George sez, "Kevin Kelly describes how Robert Heinlein dealt with fan mail before PCs."
Heinlein engineered his own nerdy solution to a problem common to famous authors: how to deal with fan mail. In the days before the internet, Heinlein's solution was fabulous. He created a one page FAQ answer sheet -- minus the questions. Then he, or rather his wife Ginny, checked off the appropriate answer and mailed it back. While getting a form letter back might be thought rude, it was much better than being ignored, and besides, the other questions you did not ask were also answered! Indeed, it is both remarkable and heartwarming that Heinlein replied at all to most mail. Can you imagine other great authors doing the same -- even with a form letter? Heinlein's form is very entertaining to read because you are forced to reconstruct the missing requests.
I love these, especially the slightly grumpy ones about whether authors can be reasonably expected to answer essay questions as part of a student's homework assignment! Oh, and the answer to "I love your work, but your latest story stank," is spot-on perfect.
Heinlein's Fan Mail Solution
James Mickens (previously) has a well-deserved reputation for being the information security world's funniest speaker, and if that were all he did, he would still be worth listening to.
At Worldcon yesterday, as recounted by Steph Herman: What did one snowman say to the other snowman?
Steve Tamblyn of Adelaide, Australia was frustrated at his neighbors that didn’t pick up after their dogs. So he set up a security cam, captured an image of a dog and its lazy walker, printed out the evidence, and posted it by the poop. So far, the funny but passive aggressive technique hasn’t actually led […]
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