How you find out that one of the three top editors in sf doesn’t like your story.

The second bit of comic verse from Nine Tomorrows (“I Just Make Them Up, See!” is the other), this one is every bit as good. This poem is in three different styles illustrating the three approaches of the then most important editors in science fiction (John Campbell of Astounding, Horace Gold of Galaxy and Tony Boucher of F&SF) when they had a story to reject. Campbell sent lengthy and turgid analyses, Gold abusive little notes, and Boucher rejection slips so gentle one wondered whether he was taking the story or not.

Knowing the background makes the poem funnier, but it’s funny enough without it, and definitely a high point in Nine Tomorrows (which is virtually nothing but high points, anyway).

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