Steve Liskow  

Early Influences

Since I grew up just as television was beginning to take over the nation, I watched lots of westerns and cop shows. They probably taught me most of what I understood about plotting, and the Zorro, Lone Ranger, and Batman serials I saw every Saturday along with my friends at the Court Street Theater reinforced the idea of cliff-hangers. We all read and traded comic books, and our parents figured that if we were reading something, it was fine. Nobody worried about juvenile delinquency then, so we read Superman, Batman (my favorite), lots of Archie and Walt Disney, and almost anything else we found at the corner drug store. And, of course Mad Magazine, a step up.

On a more "classical" note, I liked the Arabian Nights and loved mythology. My father loved history, especially World War II because he was a veteran, and my mother read the Golden Age mystery writers: Christie, Sayers, Stout, Queen, Ngaio Marsh, and a few others. I skipped several of the so-called children's classics-Treasure Island, for example-but read every Hardy Boys, Rick Brant, and Ken Holt story I could find. I knew about Nancy Drew and Tom Swift, but I don't think I ever read any of them. I eventually discovered science fiction, but never really got into it. Except for Ray Bradbury, whose amazing voice transcended genre. His lyrical writing, especially in Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes, among others, really touched a chord in me.