I originally intended the novella "The Final Folly of Captain Dancy" to be half of a Tor Double (#37, which never appeared). The contract for that book had a curious feature: while I retained most of the rights, I could not publish the story as a stand-alone work. I could include it in a collection so long as that collection contained at least four stories.
I don't know whether the contract is still in force, but I didn't see any need to argue with it.
Around 2011 I decided I wanted to make the story available again, in these days of ebooks and print-on-demand, but because of that old contract it needed to be part of a collection. (It was already in my collection Crosstime Traffic, but I wanted to make it the main feature.) So I found three other stories that seemed to go with it reasonably well and assembled that four-story minimum.
I didn't want to bother publishing it myself, so I took it to FoxAcre Press, which was happy to publish it as The Final Folly of Captain Dancy & Other Pseudo-Historical Fantasies.
But in 2022, FoxAcre decided to drastically reduce their catalog. As of January 2023, they returned the rights to the seven Watt-Evans titles they had published.
By this time I was more comfortable with self-publishing, so I put out new editions of all seven myself, through Misenchanted Press. Most I didn't change, beyond giving them new covers and doing some minor tweaks to the interior layout, but looking at The Final Folly of Captain Dancy & Other Pseudo-Historical Fantasies I decided it was too short. If I was going to re-issue it, I wanted to make it a larger book.
So I added six more stories to the original four, two new ones and four reprints. It's still not a fat book, but it's better. (Yes, this got me further away from the original concept of just publishing the novella. Fine. Deal with it.)
I'd been thinking of doing a collection of tall tales someday, so I combined the two concepts; these ten stories are pretty much everything I've written that I think fits the "tall tale" description.
Here are the four stories from the previous book:
- "The Final Folly of Captain Dancy" (with a bonus feature: "What the Parrot Was For.")
- "Windwagon Smith and the Martians"
- "My Mother and I Go Shopping"
- "One Million Lightbulbs"
And here are the six I've added:
- "Jim Tuckerman's Angel"
- "Best Present Ever!"
- "When Hell Froze Over"
- "Three Days Late for the Hanging" (previously unpublished)
- "The Girl Who Couldn't Fly" (previously unpublished)
And that's the package!
That's it; here's your list of handy exits:
The Misenchanted Page
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