research * the future * culture

vN is out, today.

How this day began

Me: Your coffee mugs are self-replicating.

Him: Sorry, I missed them.

Me: (Blinking sleep out of my eyes, noting the surprising lack of pain in my knees, considering a skirt, suddenly realizing why I made that joke) Hey, doesn’t my book come out, today?

Him: (smiling) Why yes, yes it does.

This is the vN endcap at the World's Biggest Bookstore in Toronto.

So yes. vN: The First Machine Dynasty is out, today. It’s been available in some stores for a few days now, but that’s because they’re proactive with their inventory. The official (North American) release date is today, and today is also the day when (DRM free!) ebook editions should go live.

If I buy it, where should I buy it?

A surprising number of people have asked me this. They want to know where I will be getting the most bang for their buck, or which businesses I want supported. First, I suggest that you buy the ebook directly from my publisher, Angry Robot Books. They’re committed to a DRM-free lifestyle, and they made that commitment before the big kids did. Reward them. Second, I’m a big fan of Bakka Phoenix Books and The World’s Biggest Bookstore in Toronto, and the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle. All of these stores have my book in stock, and if you’re kind enough to buy my book, please consider buying it from them.

I want my book signed, but you live far away. What do I do?

First off, thanks for a) buying the book and b) asking. I suggest you send bookplates and a SASE to Bakka Phoenix Books, 84 Harbord Street  Toronto, ON M5S 1G5. They’ll let me know if something comes in, and I can sign it and send it back. If you don’t have Canadian stamps, donate the cost of postage to my PayPal account. The button is on your right.

There’s a dedication, but no epigraph. What gives?

That’s my fault. I didn’t clear the rights quickly enough, because I assumed they were Fair Use. (They’re not. Let that be a lesson to you.) I wanted to insert a few lines from the novel’s theme song, “Runs In The Family,” by Amanda Palmer:

i can run from the law
i can run from myself
i can run for my life
i can run into debt

i can run from it all
i can run till i’m gone
i can run for the office
and run from the ‘cause

i can run using every last ounce of energy
i cannot
i cannot
i cannot
run from my family
they’re hiding inside me

I kept this song on my vN playlist from the very beginning. In fact, it was the first song on the list. The thematics at play, and the propulsive nature of the song, really set the tone for what I wanted to write. Sometimes I could listen to the song and instantly drop myself into the narrative.

I also considered including this quotation from Richard Feynman’s Los Alamos From Below: Reminiscences 1943-1945:

And Von Neumann gave me an interesting idea; that you don’t have to be responsible for the world that you’re in. So I have developed a very powerful sense of social irresponsibility as a result of Von Neumann’s advice. It’s made me a very happy man ever since.

So if you’re feeling creative, go ahead and print off an insert in your typeface of choice (mine’s Garamond) and slip it into your copy.

I will say, however, that there is a special surprise at the end of the book for the people who choose to buy it. It wasn’t in the ARC. And no, I’m not talking about the switch to trade paperback size.

How does it feel?

It feels weird. Awesome, and humbling, but weird. This is not least because today is the first day in about a week that my knees have not hurt. I blew them out while attempting Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred on a concrete floor on Gibraltar Point last week. (I am stupid, and also weak.) Really, I should have been anticipating this day, but I’ve spent the past few days wondering if I’m giving myself frostbite by leaving the frozen cranberries on my knees for too long. Also I’ve been taking expensive cabs everywhere because I can’t do the stairs at Toronto’s otherwise fine subway stations, and trying to figure out how to use crutches made for a taller person. It sucks.

That said: eating lemon polenta cake at my workshop in celebration of my book and Dave’s book and our friend Jill’s birthday this Monday was wonderful. Truly wonderful. It was also truly wonderful when my friend Ben — one of my oldest friends from university — bought the book on Saturday and asked me to sign it. I was at the World Future Society conference, further destroying my knees, and his presence was a welcome interruption. It’s great when my mom calls me about my reviews. It’s great having a novel out at the same time as my partner.

What’s really the greatest, though, is knowing that the people who have supported this story finally get to read it in its final form. Those of you who read drafts, who attended readings, who workshopped it — it’s finally finished.

…Speaking of which, I’d better get cracking on that sequel.

6 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Happy release day, Madeline!

  2. Leona

     /  August 5, 2012

    Wow… congrats! 🙂

  3. Adam Goetz

     /  August 8, 2012

    Madeline, i loved the book especially as a take on the intense dangers in society for women and how you traveled this terrain so simply even while nimbly weaved an intricately technical story. it gives me hope and urges me to keep writing.

    i imagine you know that there were some small grammar errors in the text that appear to have slipped by the editors: i’d give exact examples but the book is at home and they were all minor.

    • Adam Goetz

       /  August 8, 2012

      Adam Goetz: Madeline, i loved the book especially as a take on the intense dangers in society for women and how you traveled this terrain so simply even while nimbly *weaving* an intricately technical story. it gives me hope and urges me to keep writing.i imagine you know that there were some small grammar errors in the text that appear to have slipped by the editors: i’d give exact examples but the book is at home and they were all minor.

  4. Rodrigo

     /  August 9, 2012

    Just finished the book, it’s a great read, congratulations! 🙂

    I thought it would be particularly good for a movie adaptation. It has a very cinematic feel to it.

    Looking forward to the second one!


  5. Hi Madeline,

    I had vN #1 on preorder with no prior knowledge of the book (save the genre) and that I should “check it out” (literally… from Amazon Marketplace) – so I did and I’ll stop with the puns now.

    Having just this minute finished the book, I am very glad. It turned out to be an excellent recommendation, brilliant read and engaging til the last. Hopefully my holding up the cover for all to see during tube journeys on the London Underground will have increased sales of vN at least to combat the viral spread of middle-aged women giggling, looking flushed and missing their stops whilst engaging in 50 shades of grey.

    Ditto Rodrigo’s comments about movie adaptation. Although being an anime fan I’d first look to an animated series 😉

    Out of interest, who from the current A, B and even Z listers would you cast for the principle characters if you were to do a film of vN?

    Please do add me to your mailing list for any of your other works and certainly for the next iteration. (sorry couldn’t help it 🙂


  • Madeline Ashby… a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA. You can buy her books here.

    She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity,, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.

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    Madeline Ashby's books on Goodreads
    vN vN (The Machine Dynasty, #1)
    reviews: 342
    ratings: 2160 (avg rating 3.43)

    Company Town Company Town
    reviews: 232
    ratings: 1217 (avg rating 3.68)

    iD iD (The Machine Dynasty, #2)
    reviews: 73
    ratings: 439 (avg rating 3.66)

    Social Services Social Services
    reviews: 3
    ratings: 10 (avg rating 3.50)

    A Clock Stopped A Clock Stopped
    reviews: 2
    ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.20)

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    Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (2nd Edition)Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways: To Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients into Your CookingGluten-Free Girl and the ChefPeople Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S. Border Protection PoliciesHalf the Day Is NightThe Magicians

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