Young People Read Old SFF

The Pleiades

Otis Kidwell Burger

Young People Read Old SFF

6 Oct, 2020

Otis Kidwell Burger is an author to whom I was introduced by Rediscovery Vol 1: SF by Women 1958 – 1963. The Pleiades is impressive enough readers would no doubt run out to acquire her other works. Unfortunately, Rediscovery’s biographical entry on her reveals that her SF career was quite short1. At least, I assume younger readers would react as positively as I did. How did my Young People actually feel?

You can purchase Rediscovery Vol 1: SF by Women 1958 – 1963 here.

1: It seems there is more to life than science fiction, to judge by her career. 


This one really appealed to me and I liked it a lot. It has a great atmosphere but is very different from what I had expected. An interesting mix of the dark carnival, science fiction creatures and ideas about identity. The element I think I most liked is the writing itself, it is just luscious and full.


I thought it really interesting, the twist at the end. A turn to the grotesque, but in a way that should be understandable. Still, to them, it really was more than they could handle. Perhaps to me also.

I suppose it’s made me consider how I think about age and mortality. When nobody ages anymore, being confronted with the bodily effects of old age can really seem disturbing in contrast. Comparing that disgust reaction with the attitude of the revolutionaries that aging is necessary and immortality is bad for society, and you’ve really got an interesting mix of ideas and attitudes.

One of the benefits of the short story format is exploring ideas that won’t span an entire book (or series of books, even). I liked how they explored this idea. Seen how a possible future might react to age in an ageless…well, age. Some romanticise it, some are repulsed by it, and some exploit it. Not that different from nowadays, really.