Letters, Part 2


Dear Leland:

Vol. 4, No. 2 was excellent, stimulating. Miesel's article on Poul was very enlightening because it put together so many scattered elements. I suppose that I had known it unconsciously, but never realized it consciously until this article, that Poul is a realist in his portrayal of his heroes. I think that the long ago days when Poul was writing Planet Story stories and his viking heroes were riding on horses out of space ships stuck in my mind, even though I should have known better. I also realized that I'm much more of a romanticist, though I can write realism when I'm in the mood. I hope that our somewhat differing attitudes towards the universe have no correlation to our political-economic-psychological outlooks. By attitudes, I'm referring to our protagonists' attitudes, of course.

"Homo Hydrogenesis" was an illuminating essay. I like to read Ballard, to dig into him, to analyze, if possible, what he is driving at. If Ballard writes geometry, William Burroughs writes algebra. Maybe some day a writer will come along and write an algebra of geometry: thesis (Ballard), antithesis (Burroughs), synthesis (?).

"Out of Time's Abyss" by Richard Kyle. A remarkably perceptive and insighted article, well developed, with the beautiful lines, Time has a voice. It praises dreamers. And The deeper dreams remain. Kyle doesn't prove anything, of course. That could only be done by asking Mr. Burroughs, and, at present, that is impossible. But he makes for an overwhelming case. And he points out, to forestall objections from people who don't know that Shakespeare borrowed from others, that he is not tearing ERB down. Far from it.

I'd like to see Poul expand on the statement that he doesn't relieve the actions of Israel vis-a-vis its Arab neighbors are justified.

I deny the validity of your statement that Her Majesty's distilleries have been practising since 1066. According to the Enc. Britt., the earliest direct account of whiskey making is found in the Scottish exchequer rolls of 1494. However, Albukassen, Arabic alchemist, does describe, in the 10th century, the distillation process. But the English knew nothing of whiskey in 1066 or for a long time thereafter. Undoubtedly, the best Scotch is made in Scotland, and the best Irish whiskey in Ireland, but the best bourbon is made in Kentucky. Of course, you may be privy to knowledge I don't have and can prove that William the Bastard conquered England primarily because he couldn't get good whiskey in Normandy.

Philip José Farmer


Dear Leland:

I was sorry to read Blish's remark about the attention paid to ERB in RQ being a waste of critical effort ... I imagine that there are plenty of avenues open, scholarly journals and such, which give all the opportunity the Joyceans need to express themselves. So I can't see why Blish should be against us ERB-fans having fun when we don't object to his joys in working out the four-dimensional crossword puzzles of Finnegans Wake. If his main objection is that there isn't much ore to be mined in ERB, then he obviously doesn't know what he's talking about. If he objects on the ground that Joyce is so much more "literary,' so much more complicated, and that the education to be derived from working out the FW crossword puzzle is so much broader than that from working out ERB, then he has valid objections. But I believe that ERB is as deeply "mythic" as Joyce, although Joyce was a conscious mythographer and ERB wasn't. I submit that the unconscious mythographer may go deeper even than the conscious (and self-conscious) mythographer. He may not cover the same territory; he may not appear to claim so much horizontal territory. But vertically he is greater; his roots go all the way into the cerebellum....

All this is leading up to a dream I had two nights ago. I'd been sick for two weeks, very sick, and started to convalesce. Then we had visitors, and I injudiciously drank some vodka. And I woke up at three o'clock with a headache from the recent smog and a slight buzz from the vodka. I stayed awake for an hour and then fell asleep. And I had a dream.

Somebody--some misshapen pale and burry old man, the thing that alternates with various female figures in my dreams as my mentor--was explaining, to me just who Bloom really was. Bloom according to this shape-shifting somewhat nasty old man, was an allegory of Oom Paul.

How is that? I asked.

Easy. Take Bloom apart. That is, take the letters of his mame apart. Rearrange them. Oom bol. Devoice the initial bilabial of the second syllable. Oom pol. Equals Ooom Paul.

But, the old man said, Oom Paul, in turn, is only an allegory representing Jesus Christ.

How's that? I said.

Bloom was the Wandering Jew, or the wandering jewgreek. Oom Paul went on the Great Trek. Bloom and Oom Paul belonged to groups which were oppressed by the British. Oom Paul was a wanderer. And a wonder. Er.

And J.C. is only an allegory for St. Paul. Jesus was Jewish, he wandered around Dublin for God and was, in a sense, the father of Paul. Uncle Paul, once known as Saul of Tarsus (tarsier? tarsal? connected with that part of the body which enables one to wander) did not die in Rome but led the Lost Tribe of Israel to Britain, where the Israelites became the British.

But Bloom is descended from the Israelite British and is now disjected and rejected from their main body, he having lost his ancient faith. And so the allegory comes around fullcircle, and Bloom has circuitously become an allegory of himself.

Believe it or not, this is how the dream went. The logic therein is tenuous and distorted, but that is how a dream works.

What origins does this dream have? I don't know, except that I had been trying to connect Joyce with ERB. You probably know that ERB, when writing Tarzan of the Apes, originally titled Tarzen as Bloomstoke. Later on, he changed Bloomstoke to Greystoke.

It doesn't take long to establish that ERB published Tarzan of the Apes before Joyce Dublished parts of Ulysses. So ERB couldn't have intended to connect the Wandering Tarmangani of Africa with the Wandering Jew of Dublin. I had played with the idea that ERB was splitting up the world of humanity with Joyce. ERB was showing us the Superman; Joyce, the Everyman. But I've failed to establish that either writer knew of the other, let along collaborated in secret or otherwise. Certainly, if there is any derivation, Joyce would have derived from ERB, who is clearly prior in time of creation (and publication).

My theory is that ERB coded certain names so that scholars could some day ascertain, if they were detective enough, the identities behind the coded names. So Bloomstoke did lead me into strange paths (as did Greystoke) but not towards Joyceland. Where it led me will be the subject of an article, "That Extraordinary Greystoke Family."

However, it seems improbable to me that a writer with the cosmic scope of Joyce could have overlooked Tarzan. Surely, somewhere in the universe of Finnegans Wake, there is a reference, however ingeniously concealed beneath a multileveled pun, to a hero even greater than Finnegan. I'm not competent (in 1970, at least) to dig this out. But I wonder if some learned Joyceans, such as Mr. Blish and Judy-Lynn Benjamin, couldn't ferret out this reference for me? Perhaps they've actually read it a dozen or a hundred times and never realized what they were seeing because they weren't looking for it. One of the beauties and the joys of Finnegans Wake is that something many times reread may suddenly blaze with a hitherto concealed revelation. The relays clicks and the covert circuit is operating. Calloo! Callay!

I await the disclosure of the passage about the Immortal Ape-Man. And if the Joycean scholars won't take up the challenge, then I'll have to do the work myself. Our exagmination round his tarzanification for ingumination of Work in Regress...

