The First Genre Novel I Read Is…

On Paul Jessup‘s website today, I read about how he’s going to participate in a 30 days meme for genre books. It sounded like a lot of fun, so I thought I’d chime in.

Today’s the first day and I’m talking about my first genre novel.

Okay, so even though this is part of the meme, the truth is I don’t remember the first genre novel that I ever read. I can tell you I was more enamored with mystery novels as a kid than any other genre. I was into series moreso than individual books; Encyclopedia Brown, Meg, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, the Hardy Boys.

Splinter of the Mind's EyeAlthough I can’t remember which came first — I remember being very enamored with the Rats of NIMH and The Hobbit — I do recall the first tie-in novel I ever read. It was a book called Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster and it took place in between Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. For me, this book was the gateway drug to other science fiction novels and series, in part because I was drawn to the mystery of Darth Vader and whether or not Luke and Leia could escape.

From this novel, I branched out into science fiction by way of Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick and…of course…back to Star Wars and Star Trek.

Years later, after I read so many other science fiction novels, I went back and read Splinter of the Mind’s Eye again. This time around, it was interesting because the romantic tension between Luke and Leia means something different now, but then? Only Lucas knew who Leia was going to choose.

Not bad for a first novel. After all, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye opened the door to many other fantastic and otherworldly tales.

2 Responses to The First Genre Novel I Read Is…
  1. C.D. Reimer

    “Splinter of The Mind’s Eye” was a book I read for a book report in the eighth grade. I was surprised the English teacher allowed me to review it. Maybe because my previous book report was on a J.R.R. Tolkien biography that was way over my head as a young reader.

    “Rite of Passage” by Alexei Panshin wasn’t my first genre book but it was the first to make an impact on me, stirring my passion about becoming a writer (eventually). A generation ship drops their young on a planet to survive one month to prove they are ready for adulthood. I was eight-years-old when I read it, wondering what my rite of passage would be.

  2. Don Corcoran

    It had to have been the Hobbit. From there and a Science Fiction Book Club membership later I got hooked on Bradbury, Asimov, Katherine Kurtz and Terry Brooks.



Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

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