Tuesday, October 12, 2010


As a fan of SF/fantasy author Stephen R. Donaldson, I've been waiting impatiently for the arrival of the third installment in his Thomas Covenant tetralogy, Against All Things Ending. The hardcover edition will be out in mere days, but I'm waiting for the paperback edition. Two reasons: first, the paperback will be cheaper; second, as I discovered while reading Donaldson's gradual interview, mistakes found in the hardback edition are normally corrected before the paperback is printed. (I recall JK Rowling being mortified when diehard fans pointed out story inconsistencies in her books; she, too, assured her readers that the mistakes would be corrected in subsequent print runs.)

A bit like George Lucas, many authors can't seem to leave their works well enough alone: they go back and tweak them, or even offer their own "director's cut" version of the work years after the original version has established itself in the public consciousness (see, for example, Stephen King's extended version of The Stand, which in my opinion wasn't improved by the extra verbiage). This is a reminder that books are living things: they grow and change.

But before they can grow and change, first they must appear. So I await the paperback version of Against All Things Ending with great anticipation. With the hardback coming out so soon, it promises to be a long year.



John said...

I'm a big fan of The Stand. Fact is, King wrote the long version as the original but I understand he was required to edit "down" prior to the initial publication. I thought the long version added some good context/background and I enjoyed some of the additional characters as well.

Anyway, I think reading it as it was the author originally intended is always a plus.

Kevin Kim said...

Right-- King's "director's cut" was a response to the novel's having been trimmed when it was originally published. I didn't enjoy the way the "new" (which is to say, "old") version of The Stand completely overturned the ending of the shorter version. With King's original ending back in place, The Stand ended up feeling too much like Needful Things to me. Instead of good triumphing over evil, evil merely suffers a temporary setback.

John from Daejeon said...

If you can't wait, there is such a thing as the public library. Even now, it astounds me that people throw away good money when people can borrow most of these same books from the library. I especially loved it when I lived in Houston, and I could request a book from the far-flung reaches of the extensive Harris County Library System.

Kevin Kim said...

Well, as I said, the paperback version will be a better, more up-to-date version of the manuscript, so I'd have to wait for it regardless. And while I have nothing against libraries, I'm a bibliophile, which means I'd rather buy than borrow. (It also means I'm not a big fan of e-books.)