I’ve written speculative fiction since I was a little kid. Naturally, I’ve also read it since then. The first “adult” fiction that I read came from the pulps: Doc Savage, The Avenger, The Shadow, Tarzan, John Carter (much of which I took from my oldest brother’s book shelves). From there I graduated to A. C. Doyle, Agatha Christie, Heinlein, Tolkien, Vonnegut, Le Guin, King, Mosley, Stephenson, Jonathan Carroll, Connie Willis, and so on. I also read “mainstream” with the likes of John Irving, Kerouac, Salinger, Mailer, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Chabon, and so forth. And then sprinkle in a boatload of one-offs.
Random Memory 1: I want to say I was in second grade, so I will. I just finished reading The Seven Chinese Brothers (at least I think it was seven). The brothers were identical and each had a different superpower. Loved the book so I wrote it. I got out pencil and paper and started writing out the words of the book. My older (but not oldest) brother asked what I was doing (or maybe I volunteered the information). “I’m writing a book.” He puzzled over that for a moment. He told me I couldn’t do that. But I was doing that. It’s not your book. But it was my book; see, I’m writing it. I had a difficult time understanding the concept of plagiarism.
Random Memory 2. No idea how old I was, but my oldest brother was reading a collection of Larry Niven short stories during a family car trip. This was in the ’70s, but I can’t narrow it down much further. The stories blew me away and I immediately wrote several of my own short stories during that trip.