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Ask Slashdot: Most Underappreciated Sci-Fi Writer? 1130

Posted by Soulskill
from the nice-try-zombie-brunner dept.
mvdwege writes "In the thread on the most depressing sci-fi, there were hundreds of posts but merely four mentions of John Brunner, dystopian writer par excellence. Now, given the normally U.S. libertarian bent of the Slashdot audience, it is understandable that an outright British Socialist writer like Brunner would get short shrift, but it got me thinking: what Sci-fi writers do you know that are, in your opinion, vastly underappreciated?"
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Ask Slashdot: Most Underappreciated Sci-Fi Writer?

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  • Ursula K. LeGuin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:00PM (#40924239)

    Because I can.

    • by Surt (22457)

      I think he requested under-appreciated.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursula_K._Le_Guin#Awards [wikipedia.org]

  • Stanislaw Lem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:00PM (#40924245) Journal
    I don't think he was the greatest science fiction writer but I think he got the shaft because he wasn't American or British and on top of that he wrote at a time when the Iron Curtain hindered the flow of information -- even fiction. Evidence for this can be seen when he released 17 works in the eight years that followed the "Polish October."

    I will admit I don't know Polish and have only read the English translation of his works but I will also say that where I find contemporary authors like Stephen King or Cormac McCarthy to be masters of description, Lem was lacking. His works, however, I often found mirrored in later American science fiction and sometimes what he packed into a chapter could be as deeply philosophical and have as much political commentary as an entire novel by his contemporaries. One of my Polish computer vision professors in grad school saw me reading the Cyberiad and picked up my book and held it up to the class and hyperbolic-ally announced "Every work of science fiction past 1960 is a derivative of this man." He's probably a hero in Poland but I have friends that consider themselves very avid readers and haven't even heard of him.

    I have to admit I even stumble upon works of his I never got around to and find pleasure in them [slashdot.org].
    • Re:Stanislaw Lem (Score:5, Interesting)

      by grogo (861262) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:26PM (#40924573)
      I am of Polish descent, and have read all of Lem's books in Polish, and most in English. The originals are of course better -- he was a master of inventive wordplay which just doesn't translate very well into other languages. He shaped my appreciation of SciFi forever -- I could never understand why people liked Star Trek for example, which seemed so simplistic in comparison. He's very well known in the East, but hard to find in the West, even now.
      • Re:Stanislaw Lem (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BMOC (2478408) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:59PM (#40925023)
        Star Trek was simply the original television nerdgasm, it's not serious science-fiction. It's hollywood, so everyone is generally happy, conflict is rare, money and class is obsolete, and there's always a happy ending. It can't be serious science fiction on that basis alone.
      • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:28PM (#40925327)

        The originals are of course better

        You mean that they are more polished? *ducks*

      • Re:Stanislaw Lem (Score:4, Interesting)

        by muecksteiner (102093) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @03:09AM (#40928205)

        I don't speak Polish, but am bilingual in English and German. And the German translations of Lem are apparently very, very good. They are certainly full of the kind of very innovative wordplay you mention, which is pretty much absent from the English version. I've been told that the person who did the German translation was a bi-lingual person for whom the whole thing was a labour of love, in that they went the extra mile to make sure as many of the little jokes and puns were translated properly.

    • Re:Stanislaw Lem (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ACS Solver (1068112) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:31PM (#40924625)

      I was hoping in fact just today there'd be an appropriate reason for me to post this on Slashdot.

      Lem is relatively well known in the USA, from what I can judge. The couple of English translations I've encountered weren't particularly good. Lem's Solaris is brilliant, and several other works are well worth reading.

      But whom I really want to point out to sci-fi fans in the USA are the Strugatsky brothers (Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky). Soviet sci-fi authors with legendary status in post-Soviet space among anyone who reads sci-fi. As an avid sci-fi fan, I put them on the very top tier of authors, along with the better known English-language greats like Clarke, Asimov or Bradbury.

