Jason Cosmo vs. Hero Wanted

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

I had a couple of great comments today from Loyal Readers over at the Dan McGirt page on Facebook. (If you’re on Facebook, please join us there!)

Loyal Reader Luke wants to know when the movie is coming out. No one from Hollywood has called yet. I think the Jason Cosmo books would work better as animated features than as live action, but I am open to all offers!

Longtime Loyal Reader Mark has a deeper question. Having read the original books many times, he finds some of the changes in story details and wording I made in Hero Wanted (versus Jason Cosmo) distracting. He asks why I decided to make so much change? An excellent question!

You can read my answer at the Dan McGirt Facebook page, but I’ll restate it here for the benefit of all Loyal Readers.

As I’ve discussed previously, I did the revision of Jason Cosmo over several years, so the changes came gradually. I originally set out to simply correct a few typos. Then I decided to add some new scenes and drop a few things in to better set up events of the later books. I then let the manuscript sit for a year or two.

When I was getting the book ready for publication earlier this year, I went through line by line, tweaking dialogue and language. In my mind, these were all improvements. I feel I’m a better writer than I was in 1987-88, when I wrote Jason Cosmo. While that may be open to debate, I am certainly a different writer. So given the opportunity to revisit and revise my original prose, I did so.

As I hope I’ve made clear by now, Hero Wanted is not an exact reprint of Jason Cosmo. But neither is it a brand new story. It is a retelling or reimagining, hence the new title.

I think of it this way: there are lots of books about, say, the life of Alexander the Great, each telling the same basic story but in different ways, with different details, and different emphasis. There are also many versions of the Greek myths, the tales of King Arthur, etc.  For the comic book geeks out there, you might think of the Non-Trilogy as the Earth-1 version and the Hero Wanted continuity as Earth-2. They are very similar, but not identical, yet both are valid.

For Loyal Readers who have read the original Non-Trilogy books more than once–and possibly more than I have–and consider them among your favorites, I can imagine any changes to the text are jarring. Just like watching the retouched versions of the original Star Wars trilogy is a bit annoying and distracting to me. I totally get that.

I did ponder for a long time whether to make real changes in the story. In the end I decided to go ahead and deviate from the original Non-Trilogy text where it made sense to me. I decided that doing so was in the true tradition of Jason Cosmo. To ME, the “original” version of Jason Cosmo is in the the handwritten stories I passed around to my friends in middle and high school–those Original Loyal Readers without whose support the book might never have come about.

I also wrote a rebooted version of Jason Cosmo in high school which, come to think of it, was a little less popular than the first run of stories.  My point is, the published Non-Trilogy was actually, for me, the third incarnation of Jason Cosmo, making Hero Wanted the start of the fourth version.

For longtime Loyal Readers, I hope that you will enjoy this new run of Jason Cosmo adventures. I hope it continues for years to come. With your support, it will. I would not have made the commitment to bring Jason Cosmo back to print if it were not for the many encouraging emails and other messages I’ve received from longtime Loyal Readers over the years. I am also hoping to win many new Loyal Readers as the Cosmoverse expands.

If you prefer the original Non-Trilogy version of Jason Cosmo to the retelling in Hero Wanted, I understand and I appreciate your loyalty to the “classic” version. I warn you now there will be similar changes when I get to the revisions of Royal Chaos and Dirty Work — but I hope you’ll come along for the ride and I hope you’ll enjoy the stories to come as much I plan to enjoy writing them for you!

Best regards,
Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo HERO WANTED: On Sale Soon!

SPECIAL ALERT! UPDATE: Forget what I said below:  You can pre-order Hero Wanted at BarnesandNoble.com!

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

A quick update on the Trove Books print edition of Hero Wanted. I have received the first copy from the printer.  It looks good. It looks real good. Right now it is the only copy in existence, so I take it with me everywhere!

However, copy #1 will soon be joined by many more. I’ve ordered a couple of cases of books to bring with me to Dragon*Con 2009 — where I will be a guest, appearing September 5-7 in Atlanta.  If you haven’t got your copy of Hero Wanted by Labor Day weekend, come to Dragon*Con. I’ll have one with your name on it!

After you pay for it, of course.

As for regular sales channels, right now I’m waiting for data about Hero Wanted‘s availability to migrate out to booksellers. Until a book shows up in their computers, it doesn’t really exist, unfortunately.  I hope Hero Wanted will be included in the data stream by the beginning of August — at which point it will be available for purchase from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and other online booksellers or through your local bricks-and-mortar bookstore.

Believe me — I’ll let you know as soon as that happens! Until then, keep watching the skies.

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo HERO WANTED: Read it now!

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

The Jason Cosmo HERO WANTED free ebook is going fast! More than 100 copies were downloaded in the first 48 hours. Not quite “The Plant” numbers, but not bad considering the ebook was launched late on a Saturday night, with no advance warning. (I’m just unpredictable that way.)

