Announcing Vintage Science Fiction Month (again!)
Posted November 15, 2014on:
The first snowflakes have already landed, you’ve pulled out the fuzzy socks and the heavy coats, the holiday shopping ads are everywhere, Thanksgiving is almost here. You know what that means, right? It’s time to start thinking about Vintage Science Fiction month! Since 2012 I’ve dedicated the month of January to reading “older than I am” science fiction, and invited the entire blogosphere to come with me on an interstellar journey across the stars and into our own minds. We’ve met trickster aliens, ridden dragons, won wars, negotiated with hive minds and tried to understand androids. We’ve read satire, space opera, high concept metaphysics, alternate histories and impossible futures. We’ve gone to Venus, Mars, the center of the Earth, and beyond the edges of the galaxy. Beyond books, bloggers have talked about radio programs, movies, and TV shows.
You should come with us this year!
See that Vintage SciFi Not-A-Challenge tab up at the top of the screen? Click there to see some of the history of Vintage Scifi Month.
Let’s talk a little about the what, the how (how do you find this stuff, anyways?), the why, and the but wait, there’s more!
Anything or anyone who created science fiction, or something speculative fiction-ish that was published (or recorded, or put on TV or the silver screen) before 1979. It can be hard scifi, or not. Have aliens, or not. Fantasy is OK too. Jules Verne is perfect, so is Mary Shelley. Or maybe War of the Worlds, original Star Trek, C.L. Moore, Isaac Asimov, Andre Norton, Cordwainer Smith, Clifford Simak, Ursula K. LeGuin, Kurt Vonnegut, James Tiptree Jr, A.E. van Vogt, Frank Herbert, I can go on forever here.
How the hell do I find crusty old books!? More of this is still in print than you’d think. Not ready to sink $17 into the newest printing of Stranger in a Strange Land? No problem, head over to your local library or any new/used independent bookstore and get ready for an adventure in browsing! Keep an eye out for “Daw Yellow Spines”, which are exactly what they sound like. They aren’t all pre-1979, but a lot of them are, and the cover art is usually pretty nuts.
Paperbackswap is another option as well. And if you make a good case for yourself, I could be tempted to loan out some of my vintage titles.
Only want to read on your e-reader/kindle/tablet thing? again, no problem. Head over to Project Gutenberg for a ton of free classics (just search for science fiction). More and more publishers are releasing e-books of older titles and finding a healthy market still exists for these titles. I recently discovered Open Road Media, an all e-book publisher. I was pretty impressed by their collection of older stuff. Plenty of Andre Norton, and a bucket of John Norman, the Fritz Leiber Lankhmar collection, even some Robert Silverberg, James Brunner and H.G. Wells.
Why? because everything came from somewhere. Your favorite spec fic author was influenced by someone, who was influenced by someone, who was influenced by someone, and so on. Movements and changes in what’s popular, what we wish was popular, or what we’re sick of is a reaction to what came before. Personally, I just really like knowing what came before, it helps me understand the foundations of something that has brought so much joy into my life. Another way to put it is that reading older science fiction is like finding an ancient city buried underneath a modern one. You suddenly know why your city was laid out the way it was, and why some things were done different, because now you can better see what came before. Vintage science fiction is where we came from. Those novels and short stories are the steps we took to get to where we are now.
and the But Wait, There’s More:
I’m looking for guest posts, anything from book reviews, to TV show or movie reviews and/or discussions, to a cover art gallery, to why you appreciate a particular vintage author. If you’re interested in writing a guest post, tweet me at @redhead5318 , or e-mail me with that same handle, but to the gmail place.
Are we ready to rock ‘n roll this January or what?