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Posted 23 July:

Posted 11 July:

Note: Return e-mail addresses will be posted only if you include it in your closing, or your subject matter specifically requests some sort of response; otherwise it will be omitted. Letters may be edited for length.

Gene Wolfe Explains

Dear Locus ,
     Rumors about my leaving the Odyssey workshop early are bound to reach you. May I set the record straight before they get out of hand? July 14 through 18 -- Monday through Friday -- was my scheduled week as writer-in-residence. On Thursday afternoon one of the students confided that there was a great deal of dissatisfaction with my critiques. When I asked what the trouble was, he explained that I approved some stories and criticized others, which the students felt was unfair.
     Next morning another student handed me a letter purporting to speak for the group. I've turned it over to Jeanne Cavelos, the Director; but to the best of my memory it complained that I had told several students who had begun to write novels that their skills were not yet up to the task. They had taken this as personal criticism, which I suppose it was. I had also circled text in some manuscripts and written "Oh, come on!" in the margin. That rather flippant comment was deeply resented. I was said to have judged manuscripts in accordance with my own beliefs, although no examples were given. If my literary canon was meant, that was certainly true. It was suggested that I apologize to those most deeply offended (who were not named) and that I apologize publicly to the group as a whole. The letter closed by saying that many students would not return to class until I had left.
     By the time I had finished reading this letter, it was nine thirty-five; class was to begin at nine thirty, and there were fewer than half a dozen students present. Realizing that I had become a liability to the workshop, I promised to leave at once.
     Whatever rumor may say, the fault was entirely mine. It was my job to communicate with the students. I tried to, but I failed. Jeanne Cavelos, the Director, was as supportive as anybody could possibly be. She had received my wife Rosemary and me with every kindness, and that kindness never wavered.
     Before I close I ought to say that some of the writing I saw at Odyssey was of fully professional caliber. "What Should Never Be" by Hannah Strom-Martin; "Faust Reborn" by Jessica Thomas; "Cutter" by Sarah Totton; "Games on the Children's Ward" by Michael Velichansky; and "The Graft" by Cortland Wood, and perhaps others, would not be out of place in any original anthology. I'd also like to express my sincere thanks to four students: John Bowker, Kim Gillett, Natalia Lincoln, and Diana Price. They offered sympathy and support at a time when both were badly needed, and I'm deeply indebted to them.

Gene Wolfe
23 July

Do you know the name of this story? #1

Dear Locus Online,
     I read a very short story several years ago (2 pages). It was in a best of SF anthology. It was about a man and a woman that get into an arguement. One walks out the door and dies. Then there was a rewind. The other mate realizes the importance of each word and moment has in their lives. My question is, do you know who wrote this? And if you do not how would I go about finding this story again?

Christine Dinga
10 July

Do you know the name of this story? #2

Dear Locus Online,
     Pretty amazing website. Almost overpowering for a newbie like myself. A lot to be discovered here... Congratulations on having truckloads of Class!
     Dr. Brooks Landen of the University of Iowa directed me here because you guys may have a lead on the author of this story:
     Perhaps you're old enough to perhaps have heard of a certain science fiction/fantasy/horror short story that I have been trying to locate. It is in a collection of stories, by only one author I think, but it has been, well, let's see... about 40 years since I last read it as a teenager.
     The story starts with an unknown person narrating an introductory paragraph that basically goes as follows:

"I went into this nearly empty coffee shop and took a secluded table in the rear and found this notebook. The waitress said that no one had been sitting at that table for several hours..."
Then the story starts with the the narrator reading the contents of the notebook, written by a guy with a normal enough life and job, etc.
     [Additional paraphrase/description omitted -- ed.]
     The story ends with Jack saying something like :
"I've been writing this whole nightmare down in this notebook. All that has happened. I'm just waiting now..."
(and I will NEVER forget the last line of the story:)
"I'm just sitting here having a cup of cof

     !!! Great ending! There you have it. It was a very short story. I'd love to locate it to let my son, who is reading a lot of short stories these days, read it.
     Any ideas? I would greatly appreciate any lead you could offer. I'm not exactly obsessed with it, but I'd really like to find it again.
     Thank you very much for your time.

Rock Perkins
19 July

Another Ackerman Query

Dear Locus,
     Optioned for a projected 3-5 million dollar film by 5th Planet Media (Canada): "Rat in the Skull" by Rog Phillips. Deal negotiated by Agent Forrest J Ackerman, who is holding a check for the author's widow.

Forrest J Ackerman
4511 Russell Ave.,
Los Feliz Village, Hollywood CA 90027
18 July

Award Recipients

Dear Locus Online,
     I just read Geoffrey A. Landis's letter of Feb. 11 where he wrote that "It does seem odd to me that the convention should expand the categories for an award that is so important to the recipients that they don't actually bother to show up." As a follow up to Paul Levinson's March 10 response, I'll note that at the Nebula Awards this year, three out of five recipients did not actually bother to show up. In fact, newly minted Grand Master Ursula K. Le Guin did not actually bother to show up. I don't think this makes the award less important or its recipients less deserving.
     Landis also noted with irony that one year Jeff Walker was the designated acceptor for all of the movies in the Dramatic Hugo category. Again, I'll point to this year's Nebulas, where Eileen Gunn was the designated acceptor for two of the eventual award recipients, Ted Chiang and Le Guin... and I might add she did an excellent job! (I suspect her bravura performance at the Nebs was part of the reason she earned a Locus Special Award for Best Acceptor.)
     I think if the voters want to give out two Dramatic Presentation Hugos, they should be allowed to do so. It's a long and difficult process to add a category to the Hugo ballot. I think we should let the voters enjoy it.

Craig E. Engler
8 July

4E Cx

Dear Locus,
     Agent Forrest Ackerman, 4511 Russell Ave., Los Feliz Village, Hollywood CA 90027, is holding a check for the heir or estate of Alice Glaser.

Forrest J Ackerman
10 July March

Dear Locus,
     Seeking whereabouts of any Raymond F. Jones siblings, Ray Cummings' daughter Eliz. Starr, Jack Barish, Hilda Copplestone, Day Gee, Garen Drussai, Lois "Mousie" Goetz, Amelia Reynolds Long, Howie Lowe, Sari Maritza (nee Patricia Detring-Nathan), Ulysses Geo. Mihalakis (Silaki Ali Hasson), Jan Rader, Frank Sipos, Helen Urban, Lloyd West, Mari Wolfe.
     Seeking model autos, airplanes from High Treason, Just Imagine, Metropolis, rocketship from Metropolis, fotos of any of The Children of Metropolis, little girl (now about 75) briefly in Lon Chaney's Laugh, Clown, Laugh, any of the Metropolis memorabilia in the attic of the late Conrad H. Rupert. Audiocassette of 1927 recording of Fritz Lang re Metropolis. Videocassette of talking version of High Treason, British release of The Hynotist, silent One Glorious Day in Paris. Xerox of C.L. Moore's "Werewoman".

Forrest J Ackerman
4511 Russell Ave.,
Los Feliz Village, Hollywood CA 90027
10 July March

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