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General SF&F discussion > So who are your favorites?

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message 1: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1665 comments Mod
Do you have a list of favorite authors/books?


Jade & Rubies (jaderubies) I have lots of favorites--some older and some newer: Zelazny, George RR Martin, Asimov, Richard Morgan, Octavia Butler, Mieville, Charlie Huston etc.

I read Zelany's original Amber series when I was a teenager, and I now re-read it periodically as one of my all time favorites & for nostalgia. :-)


Kathi | 1101 comments I always struggle with "favorites" lists... There are a few books that I truly love, like Lord of the Rings, the Discworld books, the Harry Potter series. There are many, many books that I like a lot, but every time I start listing them, I realize that the list will be awfully, awfully long and I will no doubt forget something.

Someone in a book group once said, "My favorite book is the one I'm reading right now" and so that will be my answer.


Jane (Hippygoth66) | 99 comments Favourates that I constantly reread include Sheri S Tepper (Plague of Angels and Grass triliogy my faves)
David Gemmell (Legend and Waylander at the top of that list with the Troy trilogy in the top five) Richard Morgan (group discussion of Black Man had me read it and go back and reread Altered Carbon and then go out and buy all his other books with the exception of Market Forces) Neil Gaiman (Love Sandman) Robin Hobb,and currently reading Tom Lloyd



Diane (DivaDiane) | 106 comments My absolute favorite author is Ursula K. LeGuin, followed by Octavia Butler, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb and probably one or two more, whose work I consistently love.


Nancy | 24 comments Some of my favorites include:

China Miéville, Peter S. Beagle, Isobelle Carmody, Neil Gaiman, Jeff VanderMeer. My shelf has a list of favorites.

The Lathe of Heaven is one of my all-time favorite books. I've read it several times and seen the film versions.

Octavia Butler's vision of the future in Parable of the Sower was scarier than any horror novel I've read. I'll have to read more of her work.


Nancy | 24 comments Jon wrote: "My current favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss for a while. Is that a good place to start?



Dan Schwent  (akaGunslinger) My current fantasy/sf authors are Neil Gaiman, Roger Zelazny, and Philip Jose Farmer. I also have a soft spot for pulp sf and fantasy.


Kelly (sisimka) | 329 comments I've been reading fantasy and sci fi for so long that my favourite authors have changed a lot over the years. Some of the folks that are heavily represented on my shelves: Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, John Wyndham, Marion Zimmer Bradley and one of my most enduring favourites, R.A. Salvatore.

My new favourites, authors I've discovered in the last ten years (mostly through the yahoo group!) are: C.S. Friedman, Peter F. Hamilton, Jack McDevitt, John Scalzi, Jacqueline Carey, Robert Jordan, Fiona McIntosh and Tobias Buckell. These are the folks I buy books from and look forward to new novels from.


message 11: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1665 comments Mod
Nancy wrote: "I've been meaning to get to Modesitt's Archform Beauty for a while. Is that a good place to start? "

Nancy,

I consider it one of his best single-volume SF novels. Other excellent starting points for his SF are The Parafaith War, The Octagonal Raven and Adiamante. They're all stand-alone and all very good.
I always like his SF much better than his fantasy, but he's probably better known for his fantasy. I just read Imager The First Book of the Imager Portfolio, which is the start to his brand new fantasy series and thought it was a pretty good example of his usual fantasy style.
(He's also one of my favorite authors --- can you tell? :) )


Jon (jonmoss) | 622 comments Nancy wrote: "I've been meaning to get to Modesitt's Archform Beauty for a while. Is that a good place to start? "

Argh! I haven't read Modesitt's science fiction novels yet! Some of them are on my to-read shelf and I searched for them at lunch at the used book store.

Jim recommends all of Modesitt's works and I agree.


message 13: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1665 comments Mod
Jon wrote: "Jim recommends all of Modesitt's works and I agree. "

Well, I haven't read all of his books yet --- maybe 20 so far. I would say overall his work is good to excellent. The only books I really disliked were his Spellsong books (I made it about 50 pages into the second one before I finally gave up).



