Then the editor of Galaxy, one of the many who’d rejected the Hammer stories, was fired and replaced by his assistant, Jim Baen. Jim had recommended purchase of the stories and been overruled. Now that he was in charge, he called my agent and bought the stories after all (for Galaxy). He published them and asked for more in the series.

But—and this is very important—Jim neither understood nor liked the Hammer stories at the time he bought them (as he admitted to me later). He bought them simply because they were written with a higher degree of literacy than most of what was submitted to Galaxy, a magazine which paid poorly and late. Under the Hammer and The Butcher’s Bill filled pages which would otherwise have contained stories which would’ve required heavy editing to bring up to minimum standards of English usage.

The Hammer stories were written with a flat affect, describing cruelty and horror with the detachment of a soldier who’s shut down his emotional responses completely in a war zone . . . as soldiers always do, because otherwise they wouldn’t be able to survive. Showing soldiers behaving and thinking as they really do in war was unique at the time and extremely disquieting to the civilians who were editing magazines.


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