[SFRA-L] Question for the Hive Mind

Curtis, Silvio L curtissi at Grinnell.EDU
Thu Mar 10 20:54:24 EST 2011


Until I started college three years ago, I lived in a rural community in Costa Rica with a mostly English library (lots of people moved there from the U.S. in the 50s) and had no significant Internet access or skills until I was into high school. The library has lots of science fiction and I got started reading it probably before I was 7. It hadn't occurred to me before that I'm lucky to have had any sf and fantasy around, but I guess maybe I was. Not much was written for children, though. In fact, I still haven't encountered very much science fiction written for children, and less that I've liked very much. That last experience contrasts pretty strongly with fantasy, and I often wonder about it.



Certainly I'm one more for which the statistic under discussion doesn't ring true at all. I read a lot from as soon as I knew how, and though my tastes have broadened a little since I was 13 what I liked then is basically what I like now.



Silvio Curtis

________________________________
From: sfra-l-bounces at wiz.cath.vt.edu [sfra-l-bounces at wiz.cath.vt.edu] on behalf of ecbogle [ecbogle at juno.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2011 2:58 PM
To: sfra-l at charlemagne.cddc.vt.edu
Subject: Re: [SFRA-L] Question for the Hive Mind

I spent my first four years of elementary school in a town of 500, and grades 5-12 in one of 2700 in NW Iowa.  Both had libraries, but I don't think either of them knew anything about science fiction.

But Everly's library had all, or nearly all, the Oz books, and I think they were what got me started on "speculative fiction" in the very broadest sense.   Nobody tried to guide my reading, and it wasn't till I was in college kid lit courses that I read such classics as The Wind in the Willows, but Oz was an early favorite, and I read some books more than once.     Then, in Sibley, there was a Carnegie Library and I read a non-fiction, an adult fiction, a fiction book suited to my age group, and a volume of Harvard Classics each time I went, plus, of course, everything in the few shelves of books in each classroom.   There was no real local bookstore, but there was a magazine and paper-back book shop, and that's where I found my first real science fiction, Astounding, and later F&SF.   After that I saved whatever money I could from my allowance and from odd jobs for the paperbacks that began appearing, like Ace  Doubles.

I wonder how many children today are growing up in rural areas without access to libraries?  There even are places without easy access to the Web, and if a family is as poor as ours was, the only access to a computer may well be at school for very restricted time periods.

How lucky those of you were who grew up in larger places where there actually was access to real sf.  I wonder how many of the cuts to the school systems and libraries currently going on are going to restrict other children to not much more than Oz.   Of course, tv makes a big difference now, but so many of the tv series and the current films are based on special effects rather than plot or character, let alone ideas.

Edra Bogle,
Retired from Univ. of North Texas where they'd let me teach a class in sf maybe once every three years.




On Thu, 10 Mar 2011 19:17:55 +0000 "McKitterick, Chris" <cmckit at ku.edu<mailto:cmckit at ku.edu>> writes:
> I think A Wrinkle in Time got me looking for SF when I was very
> young, though I loved books on speculative science and the history
> of science and technology - it feels like SF! The SF that really
> hooked me at around age 13 appeared in the DAW collections and,
> later, James Gunn's Road to Science Fiction. Collections such as
> those led me to the novels, though subscribing to Asimov's and
> Analog satisfied my love of the short form.
>
>
>
> Best,
> Chris
>
> Chris McKitterick
> http://www.sff.net/people/mckitterick
> http://www.ku.edu/~sfcenter
> http://www.aboutsf.com<http://www.aboutsf.com/>
>
>
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