nominated for the 2005 Hugo Award in the Related Book Category
Dancing Naked is a collection of William Tenn's essays and articles on life and literature. It was published on the occasion of his being Guest of Honor at Noreascon 4, the 62nd Worldcon in Boston, MA over Labor Day 2004. Three essays from the book are available on-line as samples!
Tenn has long been considered one of the major satirists in the field. The Science Fiction Encyclopedia calls him "one of the genre's very few genuinely comic, genuinely incisive writers of short fiction." Theodore Sturgeon had the following to say:
It would be too wide a generalization to say that every SF satire, every SF comedy and every attempt at witty and biting criticism found in the field is a poor and usually cheap imitation of what this man has been doing since the '40s. [But] his incredibly involved and complex mind can at times produce constructive comment so pointed and astute that the fortunate recipient is permanently improved by it. Admittedly the price may be to create two whole categories for our species: humanity, and William Tenn. For each of which you must create your ethos and your laws. I've done that. And to me it's worth it.
Table of Contents
Master Class: Introduction by David Morrell
Myself When Young
- In the Beginning
- Eleven P.M.
- The Apotheosis of John Chillicothe
- Incident Gourmandien
- Constantinople <-- sample chapter!
- The Enormous Toothache
- Frank Merriwell's Syndrome
- What's Wrong with My Daughter?
- My First Deer
Creative Fiction and NonFiction
- Murdering Myra
- 8 Eyes on Strange New Worlds
- The Bugmaster
- Student Rebel: Then and Now
Notes Toward a History of Science Fiction
- On the Fiction in Science Fiction
- Jazz then, Musicology Now
- An Innocent in Time: Mark Twain in King Arthur's Court
- The Lady Automaton by E. E. Kellett: A Pygmalion Source?
- The Lady Automaton
- Welles or Wells: The First Invasion from Mars <-- sample chapter!
- It Didn't Come from Outer Space
- Author Emeritus Speech
Intros and Obits
- Introduction to Children of Wonder
- Introduction to What Mad Universe
- From a Cave Deep Within Stuyvesent Town
- Introduction to the Ova Hamlet Papers
- John W. Campbell, Jr.: A Memoir
- Sturgeon, The Improbable Man
- Judy Merril
- Poul Anderson <-- sample chapter!
Dancing Naked: The Interviews - and a Bit of PR
- A Jew's-Eye View of the Universe
- Eric Solstein Interviews William Tenn
- Philip Klass: Wit with a Flair for the Incredible
- Recruiting New "Huddled Masses" - Morton Klass
William Tenn was the pen name of London-born Philip Klass. He emigrated to America in the early '20s with his parents. He began writing in 1945 after being discharged from the Army, and his first story, "Alexander the Bait," was published a year later. His stories and articles have been widely anthologized, a number of them in best-of-the-year collections. He was a professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, where he taught — among other things — a popular course in science fiction. In 1999, he was honored as Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at the Nebula Awards Banquet in Pittsburgh. In 2003, he was the guest of honor at Capclave. In 2004, he was a guest of honor at Noreascon 4, the 62nd World Science Fiction Convention.
He lived with his wife Fruma in suburban Pittsburgh with several cats and many books. He died on February 7, 2010, of congestive heart failure.
He is not the Philip J. Klass who wrote for Aviation Week and Space Technology (and died in 2005).