Isaac Asimov . . .
Robert Heinlein . . .
and the king of all of the Science Fiction writers as far as I was concerned . . . Arthur C. Clarke.
I read the works of these guys voraciously when I was 12, 13, 14 years old. I lived in their worlds, and loved them. And I read the Star Trek novels, too.
Yes, I was a major nerd by popular definition [As an aside, just for the record, "bully's" aren't a phenomena that just recently occurred, despite the ads that are now on TV against it - I was on the receiving end of that ignorance many times, years ago]. In fact, when tested, I was reading at college level by the time I was in the sixth grade. Not because I was some sort of genius, (I’m most certainly NOT), but because I READ.
I can recall pleading for a few dollars from my mother so that I could buy a book at the Book Fair that was setting up at my school [I don't know if they still have those anymore, but they used to]. I didn’t have a specific title in mind, I just loved to read, and wanted to buy a book. I can still recall what I purchased with the money that I had begged for: “The Deep,” by Robert Benchley, in paperback, because that was all that I could afford. He also wrote “Jaws,” which ended up being made into a pretty successful movie franchise.
I also read Shakespeare, and Mark Twain, and Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.” And nobody made me read them, either; I wanted to read them. It wasn’t for any school assignment, it was me, being a geek. Then there was military history, strategy and tactics and, in particular, Civil War history.
I don’t think there was any author of note in the field of Civil War history that I didn’t read; most of them more than once.
Sun Tzu: The Art of War – not the American Civil War, but I read it. And biographies – Lord knows I read a bunch of those, and still do; business leaders, rock stars, you name it. Let’s not leave out the Scriptures, either. Not just Christian, but Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Islamic, and a few more, too.
And I read Adolph Hitler’s book, “Mein Kampff,” (not sure I spelled that right). Why? Because I wanted to know what he thought. Here’s the real kicker of it all . . . I probably read all of these books before I was sixteen years old.
Yes, I was, and am, a certifiable, documented book nerd. Why I write of this tonight is because I wonder, since I am an author myself, is there any one of these people whose style is most evident in what I put to the page?
All of these influences – I just have to wonder if I write like one of them in particular, or if my style is just a mish-mash of all of them. It’s an interesting question, since none of us do anything that isn’t a reflection, if only dimly, of a previous influence upon the way that we think.
That’s all very interesting, but there is an even MORE important point that I want to make: ALL of these amazing works, (though I exempt Hitler’s writings – and really shouldn’t – because he outlined quite clearly the hell that he intended to unleash, and his twisted worldview was ignored), are still available for you to read. In fact, you can read most of them for free courtesy of your local library.
The world is rapidly changing, so it is hard to gauge just how long we have before the printed word, on paper, ceases to exist.
I like the feel of paper in my hand . . . I’m “old school” in that way, even though I am well-versed in digital technology. Popular titles, best-sellers and such, will likely continue to be accessible in an e-book format . . . but what of the lesser known works, that didn’t sell millions, or even thousands, of copies. What of them? Will you be able to find them ten years from now, or even five years?
Get to your local library – support it. Just wander the aisles and see what jumps out at you. There is a world of knowledge that you cannot even imagine tucked away on dusty shelves. The day may come when these long-forgotten tomes are gone forever.
Broaden your horizons! READ something that is outside of your self-imposed “area of interest.” It will enrich your life.
Many Blessings To All…