Some forty years ago I sold an anthology of new short stories and novellas to my then publishers, Faber & Faber. It was called Anticipations (a nod to H. G. Wells), and Faber published an attractive hardcover in 1978. An American edition from Scribner followed in the same year. Paperbacks followed, as did a few translations around the world. It contained eight new stories by Ian Watson, Robert Sheckley, Bob Shaw, myself, Harry Harrison, Thomas M. Disch, J. G. Ballard and Brian W. Aldiss (I arranged the stories in reverse alphabetical order by author).
Anticipations gained some favourable reviews, but its life was short and it has not been available for years, although several of the stories were re-anthologized or included by some of the writers in collections of their own. Now that we have finished moving house, and I have a whole room dedicated to storing the papers, books, contracts, cuttings, etc., accumulated over the years, I have started looking through the immense heap trying to impose order. Small and forgotten surprises have emerged from the chaos of old files and folders, including the photo above.
It was sent to me by J. G. Ballard, after I had bought the story he submitted: “One Afternoon at Utah Beach”. (The story was later included in his collection The Venus Hunters, 1980.) The photograph arrived in a small envelope, plastered with low-value postage stamps – a total of 6½p, in 1p, 1½p and ½p stamps. I think he did this habitually, as several other letters I received from him arrived similarly covered in stamps. On the back of the photo he had written “Utah Beach”.