What’s in a name? Has anyone asked that before? I feel like maybe somebody has.

OK, so first of all, if you’re the Last Policeman superfan who created this lovingly detailed Wikipedia entry on the book, my hat is off to you to such an extent that I may never wear a hat again. There is nothing so gratifying to an author as the feeling that people are reading his work carefully, and now I know that at least one person has read this book very carefully indeed; I love that this anonymous encyclopedist correctly transcribed the name of my fictitious asteroid, 2011GV1, subscript and all.

The only thing inaccurate in this lovely entry, so far as I can tell, is the title of the forthcoming sequel, which Wikipedia now lists as Disasterland—which, to be totally fair, is sourced from this very blog, and an entry I made last week. Point is, since that time it has been brought to our (meaning mine and my publisher’s) attention that there was already a book by that title, and though you can’t copyright a title (ask Alison Bechdel, author of last year’s Are you My Mother?, which although a picture book is definitely not about a curious and melancholy baby bird, or the great Thomas Frank, who very purposefully borrowed the title of What’s the Matter With Kansas? from a much older book of the same name), we decided to switch to another title—which we then all decided we liked better anyway.

Point being, the actual title of the forthcoming second novel in The Last Policeman trilogy is (drumroll…) Countdown City. 

Now I’ll sit back and see how long it takes the masked Wikipedia writer to change it.  (Or maybe I’ll get antsy and change it myself.)



P.S. Yes, I know there’s an asteroid coming within 75,000 miles of the Earth tis week, and if I had not been so busy the last few days doing a furious final pass on the aforementioned Countdown City I would have written an elegant and attention-grabbing essay for someone’s editorial page about the metaphorical implications of Near Earth Objects, and in particular what they can teach us about the constant unspoken nearness of death. I’ll get the next one!



2 thoughts on “What’s in a name? Has anyone asked that before? I feel like maybe somebody has.

  1. Daniel Case

    That would be me. And I actually do use my real name (And

    If you click the history tab (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Last_Policeman&action=history), you’ll see who’s been working on it. Was this (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Last_Policeman&diff=538344811&oldid=538331955) you “getting antsy”? Probably not; the IP geolocates to Boston (http://whatismyipaddress.com/ip/ so maybe it’s just someone who read this and unfortunately got reverted by an anti-vandal bot. Thanks very much for the update, though … it has now been added to the article in a way that the anti-vandal bot will respect (e.g., when done by a registered user) and the footnote appropriately updated as well.

    I suppose you want to know why I wrote this article (it’s still not done), especially since I largely tend to work on articles about historic sites. Well … your book came to my attention from the Slate review last summer. I filed it away as something to get to read on my iPad’s Kindle app whenever I was finally willing to commit enough to Stand on Zanzibar to finally finish it. That took most of the rest of the year. I got it as a Christmas gift, and finished it during the holidays.

    I had meant to write this at some point. One of my specialties is writing or expanding articles for the “Did You Know?” section on the Main Page, and I thought earlier this week that this might make a good one for, uh, today, because of the asteroid flyby (or is that passby?) It turned out I was already too short to make the lead time, but I decided to just finish it anyway. I think I might be able to get an interesting “hook” as we call them, out of something else in the article (like maybe the Rusty Schweickart thing).

    Could say more but it’s getting late, and I might have to work tomorrow.


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