When I was a child I lived in a village that was far away from any library. Fortunately my mother had a good friend who possessed bookshelves full of all types of books. I remember going home every Friday afternoon with armfuls of new books to read. At the age of 8 I already had a reading age of 13, according to tests which had been done at school, so it wasn’t long before I left childish books behind and was devouring science fiction and fantasy. I remember one day a school friend of mine looked up from the childish, illustrated book of Cinderella she was reading to tell me that science fiction was rubbish: ‘It will never happen’.
‘Why’ I wondered ‘did some people think that stories had to come true?’
Fortunately, as I was growing up I gravitated towards adults who understood my need to absorb new ideas and words.
Some of the books I read were collections of short fantasy stories. I think they might have appeared monthly and my mother’s friend had had a story published in one issue. A story I especially remember was written by an author supposedly shut in a room with nothing except a typewriter. He was expected to turn out reams of pages of writing in exchange for being deprived of day and night and fed tasteless purée. An interesting exercise if you think about it.
How was I to know that some stories do come true eventually and I was destined to take the place of that long ago writer? I wonder how many others have passed through here and how long they stayed, were they let out, sane or insane or did they die completely disorientated?