by Dan Simmons
Tyrena Wingreen-Feif is Martin Silenus's editor at Transline publishing. After she's sent Silenus's manuscript, she makes a few small changes. Just little ones.
Like changing the title, removing a few hundred pages, and deleting "the sections which she thought would bore the readers—the philosophical passages, the descriptions of [Silenus's] mother, the sections which plaid homage to earlier poets [...]—everything, in fact, except the descriptions of the idyllic final days which […] came across as sentimental and insipid" (3.100).
Basically, she totally dumbs it down. That is, if we assume the Cantos is as amazing as Silenus says it is. Either way, the book she releases as The Dying Earth might be devoid of all emotion and literary value, but it sells 2.5 billion copies. That's only about two billion more than all the Harry Potter books combined. So you have to hand it to her for knowing her market.
But Honestly, Martin
So, she's a shrewd businesswoman. She's also an ice-cold killer—or, an ice-cold businesswoman. While she agrees to let Martin publish his Cantos as he wants it, she knows it isn't going to sell. Why not? Because it's full of "loneliness, displacement, angst, and a cynical look at humanity" (3.127). (Hey! That's the stuff Pulitzers are made of!)
After the book flops, she puts Silenus on the hack-writing circuit, cranking out sequel after ridiculous sequel to The Dying Earth. Silenus might have been better off in the poop pits of Heaven's Gate. And when he tells Tyrena that he doesn't want to write crappy sequels anymore, she threatens him with one of the funniest lines in the novel: "If you give us any more trouble we'll have you working in the Gothic Romance factory under the name Rosemary Titmouse" (3.223).
Eep. Maybe being an author isn't all we thought it was cracked up to be. We wonder if Dan Simmons himself had similar experiences in his early career.