February 19th, 2007

abstract butterfly

stranger in a strange land

I thought yesterday about the public library I visited when I was a young teen. Although we had a good local library, we drove to the main county library branch in the town sixteen miles away.
The Clark County Library in Arkadelphia had things that Gurdon lacked--such as the works of the golden age science fiction masters--pulp fiction heroes from Heinlein to Norton to Asimov to Clarke, to a host of lesser lights. I remember that one, written by the obscure formula populist Jeff Sutton, closed with the tag line "Merlon Terle, Teleport!", as the teleport in fact teleported away.

In addition, the library had Baroque Chess Openings, that formative work advocating unusual blockading strategies which I have applied ever since not only to chess but also to life. People talk about tihngs that made their adolescent lives work. The public library served that purpose for me. I got books there that made me realize that We are Not Alone, when teen years could sometimes seem filled with pod people.