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The sentences:
When casual acquaintances learn that I am a writer, they naturally ask what I write; and at my reply, "Science fiction for young people," they are apt to respond with surprise. I know what is going on in their minds. Being somehwat shy and formal, I do not seem the sort who would even read, let alone write, anything matching the average person's conception of science fiction. Those unfamiliar with the field of children's literature envision "teenage" science fiction in particular as melodorama of the comic book and television variety, and I usually find myself at a loss for words to bridge the gap .


What gap is it here? Is it the one between the stereotyped image of teenage science fiction and the true teenage science fiction, or between the stereopyped image of the writer and the real nature of the writer, or between the stereopyped image of the wirter and the fact that he actually wirtes teenage science fiction?
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Hello, Taka,
From your quotation, I understand "the gap" as the discrepancy between the writer's "shy & formal nature" and the conception of "science fiction for young people".
It's just my feeling!
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I agree.
Hi Guys,
When casual acquaintances learn that I am a writer, they naturally ask what I write; and at my reply, "Science fiction for young people," they are apt to respond with surprise. I know what is going on in their minds. Being somehwat shy and formal, I do not seem the sort who would even read, let alone write, anything matching the average person's conception of science fiction. Those unfamiliar with the field of children's literature envision "teenage" science fiction in particular as melodorama of the comic book and television variety, and I usually find myself at a loss for words to bridge the gap.

Well, I don't think this paragraph is well written, because the meaning of 'the gap' is certainly not clear. I'm inclined to think it means, in Taka's words, the one between the stereotyped image of teenage science fiction and the true teenage science fiction.
Reasons:
1. That's how I 'feel' the thought. Not the greatest of reasons, but good enough for me.
2. When in doubt, a phrase like this should relate to the last kind of 'gap' mentioned in the paragraph. The last sentence basically suggests the gap is between the true field of children's literature and how some people envision teenage science fiction.
3. With regard to the earlier suggestions, I think a 'gap' needs to be between two like things.

Best wishes,
Clive
Another 2p-worth...

I would say the gap was between two conceptions, on the part of the 'casual acquaintances':

1. the 'shy and formal' person that the speaker is;

2. the 'sort [or person] who would...write...science fiction'.

He is unable to bridge the gap (with some appropriate comment) between the two conceptions, and reassure those casual acquaintances that a) he is the person they thought he was b) such a person can indeed write such books.

MrP
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