I am most definitely a child of the ‘70s. The older I get, the more I realize how much the culture of my childhood – and the world around me at the time – shaped me into the man that I am today.



These books, and their fantastical storylines, not only shaped my life – they saved it on more than one occasion. There is nothing worse than a child who feels worthless, powerless, completely alone in the world. During some particularly terrible times in my life, when suicide was at least something contemplated, I escaped into books and, albeit temporarily, that scrawny, stuttering kid with the thick glasses could pretend that he was an all-powerful albino sorcerer named Elric or a young wizard named Ged who lived in the archipelago realm of Earthsea or a human named John Carter who, on Mars, was a hero capable of unbelievable feats of strength and daring.


Just take a look at the decidedly science fiction and fantasy powered children's television shows I watched every weekend morning: Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, H.R. Pufnstuf, The Jetsons, Land of the Lost, Josie and the Pussycats, Super Friends... It’s no wonder that I ended up as a science fiction and fantasy book reviewer…



(Cue Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music”…)


My friends call me Goat because ever since junior high school, my chin has been a part of the witness protection program. I remember even as a kid, I was obsessed with growing a beard. Beards were big in the ‘70s. Beards were sexy. Real men had beards. God even had a beard. I was in elementary school when I saw the movie Jesus Christ Superstar and I remember thinking that if the son of God was wearing a beard, there might be something to it. Chuck Heston had a beard in Planet of the Apes, Al Pacino was bearded in Serpico, Obi Wan Kenobi rocked a face carpet in Star Wars, Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson, Barry Gibbs of the Bee Gees, George Harrison’s beard on the album All Things Must Pass was impressive to say the least…



Looking back on you life, what novels or pieces of pop culture significantly shaped who you are?


And are there any other bearded middle-aged men out there who are still secretly in love with Nova? Just curious – I might start a support group.



Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. In his free time, he reads.


 Keep up with all of my blogs – as well as all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, authors interviews, videos, promotions, and more – by following @BNBuzz on Twitter!

by Moderator paulgoatallen on ‎06-23-2011 08:01 PM
by on ‎06-23-2011 08:28 PM

I can understand the physical attraction to Nova but, jeez, you might as well be alone as far as conversation is concerned. Of course you weren't really thinking about spoken communication, were you?:smileyhappy: Given you age at that time, the attraction is understandable. Nova is non-threatening and hot--designed to appeal to the unsure adolescent male. Of course, your ongoing crush is something else altogether. Maybe it's like first love, and you just never got over it.


What shaped me in my teens? Hate to say it but it was basically rock, drugs (primarily marijuana) and nuns. (Don't remember if they were BVMs 'Black Veiled Monsters' or Sisters of Merciless. I had one set in grade school and the other in high school.) I led a dual life back then. There was the school stuff and then there was the after school stuff.

by Moderator paulgoatallen on ‎06-23-2011 08:34 PM

Just having a little fun, dalnewt – I'm long over Nova! But it is interesting to try to "reverse your history" and discover why you like certain things...some memories are just profound.   :smileyhappy:

by Moderator dhaupt ‎06-24-2011 10:08 AM - edited ‎06-24-2011 10:58 AM

Paul, I remember Nova too and of course adolescently lusted after Chuck myself, and of course I had crushes on all the Sci-Fi men of my time, of course Michael York, and my all time hottie Spock, whom I knew if he would just know me he would and could love me. I also loved the B-Sci-Fi flicks like Godzilla staring Ramond Burr and all the off shoots of that movie.

When I got older my tastes in men of the future changed and I found myself dreaming of Jean Luc but never Data because bald men are sexy hunks too. :smileyhappy:

and like dainewt the music of my teens also influenced me, my favs were The Doors and Yes and never once fell under the influence of the fab four.


In literature my tastes went more to the classics when I was young, Little Women and Wuthering Heights being two of my all time favorites, it wasn't until recently that I fell under the spell of Fantasy fiction and now I can never get enough wether it be Paranormal romance or hard Science Fiction it all floats my boat and most of that I have to thank you for, introducing me to fabulous new authors like Ken Scholes and Jaye Wells and letting me see the world through very different glasses.


So if Nova still pulls at those long ago pre-pubescent heart strings I say good for you because just look where she led you.

by on ‎06-28-2011 12:05 AM

Loved the article. The 70s were great.


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