I don’t know what got me thinking about this todayperhaps it was the Yahoo headline Still No Sign of Fifth Harry Potter Book—but I went looking, and found the first hint I’ve seen about the release of Neal Stephenson’s next book, Quicksilver. Apparently it’s expanded to three books, the first of which will arrive at the end of July next year. (The other two are scheduled to appear at six-month intervals after that.)

It could still slip, of course, but the transformation into three novels rings true: shortly after the release of Cryptonomicon, Stephenson talked about his next book and said it was nearly finished, but that there would actually be several books in the loosely coupled series begun with Cryptonomicon. Since then, however, he’s been saying stuff like “ I have this book I want to finish, and I’m a long way from finishing it.” It’s been clear for a while that there was some sort of major change in direction for Quicksilver, so maybe this explains something of what happened.