Welp, it’s out. Wanderers has landed in paperback, finally (all 800 pages of it) — the tale of mysterious sleepwalkers moving their way through a pandemic-throttled America. If you’re looking for a good time, look no further, because America’s hottest bookclub is Wanderers — it’s got everything: artificial intelligence, bat fungus, washed-up rock stars, white supremacist militias, shady corporations, an election year, social media, a beloved theme park. Hashtag Stefon voice.
It’s obviously, um, weird having a book out like this right now because… you know, it’s surprisingly on-point. Now, to be fair, sci-fi and horror authors aren’t out there to really predict anything — if we’re talking about the future in our books, we’re really using that as a way to talk about our present. I just, um, didn’t anticipate this to be so presently present. At the same time, a lot of what’s in here aren’t things we couldn’t have seen coming. Hell, we did see this coming. Pandemic-level diseases are not new. They pop up every 10 years or so. It’s just, usually, they don’t get a foothold, and often they don’t get that foothold because we are somewhat ready for them. This one, we were not and here I could devolve into talking about the failure of a “””president””” who encourages people to make bleach smoothies and stick lightbulbs up their asses, buuuuut we already know all this.
There were a few bits of the book I wasn’t ready to have mirrored in reality (predictive AIs like BlueDot, or the comet called Swan), and there were quite a few bits I totally missed. If I were writing the book now I’m sure I would’ve written a chapter on toilet paper hoarding.
Hey, look at this — the back of the book has this little bit right here:
That’s pretty rad. It hit a lot of best-of-year-lists. Was nominated for the Stoker. Hit a lot of national bestseller lists. It’s gotten quotes from some people who… well, the list blows my mind (and culminates in five [!] pages of blurbs and comments at the fore of the paperback edition). I’ve honestly been very fortunate that people have responded as well as they have to this little (er, big) book. Am I humble bragging? No, I’m actual bragging, because I think authors should be proud of their books, and this one, I’m genuinely proud of.
Let’s get some of your procurement options out of the way, and again, given the era in which we live, it is worth considering buying from a local indie store, if you find yourself able to — independent bookstores are trying to stay alive (as are we all) in this peculiar epoch of pandemic bullshit, so helping them helps the industry which helps the authors and which creates a strong bookish ecosystem, and bookish ecosystems help books thrive so readers have them:
Here’s the review aggregator from Lit Hub (ooh, look at those raves).
Also, I’ve updated my FAQ from when the book launched in July…
Is there a content warning?
There is. I’ve concealed it behind a ROT13 filter so that those who desire the warning can simply unscramble it by c/p’ing the encrypted text into the window at rot13.com.
Pbagrag jneavat: fhvpvqny vqrngvba, fhvpvqr, gbegher, enpvfz naq ovtbgel, qvfphffvbaf bs zragny urnygu naq zragny vyyarff, tha ivbyrapr, naq n tencuvpny qrfpevcgvba bs Z/Z encr (sbhaq ba cc 434-435 bs gur uneqonpx, ng gur raq bs puncgre 50).
Who will like this book?
YOU WILL, OF COURSE. You, specifically you. *stares unswervingly*
More seriously, this book is for fans of things like The Stand, Station Eleven, Lost, Swan Song, The Passage, The Book of M, The Strain, The Hot Zone.
Wait why would I buy this pandemic book during a pandemic?
Well, that’s kind of on you, I guess — I don’t really know. Some readers will seek pure escapism during this time and others will go the opposite way. (I read McCammon’s Swan Song during the height of nuclear panic in the 80s and… well, it helped. YMMV.) I do think this helps contextualize a lot of what’s going on, and further, because what goes on in the book is so much more cuckoo bananapants, maybe our current reality will feel a little better. Plus, the book is, despite its grim matter, full of what I wanted to be heart and hope and humor. As Kirkus put it, “A story about survival that’s not just about you and me, but all of us, together… equal to Stephen King’s The Stand.” SyFy said it “makes the Apocalypse beautiful.” Kinda depends on your gut, but I like to think it’s still a worthy book to read right now.
