If you like horror, try out House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski. It's a bit...odd, but one the smartest and downright creepiest books I've ever read.
I also can't recommend Neal Stephenson enough. He writes mostly SF (Zodiac, Diamond Age, the fucking brilliant Snow Crash), but it is SF that is razor-sharp, funny as hell, and full of such esoteric knowledge that you'll feel 10x smarter for reading them. He has a couple of other books more grounded in reality (One about eco-terrorism whose name escapes me, The Big U, and Cryptonomicon, which is an amazing look at the modern and WW2 era art of code-cracking set to a brilliant and kinetic plot)
I'm going to get crucified for this on the Politics forum, but one of my favorite authors lately has been...
Gore Vidal. Great historical fiction. Christ, am I going to get it.
I also highly recommend a couple of other famous names you might want to check out: Ian Fleming and Micky Spillane. While Spillane really is just good for a nice, easy hardboiled crime read, Fleming is a tremendously underrated author, and the Bond books really aren't anything like the movies. This is a guy who can have you spellbound for 10 pages over a game of (I shit you not) Rock-Paper-Scissors. (This is in, I believe, You Only Live Twice).
In terms of fiction authors, there's actually very few authors I read on a consistent basis. I'll generally pick up a book that looks like it has a plot or setting or character I'd like, and not really follow the Author.
(edited by MoeGates on 21.2.03 1235) It seems that I am - in no particular order - Zack Morris, John Adams, a Siren, Janeane Garofalo, Cheer Bear, Aphrodite, a Chihuahua, Data, Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel, Amy-Wynn Pastor, Hydrogen, Bjork, Spider-Man, Boston, and a Chaotic Good Elvin Bard-Mage.
Man, I love the Grisham books, even though I can't stand law on TV. A Time To Kill is in my top two books ever along with this one you may not have read:
Rising Sun by Michael Crichton. A fascinating read about Japanese and American relations and attitudes. But don't forget to NOT see the movie they made based on the book starring Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes. The movie was really bad, and the ending to the movie was NOTHING like the book.
Another great book by Crichton is Disclosure. The movie is closer to the tone of the book, but it is still a great read.
I am currently reading C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy ( As a lifetime fan of The Chronicles of Narnia, I have been meaning to read these for a while, but I'm glad I waited. This isn't kids stuff.
Hopefully it was obvious to readers of The Chronciles over the age of 8 that Lewis was a "fan" of Christianity. Well, in the Trilogy he's a smark.
If you like your religion full of naked alien Eves, angels from the far side of a Star Trek episode and lizard men from Mars, this series is for you.
Some Christians may see this trilogy as blasphemy, but most should see that it's just a way to introduce Christianity to nerdy adults instead of little kids with big imaginations. I am, if you're wondering, an agnostic, if not an aetheist, and I am finding these books greatly enlightening.
There's an SF explanation for all of the religious phenomenon as well as a great story. Read Doglas Adams' five book trilogy (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) between this one and the seven Chronicles and you'll get a good transition. Of course, you should probably throw Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles in the mix with a little Hobbit and Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) if you want the full experience of my favorite authors.
And then have some Harry Potter for dessert.
(By then you'll be ready for your first SF/Fantasy convention)
Orson Scott Card is awesome. Whether it be Sci-fi or Religious "quasi-fiction," the guy is awesome. If you have never read his work, start with Ender's Game, and we will go from there :).
The Harry Potter books are always good.
Brian Herbert and whoever the guy is working with him on the new Dune books are doing great work.
Eh- I lost interest in Crighton after Disclosure... that Time Travel book he wrote was ok... but he pretty much sold out his quality for cash after Disclosure. My favorite of his was The Eaters of the Dead.
Beyond that, I really don't want spend all day writing about all of my favorite "past" authors... could take all week...
Not that restraint when posting in a "public" forum isn't a good thing...
* Hunter S. Thompson (of course) * Joseph Heller * Gregory McDonald (the Fletch/Flynn books) * Molly Ivins * Steve Lopez (former Philly Inquirer columnist, now elsewhere) * Dave Barry * Bill James (baseball's stat guru) * Douglas Adams
"...Also, living in NYC, to stop any terrorists from braking into my home I've crammed pickles in the gap between the front door and the floor - try and brake past my juicy green wall of defense." -- commenter on FARK
I'm a big fan of James Ellroy. "American Tabloid" is great, I felt a bit let down by its follow-up "The cold six thousand" But it was still a good read. And the LA quartet of "Black Dahlia" "The Big Nowhere" "LA Confidential" and "White Jazz" are all great...
Also "My Dark Places" is a great read, essentially an autobiography that also tackles the murder of his mother.
But avoid his early stuff, while not bad it just isn't as good as what was to come.
