[Ads-l] Quote: The Golden Age of science fiction is twelve

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 14 19:24:24 UTC 2020

Adherents of the science fiction genre debate whether a Golden Age of
creativity and exploration occurred during the 1930's, 1940's, 1950's,
or 1960's. A fan who was asked to name the years of this magnificent
era responded by cleverly reinterpreting the query and presenting the
age of a child experiencing SF with fresh directness:

The Golden Age of science fiction is twelve.

Variant statements use the age thirteen or fourteen.

The Quote Investigator website now has an entry on this topic:

The earliest evidence I could locate appeared in a book introduction
by Terry Carr dated June 9, 1972. Carr credited a fan named Peter
Graham. Earlier published evidence or earwitness testimony would be

In 1978 Carr stated that he heard the quotation from Graham circa 1960.

In 1998 SF author and critic Thomas M. Disch stated that he heard the
saying from Carr in 1964:

In August 1997 editor Gary Farber posted a message about the saying to
the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.sf.written. Farber credited Graham and
suggested that the remark appeared in the fanzine “VOID” circa 1957.
Unfortunately, Farber did not provide a precise citation.

Scans of the fanzine “VOID” are currently available on “The Fanac: Fan
History Project” website here.

I accessed the scans of issues 9, 10, 22 part 3, 23, 24, 26, and 29
and used OCR (optical character recognition). I searched the resultant
text and did not find the quotation. I grew tired and stopped.

It is possible my search was inadequate, and I missed the quotation.
Also, OCR can be faulty. Hence, searching VOID or other fanzines would
be helpful.

Garson O'Toole

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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