Greetings From the Politburo


To answer a couple of e-mails I’ve gotten about the John Hersey illustration accompanying the NYT Sunday Book Review article about me and my books, yes, I think it’s supposed to be me, and as evidence of this, I have paired it above with what I suspect was its model, the picture on my bio page, in which I am glowering into the camera. Paired up as they are, you can see how you can get from one to the other. I suspect that this was all Mr. Hersey was given to go on, in terms of pictures of yours truly.

I kinda like it, although I also think it looks less like me and more like a cautionary tale of what I might look like in a quarter century if I don’t go easy on the bacon and vodka. Somewhere else someone has described it as looking like a 60-year-old Russian gangster; I was thinking more of politburo type myself, which is six of one and half dozen of the other, I suppose. I also think it looks a bit like what might happen if Yul Brynner and I got into a bit of rough trade in the teleport pods from The Fly and then had our genes splice at a critical moment. I’m not sure that’s really an image you want to conjure up, however.

It could be a lot worse, though, because for a while I’ve been thinking of replacing that photo on my bio page with this one:

Imagine what might have happened if poor Mr. Hersey had had to work with that.

10 Comments on “Greetings From the Politburo”

  1. I notice he also made you a bit more pointy-headed than you are in actuality.

    To date, my favorite “author photo” has Peter Watts‘ website photo. A close second is Neal Stephenson’s from the back of Cryptonomicon

  2. Hmmm…I hypothesized over on BTW that the illustration was possibly meant to be Heinlein instead, given the heavy references to him in the piece and based on comparing the drawing with several images of Heinlein, including this promotional poster for the upcoming Heinlein centennial.

    However, now that you place it side by side with your author pic, your resemblance to the illustration is inarguably strong.

    Which has led me to conclude that no only are you going to be Heinlein’s literary heir, but you’re also apparently going to inherit his face. Enjoy!

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