We juggle priceless eggs in variable gravity. I am afraid. I will taste fear until I die.
In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control, and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.[Pournelle's law of Bureaucracy]
And meanwhile, the storytellers like me and Anderson, Silverberg... we tell stories. People like them. They want to know how it comes out, they want to know what the ending is.
Because Tom Doherty and people like that are not stupid. If they could have streamlined their operation more to get more money out of it, they would have done it. It's not like they're a bunch of idiots.
So, I guess the answer to your question is very few people can bring off a novel of the future because it's just so damn hard to make it look like the future.
Write a lot. And finish what you write. Don't join writer's clubs and go sit around having coffee reading pieces of your manuscript to people. Write it. Finish it. I set those rules up years ago, and nothing's changed.
Of course most people underestimate the warrior characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon and Norman peoples anyway. It takes a heap of piety to keep a Viking from wanting to go sack a city.
We're basically after Joe's beer money, and Joe likes his beer, so you better make sure that what you give him is at least as pleasurable to him as having his six-pack of beer would be.
Somebody's always getting me to come lecture to their writing class, and I don't talk about writing at all, I talk about the business of making a living at this racket.
I've noticed that just about every time I find a large program with known glitches that no one seems able to fix, that program is written in C and is likely written by a programming team in a remote location.
And in down times it shakes a lot of the bad SF out, a lot the stuff that was bought for literary reasons, which is neither entertaining nor great literature.
Heinlein never had a best-seller. Even, I think, with Stranger in a Strange Land, I don't think it was actually on the New York Times best seller list.
I started in this racket in the early '70s, and when I was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America, of which I was like the sixth president, I was the first one nobody ever heard of.
There were probably, what, 300 science-fiction members in the SFWA, of whom probably a hundred were active members in the sense that they were selling something every year, or every couple years.
We do a hard fantasy as well as hard science fiction, and I think I probably single-handedly recreated military science fiction. It was dead before I started working in it.