The OF Blog: SFX Magazine has a readers' pick for "top 100" authors

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SFX Magazine has a readers' pick for "top 100" authors

Adam Whitehead of The Wertzone posted the contents of the just-released print issue of SFX Magazine's Top 100 Fantasy/SF Authors, as voted on by their fans. Apparently a few hundred or more participated and here, copy/pasted from Adam's post elsewhere, are those 100, with a few remarks by myself, written solely because I'm in the mood to comment on something after enduring that horrendous Game 6 tonight:

100. James Herbert

Haven't read. Can't recall anything by this dude.

99. Gwyneth Jones

Have heard of her, but again, nothing read by her.

98. Sara Douglass

Based on that godawful Wayfarer Redemption series that I sampled years ago, I'd rather not read anything else by her again.

97. Charles Stross

His style and my literary preferences are like oil and water.

96. Terry Goodkind

Read 7 of his books. Must have been a masochist in a former life.

95. Brian W. Aldiss

Someone I know I should have read by now, but I haven't. Yet.

94. Ken MacLeod

I enjoyed some of his short stories, but am uncertain about his The Execution Channel. Need to resume reading it soon.

93. Olaf Stapledon

No clue what this due wrote.

92. Michael Marshall Smith

Same here.

91. Jon Courtney Grimwood

I've considered reading him on occasion, but nope, haven't yet.

90. Christopher Priest

Enjoyed reading The Prestige about 4 years ago. Need to read more of his work.

89. Jonathan Carroll

The American Neil Gaiman before Neil Gaiman was even the British Neil Gaiman. Don't think I've read a story of his yet that I didn't like at least to some degree.

88. Scott Lynch

OK first effort, weaker second effort. Puzzled why he's on this list.

87. David Weber

No desire to read any of his work.

86. M. John Harrison

Should have been in the Top 10 here, but "literary" works rarely have mass appeal.

85. Jacqueline Carey

Might try her Kushiel series later, but not now.

84. Kim Stanley Robinson

Has his ups-and-downs, but even at his worst, he's passable for me.

83. Theodore Sturgeon

One of the "Golden Age" old farts I've yet to read.

82. J.V. Jones

Haven't read her work yet.

81. Joe Abercrombie

OK to showing promise at time, but needs much more work on characterizations, plotting, and pacing.

80. Joe Haldeman

OK, but his stories haven't really appealed to me.

79. Simon Clark

Who?

78. George Orwell

Much better than most of the schmucks "above" him in this list.

77. Samuel R. Delany

Ditto to what I just said. (Edit: I didn't proof the spelling here, but as Neil Gaiman points out, it's Delany, not "Delaney," so I corrected it.)

76. Charles de Lint

Enjoyable urban fantasies, but I can't seem to read more than one of his stories in a month or two span. Don't really know why.

75. Julian May

Haven't read him. (Edit: her).

74. Edgar Rice Burroughs

OK early 20th century pulp, but his Mars stories didn't really appeal to me.

73. Robert Silverberg

I liked many of his SF and fantasy efforts, but he's not one of my favorite writers.

72. Susanna Clarke

Very strong debut novel, with some very good short stories.

71. Stanislaw Lem

I liked his The Cyberiad much more than Solaris.

70. Larry Niven

No desire to read him.

69. Alfred Bester

Will get around to reading him in the near future.

68. Katherine Kerr

No desire to read her work.

67. Jack Vance

Someone whom I need to read at length shortly. What I've read, I really liked for the style and humor.

66. Harry Harrison

Who?

65. Marion Zimmer Bradley

Don't know why I haven't read her yet.

64. Richard Matheson

Ditto.

63. Dan Simmons

Writes strong standalones and first volumes to duologies; second half of duologies seem to be much weaker than the first installments.

62. Elizabeth Haydon

No desire to read her work.

61. Terry Brooks

Didn't like the original Shannara trilogy when I read them in 1997. His recent graphic novel, The Dark Wraith of Shannara, wasn't bad at all, although still not a great work by any stretch.

60. Richard Morgan

Written some excellent stories, but I can only take his style in measured doses. Do think he has the potential to write something deeper than what he has attempted so far.

59. Stephen Baxter

Haven't read him, not for sure when I will.

58. Jennifer Fallon

No interest.

57. Mercedes Lackey

Certainly no interest.

56. CJ Cherryh

Will try reading her earlier work someday.

55. Harlan Ellison

Better storywriter than friendly person, to say the least...

54. Jasper Fforde

In the future, perhaps.