"Non-fiction would have to be: John Keel, Paul Johnson and P.J. O'Rourke"
Wow, someone here likes a paranormal author! Keel is one of my favorites too. Critics say he may not always have his facts straight, but you have to admire his willingness to step out on a limb and say some interesting things about the unexplained, which the evidence, I feel, ultimately backs him up on. Also, while I haven't read *The Mothman Prophecies*, it sure did make for one freaky movie.
Loren Coleman is also pretty good, although I disagree with a lot of his conclusions. Right now I am working on getting a new cryptozoology/travel adventure book titled *The Monster of the Madidi* by Simon Chapman. It's on one of my favorite mysteries, involving a strange ape in South America.
(edited by DMC on 21.2.03 1217) "Darwinists sometimes find confirming evidence, just as Marxists found capitalists exploiting workers and Freudians analyzed patients who said that they wanted to murder their fathers and marry their mothers. They find further instances of microevolution, or additional examples of natural relationships, or a fossil group that might have contained an ancestor of modern mammals. What they never find is evidence that contradicts the common ancestry thesis, because to Darwinists such evidence cannot exist. The 'fact of evolution' is true by definition, and so negative information is uninteresting, and generally unpublishable."
Get to read a lot of books on the train & ferry coming in and out of NYC
James Lee Burke (especially his Dave Robicheaux novels) Robert B. Parker (early Spenser is the best) Carl Hiassen - ALL OF IT Ed McBain / Evan Hunter (one and the same) Ridley Pearson (Lou Boldt/Daphne Matthews series but the stand alones are strong too) John D. MacDonald (wrote the original Cape Fear) Lawrence Sanders (The Deadly Sins & Archy McNally series)
5 Time 5 Time 5 Time 5 Time 5 Time Wiener of the Day Runner-up
I mostly read fantasy novels and such, but I've read a few others.
-George R. R. Martin (especially the Song of Fire and Ice books) -Robert Jordan -Terry Goodkind -J. R. R. Tolkien -Terry Brooks -Elizabeth Hayden -Stephen R. Donaldson -Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman -Robin Hobb -R. A. Salvatore -L. E. Modesitt
I also like a lot of Micheal Crichton's books, especially Jurassic Park, The Lost World, The Andromeda Strain, and Disclosure.
I read Anne Rice sometimes too, but only the Vampire Chronicles books. I'm not too interested in her witches books.
(edited by MollyFan2K2 on 21.2.03 1531) A shark on whiskey is mighty risky, a shark on beer is a beer engineer.
Neil Gaiman is my favorite current author. I look for anything he's written. Tolkien is another top favorite of mine and I also really dig Robert Jordan's WoT series. Also, Homer wrote two great Epic Poems I enjoy. Look at my sig for a great passage.
Judging by the descriptions of some of the authors listed in this thread, I'm going to have to check out a few of these guys.
'But if one is struck by me only a little, that is far different, the stroke is a sharp thing and suddenly lays him lifeless, and that man's wife goes with cheeks torn in lamentation, and his children are fatherless, while he, staining the soil with his red blood, rots away, and there are more birds than women swarming about him.' Diomedes, The Iliad of Homer
Check out the collected works of Edgar Allen Poe, he crested the whole mystery genre(SP?) with his story The Purloined Letter, that and has some not so bad horror stuff to boot (hehehe...)
H.P.Lovecraft, what can I say about him. He created the Cthulu mythos, gave us the idea of the necronomicon which without it we'd never heard of a little movie called The Evil Dead, and the majority of his work was short stories so you can pick it up and put it down at your leisure.
Clive Barker is hit or miss, but his hits are quite excellent. Check out the Books of Blood series, The Great and Secret Show, and Coldheart Canyon which is his newest one.
Neil Gaiman, while he may be a comic book writer, has put out some outstanding books such as his newer one called AMERICAN GODS and NEVERWHERE. Start on American Gods and work backwards.
Christopher Stasheff is another good one. His warlock series is funny as all get out and well written to boot, especially THE WARLOCK IN SPITE OF HIMSELF, very good read that one was.
Then there is Raymond E Feist. I have only read one book by him, but he's got so much other stuff out there. Faerie Tale is the single best fantasy book I have ever read. It's just SO good. I don't want to read any of his other stuff cause based on just the one book, I don't want anything to ruin him for me.
Then of course, you got your classics, like Charles Dickens of which I seem to read Tale Of Two Cities about twice a year.
Cerebus: Barbarian, Prime Minister, Pope, Perfect House Guest.
"Graft is as necessary as throwing up when you drink too much."
I'll second Great and Secret SHow, Books of Blood, and add Imajica and Cabal to the "good" Clive Barker list (I love just about all of his work though, only Damnation Game didn't do anything for me).
Neal Gaiman rocks too, but I was glad to see American Gods move a bit more away from the EXTREMELY Douglas Adams-ish Neverwhere and Good Omens. American Gods, to me, was more of Gaiman's unique voice.
