Out now: the New Millennium Edition of "So You Want To Be A Wizard"

by Diane Duane

 

The New Millennium Edition of the first Young Wizards novel, So You Want to Be a Wizard, is now available in ebook format from the online Ebooks Direct store at DianeDuane.com.

This is not a rewrite of the book, but a polish and update intended to bring SYWTBAW into the new century by modernizing its setting and establishing it as the beginning of a new and much more consistent timeline, thus making it more accessible for its newest readers. It also contains exclusive new material that does not appear in the original 1983 edition. The beautiful new cover is by noted German graphic artist Niko Geyer.

For much more information about the update, read on. You can also access this new podcast interview with Ken Denmead at GeekDad, where the updating of the book is discussed in some detail toward the end of the podcast: and the “Wizards in a New Millennium” interview with Kelly Knox at GeekMom.

Some author notes:

So You Want to Be a Wizard has been in print pretty much constantly, on one or both sides of the Atlantic and in various non-English speaking countries here and there, for thirty years now. Over the last ten years or so — and particularly over the last five — I’ve become increasingly aware of how some aspects of the book have been dating…which is to say, not very well. And newer young readers have been telling me with increasing frequency that though they love the book, the early-1980’s feel of it put some of them off it to the point where it was a tossup whether they were ever going to read it at all.

To say that I felt their pain would be an understatement. While SYWTBAW suffers from this problem, other installments in the series suffer from it far more severely (High Wizardry probably the most). The difficulty isn’t just the difference between when they were written and now, but (in a way) the temporal distance or lack of it between the 80’s “then” of SYW and the now of 2012. If the difference were greater, or less, the books might be able to pass either as time capsules of a sort, or be able to slide in “under the wire” with the tech differences not being so glaring. But for the present key audience, the disconnect is really getting in the way. So updating the first four books in particular has been something I’ve been wanting to get handled for a while.

And now it’s getting handled.

I’ve taken a while about this (originally it was going to happen last year) because, especially as regarded the first book, I wanted to take care not to fix what wasn’t broken. These new editions are emphatically not rewrites. However, they do involve:

  • The most important bit: adjustment of technology and background in the book(s) to reflect what’s routinely been part of young readers’ lives, starting in 2008
  • Some minor editing of material that struck me while revising as clumsy or ineffective
  • Some additional material (not vast amounts)
  • Repair and reconstruction of what has for a long time been a very broken, inconsistent and frankly dysfunctional timeline

The third aspect is going to be most noticeable in So You Want to Be a Wizard. Some of you will have heard that the book has had several near-misses with film production over the last ten years. One of these resulted in a screenplay which, while not perfect, threw up some interesting additional scenes. A few of these were fun enough, or drove the plot in such a manner, that I decided to add them to the revision of the book. These are not massive passages or life-changing sequences: they’re just in there now along with the rest of the tidying and updating.

The fourth aspect, timeline repair and rationalization, will start becoming more obvious when Deep Wizardry and the books that follow come out later in the year. Because of the instability involved in the series starting at one publisher (Dell), being thrown overboard when the company was restructured, and then finding its way to a new home (Harcourt, now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), the uncertainty involved with not being sure when or where the next book was coming out often resulted in editorial (not to mention auctiorial) uncertainty about how to handle character ages and the dating of events. The new editions, therefore, are starting with the events of SYW… being placed in 2008. The events in books that follow will be adjusted to fit as necessary, and new books in the series will follow the new timeline.


For clarity's sake, let me stress that the versions of the Young Wizards books presently in press at HMH will remain there for the foreseeable future. The publisher is at present not in a position to reissue the New Millennium editions as the definitive ones. Though that would be my preference, it won't be happening any time soon. Yet at the same time there's a persistent demand for something newer... so I'm putting it out there, for those who want it.

Now, as to formats:ย  The New Millennium Edition of SYWTBAW will be available in ebook format only for the foreseeable future. We are still (ETA: as of 2015) investigating the issues surrounding print editions, as to avoid conflicting with the Harcourt editions these must be published outside of North America. We hope to have results on this during Q1 of 2016. The ebook editions of the books remain available only from the Ebooks Direct store while we sort out various logistical issues with new distributors. As always with our own ebook releases, these editions are DRM-free and available in all the major formats.

