The Golden Age of Science Fiction, from the 1930s to 50s, was undeniably a formative period that gave birth to the science fiction of today. Hard core SF fans will know that John W. Campbell was a powerful influence on how the sci-fi stories were shaped, written, and perceived. He fostered the talents of Isaac Asimov, L. Ron Hubbard, Robert A. Heinlein, and many more. His view of science fiction as a powerful tool for shaping the future (sound familiar?) colored the way types of stories he published as editor of Astounding magazine, later renamed Analog Science Fiction and Fact.
But Campbell and his writers were flawed human beings and there are many nuances to the history of those early days of science fiction to be wrestled with as we come to terms with the racism, misogyny, and crackpot ideas that spun out of the early sci-fi movement (looking at you, Scientology).
I recently read Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee. It is a comprehensive group biography of these men and the influence they still wield today on all areas of sci-fi. I invited Alec to join me on my podcast and chat with me about his fantastic book, his fiction, and we even got to geek out a little over Andy Weir and our shared love of The X-Files.
Take a listen or watch below and be sure to check out Alec Nevala-Lees site: nevalalee.com.