First up, I want to apologise for the delay in officially releasing Billie Budd. I’d originally intended to post this blog last week, but in between gallivanting across New Zealand and unforeseen technical issues, I had to wait until today. The Book is now available for purchase from Amazon. I should also mention I’m experimenting with a new linking system, which should take you straight to the Amazon store appropriate for you region. Since I know a lot people maintain a US Amazon account, I’m not sure if this will end up being a benefit or a hindrance, so feel free to let me know which you prefer.
The original Billy Budd is a fascinating story even though it’s not as widely known as a classic these days. First published posthumously in 1924 after its author, Herman Melville, died before completing it. It was a critical success upon its release, reaching the peak of its fame in the 1950’s and 60’s when it was adapted into a stage play, an opera, and a movie starring Peter Ustinov and Terence Stamp.
As a novel I’m particularly familiar with, Billy Budd was one of my first choices for regendering, becoming Billie Budd. Its original setting, a warship crewed exclusively by men, also made it particularly appealing for the project. But what really resonated with me, and what I think made it such a classic, was the moral dilemma central to the story. It’s not just a matter of right and wrong, but it also brings in the question of justice vs the letter of the law, particularly during times of war, along with trying best course of action in the context of a great conflict. I was pleased to see all these questions, which I feel are vital to the story, remained intact after regendering.
The Author’s Note, where I talk about the specific challenges I encountered when regendering this novel, doesn’t actually contain many spoilers. Still, I’ve hidden it just to be safe. I’m also experimenting with embedding the books, so you’ll be able to flick through a chapter or so to see if the story interests you enough to purchase.