The Author's Ordeal are lyrics to a song written by science fiction author Isaac Asimov. They were first published in Science Fiction Quarterly, May 1957, pp. 34-36. They are included in three collections of Asimov's short stories Earth Is Room Enough, The Far Ends of Time and Earth (omnibus edition) and The Complete Stories, Volume 1. In Earth Is Room Enough (Panther Books Ltd. reprint 1973 edition) the title of the story is The Author's Ordeal in the Contents list but An Author's Ordeal on the destination page. There is a similar, but reversed variation in title with An Immortal Bard.
The lyrics pastiche the Gilbert and Sullivan patter song known as "the (Lord Chancellor's) Nightmare Song" from Iolanthe. The song depicts the agonies he goes through in thinking up a new science fiction story. It notes that the process of devising a space opera is incompatible with living in the real world with all its "dull facts of life that hound you."
Famous quotes containing the words ordeal and/or author:
“They who aspire to love worthily, subject themselves to an ordeal more rigid than any other.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“My friend devotes himself to his life, whenever he can find the spare time. His motto is: Dont just sit there: live! So hes too busy to stand, to walk, to do anything, except to live. He even refused to kiss a girl, when invited, on the grounds that it was time again to be living. Schedules are sacred to him.”
—Marvin Cohen, U.S. author and humorist. The Self-Devoted Friend, New Directions (1967)