Blog Archive

View My Stats
Monday, November 23, 2009

Liviu's Top Authors of the 00's Part 1 - SF

As in the "Top Novels of the 00's Decade" this post is based on an earlier sffworld thread, though here the choices are more difficult especially in the fantasy category; for novels it was a pretty easy choice at least as the general outline went with the #1 choices in all 3 categories very clear for me.

When talking about authors in the sff arena there are several criteria that I use:
reasonable output, critical acclaim, marketplace success and of course big-time favorite of mine all need to combine and the opinions below are *purely personal*, however I will give (hopefully) cogent arguments for my choices. As it will be clear from the following I tend to favor core-genre authors with the following slant.

In SF I tend to appreciate the big-issue writers, creators of large scale universes with lots of sense of wonder, while in Fantasy I appreciate first and foremost great storytelling, characters and inventiveness as opposed to large scale world building or ingenious magic systems which I care much less about. In a way in SF the universe of the novel and its "science", or more generally "sense of wonder" comes first , while in Fantasy the writing comes first.


**********************************



Today I present my choices for SF while in the following days I will present my choices for Fantasy:

#1 My choice for the top sf author of the decade is easy: Alastair Reynolds.
Maybe not the top stylist in the genre but with his novelistic and short stories output which I read probably all - read all novels but not 100% sure about the ss though I am not aware of any that I have not read yet - Mr. Reynolds satisfies all the criteria I have laid above and his imagination created countless wonders (and terrors) for us. Top novel I would say is Chasm City which barely missed my top 5 sf novel list but House of Suns is also there. A strong body of short fiction just adds to his impressive work. (FBC Rv House of Suns).

#2 Here I struggled a bit since The Baroque cycle while associational and with strong sf-nal vibes is not quite genre, but its awesomeness combined with my choosing Anathem as #1 novel of the decade makes Neal Stephenson my choice for second place. Four mammoth novels which range from superb to masterpiece though you gotta love the digressions (natural philosophy, beginning of organized science, beginning of modern banking) since otherwise these books may be a bit heavy going. (FBC Rv Anathem)

#3 Adam Roberts the most versatile and ingenious sf writer of the decade with such novels like Stone (#4 novel of the 00's), Land of the Headless, Yellow Blue Tibia (FBC Rv), Splinter, Swiftly and even the epic Gradisil which I thought excellent despite some minor flaws. A novel, a sf concept or trope seems to be Mr. Roberts motto so no sequels (yet), no same universe, all ingeniosity. For sheer inventiveness I strongly recommend Land of the Headless, while for a pure literary sf novel Splinter is the choice.

#4 - #6 in no particular order:

Peter F. Hamilton - my co-#1 overall sff author in terms of pure personal enjoyment and the author of my top finished sff series of all time (Night's Dawn), Mr. Hamilton's 00's novels have not topped his 90's output. Pandora's Star (#2 novel of the 00's) came close but with a sequel that was just very good but not on that level, it still does not compare with Night's Dawn. (FBC Rv Void 1, FBC Rv Void 2)

Neal Asher - large scale violent but inventive action with great larger than life characters, the Cormac sequence of the Polity series is my favorite, while The Skinner is planet with monsters at its best. (FBC Rv Brass Man, FBC Rv Line War + Bonus Q/A, FBC Rv Hilldiggers, FBC Interview)

Gary Gibson - only four novels so far, but with one of the most astounding debuts in sf Angel Stations that was maybe too ambitious packing content as for a trilogy, with a change of pace, style and setting in the superb literary Against Gravity (I should do a review of these two soon) and now with two books in the superb and popular Dakota Merrick series, Mr. Gibson is the most promising new author of the second part of the decade and one to watch. (FBC Rv Stealing Light by RT, FBC Rv of both Stealing LIght and Nova War by LS, FBC co-interview)

4 comments:

Mark Chitty said...

Very interesting that 5 out of the 6 are British authors - does that say something negative about the state of epic sci-fi in the US?

Incidently, I agree with Reynolds, Hamilton, Asher and Gibson, although as I haven't read any Stephenson and only one Roberts I can't give any thoughts at all.

If I were to add any names to that list I would probably include John Scalzi, Tobias Buckell and Richard Morgan, although I don;t consider them to be on the same level as the previously mentioned authors, but still hugely enjoyable!

Liviu said...

Whatever the reasons, I agree that "sense of wonder" sf has been coming from the UK this decade more than from the US.

Outside of N. Stephenson, David Weber which is my co-#1 author with PFH as far as enjoyment goes and H. Turtledove could have made my list but in both cases their major work is spread out over two decades and while I love their storytelling, the sense of wonder is more prevalent in the authors mentioned here.

While very sfnal in content, both Weber and Turtledove have first and foremost qualities I love in fantasy.

I loved R. Morgan's first 3 books a lot,but then he started repeating himself too much, though I would have included him on an extended list; however I think his work is very strong as style, action, characters with the sf-nal part only so-so or even silly - training people for a long time and then expending them in auto-duels makes for a good book but ..., same with switching "souls" in a pillbox...

Liviu said...

Other favorite authors with enough books published so far that I thought about: RC Wilson who also almost made my list and would make an extended list, J. McDevitt very strong in storytelling with sfnal content more conventional, M. DePierres with the Orion series though the Parish du Plessis series while enjoyable at least in the 1 1/2 books read so far is very UF-nal, Liz Williams with her gothic sf, WJ Williams, JC Grimwood
IM Banks super-strong work is from the 90's

JC Wright had a superb debut trilogy but he wrote mostly fantasy since, J. Meaney same.

To watch are D. Cobley with his new series started in Seeds of Earth, Philip Palmer, KA Bedford, DL. Edelman, M. Dantec if he gets translated more...

First Aid Kit Refils said...

Outside of N. Stephenson, David Weber which is my co-#1 author with PFH as far as enjoyment goes and H. Turtledove could have made my list but in both cases their major work is spread out over two decades and while I love their storytelling, the sense of wonder is more prevalent in the authors mentioned here.

Follow by Email

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Burning Isle” by Will Panzo!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Diabolic” by S.J. Kincaid!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “A Gossamer Lens” by M.R. Mathias!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Lost Gods” by Brom!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Blood Mirror” by Brent Weeks!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Wall of Storms” by Ken Liu!!!
Order HERE