People come to science fiction in strange ways. I didn't discover the genre existed until I was 14, and then only by accident, on the bookshelves of a friend's house. The first SF book I ever read was Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, and immediately I was hooked.
But this is a mundane tale of SF discovery compared to the one I heard last night. I did a reading at Hugo House in Seattle. I read "The Kindness of Strangers," which will be published in Lou Anders's anthology Fast Forward 2 later this year (or maybe it's early next year). One of the attendees, a lovely young woman in her early twenties who is about to start med school, told me that when she was eleven, she and her mother were staying in a motel. It was a cheap place, and there was a stack of porn under the bed. Among the porn, was, unaccountably, a copy of Beggars In Spain. At first she didn't want to touch the book because it was actually sticky. But like most bright kids, reading was important to her, so she read my book and discovered SF.
I was very touched by this story. I also see in it a great blurb for my next novel:
NANCY KRESS: BETTER THAN STICKY PORN