53. Octavia Butler

Great talent. Would have been hovering around the top 10 if I were voting.

52. J.G. Ballard

Ditto. Damn good writer.

51. Robert E. Howard

Have yet to read his pulps.

50. Sherri S. Tepper

Maybe soon?

49. H.P. Lovecraft

Excellent master of the short form atmospheric piece.

48. Mervyn Peake

Even better at atmospheric pieces.

47. Jules Verne

He and Bradbury kindled my love for certain forms of SF

46. Alastair Reynolds

No real interest in reading him at the moment.

45. Neal Stephenson

Mostly enjoyed his works, even if they're a tad on the long side...

44. Clive Barker

Very good writer. Need to read more of his work.

43. Jim Butcher

Maybe later...or maybe not.

42. Tad Williams

First part of his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy didn't thrill me. I dropped it and then gave away the paperback copy.

41. Kurt Vonnegut

One of the better authors on this list, to say the least.

40. Trudi Canavan

Ummm....no.

39. Michael Moorcock

OK, putting Eddings before Moorcock is criminal!

38. David Eddings

Hell no.

37. Alan Moore

Will read Watchman soon. I know, I know...

36. Orson Scott Card

Not interested in supporting him financially based on his ideological views, so no reads yet. Petty, I know, but true.

35. Stephen Donaldson

Flawed, but talented writer.

34. Gene Wolfe

Should have been in the Top 5 at least, if not #1.

33. China Miéville

Very, very talented author. I think he'll have written a megabestselling and creative novel before the next decade ends.

32. Raymond E. Feist

No interest.

31. Lois McMaster Bujold

Read part of one novel, The Curse of Chalion. Rather bland to me.

30. Roger Zelazny

Needs to be pimped more often.

29. Anne McCaffrey

Needs to be pimped less often.

28. Steven Erikson

Frustrating to read at times. Has a great vision and some talent, but many of his stories feel "sloppy" to me.

27. William Gibson

Talented. Enjoyed what I have read of his works.

26. Guy Gavriel Kay

Surprisingly difficult for me to read, perhaps because it's so close to actual historical eras that I know that I want to correct him on some of his interpretations.

25. CS Lewis

Good writer, but his best stuff is his theological writings, not his fiction.

24. Diana Wynne Jones

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland is a must-read for quite a few who seem to equate epic fantasy with all fantasy.

23. John Wyndham

Nope, not yet.

22. Philip Pullman

Maybe later.

21. Robin Hobb

The first Farseer book didn't work for me. No interest in reading any more.

20. Stephen King

Uneven, but at his best, a very entertaining and thought-provoking author.

19. Ray Bradbury

One of my favorites. Would have had him slightly higher than here.

18. Arthur C. Clarke

Interesting ideas, but his writing style just irritated me a bit too much at times.

17. Robert Jordan

Uneven in pacing and characterization. Ultimately lost interest about 8 years ago.

16. JK Rowling

Underrated for her pacing and characterizations.

15. Robert Heinlein

I just don't think I would be considered his "target audience."

14. Frank Herbert

Dune is a classic. Some of his other books are well above-average. Some are rather shitty in comparison.

13. Peter F. Hamilton

Will read in the near future.

12. David Gemmell

The one book of his that I read, I disliked.

11. Ursula K. LeGuin

Outstanding writer in whatever field she wanted to explore. Would have been in my Top 10.

10. Robert Rankin

Haven't read him.

9. HG Wells

Good, but I preferred Verne to him.

8. Philip K. Dick

Not much into Dick worship, to say the least...

7. Iain M. Banks

Only read one Culture novel, Look to Windward, and it was OK to good, but nothing that encouraged me to explore further immediately afterwards.

6. Isaac Asimov

HATE his writing style. Cannot stomach it.

5. George RR Martin

Very good short story writer whose SF/Horror tales (I read "The Pear-Shaped Man" in OMNI in my school's library when I was in 7th grade) have been overshadowed by that epic fantasy of his. I think many of those short stories are better in comparison.

4. Douglas Adams

Talented, funny, but a bit uneven toward the end.

3. Neil Gaiman

Reliably good, but outside of the Sandman comics, has trouble being consistently great for me.

2. JRR Tolkien

Still wonderful to read, after 20 years and multiple re-reads.

1. Terry Pratchett

Never really had an interest in reading his works, but then again, I rarely read humor pieces.



