Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Discovering Science Fiction

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:



Daniel said...

That's funny!

That's a good tagline.

To be honest, the one I like to use is "Better than a sharp stick in the eye."

Orion said...

Better run that slogan past Marketing first.

Wow, you can actually remember the first SF book you ever read? I started reading SF at the tender young age of 7 or 8. If I had to make a guess, I'd say my first SF book might have been "Space Cat" by Ruthven Todd (but that was a loooong time ago and things are kinda hazy. Why, we actually went to the public library in those days.)

It's funny what inspires us, isn't it?

none said...

Probably not the first SF book I ever read, but certainly the book that hooked me on the genre: The Telepathist, by John Brunner.

How about:

Nancy Kress: Irresistible even when sticky!

Unknown said...

!!!First Time Commenter Warning!!!

Nancy, I've just started reading your blog, but have enjoyed reading your short SF and novellas for years, mostly in the "Year's Best SF" series.

I just received a SIGNED copy of Beggars in Spain published by Axolotl Press. That novella and the trilogy from it made me an instant Kress fan! The series has a prominent place on my bookshelf!

Keep up the excellent work - and avoid Air Tran any time you can!

PJ in (dark but usually sunny) FL

P.S. - First SF or works by an SF author was Ben Bova's "Giants of the Animal Kingdom", many, many years ago! Sparked an interest in science that naturally lead to my huge interest in the "what if" of SF. PJ