I thought Sudbery's "To Criticise the Critic" was the gem of the issue, with Blish's letter in the letter column a close second. (He is quite wrong, obviously in thinking the story about "Surface Tension" would be of interest only to him. It is precisely this level of shoptalk which most fascinates me - and I only wish the punchline - Suvin's Revelation - had been included. )

Returning to Blish's letter: I have yet to read his story in Again. Dangerous Visions, so my comment is based solely upon his description of it here, but when Jim asks, "can Mr. Barbour suggest any other editor who would have welcomed this esoteric exercise, with its accompanying subsidiary fannish in-group Jokes?" I'm tempted to simply sit back and wait for someone else to pop up his hand and say, "But that sounds like exactly the sort of thing Ted White publishes:"

And it does too. I have absolutely Do taboos except my own dislike for a story, and I have published "parodies of fantasy writers of various degrees of obscurity# (one thinks immediately of Lupoff's Ova Hamlet stories, but I have used others too) as well as stories which embody "a fairly wide spectrum of sexual irregularities." All of which only brings us back to the beef I had with Harlan when he first. trumpeted the original DANGEROUS VISIONS back in 1966: I don't think there are any good stories "that couldn't possibly see publication anywhere else."

Doug Barbour's letter, immediately following, jolted me with his intense admiration for Delany as a writer when coupled with his appreciation for writing per se. I am forced to conclude that here we are entering into that highly subjective area, Taste- because I have always found Delany's writing curiously clumsy - as if he were over-freighting his work with the ideas he wished to express, making each sentence work too hard.

finished any of Delany's novels (read three quarters of NOVA before giving up on it: had no urge to "see how it ends") because sooner or later the characterization embarrasses me. I've never been able to reconcile what Delany has written to the depth with which he can discuss writing and literature. In conversations and essays he is brilliant and protective and easy for me to admire. But what he writes in Greenwich Village c.1965 filtered through THE DEMOLISHED MAN and PLANET STORIES c 1945. Many of his most honoured ideas (such as in his story in DANGEROUS VISIONS) are, at bottom, silly and unbelievable. His characterizations are flamboyantly cardboard. And his plots are augmented space-opera.

Subery, in commenting on Pohl is, I thinkT misunderstanding Fred's point. "What you want to say" in a story is the point, the moral you wish drawn from the story -at least as I understand the phrase. Now not every author writes with this sort of thing in mind - perhaps Tony does not (does he write fiction? I'm out of touch here) -but I imagine Fred does, at ]east as often as not.

ThusT while it's true on one level that one can't "decide what he wants to say until he's said itT "in the sense that the writing of the story itself is "what he wants to say/' it certainly isn't true that many writers don't start out with an overview of the themes, moods, or moral points they wish to get across in their stories.

I hope you'll remember Pam Bulmer's long review of NOVA in Spec-25, Ted, which came to similar conclusions about a certain clumsiness in Delany's style. Pam did a blow-by-blow analysis of several passages to prove her point.

spilled over into the SFWA Forum with what result I don't know. At any rate this is all interesting stuff which was topical when written(March 14th).

David Gerrold,

Box 526

Hollywood, Ca 90028

I specifically want to mention Douglas Barbour's review of AGAIN, DANGEROUS VISIONS and his references to me. Mr. Barbour is not quite accurate in his suction of the situation between Harlan Ellison and myself -and he is quite wrong in his assumptions.

He thought it meant that I published my story, 'WITH A FINGER IN MY I', in my own collection shortly after the publication of A,DV. However, he does not note that Harlan's contract with me had expired twelve months before and Harlan no longer had any claim on my story.

As a favour, however, I did hold the publication of my book back as long as I could. It should have been out a fear after 6, DY, but because of Harlan's delays in turning in manuscripts, galley proofs and etc. his book came out 9 months later that it was originally scheduled. So, the blame is as much Harlan's: that is, if you assume that A,DV has been ,,damaged" by my doing what any writer has the right to do, once his contract expires.

AS for Mr. Barbour's comment that the story 'With a Finger in My I' is not a notable one and does not belong in ATDV, I cannot agree more. The story that I wanted to sell to A,DV was 'In the Deadlands' - a very controversial experiment.

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