Thursday, April 14, 2005

Childhood Favorites

Following in the footsteps of Bill Crider and Ed Gorman, I guess I'll muse a little about the books I liked as a kid. Nearly all of them were series books, and the first series I recall really liking (I was about seven at the time) were the Freddy the Pig books by Walter Brooks. The premise, as I remember it, was that animals could talk, it's just that nobody ever bothered to ask them anything, until finally a pig named Freddy spoke up. Then all sorts of adventures ensued. I checked out every one of these I could find from the bookmobile.

I always liked mysteries as well, and soon discovered the Hardy Boys. I read all of those that were available. Only read one Nancy Drew book in my life, though. I guess back then I was still in my "girls are icky" phase. I've been told that the original Nancy Drew books hold up better than the Hardy Boys, though.

My favorite along those lines was the Rick Brant series by John Blaine (who was actually a writer named Hal Goodwin, I found out years later). Rick Brant was a teenage boy who lived on an island with his scientist father and a bunch of other scientists, and he and his friend Scotty had adventures all over the world and hung out with famous scientists and spies. Absolutely wonderful stuff. I reread some of these a few years ago and still thoroughly enjoyed them.

By fifth grade I had discovered Westerns and was a fan of Max Brand, Clarence E. Mulford, and Zane Grey. That's also about the same time I started reading science fiction, mostly Robert A. Heinlein (HAVE SPACESUIT -- WILL TRAVEL was the first one of his I read) and Isaac Asimov, as Paul French (the Lucky Starr books). I was also fond of Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. But nobody was cooler than John Carter of Mars. Over in the mystery section I had found the Three Investigators books but was also moving on to more adult material -- Ian Fleming and Mickey Spillane, to be precise. A year or so later I was reading Agatha Christie and ripping through every Leslie Charteris Saint book that I could get my hands on. Shortly after that, Doc Savage and then Conan, and on and on, and I'm still at it . . .

Then there were the comic books -- but that's enough wallowing in nostalgia for now.

No comments: