Seligman’s Two Brains

The Globe and Mail‘s Sarah Hampson profiles fiction editor Ellen Seligman, who observes that, like the protagonist in Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly, she has split her brain in two independently functioning hemispheres. There is the First Response Brain, which is designed to offer immediate answers (such as “It’s Strunk & White, you callow amateur! Not Stunk & White! Call me when you have a clue!”). And there is Seligman’s Editor’s Brain, an entity quite capable of whacking down a 1,200 page manuscript in half before lunch hour. Seligman’s Editor’s Brain (hereinafter “SEB”) has threatened to develop its own set of limbs, walk away from Seligman’s body and enter the cranium of Viking editor Paul Slovak. SEB’s plan is to ensure that Bill Vollmann’s books aren’t nearly as long and that T.C. Boyle turns out a book every other year rather than annually. Fortunately, Viking has employed considerable security to ensure that half-brains — particularly Canadian half-brains — will never enter its premises.

[UPDATE: Bookninja has some inside dirt relating to Seligman.]

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