Notes on the Paperback Edition
eaders of the hardcover edition of this book may notice a few changes and corrections in this new printing; the most significant are listed below.
The hardcover price was misprinted; an additional two dollars must be sent to me c/o the publisher.
“About the Author” now correctly states that I won a Baskin-Robbins coupon in a pinewood derby at the age of eight. The statement that I shot down six Iraqi helicopters has been removed. Boo-boo all better, FBI?
The hardcover edition was dedicated “to my radiant muse Emily.” Please forget that was ever there. This book is now dedicated to whoever gets me my DVDs and my cat back.
In the two years since publication, I have made some major breakthroughs in therapy. As a result, the demonic “Vater Adolf” is no longer a caricature of my father, but has been heavily rewritten into a multilayered character with motivations actually connected to the plot.
Several people have written to ask how Lady Bingham knew that Paolo’s revolver was not loaded in Chapter Eight, as the only people he had confessed this to were either off-ship in Lisbon, or steerage passengers whom Bingham was unlikely to meet, much less discuss firearms with, in the two days since she boarded the R.M.S. Belligerent Duchess. The confrontation scene has been revised, to clarify that Lady Bingham has X-ray vision.
The character of police Inspector Rothschild has changed now that I’ve had more time to research criminal law and police procedure. Rothschild no longer calls in “special Police airstrikes,” thinks up new laws to suit his immediate needs, or brandishes a graymarket dirty bomb the size of a pen. (In this edition, it’s just a pen.) Also, a friend told me what “virulent” means, so the passage about Roths-child searching virulently for the stolen dossier has been deleted.
One review of the book called it a “tiresome rehash of the hackneyed Victorian murder-mystery genre,” which on reflection I kind of agree with, so where possible I have reconfigured the story as a cyberpunk thriller. This makes the largest difference during the conundrum of the locked billiard room in Chapter 14, which is now an attempt to bypass the firewall of China’s largest manufacturer of the maxidepressant drug “Skag” by jacking the neural implants of Killerwatt, the brainwashed keyboardist of Neo-York’s leading crimecore band, Battery, into the OmniBrane via the restored MUNI-SURV terminal retrieved from the sunken remains of Staten Island — but the change is noticeable in other places as well.
Following complaints by Asian-American groups, the character “Chop-Chop” has been renamed “Dr. Jeffrey Wu,” and all dialect has been removed. Lady Bingham’s adventure among the Goola-Goola Men of Darkest Zambolia has also been cut. Please stop tweeting me.
Many readers have complained that the recipe for lemon chiffon cake in Chapter 30 resulted in an inedible sludge that damaged their bakeware. I don’t know what to tell you; the book is clearly labeled as fiction. Chef René also jumped on a charging rhino’s back in Chapter 33, but I didn’t get pissy letters about that.
Finally, the original epilogue contained a small but significant typo: The names “Vasilios” and “Drexler” were switched, reversing the fates that befell those characters. As a result of this small change, the book is no longer an inspiring triumph of human resilience, as celebrated by the UN’s first-ever “World Reads Day,” but a dour and depressing portrait of the universe’s blithe indifference to the fiddling concerns of a few shaved apes squatting on a rock hurtling through space. The various Utopian movements inspired by the hardcover edition are advised to adjust their mission statements accordingly. Also: Kick out Emily. Turns out, she totally didn’t get it. ◊
This piece originally appeared in The American Bystander #4.