When was the golden age of science fiction? To quote SF fan Peter Graham, it’s “12”. But certainly science fiction came into its own during the Second World War and its aftermath when John W. Campbell edited the SF magazine Astounding Stories. Alec Nevala-Lee’s new book, Astounding, provides a fascinating look at Campbell and three of his most notable contributors: Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard.
When I was 12 I was a passionate consumer of their stories, anthologised and conveniently shelved in our public library just outside the children’s section. Even then I knew these stories were silly, if fun. What I never appreciated at the time was how this genre would come to dominate our culture.