NEXT MONTH Random House will start shipping 750,000 copies of James Michener's mammoth new novel Texas. The 1,024-page saga, which traces 450 years and almost as many bloodlines, is only one of several titles by "big name" authors that will be published this fall and winter. On them, bookstores everywhere pin their economic hopes.
To sell books, you need proven best-selling suthors, and this fall's publishing season will see works by Joyce Carol Oates, Kurt Vonnegut, Anthony Burgess, Danielle Steel, Joseph Heller, E.L. Doctorow, Tracy Kidder and Carl Sagan, among others. It's also a season of sequels as Jean Auel, Len Deighton, Howard Fast and Anne Rice continue stories that have already sunk hooks into readers. Meanwhile business books are pouring out of publishing houses which obviously hope that the success of In Search of Excellence will somehow rub off on look-alikes. There's also plenty for Hollywood buffs, some heavyweight history and public policy books (leavened by Geraldine Ferraro's autobiography), and a generous dollop of literary fiction, much of it from abroad.
Tie-ins are always popular. This season's most dramatic one will be between a lavish science book by Carl Sagan and Mother Nature herself. Sagan's Comet, coauthored with Ann Druyan and coming from Random House in late November, will coincide with the appearance of Halley's Comet, an event Earthlings haven't witnessed since 1910. Sellers and Sequels
SPEAKING OF SAGAN, his fans will have a chance to judge him as a novelist as well as a science writer this fall, when his first novel, Contact, arrives in October from Simon and Schuster. The story looks at the possibility of life in other galaxies.
The future is the purview also of Kurt Vonnegut's new novel Galapagos (Delacorte, Oct.), set 1 million years from now among the last human survivors of a destroyed earth. Looking to the past is E.L. Doctorow's World's Fair (Random House, Nov.), about a boy in New York during the '30s, while Anthony Burgess' The Kingdom of the Wicked (Arbor House, Oct.) begins with the crucifixion of Jesus and ends with the destruction of Pompeii. Thoroughly modern are Joyce Carol Oates' Marya: A Life (Dutton, Jan.), described as a "Portrait of a modern woman in search of self-understanding and fulfillment," and Danielle Steel's novel Secrets (Delacorte, Nov.), about the making of a prime-time television series.
Joseph Heller's entry in the winter lists is nonfiction. No Laughing Matter (Putnam, Jan. or Feb.), written with his friend Speed Vogel, is about Heller's bout with Guillain- Barr,e syndrome, a form of paralysis that attacks without warning. Heller has now recovered, but the road back to good health was a rocky one.
Tracy Kidder has left computers behind and turned his sights to carpentry in House (Houghton Mifflin, Oct.), the story of the construction of a young couple's home in New England.
For the sequel addicts, Jean Auel brings news of Ayla, the heroine of her Earth's Children series. In The Mammoth Hunters (Crown, Dec.), Ayla picks a mate. With London Match (Knopf, Jan.), Len Deighton concludes the espionage series begun with Berlin Game and Mexico Set. Howard Fast finishes the Lavette family saga with The Immigrant's Daughter (Houghton Mifflin, Sept.), and -- attention vampire lovers! -- Anne Rice lets fly with The Vampire Lestat, (Knopf, Oct.) a follow-up to her Interview with a Vampire. Affairs of State
WASHINGTON continues to inspire serious, and not-so-serious, books. This fall Art Buchwald unleashes his 21st humor book, You Can Fool All of the People All of the Time (Putnam, Oct.), which pokes fun at the Reagan White House. Bill Adler showers that residence with hearts and flowers in Ronnie and Nancy: A Love Story (Crown, Oct.).
Geraldine Ferraro, with Linda Bird Francke, gives us her version of the 1984 election in Ferraro: My Story (Bantam, Oct.), while former EPA chief Anne Burford, with John Greenya, has written an account of life inside the Reagan administration, called Are You Tough Enough? (McGraw Hill, Nov.). Former interior secretary James Watt treats various issues, many of them religious, in his Courage of a Conservative (Simon and Schuster, Oct.).
Far from the Potomac, Colorado Democratic governor Richard D. Lamm has been busy scribbling away at three, yes three, books -- a novel and two works of nonfiction. The novel, written with aide Arnold Grossman, is called 1988, (St. Martin's, Oct.) and it's about -- guess what? -- a presidential election. His nonfiction books are Megatraumas: America at the Year 2000 (Houghton Mifflin, Oct.), which attempts to project the consequences of today's social and economic problems, and, with Gary Imhoff, The Immigration Time Bomb: The Fragmenting of America (Dutton, Oct.).
