Starting with the usual bit of context: the topic is from the Weekly Blogging Challenge over at Long and Short Reviews. Hit their homepage to see the current week's responses, and add a link to your own if you're so inclined.
This week's challenge is Books that Influenced My Life.
The obvious answer, of course, is "All. Of. Them."
But, okay, there are a couple that I think I've mentioned before, but not recently enough to show up in skimming back through my blogging challenge posts.
So I'm just going to go through them (again).
Starting with a comic book: Grimjack, written by Jon Ostrander and illustrated by a number of talented people across its run. It's a sort of Fantasy Noire, set in a city where dimensions meet. The main character is this cranky old mercenary, the supporting cast is amazing, and... look, I went to college early. A couple of years early. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it was... I'm not entirely sure how to describe it. Part of it was that I don't think I'd have fit in at that University even if I'd been two years older, but part of it was that since I was sixteen most of the time I knew what I was doing and was fine, but when I didn't/it wasn't I was completely at sea. I found Grimjack during my freshman year, and it may actually have saved my life - the right story at the right time.
Shortly after that I discovered Cabal by Clive Barker -- oddly enough, also through the comic book that was built off the movie, Nightbreed. That became the basis for a whole new circle of friends after I switched to another university in my Junior year. In its way, it was just as important to me as Grimjack was.
The last one I'd put on this list, which I know I've mentioned before, is The Callahan Chronicles. These stories (and it is mostly, and originally, a set of short stories) are some of the most fundamentally optimistic weird science fiction that I've ever encountered. They reinforced and catered to my love of puns; they codified the belief that pain shared is lessened while joy shared is increased; and while I don't have them associated so strongly with a particular point in my life, Spider Robinson's writing did an awful lot to shape my thinking on people and what we need from each other.
What books influenced you?