Golden Age Sci Fi and how it changed your life

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by CrazyMinh, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. CrazyMinh

    CrazyMinh Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Jun 14, 2018
    I've been a avid reader since I was two. I have a condition called Hyperlexia, which is basically means I have a mind structured towards reading and writing. It's pretty much the opposite of Dyslexia, which is a inability to read or write. So yeah, I've been reading books since I was two. Not picture books mind you. I was reading Lord of the Rings when I was three, and I watched Carl Sagan's Cosmos before I was even into stuff like Bob the Builder (or whatever kids are watching today- I'm in my, yeah). But one of my favourite authors has always been Isaac Asimov. I started reading classic, Golden-Age Sci Fi when I was four, and got hooked instantly. I didn't get that much into Star Trek, Star Wars and other stuff till I was about six, though I had watched episodes before then and liked them. But Asimov remains one of my guilty pleasures. Until recently, I had a copy of 'Robot Dreams' that I got from my dad that was signed by Asimov himself. Unfortunately, a recent house fire burned my copy, as well as about four bookcases of other sci fi classics. If anyone is interested, I can offer you a pile of ash that could possibly be the book that had Asimov's signature in it.

    But ignoring my recent bad luck, I'd like to talk about the inspiration that Asimov and his writing had on me. Immediately after reading those stories at the age of four, I decided that when I grew up I would go to uni and become a mechatronics engineer. Two decades later, I'm currently doing my masters in Mechatronic Engineering, majoring in Space Robotics. Those books changed my life. As did those by Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury and all those authors who layed the foundations of sci fi. I mean, look at what concepts we wouldn't have without them, or rather which ones are attributed to them:

    - Robots as humanity's helpers, not their overlords (Isaac Asimov's Robot Saga)
    - Power Armour (Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers)
    - Seed Ships (Arthur C Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama)
    - Positronic Brains (Isaac Asimov's Robot Saga)
    - CAD (Robert Heinlein's The Door Into Summer)

    Tldr, has anyone here had their lives changed by Golden Age Sci fi, or been inspired by it in any way?
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  2. Butters

    Butters Commodore Commodore

    Nov 18, 2008
    No. Not me.:)

    But I do keep returning and my yellow paged and tobacco smoke scented copy of The Illustrated Man. Something about fifties sci fi I just can’t resist.
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  3. CrazyMinh

    CrazyMinh Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Jun 14, 2018
    The illustrated man??? I've been trying to find a copy on Project Guttenburg, but the only editions in english are badly corrupted. A friend reccomended I read that novel...but the damm thing is impossible to get a copy of.
  4. Spot261

    Spot261 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 16, 2013
    Sorry to be a pedant here, but that's something of a mis characterisation of dyslexia

    I'm sorry to hear that, hopefully no one was hurt?

    Anyway, yeah, I've read most of Asimov's work, along with the majority of the sci fi and fantasy staples. I'm a major fan of Iain (M) Banks, Pratchett, Tolkien, Atwood, Pullman, but certainly don't limit myself to genre reading by any stretch. I went through a period last year of binge reading Le Carre and tend to read a lot on psychology, history and philosophy when the mood takes me.
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  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Feb 12, 2011
    near Babel
    Nitpick: Rendezvous with Rama dates from 1973 and is well after the Golden Age of science fiction, generally thought to have ended circa 1960. The 1960s and 1970s comprise the New Wave of science fiction. I've certainly read more New Wave science fiction than Golden Age.

    Most of my Golden Age reading list is from Asimov, which I read as a teenager. That would include robot novels and stories, various other short stories including "Nightfall," the Foundation trilogy, and The End of Eternity. Post-Golden Age Asimov science fiction is significant, because love 'em or hate 'em, his further Foundation books are there, as is The Robots of Dawn. My favorite science fiction work of his from that later period has to be The Gods Themselves.

    Asimov would make the list of my ten favorite authors. His stories all tend to be thought-provoking and they tend to alter my perspective of the world.
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  6. cultcross

    cultcross Disco Mod Moderator

    Jul 27, 2001
    This seat of Mars
    No it's not.
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  7. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

    May 19, 2005
    Difficulty, not inability. I suppose there could be different levels, some cases worse than others.

    The Ray Bradbury book? There seems to be no shortage of it here.

    Myself, I was more into 60's, 70's & 80's sci-fi & fantasy books, outside of Tolkien of course.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  8. Spot261

    Spot261 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 16, 2013
    It's a blanket term for a group of specific learning difficulties relating to aspects of reading and writing, often characterised by visual disturbances when viewing the written word.

    Given that George Bernard Shaw, Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, Scott Fitzgerald and countless other successful authors (also Richard Branson) have been dyslexic I think it's fair to say one can achieve in spite of it
  9. Australis

    Australis Writer Admiral

    Mar 12, 2005
    The Lensman series, EE 'Doc' Smith PhD.
    These were the Panther reprints in the 70s, but the series was very 40/50s.