Jim (JimMacLachlan) Am I the Jim mentioned? If not, I too highly recommend Modesitt. He only has a few characters & all of his books have a pervasive ecologic theme; limited resources, power, communication & travel.

I'll agree that the Spell Singer books weren't his best. I didn't think the first two were too bad, but the I almost put down the last two. I finished them, but unlike his other books, I've never re-read them.

Archform Beauty isn't a bad book to start with. I think it's a stand alone, although most of his SF books share a lot in common. I think The Parafaith War is one of his best stand alone SF books.

His The Forever Hero Dawn for a Distant Earth, The Silent Warrior, In Endless Twilight trilogy is possibly my favorite, though. I'd suggest getting this edition because there are a ton of the 2d book out, a few of the third, but it took me forever to find the first.

His Recluse series is wonderful. Read them in published order the first time, but after that, chronologically is great. I've re-read them several times, as have most of my family.


message 15: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1665 comments Mod
Ooooh, I haven't read that Forever Hero trilogy yet... looks like it's an early one in his career. Will have to check it out. Thanks for the tip!

With the Recluce books, I liked the first one but barely made it through the second one... then gave up on it for a bit until I found a cheapie copy of Fall of Angels (which I think is the first one in the internal chronology?). That one really opened my eyes to the fact that there is a lot more going on in that series than I was even aware of... so now they're back on my TBR list. I still like most of his SF much more than most of his fantasy.

If you liked The Parafaith War, check out The Ethos Effect,which is - very loosely - a sequel. Also, Flash is set in the same fictional universe as Archform Beauty.


message 16: by Jim (last edited Apr 03, 2009 09:50AM) (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) I think I have & have read all of Modesitt's books. I've read the ones you mentioned & they're pretty good. Have you read any of his Johan Eschbach series? They start with Of Tangible Ghosts. It's an alternate of our world with the current US being broken up into multiple nations, steamers instead of our cars & ghosts that play a key, but understated roll. I wasn't thrilled with the first one, but the series grew on me.

Was the second Recluse book you read The Magic of Recluce? That was OK, but not one of the best. Two of my favorite books of the Recluse series are the first two chronologically, Magi'i of Cyador & Scion of Cyador.

The first book I ever read by Modesitt was "The Fires of Paratime", which was re-released as The Timegod when Tor became his publisher. There is a prequel to that story, Timediver's Dawn that is also very good. After reading 'Fires', I was hooked on his writing.


message 17: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1665 comments Mod
The second Recluce book I read (and I think the second one published, after "The Magic of Recluce") was "The Towers of Sunset". It may have been me, but I just didn't enjoy it. I apparently also read "The Magic Engineer" - or at least, I have a read copy on my shelves, but I swear I don't remember a thing about it. I am going to read that entire series in order one of these days.

Have not read the Johan Eschbach series, and also haven't gotten to the entire Ecolitan series yet. I read the first 3 books in the Corean Chronicles, but skipped the second trilogy for now.

That man is just so prolific. I can't think of anyone else in the field who puts out so many books so quickly.



Lori (Hellian) Well, if I haven't read any Modesitt yet, where would you suggest I start? I've seen his name for a long time, and frankly always thought of him as trash just because he is so prolific ha! But I've since too many people I respect who like him alot.

Some of my present favorites are Neil Stephenson, Zelazny, Tim Powers, Robin Hobb, those are the first ones that come to mind, but right now I'm in the midst of Erik Stevenson's Malazan Empire series and


Jim (JimMacLachlan) Lori, Roger Zelazny is probably my favorite author. Modesitt doesn't really compare. I like his work, but it's not on Zelazny's level. Magi'i of Cyador is one of my favorite of his Recluse series & is the first chronologically. Not a bad introduction to his fantasy. I'll suggest The Eternity Artifact or The Timegod for his SF.