So there ya go, my biases out in the open. Feel free to convince me to give certain authors a second (first?) chance or to argue placements. At least there were 20 female authors that made this list, as I would have presumed at first it would have been even more of a sausagefest than what it turned out to be. Probably would have had close to half of those off and added another dozen or two, but that's just me. Thoughts on such a list?

27 comments:

Mark C Newton said...

So a few hundred people voting for a Top 100 - sounds like even to get on the list you'd need only a few votes.

They always seem a bit redundant, these lists of popularity. This certainly isn't any indication of quality - M. John Harrison, Gene Wolfe and Christopher Priest should be in the top ten if this was the case. If people need an indication of popularity, there are sales figures, which is about as non-biased as you can get...

ninebelow said...

100. James Herbert

Perhaps he didn't cross the pond but he was a horror megaseller a couple of decades ago. Most famous for The Rats about, er, rats.

99. Gwyneth Jones

Probably a significant gap as she is an influencial writer and critic. Not really to my taste though. I do like her children's novels written as Ann Hallam.

94. Ken MacLeod

I'd be interested to see what you think about The Execution Channel as it really seems to have divided people. I fall on the bad side of the fence.

I enjoyed some of his short stories, but am uncertain about his The Execution Channel. Need to resume reading it soon.

92. Michael Marshall Smith

Excellent writer best know for Spares. Now writers thrillers as Michael Marshall.

75. Julian May

He is a she.

Haven't read him.

69. Alfred Bester

Bester is awesome.

66. Harry Harrison

Stainless Steel Rat? Soylent Green?

54. Jasper Fforde

Don't bother. These are farces for simpletons.

16. JK Rowling

I assume you are joking. Pacing and characterization both prove significant problems for her.

13. Peter F. Hamilton

No! You can't ignore Reynolds and then read Hamilton. Neither are essential but Hamilton is absolutely dire.

Niall said...

I agree with Martin that you should try Gwyneth Jones (though I like her stuff more than he does) and Alastair Reynolds. Also, I note that Michael Marshall Smith has a new book out as M.M. Smith (I think it is) which is a return to speculative territory. Also:

93. Olaf Stapledon

Definitive scientific romance (well, other than Wells). You need to at least try Star Maker, and probably Last and First Men as well. Alongside his influence on sf, I heard Kim Stanley Robinson report that he'd seen Virginia Woolf/Stapledon correspondence in which Woolf said that the "deep time" visions that Stapledon wrote had been an influence on her writing.

83. Theodore Sturgeon

More Than Human is good. I gather the real good stuff is short stories, but there doesn't seem to be a good one-volume collection; there's either thirteen volumes of complete stories, or one tiny volume with (I am told) a fairly eccentric selection.

79. Simon Clark

No idea.

59. Stephen Baxter

I would argue he's as important as Jones, but I'm a fan. Best works are Voyage (NASA-goes-to-Mars alternate history), The Time Ships (sequel to The Time Machine), Evolution (the history of the evolution of humans, from 65 million years ago to several million years in the future), and Flood (the new one, no prizes for guessing the subject). But that misses out the entire Xeelee sequence; best place to start with that is probably the Vacuum Diagrams collection. That said, if you're lukewarm on Clarke, Stapledon and Baxter may well not be for you ...

ninebelow said...

Simon Clark writes those Celtic fantasy pastiches of James Bond, doesn't he?

etrangere said...

Bujold's the one you need to give another chance, she's really a great writer, but she's a subtle one (and Curse of Chalion isn't her best work). I'd advice trying to read Shards of Honour first.

And I don't understand what Connie Willis, Celia Friedman, Mary Gentle, Ellen Kushner, KJ Parker, Tanith Lee are not doing on this list :( Especially when some crapistic writers are.

Elena said...

I've read maybe 20 of the people on this list. of the ones I've read where you had not, here's what i would say:

definitely give sherri s tepper a try. i haven't read her since high school, but i recall her writing as good (which could mean anything, i had little sense of style in those days) but her ideas are really the strong point. from what i have seen of your ideology, you would probably enjoy her take on things.

go to a library and check out ender's game. that way you don't have to financially support orson scott card. forget he wrote ANYTHING else, however. he is a big one for going back and undercutting what he did before, both in terms of quality and the ideas, so that is really the only one i acknowledge. and it goes in my top 10 book list.

and estrangere - i agree completely, there were some glaring oversights in the female authors who did not make this list.

Jen said...

I'm supposed to be working, so... my comments.

99. Gwyneth Jones
I read one book of hers (Life), a rather unfortunate combination of science (genetics) and romance/relationships. Something didn't click for me.

