View Full Version : Authors

05-01-2004, 22:31:49
Who is your favourite author/s? Mine have to be Terry Pratchett, Ian Rankin and Robert Rankin. You can't beat a nice mix of sci-fi and crime

05-01-2004, 22:55:09
Hmmm - that is a tough question.

I have always like the combination authors like the Trillium series with Andre Norton and company.

I also liked a lot of Piers Anthony's series, esp the Incarnation of Immortality series, as well as the Adept series. Another author I discovered quite by accident and with whose writing I fell in love was Sara Douglass, from Down under. In the States, her works of the Starman trilogy were reprinted here recently, and I absolutely love those three.

Finally, I would be less than honest if I did not include Ayn Rand, whose fiction made me believe that there are others out there in the world like myself.

And, no, I am not stalking you. If you are 15 then you're less than half my age.

05-01-2004, 22:57:30
I never for one moment thought you were.

Someone I forgot to mentionis Phillip Pullman. He may predominantly be a kiddy writer, but I loved 'His Dark Materials' triology

05-01-2004, 23:42:46
Never read Pullman.

And someone *I* forgot to mention was Robert McCammon. I was thinking strictly along the lines of Sci FI and Fantasy, and thus ignored all other genres.

05-01-2004, 23:43:34
And the stalking comment was in jest - - although I would have been seriously worried if you *had* thought I was stalking you *snicker*

05-01-2004, 23:43:52
20th c. graham greene, ernest hemingway, john steinbeck, f scott fitzgerald, william faulkner

that's a start

let's say greene, hemingway and tolstoy are my favourite authors of all time

06-01-2004, 00:30:39
Kerouac, Bukowski, John Fante, Hemingway, Phillip K. Dick, Bradbury, Margaret Atwood, William Stafford (poet) & more.

06-01-2004, 01:07:37
I have to add Peter Straub, Patricia Cornwell, Dean Koontz, John Saul, some Stephen King (esp the Bachman books) and other horror writers.

Also, in the realm of other readings: Chaucer, the author who penned Beowulf, Shelley, (both) and S T Coleridge, Wordsworth, Longfellow, and Dylan Thomas.

self biased
06-01-2004, 05:42:56
larry niven.

Jon Miller part Deux
06-01-2004, 07:43:27
gene wolfe

Jon miller

06-01-2004, 07:58:23
No one seems to like some of the more recent authors..... ie

David Drake
Eric Flint
J V Jones
Holly Lisle
John Ringo
Linnea Sinclair

To name just a few.

btw johngalt.... The Axis trilogy you mentioned was followed by the Wayfarer Redemption trilogy, making six book in the series. The latter were in no way comparable to the former.

06-01-2004, 09:05:08
Yourcenar, Camus, Stendhal

06-01-2004, 09:26:54
otherwise, I have a special fondness for Jack Vance, who I regard as the greatest and most underestimated 'fantasy' author of all times

Not TV4Fun
06-01-2004, 09:35:56
Steven King (Love The Dark Tower), Michael Crichton.

06-01-2004, 09:36:41
Same here.

06-01-2004, 12:21:41
JD Salinger
Sylvia Plath
William S. Burroughs

Pretty predictable really.

06-01-2004, 12:45:42
db i like all the authors you have just said, but i would struggle to put them amongst my favourites purely on the basis that they have only written 1 or 2 books each of any note.

catcher in the rye, the bell jar and naked lunch are great books, but what else have they achieved?

as it happens i also think burroughs' junky is a great book, and i have a lot of time for salinger's short stories and plath's poetry, but from my own perspective, having read something like three or four great novels each by greene and hemingway, i can't put these kind of writers in the same league. In fact BGH mentioning kerouac made me think the same way. I've only read on the road, but i'd be interested to hear if the rest of his output had the same quality.

anyay i know this isn't a competition, and i'm not trying to say you're wrong or anything, just saying a great book isn't the same as a great author

06-01-2004, 12:58:29
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
catcher in the rye, the bell jar and naked lunch are great books, but what else have they achieved?

The original question was about favorites, not about who we consider to be the greatest. And even if it was, I disagree with you about the one great book doesn't mean one great author thing. I don't think these books were somehow fluked.

