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From: "Alice K. Turner" <aturner3@nyc.rr.com>
Subject: Re: Digest urth.v031.n025
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 22:30:47 -0500

> From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@siriusfiction.com>
> In June of last year I received a letter from Gene Wolfe.  Mostly it was
> about many other things, but in the end he did mention that he was having
> difficulty with the company that was supposed to publish his Tolkien
> They wanted him to secure written permissions for =every= quote, including
> the personal letter from Tolkien to Gene Wolfe and the poem by Noyes (who
> died in 1958).  (Those of us who have read the essay also would add Robert
> E. Howard, at least.  There are a lot of quotes!)  This seemed insane to
> Gene Wolfe, in the modern day where Harlan Ellison is trying so hard to
> stop people from web-publishing entire sf stories without permission from
> the sf author.
> (Well those of us who have followed such things in US publishing can say,
> "Thank you, J.D. Salinger.")
> In any event, Gene Wolfe wrote pretty unambiguously in the letter that the
> project was dead from his point of view.  Non-compliance on his part.
> And lo, the essay did not appear in the US book; but it did appear in a UK
> magazine.
> So it seems to me that if there was any "rejection" involved with the
> Tolkien book, it was Gene Wolfe's rejection of the terms and subsequent
> withdrawal of the essay.

This excuse is pretty hard to swallow, though I have no doubt that Wolfe
employed it. We're talking about quotations from Thoreau(!), Conrad Aiken,
Robert Howard, Tolkien and Lewis. Perhaps it is true that the estates of the
last two are difficult to deal with, but I would think "fair use" plus the
fact that one quote is from a letter to the author would carry the
day--these are not extensive quotes. I don't know about the publisher, but
Karen Haber is not naive or a nitwit about publishing. There indeed seems be
some crankiness at work, but not necessarily from the publisher, no matter
what Wolfe may have told you.


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