One Westerner who came to Washington was the late senator from Idaho, Frank Church, the subject of his son F. Forrester Church's biography called, not surprisingly, Father and Son (Harper and Row, Nov.). Church's book is only one of several memoirs by the children of famous fathers. My Father, His Daughter, by Yael Dayan, daughter of Moshe, comes in October from Farrar Straus and Giroux, followed by My Father and I (Macmillan, Nov.), by Camelia Sadat, Anwar's daughter.
Perhaps no one wrote about affairs of state so well as Walter Lippmann. For those who miss his incisive approach to Washington and the world, Ticknor and Fields will bring out Public Philosopher in November, a selection of his letters.
Plenty of books seek to draw our attention to current problems. On the subject of South Africa alone, there are Winnie Mandela's A Piece of My Soul Went With Him (Norton, Nov.), by the wife of the imprisoned leader of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela; Yale historian Leonard Thompson's The Political Mythology of Apartheid (Yale University Press, Oct.), and former New York Times correspondent Joseph Lelyveld's angry portrait of the country he covered, Move Your Shadow (Times Books, Nov.). Central America, another foreign hotspot, is the subject of Washington Post correspondent Christopher Dickey's Suicida: Nicaragua, the United States, and the Secret War (Simon and Schuster, Nov.), as well as The Contras: Interviews with Anti-Sandinistas, by Dieter Eich and Carlos Rinc,on (Synthesis Press, Oct.). High Finance
FOREIGN AFFAIRS and domestic policy intersect in international business and trade. MIT economist Lester Thurow takes on America's export-import problems in World Class (Simon and Schuster, Nov.). Making American companies more efficient is the subject of several books, notably John Naisbitt's Reinventing the Corporation (Warner, Sept.), Donald K. Slifford Jr. and Richard E. Cavanaugh's The Winning Performance: How America's Midsized High Growth Companies Succeed (Bantam, Nov. ) and Game Plans: Sports Strategies for Business by Robert Keidel (Dutton, Sept.). Just to make sure everyone behaves well in the boardroom, there's Letitia Baldrige's Complete Guide to Executive Manners (Rawson Associates, Oct.).
In addition, there is Ken Auletta's dramatic story about the troubled investment firm of Lehman Brothers, Greed and Glory on Wall Street (Random House, Jan.). Another business where things went wrong was A.H. Robins Co. Its involvment in the Dalkon shield scandal, is the subject of three books: Lord's Justice, by Sheldon Engelmayer and Robert Wagman (Doubleday, Oct.) about the legal questions which grew out of the medical problems caused by the IUD device, Nightmare: Women and the Dalkon Shield, by Susan Perry and Jim Dawson (Macmillan, Oct.) and At Any Cost: Corporate Greed, Women and the Dalkon Shield, by Washington Post reporter Morton Mintz (Pantheon, Nov.). Discriminating Tastes
WHAT does the fall's fiction look like? It looks like a good season for imports -- perhaps there's a literary imbalance of trade, too. England will export Doris Lessing's The Good Terrorist (Knopf, Sept.), which examines how a well-intentioned, anti-establishment group of vagabonds find themselves involved with explosives; Anita Brookner's Family and Friends (Sept., Pantheon), about a European family transplanted to London during World War II, and the indefatigable Iris Murdoch's The Good Apprentice (Viking, Jan.), her 22nd novel, which concerns the intertwined careers of two brothers. And Canada sends Robertson Davies' What's Bred in the Bone (Viking/Elisabeth Sifton, Oct.), the story of a farm boy who wants to take his place on the world's stage.
There's a healthy sampling of El Boom books -- what wags call the South American literary phenomenon. Mario Vargas Llosa has a new novel, The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta (FSG, Nov.), and so does Carlos Fuentes, whose The Old Gringo (FSG, Nov.) is a fictional account of Ambrose Bierce in Mexico. Eduardo Galeano, a Uruguayan writer, will publish Memory of Fire, about the making of a revolutionary (Pantheon, Oct.). Sixty-two previously unpublished pieces by the late Julio Cortazar will be published in Around the Day in Eighty Worlds (North Point Press, Jan.).