      English translations are not too numerous, but I discovered last month that one of their best books, Roadside Picnic, has been re-released in the USA with a new translation. Amazon link [amazon.com]. Give it a try. I really hope that new edition will help in getting them to be better known in the English-speaking world, and greatly hope that this post will get at least a couple of Slashdotters to look into it.

      • Re:Stanislaw Lem (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:06PM (#40925095)

        >>>Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky). Soviet sci-fi authors with legendary status in post-Soviet space among anyone who reads sci-fi.

        The iron curtain blocked a lot of great writers. Not just for Russia/Eastern Europe but also China. I recently purchased a book that was an anthology of the "best" Chinese stories and was blown away.

        TRIVIA - The best selling magazine in the WORLD is a Chinese science fiction magazine. "Science Fiction World" It has a readership of 400,000. For comparison Asimov's SF is only ~15,000.

        http://www.concatenation.org/articles/science_fiction_world_2010.html [concatenation.org]

      • Re:Stanislaw Lem (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Gorobei (127755) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @09:45PM (#40925973)

        This is the first Slashdot in ages in which the comments are hitting almost uniform high quality.

        Brunner, LeGuin, Lem, and the Brothers Strugatsky. All great SciFi in terms of ideas above technological opera.

        I hope to see Yevgeny Zamyatin, maybe even Jack Vance and Zelazny mentioned.

        All these guys are on par with the standard "canon of important literature you should know, Mr college graduate."

  • Alastair Reynolds (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:01PM (#40924249)

    Love the Revelation Space series...

    • by Alamais (4180)
      Agree, except for Absolution Gap. Ugh.
    • To me, Alastair Reynolds is the Robert Jordan of sci-fi. Very long, very tropish, not worth the effort. My Brother adores him, so does my ex-boss who has read everything. My wife didn't care for it, boring and over explanatory.

      I think Iain Banks ruined me for Reynolds, which is funny because it was my ex-boss who turned me on to both authors. I don't know if Iain Banks is under appreciated, but I was the first to mention him in the depressing sci-fi thread. The Culture is this super enlightened,

  • by HaeMaker (221642) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:02PM (#40924271) Homepage

    Going for a downvote record!

    • by drobety (2429764) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:09PM (#40924369)
      L. Ron Hubbard!
      • Re:J. K. Rowling (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:26PM (#40924571)

        Oh, I totally agree!

        We need an "L. Ron Hubbard award for literary audaciousness".

        What other sci-fi writer jumped the shark with such intense audacity as to proclaim a series of lackluster works of science fiction space opera cliches as a genuine religious faith?

        Clearly, this level of literary audaciousness deserves a analog to the raspberry award.

        • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:46PM (#40924825) Homepage

          You gotta admire the innovation though. I mean, many sci-fi stories have been turned into movies or video games, a few into plays and some have even inspired albums. But to my knowledge, Hubbard is the first to turn a sci-fi series into a decades long piece of performance art so encompassing that most of the players don't realize it isn't real life. He even called his shot!

        • by Eponymous Hero (2090636) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:57PM (#40924979)

          What other sci-fi writer jumped the shark with such intense audacity as to proclaim a series of lackluster works of science fiction space opera cliches as a genuine religious faith?

          joseph smith. have you had a peek at the pearl of great price? oh, and the person/people who wrote the urantia book. dianetics is a urantia rip-off.

        • by Deadstick (535032)

          I once worked in a place where numerous people spent long hours sitting at consoles waiting for things to happen, and were allowed to read to stay awake. One guy used to read the same book over and over again, perhaps a hundred times over a decade...

          It was Battlefield Earth.

      • Re:J. K. Rowling (Score:5, Interesting)

        by RedBear (207369) <redbear@@@redbearnet...com> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @10:03PM (#40926121) Homepage

        Keep modding parent up, please.

