IGMS Issue 29

IGMS Issue 29 by IGMS

Book: IGMS Issue 29 by IGMS Read Free Book Online
Authors: IGMS
that I hadn't done what I'd expected, or hoped, to do. That I hadn't even tried. But at that point in my life, I had no doubt that coming up with a story idea was well beyond me. When a few months later I drove from North Dakota to my new assignment at the training center, I was alone. Maureen and the kids would follow when the school year ended.
    During the trip, I spent a lot of time trying to construct a plot. By the time I arrived in Georgia, I'd given up again. I just didn't have a clue. I spent the next few months training inspectors. Maureen arrived, and I guess I must have said something to her. She encouraged me. Told me I could do it, but that meant I actually had to do it and not just talk about it.
    I wrote that first story, about the postal clerk. It came back twice. We invited a friend over to take a look, and we went through the thing, and made some fixes. I sent it out again, to
. And it came back again. But that third time there was a letter from the editor, Ed Ferman. He apologized that he couldn't use it. He was, he explained, backlogged. But, he said, the story was pretty good.
    That was enough for me. I thought Ed was just being polite. Left to myself, the story, titled "Zip Code" at the time, would have gone into the bottom of a desk drawer and never been seen again. A day or so later, Maureen picked up a copy of
The Twilight Zone Magazine
, and pushed me to try again. Sigh. Okay. We sent the thing off.
    A few weeks later, I completed the Brunswick assignment and we headed back to North Dakota. When we arrived, a postcard was waiting. It was from
editor T.E.D. Klein. That postcard has since been framed and now hangs over the computer where I work. The story title eventually became "The Emerson Effect." It was, oddly, about a guy who was too quick to give up.
    RUBIN : So you attended your first convention in 1979. These days, it seems, you attend several each year. I've seen you at RavenCon, at Readercon, and of course, we were just at the Nebula Weekend. You are generous with your time at these conventions, and always seem willing to chat with fans. I was wondering if there was ever any writer that you admired and really wanted to meet. And did you get to meet them, either at a convention or elsewhere?
    McDEVITT : I would have liked to share a Coke and pizza with Robert Heinlein. Unfortunately, it never happened. Others who were writing when I was growing up whom I would have enjoyed meeting, but did not get the opportunity, include Fred Hoyle. I loved
The Black Cloud and October the First Is Too Late
. Also John Wyndham and Murray Leinster. Given the opportunity, I would also have enjoyed meeting H. G. Wells, Mary Shelley, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Where's a time machine when you need one?
    I have met Ray Bradbury. Isaac Asimov gave me some advice one evening at a con in New York. I traded emails with Arthur Clarke, and spent the better part of an evening once talking with Algis Budrys. I've enjoyed multiple conversations with Ben Bova and James Gunn.
    Among those writers who've appeared more recently, I'd be hard-pressed to find any I haven't had the opportunity to talk with. Most of those currently active tend to show up at cons and award ceremonies, so we all get to know each other pretty well.

During our interview, word came in of the passing of Ray Bradbury. I mentioned this to Jack when I asked him the following question.

    RUBIN : You mentioned Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke, the Big Three of science fiction. Stephen King once said of you that you are "the logical heir to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke." How does it feel to be compared to two of the Big Three?
    McDEVITT : Ray is the best there was. I don't know of any contemporary writer who compares with him.
    As to your question: I'm still at a stage where I'm amazed at all the good things that have happened to me. I spent enough time wishing I could launch a career as a writer to understand how fortunate I've been. As to the

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