Terry Ballantine Bisson (born February 12, 1942, Owensboro, Kentucky) is an American science fiction and fantasy author best known for his short stories. Several of his works, including "Bears Discover Fire", have won top awards in the science fiction community, such as the Hugo and the Nebula.
In the 1960s, early in his career, Bisson collaborated on several comic book stories with Clark Dimond, and he edited Major Publications' black-and-white horror-comics magazine Web of Horror, leaving before the fourth issue. Artist Bernie Wrightson, with whom he worked, recalled , "That was done by a guy named Richard Sproul out in Long Island. His company ... put out Cracked magazine.... A fellow named Terry Bisson tracked down me, Mike Kaluta and Jeff Jones and presented us with a proposal to do this black-and-white horror magazine in competition with Creepy... Bisson (who was writing blurb copy for romance magazines when I first met him) left after the third issue under very mysterious circumstances — and the running of the whole magazine, for some reason, fell into [writer-artist] Bruce Jones' and my laps (and I can't remember if Terry said, 'Here, you guys take over the editorial', or if we volunteered)".
In 1996, he wrote two three-part comic book adaptations of Nine Princes in Amber and The Guns of Avalon, the first two books in Roger Zelazny's "Amber" series. A year later, Bisson also finished the writing of Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman sequel to the classic A Canticle for Leibowitz.
A distinctive characteristic of many of Bisson's short stories is that they consist only of dialogue, with a total absence of bridging text such as "he said". The reader is encouraged to visualize the characters, the setting and situation without the aid of any descriptive narration. A notable example of Bisson's "dialogue only" technique is his 1991 story "They're Made Out of Meat". This story consists entirely of a discussion between two alien intelligences discussing whether it would be wise to grant the human race membership in some sort of galactic federation. The aliens (whose physiologies are never disclosed) ultimately decide that humans, being entirely organic creatures, are simply too disgusting to be accepted. Shortly after its original publication, this story was reprinted in the "Readings" section of Harper's magazine: an extremely rare honor for a science-fiction story.