Sunday, May 15, 2011

What Are Your Earliest Science Fiction Memories?

A thread on the LinkedIn group  "Science Fiction readers, writers, collectors, and artists" has caught my imagination. Discussion starter Joseph asked "What or Who Influenced You Most To Become an SF Fan?" and the answers take me back.

Some movies and stories I never considered SF, until Orson Scott Card's book "How To Write Science Fiction And Fantasy" explained what was what. For instance, I enjoyed the superhero comics, not so much Captain America, or Batman, and I was slightly ashamed of liking Superman (probably because he wore his underpants outside his trousers), but I did like the Norse-god influenced heroes.

Would one say that Batman and Spiderman were not SF, but Superman was, because he was an alien? Or did Batman's tech make him SF, too?

Asimov's Foundation series needed no definition by OSC, but maybe I wouldn't have thought of John Wyndham's The Day Of The Triffids as SF.

It was written in 1951. When it was written is neither here nor there, except that it was already a course book in the 1960s. I must have read it in the Upper Fourth. I think "Lord Of The Flies" was also on the agenda. We read the dystopian classics in the Sixth Form (but called them "Modern Depressing" at the time!).... 1984, Brave New World, and others.

On TV, I watched Dr Who with the original William Hartnell and the persistent Daleks. Occasionally, I look at R2D2 and amuse myself with a mental compare and contrast session. I also recall thoroughly enjoying (alas!!!) Thunderbirds. 

When my contemporaries might have been fancying one of other of The Beatles, I had a crush on a marionette named Scott. Oh dear! 

Captain Scarlet did not have the same appeal for me. My fancies had moved to the dark side, and "This is the voice of the Mysterons" haunted my dreams. Then, along came Star Trek, and I preferred the tall, dark and continent --or perhaps I should say, logical-- Spock. But the truth is, I don't like a promiscuous hero.... which is probably a terrible thing for a romance author to admit.

Another dark crush was James Mason as Captain Nemo in "2000 Leagues Under The Sea".

I cannot put a date to when we saw "Battlestar Galactica" on British TV, or to The Twilight Zone, or The Other Limit, or Tales From The Crypt. Or to when I read "The Andromeda Strain". I'd left Britain by the time "Dark Skies" was shown, of course.

Musically, I liked Rick Wakeman's epic SF/F albums, especially "Journey To The Center Of The Earth", and some, but not all, of David Bowie's SF period. I dimly recall that Hawkwind "did" space rock, and Pink Floyd were also known as space rockers, but only Dark Side Of The Moon was on my radar.

What about you?


  1. The first book I ever read outside of my chosen elementary school fare of animal books was 'A Wrinkle In Time'. It was placed in my hands by the school librarian; I think I read it through 3 times, and was utterly captivated. remembering that...I'd like to read it again!

  2. I fell in love with SF around age 10. I saw a book with a rocket ship on the cover and checked it out. It was Trouble on Titan. The only problem was there were no major female characters only males so in my mind I rewrote to include a girl in the story. I already had to mind set when SF appeared on TV.

  3. I think I watched SF as a baby. LOL. I remember Star Trek TOS, Ultraman, Godzilla movies, and of course Star Wars was the first movie my parents let me attend with just my brother.

    I was reading on an adult level by 7 or 8 and my Dad would take me to the used book store in which I could pick "as many as I wanted" because they were half the less than a dollar price--and the SF was in a room to itself--a whole room. I'd go home with 25 or so and read them in two weeks. They were short. LOL.

    I suspect my first SF book was a Scholastic book since I'd order my own box full each month. Or maybe it was one of Dad's. I remember an SF poetry book he had. LOL.

    I know for certain I read Dune at 12, but I'd already read a bunch of SFs that I can't remember. AE Van Vogt, Asmiov, Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover, Anne McCaffery. By 8 Dad was taking me to the University to sit in on his Astronomy lectures. Pretty fun stuff.

    Around the same time they started showing Tom Baker's Dr. Who on PBS and we'd watch it together.

    So, I suppose I've always loved SF. I only noticed that I like Romance in the past 12-13 years.

  4. Starting at age 8: The Tarzan series, if you count them as SF. I consider the growth of a human child brought up by nonhuman animals an SF theme (at least, as Burroughs handles it -- the JUNGLE BOOK by Kipling has more of a fantasy feel).

    I loved Superman. The first strictly SF novel (as opposed to comic) I remember being enthralled with was A WRINKLE IN TIME. Madeleine L'Engle later became one of my all-time favorite authors.

    I was a horror fan first, but I read lots of SF along the way. Several of my favorite authors in my teens, e.g. Matheson, Sturgeon, Bloch, Bradbury, and Lovecraft, wrote SF as well as horror and fantasy.

  5. Escape to Witch Mountain by Disney was my favorite when I was a kid. It is probably the first movie that I saw with a flying saucer that I loved. Flying saucers were all the rage. Movies like that and The Cat from Outerspace were my favorite. Star Wars came out between those two, and even though I did see it in the theater, I didn't fully appreciate Star Wars until I was a little older. I thought it was a cool show, but only because they were on another planet and not for the story as I was so young. But I could identify with the Cat from Outerspace at that age!