The Bookstore of Gloucester is very kindly throwing a release party for the new book today. After the cover image, one or two notes on The Mornith War.
Some thoughts about having the word “war” in the title of my book. “War” is not a word I want to use without care. I never want to gain from maiming, killing, and misery; I never want to exploit anyone’s fancy to see others suffer and die—even in a story. (Yet I have read of the brutal fights in the tunnels in Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the Long Sun with pleasure, and have been entertained as starfighters exploded over the Death Star.) Still, the story led me to a war, and I chose to keep following even after I saw where it was going. I have tried to be sure that the war over the Mornith is not, as Ursula K. Le Guin puts it, “a mere excuse for violence” (in her talk “Some Assumptions About Fantasy”, collected in Cheek by Jowl, Aqueduct Press 2009). Whether I succeeded or not, war is the primary event in this part of Elwood’s story, and so the word is there in the title.
I also believe that, for someone like me who has never seen war firsthand, even writing about it is questionable. But all of this pertains to a deep trouble that could and should be dealt with much more fully than I am prepared to do here in this post. (In a way The Mornith War itself, at least in part, attempts it. And so do other things I have written, and so do other things I will write. I will never be done with that trouble.)
Mistakes! I want to note two mistakes in the book, both entirely my fault and both regarding the compass: on page 209, Elwood should scan the woods to the southeast, not the southwest, and on page 216 Granashon, Elwood, and company should reach the pasture’s southwestern edge, not its northwestern. These are the only two mistakes of consequence I have noticed, but there may be more. Hopefully not.
Mistakes aside, I am delighted with Mornith as an object. August Hall’s cover reproduced beautifully, it feels good in the hands, and it has that lovely new book scent. Mm.