06-01-2004, 13:22:51
that isn't my implication

i'm just saying it's kind of meaningless to talk about favourite authors when what you really mean is favourite books

for my part i love indivdual books by people like j g ballard, james joyce, j k huysmans, jaroslav hasek, mikhail bulgakov, hunter s thompson, valdimir nabokov, etc. but i wouldn't say they were my favourite authors because i've only read 1 book by each of them.

in fairness most people have picked writers with fairly prodigious outputs a la stephen king

maybe another thread that would be cool would be 'authors you most identify with' or something

in that case i would be more inclined to pick someone like burroughs, because he's a fascinating individual and i respect his attempts to pioneer stuff like the cut-up technique. Whereas Hemingway as a person i find fairly unappealing.

06-01-2004, 13:39:43
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
i'm just saying it's kind of meaningless to talk about favourite authors when what you really mean is favourite books

My favourite authors tend to be the people who write my favourite books. Call me crazy...

Scabrous Birdseed
06-01-2004, 13:50:41
Probably Ray Chandler. But then novels aren't really my thing, I'm disturbed by the fact that I read a lot by the authors a fifteen-year-old girl likes...

06-01-2004, 14:17:03
Originally posted by Debaser
My favourite authors tend to be the people who write my favourite books. Call me crazy...

but to say they're your favourite author implies they have more than one book you like

to compare it to music, my favourite band isn't a band that put out one great song

equally would you say someone is your favourite director based on one film?

so when i say favourite author i mean someone who has been responsible for several books i liked, not one good book.

06-01-2004, 15:13:27
I see what K_G means... although it's reasonable to pick your favourites for whatever reason I'm kind of going more his way of looking at it.

For me... Iain Banks, Christopher Brookmyre and Robert Heinlein probably. Not that they are necessarily the greatest authors ever but certainly the ones I enjoy most.

06-01-2004, 15:31:36
Iain Banks, Allistair Reynolds, Adam Roberts, Ursula Le Guin, oh- and Naom Chomsky (just to prove I'm capable of reading non-sciffy material as well) not in any particular order.

06-01-2004, 16:21:37
K_G..."On the Road" is a great book, but I have been even more taken with some of his other works, namely his first (which is a bucolic and somewhat difficult book), "The Town and the City" and these others:
The Dharma Bums, Maggie Cassidy, Visions of Cody and, probably my favorite for its morphine like effect and its honesty, Desolation Angels.
I failed to mention some others that I've loved at various points--Bradbury was what got me into reading as a kid-- and, for obvious reasons, Hermann Hesse, in my late teen/early 20's. He just really struck a note with me at that age, especially Siddhartha and Narcissus and Goldmund.
On the "one off topic", I tend to agree. The authors that I've enjoyed that I'd put in that category are probably Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness), Herman Melville (Moby Dick), Burroughs, et. al.
I've read a lot of "non serious" fiction, a la Stephen King (stopped reading after The Stand) and a couple of Clancy novels, which saved me from a literature deprived period in Tokyo.

Pressed to choose a few authors that has really stirred me, I'd probably have to say Kerouac, followed perhaps by Hesse, Bradbury, John Fante and my absolute favorite "speculative fiction" author, Phillip K. Dick.
If you haven't read any or all of these authors' works, you're really missing out.

I struggled through a lot of period novels due to my English/Lit/Writing degree, things like Jane Eyre, Portrait of a Lady, etc....and have read most if not all of Shakespeare's works.
I found people like Camus and Sartre (sp?) to be too moribund and depressing. And of course I've read all the "required reading" stuff like Salinger and Frankensteing and so on...liked them ok I guess.
I'll be keeping my eye on this--perhaps we should have to defend our choices to make it more informative? :)
I'm sure there are several I've forgotten...especially in the "philosophy/religion" category, which I've also read widely in...Marcus Aurelius and Lao Tzu (or whoever he really was) are two that have had a profound impact as well.

Good to see we all still read books...on occasion.

06-01-2004, 17:05:52
What? Not one nomination for Douglas Adams? Unbelievable! Well, I'll nomimate him! :D

As you go through life, your taste change. I mention that, because right now, I don't really have 'favorite authors'. However, for a very long time, Piers Anthony was one of my favorite authors. That was from when I was 8 to a few years out of high school. Back then, I had many favorite authors, which included Robert Adams (for his Horseclan series), Alan Dean Foster, Doyle, Cherryh, Andre Norton, Heinlein, Silverburg, Lawerence Watt-Evans, among others. Those names on a book were a good enough recommendation for me.

Since then, it's been much more of a hit or miss for me. While one novel or story by an author might really strike my fancy, the rest of his or her work might just suck barnacles on a dead blue whale.

