There was no specific text that acted as a knell or an augury because I was only six years old. But I had a teacher who would read out some Roald Dahl to keep us occupied, and during those sessions I discovered that stories trump television every time. In school anything I wrote in English Composition class would end up displayed on the school’s Open Day noticeboard or get sent to the principal, and I’d panic because I thought I’d done something wrong. Now I realize I was doing something very right.
When I was sixteen I picked up an excellent Icon guide to Franz Kafka and decided to try The Metamorphosis and The Trial. These two works demonstrated that fiction is an instant passport to another person’s headspace and the immense skill required of a writer to draw the reader in. Inception? Fight Club? Contemporary cinematic nightmares in a damaged brain are nothing compared to Gregor Samsa’s and Josef K’s ordeals.
I have a few WIPS with a spec fic bent. I always return to Aldous Huxley, H.G Wells and Arthur C.Clarke. All writers who saw so far into the future that the present is still catching up with their predictions. “How did they know?” I used to wonder at their extrapolations, although judging from the state of the early 21st century, the question is now, “How could they not have known?!”
All books and writers invariably change your perception in varying degrees, if we’re going with the more encompassing interpretation of world view (weltanschauung).