Folgender Text von Norman Spinrad ist seit August diesen Jahres (1997) auf seiner Homepage zu finden und dürfte auch für SF-Fan.de-Leser interessant sein:
»I hereby offer to sell the American volume rights to my completed novel HE WALKED AMONG US for an advance of $1 to the publisher who persuades me that they will publish it properly.
Desperate literary situations demand bold measures that transcend commercial bottom-line logic.
As copiously detailed in various sections of my Web page, the current bottomline thinking in the publishing industry, combined with what happened to my last published novel, PICTURES AT 11, have placed me in such a situation. The sales figures were sufficiently low so that I have been told that my name is a guarantee that the major bookstore chains will not order sufficient copies of whatever my next novel might be – regardless of content or quality – for any publisher to bring it out.
Or rather, as I have been told in literary laudatory rejection letters on HE WALKED AMONG US from several publishers, in the current climate, they can’t see their way clear to making the investment necessary to remedy the situation.
All it takes is money. While the bookstore chains ordinarily order strictly by the last book’s numbers, and while publishers now consult them before buying books, the lines of commu-nication work both ways.
And if the book store chains are told there will be an author tour and an advertising and promotion budget and that the publisher will buy good rack position, they will look up from their computer print-outs and order sufficient copies to make publication of the book commercially attractive.
This, of course, assumes that the book is literary worthy of publication. I believe that HE WALKED AMONG US is. I further believe it is probably the best novel I have written. And I have published about 20. I will go even further and say that it is a novel whose publication is of some cultural importance. Why I believe this in an evolutionary sense can be gleaned from the text of my TRANSFORMATION CRISIS speech on my Web page, where a long chapter of HE WALKED AMONG US can also be found as well as an autobiography commissioned and published by Gale Press.
I am going out on this limb because I believe with all my heart that a reading of HE WALKED AMONG US will justify what I am saying. And while the novel has been rejected by several publishers, not one of them cited insufficient literary quality.
I will go out on an even more outrageous limb by saying that I believe that there are more important things than money. That the cultural health of literature is one of them, and that planetary survival is another, and that the two of them are not entirely separable. And that when a writer believes that he has written something that in some small way can contrib-ute to either or both, he has, yes, a moral obli-gation to that work which transcends fear of public ridicule or his own economic self-interest.
I am not a rich man.
But having spoken out in this manner, I feel I must be willing to put the money that I don’t have where my outrageous mouth is.
Hence this offer to any and all reputable publishers: I am willing to sign a contract for the publication of HE WALKED AMONG US for an advance of $1.
Peruse the chapter on my Web page, and if you’re interested in a full reading copy, contact me or my agent Russell Galen.
If you end up believing as I believe, take the money you would have spent paying me an advance and spend it on doing what is necessary to publish the novel in a manner that will make it economically viable and place it before the readership it deserves to have and which deserves to be able to read it.
This text is hereby placed in the public domain and may be reproduced or retransmitted electronically or in print.
Natürlich habe ich das zitierte Textfragment (an-)gelesen und ich bin ehrlich gesagt begeistert. Ich hatte irgendwie einen trockenen, schwierigen und kritischen Text erwartet und fand eine Satire – einen urkomischen Bericht über den Conbesuch des Schriftstellers Dexter Lampkin, der als „Guest of Honor“ auf dem LostCon eingeladen ist (es geht auch ein wenig um die Philosophie des Fandoms, wie folgender Textausschnitt zeigt:
»But »egoboo« was itself a fannish concept, and a cunningly clever insight into human reality. And boo for the ego was what it was all about. You could be a mal-adjusted three hundred pound postal clerk or computer jockey in the mundane world, but here, if you published an amateur fanzine, or created a hall costume that people remembered, or worked on enough con committees, or collected more of something than anyone else, or just knew how and where to hang out, you could become a Big Name Fan. BNFs, Big Name Fans like Forrest J. Ackerman and Sam Moskowitz and Walt Willis and any number of others had been famous for being famous long before Andy Warhol got his fifteen minutes worth. Pure uncut egoboo – ego-gratification with as much relationship to achievement, or talent, or any form of intrinsic worth, as that felt by a newborn avidly sucking its mother’s tit. The lust for egoboo was maybe the basic human drive, and a saving grace of Fandom was that this was not only openly acknowledged in these circles but with a sense of humor.«
Fehlen dürfen aber natürlich auch nicht die klassischen Seitenhiebe auf das Aussehen der Fans („The fannish hordes had already occupied most of it. Lines of grubbily-dressed and overweight people with piles of strange untidy luggage stretched from the door to the checkin desks, creating the effect of a crowded bus depot in a Third World metropole. […] This early in the convention, few of them were in hall costume yet – a few Spocks, a brace of wall-eyed barbarians, a three hundred pound harem girl from Pluto, a squad of teenage mercenary spaceship storm troopers, nothing out of the ordinary to a jaded congoer like Dexter – but even without them, Fandom presented a rather alien spectacle to the naive viewer. […] Most of the hotel personnel would never have seen so many grossly-overweight people together at the same time, and even if they had, certainly not wearing T-shirts and capris and jeans and harem costumes in such perfectly blithe disregard of the exceedingly unfortunate fashion statement.„) und auch sonst ist die Atmosphäre eines Cons wirklich gut wiedergegeben. Ich hoffe ja ehrlich gesagt, daß sich ein amerikanischer Verlag findet, der dieses Buch veröffentlicht, denn ich glaube nicht, daß eine deutsche Übersetzung dieses Buches auch nur annähernd den Witz des Originals besitzen könnte.
Denn folgende Horrorszenarien wären denkbar:
* ein Übersetzer, der vom Fandom keine Ahnung hat
* ein Übersetzer, der nur das Star Trek Fandom kennt, und nichts verstehen würde
* ein Übersetzer wie Ronald M. Hahn, der versuchen würde den ganzen Text an einen deutschen Con anzupassen…
Ich kann also jedem Interessierten nur empfehlen das komplette Textfragment zu lesen, denn es lohnt sich!