I mentioned earlier that Diane Duane in the process of rewriting her earlier Young Wizards novels to take into effect advances in technology that have occurred since they were first written. Duane has made a post to her blog going into more detail about the process, and the reasoning behind it.
Naturally, when you’re talking about a series as well-loved as Young Wizards, the idea of having it be revised and updated can give some fans a sinking sensation. There’s a certain mentality of "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it," and I think anybody can understand that. But a remarkable number of oaks we considered classics have been revised by their own authors—for example, J.R.R. Tolkien revised Lord of the Rings several times during the 1960s. His friend, C.S. Lewis, was planning to revise the Narnia series at the time of his death. And more recently, F. Paul Wilson has revised his Repairman Jack novels to bring them all up to date. So it’s not as if it’s a rare occurrence.
And in the blog post, Duane explains that the out-of-date nature of the first few books was putting potential new readers off the series:
I get a lot of mail from them demanding to know why, in the early books, Kit and Nita are so old-fashioned. Why don’t they have phones? Why is the computer stuff in the second and third books, especially in High Wizardry, so ancient and lame? Why is the online “otherworld” which today’s teens and tweens are so familiar with, so completely missing? This disconnect with the basics of the background of modern life is putting them off the books at exactly the point I should be getting them hooked.
She notes that So You Want To Be a Wizard was only the second novel she had ever written, and she has advanced a great deal in the craft since then. 50 novels later, she was happy to be able to apply some of what she had learned in the intervening years to making some much-needed improvements. And the changes that have taken place since then are more than just a matter of technology:
Tween and teen life of the 1980s and 1990s was significantly different from teen and tween life now. Kids are living with greatly changed sets of expectations, limitations and pressures. The New Millennium editions will deal with these as well.
Also, the fact that more recent books in the series take place in the present day has been a little hard to reconcile with the way earlier books and a series took place back in the early 1980s. The revisions to the earlier novels will bring them more into line with the later ones.
The e-book of the New Millennium Edition of So You Want To Be a Wizard will be available from Diane Duane’s e-book store on June 21 and the Kindle and other e-book stores soon afterward. I will be looking forward to seeing what’s changed—and also seeing a lot fewer typos than in the old version.