The Rise of Ransom City - Tor/Forge Blog

A Letter from Harry Ransom

A Letter from Harry Ransom

The Rise of Ransom City by Felix Gilman

Written by Felix Gilman

[We are pleased to announce that the writings of the famous Harry Ransom – some might say notorious – have now been collected and published as The Rise of Ransom City. This letter was found too late to be included. Besides, the fellow who says he found it was asking too much money for it, and for all we know it is a forgery. The handwriting is atrocious. – The Editors.]

Dear May,
or Jess,
or Elmer,
or whoever comes across this,

That’s that then. A stack of papers. Some of the pages got wet when we crossed this river or that on our way out west – who can remember all the rivers. Sometimes the typewriter broke or leaked ink. It was a good typewriter for all its faults and it is a miracle it got me this far, especially after the bullet it took. They made things to last back in Jasper City. Anyhow the thing is done. This stack of papers is the life of your humble correspondent, Harry Ransom; the story of my birth, the incident of the electric-cure, the tragedy of the Damaris, and the showdown with the murderer Mr. Knoll; and the days at the Ormolu Theater, and Mr. Carver, and Mr. Baxter, and Adela. My rise and fall and how come I am out here heading west . . .

I am having a devil of a time letting it go. I have been writing for so long now that if I fall silent I am half-scared of what will happen. Maybe all the words that used to come pouring out of the typewriter will build up in my head until it explodes. Something similar has happened with the Ransom Lightbringing Apparatus once or twice – in Kenauk, in White Rock, and in Jasper. But if you have read my letters then you know about those incidents, and you know that they were mostly not my fault.

Maybe you have by now and maybe you haven’t. Who knows if any of this will make it back east to you. I have been typing in triplicate and sending parts back as we go. Whenever anyone deserts (and we have had a few deserters) I say, no hard feelings, utopia isn’t for everyone, but will you please take back a letter? Only once have I been refused. Mr. Cantor hit me in the face and said I was a fraud and a lunatic. But his wife was sick with a fever and I do not blame him for losing hope. Mr. Belbo took back a hundred pages or so, and Miss Luria took fifty. . . But there are a lot of dangers on the road, between here and a post-office, in these terrible times.

The typewriter is finally broken for good, and I am writing this by hand, as you can see. Fortunately it so happened that one of the Beck brothers brought a pen with him when we set off for the uncharted west. It is very fine indeed, but the initials engraved on it are not his. I guess it is too late to worry about that sort of thing now. When we get to where we’re going and build our city we will start with a clean slate. Perhaps we’ll abolish property altogether – I haven’t decided.

I write on a rock by the shore of a lake, sunlit and silvery, whispering, nameless and unmapped, at least so far as I know. It bars our way west. We are considering the construction of boats. Thomas and Carlo and Lillian are turning back. So be it. Everyone is free to come or go to Ransom City as they please, otherwise how would we be better than anywhere else? They’ll take the last of my letters (but this one I’ll keep back, just in case). Thomas is checking his rifle, again and again. We are out on the wild edge of things and we have seen the tracks and heard the roar of big cats at night – I think they are cats. Good luck, Thomas, and shoot straight!

As for those of us who are going on – well, I have generally had bad luck with boats. I will fold this letter, and leave it under the typewriter. If in some distant future anyone should chance by this place, and observe the rusted hulk of my typewriter on a rock, and be curious enough to investigate, they will know–if nothing else, if none of my other writings survive — that at least I tried to set the story straight. I did.

Harry Ransom


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#TorChat November 2012 Sweepstakes

#TorChat November 2012 Sweepstakes

Did you participate in today’s #TorChat? We hope you enjoyed it and look forward to your participation in next month’s chat on December 19th!

In the meantime, here’s your chance to win some amazing books! Two lucky winners will receive copies of River Road, The Rise of Ransom City, and King of the Dead. Leave a comment below to enter.

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And again we’d like to thank Suzanne Johnson, Felix Gilman, and Joseph Nassise for joining us on Twitter today.

Sweepstakes closes to new entries on November 21st at noon.

And don’t forget to come and join us next month, on December 19th, at 4 PM Eastern!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C. to enter. Promotion begins November 14, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. ET. and ends November 21, 2012, 12:00 p.m. ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules go here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

November #TorChat Lineup Revealed

November #TorChat Lineup Revealed

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This month, #TorChat focuses on the importance of setting, from real world places to imaginary spaces. Joining us on November 14th from 4 to 5 PM EST are Suzanne Johnson, Felix Gilman, and Joseph Nassise, to talk about the richly developed worlds they’ve populated in their books!

Tor Books (@torbooks) is thrilled to announce the November #TorChat, part of a monthly series of genre-themed, hour-long chats created by Tor Books and hosted on Twitter.

Setting is, arguably, just as important as the main characters in a novel. How an author creates and describes their world can give us chills, thrills, joy, and even tears. What does it take to create a realistic world, even one that comes populated with ghosts, demons, or monsters? We’ve invited three masters of the subject to chat with us on Twitter about how they do it. Joining us will be Suzanne Johnson, the author of River Road, the second book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, featuring a beautiful, fragile New Orleans post-Katrina; Felix Gilman, the author of The Rise of Ransom City, a book that shows that steampunk is an ideal fit for not just Victorian England, but the American West; and Joseph Nassise, whose book King of the Dead features a protagonist who gave up his normal sight to see the true world that surrounds us – one filled with ghosts and things much worse. These three authors know how to set a scene, and they’re ready and willing to dish their secrets!

The chat will be loosely moderated by Tor Associate Publicist Leah Withers (@PhaeTo). We hope that urban fantasy, horror, and genre fiction fans in general, as well as aspiring writers, will follow the chat and join in using the Twitter hashtag #TorChat!

About the Authors

SUZANNE JOHNSON (@suzanne_johnson) is a magazine editor and features writer with more than fifty national writing and editing awards. A longtime New Orleans resident, she helped rebuild for two years after Hurricane Katrina. She currently lives in Alabama. River Road, her second novel, publishes on November 13th.

FELIX GILMAN (@felixgilman) has been nominated for the John W. Campbell award and the Locus Award for best new writer. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Thunderer, Gears of the City, and The Half-Made World, which was listed by Amazon as one of the ten best SF/F novels of 2010. His latest book, The Rise of Ransom City, publishes on November 27th.

JOSEPH NASSISE (@jnassise)is the author of the bestselling Templar Chronicles series and Eyes to See, the first novel the Jeremiah Hunt Chronicles. He lives in Arizona with his wife and four children. His new novel, King of the Dead, publishes on November 27th.

About #Torchat
#TorChat is a genre-themed, hour-long chat series created by Tor Books and hosted on Twitter. Guest authors join fans in lively, informative and entertaining discussions of all that’s hot in genre fiction, 140 characters at a time, from 4 – 5 PM EST on the third Wednesday of every month. Each #TorChat revolves around a different genre topic of interest, often of a timely nature, and strives to provide a new media opportunity for readers to connect with their favorite authors.

About Tor Books
Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is a New York-based publisher of hardcover and softcover books. Founded in 1980, Tor annually publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy ever produced by a single English-language publisher. In 2002, Tor launched Starscape, an imprint dedicated to publishing quality science fiction and fantasy for young readers, including books by critically acclaimed and award winning authors such as Cory Doctorow, Orson Scott Card, and David Lubar. Between an extensive hardcover and trade-softcover line, an Orb backlist program, and a stronghold in mass-market paperbacks, books from Tor have won every major award in the SF and fantasy fields, and has been named Best Publisher 25 years in a row in the Locus Poll, the largest consumer poll in SF.

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