Friday, January 8, 2010

Steve Englehart - Max August Lives Again


Received the following letter from SF and comics writer Steve Englehart. I will soon be interviewing Steve, whose work I've admired since boyhood, for this blog and others. Stay tuned:

The Point Man, the first book in the Max August series, will be on sale March 2, and The Long Man, the second book, will be out on March 16, two weeks later. The Point Man is a reissue of a book that came out in 1981.... I've made very slight changes to it, all based around one simple fact: the first time around, Max was 33 years old in 1980, when the story takes place. When I got the idea to make Max timeless and watch him live through time, starting in 1980, I thought it would be easier to do keep track of his life if he were to do it in round numbers. So for the new edition, I made him 30 in 1980. He was, then, 35 in 1985, when he became immortal--and he's been 35 ever since, as we shall see. Everything else about the book has stayed the same. It still takes place between Christmas and New Year's 1980--a point I must make so you don't wander in blind and wonder why Max is the king of AM radio, or what AM radio is. It still involves a normal guy who stumbles into a world he, like most people, has no idea exists. Many books, when republished, are "brought up to date," but that's exactly what I didn't want to do--couldn't do--with The Point Man. Each book in the series, including that one, is a snapshot of its time. Max doesn't change, physically, but the world around him does, and quite a bit. Welcome to the life of an immortal man. Well, it turns out that immortality is more complex than it might appear. The Long Man is set at Hallowe'en 2007, and Max, as noted, stopped aging in 1985, but his life has gotten more and more bizarre in the two decades since then. One obvious thing is that most--but not all--of the people he knew in 1980 are either much older than he is or gone altogether. His familiarity with the hidden world has changed a lot, thanks to what he learned in The Point Man and nearly thirty years of first-hand experience. And the faces of evil have changed as well. I'm not going to say any more than that right now, since--if you haven't read The Point Man, or read it lately--I don't want to give stuff away. Then will come The Plain Man, set at Midsummer 2009...but that's literally a story for another time.

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