Book Release: Alterra, Second Edition

At the end of 2013, I was searching for something new to write about. It had been a tumultuous but productive year for my writing. I'd begun Voyage: Windbound, gotten fed up with it halfway through, written a completely new novel instead (Insomnium), then gone back to Voyage: Windbound and finished it (without publishing it).

And so I found myself, in the final months of 2013, searching for the next story I would tell.

In the middle of Insomnium, I'd written a short story one weekend on a whim. In the middle of all the angst of Insomnium and Windbound, it felt good to write something very simple, a brief interlude about two guys in love.

This was fine for a short story. I had never intended it to be anything more than a flight of fancy. However, after Windbound, I found my imagination straying toward that short story whenever I thought about my next novel, and at first I actively resisted that impulse. A Matthew Buscemi novel can never be merely a romance; it has to explore ideas. When I realized what the romance meant to the two guys involved, and most especially, a third guy was not involved, it was then that I realized what Alterra was really about, and with it, I was able to put a capstone on one era of my writing, and usher in an entirely new one.

The more my writing develops, the more I realize that Voyage: Embarkation, Voyage: Windbound, Insomnium, and Alterra are different from all the writing that came after them. They represent a phase of my development that I find myself still proud of, despite the fact that I will never write quite that way again.

Alterra is three things. It is a love story, it is an adventure, and it is also philosophy. The love story is the foundation for the other two. An ideological divide separates two boyfriends, Le and Shey, then unites Le and Stok, but the latter relationship, like the society these men live in, is unstable. In order to find one another again, they will have to combat the broken belief systems imposed by the culture they live in at the story's start, and the culture Stok discovers as the adventure portion of the story kicks in.

The protagonists of the book are able to stand up to cultural rigidity and intransigence and insist on a better future. I didn't realize it at the time, but I actively carried out such a philosophy in my personal life during Alterra's production. The main reason that it represents such a shift in writing, is that with Alterra, I was finally able to recognize the malign feedback I was subjecting myself to as malign. It was with this novel that I demarcated lines of quality I would not compromise and formulated stylistic principles that I would not breach for the sake of potential popularity or profit.

Alterra's observations about technology and religion are more relevant than ever, especially after what has happened politically since this novel's first printing three years ago. We can no longer afford simplistic thinking or self-satisfied disaffection. Our world is changing, and so must we.

I have re-released Alterra first, because the revisions have been ready to go for over a year. When I still had Fuzzy Hedgehog Press, Alterra was my first novel to sell out. I prepared a second edition, but by the time I was ready to print it, I found my financial resources for the press dwindling, and I was unable to justify the print run.

In this edition, I have affected some minor edits, mostly stylistic changes, but a few substantial ones as well. I found a scene involving Le and Stok being clever with technology that needed readjusting, and I had wanted to improve Le's conversation with the Deranged (one of my personal favorite scenes) since shortly after the printing the first edition. Those changes are here, but it remains largely the same novel as the first edition.

I offer the text of Alterra now with a new cover and new interior design, which I will be using for all my books going forward. You can download the updated PDF free from this website, and you can also purchase a paperback or hardcover from my portal on Blurb.

Goals Progress

  • Voyage: Embarkation
    • Release a second edition with a new introduction, in ebook, paperback, and hardcover.
  • Insomnium
    • Release a second edition in ebook, paperback, and hardcover.
  • Alterra
    • Release a second edition paperback and hardcover.
    • Update the ebook formatting.
  • Schrödinger's City
    • Release a second edition paperback and hardcover.
    • Update the ebook formatting.
  • Our Algorithm Who Art Perfection
    • Release a first edition paperback and hardcover.
    • Update the ebook formatting.
  • Voyage: Windbound
    • Release the first edition, including an introduction about why it took me three years to release this novel, in ebook, paperback, and hardcover.
  • Commencement Day
    • Release the first edition in ebook, paperback, and hardcover.

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