First a Letter From The Autor:
Thank you for your letter and the questions for Akers. Herewith duly answered and returned. If you think I’ve made a damn fool reply here and there strike it out and we can. have another go.
As I sit here morosely looking at what I’ve written and thinking about what I wanted to say I realise more and more the limitations and difficulties of a writer writing about his own work. Readers will either say the man’s crazed with self-love and pride, or that he is a crawling lickspittle. And I realize I’ve said nothing about the way Prescot is going or what I want to do with him, although that will be essentially apparent in the books themselves. I did want to stress that as far as I know there are no loose ends, that is, things that have happened had a reason for happening. And some of the results will not show up for ten or more books. I suppose this kind of book was something I wanted to do for a long time --- I had masses of stuff already in the head and researched out in papers --- and when the chance came along I just leaped on it.’
The Dray Prescot hero and the method of transporting him to Antares and back to Earth and then back to Antares...
This suggests John Carter of Mars and a host of similarly inspired other-world adventures. Obviously you chose this device with care and fore-thought. What are you trying to do with the series that makes this modus vivendi best for you?
The Dray Present stories belong generally to what has been called the Planetary Adventure aspect of Fantasy. In these stories the method of transportation is irrelevant, although many authors mistakenly spend a deal of time and effort working up mumbo-jumbo systems. In the case of Prescot, he does not know how he was transported at the beginning. In order therefore to maintain a freedom from anachronism I decided to adopt a similar system and then, at the point in the story at which Prescot discovers the means, to relate that in its order of happening. In a complex story involving human beings and extending over a considerable period the mingling of Fantasy, sf and Planetary Adventure in the structure is rewarding. It is not that the system you quote is the best; it is that it happened to fit in time and place with the opening of the story o Prescot. And I might add we will only know the answer when Prescot sends us the tapes with that information.