Once again, this is my territory, discussing books and authors from way back when the dinosaurs still roam the Earth, B.C. yes, before covid, and well before twitter, computers, and any kind of social media. Back in the days when I could read 3-4 SFF books a week. Mostly because they were all between 300 and 350 pages long.
Just in case you don’t already know, Im one of those for whom ‘Golden Oldies’ means my era, the 70s and 80s. And, as I’ve already written a post about Women in SFF that focuses in on female authors during this era, along with a spotlight on Brit SF author, Brian Stableford, who was ultra prolific during the 70s, maybe I need to look at another aspect of what constitutes ‘Golden Oldie’.
Do we go further back to the 40s and 50s, to the classic era of Golden Oldie, which, quite frankly, was even before my time, so while I might have read books that came out of the 50s, specifically, mostly Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke. I can’t for the life of me think of what might have come out during the war years: first and second. I’m guessing, not much.
However, if we go back even further to the mother and father(s) of fantasy and science fiction, then yes, I’ve read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (and, quite frankly, who hasn’t) along with some of H.G. Wells’ more well known works:
- The Time Machine (1895)
- The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896)
- The Invisible Man (1897)
- War of the Worlds (1898)
- The First Men in the Moon (1901)
It’s really weird to think most of these were written at the end of the 19th century, and are still relevant today, as they ever were.
Then there was also Jules Verne (1828-1905), who wrote tales of the fantastical that I loved, and had some beautiful faux leather cover versions as a teen including:
- Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864)
- From the Earth to the Moon (1865)
- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869)
- Around the World in Eighty Days (1872)
- The Mysterious Island (1875)
Again, all these come at the end of the century at a very special time, which seemed to have inspire all these authors to write about the fantastical. Who knows, all I know is that even after all this time, these stories and adventures still resonate with us as readers. I mean, who doesn’t think about War of the Worlds, and alien invasion, or us all ending up like the Morlocks from Wells’ The Time Machine, or the horror emanating from The Island of Doctor Moreau!
I know I for one, would sure love to have been on the Nautilus with Captain Nemo, or journeying to the centre of the earth with Axel, wouldn’t you? And don’t forget, Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t just write about Sherlock Holmes, he also wrote the Professor Challenger fantasy series starting with The Lost World (1912) and The Land of Mists (1926).
So whatever your idea of Golden Oldie is, I hope you find something fun to read from amongst these classic Golden Oldies.