Science fiction, outside of poetry, is the only literary field which has no limits, no parameters whatsoever.
You write a story about loneliness, and you grab them all because everybody’s an expert on that one.
My wife is beginning to instruct me on means to retrieve dreams, and bit by bit, it does seem to be working.
I wrote the very first stories in science fiction which dealt with homosexuality, The World Well Lost and Affair With a Green Monkey.
Here’s the point to be made – there are no synonyms. There are no two words that mean exactly the same thing.
I have lived most of my life with the conviction that I don’t dream, because I never could retrieve a dream.
I feel angry that I can’t be hypnotized. I’m not putting it down, and I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist. I have talked to a great many people who are very good at it, but so far nobody has ever been able to hypnotize me.
Create a world in which these things do or do not exist, or in which they are extended in some way. Test reality against this fiction. The reader will recognize the world that you’re talking about, even though it may be another one altogether.
You have to study your field and you have to find out how other people do it, and you have to keep working and learning and practicing and ultimately, you would be able to do it.
I sent The World Well Lost to one editor who rejected it on sight, and then wrote a letter to every other editor in the field warning them against the story, and urging them to reject it on sight without reading it.
As far as hypnosis is concerned, I had a very serious problem when I was in my twenties. I encountered a man who later became the president of the American Society of Medical Hypnosis. He couldn’t hypnotize me.
Once I had all the facts in, I found I didn’t have the immoral courage to pull the caper. So I wrote it as a story. As a teenager, I didn’t have any skills for writing as such, so it came out in 1500 words.
The first writing I did was short short stories for a newspaper syndicate for which I was paid five dollars a piece on publication.
For years, I thought I simply didn’t dream. I felt left out. Everybody else had a thing I didn’t have.
There are people who have tremendously important things to say, but they say it so poorly that nobody would ever want to read it.
I’ve always written very tightly, and there’s a good reason for that. There’s no point in using words that you’re not going to apply.
The story of my very first sale is the fact that I dreamed up a foolproof paper to cheat an insurance company out of several hundred thousand dollars.
Some major writers have a huge impact, like Ayn Rand, who to my mind is a lousy fiction writer because her writing has no compassion and virtually no humor. She has a philosophical and economical message that she is passing off as fiction, but it really isn’t fiction at all.