May Your Doublends jine. Vah!

Philip José Farmer

Letters to Baker Street

From Philip José Farmer, of Peoria, Illinois:

The December issue was, as always, very entertaining and highly informative. I was pleased to find my article, "The Two Lord Ruftons," in it. However, there is an unfortunate typo which makes it appear that I said that Gerard's Lord Rufton was the ancestor of Watson's. But I am sure that the readers are perceptive enough to see that an apostrophe and an "s" were dropped. [On page 222, line 12, "If Gerard's Rufton was the ancestor of Watson . . ." should be "of Watson's."] Otherwise, I may have to write another article proving that Gerard's Rufton was indeed Watson's ancestor.


Welcome to D.C.'s second issue of Tarzan. For this issue's DUM DUM we are including letters by those who are personally knowledgeable and/or involved with Edgar Rice Burroughs and Tarzan.

Dear Joe,

Thanks for the stats which I enjoyed very much. You have been faithful to the first Tarzan book with a few exceptions. Being a Tarzan purist, I'm a nit-picker. Tarzan's father was clean-shaven; he did not have a moustache. And Tarzan was ten years old, not thirteen, when he first entered the cabin. But all-in-all, I thought the issue was a fine and stimulating one.

I've written a book, soon to be published, called "Tarzan Alive." This biography derives from the basic premise that "Lord Greystoke" is a very real person, still living. Burroughs wrote a series about him in which he tried to make him appear as a fictional character so that he could protect the privacy of "Lord Greystoke". Some of the Tarzan books are all fiction, some are part fiction, a few are almost entirely true. I tracked down the real "Lord Greystoke" through research in books by Burroughs, by A. Conan Doyle, G. B. Shaw, and the massive Burke's PEERAGE, which contains the history of all the presently existing families in the British nobility. I have had a very brief interview with "Lord Greystoke", got a few facts, saw the diary of his father (a few pages, rather, fortunately I can read French to some extent), and promised not to reveal his real identity until 1982.

Philip José Farmer

Philip José Farmer is an award winning science fiction writer, and Tarzan expert.

Philip José Farmer
(4106 Devon Lane - Peoria Ill. 61614)

Leslie Fiedler's review of TARZAN ALIVE appeared in the Book Review section of the L.A. Times, April 23, 1972. As you will see it's actually more of a review/analysis of my career as a writer, or my motives, than of the Greystoke book. The goofy looking Tarzan riding the obviously phallic rocket ((used to illustrate the Times version of the article; see pages 10-14. -Ed.)) looks like the work of Wood, the MAD comic book illustrator. The first illustration, turned in by an artist whose name I do not know, was rejected. Not for its artistic or esthetic merits, or lack thereof, however. It showed Jane going down on Tarzan. Too strong for the L.A. Times, though I wouldn't be surprised to see it pop up in The Staffer(?). This is, if I remember correctly, the present title of the L.A. Free Press. Something like that anyway.

I'm trying to get the original artwork for the first-offered illustration or at least a copy.

Leslie Fiedler had been lecturing at the University of Illinois a few days before I returned home from my vacation in Salem, Virginia. (Where I was investigating rumors of the resurrection of the Confederate underground.) Fiedler phoned from the university and asked if he could visit me for several hours on May 7. Naturally I said yes. For those who don't know, Fiedler is a very distinguished literary critic, an instructor in English at the University of New York, Buffalo, and is author of the critical essay-collections; AN END TO INNOCENCE, LOVE AND DEATH IN THE AMERICAN NOVEL, and his recent THE STRANGER IN SHAKESPEARE. He has written several novels, and he is author of GETTING BUSTED, which recounts his experiences after being accused of having drugs on his premises without notifying the authorities.

Fielder told me that his article in the Times was cut by the editors so as to change the sense of some sentences or deprive them of certain modifying clauses. He is also not responsible for the title of the piece. Fiedler feels that he "discovered" me. His companion on the trip told me that he has a nose for picking out talented writers years before anybody else finds them. I replied that I hoped that didn't mean I smelled badly.

After reading the article I felt more like Kilgore Trout than ever. But I was pleased with it, even though I don't agree with some interpretations. On some counts, however, Fiedler struck home. He did make some errors in the publishers of some books and the prices, in saying that I'd been born in Peoria, and that I'd been in L.A. 25 years. But it's the spirit, not the letter that counts.

Fiedler also read the New York Times review of TARZAN ALIVE, and he agreed with me that the reviewer did not understand the book and that, even though he made fun of it, he was obviously fascinated by it.

Letters to Baker Street

From Philip J. Farmer, of Peoria, Illinois, author of Tarzan Alive:

The September issue of the journal is very enjoyable, especially the science-fictional story by J. A. Russell, "Postscript to The Final Problem." And, contrary to what Mr. Donald Webster says (letter on p. 186), I thought that three "Man from U.N.C.L.E." articles were stimulating. We "woulda been robbed" if these had been rejected.

4106 Devon Lane, Peoria, Illinois 61614, USA

Auguskalns is right about many things but not, I believe, about the Vietnam War being minor. Of course, he means that it is minor compared to an atomic war. And it is minor compared to the traffic casualties suffered all over the Earth. And perhaps fans are indifferent to Vietnam, but many people in the USA are anything but indifferent. It was not world opinion but the people here raising hell about the war that made Nixon pull out the American troops. Of course, there wasn't any "peace with honour"; there still is not peace and there is no "honour"; there never was in either side; the Vietnamese people would have been far better off if the USA had stayed out, the casualties and the devastation would have been far less; the Vietnamese peasant would be as well off, perhaps better off, it the Communists had won. Which they're going to do, anyway. And Nixon is being revealed as what many of us knew he was all along: a petty, mean, cruel, and dishonest man. On the other hand, he did go to China. But why? Was it a sincere desire for peace (not to mention commerce)? Or basically was it a desire to be a "great man", to be noted in history as the opener of gates? Never mind. It's the results, not the motives, that count. Nixon seems to get along well with the Russian and Chinese rulers. This is no surprise; tyrants of a feather flock together, etc. Note that Nixon is anti-education, anti-poor , anti-black, anti-science und so weiter. He is, most of all, pro-Nixon, pro-rich, pro-military, pro-Nixon, pro-repression, pro-Nixon. It is, however, the middle class, the bourgeoisie, and the powerful trade unions (especially the Teamsters' Mafia-run organisation), which got him in. And the middle class, I regret to say, as usual, are reactionary and stupid. Here and in every country, including, I'm sure, Australia. (May 9, 1973)

Philip José Farmer

Shortly after I received Ow #16 containing Piers Anthony's letter re Ted White-Sol Cohen-SFWA and Piers' personal boycott against Cohen, I did write a very long letter for the benefit of Piers, White, and your readers. When I returned from Kansas City, I cut this down. And then I again cut. I decided that the main text should head for the SFWA Forum, since this matter is primarily SFWA business. However, if the president of the SFWA sees fit not to publish the letter, you'll get it.

