Fullsizeoutput 174 S.T. Ranscht · Author · added 6 months ago
Done again!

It’s not often write-in votes amount to anything when it comes to awards and elections. The most popular victor of such an outcome is Boaty McBoatface, but maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. I was going to send a follow-on email thanking you all for your write-in efforts, except YOU TOTALLY DID IT! The Punch Escrow is now a semifinalist for the best science fiction book of the year in the Goodreads Choice awards. Thanks to each of you for donating 4.8 seconds of your time and writing in the name of my book. As you can see, we made it into the semi-finals. That means The Punch Escrow is already recognized as one of the 20 top sci-fi books of the year! 

Now, I have but one last favor to ask of you. As you can see, we’re in the semifinals, which means I need your vote again. BUT—I only need 1 second this time. You see that vote button under The Punch Escrow? Just click it, and you’ve done your part. It’s so easy to make such a big difference!

Thank you so much—this whole journey has surpassed my wildest dreams. I have no idea what happens next!

Fullsizeoutput 174 S.T. Ranscht · Author · added 7 months ago

All things literary have been a whirlwind. I’ve recently gotten notified that The Punch Escrow has been selected as one of Kirkus Reviews’ 100 Best Books of the 2017. That is great news! But on the same day I learned that Goodreads didn’t see The Punch Escrow fit to be listed among their selections for the Goodreads Choice Science Fiction awards. What adds insult to a bit of injury is that some of the books that they did nominate aren’t even published yet!

However, there is still some hope. YOU can alter reality! If you read and liked my book and have a Goodreads account, it takes about 4.8 seconds (I timed it) to write-in The Punch Escrow in the Best Science Fiction category. It would mean the world to me. The write-in field is at the bottom of the link above. It looks like this:

All you need to do is type in The Punch Escrow (it will auto-fill) and that’s it—you’ve altered reality! 

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and this book. I’ll be writing a more comprehensive update on what’s going on with the film adaptation next year, there’s just a lot going on and I’m legally not allowed to discuss any of it. But it’s all *good* stuff!


Hello readers,

I’m writing this update on my flight  back from a busy work week in Las Vegas. I have received your many emails and texts informing me that we’d crossed the 101 reviews on Amazon on Monday, and I had every intention of sending the "missing" chapter earlier in the week, but things were hectic and I wanted to do one last read through prior to sending it out. Now is the time, however, and here is your link to YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE (THE PHIL COLLINS VERSION) - the original ending of The Punch Escrow.

A fair warning, many of you will be underwhelmed, as there is a very good reason this chapter was edited out of the book in favor of the published ending. But as so many people ask me about the editing process, I thought this would be a good example of what "we" in "the biz" call "kill your darlings." I truly enjoyed writing the Charlie Jay character, but he came into the story too late, and frankly the this chapter lacked thrills and was too neatly buttoned up. So, I hope you enjoy it, but I understand if you don’t.

In other news, word is out that Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman, the production team behind the live action Beauty and The Beast, as well as The Muppets have now officially been attached to produce The Punch Escrow movie! It’s been a very hard secret to keep, especially since meeting Todd at my Book Soup event in LA. He’s been an incredibly magnanimous and a delight to interact with. I feel lucky to have him and David working with James Bobbin on the film adaptation of my book. I had a chance to speak with Kayti Burt from Den of Geek about it during San Diego Comic Con, if you’re interested in reading a more long winded discussion about the book to movie process.

More soon. Thanks for all your support thus far, and please keep on spreading the word. The book’s success is in your hands now.


Hi everyone,

This weekend I had an amazing event at Austin’s Book People. Each book store I’ve visited thus far has exemplified the unique literary flare of its city, and Book People did not disappoint. The highlight, for me, was receiving a watermelon carving of The Punch Escrow’s cover. I sent it to M.S. Corley, the cover designer, and he and I agreed that we should have shipped all the books with watermelon rind covers in lieu of foil. Unfortunately, this was not a stock option offered by our printer.

Many of you have been asking me about the "secret" chapter. I am very close to releasing it to you. I have every intention of keeping my word that, as soon as we hit  101 reviews on Amazon, I will send a special out-of-band reader update containing the "secret" chapter. In the mean time, with the help of my friend and 22nd century legal expert Jay Wolman, I’m taking this opportunity to "clean up" some of the future legalese. There are 727 of you on this distribution, only 26 of you who haven’t yet need to post a review on Amazon, and the "secret" chapter is yours!Also! More exciting movie news is forthcoming this week. I am sworn to secrecy (sorry for being so clandestine lately), but the news should be public on the early side of the week (I hope!).  