97. Charles Stross
Read one short story and it was great, but haven't tried anything else.


89. Jonathan Carroll
Read one book (Land of Laughs) and was a bit underwhelmed after I heard so much praise. Might pick another of his books up sometimes...

88. Scott Lynch
I loved both books and I actually enjoyed Red Seas Under Red Skies more. Pirates, arrr!

86. M. John Harrison
I know I should read Viriconium, but somehow I never did...

84. Kim Stanley Robinson
Haven't read the Mars series (bad Jen, bad) and I haven't been impressed by the random other book or 2 I did read.

83. Theodore Sturgeon
Just finished The Dreaming Diamonds, pretty cool story.

78. George Orwell
I read 1984 because that's when I was born and I loved it. I read Animal Farm because it was handy to borrow and I was bored to death.

77. Samuel R. Delaney
I must read more of him. Or at least re-read Einsten's Intersection, as I am convinced I missed so many things in it.

76. Charles de Lint
One of my recent big favorites. I read 2 Newford books last month and I want more!

71. Stanislaw Lem
I liked Solaris, I tried to read the Cyberiad and I hated it so bad I gave up after a couple dozen pages.

64. Richard Matheson
I Am Legend was ok, but nothing to make me go 'whoa'. I have a short-story collection at home I have to read soon.

63. Dan Simmons
Struggled with Hyperion and Fall of. No desire to read anything else by him, but I might since I have a friend who's praising The Terror up and down.

61. Terry Brooks
Heard too much bad things to consider reading his work.

56. CJ Cherryh
My brother seems to like her, I have no desire to try.

55. Harlan Ellison
I like new wave.

54. Jasper Fforde
Might read, I have a good friend who's crazy about him and I'm curious.

53. Octavia Butler
Only read one story so far, but it was very good, so I'm looking for more.

49. H.P. Lovecraft
Great stories, great atmosphere and creepiness, great Old Gods trying to eat us, but it get tiring very fast.

47. Jules Verne
Hm. I probably liked his books as a child, but I wouldn't re-read them now. And anyway, I liked the adventure more than the SF.

41. Kurt Vonnegut
I must be missing something, I read Slaughterhouse and didn't like it, so I am planning to read some more and maybe change my opinion.

36. Orson Scott Card
Really enjoyed the (first) Ender series (not the Shadows saga) and several of his short stories.

34. Gene Wolfe
Only read one short story. Book of the New Sun is intimidatingly large.

33. China Miéville
Too something for me. I finished PSS 2 or 3 years ago and felt no desire to read anything else by him so far.

31. Lois McMaster Bujold
The Curse of Chalion was better than I expected, but nothing to write hope about.

30. Roger Zelazny
My one true literary love. I've read most of what he's written and I hope that one day I'll be able to say I've read everything.

27. William Gibson
Bleh. Turned me off cyberpunk for good.

25. CS Lewis
I only read one volume of Narnia when I was a kid, and now I can't stand the idea that the books were meant to be preachy. Don't shove religion down my throat, kthxbye.

23. John Wyndham
Day of the Triffids is very cool old post-apocalyptic sci fi.

22. Philip Pullman
Really liked His Dark Materials. And the fact that they're anti-religion.

20. Stephen King
One of my favorites. The Dark Tower is amazing.

18. Arthur C. Clarke
Haven't read much, but what I did read was pretty cool.

17. Robert Jordan
Gave up halfaway Eye of the World. Might start again someday.

16. JK Rowling
Haven't read. No, really.

15. Robert Heinlein
Didn't click with me. But I haven't read many books either.

14. Frank Herbert
Read Dune and Pandora and 2 or 3 others. Liked them a lot.

13. Peter F. Hamilton
Copyedited Pandora's Star. Hated every minute of it. Space opera is not my thing.

11. Ursula K. LeGuin
I always felt she took good ideas and ruined them. I must read some of her work in English, maybe I just ran into crappy translations.

9. HG Wells
Too old-style for me, sorry. Tried to read War of the Worlds and got bored.

8. Philip K. Dick
Confusing. But I surprisingly liked Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

6. Isaac Asimov
Don't like his style either. Foundation bored me after the first book.

5. George RR Martin
ASOAIF starts off much too slow and the descriptions never end, but the characterization is very good. The two short stories I've read were awesome.

