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.Quote:
Where would one start with Jack McDevitt?
Engines of God makes sense. Or Polaris.
My favorites right now that I go to time and time again:
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!
Charles Stross (maybe)
Kim Stanley Robinson
'Currently' can have different context for people. Currently for me means authors who have actively published works within the last several years.
Kim Stanley Robinson
M John Harrison
I'd have included Paul Park or Mary Gentle, but their last books were fantasy.
My favorite of the current SF writers:
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.
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.
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
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
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.