SF Writer Stamps Delayed

Inverted Jenny

Only in the future could we expect to see science fiction writers on stamps – a future that is a little more distant now that the US Postal Service has postponed til 2014 an anticipated set of commemoratives honoring five of them.

The set was originally announced to subscribers of the USPS Commemorative Panel program in February with a July 2013 release date. Ever since there has been fevered speculation about the honorees, who were unnamed. Would the set be composed only of Americans? Would they be a diverse group? Did honorees have to be deceased (no), and if so, had Bradbury been dead long enough to make the list?

Linn’s Stamp News for April 29 carried news of the postponement and reportedly named the writers who will appear on the stamps —

  • Isaac Asimov
  • Ray Bradbury
  • Philip K. Dick
  • Robert A. Heinlein
  • Frank Herbert

Collectors discussing the delay observed the science fiction writer issue isn’t the only casualty of the 2013 program. They say the Ingrid Bergman stamp, Just Move stamps, and Medal of Honor Winner stamps and the March on Washington stamp were all set back.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

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10 thoughts on “SF Writer Stamps Delayed

  1. Philip K. Dick will sell more stamps than Frank Herbert, so I agree that anybody looking to sub in a favorite would bounce Herbert. And yet Dune is one of the cornerstones of the genre.

  2. Better obvious than obscure. As much as I think Stanley Weinbaum is important ….

    As for replacing Herbert with Norton … a not unreasonable one. As much as Dune is incredibly important, Norton was a gateway for lots of new readers – probably as much as the Heinlein juveniles.

    It would be interesting to know what the criteria was for the selections.

  3. Not one woman? Andre Norton would clearly qualify. Other possibilities might be Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree Jr. or Octavia Butler.

    Herbert’s Dune is a lot like Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. It was such a milestone that everything else he wrote tends to get overshadowed or forgotten. Without that one book, I don’t think he’d be considered for the list. Everyone else wrote numerous memorable books. (Few of Norton’s books stand out from the rest in my mind, but she wrote so consistently well and was a gateway writer to SF for so many people for so long that it would be hard to argue she doesn’t deserve consideration.)

  4. Jo Walton said that each of the Dune books was half as good as its predecessor, and she quit when they reached homeopathically good. One could say the same about Heller.

    I never liked Herbert. I thought that a few of his books (The Santaroga Barrier, Destination Void) were interesting enough that they should have hired someone to novelize them.

  5. The big three are generally considered to be Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke. I’d have voted for Clarke before Herbert. But I’m happy that Asimov and Heinlein were included. And, supergee, I loved your comments. Agree totally.

  6. Clarke, unlike Asimov, was never a citizen of the USA.

    The old rule have “being dead for x number of years” seems to have left the USPS. I thought after seeing a TOY STORY stamp that not ever being alive was also a criteria.

  7. Sadly, physical mail sustained by the US government via quasi-governmental organization seems to be going the way of the steam engine in this, the darkest timeline, so how much will stamps add to the profile of these guys?

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