25 October 2012

Timeslips (sideways)

I have been sending out emails inviting people I know to participate in a survey organised by Elsie, a teenager who is researching a project on “what makes a novel a classic?”*
Replies have been rolling in from generous people who have given Elsie their time and thought. One of them is from Dirk Dusharme, who continued in a vein which (while not primarily concerned with SF) fits well with my “Timeslips” opener of yesterday:
It's funny though. Just this last week I was thinking I should go back and reread some of my favorite childhood books.
I was thinking Robinson Crusoe, Les Miserables, Kidnapped (which I remember really liking), Black Stallion (I read all of them), Dr. Doolittle (read all of them as well). So many....
And I don't know if you ever came across this series as a kid Danny Dunn and the.... Time machine, Homework machine, etc. They were all kind of technology things. Danny was a boy genius, his dad a rocket scientist, and Danny would get into some sort of mischief involving his latest invention. Kind of a nerdy Hardy Boys thing. Read all of them as well. I basically hid in the library as a kid... better than the real world.
[… … …]
...the first SF book I read that really captivated me [was] Andre Norton's Moon of Three Rings. It was like nothing I had ever read before [… … …] at some level, making me realize that characters in books could be very real and relatable. And that was important.
I never encountered the Black Stallion or Danny Dunn books, but I loved all of the others in that list. I have a surreal image of Dirk in a library in California, me in a library in South Australia, both devouring the same Dr Dolittle book at the same time (perhaps Doctor Dolittle in the moon, since that qualifies as a science fiction with its space travel by giant moth...)

*If you want to take part yourself, feel free – Elsie would, I know, appreciate it. Click here.
  • Hugh Lofting, Doctor Dolittle in the Moon. 1929, London: Jonathan Cape. 

1 comment:

Geoff said...

My favourite books were the Rupert Bear Annuals.
I was - due to my life sutuation, family and school - greatly upset when I discovered they were fiction. I spent years looking in holes in trees and the ground for a way in. I sometimes wonder, when I look around me at my fellow apes and their behaviour, have I fully recovered?