        Everyone's opinion of L. Ron Hubbard today is strongly colored by the fact that he went insane at some point and took a joke way too far (by inventing Scientology as part of a casual bet with Heinlein over who could invent the best religion). I hate Scientology and all other religious cults (i.e. "religions") as much as the next rational person, but unfortunately it makes people forget the fact that LRH was actually a very good writer back in the day, including science fiction. He was contemporaries and friends with other sci-fi greats like Heinlein. People judge him now based on the craziness of the Xenu story, but I believe he specifically made the basis of Scientology as totally nonsensical as possible to demonstrate how easy it is to get people to believe in totally nonsensical made-up crap. He was making a point, originally, but then ran off the tracks with it because so many people fell for it that he convinced himself it was real (or at least worth taking advantage of to bring himself money and power).

        All that aside, and this has been mentioned before a couple of times in other sci-fi discussions, the man was fully capable of writing excellent stories. I was fortunate to read _Battlefield Earth_ long before I had ever heard of Scientology, and even though I've devoured Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Herbert, Dick, Zelazny, and many other great collections of sci-fi before and since, to this day decades later _Battlefield Earth_ remains one of my favorite sci-fi novels. There's just something about it. It's incredibly well thought out logistically and filled with fascinating concepts that I've never quite seen replicated in any other sci-fi I've ever read or seen since then. There's a sort of plans-within-plans scheming aspect that strongly reminds me of _Dune_ at times. It's also very long, much longer than your typical sci-fi novel, so it's got the space to tell a very detailed and satisfying saga-type story with lots of different well-written characters. There are many concepts and scenes from the book that just pop back into my head now and then because they were just so unique and interesting. Oh, and it's just plain fun. It's a grand adventure. (One of my favorite parts was the little gray lawyer guy with the upset stomach at the end. Hilarious.)

        The movie of course is a horrible joke. I was actually kind of surprised that someone with that much money to play with and who supposedly worships LRH as part of his religion would thoroughly massacre such a great book. The movie ended up containing about 1% of what made the book so good. So don't let that stop you from reading the book. If someone really did justice to a movie adaptation it could easily be one of the best blockbuster trilogies ever made.

        So anyway, if you've got the balls go get yourself a copy of _Battlefield Earth_ and read it. Then when people ask why you're reading crap by "that Scientology guy" you can set them straight. My vote is definitely for L. Ron Hubbard being one of the most underappreciated sci-fi writers today.

        • by Randym (25779) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @07:29AM (#40929501)
          (by inventing Scientology as part of a casual bet with Heinlein over who could invent the best religion)

          According to Harlan Ellison, who was there, the actual event came about at a Con in NYC in 1952 when L. Sprauge de Camp made a joke that, if you wanted to make money with science fiction, you should just invent your own religion. L. Ron, however, took it seriously.

          L. Sprauge de Camp, unfortunately, remains unappreciated.

        • by hazydave (96747)

          I have read a few L. R. Hubbard books -- always found them pretty schlocky. Thus, only the few, while I have read most if not everything from others of that era: Clarke, Asimov, Herbert, Zelazny, Ellison, etc.

          As far as Scientology goes, there are plenty of rumors. It's pretty clear that Hubbard started with Dianetics. He lost control of Dianetics when he had to sell out interest in the business to pay back taxes. Oops. So why not turn it into a religion? That way, there are no taxes to pay, and as the figur

  • by some old guy (674482) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:02PM (#40924273)

    And so it goes.

  • Daniel Suarez (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:03PM (#40924279)

    Daniel Suarez and his trilogy of Daemon, Freedom(TM), and Kill Decision.

  • Kurt Vonnegut (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stolzy (2656399) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:04PM (#40924281)
    The man who inspired Douglas Adams at an early age.
  • by Lorens (597774) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:04PM (#40924295) Journal

    Just one "SF" novel, "Kallocain", written eight years before Orwell's 1984. Definitely worth reading for the day when technology can easily detect lies and/or force people to speak the truth.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:05PM (#40924309)

    Duh!

  • Piper (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:06PM (#40924317)

    H. Beam. Piper: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._Beam_Piper [wikipedia.org]

    But then he cut his own life short, so who knows where he might have gone?

