[PW] Quote: The Golden Age of science fiction is twelve

Ivan Van Laningham ivanlan9 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 14 13:37:50 PDT 2020

Huh.  I absolutely, 100% certainly heard it long before 1972.  I may not be
so reliable for what I say next, but for that I am.

It seems to me, and I may well be wrong, that I heard it before 1960; what
I remember is that it appeared, and might have been formulated by, P
Schuyler Miller in one of his *Astounding *(not *Analog*) book review
columns (“The Reference Library”).  Some few of these are online:

I read many of these when they came out in the early 50s, and I was staying
with my grandparents in Evansville, IN, which had a superior library
system. In Peoria, IL, where I lived, I was not allowed to check out
anything younger or older than my age-grade.  Since in 6th grade I was
reading at an early college level, you can imagine that this drove me
*insane*.  Peoria also eschewed anything not morally uplifting, so both the
Oz books and science fiction suffered. You can see why I rarely visited the
Peoria library system.  Evansville, on the other hand, kept HUNDREDS of
back issues of all the major SF magazines, so when I visited I was in a
blissful place indeed.

Again, I do not promise to have read that quote in “The Reference
Library.”  But it would please me greatly if that were to prove to be the


On Wed, Oct 14, 2020 at 1:29 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>

> Adherents of the science fiction (SF) genre debate whether a Golden
> Age of creativity and exploration occurred during the 1930's, 1940's,
> 1950's, or 1960's. A fan who was asked to name the years of this
> magnificent era responded by cleverly reinterpreting the query and
> presenting the age of a child experiencing SF with fresh directness:
> The Golden Age of science fiction is twelve.
> Variant statements use the age thirteen or fourteen.
> The Quote Investigator website now has an entry on this topic:
> https://quoteinvestigator.com/2020/10/14/golden-age/
> The earliest evidence I could locate appeared in a book introduction
> by Terry Carr dated June 9, 1972. Carr credited a fan named Peter
> Graham. Knowledgeable SF fans subscribe to this list. Earlier
> published evidence or earwitness testimony would be welcome.
> In 1978 Carr stated that he heard the quotation from Graham circa 1960.
> In 1998 SF author and critic Thomas M. Disch stated that he heard the
> saying from Carr in 1964:
> In August 1997 editor Gary Farber posted a message about the saying to
> the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.sf.written. Farber credited Graham and
> suggested that the remark appeared in the fanzine “VOID” circa 1957.
> Unfortunately, Farber did not provide a precise citation.
> Scans of the fanzine “VOID” are currently available on “The Fanac: Fan
> History Project” website here.
> http://www.fanac.org/fanzines/VOID/
> I accessed the scans of issues 9, 10, 22 part 3, 23, 24, 26, and 29
> and used OCR (optical character recognition). I searched the resultant
> text and did not find the quotation. I grew tired and stopped. It is
> possible my search was inadequate, and I missed the quotation. Also,
> OCR can be faulty. Hence, searching VOID or other fanzines would be
> helpful.
> Garson O'Toole
> QuoteInvestigator.com
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> list at project-wombat.org
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Ivan Van Laningham
God N Locomotive Works
Army Signal Corps:  Cu Chi, Class of '70
Author:  Teach Yourself Python in 24 Hours

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