Category: announcements

Resuming My Vacation in the Golden Age

Very soon, I will be resuming my Vacation in the Golden Age. The first 40 episodes of my Vacation, covered all of the issues of Astounding Science Fiction from July 1939 (the opening of the “Golden Age” of science fiction) through the October 1942 issue.  I described my reasons for taking a vacation in the Golden Age back when I first got started. Why I stopped might not have been as clear, but I think there were three reasons:

  1. The series began to feel like an obligation, rather than a fun exercise in science fiction nostalgia. I began to feel pressure to get each one out, often rushing them, and not enjoying the issues as I might have.
  2. More and more, my time was growing limited. I wasn’t writing as much fiction as I wanted to, and other obligations were squeezing out the time I had to read the magazines.
  3. Burnout. I’d been reading the magazines for close to 2 years, covering 40 issues and hundreds of stories and articles, and writing more than 100,000 words of commentary. I needed a break.

So why start things up again now? Well, I’ve been feeling the desire to get back to the old magazines for a long time, but there were some things that I needed to be sure of. One of those things was my fiction writing. I did not want to sacrifice my writing time for reading old issues of Astounding. I needed to wait until I was sure that I wouldn’t do that. If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve now written every day for the last 174 days, and I’ve missed only 2 days in the last 318. My daily writing habit is well-established now and I don’t worry about missing it. I always write.

Yesterday, I read Jennifer Campbell-Hick’s story, “Malfunction” in the Raygun Chronicles anthology (edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt). Jennifer was a fellow Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop attendee this summer. Her story was magnificent, with echoes of Asimov’s robot stories and reminiscent of  stories from the Golden Age. I think reading her story was what pushed me over the top and decided me on resuming my Vacation.

Still, I needed some ground rules for this new effort. I’d been thinking about these unconsciously for a while, but I formulated them into a set of “rules” that will help guide me through this next phase. They are:

  1. My fiction writing takes precedence. Given a limited time supply and a choice between reading Astounding or getting in my writing for the day, I’ll go with writing first and then reading if there is time left over.
  2. Because of #1, I’m not going to work on a set schedule as I did last time. I started my Vacation trying to read an issue each week, and then went to every other week. For this resumption, I plan on going at whatever pace is the least stressful. The whole point is to enjoy this Vacation, and share that enjoyment, without the pressure of getting an episode out every other week, or on some other set schedule.

In practice, I suspect this means that episodes will come out on fairly regular cycles, although what those are yet, I don’t know. Sometimes, there will be longer delays between episodes, and other times, they will be close together.

This morning, I have started reading (with a great deal of joy) the November 1942 issue of Astounding, and when I’ve finished, I’ll post the episode. When I am close to finishing, I’ll give some warning over various social media, so if you want to keep up, you can follow me on Twitter (@jamietr), follow my new Twitter account dedicated to my Vacation (@goldenagesf), or my Facebook page.

I’m looking forward to getting back into this, and looking forward to the great discussions we had in the comments to the post. And as always, I’m open to suggestions, so drop them in the comments below.

In the meantime, if you want a preview of what’s coming in Episode 41, here’s the table of contents1 for the November 1942 issue of Astounding:

Read more

  1. Yes, it really is signed by Jack Williamson and A. E. van Vogt.

Vacation In the Golden Age Is On Hiatus

You’ve probably noted that I’ve delayed Episode 41 of my Vacation in the Golden Age twice already. The first time was due to a number of deadlines that I had for various paid writing gigs. The second time was to try to find some way of working in the necessary reading I have to do each day so that I could continue with the Episodes, as well as with my fiction and nonfiction writing, both of which have picked up lately. After a total of 4 weeks of delays, I have come to the conclusion that there just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to make it work. And if there were enough hours, I doubt I’d have the energy to put them to good use. Given the choice of spending what time I have to either the Vacation posts, or my fiction writing, I’ve chosen my fiction writing.

A couple of things about this:

  1. This does not mean the series will not continue at some point in the future. I’d love to complete it through it’s planned course, which was the December 1950 issue of Astounding. It does mean that I won’t be actively working toward that goal for a while.
  2. The existing posts are not going away. I find it fun to read through one or two of them. And I imagine there are many people out there who haven’t yet discovered the posts, but would be interested in them. So they are staying put.

