My Obsession With Golden Age Science Fiction

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I don’t know what it is about the Golden Age that really attracts me to it. It’s one of the few ‘genres’–if that is what you could call it–that just seems to keep me permanently focused on it. If I see a good deal in a store on some oldies, I pounce on it. This happened this weekend when I found a whole slue of Poul Anderson novels, truly old ones, for a very good price. Needless to say I spent almost 30 dollars on Poul Anderson books. He’s my favorite Golden Age author and could be in my top ten of favorite authors of all time. I have a top ten somewhere on this site, lost in the abyss, but my top tens tend to change from time to time. That’s only natural for such things to occur of course.
So, is it perhaps the ‘classical’ aspect of the Golden Age that keeps me coming back? Sort of how a lit. person might be obsessed with the old classics of the Renaissance or the Medieval period. That seems like a good way to look at it, and I think that might be true. I do tend to look at the age of a book and in some cases it might sway me into wanting it. But I’ve noticed that there is this very distinct group of years that sway me this way. If it is before 1935 I likely will lob it into that category of ‘too old’. Those sort of goofy classical works that take on bizarre and unbelievable concepts. Granted, those novels are good, but for some reason novels between 1935 and 1960 seem to truly grasp my attention the most. That is the true Golden Age of science fiction. It’s the period of time when the biggest burst in creative thought in SF truly took place. It’s where great writers like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Poul Anderson, and A. E. van Vogt made their names known. That classical–‘vintage’–nature holds me perplexed.
So begins my quest. I have decided that my goal in life is to own every science fiction novel ever written and published in the Golden Age. Now, surely this will be an impossible task as many novels may not have been recognized at all. So I’m giving myself leeway. I want to acquire novels that would have been known to some extent. Old Clarke, Asimov, and others whose names I might not be familiar with such as Simak or Surgeon. That is my goal! I’ve started a list of all the novels and short story collections of authors noted to be Golden Age writers. I want all of their works now!
If anyone can name off more authors in the Golden Age, please do. One day I want to have a Golden Age library, perhaps not a public one, but a real room that is just a library of Golden Age.

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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