[DWJ] endings [was Best of 2008]

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Mon Dec 29 12:20:51 EST 2008

Jenny Schwartzberg wrote, and Estair wanted to know as well:
> Okay, what was the author's intention for Podkayne?  I loved that book 
> as a kid but haven't read it in umpteen years.  Curious here.  I also 
> remember some talk about the Ogre Downstairs getting meddled with but I 
> don't remember the details and would like to know more.  It's always 
> been one of the few DWJ books I really couldn't get into, maybe because 
> of the alterations?  For that matter I finally read Aunt Maria after 
> having it on my shelf for many years.  It struck me as akin to Fire and 
> Hemlock in Mig's confusion about what was really happening and if there 
> was magic involved.  For some reason both my brother and I had trouble 
> starting it.  The beginning of the book really is difficult to get 
> into.  What happened here?  We read it because my brother's son loves 
> this book (due to my giving it to him in a pile of books :) ).
Sorry: I thought these were well-enough known to need no further 
anything, but I was clearly wrong...

Podkayne is explained in one of the posthumous Heinlein books-about-him, 
and Poddy dies at the end in his original.  The publisher couldn't cope 
with something so dire and insisted he change it to have her survive.  
The new book includes his original final chapter as an appendix, as well 
as the original bits about gun-control from *Red Planet* and a couple of 
other things he was forced to change here and there, I think.

In TOD, DWJ also killed off the title-character, The Ogre himself, and 
someone at the publishers re-wrote the ending and sent it back to her 
with him surviving and a grand reconciliation scene and for some reason 
fluffy footballs or something.  It was so completely un-DWJ that rather 
than have that stuck on the end DWJ re-wrote it to have a happy ending 
instead of her original, cursing and muttering.  This would not happen 
to her these days, but back then she had to do as she was told.

Sorry for any mystification I may have caused: I promise it was accidental!


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