When Bester met Campbell

J-WO

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thatollie

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However, my favourite bit is from part 4 (Yeah, I went backtracking through the whole thing because... well, you all know why.) and it's about the publication of The Space Merchants.
 

thatollie

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It really has, and now I'm reading Fred's memories of Fletcher Pratt. Which is also terrific.
 

Connavar

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I think Fred's blog is going to be one of the greatest sources for the history of SF we could possibly hope for.
First time i happened to read was how he was talking about not publishing a Jack Vance story that ended up being classic,award winning.

The guy is a fountain SF of history. Its so thrilling reading memories,stories of works,writers that ended being huge in the field.
 

J-Sun

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For everyone enjoying the blog, if you can turn up a copy, pick up The Way the Future Was (the inspiration for the blog's name). It was published two months before the Bester/Pohl conversation, for instance, so is missing a lot of what he's learned and experienced since, but it's an excellent book.

Without Jack Williamson, we lost our last link to the 30s. Pohl is about the last major man who was there in the 40s (unless Harrison counts (and both their first real writerly successes were in the 50s)). After him, it's Harrison (if he doesn't count), Silverberg and Ellison (anybody else?) from the 50s who become the Grand Old Men.
 

D_Davis

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Thanks for this link, BTW. I've found it incredibly fascinating, as Bester is one of my all-time favorites.

Big up!
 

Al Jackson

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I found this on Fred Pohl's blog- a transcript of himself and Alfred Bester talking at a Con in the late seventies. Alfy relates a tale that I personally find really funny- his first encounter with John W Campbell.

The Way the Future Blogs, an online memoir by science fiction writer Frederik Pohl Blog Archive Me and Alfie, Part 6: John W. Campbell and Dianetics
Had never read that before. I can believe it.
William Patterson in his biography of Heinlein tells the story of Heinlein going to Campbell's house in the early 50s when he was in NY on business and having an appalling evening. Apparently Campbell was not only espousing Dianetics but Campbell's own brand of Dianetics! Heinlein was very much irritated.
I can't remember from Asimov's autobiographies if he confronted Campbell about Dianetics or not.
It is interesting that Asimov and Heinlein still published in Astounding in the late 50's , The Naked Sun , Double Star and Citizen of the Galaxy.
When Campbell got into the Hieronymus machine stuff seems Heinlein and Asimov had quite enough and quit Campbell for good.
 

Hugh

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Had never read that before. I can believe it.
William Patterson in his biography of Heinlein tells the story of Heinlein going to Campbell's house in the early 50s when he was in NY on business and having an appalling evening. Apparently Campbell was not only espousing Dianetics but Campbell's own brand of Dianetics! Heinlein was very much irritated.
I can't remember from Asimov's autobiographies if he confronted Campbell about Dianetics or not.
It is interesting that Asimov and Heinlein still published in Astounding in the late 50's , The Naked Sun , Double Star and Citizen of the Galaxy.
When Campbell got into the Hieronymus machine stuff seems Heinlein and Asimov had quite enough and quit Campbell for good.
I hadn't read this: many thanks for re-awakening this thread. I love reading about these people.
 

BAYLOR

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Had never read that before. I can believe it.
William Patterson in his biography of Heinlein tells the story of Heinlein going to Campbell's house in the early 50s when he was in NY on business and having an appalling evening. Apparently Campbell was not only espousing Dianetics but Campbell's own brand of Dianetics! Heinlein was very much irritated.
I can't remember from Asimov's autobiographies if he confronted Campbell about Dianetics or not.
It is interesting that Asimov and Heinlein still published in Astounding in the late 50's , The Naked Sun , Double Star and Citizen of the Galaxy.
When Campbell got into the Hieronymus machine stuff seems Heinlein and Asimov had quite enough and quit Campbell for good.
He alienated everyone in the end .

Interesting that there was John W Campbell Memorial Award and it first receipt was Phillip K Dick whom he would never accept any story from because PDK stories didn't meet his standards.
 

BAYLOR

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Thanks for this link, BTW. I've found it incredibly fascinating, as Bester is one of my all-time favorites.

Big up!
Yes I know this is few years late ( he was one the greats) His novel The Demolished Man was the first to win the Hugo Award. It been optioned a few time fro films but so far hasn't; happened. Babylon 5 did a a few homages to this book including naming a character after him The Psicop Alfred Bester played brilliantly by Walter Koenig . :)
 

Robert Zwilling

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The interviews are extraordinarily interesting. Seems like many of the situations we see today have been around all along. I copied some of the quotes that struck me as something to consider.

The Space Merchants - "and suddenly comes this realistic extrapolation of what American life, American advertising, American ecology and American psychosis will lead to eventually."

Said in 1978, - "Science fiction has replaced quote mainstream fiction unquote, completely."
- "science fiction is the poetry of literature"
- "minister of a church in Los Angeles used to sell copies of Galaxy and the other science-fiction magazines outside the church after services, because he said it was the only free speech in America."

1978 -"1,200 science-fiction books published in America last year"

Standard publishing, mags, tv, movies, - "They can’t afford to permit people to experiment,"
-"The constraints of commercial fiction in the States in television, in films, in radio, you name it, are so severe that there is very little you can do."
- "radio and television and national magazines have priced themselves out of experiment."

Science Fiction - "It seems to be affected by events like Star Trek and Star Wars and Close Encounters — they bring in a lot of people to the films, but they don’t have much to do with the main body of science fiction."

This was said when you could see what was what, before there were millions of choices for everything. The words are still relevant, and perhaps go a long way towards explaining why things are the way they are.

The idea that science fiction replaced fiction because it was full of radical new ideas that involved all levels of society, that it looked like poetry compared to plain old fiction is an interesting idea. That style of fiction where anything could happen spread across all types of fiction and somewhere along the way science was once again on the outside looking in.
 
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