PASS IT ON. (WHY? BECAUSE, as Stewart Sternberg, who got the idea following a Twilight fan’s public ignorance of same, puts it: “(W)e owe it to ourselves to promote quality work and to invite the young into our fold, giving them a perspective and understanding of the traditions and tropes of our literary world … how it has helped us vent our angst, voice our identity, and celebrate our optimism.”
Science fiction (which I first grokked when I was seven; I didn’t discover fantasy until I was 15) taught me that things were possible outside my 1960s New Jersey existence: that some day, we might have space stations, an international computer network, cleaning robots and two-way TV — not to mention an understanding between races and nationalities that there are more exciting human games than trying to whack each other lifeless. Learning that others shared these secret goshwow dreams has, in some cases, helped me face another day; “being” a science fiction fan feels like membership in a vast underground culture of people who get it. That’s probably common to many in the pre-postpunk and earlier demographics but may not be so now that multimedia SF (film, TV, videogame, webcast) is more dominant than the book-and-zine scene of our youth — before Google and Harry Potter, or cheap access and cultural prevalence, science fiction and its acolytes led a more furtive existence. But the camaraderie’s the same — and likely always will be.
In short: Those who know not the joys of Vance and Bester, Leiber and Brown, Ellison and Sturgeon, Asimov and Clarke, or even bookbound Tolkien are, Arthur-like, unaware of their great heritage; from the first murmurs of Capek and Gernsback to today’s CGI-fueled cyberdreams — and those of us who remember the past are obligated to teach it. Squa tront!)