Nora’s Sunday Quickie: The Gateway Drug

My Quickie is being posted a bit late today because it’s about something I can’t actually remember: how I got hooked on SF.

If I search back to the point at which I first wanted to seriously write SF, it’s vividly clear: I had just seen Disney’s Witch Mountain movies. Lying awake in bed that night I thought, wow, those were pretty good followed by but I could do it better. And the next day I started writing something. (I thought it was original, but it was pretty much Witch Mountain fanfic. Thank goodness the Internet wasn’t available to me back then, or that hideousness would still be available for the world to see.)

If I think back to the first time I read and loved SF, though, I hit a blur. My favorite children’s stories were fairy tales and stuff about monsters and fantastic adventures. I had other books, but just didn’t like them as much. From that I graduated to kids’ stuff like Choose Your Own Adventure novels, and again I preferred the skiffy ones. I have a vague memory of reading some book about a guy traveling to the Moon and finding it covered in a forest, where he saves the sentient inhabitants (who were “mushroom people”) from an epidemic sulfur deficiency by giving them a chicken, to lay eggs. (Er, does anybody remember this?) It was so insane that I went looking for other stuff like it, and blundered onto Bradbury, who didn’t hook me at the time, and Asimov and McCaffrey, who did. Sometimes their books were in YA, and sometimes they were in the grown-up section, so I kind of time-shared between the two. Finally noticed a whole rack of the precise kind of books that I liked, so happily shunted over to it… and that was SF.

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