Since my taste have changed, I've been revisiting authors that bored me when I was younger. For instance, growing up, I really wasn't impressed much by Asimov. Last few years, I've been really enjoying many of his works.

Lately (last 5 to 7 years), Jack Vance, LWE, David Drake, and David Weber seem to be the only ones who have been consisting worth bothering with overall for me. David Langford, Mike Resnick, and Kieth Laumer are decent, but not up to the consistancy of enjoyment that I find in a Vance or Drake work.

I've found Niven to generally be overated for my taste. But hey, I used to not enjoy Asimov, so no telling what the future will bring in taste.

Lazarus and the Gimp
06-01-2004, 17:34:17
Robert Harris for thrillers, though I've a liking for Desmond Bagley too.

Iain Banks for psychological stuff.

Robert Holdstock for dark fantasy.

J G Ballard for Science Fiction.

George Orwell for autobiography, journalism, essays and "1984".

Adrian Mitchell for poetry.

Peter Ackroyd for historical fiction.

Jon Krakauer for documentary real-life adventure.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Chaucer and Edgar Allan Poe for classics.

06-01-2004, 19:36:37
Alice Thomas Ellis.

Not really, I just think more people should read her books.

07-01-2004, 01:05:10
I was mentioning authors' whose works (note plural) have been a favorite of mine - one of my all time favorite sci fi books, Battlefield Earth, written by Hubbard, I did not mention since, in fact, it was the only Hubbard book I read, and I realized that I could not classify him as a favorite of mine.

I tend to agree with K_Gs analysis - that I will note an author as a favorite after I have read more than a single work - and though I did not Sara Douglass, who has more works than the trilogy I read, the trilogy in and of itself was inspiring enough when relating to her character development, plot, and minute attention to detail that I feel compelled to include her.

07-01-2004, 19:29:09
Favourite authors, eh? There's been a thread about this before, but I think it was on ACOL.

I think that it only takes one book for an author to become a favourite author, for me. The rest of their output could be dross, but a single shining example will allow them to enter the pantheon. On the other hand, an author like Michael Innes (British detective fiction - mid-20th century) doesn't leave a single book that stands out individually, but his written English is outstanding, and I would unhesitatingly recommend him for his writing style alone. Another brilliant user of the English language is John Le Carré: I've recently read 'The Constant Gardener', but the one I'd recommend is 'A Perfect Spy'.

For storytelling, the authors that I'd recommend would be Alistair MacLean, Desmond Bagley (good to see another recommendation above!), Iain M. Banks, Alastair Reynolds and Peter F. Hamilton.

One hit wonders include such as Joe Poyer ('North Cape') and Stephen Donaldson ('The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant') whose other work just doesn't cut the mustard.

For science books, I am a Richard Dawkins devotee, but 'Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman' is the most illuminating self-penned books about a scientific figure that I have read. I also loved 'The Man Who Loved Only Numbers' by Paul Hoffman, 'Darwin's Dangerous Idea' by Daniel Dennett, 'First Light' by Richard Preston, 'The Whole Shebang' by Timothy Ferris and 'The Inflationary Universe' by Alan H. Guth.

07-01-2004, 19:36:27
Originally posted by Noisy
Favourite authors, eh? There's been a thread about this before, but I think it was on ACOL.

:lol: alright old timer, back to sleep, back to sleep

07-01-2004, 20:25:52
John G, you mean 'Battlefield Earth 3000' by Hubbard. I liked that book as well. One of his better dualilogies, even if both books are bound under one cover. ;)

07-01-2004, 21:47:56
No favorites, but I've been looking. Since jsorense told me to read Timeline (and I am!)--that makes a whopping TWO books by Michael Crichton that I really like. So I may have FINALLY found a new favorite author. (I consider a favorite author to be one where I enjoy most or all of the books he/she writes and just gobble them up.)

Haven't had a favorite for...twenty-two years!

07-01-2004, 22:41:12
I'll define favorite authors as ones who either have written a number of consistently good novels, OR an author who has written (at least) one OUTSTANDINGLY good one.

Authors I'd buy without even reading what their books are about:

#1: Greg Egan
#2: Terry Pratchett

and an honorable mention to Stephen Baxter, whose novels I would probably end up buying but I'd still read the cover to find out what it's about first :)

I have a larger list of authors I like, but I wouldn't call them my favorites. Iain M. Banks, Greg Bear, Damien Broderick have written some good stuff in with a mix of average titles.

