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Old 10-27-2009, 08:53 AM   #1
dougbiss
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Sci-fi authors you (and I) should read

I'm looking for a new list of authors to get acquainted with, so I'm starting three threads for each of the genres that interest me: fantasy, sci-fi and espionage. This, as is so obvious from the title, is the sci-fi thread.

Starting with the idea that certain authors will be on almost everyone's list for this genre, I'm asking that we exclude them to get to the ones that may benefit readers, such as myself, who are trying to dig a little deeper.

In sci-fi, I think this list would comprise of (in no particular order):

Isaac Asimov
William Gibson
Arthur C. Clarke
Robert Heinlein
Frank Herbert
Ray Bradbury
Douglas Adams
Phillip K. Dick

I'm sure there are others that you feel should be on that list... so who are they and why do they belong?

I would personally add Peter David for the exceptional work he has done in the Star Trek series, and Timothy Zahn for his Star Wars trilogy.

Thanks in advance for all comments!
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:30 AM   #2
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#1. Gene Wolfe.

The best recommendation for him is the words of Michael Swanwick:
Quote:
Gene Wolfe is the greatest writer in the English language alive today. Let me repeat that: Gene Wolfe is the greatest writer in the English language alive today! I mean it. Shakespeare was a better stylist, Melville was more important to American letters, and Charles Dickens had a defter hand at creating characters. But among living writers, there is nobody who can even approach Gene Wolfe for brilliance of prose, clarity of thought, and depth in meaning.
#2, I see you've got the big "ABC" (Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke), but there are many who would equally substitute Alfred Bester as "Mr. B." Truly a great pioneer.

#3, this list is already getting too sexist, so please add Ursula LeGuin. Her ability to portray the "human condition," even in alien settings and with non-human characters, equals or surpasses that of Frank Herbert.

Last edited by curtw; 10-27-2009 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:57 AM   #3
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The wikipedia article "Science Fiction" has a decent list of noteworthy authors by sub-genre and "History of Science Fiction" lists more by time period.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:24 AM   #4
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:28 AM   #5
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Think I'd add three less commonly thought of authors:

David Brin for just plain good writing, the two Uplift trilogies.
C.J. Cherryh for 1) realistic science and economics as in the way we probably will get into space and 2) being the master of alien psychologies and personality.
Neal Stephenson for better cyberpunk than Gibson's, his Diamond Age and Snow Crash books.

edit - and also
Vernor Vinge - Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky
Frederik Pohl - Gateway but lots of other great ones too.
Joe Haldeman for best military sci-fi
Orson Scott Card - first two Ender novels

Last edited by wayspooled; 10-27-2009 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:39 AM   #6
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:01 PM   #7
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I read Robert Sawyer's "Calculating God" the other day... pretty good. I'd say Gene Wolfe buries him but it's the best sci-fi I've read in years.
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:59 PM   #8
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Thanks, all... there are a lot of names I'm not familiar with on those lists.
Trying to determine the order to start reading looks like it will be a challenge.
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:28 PM   #9
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Not yet mentioned - Dan Simmons and Iain M. Banks
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:02 PM   #10
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Check out Ian R. MacLeod. My mom bought me his "The Light Ages" as a present recently, and I couldn't put it down.
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayspooled View Post
C.J. Cherryh for 1) realistic science and economics as in the way we probably will get into space and 2) being the master of alien psychologies and personality.
Neal Stephenson for better cyberpunk than Gibson's, his Diamond Age and Snow Crash books.
Yep, one can't go wrong with Cherryh and Stephenson.

In addition I recommend Phillip Jose Farmer (World of Tiers) and Roger Zelazny (Chronicles of Amber) for pure brazen world-building fun.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:49 PM   #12
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For a "classic" S-F author (whether he considered himself one or not) you can't go past John Wyndham. The Day Of The Triffids is still one of the best end-of-the-world novels, as is The Chyrisalids one of the best post-apocalyptic books.

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Old 10-27-2009, 10:13 PM   #13
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Not exactly an author list but I would highly recommend the series Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories, a collection of short stories from various authors. Asimov and Martin Greenberg would pick what they considered to be the best SF short stories for each year starting with 1939. The series ran for 25 books, ending with 1963. They also each wrote a brief introduction to each story which adds greatly to the value of this series. Of all of the books Asimov wrote, this is the set I would most like to see in ebook form. Unfortunately, not out yet.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:30 PM   #14
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:02 PM   #15
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