Piers Anthony says that he will maintain his personal boycott against Cohen's Ultimate publications until proof is submitted that Cohen is Paying all authors per the Ultimate-SFWA agreement. Apparently, White can't submit proof that Cohen is honoring the agreement. He insists that Cohen is but has not advanced any proof. The reason: he has none.

It is true that Cohen has paid for a number of reprints, but there are, I believe, many authors who have not yet been paid for reprints made years ago. And even when Cohen did pay, he was still breaking the agreement.

There are three terms of the Ultimate-SFWA agreement (see SFWA Bulletin, August, 1967 for full details) that Cohen has consistently not honored.

These are:

(1) "...as Ultimate gets caught up on payments, it will begin paying upon publication."

(2) "Where Ultimate is unable to locate an author, it will turn the check over to SFWA, which will then initiate an author search."

(3) "...it is understood that these fees are in the nature of a bonus or gratuity, the purpose of which is to encourage submission of new stories to Ultimate sf Publications..."

As for (1), Ultimate has never, to my knowledge, paid at publication of a reprint. This does not mean that it hasn't done so. There may be some cases of which I don't know. I do know that a number have not been paid on Publication.

Cohen could plead that he has never caught up on payments, hence this clause has not been broken. But if he does that, then he admits that he has not, after five years, paid all the moneys due per the agreement.

As for (2), Ultimate has not tried to locate the authors of its reprints. On the contrary, every writer I've discussed this situation with says that he discovered that his stories were reprinted only because he happened to see them on the stands or the official monitor of the SFWA notified him or a friend told him about them. This was also the case with a story of mine. I wrote Cohen about it, wrote, in fact, three letters (from Aug. 1969 through 5 Dec. 1969) before Cohen would admit he owed me money. Even then, he paid only because Ted White (according to White's own testimony) insisted that Cohen pay me. Cohen was using the dodge that I had not submitted brand-new stories to him before submitting them to other markets. But there is nothing in the SFWA-Ultimate agreement that stipulates this; this was a term invented by Cohen; an no author in his right mind is going to submit a story to Cohen and get paid two cents a word (or less) if he can sell to a five-cent market. (I'm speaking of Cohen's rates circa 1970. I don't know what they are now.)

As for (3), part of that is covered in the above paragraph. But Cohen also insists that he will not pay for reprints unless the author sends him a letter requesting payment. This term is not in the agreement and is in violation of (1) and (2).

I resigned from the SFWA over two years ago because of the SFWA's total inability to deal with Ultimate and the indifference of most of its members to Cohen's breaking of the agreement. If the SFWA couldn't tackle a pygmy like Cohen, what could it do against the giants?

I wrote a letter which was published in the SFWA Forum, No. 14, May 1970. Therein I detailed the results of my investigation into the nonpayment for reprints by Cohen. I presented the facts and called for an unofficial boycott. It had to be "unofficial" because the officers of the SFWA with whom I discussed this matter said they were afraid to call an official boycott. Cohen might sue the SFWA for conspiracy.

The results of my letter? Those who had not been paid boycotted Cohen and his publications, but they would have done so in any event. Piers Anthony is the only one I know who was fully paid but continued his boycott because of his personal integrity. He is, as he says, suffering financially because of this, but he is a rara avis among the SFWA. Apparently, most of the SFWA have paid no attention to the facts. They submit new stories to Cohen, and others write book reviews and feature articles for him.

As far as I'm concerned, these are finks. (I use the term in its original sense of "strikebreaker.")

As I said, I resigned from the SFWA, but I found this as difficult as quitting a book club. I continued to receive all the SFWA Bulletins and Forums and Nebula vote forms, plus requests that I pay my dues. I wrote several times, reiterating that I'd quit, but this was to no avail until very recently. Apparently, my latest letters did the trick. But it took two years before the SFWA officials got the idea. Even so, I'm listed as a member in the recent SFWA directory.

Aside from noting the names of those who've published new stories in the Ultimate publications, I ceased to have any interest in SFWA. But Piers Anthony's letter in Ow #16 has dispelled my dormancy, and I've decided to investigate again. This time, I'm writing a long letter directly to the current president, who seems determined to make the SFWA a truly professional and effective organization. He will have access to the SFWA files, and there is nothing to keep him from determining the exact number of authors who haven't been paid for reprints per the agreement.

After reading Anthony's letter in Ow #16, I wrote to Bob Bloch. I knew that as of a year ago he had a long-standing grievance against Cohen because of lack of payment for reprints. Did he still have one?

Here is the pertinent part of his reply, dated June 25, 1973.

"About Theodore White and Solomon Cohen--I wrote requesting payment for all stories, listing them by title: at that time I believe there were eleven or twelve. The count is now fifteen, ranging from a guest editorial reprint currently on the stands to a 25,000 word novelette.

"They paid for one story ($25.00) after printing the new yarn I was ill-advised to sell them by Scott. Scott Meredith [Bloch's agent, P.J.F.] claims to have asked for further payments, listing titles a number of times, to no avail... by my listing, they owe for 14 out of 15 reprints, in their magazines and one-shots."

This is one SFWA member's current report. How many others have had similar experiences? We'll find out. But just this one case is enough to show that Ultimate should still be boycotted.

There is one other person whose experiences I'd like to describe. This is Robert Moore Williams. His case is singular, as far as I know. Amazing had bought first North American serial rights only to his stories. Yet Cohen reprinted them without permission or payment. Williams protested to Cohen and to the SFWA. The SFWA did nothing; as far as I could determine, it did not even investigate Williams' case. If it did, it took no action. At the time I was making my 1968-69 investigation, Williams told me about this. I asked him to send me proof that he had indeed sold first NA serial rights. He did so; he sent me copies of letter from Ziff-Davis officials which indicated clearly that Ziff-Davis had bought first rights only.

Piers says that White has fought Cohen to get reprint payments. This may indeed be so. But White knew years ago that he had lost the battle, and, in my opinion, he should either have resigned from Ultimate or the SFWA. Again, in my opinion, he can't honorably hold both a position as the Ultimate editor and as an SFWA member.

[] There you have the current status of The Discussion(s), from the 'insiders'. I DO have a considerable amount of 'outside' comment on Ted & Piers & Harlan , as you might imagine , and that will be in #18. Response to this issue, from all, will go into #19. I have comments of my own...but they will wait. I will not agitate the Anthony/White/ Farmer matter, but I will see it out. As for the Ellison/White/Lupoff matter, Dick has presented his position, and I have mixed feelings about what might result between the other two. But it remains open, and we'll see. Be surprised ... along with me! []


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 José 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 José 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 José 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.

Philip José Farmer

Re Malzberg's letter in OW #17.

