Your introduction to Fantasy/Scifi

Extollager

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#21
Very briefly, some early imaginative experiences that I associate with the quickening of interest in sf/f:

I liked fairy tales and mythology.

As a boy, I saw some portions (in one or more books) of Zallinger's Peabody Museum dinosaur mural. Polgreen's illustrations for an edition of Roy Gallant's Exploring the Planets also moved me. The school "book club" was a way to get things such as a paperback of Doyle's Lost World.

I was present for the first Star Trek broadcast in the US in 1966, and was already (at 11 years old) drawn to sf. I got Blish's retellings of ST episdoes as they came out, and even had a copy of the LP Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space. I think I'd read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings before my 12th birthday (1967). Loved the Narnian books and Lloyd Alexander's Prydain quintet. My imagination was captivated by Watkins-Pitchford's The Little Grey Men, with its excellent scratchboard illustrations by the author. The "Wishnik"-type troll dolls appealed to me (a boy) as action figures for use in improvised storytelling. I began to read Marvel comics with Thor #140, which went on sale in March 1967.

They year in which I was 11 years old was perhaps the most important in my reading life, in some ways.
 

psikeyhackr

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#22
Stumbled across SF in 4th grade.

Star Surgeon by Alan E Nourse

The nitwit nuns at my school never taught science. So much of my science education was the result of researching things I read about in SF books. This was the 60s while the space program was going.
 

Bick

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#23
I'm not sure I know, to be honest, though its an interesting question to ponder. I think my interest probably took off as a result of what my peers were reading. There was one friend who read SF voraciously and the books looked cool, so I think I gravitated that way. Also, as a lad, I got into Dungeons and Dragons at quite an early age, and I wonder if that spawned further interest in SFF. However, I may have showed an interest in D&D because I was already into SFF - chicken or egg, I can't be sure now. I believe my first SF book was Clarke's A Fall of Moondust, but why did I pick it up? I watched Star Trek on TV and Star Wars was a big influence on me in 1977, and that will surely have helped. The children's books I read were not SFF (Alfred Hitchcock's Three Investigators!).

Extollager said:
I was present for the first Star Trek broadcast in the US in 1966
A propos nothing in particular, but funnily enough, in the late '90's I met a forgotten actress in the Ecuadorian jungle who had starred as the female attraction for Captain Pike in Star Trek in 1966. An occurrence that sounds a bit like something from a Haggard book itself.
 

Vince W

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#26
My first exposures to sci-fi were Doctor Who and Star Trek, but I was already a rabid space nut what with the Apollo missions. My first forays into written sci-fi were Heinlein juveniles, Starman Jones and Space Cadet. I came to fantasy shortly after with The Once and Future King by T. H. White and from there it was a short leap to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
 

Bick

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#28
No - Miss Piper: Julie Parrish

Although I believe the two actresses knew each other and were on several shows together (including Days of Our Lives). Parrish was much more famous for starring with Elvis Presley in Paradise, Hawaiian Style than for her small role on Star Trek. When I asked her what she did for a living, she said she was an actress, and I had no clue who she was. A nice woman, I spent several days in the Ecuadorian rainforest with her on a guided trip up the Shiripono River to visit Huarani Indians.
 
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williamjm

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#29
The first fantasy books I remember really liking were the Chronicles of Narnia and Prydain (I liked them both but preferred Lloyd Alexander to C.S.Lewis) and Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Bringsamen. Then a few years later I read the Hobbit followed by Lord of the Rings which lead me to read lots of fantasy series of varying quality. I did read some children's SF books as well but nothing that really left a big impression, I think it could be The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that might be the first SF book I really liked a lot.
 

Parson

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#30
I'm not sure, but very early I ordered and loved "Cat's Eye" by Andre Norton.
 

Hugh

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#31
I’ve found this thread thought-provoking. Although I read the Hobbit, LOTR, Farmer Giles of Ham at a young age, this was due to the encouragement of adults and because I was a keen reader. While I appreciated them, they never truly entered my inner life as a child in that I did not have fantasies about them or put myself into them.

The following are the SF/Fantasy books that truly caught my imagination and drew me right into them.

“The Pekinese Princess” by Pauline Clarke is in some ways a rather strange little book: treacherous monkeys have kidnapped the beautiful princess and a heroic group of warriors set out to rescue her. The princess and the warriors are all Pekinese dogs. I read the Hobbit round about the same time, but my six year old self was much more obsessed with this, daydreaming about being the lead character in this Pekinese drama. I don’t know if it was DNA/cultural/familial but I find it interesting that at the age of six the quest to rescue the princess/ find the beloved was so exciting for me.

At the age of seven (1959), I discovered imported US comics for sale in Woolworths at six old pence each. These were a revelation. I was fortunate enough to buy this issue of Space Detective:

upload_2018-4-17_13-12-16.jpeg


Unfortunately my parents twigged that some of them were a tad violent, and ruled that I was only allowed to buy those approved by “The Comics Code”, and most of these early purchases disappeared. Although I was reduced to buying Harvey Comics (which I also loved) I yearned for more copies of Space Detective. I’d still like them, but I fear that subsequent copies are now ridiculously expensive. About fifteen years ago I made a point of stopping in the small town of Hailsham, and going into that same Woolworths and standing where I thought that counter used to be.

