A 2004 collection of Tenn’s interviews and essays, Dancing Naked, was nominated for the Hugo Award, and he was named Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 1999.
Before writing this post, I wasn’t familiar with much of Tenn’s personal history, other than the fact he was a professor at Penn State University (hence the punny pen name). Turns out he’s the child of European immigrants, and his father was a pacifist activist in England during World War I. Tenn’s family fled to the U.S. to escape persecution and prosecution for his father’s alleged “treasonous” activity, including desertion after being drafted into the British Army.
Tenn served as a combat engineer with the U.S. Army during World War II, with the reluctant blessing of his father, which is the subject of the story, actually an essay by William Tenn, that I’m highlighting this week. It’s called Constantinople, and if you’re not a little misty-eyed by the end of it, you’ve no heart at all.
Okay, that’s a bit harsh. It’s a moving story, and you’ll enjoy it. Go read it.