Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Mentor, Dad (Personal)

When I was a kid I remember our dad used to have us kids line up and spin around, in an example of the planets. If it was just my brother and I, we were the Earth and the moon, or Earth and the sun. If we had friends or family over, we had the potential for a whole solar system of kids. Kids love spinning around. That was how we learned about our solar system.

Our dad read to us a lot too. He's got some really old science fiction books, and my bedtime stories consisted of Red Planet and Have Spacesuit Will Travel by Robert Heinlen, as well as Integral Trees by Larry Niven. He did more than read them, too, he talked about space and what would happen if you were in it, and how you'd survive, and other planets. I knew more about space travel and science fiction at 8 years old than some people do at 30. He read us kid's books too, I remember The Wizard of Oz, and The Trumpet of the Swan, thought not as vividly.

These were the days before Harry Potter, and before the whole revolution of children's books because of it. I wasn't one of those kids who read The Lord of the Rings and fell in love with it. Heck, I didn't even know what it was until I watched the movie at about 13 years old (also courtesy of my dad). So, I had my dad's books to read. I was anywhere from 8 to 16 when I read most of them, because I didn't really have many books of my own.

One of the most prominent in my mind was Jumper, by Steven Gould. I've reread it since and it's always managed to have kind of an awesome impact on me. Other books I read as a kid:

Wildside by Steven Gould
Mockingbird by Walter Tevis
Z for Zachariah by Robert O'Brien
Emergence by David Palmer
The World and Thorinn by Damon Knight
A whole slew of things by Stephen King
Ingathering by Zenna Henderson
Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
Cuckoo's Egg, by C.J Cherryh
The Stars my Destination, by Alfred Bester

I remember reading something by Hal Clement, I think it was a collection of short stories. I read a couple of Ann McAffery's Pern books, too.

There were nights when I would point a flashlight up into the sky and wonder if there was anything up there that saw it. I didn't become a hard science fiction buff, like he did, but I certainly see the world differently, thanks to him.

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