I've blogged a fair bit about this book in my capacity as keyboard annihilator for various geek sites, but I can't help adding some more thoughts on it here. There's something about the way in which the book came together that I find incredibly compelling. Yes, the story is superb and the writing tight, but there's more to it than just that.
The book, as many people are aware of, started out as a series of podcast episodes and PDFs that were circulated for free by writer JC Hutchins. Thousands of listeners began to follow the story as it unfolded, and as that audience grew, so did the tale's notoriety thanks to the tireless work Hutchins himself put in to get it into peoples' consciousness.
I've already talked about how the new media/social media approach to getting your work published is a good thing, so I'll turn my attention to how the fact that the book was already much loved and freely available has made the print release of the novel even better.
Having that feedback from fans and listeners, as well as being able to look at the story in a different light, must have given Hutchins everything he needed in order to improve on that original version.
Some elements were changed, some stuff was added, and the whole manuscript was revised to a certain extent. Taking in how the book was received as a podcast and so on, Hutchins was able to craft an even better novel.
Reading it now as a print book from St Martin's Press, this revised version of the novel hits harder and grips the reader more. That's not to say it didn't before- it's just more finely tuned now.
This is a very positive thing for publishing and genre fiction as it helps writers improve their craft and readers get hold of better product. While the full-on revolution in the way publishing works is still a way off, it's people like JC and books like 7th Son: Descent that are paving the way for all of us to enjoy more and write better. One day soon I hope I'm able to offer some fiction as powerful as this.
News on JC Hutchins' new project, 'the 33'