Charles Platt's "Marginal Transcendence" and how to wholeheartedly sell out

The April and May issues of the New York Review of Science Fiction feature a fascinating two-part autobiography by author Charles Platt. Titled "Marginal Transcendence," the first essay follows Pratt's life from his birth in a dull town 40 miles outside London to his work on Michael Moorcock's groundbreaking New Worlds magazine. The second essay picks up with Platt's move to the United States, his writing in the science fiction field, and his journalism for Wired Magazine.

While Platt's impact on the science fiction field has been somewhat limited, he has been involved in two seminal magazines associated with the genre--with New Worlds promoting the launch of the New Wave movement, and Wired popularizing many SF memes--while also being a life-long part of SF fandom. He also drops some amazing insight during the essays. For example, he says that if editors could give authors three instructions, they would be:

  1. Don't be a prima donna.
  2. Don't write a book that's different from the one you said you would write.
  3. Deliver it on time.

He also advises that if writers want to sell out, "it should be a wholehearted sellout with no self-serving nonsense about doing it 'ethically.'"