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Gollancz to Hannu Rajaniemi: you're hired

06/10/2008. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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John Jarrold has concluded a three-book World Rights deal for Scottish-based Finnish science fiction writer Hannu Rajaniemi. Hannu’s debut novel (presently untitled) plus two further books were pre-empted by Simon Spanton of Gollancz for a high five-figure sum, on the basis of one chapter.

‘I received this chapter from Hannu by e-mail in the morning (and loved it), mentioned it to Simon when we were talking about other matters, and three hours later I had a very strong pre-empt offer,’ said John Jarrold. ‘After fifteen years in an editor’s chair I am very aware how unusual it is for an offer to be made for a debut novelist on only twenty-four double spaced pages – particularly at a time when many publishing executives are more interested in the opinions of their sales and marketing directors than those of their senior editors. So congratulations to Simon for his enthusiasm and the speed of his response, and much respect to those at Orion who trusted his judgement. I think everyone can judge the power of Hannu’s writing from the way this deal was done. This chapter leaves me thirsting for more!’

Simon Spanton said: ‘Yes, acquiring one book, let alone three, on the basis of a single chapter is a gamble; and not one I or any other editor is in the habit of making. But I’ve never been more sure of a hand than the one dealt to me by John and Hannu.

‘Hannu’s first chapter was entirely enticing; yes, it was brimful of energy, originality and fascinating science but these were bonuses. What caught me and left me desperate for more was the masterful way he set up the characters, created relationships between them based on intrigue and need and suggested a rich past and a dangerous future for all concerned. I haven’t been this excited after reading just one chapter in a long, long time and consequently I’m delighted to be able to welcome Hannu to Gollancz.’

The novel is due for delivery in August 2009.

Hannu’s short fiction has featured in INTERZONE, Finnish magazines, the anthology NOVA SCOTIA and two Best of the Year SF anthologies. Hannu has a Ph D in string theory and is a co-founder of ThinkTank Maths Limited, a technology consultancy.

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