Wed
Oct 22 2008 11:12am
Free e-book from Brian Francis Slattery

When I do panels about editorial matters at conventions, a significant percentage of the questions I field regard that holy-grail-of-a-breakout-story: getting picked out of Tor’s massive pile of unsolicited manuscripts and getting published. So I’m pleased to offer up this month’s free e-book—Spaceman Blues, the first novel by Brian Francis Slattery, who’s been hanging out around here lately and blogging about economics—as an example of the kind of book that may just jolt us out of our submission-reading stupor and get us to take notice.

My preposterous (but hopefully effective) cover copy for Spaceman Blues called it a “literary retro-pulp science-fiction–mystery–superhero novel.” But when I think back to why I first picked up this book and started reading it, I can’t help recalling a line Brian wrote on his cover letter when he first submitted the book to us a bit over five years ago: “This book is painted in browns and grays, sparked by sudden fires. I suspect it is not for everyone, though I hope it is for you.” Here’s your opportunity to find out which camp you fall in.

Spaceman Blues

If you do turn out to be a fan of Brian’s, you may wish to check out his second novel, Liberation: Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America, which is unrelated to Spaceman, but just as marvelous.

As usual, the links above will only work if you’ve registered for Tor.com and are logged in, so if you haven’t joined the site, you might want to do so now. In return, you’ll get access to this book, many other useful site features, and more free e-books in the months to come.

UPDATE 25 November: This book is now no longer available for free download.

28 comments
Bill Waldron
1. bwaldron
Not to be ungrateful for all the wonderful free stuff...but could you please include a Table of Contents in the Mobi version of your eBooks?
rick gregory
3. rickg
Thanks. I've liked many of the free ebooks you gave away to promote this site and loved War for the Oaks, one of the two you gave away a bit ago after the site launched (still need to read Dogland). As much as free is nice, some of it is just someone saying "Here, try this one" and so I've now discovered a bunch of new authors whose writing I like and whom I never knew existed before. Never a bad thing.
Blue Tyson
4. BlueTyson
Sounds interesting, thanks.

Superhero in what way?
Pablo Defendini
5. pablodefendini
@bwaldron #1
We have replaced the Mobi file with one that features a ToC.

Many thanks to Arachne Jericho for lending us her expertise and providing us with a corrected file.
Bill Waldron
6. bwaldron
Very cool, thanks for the updated version.
Gina Teh
7. rambell
Is there a chance that you can provide microsoft reader files please?
Alexander Gieg
8. alexgieg
Thanks!

But, please, make the store happen. I REALLY want to purchase the continuation for many of the previously released free ebooks. I know I could buy the paper versions, the problem is the cost. Printed books are heavy, thus shipping printed books from USA to Brazil gets expensive fast. Ebooks don't have this problem.

By the way, you could start releasing sets of wallpapers every month to go with the free ebooks. Lots of awesome book covers at Tor that could be turned into awesome wallpapers, that's for sure.
Irene Gallo
9. Irene
Hi Alex,

Wallpapers are on my To-do list. We'll be sure to have them with the next ebook release.
Alexander Gieg
10. alexgieg
Nice to know, I'm already looking forward for them! :)
Ruby Blotzer
11. angellemarcs
Thnks for the great ebooks. Fun to read when I'm waiting for my daughter.
Larry Chace
12. larrychace
If any of my books ever get published I hope the earlier ones get used like this to promote the later ones. I think this is a good program.
Wilbert Valverde B.
13. wilbertvb
Thanks for ebooks; I think is best way to promote books and authors of science fiction and fantasy.
And I miss wallpapers from you and I hope the wallpapers come back in next issue.
Thanks again.
alan sinclair
14. anadem
Like alexgieg I'm really really wanting to BUY more ebooks from you! Please get an online store going soon.

I can't easily read (and don't buy) paper books because of arthritis, so ebooks are excellent. It's specially good that you make them available in HTML, which is so easy to convert for Plucker, my preferred reader.

You keep stimulating my purchase impulses but I can't satisfy them! Help!

