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  1. #1
    trolling > dissertation nquixote's Avatar
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    Who are the hottest authors in SF right now?

    Who do you guys think are the "hottest" authors in science fiction right now? That is, who is at the top of their game, doing their best stuff, and getting the most recognition for it?

    My instinct is to name Paolo Bacigalupi, Charles Stross, Cory Doctorow, and Alastair Reynolds. I haven't read John Scalzi, but he also seems to be getting lots of praise.

    Who would you name?

    Update: In terms of authors whose most popular/acclaimed stuff is very recent, the list so far includes:

    Paolo Bacigalupi
    Charles Stross
    Cory Doctorow
    Alastair Reynolds
    John Scalzi
    Ian McDonald
    Tobias Buckell
    Hannu Rajaniemi
    Scott Westerfeld
    Neal Asher
    Dan Abnett
    David Louis Edelman
    Robert Charles Wilson
    Ian R. MacLeod
    Last edited by nquixote; January 23rd, 2011 at 11:33 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User odo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nquixote View Post
    My instinct is to name Paolo Bacigalupi, Charles Stross, Cory Doctorow, and Alastair Reynolds.
    I agreee on those (though Stross is a bit irregular IMHO). I'd add Ian McDonald and, possibly, China Miéville (arguably not a SF author)
    Last edited by odo; January 19th, 2011 at 02:21 AM.

  3. #3
    Peter Hamilton (though I am a bit dissapointed in Temporal Void so far).

  4. #4
    Urbis Morpheos Stephen Palmer's Avatar
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    Mievile for sure.

  5. #5
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Bujold came out with a book last year. Her only competition for Hugos is Heinlein.

    I don't "like" Cryoburn as much as Komarr or A Civil Campaign but she came out with a different kind of story again.

    psik

  6. #6
    Meilville for sure, Hamilton, Reynolds and Banks. Scalzi, while a popular personality on the web I suppose, has not written a good SF in years. Hopefully Fuzzy Nation will change that.

  7. #7
    trolling > dissertation nquixote's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, I was thinking of Mieville as a fantasy author.

  8. #8
    Registered User odo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nquixote View Post
    Oh yeah, I was thinking of Mieville as a fantasy author.
    I'm looking forward to Embassytown which is, purportedly, a Space Opera.

  9. #9
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Mieville really doesn't fit the mold, but the five listed in the OP are pretty spot on though I was very much let down by The Wind-up Girl.

    The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi is generating quite a bit of discussion, published in 2010 in the UK and 2011 in the US.

    Tobias Buckell wrote a terrific set of connected novels that mesh steampunk, space opera, genetic engineering and just plain old fun: Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, and Sly Mongoose. He's since written some stuff for Halo and released short fiction but I'd love to see him return to novel-length fiction.

    David Weber is one of the biggest names in SF (at least on the American side of the pond), his books regularly hit the NY Times Bestseller list and his fanbase is quite large. Though his Honor Harrington books are his most popular (I haven't jumped into them...yet), I absolutely love his Safehold saga which has a stronger fantasy feel, but whose background is pure SF. Actually, the more I think about it the more I'm coming to place Safehold near the top of my favorite ongoing genre series.

    Scott Westerfeld is probably the biggest name in the SF field nobody mentions. The majority of his work is YA, but that should absolutely not dissuade anybody from reading his stuff, though he dabbled in space opera. Be it Steampunk/Alternate History, SF-flavored vampires at the apocalypse, kids with superpowers, futurustic body enhancements, his stuff is tried and true SF.

    Robert Charles Wilson wrote one of the most acclaimed and popular SF novels of the past decade, Spin, which is the first of a trilogy. Two years ago, he mixed up alternate history, steampunk, and apocalyptic colonial fiction in Julian Comstock.

    So there you go - award winners and bestsellers, doesn't get much "hotter" than that in SF.

