I’m an avid reader, and something that I’ll freely admit is that I’m always looking for a new author or three to try out. I have rather eclectic tastes, but I thought I’d write a bit about what authors I’m currently reading and what authors I recommend. I’ll break it down by genre, because otherwise this would just become a long list, and who wants that? This is just a broad overview and by no means covers everything off my shelves.
The obvious here is Tolkien. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are well known. Less well known are some of his shorter fiction. Farmer Giles of Ham is an excellent short novel, and often overlooked. I’d also recommend David Eddings with two of his series: The Belgariad and the Elenium. Both series are long enough to provide plenty of entertainment. Raymond Feist’s Midkemia series (starting with Magician) is another good read, though it can be difficult to discern what order to read some of the books. Ryk Spoor’s Phoenix Rising is a more recent entry, and one of the few recently published fantasy stories that I could really get into. Excellent characterization, amazing setting, tough decisions and good fighting evil are all blended together into an excellent story.
There’s a variety of urban fantasy, some of it very violent, some not so much. Mercedes Lackey’s SERRAted Edge series combines race cars with elves and some more classic fantasy elements as well as renn faires and dragons. It’s highly entertaining and mostly PG, so a good read for kids. Larry Correia’s Grimnoir Chronicles and his Monster Hunter series are both brilliant. Both series contain lots of humor, over the top action, and an excellent knowledge of firearms and combat techniques. John Ringo’s Princess of Wands is another excellent urban fantasy, with the twist that it’s a church-going soccer mom who’s fighting demons and necromancers. Wen Spencer writes an excellent series of elves and parallel dimensions with Tinker and the rest of her Elfhome series.
The general area of science fiction is hard for me to nail down. I’m drawn to the classics, if I’m recommending to a new reader. Robert Heinlein’s works: Citizen of the Galaxy, The Moon is A Harsh Mistress, Orphans of the Sky, and The Menace from Earth are all excellent. Frank Herbert’s Dune is definitely worth a read, though so popular in media that most readers of SF have already read it. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series is a good read. More recently, Eric Flint and Ryk Spoor’s Boundary is excellent science fiction. Sarah Hoyt writes some very good science fiction with the Darkship Renegades, with a lot of excellent social and political commentary.
Military Science Fiction
This is my main area of interest at the moment, and unlikely to change any time soon. Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, of course, takes pride of precedence. David Weber has written a host of amazing science fiction books, especially his Honor Harrington series, but also his Imperium of Man series which starts with Mutineer’s Moon. He’s also written several standalone books such as The Apocalypse Troll and Out of the Dark which are very good. John Ringo is massively prolific, with a number of excellent series. A Hymn Before Battle is an excellent near-future novel that starts a great series. A bit of warning, the series currently ends in a cliff hanger with no final books to close it out in sight. John Ringo’s team up with Travis Taylor in the Voyages of the Space Bubble series starts with Into the Looking Glass. The series is excellent with lots of humor, great science, and tons of action. Mike Shephard’s Kris Longknife series is another fun read, with a main character that has grown and developed over time. David Drake has a number of excellent series, with Hammers Slammers being his most well known. Another excellent new author is Leo Champion, whose Legion series has some serious combat and excellent overall story arc.
I’ll be honest, I don’t read a lot of general fiction, and most of what I do read tends to edge towards the ‘techie’ or military spectrum anyway. Tom Clancy’s Hunt for Red October is excellent, as is Without Remorse, Executive Orders, and Patriot Games. Also good is Larry Correia and Mike Kupari’s Dead Six and Swords of Exodus, both military genre, though with elements of what I consider fantasy. Tom Kratman’s Countdown series is excellent in that regard as well, though rather grim at times.
I’ll be honest, I’m a sucker for some of the classics of literature. Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island and Swiss Family Robinson are all excellent reads, especially for children. Mark Twain has a host of good stuff. Almost everything by Jules Verne is absolutely excellent.
I’m certain I’m missing an author or two here or there, and I know I’ve left out some books by different authors. Still, if you’re anything like me, I highly recommend these authors and series. Next week I’ll try to cover each genre, what I like and what I don’t, what themes I’m seeing as a reader and what I want to work on as a writer.