Your favorite science fiction/fantasy authors

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  • John Twelve Hawks. I actually bought the first book of his trilogy because of the 12 and the Hawks, but I love his writing.
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  • Issac Isamov a real scientist that foresaw what was coming with electronic life. Arthur C. Clarke for the books before and after 2001. His Childhood's End is the best Sci-Phy story I've ever read.

    And numorous others through the years as science fiction has changed. For example JD Robb writes fantastic books about life in New York City in the 2060s which includes looks at law enforcement and vacation destinations away from earth.

    Those are my base ones tho there are literally dozens more that have enthralled me perhaps for only one book or 2.

    And without those 2 and Piers Anthony the genre would have been entirely different if at all. BTW Seahawk Sailor is a pretty good sci-phy wordsmith.

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  • Jonathan Dalar :th2thumbs:

    Honestly, I move along from one author to another and can't say I've read all of any author's books. I will say though, that I first became interested in the Sci-Fi genre when I was introduced to Ray Bradbury as a kid. I've tried to re-read some of his books later in life, and wasn't as enthused, but they did bring me into the genre at the beginning, so I must give him props for that.
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  • I never read much scifi and the fantasy books I read as a child were by RA Salvatore mostly just D&D type books until The Game of thrones stuff came out.

    The Bourne books and things of that ilk were more interesting to me.
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  • Still Tolkien for me. Say whatever you like, but no-one has even come close to writing the kind of epic fantasy that he gave to us.
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  • Robert Heinlein Starship Troopers. My favorite book of all time. The movie (I don't count the second two) and the last animated movie each got some parts right and were great but not quite captures the entire awesomeness.

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  • kidhawk wrote:Jonathan Dalar :th2thumbs:

    Honestly, I move along from one author to another and can't say I've read all of any author's books. I will say though, that I first became interested in the Sci-Fi genre when I was introduced to Ray Bradbury as a kid. I've tried to re-read some of his books later in life, and wasn't as enthused, but they did bring me into the genre at the beginning, so I must give him props for that.


    Woohoo! Me too - Ray Bradbury, that is. He's always been a big idol of mine.

    Some others I'd be remiss not to mention include: Aldous Huxley, PKD, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, William Gibson, David Eddings, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Issac Asimov.

    There have been a lot of other F/SF authors that I really need to read more, like Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, Harlan Ellison, Frank Herbert, Ursela Le Guin, Philip Jose Farmer, etc.

    There are a number of newer authors that are the next big wave of F/SF/H authors - guys like Joe Hill and Chuck Wendig, that I really enjoy reading. They tend toward horror, but that's been an integral part of the speculative genres from the beginning.
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  • peachesenregalia wrote:Still Tolkien for me. Say whatever you like, but no-one has even come close to overwriting the kind of epic fantasy that he gave to us.


    Fixed that for you.

    I really don't have a choice to add to this thread. I've read a number of good fantasy authors, but by and large, fantasy is not a genre I read.
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  • RolandDeschain wrote:
    peachesenregalia wrote:Still Tolkien for me. Say whatever you like, but no-one has even come close to overwriting the kind of epic fantasy that he gave to us.


    Fixed that for you.

    I really don't have a choice to add to this thread. I've read a number of good fantasy authors, but by and large, fantasy is not a genre I read.


    Besides, obviously, books about fantastical gunslingers.
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  • I wasn't referring to the number of pages, Sailor. I'm talking about the fact that a 10-year-old can figure out that Tolkien is a stodgy English professor by reading Lord of the Rings.
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  • RolandDeschain wrote:I wasn't referring to the number of pages, Sailor. I'm talking about the fact that a 10-year-old can figure out that Tolkien is a stodgy English professor by reading Lord of the Rings.


    No, no. I was commenting about your saying you don't read fantasy per se (except, ahem, the Dark Tower series), not that Tolkien didn't overwrite. Hell, the Silm... Simil... Silmarillion-whatever-it's-called is proof of that.
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  • RolandDeschain wrote:I wasn't referring to the number of pages, Sailor. I'm talking about the fact that a 10-year-old can figure out that Tolkien is a stodgy English professor by reading Lord of the Rings.


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  • Asimov, Heinlein, Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Bradbury, Clark, Huxley, and Wells all get my vote. I might be biased as I have as many of their books I could find, sitting on my shelf.


    ...oh man, I'm a nerd.


    Now that I think about it, I think every book I own is sci-fi or fantasy.
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  • Goddamnit! I totally skipped Kurt Vonnegut!
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  • ShyCheetah wrote:Robert Heinlein Starship Troopers. My favorite book of all time.


