John W. Campbell on the art of science fiction
I hate a story that begins with atmosphere. Get right into the story, never mind the atmosphere.
The trouble with Bob Heinlein is that he doesn’t need to write. When I want a story from him, the first thing I have to do is think up something he would like to have, like a swimming pool. The second thing is to sell him on the idea of having it. The third thing is convince him he should write a story to get the money to pay for it, instead of building it himself.
When there’s something wrong with a story, I can tell you how to fix it. When it just doesn’t come across, there’s nothing I can say.
When I think of a story idea, I give it to six different writers. It doesn’t matter if all six of them write it. They’ll all be different stories, anyway, and I’ll publish all six of them.
I want the kind of story that could be printed in a magazine of the year two thousand A.D. as a contemporary adventure story. No gee-whiz, just take the technology for granted.