A is for Asimov and Aldiss

I was thinking about authors that begin with the letter A (as you do!) and the same day read an article about the first science fiction book (believed to be ancient Roman for those interested) and I started to think about Isaac Asimov and the first science fiction book I read. It was I, Robot.

My reading relationship with Asimov began and ended in my first year of high  school. I was a country kid and the pickings in my primary school library and the town library were very slim. But my high school had an almost brand new library with more books than I had ever seen before. I did what any mathematical mind might do when confronted with that – I started at A. When I got to Asimov,I adopted a dual approach. I read every Asimov novel or short story I could find and then moved on to other science fiction, while still working my way through A.

The relationship didn’t last because someone returned Helliconia Spring by Brian Aldiss and as I was still on the A shelf I went back to read it. It was a different sort of science fiction, in fact it was science fantasy. For my entire school life it was my genre of choice. I am a much wider reader now, but it is still my comfort zone.

I can’t remember anything about I, Robot or even the Foundation series, which for many years was on my list of favourite reads. I even bought my own copies but I don’t have them anymore either. There are more books in my life than bookshelves so ultimately Asimov had to go. I found the books a good home – a friend had a house where almost every wall was a built-in floor to ceiling bookcase and every book was science fiction.

While I can’t remember the stories, I still remember the feeling of having something new and wonderful to read. That’s easy to remember, because it still happens all the time.

PS I still have the Helliconia series and am thinking I might start rereading it tonight.

PPS Other authors that begin with A that I like – Margaret Atwood and Jean Auel (except for the last book in the Earth Children series – one of the only two books I couldn’t finish despite waiting ten years for it!). Confession –  I am not a Jane Austen fan (*ducks while many friends throw books at my head*)

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