Thanks for your interest!

 

 

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35 comments

Auros Harman August 15, 2012 - 5:09 pm

Hi Diane,

I’ve been a big fan of the series since I was a kid; my parents gave me the first two books for Christmas one year, right around the time Deep Wizardry had been released, b/c I was very into whales and oceanography at the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m wondering whether the 9-book set that’s currently posted also includes the updated version? Or is that including the old text?

Edit: After close examination on the site, I’m pretty sure the answer is that what’s in the 9-book set is the old text… But I suppose a definitive answer can’t hurt.

Cheers,
Auros

Sven Opitz August 15, 2012 - 5:33 pm

I have bought the 9 book set, it is the original text (I really don’t want to call it old, otherwise what would I be ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anonymous August 15, 2012 - 7:36 pm

ย The nine-book set are the original texts: you’re right.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Auros Harman August 15, 2012 - 5:09 pm

Hi Diane,

I’ve been a big fan of the series since I was a kid; my parents gave me the first two books for Christmas one year, right around the time Deep Wizardry had been released, b/c I was very into whales and oceanography at the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m wondering whether the 9-book set that’s currently posted also includes the updated version? Or is that including the old text?

Edit: After close examination on the site, I’m pretty sure the answer is that what’s in the 9-book set is the old text… But I suppose a definitive answer can’t hurt.

Cheers,
Auros

Sven Opitz August 15, 2012 - 5:33 pm

I have bought the 9 book set, it is the original text (I really don’t want to call it old, otherwise what would I be ๐Ÿ˜‰

dianeduane August 15, 2012 - 7:36 pm

ย The nine-book set are the original texts: you’re right.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Steve August 15, 2012 - 6:12 pm

It should be noted that the email that I got announcing this release has an incorrect link.ย  The “Product page” link sends you to mailchimp.com and not to the actual product page.ย  So does the link to this blog entry.ย  Further down, the link to the set of nine books does work correctly.ย  The alternate web page (“Check it out on the web”) has the same problem — sends you to mailchimp.com

I’m very encouraged by the prospect of a hardcopy in the near future.ย  My niece is almost old enough for these — it may end up being a Christmas present, but I don’t think she’s old enough to be considering ebooks.

Anonymous August 15, 2012 - 7:35 pm

ย Uh oh. Did you receive the text-only version of the mail or the HTML one?

Andre Arko August 15, 2012 - 10:56 pm

I saw the same broken links to the NME, both in the HTML email and in the “web” version of the email.

Anonymous August 15, 2012 - 11:01 pm

ย (sigh) Argh. Thanks.

Andre Arko August 15, 2012 - 11:13 pm

If it’s any consolation, a broken link wasn’t a large enough obstacle to prevent me from buying the NME right away. ๐Ÿ™‚

Steve August 15, 2012 - 6:12 pm

It should be noted that the email that I got announcing this release has an incorrect link.ย  The “Product page” link sends you to mailchimp.com and not to the actual product page.ย  So does the link to this blog entry.ย  Further down, the link to the set of nine books does work correctly.ย  The alternate web page (“Check it out on the web”) has the same problem — sends you to mailchimp.com

I’m very encouraged by the prospect of a hardcopy in the near future.ย  My niece is almost old enough for these — it may end up being a Christmas present, but I don’t think she’s old enough to be considering ebooks.

dianeduane August 15, 2012 - 7:35 pm

ย Uh oh. Did you receive the text-only version of the mail or the HTML one?

Andre Arko August 15, 2012 - 10:56 pm

I saw the same broken links to the NME, both in the HTML email and in the “web” version of the email.

dianeduane August 15, 2012 - 11:01 pm

ย (sigh) Argh. Thanks.

