Soon after our interview in Sagaponack, I spent a day in Teaneck, taping and talking with a 61 year old writer, Barry Malzberg. He is an excellent short story writer, who began his professional career crafting pornographic novels for Maurice Girodias Olympia Press, circa 1968. Barry was Maurices new genius, and if his Oracle of the Thousand Hands was not Lolita, it was still a very funny celebration of the art of onanism. He has recently (again) given up writing what he calls science fiction, and maybe all writing. His work was always too stylish and downbeat for the vast majority of science fiction fans, and through no ones efforts but his own, too closely associated with genre for the credibility he craved. He is one of those writers writers, and a likely victim of self imposed double reverse genre-ism.
Roger Sale [formerly a literary critic for the Hudson Review and NYT, and an English professor], before he was obliged to retire, called Mr. Malzberg, a good paperback hack. I only heard of this queer compliment just prior to my first interview with Barry, when as he scanned a transcript of our interview, he reached your comments on Sale. Once on camera, Barry was full of provocations, revelations, self-loathing and pained acceptance
he wanted to witness. In the course of it all, we spoke a bit about you, and more than a bit about Ted Sturgeon.
the Vonnegut letter continues