I wish I had a lot more time to read. I own hundreds and hundreds of books, some of which I’ve been carting around for 30 or 40 years. Don’t remember a thing about some of them except that I enjoyed them. It would be nice to sit down for a few years and just read.
And not just the old books, either. I’d love to buy lots of new ones.
I generally read the Resnick/Malzberg column in the SFWA Bulletin, and this month they were talking about specialty publishers — small houses that are supporting the history of science fiction by keeping classics in print. So today I have an itch to rush out and buy all the science fiction I can find. It’s a mild form of mania — a raw desire to buy thousands of books simply because it would be so cool to own them! Complete collections of Heinlein, Sturgeon, Poul Anderson, and a host of other visionaries. I’ve got most of the Philip Dick paperbacks … but maybe I’m missing a few!
I won’t do it, of course. I wouldn’t have time to read them all, and I’m not rich enough to indulge such whims purely for the sake of having a well-stocked private library. Besides, a lot of the old science fiction wasn’t actually very good. Reading it would be in the nature of a research project – to find out what ideas were amazing or trendy in 1950, and what cultural blind spots the writers wallowed in without knowing it.
Some of the cultural blind spots are interesting. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, there was a lot of SF in which everybody was having happy sex with everybody else (or at least, with everybody else of the opposite sex). STDs weren’t even a blip on the radar, and nor was the importance of long-term pair-bonding to emotional health.
But I’d still like to own all those books!