the top 5 writers currently

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by AwsomeSpace, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Monthâ„¢

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    A member since 2001? That's a lot of missing information, Phil :D

    For my part I haven't read quite a few on the lists from others - mainly because they are known as being space opera writers and that's just not my thing, especially when they are the size of Hamilton's usual offerings!

    I'd say:

    Adam Roberts
    Christopher Priest
    Connie Willis
    Charles Stross (maybe)
    Kim Stanley Robinson
     
  2. Diosces

    Diosces AS=1/2(Vf**2-Vi**2)

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    'Currently' can have different context for people. Currently for me means authors who have actively published works within the last several years.


    My list
    Neal Stephenson
    Charles Stross
    Hugh Howey
    Daniel Suarez
    John Barnes
     
  3. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    Gwyneth Jones
    Kim Stanley Robinson
    Al Reynolds
    Justina Robson
    M John Harrison

    I'd have included Paul Park or Mary Gentle, but their last books were fantasy.
     
  4. beniowa

    beniowa Registered User

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    My favorite of the current SF writers:

    Paolo Bacigalupi
    Tobias Buckell
    Warren Hammond
    Kameron Hurley
    Christopher Priest

    I'll give honorable mentions (is that cheating?) to Lauren Beukes, Peadar O'Guilin, and Scott Westerfeld. Also, Scalzi used to rate higher for me, though less so these days.

    Also haven't read KSR in years so his place might change after I get to 2312.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2012
  5. phil_geo

    phil_geo Rat Thing

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    Agreed! I will be checking my used book store soon.
     
  6. DDCOrange

    DDCOrange Registered User

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    Wow with so many different authors on so many lists it all just makes me realize how much I still haven't read. How can I possibly come up with a top five? Even as contemporary writers? I've yet to read China Melville, Iain Banks or Alstair Reynolds yet they come up time and again. I intend to try them all out but at this point can't render a fair opinion.
     
  7. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    actually I read (or at least tried in a few cases that did not work out) all the writers mentioned above but I agree that any choice is subjective and names like Mieville, Priest, Wolfe, Stableford, Stephenson or MJ Harrison are definitely legitimate contenders imho, just that I do not consider the first three really sf writers, Stableford not really current, Neal Stephenson's really interesting work (imho) is not quite sf except for Anathem, while MJ Harrison has too little sf work (though all notable and influential for sure and his next novel is a huge asap of mine).

    With newer writers, I cannot see how anyone without at least 5 novels could be considered here...

    Other names I did not see mentioned so far but I would happily add on an extended list are Gary Gibson, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Gwyneth Jones, Mary Gentle
     
  8. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    I mentioned both Jones and Gentle (though Gentle hasn't written sf for a while).

    Other space opera-y writers worth reading are Michael Cobley, John Meaney, Chris Moriarty and Kameron Hurley.
     
  9. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    I would say that both Ilario and 1610 fall comfortably within the alt-history as sf subgenre, though The Black Opera is clear alt-history as fantasy with its ghosts and reborn dead (and suffers for it imho as I found it less interesting than the above mentioned two which are just wonderful, though Mary Gentle's prose was quite enjoyable as expected and the book entertaining on the whole, but "lighter").

    Chris Moriarty has essentially written two novels which I greatly enjoyed at the time, especially her debut Spin State (saw some YA from her I think but that does not count); a new Spin book will be soon out and I am curious to see how it will read so i will pick it up asap

    John Meaney -almost mentioned him as his original Nulapeiron trilogy, especially Paradox, is one of my big favorites, but his fantasy was meh ( and his knife fighter books under pseudonym of no interest) and the new Ragnarok trilogy is so-so to date - actually I read only Absorption and while I bought Transmission on publication and started it with plans to finish it at some point, still have not done yet...

    Michael Cobley - thought his sf trilogy went from so-so (interesting ideas, but very muddled) to pretty bad in the second volume and have no intention to pick up 3rd, while Kameron Hurley's prose sadly just did not work out for me

    Edit: and back on topic, another writer whom I would have to include in any top 5-10 for the 90's but who has not written that much recently is William Barton whose 90's dark sf is as good as it gets; I did an overview of his novels on FBC a while ago; years ago before ebooks I remember hunting older Asimov's on eBay just to read his scattered stories, but now of course he put out almost all his work in e form so it's easy to find
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  10. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    I'm waiting for the UK edition of Black Opera so have yet to read it; but point taken. I've only read Moriarty's first novel, but I'd like to get hold of the second book; and I've only read Meaney's debut, which was meh, but had heard good things about his Nulapeiron books. I've yet to read the third of Cobley's trilogy, though I do think they're fun if a little over-full. Gibson's Shoal Sequence has the edge on it. I'm a big fan of the two Hurley books, and I'm looking forward to the third later this year.

