Harry Turner's Footnotes to Fandom
FOOTNOTES TO FANDOM #13    | FOOTNOTES Page | Obituary Page |

Time Bankruptcy

"Not long ago a friend expounded to me on the recently-minted concept of "time bankruptcy. He himself was time bankrupt, he admitted. You are time bankrupt when the amount of things you have acquired which you have to process - mainly books and opera recordings, in his case - cannot possibly be read or listened to in the time you have left to live."
James Meek writing in the Guardian 15 July 2000

Dear Maureen / Bruce: Thanx for the copy of SET#I. Was interested in the listings of "Essentials", being curious to see what I've missed and how far I've slipped behind with reading these days compared with the experts... Find I come out moderately well from the Drummond and Kincaid listings, while scoring only occasional hits on those compiled by Schaefer, Kaufman & Whitmore. It seems I've a considerable leeway to make up, though reading James Meek's comment above after being drummed out of the Septuagenarian Fans Association following a recent birthday, I gaze around at the Great Unread Piles of (relatively) recently acquired books and worry about this impending threat of time bankruptcy.

For the rest, was most intrigued by the piece on rereading Olaf Stapledon. Am currently reading the Crossley biography which I picked up last year: was heartened by the account of NY fans rescuing Stapledon from US bureaucratic cold-war machinations during his I949 visit. Still have a copy of the Pelican reissue of Last & First Men (that I rushed to buy in I937) on my bookshelves and have been dipping into its pages, reviving memories. As a teenager I lapped it all up, no problems - this was real science-fiction, an awesome vision of humanity's future, a considerable step above the offerings of tile US pulps that I avidly sought and collected at that time. And while Starmaker, regarded as a sequel to L&FM, was published that same year I guess it tended to be overshadowed by the appearance of Wells's Star Begotten which soon had susceptible sf fans of the clay dreaming that they were the Chosen, the star-begotten...

Last & First Men was such a vital part of of growing up into fandom, that I can't look at it now with quite the same detachment as Bruce Gillespie achieves.

In between times I have been attempting to answer occasional enquiries about Widower's Wonderful Products by recyling a less-than-sercon fanzine of the fifties. Regret that this is all I can offer you by way of return for SET.


PS: Now son Philip is tempting me to view a 7-CDRom box of all the issues of MAD to 1998. How am I fit it all in? Will adopting the Alfred E. Neuman Philosophy of "What, me worry?" be a sufficient counter to time bankruptcy?

Letter to Steam Engine Time, August 2000.

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