I started reading adult SF when I was nine years old, having exhausted the children's section of the library. In 1950's, no one under eighteen could enter into the adult section of our library, so the librarian in the children's section would check out books for me from the adult section. After a couple of months, she talked the other librarians into letting me have an adult card, but I was restricted to the SF section only. I didn't have enough life experience at the time to understand the adult situations in the novels, but I enjoyed what I did understand. I remember being frightened by Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles" and awed by Van Vogt, especially "Far Centaurus," and creeped out by "The Sound"(?) from "The War against the Rull."
I initially read only books and didn't discover magazines until my early teens. A couple of years later at fifteen I started collecting SF magazines, but stopped at twenty-eight after graduating from college. For the next twenty-two years I collected only what I purchased from news stands until I was fifty. After that I started seriously collecting again, but now with much more disposable income I was able to triple the size of my collection in a short period of time. I discovered the ISFDB at about the same time and thought about contributing, but until now I didn't have the time.
After high school, I spent four years in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, working on airborne radars and interceptor electronic systems. I left the service with the rank of Staff-Sergeant, and financed my education with the GI Bill, and by working as an apprentice electrician, and a postal worker.
I've recently retired from electrical engineering after working on high-voltage pulsed-power systems, lasers, and particle accelerators for thirty-one years -- a career choice inspired by my love of science fiction. I originally thought that I'd be a scientist, but it seemed to me that the engineers were the people that got things done. I'm spending most of my time now on my hobbies; SF, languages (Japanese, and Russian), and astronomy.--Rkihara 19:16, 20 Aug 2007 (CDT)
I browsed around the web and found a picture of the Stockton public library, where I began to read adult science fiction http://images.library.uiuc.edu:8081/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/ALA&CISOPTR=210&CISOBOX=1&REC=20. That's pretty much how I remember it looking. The children's section was on the second floor at the opposite side. The second floor on the facing side was partitioned off and was part of the adult section. I was fascinated by the circular windows which I thought were really cool. I would spend ten-to-twenty minutes at a time looking out of them. The bottom floors I think were marble, and the upper floors hardwood. It was a beautiful library, but structurally unsound. One day after a building inspector looked it over, it was suddenly evacuated, since it was his opinion that it could collapse at any time. The books were moved to a prefab building erected near the back side, and the restrictions on where children could wander were removed.
I still remember the woman who worked in the children's section, red-headed, maybe in her mid-twenties. She was kind person who loved children, and would talk to us as adults, and listen patiently to us as we babbled on. When I became an adult, I remembered this, and I have always treated children with respect, and I feel that they responded to it as I did.
Several years later we moved to Livermore, where I live now, but not before we moved several more times. I used to avoid SF magazines, preferring to read novels, but I remember the cover for "A Life for the Stars" by James Blish catching my eye in one of the local magazine stores. I had already read "Earthman Come Home," so I pulled it off the shelf and read it in the store. After that, I came in every month and read Analog, Fantastic, Amazing, and Fantasy and Science Fiction from cover-to-cover. The two women who ran the store were amazingly tolerant and said nothing while I stood there for hours. One day I was there at closing time and one of women told me to take it home and bring it back tomorrow. I was about fifteen then, and I was so embarrassed that I bought the magazine, although they said it was okay. After that I usually bought a copy of Analog and F&SF when I came in, but read a story or two in Amazing and Fantastic.--Rkihara 01:48, 2 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Thanks, and In Search of Wonder question
Thanks for your welcome. I have a copy of Damon Knight's In Search of Wonder (2nd ed) and I think it would be desireable to enter the info for the (many) works reviewed therein. I have posted a question about this at the help desk. Do you have advice for me? -DES Talk 15:46, 23 Jan 2008 (CST)