Back in the late 1970s and 1980s, I discovered a literary genre that I knew existed but generally paid little attention to: science fiction. As a child in the 1950s and 1960s, I had been terrified and scared witless by science fiction movies – The Day the Earth Stood Still, Them, The War of the Worlds, and even b-grade movies that aired on television late on Saturday nights, like Caltiki, the Immortal Monster.
But between those movies and the late 1970s, I had read only a small handful of science fiction works – Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and, in college, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. My reading tending more to literary fiction and non-fiction; my major indulgence in popular fiction was murder mysteries, which enjoyed a minor resurgence in the 1970s.
But science fiction didn’t really interest me.
In 1977, I was in a bookstore in Houston, Texas, and for some reason found myself among the science fiction shelves (they were next to the mystery shelves). Shelved alphabetically by author’s last name, I noticed a book by scientist and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. It was entitled Foundation, the first in a trilogy about the alleged science of “psychohistory.” Asimov invented this “science” in his Foundation books; it claimed that the history of large populations could be predicted.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.