A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin Deryni Rising - Katherine Kurtz The White Hart [First in the Book of Isle Trilogy] - NANCY SPRINGER

I read an interesting post on Strange Horizons about Katherine Kurtz and the impact she had on early fantasy, and I started thinking about how I got into SFF in the first place. It happened like this:

 

I have an older brother, he's 10 years older than I am and when I was about 9, he joined the RAF. Which meant that although he still had a bedroom at the family home, he wasn't there much except for weekends once he'd finished his basic training and that in turn meant I was free to explore the contents of his bookshelves without any comment. (And to find his poorly-hidden porn stash, but that's another story completely!)

 

This was the late 1970's, by the way, to help put what I found into context. My brother was into SF and so you can probably imagine what his books consisted of - reams of Asimov, Heinlein, EE 'Doc' Smith, Poul Anderson (but just the Ensign Flandry books, iirc), John Brunner, Harry Harrison and so on. I think I remember some Larry Niven in there as well. I've had flashbacks to those books a couple of times since - once when I visited a particular SF bookstore in Nova Scotia and again at last year's WorldCon, when one of the booksellers had pretty much my brother's collection in one box.

 

Anyway, that was pretty much my introduction to SFF, though clearly the SF side of things rather than the final F. For my introduction to fantasy, I'm going to credit three women - Ursula K. LeGuin, Katherine Kurtz and Nancy Springer. Of course, LeGuin has done sterling work (and long may she continue to do so!) in both SF and F fields, but it was the Earthsea trilogy (as it was at that time) that I fell in love with. She's the one most people will know of, out of those three, but all three helped start what has turned out to be a lifelong addiction and none of them should be forgotten.