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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    Who?

    psik
    The author of the superb standalone novel Neverness, the excellent sequel trilogy Requiem for Homo Sapiens and the ultra-dreadful (candidate for top worst sff book for me) Ea fantasy series

  2. #62
    Hey I can edit this! alan empty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suciul View Post
    The author of the superb standalone novel Neverness, the excellent sequel trilogy Requiem for Homo Sapiens and the ultra-dreadful (candidate for top worst sff book for me) Ea fantasy series
    You're not wrong! Neverness and the Requiem trilogy are as good as anything I've ever read. Superb novels. The fantasy stuff was very, very average. If I'm being generous.

  3. #63
    Webmaster, Great SF&F owlcroft's Avatar
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    "Underrated" is in the eye of the beholder . . . .

    The problem in any discussion like this is to judge how well any given author is known, and--even if well-known by name--how much or little appreciated. To one reader, Doris Piserchia is an esteemed old friend, while to another M. John Harrison is unknown.

    Here is a list, restricted to authors who have written at least some science fiction (as opposed to fantasy), of which I would say all are better than average, and not a few superb.

    • Adams, Douglas
    • Aldiss, Brian W.
    • Attanasio, A. A.
    • Banks, Iain M.
    • Barrett, Neal
    • Bester, Alfred
    • Bisson, Terry
    • Blaylock, James
    • Bradbury, Ray
    • Brunner, John
    • Bryant, Edward
    • Chapman, Stepan
    • Charnas, Suzy McKee
    • Cherryh, C. J.
    • Conway, Gerard F.
    • Cook, Glen
    • Cover, Arthur Byron
    • Crowley, John
    • Davidson, Avram
    • Dickinson, Peter
    • Disch, Thomas M.
    • Dowling, Terry
    • Effinger, George Alec
    • Foster, M. A.
    • Gentle, Mary
    • Grant, Richard
    • Harrison, M. John
    • Holdstock, Robert
    • Jeter, K. W.
    • Knight, Damon
    • Lafferty, R. A. [status as "science fiction" arguable]
    • Laumer, Keith
    • Le Guin, Ursula K.
    • Leiber, Fritz
    • Lieberman, Herbert
    • Lightman, Alan
    • Mark, Jan
    • McDonald, Ian
    • McIntyre, Vonda N.
    • Norwood, Warren
    • Offutt, Andrew
    • Ore, Rebecca
    • Palmer, Thomas
    • Panshin, Alexei
    • Park, Paul
    • Percy, Walker
    • Piserchia, Doris
    • Powers, Tim
    • Pratchett, Terry
    • Priest, Christopher
    • Roberts, Keith
    • Ruff, Matt
    • Shepard, Lucius
    • Shinn, Sharon
    • Silverberg, Robert
    • Simak, Clifford
    • Smith, Cordwainer
    • Somtow, S. P. aka Sucharitkul, Somtow
    • Spinrad, Norman
    • Stableford, Brian
    • Tepper, Sheri S.
    • Vance, Jack
    • Williams, Michael
    • Williams, Tad
    • Williams, Walter Jon
    • Wolfe, Gene
    • Wright, Austin Tappan
    • Wyndham, John
    • Zelazny, Roger
    • Zindell, David


    Of those, the ones who are clear masters that every reader ought to be conversant with include R. A. Lafferty (he is hard to call "science fiction", but perhaps harder to call "fantasy") and Jack Vance, trailed closely by (in alphabetical order) Aldiss, Davidson (though his fantasies are his best work), Harrison, Ruff, Smith, and Wolfe.

    Beyond them, some names that seem, at least to me, as too-little known are, in no special order, Stepan Chapman (notably The Troika), Glen Cook (considered a fantasist, but try The Dragon Never Sleeps), Arthur Byron Cover (Autumn Angels), John Crowley (another eminent fantasist, but try The Deep), M. A. Foster (how can he be so forgotten?), Richard Grant, Alan Lightman (Einstein's Dreams), the aforementioned Doris Piserchia (again: how possibly forgotten?), Keith Roberts, the energetically productive Brian Stableford, and the curious Austin Tappan Wright (a single lifetime-consuming work, Islandia).

