November 14, 2004

A list of authors, part 2

Continued from before...

Robert A. Heinlein was an author I technically started reading when I was very young. I started on Stranger in a Strange Land sometime in junior high, I think, although I only made it about 90 pages in before giving up. Just wasn't ready for it, I guess. And I read a few of his short stories, notably By His Bootstraps, on my dad's recommendation. But what sticks most in my mind from that period was Farnham's Freehold. I read that book when I was maybe nine; the year was 1986 and though glasnost was in the air, the Cold War was still on, and the threat of global thermonuclear war was still a very real one. The lead-in to this book has the warring nations declaring peace, but just as everyone lets their guard down, the nukes are launched, and life as we know it comes to an abrupt end. It freaked me the hell out and gave me nightmares for months. It was to be well over a decade before I touched anything by RAH again.

Robert Jordan starts out good and then he just keeps. on. going. For ever and ever and ever. I started reading his series (and he only really has the one series) my junior year of college. I'm not sure who started me on it, but I think it might have been Mel Hetzel; I know I had some conversations with her about the later books. It was probably a good time to pick it up; all the good books in the series had already been written, so I was able to just plow through them, and when book 7 came out shortly thereafter I could just give up in the middle and walk away from the series completely. I'm told it got a little bit better in book 9 or so, but I'm not going to even consider picking it up again until RJ finishes the series or dies.

Mercedes Lackey I started reading my freshman year of college. She was introduced to me by another freshman named Dawn. Dawn was in the choir and had a beautiful soprano voice; I want to say she was from Columbia, MO, although I'm not sure. I can't even remember her last name! :P Anyway, she lent me one of Lackey's low fantasy novels---aka urban fantasy, with elves and such secretly living in an otherwise modern city. Not really what she's best known for! I kind of avoided the Valdemar books because they looked a little too... girly, I guess. (She was on the Winds series at that point, which really does have slightly girly cover art.) But at some point I was in the library and got By the Sword, a standalone Valdemar book that hooked me in and made me start working my way through. Not long thereafter, I was visiting friends in Champaign (this was the architecturally awful apartment that various groups of four guys lived in---at the time I think it was Mike, Neil, Chris, and Al, though I could be wrong) and one day, Sam Walker and Sara Dhuse were hanging out there. Sara found out I was just getting into Mercedes Lackey and highly recommended the Last Herald-Mage trilogy, which I soon read and still think was the best thing ML ever wrote.

Julian May I discovered entirely on my own. How? Well, she co-wrote Black Trillium with Marion Zimmer Bradley. I liked that book, so I figured hey, why not try her other stuff? I found the Pliocene Exile books and the various associated series to be quite excellent. I lost track of her about three or four years ago, but it looks like she's still writing; I should get back to reading her stuff.

Anne McCaffrey was another Shalom recommendation, I think, though it could have been Michelle or possibly Lee. I'm fairly sure I started reading Pern novels my freshman year of college, because I seem to remember reading at least parts of them at Lee and Vern (and Scott and Jay)'s Broadway house. Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels were later to become the vehicle by which I hooked my sister on fantasy novels. Success!

Terry Pratchett was definitely Shalom's doing. She got both me and Lee hooked on his Discworld series about the same time. I can fairly clearly remember Shalom going on and on about the funny parts of the novels, which is most notable because I can barely remember them myself now. The problem I've always had with Discworld is that although I enjoy reading them, and I can remember characters fairly well, the plots and details of the now-more-than-25 books all run together in my head. I can't even look at a book jacket description in the bookstore and be sure whether or not I've read the book before! Makes it difficult to follow. :P

More to come...

"If [British journalists] want to hole up in their hotels, explore their TV remotes and dream of over-cooked vegetables, warm beer and that elusive invite to their boss's private club, that's their business." --David Staples, Edmonton Journal

Posted by blahedo at 12:07am on 14 Nov 2004
In fact, it was Sam, Neil, Chris, and Al. Posted by Kimmitt at 12:33pm on 14 Nov 2004
Oh, that makes sense. That would be why Sam was there and Sara was visiting. :) Posted by blahedo at 2:00pm on 14 Nov 2004
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