Science fiction had a difficult time establishing itself as a genre. The only places mid-20th century science fiction appeared in print was in certain magazines and dimestore paperbacks and serials. While we are lucky that many of these stories are still around, it’s hard for someone sifting through this jumbled mess to know what’s a gem and what’s not worth reading. How do you know which ones are which?
Timeless? or just a product of their time
Are these books written 40, 50, 60 years ago still worth reading today? Absolutely! Books and short stories written in “the Golden Age” of Science Fiction stand out for their use of innovative concepts and their willingness to take us where no books had gone before. I believe that it took a terrific imagination to write about space before the Apollo 11 astronauts tooks us there, beaming back images of space for us to watch on TV. That’s why I prefer to read those who wrote prior to the moon-landing.
These books provide an amazing imprint on the blank canvas of a child’s mind. At the same time, not all of these books can captivate kids who use more technology today than the authors would have ever dreamed. Inferior books from this era end up describing the technology in a hollow way that just turns kids off. These should be left to disappear into history’s dust heap.
It was a science fiction writer himself, Theodore Sturgeon, who came up with a law that’s applied universally but he originally meant for SF, saying that “ninety percent of everything is crud.” You don’t have time to waste on bad SF. It’s important to spend the small amount of spare time you have reading something really good, something that stands out from the crowd of ordinary books.
Join me and in each podcast you’ll learn about one Classic Science Fiction book. Subscribe and find out which books I think deserve to be classics, that will have loyal readers and will get passed from friend to friend for generations.