Top 10: All Time Authors

Continuing my Top 10 theme of the last few weeks, today I’m diving into books. As an author you’d think this would be an easy one. But it’s really not. I don’t read nearly as much as I did when I was younger.  My tastes for books have also changed much more dramatically then movies and TV.  So even though there are some books/authors that I’ve read more than once, sometimes both readings occurred 10+ years ago. If I read them again now, I might not like them as much, as tastes change a lot in a decade.

I debated a lot of different ways to approach this list. Authors, books, series, etc. Usually, but not always, if I like one book by an author, I like their other stuff. When that’s the case, how do you pick? Especially since I enjoy series the best. So instead of just picking 10 names, I’m going to list top authors whose books, the ones mentioned, I’ve read at least twice. The Honorable Mentions are those that I debated putting on the list, but haven’t read their stuff a second time. This will tie in with the approach I’ve taken with the other lists.

Also, these are just fiction. There’s a few non-fiction authors I really enjoy.

  1. JK Rowlings (Harry Potter)
  2. Timothy Zahn (Star Wars: Heir to Empire trilogy)
  3. Michael Stackpole (X-Wing)
  4. Peter David (Sir Apropos of Nothing)
  5. Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time)
  6. Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park)
  7. Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)
  8. Jack Whyte (Camulod Chronicles)
  9. Anne McCaffery (Dragonriders of Pern)
  10. David Eddings (Belgariad)

Honorable Mentions

  1. Terry Pratchett (Discworld)
  2. Jim Butcher (Dresden Files)
  3. Tom Clancy (Jack Ryan series)
  4. Isaac Asimov (Foundation)
  5. Ken Follett (Pillars of the Earth)
  6. John Scalzi (Old Man’s War)
  7. Wilbur Smith (Birds of Prey)

As you can see, there’s quite a mix of genres; sci-fi, fantasy, classic sci-fi, contemporary, historical fiction.  Arguably many on the Honorable Mentioned list are better writers than some of those on the main list. But most of those are heavier books that I discovered later in life. Pillars of the Earth, for example, is a monumental read. Very good, but takes up a good chunk of time to read.

Tom Clancy is one of those that I wasn’t sure if I should include. I read the Jack Ryan set of books early in college (so yeah, about a decade ago). I enjoyed them and they were what turned me onto political science as a field of study. However, I only read through Bear and the Dragon. I tried Red Rabbit, the next one released. At that point either my politics had changed or Tom Clancy was putting more of his into Jack Ryan and it didn’t gel. Felt very Neo-Con at a time when I was very anti-neo-con (just after the war in Iraq started). But he did stayed on the honorable mentions because of the earlier books.

Timothy Zahn and Michael Stackpole’s Star Wars novels have definitely had an impact on my writing. Admiral Katerina Sartori is based loosely on Grand Admiral Thrawn. At least the idea of an enemy that is smart, calculating and not motivated by evil.

Jack Whyte, Ken Follett, and Wilbur Smith all write historical fiction. I’m a history buff so their stuff scratches two itches at once; good story and history. It’s fun (for me at least) to then go and look up what was true and what they changed for dramatic license.

David Eddings Belgariad series was the first fantasy books I read. It has a lot of common tropes in it, making it kind of unoriginal if you think about it. But since it was my first, all the tropes were new. And I still don’t think that matters to much because it was put together well. I also enjoyed the Mallorean. The Elenium was okay but I didn’t like the Dreamers.

I’m also a big fan of humor in writing. Peter David, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams all do amazing work with their work. I’ve not read all of the Discworld books but the ones centered around Rincewind and The Luggage are my favorite. Sir Apropos of Nothing was my first foray into satire books and it works well if you’ve read a lot of fantasy novels. And, well, 42.

I don’t want to drone on about everyone listed, as that will get boring to read, but I can’t not mention JK Rowlings’ Harry Potter. I was in my 20’s before I read any of those books but like much of the rest of the world, I was sucked in. I don’t really know why but I thoroughly enjoyed those books, and despite my limited reading time, I’ve probably read the whole series through four times. Well, not the whole thing four times. But I reread everything before each book came out (5-7). Goblet of Fire is still my favorite. And I look forward to when my son is older and we can read them together.

So there you have it. My top 10 (17) favorite authors.

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2 Responses to Top 10: All Time Authors

  1. JediRabbit says:

    Awesome list. I’ll see if I can do something.

    Kinda sorta in no order.

    1. Isaac Asimov- my definite number one
    2. Orson Scott Card- Ender’s Game
    3. Rick Riordan- Lightning Thief etc…
    4. Arthur C. Clarke- Childhood’s End, 2001 Space Odyssey
    5. C.S. Lewis- loved Narnia as a kid
    6. JK Rowling
    7. TImothy Zahn is great stuff
    8. Robert Heinlein- starship troopers is a good read
    9. Mario Puzo- The Godfather was AWESOME
    10. This guy you’ve probably never heard of. His name is Wayne Basta. I haven’t read a ton of his stuff, but what I have read is AWESOME.