Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by AwsomeSpace, Jun 2, 2012.
in your opinion, who are the top 5 sci-fi writers currently?
A. Reynolds, PF Hamilton, IM Banks, Adam Roberts and then a tie between Greg Egan and Paul McAuley
That looks pretty spot on. Incidentally they are all (except for Greg Egan - Australian) British.
Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds and Kim Stanley Robinson for sure.
Richard Morgan's out of SF for the next couple of years, so not him at the moment. Not Neal Asher or David Weber (appreciably medicore, sometimes entertaining, at best). Hannu Rajaniemi needs a few more books under his belt before he can join such a list with confidence. Iain Banks had a few lean years of releasing sub-par books but is showing signs of a return to form, so he could gain a place if his next book continues that trend. If Existence is as good as his old stuff, then David Brin may also start circling around the top tier again. Dan Abnett is more science fantasy than SF, which rules him off such a list (although Embedded hints at good things if he writes more traditional SF) despite his strong writing skills. Chris Priest's new book is fantasy and hasn't written anything else for a decade, so I can't include him (yet). I haven't read Lois McMaster Bujold, Jaine Fenn or Liz Williams yet.
So the fourth and fifth positions I would, with some reluctance as both have ongoing issues in their writing which needed to be addressed, give to Adam Roberts and Neal Stephenson.
What about those listed here:
only one in common is Iain M Banks
Does Ian McDonald belong in the conversation?
He does if you say he does. It's your top 5.
Stretching a bit the meaning of "currently" (his last few books are and aren't really science-fiction at the same time), I find Stephen Baxter to be consistent in the quality of his output.
And McAuley definitely!
I buy more anthologies than I do novels, so I'd have to say that the best authors for me are the ones where I buy their books when I see a new one. It's quite a short list so I didn't have to think a long time for it.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Robert J. Sawyer
Orson Scott Card
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle writing together.
I'd have a longer list of others who write novels I like, but those 5 I'd buy anything I come across that I haven't read yet, and the top three I'd even be looking for publication dates.
As one who does not understand all the love for PFH I could not include him in a Top 20 let alone Top 5.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Robert J. Sawyer
Kim Stanley Robinson
I really don't believe in that list but it's as good as any other I could make with only 5 entries. I haven't read anything by Larry Niven in some time though. But stuff I have tried by Alistair Reynolds, Neil Stephenson, Ian Banks and others I didn't like as well as Niven.
How can anyone even consider such a list and not have M. John Harrison high on it?
Making the cuts is difficult, bit I would suppose one has to have:
M. John Harrison
Iain M. Banks
Excellent, but of low output and more or less on the margin of the field are Alan Lightman and Michael Chabon. Indeed, one might also count Salman Rushdie. And though Tanith Lee does mostly fantasy, her few sf books are eminent. Also hard to cut is Ursula K. Le Guin.
And if one wants to include James Blaylock as an sf writer (does steampunk count? or is that fantasy?) . . . How do we characterize Matt Ruff? Well, this could go on for a while.
Wow I have never read so many of the people on this list.
M. John Harrison - never heard of
Gene Wolfe - not my style
Brian Stableford - never heard of
Iain M. Banks - never read
Neal Stephenson - agree
Alistair Reynolds - not my style
China Mieville - didn't like very much
Vernor Vinge - never read
Ian McDonald - never read
Ken McLeod - never read
Lois McMaster Bujold - thought was dead
Robert J. Sawyer - thought was dead
Kim Stanley Robinson - thought was dead
John Scalzi - agree
Larry Niven - thought was dead
Orson Scott Card - don't like anymore
Connie Willis - agree
A. Reynolds - never read
PF Hamilton - never read
IM Banks - never read
Adam Roberts - never heard of
Greg Egan - never read
Paul McAuley - never heard of
(In no particular order)
I can only think of four, because none of the others I've read recently belong on the list.
I sincerely don't get the love for Iain M. Banks. Based on threads here, I read Consider Phlebas. Although it did have some interesting ideas, after the books conclusion, I found the story pointless. I have no desire to repeat that experience.
I'm a Banks pompom waver, so I am forced to recommend you read Player of Games too. It's the second in the series and much more indicative of the series as a whole.
I've never read McDevitt. Might give him a go soon.
M. John Harrison
William Gibson (still writing SF?... s'pose that's debatable)
Ursula K. Le Guin
Honorable mentions: Justina Robson, Ted Chiang, Ken MacLeod, Vernor Vinge, Alastair Reynolds, Nalo Hopkinson.
I like posts like this as it gives me new authors to check out. I am sure to draw wrath but John Scalzi is no where near the top 5 in my list. I enjoyed Old Man's War and the first sequel greatly but I really do not see him as writing anything original (science fiction wise) in quite some time. Redshirts just came out and from what I can tell it is a comedy set in a faux Star Trek universe. I might be a fun read but hardly original (other than the comedy stab at Star Trek) and not top drawer sci-fi in my book.
As for my list,
Where would one start with Jack McDevitt? Never read him, but on the look out for new books and authors.
Bibliography here: LINK.
Engines of God makes sense. Or Polaris.
My favorites right now that I go to time and time again:
Separate names with a comma.