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I was commenting on another blog earlier, where Robert Heinlein's name was mentioned.  Later, while I waited outside for my daughters' school bus, I found myself reminiscing about one of his books, Have Space Suit, Will Travel.  It was the first sci-fi novel I ever read.

Even after more than thirty years.  I can still remember the story line, though I won't spoil it for anyone here.

How about you?  What was your first sci-fi novel (or short story)?  


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( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 10th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
Does The Exorcist count? I stole it out of my Mom's beach bag when i was nine...didn't sleep to well that summer. I love your little alien abduction thingy!
Jun. 10th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
Isn't that horror?
Jun. 10th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
I honestly don't know! It's a tie, really, between several books. The farthest back I can remember (maybe 7 or 8?) is a series called "Secrets of the Unicorn Queen". Another book was called STAR DOG (that I have never since been able to find) about a star, Sirius, that gets thrown out of the stars and is born on earth as a red-and-white dog. Barring that, I also remember reading Steven Gould's JUMPER at around the same time. *ponders* Also could have been my mother's old Johanna Lindsay space romances she kept hidden in the drawer by her bed (I read EVERYTHING back then) but I'm not sure those count as Scifi.

*ponders* I read Anne McCaffrey's Pern and Ships series' also around 7 years old. Before that I think it was just chapter and picture books.
Jun. 10th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
I just had a thought, do Michael Bond's Paddington books count as sci-fi? :)
Jun. 10th, 2009 08:50 pm (UTC)
First sci-fi novel I read was same as you, Have Space Suit, Will Travel.

First science fiction novel I read was Stranger in a Strange Land.

I see sci-fi and science fiction as two different things. :-)
Jun. 10th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
That's because you're way smarter than me :)
Jun. 10th, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells.
Jun. 10th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
When I first left home, I liked his War of the Worlds.
Jun. 10th, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
Hm, well, I grew up listening to my parents vinyl records of Hitchhikers and War of the Worlds, but I think the first novel was probably Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, which my uncle gave me when I was 10 or 11. I was quite proud of myself for getting through that one, even though it'd be easy to read for me now. I keep meaning to re-read it. I always think of the couch that got irreversibly stuck in the staircase. And the robotic monk and his horse - something like that.

Um, what on earth is different between "sci-fi" and "science fiction" except that one is an abbreviation of the other?
Jun. 10th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
I love the Douglas Adams secret of flying, throw yourself at the ground and miss :)

As for sci-fi vs science fiction. I honestly don't know, though I've heard it said that some writers don't like the shortened version.
Jun. 10th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I know. The earliest that I can point my finger on is Dragonquest, by Anee McCaffery. But it's likely that there was something before that.
Jun. 10th, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
I think I have that one :)
Jun. 10th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
First scifi book I HAD to read, Orwell's 1984. (I honestly don't remember whether I liked it or not!)

First scifi book I bought and read all on my own? Splinter in the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster. Yeah, it was the 70s and I was a child of Star Wars. :)
Jun. 10th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
And I thought the 64 was random ;)

Just kidding :)

Edited at 2009-06-10 10:45 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Jun. 11th, 2009 02:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mylefteye - Jun. 11th, 2009 09:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Jun. 11th, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mylefteye - Jun. 12th, 2009 06:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Jun. 12th, 2009 12:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jun. 12th, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Jun. 12th, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jun. 12th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 10th, 2009 10:18 pm (UTC)
2001- I tracked it down after catching the opening credits to the movie.
Jun. 10th, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
You know, I always meant to read that one, but never got around to it.
Jun. 10th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)
My parents gave me Asimov's The Caves of Steel and The Gods Themselves for Christmas one year, I'm pretty sure that was my first introduction to science fiction. (Thanks mom & dad!)
Jun. 10th, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC)
I read lots of Asimov in the 70s :)
Jun. 10th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC)
I, Robot
Jun. 11th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)
Jun. 11th, 2009 01:53 am (UTC)
I joined a book club in my early 20's, and three books I bought and devoured were;

1. WAITING FOR THE GALACTIC BUS; About a group of aliens who, land on a primitive Earth and start partying (graduation party). Their ride comes and all but two are taken back, so, hungover, they start playing with the local wildlife. One alien uses his ability, and gives a primitive human creature a conscience. It ended up being quite hilarious, as they two aliens have to now take care of the 'enlightened' humans, which means they're responsible for what happens to souls when the body dies.

