Down Memory Lane

I got this from Martin who got it from Larry (see also Adam‘s post); the idea is to list the books that shaped you as a reader. I did something similar when Farah Mendlesohn was running her survey a couple of years ago, but it’s always an interesting exercise. My memory is as bad as Martin’s, if not worse, so I’ve gone for 2-year brackets as well, and I couldn’t swear that I’ve got everything in the right place. Commentary in square brackets where I couldn’t help myself.

Heidi and sequels, Johanna Spyri
Little House on the Prarie series, Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Adventure series, Willard Price
The Famous Five series, Enid Blyton
The Magician’s Nephew, CS Lewis [and the rest of Narnia, of course, but for some reason it’s this, and to a lesser extent The Silver Chair, that stay with me]

The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
Swallows and Amazons, and most of the sequels, Arthur Ransome
A Rag, A Bone and a Hank of Hair and Trillions, Nicholas Fisk
The Animals of Farthing Wood, Colin Dann
The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K Le Guin
The Complete Robot, Isaac Asimov
A lot of Peanuts, Charles M Schulz
An awful lot of Dragonlance, especially the Chronicles and Legends trilogies, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman [I could have included “even more Dragonlance” on my next list]

Foundation and sequels, Isaac Asimov
The Chrysalids, John Wyndham
Rama and sequels, Arthur C Clarke (and Gentry Lee)
Various Calvin & Hobbes anthologies, Bill Watterson
The Amtrak Wars and Fade-Out, Patrick Tilley

Interzone, ed. David Pringle
Voyage, Stephen Baxter [although I had been reading him for some time before this]
Axiomatic, Greg Egan
Red Mars and sequels, Kim Stanley Robinson
The Reality Dysfunction and sequels, Peter F Hamilton

The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell
The Stone Canal, Ken MacLeod
Asimov’s Science Fiction, ed. Gardner Dozois
A Fire Upon the Deep, Vernor Vinge
Final Fantasy VII, Squaresoft [this was the hardest of the age bands to do; I think I stopped reading for a couple of years when I went to university. But I spent many an hour playing FFVII, and it sits very close to the book-space in my head.]

10 thoughts on “Down Memory Lane

  1. Yes, I really should have put Interzone on my list too. I got a subscription for my fourteenth birthday and it had a huge effect and exposed me to a vast number of authors.

    Axiomatic and Red Mars only missed off because I limited myself to five books per bracket.

  2. I started all this with an off-hand comment on Mike Harrison’s blog – and I couldn’t for the life of me do a list. It’s simply so long ago that I have no idea what I read when. All I can say for sure is that there would have been no science fiction (and probably precious little fantasy) until my early teens (probably around 1966 when I was 14 and ill with one of those interminable childhood diseases and a neighbour gave me a novelisation of the Time Tunnel TV series to read. I’m pretty sure that was my first sf novel.

  3. I should also mention the first science fiction book I ever read: Peter Davidson’s Book Of Alien Planets. I was eight, I bought it at a school jumble sale and I found it hard work.

  4. I was a roleplayer who never roleplayed. So the Shadowrun rulebook and the GW Codices had a major impact on my literary and imaginative development but I never played a game.

  5. I never read the Shadowrun rulebook, but I did read a whole bunch of the novels. I wonder if any of them will hold up if I re-read them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s