I recently finished reading through The Big Book of Science Fiction, a 1,400 page anthology on science fiction short stories throughout the ages starting with H.G. Wells' "The Star" published in 1897 and going all the way through Johanna Sinisalo's "Baby Doll" (2002). If you haven't read at least part of the book, I highly recommend it for any serious science fiction fan. It's edited by Jeff and Ann Vandermeer and is quite extensive.
As I was reading it I found the more stories moved away from the 'Golden Age' of science fiction, the less engaged I was with them, even the award winning stories. There was something lost after the golden age, but what exactly was it? I've spent the last few days thinking about it and for me I think it's the inventiveness of the genre. In the 1940s there were rockets, but no space program. Computers existed in concept, but were nothing like what we think of now. Writers really had to use their imagination to detail the science of space flight, of alien encounters. True, perhaps they were not always the most accurate, but that was what made them so enthralling. In a way, that inventive spirit helped evoke the sense of wonder that made science fiction so amazing. More, perhaps than anything today, where a sort of skepticism seems to have crept into the works.
So, valued reader, what are your thoughts? Was science fiction truly better in the Golden Age? What was it that made it so?
Is there another golden age to come? I certainly hope so!
Until next time!
Good Health to you,