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3/16/14 1:27 A

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I cannot come up with a list off the top of my head, but it will certainly contain the Giants of science fiction with some great fantasy writers thrown in. Bob Heinlein, Sir Issac, Andre Norton, Ray Bradbury (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep). It has to contain a few of the early "heavy hitters" in the cowboy/western action/drama area, like Zane Grey and Max Brand and Louis L'Amour. My wife introduced me to Nora Roberts, and when I found out she was also J.D. Robb I nearly "spaced" out (pun intended).

I can't remember the writer, but the first book I read about an American Apocalypse, Alas Babylon, became a password for my brother and I that meant the shot was going to hit the fan, grab what you can and get out and away from urban areas with over 30,000 people and into an area where 30,000 people populated a county. At the time, both he and I held positions in the military that would give us "first strike" notice and it was intended to get our families into Dodge. Frank ... Frank ... Frank Something.

In the adventure genre, hands down has to go to Tom Clancy. The research he put into his books and the extension of unclassified data into classified areas made him nearly as good as Gene Roddenberry. My (Marine Corps officer brother) knew his through Annapolis connections, and when "The Hunt for Red October" hit the shelves the FBI and the Navy NCIS investigated Tom thoroughly. They were convinced Clancey had someone inside passing him classified information. When he showed them his reams of notes, internet connections and unclassified military information, they had a hard time believing where he had obtained the information. I know that at least for his next two books he sent all of his notes and links to NCIS and the FBI before publishing the books.

The Initials people had to bring in exerts to understand how he went from 5 unclassified notes to reach a classified conclusion. He was single handedly responsible for tightening up what the military felt was unclassified information, but similar information exists on the internet today. You just have to have patience and ask for the right key words.

Current "hard" science fiction writers like John Ringo and David Weber would make my list.

I might be able to winnow it down to my top 100 favorite writers.

I am a prolific reader. Clocked at 600 wpm with an 85% retention rate while reading for fun and at 400 wpm and a retention rate of 95% - I have never had a course or class in Speed Reading. Neither has my younger, more intelligent brother. Not only does he read and comprehend much, much higher than average, but when he studies something he has 'almost' an eidetic memory. When he was in Junior High and Senior High School, he corrected more than one teacher, especially in the area of history.

In high school, he corrected a history professor so much that the professor asked, "Mr. Clarkson, if you are such an expert, perhaps YOU would like to teach this class (expecting my brother would simply shut up). My brother stood up, walked to the front of the class and started teaching a class on Egyptian History with information the History teacher didn't even know.

After class, the teacher took him to the Boys Vice Principal to be appropriately punished. In those long ago years, corporal punishment in the schools was still not only allowed, but encouraged with the philosophy of "spare the rod, spoil the child" still very much in vogue.

However, if corporal punishment was going to be administered, a parent had to be notified prior to the punishment being administered.

The Boys VP called our home phone and my dad, a Police Officer for the city of Los Angeles, happened to be on a comp off day and answered the telephone. He refused permission to the school to administer the punishment and drove straight to the High School.

On the Police Force, my Dad had two nicknames - the first was "Tiny" and the second was "that Gol Durned 800 pound Gorilla). He was what was considered a "big" man back in the early 1960's - 6' 3.5" tall and weighing 250 pounds (most of it across his shoulders and in his arms).

He got to the school, and after listening to the story from the teacher, he asked my brother, "Were you just them, or were you telling something you know?"

"Something I know, Dad."

Turning to the Vice P, Dad asked, "Have you checked who was right, my son or the teacher"?

"Of course not. Mr. Hadley has a Masters degree in History. How could this "child" possibly begin to have the amount of knowledge he does?"

"Son, do you think they'll have the information in the school library, or do we need to go across the street to the Public library?"

"Dad, all we need to do is go to the library and use the Encyclopedia."

The four of them went to the school library and my brother retrieved what he needed, then stated how he had corrected Mr. Hadley twice, then what he taught the class.

The teacher, with his Masters degree in History was wrong. My brother had been right on every point.

Back at the Boy's Vice P's office, before my Dad and brother left to go home, the Vice Principal told my brother to report to the office at 8:30am. He would be going over my brothers new schedule.

Because of what had happened in the classroom and what was observed in the office by teachers aides, the story quickly got around that my brother knew more than the teacher.
At the end of the year, the teacher transferred to the other high school in our District.

Pardon me for an old man's digression.

"A government big enough to give everything you want is also big enough to take everything you have."
-Ronald Reagan

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3/15/14 2:39 P

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Renae - Interesting idea. I'm going to respond off the top of my head with the caveat that I couldn't possibly limit "favorite" authors to only five or ten or even twenty-five. I started reading Nancy Drew in the third grade and never stopped reading. I'd rather read than just about anything, if only I could read and workout at the same time! I'm an eclectic reader, with the accent on science fiction. So, all time favorites (today):

Marion Zimmer Bradley based on one book, since I've never finished anything else she ever wrote and that is "The Mists of Avalon." I've reread it every year since it was published.

Kelley Armstrong who writes the Otherworld Women Series - werewolves, and vampires, and witches, oh my!! My favorite is "Bitten" because the bad boy werewolf, Clay Danvers, is a major hottie. If you get the SciFi channel on cable, you can catch the televised version, which ain't bad but it ain't the book, either. BTW, MATURE THEMES. Don't let the kiddies watch or read.

Julian May, for her series of books beginning with The Many Colored Land. Back to the Pliocene! She is not as famous as she deserves to be simply because this series - 7 or 8 books - is the only one she wrote. I hope she's still writing somewhere, like JD Salinger, and will publish while I'm still around to read.

Karen Marie Moning author of the Fever series (Dark Fever, Fae Fever, and so on). I actually sent a nasty-gram to Amazon when the last book in that series was delayed in publication. Set in Dublin, the book is very dark and looks at what might happen if the fairies ever return. Fever boasts another of my all-time favorite bad boy heroes, Jericho Barrons. I still wear a t-shirt with his name on it, which is quite the confession for this 65 year old grandma... (Don't tell my DH - he doesn't know what JB means).

Suzette Haden Elgin for "Native Tongue." I loved the themes in this - again dark - book so well that I made a graduate school class in family in the social environment read it. They hated me!! Elgin has a great nonfiction series also - if you're interested in how to protect yourself with words, look her up.

Well that's five and I've barely scratched the surface. What about: Josephine Tey, Georgette Heyer, Rex Stout, Christine Feehan (guilty pleasure), Robert Heinlein, A.E. Van Vogt, Anne McCaffrey ... I mean really, the list is endless.

One of the things that Stephen King says that's so true. If you want to be a good writer, you'd better be a really good reader. I'm paraphrasing of course, since I'm sure he never said "really" but reading is where it starts and where it's at.

So c'mon folks. Share your favorites with us. You may know of someone I'd love to read!!!!

Edited by: MADEIT3 at: 3/15/2014 (14:39)
Stacy, KS

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3/15/14 2:06 P

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I don't know about you, but I try to model myself after a handful of writers whom I respect and admire. I was going to make this a top 5 style list, but I couldn't narrow it that far. Share the number of authors that matter to you.

(FYI: I'm mainly a supernatural horror fan and writer ... emphasis on the mysterious and haunting, rather than the gross. Even my favorite mainstream books and classics tend to have some magical realism and/or fantastical elements.)

7) RICHARD MATHESON: a horror & scifi author who created an incredible body of work over many years, including novels that served as a base for the movies What Dreams May Come and Somewhere in Time. (But also I Am Legend, The Legend of Hell House and many Twilight Zone episodes.) Respect.

Best work: The Legend of Hell House

6) RAY BRADBURY: I could basically copy and past the text from Matheson to here, except I'd have to reverse the order to scifi & horror.

Best work: The Illustrated Man

5) EDGAR ALLEN POE: a troubled and mysterious author with a gift for lyricism. The stories are classic, of course. What amazes me, however, is that even though his vernacular is dated now, it still has accessible rhythm and power. Plus I kinda like the strange and troubled thing ... but that's probably just me.

Best work: I'm sorry, but I STILL adore The Raven.

4) ANNE RICE: who dealt with a tragedy (the death of her daughter) by creating immortal characters. Also, I think no one is better at describing the details of a setting ... it doesn't work if the reader is in a hurry, but it's beautiful if you can relax into it.

Best work: The Mayfair Witches Series

3) BILL BRYSON: I love how this non-fiction author has endless curiosity and the ability to communicate his enthusiasm to readers. He's brilliant at cutting through jargon and getting to the wonder inherent in his topic.

Best Work: A Short History of Everything

2) MADELEINE L'ENGLE: who was 44 years old when A Wrinkle in Time was published in 1962. The story had been rejected more than 30 times. She had nearly given up on her writing career for her 40th birthday, but she discovered she couldn't not write. (Thank God.) This series changed everything in my life when I read at about 10 years old ... and it changes me a little every time I read it again.

Best work: A Wrinkle in Time

1) STEPHEN KING: Constant Write is my ultimate hero, of course. Like Matheson, his work is underrated. We forget now how he revolutionized the horror genre by bringing the unknown into modern life. I'm also inspired by his awesome work ethic and the way he's overcome his own demons.

Best Work: It

Edited by: RENAEPARANORMAL at: 3/15/2014 (14:08)
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