Lobsters Stuffed With Tacos

A Hero's Journey Through Science Fiction

Roger Ebert’s “Thought Experiments”

“When I was eleven or twelve…I was reading all the prozines–Analog, F&SF, Galaxy, If, Infinity, Imagination, Imaginative Tales, Fantastic Universe . . . see how I can still name them. I waited impatiently for the installments of Hal Clement’s Mission of Gravity in ASF. Emsh and Freas, tiny signatures at the bottom of the covers, began to mean a lot to me–and Chesley Bonestell on F&SF, of course. I have hundreds of mags in a closet even now, all with a little sticker on the inside cover that says Roger Ebert’s Science Fiction Collection. Every five years or so, in the middle of another task, I’ll look at them and a particular cover will bring memory flooding back like a madeleine. The cover of If, for example, illustrating the story about a toy that zapped paper clips into the fourth dimension–and what happened when they started leaking back into this one. I bought the Ballantine paperbacks by Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Sheckley, and the Ace Doubles by Murray Leinster and Eric Frank Russell. I bought the anthologies by Groff Conklin and H.L. Gold and the legendary John W. Campbell, Jr. I founded the Urbana High School Science Fiction Club; we rented “Destination Moon” and showed it in the auditorium, we went to a speech on the campus by Clarke and got his autograph, and we made a tape recording of H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds, complete with sound effects and a performance by my classmate Dave Stiers, who later became David Ogden Stiers of M*A*S*H.”

–Roger Ebert, “Thought Experiments” Asimov’s Science Fiction

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