Monday, March 29, 2010

Neal Barrett, Jr., named 2010 SFWA Author Emeritus

COCO BEACH, FLA. – Neal Barrett, Jr., author of The Hereafter Gang, named by the Washington Post as “one of the great American novels,” and Interstate Dreams, recognized as an award-winner by the Texas Institute of Letters, will be honored as Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America for the 2010 Nebula Awards® Weekend in Coco Beach, Fla.

The moved was announced by SFWA President Russell Davis.

“I am very pleased and proud to be a part of the upcoming Nebula Awards ceremonies in Florida, and have the chance to talk to the people I respect the most---the writers who do the job every day that I've done since I could hold that blue crayon up straight,” Barrett said.

Barrett is known in the science fiction and fantasy world for works such as Through Darkest America, Dawn’s Uncertain Light and Prince of Christler-Coke, and a number of outstanding short story collections such as Perpetuity Blues, Slightly Off Center and A Different Vintage. Barrett has published more than 50 novels and 70-plus shorter works since his first sales in 1959.

“I sold a short story to both Galaxy and Amazing at the same time,” Barrett said. “I was certain this meant it would be smooth sailing in this profession from then on.”

Sales did continue, and Barrett later branched out into novels as well. “I had a good friend and neighbor down in San Miguel, Mexico---Mack Reynolds, a writer I’d admired for as long as I’d been reading science fiction.

“‘Never stop writing short stories,’ Mack told me. ‘But try a novel too.’ Hey, what an idea,” Barrett said. “I started off with Kelwin, the Aldair quartet, The Gates of Time, Highwood and others. I like to do novels, but short stories will always be my first love.

“I grew up on Burroughs’ Mars books, Startling Stories, IF, Galaxy, Astounding, Amazing, Planet Stories and the rest,” he said.

In modern times, Barrett sold to Asimov’s, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, OMNI and others.

“I have a great respect for many of the editors and publishers I’ve worked with,” Barrett said. “And I’d like to say how much I admire the contributions of the small press, houses such as Subterranean Press and Golden Gryphon. I’m proud to say that a lot of what I feel is my best work is due to the editors of these presses.

“Like many professional writers, I’ve written westerns, mystery-suspense, horror, noir, air war stories, the Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, novelizations such as Judge Dredd, Barb Wire and Dungeons & Dragons,” he said. “One of my all-time favorite jobs is writing comic books--I think I’ve turned out over a thousand pages by now. That’s what writers do, you know--they often do what needs to be done. And I’ve found that a real pro puts everything he or she has into whatever project comes along. You name it. I can’t tell you how many names besides mine are out there over the work I’ve done for a series or special projects.

The 2010 Nebula Awards® Weekend will be held in Coco Beach, Fla., May 13-16. The date was chosen to coincide with the scheduled launching of the Shuttle Atlantis on Friday, May 14. The Nebula Awards will be presented at a banquet on Saturday evening, May 15. Vonda N. McIntyre and Keith Stokes will be honored with the SFWA Service Award, and Joe Haldeman will be honored as the next Damon Knight Grand Master. For more information, visit

About SFWA
Founded in 1965 by the late Damon Knight, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America brings together the most successful and daring writers of speculative fiction throughout the world.

Since its inception, SFWA® has grown in numbers and influence until it is now widely recognized as one of the most effective non-profit writers' organizations in existence, boasting a membership of approximately 1,500 science fiction and fantasy writers as well as artists, editors and allied professionals. Each year the organization presents the prestigious Nebula Awards® for the year’s best literary and dramatic works of speculative fiction.


Scott Cupp said...

This is the best news of the year! Neal has been a Texas treasure for far too long. It is about time the rest of the world learns who he is and how wacked out his stories are.

Becky Matthews Haynie said...

Neal is a gifted story teller with a wicked sense of humor and a unique (some would say warped) voice. Neal used to live across the street from me and somehow managed to overcome that handicap and make something of himself, after all. Congratulations to Neal for this well-deserved acknowledgement of a career built on not sounding like every Tom, Dick, and Bubba out there.

Dave Hardy said...

Outstanding! Neal Barrett is a super nice guy & supremely talented writer. We are very lucky to have him around!

Lewis Shiner said...

Neal is simply one of the best writers alive, and HEREAFTER GANG is a masterpiece that defies genre categorization. This is a richly deserved and long overdue honor. Go, Neal!

Anonymous said...

Biting Dog Publications has released Through Darkest America, and Dawn's Uncertain Light by Neal Barrett Jr in ebook format, available at all major ebook retailers.

Through Darkest America

Post Apocalypse America
Bluevale was about all Howie had seen of the world.
Even his Pa, who knew everything, didn’t know much about the way it was before the war.
Scriptures said all of the unclean animals had been wiped out. Howie didn’t know what that meant exactly. He’d seen horses. And stock of course. Stock looked like humans.
‘Cept stock had no soul. That’s why they was meat.
Howie had a good life for a boy. Then the soldiers came. And what they did to his folks made him grow up right quick. He got his revenge—‘cept now the whole darn army was after him. But he had a huge country to run across…and lots of miles to stay alive.
Includes new bonus chapter!

Dawn's Uncertain Light

*Sequel to Through Darkest America
After The Fall...
America's Great Dream is over. Centuries ago it was devastated by the ultimate war. The effects still linger.
Food is scarce, water even scarcer and human compassion nowhere to be found. Even so, society is slowly rebuilding itself.
But is it a society whose thirst for success is built on an enormous , barbaric lie:

Silver Island almost legendary place to most Americans.
The citadel where the government is building a new and better nation from the ashes of the war-ravaged land. Everyone envies the few children who are chosen to be sent to Silver Island to help realize that dream.

At least, that's what Howie Ryder was told when his little sister became one of the Chosen. And that's what he believed before the soldiers slaughtered his parents.

Six years on, Howie has discovered the horrifying truth about Silver Island. And will do anything -- anything -- to rescue his sister from it's grip...

A Day At The Fair (A free short story)

Off to the south you could see 'em---two big Portugees floatin' high and slow, flat-looking bodies all pearly blue in the sun. They weren't real hungry, or looking for anything special, just drifting along, trailing their stingers like long rags of rain 'gainst the ground..

Available at all major ebook retailers!