From: Donal B. Buchanan
Location: Danvers, MA
Back in the 40s when I was living in Arlington, VA (Dad, like many of my missionary relatives and friends, was tapped for intelligence work--he directed the Japanese language school for the Army Security Agency; my mother and sister and a cousin or two also worked as cryptanalysts there). I helped deliver The Evening Star to the ASA (and had the local paper route--we lived up the road from their back entrance). The official Japanese always considered the missionaries probable spies, but we never were--until they attacked Pearl Harbor. At any rate, the world was much different then. The Library of Congress, for instance, actually allowed us teens access to its volumes. 3 or 4 of us would bus in together and each one would ask for a Burroughs books (each different). We'd sit in our carrols quietly reading them through. When done, we'd exchange books and start the next one. It was wonderful (and saved us a bunch of money on books). Now I don't think the teen agers have as free reign there. Sigh. Those were the days, too, when a kid could go to the drugstore and buy all the chemicals he needed to make "rocket fuel". Ours, from a local empty lot, got up about 500 feet (unlike October Sky) on my mixture that was basically gunpowder. I've started "The Forge of God" and it looks to me like a great read. If you are curious about our non-profit epigraphic journal, take a look at www.epigraphy.org. If you mess around under ESOP there, you'll run into some of the work I've done and get an idea what our publications are all about.
From: Greg Bear
Curious how many members of Congress tapped into ERB back then! No doubt they'd read him as kids; Ronald Reagan mentioned, as I recall, loving Burroughs and Verne.