The “early versions” are not exactly versions of Ishmael. I prefer to say that they are versions of the book that ultimately BECAME Ishmael. Only Ishmael features a character that is a gorilla named Ishmael. Only Ishmael is a novel.
Of the first five versions, only the first ever reached a stage which I considered “finished”—but you would hardly even recognize it as having any relation to Ishmael. Of the first five versions, only the fifth (The Book of the Damned) was published, unfinished, and distributed in a limited area; this is still of interest, even in unfinished form.
Portions of the fourth version were later collected (by me) as Tales of Adam, but this has never been published in any “official”; way. Perhaps some publisher will turn up someday with an interest in issuing a volume that combines The Book of the Damned with Tales of Adam.
The sixth version (Another Story To Be In) was completed but never published. The seventh version was a much abbreviated version with the same name, also never published.
Parts of Another Story To Be In have appeared as essays. Other parts were cannibalized for Ishmael and The Story of B.
NOTE: Tales of Adam was published by Steerforth Press in 2005, and The Book of the Damned is available in a new edition published by Daniel in 2014.
Posted: 10 Feb 1997