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.
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!
I’ve seen a few episodes of the Twilight Zone but not for years. This has me intrigued and I love stories like this- sole survivor tales always catch my eye!
My first taste of vintage SF was probably Andre Norton. She wrote a lot of books and I read a ton!
I’ll have to check out Andre Norton’s work!
I think you’d love Time Enough at Last.
I love re-watching the old Twilight Zone episodes, and this particular episode is the one that hooked my interest initially…for the same reasons. I don’t know if it’s my favorite episode…I tend to re-watch the one about the man wandering into his own past more than the rest, though.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that one. Do you remember the title of it?
“Walking Distance”! 🙂 “A Stop at Willoughby” has sort of the same theme, but WD is childhood-specific.
I only ever watched a handful of Twilight Zone episodes, but they’ve all really intrigued me. I need to go back and watch more of them.
My first experience with vintage sci-fi (at least as far as I remember) is a short story collection edited by Isaac Asimov called Where Do We Go From Here? As with all collections, some of the stories are better than others, I feel but the collection as a whole serves as a really good example of vintage sci-fi. (Sadly, including the very non-diverse part of it…)
Is that the one where Asimov has the afterwords trying to get the reader to use the content to ask deeper questions about the science involved? Or was that another of his collections…
I hope you get an answer, Stephen. I’m curious, too.
Based on my notes, I think it must be!
I was replying from work earlier, so I didn’t have time go digging. 🙂
I hope you do go back and watch them!
Where Do We Go From Here? sounds really good.
I think Twilight Zone was my first experience with vintage sci-fi, too. My mom loved that show and watched it over and over. I’ve seen the episode you’re talking about many times. 🙂
That is so neat!
I grew up watching Twilight Zone when it was on it’s first run. I remember a number of them. When watching re-runs it’s fun to spot a number of Star Trek actors getting an early start on their career. This episode is the one burned forever in my memory. Anyone who loves to read gets it all the way.
Wow, very cool!
And I had no idea that lots of Star Trek actors started out on Twilight Zone episodes.
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly that I can remember.
Neat. I’ll keep an eye out for them when I rewatch that show someday.