    Have fun . . . .
    Last edited by kater; July 30th, 2009 at 05:52 AM.

  4. #64
    Joan D. Vinge
    I really liked her Snowqueen trilogy.

    I also second David Zindell, Neverness is excellent, although the sequel trilogy starts with a very tedious book (The Broken God), nothing really happens in this book and the philosophy gets old. I have not read the others yet.

  5. #65
    Registered User JunkMonkey's Avatar
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    [applies electrodes the carcase of long dead thread, checks the kite is flying into the thunderstorm and throws the big lever]

    Judging from the near zero sales of his book on eBay I would nominate the very out of fashion A E van Vogt. An important writer in the history of the genre he seems now to be totally over-looked. (Or at least little read.)

  6. #66
    Registered User ian_sales's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say van Vogt is forgotten, though he's certainly out of fashion. And while he was considered one of the Big Three at one point, it's unlikely any of his books will ever make it into the SF Masterworks series. Both Slan and the Null-A books were reprinted a few years ago, after Kevin J Anderson and John C Wright wrote authorised sequels (two authors who will guarantee I will never read those books, even though I'd like to read sequels to van Vogt's originals). NESFA Press published a collection of van Vogt's short stories about ten years ago, and Baen published an omnibus of half a dozen novels in 2006.

  7. #67
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ian_sales View Post
    I wouldn't say van Vogt is forgotten, though he's certainly out of fashion. And while he was considered one of the Big Three at one point,
    Then who were the other two?

    I thought the Big Three were Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein.

    psik

  8. #68
    Registered User ian_sales's Avatar
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    Van Vogt was one of the three apparently, before Heinlein (I think) overtook him in popularity.

  9. #69
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Considering that ALL indeendent authors are, by definition, underrated... any recommended Indie authors on anyone's lists?

  10. #70
    Orthodox Herbertian Omphalos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ian_sales View Post
    Van Vogt was one of the three apparently, before Heinlein (I think) overtook him in popularity.
    Pretty sure it was Clarke who was the latecomer to the group. But I'm also sure that it was a feat of reverse engineering by van Vogt fans that got his name on that list. IOW, did anyone ever talk about the "Big Three" while he was producing his pulp-inspired, breakneck-speed Dianatics fluff?

  11. #71
    Registered User JunkMonkey's Avatar
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    I've always understood van Vogt to be one of the Founding Fathers of modern SF, no retrofitting required. He invented so much. As for 'The Big Three':
    Quote Originally Posted by wikipedia
    Most fans agree that the Golden Age began around 1938-39; the July 1939 issue of Astounding Science Fiction containing the first published stories of both A. E. van Vogt and Isaac Asimov is frequently cited as the precise start of the Golden Age. Science fiction writer John C. Wright said of Van Vogt's story, "This one started it all." The August issue of the same magazine contained the first story by Robert A. Heinlein.

  12. #72
    Orthodox Herbertian Omphalos's Avatar
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    ^^^No complaints there JM. My question was, how can he be one of the Big Three if the term "The Big Three" did not come into being until after his heyday, and was coined to refer specifically to Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein? The answer: it can't, unless you do some kind of retro-active nomenclature application thingie. Not saying he wasn't a biggie.

    Founding father of modern SF? Personally I hate that he is viewed in is light, because IMHO he was just a terrible writer... He may have been popular. And he may at one point have had some copy-cats. And he may have been in Campbell's stable of hacks. But is his influence really felt these days? Like Asimov's, Clarke's and Heinlein's influence is felt these days? Maybe stylistically in the small crowd of really intense writers. Like Peter Watts? Maybe a bit, but IMHO, not really. Some also say that he was important in the development of ideologically/philosophically driven SF, but he had lots of contemporaries who were not influenced by him so much as Campbell who were doing the exact same thing.