Hello glorious The Punch Escrow backers!

By now I hope you’ve all received your books. If you haven’t, please let the good folks at Inkshares know. This update is to let you know the inside scoop on the movie adaptation news you’ve all been asking me about, as well as to let you know when you’ll all be receiving your early backer exclusive prize.

Okay, let’s talk about The Punch Escrow movie! The most important thing you need to know is that the book has been OPTIONED but that option has not been exercised yet. This means that The Punch Escrow movie is like Schrodinger’s Cat. It’s in the box. We won’t know whether it’ll get made or not until we get to see inside the box. What I can tell is you that it’s a hell of a lot more likely to get made if the book becomes a bestseller. And for the book to become a bestseller we need REVIEWS.

You don’t need to buy your book on Amazon to post a review. As you know, I’m a loud and passionate advocate of Indie bookstores. But! — Amazon reviews matter a lot for conversions. We’re at 23 — The magic number is 101. After 100 reviews Amazon’s algorithm treats the book differently. It kicks things into a flywheel effect that puts the book front and center as a recommended product for like properties (like, say, Dark Matter, or Ready Player One) much more often. So — if you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, please consider posting a review. That’s the thing that you can do to help the movie happen.

Last weekend, after my event at LA’s delicious Book Soup, I met with the man Lionsgate has hired to adapt and direct The Punch Escrow film. His name is James Bobin. He’s a director and co-creator of Flight of The Conchords (to date my favorite HBO show of all time), and he directed The Muppets reboot, its sequel, as well as Alice Through The Looking Glass. I believe his work on Flight of The Conchords makes him a unique fit for the adaptation because — if you read the synopsis of the show it sounds very sad and derivative: two lazy Kiwi guys in a band try to "make it" in New York but fail at every turn. It sounds like a depressing Kiwi/East Coast version of Tenacious D, right? Many of the same things could be (and have been) said about The Punch Escrow; many who read the synopsis instantly accuse it of being derivative of everything from The Prestige to Think Like A Dinosaur, and so a director who has experience in both turning a dire synopsis into a lighthearted, funny story full of childlike wonder, and ensuring that said story is so obviously different that no one could accuse it of being derivative of anything — those two capabilities are essential to the successful adaptation of my book (IMO of course). Here’s me with James. I may have had a post-gig martini or two at this point. Yes, this definitely looks like my "two martini face":

The other factor to consider here is James’ amazing work on The Muppets reboot. Not only did he produce a uniquely original take on The Muppets, but his work on that film largely involved working with sentient puppets. Those of you who have read The Punch Escrow will understand the value of that skill when adapting a world full of sentient cars, rooms, and robots.

But, again, none of this will matter if the book option doesn’t get exercised, and to do that, we need reviews!

Since many of you are still reading, I’m holding off the special early backer-only surprise I’ve prepared for you as a reward for surpassing 5,000 sales (we’re just north of 7,500 now!). because it contains spoilers. But I’ll tell you what it is: I’m going to give you a chapter that’s been cut out of the book! An entire chapter! You’re getting the "author’s cut" of The Punch Escrow with this as its special feature. This will be delivered to you lot when we hit 101 reviews! So...

Ta ta for now, and thank you for all your amazing and gracious support,



So, around 92% of you want the slightly delayed autographed book, and that is what you shall get. On July 24th I will enter Inkshares’ office with a bunch of special pens and not leave until every pre-ordered signed book is numbered and autographed. For the few of you who wanted your books early but unautographed, I’ve discussed the matter with Inkshares and they asked that you simply pop them an email at: hello@inkshares.com and let them know that you pre-ordered a signed copy of The Punch Escrow, but you’d rather get an unsigned copy sooner.

More news soon! We’re almost at the finish line. We’ve crossed the 4,000 pre-orders threshold. Tell you what, if we break 5,000 by July 24, I’ll add something extra for all of you early backers.

More soon!


This is a short but very important update, so please take a moment to read it:

Because of some complications owing to particulars involving the unique glue required to bind the amazing foil cover we’ve designed for The Punch Escrow, I won’t be able to sign the books in time to get them to you before the July 25 publication date. So, I need to know if you guys would rather have the books early and unautographed or slightly late and autographed. By "slightly late" I mean I’ll be signing them on July 24th and Inkshares will ship them out that day, so you’ll still get your book on publication week, just not on publication day. But it’s up to you. And by "you" I mean the collective "yous." We’re going to make this democratic with a survey. You can fill out the survey here, and whatever the majority decides 24 hours from now will be the way we do things for everyone who pre-ordered the autographed books.

