Graham Dorn, the writer of a series of overwrought mysteries about a too-good-to-be-true detective, Reginald de Meister—a series which he detests—discovers to his horror that his creation cannot be given the literary death he would like him to have—de Meister has become real! He’s been written too vividly, and too many people believe in him now. Dorn cannot get rid of him, cannot even get de Meister to leave him alone, cannot do anything but resign himself to a future of writing unwanted novel after unwanted novel—until he realizes that although he can’t kill de Meister off, he can marry him off, and to a shrew to end all shrews.

I love this story. But some history --

In the 1940’s, John Campbell edited two magazines—Astounding and Unknown, the former being science fiction and the latter fantasy. Asimov was desperate to break unto Unknown, and tried over and over without success, until he finally managed it with "Author! Author!" And then Unknown ceased publication before it could appear.

This is truly tragic, because the story is hilarious and delightful, one of Asimov’s best efforts from the 1940’s not a part of the Foundation or robot series. It deserves much more attention than it gets, buried away as it is in The Early Asimov and other, comparatively minor, locations.

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