It’s a(nother) book!

So strange and amazing to be here at the publication of my sixth novel.

cover of The Fifth Season, a novel by N. K. Jemisin, shows a stone wall and decoration embossed with flaking gold

I remember being a newbie writer and struggling just to imagine myself publishing one book. That was only… hmm, eight years ago? I got my agent in 2007, as I recall. I remember despairing, as it became clear that my first book wasn’t going to sell first, and giving serious consideration to quitting all this shit. Wow.

Confession: I had a despair moment again while writing The Fifth Season. Convinced myself that it was just too strange, too dark, too hard to write, and no one would ever want to read it. I actually called my editor and discussed whether I could just turn the trilogy into a standalone, wash my hands of the whole thing, and go cry in a corner somewhere. Fortunately, Devi had the sense to tell me to calm down and go think about it first, which I did. And more fortunately, friends helped talk me back from the (artistic) cliff. Now as the positive reviews roll in, all of them are giving me “I told you so” attitude, and that’s okay. They were right. I’m glad I listened. Thanks, guys.

Well, enough maundering. I’m currently about 90,000 words into the second book of the trilogy, which means it’s just about on schedule to be turned in at the end of this month. Going to be tough to make good progress this week, though, because I’ve got a crapton of Launch Week activities lined up — like a launch party tonight, if you happen to be in the Brooklyn area and want to drop by. The next sample chapter of The Fifth Season is up, if you needed another taste to help you decide. If not, and you’re sold, then links are in the sidebar. I can’t promise you’ll like it, but I can say we’re all in for a wild ride.

ETA: Yes, I’ve given up my foolish resistance to maps. Here is the Stillness, rendered beautifully by artist Tim Paul.

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19 Responses »

  1. Your book is downloading as I type this. Ready to be read on my commute to work. Thanks for sticking with it and writing your amazing fiction!

  2. It’s arrived at last! Now for 3+ hours of pure pleasure while I read what I have waited months for :-)

  3. Welp, there was never any doubt that I’d buy it, just _how_… went with Kindle app because I have a sneaking suspicion the local bookstores (such as they are) won’t have it unless I ordered in. I remember Borders didn’t have a lot of copies of any of them, though that is where I got Inheritance and Dreamblood. And that was one of the _good_ stores.

    But at least with Kindle I can get it now now now we wants it precious, we wants it, we does, now now now… Ahem, Sorry.

    One question…. based on the reviews and descrips, if orogenes are so tightly controlled and aren’t meant to stray, and Essun escaped and all, does that mean she committed orogenal sin?

    I’ll see myself out.

  4. Really looking forward to this one.

  5. I was supposed to be asleep a few hours ago.

    After reading this post, I went to Amazon and “preordered” because it didn’t think the book has been released yet. Then before going to sleep I checked to see if I could download it yet.

    Here I am now, having just finished reading it in its entirety, because “I’ll just read a chapter or so” turned into “I’ll just read the whole thing, oops.” Sometime after I wake up, I’ll go leave a well-deserved five star review. I’ll try to find useful and non-spoilery things to say.

    Thank you for giving me such an amazing read.

  6. My copy is arriving today!

  7. I got the book last night at 9PM (west coast = early Kindle release) and am downloading the audiobook now.

    Note that Amazon doesn’t list audiobook on the book’s page. It’s (unfortunately) not a Whispersync edition, but the audiobook should still be listed as a format.

  8. 17th in line for one of 17 copies, location: On Order…

    [gently jitters]

  9. Hi Ms Jemisin, I just wanted to know if this novel will be available for Audible UK sometime in the future.

  10. Seven or eight chapters in as of bedtime last night, waiting for the phone to finish recharging so that I can get back to reading it tonight. Loving it so far.

  11. Brava! Loving this one – you have, imo, written a book that should be on the “literary” shelf, with complex characters (as always) and a world that sounds increasingly familiar. (As a parallel to our own, per oppression of humans by other humans plus the increasing scale of natural catastophes.)

    You are also making me want to brush up on what little I know about geology and minerals. And even though you said that you’re not very visual, this world is nothing if not vivid, immediate and, well, visual.

  12. I’m so excited about this new trilogy! I’m currently reading The 5th Season and I love this new world that you have built.

  13. Do you know if Orbit are doing UK release? There is no UK release date yet and I am wondering if I should wait or get it imported?

  14. Hi Musereader,

    The book is out in the UK already. Or at least that’s what it looks like for me!

    Nora

  15. I just finished reading this. Probably my favorite of everything you’ve written, so far, and I am greedily awaiting the next installment.

    Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

  16. Ms Jemisin said: “Confession: I had a despair moment again while writing The Fifth Season. Convinced myself that it was just too strange, too dark, too hard to write, and no one would ever want to read it. I actually called my editor and discussed whether I could just turn the trilogy into a standalone, wash my hands of the whole thing, and go cry in a corner somewhere. Fortunately, Devi had the sense to tell me to calm down and go think about it first, which I did. And more fortunately, friends helped talk me back from the (artistic) cliff. Now as the positive reviews roll in, all of them are giving me “I told you so” attitude, and that’s okay. They were right. I’m glad I listened. Thanks, guys.”

    Please don’t think of this as a confession. I think more writers need to talk about their struggles with confidence, with finding a voice and with recognizing the meaning and the worth of their work, and with just the sheer difficulty of arranging 26 letters into an entire world. Because if the really great writers like you don’t talk about it, then the short-story dabblers like me will think that it must be their fault that it seems so hard and scary. And the truth is that it’s like that for everyone.

    So thank you for this paragraph in particular, and you don’t need to be ashamed of saying it. In fact, you should be proud.

  17. Congratulations!! I can’t wait to read it!

  18. So… I was in the bookstore (Seattle) to buy a gift for a friend. Gift acquired, I was heading out the door, and there was a seductive table at the entrance area, arranged with fantasy books. Lo and behold, the siren call!

    Fast, lovely and brutal read.

  19. Oh yeah, speaking of you and Seattle: I was at John Scalzi’s event tonight (he’s promoting his new book), and he was asked “Who is your favorite sci-fi writer?” He demurred on the question as former head of the SWFA, but then he said that there are two books he has been waiting to read as a sort of a treat (I can’t remember his exact wording, but anticipatory)– China Meville’s new book, and your new book!

The Broken Earth Book Two:

The Obelisk Gate

Thumbnail of The Obelisk Gate cover

Read Sample Chapter 1


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