The Gene Wolfe Literary Podcast is about to discuss “How I Lost the Second World War and Helped Turn Back the German Invasion.” I promised that if it was selected, I would share Gene’s story about how he came to write it.
Gene lived a few blocks away from us and would come over for dinner on occasion. One time after enjoying the meal, the talk turned, as it inevitably does, to World War II. Gene told us about the time he was commissioned by Ben Bova to write a story for Analog based on an illustration by Frank Kelly Freas. There was one little problem; the illustration showed Hitler trying to sell a car to Churchill.
Gene agreed to take on the challenge and wrote “How I Lost the Second World War and Helped Turn Back the German Invasion.” The story went on to be nominated for a 1974 Nebula.
Later, Gene asked Bova why he was selected to write the story. Bova said that because of the subject of Freas’ drawing, he was having problems finding someone to agree to do the writing. So Bova got out the directory of SFWA members, started with the A’s, and worked his way down…