from Down Here in the Dream Quarter, Doubleday, New York, 1976
My first piece, written in 12/65
My second written three months later
My third SF piece, written in September
My fourth was written in 11/66. Campbell told my agent
In 12/66 I wrote in one sitting a twelve hundred word piece, “We’re Coming Through the Windows,” framed in an epistolary fashion to Fred Pohl and submitted immediately to him. My agent’s phone call on 1/11/67 telling me that Pohl was buying the piece gave me the single happiest moment of my life. During the next nine months I was still trying to find the range in a sequence of short-shorts, one or two of which I sold in years following.
Then, in May 1967, sitting in the living room of our apartment at 102 West 75th St, I was stricken with an inspiration. In my trunk I had a twelve thousand word piece, “Shoe a Troop of Horse,” I wrote in 2/65. I was, by that time, twenty eight years old. I retitled the story “Final War,” and sent it off to Campbell, who promptly rejected it with a form slip. Fred Pohl turned it back but said it reinforced his feeling about the writer’s talent and he wanted to be kept on the list. Damon Knight for Orbit thought it a great literary accomplishment but entirely out of category. Edward L. Ferman took it on 10/1/67 for Fantasy and Science Fiction and paid me $250 and changed my life. Even before it was published I sold a second story to them and one piece to Harry Harrison at Amazing. “Final War” was published in March 1968 and subsequently was anthologized seven times and was the basis of my first book sale, a collection to Ace.
I sold my first science fiction novel about two years later, by which time I had sold another dozen short stories. By 1972 I had sold thirteen science fiction novels and about eighty short stories; by the end of 1974 I had sold twenty four and in excess of a hundred and fifty.