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    Mike, as an author who has often revised his previously published works for later editions do you mind which version is eventually 'handed down' to the reading public in years to come. Presumably the versions you publish now with all the Multiverse references are the ones you prefer.

    I bring this up because as I'm sure you know George Lucas is issuing the first three Star Wars films and his early effort THX 1138 on DVD and has tinkered with all of them, updating the special effects and so on. What has enraged many purists is that the originals aren't being included, so future viewers won't see what the original viewers saw. I'm not a great fan of Star Wars (I do quite like THX) but I don't agree with this.

    Books are different I suppose, just words on the printed page after all and the basic format doesn't change, so readers who want to pick up earlier editions can do so, but if you had the chance to 'erase' the earlier versions of your work as Lucas is doing, would you take it? Would you prefer the originals to be available as well? Does it matter to you personally which versions people read?

    Just wondered... :?
    'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

    Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

  • #2
    I know you are asking Michael, but I would offer that I am always a big fan of seeing WHAT the author felt was important enough to change. Stephen King reissued an expanded version of The Stand several years ago, and thought it interesting to see what he felt he needed to add.

    I think for perceptive fans, it can tell a lot about a artists' choices and what the artist perceived/perceives as limitations in the form, the work, or the presentation.

    Comment


    • #3
      Absolutely. Sometimes an author prefers not to reissue earlier work without improving it. Dean Koontz has done this with a number of his early books, but I think it allows readers to see how an author has matured. For example the Sojan stories may be very early, minor Moorcock but they allow us to see the young author at work.

      It would also be interesting to know what an author has to change (if anything) to get something published. I think City In The Autumn Stars had to undergo a substantial rewrite before a publisher would take it on.
      'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

      Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

      Comment


      • #4
        I wonder about Lucas sometimes. He also seems bent on 'forgetting' all his influences (I've argued that Star Wars are almost ALL influences) and bringing in posher influences (out goes Amazing SF, in comes Homer) which is plainly nonsensical.
        Nope. I'm a great believer in offering the reader choice and if I've revised heavily (as I did The Steel Tsar, by adding new material) then I'll let the reader know it and respect the reader's preferences. The Jerry Cornelius stories, for instance, were devised so that the reader could actually determine what kind of story they were reading, because I happen to believe that audiences are often smarter than the stuff they see/read/hear.
        Bill's right. It does offer an insight into the writer's mind.
        Lucas might find some of his early stuff embarrassing or crude (as far as effects are concerned) but I'd prefer to be offered both versions (as they've recently done with The Big Sleep by Hawks, for instance, where both versions are offered in the same DVD set). It offers a whole new
        perspective, to me at least, to know that the chemistry between Bogart and Bacall hadn't been discovered when the movie was first shot, so they went back and added some sexier scenes, as well as removing bits of plot to keep the length more or less the same. Both good versions, as it happens. I'm not sure what the motive is to cover one's tracks, as it were. If that's what it is.

        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

        Comment


        • #5
          Sorry, forgot to add that City in the Autumn Stars wasn't actually rejected by the publisher but I realised it had become more of a philosophical ramble than the editor wanted. It was supposed to be a fantasy novel, not a treatise on alchemy and so forth, so I trimmed it accordingly. I could easily, I'm sure, have taken it to a different publisher and had it published as I wished. There's talk, even now, of
          redoing it in the full version. I felt, however, that it would be selling the reader something other than what they thought they were buying, and I don't like to do that. With Gloriana, publishing both versions emphasises my moral position but respects all the readers who begged me to put the old ending back because they believed it had more integrity. Of course, my original reason for changing the ending was because some readers had objected! In the end it was best (just like the Hawks movie) to offer both versions. I would never, however, change a book just because the publisher decided they didn't like it. The original US publisher of The Steel Tsar, for instance, didn't think the book was up to the first two, but I wasn't at the time in a position to look at it again, though I agreed with him it wasn't up to the two previous ones -- so I suggested he pay a bit less for it. He agreed and we had a deal. The first chance I got later, I revised it, I hope for the better. However, I've dug my heels in completely when changes have been suggested on something I don't believe to be inferior work and have pulled other books from publishers if they make changes without telling me or publish the book in a way I don't like (I did this with Penguin and the Jerry Cornelius stories, for instance, which is why they only did one).
          I do prefer the omnibus editions and those will remain pretty much unchanged now, unless someone discovers a howler I've made in the continuity! However, I have a fondness for certain older editions and wouldn't disagree with a reader who prefers them. The reader, in the end, is the customer.
          For slightly different reasons I've never seriously rewritten the earlier Elric books, because I suspect they have a vitality I could easily remove if I tinkered with them too much. That's why I had no objection at all to the Fantasy Masterworks series doing the original two Elric books as they first appeared. They also did the original Conan stories in the same way, which I happen to think is a great improvement on later revisions and 'collaborations'.

          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
          The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
          Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
          The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
          Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
            That's why I had no objection at all to the Fantasy Masterworks series doing the original two Elric books as they first appeared. They also did the original Conan stories in the same way, which I happen to think is a great improvement on later revisions and 'collaborations'.
            Mike, are you suggesting here that the FM edition uses the original text as the stories appeared in "Science Fantasy"?
            I always thought that they used the 1993 Millennium/Orion revisions?
            Could you confirm this, please, because if the former is true, I think I'm going to have to go shopping...
            "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl f'tagn"

            Comment

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