If you have known me for at least fifteen years, and preferably up to twenty years, it may please you to learn that almost all the strange stories I used to tell about myself have survived, not as the oral storytelling they once were, but as a series of novels. If you didn’t know me back then, or if you have not read the Untrue Tales From Beyond Fiction – Recollections of an Alternate Past, the following may qualify as spoilers for both/either:
Do you remember the stories I used to tell about myself? Perhaps you knew me as immortal, unable to die, tortured by the passing of the unlimitedness of time and the dull repetition of everyday life over the centuries. Perhaps you heard the story of how I came to rule Hell and the underworld, by losing a bet with the Devil himself, and what a unique burden the management of that realm turned out to be. Many of you heard the stories about my exile to Earth, sent here by the governing body of the rest of the universe for a crime so horrible they wanted to sentence me to the worst known punishment; that since I already suffered immortality they’d been forced to hand down the second-worst punishment, Earth. A few of you even dug deep enough to know my so-called crime: Love. (Even fewer heard about the woman I loved; Toni was heard of by a tiny handful.) Then there were the occasional “speculations” about how what we thought of as reality was actually a computer simulation, and how our being trapped in the simulation was related directly to an alien invasion in our true reality (though the details of these stories were, necessarily, a bit sketchy); and all this years before films like 13th Floor, Dark City, or The Matrix ever ran. There were also a lot of smaller stories, details really, about little things like mind reading, magical pockets or bags, supernatural creatures, or a few decades of my exile spent with Peter Pan in Neverland.
In 2004, after having written two other books, I set myself to trying to reintegrate all the stories I used to tell as though they were about myself and expanding them into a series of novels. The series was, as I implied above, the Untrue Tales From Beyond Fiction – Recollections of an Alternate Past, so named because these were the lies (the untrue tales) I told about myself, as though I were merely recalling them as my own history (my own alternate past, shared originally as oral stories for my friends (stories thus one step removed from the traditional form of modern, published fiction—stories from beyond fiction) and now re-collected as novels). I wrote the first book in the Fall of 2004, the next in the Spring of 2005, and 97% of the third in the Fall of 2005 (though it was not finished until a year, a month, a day, and an hour more had passed), and I had grand plans at the time for a 9-book (or longer) series, expanding significantly on the old stories according to their novelized design.
Then I hit a rough patch, in my life and in my writing, and when I came out of it I wanted to work on different stories; to put the old
lies stories behind me and create new worlds. Eventually my readers called out loudly enough for a resolution to the incomplete series, and in the Summer of 2010 I began work on wrapping up the Untrue Tales. I truncated what I had formerly intended to expand, I boiled down the story to its essential elements, and by late Spring 2011 I had written three more books and brought the series to a close. Writing these books had always come quickly to me, as I knew so much of the stories by heart; it was the same stories I had been telling, again and again, throughout my youth, as though it were the truth about me and my life and my history. Details had to be changed, here and there, but almost everything remained intact. Every story alluded to two paragraphs above was certainly included. All the main story lines I’d told about myself, and most of the little details and side stories, too.
If you knew me then, if you heard my stories, I encourage you to check out the Untrue Tales… series. You can get the eBooks or podcast audiobooks for free, or you can buy the eBooks, complete audiobooks, or paperback versions if you have the money. You already know the stories; reading them in this format should feel like settling into a familiar locale, surrounded by people you know. There are certainly a few rough patches in The First Untrue Trilogy, as it was some of my earliest published writing, but by the time you’re closing in on the end of The Second Untrue Trilogy you’ll be finding a few “patches” of the best writing of my life.
If you didn’t know me back then (perhaps don’t know me even now), you may want to try them anyway; the Untrue Tales… series remains among my most popular works, despite (or perhaps because of) its unconventional (insane?) story, ideas, characters, and narrative structure.