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"If she be not so to me,
What care I how fair she be?"

The words on the cover have promised great things, enough to persuade you to go this far and look inside. Now you need a reason to take the next step and buy the book.

The most common way of luring you on to the next step is an introduction—written by somebody well-known, ten pages long, full of superlatives and promising you the treat of a lifetime.

I think that approach is a sham. I've found out from my own experience that such an introduction is often the only readable part of the book, and the bigger the build-up, the worse the let-down. A story, or a set of stories, is like a blind date. Reading is romance, and no matter how much I tell you how wonderful it will be, those words don't mean a thing until you've proved it for yourself by direct experience.

No inflated introduction, then. Real stories don't need one, and bad stories (which to me mean dull stories) can't be saved by one.

I can offer only one alternative. Read the stories and form your own view of them. After that, I'll tell you what I was trying to do, what that blind date meant to me. You can judge if I succeeded or failed.

Here's to a fine romance.

June 18th 1979.

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