|Enemy Mine Series
|The Enemy Papers
Containing The Myth of Aakva, The Story of Uhe, much of The Story of Shizumaat, and fragments from other books. Eleven thousand years of wisdom in convenient, magazine length stories.
Enemy Mine, The Author's Cut
With never before revealed glimpses of Drac life and the life and thoughts of Willis E. Davidge. When told "I really loved the movie Enemy Mine," this is the version the author will force you to read on the spot, most likely at gunpoint.
The Tomorrow Testament
Seeing is not necessarily believing, and some rules are meant to be broken.
The Last Enemy
Where we discover that the most severe threat to life and peace in the universe is the monstrous illusion of the tribe.
On Alien Languages
Why starting too soon in the writing process, and trying to keep it all in your head, can make you poorzhab!
Run Drac Run
The full, uncut, never before told tale of the writings of "Enemy Mine," The Tomorrow Testament, and The Last Enemy, including the making of the motion picture Enemy Mine, and how the author recovered from it all by smacking his head repeatedly on his Wang.
Drac for Travelers
For the very first time, the collected vocabulary from "Enemy Mine," The Tomorrow Testament and The Last Enemy. Curse out your friends in secret, call the President names without getting arrested, offend visiting aliens.
Run Drac Run
an essay on the writing and publishing
of "Enemy Mine"
from The Enemy Papers
by Barry B. Longyear
It was February, 1978, deep in a Maine winter so harsh the bears were taking time-outs from hibernation to move into motels. This was before I discovered either cross country or downhill skiing, hence I was deep in cabin fever and in one criminal mood.
I was trying to think up something I wanted to write when I turned away from my word processor and looked at the snow falling outside my home office window. There was already a great deal of snow on the ground, and it looked like lots more was on its way. The temperature was in single digits and a wind was picking up.
I can get hypnotically captured by falling snow, fog, and starry nights. I was mentally lost in watching the snow when I started thinking about building a little shelter out in the woods to see if I could survive in the snowstorm. When I was young I used to sneak out of my parents house late at night and go deep into the woods and build little lean-tos, and even more elaborate shelters. I'd build a warm little fire and spend the night safe from the insanity back at the house.
Still looking at the snow, I wondered what would happen if I was thrown naked out into the snow with only a knife. Would I be able to survive? Shelter, clothing, warmth, food. I figured I wouldn't be able to last for ten minutes. But what if I started earlier in the season, before the snows, and built a shelter that would protect me? I'd have to have food to last the winter, and wood for a fire, warm coverings, a bed, and there was the whole toilet paper problem.
I seemed to be exploring the outlines of some sort of survival story, but I began picking at my reasons -- what the attraction was to hiding out in the woods. What if I had such a place? No telephones, no computers, no radio, CD's or TV. What would I be doing?
Waiting for what?
The answer brought me back to my earliest memories. What would I be waiting for? I would be waiting for the same thing that I had been waiting for as a child in my clandestine lean-tos in the woods. I'd be waiting for someone who had some answers to come talk with me and fill my head with solutions to the mountain of problems that seemed to follow me wherever I went.
I scribbled out a few notes, tossed them into my story dump, and got on with other things. Later in the year, as Maine sizzled beneath a July sun, the title "Enemy Mine" popped into my head. Thinking about the survival notes I had written the previous January, and with the ghosts of my nights as a child sitting in lean-tos observing, I began writing. In a matter of hours I had before me an alien whose heritage and upbringing are such that it knows who it is, what it is, and what it has to do. This alien, Jeriba Shigan, is also very happy being Jeriba Shigan. It has no internal conflicts. I desperately wanted to know how to do that.
The alien, by example, teaches the human how to love and how to allow himself to be loved. By example, the alien teaches the human how to be a human, something neither the character in the story nor I knew how to do very well. The pages seemed to fly from my typewriter, and my wife Jean was reading them page-by-page as they were finished. At the point where Jeriba Shigan dies, I cried. I had literally lost my best friend in the universe, and now it was time for the human to test all that he had learned by overcoming his grief and keeping his promise to bring the Drac child before the line's archives. I was on the next page when Jean came into my office, wound up, and punched me in the arm.
"That's for killing Jeriba Shigan!" she snarled as she grabbed the next page and stormed out of my office.
