On Meeting a New SF Writer

Heliopoli_Full_EX63“The delight which SF writers show when encountering one another personally, at conventions or on panels or during lectures, indicates some common element shared by them, novices and old pros alike. There always emerges a psychological rapport, even if the ideas and politics in their respective works clash head-on; it is as if absolutely opposite themes in their published work — which might be expected to create a personal barrier when the writers meet face to face — this barrier is never there, and a feeling when a group of SF writers gather is always one of a family rejoined, lost friends refound or new friends made — friends among whom there is a fundamental basis of outlook or at least of personality structure. …

“On meeting a new SF writer who has just gotten into print, we never feel crowded or insecure; we feel strangely happy, and tell him so and encourage him: We welcome him. And I think this is because we know that the very fact that he has chosen to write SF rather than other types of fiction — or other careers in general — tells us something about him already. …

” ‘I know where your head is,’ is what I think when I meet a man or woman who has just published his first SF piece.”

— Philip K. Dick, from his essay “Who Is an SF Writer?” (1974), as reprinted in the The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writings

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