Here are some of my favourite writers, many of whom have influenced and help inform my own writing.
URSULA K. LE GUIN
SF & Fantasy
Simply put, Ms. Le Guin is one of the all-time greats of speculative fiction who has penned many thought-provoking works including The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, as well as the YA series the ‘Earthsea’ trilogy. If you haven’t read anything by her, you should.
SF & Fantasy
Kage Baker is another wonderfully talented writer with a wry, keen sense of humour, and a deft touch at writing characters you long to meet. Never mind, rollickingly good stories you wish you had written. I was lucky enough to come across her work and chose The Empress Of Mars by way of introduction to her Company series, which I can highly recommend!
C. J. CHERRYH
SF & Fantasy
The ever prolific Cherryh wrote one of my all-time favourite science fiction books, Serpent’s Reach, which while not a startling piece of fiction a couple of decades later, nonetheless made a huge impression on me at the time. Mostly due to the fact it had a young teenage female protagonist with whom I readily identified with. Female heroes were not something you saw featured very often in SF novels, even back in the emerging 70s.
JOAN D. VINGE
SF & Fantasy
Vinge is another one of those authors with whom I figuratively grew up with back in the late 70s early 80s. It started with my sister (as it always did when it came to books and new authors) telling me to read this one or that one, as was her want. My first Vinge stories were, The Outcasts of Heaven Belt and The Crystal Ship.
SF & Fantasy
While she might not have been as prolific (yet) as Cherryh, Moon has, nonetheless, managed to write a handful of series that include some of my favourite stories: the Serrano Legacy (7 books in all); Vatta’s War (5 books to date); and a host of short stories featured in any number of anthologies these last couple of decades.
LAURIE R. KING
Not only is Ms. King well known for her award-winning Det. Kate Martinelli series, of which I am a huge fan, but she has also penned the highly acclaimed and likewise award-winning Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. Check them out if you love thoroughly well-written mysteries.
JIM C. HINES
SF and Fantasy
Jim writes delightful stories and flights of fantasy that capture the imagination and will appeal to everyone, no matter their age, looking to escape into another world. Check out his Goblin series starting with, ‘Goblin War’. Great fun and not to be missed are his retelling of the faerytales.
Probably not as well know as Tom Clancy or his ilk, or even in that strata, yet, nonetheless, Eisler’s work is up there with the best of them because, not only does the author tell a damn good story but he populates them with kick-ass, all-too-human, fully fleshed out and flawed characters. If you enjoy gritty, realistic action and well-plotted intelligent thrillers, then I suggest you check out Barry Eisler’s work.
SF & YA
Okay, so maybe I am partially biased towards Bren’s works of short fiction (mostly for adults) not only because she’s an online friend and colleague over at THE HIVE MIND writer’s collective, but because she writes kick-ass humour. Check out her SF short story Delicacy to see what I mean!
Mystery & Suspense
Canadian author, Louise Penny, is fast becoming one of my ‘go-to’ authors when looking for a good read. Problem is, I’ve now managed to read my way through all eight titles in her Inspector ‘Gamache’ series. A wonderful murder-mystery series set in the fictional village of Three Pines, set amid the rustic countryside of Québec. So how could I not love these books? If you love superbly plotted works filled with quirky characters who seem like neighbours, then you cannot go wrong with these well-crafted mysteries that are all about the ‘who done it’.
GARETH L. POWELL
Although it is true that I’ve only read one of Gareth’s novels, to date, it’s only because I’ve happily just discovered him. And all thanks to hanging out on Facebook & Twitter. His publisher contacted me to pre-review his (at the time) latest novel, Ack-Ack Macaque and, so intrigued by the title and cover, said yes. Here is an imaginative writer who knows his craft, has put in the time, and who writes thoroughly kick-ass genre crossovers that skillfully meld SF, alt history, with lashings of Steampunk. I mean, what could be better? If you only ever read one book of his, make sure it’s Ack-Ack Macaque!
Another big influence on me, as a child growing up in a house that didn’t really watch TV (which was only in black & white anyway) was the Grand Master of science fiction, Robert A. Heinlein. In our household we read. We read prolifically. A trait that was handed down either via our parental genes through the placenta, or via my father, who took us (en-masse, as kids) to the local library once a week. What can I say? Heinlein was a staple in our family, books being bought and handed around to be read, and re-read at regular intervals.