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Eric Flint, Baen's editor of these stories, has suggested that the writer (Anvil) might like to put something personal—an introduction, preface, afterword—something—in this latest book of the series, this being possibly the writer's last chance to say whatever he might like to the reader.

I appreciate the suggestion—but think there are reasons to hesitate about author's prefaces, introductions, and afterwords. For a fiction writer, these extra nonfiction passages can be surplus baggage—an unintended hurdle between the reader and the story, and a free chance to put one's foot in one's mouth. Better, perhaps, to just get on with the story.

There is, however, one type of nonfiction section, inserted by the writer, that may be well justified, if not on the ground of special interest to the reader, at least on the basis of justice—that there are those who deserve some recognition, some expression of appreciation or gratitude, from the writer. That is the Acknowledgements section, in which the writer thanks some of those who have helped. The reader may just glance this over, but it does give the writer a chance to show appreciation—and it may benefit those who are thanked, for a reason anyone can sympathize with—If we help someone, we like it to be appreciated.

As with most books, a lot of people deserve credit for this series. Some have already been thanked by Eric Flint, who mentioned, in his Afterword to Interstellar Patrol II: Henry Cate III, along with Henry Cate, Jr., and Jim Budler, Matthew Class, Dave Gerecke, Robert Klein, Dave Lampe, Mary Qualls, Mark Rubinstein, Peter Sims, Simon Slavin, Mark Stackpole, and Joe Webster. I'd like to add my thanks and appreciation to Eric's.

Also, as most of these stories were published in other books or magazines before being collected for Baen Books, I'd naturally like to thank all those who first selected and published them—although I am reasonably sure most of them would just smile and say, "Thanks, but it was our job." Still, those who do their job deserve appreciation.

There are, moreover, those who particularly deserve credit. Some may have passed on, but, as we are often told, the good that people do lives after them—and so, gratitude and appreciation also survive.

There is a book titled The Rickover Effect, which suggests the impact of Admiral Hyman Rickover on nuclear power and American industry—and so on the outcome of the Cold War. Admiral Rickover may no longer be with us, but the effects of his thought and actions are with us.

It is the same with anyone who lived through the Second World War, and saw how easily Nazi Germany absorbed the Rhineland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, conquered Poland, seized Norway by surprise, then smashed the French and British armies, to conquer France and threaten the invasion of Britain. That was, to us now, long ago; but the effects of the resolve of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, and of the millions who followed them, are with us still.

In science fiction, too, we have those who have a great and often not fully realized influence. John W. Campbell is often mentioned as a great editor, though this is only a part of the truth. An original and independent thinker, he was aware of and concerned with events outside of his personal responsibility, and he was unafraid to risk appearing to be wrong.

And while it may not be the job of writers to judge editors, still, we can be grateful to all those who know their job and do it. And, also often unsung, there are great agents.

At the time when I was sending out stories, and often having them sent directly back, I sometimes received in the mail, an invitation from one or another agent. Many came from an agent by the name of Scott Meredith, who seemed to have a very large agency. In time, I answered what I supposed was a form letter, and Scott Meredith replied—the beginning of what was, especially at the beginning, a slightly bumpy relationship, since I had one idea of what it should be, he had another, and I imagine the editors had theirs.

But the advantage of this soon became clear, as Scott introduced an element of order into what could be a chaos. He had an excellent foreign sales department, so that the same story that sold in the U.S. might resell in Britain, France, Italy, Germany—a marvelous arrangement for an American writer. If an editor was backward in his pay rate, or unconscionably slow to respond, Scott was not backward to point it out. He seemed a rare factor in the writing business—someone who, though seeing both sides, was often on the side of the writer.

When Eric Flint phoned to ask whether I would be interested in having these stories republished, I was surprised, but interested—which leads us to a nearly final statement of gratitude—not "final" in that I have run out of those to be grateful to, and hopefully not final in that there might be others in the future, but final in that, for these Acknowledgements, it is approaching the last recognition of gratitude when I thank Eric himself, an excellent writer and first-rate editor, who largely organized the books made from these stories.

I also want to thank David Weber, for his marvelous Introduction to Interstellar Patrol, and the late Jim Baen, the capable and inspiring publisher of Baen Books.

And there is still one more thank-you on this brief and incomplete list—to Joy Crosby, my wife, my first reader, whose mere look of boredom on reading a story guarantees it will be rewritten or forgotten, and who typed hosts of stories written (and often unintelligibly corrected) in longhand.

Each of these thank-yous deserves to be expanded to do justice to those thanked; and for each person thanked, there are many others who deserve to be thanked, including the first editor who explained his rejection of a story, and the writer of the most recent (well appreciated, though often not well answered) reader's letter.

Most deserving of thanks, of course, are the readers, the other half of a book or story, without whom there is no point writing. But how do you truly thank a reader? Perhaps only by writing another story.


Christopher Anvil



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