SF Signal asked several authors: What Book Introduced You to Fantasy? And, as usual, I couldn’t limit myself to one book. Here is an abridged version of what I told them.
Urban fantasy, by the likes of Charles de Lint), has always had its own fascination. Before that the two authors who drew my attention to historical fantasy were Judith Tarr and Guy Gavriel Kay.
By historical fantasy, I mean an “alternate reality” world but with characters who were Real People in our own reality or a world just a TWEAK different from ours, or a world where the history is awfully familiar but you can’t QUITE place anything until you realize that the author has taken our history and shuffled it like a pack of playing cards.
Before that, there was Rober Zelazny and Amber – books which acted like magic mushrooms to my imagination, opening my mind to seeing things JUST out of my line of sight, teaching me that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
Before THAT, there was the epic – THE epic – The Lord of the Rings, the thing that taught me scope and range and reach and the power of history and background and lives that were lived long before your own but which still reach out to touch yours.
Before that… there was the so-called “simpler” stuff. Narnia. Before that, the fairy tales. The original versions, thank you. I grew up with the Hans Christian Andersen tearjerkers, and the unbowdlerised Cinderella where blood dripped out of glass slippers as heels and toes were cut off for a foot to fit.
Before that, there were the mythologies of the world – Slavic, Norse, Greek, Roman, Celtic, Oriental, Polynesian, Amerind, Aboriginal.
I have thousands of books. Thousands of voices whisper in my library. Thousands of worlds live and breathe side by side, trapped between covers. Every one of those books “introduced me” to fantasy. The debt is vast, and shared amongst many.