  • Me (Score:5, Funny)

    by multiben (1916126) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:06PM (#40924325)
    I wrote a short story in 3rd grade about being transformed into a sultana. My teacher said my handwriting was too messy. I never wrote again.
    • by Kenja (541830)
      To be "underappreciated" there must first be something worthy of appreciation. I fear your teacher may have been right.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by swell (195815)

      "My teacher said my handwriting was too messy. I never wrote again."

      You were lucky. My teacher said I was smart and my writing was good. She almost had me believing I was smart, but I've wasted 60 years writing in an age when writers outnumber readers.

    • by Shavano (2541114)
      She was probably right. A sultana should wite in beautiful flowing Arabic script.
  • Cordwainer Smith (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:06PM (#40924327)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordwainer_Smith

    • by arth1 (260657)

      I'm not too sure. I think mister Linebarger is one of those that are overappreciated, like E.E. Doc Smith and RAH.
      Even though they wrote their spit shined hero stories well, they also did receive their well deserved appreciation for them.

      I'd rather go with Harry Martinson [wikipedia.org] and Cyril M. Kornbluth [scribd.com].
      What, you haven't heard of them? Goes to show that they're underappreciated.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordwainer_Smith

      I hate to be trite, but this ends the discussion. Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, aka, Cordwainer Smith was an absolutely brilliant writer, possibly the most brilliant ever in the field. His stories put you in another place, another time, another reality. Not just a spectator, but a participant. It's hard to describe. And the kittens. Oh, fear the kittens.

  • Olaf Stapledon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by reboot246 (623534) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:08PM (#40924365) Homepage
    Way ahead of his time.
  • Robert Anton Wilson (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gallondr00nk (868673) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:12PM (#40924399)

    The Illuminatus Trilogy was brilliant, and his SchrÃdinger's Cat Trilogy was pretty awesome too. I guess there's better writers out there, and more prolific ones, but there's something thought provoking about his work. For me , they allow you to see the world differently and they make you ask questions. RIP RAW.

    • He has more. LOTS more. You may find yourself delighted to find that out. I seem to remember that he had an article or two in Magical Blend magazine back in the day (The day when I was subscribing to Magical Blend Magazine, which was some number of days ago now.) That was a fun magazine too. If I recall correctly, Wilson noted that if you rearranged the letters in "George Herbert Walker Bush", you got "Huge Berserk Rebel Warthog". Timothy Leary, I think it was in the same issue, speculated that Bush was so
  • by TWX (665546) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:13PM (#40924403)
    Terry Pratchett and Discworld are almost unknown outside of fandom. He's REALLY popular in fandom, but not seemingly widely read outside. And yes, he is a science fiction writer with The Bromeliad...

    I also enjoyed Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail. Granted, it was a translation, but it was a helluva interesting story about the third world deciding to invade the first, through mass population exodus. I got to read that in a pop culture sci fi English class in college, even though it was originally written in French and translated.

    I enjoy some Piers Anthony, even though I didn't enjoy Bio of a Space Tyrant. The Xanth series is fun if you're bored and willing to read 'em straight through, and like puns. Mute was good.

    I read a lot of David Weber, though I wish he'd get on with the Honorverse and with Dahak and Safehold. After Robert Jordan's death I swore I wouldn't read any more authors who were living or at least whose series were still going somewhere and weren't done, and Weber is one of the few that fits that. Dammit, finish the stories!

    And Bruce Sterling seems under-appreciated these days too.
  • Walter M. Miller Jr. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ian Lamont (1116549) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:15PM (#40924431) Homepage
    I read a lot of post-apocalyptic sci-fi when I was a kid, and the author that really stood out was Walter M. Miller, Jr., author of A Canticle for Leibowitz. He's a strong short story writer as well, but he's seldom mentioned in sci-fi lists -- I speculate it's because his prime writing period was in the 1950s.
  • Philip K. Dick (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JoeDuncan (874519) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:17PM (#40924451)

    He was almost unknown while he was alive, I'd never heard of him until I was an adult, and the only reason most people know about him is because Hollywood has been mining his mind-nuggets post-mortem for decades.

