• Welcome to LydiaSchoch.com

Vintage Science Fiction Month: My First Taste of Vintage SciFi

Vintage SciFi Month was created by Little Red Reviewer and is moderated by Red Star Reviews. Any science fiction film, short story, play, or book released before 1979 is eligible for this celebration of classic science fiction. 

Let’s take a walk down memory lane today.

My family didn’t have cable* for most of my childhood, and there were a few years there when we didn’t own a TV either.

Photo of Burgess Meredith from The Twilight Zone episode "Time Enough at Last".Many of the shows we watched were old enough to have sold rerun rights to public TV or to channels that could be tuned into if you had a good antenna. This means that my first taste of vintage science fiction might have been a little out of the ordinary for the average kid my age.

I had no idea what The Twilight Zone was when I began watching Time Enough at Last.

All I knew was that I totally understood where Henry Bemis was coming from as he was distracted from reading over and over again as he went through his day.

There’s nothing like being in the middle of a good book only to have to stop and put it down when someone asks you a question, it’s time to eat, or you have some other urgent business to take care of.

Sometimes I’d grab my book, load up on snacks, and go hide underneath a piano or behind the couch so I could finish at least one more chapter without interruption. Bemis tried similar tactics, including taking his lunch hour in the vault at the bank where he worked so he could finally read in peace.

The trouble was, he picked that particular reading spot on the same day something terrible was about to happen to his city that would leave him the sole survivor.

Yes, you’ll have to watch it for yourselves to see what that tragedy was and why he survived.

What I remembered being most fascinated by was his reaction to leaving the vault and discovering his entire world had changed forever. I would have been frightened and yet he seemed oddly relieved. He finally had all of the time he could ever want to read!

If you haven’t seen this episode yet, do give it a shot. The ending was as clever as it was thought provoking. While I do see some plot holes in it that I didn’t notice as a kid, I still enjoyed the process of seeing how Henry reacted to a day in which literally nothing went the way he thought it would.

*We didn’t have Internet access either, but I grew up at a time when that was still common for non-wealthy people who didn’t work in the tech industry.

If you remember what your first taste of vintage science fiction was, tell me about it in the comment section below!

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Something I Collected as a Child

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

I have one predictable and one unexpected answer for this week’s prompt.

The predictable answer: books. I had several relatives who would send new books to me as Christmas and birthday presents. Between those gifts and the libraries I visited, I was always lucky enough to have something good to read.

cupped hands holding soil and earthworms
This isn’t me, but you get the idea.

The unexpected answer: earthworms.

Yes, I’ll explain this one.

After my two pet hamsters lived out full, happy lives and went to hamster heaven, my mother repurposed their old glass cage into a container to grow a few plants. She placed it in my bedroom.

I was about nine or ten at this point and wondered how my plants would fare if they didn’t have any earthworms to aerate and enrich their soil.

This thought bubbled to the front of my mind again the next time I went outside after a storm and saw earthworms lying on the sidewalk. Worried they might drown, I picked a few up, brought them home, and put them into the soil where they’d be safe from predators, careless humans, or future thunderstorms.

This was something I continued to do every so often without thinking to tell my parents about my private collection of rescued earthworms.

When I was eleven, my family moved a few thousand miles away to a new home. One of the last things we did before we moved was dump out the soil and plants from that container into the backyard.

My perplexed (and maybe slightly horrified) mother saw dozens of earthworms wiggling their way free as we emptied out the soil. She asked why there were so many of them, so I told her. Mom was too stunned to reply at first.

I didn’t get in trouble, but she did gently tell me not to rescue any more earthworms in the future. Apparently, they can fare quite well for themselves if you leave them to their own devices.

I’d like to think I amused my parents! If nothing else, they had ample proof they’d raised a compassionate child.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

My list will be a short one this week. I tend to be a mood reader, and 2020 only amplified that preference a hundred times over. Honestly, I don’t generally know what I want to read next with these few exceptions.

My hope is that I will be able to finish these books this year.

A Promised Land Barack Obama book cover. image on cover is of President Obama looking to the side and smiling.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama.

I’ve read a few of President Obama’s other books and enjoyed them.

 

The End of Everything by Katie Mack book cover. Image on cover is of a stylized set of curved lines against a night sky.

The End of Everything by Katie Mack

Ms. Mack gave a (virtual) talk at my local library this past autumn that was excellent. Between that and her entertaining Twitter account, I look forward to reading more of her thoughts on astrophysics soon.

