Impendices?

Just tossing out an idea—

I have reached the stage of life where I have more books in mind than time to write them before I die, even if I drastically improve my productivity (which needs to happen in any case). In particular, there are masses of backstory material behind my principal series (The Eye of the Maker and Where Angels Die, in particular) that could with advantage be worked up into prequels and stand-alones, but probably never will be.

When old J.R.R.T. came up with backstory like that, and it wouldn’t fit comfortably in the front story without bloating and dyspepsia, he had a handy way of dealing with it:

A new character has come on the scene (I am sure I did not invent him, I did not even want him, though I like him, but there he came walking into the woods of Ithilien): Faramir, the brother of Boromir – and he is holding up the ‘catastrophe’ by a lot of stuff about the history of Gondor and Rohan (with some very sound reflections no doubt on martial glory and true glory): but if he goes on much more a lot of him will have to be removed to the appendices – where already some fascinating material on the hobbit Tobacco industry and the Languages of the West have gone.

Letters, no. 66

In the nature of things, I have no appendices to banish such stuff to; but the rules of the game do not require me to let that stop me. Stanislaw Lem once wrote (and published!) a whole volume of introductions to books that had never been written: not perhaps his best work, but an amusing game for some of his readers to take part in. My brain, that cornucopia of questionable ideas, has suggested to me that I could write appendices to books that have never been written, and stick them up here: partly in case my 3.6 Loyal Readers might be entertained, but chiefly for my own reference, so they would be gathered in some reliably searchable spot. It further suggested that since these pieces would come before the books and not be added after them, they should properly be called not Appendices but Impendices.

I have, as it happens, written and posted a couple of things of this kind already: ‘The Worm of the Ages’ and ‘Droll’s Audition’ (both collected in The Worm of the Ages). There is also a lot of stuff on the History of This and the Languages of That, though nothing so far on the Tobacco Industry of the Other, which could go under the ‘Impendix’ heading, if it seemed advisable to air such things on this blog.

What do you all think?

Comments

  1. Marvelous idea. Do so. Please.

  2. Paul Clemens says:

    Just get it all down. That’s what matters.

  3. Stephen K says:

    I’d buy it

  4. Carlos Carrasco says:

    Getting all that stuff done in one convenient place might contribute to your goal of ratcheting up your productivity.

  5. Thanks, all, for your comments. A quorum being in attendance, and no ‘nays’ recorded, I shall regard the motion as carried. Stay tuned anon.

  6. I’ve given serious consideration to putting actual hyperlinks in ebooks that take you back to an appendix and then ones at the ends of the entries that take you back to the spot in the book where you were reading.

    It is difficult at best to get everything explained in a smooth way. But then, try to write a prequel or something that people might read before the main series… Ugh, I’ve got to do it all over again now.

    A web site with stuff on it is a very good idea.

    You could just pull it all together and publish it like GRRM is doing with that thousand pages of not-what-his-readers-want that he’s publishing. Though, if you do it before you start the story, people won’t be as frustrated as they are with him.

  7. L Jagi Lamplighter (Wright) says:

    Banished to appendixes. What a good idea!

  8. Carbonel says:

    What a delightful idea. I hope you and yours are continuing well.

Speak Your Mind

*