This started out as a ‘Thank You’ to my parents and siblings. So I’ll get that out of the way. Thank you.
Growing up, it was obvious that I’d missed the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Or had I? Was it really all that ‘Golden’?
“Ninety percent of everything is crud” – Sturgeon’s revelation, often cited as Sturgeon’s Law.
I’m a firm believer in Sturgeon’s Revelation. But pieces like his “Thunder and Roses” and Fritz Leiber’s “A Pail of Air”? They lit a fire that burns to this day. If you are interested, check out “The World Turned Upside Down” by David Drake, Eric Flint & Jim Baen. It is filled with the 10%, the ‘Not Crap’ pieces. And they are free.
So there were amazing reads for me, and some decent television and radio. But it wasn’t all in one place or available at any time. It didn’t take me long to exhaust my school library’s selection of horror, mystery, fantasy, and science fiction. Trips to the public library were few and far between. My parents took us when they could, but it was never enough. Not for me. Other kids chased the Ice-cream truck. I chased the bookmobile, cherishing every new book on the Fiction shelf that said ‘Anthology’, and longing for that fresh copy of Analog Science Fiction and Fact.
I drew spaceships. Aliens. Wrote really, really bad stories about intelligent adolescent paramecium and alien rum runners raiding Earth’s supplies of… cola. Drew more spaceships. Bed time didn’t mean sleep. It meant another chance to read or draw until the crackle of my trusty transistor radio heralded the start of another riveting episode of CBS Radio’s Mystery Theater. Need something different to occupy your ears and your mind during that commute? The entire collection is available at the link above.
It wasn’t all just reading. We originally had two television stations to choose from. Yes, they shut down at night. I still managed to watch most of the science fiction shows on at the time, shows that I am sure were not at the top of my siblings viewing lists. I’ll go into the specific shows next month. But for indulging your younger brother’s, well, somewhat questionable taste in television?
And for the parents that made sure I had a well-rounded upbringing while at the same time encouraging my thirst for the fantastic? A double dose of thanks.
No, I wasn’t around for the Golden Age of Science Fiction.
I had it much, much, better.