I hope you get one, and in case you do here’s a quick note to say congratulations, thanks, and…we changed the ending. Not much, but enough that you’ll notice the difference between what you’re holding now and what your readers will see in July.
(Well, that and the “Hardcover and Full Color Everywhere by Aaron Polk” thing. You’ll love this book in its final form.)
Here’s how that happened: In a television writer’s room there’s a fairly common occurence: someone pitches a plot-twist or a joke, and other writers nod. But if too many nod in agreement and say “right, that’s just what I was thinking” they’ll toss it out and think some more. Why? Because they know they’ve come up with the exact same thing their savvy audience will expect at that point in the story.
Something similar happened to us, and it was brought about by the sad occasion of Hawking’s death. As we revisited our original ending in light of his passing, we realized that what might have worked soon after we first visited Cambridge to meet him** in 2013 was not as good five years later. The imagery that seemed fresh and appropriate then? It no longer did. Our sensitivity reader made this point as well, pushing us further, and we took heed. The result is a closing sequence that’s subtly different from what’s in the ARC.
It’s now more abstract, leaves more to your imagination, and keeps you in Hawking’s mind—in Hawking’s world—for just a little longer. Perhaps even after you close the book.
I hope you enjoy the story, and come back for more on July 2nd!
**And by soon, I mean I came up with the ending, in outline form, while still in England. In fact, I wrote it down in the rain (England, right?) in a tiny notebook while I was on Darwin’s Sandwalk, pictured above. It was a wonderful trip.