Machine Man
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SOURCE P186 V6/6.
Machine Man (serial)

V5← Final

Date: Wed Dec 2 05:38:41 2009 +0000

Page 186.


If you just read this whole serial one freaking page at a time, thank you. There were a lot of reasons this might not have worked, and the big one was: you wouldn’t want to come with me. And I wouldn’t have blamed you. This story was straight from my fingers to your brain, with no time for reflection or rewriting in between, something that is a kind of crime for a writer, or should be. I bet whenWhen I re-read this thing, I’ll no doubt wince at the bumps and jolts I inflicted on you along the way. Butway: thank you madefor making it there anyway, so despite them.

The most unusual aspectstrange and wonderful part of this project for me was the feedback look: readerloop: comments from readers kept me in touch with what theyyou thought, threw up ideas, and became a kind of meta-work (The Annotated Machine Man, perhaps).Man). Thank you to everyone who contributed.contributed one! And special thanks to those who contributed many, many comments, the most prolific of whom were: Pev (still interesting!),interesting), gStein, CrystalR, Toby O, Electrichead, David, Ben, fredzfrog, Stygian Emperor, Mapuche, coolpillows, Chemical Rascal (haiku(puns and haiku on demand), coolpillows, Alex, Ian Manka, Felix, C Leffelman, SilverKnight, Yannick, dabbeljuh, Abgrund, Alan Westbrook, SexCpotatoes, regtiangha, Neville, Adam Speicher (a.k.a. meta-Adam), tim, Katie Ellert (“Where’s Lola? WHERE’S LOLA?”), Ajna, Isaac, Joe M., Justin, towr, Morlok8k, Ballotonia, Sander, Ted, and Robert Bissonnette. Many times I clicked through to the previous day’s comments with a sense of dread, the growing suretysure that everybody had hated it, but found instead cheers, jokes, and crazy spin-off ideas that buoyed me forward. Before I began, I was tempted to put a warning on the comments page, something like: “Just so you know, being too critical of this thing while I’m still writing it maywill almost certainly cause me to lock up completely.” I didn’t do that and didn’t have to. You were far nicer to me than I deserved.

Thank you to everyone who tossed me an idea: those were much appreciated asappreciated, and even the ones I didn’t use helped me clarify the boundaries of my story’s world. The idea I liked most was from Meredith Course, who educated me about brain plasticity and free-roaming neurons: that one propelled many pages.

I also want to mention Michael Ian Minter again. Now, I don’t want to encourage people to go around goading authors. Particularly not when that author is me. But Minter’s kick in the pants essentially decided me on doing this, and since I fully would have sheeted home the blame to him if it had allit gone spectacularly wrong, it’s only fair I thank him now.

Thank you to Jen for her patience with me on those days I struggled with my daily deadline (“I’m not happy with my page. I have to redo my paaaaage”), and for telling me it sounded like a pretty good idea to begin with. Ditto forto my agent, Luke Janklow, who also made sure this fun experiment in real-time fiction didn’t break me financially, by finding enthusiastic fans in Zachary Wagman of Vintage BooksBooks, Aviva Tuffield of Scribe, and, with Brian Siberrel, Cathy Schulman of Mandalay Pictures.

I’ve always held a sneaking affection for the first draft. First draftsThey are loose and indulgent, scattered and silly, but they are also raw and passionate and kind of uniquelyroguishly lovable. Mine usually amuse no-one but me, and then I have to dismember them and re-arrange the piecestheir parts for improved aerodynamics.flow. I am glad this one gets to live: that while it may soon have a bigger, better-looking brother (one less prone to unexpected mood shifts and thoughtlessness, less likely to knock things over or step on your dog), this draftone got to leave the house, and spend some time in your brain.

Max Barry

Melbourne, Australia

December 1,2, 2009


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