Stefan, I was hesitant to read the second trilogy to the Corean Chronicles. I thought they'd go downhill. I like them better. The world is more complex & we get opposing viewpoints. We kind of know how things turn out, but how they get there is very interesting.

Modesitt obviously has a few characters that he names differently & a basic world. Kind of cookie cutter, so I guess that helps him push out a lot of books quickly. If you like his style, then his books are a good read. If you're on the fence, I'm sure they get old quickly. I happen to like the way he thinks. I like the minimalist settings, the ecological concerns. For me, they keep working.

I read Modesitt for a relaxing read. His books aren't challenging, which is fine by me. Sometimes I like a challenge & Zelazny is good at that. They're better than Eddings work, IMO. There's more to think about & relate to our world. It's more complex, with situations that raise questions in our own. Not heavy, though. Does that make sense?


message 20: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1665 comments Mod
Lori --- it depends on whether you would like to start with his SF or his fantasy. He has a fine body of work in both. Actually, the only other person I can think of who straddles both genres so effectively is Cherryh C. J., who he shares some stylistic quirks with.

Fantasy: Like Jim said, Recluce is his main and most famous series, so it's a good place to start. I always thought Fall of Angels was the first one in the internal chronology, but I haven't read the one Jim mentioned so may be wrong. Another option would be to try the first book of his new series, Imager The First Book of the Imager Portfolio. It's a solid start to a promising new series, and about as typical a Modesitt novel as you'll find.

SF: my favorite is The Parafaith War. Also great are Archform Beauty and The Octagonal Raven. They're all stand-alone books - always a plus.

Jim --- maybe I misunderstand you here, but I wouldn't say his settings are minimalist at all. Actually, his world-building is often verging on being over-detailed, to the point where it can get in the way of the story. This is actually one of the aspects of his fiction I like best - as well as his dedication to describing the every-day, almost mundane aspects of living in a fantasy or SF world. I do agree with you that his characters are often bit cookie-cutter --- very cerebral, often artisans or specialists in a specific skills, often with conflicted morals.

I obviously enjoy his works a lot, despite some of the flaws, but I usually only read 1 or 2 of his books per year.


Brenda (readingfairytales) My favorites are Orson Scott Card (even though I kind of dislike him as a person), George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Lynn Flewelling, and Joan Slonczewski.


Ken (ogi8745) | 878 comments I used to have lists but it seems this day I only have a couple of must read authors. Steven Brust, Neal Stephenson, Robert J. Sawyer, Guy Kay


message 23: by Lori (Hellian) (last edited Apr 05, 2009 07:06PM) (new)

Lori (Hellian) Thanks Stefan! One day I'll have to give him a try. And also thanks for reminding me of Cherryh, she's another of my favorites. Some of her work is quite dense, like Cyteen, but then she goes and writes something so delightful like the Chanur series.

Another favorite is Connie Willis, who writes something so beautiful but oh so sad like the Doomsday Book, and then uses the same time travel notion to Coventry like To Say Nothing Of The Dog, which is just so light and funny.

Jim, you and I have already shared our love of Zelazny. :)

Sandi, so this is the Yahoo group you mentioned almost a year ago!


Nancy | 24 comments Brenda wrote: "My favorites are Orson Scott Card (even though I kind of dislike him as a person), George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Lynn Flewelling, and Joan Slonczewski."

I love Lynn Flewelling too, though I was a little disappointed in Shadows Return.


message 25: by Brenda (last edited Apr 05, 2009 08:45PM) (new)

Brenda (readingfairytales) I haven't read that one yet, Nancy. I think I've only read the first two in the Nightrunner series so far, but I've read all the books in her other series.


