I’m not sure what, if anything, I would change if I could write the entire Final Fall of Man series over again. I think at some point an author has to stop worrying about that stuff, and just carry on with the next thing. The point of TFFoM, after all, was that I finish something, and get it out there instead of picking it apart and re-writing it forever. And I am entirely satisfied with how it all turned out.
A couple of things leap to mind, though.
Obviously, there were some plot points that turned out to lead nowhere or turned out to be extraneous padding, and some other parts that were needlessly complicated and could have been pared down if I’d known exactly how they were going to unfold between book 1 and book 8. This is one of the reasons I tend to think “write a full series, then publish it” is a better idea – but it’s also one of the reasons “picking it apart and re-writing it forever” is in my authorial repertoire. So, all things being balance, I guess I’m fine with all those structural and narrative issues.
I think, although they’re both loosely based on (or at least originated from) the same person, Creepy and Glomulus Cratch are more different than they are similar. They share long blonde hair, scrawniness of stature, a love of tastelessly colourful garments, an axe named Bob, and a certain sanguinity of character that at once aggravates and fatally endangers innocent bystanders. But they’re not the same guy. Glomulus isn’t (as much as the idea may amuse and appeal) the end-state Creepy, deprived of Hatboy’s balancing presence for too long.
In fact, as I wrote the series, I found it increasingly difficult to picture Glomulus as a male character at all. In my mind’s eye, he (she) was always a gaunt, pale, feverish-eyed woman with teeth just a little too long to make her smile reassuring.
This makes, I feel I should stress, absolutely no difference. I could have swapped the pronouns around and changed a couple of scenes, and it would have done nothing to the character at all. The only reason I didn’t was that Eejit was already published – perhaps Drednanth too – and I was locked into the characters more or less as they were. And the gimmick was that they’d started out as a Facebook game based on actual people on my Friends list, so there was that. Glomulus was a male because Lucas Thorn is a male. Simple as that. Doesn’t mean it has to be the case in my head, or (*cough cough*) in a television or movie adaptation…
Would I do it that way, in a reboot of the book series? Sure. Maybe. I don’t know. Director’s Cut hardcover release? Probably too much work. All this revelation might change, I feel, would be the readers’ perceptions of the character. And I can’t control those anyway.
What else would I maybe-possibly change?
I wanted to make General Moral Decay (Alcohol) more prejudiced. I had in mind the ultimately logical human-dislike that Vulcans often showed in Star Trek, although for obvious reasons I downplayed that comparison. He could easily have showed more antipathy towards monkeys, although he probably would have needed to be a Molran for that, instead of a Blaran since Blaren are by nature less uptight. The Molren, after all, have a certain school of thought declaring humans non-sentient altogether.
In the end, however, I had a choice between making Decay an anti-human bigot who the readers would hate, and portraying Molranoids in general as an actually superior species that were nevertheless not grating or prone to making humans feel inadequate (although in this much, I’m fairly content to admit, I probably failed). I like to think I walked that line and, while Decay was annoyingly lofty and condescending at times, and perhaps downright insulting in tense moments, he also balanced his very rational low opinion of humans with an attitude of cultural responsibility. The best way to improve someone’s behaviour is to provide a good example, after all. Ridicule and shaming are practically guaranteed to backfire, and more violent forms of interference – well, those were also tried, weren’t they? Humans proved … resistant to it.
It’s all fun and games until you’re standing in an imperial bedchamber with a mouthful of clone-foetus.