August 19th, 2020

those who forget history

In a recent blog post, John Scalzi wrote about "the days where a kid’s first introduction to the genre was a Heinlein or Asimov novel, smuggled out of the adult fiction section of the library or bookstore like samizdat." That's a nice rhetorical flourish, but it leaves me wondering what planet Scalzi's libraries were on. One of Heinlein's major bodies of work was the twelve "juveniles" (we would now call them "young adult novels") that he wrote for Scribner's, directed specifically at younger readers and meant to be bought by libraries. My library had all the Heinlein juveniles and many of the Norton juveniles in the "children's" section, and I read both series repeatedly. (I wonder if Scalzi also intends to dismiss Norton as unmemorable?) Even Asimov had a juvenile series, the Lucky Starr books, though I don't think they were up to the standards of the big two.

Scalzi seems to hold the history of the field in such contempt that he can't be bothered to describe it accurately. It seems a rather adolescent attitude for a man who's past fifty.