Ron (ronbacardi) | 302 comments Stanislaw Lem always tops my list, and then the order gets real fuzzy real fast. Kim Stanley Robinson, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Iain Banks (with and without the M.), Paul di Filippo, Sean McMullen, Terry Pratchett, Cordwainer Smith, James Tiptree, Greg Egan, Neal Asher, China Miéville, Randall Garrett for the Lord Darcy stories, Guy Kay, Jon Grimwood, Stephen Baxter (with some serious reservations), Heinlein-Clarke-Tolkien-Asimov-Eddison-Lovecraft-Howard.


Jim (JimMacLachlan) Stefan wrote: "Jim --- maybe I misunderstand you here, but I wouldn't say his settings are minimalist at all..."

Actually, it is a misunderstanding due to my poor writing skills. By 'minimalist' I was attempting to say that Modesitt's worlds have a strict, generally short, supply of resources & that figures very strongly into most of his stories. Yes, the worlds are very detailed, but what the characters have to work with is limited. Even the most technologically advanced of his societies pay attention to the costs of every day actions, conserve resources & pay a high price for those they do use.




Deedee | 118 comments Well, George RR Martin, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Robin McKinley would be the short list of "favorite authors". Enlarge the list and add Catherine Asaro, Tobias Bucknell, Kate Elliott, Sean McMullen, Terry Pratchett, and Brandon Sanderson. I liked C. S. Friedman's novel "Black Sun Rising". And in new authors : I liked the first novels by Kristin Landon (Hidden Worlds) and Anton Strout (Dead to Me, more a paranormal novel than sf/f novel).


Jim (JimMacLachlan) Laurell K. Hamilton is one of my favorites. I rarely read her blog, but it caught my eye today & a question.

"We’re mentioned in the latest issue of "TV Guide". Page 14. Look for the still from TRUE BLOOD, the show based on Charlaine Harris’, Sookie Stackehouse books. The headline is, "The Twilight Effect". There’s also another vampire series mentioned above mine that I’ve never even heard of...."

Does anyone get TV Guide & know what the other vampire series is she mentions?


message 30: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1665 comments Mod
I'm going to guess the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer? I never read any of them, but I understand they're all the rage nowadays - and they're about vampires. I think.


message 31: by Jim (last edited Apr 21, 2009 06:27PM) (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) Stefan wrote: "I'm going to guess the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer? I never read any of them, but I understand they're all the rage nowadays - and they're about vampires. I think."

Not Twilight. Hamilton discusses them & the Sookie Stackhouse series in her blog. Apparently there was another vampire series also mentioned that came out about 10 years before her Anita Blake books that she hadn't heard of. I found that kind of surprising & intriguing. I'd love to know what it is.

Oh, you're not missing anything with Twilight. I read the first one & didn't bother reading further. My daughter read all 4 & pretty much loathed the last one.


Brenda (readingfairytales) I felt the same about Twilight. Read the first one, didn't hate it, but didn't think it was particularly well written, either. I tried picking up the second one, but after 10 pages of the main character whining (just like in the first book), I gave up.

There are so many better books out there, I can't figure out why the Twilight series is so popular. It baffles me. Different tastes, I guess.


Ken (ogi8745) | 878 comments My daughter came to the same conclusion with the 4th Twilight book. Worst of the bunch apparently


Kelly (sisimka) | 329 comments I just finished Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. This was published in 1999. Its a werewolf novel, but the author is apparently known for The Silver Kiss, a vampire novel that 'Twilight' might wish it could be. I believe Klause has written more than one vampire book, but I don't know if they follow a series or not.


message 35: by Deedee (last edited Apr 25, 2009 07:19PM) (new)

Deedee | 118 comments Regarding the Twilight series, Jim said: "My daughter read all 4 & pretty much loathed the last one. " Same here! She tossed book #4 at a particularly gruesome scene (I'm avoiding spoilers here.) I told my daughter to imagine that the series ended with Book #3.

I read the first three books in the series because it is so popular in my 14-year-old daughter's group of friends. They spent alot of time discussing which boy Bella should be with .... Edward (the vampire) or Jacob (the werewolf)? Personally, I think that Bella is clinically insane. Expressing that opinion to my daughter and her friends elicits many giggles.