Stargazing by Jen Wang book cover. image on cover is of two cartoon children looking up at the stars. One of them is holding an opened book.

Stargazing by Jen Wang

So many of you have talked about Stargazing that I simply have to check it out.

6 Weird Things About Writing

person wearing a white sheet over their body and sitting on a couch. they are also wearing sunglasses and a hat.Have you ever taken a moment to think about how weird the writing process can be?

When it’s done well, the end result can be characters and settings that were so well-developed it’s hard to remember they don’t actually exist in our world.

That in an of itself is just a little strange (in a delightful sort of way) if I spend too much time pondering it, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg once one digs their way into the process of writing itself.

I know some of my readers are fellow writers, so you’re probably going to be familiar with at least some of what I’m about to say.

 

Googling Bizarre Things

Person's hand holding a sketch of planet earth. Below this image is a search bar.

That is to say, topics that aren’t actually connected to my daily life whatsoever.

I’m not pregnant or planning to adopt, but I still spend an inordinate amount of time on baby naming websites.

I have no interest in being one of the first humans to live on Mars or any other non-Earth destination, but I read every scrap of information I can find about space travel and what humans can realistically expect to happen when humans start sending people to Mars or the Moon to establish permanent or temporary homes there. This includes everything from how they’ll dispose of human waste to possible burial practices when someone dies during one of these missions to what the dust on other planets might smell like.

These are two of the tamer things I’ve searched for online. Here’s hoping no one looks through my other searches and assumes that all or any of them are based on what my actual plans are for the near future.

Eavesdropping

A stone sculpture of someone eavesdropping Some people might eavesdrop for juicy gossip or to learn things that they know others wouldn’t want them to hear.

I’m not one of them.

When I overhear other people’s conversations, my brain immediately jumps into dialogue mode.

How are their sentences structured? Which dialect(s) are they using? How often do the speakers interrupt each other, if ever? Do they stick to one topic or jump around?

Only then do I think about what they’re actually saying. Some people reveal a great deal about their lives from the conversations they have in public, while others remain closed books at least in the short amount of time I spend listening to their portions of the conversation.

Gaining Unusual Knowledge

man holding book that has sparks of light coming out from it.The upside of all of this research is that I’ve studied all sorts of topics that most people with similar backgrounds probably wouldn’t know.

For example, I can tell you what the odds are of surviving the various types of smallpox even though that disease was eradicated years before I was born.

I also know what cyanide tastes like, how to cauterize a wound, and a few different methods to cure the hides of large animals after a big hunt.

(Here’s hoping this blog post won’t get me put on any watchlists. Ha!)

Talking to Characters

nails and other small pieces of metal arranged to look like a human face and shoulders. The metal figure is staring straight ahead with a serious expression on their face. There’s something about talking to your characters that makes it easier to iron out plans for plot twists or future character development in my experience.

Yes, sometimes I even talk to my characters out loud and wait for a response. No, I don’t expect them to literally respond.

It’s simply a way to sort out my thoughts and figure out which ideas, if any, actually fit that particular character at that particular moment in their life.

A moment of silence helps me figure out where to go next. Does idea X or Y makes more sense? Or maybe I should try idea Z first even though it’s newer and needs more development?

Forgetting to Eat

An empty white plate on a blue background Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I’m writing that I forget what time it is.

This includes the typical times of day when I have my next meal.

There’s something about getting that next scene sketched out or blog post written that makes it easy to lose track of time like that.

Who wants to stop writing in that moment? Certainly not me!

Although my growling stomach eventually reminds me that writers aren’t machines and it’s time to stop and grab a plate of something.

Taking Breaks Feels Bizarre

A bulldog lying on the ground while looking up expectanctly at the viewerLast month I took a two week break from any sort of writing at all.

It was weird to spend those days doing things that were in no way to related to any step of the writing process, but ultimately I know how important it is to step away from a project and let one’s mind rest for a while.

This technique also works for much shorter breaks. Sometimes I’ll go take a walk when I’m struggling with how to phrase a particular blog post or passage in one of my stories. There’s something about stepping away from the issue that makes it much easier to resolve when walk or vacation time ends.

Don’t let this section make you assume that I write thousands of words every single day. My output does vary from one day to the next, but not having any of it at all is something I need to adjust to every time another break come up again.

Fellow writers, what would you add to this list?