I also wanted to thank everyone who has commented or otherwise contributed to these posts and to my experience in doing them. I was overwhelmed by the feedback I’ve received on the posts and when I can find the time to get them started up again, I’d certainly look to all of you for your keen insights and comments. They added a depth to the experience that I never expected.

Finally, I want to apologize to everyone who might be disappointed by this announcement. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. I’ve stewed over it for a month, looking for ways to make it work, but if there are any, they’ve eluded me. At least being explicit about it, I am no longer fooling myself about my ability to carry out the amount of work I was attempting to do, and I can go through each day with a little less stress.

Another Rescheduling of Episode 41 of the Vacation In the Golden Age

I‘m going to have to reschedule the next episode of my Vacation in the Golden Age–now set for Monday, November 12. The reason is that I have had a lot more freelance work lately, both fiction and nonfiction. With this work, I’ve found there just isn’t time in the day to read my issues of Astounding. I ordinarily do this reading on my lunch hour, but I have been having to use my lunch hour to work on the freelance work in order to meet my various deadlines. I met two of those deadlines over the weekend, but I have several more coming due before the end of the month.

So, I am punting once again. It would be nice to get back to the smooth biweekly schedule I had for a while, but at the same time, I am pleased that I am getting this freelance writing work. I always stress a little when I have to postpone an episode, but I also stress when I try to squeeze my reading into time that just isn’t there.

Schedule Change to Episode 41 of My Vacation in the Golden Age

Various writing projects, the Little Man’s minor surgery1, and prepping for and attending Capclave this coming weekend are all conspiring against my getting much reading done in the November 1942 issue of Astounding. Rather than stress over it, I’m just going to punt, and push the release date of Episode 41 of my Vacation in the Golden Age back to Monday, October 29. If nothing else, this should give those of you who haven’t caught up with episodes 39 and 40 some extra time to catch up.

  1. Very minor, plastic surgery to remove a birthmark from his forehead.

My Vacation In the Golden Age Resumes On September 17

I’ve been having a nice summer vacation away from my Vacation in the Golden Age. I’ve been catching up on reading and writing on other things. But I’ve started to get that itch again and I’m looking forward to Labor Day, when I will begin reading the September 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction in preparation for Episode 39 of my Vacation in the Golden Age. Expect to see Episode 39 here on Monday, September 17, and then continuing on its normal 2-week schedule thereafter until I decide I need another break.

Episode 39’s lead story is by Anthony Boucher. And if you need more of preview, here is the cover to the September 1942 issue. It’s like jumping 70 years into the past.


And if you just can’t wait, you can always get caught up with the 38 episodes that proceed this one. Stay tuned.

Summer vacation from my Vacation in the Golden Age

Not to bury the lead: I am taking a summer vacation from my Vacation in the Golden Age. I’ve felt this coming on for a few weeks now, and have finally decided to do it. So effective immediately, I am taking a break from my Vacation posts. The posts resume their normal schedule just after Worldcon, on September 17, 2012.

Why take this vacation?

  1. I have struggled lately to keep up with my reading. I think part of it is that I am growing restless. I don’t want this Vacation to be something that becomes a chore or burden. I pushed off Episode 39 once already and still haven’t made much progress, and that tells me it’s time to take a break.
  2. Since beginning my Vacation, I’ve read roughly 3 million words of stories and articles in Astounding in the space of 18 months. I can use a break from that as well.
  3. I do most of my Vacation reading during my lunch hour because there isn’t much other time available to me during the day. However, some recent developments in my fiction and non-fiction writing have made me want to shift gears back to writing. For the summer, anyway, I’d rather swap out the reading and use my lunch hour for writing. (I’m not yet ready to discuss these “developments” but I will in time.)

I want to make it clear that this is by no means an end to the Vacation in the Golden Age. I fully intend to complete the entire run, as I set out to do. But as any ambitious person eventually realizes, the task I set out for myself was a greater effort than I initially realized. The posts will resume in September, once Worldcon is over.

In the meantime, all of the first 38 Episodes remain available and I may do a kind of “summer reruns” thing. This also gives folks who have yet to catch up a fair chance at doing so. The Episodes alone total something like 170,000 words.

