Greetings, Loyal Reader!
I noticed someone came to my site via a search for “differences between Jason Cosmo and Hero Wanted” and thought it might be worthwhile to address that topic (again). My first novel was Jason Cosmo, published in 1989. In 2009, I released a revised version of the book, called Hero Wanted(2009).
The two books tell essentially the same story about a woodcutter from Lower Hicksnittle who unwittingly become the target of a massive manhunt and must step into the role of a hero to survive, much less figure out what is going on.
I realize it is confusing to have two books out with what amounts to the same plot. My initial plan was to release Hero Wanted and let the old version fade away to used book stores. However, several longtime Loyal Readers expressed interest in getting the original version as an ebook. Thus, by popular demand, I re-released the “classic” version of Jason Cosmo as an ebook too (along with the classic sequels Royal Chaos and Dirty Work). I know new readers may be confused by the various titles and how they fit together…and that is why I occasionally repeat this explanation.
The main differences between Jason Cosmo and Hero Wanted are:
- Line-by-line re-editing. I went through the entire book and gave it a fresh line edit with the benefit of 20 more years of writing experience. Cutting unneeded words, trimming flabby sentences, generally polishing the prose and making the text less clunky. So one difference is better prose. I hope.
- Small details. When I wrote Jason Cosmo, I didn’t know the exact plot of the next book or the one after that. Later, I further developed and expanded Jason Cosmo’s world in Royal Chaos and Dirty Work and many notes jotted down between 1989 and 2009. So in Hero Wanted I dropped in little details and mentions of people, places, concepts that I had not come up with when I wrote Jason Cosmo. This is to tie the books together and plant seeds that will pay off in future volumes. I also changed a few details, such as changing the name of the governor of Offal from Paulish Birksnore to Palish Birksnore. And the necromancer Necrophilius the Grave becomes Necrophilus the Grave. The magic gas dormadose becomes DormaDose. And so forth.
- New scenes. I also added a few new scenes–which I won’t describe here because I hate spoilers. They don’t change the plot in any significant way but they either add a little action or a new joke or change up the pacing a little bit.
Those are the main differences between the two books. To a brand new reader I’d say read Hero Wanted and ignore Jason Cosmo, unless you’re just curious to read the old version and compare. If you read Jason Cosmo first and just discovered Hero Wanted, I’d say you could safely skip Hero Wanted and go on the new book, Noble Cause. There might be a few inconsistencies when you pick up the action there, but Jason Cosmo give you 95% or more of the same story.
Conceptually, you can think of the two books as two different, and slightly inconsistent, accounts of the same events, just like we have different and slightly inconsistent accounts of events in the real world. Or, you could treat the classic Non-Trilogy and the revised series beginning with Hero Wanted as occurring in two very similar, but not identical, parallel realities. That is pretty much how I’m treating it at this point. Or, you could just not worry about the metaphysics of it all.
Moving on, I will next revise Royal Chaos. The new version will be basically the same story, but Royal Chaos 2.0 will diverge from the original more than Hero Wanted diverges from Jason Cosmo. When I revise Dirty Work it will diverge much more from the original (I’ve never been too happy with how Dirty Work turned out, as I will explain in more detail another day.)
As of now, the reading order for the old continuity is 1) Jason Cosmo 2) Royal Chaos 3) Dirty Work. And there it ends.
The new, current, and ongoing Jason Cosmo series is:
#1 Hero Wanted
- Rainy Daze — a mini-novel that occurs between chapters of Hero Wanted.
#2 Noble Cause
#3 (Soon to be revised version of Royal Chaos, not yet available)