Saturday, October 1, 2011


When I say "remix," I don't mean it in the Gwen-Stefani-Meets-Eminem, skull-thumping-techno-infused remixes you hear in the club; I mean in the literary sense. 

Say what? 

I was watching this interview with China Mieville the other night when when mentioned the idea as it related to his own work. He said that he has always been suspicious of Director's Cut versions of films and books (he cited Stephen King as a literary example, and his knack for rereleasing a book 20 years later with 20 thousand additional words), but also that he is intrigued with the idea of rewriting his own work ten, twenty years later, just to see how it comes out. In other words, a literary remix. 

I was dumbstruck. Honestly, the idea of rewriting one's own work years later has never even occurred to me as something people might do...which is strange, I suppose, since one of the things writers spend most of their time doing is rewriting and retooling their stories. I guess the reason it's so odd to me is because China wasn't talking about rewriting broken stories; he was talking about rewriting good stories, ones that he'd finished and sold and had published and collected massive royalties on. He's talking about rewriting "Perdido Street Station," for example, as an experiment just to see what would come out. 

I find the premise fascinating, to the point where I wish I had stories old enough (and successful enough, for that matter) to remix. What about you? Do you guys ever do this? Have you ever wanted to? Do you have stories old enough or at the very least distant enough from you now that a completely blind rewrite would interest you? 

I'm curious how those would come out, even if just as an experiment.