Free Live Free: Two Texts


New Member
May 4, 2014

So which version of 'Free Live Free' is preferable?

I haven't read Gene Wolfe's 'Free Live Free' but plan on doing so soon. It just so happens I have both the 1984 Mark V. Ziesing small press edition and the standard 1986 Tor mass market version on my shelf. Several places online say the Tor is shorter by about 4000 words. I also notice that it contains a chronology (which, it says, was requested by the publisher) and the title of the first chapter is different. The order of some parts may also be different between the two versions.

Does the Tor edition represent an editorially truncated text or the author's final revisions? Some might think "longer = better" but I don't want to assume anything. Maybe Wolfe shortened the book at the behest of the publisher, but he may have just revised it for his own artistic purposes. Even if the cuts were mandated, he may have taken the opportunity to make different changes as well. And none of these factors actually determine which version is *better*.

So has anyone read both, or at least knows a little about the backstory? I can't find any info online.


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