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mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 01:16 pm:   

So, yeah, um . . . can't wait

Tumbling After
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Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 01:21 pm:   

Liked the Waking Beauty cover better though, I must say.
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Luís
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:39 pm:   

Agreed, the WB cover was way classier. Who picks this stuff anyway?

Still, it's what's inside that counts!

Best,
Luís
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paulw
Posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 02:54 am:   

What can I say? The author has little or no voice in cover choice unless he or she has entered the literary stratosphere. I will say that the beach scene is quite accurate, and I've come to like the Dali-esque figure reclining in the water.

I was very lucky with my first cover!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 12:08 pm:   

I think it's beautiful and sexy. I love the blue alien from what I can see of it.
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 12:51 pm:   

I like the alien lying in the surf.
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 03:14 pm:   

What's it about anyway?
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paulw
Posted on Thursday, November 25, 2004 - 10:32 am:   

Ho boy. What's it about? Well, first of all, them critters ain't aliens. They're humans -- mutants. Half the book is set in the 70s, at the Delaware shore over a period of a few days, in which a brother and sister, twins, make a discovery about their family and themselves. The other half is set in a far-future that may or may not be identical to that of a role-playing game the brother and sister are playing.
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, November 25, 2004 - 11:03 am:   

A book set in Delaware! I usually give a book extra points even for metioning Delaware.
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mas
Posted on Thursday, November 25, 2004 - 11:05 am:   

mentioning, even.
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Bob
Posted on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 08:00 am:   

Outstanding, Paul. I'm really glad to see this thing is finally out of your head....
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paulw
Posted on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 08:56 am:   

You and me both, Bob. Unfortunately, the old bean is a bit empty without it after all these years . . .

I'm glad you like the cover, Ellen. Beautiful and sexy I got no problem with!
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rick bowes
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 11:16 am:   

The cover is what it is. But I found the book itself evocative, gripping, unsettling (at times a tiny bit confusing but I'm sure that got taken care of in rewrite). I read the damn thing as fast as I got it.
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paulw
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2004 - 01:57 pm:   

I'm sure I didn't fix everything in the rewrite, Rick, but your feedback certainly helped me improve the book.
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rick bowes
Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2004 - 09:33 pm:   

And yours helped me improve (like gave me an ending for) TIME RANGERS. Maybe we should just have switched books.
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paulw
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2004 - 03:13 am:   

A crazy idea, but it just might work!
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paulw
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 09:59 am:   

Hey, does anybody here have access to the online Kirkus site? Tumbling After is reviewed there, and it's apparently a good one.

Thanks!
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rwexler
Posted on Sunday, March 06, 2005 - 08:03 am:   

Hey, it's in the stores and I got myself one yesterday!
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paulw
Posted on Sunday, March 06, 2005 - 05:19 pm:   

Well, it's in some stores . . . I went on a "book-signing tour" yesterday and managed to find it in B&N stores but not in Borders or any of the independents . . .

Robert, bring it along next week and I'll sign it fer ya! (Of course, you gotta sign my copy of Circus!)
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Mastadge
Posted on Monday, March 07, 2005 - 09:39 am:   

A less enthusiastic SFRevu:

http://sfrevu.com/Review-id.php?id=2390

Of course, the quality of that review doesn't inspire me to put much faith in the reviewer's taste, and, having loved WAKING BEAUTY, I can't wait to read this book. But maybe I will. Maybe I'll wait and read it at the beach this summer. . .
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paulw
Posted on Monday, March 07, 2005 - 10:04 am:   

Oh well, gotta take the bad with the good. Thanks for the link, Mastadge!
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Monday, March 07, 2005 - 12:11 pm:   

SFRevu? Puh-leaze.
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Liz Hand
Posted on Monday, March 14, 2005 - 04:37 am:   

Here's the fantastic review of TUMBLING AFTER in yesterday's Washington Post Book World -- review written by Bill Sheehan. Congrats, Cuz!

Jack and Jilly

Paul Witcover may not be a household name, but he is a gifted, fiercely original writer whose genre-bending fiction deserves the widest possible attention. Tumbling After (EOS, $24.95) is only his second novel (after 1997's Waking Beauty). A dark, often troubling account of metaphysical mysteries and multiple realities, it is as good as anything that has crossed my desk in months.