He states "flatly" that Ultimate is meeting all its obligations as detailed under the SFWA-Ultimate agreement. And he asks Piers to recall that this calls for the author of reprinted material to write a letter to the publisher calling attention to this and asking for payment.

I'll state "flatly" that Malzberg flatly wrote an untruth about Ultimate paying all its financial obligations. If he doesn't believe me, he can ask Bob Bloch and Jerry Pournelle. Moreover, Ultimate isn't paying for all its newly published material. Ultimate has owed Norman Spinrad for a book review for, over a year and apparently has no intention of paying for it. Moreover, the SFWA meeting at the Torcon, at which White was present, established that Ultimate has reneged and is reneging on the agreement. I was present, and I heard Jerry Pournelle tell White that he had a massive file of evidence of Ultimate's failure to pay. Then was the time for White to protest, to deny. But he did not. He knew that it would be useless. He did plead Cohen's poverty and bad heart and ignorance of science-fictional matters in general. And, at the end of the discussion, he agreed to ask Cohen if he would make a contract with the SFWA to pay for reprints. This would be done at the rate of one hundred dollars a month until all those who had not yet been paid were paid. I do not know whether or not Cohen has agreed to sign this contract.

So, this question of whether or not Ultimate has been living up to the agreement is settled once and for all.

But the question of why Malzberg made his flatly untrue statement is not settled. If he was ignorant of the facts, then he should have investigated and made sure of them before he defended Cohen. And if he wasn't ignorant of the facts, then why did he make the statement? Another point. It is not true, as Malzberg says, that the agreement called for a letter from the author of the reprinted story (or article) asking Cohen for payment. That stipulation was made by Cohen and had nothing to do with the agreement. In fact, the agreement calls for Ultimate to make a search for the author of every reprinted story so that he could be paid for it. But in no case has Ultimate done this, none that I know of anyway. And I do know of many cases, including my own, in which Ultimate has not said one mumbling word to the authors. I also know that it took me almost a year to get paid for a story and that if I had not stubbornly persisted in asking, I would not have been paid.

Here's your answer, Piers. Ultimate has consistently broken the agreement. Until Ultimate signs the contract with SFWA, it should be boycotted by SFWA members.

I was, as I said, present at the SFWA meeting. I wanted that meeting to be conducted impersonally and strictly business-like. Pournelle did so, but a number of the attendees made some disparaging and sarcastic remarks about Cohen which I thought out of line. I am not, however, referring to the Harrison-White hassle, since I thought White's outburst and name-calling at the beginning of the meeting was also uncalled for. But then he and Harrison have had a feud going for a long time, and their relations are hateshot. I did think White was ludicrous when he said Harrison had a dirty mouth, since this was the proverbial case of the pot and the kettle. But I thought White was conducting himself quite properly when he declined Harrison's invitation to step outside into the hall. Fisticuffs have no place in business meetings.

It was no surprise when White tacitly admitted that Ultimate had not paid for a number of reprints. It was a surprise, a shocking one, when I heard about Ultimate's policy in dealing with the slush pile. Its Mss. are shipped from one office to another, fourth class, uninsured. This has resulted in a number of Mss. being lost. When asked about this, White said, "Well, after all, it's only the slush pile."

Well, I can remember when my Mss. were in that pile. So could most of the others present. I can remember when I wrote my first s-f story, The Lovers, and the labor I put into it. If I'd had to wait for one or two years to get a reply from White on it (as many have waited) and then found that it had been lost, I might have given up writing. Or at least have been so discouraged that I would not have written another story for years.

Another revelation (to me, anyway ) was that Ultimate doesn't pay its readers. These are volunteers who read in their off-hours, when they feel they have time for it. This explains the delays in reporting on the slush pile and a number of writers who have sold elsewhere but are not "big name" writers.

All in all, the meeting proceeded in a business-like manner. White said he'd take the SFWA terms to Cohen, and then he was asked to leave, since he was not a member and was there only as a courtesy on the part of SFWA.

Some other points.

White speaks of my three-year Crusade. Yet (I made it clear in my letter that I had been relatively indifferent to the Ultimate affair after resigning from the SFWA. I only got embroiled again when the White-Anthony correspondence was presented to me in OW. Result: I became convinced that the matter should be pursued to the end. Also, I was convinced that Pournelle was not going to let the matter slide. So I rejoined SFWA.

White says that the blacklist is selective. Why don't I take a moral stand against Popular Library? It reprints material without paying. True. But Popular Library doesn't have any agreement with the SFWA. Ultimate does. And, as I've pointed out in articles in various fanzines, the SFWA has to show that it can handle Ultimate before it goes on to other business. If it's impotent in dealing with a pygmy like Cohen, what can it do against the giants?

White has accused the SFWA (in many fanzines) of taking a malignant attitude against Cohen. Yet at the Torcon meeting we voted one hundred percent to give Ultimate another chance, even though few of us believed that Ultimate would honor a contract if it were made. Contrary to what White claims, we don't want to put Ultimate out of business and see Amazing and Fantastic go down the drain. We'd like to see it thriving. We'd also like to see it honor its word, and it certainly has not done that.

White says: "...when an author sells reprint rights...he has no moral or legal justification for bitching about it late." True. I said so myself in a letter printed in a Geiszine. But the situation changes when the publisher agrees to pay for reprints. Cohen so agreed. And he has paid for some, some under duress and some to encourage new stories. But, he's made no search for the authors (as agreed), and he's not paid all (as agreed) and with many authors he's ignored requests for repayment (which requests, though made, were not obligatory according to the agreement).

You don't have to take my word for it. Ask Pournelle. He has the records.

There is still the case of Robert Moore Williams. He sold first serial rights only to Ziff-Davis and can prove it. But Cohen reprinted them without permission or without offering to pay Williams. White ignores this point, as he ignored several others I made in my letter in OW #17. The reason? He can't deny them.

[] I've held this 'open'; pending any comments by Harlan or Damon Knight, whom I queried per Piers' request. Such hasn't been forthcoming, so let us proceed... In the meantime, after a request from Mike Glyer...and an order from Jodie Offutt's lower case half, I belatedly dispatched copies of the relevant material to Jerry Pournelle...the current SFWA President... []

(4106 Devon Lane, Peoria, Ill. 61614)

I love MT#17. Binding it as a book is a great idea. It should mark the beginning of an epoch, one which will be noted by Harry Warner, Jr. as a landmark when he writes his history of fandom of the 70's. I've always had difficulty locating a particular fanzine in my collection because they necessarily have to be piled on of top of another. Or, if they're filed in a vertical position, the lack of a broad spine still means that I have to search through them before finding the desired one. I could, I suppose, put them in a binder with a labeled cover, but I don't have time or patience for this. I hope that you keep this format up and that all fanzines follow your pioneering example.

Though the contents are all interesting, I don't have time to loc them all. So I'll confine myself to two items close to home, that is, to me and mine.