As far as mainstream authors go, you can't go wrong with Kurt Vonnegut (even though I always butcher spelling his name) Cat's Cradle is a good start. Paul Auster is great from what I've read. I've only read White Noise, but I plan on reading more DeLillo, as that book flat-out fucking owns you.
I actually tend to read more short fiction, and in my opinion, no one delivers on that front more than Harlan Ellison, Jorge Luis Borges, and Phillip K. Dick.
I love the inherent ideas in Lovecraft, but his actual writing is very drawn out and clinical. I love CoC though, so I've read a bit more of his stuff than I normally would of an author who doesn't quite move me. I liked Rats in the Walls and At the Mountains of Madness had some very cool ideas in it (shoggoths and how life on Earth came to be)
Oh...and DJ Ran, what didn't your fiancee' or friend like about Cryptonomicon? I thought it was fascinating, but then again, I love Stephenson's esoteric style and I knew little about code-breaking going into it. The sequence where the main character in the WWII section fails his basic math test because he was trying to use theoretical calculus on a simple word problem actually had me laughing out loud (and drawing strange looks from people in the library I was reading it in).
Not to be an ass (but I'm being one anyway), but Murders in the Rue Morgue was the first detective story by Edgar Allan Poe. Purloined Letter featured the same detective (Dupin), but was third after Rue and Mystery of Marie Roget.
(edited by astrobstrd on 21.2.03 1914) Ph-nglui mgwl'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
* Robert Jordan - You gotta love the Wheel of Time series, even if the last couple of books haven't been up to the level of the first ones.
* Sue Grafton - great mystery novels. At the rate she's going, we ought to get Z Is For Zither sometime around 2020.
* Neil Stephenson - I'll second the endorsement of his work. Snow Crash sounds extremely prescient, especially in our age of Everquest and Ultima Online and other MMORPGs. Oh, and I've also read Cryptonomicon twice, but then, I also have read Gödel, Escher, Bach like ten times.
* Orson Scott Card - his books are great, and he's also a hella nice guy to boot.
Mmmm... Ashley Judd. The perfect woman. 1) Absolutely gorgeous. 2) Loves UK basketball. 3) Was on Star Trek. What more can you ask for?
Originally posted by DMC"Wow, someone here likes a paranormal author! Keel is one of my favorites too. Critics say he may not always have his facts straight, but you have to admire his willingness to step out on a limb and say some interesting things about the unexplained, which the evidence, I feel, ultimately backs him up on. Also, while I haven't read *The Mothman Prophecies*, it sure did make for one freaky movie
I thought the movie was great, if not entirely faithful to the book. My favorite thing about Keel is his readiness to acknowledge that the things that we can't explain have probably been here on the Earth for all of history. What we call aliens today were called fairies or goblins 500 years ago. IMO there's just as much "proof" for that as there is for nuts-and-bolts flying saucers from other planets!
Originally posted by astrobstrdNot to be an ass (but I'm being one anyway), but Murders in the Rue Morgue was the first detective story by Edgar Allan Poe. Purloined Letter featured the same detective (Dupin), but was third after Rue and Mystery of Marie Roget.
No, you are not being an ass, I just mentioned Purloined Letter because it was the better of the three, but I guess this is just personal taste, like this board and Benoit or something. (HA!)
Cerebus: Barbarian, Prime Minister, Pope, Perfect House Guest.
"Graft is as necessary as throwing up when you drink too much."
Can you recommend some of his works? A friend recommended "Nocturne" to me, and I haven't had time with school to get more than a chapter into it, but I'm already looking for more by him.
I just finished "The Murder Channel" by John Philpin right before the semester started. It deals a lot with profiling/forensic type things, but it was an amazing read. I'm not sure what else he's written but that book just completely rocked.
Gotta say, though, my favorite fiction author is William Diehl. I started reading him after I saw "Primal Fear", and as is usually the case, the book blows the movie out of the water. It's actually a Marty Vail trilogy set - Primal Fear, Show of Evil, and Reign in Hell. He's written a bunch of others, like Sharky's Machine (yes, the movie with Burt Reynolds), The Hunt, Thai Horse, Chameleon... I have them all somewhere. Most of them deal with the lone male main character dealing with the ghosts of the past (lots of Vietnam-era stuff), and they're all fairly fast reads. My only complaint would be that some of the books start a little slow with the character mapping, background, flashbacks, etc, but he really picks up the pace once you get to the crux of the story, and some of the endings he's written are just phenomenal.
A few months ago I was in Toys R Us looking for a birthday present for my little nephew, when I spotted the 1966 Batman movie (starring the whole cast of the TV show, except for Lee Merriwether playing Catwoman, not Julie Newmar) for $7.99!