Posts Tagged: N.K. Jemisin

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

The bedchamber: a study in worn elegance. The priest’s eyes made out graceful chairs upholstered in fraying fabrics, and wood furnishings gone dull for lack of polish. Reaching the bed, he took care to avoid shadowing the face of the person who slept there—but the old man’s eyes opened anyhow, blinking rheumily in the thin light.

“As I thought,” said the old man, whose name was Yeyezu. His hoarse voice grated against the silence. “Which one are you?”

“Ehiru,” said the priest. His voice was as soft and deep as the bedchamber’s shadows. “Named Nsha, in dreams.”

The old man’s eyes widened in surprise and pleasure. “So that is the rose’s soulname. To whom do I owe this honor?”

Ehiru let out a slow breath. It was always more difficult to bestow peace once a tithebearer had been awakened and frightened; that was why the law commanded Gatherers to enter dwellings in stealth. But Yeyezu was not afraid, Ehiru saw at once, so he chose to answer the old man’s question, though he preferred to do his work without conversation.

Ooh, finally a look at one of my most anticipated novels for 2012.

And a synopsis:

The city burned beneath the Dreaming Moon.

In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe . . . and kill those judged corrupt.

But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru – the most famous of the city’s Gatherers – must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is murdering dreamers in the goddess’ name, stalking its prey both in Gujaareh’s alleys and the realm of dreams. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill – or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.

The entirety of Chapter One of The Killing Moon is available on Jemisin’s website. The Killing Moon will be released on May 1st, 2012, and I’ll be reading and reviewing this as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Recently, I picked up a copy of N.K. Jemisin’s latest novel, The Kingdoms of God and was surprised and delighted when I flipped through to the glossary and saw this (click to embiggen):

N.K. Jemisin on God-doodled Appendices

I amused myself for a few more minutes by reading the rest of the glossary and immediately knew I needed the story behind it. I contacted Ms. Jemisin and she was kind enough to share the story behind the creation of Sieh’s tomfoolery.

The idea hit shortly after my editor had accepted the book. She asked me if I had any additional end-matter to include, like the “scrivener’s notes” that were at the end of the previous two books. Orbit likes to include extras when it can, a sort of lagniappe for readers. At the time I couldn’t think of any. (Later, the short story “Not the End” popped into my head, and I wrote it and sent that to her.) But as I tried to think of what sort of end-matter would befit Sieh, it occurred to me that there wouldn’t be any, not like I’d written before. Any scrivener who tried to take notes on Sieh would become so exasperated with his pranks and blatant lies that he wouldn’t commit the report to paper, or he’d have to cover it in “none of this may be true” disclaimers. And as soon as that scrivener wrote it down, Sieh would sneak in during the night and doodle all over the thing, just to teach the scrivener a lesson. Meddle not in the affairs of trickster gods, for they will drive you nuts.

But it gradually occurred to me that Sieh wouldn’t stop there. Throughout THE KINGDOM OF GODS, he breaks the fourth wall to address the reader. He’s a god, aware of things beyond mortal ken; he knows we’re here, reading about him. So it occurred to me that Sieh would also sneak in and doodle all over *my* work. Ideally just before it went to print, so that he could prank not just me, but my entire readership.

I asked my editor if something like that was do-able. I expected her to say it would cost too much; I have no idea how they figure these things. But she seemed delighted by the idea, so I scribbled some stuff on the copyedited glossary and sent that back to her, just to give her an idea of what I had in mind. I kept it short and black and white only, mindful of costs. But because I’m no artist by far, I asked if they could get a real artist to play around with it, maybe make it look more childlike somehow. The designer they sent it to (Fearn de Vicq), however, sent it back virtually unchanged and said my own doodles were fine. (She did clean up the giant glops of liquid paper, and rearranged the doodles to make them integrate with the text better.) So what you’re seeing is my own inept artwork and handwriting.

I’ve had to issue a few disclaimers since the book came out, because I’ve seen some concerned emails and blog posts from people who honestly thought their copy of the book was defaced. One librarian was absolutely furious on my behalf — though he laughed when I told him *I* had done it. It’s fun when people fall for a prank, but even better when they’re good-natured
about it.

I also intended for it to be a part of the story in a way, so pay attention to how Sieh’s reacting to various entries. If someone skips to the glossary, it shouldn’t spoil them, but for people who’ve already read it, I think they’ll notice, for example, where Sieh stops doodling and sort of freaks out.

If you haven’t already, go grab The Kingdom of Gods and check out the terrific glossary. Or, if you haven’t read Jemisin, run out and buy her first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (REVIEW) because it seriously rocks.