Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tailings of the Golden Age: Introduction

Recently there's been a lot of talk about the Golden Age of Science Fiction, and how the field has changed since the days of Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein. That it has changed is something everybody agrees on; it's the nature of that change that feeds modern fires. Beyond that, though, the nature of the Golden Age is harder to pin down than a smeerp in heat. There are plenty of folks who look back to it as a grand, idealized time when arguments like those we deal with didn't happen.

Golden ages aren't just about what we remember, lionize, or pine for, however. What's just as illuminating is what we choose to forget, and god damn have we forgotten a lot about the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Not entirely without reason, in some respects--while editors of the time did print things that are still talked about today, if you open a Golden Age magazine at random you're not likely to find a table of contents filled with familiar names. Fact is, you're going to find things that might challenge your view of what it was like.

Myself, I keep my eyes open for pulp magazines still in readable condition--you'd be surprised how well eighty-year-old pulp paper holds up under the right conditions--so that they can illuminate history. I'll be starting a new series of reviews using them as a source, looking at science fiction published between 1931 and 1964 that catches my attention. Look for it here soon.

history: it's rad

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