    I was a huge fan of Barton's fiction, and bought each one of his books as soon as it was published - including the collaborations with Michael Capobianco. I even hunted out his early works and the chapbook published by a small press. It's a shame his career imploded around the turn of the century. I've not kept up with his short fiction since - he's mostly published in Asimov's, which I don't buy. The fact that he's now republishing lots of his stuff for the Kindle is one of the reasons I'm seriously considering buying a Kindle.
     
  11. TooNice

    TooNice Banned

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    John Scalzi's a clear number 1 for me. Next I'd say Richard K Morgan, Iain M Banks and Peter F Hamilton. Not sure who I'd put at number 5. Maybe Paolo Bacigalupi or Tobias S Buckell.
     
  12. Woofdog2

    Woofdog2 Registered User

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    if yoiu are going to look into stableford (which I did and ended up reading about 6000 pages of stuff by him), I recommend looking at his 1970's published sf., and/or his black library stuff, if you like fantasy. he did another series (the emortality series) but not sure on dates, it was later. he now seems to publish horror of a sort, and I have trouble reading it.
     
  13. Woofdog2

    Woofdog2 Registered User

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    A talent for War. in my opinion, by multiples the best book he wrote.
     
  14. owlcroft

    owlcroft Webmaster, Great SF&F

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    Re Stableford.

    Be aware that much of Stableford's work can look like fantasy, but end up being sf under it. The "Lydyard" trilogy (werewolves in London) is one such series. I do agree that his early work is some of his best. His later work has come in such a gush--many books per year--that I cannot escape the feeling that at least some of it may be what is often called "trunk books", but as I haven't been able to keep up with his outout, that may be unfair.

    He is a very thoughtful writer. Though there is action enough in his tales, it is not swashbuckling "space opera" action, but rather character-driven.

    Putting together a bibliography is difficult (I know because I have made one, which may already be out of date). That link (mods forgive, ok?) also has several links to other informative material about Stableford, who is sadly under-represented in critical amalyses.

    His qualifications for the sort of sf he specializes in are substantial. From Wikipedia: Stableford graduated with a degree in biology from the University of York in 1969 before going on to do postgraduate research in biology and later in sociology. In 1979 he received a Ph.D. with a doctoral thesis on "The Sociology of Science Fiction".
     
  15. Luke_B

    Luke_B Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    Based on output from, say, the last five years: Kim Stanley Robinson, M. John Harrison, Christopher Priest, Ian McDonald, Paul Mcauley.

    If I was allowed a 6th it would be Al Reynolds. I would also add as caveats that I haven't yet read Hannu Rajaniemi or Charles Yu, but plan to.

    I'm ashamed no women writers feature in this list. I recognise this as my own short-falling. I am planning to try works by Gwyneth Jones and Tricia Sullivan in the near future. I've read some Justina Robson, but her recent output hasn't impressed me (older stuff is great). I would love Mary Gentle to return to SF. I loved Zoo City, but would classify it as fantasy and didn't find Moxyland strong enough to include Lauren Beukes on a SF list. I'm always happy to receive recommendations about contemporary SF women writers.
     
  16. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    Check out Daughters of Prometheus. And for twentieth century women sf writers, there's SF Mistressworks.
     
  17. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    Player of Games is the only Banks' book I have finished of the three I tried. And I think I only finished it because i was a chess addict in high school. This reviewer gives it a 9 out of 10 but I am wavering between 6 and 7.

    http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/0-06-105356-2.html

    This is curious since I agree with Alberry on giving 9's to Komarr and A Civil Campaign by Bujold. But Allberry says nothing about the science in the sci-fi stories he reviews so I presume we are operating on different value systems and happened to synchronize on those.

    But people do not discuss the ideas they find in the books or authors they say are good. The Old Man's War series is good about displaying behind the scenes machinations and underhanded politics of government but you need to read all three books because it does not show up much in the first book which explains the Old Man universe.

    psik
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  18. Luke_B

    Luke_B Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    Thanks, Ian. I already know about the excellent SF Mistressworks (and your contributions). I think Daughters of Prometheus is a new one for me, though.
     
  19. Quark Cognition

    Quark Cognition Registered User

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    My favorite currently productive writer is Greg Egan. I also pay attention to Vernor Vinge, Roger MacBride Allen, Wil McCarthy and Greg Bear. I know considerably more about the works of deceased writers.
     
  20. SR_Seldon

    SR_Seldon SF Author

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    Confining my answer to 2001 and newer, I have a short list.
    Jack McDevitt (Alex Benedict series)
    Connie Willis
    Tanya Huff (Valor series)

    I've been reading far too many older writers, filling in the holes and finding some real gems like C.L. Moore.