I reached the point in the story where Davidge buries Jerry's body with the rocks he had beaten loose from the ice, when I realized that I was in the middle of the story, not at the end. I had told George Scithers, then editor of Isaac Asimov's Science-Fiction Magazine, that I had a five thousand word short story in the works. I was already at ten or eleven thousand words, and there was no end or ending in sight. I whipped up another ten pages for an ending and sent it off to George, asking what I should do. A curious thing: after I mailed it off, Jean told me that she didn't think it would be accepted. She said that it was too good.
A few days later, George telephoned me about "Enemy Mine." As I recall it, he said there were some problems with the piece and he was sending it to Isaac Asimov for an opinion. I immediately dropped everything that I was doing and went into one monumental panic. I whacked out everything that I could, finished the story, and then read over "Enemy Mine" and went over it again and again and again. Eventually, I sent it off with the following cover letter to George Scithers.
24 July 1978
I got on with something, I can't remember what, and then a couple of weeks later George sent me a copy of the letter he had gotten from Isaac Asimov regarding my story.
13 August 1978
Present the story in two installments, basically, as two separate stories. "Son Mine" was not an option because Dracs have this little biological quirk: they're hermaphrodites. They don't have sons -- or daughters. Nevertheless, I wrote the rest of the piece, and the lost feeling experienced by many Vietnam vets formed the emotional core of the second half as Davidge found himself on Earth and belonging nowhere. The quadrant was at peace, but Davidge was still at war with himself. I sent it off and got on with the next story.
A few days later George telephoned me to tell me that Asimov's was going to do "Enemy Mine" as a single novella rather than two novelettes. When he had gotten the second installment, beginning with the burial of Jeriba Shigan, George had given it to one of his readers and asked him to read the beginning and tell him what he thought was going on. The answer was humbling: "Well, the protagonist has just killed this alien and is feeling pretty bad about it." After that he decided to run it as one piece. I made the repairs and "Enemy Mine" appeared in the September 1979 issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.
The mail I got on "Enemy Mine" stunned me. The story struck a chord out there that vibrated on levels from motherhood and alienation to racism and anti-war. One reader wrote in to say that she was reading it on the bus going to work and she was crying so much, it was all she could do to fight off the help from numbers of her well-intentioned fellow passengers so she could finish the damned story.
Afterward, a fellow out there on the west coast, Steve Perry, was the first to recommend "Enemy" for a Nebula Award. He no doubt thought this was amusing since, in a moment of sheer bratism some weeks earlier, I had written a letter to the SFWA Forum denouncing the award.
Just before the Nebula Awards banquet in Los Angeles that year, I got a telephone call. Since it's a long way to L.A. from Maine and money was short, Jean and I didn't go. George Scithers was going, so I asked him to pick up the award in the unlikely event "Enemy" should win.
A day or two before the Nebula Awards, there was a telephone call from someone in SFWA asking me if I was going to be in L.A. for the awards. I said no. I couldn't afford it.
"Are you sure I can't talk you into coming?"
"Yeah. I'm sure. I'm broke."
"Are you really, really sure I can't talk you into coming?"
"Why?" I asked. I mean, it wasn't like I was the science fiction community sweetheart or anything.
"Well, I can't really tell you. But you really ought to come."
"Did 'Enemy Mine' win?" I asked.
"Uh, well, uh, yeah."
It's not like a Nebula comes with a cash award, so we still couldn't go, but we did call up Steve Perry and tell him, since he was the one who started it. He never did say much of anything. He just kept laughing and laughing.
Right after the Nebulas there was Noreascon Two, and the Hugo Awards. "Enemy Mine" and another story of mine were both up for awards, and I was up for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer, as well. If I won them both. I would be the only writer to have won a Nebula, a Hugo, and the John W. Campbell new writer award all in the same year.
I won the Hugo and the Campbell. If you go to worldcons these days, they prohibit using flash cameras during ceremonies. The reason for this has to do with insurance fears concerning blinding those on stage who are attempting to negotiate the stairs. There was no such prohibition when I received my awards. As I faced the audience both times, I had my retinas burned out by thousands of flash bulbs going off. I had never before seen anything so magnificently beautiful in my life. It was a terrific night. Hell, even my picks for best editor and best dramatic presentation won.
There were two more very special moments waiting for me. The first was late that night in George's suite at the hotel. There were a number of fans in there, and I was sitting cross-legged on top of a table. George had won the Hugo for best editor, and Isaac was looking at us both saying, "What a night this is."
The next morning came my second moment. I was entering the hotel restaurant for breakfast, and with me were Jean and my mathematician sister Judith, who I had always wanted to impress. As we entered, everyone in the restaurant stopped what they were doing and applauded. It just goes to show what building a little lean-to in the woods can do . . . .
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