In my previous post I discussed a Futuristics cover story in the Oct 2007 RT. That same issue has a story about Sci-Fi / Fantasy. Timely, huh?
The article poses questions about the genres to successful authors, namely John Scalzi, Linnea Sinclair (I couldn't write a "Genre Wars" post w/o mentioning her, now could I?), Catherine Asaro, Elizabeth Bear, Jo Walton, and Kristine Smith.
The article is the standard: "what's the difference between sci-fi and fantasy?"
But, it had two different lists for recommending books to get started in the genre. One list was compiled from their message boards, the other from their senior sci-fi/fantasy reviewer. These are pretty good lists for the romance reader (or anyone who's just a little leery of that part of the book store). Anyway, check out the message boards for those recommendations:
Do You Read Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels?
The RT board responses listed a fair number of books that would appeal to the romance reader: once again, Linnea Sinclair. But also, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jo Walton, Sharon Shinn, and others.
Another book popularly mentioned, which was hands down my favorite when I was a kid, is Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon.
One of my other favorites, which may not belong in a discussion of romance, but darn it, I love this book: The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut was unique. Genius. This book in particular managed to say so much with such a simple plot. Well, maybe not simple. It's actually quite convoluted. Simple in that the main character becomes "unstuck" in time, but everything gets twisted. You just gotta read it to know what I mean. Really, go read it! It's strange, but wonderful.