  10. #10
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    Depends what you mean by 'hot'. The most commercially-successful would be a different list to the most critically-acclaimed, for example, and would require including Kevin J. Anderson, which would be disagreeable. Also, the definitions would differ if you were in the US (where SF has been in the doldrums for a good few years, though now showing renewed signs of life) or the UK (where SF has had quite a renaissance in recent years); Scalzi and Doctorow get a lot of US attention, for example, whilst neither are really discussed at all in the UK as they're pretty ordinary.

    Generally speaking, I'd say that Dan Abnett, Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, Charles Stross and Neal Stephenson are among the hottest, top-tier authors in SF, enjoying high sales and decent critical acclaim. Richard Morgan and Dan Simmons would be in that bracket as well if they ever return to writing SF. Kim Stanley Robinson has had a bit of a comeback in recent years, though Greg Bear's mainstream SF comeback has been a bit more mixed. Connie Willis is also back after a long absence, but it's unclear how successful her new duology has been so far. Vernor Vinge is also due back with a sequel to his most famous novel later this year, which could put him up there as well.

    In the UK we can add Gary Gibson and Neal Asher to that list, in the USA probably John Scalzi, Robert Charles Wilson (pretty overrated, IMO) and David Weber.

    Hannu Rajaniemi is the hottest debut author of the last year or so, though Michael Cobley and Jaine Fenn have also made impressive inroads recently. Amongst newer authors, Tobias Buckell and David Louis Edelman have also made significant splashes. Peadar O Guilin's trilogy (the much-delayed second book of which, The Deserter, is due this year) is also excellent, but low in profile at the moment.

  11. #11
    I like to rock the party Corporal Blues's Avatar
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    Wert- I'm surprised you don't mention Iain M. Banks...is he less popular than the other authors? Or just not producing as high quality material as the others you mentioned?

    His works seem to get solid acclaim and he seems pretty popular in my neck of the woods where both chain book stores and independent sellers seem to keep fairly hefty stocks of his material on the shelves.

  12. #12
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corporal Blues View Post
    Wert- I'm surprised you don't mention Iain M. Banks...is he less popular than the other authors? Or just not producing as high quality material as the others you mentioned?

    His works seem to get solid acclaim and he seems pretty popular in my neck of the woods where both chain book stores and independent sellers seem to keep fairly hefty stocks of his material on the shelves.
    No, I just forgot

    And yes, he'd be up there. Arguably Ian R. MacCleod as well, though he may be more UK-centric than Banks.

  13. #13
    I like to rock the party Corporal Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werthead View Post
    No, I just forgot

    And yes, he'd be up there. Arguably Ian R. MacCleod as well, though he may be more UK-centric than Banks.
    Cool, thanks for confirming.

  14. #14
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werthead View Post
    Generally speaking, I'd say that Dan Abnett, Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, Charles Stross and Neal Stephenson are among the hottest, top-tier authors in SF, enjoying high sales and decent critical acclaim.

    In the UK we can add Gary Gibson and Neal Asher to that list, in the USA probably John Scalzi, Robert Charles Wilson (pretty overrated, IMO) and David Weber.

    Hannu Rajaniemi is the hottest debut author of the last year or so, though Michael Cobley and Jaine Fenn have also made impressive inroads recently. Amongst newer authors, Tobias Buckell and David Louis Edelman have also made significant splashes. Peadar O Guilin's trilogy (the much-delayed second book of which, The Deserter, is due this year) is also excellent, but low in profile at the moment.
    Crap, I knew I forgot one or two! (bolded). Edleman's trilogy is really something else, but (IMHO) embodies everything GREAT SF embodies.

    Abnett, mainly through Warhammer, is a million selling author, who's just started publishing original fiction, has written some of the more SF-nal comics for Marvel (practically all their Space/SF offerings for the past few years) and DC (Legion of Super Heroes).

  15. #15
    trolling > dissertation nquixote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werthead View Post
    Scalzi and Doctorow get a lot of US attention, for example, whilst neither are really discussed at all in the UK as they're pretty ordinary.
    WOW. Of all the things I've heard Cory Doctorow called, "ordinary" has heretofore not been one of them...

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