Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wiz 6: The Wizard Uncompleted?

A reader asked when the next Wiz book was going to come out.

The answer, alas, is 'never', at least not in the conventional sense. But there may be an opportunity for readers to see most of it anyway.

In spring 2000 I was well into Wiz 6: The Wizardry Capitalized when I went into the hospital for emergency heart surgery. The surgery saved my life but a combination of medical problems and the effects of the drugs I take has pretty much ended my fiction career. (Non-fiction I still manage very nicely, thank you.)

Anyway, because I couldn't finish the book, and because I didn't understand the problem until it was too late, the publisher waited five years and then canceled the contract, taking his advance back out of royalties on my other books.

Not the least blame attaches to the publisher, the late Jim Baen, who was unbelievably patient through the entire experience. But I am not left with a 90 percent finished book which is not only uncontracted, it is unsalable. (And no, I am absolutely NOT interested in collaborating with anyone to try to finish it at this point.)

Now, because of the way I write, "90 percent finished" means that it is basically all there but there are great whacking gaps in the story. It has a beginning, a middle and and end, but there's a lot of the connecting tissue missing. What's more, the subplots haven't been inserted in their proper places. Each subplot is still a connected series of scenes.

A tolerant, patient reader can follow the story and probably even enjoy it, but there's stuff missing.

So here's the question: Some people have expressed interest in reading the novel in its uncompleted state. If there is enough interest I'll publish what I've got online -- in a blog or on a web page.

Anyone interested?


rhodyne said...

Mr Cook,

Your Wiz books are very entertaining, so of course I would like to see more. Wiz, Jerry and the guys, even Danny, all strike a cord with me because...they are me.

I was a classic nerd. Played D&D in high school, could never seem to figure out personal interactions, and messed with electronics to compensate - computers were my favorite after they were common. I was a hacker of the old school but I never released anything...didn't want to damage anything, just did it for my own amusement. And I now play a support role at Dell and a local ISP.

These characters show ME in places I will never get the chance to be.

I'm sorry to hear that your medical problem effects your work so strongly. Keep on your doctor about possible changes in treatment drugs. They add new stuff all the time. Unfortunately, I know more about this than I want to.

But I only found your site through a happy search accident. It might help to get your question to a larger audience by linking it on or some similar linking site. I have not done this because I didn't want to swamp you with the sometimes overwhelming flood of useless garbage that can come as a result.

Hope you get to feeling better.
And thank you for your wonderful stories.

Jonathan said...

I'm very sorry to read about your medical problems. At the same time, I'm intrigued by the existence of a medical problem that can prevent you from writing any fiction at all, while leaving you perfectly capable of writing non-fiction. It sounds rather as though someone's put a spell on you...

Someone put the same spell on me at birth. I earn my living as a writer but have never yet been able to write fiction.

To answer your question, yes, I'd be interested to see the incomplete Wiz book. I periodically reread the published ones.

Stephen said...

I too enjoyed your novels, and would like to see the last one, what there is of it.

Stephen said...

I would also like to see the book, or what there is of it. I liked all the Wiz novels, and Mall Purchase Night.

Irishrogue35 said...

I love the Wiz novels, and would definitely be interested in reading the unfinished one. I have re-read the existing ones so many times, I had to re-buy them because the originals fell apart.I am certain anyone who has read the others would have no problems at all filling in any gaps. It might even be interesting to share with others their thoughts on how they filled them in for themselves. Who knows, maybe it could even help give you some ideas to fill in the gaps yourself.

I am sorry to hear about your illness, and its subsequent effects,but am glad you remain amongst us. My best wishes to you.

Anonymous said...

I would very much like to see a new installment, even with technology from 2000.

Should your regimen of medications allow a return to fiction, I would dearly *love* to see a sequel with a more up-to-date set of technology puns and skewers.

I'm just about to go back and re-read the existing books in the series, thanks to the Baen Library... I still have the originals somewhere in my basement, but I have this nifty new e-book reader...

And as far as the medications go -- my father has a heart condition, and was very much not his best for a while, until the doctors found another effective combination of drugs that didn't have draining side-effect. I hope you'll have the same luck!

Again, thanks for the stories; I know I'll enjoy re-reading them.