    Cities in Flight by James Blish (as well as his Star trek novelisations)
    Most books by AE van Vogt, ACClarke, John Wyndham, some Heinlein, others, but don';t ask me who, it was when I was a voracious teen. Then in my late 20s I discovered cyberpunk..
  10. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Feb 12, 2011
    near Babel
    I enjoyed that.
  11. CrazyMinh

    CrazyMinh Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Jun 14, 2018
    IFII, here are my favourite sci fi authors
    - William Gibson
    - The Big Three (Asimov, Clarke & Heinlein)
    - John Scalzi (especially his book Redshirts)
    - Douglas Adams
    - Ray Bradbury
    - H.G Wells
    - Peter F. Hamilton
    - Frank Herbert
    - Orson Scott Card (I like his writing, not his controversial opinions about LGBT people just BTW)
    - Ernest Cline
    - Jack Campbell
    - Andy Weir

    And some book recommendations for Trek fans
    - Redshirts by John Scalzi
    - Axis of Time series by John Birmingham
    - The Neuromancer by William Gibson
    - Starship Troopers by R. Heinlein
    - Artemis by Andy Wier
    - The Martian by Andy Weir
    - I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
    - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (the crappy Netflix show does not do it justice)
    - The Dark Teatime of the Soul by Douglas Adams
    - The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (read the book, then listen to the original radio series)
    - New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
    - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Do NOT watch the crappy movie)
    - The Risen Empire by Scott Westerfeld
    - The Killing of Worlds by Scott Westerfeld
    - War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
    - Old Man's War by John Scalzi
    - Stranger in a Strange Land by R. Heinlein
    - Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
    - Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
    - Contact by Carl Sagan
  12. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Commodore Commodore

    Aug 15, 2001
    Robert A. Heinlein probably had a bigger effect on the lens through which I view my species, my worldview, and my politics than all other factors taken together. Started reading his stuff when I was 8 and have never stopped. (I turn 50 next month) So it would probably be far more accurate to say that Golden Age sci-fi shaped my life more than it 'changed' it.

    I must say that Heinlein himself turned me on to a lot of other authors and material as well, most notably Edgar Rice Burroughs.

    Oh, and fun fact: 10 out of very 2 pilots are dyslexic.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  13. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2001
    Covington, Ky. USA
    I have this on my shelf. I spent several days trying desperately to get into it before giving up. Teaches me to buy something based solely on the cover. :eek:
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  14. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 30, 2009
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    Huh, I found a brand new copy at a local store about two years ago.
  15. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

    Sep 19, 2010
    As a boy I read "A Sound of Thunder" short story by Ray Bradbury and it turned me onto reading science-fiction and not just watching it. :luvlove:
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  16. Spider

    Spider Dirty Old Man Premium Member

    May 23, 2004
    Lost in time
    As a kid I read tons of those Ace Double scifi novels. They were very popular with the scifi crowd back in the late '60s, or at least with those I hung out with. I still have some, and have bought some really old ones from ABE books from their website. Scifi pulp fiction at it's best IMO.
  17. ChasFink

    ChasFink Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 16, 2017
    I can't say it changed my life, and I didn't settle on a career or anything like that, but it helped make me the person I am now. I began to read at an early age and always read stuff aimed at older age groups.
    When I was about 10 (circa 1968) and selling magazine subscriptions to help my school, I decided to subscribe to something called "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction". It had a wonderful retro and slightly mysterious air about it - usually a wraparound cover, but very little illustration (or ads) inside, smelly pulp paper, and a feel like something a character in an old Twilight Zone might stumble upon in a strange little shop. It had stories like Twilight Zone too. Asimov's regular non-fiction science articles in that mag led me to discover his fiction - he became one of my favorites. (I met him a couple of times, and he once kissed my mother - but I digress.) Many of Asimov's contemporaries still contributed stories, and through the next 10 years or so, when I suffered a number of mental and emotional stresses and pains, their work (including MANY classic books I bought in paperback or cheap hardcovers from the Science Fiction Book Club) helped me survive by offering thoughtful escape.
  18. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

    Jul 31, 2001
    Dahar Master final exams
    It made me want to become an astrophysicist and cyberneticist someday.

    I settled for business information systems instead. :wtf: :lol:

  19. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Kang, now with ridges Premium Member

    Nov 4, 2001
    House of Kang
    Grew up reading Burroughs and Verne which lead me to Philip Jose Farmer, who is one of my favorite authors. I've also read quite a bit of Herbert, Heinlein, Clarke and Asimov. Michael Moorcock's "Behold the Man" is probably the book that help shaped me though. "The Illustrated Man" is something I read in English Lit in High School. I read a few other Bradbury stories as well.
  20. DrCorby

    DrCorby Captain Captain

    Dec 24, 2009
    with DrCorby on Exo III
    I still have a slim short story collection by Arthur C Clarke ("The Haunted Spacesuit and Other Stories") that I bought through the Scholastic Books sales back in 2nd grade (1969, I think). So I was interested in reading science fiction from an early age. I joined the SF Book Club in the '70s, and collected a lot of Golden Age novels and story collections. Asimov was the editor of a lot of those -- the Hugo Award Winners and Before the Golden Age anthologies, plus various other anthologies (like Galactic Empires Vol 1 & 2, edited by Brian Aldiss are faves). The SFBC was a great gateway to inexpensive titles from the Golden Age, as well as showcasing some New Age and newer works.

    I also read through much of the public library's SF/F bookshelves, devouring the likes of Arthur C Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Gordon R Dickson (Dorsai!), Harry Harrison, Clifford Simak (I re-read City every couple of years), Frank Herbert, James Blish (Cities in Flight), H Beam Piper (Little Fuzzy), Andre Norton, Hal Clement (Mission of Gravity), Frederick Pohl (Gateway), and later, Larry Niven (Ringworld), Phillip Jose Farmer (Riverworld). For some reason, I never read much Heinlein. Fantasy authors included JRR Tolkien, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, Karl Edward Wagner's Kane books, and later, Stephen R Donaldson.

    I'm still trying to fill some holes in my classic SF/F reading -- EE "Doc" Smith, AE van Vogt, Poul Anderson, Robert E Howard... And there's so much good stuff being published now. I'll never catch up! :wah:

    As was said above, these books and authors didn't so much change my life, but helped expand my imagination, and fired my passion for science and engineering, leading me to an engineering degree.