I liked Don Ayres' review of The Other Log of Phileas Fog, of course. However, I must defend myself against his speculation that using a noted literary character in a novel of your own might not be entirely proper.

This ploy is an ancient and honorable tradition. It is, in fact, the highest form of a compliment to the author who originated the character. As far as I know, it was Jules Verne himself who did it first. He admired E. A. Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and was distressed that Poe hadn't written a sequel. So he wrote it -- The Sphinx of Ice. This, to his satisfaction, anyway, cleared up the mystery left unsolved at the end of Poe's story.

Also, Verne wrote two sequels to Wyss's The Swiss Family Robinson which have appeared in English translation. These were Their Island Home and The Castaways of the Flag. He also wrote two other sequels which, if they've appeared in English, I've not seen.

I doubt that Verne, if he were alive today, would object to Fogg being written into a science-fictional tale by another author. Certainly, he'd have no ethical grounds on which to stand. I hope some day to run across Verne on the banks of The River and tell him about Fogg's other log.

Note that Lovecraft continued this tradition when he wrote At The Mountains of Madness, a sequel to Verne's The Sphinx of Ice. Note also that I'm thinking about writing a sequel to Lovecraft's tale. In this, Doc Caliban (my pastiche of Doc Savage) meets the Cthulhu Mythos.

It's a long yellow brick road from Poe's 1838 tale to Verne's to Lovecraft's to Farmer's 1974 tale, and I suppose some will say that it illustrates progressive degeneration rather than evolution. But you can't keep a good writer down or even a bad one.

Then there are, of course, the many Sherlock Holmes sequels or pastiches written by people who love the Holmes stories and can't stand the idea of there being no more. Many of these are of cases which Watson referred to but did not detail. So we have the Giant Rat of Sumatra and other cases which would be entirely unexplained if some Sherlockian had not felt impelled to write a version.

Tarzan has similarly given rise to many pastiches. In these he appears under a different name of as "lord Greystoke". The Burroughs estate can't copyright the latter, since Burroughs himself used a real name, that of the Barons Greystoke or de Greystock. They're extinct now, though a descendant of the female line occupies the Greystoke Manor in Cumberland. And there's nothing to keep the proper authorities from suddenly deciding which branch of the Howards has a right to the title and so creating a new "real" Lord Greystoke.

The adventures of E. W. Hornung's rogue, A. J. Raffles, have been continued by Barry Perowne, though I would recommend them only to those deeply interested in this sort of thing. I think I can do better, and I may.

I remember a series I read as a youth which continued the adventures of d'Artagnan. In this case, of course, Dumas never had a copyright on the name of d'Artagnan. He actually existed, though he wasn't as flamboyant as Dumas character. A direct descendant of d'Artagnan, by the way, provided the basis for one of Proust's major characters. This was the Count de Montesquiou, on whom Proust based the Baron Charlus.

As for Angus Taylor's review of The Fabulous Riverboat, it has some valid points but even these are weak. I'm somewhat dissatisfied myself about the discrepancy between what I visualize in the Riverworld series and what I present. I would like to make both volumes I and II of the series much longer, take a slower pace, and tell the reader much more of the terrestrial background of the historical characters that I have.

But to do this would slow The Story Itself too much. Besides, due to space limitations, I can't tell everything about a character in one or even two volumes. Nor is it necessary. This is an open-ended series in which there will be plenty of room to give the characters' "real" history.

Taylor's thesis that the "real" characters shouldn't be uprooted from their historical context is invalid. I in the first place, though uprooted, these people come to the Riverworld trailing their clouds of unglory behind them. In the second, one of the Riverworld's premises is that many of these, faced with immortality and a physical world little resembling Earth's will change. They will evolve or devolve. They had thought that Phase I, their terrestrial existence, was all that there was. But they were wrong. Like it or not. They're in Phase II with no way out. Some refuse to change or admit they need changing. But the mysterious Ethicals are giving anybody who can mutate for the better a chance to do so.

This is their story. THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE.

One of the advantages of having real-life people, historical characters, is that the reader doesn't need a long-winded exposition of their psyche. That is, he doesn't if, he's well read. He knows how they were on Earth, and now he can see how they react to a changed, and always changing, environment.

For the reader who may not be well acquainted with some of the characters, I've provided a capsulation of their lives on Earth. Sequels in which they appear will provide more details of their Terrestrial existence. But I can't just drop biographies of each into the course of the action. Not full-length biographies, anyway. There'll be enough so that the reader, if he's curious, can pick up the detailed biographies available at the libraries or bookstores.

I love biographies of major and minor people, and it may be that in some cases I've assumed too much knowledge on the part of the average reader. If so, I intend to remedy this in sequels. But not to the extent of slowing the story down too much.

Taylor's objection to uprooting is about as valid as objecting to tales of Earthmen going to Mars. They're dissociated from their Terrestrial background, too, but the interest lies in seeing how they overcome their earthly habits and reactions in adapting to the strange environment of Mars. Do they adapt successfully or are they broken, defeated?

On a more mundane level, one happens to an Indian who moves from the reservation to New York City? He's uprooted from his tribal context, but does this make the story of his adaptation invalid? Nonsense.

Taylor states that the book is all action and lacks cerebral stimulation for the reader. The latter is true if the reader's cerebrum has the hide of a hippopotamus. But I've had many letters from readers who've seen that the Riverworld books move on the ball bearings of philosophy. These are not removed from their sockets and turned over and examined with microscopes. The characters don't sit around like those in Mann's The Magic Mountain and consume page after page with lengthy philosophical arguments and expositions. The underlying philosophies are demonstrated through the actions of the characters. In other words, "By their fruits ye shall know them." Coupled with the mystery of the Ethicals' identity and motives is the mystery of free will, of immortality, of personal identity, of the meaning -- if any -- of life and sentiency. And of the unplumbed potentialities for good even in the blackest villains.

I shouldn't have to be explaining the obvious.

"Character determines destiny," Heraclitus said. He also said that you can't step in to the same river twice. And so the Riverworld books are basically heraclitean mystery stories. I use "mystery" in a double sense -- that applied to the classical detective story and also that applied to passion plays.

Taylor also thinks that the "fundamental economic parameter which might have provided the basis for the development of new and interesting socio-cultural contexts" shouldn't have been removed. In other words, according to him, the Riverworld should have been just like Earth. Humanity should still be dependent on growing crops and on trade.

Not so. The Riverworld was deliberately set up by the Ethicals so the lazari would not have to busy themselves trying to earn a living. Though most of the Riverdwellers are desperately trying to hide their heads in emotional sand, they just can't do it. The economy of the Riverworld forces them to look at themselves and others. As I said in the first book, the Riverworld is a battleship stripped for action. The action in this case is psychic, though it has to be manifested in physical action and verbalism, just as on Earth. All baggage and impediments, except the psychological, have been thrown overboard for the last great battle. At least, it should be. But Sam Clemens ignores this as best he can, hence his desire to build a boat which will be a triumph of technology. He is also eager to solve the ultimate mystery, or at least he tells himself he is. But it is evident that it is the journey, not its end, that fires him.

