As a semiretired cell biologist finishing a first novel, I was interested in the article about literary agents helping scientists who write for the public (R. Lewis, The Scientist, Feb. 7, 1994, page 21). I wouldn't dream of submitting my novel to a publisher without going through an agent. Any scientist wanting to see his or her manuscript published without using one is either naive, arrogant, or both.

As to an author's nightmare about being "remaindered," it happens to virtually all authors; it's as inevitable as the proverbial death and taxes.

In the last few years, I've bought hardback remainders by John Updike (Rabbit at Rest), Saul Bellow (Him with His Foot in His Mouth), and V.S. Naipul (The Enigma of Arrival). Far from being a nightmare, it gives authors a second exposure. Would a writer rather have any unsold books trashed by a publisher? I very much doubt...

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