Now, if you don’t care for ebooks and want to wait until the print edition is out, that is fine by me. But if you’ve been waiting ever so patiently for HERO WANTED and just can’t wait any longer to start reading it, now is your chance. Just pop over to Smashwords.com and get your very own digital copy in one of seven delicious ebook formats. Javascript! HTML!  Epub!  Mobipocket!  Rocky Road!

By the way, if you are one of the 100+ already reading HERO WANTED, please let me know what you think. You can comment at JasonCosmo.com, on my Facebook page, or write to me at Dan @ JasonCosmo.com. I hope you’re enjoying the book and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo and the Hobgoblins of Consistency

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” I’m sure this quote never quite meant to me what Emerson intended, because I always picture cantankerous D&D hobgoblins saying foolish things and clubbing people who disagree with them.

What has this to do with Jason Cosmo? As any reader of an ongoing fantasy, science fiction, detective, or other series knows, eventually even the most careful author will contradict him- or herself regarding the established facts of the fictional world.  In Book 1, Throndor the Barbarian was an only child, but in Book 7 he recalls hunting spider bears with his brothers back in the day.  And don’t get me started on Star Trek.

Sometimes these contradictions are on minor points, sometimes they go to the fundamental logic of the fictional world. When I was a much, much younger reader such errors or illogic tended to bother me. I can nitpick with the best of them. However, many years of reading superhero comics pretty much beat that out of me.1 I learned to stop worrying and love the retcon.  Actually, I think the old Marvel Comics No-Prize was the coolest response to apparent errors:  “We made a mistake? No, no.  It may look like a mistake, but there is actually a good explanation. That one of our readers will provide.”

Having now authored a fantasy series myself, I am much more forgiving of the apparent errors made by other authors. When you’re making up the entire history, culture, commerce, etc. of a world on the fly, it is hard to keep everything straight. I maintain a timeline of Arden’s history and the events of each book, and I have uploaded notes to the Cosmopedia — but even that may not be internally consistent.

My real-world explanation of any errors is that I’m only human. With the addtional caveat that, Jason Cosmo being a humorous adventure, I will sometimes deliberately sacrifice logic or consistency for the sake of a joke.

But the in-continuity explanation for the inevitable errors that will arise as we go forward? That’s part of the fun! I hope that as I continue to chronicle Jason Cosmo’s adventure, that the characters and world will be engaging and interesting enough that Loyal Readers will actually find details worth nitpicking or debating. Just assume that any apparent mistakes are on purpose — even if that purpose is yet to be revealed!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

  1. Jason Todd Robin came back to life because Superboy Prime punched reality.  Uh … okay. []

Myth Adventures of Jason Cosmo

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

In the last two posts, I revealed the influence of the comic strip Finieous Fingers on the original Jason Cosmo stories that I wrote in middle school and high school. Today I continue that theme by considering some of the influences and inspirations for the Jason Cosmo books.

Obviously, all of the epic and not-so-epic fantasy stories I read prior to 1987, along with movies, TV shows, comics, other pop culture, current events, history, mythology, and other reading that I absorbed went into the mix. It would be impossible to identify every influence on my early writing. But I can definitely recall and acknowledge a few authors that I particularly looked to as models when I was writing Jason Cosmo.

One was Robert Asprin, particularly for his Myth Adventures series chronicling the adventures (well, myth-adventures) of Aahz and Skeeve.

Another Fine Myth

Continue reading

Dave Arneson, Gary Gygax and Jason Cosmo

The recent passing of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Dave Arneson saddens me, as did the death last year of Gary Gygax. Though I never met either man, I owe them a debt of gratitude for many hours of entertainment. I also must acknowledge them as creative influences on the Jason Cosmo saga. It is safe to say that without the work of Arneson and Gygax (along with many other creators and authors at TSR and Dragon magazine) there would be no Jason Cosmo! Continue reading

Jason Cosmo: Better Than Ever!

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

My line edit of the Hero Wanted manuscript is grinding slowly forward. As I noted on Twitter earlier today, I am now about a fourth of the way through the approximately 400 page manuscript, carefully scrutinizing and editing every line.

I thought this was going to be an exercise in checking for typos and looking up obscure points of grammar. After all, I have written this book twice! Surely it is already as good as it will ever be.  But as Editor Dan I am finding that the work of Author Dan on this twice told tale can indeed be polished, revised and improved–yes, I believe I am making Hero Wanted a better book than Jason Cosmo ever was.

Let me explain. Continue reading

Jason Cosmo Cover Quiz — UK Edition

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

You might recall that we recently had a little fun at the expense of poor, overworked Cover Text Guy, who made a few errors — some forced,  some not — in describing Jason Cosmo on the back cover.  Now it is time to play the same game with CTG’s British counterpart, Cover Text Bloke!  Here is the descriptive copy from the back cover of the UK edition of Jason Cosmo.  How many mistakes can you find? Continue reading