I couldn’t sell the story—The Butcher’s Bill—to save my life. This was remarkably frustrating, since the sales to F&SF and Analog demonstrated that I was capable of doing professional-quality work. I couldn’t understand what the problem was.

One of the rejections, by Ben Bova of Analog, was particularly maddening. Ben was well disposed toward me: he’d bought one story of mine already and would later buy two more (none of them in the Hammer series). Ben commented that The Butcher’s Bill was a good story, but he had Jerry Pournelle and Joe Haldeman already and he didn’t think Analog needed a third series of the same sort.

From thirty years on, the notion Jerry’s Falkenberg series and Joe’s Forever War were the same is even more ludicrous than it appeared to me at the time, and what I was doing was a third thing yet. That wasn’t obvious from the outside, not at the time.


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