    This. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress isn't bad either.

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  • William Gibson.


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  • Asimov, Harlan Ellison, Alfred Bester, Philip K Dick and Ursula Le Guin are my favorites. I have to include Joe Haldeman for his Forever War novel.

    I've read a lot of science fiction.
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  • A lot of very good authors have been brought up already. Of the current authors: Ilona Andrews, Kim Harrison and Patricia Briggs.
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  • I'd like to mention Jim Butcher. His two series (Codex Alera and The Dresden Files) are both very entertaining.
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  • My personal favorite is George RR Martin. His "Song of Ice and Fire" series is the best series I've ever read.
    Orson Scott Card is another of my favorites. I don't agree with his politics, but Ender's Game is one of the best books I've ever read. Speaker for the Dead was terrible, though.
    I want to chime in on Tolkien. I don't think he can be considered one of the best fantasy authors of all time. I think what Roland said is accurate. It's clear to me that writing wasn't his primary skill. There are probably dozens of fantasy authors who are technically better at writing.
    That said, I don't think there is another fantasy author who is even close to as "important" as Tolkien. His stories inspired so many authors who later inspired other authors. Without his work, I don't think the landscape of fantasy literature would be anything close to what we see today.
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  • SeatownJay wrote:I'd like to mention Jim Butcher. His two series (Codex Alera and The Dresden Files) are both very entertaining.


    The Dresden Files series is quite a lot of fun to read.
    It's one of those series that I don't think will be remembered in a hundred years, but that doesn't make it any less fun today.
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  • Tolkien, as LargentFan mentioned, has to be considered one of the most important fantasy writers ever. He singlehandedly changed the face of speculative fiction. Almost every story in the high fantasy sub-genre can be traced back to him. That speaks volumes. He is to fantasy what Shakespeare is to dramatic works.

    And he was a great author. His worlds are rarely equaled in their depth and complexity, and his characters have become the stereotypes of the genre because of how unique and distinct they were when he wrote them. What he wasn't was a great writer. Or more specifically, a great editor. Because of that, we see his works as longer and more verbose than necessary. Of course, many of the older writers started slower, added more, and edited less than writers today, so with that verbosity comes an element of the style at the time.
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  • Funny for someone that has read sci-phy since childhood I never got it with Tolkien. Everyone else, wife, kids, all loved the storys but I just couldn't get into them.

    I realize that's my failing and one we all have with one arthor or another. I'm the same with actors. If I don't like he/she I will rarely watch what they are in.

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  • I know what you mean. There are plenty of examples of things I don't like that it seems like the majority of others love.
    Some of those things I dislike so much that it doesn't compute in my brain that anyone would like them.
    I do my best not to chime in when those topics are brought up. I fail sometimes, but I do alright.
    I have no problem when someone says something along the lines of, "I don't like what you like." I have issues when someone says, "what you like is shitty."
    I'm guilty of that myself though, so I guess I am a little bit hypocritical in that regard. It's just that some things that people like are so shitty! :p
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  • I definitely understand the line of thought that Tolkien was too verbose. But he's still my favorite. His wrok is still very accessible to me, whereas James Joyce I just couldn't get into. Like Sailor and Largentfan said, he redfined the fantasy genre, and is still a major influence on almost every sci-fi/fantasy writer today.
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  • Seahawk Sailor wrote:No, no. I was commenting about your saying you don't read fantasy per se (except, ahem, the Dark Tower series), not that Tolkien didn't overwrite. Hell, the Silm... Simil... Silmarillion-whatever-it's-called is proof of that.

    Ah. Well, I didn't start reading The Dark Tower back in the mid-90s because it was fantasy, I read it because the author was Stephen King, and at that point I had read a couple of other books by him that I liked. What I meant by my comment is I really only read a fantasy series based on a friend recommending a particular series to me. I don't seek them out of my own accord, except in the cases where an author I already like has made a fantasy book or series; but that is rare.

    peachesenregalia wrote:Don't talk shite, James.

    Look, Tolkien came up with a good story, but let's be honest; he wasn't very good at telling it. He spent a ton of time describing things that were largely irrelevant, and his motto for writing LotR seemed to be "Never use one sentence when four paragraphs will suffice." If you're going to go on and on about something to excess in a book, have it at least be something of relative importance, not a blade of grass or the walls of a hut. I'm being a bit facetious here, but you understand what I mean, I'm sure; even though you don't agree.

