A Few Things I Meant to Say

You can count how many times I’ve been interviewed without moving beyond fingers. The scary thing is that this number includes job interviews. After each and every one of those interviews, my head is full of all the things I wished I’d said.

This morning from 5AM to 7AM I was interviewed by the kindly Jim Freund for his Hour of the Wolf program. It’s a two-hour show and the interview went well (it’s hard to tell when you’re the interviewee, but my unbiased husband assures me it went splendidly). Jim and I talked a lot. I had such a good time I almost forgot I was on air. And despite the TWO WHOLE HOURS, as we approached the final minutes I had to bite my tongue to avoid saying: "Stop! You can’t end now. I haven’t said this and this and this."

So bugger it. I shall say a few of them now:

Many letters to the editors of early science fiction magazines are reproduced in my book The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction. I read out a number of them, including a 1953 letter by Lula B. Stewart published in Thrilling Wonder Stories. In it she mentions a Big Name Fan whose last name is Bradley. I neglected to mention the full name of that well-known fifties fan: Marion Zimmer Bradley.

I talked a lot about how much fun it was reading the early letters and editorials of science fiction magazines from 1926 through to 1972, but I did not mention how touching some of those letters can be. I did not remember to read out a wonderful moving letter by Naomi Slimmer of a small town in Kansas, published in 1939. The letter wonderfully evokes how sf magazines were a lifeline for many readers in remote parts of the United States.

We left taking calls from listeners to way too late in the show and so could only take two they both asked smart, interesting questions and I didn’t have a chance to say so on air. I particularly appreciated the chance to rabbit on further about Philip Wylie’s The Disappearance (1951). I forgot to steer the interested listener to this essay where I discuss in detail how and why my book was written at all.

We didn’t discuss how researching and writing The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction led to my becoming a part of the science fiction community, particularly the feminist science fiction community that centres around Wiscon. In other words the thesis that I was arguing in the book–that science fiction is not just a collection of books, but a living breathing community–has been borne out in my own life. I went from someone who quite liked science fiction but read many other things and had never heard of sf magazines or conventions, to becoming an sf person married to another sf person. Gentle Reader, be careful what you research, lest this insidious process take over your life.

We mentioned that Battle of the Sexes was nominated for a Hugo Award, but I didn’t publically thank everyone who nominated and voted for me. When I first found out about the nomination I let out a little scream and fell off my chair. Literally. I’m still gobsmacked that Battle, a university press book, made it onto the ballot at all. I look at my little gold Hugo nominee’s pin with awe and wear it at every opportunity. I still have to pinch myself to check that it really happened.

I can’t believe I didn’t mention Johnny Cash, not even once. May he rest in peace.

There were many, many other things, but I shall attempt to save them for when Scott and I do our double act on Jim Freund’s Hour of the Wolf in November.

New York City, 13 September 2003