Is this part of a series?
It not part of a series and is currently a standalone. (Though it’s big enough for 3-4 novels, I guess.) I’ve always said that there could be a sequel if the sales warranted it and if I had a story in mind and… *coughs into hand* I CAN SAY NO MORE.
What genre is it?
I don’t know. I mean, I guess technically it’s either “speculative fiction” or “science fiction,” but I also wrote what I feel is implicitly, if not explicitly, an epic horror novel. Certainly it seems to be working well for readers who like, say, Stephen King books. Hey, whatever. Thankfully, genres are just a thing people made up. So find whatever narrative taxonomy works for you!
What if I can’t afford the book?
Then I slyly but pointedly direct my gaze at Your Local Library. Libraries are where the free books — and essential community services! — live. If they do not carry the book, you can always contact them and ask them to, or perhaps request it through ILL (inter-library loan).
[Note, libraries are not all open right now, but many still lend e-books and audio!]
What can I do to support the book?
The story goes that what is most likely to convince someone to read a book is not me telling you to, or advertisements, or a blog tour, or a tweet, or, or, or — but rather, word-of-mouth. Meaning, the best thing you can do is talk about it. Online, in meatspace, wherever, however. Reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. Tweets, blog posts, incoherent wails of joy. Tell friends and family and random strangers and cherished villains. If you read it, and you like it, and you’re feeling particularly enthusiastic, that’s the best way to help — just try to get other people to read the ding-dang thing. That’s the hardest part, and I really can’t do it. This part falls to you. If, of course, you like it (and me) enough to do so.
Can I come see you and get the book signed?
So, once upon a time, the paperback was going to come out in July and I was going to go on a book tour. As a bit of inside publisher baseball, we looked at the sales numbers of the book and where the book overperformed were in places that, drum roll please, I went on book tour. Proving that book tours work — at least, for the right kind of author, and with the right kind of event. Were I a brand spanking new author with little “platform” (ugh) or “brand” (uggggh), maybe that wouldn’t work so well. But, I do okay in that department, and so I am fortunate enough that people come to my events to hear me talk. As such, Del Rey was intending to send me out again for this one — in this case, to states and cities I had missed the first go-round. Except, oops, that’s not happening now.
I will be doing some online gigs, of course, as we do now. I’ve got a great podcast interview about it coming up with Ana Marie Cox. Today I’ll be recording with Del Reydio, talking to my amazing editor, Tricia Narwani. I’ll also be doing an Instagram Live thing this Friday with Paul Krueger (2pm EST, at the Del Rey IG account), and may also have some other bits and bobs in the works.
As to whether or not you can get a signed book from me…
Welp, you can check with Doylestown Books, and it’s possible if you buy a copy from them, I can sign it? I think we can maybe facilitate a safe, socially-distant, mask-on way of doing that.
Are there Easter Eggs in the book?
There are, indeed. Lots of references to other books, other authors, my own books, and so forth. A hundred points to the Hogwarts House that finds them all.
What’s next for you?
Initially, Book of Accidents was coming out late Summer/early Fall, but we decided to move it based on the coming election, since media attention would be hyperfocused on that shitshow, and it seemed best to get out of the way of that screaming cultural locomotive lest we become blood paste on the tracks. So that is now coming out in Summer 2021. It’s done — though I should have a copy-edit pass to go, and a cover yet to reveal.
There’s also You Can Do Anything, Magic Skeleton, coming out in 2021 — my inane “motivational” tweets with art by the awesome Natalie Metzger.
And there’s Dust & Grim, my MG, coming out in 2021.
Gonna be a busy year.
That’s not even accounting for SECRET BOOKS 1, 2, AND 3.
So, please tell folks. Spread the word.
And don’t forget —
Black Swan says “hi.”