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Golden Age of Science Fiction For Teens

Updated on July 26, 2013
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Science Fiction and the Sciences Make Dreams Come True

Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan wrote my college astronomy text books and related materials, which I used for three quarters of study at the local state university.Those 10:00 PM - midnight classes were actually pretty much fun!

A noted chemist, Asimov produced a useful, interesting astronomy book and a large number of furutist novels as well. Most famous of these tales are likely the I. Robot and Foundation series. 21st century youth likely know the I, Robot film starring Will Smith. better than the novels, if they have read any of them at all.

While the first of the Asimov works I read was astronomy, I later read his futurist works and was more impressed with that than with the astronomy text. I wished I had known about them in high school. Therefore, I suggest them to teens today.

Not only are these unique,witty, and entertaining stories without much blood and gore, but they act as bookends for the periods of the author's life. Asimov presents a short history of each story and how it fit into the time period of the USA. One of these narratives tells about working together with the famous Robert Heinlein and L. Sprague DeCamp at the US Naval Air Experiment Station at the Navy Shipyards in Philadelphia during WWII. Imagine these three greats working together in the sciences while writing science fiction in their free time -- What a treat!

Naval Shipyards, Philadelphia, 1912
Naval Shipyards, Philadelphia, 1912 | Source

The Early Asimov: Book Two

Isaac Asimov

FAWCETT CREST, 1st Printing 1974

These 14 stories are fun as well as a stimulus to the imagination. I began reading this series with Book 2 because it contains a favorite story from the author; I would have loved it as a teen!

Having first read Christmas on Ganymede as an adult, I still laugh so hard, I roll out of an armchair while reading -- I need a seat belt! Teenagers should have such fun as I in this reading.

How can I describe this story without giving away the ending? it is like a Marx Brothers Movie to be watched again and again.

On Jupiter's moon Ganymede, the local population works for the Human settlers. The Ganys are 4-foot tall ostrich-like folks (albeit with 3-fingered hands) wearing hair of long feathers and using high-pitched voices. They are called "Ossies."

They learn about Christmas on earth and demand their own yearly Christmas be provided or they will go on strike. An earthman fashions a festive tree and the Ossies hop up and down for joy while they hang their "Stockies" for "Sannyclaws" - who comes with a sleigh and eight huge spinyback warthogdeer through a hole the Ossies have knocked in the ceiling for a chimney. I won't give away the ending, but the year on Ganymede is somewhat shorter than on Earth...

B17 Flying Fortress
B17 Flying Fortress | Source

Author! Author!

This story is another favorite. Written in 1943, it fulfilled Asimov's dream to finally be published in Unknown magazine.

However, during a war related paper shortage, it was never published in Unknownand the magazine shut down. Later, when a book of a collection of Unknown stories was being put together in the 1960s, Asimov wrote the Introduction and mentioned Author! Author! At this point, the publisher gained permission to place it into the anthology. Happily, it is included in this book , along with the story about Heinlein, DeCamp, and Asimov working together for the Navy, experimenting with flight

Plot Summary

Author Graham Dorn writes mysteries much like John Creasey's The Toffseries, but Dorn's hero is a bit shallow. The was a rich young man that helped Scotland Yard in London and served the common man. Dorn's hero has some more selfish concerns, especially when he appears in 3 dimensions in Dorn's room...

This shallow hero is Reginald de Meister (reminding us of Jackie Gleason's Reginald van Gleason III). He becomes a real live human being - and twice as annoying. Reggie takes over Dorn's life, pursuing his fiancee as well. The only way to rid himself of Reggie is to rewrite his latest de Meister mystery and bring back the passionate Latin character Sancha Rodriquez. Sancha was in love with reggie, but another woman - very bland - was engaged to the detective - even more bland in the engagement.

Reluctantsly, Dorn does the rewrite and Sancha appears in real life as well for near-mayhem. It's a lot of fun and has a happy ending.

Mobius strip resistor
Mobius strip resistor | Source

The Early Asimov

Asimov's Book Two Stories

  • Christmas on Ganymede - Can there be too much good cheer?
  • The Little Man on the Subway
  • The Hazing - The perfect way to end a hazing stunt.
  • Super-Neutron
  • Not Final!
  • Legal Rites - A ghost sues for the right to haunt
  • Time Pussy - Fuzzy creatures stretch back abnd forth though time an dconfuse everyone else's.
  • Author! Author!
  • Death Sentence
  • Blind Alley - Witty way through the red tape of government.
  • No Connection
  • The Endochronic Porpeties of Resublinated Thiotimoline
  • The Red Queen's Race
  • Mother Earth

Learning Without Pain

Asimov's book includes his biography in such as way that reading it between his short stores is interesting and fun as well. One hardly notices the learning.

The Endochronic Propreties of Resublinated Thiotimoline is actually a fake doctoral level paper that Asimov wrote in practice for his PhD dissertation. It is real-enough sounding to fool some readers, but it is unreal.

The entire list of references, typed in full detail, is full of fake journals. When this story was published, students went to libraries and requested these periodicals and copies of the articles referenced. It was much fun and as well as annoyance for the librarians. Of course, perhaps one day there really WILL be a Journal of Psychochemistry...

Isaac Asimov on The Golden Age of Science Fiction

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
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      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for that link for readers, bohica. If you can find one for the Astonomy text book, please share it, because I cannot find it - probably far out of print...

    • bohica profile image

      bohica 9 years ago

      Patty - Outstanding Hub!

      I missed any reference to the penultimate short story ever written, Isaac's "The Last Question". Check it out at http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Storytellersrus - I will begin with "Dog" then and think I will enjoy your recommnedations! You must have had a good time meeting Ms. Willlis!

      Thanks to Everyone here for the great comments. -- I stumbled upon this book in a used bookstore and comnsider myself fortunate to have it. So many wonderful sci-fi writers from the 1940s-1950s!

    • MM Del Rosario profile image

      MM Del Rosario 9 years ago from NSW, Australia

      Hi Patty , thanks for answering my request...this is a great list...

    • hattoss profile image

      hattoss 9 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the great hub. Will suely gift one of these book to my cousin as he likes reading.

    • pcjunkychick profile image

      pcjunkychick 9 years ago from OKC

      I'm glad I came across this Hub!

      My teen is a junior in her 4Th drama class & loves a great plot I will share this with her. Thank you! Great info. :)

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Great recommendations for teens. I will keep these in mind as I think of Christmas gifts for people in my family.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 9 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Dear Patty, I love this examination of Asimov! Thanks. I have been meaning to read his books- this may be the inspiration I need. I am a big fan of Ursula LeGuin's science fiction and fantasy as well as Connie Willis's books. IN fact, I am proud to say that Connie Willis is a resident of Greeley, Colorado. I have met this famous writer at several writer's workshops. Despite winning 9 Hugos, 10 Locus Polls and 6 Nebulas- more than any other writer, which is amazing- she remains a very approachable and humble woman. If you haven't read her work, you might consider starting with To Say Nothing of the Dog, followed by Doomsday and Passages.

      You can always get me going when you bring up books! Thanks again for this great Hub!