The story proceeds along two narrative tracks that echo and illuminate each other in countless ways. The first takes place in the summer of 1977 and concerns Jack and Jilly Doone, 12-year-old twins whose lifelong psychic bond contains a powerful, if nascent, sexual component. The two are spending the summer at the family beach house under the extremely loose supervision of their Uncle Jimmy, creator of "Mutes and Norms," a role-playing game set in a post-apocalyptic future populated by five mutant species representing the powers of the elements (earth, air, water and fire) and of the mind itself.

The second track tales place in the supposedly imaginary universe that "Mutes and Norms" describes. The central figure is a Mute named Kestrel, a winged "Aerie" who embarks on a traditional coming-of-age pilgrimage across a trackless desert known as The Waste. He is accompanied by the four randomly chosen members of his "pentad," one of whom, he is told, is a spy in the employ of the once dominant Norms, who have been at war with the Mutes for generations.


Back in the "real" world, Jack survives a near drowning and awakens with what he believes to be a mutant power of his own: the power to alter the very stuff of reality, initiating crucial changes that fit seamlessly -- and retroactively -- into their surroundings. This "gift" brings with it a sense of increasing foreboding, as Jack comes to believe that a nameless entity has marked him out for destruction. Jack's ensuing paranoia, together with his attempts to understand the nature and source of his wild new power, alter him in fundamental ways, leading to a series of tragic confrontations that are both shocking and inevitable.


Echoes of other writers -- John Crowley, Philip K. Dick and Theodore Sturgeon, to name a few -- reverberate throughout the novel. But Tumbling After is no mere pastiche of free-floating science fiction tropes. On the contrary, Witcover has made something powerful and strange out of familiar materials. The story is dauntingly dense, though satisfying. The prose is clean and precise, lending an aura of understated authority to the entire enterprise. And the disparate narratives, which glance continuously, if elliptically, off each other throughout the book, snap sharply together at the end, lending a sudden, startling coherence to all that has gone before.


On one level, Tumbling After is a thoroughgoing work of the imagination. On another, it is an affecting meditation on the vicissitudes of family life, on the bonds of twinship, on the nature of adolescent sexuality and on the random forces that can alter or destroy our fragile hold on reality. It is a fully realized novel by a significant new voice. I hope it finds the audience it deserves.
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paulw
Posted on Monday, March 14, 2005 - 06:11 am:   

Thanks, Cuz! I must say I was floored by this review, which came out just in time to be circulated at my book party on Saturday night. I figure Bill Sheehan has got to be my ideal reader . . . well, after *you*, of course!

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rick bowes
Posted on Monday, March 14, 2005 - 07:02 am:   

The WaPo reviews are bookmarked on Locus and this one might look nice on the Amazon site.
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gabe
Posted on Monday, May 16, 2005 - 03:01 pm:   

Hi Paul, longish time no speako!

I read TUMBLING AFTER, and I must say that I'm impressed. It has been settling in my head, digesting in my gut, and I've *almost* reached the point where I can say I liked it better than WAKING BEAUTY. Almost. I'm pretty sure that when all the layers and resonances have made their way through the trickle-down into my head, it'll win out.

Kudos, cheers, bravo, etc. etc. etc.

--gabe chouinard
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paulw
Posted on Monday, May 16, 2005 - 03:45 pm:   

Hey, thanks Gabe! That's high praise indeed. I'm not sure I can say the same, but maybe I've just got a soft spot for my first novel!
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gabe
Posted on Monday, May 16, 2005 - 04:42 pm:   

I try to keep in mind that they're truly different sorts of creatures. It's like trying to compare apples to oranges to thumbtacks to bull semen to rotary telephones.

Still, I'm thinking (and will be blogging in a review) that so far the best comparison I could make was actually to Lucius Shepard's writing... and as soon as I can figure out *WHY* I thought that, I'll be happy.

--gabe chouinard
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paulw
Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 - 03:04 am:   

Now that really *is* high praise!

And, er, bull semen . . .?
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gabe
Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 - 11:57 am:   

pay no attention to the weirdo in the corner with the cup of bull semen...

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