The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 135): Panel Discussion of Books that Changed Our Lives

In episode 135 of the Hugo Nominated SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester asks our irregulars to weigh in on: Books that Changed Our Lives.

This week’s panel:

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6 thoughts on “The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 135): Panel Discussion of Books that Changed Our Lives”

  1. Last Starship from Earth! Loved that book!

    I thought long and hard about this one and came up with two that I could string into a long train of thought.

    The Past Through Tomorrow by Robert A. Heinlein.

    The World, The Flesh and The Devil by J.D. Bernal.

  2. The Chronicles of Amber, Roger Zelazny

    I’ve ingrained my love of genre, met many people and many good friends thanks to the Amber Chronicles. No question.

    And they aren’t even the best novels Zelazny wrote. funny that.

  3. That was an enjoyable podcast, thanks. I like that you have a diverse range of books that were life-changing.

    For me it was a short story first then a book. I don’t know the title or author of the short story, but it was in an anthology aimed at adults. It was about a human and martian who were friends. The human pitied the martian when he learnt martians don’t see in colour, but the martian could see music. I remember the entire story clearly although I only read it once when I was about 11. I’m vision impaired so this story spoke to me very deeply. I’d love to find it, track it down and get a copy.

    The book was Stranger in a Strange Land (abridged) that I read when I was 15. Heinlein’s comments on society, the fair witnesses, it was all really profound and helped shape my view of the world.

  4. Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable podcast. I’m new here. This was my first listen, but I’ll definitely be back for more.

    As for the book that changed my life, I was about to trot out my standard response to the ‘favourite book’ question, which is Harry Mulisch’s magnificent The Discovery of Heaven. But as brilliant as Discovery is and regardless of the fact that it’s still my favourite novel, I can’t say it changed my life. That slot is filled by Patrick’s choice: The Hobbit.

    It was one of the set books in our 3rd year here in the UK. Not sure what American grade that equates to, but we were 13 years old. I was already a ravenous reader, but the stories I ate and breathed at that age were mostly historical fiction, particularly naval adventures starring heroes like Ramage and Bolitho, and Roman military stuff like The Eagle of the Ninth. I hadn’t read any fantasy since Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree about nine years earlier. So when I got my copy of The Hobbit my first reaction was irritation that they’d set us a children’s book.

    It didn’t take long for me to throw my prejudice out the window. I was hooked immediately. But more important than my deep enjoyment of the read, was the fact that this book opened my mind to the possibility – probability, even – that I would become a writer. All my preconceptions about having to gain a lifetime of experience in some specific profession or other before I could write stories informed by those experiences went right out the window along with my initial irritation. I could write fantasy. I already lived in different worlds in my imagination so I was halfway there before I put pen to paper.

    And so it came to pass. :)

      1. It really was my pleasure, Patrick. Thanks for putting on such an interesting and entertaining show. I’ve blogged and tweeted it this morning.

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