The subject of entry points in speculative fiction came up recently. Entry points meaning which author “gateway drug” got you interested in sf/f in the first place. That’s not always easy to pin down, especially the further away you are in experience (and years) from that point. Then there’s the complication that it’s usually more than one. For example, I discovered Andre Norton and Robert Heinlein at about the same time. Even so, they weren’t the first.
That honor (or blame) goes to Nelson S. Bond.
Not a name that’s on everyone’s lips these days. Small wonder. A lot of his work was for radio plays, and some early television, but before that he wrote mostly short stories for the pulps, and the bulk of his work in the field was done before I was born. It was just an accident that I stumbled across one of his stories not too long after I learned to read. That was “Lancelot Biggs on the Saturn.”
It had it all: space as a normal working environment, worn-out cargo ships, deadly space pirates, life or death situations…and on top of that, it was still funny. The same anthology also had stories by Robert Heinlein (“The Black Pits of Luna”) and H.G. Wells (“The Truth about Pyecraft”), but nothing resonated quite like that gangly screw-up, Lancelot Biggs. I never connected with Asimov at all except for some of his non-fiction. I came back to Heinlein later of course(see above), but I wasn’t ready at the time. I had to go through Nelson Bond to get to Heinlein and Edgar Rice Burroughs, and I had to get through Heinlein before I was ready for Ursula Le Guin and Fritz Leiber. Everything in its proper order and proper time, I guess, but something has to start it all…and perhaps teach that a little humor goes a long way.
So. What was your entry point?
A seminal work of fantasy which also managed to tell a compelling story in a single volume of under 200 pages.
The Buck Rogers comic strip…
Charles de Lint Moonheart & John Crowley’s Little, Big ….Years earlier I’d read Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series from the school library, but didn’t know how to find anything else like it…..
Loved Little, Big. The Dark is Rising is another classic I haven’t gotten to yet. So many great books, so little time.
My entry point to fantasy and science fiction were the de Camp and Pratt Incomplete Enchanter hooks and Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts and Three Lions.
I loved the Incomplete Enchanter books, but I still haven’t read Three Hearts and Three Lions.