Do People Still Read 1950's Sci Fi?

I ask because a lot of the Sci Fi written in the 1950’s has disappeared from my town’s library.
I suspect this is because it isn’t being checked out-and most of the softcover sci fi of this era is falling apart (acidic paper).
Anyway, I like to re-read the stuff from the 50’s-mostly to see how wrong most of the writers were about how the future would turn out.
In any event, where can I find some of the more obscure authors (like C.M. Kornbluth)-he isn’t in the library anymore.

I occasionally read my grandmother’s old science fiction periodicals, but I don’t think I’ve ever even encountered any books from the 1950s. Everything I read is either older than that (i.e. out of copyright) or rather new.

It’s going to be hard to find most of these books anywhere, save by getting lucky with yard sales or library dumpsters. If you happen to live in a larger city, the used book stores and libraries will probably have many of the volumes. My university library certainly had several obscure 50s sci-fi books (many in hardcover, no less).

As for particular authors, CM Kornbluth is actually not all that obscure. A quick check on Amazon shows several e-book editions of some of his works. And about 10 years ago, I received “His Share of Glory” as a gift, which is a (relatively) recent republishing of his short fiction. It’s available online and you can probably find the odd copy floating around in book stores. It’s a great collection, and it’s a shame he didn’t live longer.

Also, decades old abandoned fiction (especially vintage SF) is one of the problems with our current copyright implementation, but this is not the appropriate venue for that debate.

I do all the time. Most of Heinlein’s books from the 1950s are still in print, and i see at least one of his at every book store. A collection of Cordwainer Smith’s stories was issued a few years ago, too (Not the NESFA volumes, but a popularly-priced paperback edition)
Certainly they are still publishing 1950s science fiction, although much of it is from specialty presses like NESFA and Haffner Press (which just published a new collection of the works of Henry Kuttner and Catherine L. Moore last year – Detour to Otherness) But you’re not likely to find these on your average bookstore shelf. assuming you can still find an average bookstore.

as for libraries, I do know that some of them conduct period sweeps to get rid of material that doesn’t get checked out. It’s a question of available space – new books keep coming in. If nobody’s reading the old stuff, it goes out. For Big City Libraries and University libraries, it goes into storage.

So the dusappearing scienvce fiction is probably a reflection of popular taste – fewer people are reading half-century-old fiction of any sort.

science Fiction, like much genre fiction, is viewed by the population at large (including booksellers and librarians) as ephemeral literature. Much of it was published only in paperback, and was thought of as cousin to the magazine, cheaply put together and destined for the garbage in a couple of years. This is why fans of genre fiction (not just science fiction, but also mysteries, and westerns, and spy thrillers) have always maintained their own libraries of the stuff – they know they can’t count on the publishers keeping the books in print, or of libraries keeping them on the shelves.

I prefer the older stuff.

Feedbook has a bunch of the SF from 20s-60s on it, someone has been scanning it in and posting it on Gutenberg also.

My local libraries tend to have the Foundation series, some of Heinlein’s juveniles, and a surprising amount of Philip K. Dick’s early crap. Childhood’s End is still fairly easy to find, as perhaps are The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451.

Certainly, that’s not much, though.

I pick them up regularly at used book stores, flea markets, yard sales, and that sort of thing. Usually for under a buck each.

Planet Stories is one of a variety of publishing lines that still puts out stuff from the '50s (among other things).

Did you actually check that the books that you say are tending to disappear from your library are 1950’s science fiction, as opposed to 1960’s or 1940’s or whatever, or are you just guessing?

I’d love to get a copy of a Groff Conklin anthology, The Best of Science Fiction, from 1946. I read it when I was a kid, and it had some great stories – several Heinlein, “By His Bootstraps” was one of them, some Sturgeon, various others. Actually, I’d love to read several of the Conklin anthologies from the 1950’s.
While writing this note, I checked and saw it’s available on Amazon, and ordered it!

Conklin anthologies rock. I’ve got about 6 of them. He’s got this great balance between being able to pick out future classics and picking forgotten gems.

I have quite a large collection of vintage SF. As a kid, I bought reprints of the Heinlein juveniles, for instance, and as I grew older I kept on finding and buying older books. Some I bought used, some I bought in reprints, and my grandfather had quite a collection, too.

And I reread it.

Part of the problem is that many used book stores won’t even buy the older stuff, unless it’s considered collectible. So the person who just wants to read it, as opposed to the person who wants to collect it, is kind of out of luck.

I must note that one of the things I like about my ereader is that I can buy ebooks of the things I enjoyed, but which are darned hard to find.

There are publishers putting out the books of that era: NESFA Press and Haffner Press, for instance.

Science fiction was more fun back in the '40’s and '50’s…they don’t call it the “golden age” for nothing. I’m not much interested in current science fiction, and so much fantasy falls into grooves too well worn. I’m speaking as an aspiring fantasy writer, who attended a good SFF workshop.
ps – must add I wasn’t alive in the '40’s, and barely sentient in the '50’s. But I do prefer woks of that era in film, too.

I just read I Am Legend last month. It held up better than the Will Smith version.

See post #4

Yes, I still enjoy reading stories from that time. I was born in 1953 and the stories from the 40’s and 50’s are the stories my brother pushed on me as a young teenager. I enjoy the SF being written now but I also have ALL of the BEST OF THE YEAR books from 1939 to the present. If I want a quick read I grab one of those volumes to reread an old favorite.

It was by Richard Matheson, who also wrote some of the great Twilight Zones.

Dude’s still alive!

I was surprised to find out that my library’s mandate and raison d’être was not to preserve the printed media as I thought, but to keep current and fresh.

So if a book isn’t checked out often enough it gets discarded. If a book is in poor condition, it is discarded even tho it could be mended.

So my library has a lot of empty shelves, and our librarians are proud of that. Room for more (new) books!