    Anyway, I know lots of people disagree with ,e as to where we shoud place him in the pantheon. I have my own prejudices that keep me from seeing him as a visionary.

  13. #73
    Orthodox Herbertian Omphalos's Avatar
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    ^^^No complaints there JM. My question was, how can he be one of the Big Three if the term "The Big Three" did not come into being until after his heyday, and was coined to refer specifically to Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein? The answer: it can't, unless you do some kind of retro-active nomenclature application thingie. Not saying he wasn't a biggie.

    Founding father of modern SF? Personally I hate that he is viewed in this light, because IMHO he was just a terrible writer... He may have been popular. And he may at one point have had some copy-cats. And he may have been in Campbell's stable of hacks. But is his influence really felt these days? Like Asimov's, Clarke's and Heinlein's influence is felt these days? Maybe stylistically in the small crowd of really intense writers. Like Peter Watts? Maybe a bit, but IMHO, not really. Some also say that he was important in the development of ideologically/philosophically driven SF, but he had lots of contemporaries who were not influenced by him so much as Campbell who were doing the exact same thing.

    Anyway, I know lots of people disagree with me as to where we shoud place him in the pantheon. I have my own prejudices that keep me from seeing him as a visionary.

  14. #74
    Registered User JunkMonkey's Avatar
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    Philip K Dick was a great fan and defender of van Vogt's books and very clearly influenced:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._E._v...ical_reception

    And Dick is almost revered these days (at least by Hollywood).

    But you're right he is a terrible writer at times:

    Here are a few gems from Masters of Time

    From Dr. Lell came a barked command, only twisted foreignish words that nevertheless sounded like:"Grab him!"
    The man paused. His brown eyes darkened in a frown, then he smiled with equally amazing grimness.
    They swaggered, did these boys. When they stood, they leaned with casual grace, thumbs nonchalantly tucked into belts or into the armpits of strangely designed vests. Not more than half a dozen of that bold vigorous-looking crew seemed to be the studious type. Here were men of the past, adventurers, soldiers of fortune, who had mutinied as easily as, under slightly different circumstances, they might have decided to fight for, instead of against, their captors.
    and probably the best description of an approach to a new world I have ever read:
    Quote:
    He stood finally at the wall visiplate, staring out at the burnished immensity of Venus. The planet, already vast, was expanding visibly, like a balloon being blown up. Only it didn't stop expanding, and, unlike an overgrown balloon, it didn't burst.
    Terrible terrible writing but he throws more ideas per chapter into your face than most writers get into a thousand page trilogy these days. It's deranged, dreamlike, bewildering stuff. I love it. I wish more people did.

  15. #75
    Registered User JunkMonkey's Avatar
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    Philip K Dick was a great fan and defender of van Vogt's books and very clearly influenced:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._E._v...ical_reception

    And Dick is almost revered these days (at least by Hollywood).

    But you're right he is a terrible writer at times:

    Here are a few gems from Masters of Time

    From Dr. Lell came a barked command, only twisted foreignish words that nevertheless sounded like:"Grab him!"
    The man paused. His brown eyes darkened in a frown, then he smiled with equally amazing grimness.
    They swaggered, did these boys. When they stood, they leaned with casual grace, thumbs nonchalantly tucked into belts or into the armpits of strangely designed vests. Not more than half a dozen of that bold vigorous-looking crew seemed to be the studious type. Here were men of the past, adventurers, soldiers of fortune, who had mutinied as easily as, under slightly different circumstances, they might have decided to fight for, instead of against, their captors.
    and probably the best description of an approach to a new world I have ever read:
    Quote:
    He stood finally at the wall visiplate, staring out at the burnished immensity of Venus. The planet, already vast, was expanding visibly, like a balloon being blown up. Only it didn't stop expanding, and, unlike an overgrown balloon, it didn't burst.
    Terrible terrible writing but he throws more ideas per chapter into your face than most writers get into a thousand page trilogy these days. It's deranged, dreamlike, bewildering stuff. I love it. I wish more people did.

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