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  1. #1

    Underrated Authors

    Hello all, I'm new to these boards and was wondering who you consider to be the most underated authors in sci-fi. I think Daniel Keys Moran is a fantastic storyteller who gets very little recognition. His latest book 'The Last Dancer' blew me away.

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure if you would class Sheri S Tepper and Jack McDevitt as underated but they certainly don't seem to have a lot of 'weight' when it comes to discussing influential SF writers.

    Tepper, in particular, has a quite significant canon of work behind her now - although I do think she is hampered by a seemingly one track mind when it comes to her central theme of 'the battle of the sexes'. Her last novel, The Fresco was quite good.

    McDevitt has also been working for a while. His novels lack an obvious political edge but are always great fun. The Engines Of God is very good and covers a lot of territory for such a short book.

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    I find it difficult to believe how few sci-fi fanatics I know haven't read any of Spider Robinson's stuff! Of the books I've read of his, I always want to have more to the story... and that's not due to lack of plot or anything like that! It's simply that the way he draws you into the story kinda makes the last page equate to the last moments of a child's trip to the amusement park. Still am trying to collect all of the Callahan books......

  4. #4
    Who me? SusF's Avatar
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    I have read some Spider Robinson. Fun stuff. I generally don't read much comedy SF or Fantasy. Adams, Holt, and Pratchett are pretty much the only exceptions.

    Susan

  5. #5
    Carmichael
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    Michael Stackpole. Incredible talent for making very realistic characters.

    Carmichael

  6. #6
    High Priest of Cainism Shehzad's Avatar
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    I'll second the Stackpole recommendation.

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    I don't see enough C S Friedman SF

  8. #8
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    People always look blank when I mention Cordwainer Smith.

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    The Doctor... Sammie's Avatar
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    *looks blank*

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    Cordwainer Smith (a pen name, not sure of the real one) mainly wrote short stories, though I think he did do one novel.

    He created a Future History that stetched for tens of millenia, through all sorts of changes in human technology and culture.

    He was probably the first writer to examine, in detail, exactly what humans would do once they had achieved virtually limitless power (Banks does the same sort of thing, nowadays).

    There's a 'best of' anthology out there somewhere, which is definitely worth a look.

  11. #11
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Vitriol - Cordwainer Smith - real name, Dr. Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger. Family had a military background, Cordwainer's 'real' job was as a language specialist - became a Professor of Asiatic Politics and could speak six languages. Expert on China, he also was a major in the army by the end of WW2 and was trained in Psychological Warfare, on which he wrote a noted textbook.

    The SF was his other 'secret life', with material written mainly for his own amusement as mind puzzles. Developed a Future History called The Instrumentality of Mankind.

    I remember reading his SF as a youngster and being disappointed - I didn't get it. Now that I am older I can appreciate his subtlety and skill. Unfortunately lots of gaps in the History that were never filled - he died in 1966, aged 53.

    takezosan - yes, liked Spider's early work a lot. I remember his short but amusing articles and book reviews in Analog and Galaxy Magazine in the 1970's and 80's. His romantic SF book Stardancer (written with his wife) was an early fave of mine - very reminicient of early Heinlein, for whom he has a deep respect. He was one of the few reviewers I remember writing nice things about Heinlein's 'Number of the Beast' when it came out in the 80's. Have been less impressed with Spider's more recent Callahan's Bar stories, though I suppose it's nice to see someone attempting amusing SF 'shaggy dog' tales...

    Hobbit
    Mark

  12. #12
    Registered User Vanin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vitriol
    People always look blank when I mention Cordwainer Smith.
    I'd say that despite relatively low number of scifi works he wrote, he may be the best American scifi writer ever. Uhmm, ok. Philip K. Dick is still the best, but you get the idea.
    There is a particularily moving story of his: "The Planet named Shayol"

  13. #13
    unconditional roach love
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    I'd say Smith is more overlooked than underrated. And he has to be one of the most original and ambitious stylists to ever grace the genre.

  14. #14
    BookWyrm Archren's Avatar
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    The main collection of Cordwainer Smith short stories is titled "The Rediscovery of Man." Highly recommend.

    I think that Ben Bova sometimes gets overlooked, but the books of his that I have read, I have very much enjoyed.

  15. #15
    Registered User Leiali's Avatar
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    I really enjoy work by Sheri S Tepper but suspect that she is an acquired taste as most people I have tried to pass her books on to cannot get into them. I always chuckle when I think of The Family Tree, it was such an amusing plot twist.
    'fraid I've never read any Cordwainer Smith....I've heard of him though!

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