REMINDER: Vacation in the Golden Age, Episode 39 out on June 11

Just a reminder to anyone who might be curious as to why Episode 39 of my Vacation in the Golden Age is not posted today. I delayed it two weeks to June 11. Hope you are having a relaxing holiday weekend. I’m heading out to plant some new bushes in front of the house. I then hope to spend a good portion of the day reading more of Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312.

Rescheduling Episode 39 of my Vacation in the Golden Age by 2 weeks

I am rescheduling Episode 39 of my Vacation in the Golden Age to appear on June 11, as opposed to May 28. While I hate pushing these things back, I am currently just too overloaded and I don’t want to have another stress-out, worrying over whether or not I’ll be able to finish in time. The work I’ve been doing over the Nebula Weekend has been keeping me busy, as has the reading I’m doing for the book review columns I’ll be writing for IGMS. I apologize for the delay but I really think it wil be the last one until possibly Labor Day weekend when I will be at Worldcon.

Episode 37 of my Vacation in the Golden Age delayed to April 30

I’ve had a busy week and I’m behind in my Vacation reading. I’ve got a busy couple of days ahead of me and rather than stress over whether or not I’ll get my reading done in time for Sunday’s post, I’ve decided to use one of my chits and delay this Episode until April 30.

As I wrote in my post on the schedule for my Vacation this year, I aim for 26 Episodes a year, but plan for 24. The realities of life sometimes creep in and as much as I hate delaying these Episodes, sometimes it’s the only way to stay sane.

So Episode 37–which, incidentally is the first Episode of the 4th Vacation year–will be posted on April 30. I will update the schedule to reflect the changes going forward. And I apologize for the delay, although I must admit that, being behind, it feels like the right decision. Already a small weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

In the meantime, this is a good opportunity to catch up on any Episodes that you may have missed. And don’t forget, links to all of the episodes are also now available on Pinterest.

Vacation in the Golden Age now on Pinterest

In an effort to keep up with the cool kids, I’ve created a Vacation in the Golden Age pinboard on Pinterest. The board contains the covers for each of the magazine/episodes I’ve done so far with links back to the original episodes. You can continue to find the Episodes in the same place as always. And if you prefer Pinterest, you can find them there as well.

Vacation in the Golden Age 2012 Episode Schedule and Preview

I managed to get through the first 29 issues of the Astounding Science Fiction golden age in 2011. I started out with an issue a week, and that proved to be too much for me. So I moved to one issue every other week, which seems to be just right.  We began, nearly a year ago, with Episode 1, which covered the July 1939 Astounding. We concluded 2011 with Episode 29, which covered the November 1941 Astounding. At 26 Episodes each calendar year, that’s just over 2 Vacation years!

For 2012, while I am aiming for 26 episodes, I’m planning for 24. The reason is simple: last year, I was sick and that put me behind. It would also nice to be able go on vacation once during the year without worrying about having to keep a deadline. So while the schedule below reflects 26 Episodes, the realities of the world make me think it will likely be 24. But 24 is a nice round number, 2 full Vacation years. Episode 30 was the first for 2012.

Two of the Episodes have asterisks after the date. At present, these are the likely candidate dates for no Episode that week (and everything just shifts by 2 weeks). In the first case, it is because the date falls during the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago. In the second case, it’s because I’ll likely be on vacation. And thanks to this page by Andrew May for making the compiling of these lists easy.

Here is the rest of the schedule for 2012, with a small preview of what is to come.

Episode 31: January 1942 (1/23/2012)

  • Breakdown  (Jack Williamson)
  • Mechanistria  (Eric Frank Russell)
  • The Invaders  (L. Ron Hubbard)
  • Second Stage Lensman, part 3 of 4  (E. E. Smith)
  • Soup King  (Colin Keith)
  • Fugitive from Vanguard  (Norman L. Knight)

Episode 32: February 1942 (2/6/2012)

  • The Rebels  (Kurt von Rachen)
  • There Shall Be Darkness  (C. L. Moore)
  • Second Stage Lensman, part 4 of 4  (E. E. Smith)
  • The Sorcerer of Rhiannon  (Leigh Brackett)
  • Starting Point  (Raymond F. Jones)
  • Medusa  (Theodore Sturgeon)