Hidden Treasure

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.


  1. You know, I’ve heard a lot about why certain publishers don’t want to pay authors “anymore.” They always say the market has changed, that it was easier to pay in the past, but the realities of today make it harder. I’ve heard that sort of excuse a lot. So it’s very interesting to me that the exact same thing was happening in Asimov’s day as well. Yes, I find that very, very interesting.

  2. Right, I wonder if it’s all either negative talk from people who have achieved lofty heights of success and don’t want to let anyone else in their club, or shitty writers blaming their shittiness on other people. 😂

  3. I don’t know. But the next time someone tries telling me the market’s changed, and that’s why new writers don’t get paid, I’m going to tell that person about this.

  4. There are so many good Isaac Asimov rants in those mags. It’s just endless ranting. I have one from 1983 that’s got him and Jerry pournelle beefing back and forth in the letters section about the necessity of war

  5. I have a theory that writers get shit on because they tend to be the type of person not to assert themselves. They may make something that touches millions of people, but they aren’t the face of it. I’d be hard-pressed to come up with ten famous authors, past or present who aren’t outspoken, aggressively opinionated people. Asimov was definitely one. Talk about somebody who didn’t take any shit from anyone. I haven’t experienced any shit because I’ve not yet attempted to submit anything for professional publication, but I would imagine that they give shit because we have shown we’re willing to take it. And the ones who make it big have thrown that shit right back. Have to be a bit of an asshole, I’d say.

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