-- John from New Hampshire

Anonymous said...

I think the thing to do would be to release it under a Creative Commons license or similar and let everyone have fun splitting up the story lines and stringing a coherent narative together.

I'd love to read it even as-is.

-- see shy jo

Matthew said...

Yes! Please! Stories submitted to Digg, Slashdot, and BoingBoing. Let's see if we can get more support!

Semper said...

Oh, hell yes!

Anonymous said...

Please post the sixth book. I would love to read it.

Baylink said...

Well, since someone else already said it, I'll chime in.

Yes, I'd love to see it... just be prepared for the hordes of fanfic writers who can't resist.

And so sorry to hear; I too hope things get better for you once more.

Tor said...

Please do!

Mr. Cook, I absolutely love all your Wiz books and would be very grateful to read another book in any form, even partially completed.

Adam Wolf said...

I would definitely read it. Your Wiz books were the first books I read on Baen's Free Library, and I've got most of them in hard copy now.

I'd absolutely love to read another one, even uncompleted!

Paul Counts said...

Please release it. Not only would I love to read more of your Wiz material but I'd like to see what a 90% complete novel looks like. That's a behind-the-scenes look that a layman like myself might never otherwise get.

Anonymous said...

Did a statin drug do you in? I found out about you because someone made a connection to a post I did recently.

Good luck to you.

Baylink said...

For those who missed it (I was one, and posted it to metafilter about 12 hours after Rick posted this:

The answer is yes, he's going to post it. And it was one of our mefites who linked your statins post, Mike. Thanks for it.

Oh, and Rick? How *do* you tell if a politician is in your shower? You never did say...

Rick Cook said...

Mike it wasn't a statin per se. I'm on a whole cocktail of drugs to lower cholesterol (which is statins), control blood pressure, bring down blood sugar, control depression, etc.
The result is some rather interesting drug interactions.

I'm better now than I was in the year or so after the surgery because we've been fooling with the medications, doses, etc. to try to improve things. And I keep hoping, but so far it hasn't happened.

Parenthetically this isn't uncommon, especially when psychoactive drugs are in the mix. We know very little about differences in individual brain chemistry, so there's a lot of hit-and-miss in prescribing them.

I'm not complaining, understand. I'm alive and mostly functional and that wasn't at all a sure thing when I went into the hospital. But I'd still like to write fiction again.


Anonymous said...

A bit late to the game, but never the less, let me give an emphatic: Oh, yes! Completed, uncompleted, or a mere opening sentence, I'd be very interested in reading your Wizardry series.

FranVarona said...

A friend of mine (also a fan of your Wiz series) directed me to this blog, and although it's a bit late (I think that you have decided to publish it), I wanted to tell you that Wiz series is a really fantastic fiction series. I enjoyed all the books, re-read them dozens of times (seriously). The only problem (and it's not a real problem) is that I'd want to tell about them to my friends, but I don't really know so many computer-related people, so I have to bite my tongue when someone ask me for a book to read.
I wish you get better of your medical problems.
And... sorry for my poor english!



Anonymous said...

Mr Cook,
I really loved your Wizard books. I read every on of them (through the Baen Webscriptions website) and would love to read the last in the series. Either whole or 90% finished. At the risk of upsetting you, I think there are several new authors that could do justice to your Wizard series. And I think Tori at Baen might be encouraged to work the details out. I know I would compaign for you at the Baen Bar. I had wondered what happened to you (You kind of dropped off the map) and am extremely sorry to hear about your medical problems. As someone entering the age when the body starts to deteriorate, I certainly feel for your medical problems. Hopefully, these replies from your readers (as well as mine) will bring some pleasure.
Bob Lyons

Mairead said...

Although I enjoyed reading (and enjoy re-reading--I just finished the Nth re-reading last night) the Wizardry books and would quite like to have new ones to read, I'm not going to read "Capitalised" in its current form.

Instead I'm going to presume that at some point in the not-too-distant future you and your docs are going to get your meds fully sorted. And that you'll then finish and properly publish "Capitalised" as the first job in your refreshed career.

DEF cGoodHealth 10000
LDA cGoodHealth
CMP RCook,2000000000

Karl Watson said...

yes - I would love to see it - but your situation is heartbreaking.