Clemens was intensely interested in gadgets and, in fact, got himself into some terrible financial binds because of this interest. Lust, rather.

It's a legitimate criticism that Burton isn't fully realized in To Your Scattered Bodies Go. If I had given him in his fullest, TYSBG would have had to be twice as long as it is. But this is an open-ended series; Burton returns in the third book and will be more deeply plumbed.

As for my portrait of Clemens, I apologize to no one. He is given as a complete flesh-and-blood-and-spirit individual, just as he was, with little missing. His behavior, his struggles with himself and with others, are, I believe, correctly extrapolated. No less an authority than Leslie Fiedler, Mark Twain professor at Buffalo University, has said this.

Back to the "new and interesting socio-cultural context." A number have been briefly described. The fullest is that which Clemens was trying to establish in his Parolando. In the case, the focus, the origin itself, was the meteorite. This was introduced by X, the Mysterious Stranger, for his own dark -- or perhaps bright -- purposes. But it also took men's minds away from the examination of themselves. Technology and its attendant trivia have arrived on the Riverworld. A superior means for gaining wealth and power has been discovered. And so the vultures settle down out of the sky, the lions, jackals, hyenas, and ants come arunning.

Still, Taylor's comment does have some legitimacy. Burton whizzes through one new setup after another, The reader only gets intimations; the in-depth look is left up to his imagination. In a world where there are a million or more new societies, I can't describe them all. But I will be painting some with perspective in future novelettes and novels. I'm planning a series of novelets which not only depict the makeup and problems of some of these but at the same time present, through some great representative, a philosophy, science or technology. For instance, what would Karl Marx do and think if he were on The River? How would his theory of economic determinism fare in the economy of the Riverworld? What would he think of the course taken by modern marxism? How would his vast and inflexible and grossly egotistic intelligence adapt, if it were to adapt?

Sculpture is possible in the Riverworld, but the minerals and plants needed to make paints are lacking. What do Turner and Millet and da Vinci do in the frustrating world?

Drama and ballet aren't dependent on materials and technology but there is the language barrier. What if David Garrick has been resurrected on a stretch of River where there are very few English speakers for hundreds of thousands of miles? He can journey until he finds a state of English speakers, though they may turn out to be speaking Old English. He can organize a company of Shakespearean players, but he ca't stay in one area. So he and his company travel through the English area. Of course, with the setup along the River, where every population has a considerable minority which speaks an entirely different language from that of the majority, the language has become a pidgin. Esperanto is being diffused all up and down the River by the missionaries of the Second Chance Church. If Garrick wants to reach a large audience, he translates Shakespeare into Esperanto. This can be done, and has been done, but a lot is lost in the translation. Also, Esperanto, as time goes on, inevitably degenerates into dialects and, if enough time passes, will become different languages.

The above is enough to give the reader an idea of the problems to be overcome, if they can be overcome.

Again, I shouldn't have to be explaining this. Nor do most readers need this. But there are always the hippopotamus-hided minority. Which reminds me of a criticism made by Analog's reviewer, P. Schuyler Miller. He claimed that I wasn't a historian because I showed a state of Iroquois who had grail-slaves. Miller said that the Iroquois didn't have slaves. They either killed their captives or adopted them into the tribe.

This was true, and I knew it was. I've been reading books on the Iroquois language mythology, and ethnography since I was a kid. What Miller overlooked is that the lazari can't stick to all their old customs. Due to the constant mixing up and reshuffling of peoples, the new societies have to abandon many of the old ways.

There is only one way open to the Riverworld Iroquois to get an excess of booze, tabacco, and food. That is to have grail-slaves. So the Iroquois adapt. History shows that they have been a very adaptable people. They adapted to the fur trade introduced by the whites so well that they came close to conquering a thousand-mile stretch of upper Eastern North America and even made forays as far west as Illinois. They even crossed the Mississippi once, but the Sioux whipped hell out of them.

(Just received a letter from Bill Rotsler. He finally read the Riverworld books and is eager to read more. These, he says, are the only books he's read in which the reader himself is a character and might possibly encounter himself. Which is true. And the reader may bot be described in the series, but he knows that at one time or another, Burton and Clemens and King John and John F. Kennedy and Ramses II have seen him and he's seen them, though neither may recognize the other. And the reader, if he's imaginative, can go into his own fantasies about the great men and women he'll meet or how he told his boss off, or how he finds his beloved dead alive again, or tried to avoid meeting them, or...)

That's enough of this. I'm going into my laboratory now. I've been working on a perceptivity pill, and as soon as I perfect it, I'll send supplies to those reviewers needing it.

4106 Devon Lane
Peoria, Illinois. 61614 USA

Thanks for the Scythrops and the Gases. I especially like PG because there is a light-hearted acrimony-free tone about it. ((Sir, there is an explanation for that. You will no doubt recall Cervantes's characterization of someone or other, maybe an innkeeper: 'He was a fat man and therefore a good man.' Similarly, I prefer the quiet life. Let the lean and wiry Geises and Gillespies of fandom publish the serious, provocative, pungent stuff, says I.)) I relished Le Guin's article and Vonnegut's speech in PG 25, though I thought it a shame that I had to read the works of American writers in an Australian fanzine. ((Why?))But this is a circuitous world, and what do I care how the current flows so long as at least two wires run into my house? ((Exactly. Fanzines are the newsletters of the peculiar global village which is sf fandom, and what the hell whether they come from Canberra, New York, Stockholm, Cape Town, Munich or wherever.)) ((And of those two particular articles, one was originally published in an American fanzine and the other written at my request. Just think: your letter (when I get back to it) may only be read in an Australian fanzine, and would not have been written but for that fanzine.)) ((Jeez, I do carry on, don't I? Have I ever told you, sir, how much I enjoy your writing? O? Well, I do, but I'm not going to come right out in print in front of George Turner and say so. I'm sure you'll understand. Let's have a fresh paragraph: I've wrecked this on.))

I am a Vonnegut aficionado, though I like best his non-sf book, 'God Bless You, Mr Rosewater'. His finest work is, I believe, 'Cat's Cradle'. I don't share your liking for 'Player Piano'; for some reason I've never been able to finish it. Though I've tried thrice. It is a rather mundane book and it takes a conventional approach to a cybernated society. By the way, have you noticed how much Vonnegut resembles Mark Twain in physical appearance?

