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Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

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What Author Haven't You Read But Should? Or What is Your Greatest Shame?

A little while back I was following a post and comments at Tor about What Books Haven't You Read? The post mostly got involved with classics people tried but couldn't get through. I'd like to repurpose the question to "What Author Haven't You Read, But Know You Should?" This could include more modern authors, but try to leave out anything newish like debut authors of the last year or so such as Patrick Rothfuss or Joe Abercrombie. It should be authors you've been recommended or thought about reading multiple times. Please list the top 2 authors you have criminally missed or ignored in the Speculative Fiction arena and try to give a reason. Try to refrain from trouncing on people for their misses as they are at least admitting them and maybe this will inspire them to rectify the situation.

Here are my great shames:

Charles de Lint: I've been reading online for years about how much of an influence de Lint was on Urban Fantasy and Neil Gaiman in particular. You'd think those reasons alone would be enough to get me off my duff. I haven't read him because for quite sometime I just kept forgetting his name when I was in a bookstore. Finally when I had it down I couldn't figure out where to start. I'd be flipping through the books on the shelves and not know which was a series or standalone since de Lint has a habit of using the same characters in a lot of books. Most people say start with Newford, but which? The short story collections? The standalones? Since the Newford series is with a couple different publishers and many books have a lot of editions which makes it difficult to tell what order they should be read in. I hope to rectify the situation soon as I picked up Dreams Underfoot and Memory & Dream from the Newford series in a used book shop just last week. 2 books for $7 was hard to turn down.

R. Scott Bakker: I don't have a clear reason for not trying The Prince of Nothing series. Maybe because it is one of those series I've heard you love or completely hate. I've heard them called literary fantasy, which might have turned me off. However, I do enjoy literary fantasy so again not a good excuse. I've also been told they are bleak and sometimes I'm just not in the mood for that type of thing. I always associate bleak with depressing and usually shy away yet I have made many, many exceptions. I don't really care for the covers on Overlook's new editions though. Maybe I'll give them a shot later in the year.

Terry Pratchett: I include Pratchett only in regards to the Disc World series. I've actually read Nation, The Carpet People, and The Bromeliad Trilogy all of which I enjoyed thoroughly. Long have I been told to read Disc World, but I haven't wanted to get involved with a 30+ long series. Knowing me I'd want to read them all straight through if I started and also knowing me I'd want to buy them all. I'll probably read them someday. Maybe even in the next couple of years, but for now it will have to wait as my shelves are already overburdened with unread books as is.

Some smaller shames: Terry Brooks could have been on the list as well, but I honestly don't think I am missing anything. I tried to read the first Shannara book when I was a teen and just didn't care at all. I picked William Gibson's Neuromancer up while reading Snow Crash and summarily lost interest with cyberpunk because I don't think it could be done better than Stephenson. Neuromancer has now been sitting on my shelf for quite a few years and probably will for a few more. Gene Wolfe is another I should get to at some point although I have read and enjoyed his short fiction from time to time.

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Unknown said...

You're probably not missing much with the Shannara books.

The three originals were great when I was 13. Now as a mature reader, the writing itself is actually pretty bad to the point of distracting.

His writing was much better in his later books, but then they eventually became predictable formulaic writing, giving the impression he's just churning out paychecks with those.

The four-part heritage of Shannara Series is probably the only set wort reading, maybe the standalone Druid of Shannara too, though it's been years since I read them.

On the other hand, his other series (Running with the Demon, Knight of the Word and Angelfire East) was great. I can't remember what the series is called though. They are unrelated to the Shannara storyline and you could probably burn through them pretty quickly.


Anonymous said...

H.P. Lovecraft. I portend to run a weird media blog, without ever having read the originator of the weird! I do have the Necronomicon on its way, and that will jump to the head of my list as soon as it gets here.

Robert Heinlein. I read and loved Variable Star, but I don't think that counts. I've tried reading Stranger in a Strange Land a half dozen times with little success. It was just boring to me.

Anonymous said...

Anne McCaffrey - dragons already felt overdone to me when she began her series
Joanna Russ - started one, got sidetracked easily
Vonda McIntyre - never got around to starting on
Lois McMaster Bujold - series didn't sound appealing
Lawrence Watt-Evans - combination of previous two
L. E. Modesitt - started one, got sidetracked easily
Kim Stanley Robinson - meant to read, never did
Mike Resnick - meant to read, never did
Wil McCarthy - premises sounded too far out

Also read but bounced off E. E. "Doc" Smith, Hal Clement, Theodore Sturgeon, Jerry Pournelle, Robert Sawyer, Ken MacLeod, and Alastair Reynolds.

SKelly said...

@Mad -

I will send my copy of MoonHeart by de Lint to you post haste. I have read a bunch of his stuff, but of course none of it has ever beat out MoonHeart as my first love among his books.

- Skells

Sharon said...

I think you would love Pratchett's Disc World books. Since there are so many of the, I go to the library and get them. I love my library!
I have never read a book by Lovecraft and think I probably should.

Jeremy Shane said...

I don't know if you ever got around to reading them, but the R.Scott Baker's series... I could never make it out of the first few chapters of the first book. I've tried to sit and read it three different times over the years and just can't do it.