Random gibberings:
* Unlike my wife, I'm not impressed with Michael Crichton.
* The old "literary" authors like Hemingway, Steinbeck and Fitzgerald just annoy me.
* I used to like Rankin, now I'm not sure.
* Piers Anthony makes me laugh, and not in a good way :)
*Stephen King has a few good books out, but after reading Needful Things or whatever it was called, I don't bother reading anything new from him, but I love The Stand and enjoyed a few others by him.
* Asimov is okay, not great, but readable.

07-01-2004, 22:48:38
I have to agree with you partially, Qt.

Anthony's puns in the Xanth seres go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaayy to far.
King did a collaboration with Straub called The Talisman that I loved.
Asimov can be a bit too punnish himself.
The classic authors - well, let's just say that they lived then and I live now. Even though I have some favs amongst them, esp the poets, I have to say that sometimes I get downright bored with the classic prose authors b/c the works, while inspiring or well written, seem trifling and boring in today's society.

And one other author with whom I have been obsessed with as since I was a child and who I forgot to mention -

Edgar Allen Poe.

07-01-2004, 23:53:28
I read the Talisman a bunch of years ago. I thought it was okay, it held my interest until the end. I recently was given the sequel, The Black House but have yet to start it - over the past 5 years I've managed to pick up dozens of books I just haven't read, and BH isn't high on the list. I hear it's at least as good as the first book.

08-01-2004, 00:46:24
shows how out of touch with hte times I am - I didn't evne know tere *was* a sequel.

And you are right - he book was *gripping* until the end - it just kind of fizzled.

08-01-2004, 07:21:34
Originally posted by Lazarus and the Gimp

Robert Holdstock for dark fantasy.


The barely-surpressed literary snob inside me says that I'm going to pick Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Fyodor Dostoevsky as my favourite novelists.

If you asked me tomorrow I might say Terry Pratchett and JK Rowling. It depends how pretentious I'm feeling.

Lazarus and the Gimp
08-01-2004, 17:54:27
I hate the fantasy genre with a passion most people couldn't comprehend. However I think Holdstock is a genius. To create fantasy in a "real-world" setting takes some doing.

Mythago Wood" and "Lavondyss" were just awesome pieces. They made me want to go and live in a tree.

09-01-2004, 19:49:24
How remiss of me. I forgot to mention Ursula K. LeGuin. She's definitely in my top five!

09-01-2004, 20:24:30
I've had a hard time wading through her collected works...some seem simply incredible ("The Left Hand of Darkness") and others (some silly fantasy series with "sea" in the titles I think) have been painful to even attempt.
If you like her, you really should give Margaret Atwood a try, namely "The Handmaid's Tale" which is one of those rare books made into a decent film as well.

Lazarus and the Gimp
09-01-2004, 20:46:52
You swine. The Earthsea books were magical.

10-01-2004, 00:42:05
Tolkein (for the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales as much as LotR)

Julian May (for her Exiles/Intervention/Milieu serries, which is just incredible in it's convoluted twistiness and yet is entirely consistent... her Perseus Spur trilogy more recently is great fun, but nothing special)

Glen Cook (for the Black Company books, haven't got up to reading any of his others yet)

And I think Lois McMaster Bujold has to make it on the list, even though I've only read The Curse of Chalion.

10-01-2004, 03:08:01
I seem to recall reading something by Julia May a while back - I'll have to dig it up and see...

10-01-2004, 15:47:06
A pox on you pixie loving fools!
What's wrong with humans????

10-01-2004, 15:48:34
And anyone who hasn't read Gene Wolfe's "Executioner" series is really missing out.
That is some TIGHT writing there, it is.

11-01-2004, 21:02:37
Ooh, I forgot G. K. Chersterton.

12-01-2004, 09:22:39
Originally posted by BigGameHunter
And anyone who hasn't read Gene Wolfe's "Executioner" series is really missing out.
That is some TIGHT writing there, it is.

totally agree. absolutely brilliant.

13-01-2004, 07:46:16
Talk about a great movie property--preferable done by Ridley Scott, dontcha think?

13-01-2004, 13:07:32
i think the design potential would be amazing. Wolfe is very vague on what a lot of the things actually look like.

at any rate, absolutely essential reading.

17-01-2004, 11:30:11
Hah! Forgot Richmal Compton for the 'William' books.