Anitra Smith (anitra) wrote,
Anitra Smith

Reading sci-fi magazines written before I was born

So, when I went to Lunacon back in March, I ended up with a half-full box of books; there were a few that I bought (like Anita and this book by James Doohan - for obvious reasons), but mostly a giant stack of vintage science fiction magazines: in particular, "Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine" 1979-1982 with a few gaps.

I've been slowly working my way through them all - I hadn't read any of it before, so I don't know how it compares to the modern magazine, but it's mostly first-time and/or small-time authors writing really GOOD stuff!

I put down my current read (Sep. 1980) for about a month, since I just got a bunch of new books on my Kindle and I was getting tired of short stories... but I picked it back up today, and boy am I glad I did.

I just discovered "Guardian" by Jeff Duntemann (slightly amazed that it's available online, as many of these authors seem to have hung up their hats before the rise of the Internet). It's one of those "it's so far in the future that we've returned to the Dark Ages" settings, but don't let that deter you. It's short, and it examines the idea of whether machines could have souls.

The end quote was what really made me realize that the author was going for something much more profound than the set-up would imply.
"I pass my time in absurdity, true. But my soul is worth absurdity. I pity you the more if yours is not."

I also understand (looking at the web version) why it was nominated for a Hugo in 1981 (although it didn't win).

Since Mr. Duntemann is gracious enough to put some of his work online, I think I'll be reading the first-chapter excerpt from his 2005 novel next.
Tags: books

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