4. Douglas Adams
Funny, but gets boring after a while.

3. Neil Gaiman
I like his short fiction better than his novels, but overall he's one of my favs.

2. JRR Tolkien
I read LOTR twice and I've developed a hatred of elves. Which is not his fault, but the fault of the copycats... oh well. Two reads were enough, anyway, don't think I'll ever go back to the books. The Hobbit was too childish and The Silmarillion was extremely boring (quit halfway through).

1. Terry Pratchett
I don't think he's exactly no. 1 material, but I love his books. I am very sad there's only 3 or 4 Discworld books I haven't read, and only 1 is for adults...

Ok, this is an endless comment so I won't say anymore.

Liviu said...

There are 21 female authors since Julian May is a quite famous "she" Her Galactic Milieu story was a standout of the 80's and 90's

Of the list I tried all the authors except 2 or 3 and the only one I have not heard is Rankin but that's not surprising since I do not like humor literature of any kind including sff.

I liked at least something from maybe 70 or 80 on the authors here, but of the top 5 only GRRM ASOIAF is for me.

When I hear Tolkienesque literature I run as fast as I can :)

Regarding rankings, well that's just a subjective opinion of a bunch of people so I would not take them seriously, but as a survey of sff this list is not bad. That's what sff is in many ways and trying to contort and change to "significant" authors - whatever that means is pointless.

This is a list I would agree that any serious sff fan should be familiar with most authors even if he/she did not like them

Commenty Commentenstein said...

He only gave the world one truly classic book, and his overall output was minimal, but it still pains me a bit that Richard Adams is never mentioned on these lists. I say "Watership Down" is of sufficient greatness in the annals of fantasy to move him ahead of at least four or five dozen writers on this list all by itself.

Gabriele C. said...

You're difficult to please. ;)

If you want to try Marion Zimmer Bradley, go for her early Darkover novels (the best, imho, are Heritage of Hastur and Sharra's Exile), anything she wrote after Mists of Avalon sucks. McMaster Bujold's Fantasy seems to be less well received than her SciFi though I liked the Chalion books - won't get near that romancey dovey Sharing Knife trilogy, though. You may try one of the Miles Vorkosigan novels, Brothers in Arms or Memory fe., or Borders of Infinity (a collection of three novellas). Sara Douglass' best is the Crucible trilogy and that's not avaliable in the US - after all, she deserves a place on that list more than Goodkind. ;)

And I'm missing a few names on that list, like Paul Kearney (ok, if you don't like Gemmell you might not want to see him there, but I do *grin*).

Plinydogg said...

What about Walter M. Miller?

Larry said...

Thanks for the responses/suggestions, everyone! I'll read over these more carefully tomorrow and see which ones I'll add to a tentative to-buy list.

Matt said...

I burned through Bujold back when I would read anything that had the crucial elements: A) Spaceships B) Explosions. But she wrote one novel at the end of her SF sequence called "A Civil Campaign" which contains neither, and was still somehow more compelling than any of the rest. I don't know whether I would still find that true, though.

Gabriele C. said...

A Civil Campaign is Georgette Heyer in space, and yes, I enjoyed it. :)

SFX said...

The original reader-polled list was compiled by SFX's Special Projects Editor Dave Golder. You can check out the full details of the mag this is taken from, here: http://tinyurl.com/4yt8hh

Larry said...

Thanks! I'll look into that shortly!

Adam Whitehead said...

After looking more closely at the magazine the actual number of people who voted was much higher than I thought: more than three thousand, which gives the list rather more cachet (at least as an indicator of popular taste, or roughly six times more validity than the Hugos) than the recent Wotmania/Westeros/Malazanempire lists.

I am wondering if magic realism was pruned out of the list, as it seems unlikely that none of them would make it in.

As for the missing female authors:

Connie Willis - not published in the UK, as far as I know. Celia Friedman - only published for the first time in the UK last year, not really had much time to make any impact. Ellen Kushner - I've never heard of her, which makes me wonder if she is also not published in the UK. However, Mary Gentle, KJ Parker and Tanith Lee are perennial SFX favourites, and I am really surprised none of them made it on there, especially Gentle, since Ash has made the critical list they do every few years every time since it came out.

Larry said...

3,000? A bit better, but still I wonder about the differences between the US and UK there. It wouldn't surprise me that "non-category fantasy" was purposefully excluded. Damn Borges haters! :P

Mudge the Expendable said...

97. Charles Stross
His style and my literary preferences are like oil and water

Preferences are inarguable, your opinion is like your left nostril...yours and no one gets to tell you what to do with it. Can you find it in your readerly heart to attempt Accelerando or The Family Trade? These are my two personal faves, and I pimp themall the time (to my daughter's embarrassment).