Here’s the surveyhttps://www.surveymonkey.de/r/ZBBDCQF

More news soon!


The Punch Escrow is hitting bookstores on July 25 — less than 2 months from today. I wanted to give you guys an update on where things stand based on the increasing number of inbound questions:

- Book Tour: We have one. I hope one of our stops is in your town. You can check out the list of places and dates here: https://www.facebook.com/thepunchescrow/posts/1951228528444487:0 (if you haven’t already, please give The Punch Escrow a "Like" on FB when you’re there)

- Cover Design: It’s done and I will share the full cover as soon as we approve the proofs from the printer. It’s lovely and iconic. I couldn’t be happier! This book will be a lot of fun to hold. We’ve been very picky about materials and inks.

- Pre-sales: Some of you may have gotten an email stating that you’ve "backed a winner!" - yes, I’m super thrilled we’re moving a lot of pre-order units. I’m very happy the book is picking up steam. I don’t know what else to say about that other than: THANK YOU! and maybe also WOOHOO!

- The movie: I can’t really say anything about the movie other than tell you that Lionsgate didn’t only option the book, they optioned The Punch Escrow’s entire world or, as I like to call it, "The Future." What this means is that if things go well, there will be many other stories to come through various mediums, not just film. I continue to have very productive meetings with the creative team at Lionsgate, and I believe "The Future" is in very good hands.

- Blurbs: Here are all the amazing blurbs we’ve gotten for the book so far. The reviews are also starting to come in to the book’s Goodreads page from advance readers and reviewers:

“I read a lot of books but haven’t enjoyed one as much as The Punch Escrow in a long time. I picked it up for a cross-country flight and didn’t put it down until we landed in New York. Tal Klein creates a plausibly real future that sucks you in. He powers his story with action, twists, and a dash of humor. Young actors will be lining up to play the lead character, and any director worth his salt would kill (or at least teleport) for a chance to adapt The Punch Escrow.”  —Andy Lewis, Book Editor, The Hollywood Reporter

“A compelling, approachable human narrative wrapped around a classic hard sci-fi nugget, The Punch Escrow dives into deep philosophical territory—the ethical limits of technology, and what it means to be human. Cinematically paced yet filled with smart asides, Klein pulls off the slick trick of giving readers plenty to think about in a suspenseful, entertaining package.” —Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica

“An alt-futuristic hard-science thriller with twists and turns you’ll never see coming. I couldn’t put it down.” —Felicia Day, author of You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

“Klein transports us to a beautifully rendered near-future world. This is refreshingly original and immersive hard sci-fi. You’ll turn the last page and yearn for Joel Byram’s next chapter.”  —Ben Brock Johnson, host of Codebreaker podcast and Marketplace Tech

“A headlong ride through a future where ‘huge international corporate conspiracy’ is a box you check on a form and teleportation takes you anywhere—it just blows you to bits first.” —Quentin Hardy, Head of Editorial, Google Cloud (formerly Deputy Tech Editor for The New York Times)

"The Punch Escrow has a cool high concept and an action-packed story that will leave your head spinning." —Daniel H. Wilson, The New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse and Clockwork Dynasty

“If I lived in the world of The Punch Escrow, I’d teleport around the world shoving copies of Tal M. Klein’s thrilling, hilarious, and whip-smart debut into everyone’s hands. Save me the trip—buy this novel now.” —Duane Swierczynski, author of Revolver and the bestselling Level 26 series

“A fast-paced near-future sci-fi adventure peppered with exotic technology and cultural references ranging from Karma Chameleon to the Ship of Theseus, The Punch Escrow will have you rooting for its plucky, sarcastic hero as he bounces between religious fanatics, secret agents, corporate hacks, and megalomaniacs in a quest to get his life back. If you’ve ever wanted to get Scotty drunk and ask him some tough questions about how those transporters work exactly, The Punch Escrow is the book for you.” —Robert Kroese, author of The Big Sheep and its sequel, The Last Iota

“This book angered me to my core, because it’s based on an idea that should have occurred to me. The fact that Tal executed it so well, and made such a page-turner out of it, just adds insult to injury.” —Scott Meyer, author of the Magic 2.0 series

“Some writers take us to the future so we can question the effects that technology can have on humanity on a global and personal scale, along with the impact upon the social fabric. Others do it to take us on a wild ride made all the more fantastic by pushing the boundaries of what we can expect from the world of tomorrow. Tal M. Klein masterfully balances both and sets it all to the beat of an 80s soundtrack. An excellent piece of contemporary science fiction.” —J-F. Dubeau, author of A God in the Shed and The Life Engineered

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