Despite being published within weeks of each other, considered side by side the American and British versions of The Trigger look like substantially different books. The former has 26 chapters and 447 pages, the latter 33 chapters and 550 pages.
The Trigger was still unwritten when it was sold to Tom Dupree at Bantam Spectra in 1996. The proposal consisted of an outline (written by Arthur) and a collaboration agreement between Arthur and myself. The first draft (roughly 160,000 words) was completed in June 1998, and our agent’s overseas subagent grabbed a copy to employ in marketing it elsewhere. Very shortly thereafter, Jane Johnson of HarperCollins UK (Arthur’s regular UK publisher) made an offer, with contracts signed that October. Since the book was not yet in final form, Jane and editor Joy Chamberlain had an opportunity to have some input into the final manuscript–which ran to nearly 200,000 words by the time it was delivered to both Bantam (where Pat Lobrutto had taken over for Tom Dupree) and HarperCollins in April, 1999.
Both publishers were working on tight schedules, with The Trigger having been slated months earlier for publication before the end of 1999. So the final stages of the editorial process were done in parallel, with two copyedited manuscripts, two sets of galleys, and one harried writer (me) endeavoring to keep the two editions synchronized. Bantam Spectra was the first to “freeze” their edition and hand the manuscript over to production. So the last of the changes suggested by the Voyager editorial offices are not reflected in the US edition. Those changes are a few minor (paragraph-sized) excisions, changing a couple of chapter titles, and breaking several long chapters into smaller bites.
The US edition’s Chapter 15, “Trickery,” became the UK edition’s Chapters 15, 16, 17, and 18.
The US edition’s Chapter 16, “Guaranty,” became the UK edition’s Chapters 19 and 20.
The US edition’s Chapter 17, “Alchemy,” became the UK edition’s Chapters 21 and 22.
The US edition’s Chapter 22, “Summons to Greatness,” became the UK edition’s Chapters 27 and 28.
And the US edition’s Chapter 29, “To Promote Peace,” became the UK edition’s Chapters 29 and 30.
Each new chapter in Part I opens with a “newsbyte” from the world outside the characters’ lives. But apart from those additions, the text of the two editions is nearly identical–the seeming difference in their length is almost completely due to their respective book designs.
Which version is the true “First Edition”? Ironically, despite being the last to close out the editing process, the UK edition was the first to reach bookstore shelves.
Which version is definitive? The US edition contains every word in the UK edition except for the five additional newsbites at the chapter breaks; the UK edition has all the newsbites, but the narrative is lacking a few hundred words which appear in the US edition. The upcoming German edition, from Wilhelm Heyne, incorporates the complete American text and the British chapter structure–or did, at least, before the process of translating it began.
Those of you holding a copy of the Bantam edition in your hands can simulate the Voyager edition by clicking on the links below to read the “missing” chapter intros when you reach the pages indicated.