(urth) leg injuries and an interview

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Sun Apr 7 13:28:08 PDT 2013

/Microcosmic God/ blew my mind at a young age too. Nice. And maybe 
ironic too, given that he was not even a Catholic at the time, but the 
title is right up his alley.

On 4/7/2013 11:25 AM, Marc Aramini wrote:
> Certainly we have all noticed the chronic leg injuries of many of 
> Wolfe's characters. I honestly don't like putting biographical stuff 
> into interpretation unless it is very clear or explicitly referenced, 
> but I thought this statement, by Gene in an interview with Larry 
> McCaffery, was interesting. It seems to me that he associates his 
> earliest Tackman Babcock type realization of SF with a leg injury:
> Did you read a lot of SF as a child?
> Wolfe: Every chance I could. I had a very nice grandmother named Alma 
> Wolfe who used to save me the Sunday comics so that when I visited her 
> there would always be a huge stack of Sunday funnies. I read those 
> with particular attention to Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon./*Once when 
> I was a kid in Houston I fell off my bike and hurt my leg badly enough 
> so that my mother had to drive me to school for a while in the family 
> car. On one of those drives she had a paperback book lying in the 
> front seat, and when I looked down at the picture on the cover I saw a 
> picture like the one I had seen in the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon 
> comics, with a tremendous chrome tower and a rocket ship being 
> launched.*/**It was a paperback collection of SF stories edited by Don 
> Wollheim, who was about 22 in those days. My mother had brought it to 
> read while she was waiting for me to get out of school (she was a big 
> mystery fan but had bought this as a change of pace). I asked her if I 
> could read this one when she was finished, and she said I could have 
> it right away since she didn't much care for it. The first story I 
> came across was "The Microcosmic God" by Theodore Sturgeon, which was 
> my first real encounter with SF. It was at that point I realized these 
> were not just stories I enjoyed—like those of Edgar Allan Poe, or the 
> Oz books by L. Frank Baum and the books by Ruth Plumly Thompson—but 
> that they constituted a genre. From the Wollheim anthology, which was 
> the very first American SF paperback anthology, I worked backwards and 
> discovered the SF pulps—/Planet Stories/, /Thrilling Wonder Stories/, 
> /Weird Tales/, /Famous Fantastic Mysteries/ (that was my favorite) and 
> /Amazing Stories/, all of which were still on sale for 20 or 25 cents. 
> As a kid in junior high school, I used to walk six blocks or so up to 
> the Richmond pharmacy, pick up one of those magazines, hide behind the 
> candy case, and read until the pharmacist saw me and threw me out. 
> Since I was usually interrupted in the middle of the story, I'd go 
> away for a few days and then sneak back and take up where I'd left off.
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