The Unwelcome Warlock: Progress Report Forty-Five

Latest word from Wildside is that a limited run of The Unwelcome Warlock should be out in September or October, so that copies can be sent to donors, but the regular edition is being pushed back to allow time for a new distribution deal. The new target date for the generally-available edition is February.

Cover price will probably be under $15, despite the novel’s length — ebooks have put some serious downward pressure on book prices — so I’m thinking of including a chapbook of “The Frog Wizard” with each donor copy.

Never heard of “The Frog Wizard”? Or if you did read it and remember it, you don’t see what it has to do with Ethshar? Well, that’s because I originally wrote no fewer than six variants of the same story, and only one of the six is an Ethshar story. One of the non-Ethshar versions was published in the January 1993 issue of Science Fiction Age, but the Ethshar version has never been published before.

This does not mean, however, that only donors to the serial of The Unwelcome Warlock will see it. It’s included in an upcoming collection of short Ethshar stories. Wildside has sent a contract for this collection; we’re fine-tuning the contract, but it should be signed soon. The collection will include all the short Ethshar stories — well, unless I forgot any; I only remembered to include “The Frog Wizard” at the last minute. Chapter One of The Unwanted Wardrobe will be there, with a few notes on some of the references.

And here’s where I’d like some feedback. I submitted the book as Tales of Ethshar, but Wildside accidentally sent the contract for The Book of Ethshar — which is a pretty good title. Now we’re trying to decide which title to use. Got an opinion?

17 thoughts on “The Unwelcome Warlock: Progress Report Forty-Five

  1. Tales of Ethshar sound more modest and open-ended; The Book of Ethshar sounds more definitive. The latter would be a good title for a book of stories plus maps, lexical or encyclopedic material, etc.; if it’s just going to be short stories, I’d say the former title is better.

  2. I like Tales of Ethshar. I agree with Jim Henry’s summary. The Book of Ethshar sounds more definitive, weighty and complete. I went to and did a search for titles that had “the book of” in them. I did a cursory look at the first few pages of titles. Most titles called “The Book of…” tended to be about a single subject ie, Love, Job, Sea Monsters, Car Games. All very narrowly focused on one subect. The only one of short stories in a similar vein were Tolkien’s “The Book of Lost Tales”, and I don’t think he is going to be writing any more Lost Tales.
    I did get to thinking that “The Book of Ethshar” sounds like a good title for a full length novel of Ethshar…? Perhaps about a book that was lost in the mists of time that contains all the knowledge and spells of all the different spellcasters? (Please forgive me if LWE already did something like this, and I missed it. It’s been a while since I last read his books – I’m going to re-read the whole series after the short stories and Warlock comes out in book form.)

  3. i like the sound of the book of Ethshar and as a former book shop owner
    i think its less likely to be lost in the shelves of ” tales” books when they go to re-order but i do think jim henry has a good idea but the word tales implies a story . though in the end it your choice…..

  4. There was a whole series of “The Book of…” from DAW Books, back in the 1980s, that were just short-story collections; they didn’t use “Best of…” because Doubleday was doing that.

    Several other people responded in e-mail, and the consensus on the better title is… non-existent. The vote’s pretty evenly split. I think so far, “Tales” has a slight edge, and I agree that “Book” sounds as if it should be more than just the collected stories. (Though in fact, the collection will include a brief overall introduction, and introductions for each story.)

    I’m not going to make a definite decision right away, as there’s no rush, but if John Betancourt from Wildside were to phone me right now and say, “I got this amazing deal if we go to press right now — which title do you want?” I’d choose “Tales.”

    I reserve the right to change my mind, should a really strong argument come in.

  5. I prefer “The Tales of Ethshar” over “Book” since “Book” implies an atlas, cast/description of characters, timeline of events… a history book of sort. Having said that, I would ABSOLUTELY purchase “The Book of Ethshar” in addition to “Tales” if it were to come available.

  6. BOOK OF ETHSHAR is better. It sounds like something important, an undiscovered treasure.

    TALES OF ETHSHAR sounds generic. There’s no richness there, no majesty.

    So says me, anyway.


  7. I agree that “Tales of” sounds better for a collection of short stories and that “Book of” sounds like an atlas/guidebook/etc.
    And I’ll go for the chatty list to.

  8. Another vote for Tales.

    But if you turn the book over will it be called the Heads of Ethshar? 🙂

    Sorry for the bad pun.

  9. Ha! No, they don’t all have animals.

    And I just got some good Ethshar-related news, but I want to straighten out some details before announcing it.

  10. I think that “Tales …” is bit better, as it leaves an nice opening for “More Tales …”, where “Another Book …” is a bit too Monty-Pythonish.

    And add me to the chatty list too, please.

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