The Voyage Continues

So far, the 2020 editions of my books have largely been re-issues. There have been only a few exceptions. Schrödinger’s City contains a new afterword, a reflection on where my writing has been and where it is going. I split Our Algorithm Who Art Perfection out of Transmutations into its own book and gave it an afterword, too. But these have both been relatively short pieces, and neither has fundamentally altered the nature of the reading experience.

Voyage Embarkation
Voyage Embarkation, 2020 Edition cover
The 2020 edition of Voyage Embarkation will change that. While the text itself is unchanged from previous editions (save for corrections of a few minor typos), I have added fifty-four pages of new content. That content is: 1) a new preface, 2) a history of the series’s development, 3) notes on each of the chapters, 4) a high-level outline of all four books that would have filled out the Voyage series: Voyage Windbound, Voyage Adrift, Voyage Wake, and Voyage Tempest.

As it currently stands, Voyage Embarkation is a published novel. Voyage Windbound is a complete, edited publication-ready manuscript. Voyage Adrift is two written chapters. The rest of Adrift, and all of Wake and Tempest are merely outlines. With this new edition of Voyage Embarkation, I am fully closing the door on the series ever being published in the way I originally envisioned it.

The problem I ran into was that I had modeled Kal’s first romantic relationship much too closely on a toxic ordeal I endured myself. It is fine for art to imitate life, and writers absolutely should draw on their own experiences, but I had yet to learn that “imitation” means allegory and metaphor, not a mirror. Writing Windbound was extraordinarily difficult, and over the last six years, I have gotten close to publishing it many times, but I simply cannot do it.

Voyage Windbound
In 2017, I came as close as I ever would to publishing Voyage Winbound.
What makes this all the more infuriating is that, because of the series structure I chose, there are many individual stories within Windbound only tangentially related to Kal’s boyfriend, and which I absolutely love and wish could be in the world. These thoughts plagued me as I put this new edition together—I would never get to share my favorite parts of Windbound.

Another thought kept nagging at me, too, an annoying feeling that Embarkation was getting much too long. It had already been a long novel on its first publication in 2013. I had added in the additional side-story All Hallows as a final chapter in 2017. And now I was adding fifty-four more pages of bibliographical content. This version of Voyage Embarkation will total 588 pages.

I thought also of the unpublished novella I wrote earlier this year, The Demented, in which I set Kal in the alternate future Earth timeline I invented for Intersection Thirteen. That Earth was never blanketed with nanites, and so Kal was never forcibly moved to a parallel world. He comes to parallel universe travel through entirely different means, and in his early thirties rather than as a teenager. I started and never finished another story in this vein, Blind Lead, which introduces the reader to alternate versions of Ludo (the antagonist in Voyage Embarkation) and Noom (Kal’s boyfriend from Voyage Windbound). In this universe, they are only meeting Kal for the first time. I think there’s a book to be made out of these stories.

Thinking through all of these things, I came up with a new plan. In 2021, I want to focus on getting Intersection Thirteen and Chronicles of Ytria out into the world. In 2022, I will turn my attention back to Voyage, and I think I have discovered a way to fit all these pieces together elegantly.

  1. I will republish Voyage Embarkation as just the original fourteen chapters. Nothing else, except perhaps a short afterword.
  2. I will move all of the bibliographical and biographical content into a separate edition called Voyage Expanded Material. To make this worthwhile, this edition will also contain All Hallows, as well as a selection of chapters from Windbound: Demon Snot (1), Archive (2), Morpheus (5), Mirror (7), Edda (10), Vice (11), and Premonition (13). I’ll also throw in the first two chapters of Voyage Adrift: Fall and Incarceration. This selection of Windbound chapters largely omits the arc of the narrative involving Kal’s boyfriend. I am making a handful of exceptions. Morpheus I am keeping anyway because I love the dream imagery I invented there, and I think it will interest readers who have enjoyed Insomnium. Edda and Vice are somewhat painful chapters to include, but the former is set on Vanaheim from Embarkation’s Norselands, and the latter contains my depiction of the “Authorship Room” on the alternate Earth called Vestal, both of which seem much too good to pass up. These will make for nice reading, I think, despite the gaps. The presence of the series outline should mitigate that problem significantly.
  3. I will put The Demented, Blind Lead, and 2-4 more new Voyage stories into a collection called Voyage Redux. Many of these will have character and alternate world tie-ins to the original Voyage series, which will now all be accessible via the outline in the 2020 edition of Voyage Embarkation.
I concluded the new preface in Voyage Embarkation with this: “The adventures of an eighteen-year-old Kal Anders are as complete as they will ever be, but Kal in his thirties—and who knows, perhaps in even later stages of life—still has much to share.”