I suspect it is the younger teenaged group of girls who have driven Twilight up the best-selling lists. It's the latest fad with that group, replacing Zoey 101 and Hannah Montana. The Twilight fad is already passing from the scene with my daughter's group.

I don't think the series has the staying power of the Harry Potter series.



Brenda (readingfairytales) Maybe it's just my area, but it's not just the teen (or pre-teen) girls. My mother-in-law was gushing about it one time. She was talking about it like it was real: "And Jacob did this, and Bella was so afraid, but she didn't need to be" (something like that, anyway).

And when a friend and I went to see Casino Royale, which came out the same day as Twilight, there were droves of grown women there to see Twilight. We couldn't even find a parking spot.

I do agree with you that it doesn't have staying power, though.


Ken (ogi8745) | 878 comments Quantum of Solace, not Casino Royale.

I was saved from going to see Twilight, My wife brought my daughter.


Kathi | 1101 comments My niece (junior in high school) is into the Twilight series (we gave her the books for Christmas since they were on her gift list and we like to give books), and she reports that the books are very popular with her crowd, tee-shirts and posters and the movie as well as the books.

My sister, who teaches middle school, says the books are very popular with that crowd, too. She also said that a lot of the teachers are reading them, partly to know what the kids are into and to be able to use that connection. I think some adults got into it that way--read it to see what their kids were reading and then got into it themselves.


Laurel As a middle school teacher, I have to admit that I'm hooked on the books. I can't explain what it is, they just seem to have that "can't put them down" quality that the Harry Potter series have. Its also nice to have a quick, fluff kind of read once in a while. And yes, my teenage students LOVE to talk about the book!


Brenda (readingfairytales) Yes, you're right Ken. I get my Bond movie titles mixed up.


message 41: by Diane (last edited May 12, 2009 02:23AM) (new)

Diane (DivaDiane) | 106 comments I've resisted answering this question. I have lots of authors whose work I've been moved by, but only a few that have inspired me enough to read more than one or two of their novels or re-read one. Those are:

Ursula K. Le Guin tops the list I've read the majority of her stuff. Faves are Earthsea, Left Hand of Darkness, Lathe of Heaven.

Octavia E. Butler the Xenogenesis series, Wild Seed, Fledgling.

Ray Bradbury I re-read
Fahrenheit 451 periodically, Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked this Way Comes.

Robin Hobb I adored the first 3 trilogies especially the LiveShip Traders but am less fond of the Soldier's Son Trilogy.

Orson Scott Card Ender's Game is one of my favorites plus the subsequent trilogy. Haven't read much else that he's written.

Nicola Griffith Ammonite is one of my all time favorite books. Slow River was also excellent.

Anne McCaffrey I've read all of the PERN books, I believe; the Crytal Singer ones and the Ship Who Sang is fabulous. It's not terribly challenging stuff but good story telling.

Nearly forgot Neil Gaiman, American Gods, Anansi Boys, Coraline, Stardust, Fragile Things. Looking forward to the Sandman books and other novels.


Kelly  Maybedog (Maybedog) | 38 comments I didn't know Grass was a trilogy.

The Twilight thing is apparently teenage girls and middle aged women. I have a good friend who is in her mid-40's who is obsessed, read all the books at least twice, watched the movie several times and owns merchandise. I tried to read the first book twice before it hit the popular lists and I just cannot get past the first few chapters. And I *love* vampire stories and books that take place in the Pacific Northwest. (I've been to Forks and would love to move to the peninsula.) It's really one of those love it or hate it series I think.

