This is a quote I heard in the mid to late 1980's, attributed to a famous SF author (I usually think it's Larry Niven).

But the quote appears to have fallen into the dreaded Internet Late 1980s History Donut Hole.

I heard it either on a TV broadcast, or from the professor who was teaching our History of Science Fiction class.

Can anyone track down a real attribution for this quote?

1 Answer 1


This issue of New York Magazine from Feb. 6, 1989 attributes it not to a SF writer, but to mystery writer Robert B. Parker (and says it comes from the economist John Kenneth Galbraith, though I couldn't find anything to support that).

As the mystery writer Robert B. Parker, quoting John Kenneth Galbraith, likes to say to novelists petitioning him for a line of praise, "I'll blurb your book or I'll read it, but not both."

  • 2
    Nice. I bow to your google-fu. :)
    – DavidW
    Dec 7, 2021 at 0:13
  • 19
    So what would his blurbs consist of? "I loved every line I read", "Worth every penny I paid for it", "I couldn't put this book down" (implied: because I never picked it up) Dec 7, 2021 at 14:00

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