Thanks!
Linda Bass
15. hotcha1
i am so grateful as i am semi-paralyzed and my hubby hates to read so i only get books from wins and TOR.
Héctor Ramírez
16. hexram
Thank you all for the great e-books. Is there an "archive" link for all those previous e-books offered?.
Pablo Defendini
17. pablodefendini
The free eBooks are only available for a limited time. Once the new one goes up, we take the old one down. That being said, once something is up on the internet....
brett george
18. battlinjack
That is so true. Once something is published online, it's there forever. It's just a matter of tracking it down.

On another note, I want to add my thanks for all these great stories. Many are authors new to me and it is fantastic to discover new writers that I like. I am CONSTANTLY looking at books and writers and always exploring and discovering new and cool people. (isn't that a wonderful sentence? -grin-)

TOR has always published some great stuff and I will enjoy reading it for as long as you do.

Cool beans!
Karl Tilley
19. Karlos
Can you put a TOC in the HTML version too please?

The guys at the University of Adelaide do good TOC links that work on my PSP. The ones you've had on some previous ebooks never seem to work.

Check them out- Adelaide.edu ebooks

Thanks guys lovin' the ebooks!
Douglas Pierce-Price
20. dpierceprice
First of all, thank you very much for making all these books available!

Unfortunately, I'm running into a problem trying to view the .prc file of this one in Stanza on Mac OS X. When I try to open the file, I get the error "Could not load book: java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException: 2234"

Do you know what might be the problem? The files from the books over the summer seem to work.

I also tried the .lrf file, but this produced garbled characters in Stanza.
Arachne Jericho
21. arachnejericho
dpierceprice @ 20 -

The Mobipocket reader, FBReader, and the Kindle can read the file. And I'm sure many others, but I don't have them all installed (or indeed all of the little embedded devices to run them on).

Stanza, on the other hand, has problems. Nothing much that can be done, since this involves debugging the Stanza software.

As for Stanza, I tend to be dissatisfied with these days. It can't interpret a good table of contents, can't deal with most formatting, has only a vague idea of how to deal with headers, has fits when dealing with linked text, and cannot deal well with images integrated in text. (In fact, I suspect the images in the text are what's breaking in Stanza. I've experienced this myself when working with eBooks that incorporate figures.)

Right now I'm playing with the Mac OS X port of FBReader. Despite what it says, it actually reads almost as wide a variety of formats as Stanza, not just ePub, including Mobipocket books as both .PRC and .MOBI.

Of course, my Kindle still has the first and last word on everything.
Pablo Defendini
22. pablodefendini
Karlos @19
We've updated the HTML to include a table of contents (and once again, a gajillion thanks go to Arachne Jericho).

dpierceprice @20
What Aj says. I've also found Stanza to be problematic (granted, iPhone syncing is sweet, when it works correctly), and, given my (limited) experience when working up the ePub verison of A Water Matter, it does not surprise me that Stanza has general issues with in-line images.

arachnejericho @21
I haven't tried the FBReader, but I'll look into it. Many thanks for your assistance and knowledge, as always. *Tip o' the hat.
L J Young
23. ljyoung
Christmas is approaching. As a Christmas gift, why not make all free ebooks previously offered available again for the week of Christmas? I downloaded all of the ebooks and the wallpapers, but not everyone joined during the "Watch the Skies" promotion.
Sandi Kallas
24. Sandikal
I have a copy of "Spaceman Blues" sitting on my bookshelf right now. I picked it up before going on vacation last year. It was a really, really weird book. (Weird in a good way.) It's totally different from anything science fiction I've ever read. It's very literary. I liked it.
jaron leron
25. brutal
I already own the book but it's *terrific* and I'm delighted to have the e-version to throw on my phone for a good re-read. Excellent choice, thanks!!
Barbara Reed
26. Piper.Classique
Great thing this. I get to sample authors I haven't met before, and end up actually buying their work. I wonder if there could be a way to send private messages to other members so we could discuss the books without cluttering up the interface for the rest of the users?
Torie Atkinson
27. Torie
@ 26 piperpilot

You have two options. You can start a conversation if you want to talk about it with the entire Tor.com community, or you can leave a shout to individual users (either publicly or privately) on their profile pages.

That being said, I don't think this post is at all inappropriate for discussion of the book in question.
Gregory Borg
28. Theborg1of3
I finely was able it download it and can't wait to read it. For some reason the site wouldn't take my user name and/or password untill I reregestered. I now have 20 books from Tor.

Thanks ;-)

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