It’s here! It’s finally here! If you’re in Canada, you can now buy LICENCE EXPIRED: THE UNAUTHORIZED JAMES BOND.
Why only in Canada? Well, copyright is a funny thing. This year, Ian Fleming’s Bond novels entered Canadian public domain, because in Canada, and until the Trans-Pacific Partnership is ratified, copyright is death-plus-fifty years. In the US and the UK, copyright is death-plus-seventy years, because those countries have powerful media empires with the money to pay very good lobbyists to convince legislators of the importance of an author’s work after her death. (Note: this one reason why it’s important that you make a will, as an artist. Your intellectual property is just as much a part of your estate as your other property, and if you want to bequeath it, you should specify as much. Similarly, you can appoint a literary executor to handle the posthumous publication of your work. So if you want your work to be completely commons-licensed after your death, you can do that!)
So, now that we’re all feeling appropriately morbid, you probably have some questions.
I live outside Canada. Will Amazon.ca or Indigo.ca sell this book to me?
No. Believe me, some very eager readers who pre-ordered the book found this out the hard way.
Will there be an e-book?
ChiZine Publications has traditionally been DRM-free with its e-books (which is awesome). But the lack of DRM makes it hard for them to follow the law, here. There might one day be an e-book, but we can’t promise you one right now. Then again, you know what they say. Never say never.
What if I visit Canada, pick up the book, and bring it home with me?
Obviously how you spend your money is your own business, my good sir or madam.
I’m a rare book collector outside Canada. How many of these can I take over the border with me?
Why, I have no idea. What an interesting question.
But Canada is such a small market! You won’t make any money!
That may well be. We shall see. But:
- LICENCE EXPIRED can actually tell us a lot about the Canadian market because of its limited reach. I think of it as a sonar ping for the Canadian publishing world. The sales data from this book will be extremely pure. I intend to write about it further, after we have a real data set to examine.
- A big part of what makes Fleming’s work enjoyable is his exquisite description of rare things of great quality. The perfect cocktail. The perfect sushi. Even the perfect bath. I think this book, and its rarity, actually reflects that tradition.
- It’s also unbelievably cool to have helped produce the most hipster James Bond anthology that ever was. (“Oh, ‘Two Graves’ is my favourite James Bond story. You wouldn’t have heard of it. It’s Canadian.”) Consider how people feel about recalled comic books, or vinyl records that got pulled. I would love for the contents of this book to become myths within the larger Bond mythos, the way the ghost of a rare B-side or bootleg can haunt a band’s legacy.
Who wrote the stories?
Oh, some people you might have heard of. Charles Stross. Laird Barron. Karl Schroeder. Jacqueline Baker. A.M. Dellamonica. Robert J. Wiersema. And more.
So, what kind of stories are in this anthology?
There’s a little something for everybody here. The only genre missing is a Mills & Boon-style romance, and a straight crime story. And a Viking epic poem. We could have used a good Viking epic poem.
James Bond is a racist, sexist, and homophobic character. He’s retrograde. Why even engage with him?
Because the public domain offers the opportunity to critique characters of that nature from within their own narrative, in a way that’s accessible to people outside established fan communities. That’s one of the things we lose when we extend copyright — the chance to re-write our own myths.
What happens if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) gets ratified? Will ChiZine Publications have to pulp this book?
We’ve spoken with attorneys, with copyright expert Michael Geist, and with activists at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. All of them have indicated that LICENCE EXPIRED falls through a very narrow window, wherein anything entering public domain this year will remain so without reverting, even in the event of the TPP’s ratification.
So, where can I buy this, again?
If you have a Canadian address, you can buy it right here.