First Science Fiction / Fantasy Book

On i09 recently they asked their readers what was the first science fiction or fantasy book they had read. It made me think of what my answer would be and the problem that I was running in to is that I was having trouble thinking of what I read early on that was science fiction and fantasy. I am realizing at the time that I just read books and did not think about what larger genre the books were a part of. That then got me thinking about when I did finally realize that I was reading science fiction or fantasy and really it probably happened when I actually starting buying books for myself. At that point I had to understand the genres to be able to find the books that I wanted to read.

So I realized that I needed to just start thinking of what I remember that I read when I was younger that might work in to a science fiction and fantasy genre. This was still difficult because I am not quite sure which qualify and I feel like I read a lot of the typical science fiction and fantasy later in life. I think I actually watched a lot more science fiction and fantasy then I read, but here are a few of the books that I do remember reading.

The Giver

The GiverIt has been so long since I read this book, but I remember loving it. Part of what I love is how ambiguous the ending was. Although now with the continuation of the story written in further novels, I am not sure how I feel about it. It definitely falls into the science fiction category, as it is the future of humanity.

The Eleventh Hour

The Eleventh HourSo this is the greatest picture book ever, with a fantastic mystery. I loved the visuals of this book and the fantasy element is that is a bunch of talking and walking animals dressed in finery. It is a visually beautiful book with an amazing mystery to be solved throughout. The hidden clues on each page are very well done.

The Tripod Trilogy

The White Mountains, The Tripod TrilogyThis I read in 5th grade, if I am remembering correctly, because it was part of a Battle of the Books series. The one that was part of the Battle of the Books was The White Mountain, but you cannot start a trilogy without finishing it. I remember generally liking it, but I do not remember enough specifics about the book. The big thing I remember is the mesh that was put on people’s heads to control their emotions and thoughts.

Bridge to Terabithia

Bride to TerabithiaNow this one I do not know about because it is not about fantastical elements really existing, but about the use of our imagination to create fantasy. The story is really about two kids living their lives and using their imagination as a form of escape. At the same time the fantasy of the land of Terabithia is so important to the overall story. At the same time as a fantasy story it could be considered borderline.


That are the big ones that I can think of. Some of the other books I read were The Babysitter’s Club, The Client, Where the Red Fern Grows, and others, a lot of which for school or Battle of the Books. It is so interesting that I have trouble with books, but if I had to name movies it would be no contest because I could name a ton that I watched from when I was really little. Yet, when trying to think of books that I read I am struggling. I have read Ender’s Game, Hitchiker’s Guide, Dune, Anne McCaffery, The Hobbit, and others, but that has all been high school or later. So what was your first science fiction or fantasy book and about when did you read it?

9 responses to “First Science Fiction / Fantasy Book

  1. The Magic Key books were our set series at school, and I was definitely reading those when I was about 6 (although I missed a bunch because they figured out how good my reading comprehension was and sent me up a couple of years to read the next tier collection). By the time I was 10 I was reading Redwall and Artemis Fowl, and Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings came along before I was 12. I’m of the right generation, really. Harry Potter 1 was released when I was 8, the FOTR film when I was 11, and then Doctor Who came back when I was 14, so I’ve been surrounded by some of the biggest sci-fi and fantasy series of all time, happening around me and with massive media hype.


    • In terms of movies and tv shows I grew up with Star Trek TNG, Highlander, Star Wars, The Last Unicorn, Neverending Story, Labyrinth, Time Bandits, He Man, She Ra, etc. When I was really little it was books such as Bernstein Bears and Magic School Bus. I was also a huge fan of Babar. Then there was Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein. I have always enjoyed reading but I think I didn’t find my love of books until a bit later. Some of it may be that I have always lived movies and those just had a bigger impact on me. Also, there was not quite the same popularity that you see now a days with some of these items.

      Harry Potter did not come out until I was about in high school so it was a very different reading experience for me. I used to babysit a kid that loved reading Harry Potter her parents had to force her to read one non-Harry Potter book before she could reread the Harry Potter book again.


  2. Does Watership Down count? I read that in 5th grade along with The White Mountains, which I had forgotten about entirely until you mentioned it here. Thank you muchly for that!

    I figure it should count. I mean they’re talking bunnies who have folklore about a magic folkbunny. If not, maybe The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Though my first epic fantasy was David Eddings (Belgariad) and that was an entirely new experience.

    Sci-fi…my shit is too old to try to remember this stuff. I want to say it was a Robotech series book, and I want to say Lancer/Yellow Dancer was involved.


  3. Wow! hard to say. I recall starting Narnia at about 8 or 9 – and that is surely fantasy. But so much of childhood reading is, in a way, fantasy. My dad started reading me the Hobbit at age 6. I loved that! A Wrinkle In Time might have been one of the first I read that his that sci fi genre directly. I also loved the Dragonriders of Pern starting around 10, and everything by Piers Anthony, Philip K Dick, and even Heinlein by the time I was in high school.


  4. While I can remember reading more when I was younger than Holly, the question for me is still “when did I identify these as science fiction or fantasy?” I don’t know.

    I was definitely reading some science fiction and fantasy setting Choose Your Own Adventure books in elementary school, though. Black holes, vampires, dinosaurs, oozes… That was a good set of books!

    We also had an illustrated copy of the Hobbit, with the pictures from the animated film. That was fun, and early on for me.

    But when was I like “hey, this is the stuff for me?” Got to be reading Dune in middle school. I was hooked.


    • Oh, CYOA! I had those! I also watched and read a ton of YA horror as a kid. Are You Afraid of the Dark, ghost stories, paranormal stories, murder mysteries… Makes the current obsession with all things Holmes and some things Lecter make more sense….


  5. I’d guess Roald Dahl was my first SFF: James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator (more SFF than the first one, though that had elements of SFF too), Matilda, etc. I also read The Phantom Tollbooth in class in 4th grade. I read The Giver in 6th grade and maybe Terabithia, too, which I reread in Uni.

    Dahl’s Over to You (stories about pilots in WWI) is one of my favorite books, and one of the more SFF stories inspired Porco Rosso’s flashback scene.


  6. Pingback: Happy Independence Day! | Comparative Geeks

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