Vacation in the Golden Age, Episode 6: December 1939

Earlier this week, the space shuttle Discovery made its final launch into space. With 38 missions under its belt and more than a year spent in space, Discovery is indeed the workhorse of the space shuttle fleet, and retirement for that fine steed is well deserved. The launch took place while I was vacationing in […]

Vacation in the Golden Age, Episode 5: November 1939

In many ways, this vacation in the Golden Age is the closest I’m likely to come to time travel. I recall back in my senior year in college at the University of California, Riverside, taking a wonderful class on the history of film with a professor named Carlos Cortes. One of the things that he […]

Vacation in the Golden Age, Episode 4: October 1939

Happy Valentine’s Day! It occurs to me as I start this fourth episode on my vacation in the Golden Age that I haven’t spoken much about my method, which over the course of the first three episodes, has fallen into a kind of pleasant routine. It’s pretty simple: one issue a week, and each day, […]

Vacation in the Golden Age, Episode 3: September 1939

The Golden Age of science fiction lasted nearly 11 years. That’s roughly 130 issues of Astounding. And while many of those issue are classics, there have to be at least a few that are, if not flops, certainly below par. I think that the September 1939 issue is one of those sub-par issues. My favorite […]

Vacation in the Golden Age, Episode 2: August 1939

I think there is at least one physical difference between my vacation in the Golden Age and what people who lived through it experienced: the smell of an ancient pulp magazine. I always imagined that when Isaac Asimov was reading the latest issue of Astounding, it had that same¬†aromatic¬†fragrance as the issue that I hold […]

Vacation in the Golden Age, Episode 1: July 1939

Golden ages never take place in the present. They either take place in the form of some collective memory of the past, long after the events of the targeted time have transpired, or the take place in some imagined future. The exception may be science itself, for at least I feel like I’ve grown up […]