The Author's Ordeal
The Author's Ordeal are lyrics to a song written by science fiction author Isaac Asimov. They were first published in Science Fiction Quarterly, May 1957, pp. 34–36. They are included in three collections of Asimov's short stories: Earth Is Room Enough, The Far Ends of Time and Earth (omnibus edition) and The Complete Stories, Volume 1.
The lyrics pastiche the Gilbert and Sullivan patter song known as "the (Lord Chancellor's) Nightmare Song" from Iolanthe. The song depicts the agonies he goes through in thinking up a new science fiction story. It notes that the process of devising a space opera is incompatible with living in the real world with all its "dull facts of life that hound you".
- In Earth Is Room Enough, Panther Books Ltd. reprint 1973 edition, the title of the story is "The Author's Ordeal" in the Contents list but "An Author's Ordeal" on the destination page.
- Seiler, Edward. "Isaac Asimov's Short Fiction: Larry Stories, Miscellaneous Mysteries, Poems and Lyrics" (1995) AsimovOnline.com
- The Author's Ordeal title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Publication history of the poem
- Text of the poem included here
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