Inspired by the great booktuber Petrik Leo's two year anniversary on YouTube video, which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10XcOxxpXK4& I decided to write a post about how/why I got into science fiction and fantasy (though mostly fantasy).
Growing up, my mom read countless novels to me. I don't remember any of them, other than there was a series at one point that had to deal with dragons. I have no idea what it was, or even if I enjoyed it. I only know that it was read to me.
Also starting before I can remember, and continuing until my teenage years, were old adventure films (I'm not even sure what the genre would technically be) and the monster movies. For people who don't know what I'm talking about... the monster movies would be basically any movie in which there's a large monster and a group of people trying to survive it/kill it/stop it. Major examples I don't really like would be King Kong or Godzilla. I wish I could offer an example I used to love but it's been so long I hardly remember any of them. The adventure films I'm talking about generally had two things in common: exploring a new world or area and having aliens/creatures slowly killing off the group. Examples I remember loving would be the 7th Voyage of Sinbad (and the other films), a whole bunch of Greek-inspired adventures (Jason and the Argonauts being one), and, probably my favorite, Planet of Dinosaurs. And, not much later, I found Star Wars.
With movies, I was certainly covered throughout my childhood. I loved exploring the strange, new worlds. But what about books? I am not sure what fantasy book really got me into fantasy. I am almost certain it was Blade of the Poisoner by Douglas Adams, although I'm sure I read fantasy before that - I just can't remember what it might've been. Progressing from Adams, I found Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books. And, from there, Harry Potter (which was brilliant and completely stole my mind for many years).
I tried a lot of novels when I was a kid. I was a voracious reader. However, I really disliked a lot of the predictability. There were many books, and I won't name them here, I remember reading and laughing at as I finished them. Because everything about them was so damn predictable.
In college, my friend told me I needed to read Joe Abercrombie. He gave me his copy of The Blade Itself to read. I remember reading the first chapter and almost throwing the book at him. An invincible barbarian falls off a cliff and survives? Are you fucking kidding me? I'm not reading this trash. "No," my friend said, "It's not like that. Read one more chapter." And I did. And Abercrombie became my favorite author somewhere in that trilogy. The thing that Abercrombie did was restore my love for books. I didn't want to read anything anymore because it was all predictable. Boring. At least, everything I read. Discovering Joe Abercrombie led me to A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin and many other amazing works. I found my calling - grimdark fantasy. I loved (and still do) not knowing who is safe. Not knowing what to expect. And then I began to write it, too.
I've written since I was a kid - I even finished an entire science fiction novel when I was a junior in high school. I still have 3/4 of it printed out - lost the other 1/4, unfortunately.
But the reason I love science fiction and fantasy is because of the exploration and the new worlds. It's, in my opinion, the only genre worth consuming massive amounts of.
Everything else (for me) is subpar.