Brisbane, Australia is 14,920km (9271mi) from the little town where I hang my hat. As you all may know, Brisbane is where the Australian author John Birmingham lives and writes.
OK, this may seem like Cruel Stars month on my website, but I’m actually going a different direction today. Before I do, though, go buy the book. It’s pretty awesome. OK, ’nuff said.
9,271 miles is a long damn way, almost as far as you can get on planet Earth without jumping on a space ship. So why do I mention this?
Easy. I had occasion this morning to visit a couple of local book shops, one small and one large. To satisfy my curiosity, I took a look at the sci-fi section and looked at “B.” Both book stores had The Cruel Stars, this thing must be literally everywhere.
Think about that. An author 9200 miles away sits down at a desk and toils. After a long period of sustained effort, he submits his work to a publisher. There is back and forth, a series of edits and adjustments spanning the Pacific Ocean and thousands of miles. Finally, a publication date is set. Printing presses in New York (?), maybe, get fired up and thousands of books are cranked out. Thousands.
This process repeats itself worldwide.
In the meanwhile, digital copy is made, along with an audio book.
A release date is set for a worldwide Time on Target of 0001 hours, 20 August 2019. This time and date rolls westward as the Earth slowly spins about its axis. The lucky people in Brisbane get it first. Unfortunates in Hawaii get it last.
On the 20th of August digital code allows pre-orders to open books on devices worldwide, all of which runs in different time zones. Large booksellers such as Barnes and Noble start to ship hardcopies, stock people in thousands upon thousands of stores place the new books on wheeled carts and stock shelves.
A book launch by a major publisher is an astonishing display of logistics, marketing, programming, and execution.
As I stood in the little book store thousands of miles away from the author, these thoughts went through my head. I picked up a copy, leafed through it, and carried it to the register. It seemed that I wanted to purchase another hardcopy as a gift to my old Team Sergeant, so this book, copy XXXX of who knows how many thousand, left the store with me.
It rode on the back seat of my car. As I drove, I marveled at all the threads that came together to make the book’s journey complete. Had the idea to write this article, put the book in front of some Indian corn and took a picture. Sent the picture via my phone to the computer. This is another technological marvel that we take for granted.
It really is a miracle, if you stop to think of it. An Australian product by a talented writer lands in Appalachia, thousands of miles away.
Miracles as a routine.
I took some time today to appreciate this one.
Hope my Team Sergeant likes it; The Cruel Stars is the ripe fruit of the labor of thousands- starting with JB, 9200 miles away.
This is amazing to me.