    Now, what Tolkien did for the fantasy genre cannot be overstated. However, most of us would likely not have a clue what The Lord of the Rings is had it not caught on with the hippie movement. I'm completely serious. LotR was nothing and considered a poor work before then. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ublic.html

    Plus, Tolkien wrote LotR on a bet with Lewis about who could write the better fantasy series. Ego is a powerful motivator. However, tons of pot-smoking young people discovered it and got into it and the rest is history. High sales didn't occur until a decade after being published. It's easy to dismiss all of the people that called LotR mediocre/trite/written by a windbag/etc. because of how popular LotR has become, but frankly, doing so is just a cop-out.

    I use the Twilight series as an example for this. It's widely accepted that the Twilight series is poorly written, and the story itself if it were written well would be average at best. Yet, it has sold a gazillion copies and made a ton of money and spawned high-budget films. Why? Because it found an audience to tap into to carry it into popular success. Namely, in this case, young girls/young women. LotR similarly was picked up by a very popular group of people in our history. The actual value in Lord of the Rings is what it inspired others to do, not what it was itself.

    To be crude with the analogies, just because McDonald's sells a trillion cheeseburgers every day doesn't mean they're great. ;)
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  • We'll just have to agree to disagree. I think LOTR as a whole is one of the better examples of good storytelling, the pacing was perfect, the characters were engaging, the plot was well-executed. I found The Stand to be much more long-winded and painful than anything else I've read, but i appreciate that the story was excellent and the book itself is important in many ways.

    Furthermore - The Silmarillion is the most realized work of fantasy available. the depth of Tolkien's world is unrivaled.
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  • That's a very good point about great stories and hugely successful stories, Roland. Publishing runs a fine line between great stories and great sales. It is a business, after all, and if the people want Twilight or 50 Shades of Crappy Writing, then by God that's what they're gonna get. And face it, their success - whether merited or not - is what allows publishers to produce many other quality stories that just don't see the sales necessary to be successful, but are otherwise brilliant books.
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  • RolandDeschain wrote:
    Seahawk Sailor wrote:No, no. I was commenting about your saying you don't read fantasy per se (except, ahem, the Dark Tower series), not that Tolkien didn't overwrite. Hell, the Silm... Simil... Silmarillion-whatever-it's-called is proof of that.

    Ah. Well, I didn't start reading The Dark Tower back in the mid-90s because it was fantasy, I read it because the author was Stephen King, and at that point I had read a couple of other books by him that I liked. What I meant by my comment is I really only read a fantasy series based on a friend recommending a particular series to me. I don't seek them out of my own accord, except in the cases where an author I already like has made a fantasy book or series; but that is rare.

    peachesenregalia wrote:Don't talk shite, James.

    Look, Tolkien came up with a good story, but let's be honest; he wasn't very good at telling it. He spent a ton of time describing things that were largely irrelevant, and his motto for writing LotR seemed to be "Never use one sentence when four paragraphs will suffice." If you're going to go on and on about something to excess in a book, have it at least be something of relative importance, not a blade of grass or the walls of a hut. I'm being a bit facetious here, but you understand what I mean, I'm sure; even though you don't agree.

    Now, what Tolkien did for the fantasy genre cannot be overstated. However, most of us would likely not have a clue what The Lord of the Rings is had it not caught on with the hippie movement. I'm completely serious. LotR was nothing and considered a poor work before then. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ublic.html

    Plus, Tolkien wrote LotR on a bet with Lewis about who could write the better fantasy series. Ego is a powerful motivator. However, tons of pot-smoking young people discovered it and got into it and the rest is history. High sales didn't occur until a decade after being published. It's easy to dismiss all of the people that called LotR mediocre/trite/written by a windbag/etc. because of how popular LotR has become, but frankly, doing so is just a cop-out.

    I use the Twilight series as an example for this. It's widely accepted that the Twilight series is poorly written, and the story itself if it were written well would be average at best. Yet, it has sold a gazillion copies and made a ton of money and spawned high-budget films. Why? Because it found an audience to tap into to carry it into popular success. Namely, in this case, young girls/young women. LotR similarly was picked up by a very popular group of people in our history. The actual value in Lord of the Rings is what it inspired others to do, not what it was itself.

    To be crude with the analogies, just because McDonald's sells a trillion cheeseburgers every day doesn't mean they're great. ;)


    Conversely, appealing to the 'authority' of the Nobel Prize Committee does not make Tolkien a bad writer. The books may be written in a vernacular that forces you to read it rather than gliding over it, but that's not an indication of bad writing skill. It's an indication of your reading preference. Also, comparing Tolkien's writing ability to Meyer, obliquely or otherwise, makes you look like an idiot.

