Houston, we have a title. What was once Smite the Waters is now Shock and Awe.
There were some close contenders. David Thayer casually tossed out Carla's War, and that came near to ending up on the cover.
Equally casually, Pamela Blake handed over Patriot Acts, and that one would probably be the title now were it not for the fact that Greg Rucka has a book of that title coming out in August. Grrr. (She also proposed Unveiled Threat, which was quite clever in terms of the storyline, but oblique.)
Shock and Awe was contributed by MNW editor Will Atkins (along with a few other possibilities), and survived through the massive winnowing process.
And where was I in all of this? Pretty much on the sidelines, as it turns out. I came up with a few possible titles, none of which I loved (my heart still belonged to Smite). Some seemed passable to me, but as it turns out I tend to prefer titles that are allusive and noncontemporary. In other words, titles that have gravity but lack specificity.
In the end, it came down to Shock and Awe versus Carla's War. Both were apparently popular enough around Macmillan. I leaned slightly toward Carla's War because of the touch of incongruity, but came round to Will's belief that Shock and Awe not only underlines the connection with the War on Terror, but also has, at this point, a nice ironic feel to it.
In fact, words connected with the War on Anything tend to acquire an ironic feel rather quickly, cf. "War on Poverty" and "War on Drugs." (Sure am glad we don't have poor people or drugs anymore. )
If you're bored, you might want to check out the "Lulu Title Scorer" Charles Lambert steered me to:
I have serious doubts about the validity of the results, but it's a nice way to waste some time.
In any case, the baby now has a name, and I can go out in public again. I hope to be able to put up the jacket on this site some day soon.