Andre Arko August 15, 2012 - 11:13 pm

If it’s any consolation, a broken link wasn’t a large enough obstacle to prevent me from buying the NME right away. ๐Ÿ™‚

Josh Rood August 17, 2012 - 1:47 am

I must say I can’t wait to get my hands (or metaphorical fingers) on a copy of this, and not just because I’m a die-hard YW fan. An update/revamp like this may very well help me spread the good word about the series to other people that previously had trouble getting past some of the era-barriers. That way, I won’t have to hit them up with weekly tirades all about how dense they are for not liking the books at the moment. Win-win ๐Ÿ™‚

That being said, I discovered the series and its quirkily-awesome universe in middle school (about 9 years ago now), and for me the philosophical and scientific exploration I began as I progressed though each book was heightened by the nostalgic old-school lingo and perspective-references. HW, for example: much of it takes place from the perspective of mankind just getting in to the heart of the Info Age, and therefore tasting that vast power that comes with creating virtual worlds and so forth. And so the droves of pitfalls and possibilities of…well Creation that are present in the story are better reflected because of that chronological dependency. Updating it (however that might be done, haven’t read any of the updated stuff obviously) to try and make it easier for a newer, younger generation to assimilate might make the stories more relatable, but perhaps at the cost of losing some of the raw depth of the storyline itself. Having both the updated versions and the originals side by side helps preserve that perspective though, which is why I think its GREAT we’ve got a Millennium edition!

Okay, I give; I was BORN around the time you first published SYWTBAW. So yeah, perhaps it might seem kinda weird that a kid of the 90’s was nostalgic about the 80’s. But I DID grow up alongside my cousin and surrogate big brother who was most definitely an 80’s guy, and that rubbed off a bit. And I’m a dork, which is an unavoidable fact. So I guess I’m going to devour the Millennium edition and then spread it around as best I can amongst these darn young people today (me being a crotchety 24-year old) with plenty of seasoned commentary of course, heh.

Josh Rood August 17, 2012 - 1:47 am

I must say I can’t wait to get my hands (or metaphorical fingers) on a copy of this, and not just because I’m a die-hard YW fan. An update/revamp like this may very well help me spread the good word about the series to other people that previously had trouble getting past some of the era-barriers. That way, I won’t have to hit them up with weekly tirades all about how dense they are for not liking the books at the moment. Win-win ๐Ÿ™‚

That being said, I discovered the series and its quirkily-awesome universe in middle school (about 9 years ago now), and for me the philosophical and scientific exploration I began as I progressed though each book was heightened by the nostalgic old-school lingo and perspective-references. HW, for example: much of it takes place from the perspective of mankind just getting in to the heart of the Info Age, and therefore tasting that vast power that comes with creating virtual worlds and so forth. And so the droves of pitfalls and possibilities of…well Creation that are present in the story are better reflected because of that chronological dependency. Updating it (however that might be done, haven’t read any of the updated stuff obviously) to try and make it easier for a newer, younger generation to assimilate might make the stories more relatable, but perhaps at the cost of losing some of the raw depth of the storyline itself. Having both the updated versions and the originals side by side helps preserve that perspective though, which is why I think its GREAT we’ve got a Millennium edition!

Okay, I give; I was BORN around the time you first published SYWTBAW. So yeah, perhaps it might seem kinda weird that a kid of the 90’s was nostalgic about the 80’s. But I DID grow up alongside my cousin and surrogate big brother who was most definitely an 80’s guy, and that rubbed off a bit. And I’m a dork, which is an unavoidable fact. So I guess I’m going to devour the Millennium edition and then spread it around as best I can amongst these darn young people today (me being a crotchety 24-year old) with plenty of seasoned commentary of course, heh.

fjb August 21, 2012 - 1:19 am

Looking forward to the hard copy version (hardcover? ๐Ÿ˜€ ) as soon as it’s available…

fjb August 21, 2012 - 1:19 am

Looking forward to the hard copy version (hardcover? ๐Ÿ˜€ ) as soon as it’s available…

From Diane Duane: a fanfic-style "Young Wizards challenge December 19, 2012 - 9:57 am

[…] Iโ€™m viewing this material more or less from the point of view thatโ€™s being established in the YW New Millennium Edition timelines. The new timeline hasnโ€™t been worked out completely as yet โ€” itโ€™ll still be in […]

Out now: the New Millennium Edition of Diane Duane's HIGH WIZARDRY December 19, 2012 - 10:46 pm

[…] can find out more about the update project as a whole here. All nine books will be updated by the end of 1Q of 2013, all brought into alignment with the new […]

Sara Townsend January 22, 2013 - 3:47 am

Diane – I’m currently rereading the series and I’m
very excited about this new Millennium edition. The lack of current technology
does not bother me in the first couple of books, though the discrepancy in the
amount of time that has passed and the characters’ current ages does bother me
quite a bit.

