One chapter of this book has been previously published: a short, early version of "Mystery of the Amateur Detectives" appeared in the last issue of the British magazine Million: The Magazine about Popular Fiction. I thank its editor David Pringle for encouraging me to write on that subject and for publishing the results. Another chapter of this book, "In Defense of Stone Tablets," originated as my contribution to a panel discussion on "Beyond Cyberpunk: Science, Science Fiction, and Information Technology in the 1990s," which took place at the 16th Annual Western Humanities Conference in Riverside, California, in October, 1997; I thank conference coordinator Joseph D. Childers and moderator George Slusser for the opportunity to participate in the panel. This piece and "Giving Horatio Alger Goosebumps" were read by Andrew Sawyer, whom I thank for his helpful comments. Other people who have read, responded to, or inspired revisions in chapters of this volume include Stephen P. Brown, Susan A. George, Elyce Rae Helford, Patrick Parrinder, and George Slusser. Also of great assistance in completing this volume were my sister, Brenda Bright, who has been continually helpful in my research into the Hardy Boys, and the staff of the Interlibrary Loan Department of the Tomás Rivera Library, University of California at Riverside, who provided with amazing speed all the materials I needed to complete the chapters on the Charlie books and This Island Earth.
In addition, I feel continually inspired and sustained in my work by many of my other friends and colleagues, even if they are not involved with particular projects. A partial list of these people, along with some already named, who have been recently important to my career includes Gregory Benford, Michael Cassutt, John Clute, Arthur B. Evans, John Grant, Donald M. Hassler, Howard V. Hendrix, Veronica Hollinger, Edward James, Farah Mendelsohn, Kathleen Church Plummer, and Pamela D. Scoville.
I acknowledge with gratitude the work of Donald A. Palumbo, George F. Butler, Elizabeth Meagher, and the other associates and employees of Greenwood Press who helped to get this book into print. Finally, I thank my two employers,