When I read about the Golden Age of science fiction, I get the sense that the writers (who were also fans) of the time knew each other fairly well. They may not have met in person, but they knew one another from the tables of contents they shared, and from the magazine letter columns. Many did know each other personally, and over time developed friendships that in some instances, lasted a lifetime.
When Isaac Asimov was hanging out with Fred Pohl, Cyril Kornbluth, Lester del Rey and others as a teenager, I sometime wonder if he recognized, at the time, that these people were his science fiction generation? I was thinking about this because recently, I’ve started to recognized my own generation. I’m talking about other science fiction writers I know, with whom my stories have appeared in various tables of contents, or with whom I swap stories for beta-reading, or enjoy hanging out with at conventions. For me, this includes people like Brad Torgersen, Jason Sanford (with whom my stories have appeared in table of contents multiple times), Ken Liu, Jay Werkheiser, Alethea Kontis, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Alex Shvartsman, Damien Walters, Andrew Penn Romine, Juliette Wade, and probably a few that I am forgetting.
I don’t mean to suggest in any way that my writing is as good as these writers. But I do consider them part of my science fiction generation. These are the writers that I’m growing up with as a writer myself, the way Asimov grew up with Pohl, and Ellison grew up with Silverberg. I sometimes imagine that if I am every a grandfather, one or more of my grandkids will be science fiction fans, and when they learn that I knew Brad Torgersen or Damien Walters or Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, they will be suitably impressed. I think it is nice, every now and then, to slow down from the busy pace of life and look at where things are. I am part of a science fiction generation, and looking around at the people belong to this generation, I am humbled and honored to be a part of it.