Biographies in Sound was a radio show from the mid-Fifties, giving the biographies of various famous public figures, often through interviews with people who knew them. However, Episode 64, “Ticket to the Moon,” was something completely different: a “biography” of science fiction as a genre, written as an introduction for newbies. (And as an advertisement for two upcoming radio adaptations of Ray Bradbury stories, “Zero Hour” and “There Will Come Soft Rains.”)
It’s pretty remarkable even now as an introduction, sports some truly horrible puns (“gazing into their novelettes”), and features the voices of many of our dearly departed: John Campbell, Isaac Asimov, A.E. Van Vogt, Ray Bradbury, Forrest J. Ackerman and his wife, Willy Ley, and many more. It was very touching to hear those people, so influential to my life, whom I never got to meet.
It’s also pretty interesting as documentation that sf did take its literary pretensions pretty seriously, especially after Ray Bradbury became an accepted literary figure and was popular reading too. There’s a faint air of desperation in some of the magisterial comments, while others seem perhaps overly confident, expecting Hemingway and Faulkner to start writing sf. There’s very little talk of sense of wonder, oddly enough, and a good deal of denigration of adventure tales by everyone except Mrs. Ackerman. (There’s also some fun with Asimov codeswitching back into his New York accent as he talks to the unheard New York radio interviewer.)