2. I can't remember the name of the second book, but it took place in the a future where mankind lives in giant skyscrapers. The more children you have, the better the social status, and men wander freely into others apartments and have sex with other guys wives. Really weird book, but it really struck me as profoud.

3. MAURINE BURNBALM; BARBARIAN SWORDWOMAN; Think of the main character from CLUELESS, but as an intergalactic fighter with a sword. REally weird but funny.
Jun. 11th, 2009 10:30 am (UTC)
That second one sounds familiar, didn't they base 'Dallas' on it? :)
(no subject) - jl_johnson - Jun. 11th, 2009 10:59 am (UTC) - Expand
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Jun. 11th, 2009 10:31 am (UTC)
I've seen the movie. I imagine the book was quite dark.
Jun. 11th, 2009 08:57 am (UTC)
Oddly enough, I was thinking about this yesterday. I took my daughter to the library and we got chatting about the books I borrowed when I was her age. I remember reading loads of those Dr Who books with the white laminated covers. I think they were published by Target. I had a piece of foolscap with all the titles I'd read so I wouldn't bring the same books home twice. Terry Nation and Terrence Dicks were my favourite writers. I also read a fantastic non-Who novel by Terry Nation called Rebecca's World. I just looked on Amazon and my fond memories are shared by other people. It's one of those titles that should never have been allowed to go out of print.
Jun. 11th, 2009 10:33 am (UTC)
You know it's weird. Like most Brits, I spend a good part of my formative years hiding behind the sofa, listening to the Daleks/Cybermen/Ice Men (delete as appropriate) go after Doctor Who, but I never read any of the books, and there were a lot.

Edited at 2009-06-11 10:33 am (UTC)
(no subject) - jl_johnson - Jun. 11th, 2009 11:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 11th, 2009 01:46 pm (UTC)
I read Heinlein's Farmer in the Sky, which I thought was okay, but then read The Past Through Tomorrow:Future History Stories and I fell in love with him and science fiction. I went through an intense three or four year period where that's all I read...Asimov and Frank Herbert. I don't read it as much now, but still occasionally re-read some of my favorites.
Jun. 11th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
After Heinlein, I used to like Harry Harrison. The Deathworld trilogy and The Stainless Steel Rat series.
Happy days :)
(no subject) - jmulia_cox - Jun. 11th, 2009 02:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 11th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm, a harder question than you might think.

I know that Have Space Suit, Will Travel was among the first Heinlein novels I read, but Time for the Stars may have come first. (I know for sure that I tried to start Space Cadet when I was nine or ten, and had to give up and try later.)

Earlier, even, I read a collection of SF short stories, at least one of which was Van Vogt's "Far Centaurus", which remains to this day one of my favorite stores.

But I'm pretty sure I started by reading kids' SF first. I know I read Jay Williams's Danny Dunn books pretty young, possibly when I was seven or eight, and I remember another series, Hugh Walters's Chris Godfrey novels (Journey to Jupiter et. al.), from about the same time.

And I started on SF television before SF novels. As a six-year-old I was devoted to both The Time Tunnel and Lost in Space (six was about the mentality of LiS), and at seven I badgered my parents into letting me stay up late to watch Star Trek. (You couldn't get Doctor Who in the U.S. back then, but if we could have I know I would have devoured it. First time I saw it was off Canadian TV on a trip to Alaska when I was eleven; I was stunned.)

Jon, thank you for posing the question. What a fun trip down memory lane!
Jun. 11th, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
Time Tunnel and Lost in Space. Now that takes me back. The pain, the pain :)
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Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

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No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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