Levels of Science Fiction and Fantasy Introduction

Pictured: My tattered copy of Ender’s Game from 8th Grade, read far too many times to count.

This is a concept I came up with a couple of years ago.  I have been an avid science fiction reader since my 8th grade English teacher assigned me to read Ender’s Game (still number 5 of my favorite SFF novels ever list).  She gave us a week to read the first 5 chapters and I waited until the night before like I always seemed to.  I picked up the book at 9:00 p.m. and didn’t put it down until 3:00 a.m.  I was absolutely hooked.  I could not stop reading.  I finished the book that night after school then plowed through Speaker for the Dead soon after.  From there I was off, constantly reading science fiction and eventually adding fantasy to the agenda. 

There is a lot that drew me to Ender’s Game, but one thing I think back to was how accessible it was.  The story essentially followed one character (ignoring brief tangents with Peter and Valentine), the world was revealed to you in a very comprehensive way, the characters were well developed and the plot was interesting.  The story worked and it really didn’t make the reader work.  For someone relatively new to science fiction it was a perfect entrance.  Since then I’ve ready science fiction from Frank Herbert to Dan Simmons to Iain M. Banks.  I’ve read accessible classics that are fun and easy to follow and I’ve read great books that make the reader work hard.  All are great in their own way. 

Now I have a daughter and son who one day I would love to introduce to the great world of science fiction and fantasy reading.  I want them to find what Ender’s Game was for me.  I hope that would eventually lead them to some of the more ambitious reading endeavors finding enjoyment in those as well.  Basically, the levels of Science Fiction and Fantasy deal with accessibility.  The more accessible books aren’t lesser just like the books that make you work harder aren’t necessarily better.  They are their own thing.  I have a great appreciation of books that I would classify at various levels of accessibility and my personal favorites span those groups. 

In the next couple of weeks I’ll unvale my Five Levels of Science Fiction and Fantasy based on accessibility.  I feel like starting someone in fantasy and science fiction with the novels that make you work hardest could turn them off from the genre.  I think having the experience in the genre makes you better appreciate the books that make you work without losing the appreciation from some of the other novels.  I wouldn’t tell someone new to fantasy to pick up Gardens of the Moon but would certainly recommend The Hobbit as a starting point.  

I don’t want to include every book in this either.  I want to pick out the books that would draw people into the genre that would really make them want to read more.   Likewise, for those who have been drawn in I want to choose the high-level books that you’d recommend for someone looking for a little more.  I also am only including the first book if it is a continuous meant to be read in order series but may include stand-alone books set in the same universe as earlier written books.  I hope others will help me further develop this idea. 

Felan’s Rescue is available on Audiobook!

Felan’s Rescue is available in Ebook form (and Kindle Unlimited), Hardback, and Paperback!

The Descendants of Prontoth (Galactic Civilizations Book 2) is now available on Audiobook!

The Descendants of Prontoth is now available as an Ebook (and on Kindle Unlimited) hardback and paperback!

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