Visions of Paradise

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Writers I Would Like to Read More By (part 3)

A little over a year ago (October 4/9, 2008) I wrote two columns on writers whom I wished to read more books by in the near future. Let’s see how I’ve done with that wish list:

Stephen Baxter: I read The Time Ships last year and really enjoyed it as a sequel to H.G. Well’s classic The Time Machine. Flood is on my list of books to buy when it is published in paperback this Spring.

Arthur C. Clarke: I read A Fall of Moondust and it was a very good example of problem-solving sf. More of his early-50s space fiction is on my Recommended Reading list.

Elmer Kelton: The Time It Never Rained was a fabulous book about ranchers coping with a long drought in post-World War II Texas. I selected it as my favorite book read in 2009, and one of my favorite of the decade. Sadly, Kelton died recently at the age of 83.

Andre Norton: I read the first two novels in her Time Traders series, and found them enjoyable, if not outstanding. Eventually I will finish the series and read the Wizard trilogy, which I also have.

James H. Schmitz: I read his huge collection Eternal Frontier, published by Baen Books as part of the series of complete Schmitz fiction. Except for the concluding title novel (which I found a routine military adventure), the rest of the collection was outstanding.

Of the other 5 authors on my list (Kage Baker, E.L. Doctorow, Cecelia Holland, Robert Sawyer and Jack Williamson), I have read nothing yet.

Now it is time for me to select another group of authors whom I would like to read several books by:

1. I really loved Julian May’s four-volume Pliocene Exiles series, but for some reason her subsequent sf slipped below my radar. I would really like to read either her Intervention and Galactic Milieu series (which are both related to the Pliocene Exiles series) or her Rampant World trilogy.

2. I read and enjoyed Pamela Sargent’s The Shore of Women, selecting it as my favorite novel of 1987, but for some reason I have never read any other of her works. I have seen many excellent reviews of her Venus trilogy, and I would like to read either it or one of her recent historical fictions, Ruler of the Sky (about Genghis Khan) or Climb the Wind (an alternate history of 19th century America).

3. I read Michael Coney’s The Jaws That Bite, the Claws That Catch and Rax many years ago, and enjoyed them both a lot, but then Coney kind of vanished, eventually publishing several of his novels on his website before he died. I copied those novels (I Remember Pallahaxi and Flowers of Goronwy) onto my computer and would like to read them sometime.

4. Whatever short fiction I have read by Sheila Finch has always been enjoyable, especially those set in her Guild of Linguistics series. I look forward to reading her collection containing all those stories, as well as her other book Reading the Bones.

5. Peter Ackroyd has an excellent reputation for both his historical fiction and his nonfiction biographies of such famous people as Shakespeare, Poe, Chaucer, Newton, and More. I am most intrigued by his novels The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein and The Clerkenwell Tales.

6. Wilkie Collins was one of the most popular writers of the 19th century, and a popular competitor to Charles Dickens, whose seminal mysteries such as The Moonstone and The Woman in White are still highly-regarded. I would like to read at least one of them as soon as I catch up on more of my Dickens’ reading.

7. Rafael Sabatini is the grand master of swashbuckling fiction with novels such as Captain Blood, Scaramouche and Bellarion (supposedly the inspiration for Gordon R. Dickson’s Childe Cycle). I have read some of his short fiction and enjoyed it as more than mere mindless adventure, and I would like to try one of the novels.

8. George MacDonald Fraser is a modern heir to Sabatini, writing lighthearted historical novels in his Flashman series, or standalone novels such as The Candlemass Road and Black Ajax. People whose opinion I respect absolutely love Fraser’s fiction, certainly an impetus to try them myself.


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