I remember the first science fiction story I read in high school, a short story, termed a novella, by Philip Jose Farmer. Mr. Farmer turned 90 years old on January 26th of this year. Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, Mr. Farmer spent most of his life in Peoria, Illinois, about eighty some miles from where I live.

The story I read was Riders of the Purple Wage. The title obviously a play on Zane Grey’s western-themed story title, published in 1912, The Riders of the Purple Sage. Mr. Farmer’s story was published in 1967 but I first read it circa 1972 in a compendium, either the Hugo Award winners or Nebula Award winners, can’t remember which, in paperback.

This is the sort of science fiction I like and I miss it. Going through the sci-fi section at Barnes & Noble, I find most of the sci-fi books are about vampires, vampire-related stories, fairy kings and queens, military sci-fi, alt sci-fi which is sci-fi or fantasy occurring in the past, say 1689, for example. I have a book by Simon Greene that I am a third of the way through and I’ve stopped reading it. I don’t much like the Mysterie and Veritie story line, where Mysterie is the magical, hidden realm, and Veritie is real life. The character passes back and forth between the two. Where is the science in that?

I just bought a new book by Jack McDevitt, Odyssey. I am on page twenty-eight and believe I will like this book. Mr. McDevitt is 72. I saw some books at Barnes & Noble I might try next by Ben Bova, apparently heavily plotted towards space exploration. There is science in that. Mr. Bova is 75. I guess I am just out of touch with modern sci-fi. Alas, I must be getting old too!

I guess the fantasy genre has taken over for the most part in science fiction. Perhaps I should write my own sci-fi stories, which is a reason I began this blog, to practice my exposition as well as learn a thing or two. Of course, if everyone is purchasing vampire stories, then it’s probably a waste of time.

In looking around the web, I see that Mr. Farmer’s story did win the Hugo in 1968. His website is very interesting with many rich links for sci-fi aficionado’s here http://www.pjfarmer.com/.

Scotty, beam me aboard. I have some books to read.

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