By Mark W. Danielson
Having two out-of-print books from a defunct publisher and another publisher willing to put them on Kindle, it seemed like a good time to re-read them before sending them on. The only problem is I couldn’t find either of the final manuscript drafts. Bear in mind that these books were saved on floppy drives, and yes, I still have one computer that reads them. Then again, I also have a working 8-track stereo in the garage. (You young kids should look up “8-track player” on the Internet.) And even though I kept several floppy discs in my safe deposit box, the manuscripts I was looking for weren’t on any of them. Go figure.
So this meant I had to work from the closest versions I had. Danger Within was pretty close. The Innocent Never Knew, not as much, so it will take much longer to complete. Over a decade has slipped by since I read Danger Within, and I was pleased it is still a fast-moving and topical story that gets my heart pumping. But let’s face it, since no one huddles in phone booths or makes collect calls anymore, why not update it while checking for typos? Am I concerned about having different versions when they are e-published next year? Not in the least because e-book fans are a new audience.
My first e-publishing experience was with Diablo’s Shadow, released a month or so ago to readers preferring e-books over bound versions. But releasing out-of-print books, particularly updated versions, is a whole different animal. If the e-book versions generate new interest, then I’m happy. Whether or not they sell is a moot point because the process of recreating them was fun.
Michael Crichton once said he never re-read his work, but one day he got bored. After reading The Andromeda Strain, he remarked, “That’s pretty good.” I’m happy to say I feel the same about Danger Within, and hope to have the same feeling when I tackle The Innocent Never Knew. After all, shouldn’t good books be timeless?