Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

“The Boneless One” and yet another title change

with 6 comments

I’ve always been a little unsettled by octopuses, and fascinated by yachts and oceanography, two obsessions that come together in my novelette “The Boneless One,” which appears in this month’s issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. As I’ve said before, this is an X-Files-style murder mystery set aboard a research yacht in the North Atlantic, with some gruesome twists and surprising science, and it’s already received positive reviews from Locus, SFRevu, and Tangent Online. It also benefits from a gorgeous illustration by artist Laurie Harden. I can’t reprint the full spread here, but I’ve included a small detail above, which will hopefully pique your interest as much as it did mine.

“The Boneless One” is probably my favorite of my own published novelettes—I wrote the original draft well over three years ago, and reworked it several times before acceptance—and I do hope you’ll check it out. Borders, alas, has expired since my last story appeared, but you can probably pick up a copy in the periodicals section of any Barnes & Noble, or order an electronic version from Fictionwise. At some point over the next few weeks, I’m going to be discussing the writing of this story in more detail, as I did with “Kawataro,” so you might want to grab the issue if you’re interested in following along. And I can safely say that Analog would appreciate the business.

In other news, work continues on the sequel to The Icon Thief, which I’m scheduled to deliver by the end of the month. Last week, I finished a revised version of the prologue and sent it along to my publisher, which will be including it as a teaser at the end of the previous novel. My editor accepted it with almost no changes, which I can only take as a good sign. As for the rest of the book, after close to nine months of work, I have a fairly tight draft of just over 100,000 words, which is exactly the length it should be. At the moment, I’m hoping to spend the next few weeks on a comprehensive rewrite and deliver the final version at the end of September, at which point I will promptly collapse.

More importantly, the novel also has a new title. For those keeping track, this is the third title change: I originally pitched the novel as Merkabah, which I quickly changed to Midrash after the first title nearly gave my agent a heart attack. At some point, it became House of Passages, after a brief flirtation with House of Keys, which my editor gently asked me to change earlier this week—a request that I’ve heard before. Now, after two days of frantic brainstorming and discussion, complete with polls in two different offices, we’ve settled on City of Exiles. I’m a little exhausted from the process, but I love the new title, and I’ll be talking more about how we got here early next week.

Written by nevalalee

September 9, 2011 at 8:41 am

6 Responses

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  1. You’ve got quite the bestiary going in your medium-length fiction


    September 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm

  2. Octopuses, faux kawataros, snakes, animate rabbit statues, and the occasional crushed bug—am I missing anything?


    September 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm

  3. I’m heading out to grab my copy now. But octopuses? They’re smart, charismatic, playful, and have strong individual personalities! Have you been basing your work on Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus again?

    I refer you to the truly touching (sorry) scene in the book Kraken: The Curious Science of Squid, between the two-year-old North Pacific octopus Truman and his keeper, 75-year-old Wilson, as Truman delicately, sensitively wraps his arms around Truman in what is apparently a kind of cephalopodic hug. Awwwww.

    Eric Simons (@ericsimons)

    September 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm

  4. You, too, will fear octopuses by the time I’m done.


    September 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm

  5. I like the new title. :-)

    C.B. Wentworth

    September 11, 2011 at 12:26 am

  6. Glad you like it! Believe me, it wasn’t easy…


    September 11, 2011 at 10:37 am

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