    On topic: This thread also needs a Roger Zelazny mention and a Walter M. Miller mention. If you are a sci fi 'nerd', but haven't read Lord of Light or A Canticle for Leibowitz, shame on you.
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  • Very well said, Sarlacc.
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  • Sarlacc, you'll never catch me defending the Nobel "Peace" Prize. Ever. It's one of the biggest shams in history. Do you guys know how the Nobel Peace Prize came to be? The man who invented it, Alfred Nobel, is the man who invented dynamite; which has killed more people than nuclear bombs have, or ever will, almost certainly. When his brother died, a French newspaper mistakenly thought it was Alfred Nobel that died, and published a huge headline that said "The Merchant of Death is Dead", and went on to cast him in quite a disparaging light.

    Remember, he was, in reality, a very ruthless man. He built his dynamite manufacturing facilities in slums that had an abundance of cheap labor available because the plants would blow up on occasion, and he could easily replace the labor that way. Oops. In any case, once he realized how history would see him, "ego mode" kicked in and he BOUGHT his way to respectability by establishing the Nobel Peace Prize. Look at how the prize is looked at by the world at large today, and think about how successful his manipulations were. That's not to say it hasn't accomplished good things; it has. Without doubt.

    I metaphorically piss on Alfred Nobel's ashes, however.

    Now, in regards to making me look like an idiot; don't call me an idiot because you don't understand the difference between comparing authors, and using one to make a point. I did not compare the two authors against each other, I used Meyer to make a point about sales being irrelevant to writing quality. Tolkien and Meyer are wildly different authors, and Tolkien is undoubtedly a better one. You're the one that is looking like an idiot, despite Peaches humping your leg because he can't stand my opinion on Tolkien.

    Tolkien does not have bad writing skill; he was an English professor, and it shows. His technical writing ability is superb. However, what in the world does this have to do with how he tells his tale? I mean, sure, he lacks grammatical mistakes quite well, but that does not make a good story. The definition of "writing" is up for debate; Tolkien had a good story to tell, as I said, but he was not very good at writing it, in my opinion; and I'm far from alone. The vernacular, I did not have a problem with, and it's not merely preference. Making it out like I'm a blithering idiot that has trouble understanding the way LotR is written and that's why I don't like it, because I'm incapable of it, is beneath you, Sarlacc. At least, I would have said so before you stated it...

    @Sailor: Yeah, that's the main reason I don't begrudge people like Stephanie Meyer their success. The sales figures and dollars in her bank accounts are impressive, regardless of how they were obtained. That does not mean I have to think she's good at what she does, though. ;)

    @Peaches: That's fine. We disagree. I find it amusing that you feel the need to attack books by my favorite author to try and get back at me for bashing Tolkien/LotR, though.
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  • RolandDeschain wrote:S

    Tolkien does not have bad writing skill; he was an English professor, and it shows. His technical writing ability is superb. However, what in the world does this have to do with how he tells his tale? I mean, sure, he lacks grammatical mistakes quite well, but that does not make a good story. The definition of "writing" is up for debate; Tolkien had a good story to tell, as I said, but he was not very good at writing it, in my opinion; and I'm far from alone. The vernacular, I did not have a problem with, and it's not merely preference. Making it out like [b][b]I'm a blithering idiot that has trouble understanding the way LotR is written[/b] and that's why I don't like it, because I'm incapable of it[/b], is beneath you, Sarlacc. At least, I would have said so before you stated it...


    Do you not understand the word preference? There is no bias in that word. Some people like investing in the language of a book, some do not. I didn't think that was terribly insulting.

    And yes, you did compare Meyer and Tolkien, as I said, obliquely. You left it right in there when you mentioned that the only reason LotR is popular is because hippies picked up on it in the same way tweens/moms picked up on Twilight. Leaving us to infer that both are popular in spite of their writer's abilities. QED.
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  • RolandDeschain wrote:Sarlacc, you'll never catch me defending the Nobel "Peace" Prize. Ever. It's one of the biggest shams in history. Do you guys know how the Nobel Peace Prize came to be? The man who invented it, Alfred Nobel, is the man who invented dynamite; which has killed more people than nuclear bombs have, or ever will, almost certainly. When his brother died, a French newspaper mistakenly thought it was Alfred Nobel that died, and published a huge headline that said "The Merchant of Death is Dead", and went on to cast him in quite a disparaging light.

