Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Different Reading Experiences

Part of the experience of reading a book is where and when we first read it, which is different for each of us. I started to read Poul Anderson's Perish By The Sword (New York, 1959) in the cafe of the Tate Gallery at Albert Dock, Liverpool, formerly a dock, now a memorabilia, museum and tourist area, on 30 September, 2013. Two members of my family attended the Chagall Exhibition but I preferred to drink coffee and read Anderson.

Later, I sat on a bench overlooking the Dock beside the Maritime Museum. Liverpool has history and I have history
with Liverpool. The teenage girl who served us in a confectionery shop spoke in a singsong Liverpudlian accent which brought back the ten years when I worked in Merseyside. On this occasion, I did not have time to meditate in the Anglican Cathedral, eat in an upstairs vegetarian restaurant or visit either of the sf and comics shops, Worlds Apart or Forbidden Planet.

I started to read this novel for the first time in the future, forty four years after its publication. Our twenty first century has cyberspace but not yet hyperspace and Global Warming instead of Cold War. Our future, forty four years hence, in 2057, remains as unknown to us as our 2013 was to Anderson and his fellow sf writers. Moreover, I would be 108 then but nevertheless hope to live long enough to see most of what transpires between now and then.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read Anderson's three Trygve Yamamura novels when I was a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin (1985-87). I think they were in the Rare Book Room.

Regards, Nicholas