Thursday, August 7, 2008

Unscheduled extra

I'm going to chat with Art and perhaps a few others on the idea, but I'm also curious as to the general tide out there:

Somebody asked which ending of Podkayne of Mars we intended to use. Of those of you that know the difference between the published and original ending, which do you prefer? (I'm intentionally not mentioning my thoughts or Heinlein's written thoughts on the matter, this is just to query the pool, as it were.)

11 comments:

Francesco said...

I love both, but I guess I'm inclined to love the "original" (published) better. I think that you should publish both endings, though!

karlwm said...

Publish Heinlein's original ending. We're not in the 60's any more.

Dan said...

I prefer both, but if you have to choose, I'd rather see the original. Thanks for asking.

Michael said...

I agree with francesco, both endings should be included in the book, much as Baen did in their 1993 edition. I like both, the Putnam version, as that is what I first read, and remember fondly, and the Heinlein original written version, as printed in "Grumbles From The Grave".

Zarf said...

I strongly prefer the original ending, vice the changes forced upon him during the editorial process.

And I very strongly agree with francesco and michael that the Virginia Edition, which will be the definitive printed edition for years to come, should include both versions.

JJGarsch said...

The whole idea of an "edition" is that someone makes a well-reasoned, defensible set of choices to present a given text in one particular way. (Of course, in an archival set such as this, there should be an endnote to explain the alternatives and to justify the decisions that were made in preparing a given volume.)

To put it another way: If both endings of Podkayne were to appear in the same volume, what would be the justification for not including in the VE both versions of "If This Goes On-," Stranger in a Strange Land, The Puppet Masters, Methuselah's Children, etc.? Choices have to be made, folks - that's what an edition is all about.

Irish said...

Both. Something like the Baen edition is most appropriate.

A'dam'mkent said...

I would prefer to have the option of reading the book the way that Heinlein originally wrote it or intended it to be. That applies to both Podkayne and Stranger in a Strange Land.

Zarf said...

JJGarsch said... "Choices have to be made, folks - that's what an edition is all about."

While I don't necessarily agree (as stated in my previous comment), I understand your point of view. If I had to choose between the endings, I'd definitely chose the one that RAH originally intended, vice the one imposed upon his work by outside forces.

Michael said...

As I recall the original advertising info on the VE, it was stated that The VE edition was going to use the most recent published versions of the books that RAH had had a hand in approving. If that is so, it implies that his original version would be preferred. I can live with that, but as the "Podkayne.." changes amount to only a couple of pages, I would prefer to have both endings included. As for the other books, such as "Stranger..", stick with the original intentions stated, use the most recent version approved by RAH.

Michael

JJGarsch said...

Michael: The statement you refer to, on an early version of the Trust's Virginia Edition site, was "To ensure each volume is a close to Heinlein’s intent as possible, the text will be taken from the last volume in whiche Heinlein had a hand in the preparation of the test for printing" (all errors [sic]). One could argue that this refers to the hardcover first editions of his novels and story collections; it would be hard to argue that he didn't "approve" those versions.

This viewpoint would naturally discount his widow's choice in 1989-90 to publish the "original" ending of Podkayne (in Grumbles from the Grave) and to publish the early, longer versions of The Puppet Masters and Stranger in a Strange Land. We cannot know whether RAH felt, or would have felt, the same need that Virginia evidently did to publish these texts. What we do know is that in the case of the two novels, RAH very carefully shortened the texts by tens of thousands of words to meet the publishers' desired length. Moreover, the results speak for themselves - just compare the first paragraphs of the two versions of Puppet Masters (immediately involving versus immediately discursive), or try to find any plot element in Stranger that went missing between versions.

Nonetheless I expect the versions Virginia had published to prevail - the set is named for her and was apparently her idea.

Keep in mind also that the online Archives has longer, earlier, never-published versions of novels such as Citizen of the Galaxy that would be of interest to some VE subscribers.