An excerpt from a letter to Kurt Vonnegut from director, Eric Solstein, it backgrounds “Trout” nicely.

It was a late Summer day, nearly three years ago, when Greg [my cameraman] and I were received by Lily [Jill Krementz and Kurt Vonnegut’s daughter] and Kurt, in their back yard in Sagaponack. The Queen of England could not have been treated better by Mrs. Roosevelt, than we were by you both. And on that day, we talked mostly about things close to science fiction, about being a writer, and just before we wrapped up, you offered us an extempore chapter from “Captain Stormfield’s Trip to Heaven.” It was a successful interview. On tape, you project a deeply serious presence, and at the same time, a wry and refined sense of humor.

Kurt Vonnegut tells of Zog’s difficult trip to earth.

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 Maurice’s 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 one’s efforts but his own, too closely associated with genre for the credibility he craved. He is one of those writer’s 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

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