Around the same time I started reading the truly amazing Jeff Hawke in the Daily Express:




I also vividly remember finding a copy of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” in the school library in my first week at boarding school, age eight years nine months. I was enthralled. With hindsight my situation rather mirrored the frozen wastes that had engulfed Narnia: at the time it was overwhelming that I would not be returning home for thirteen weeks.

The next big step may have been reading Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Princess of Mars” and the subsequent volumes. I was probably thirteen or fourteen. I was particularly interested in the idea of being able to transport oneself to Mars through accessing some part of the brain and I spent significant time trying to do this. This was even more the case when I read my first adult SF, Alfred Bester’s “Tiger, Tiger” (“The Stars My Destination”) age fourteen, which truly frazzled my brain cells, and I put in a lot of time trying to “jaunt”: even when walking down the street, I'd see if I could jaunt a fifty yards ahead.
 
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Extollager

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#32
These accounts are enjoyable to read.

Hugh mentioned reading Edgar Rice Burroughs' Martian books around age 14. I mentioned above how important my 11th year was in my reading history. My 14th was also a big one. That year (1969-1970) of my life was when I read a lot of ERB and Lovecraft for the first time, and it was also the period in which Ballantine began issuing its famous fantasy series edited by Lin Carter, which had the effect of introducing me to many authors who, at the time, were to intrigue me, or if getting me more excited about them: Lord Dunsany, for example, whom, alas I can hardly read any more.

SFwise, I was pretty well acquainted with Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and perhaps a few other standard names.

The 1969-1970 year (late July-June, roughly) was also the period in which I learned that fandom existed. Marvel comics published several letters by me around this time, and at that time they included full mailing addresses. An established fan living in the same state as I (Oregon) got in touch, so, around late 1969, I had my first fanzine in hand, and wanted to make my own. I'd already drawn my own comics for years, by the way. But now I wanted to join forces with a friend and to produce a fanzine that would exist as multiple copies, not just as (in the case of my home-made comics) a few sheets of paper stapled together, one unique issue. About this time I began to order books and back issue comics through the mail. Any comics people out there remember the name of Howard M. Rogofsky?
 

M. Robert Gibson

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#36
Coincidentally, I've been thinking about this recently.

I think, like most children of the 1960s in Britain, Star Trek and Doctor Who were the two big ones on TV. (Jon Pertwee was the first Doctor I remember)

Book wise I've always been an avid reader. I've still got my copies of Danny Dunn Time Traveller, and The Peculiar Triumph of Professor Branestawm (Does that count as sci-fi?) At an early age (12/13) I read the classics like The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, several by John Wyndham and the horror of Dennis Wheatley.

Also around that time my dad took me to see a little film on a big screen featuring apes, spaceships and monoliths.

I first played D&D in the late 1970s, around the same time as I first read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. In the early 1980s a friend introduced me to the works of Robert E. Howard, Conan in particular, and the multiverse of Michael Moorcock and the Eternal Champion.
That's also the time I tried my hand at writing fantasy (or Sword and Sorcery as it was known then), but that's another thread.
 

chrispenycate

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#37
  1. Apart from most children's literature being classable under fantasy (Wind in the Willows? Tai-Lu talking?) I know I was read the Alice books, and I had learnt to read before infant school, so fantasy was quite well covered in my formative years, but apart from the Kemlo books (from zhe children's section of the library) SF waited till I was maybe nine, and restricted to bed with measles or chicken pox - one of the standard juvenile infections - and adults, sick of going to the library every day to feed my reading habit got me Arthur C. Clarke's 'Earthlight', then Wyndham's 'Crysalids' - "Huh, that'll slow him down" - which it did, but not for long, and I was cadging grown-up library tickets from the adults around me, and reading lots of unsuitable stuff...
I remember when Lord of the rings came out, and I immediately ordered the three books from the library, but I already had my senior library cards by then.
 

Mangara

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#39


Sat in the sun on Blackpool beach as a little boy deeply engrossed in this hefty tome. From here I found Brooks, then Hobb, Williams, Feist....

Sci Fi came later. I was at university and picked up Flowers for Algernon. That started an obsession with reading all the SF masterworks, which I am yet to manage. Each one opened new avenues to authors... Wyndham, Clarke, Wells....
 

Amberlen

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#40
what a fun thread!
the first impactful book i remember was the Hobbit, on which i did a book report in 3rd grade.i still have it! (my mom saved stuff like that)
from there it was mainly fantasy genre - Elfstones of Shannara, Stormblade, D&D, Narnia etc
my first scifi was Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars series, then Dragonriders of Pern, Crystal Singer,etc. I also read the entire John Norman Gor series as a young teenage girl, which was terribly naughty back then, and meant i had to turn covers inside out or tear off. lol
i mainly have trouble finding scifi now that sparks an interest.the Malazan series i think would qualify as a blend, but besides it, i probably need to follow threads with recomendations :)
 

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