An Accidental Life: Volume 1, 1944-1964: How I Failed at Almost Everything

Book review by Deane Barker tags: biography

I read this book because Kevin Kelly recommended it in his Recommendo newsletter. I had no idea why I wanted to read it – I didn’t even know who Charles Platt was. I think I was just smitten with the subtitle “How I Failed At Almost Everything.”

It turns out that Platt is a science fiction writer and computer programmer of some repute. He’s in his 70s now, and this series of books is his biography of sorts.

He was born in England, and only child who had a troubled relationship with his mother. This volume covers him from birth up to 20, and he was a bit of terror. He was nihilistic, and didn’t care about much. So he drank and stole and partied and dropped out of Cambridge and everything else.

At the end of this book, he sells his first science fiction story.

The entire time I was reading the book, I wasn’t really sure why I was a reading it. But it was quite good. Platt is an engaging, clear writer. The book goes by quickly, and he makes his early life seem very interesting. There was a lot I could relate to.

I’ll read the next volume, just to see what happens.

Book Info

Charles Platt
  • I have read this book. According to my records, I completed it on .
  • A softcover copy of this book is currently in my home library.

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