1. Travis Perry says:

    Lewis for sure. Also Tolkien.

    Also I read a lot of Robert A Heinlein, Larry Niven (especially with Jerry Pournelle), Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur C. Clarke, Lester Del Rey, Andre Norton, and Isaac Asimov growing up. A bit older I read a pile of Michael Crichton’s books and Tom Clancy. I occasionally read Dean Koontz or Stephen King, but I read more non-fiction science than science fiction any more and more ancient and medieval history than fantasy…

  2. I became a big fan of Ursula K. Le Guin’s writing after reading A Wizard of Earthsea. I read the rest of the Earthsea books, and found them to be highly varied in their flavor. Partially due to the extremely long time period over which they were written. Everything Ursula writes is good. I just don’t love it all. I think that’s ok.

    I also loved Howl’s Moving Castle (the book). And read the rest of the series. Liked it all, but Howl’s Moving Castle was the best. Dianna Wynn Taylor is wonderful.

    • notleia says:

      Le Guin is a complicated one for me. I was underwhelmed by Wizard of Earthsea — but it was A Thing before all the other young wizard stories came out. I liked Tombs of Atuan better, but I found Tehanu challenging.

      I did like The Left Hand of Darkness, but there were some related short stories that I read before this one that I think I missed some context by not reading Left Hand. I need to find them again. I did not like The Lathe of Heaven (tho apparently this drove her to retranslate the Tao Te Ching, which I’d like to find.)

      • A Wizard of Earthsea held all the feels I looked for my whole childhood in fantasy books. It filled a gaping hole in my nerd-brain. I loved the Tombs of Atuan. It’s my second-favorite of the series. I like the rest, but to a lesser extent and for different reasons. I agree on Lathe, though the writing itself was spectacular. Hard to chug through.

    • I adore Dianna Wynne Jones books, have you read “The Darklord of Derkholme” or any of her other books? I’ve got almost all of the books she’s written, and love almost all of them.

  3. notleia says:

    Mercedes Lackey writes my Happy Nice Time pulp. (I think she’s married to Larry Niven? Niven seems familiar.) It’s mostly fantasy, but she does different flavors. I think Ann Leckie has a non-sci-fi book out, not in her Ancillary universe, but I think I’d be pretty far back on the list if I tried checking it out at the library. I also like Naomi Novik, but I got less and less interested in her Temeraire series as it went on.

    • I felt the same way about the Temeraire books having diminishing returns, but now Novik is writing Russian fairy tale-inspired fantasies like UPROOTED and SPINNING SILVER I couldn’t be happier. Her writing is gorgeous.

  4. Hm, well, I don’t necessarily have to have even read any of an author’s books to decide they’re one of my faves. Haven’t gotten around to any of Brandon Sanderson’s books yet, but he’s one of my favorites because of his lectures and writing seminars. With authors that are favorites of mine because of their stories…I dunno. That won’t guarantee that I’ll gobble up everything they’ve written, but often enough I’ll at least take a glance at most of their projects.

    If they write a few books that are kinda meh to me, that won’t make me avoid their work all of a sudden. Writing is hard, especially under tight publishing deadlines. There’s no way anyone can write pure gold all the time. But, if an author consistently writes stuff that disinterests me, my enthusiasm will wane.

    But, a lot of times if an author becomes a favorite for me, it’s because there’s something extra to them outside the brief little bio at the back of their book. There seems to be two main ways to facilitate reader engagement: be a good resource, or be beloved/entertaining. Some people can even end up being both. Bryan Davis probably leans more into the category of being a resource. Brandon Sanderson is probably at least a bit of both.

    That seems like it can be pretty hard in some cases, at least depending on the author’s personality and the ‘culture’ their fandom takes on. Deciding how one wants to interact with their fans can be challenging, at least for those that are worried about how others see them. Sometimes it looks like authors need either the ability to curate a perfect public persona(perhaps being unauthentic in the process of pleasing everyone). Or, they have to figure out how to judge whether any criticisms they receive are valid concerns felt by the majority, or just angry complaints from a small, furious minority.

    Maggie Stiefvater seems to have dealt with this recently before she deactivated her Tumblr. Leaving Tumblr was partly because it’s harder for her to maintain while also dealing with her health and scheduling concerns, but maybe another part of it was criticism she received from some of her fans. At the very least, it might have cemented her decision:


    • notleia says:

      I haven’t read much of John Scalzi’s actual work, but I do follow his blog — or I follow his cat pics on his blog.

  5. I was hooked on the Mitford Series by Jan Karon for a while. Led me to the Harmony series set in my home state.

    The reason I first read Karon’s novels is I heard her compared to Jane Austen whom I also like.

  6. Lewis and George MacDonald were huge for me as a kid and continue to be a strong influence on my writing now, but I don’t love everything they’ve written (don’t get me started on Lewis’s “The Shoddy Lands” or “The Dark Tower”; and I keep trying to get into MacDonald’s adult fantasies Lilith and Phantastes and … just can’t).

    Robin McKinley’s BEAUTY and her short story collection THE DOOR IN THE HEDGE were major formative influences for me as a teen, but the rest of her books have been hit and miss. I liked THE OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD and PEGASUS and absolutely loved CHALICE, but SPINDLE’S END and ROSE DAUGHTER left no real impression on me, and I didn’t enjoy DRAGONHAVEN or SUNSHINE at all.

    More recently (well, for “in the past ten years” value of “recent”) I loved Catherine Fisher’s INCARCERON and its sequel SAPPHIQUE so much that I eagerly bought and read everything else she’d ever written before that, and then bought her next fantasy series book by book as it came out. However, although Fisher’s prose is consistently lyrical and her imagination is fantastic, I didn’t connect with the characters or worlds of her other books the way I did with INCARCERON. I kept waiting for lightning to strike twice and it never quite did for me.

    An author who has never let me down yet, however, is Megan Whalen Turner. At this point I would cheerfully read Gen’s laundry lists if she chose to publish them, but I’ll just have to wait for THE RETURN OF THE THIEF to come out next year (if it does, which I really hope it does!) to find out how he and his friends are doing instead.

  7. Leanna says:

    Shannon Hale and Brandon Sanderson both have reached the status of I’ll read anything they write.

    I have wondered if there is something about the specific beliefs of Mormonism that fuels really compelling fantasy. Maybe related to themes of power and choice and morality since Mormons believe we become gods of our own universes (so far as I understand their theology anyway)?

What do you think?