Mr Sandefur poses an interesting question, well actually the question that it prompted for me was not at all the point of his post but be that as it may, he writes:

My favorite living writer, John Varley, is a candid man. He’s also a proud hippie. So when he says something about politics, it’s candid hippiness, and thus a good opportunity to see how weird that sort of thinking (obviously in the ascendant now) really is.

I haven’t read John Varley since the mid 80s, but that prompted a question for me, namely was who is my favorite living (fiction) writer. To which I have no ready answer, but I have a few suggestions for my favorite (living) writer spread across a few different categories

  1. Fiction in General: Dan Simmons. If you like the Homer epics read his Ilium and Olympos books. This is his latest (Drood: A Novel), which I have not read yet.
  2. Classical fantasy: Steven Erickson. He’s coming to the end of an intensely complicated series of 10 books, intricately imagined. Start with Gardens of the Moon and be warned there’s a deluge of characters and names. Many if not most return in later books. But if you like your fantasy with to be epic in breadth, realistic character motivations and a gritty combination of the fantasy equivalent of nuclear war as seen from the trenches … stick with it. The ride is worth it.
  3. Historical Fiction: Sharon Kay Penman. Her writing gripping and interestingly enough on of the most difficult parts of her writing is how the narrative seems to jump randomly forward in her characters life … but the reason for that is fascinating. It’s because she only writes and imagines in narrative scenes of a her protagonists lives which are supported by the historical record (with the addition of one or two fictional characters to help her fill out the narrative). I’d highly recommend The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard III and Here Be Dragons to start.
  4. Honorable Mention: Matt Ruff.With Ayn Rand getting back in the news, every libertarian with any sense of humor should have Sewer, Gas and Electric: The Public Works Trilogy on their list as required reading to be a card carrying libertarian or … if you just like to laugh out loud while reading a book. And Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls was a fascinating psychological thriller

How about you?

Filed under: BooksMark O.

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