When I first began subscribing to SCIENCE FICTION AGE back in the winter of 2003, I had read almost nothing by Isaac Asimov. Other science fiction writers, yes, but I shied away from Asimov. I knew he wrote about robots and I didn’t think that was interesting. It is one of my real regrets that I didn’t learn more about Asimov sooner. In my senior year in college, I read “Nightfall”. Later that year, I. Asimov was released and I bought it–and absolutely loved it. From the moment I read that memoir, I became an Isaac Asimov fan. I remember crying while reading Janet Asimov’s epilogue; I had not known that Asimov was dead, and I felt it was a terrible loss. Eventually, I got hold of the two volumes of his autobiography and read through those; they made me an even bigger Asimov fan. I re-read all three volumes every April, the month Isaac died, and I must have read those books 10 times now; I never tire of them. In the 14 years since I “discovered” Asimov, I have collected more than 200 of his books. I’ve read every F&SF science article he ever wrote with sheer delight. I think Forward the Foundation is one of the greatest science fiction books of all time. I’ve read Isaac’s histories, joke books, miscellaneous essays, even his annotated poems. In short, Isaac Asimov became my favorite science fiction writer.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I was going to go back and read through all my issues of SCIENCE FICTION AGE during 2007. Well, yesterday I started with Volume 1, Issue 1, the premier issue. I’m reading the whole thing, cover-to-cover, not just the fiction, and so far, I love it! When I first subscribed to SF AGE, I was still in college, and didn’t have much time to read for fun and so I only managed to read a fraction of what was in the magazine, but I’m trying to make up for that now.
In a way, some of it is amusing, reading it retroactively as I am. When I first started reading it, I liked science fiction but my exposure to it had been limited to a handful of writers, not necessarily even the more popular ones. Now, 14 years later, I like to think I have a pretty good knowledge of science fiction and am far better read within the genre. Looking at the book reviews in the first issue, therefore, makes me smile. It just so happens that I did read the first book to be reviewed, Damon Knight’s Why Do Birds. I found that I enjoyed it, but that it was bizarre. I don’t remember much of it, but I’ll tell you, reading that review made me want to go back and re-read the book. (And why not, it was before I started keeping my reading lists, so I can get the book on my list “officially”.) The review of Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book was also fascinating for its insights, especially considering that book ended up an award-winner.
The movie column was also interesting. I talked about the production of a movie based on Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. Fourteen years later, I have not seen any movie come out. It reminds me of Asimov’s First Law of Hollywood. (The same column also comments on the fact that just after Isaac Asimov died, the FOUNDATION series was optioned for film for more than $1 million. Again, 14 years later, no film.)
I enjoyed the science column on time travel and paradoxes. And, of course, the fiction is outstanding. As I make my way through these magazines, I’ll be posting about what I read from time-to-time. I won’t be commenting on each of the 273 stories that appeared in the magazine, but I will comment on those that interest me or move me in some way. For those interested in following along on these thoughts as I ramble through SCIENCE FICTION AGE, I will be tagging the posts with “sfage.2007”. You can therefore view all of the posts together at:
One small problem I have discovered: trying to keep the magazines in good condition as I go through them. I have a complete set and I noticed myself trying to be extra careful with the premier issue as I read it on the train ride home this afternoon.