They say the golden age of Science Fiction is 12 which was when I read a book a day and cleaned out my school and public libraries' SF sections in under six months. But my personal Golden Age started a year or two earlier with one particular book plucked almost at random from the children's shelves of the this library here...
Lets start with the women!
I'm hesitant to talk about a female perspective but I do think their work had a greater focus on the social and interpersonal impact of technological change. Long before I had any conception of the plight of refugees in the real world I was haunted by the image of the Dipple that opens Andre Norton's Catseye. Kate Wilhelm did a number of surprisingly gentle post or near-post apocalyptic novels, including Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang and Juniper Summer in which the focus on the network of relationships people build around themselves are more significant than the disaster that enfolds them. A fascination with the way different societies and people would be shaped by their environmental constraints and opportunities informed the work of Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia Butler and Anne McCaffrey.
None of this impacted on the conscious brain of the teenaged omnivore that was tearing his way through seven books a week except as a vague sense that some books had more 'something' than others. It wasn't until much later that I recognised it for that elusive literary quality 'depth'. When I finally became a writer myself it was the work of these women that became the instinctive benchmark by which I judged my own work.
Later in part 2: more women and some men and some small furry creatures from Alpha Centurai.
(1) Without which I wouldn't be able to name half the authors I read.
(2) at least those bits of the section that were worth reading.
(3) There were plenty more but these were the women whose books I was hoovering up in that period.