Tor.com content by

Joseph Helmreich

Writing for Dummies: The Art of Ventriloquism

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

“Willie Talk.”

The little boy’s name was both a pun and a challenge. My grandmother had given him to me as a birthday present and even at six years old, I knew right away he was no ordinary doll. The slots running down each side of his mouth gave him away. I’d seen others like him on TV, often trading insults with an adult, and while that comic set-up always seemed a little odd, the illusion the doll could speak was undeniably exciting, a wondrous combination of puppetry and magic I couldn’t resist.

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