the Little Red Reviewer

A childhood love of all things science

Posted on: July 19, 2016

We’re all always talking about the first science fiction book we read,  or scifi movies we liked as a kid.  For me,  my love of science fiction was born directly from a childhood fascination with all things science.

 

For me, science and science fiction have always gone hand in hand. If you’re going to go explore the stars, it helps to have an understanding or at least an appreciation of astronomy and physics, right?  Science Fiction is the stories of everything that science makes possible. And with science, everything is possible. My love of science fiction was born through my fascination with Science.  Science made everything possible, science fiction stories are where all those cool things happened.

 

I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit.  My mom would take me to the Cranbrook Science Museum. It was perfect for elementary and middle school aged me – youth friendly exhibits on geology, holograms, physics, astronomy, optical illusions, and more. I’m sure there was grown-up stuff too, but I was a kid, so I went to the kid stuff.I have a vivid memory of being 11 or 12 years old, and getting to go to one of their astronomy events where you could look through the telescope and see the rings of saturn. And I saw the rings, and I felt like I could touch them.  The science of refraction and lenses showed me the rings of Saturn, and in the science fiction stories I was reading, people went to the rings of Saturn.  I was looking at something right out of a science fiction story!  And if the rings of Saturn were attainable through a chunk of glass, couldn’t anything in a science fiction story be attainable, eventually?

Cranbrook Institute of Science. where it all began.

Cranbrook Institute of Science. where it all began.

Around this same time in my life, I was a huge Star Trek the Next Generation viewer.  Dad and I had a standing date to watch the new episodes.  We didn’t have cable TV, so anything new on TV was cool, and getting to hang out with my Dad was extra cool. On that TV show,  science (or at least TV science and technobabble) was applied.  They were doing the things that I only saw through a telescope.  They were doing science (and plenty of other stuff), and science was something that could take you to new amazing worlds.

 

Come on. I was eleven years old.  Any planet they visited on ST:TNG was amazing to me. I didn’t care that it was all tv technobabble and none of the science actually added up. They were taking all the cool science stuff from the museum I went to, and applying it to do really cool things.
Science Fiction is full of hope that one day we will be able to attain what is unattainable today. And  applied science  is what will one day make science fiction a reality.

8 Responses to "A childhood love of all things science"

I was a big fan of science as a kid, too. And, like your experience, that lead to reading Science Fiction. The Winston SF series and Andre Norton’s novels factored heavily into my early SF reading. Today, I’m still fascinated by science. I just read Lab Girl. by Hope Jahren and I have Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach on the Read Real Soon stack.

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I read Packing for Mars by Mary Roach, and really enjoyed it. been meaning to pick up more of her work ever since. She makes non-fiction so accessible!

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I like Mary Roach, too. You would also enjoy LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren. It tells the story of how she became a scientist.

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I’ll keep an eye out for LABGIRL, thanks! 🙂

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Hi

I was born in Windsor. They bused us to Cranbrook at least once, the thing I remember most are the beautiful minerals and dioramas with birds, especially one of the Shrike complete with impaled mice, preparing me for Hyperion I guess. I am much older, so the original Star Trek for me, then it seemed mostly running around the same fake rocks and plots that allowed them to recycle wardrobe but I still loved it. But we also had the first grainy b&w space flights and the science push that came with the space race. So we got microscopes, chemistry sets, we assembled Lunar Landers, and had lots of science books aimed at kids. Tea came with cards to collect on the exploration of not just space but also the exploration of the oceans, Clarke’s Deep Range fit right in. It certainly prepared us for science fiction and space, and Clake, Heinlein, Norton and Bradbury among others certainly brought science and exploration home. Thanks for your post I enjoy hearing why people read SF today especially younger people whose experiences are so different from my own.

Happy Reading
Guy

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My gateway wasn’t science, it was Astounding Science Fiction. My 6 years older brother subscribed beginning in 1958, and the covers pulled me in and he stories fascinated me. So I was reading the greats at age 13 and was soon buying SF paperbacks with my allowance.

I have an appreciation of science, but didn’t go to anyplace like you did to see it demonstrated or displayed. Lucky you!

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Oops, that should have been he subscribed in 1956 and I was 11.

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[…] had an original idea to write a post about my love of science, but Andrea, The Little Red Reviewer, beat me to it. But I’m still going to do it […]

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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