((I hate interrupting letter, I really do, but when I'm asked questions or feel otherwise impelled to break in, I can't stop myself. On Vonnegut: my favourite Vonnegut novel is the last one I read, whichever that happens to be at any given time ñ and I have re-read Vonnegut more often than I have any other sf writer, even including yourself, sit. I suspect at times that 'Player Piano' was the first sf novel I ever read, but I can't prove it. Anyway, the last time I read it was in 1969, when I reviewed a new British edition for 'The Professional Engineer'. Maybe it is rather mundane and conventional, but that doesn't spoil the book for me ñ perhaps because I am rather mundane and conventional. Certainly, what Vonnegut had to say back in 1952 or whenever still held a vital message for the engineering profession in 1969 and, I believe, for mankind in 1974. Mankind tends to be mundane and conventional, and I would still recommend 'Player Piano' to anyone concerned about where we are heading ñ but not especially as a work of literary genius. I have this problem with literature, that when a book or poem or something says exactly about society or the human condition what I feel but cannot express, my literary judgment, such as it is, tends to be over-ridden. So my favourite poets are Thomas Hardy, Robert Graves, and Alec Hope. I love Wordsworth, if we take things back as far as him, but with him I skim over the things I find repugnant for extra-literary reasons. In science fiction, unless a novel or story is so absolutely brilliant that I forget my philosophical hang-ups, I tend to enthuse over those works which reflect my attitudes. Does that make any kind of sense? ::: I think Kurt Vonnegut resembles Mark Twain in more ways than physical appearance.))

One of the many things I enjoyed in PG 26 was Willis's column. I'm happy to learn about Flann O'Brien and intend to get his books. What Willis says about characteristics of Irish literature seems to be true: their most Irish-of-the-Irish writers write a prose and have a worldview that is unique, wild, fine-textured, unmatchable and, as far as I know, unimitatable. Lafferty, however, proves that you don't have to be an Irish writer; you just have to have a fortunate and happy melding of Celtic genes with Celtic spirit. Joyce isn't, I believe, a 100% example of the truly Irish writer; there's too much of the Latin in him, Roman sand thrown into his Celtic gears by the Jesuits.

Honor Tracy said in her 'The Straight and Narrow Path' that though the Irish are separated from England by a narrow sea and are easily accessible from Europe, they might as well be several thousand miles away. They don't think like Englishmen or Europeans. I got a big charge out of her English Anthropologist who was taking a vacation in an Irish Village after some years of study of a Congo tribe. After a while he began to notice certain remarkable resemblances in the mental attitudes of the Irish villagers and those of Congolese natives.

I don't know, though, what Willis means when he says that Irish is the oldest spoken language in Europe. If he'd said the weirdest, I'd have agreed. But I fail to see how Irish is any older than any other language in Europe. If he meant by 'oldest' the least changed or most archaic, he is wrong. Lithuanian is much more archaic, closer to the parent Indo-European, and so for that matter is Russian.

George Turner says 'Character determines action.' Heraclitus said it first in in the 6th or 5th century BC: 'Character determines destiny.' He wasn't giving advice to novelists when he said this, but it applies. Nor was Ecclesiastes (or Solomon) teaching a course in creative writing when he said 'Consider thy latter end, my son, and be wise.' But it applies.


4 OCT 1974

The enclosed letter more or less speaks for itself. I decided to send you a copy because friend said Mr. Offut might not send my letter to the SFWA Forum right away. He has lots of work to do for the organ & and besides he drinks a lot. Also the letter has to get to you before October 15th to be in the next Forum. And so on.

October 4, 1974

Kilgore Trout
c/o Ted Chichak
Scott Meredith Literary Agency
580 Fifth Avenue
New York, N.Y.

andy offut
funny farm
haldeman, ky

dear mr offut:

a friend of mine recently told me about the sfwa and all the great fun you people have. he said it would benefit me in many ways to belong to a science fiction writers' organ. so i'm writing you thru my agent since I move around a lot.

as you may know, ive been writing science fiction a long time, my friend says before most of your members were leaping around in their fathers testicles. but i havent had much published recently until i got some publicity from mr vonnegut and then dell publications decided to reprint my novel venus on the half-shell. i also sold a very abridged version to mr ed ferman of the magazine of fantasy 7 science fiction. its coming out october 30 in the december issue. so i think im qualified to join the sfwa as an active member.

would you please send me an application blank, and ill fill it out and send you a check at once. I never was one to join organs, but since ive become respectable ive decided that it wouldnt hurt me to become more gregarious.

the next point has nothing to do with the sfwa, but im looking for a place to live. the ex-friend i was living with lived on a farm and he gave me sleeping quarters in his barn. but he kicked me out when his mare got pregnant.

my friend, hes well-known among science fiction writers, told me you were very hospitable and liked to help other writers. would you have a place for me at the funny farm. my friend says you like kentucky bourbon and tho youre a southerner you have no prejudice against negroes or science fiction writers. he says youre kinda horny but that i wont need to worry about that. i don't want any more to do with barns tho.

If you want to publish this letter in sfwa its ok with me. I didnt use to answer my correspondence, which wasnt very big anyway. but in the sunset of my life i kind of like the idea of having pen pals.

if you need character references write david harris of dell. dont write to mr vonnegut. he never answers his mail.

Kilgore Trout


Feb. 27, 1975

"Dear Richard the Lean-Hearted:

Enclosed check is for one year's sub to your publication, whatever its name, The Ailing Cricket or SF Review. I'm trusting you that the lst copy sent me will be No. 12, as you advertise.

I don't like to have to wade through so many book reviews, but the occasional snarling nasty jeremiad or your alter ego comments or Geis' comments on sociology/politics/etc. make it worthwhile. And Joanna Russ is right in some respects; you and your contributors (with some notable exceptions) are indeed male chauvinist pigs. But nobody's perfect. Most of your reviewers--not all of course--are imbeciles. But often they are amusing imbeciles.

They know this, at least, that is, that the primary function of a reviewer or critic is to amuse, entertain, the readers. Never mind objectivity, perceptivity, a wide knowledge of literature, science, history, etc. Make the clowns laugh. That's what it's all about.

I was too busy to write a comment on Lafferty's article, but I was surprised that no one did write to you about it. Though perhaps some did but you didn't print their letters. Lafferty is unique, a strange phenomenon indeed. Here's an old man with a self-admitted drinking problem who writes stuff that has been hailed as the freshest of the fresh, the newest of the new wave, the acme of art in writing. He puts the young lions to shame; no matter how far out they try to be, they can't get near Lafferty.

Most conservative readers don't care for him; the liberals have taken him to their bosoms. Yet he is a die-hard reactionary, stiff-necked, a devout Catholic who won't accept even justifiable criticism of the Church, a male chauvinist if ever there was one, and there have been and are and will be.

The liberals, the new-waveists, have put their seal of approval on him because they don't understand him, and if you don't understand somebody the safe thing to do is to hail him, adopt him, laud him, and hope to God that he's saying what you hope he's saying.

When I say liberal, I mean in a relative sense, of course. From my viewpoint the only true liberals in the field are Mack Reynolds and myself and about three others on the borderline."

