Monday, November 13, 2006

A Boy and his Robot

"In a matter of a moment,
Lost till the end of time.
It's the evening of another day,
And the end of mine."
"Some Other Time" - Alan Parsons Project (Web site ; Wikipedia entry. Song by Eric Woolfson and Alan Parsons. From the album, I Robot [AMG entry ; Wikipedia entry])

In celebration of national Children’s Book Week in the U.S., I’m delighted to add my voice to those remembering favorite books of our youth. A good story is one of the most welcome and enduring gifts any human can give another.

Books, reading, writing, music, drama, and libraries were integral parts of my childhood. My mother, a school teacher by training, made sure that books and reading were part of every day. And like Alane’s godmother [post], my mother often delivered an original story at bedtime, usually an adventure of the whimsical Princess Tannenbaum, a character invented originally to entertain my older sister. I would in time become a voracious reader, and I can remember fondly selecting and checking out armloads of books in my elementary school library, and the nearby public library. For several of my elementary school summers I would accompany my mother to story times weekly at the public library. More often than not these were story times that she delivered (it was a small public library branch with only a part-time children’s librarian).  

I remember so many wonderful books, and have no doubt forgotten far more. But one that I have special memories of was The Runaway Robot by Lester Del Rey. Told in the first person, the story is a suspenseful tale of a young boy and his robot, Rex, who become separated, and their break-the-rules quest to be reunited. Moon colonies, robots, youthful rebellion, chase scenes – what more is needed to whet the appetite of a young boy? I recall being attracted to book because of its cover (a running robot, of course). No doubt my first foray into sci-fi was made under the influence of my comic-book-reading, sci-fi-consumed, older brother, a loyal watcher of the original Star Trek. Ever has he been a bad influence. And long have been the pleasant hours I’ve idled away reading science fiction including reading everything I could find by authors like Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, and Robert A. Heinlein.

So may children everywhere read this week, and every other week of the year!

[Image: A full-size model of a robot from the animation Laputa: Castle in the Sky (Wikipedia entry ; graphic novel version) on top of the Ghibli Museum (Wikipedia entry) in Mitaka, Tokyo]


waltc said...

Lester Del Rey: What a great author.

This post does an amazing thing in Bloglines (at least in Firefox 2, at least today): The preview shows up as an enormous, beautiful, version of that robot. Splendid.

Eric said...

Walt, thanks for the comment. I linked to the largest size of a public domain photo in the wikimedia commons. Wish I could claim magic on my part, but it's not so ;)