On the domestic side, John Calvin Batchelor's American Falls (Norton, Sept.), is a spy tale of the Civil War. Robert Heinlein's The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (Putnam,Nov.), is a comic look at the future. Another sf writer, Ray Bradbury, in his first novel since Fahrenheit 451, tries his hand at a new genre, the detective story, with Death is a Lonely Business (Knopf Oct.). Tim O'Brien's The Nuclear Age (Knopf, Oct.) is a comic novel about the terror we all live with -- the Bomb. And May Sarton's admirers will have a new novel to savor, The Magnificent Spinster (Norton, Sept.)
Several promising poetry books are on the way -- The Harvard Book of Contemporary American Poetry, edited by Helen Vendler (Harvard, Oct.), The Selected Poems of John Ashbery, (Viking, Dec.), The Past, by Galway Kinnell (HM, Nov.), and The Collected Poems of Derek Walcott (FSG Jan.). Lives and History
AUTHORS never seem to tire of picking the bones of Pearl Harbor, or describing the players in the great drama that followed. This fall will see the publication of Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History, by the late Gordon W. Prange, with Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon (McGraw Hill, Dec.) and "And I Was There": The Secret Story of Naval Intelligence From Pearl Harbor to Tokyo, by Adm. Edwin T. Layton with Roger Pineau and John Costello (Morrow, Dec.). David Eisenhower writes about his illustrious grandfather in Eisenhower at War, 1943-1945 (Random House, Jan.). There are two books on Franklin Roosevelt -- FDR: The New York Years by Kenneth Davis (Morrow, Oct.) and FDR: A Biography by Ted Morgan (S&S, Oct.). Winston Churchill is described close-up in The Fringes of Power, by his private secretary, Sir John Colville (Norton, Oct.). The life of that intrepid carrier admiral, Bull Halsey is told by Nimitz's biographer, E.B. Potter (Naval Institute Press, Oct.). Robert Capa, who photographed so much of World War II and later conflicts, is the subject of twin volumes coming from Knopf in September, a biography by Richard Whelan and a collection of his pictures edited by Whelan and Cornell Capa.
Other lives being scrutinized this season are: Henry James, a one-volume abridgment the award-winning biography by Leon Edel (Harper & Row, Nov.), James Jones by Frank MacShane in Into Eternity (HM, Nov.) and Alexander Pope by Maynard Mack (Norton, Sept.).
Arthur Inman, a wealthy recluse from Atlanta who settled in Boston and lived there until his suicide in 1963, was a very strange man. He kept an intricate and convoluted diary of his passions and prejudices which literary scholar Daniel Aaron has spent years editing. The Inman Diary: A Public and Private Confession (Harvard University Press) will be published next month with much fanfare. Stars of Sport and Screen
THE NEW SEASON will produce its share of star books, although that designation no longer applies just to books about actors because, as everyone knows, athletes are stars, too. This fall, Olympic gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Ret ton and her coach Bela Karolyi with John Powers tell how she prepared for the winning vault in Mary Lou (McGraw -Hill, Sept.). It was probably one of the 84 Olympics' most dramatic moments. For the story behind all the moments of the Los Angeles Games, Peter Ueberroth's Made in America, (Morrow, Nov.) promises much. In case you've forgotten, Ueberroth, now baseball commissioner, was the U.S. producer of the games. In The Open Net (Norton, Jan.), George Plimpton joins the training camp of the Boston Bruins ice hockey team.
Books by and about stars of the stage and screen will pour forth in a veritable milky way. The most off-beat is surely Shirley MacDancing in the Light (Bantam, Oct.), a follow-up to her popular Out on a Limb in which MacLaine continues her exploration of reincarnation and the possibilites of trance-like states.
Nancy Sinatra has written a memoir about Ol' Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra: My Father (Doubleday, Nov.), and Jane Russell has turned autobiographer in My Path and My Detours (Franklin Watts, Sept.). Film buffs have a banner year with biographies of Ethel Merman -- Bob Thomas' I Got Rhythm! (Putnam, Nov.); Marlene Dietrich -- Donald Spoto's Falling in Love Again (Little-Brown, Oct.); Barbra Streisand -- Shaun Considine's The Woman, the Myth, the Music (Delacorte, Nov.).
In this publishing season there seems to be something for everyone, which should please readers and booksellers alike.