    Remember, he was, in reality, a very ruthless man. He built his dynamite manufacturing facilities in slums that had an abundance of cheap labor available because the plants would blow up on occasion, and he could easily replace the labor that way. Oops. In any case, once he realized how history would see him, "ego mode" kicked in and he BOUGHT his way to respectability by establishing the Nobel Peace Prize. Look at how the prize is looked at by the world at large today, and think about how successful his manipulations were. That's not to say it hasn't accomplished good things; it has. Without doubt.

    I metaphorically piss on Alfred Nobel's ashes, however.

    Now, in regards to making me look like an idiot; don't call me an idiot because you don't understand the difference between comparing authors, and using one to make a point. I did not compare the two authors against each other, I used Meyer to make a point about sales being irrelevant to writing quality. Tolkien and Meyer are wildly different authors, and Tolkien is undoubtedly a better one. You're the one that is looking like an idiot, despite Peaches humping your leg because he can't stand my opinion on Tolkien.

    Tolkien does not have bad writing skill; he was an English professor, and it shows. His technical writing ability is superb. However, what in the world does this have to do with how he tells his tale? I mean, sure, he lacks grammatical mistakes quite well, but that does not make a good story. The definition of "writing" is up for debate; Tolkien had a good story to tell, as I said, but he was not very good at writing it, in my opinion; and I'm far from alone. The vernacular, I did not have a problem with, and it's not merely preference. Making it out like I'm a blithering idiot that has trouble understanding the way LotR is written and that's why I don't like it, because I'm incapable of it, is beneath you, Sarlacc. At least, I would have said so before you stated it...

    @Sailor: Yeah, that's the main reason I don't begrudge people like Stephanie Meyer their success. The sales figures and dollars in her bank accounts are impressive, regardless of how they were obtained. That does not mean I have to think she's good at what she does, though. ;)

    @Peaches: That's fine. We disagree. I find it amusing that you feel the need to attack books by my favorite author to try and get back at me for bashing Tolkien/LotR, though.



    You really try your best to be an asshole sometimes, and i'm one of the people that likes you on this board. I didn't attack the stand, i gave you my opinion on it. it's an apples-to-apples comparison because King is your favorite author and Tolkien is mine. Stop being so defensive all the time.
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    peachesenregalia
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  • Sarlacc, I now think we both read into each other's words too much. We both leaped to incorrect conclusions, IMO. In very broad terms, the inference you got was correct, though; that Tolkien and Meyer both achieved wild success in spite of their writing ability. How they got there, though, are wildly different ways and the two don't write anything alike.

    @Peaches: I didn't think I was being defensive, I just said I found your ad hominem response to be amusing. You wouldn't have brought up The Stand if my favorite author was someone other than Stephen King; you weren't commenting on the argument, but me. Also, I don't try to be an asshole outside the PWR. I didn't say it never happens, (we're all assholes unintentionally sometimes, some more than others) but I don't try to be one outside that place. (Also the shack, but that's different.)
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  • It wasn't an ad hominem attack, it was completely contextual and operating within your frame of reference. It wasn't even an attack, it was a relevant comparison. Put your big boy pants on.
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  • Attacking someone as popular as Tolkien is a "big-boy pants" activity, Peaches. ;)
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  • RolandDeschain wrote:Attacking someone as popular as Tolkien is a "big-boy pants" activity, Peaches. ;)


    Hmmm.... touché....
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  • Have to give a +1 for Phillip K. Dick, not only did he write a lot of good stories but he inspired even more with all the screenplays and movies based on his various books/short stories. I think he was ahead of his time with some of his ideas in sci-fi.
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  • Gibson is great, but my favorite book all time is still Starship Troopers, therefore Heinlein is high on my list.

    Not mentioned so far are John Steakley - Armor, and Joe Haldeman - The Forever War.

    I really enjoyed David Brin as well.

    For a fantasy writer, Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame series was must read for my teenage years.

    Add: Niven - Footfall and Lucifer's Hammer
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  • Heinlein's works, especially the stuff that started out as pulp/magazine fiction, is such a huge part of my young life. I've worn out multiple copies
    of Stranger in a Strange Land and a copy of Time Enough for Love.

    I've read all of the other authors mentioned and like quite a few of them, but no one ranks higher than RAH.
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  • Niven and Pournelle. Greg Bear is good too. Also, Kevin Anderson. Poul Anderson is not bad either.
    Ben Bova has a cool series about the Solar System. Just started reading Pratchett's books.

    -SH
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