Time Waits For No One

I’ve been re-reading some of the books I enjoyed as a child.  You have to remember we’re talking about the Dark Ages…way back in the late 1950s.  Long before the Sputnik went up.  Long before ANYONE used computers except maybe some secret military projects.  (See, even then there were conspiracy theories about the government,)

In RED PLANET by Robert Heinlein, the hero and his buddy are about to start high school on Mars.  They packed their gear, including a slip stick and gun.  And that, folks,  proved that this story was set in the future.  A slip stick (aka slide rule) was used in advanced mathematics and all the geeks wanted one.  Nowadays, geeks would laugh  if anyone suggested they get a slide rule when they have handheld whatever.

Andre Norton wrote a time travel series called THE TIME TRADERS.  Basically, it was a story about America and Soviet scientists in a race to the past to gather alien technology.  One of the heroes tries to escape using an atomic machine called a “snow cat”.  Though not  atomic, snow cats are now standard fun stuff in America.  And the Soviet Union is no more.

Both of these authors set their stories into the future.  And the future is now.  But you know what?  The stories are, for all their dated material, still entertaining.  Why?  Because the authors wrote about characters that appeal to readers.  The plots may be old standards, but they have a freshness that’s lasted the time.  And that’s why both of these authors are still pulling in readers…even though the authors have died.

I accept that I may never reach this status as an author, but I’m not ashamed to claim them both as mentors.  One hundred years from now, I may not have the name value of William Shakespeare, but I hope if someone next century reads one of my books, they’ll enjoy them as much as readers today.

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12 thoughts on “Time Waits For No One

  1. Those names are blasts from the past, Jackie. I need to reread some of my early sci-fi favorites — maybe start with Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Carter, then go on to the Dragonriders in order.

    • I know. I’ve downloaded all the Carter of Mars books I can find and bought the first 3 books of Pern. I’d fogotten how much I loved them and why I got into SF to start with. ‘Course, that doesn’t mean I’m abandoning romance!

  2. And they’ll be able to find your work in the future, too. You’ll probably be in your 65th printing or so, but even if you aren’t, with e-readers, no one will have to scour used book stores to find older books or out-of-print works.

    • That’s kind of spooky, Barbara. I can remember reading books publilshed in the 1920s when I was a child, but can’t find them today. Probably, because the books didn’t survive and the authors weren’t important enough to re-print time and time again. But no matter how bad an author may be, they could last as long as the Internet.

  3. Jackie,

    I often think that some things really withstand the test of time… others, not so much! I love re-reading a book when time is past and the futuristic setup is not what we expected. I heard someone joking about it the other day–something about a book (set in 2015) where everyone was riding around in hovercars. And he wanted his hovercar! Such fun.

    spw

  4. I found a book printed in 1956..Young Skin Diver by Phillip Harkins. The funny thing is that the kid is wearing doubles with an double hosed regulator–are coming back in style.
    Haven’t had time to read it, but I love the book.

  5. Jackie,

    Thanks for the reminder. I haven’t read the books you wrote about but your post got me to thinking about an old book I hadn’t read in years, Leon Uris’ Trinity. Dusted off and started re-reading. What a great read.

  6. Like some wise one once said (MP), “A writer doesn’t take time to write; they MAKE time to write.” And that’s what I need to do.

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