((Yeah, 'Liberal" means all things to all men... I'm liberal in "giving" freedom to people over their lives, in all areas. Others are liberal in "giving" social equality and economic equality.))

Vonnegut on Trout

The Colonial Dames removed George Washington's false teeth from the museum at Mount Vernon several years ago. You have now surpassed those ladies in Nice-Nellyism with your bowdlerization of Venus on the Half Shell, by Kilgore Trout.

You have corrected his spelling and sytax, divided his work into paragraphs, and tinkered with the story itself to make it everywhere comprehensible. You have cheated your readers of the exhilarating opportunity to guess what the author was trying to say as opposed to what he really did say.

Trout, incidentally, submitted in person a story to G-8 and His Battle Aces back in 1934, and the editor captured the bitter-sweet quality of all of Trout's masterpieces when he exclaimed admiringly, "My God, if you could only write!"

- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Trout Ansers

Dear Mr. Ferman:

Mr. Vonnegut is wrong to critisize you because you fixed up my speling & grammer. He ought to know that lots of editors do this for there writers. Look at Jack London, he was rotten in speling and sintaxbut he was a hell of a good writer, he'l be red as long as Mr. Vonnegut is, which I don't think will be long, since the world is coming to an end pretty soon. About fifty years id Mr. Coustoux and deepsea diver is right. And a good thing too, says I.

As for boodlerizing my story, I say bulshit. Mr. Vonnegut hisself wrote that one spesificaly erotic novel, which was The Son of Jimmy Valentine

I'm going to reveal one thing here I never told nobody before. Vonnegut got his stile from me, he studied it then polished it up a bit. Evan after you fixed up Venus anybody with sense can see the similerity.

Anyway, the editors wont have to work hard corecting my stuff from now. My good friend Jonathen Herovit has promiced me he'll go over my stuff for speling & grammer before I submit it. In fact, he corected this letter before I maled it off to you.

- Kilgore Trout

Philip José Farmer

Rick Stocker's letter in OW #23 needs (in)-validation.

I've never read Harrison's letter to Sol Cohen re Ted White. But I can assure you that if Harrison did indeed tell Cohen that I would not submit to Cohen's magazines if Ted White became their editor, I neither said that nor would have approved the statement. At the time I had never heard of Ted White, though I may have noticed the name on the pages of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. (Wasn't Ted an assistant editor or something like that for a while? [[Yes.]]) I first became aware of Ted White at a convention in San Diego some years ago. I don't remember what year, but I believe that Ted was already in Cohen's employ.

Anyway, the imbroglio is past history for both Ted and myself, as far as we two are concerned. I regret ever having gotten involved. But it did teach me a lesson. One, not to rely on my far-from-photographic memory. Two, let my agent handle any disputes with publishers. Three, consider any statements to be printed very carefully, make sure that qualifying phrases are added where there might be any doubt.

Looking back on the whole distasteful affair, I see that both Ted and I were half-right, half-wrong. Which half doesn't matter now.

Towards the last of the OW correspondence, I decided that I had made some bad mistakes and that it was foolish to continue the "feud." I intended to write Ted and to try to make some sort of reconciliation. But I procrastinated--as I do with most things--and Ted beat me to it. He wrote me a letter the contents of which I won't go into. But the result was that we agreed to drop the affair and even to start all over again on a friendly footing.

You have to admire a man like that. And one result of the experience is that I've learned something worthwhile. Even at 57 1 can learn.



Re the Ancient Opar series. You are perceptive to note Hadon's character is too self-controlled, etc. But this series is carefully planned, and Hadon will be changing character somewhat as the series progresses. Less idealistic, more inclined to give way to anger, to impulse, etc.

Future novels will include appendices which will describe the Khokarsan language, the animals, the plants, the deities, etc. of the inland African seas circa 10,000 B.C. I've been working, on and off, on Khokarsan, inventing a new language. I speculate, however, that it is a very remote relative of the Algonquian superfamily which now includes Shwanee, Illinois, Cree, Menomini, Ojibwa, Arapaho, etc. There are some linguistic indications that the Khoklem originated in Central Asia or southern Siberia and spoke a language common to tribes in that area. The Khoklem wandered south and westward and after many thousands of years eventually ended up on the shores of the Kemu. The other speakers of this superfamily migrated across the bering bridge to America or were absorbed by Turkic tribes. However, it's a possibility that Ainu is related to Algonquian (this was suggested by the anthropologist Hall). If so, the Ainu left Siberia, crossed to the Japanese Islands, and flourished until the Japanese tribes, who apparently came from southeast Asia, invaded the islands.

When the Khoklem split off, the Amerind was then being formed, originally the miscegenation among archaic Caucasians and generalized Mongolians.

You may have noticed on the map of Africa in HADON OF ANCIENT OPAR a legend: Black's Urheim. The present theory (not altogether uncontested) is that Negroes originated in the area legended and then slowly spread out. At least, that seems to the be the place from which African Negroes spread out. But how did they get there in the first place? The Negro race is a problem to anthropologists. They were located, even in ancient times, in two widely separated areas. One place was Africa; the other was New Guinea and surrounding areas of Oceania. There were no Negroes, as far as we know, in between these areas separated by thousands of miles. There is some fossil evidence that peoples with some Negro characteristics were in southern India, however.

So, did the Negro originate in Africa ir in the New Guinea-Oceania area? In either case, how did he get to the other place without leaving a trace of his passage?

This problem is complicated by the presence of Negritos (African pygmies and the little people of southeast Asia). They were pushed back (slaughtered) by the blacks of Africa and the Mongolians of Asia. They fled into the less desirable territory of the jungle and adapted wonderfully.

And what about the Bushmen and about the Bushmen and the Hottentot? Though they have some Negro features, they are not classified as Negroes. They seem to have preceded the Negro peoples in Africa, moving on ahead of the blacks, unable to compete with them, and then, later, the whites helped the genocide along.

But are Negritos the original Negroes or are they just dwarf varieties. Are the Bushmen and Hottentot just varieties of the Negro, or are they a separate race which just happened to some Negro characteristics?

Anyway, if the Old Stone Age Negroes could wander eight to ten thousand miles from one place to another, then a tribe whose homeland was central Asia or southern Siberia could wander to central Africa.

Re your conversation with the (alleged) Vonnegut, I believe that it was indeed he who called you. As for his statement that anyone could use the name of Kilgore Trout, it may have been sincere. Or it may have been spoken in the heat of the moment. But I wouldn't advise using any of the titles of Trout's books found in Vonnegut's works. Not unless you had his permission. And you won't get that. Nor would I use Trout as a byline unless I had Vonnegut's permission for that. No unless you're prepared to handle a lawsuit pressed by a multimillionaire.

((We tend to think (from the arrogance and "permanence" of Now) that the ebb and flow of racial tides and genocides is over...but it would be interesting to hear what anthropologists have to say about the flux and meaning of what is currently happening in these areas if human interaction.))