KILGORE TROUT REVISITED: We've several letters in response to the note we printed several issues ago about the possible identity of the author of VENUS ON THE HALF SHELL. First, two letters from Philip Jose Farmer.

"I wasn't surprised that I would be accused of being Trout. I am interested in Trout and have written a biography in a collection of mine and in my Doc Savage book. So it was inevitable that some, after accusing Sturgeon and Asimov, would then suspect me. I wish to squelch this rumor, and I hope you'll have room in Locus to print the following: 'Dell Publications did not approach me to write VENUS ON THE HALF SHELL, though I sincerely wish they had thought of me. I believe that Dell would have picked the greatest writer of pastiches in s-f for this honor. I don't want to name any names; consider the evidence and point the finger bone of suspicion yourself.' Best, Philip Jose Farmer."

Another letter from Farmer dated three days later:

"Like many s-f fans, I've been interested in the question of Trout's true identity. I heard that George Effinger 'proved' at a Boston convention that Trout had to be Asimov. But as far as I know, no one has asked Asimov if this is true. I doubt that he is; it seems to me that Dell would have picked a writer who's published a number of parodies and pastiches. I've done some myself, but apparently Dell overlooked them. Dell announced the forthcoming Trout novel after Blish's parodies appeared in AGAIN, DANGEROUS VISIONS. This may be coincidence, but these may have attracted Dell. On the other hand, Gene Wolfe has written some excellent pastiches, and he has a humor and lightness of touch lacking in Blish. (Blish has wit but no humor or gusto.) So I would point the fingerbone at these two as the prime candidates. Best, Philip Jose Farmer."

We have also been sent the following letter addressed to the editor at Dell.

"Dear Mr. Harris: Thank you for your letter of the 16th inst. I agree that it seems necessary for me to provide some kind of statement for the press at your convention. Firstly, from what you tell me of the various people who have been nominated as my 'secret identity,' I am deeply flattered. Although, as you know, I do not read very much science fiction, I am slighly familiar with Mr. Asimov's work and have heard Mr. Sturgeon's name highly spoken of. The other authors you mentioned, Messrs. Lupoff and Farmer, I know only from what you tell me. It is gratifying, none the less, to be placed in such apparent illustrious company. However, there must be some way to assert my existence as a real person. Ever since the unfortunate occurences at the Midland City Festival of the Arts, I must rule out any personal appearances. If distribution copies of this letter is insufficient, I might be willing to consent to a written interview, if you would serve as a conduit for the prepared questions. If all else fails, I may be forced to accede to your request for a picture for the back cover of the book, although this route would be personally distasteful to one as reclusive as myself. At any rate, I am sure that some way can be found whereby I can regain my proper identity. Sincerely yours, Kilgore Trout." No comment.