On books, basketball and forgetful authors

By , 23 May 2008 4:35 pm

Dear Reader, if you previously read this blog, read again! This is an updated version.

On Monday a package was awaiting me when I got back from College; my own copy of The Infinite Day. Three quarters of a million words finished! I was tempted to mutter ‘Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace…’, but there’s plenty of other things do yet. Anyway it looks very fine and to those who like to see such things, here are all three together in a complete set.


Frankly, there have been times when I thought we wouldn’t get this far. And we have! Well God is faithful but I am also grateful to you, my fans who have kept the project alive.

I have barely dared open the new book for fear that some horrible spelling error or grammatical infelicity would leap out and assail me. However Alison, my wife, editor and dedicatee, started to read through it again and seems to be enjoying it. However she was extremely irritated about one petty point. On one page Merral and his team are described as playing basketball on the ship.

Now if you read the first version of this blog, you will note that we presumed an editor or proof-reader had changed this from the original teamball. But no, after writing the blog I received a very gracious message from my editor. She pointed out, which I had completely forgotten, that the author himself decided to ‘revive basketball’ because there was not enough room for teamball on the ship. I apologise profusely to my very careful editors, another of whom queried what I’d done on the grounds that in the other books the game was always teamball.

Actually, the invention of teamball (which is never properly described in the books) is significant in a deeply profound way. How so? The fact is, almost all sports have national overtones: Brits play football, Americans play baseball, the Welsh like to think they lead the world at rugby, and so on. And basketball is, largely speaking, American. Now this is important because in the Assembly we are envisaging some sort of millennial society and I was trying to do my best to avoid it sounding no more than ‘Yanks in Space’ or the ‘Return of the British Empire’. (Incidentally one of several unwritten rules in this household is that if ever anyone wants to make the films, one condition will be that the emblem of The Lamb Among The Stars must bear no resemblance whatsoever to any current national emblem, whether it bear stars or not.) But let us allow the Assembly to play any game they like, without our nationalist overtones. (I will let you spot a reference to another widely-played game for yourselves when you get the book.)

Teamball or basketball is a minor point. The Infinite Day is a super production and I want to publicly thank Tyndale for all their hard work.

Have a good week

Chris

7 Responses to “On books, basketball and forgetful authors”

  1. Catherine Brislee says:

    No, I don’t think it is a trivial change at all. “Team Ball” has an inspired vagueness.

    However, it could be worse. They could have called it “Netball”:) (which for any Americans reading this is the British version of Basketball and is played by girls!)

    Really looking forward to reading ‘Infinite Day’ and I hope after a (short) break you will be continuing writing the next epic!

    Best wishes,
    Catherine

  2. dugmad says:

    Love your candor on the Teamball comment.

    I am glad you informed us of it because even hearing of it in the way you tell it, you are so right that it is wrong to be there.

    I can not wait for the book to arrive….. I preordered some time ago so I hope it ships right on the first day it is available.

    take care and keep writing!

    dugmad

  3. Boaz says:

    Makes sense to me. From what I had envisioned, Teamball seemed to require a large space (as do baseball, football, rugby, socker, cricket, etc…), but basketball can be contained pretty well and would they really have a lot of spare room on any spaceship?

    Got my copy today (5/27), but homework presses, so I won’t see what things are like for a while.

    Boaz, who is currently dealing with differences between hyperbolic and parabolic geometry

  4. Mitchell says:

    Just received notice from Amazon that my copy has shipped. This is a pleasant surprise, as I didn’t expect it to ship until next week. It should be here tomorrow – will probably drive me nuts to leave it alone while I work the rest of the day!

  5. Terry says:

    Chris,

    I don’t think the basketball thing is a problem at all. I understand your reasons for trying to stay away from any sport with national overtones, but, as a basketball player of great enthusiasm (and somewhat less talent), I am glad of the change. One can argue fairly successfully that to play basketball well, one needs to have a greater overall combination of skill level, athleticism, and conditioning than for any other sport. (Except perhaps hockey, but then again, I am Canadian, after all.)

    I haven’t heard from my bookstore yet on an arrival date for TID. I suspect it will be somewhat later than in some larger centers, but that’s okay. A little suspense only sweetens the pot. I’ll just have to be careful on this blog – I’m sure there will be a few plot spoilers here over the next few weeks!

    I’m really relishing the thought of reading the book, Chris. I can’t remember when I’ve anticipated a release more. Including The Return Of The King. And that’s saying a lot.

    Take care,

    Terry

  6. Anonymous says:

    well its me, Mr. anonymous prodigy back again 😉
    I;ve been busy so missed a few weeks of your blog.
    Terry I sympathize with your geometry… 😉
    Anyway I got my library to order it, and I’m the first in line. Then my 3 friends I introduced it too will certainly try to get it….or as they joked sneak into my house tie me up and read the end in front of me :).

    oh and I too want to here about those helicopter gunships 😉
    As for teamball: well being a huge basketball player myself, I am glad they chose Basketball 😉

    my two cents,
    anonymous prodigy

  7. Kendall says:

    YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! I cant wait for my copy! i just ordered it on amazon.com so im hoping i get it soon! Thank you Chris for making an enjoyable story! I’ll let you know what i think when i finish it! *wink*

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