My main question is this: is there any difference in
content between the digest versions of the books and the original versions? I’m
trying to purchase the books so that I have in them in my own personal library.

I just finished reading A Wizard Abroad (digest) and while it
did not seem significantly shorter it did seem that there was a part missing: I
seem to recall her aunt talking about her ex husband and how they had been partners
in magic but then the partnership had fallen apart. Or was that explained in a
different book?

Izkata August 22, 2014 - 3:38 am

Did you ever find a definitive answer to this? I’m looking at e-readers and want to buy this series, but seeing “(digest)” worries me.

dianeduane August 22, 2014 - 4:26 am

Oh! Sorry for the delay. Re: “digest”: This is a physical-format difference only between two Harcourt editions (the digests have thicker paper, bigger print, and the covers / books are less tall but more wide than the mass market paperbacks). The texts are identical: there’s no condensation of any kind.

The NMEs don’t have physical editions as yet (the only exception so far is in France, where the new French editions are printed from the NME texts). There has been considerable editing of these texts, but again, NOT condensation: in some cases the NMEs are longer than the Harcourt editions.

Izkata August 23, 2014 - 1:07 am

…Did not expect you to reply =o_0=

Thanks for all that; I only just discovered the New Millennium Editions existed while trying to figure out “digest” and am now debating which (or both) I would get. I read the first 4 books in paperback years ago, so it’s a bit of a toss-up.

John Nemesh April 13, 2015 - 4:14 pm

You will enjoy either edition. I have been a fan of the originals for YEARS…and it was with some trepidation that I approached the NME books. DON’T WORRY! As Ms. Duane said elsewhere, the “bones” are the same, she just polished up some of the text, made the continuity make more sense, and eliminated some technological anachronisms. None of the changes are going to start a “Han shot first!” kind of debate. Nothing that would alter the story has been changed.

That being said. I AM looking forward to owning the NME in HARDCOVER at some point. Hopefully, The Powers that Be (at Harcourt) will make this happen soon!

The New Millennium Edition of Diane Duane's A WIZARD ABROAD is here! January 29, 2013 - 2:38 pm

[…] can find out more about the update project as a whole here. All nine books will be updated by the end of 1Q of 2013, and all brought into alignment with the […]

Justin February 21, 2013 - 5:02 pm

Hi Diane,

Are there plans to update the audio books with the new editions? I personally dont have time to sit and read but often listen to my books while on the road to/from work.

Thanks,
Justin

The Wizard's Dilemma, New Milllennium Edition February 26, 2013 - 6:04 pm

[…] can find out more about the update project as a whole here. All nine books will be updated by the end of 1Q of 2013, and all brought into alignment with the […]

sueelleker March 14, 2013 - 7:39 pm

I live in England. Can i buy the New Millenium ebooks?

Diane Duane March 14, 2013 - 10:03 pm

Yes! ๐Ÿ™‚

Darryl Brashier March 23, 2013 - 10:17 pm

We’re buying these as fast as they come out. We do have a question, though. Is this delaying “Games Wizards Play”?

Nightwing47 March 24, 2015 - 3:43 am

Hi Diane! I’ve been a fan of the Young Wizards books since I was 8 (now I’m 20, and eagerly awaiting the tenth book), and I was wondering if/when the New Millennium editions would be in print/hard copies? I’m not a fan of ebooks because I don’t like reading from a screen, so I’ve been putting off buying these until I can get my hands on hard copies. Thanks!

Luminas April 1, 2015 - 3:43 pm

I’ve read and reread the Young Wizards books on and off since I was very young, and I have always had a special place in my heart reserved for them. I’m interested to see how they have been updated for the 21st century, and hope that the basic philosophy/spirituality of and humor of the books has been preserved. :} I suspect it has, though— Although there’s at least one case where a ‘proper’ re-translation of a series I liked ruined my favorite line. XD

My attachment is pretty deeply personal, like a lot of the older readers. You could say that there is something Nita does very early on that I very much hope is “actually possible,” both for my sake and for my oldest friend. A worldview that does not allow for the possibility of redemption of everyone has always seemed unjust, to me, and perhaps it did to you as well.

Thank you for continually offering a glorious ride into a great fantasy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Comments are closed.

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