Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dashing Heroines and Nerdy Heros... in the Toliet

I have an odd bathroom. It’s got five corners. Decorating it has been baffling, to say the least, but I finally had a brainstorm the other day. What we needed was a bookshelf! (I often say this when thinking about decorating any part of our house because, well, we’re always in need of more room for books.) But, in keeping with the sort of light, bathroom reading I like to do, my partner Shawn and I are actually on a mission to fill the shelves (built to order for paperbacks) with pulp classics.

Thus, for the first time in my life I’m reading books with titles like Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Land That Time Forgot (yes, Verne and Burroughs). Also, at a recent foray to Uncle Hugo’s I picked up all of the John Carter of Mars series (also Burroughs) because I had fond memories of taking them out of the school library as a kid. They even had the cover art I remembered!

My son, who is turning four in six days, also discovered that Marvel Comics has put out a series of kid-friendly (they’re calling them “all ages”) titles that include a number of my favorite teams, including the Fantastic Four. One thing I noticed? The FF go into space a lot. Mason’s current favorite issue involves a trip the FF take to the “far side of a cloud of negative energy” where, due to a case of mistaken identity, they end up unleashing the universe’s most ultimate evil: Ego, the living planet.

It’s some of the worst science fiction I’ve ever read.

I absolutely adore it.

In fact, I went to Dreamhaven with Mason today and dropped a whole wad of cash on more of the same. It’s fascinating to me to watch Mason be drawn to the more fantastical and outlandish issues. He’s moderately interested in the politics of Black Panther’s vibranium mines, but put our fearless heroes in space and he’s there. The only stories he’s asked me to re-read are the ones that involve space or aliens.

It makes me proud. But, it also fascinates me. Why are some of us drawn to these kinds of stories? What is it that trips our triggers in a way that other stories don’t? Mason (and I) read all sorts of things, but his eyes (and mine) light up the instant there are rocket ships and some nerd saying, “according to my calculations….”

I’m glad to see new “golden age” type SF being written in comic books, but who else is writing it any more? I wish I were any good at it. I think I could be a hero to my son if I could write something that involved dashing heroines and nerdy heros.


Shauna Roberts said...

Gosh, aren't you afraid the humidity will damage the fragile old books? (I live in New Orleans, and after the federal levee failure I had to throw out dozens (hundreds?) of old books that hadn't been underwater but were destroyed by mold anyway.)

Can't think of any old-fashioned comic books. But Charles Allen Gramlich's new Talera Cycle trilogy is based on the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard. Books 1 (Swords of Talera) and 2 (Wings over Talera) came out this spring and are available at Amazon.

lydamorehouse said...

I'm sure the humidity won't do the books any good, but these are books we picked up for fifty cents a piece.

I'll have to check out Gramlich's books. Thanks for the recommendation!