    I'm sure the Slashdot crowd appreciates him, but I'd still say he's under-appreciated because he deserves to be up there with the likes of Asimov, Wells and Verne.

  • See what they did with Lewis Padgett's Mimsy Were the Borogoves. Sometimes being just ignored and leaving they great work unspoiled by hollywoodisms is a good thing.
  • Though honestly he was more "fantasy" than "Sci Fi", I think. Even if you find someone who's heard of him, they pretty much just read the Chronicles of Amber and called it good. His experimental works were a lot of fun. I don't think he was the best sci fi writer ever, but he's one of my personal favorites.
  • She's under-appreciated as a sci-fi authour because she says she doesn't write sci-fi, even though that's what she's best at and the rest of her work is mediocre.
  • Garrett P. Serviss (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:21PM (#40924503) Journal

    Writer of lame fanfiction and sci-fi genre pioneer, apparently:

    http://www.cracked.com/article_19949_the-6-most-important-sci-fi-ideas-were-invented-by-hack.html [cracked.com]

  • Moses! (Score:2, Funny)

    by citylivin (1250770)

    Number 1 in print, but he's not the first person you think of!

  • by Eli Gottlieb (917758) <eligottlieb@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:23PM (#40924539) Homepage Journal

    Because Snow Crash is the first piece of science-fiction I've ever read, and then reflected that it actually predicted its future pretty well.

  • That would have to be H. Beam Piper. The SF community has been claiming that for a long, long time. But I am sure that Clifford Simak would get some votes too.
  • by TopSpin (753) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:24PM (#40924551) Journal

    Robert L. Forward. An actual physicist.

    To those evolved on the surface of a neutron star, you are mere smoke.

    • I read Dragon's Egg when I was... 14 or 15 I think. It was a good book. It was a bit slow in spots but I still recall the story from time to time even now. I have no idea if he wrote anything else, your neutron star reference is what triggered my memory.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon's_Egg [wikipedia.org]

  • Yevgeny Zamyatin (Score:5, Informative)

    by PAPPP (546666) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:25PM (#40924561) Homepage
    I'll argue for Yevgeny Zamyatin [wikipedia.org], at least for authors unknown among people who otherwise appreciate Sci-Fi. We [wikipedia.org] is probably my favorite of it's style of dystopian novels (Think 1984 and Brave New World) - it uses a clever mathematical symbolism as a framework for the story, it has an awesome IRL history of copies being smuggled in and out of the Soviet Union, and Zamyatin was an Old Bolshevik disenchanted with later developments in the party. This means it has a little bit different perspective than the similar pieces by western authors, and explains the nifty "There is no final revolution" mantra in the novel.
  • David Brin (Score:4, Informative)

    by Antipater (2053064) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:27PM (#40924581)
    I don't hang out much with people who read sci-fi, so I don't actually know how well-known he is. But I've never heard him brought up during a sci-fi discussion, despite his work being amazing. So he gets my vote.
    • Re:David Brin (Score:4, Interesting)

      by xevioso (598654) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:58PM (#40924995)

      He's quite well known, has had a movie made from one of his works (The Postman, with Kevin Costner), and has won multiple awards. He just hasn't writtena lot of his more epic sci fi he originally was known for in a while. But I wouldn't say he's under-appreciated. Also he just released a new book. Can't remember the name though.

  • Fredric Brown (Score:5, Insightful)

    by knarfling (735361) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:29PM (#40924613) Journal
    As a kid, I loved many of the Fredric Brown short stories. It amazed me that most of them were written in the '50s. He explored concepts such a time travel, alien visitors, imortallity and power in short stories that were amazing. I loved this beginning (and ending) to "Knock."

    The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door...

