Neal Barrett, Jr., named 2010 SFWA Author Emeritus

COCOA 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.