I started reading science fiction and fantasy when I was in fifth grade. That’s about 1962, or there about. Below are the novels I remember loving at the time, the ones that I still remember reading. They may not be my all-time favorites, but they certainly are some of the best.
1. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch — Philip K. Dick: It’s difficult to pick just one book out of Philip Dick’s writings, but this particular book sticks with me. There were times, while reading it, that I felt as though I had taken drugs and was on a trip. No other book has done that since.
2. Thorns — Robert Silverberg: Another classic, in my opinion. This book explores the subject of pain like none I’ve read since. I loved the images, the emotions, everything about this book.
3. To Your Scattered Bodies Go — Philip Jose Farmer: Not only was this an amazing idea for a book (and then a series), but it was really well-written. So many science fiction authors of that time were literary in the ways they approached characterization and scene.
4. The Left Hand of Darkness — Ursula K. Le Guin: Few will disagree that Ursula has her own way to approach a story. Her ability to make me feel as though I was standing next to a character is almost haunting. What a wonderful writer.
5. This Immortal — Roger Zelazny: Zelazny’s Amber series is probably his best known, but there is something about “This Immortal” that has stayed with me all these years. That’s what I look for in a novel, that ability to hold on. This book with always be one of my favorites from childhood.
6. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream — Harlan Ellison: If you’re going to read short stories, Ellison is the one to read. He packs so much information and good writing into a small package that it sticks with you years and years after you’ve read it.
7. Stranger in a Strange Land — Robert Heinlein: If there is anyone on the planet who hasn’t read and loved this book, I don’t know him or her. Need I say more?
8. Dune — Frank Herbert: A world unlike any I’d read about before, Dune introduced me to character development, conflict, and a sort-of spiritually uplifting storyline that had to come from such a barren place.
9. Foundation — Isaac Asimov: The book that, I feel, pushed Asimov to the top of my reading list for years. This book was only the beginning in a long line of Sunday afternoons spent reading.
10. Star Surgeon — Alan E. Nourse: I read this rather early in my science fiction reading phase, and will never forget it. I believe it was the first time I was taken to another world, and I haven’t come home yet.
Other great authors I read during that time in my life:
Arthur C. Clarke
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Robert E. Howard
E. E. “Doc” Smith