    One of his more famous stories, Arena, was made into a Star Trek episode, although I liked the story better. My favorite story is a just a few paragraphs about a many who invents a machine to manipulate time.

    Fredric Brown helped me to understand how limited my imagination really was and prompted me to expand it. What is more amazing to me is how well these stories still hold up today.

    • by Smallpond (221300)

      My brother recently found and gave me a copy of What Mad Universe because we had both read and enjoyed it as kids. Fredric Brown was great.

  • Eric Frank Russell (Score:5, Informative)

    by aitala (111068) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:31PM (#40924629) Homepage

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Frank_Russell

    EMA

  • Alan Dean Foster (Score:5, Informative)

    by conspirator23 (207097) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:34PM (#40924667)

    Foster has single-handedly committed all the cardinal sins that Serious SF Authors(tm) must never do:

    Movie/TV spin-off novels? Check (See: Splinter of the Mind's Eye [wikipedia.org]).
    Crossing over into Fantasy? Check (See: Spellsinger [wikipedia.org]).
    Dabbling with humor? Check (Spellsinger, Glory Lane [goodreads.com], etc.).
    Indulging a disrespected fringe group? Check. (Furries man. See Spellsinger (again!), Quozl [wikifur.com], the Icerigger trilogy).

    If there is a scale that measures prolific hackery, with Peirs Anthony on the bottom and Stephen King on the top, I would put Foster far, far closer to King. Glory Lane, To the Vanishing Point, and Into the Out Of are all truly excellent reads. They're not life changers, they're just damn good. He's got a fine roster of clever and poigniant short stories. For old school geeks, the most notable of which is "Why Johnny Can't Speed" which has been cited as direct inspiration for the classic Steve Jackson game Car Wars [wikipedia.org].

    And hey, without Car Wars, SJ Games might never have been successful enough to launch GURPS. Without GURPS, there would be no GURPS Cyberpunk, no Secret Service raid on SJ Games in 1991, and maybe no Electronic Frontier Foundation either. How's that for underrated?

    • Ugh Why is it I never have Karma when I WANT karma? Alan Dean Foster is my favorite author bar none. I LOVED the Spellsinger series as a teenager. So many others: Flinx and his minidragon Pip, Dinotopia, The Man who Used the Universe. Foster is awesome. If you've never given in to reading any of his books, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to an afternoon reading one of his novels!
  • by glassware (195317) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:39PM (#40924717) Homepage Journal

    You should read the short story "... And Now The News." It's truly one of the most eye opening short stories that nobody knows about. In many ways, it's a gloriously alternative view about the sadness of life and the optimism that people can have. Truly one of the best stories I'd recommend to anyone.

    Here's the link:
    http://books.google.com/books/about/And_Now_the_News.html?id=wpuJQrxHZXAC [google.com]

    Some more commentary:
    http://www.physics.emory.edu/~weeks/misc/faq.html [emory.edu]

  • R.A. Lafferty (Score:4, Informative)

    by HaroldBakker (708586) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:41PM (#40924749)
    His writing wasn't 100% Science Fiction but close enough and since it's either that or Fantasy we'll have to allow it I think.
  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:43PM (#40924789)
    HP Lovecraft. He generally dismissed as a horror writer by non horror fans but he's not given credit for the scifi nature of most of his work. There are obvious scifi stories like "In the Walls of Eryx" but most of his stories had scifi themes. At the Mountains of Madness was about an alien race that built a city in Antarctica millions of years ago and potentially created human life if not all life on Earth. Even stories like The Whisperer in Darkness dealt with a race of aliens that harvested brains to transport the minds of people between worlds. The old gods were described as very powerful aliens. He talked about alien races, space travel, dimensional travel and engineering lifeforms with science not magic. The magic in his stories was mostly expressed as alien super science even the spells and symbols used were seen as science. Another story Cool Air was about some one preserving life after death with chemicals and refrigeration. People forget the original Herbert West Reanimator was a Frankenstein like story of resurrecting the dead through science not magic. Yes he was a horror writer but the bulk of his world was more science fiction than fantasy.
  • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:47PM (#40924841) Homepage Journal

    I started to read sci-fi in the early 1970s, after the Golden Age but while many of the Golden Age writers were still with us. Time has passed and many great (and countless very good) writers are no longer with us are fading into obscurity: C.L. Moore, Alfred Bester, Clifford D. Simak, and Randall Garrett to name a few.