90. Christopher Priest
Enjoyed reading The Prestige about 4 years ago. Need to read more of his work.

Strong encouragement to go forth and procure the Old Earth Books edition of The Separation, a literarily interesting interwoven tale of twin brothers (?) in similar-but-different timelines and their highly different (?) experiences of WWII, featuring interesting thoughts on Winston Churchill and war.
Only not boring, like I made it sound.

83. Theodore Sturgeon
One of the "Golden Age" old farts I've yet to read.

Short fiction, stick to the short fiction, he warned with the rattling gasps of a veteran of More Than Human readership.

69. Alfred Bester
Will get around to reading him in the near future.

Why ever? Oh! Like you said about #96 Goodkind, you were a masochist in a former life. >barely stifles yawn<

46. Alastair Reynolds
No real interest in reading him at the moment.

Pushing Ice is worth the effort. The short fiction is ~meh~ and the novels in his future history don't blow my metaphorical dress up.

17. Robert Jordan
Uneven in pacing and characterization. Ultimately lost interest about 8 years ago.

Books began appearing about the time my daughter was learning to read. When she misbehaved, I would threaten to make her read one of these big, horrible books filled with stupid words and bad, stinky fake people. My sister called Child Protective Services on me for that.

3. Neil Gaiman
Reliably good, but outside of the Sandman comics, has trouble being consistently great for me.

Reliably good ideas and reliably awful endings, with wonderfully original characters who never change.

Thanks for this post, I had a barrell of fun. You've made an old fart very happy in his personal Golden Age. Good lad! Do you need a letter for your merit badge?

Larry said...

Ha! :P More like I might need a $20 check, to help pay for bills for the next two weeks!

Anonymous said...

This list is kinda cool for finding some new names, I guess, but the order makes about zero sense. Why is Terry Pratchett a better writer than Lewis, than Tolkien, than freaking BRADBURY...I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Simon Clark is a british horror writer. He wrote a sequel to Wyndham's Day of the Triffids called Night of the Triffids. I think a lot of the placings in this list can be ascribed to its british origin - humourists like Rankin and Pratchett just aren't 'got' in such a wholesale fashion elsewhere as they are in the uk. The commenters here who say they boycott ANY humourous fiction may, under psychological examination, have the answer for this. 'Oh my god, he's being humourous! Arrgh I'm smiling instead of wearing the usual constipated expression when I'm chin-stroking my way through another 'serious' book. Damn this filth!'

Adam Whitehead said...

Actually, Pratchett finally broke through the American barrier in 2001 when the Amazing Maurice won the Carnegie Prize. Since then most of his books have hit the New York Times bestseller lists. Better late than never.

As for Pratchett's high standing: he is the biggest-selling living fantasy author in the world after Rowling (and King, but his place in genre is furiously debatable). Unlike Rowling, he also attracts near-universal critical acclaim. His books are fantasies but there is generally some serious or philosophical undertone to his books. Sometimes this backfires in a South Park, "I learned something today..." manner, but most of the time he makes his point without sacrificing his entertainment value.

A couple of mainstream critics dubbed him our era's answer to Dickens, and the label seems to have stuck.

And whilst I wouldn't say Pratchett is a better writer than Bradbury in a technical sense, he's a better storyteller, and is far superior to Lewis in both areas. Tolkien? They are very, very different, but I'd still rank Tolkien ahead for his overall impact on the genre (and because Tolkien inspired Pratchett to start writing).

Larry said...

It's odd, but I've never managed to read more than a little bit of Pratchett without abandoning it. It's not that it's poorly-written, but more a case that I've never quite been in the "mood" for his style of writing.

willowfagan said...

Kelly Link didn't even make the list?

I'd say Orson Scott Card is worth a read. I'm queer, and my politics are pretty much diametrically opposed to his (at least as far as I know) but he was one of my favorite writers when I was a kid. If you don't want to buy his books, do you have access to a library that carries them? I'd especially recommend Hart's Hope, a dark fantasy novel, and A Planet Called Treason. (I should say that those recommendations are based on liking them as a child/teenager--I haven't read either since then.)

Larry said...

I've read a few of his shorter stories and they didn't appeal to me. Plus I have a whole collection of them that his publisher sent to me a few months ago, so it's not just a pure ideological thing, but rather that it just serves to reinforce my reluctance to read further.

As for Link, I don't even know if she has a UK publisher, to be honest.

willowfagan said...

That's totally valid.

 
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