My very fave authors (I like or love everything they have written and I have read it all):
John Varley
Connie Willis
James Alan Gardner
C.S. Lewis (fiction--have not read all his nonfiction)
H.M. Hoover

Others that I have either liked everything but haven't read it all or liked most but not all, or just really liked not absolutely loved:
Mary Doria Russell
Joe Haldeman
Octavia Butler
Nicola Griffith
C.J. Cherryh
Elizabeth Moon
Douglas Adams
S.L. Viehl
Robert Sawyer
Dan Simmons
Sarah Zettel
Robert Heinlein (if I disregard his politics)
Orson Scott Card (ditto)
Emily Devenport
Kurt Vonegut
Ray Bradbury
Isaac Asimov
Terry Pratchett
Garth Nix
Tamora Pierce
Patricia Wrede
Philip Pullman
Diana Wynn Jones
Jonathan Stroud
L. Frank Baum


Kelly  Maybedog (Maybedog) | 38 comments I just noticed you asked about specific books, too. Here are my ten favorite SF/F books:

The Jesus Incident by Frank Herbert
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Til We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis
Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynn Jones
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Dawn Palace by H. M. Hoover
Titan by John Varley
Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh

Sorry, I don't have the energy to look up each title and author right now to make a hyperlink.


Kerry (rocalisa) | 450 comments I just accidently lost my entire post. Sigh.

Regarding seemingly-inexplicable bestsellers like Twilight, I have come to the conclusion that it is because non-readers get on the bandwagon and buy them. Not having the kind of background in books and reading that avid readers (like most or all of the people on this list I would imagine) they don't necessarily see all the faults and get all enthused about the books while we shake our heads and don't get it. Readers are always going to buy books, to get a runaway bestseller, you have to get non-readers buying it.

As for favourite authors, I can never easily answer the question as there are lots I like and how can I choose. Then I realised that a list of authors I'm willing to buy in hardcover (and hardcovers are very expensive here in New Zealand, usually costing around $50) would probably give a decent idea.

Catherine Asaro
Anne Bishop
Patricia Briggs
Lois McMaster Bujold
Patricia McKillip
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Liaden books)
Joan D. Vinge

There are sure to be others, but those are the ones I can visualise on my bookshelf.


Diane (DivaDiane) | 106 comments I just picked up Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs. Sounded interesting, although admittedly I'd never heard of the author before.

Kerry, have you read that one already? What did you think of it?


Jim (JimMacLachlan) I haven't read Bone Crossed yet, but I've read quite a few other books by Patricia Briggs, including the first 3 of the Mercedes Thompson series. I've liked them all. There's a spin-off from that series Cry Wolf, which is good. Another Urban Fantasy.

I really liked her other fantasy novels such as Dragon Bones & Raven's Strike. She's a good writer.


message 47: by Brenda (last edited May 19, 2009 11:30AM) (new)

Brenda (readingfairytales) Diane, don't read Bone Crossed unless you've read the rest of the series! That's number 4, and you'll probably be lost and not like it if you haven't read the other three. Start with Moon Called. :)


Kerry (rocalisa) | 450 comments Diane wrote: "I just picked up Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs. Sounded interesting, although admittedly I'd never heard of the author before.

Kerry, have you read that one already? What did you think of it?"


Diane, Brenda is right. It's a series you really need to read in order. Start with Moon Called (then Blood Bound, then Iron Kissed, then you're up to Bone Crossed).


Kelly  Maybedog (Maybedog) | 38 comments I like Brigg's Mercedes Thompson books, too, although she obviously doesn't know Seattle very well. Better than most who don't live here, though.


message 50: by Laura (last edited May 21, 2009 08:24AM) (new)

Laura (sfreadergrl) | 52 comments Hi, thought the discussion question was fascinating. All time best (for me) are Heinlein and Connie Willis, but I acknowledge and agree with almost everything else already posted.

For SF I also admire Theodore Sturgeon. A collection of his works in many volumes is being published, it's up to 11 or so (and counting). I enjoy reading what he wrote in order. I find his writing deeply penetrating, and I consider him one of the best writers of the 20th century in any genre. He reminds me of D.H.Lawrence with his insight into the human psyche.

For fantasy, among others I like Nina Kiriki Hoffman. Not as polished of a writer as many mentioned already but I really like her magical worlds.


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