Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card, was the first science fiction I can remember reading. My aunt recommended it to me after we watched Starship Troopers. (I was in sixth or seventh grade--it was so cool that she rented an R rated movie for me to watch!) Card was my gateway-drug into speculative fiction, and Ender's Game remains one of my favorites to this day. Card created the perfect world for a twelve year old boy to get lost in. This is a book everyone should read. If I owe my love for fantasy to Robert Jordan, I owe my love of reading to Orson Scott Card.
What books have influenced you?