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Regarding Certain Fanzines and Piers Anthony

September 28, 2019

Here’s what Dean has to say about letters with his name on them in Fanzines:

“In the earliest couple of years of his career, Dean wrote a few letters and articles for science-fiction fanzines. He was not prolific in this area because he was too busy writing fiction to pay the bills and to learn his craft. Therefore, in 1991, Dean was shocked to learn that a person he had previously worked with professionally had, beginning in 1969 and continuing at least through the early 1970s, been writing letters in Dean’s name to individuals and had submitted letters, and even some articles, in Dean’s name to fanzines. The name “X” will do until the full story can be told in Dean’s memoirs. All of this information was first disclosed to Dean in 1991 when X provided a written admission of these activities, although he could not remember everyone to whom these forged letters and articles had been sent. Consequently, any fanzine appearances by Dean after 1968 are highly suspect unless they were submitted with a cover letter on his own letterhead of that time.”


Several of those letters involve author Piers Anthony. Here’s what he’s had to say about the matter over the years both in print and in an email to me:

“Sometimes they [authors] escape by writing the same material, but getting the genre label removed; Dean Koontz’s sales took off when he finally prevailed on his publisher to do that…”
“These were by no means the only writers with whom I interacted: in the course of my career I brushed with most of the figures of the field, and some who are on the fringes, like Stephen King, whose daughter was a fan of mine, and Dean Koontz, with home I used to battle in the fanzines, before we both got too successful to have time for that sort of thing…
“Once Dean Koontz wrote [in Fosfax], commenting on something I had said. He and I had fought savagely in bygone days, but had no wish to do so now…”

Piers Anthony, How Precious Was That While, TOR, July 2001, p185,241,246

I [interviewer Charles Platt] manage to break in here to ask if his wife doesn’t mind this non-stop work obsession.
“No, my wife understands, I mean, she had to quit her job because it got to the point where her total wages went to pay the tax on my income, and she got disgusted with that. You see, I used to earn $500 a year, $1,000, and then $5,000, but when I started earning $70,000, and then $100,000, and I suspect it’ll be about $150,000 this year, I have launched into the big time. I used to have arguments, I had one with Dean Koontz, he was saying he was earning almost $100,000, and he didn’t need to pay attention to nitwits like me. Well, I don’t know how Dean Koontz is doing now, he’s writing cheap novels pseudonymously, so I suspect the positions are reversed. I am now earning it, but I don’t make any claims to being suddenly a genius because I make a lot of money. The money, as you know, is likely to be inversely proportional to merit, and my most thoughtful pieces are likely to earn less than my least thoughtful. When I’m doing a Xanth novel, I go through it about double the rate of anything else. For Avon Books.I write science fiction, for Del Rey Books I write fantasy, I wrote A Spell for Chameleon for them, it won the British Fantasy Award, and then the subsequent one started selling better and better, and started paying. It’s nice to write what you like, but you don’t necessarily get rich on it. I may be one of the most commercial writers you’ll interview, in the sense that I write the cheap stuff that sells big…”

Dream Makers Volume II by Charles Platt, Berkley, 1983, p105, and
Dream Makers: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers at Work, New and Revised Profiles by Charles Platt, Ungar, 2007, p223

“That’s interesting. He must have forgotten. He did have letters in fanzines, and he and I interacted, sometimes sharply, there. As I recall, he even published a short-lived fanzine of his own. I sent a review of one of his early books to it, but it folded before that saw publication.
“If you want to be accurate you will need to check with some old-time fanzine collector who can show you those interactions. There was one where I commented that even Dean Koontz had achieved good success and he responded with four pages of vilification of me. I think he was not proud of that, especially after my published response. I really pasted him back. I wonder whether anyone would have scanned old fanzines into the Internet? That might be an avenue to explore. Your guide will be seriously incomplete without that information.”

Email response from Piers Anthony when asked about those letters by the author of this site, 18 July 2008