Mihir

Bastard said...

Yep, it was a joke... since someone brought up the Asian thing, so how could I pass up the opportunity?

Liviu said...

I know about Airbender since my son is a big fan of the comic series and the children books associated with it, though he has not yet seen the movie :)

The Reader said...

@ B.

You are living up to your Cheeky title ;) but on a side note Shyamalan & Paramount have received a truckload of flak for their casting choices

Mihir

Bastard said...

I was a big fan of the cartoon. Based on reviews I won't even try the movie. It's a shame how the casting situation went about, though I think some of the complaints being thrown about are a bit exaggerated, but what else is new? Wasn't aware of a series of comics and books about it, I'm just familiar with the cartoon which was for the most part highly entertaining.

Anyways a bit off-topic, but certainly a shame that the movie wasn't made better, the cartoon would've made for a great adaptation if done right.

wedschilde said...

Liz Williams Detective Inspector Chen Novels will be continuing with the help of Morrigan Books. The Iron Khan eBook will be available on Dec 2 on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords, eventually working out to Barnes & Noble, Sony and Apple.

The print version of The Iron Khan will be available in mid-December with Stephanie Pui-Mun Law providing the cover art. A trade paperback version will be available on Amazon then at Book Depository in a few weeks.

A limited edition hardcover will be made available (signed and numbered) through Mysterious Galaxy.

Her following Det. Chen novel "Morningstar" will be released in 2011.

Thank you for your interest and we hope to do Liz' work proud.

wedschilde said...

Here is the cover for the upcoming eBook: The Iron Khan.

Direct Link to cover:
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5287/5205070497_38f2c77c0c.jpg

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the one with all the fake Chinese culture where everyone basically is an American stand in?

Liviu said...

Not reading the books as they are UF, I cannot answer this directly and will let Mihir who is from the neighborhood there to answer, but i will note that in her sf - of which i read some 6 novels - Liz Williams has created very distinctive societies, with the matriarchies of her Banner of Souls milieu quite original

The Reader said...

Hi Anon.

I'm not a chinese expert but from the 5 books I've read in this series, nowhere did it feel "fake". Liz Williams has portrayed a SF & UF mix of a world wherein Chinese mythological folk use technology for their daily uses.

Its a very exciting world to read about and the characterization is just plain gravy IMHO.

Mihir

Anonymous said...

Frankly, Liz lost me to buying any of her books.. I have read all the Detective Inspector Chen series up until the latest that has never been released. Do that, and I will NEVER buy your books again. Readers invest themselves in following your books, the characters. When you just say, oh I am not going to release the final book. Its a big F you to your readers. I dont care if you had a tiff with your publishers. Grow up and get the last book out for your fans. I can tell you now Liz Williams, you lost a lot of use over this bad behaviour.

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