May, 1986

  'Thanks for the latest SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW even though I found it to be as depressing as its predecessors. I read the reviews of works by Blaylock, Powers, Rucker, etc., what wonderful ideas they have, what powerful language, what fabulous plots, what great characters. And, as I sink into despair and gloom, I ask myself what an old fart like me is doing still writing? Why don't I just give up and join Ed Earl Rep and Ray Cummings in oblivion?

  'Or, since I'm not financially able to retire on Social Security and some minor stocks and bonds, why not become a mainstream writer? There's this novel, PEARL DIVING IN OLD PEORIA, I've been thinking about for years. Why not do that? or the nonfiction biography of one of my great heroes, Nellie Bly, demon girl reporter? Ou sont les neiges d'antan?

  'I wish John Brunner would quit confusing the U.S. government with its citizens. There really are very few of us who want war, nuclear or conventional. There are a lot of us who didn't vote for Reagan and many more who did but wish they hadn't. As for RAMBO, yes, I enjoyed it though I found it somewhat unbelievable. His mission was fully justified, given the circumstances of the story, and he, in the end, was betrayed by his own government for political reasons. That I found credible. That's been done by all governments everywhere in time and place, not just by the U.S. government.

  'Scott's words re MOBY DICK were quite refreshing and stimulating and on the nose. The book should be removed from college curricula and denied to anyone under forty-five. But that would be censorship, wouldn't it? I'm flat-out against censorship of any kind no matter how laudible the motives of the would-be censors. By any kind I mean the censorship that both conservatives and liberals hope to impose.'