Monday, November 22, 2010

Lost Asimov: "Masks" and "Big Game"

On February 3, 1941, the day John Campbell accepted his story, "Liar" (a positronic robot story), Asimov set to work on "Masks," another attempt to get into Unknown.

"I wrote a short one, called "Masks," (1,500 words) "and heaven only knows what it was aobut, for I don't." Campbell rejected it, and "it is gone, it no longer exists."

After three years, Asimov was doing well as a writer - he'd just written "Nightfall" - which made the cover of Astounding.

At this point, John Campbell started a new feature in Astounding called Probability Zero, a department of short-shortd , 500 to 1000 words, which were to be in the nature of plausible and entertaining Munchausen-like lies. He was specifically hoping new writers would try their hand at these, but wanted to see the pot with stories from established writers first.

Asimov wrote "Big Game", and submitted it to Campbell on November 234, 1941. Campbell rejected it. He writes,"I wish I could remember what "Big Game" was about, for I thought enough of it to submit it to try sunitting it to Colliers magazine (an over-awing slick) in 1944, and it was of course rejected.



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