Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Matadors


I've gone through the first couple of eManuscripts for the Matador series and put back the italics that had been stripped out. Even though that was all I was going to do, just check the hardcopy for those and fix 'em, I fell into the Reading Trap ...


Back before computers and spellcheckers and instant online dictionaries, I used to have a spelling book on my desk. Just lists of words, no definitions. I have an unabridged dictionary in three volumes in the bookcase next to my desk and I could have used that, but any time I pick up a dictionary to check spelling, I always get hung up in the sucker. Too much interesting information that tugs at me: Oh, wow, who knew that's where that word came from? And the sixth definition? I never knew that. And wait, just down the page, that word? Cool! Let me go check out that reference ...


Looking up the spelling of a word could result in a twenty-minute detour that I knew was better spent writing, so I got the speller.


Something similar happens when I read books that I wrote a while back.


Even using the global search in my WP to find a phrase that needed to be italicized didn't save me from the Trap. I would go there, and even as I highlighted and changed the font, a sentence below would snag my attention. Hmm ...


Next thing I knew, I was reading along, nodding. Yeah, yeah, that's not bad ...


Whoa. Stop it, Steve. Get back to work!


Too late ...


But here's the interesting part. These books–at least the first couple–have aged pretty well. Better than I expected.


I was on a panel with Ursula LeGuin once, and somebody asked the panelists if we look back at our old work in horror at how bad it was. Actually, she said, I'm usually surprised at how good it is.


Me, too. 


Not that we aren't better writers in a lot of ways, just that we maybe weren't as bad as we thought. 


Some of the technology in the Matadors that was so cutting-edge (I thought) when I first wrote it twenty-five years ago has been overtaken. But the story, the characters, they still seem to work. And the writing is, frankly, much better than I expected it would be. It actually holds up okay, especially for a guilty pleasure ...


Just a note from the revision battlefield. 


The Matadors are coming back to do their thing on your Kindle, iPad, computer, and even cell phone. Stay tuned.



8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I completely agree - I've had to buy new copies because the spines have worn on the originals. I'd often wondered how the original author feels when re-reading their work. If the mind is, "Oh, this again." or if it comes across as fresh and entertaining.

Thanks for the post

Anon E. Mouse

Brad said...

One reason I re-read them every year is they still seem as fresh as the first time. Never dated, the dialog still sounds new each time.

Joe said...

I'm a Luddite by nature so I've resisted my families call to please buy a Kindle - so they can get rid of all my books. With the Matador series being relesed in this format I'm going to cave - my old copies are wearing out and finding decent new ones is getting harder.

Thanks for re-releasing in this format.

Joe

David Packer said...

Great timing on two fronts.

My carefully hunted down, complete collection of matador books has apparently been lent one time to many. And MAN are those hard to find in the used book shops. I will eventually get the whole collection again, to take it's pride of place next to my complete Tim Powers collection. Someday...

Secondly, just finally got an actual new phone...an HTC Evo 3D, with the actual 3D camera and everything! And it includes all the cool new reader software. I had no idea new phones were so insanely cool. So, obviously a sci-fi phone needs premier sci-fi on it...

Josh K. said...

:-)

William Adams said...

Does this mean that we should make an effort to send you all the typos which we have found?

Steve Perry said...

I appreciate the thought, Wm., but probably it won't help much if you are talking about the original treeware. We have e-files and, in theory, should catch errosr in the spellcheck process.

If you are talking about the ebooks, which should be available early next month, sure, any you spot let us know, we can fix those.

Kris said...

As far as the Matador series goes (and many of the others), I have backups of my backups, but always welcome still more backups, in digital format. A fire may, some day, wipe out my library, but best of luck to it getting to the USB drive, stored elsewhere. And, yes, the Matador series has aged better than any other Sci-Fi that I own, as classics tend to do.