revered authors

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Tue Mar 12 00:41:57 EST 2002

On Mon, 11 Mar 2002 22:07:26 -0700, Robyn Starkey wrote:

>>Heh.  That's pretty much what I planned to say.  Is she a big fan of romance
>>novels?  If that's all she reads, no wonder she thinks DWJ's relationships
>>are contrived and last-minute.  :)  Seriously, though, ask her who she
>>thinks DOES do relationships well--get four or five authors from her.  You
>>can tell a LOT about people's reading tastes from the authors they revere.
>>(My short list: DWJ, Terry Pratchett, Steven Brust, Lois McMaster Bujold,
>>Connie Willis, Patricia McKillip.)
>I like all of these, but maybe not in that order.

Those aren't in any order.  Just as they come up in my head.  And because I
like them all for different reasons, I would be hard pressed to put them in
order; is good characterization better than good description?  Better than
cleverness?  It's just not possible.

> Are we just talking 
>fantasy writers? I have to add Garth Nix, but if we expand the genre thing 
>I have more to add: Douglas Coupland, David Lodge, and if dead ones are 
>allowed, then the list gets really long.

I suppose, since I started the game, I could set out some ground rules for
keeping the lists from expanding out of control:

1.  Fantasy or SF writers only, though this could include a wide variety of
people, such as Gregory Maguire, whose books are fantasy by content but
literary by construction.

2.  You can include dead people, though mine contains living ones because my
definition is mainly "writers whose books I immediately buy in hardcover
regardless of price" and most dead people aren't still publishing.

3.  Generate a unique list unless your list ONLY includes the six I listed
above, and no additional ones.  (And if yours does, I will be terrified.)
Since we've done the big list of who everyone on the list likes, I'd rather
see which ones individual members couldn't live without.  Remember, the
point is to indicate who you personally think are the best writers ever,
whose books are shining beacons of hope amidst the dross that is Modern
Fantasy Publishing.

3.1  Don't worry about ranking the list, just put in the very best.

4.  Keep it to no more than ten writers.  Don't be extravagant.  :)

5.  If you want to include an explanation of the criteria you used to
generate your list, that would be a lot of fun, I think.  Mine are, Whose
books never fail to please? Whose books show great technical ability as well
as great creativity? Whose books can I read repeatedly, discover something
new every time, and still feel like there's more to learn? Whose books do I
wish I had written myself?  (And, secretly and shamefully, Whose books do I
use as a yardstick to judge the good taste of other people?  Because you
know--admit it--that there are some books you just think, What are you
THINKING? No sane person LIKES this crap!  And of course the opposite is
true of people who DON'T like books I think are essential.  Despite being
unfailingly polite, I'm a little suspicious of people who don't appreciate
the greatness of my favorite authors, though I don't demand that others love
them as much as I do.)

There you go.

Melissa Proffitt
bossy arbiter of Good Taste throughout the cosmos
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