I'm a speed freak.
Over the past few years I've recognized the deep gearhead in me coming out. As much as I dig writing and politics and cultural criticism and all that literary stuff, you can bet that a sporty car will always turn my head. There's no question in my mind that much of my engineer's gut was deeply influenced not only by science-fiction writers like Bradbury, Asimov et al, but also by a cat named Ed Radlauer.
I remember Radlauer the same way I remember Edmund Scientific, science sticker books and Danny Dunn, as a staple of my upbringing that raised my parents' eyebrows. Radlauer, however was the one that raised them in concern. When I was in the fifth and sixth grades, my folks thought I should be reading more difficult books. Radlauer's books were large books for kids with extraordinarily bright color photos of drag racers, chopper motorcycles, minibikes, dune buggies, baja trucks, bonneville racers and stock car and short paragraphs appropriate for third graders. But who cared about the paragraphs? It was all about those racing vehicles.
It turns out that Alibris had a decent selection of Radlauer books so I picked up a few. This one brings back so many memories. Maybe they do for you too.
In his way, I think Radlauer along with Evil Knievel, Mickey Thompson and Dan Bricklin were the founders of the extreme sports movement. Sure there are some surfers and boarders in there, but I'd bet they were all influenced by these guys.