The downside of a vacation in the Golden Age

When I went to Europe in 2007, I blogged regularly about my vacation there. People who read the blog told me that it was almost like they were there on vacation with me. I hope how this vacation in the Golden Age has been for people following along. It is a blast to sit down with these old magazines and read them the way fans of the time read them, eager to open to the first page, quivering through Campbell’s editorial, licking their fingers as they got to the lead story. Not only is it fun, but what an education you get, especially as a developing writer. (I’ll have more to say on that subject in a future post.) Writing up the weekly vacation posts are also a lot of fun because that’s where I get a chance to really think about what I read, make connections with other things I’ve read, and try and give those following along a picture of what its like going through those yellowed pages.

But like every vacation, there are some drawbacks, some minor downsides, if you will.

Perhaps the biggest downside of this vacation is that is sharply limits my other reading. To squeeze a 162 page issue into a week along with my day job, family obligations, fiction writing and blogging means that I don’t have much time for any other reading. I’ve already cut out TV entirely. And still, my time is sharply limited. Several sites recently came out with their recommended reading list for upcoming books–and some of those books are ones that I want to read–but they will have to wait. I’ve fallen behind on my science magazine reading, but that too will have to wait. I’m not complaining, you understand. But I worry that I will fall so far behind that I will have trouble making Hugo and Nebula nominations next year, for instance. I justify it with two rationalizations:

  1. I’m having so much fun on this vacation
  2. This is an incredible education in science fiction: writing it, its history, its fandom. Its a once-in-a-lifetime experience

That makes me feel better.

One question that might arise in light of the big news I announced yesterday is: what will happen to the vacation when the new baby arrives in August?

That is hard to say because I’ve never had a toddler and newborn before. However, given my memory of when the Little Man was an infant, I think I might be able to manage and continue these posts. For one thing, I can usually get most of my Astounding reading in on my lunch hour. Occasionally, I won’t finish and some of that reading will have to wait until the evening before I go to bed. In that sense, I think I can still keep up. But I’m preparing for the unexpected. For instance, this week, I’ve tried to crowd my reading earlier into the week so that I’m likely to finish read the December 1939 issue tonight, which means I can start the January 1940 issue a little early and start to build in some lead-time. The posts will still come weekly, but maybe by August, I’ll have a few issues in the bank, so to speak.

For those curious, the week the Sibling-To-Be-Named-Later is due to arrive, I will be about to post Episode 30 for the January 1942 issue of Astounding, which includes stories by Jack Williamson, L. Ron Hubbard, and E. E. “Doc” Smith among others. And I’ve skimmed the contents of the issues between now and then and it only seems to get better.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to Kimball Kinnison so that we can discuss his continuing adventures on Monday.


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