  • Gene Wolfe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crunchygranola (1954152) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:50PM (#40924895)

    The Book of the New Sun should be considered one of the great novels of the Twentieth Century. It has been aptly described as a work of vast imagination.

  • Poul Anderson (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steveha (103154) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:51PM (#40924905) Homepage

    Most unappreciated has to go to Poul Anderson.

    He wrote so much stuff, and almost all of it top-notch. His name deserves to be right up there with Asimov and Clarke and Heinlein.

    The Flandry books. The van Rijn books. The Time Patrol. The Hoka books!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poul_Anderson [wikipedia.org]

    http://baen.com/author_catalog.asp?author=panderson [baen.com]

    His work was nominated for Hugo awards on numerous occasions, but the top names released popular stories at the same time and he lost to those.

    Somewhere I saw a discussion of the best SF books to give to SF-hating friends to try to win them over. The Time Patrol books were chosen by several. "The Sorrow of Odin the Goth" is fantastic.

    Baen collected all the Time Patrol stuff into one mega volume:

    http://www.baenebooks.com/p-428-time-patrol.aspx [baenebooks.com]

    You can read the first novella and most of the second one for free at the above link (click on "View sample chapters").

    steveha

  • Donald Kingsbury (Score:4, Informative)

    by hemo_jr (1122113) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:59PM (#40925001)

    _Courtship Rite_ is amazingly good. "Shipwright" and "To Bring in the Steel" are also top-tier. He just didn't write enough.

    And if this audience here is actually Libertarian, he would have been mentioned well before now.

    • Have you read Psychohistorical Crisis? I can't decide if it's nuts or genius, but as usual with Kingsbury, very well written.
  • My Short List (Score:4, Interesting)

    by careysub (976506) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:59PM (#40925005)
    • RA Lafferty
    • Gene Wolfe
    • Corwainer Smith
    • Jorge Luis Borges
  • by Grog6 (85859) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:04PM (#40925073)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_P._Hogan [wikipedia.org]

    The Two Faces of Tomorrow was my favorite.

  • Daniel Keys Moran (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JabberWokky (19442) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:18PM (#40925243) Homepage Journal

    The guy invented Cyberpunk as we know it (or at least pioneered it), and nobody credits him for it. He had avatars in the Crystal Wind (his vision of the VR net) and AIs doing battle with and against genetically engineered soldiers and telepaths, all set against a backdrop universe of UN Peacekeepers keeping a fascist regime in place with orbital lasers and a greater background spanning the whole of time. Internet addiction, flying cars that nobody was allowed to drive manually for safety reasons, and near future military equipment that makes sense (with drawbacks and idiot proofing). His universe dates back in magazines to 1983, a year before Neuromancer, but his novels were published a year later.

    Plus he's been included in collections like "Star Wars: Tales from Jabba’s Palace" and "Star Wars: Tales of the Bounty Hunters".

    And almost nobody has heard of him.

  • by wavedeform (561378) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:27PM (#40925317)
    Alfred Bester didn't publish very much science fiction, but his novels are amazingly good, and the short stories are also wonderful.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:37PM (#40925409) Homepage

    He just does not get enough hugs. I really encourage everyone to go to his book signings and appearances and give him a big ol hug.

  • by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <wwoodhull@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @09:37PM (#40925913) Homepage Journal

    Lincoln's Dreams. To Say Nothing of the Dog. TheDoomsday Book. Passage. Etc. Oodles of Nebula and Hugo awards, but her name rarely comes up in general discussions about sci-fi. So despite her literary successes, she qualifies as underappreciated (in the Slashdot venue).

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.

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