Nearly one month ago, on November 6, the new edition of Transmutations
went live. Most of my 2020 editions have been little more than a new
cover and interior. Transmutations was the first release to introduce
The biggest change is that the novella Our Algorithm Who Art
Perfection was extracted from the collection and released separately as
its own paperback and ebook. This necessitated some minor editorial
changes to the introduction for the section Our Algorithm was taken
from, as it no longer made sense to introduce the novella there.
There was also one other area where I decided to make some minor
revisions. Transmutations is a compilation of stories from two
previous collections: Lore & Logos (2014) and Transmutations of Fire
and Void (2015). In 2017, I decided to collect up the best of those two
books into a single collection. I organized the stories by theme and
wrote introductions for each section. It would take me until 2019 to
publish Transmutations, but I wrote the section introductions in 2017.
This was shortly after I closed down my publishing company Fuzzy
Hedgehog Press, and it is clear now that I wrote some of these
introductions from a place of anger and resentment. I skimmed the
introductions again in 2019 before publication, at which time I recall
they only slightly rubbed me the wrong way. To my ear in 2020, one in
particular sounded downright hostile. For the 2020 edition, I have made
some minor wording modifications to that introduction. Largely, I have
let the text stand.
Besides the aforementioned changes, the stories themselves remain
I feel I mostly got the vibe I wanted from the paperback interior design
of Transmutations. I wanted something that would be off-putting, something
that would set the reader on edge, but not so much that it would
distract them from the text. To this end, I invented a number of
intentional incongruities. For example, there is a vertical bar beside
the page numbers, but the story headers contain a diagonal bar faded out
behind them. The story titles are aligned right, but the section titles
are aligned center, and with the section titles the vertical bars are
back on both sides of the header.
Incongruous and disconcerting, but not, I think, distracting.
I feel I accomplished this same effect with the font choice. The entire
book, text, headers and all, is laid out in a single font, Artifex
It reads well as a text font and allows you to get into the flow of a
story. But, if you stop and stare at a page laid out in it, it’s quite
striking, even a bit odd. Just the feeling I was going for.
Of course, re-formatting my flash fiction story Binary is always loads
of “fun.” I loved what I accomplished with that story, but it seems as though every time I
lay out this collection, I spent a quarter of the time checking and
double checking that one three-page story.
I remain proud of all the stories in Transmutations, but if you want
to read my favorites first, check out Xenosociology, We Were Here
First, Lunar Eclipse, Temple of the Setting Sun, and Shadowplay.
It’s great to have these out with one of Zhivko Zhelev’s beautiful
illustrations on the cover. You can grab a copy on Amazon in