Campbell did what he set out to do. So long as he had his first wife and others around him to remind him that science was for people, that it was no use to just send machines out for the sake of machines, that there was no point in going into space unless the mission had something to do with people, too, he kept winning. For he was a very brilliant man and a great and very patient editor. After he lost his first wife, Doña, in 1949 she married George O. Smith and after he no longer had a sounding board who made him keep people in stories, and when he no longer had his old original writing crew around, he let his magazine slip back, and when it finally became named Analog, his reign was over. But the golden age had kicked it all into high gear. So Campbell won after all.
When I started out to write this novel, I wanted to write pure science fiction. And not in the old tradition. Writing forms and styles have changed, so I had to bring myself up to date and modernize the styles and patterns. To show that science fiction is not science fiction because of a particular kind of plot, this novel contains practically every type of story there is detective, spy, adventure, western, love, air-war, you name it. All except fantasy; there is none of that. The term science also includes economics and sociology and medicine where these are related to material things. So theyre in here, too.
In writing for magazines, the editors (because of magazine format) force one to write to exact lengths. I was always able to do that it is a kind of knack. But this time I decided not to cut everything out and to just roll her as she rolled, so long as the pace kept up. So I may have wound up writing the biggest sf novel ever in terms of length. The experts and there are lots of them to do so can verify whether this is so.
Some of my readers may wonder that I did not include my own serious subjects in this book. It was with no thought of dismissal of them. It was just that I put on my professional writers hat. I also did not want to give anybody the idea I was doing a press relations job for my other serious works.
There are those who will look at this book and say, See? We told you he is just a science fiction writer! Well, as one of the crew of writers that helped start man to the stars, Im very proud of also being known as a science fiction writer. You have satellites out there, man has walked on the moon, you have probes going to the planets, dont you? Somebody had to dream the dream, and a lot of somebodies like those great writers of the golden age and later had to get an awful lot of people interested in it to make it true.
I hope you enjoy this novel. It is the only one I ever wrote just to amuse myself. It also celebrates my golden wedding with the muse. Fifty years a professional 1930-1980.
And as an old pro I assure you that it is pure science fiction. No fantasy. Right on the rails of the genre. Science is for people. And so is science fiction.
L. Ron Hubbard October 1980