Thinking About Vintage Science Fiction Month

It is almost the greatest time of the year again—Vintage Science Fiction Month!  Vintage Science Fiction Month is the brainchild of Andrea at The Little Red Reviewer.  The gist is simple: read science fiction written before you were born.  Write about it in January.

This will be my third year participating in Vintage Science Fiction Month.  Previously I have posted on The Tritonian Ring by L. Sprague de Camp, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, The Beast Master by Andre Norton, The Lord of Thunder by Andre Norton, and Dune by Frank Herbert.  Including the movie.

I read Vintage SF all year, broadly speaking, for Throwback SF Thursday, so I try to be a little more focused in my reading for Vintage Science Fiction Month.  January has five Thursdays, and I’m shooting for four posts this year.  Only I haven’t exactly decided what I will be reading.  My thoughts below:


The Related Work

Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee

I got a surprise review copy of Nevala-Lee’s history of John W. Campbell’s editorship of Astounding magazine.  Otherwise I might have made the mistake of skipping this one.  I’ve already read it, and it gave me the inspiration for the only other book I have picked.


Speaking of Astounding…

Nightfall and Other Stories by Isaac Asimov

John W. Campbell gave Asimov his start writing early in Campbell’s career as editor of Astounding, and Asimov gets name-dropped in the subtitle of Nevala-Lee’s book.  I asked around for recommendations where to start with Asimov a few weeks ago.  But my local used bookstore didn’t have much of a selection, so I ordered a copy of Nightfall and Other Stories, mainly on the strength of Nevala-Lee’s recommendation in his history of Astounding.  (The used bookstore I went to while I was in Texas had a much better selection; I could have waited.)  I am three stories into this one and very impressed.


Plus Another Astounding Stalwart

SF Grand Master Robert A. Heinlein also gets name-dropped in the subtitle of Nevala-Lee’s book.  I polled Twitter and Facebook, but I am still trying to choose among Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and Space Cadet (the three Heinlein books I own but haven’t read).


And Something Else

Past that, I am pretty lost.  I do want to read a book I already own.  Options include Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett, and my latest acquisition, The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester.


Your thoughts?

About H.P.

Blogs on books at Every Day Should Be Tuesday (speculative fiction) and Hillbilly Highways (country noir and nonfiction).
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18 Responses to Thinking About Vintage Science Fiction Month

  1. “Nightfall and Other Stories” is a great collection, one of my favorites of Asimov’s. I still have my old Book Club edition on my shelf.

    As for Heinlein, it’s a hard choice between “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” and “Space Cadet”. “Space Cadet” is one of his Juveniles, so it is written in a different style than the other. I like them both a lot, but from memory they’re very different books. If a YA science fiction adventure sounds good, go with “Space Cadet”. I haven’t read it in close to twenty years but I have strong memories of loving the story. I’ll be reading it to my kids next after we finish the book we’re on now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • H.P. says:

      I was a big, big fan of the first Heinlein juvenile I read–Have Space Suit–Will Travel–so I’m eager to dive back in. But the politics of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress appeal to me. And Starship Troopers is such a major work that I feel bad having not read it. I’ve been saving it for a series contrasting it with the major works responding to it–The Forever War, Bill the Galactic Hero, Old Man’s War (and maybe the movies)–but I don’t know when I would ever get around to doing that series.


      • I still haven’t read The Forever War. My dad liked it a lot and I put a lot of stock in his taste. I thought Bill the Galactic Hero was hilarious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • pcbushi says:

        I am looking forward to the dustup when you write a favorable review of the Asimov stories. It’s forboden to like his stuff in certain quarters, you know.

        I wasn’t a big fan of Lest Darkness Fall, but you might like it since you liked Tritonian Ring. I just think De Camp thought himself a powerful clever fellow, and it comes across in his writing. Not to my taste.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Off The TBR says:

    Astounding sounds like it’d be really interesting. Look forward to your thoughts on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Redhead says:

    Very interested in your thoughts on Astounding!

    I vote for Moon is a Harsh Mistress. it’s my favorite Heinlein. also, why knot. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bookstooge says:

    STarship Trooper would get my vote.

    And why is King Rat mixed in with the vintage SF? I hated that book, but then, WWI or WWII stories, outside of Alistair Maclean, never appealed to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • H.P. says:

      Those were the three books I bought down here in Texas. I don’t think the Mucker books are SF either.

      I’m not sure if I’ve ever read any WWII books (not counting SF like Bitter Seeds). I partly picked it up because they had that and Tai-Pan and King Rat is much shorter (limited bag space) and party because of the setting. My wife’s brother lives in Singapore and visited the museum at Changi when I was there a few years ago. Their grandfather fought in SE Asia for the British during WWII.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. John Boyle says:

    I vote for Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but those are three of Heinlein’s best, you pretty much can’t go wrong.
    Lest Darkness Fall is ok, Brackett is always worth reading, but I would say try Bester’s The Stars My Destination. Bester isn’t for everyone (love or hate seems to be the norm) but that book shows up on a lot of “Most Influential” lists. I prefer the Demolished Man by Bester, but take a look and see what you think.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have a gut feeling that you’d like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, I’m thinking about trying another Arthur C Clarke for this year, or maybe I’ll pull out those old Ace Doubles that I picked up.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: 2019 State of the Blog: Every Day Should Be Tuesday Edition | Every Day Should Be Tuesday

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