More SF indulgence, excuse me: Gary Farber has been reading Heinlein’s rediscovered “first” novel (brief summary: it’s very bad), and Kevin Drum raises the question of correlation between early SF preferences and later political biases, with Heinlein inspiring conservatives and Asimov motivating liberals (Drum says, “Well, I liked ’em both, but I liked Heinlein more and I turned into a liberal.” I’m not touching that straight line.)
I disliked Heinlein’s stuff intensely. It was badly written, with a patronizing tone, and always smugly assumed that his simplistic opinions were absolutely true. Even his juveniles were irritating in that way, but those self-indulgent later doorstops with old men waited on by nubile vixens? Gah.
I also wasn’t a big fan of Asimov. He was OK, but those gimmicky stories didn’t do much for me.
My favorites began with Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jules Verne—I was very old school. As I began to branch out in grade school looking for new stuff, after gagging over Heinlein and being bored by Asimov, I really got into Ray Bradbury. Later I favored a collection of British authors—Brunner, Wyndham, Moorcock—and then Harlan Ellison, Fritz Leiber, anybody who could actually write, a talent that eluded the old guard. Nowadays I lean towards Banks and Mieville.
I don’t know what that says about how my political inclinations were shaped. I think the stronger correlation is with my utter apathy towards engineering, not my politics.