I love the smell of old books. I love the smell of old comic books and magazines, the finely aged newsprint, baked yellow by time. And when I open one and lift it to my nostrils for a gentle little sniff, I’m flooded with a sense of nostalgia, sometimes even for eras that were already long gone by the time I arrived on the scene.
Several years ago, I went to a used book sale at the state fairgrounds. I walked away with a giant paper sack full of vintage Asimov’s and Analog mags. I went back the next year and found more. I believe they cost about ten cents apiece, I don’t quite remember.
I’m not a collector of things. I used to be, but I’ve become somewhat a minimalist in recent years.
These, though, like most books, I plan to keep forever. I got them super cheap, and the content itself is priceless. They’re chock full of short stories and novellas by the biggest names ever to write sci-fi(just look at the names on the covers). Editorials and answered letters by Isaac Asimov himself, articles by Arthur C Clarke…shit is amazing. So many long-lost words waiting to be devoured. And you won’t find these stories, articles and pieces of artwork anywhere else but in these delightfully fragrant and yellowed pages.
Asimov’s stuffy, uniquely pretentious editorials are a delight to read.
The artwork accompanying the stories and articles is great as well. I absolutely adore 70s and 80s sci-fi art.
Something else about these that’s fun is the ads. I’d love to play this text-based Hitchiker’s Guide game! (Oh, look, someone’s uploaded vids of it to YouTube!
There’s just so much Asimov here that you’ll never find browsing the sci-fi section of Barnes & Noble. I’m sure the entire run up to now(yes, these are still in publication)is available to read online somewhere, but there’s something magical about holding these things in your hand and knowing that they aren’t readily available for purchase or download by the general public.