In less than two weeks, I’ll be releasing the new edition of The
Shipwright and Other Stories with the cover designed by Zhivko Zhelev.
In my new afterward for Schrödinger’s City, I described that novel as
“liminal,” meaning that, even though it was written in 2015, I find
aspects of my post-2017 writing in it.
A similar case can be made for the Shipwright collection. I wrote The
Shipwright in 2015, shortly after finishing Schrödinger’s City. Most
of the other stories followed in short order. Persistence, Vision,
Focus, Simple Reason, The Measure, and Something Novel were
written either late in 2015 or early in 2016. The sole story written
after the 2016 election (my dividing line for when my first phase of
writing became my second) was Rite of Courage, which I wrote in 2019
in the run up to Shipwright’s first publication.
The Shipwright hit me out of nowhere. Usually I have an idea that I
let simmer for a while in the back of my mind, only starting in on the
writing when the idea is good and ready. The Shipwright began on a
whim. I was attending a writing group one weekend (one of the good
ones), and I found myself drawing a map instead of writing. I remember
having the thought that, “Ursula K Le Guin has an awesome archipelago
fantasy world; I want an awesome archipelago fantasy world.” And so I
created one. But it needed to be mine, and no a clone of Le Guin’s.
The decision to model my world on fifth century BC Greece is an
interesting one. It may be tempting for some future bibliographer to
glean an influence of Plato, Aristotle, etc. on The Shipwright and
Other Stories, but I want it known that my reading of the ancient
philosophers and playwrights came in 2017, a year after the bulk of
the stories in Shipwright had already been drafted. Only Rite of
Courage has a direct connection my 2017-2018 ancient literature reading
phase. I had the idea for the story after reading Aeschylus’s
I’m very excited for this edition. The new cover is gorgeous and the
interior design is probably my favorite of all the new editions. I’ll
share more about that in a post next weekend.