Good Books List - By Author, With Commentary


Commentary on authors is added occasionally as procrastination from real work...
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Aaron, Rachael

  • Nice Dragons Finish Last, One Good Dragon Deserves Another (fan)
  • the Eli Monpress series (fan)
    • The Legend of Eli Monpress
    • The Spirit War
    • Spirit's End
    • Spirit's Oath

Fantasy series about a master thief in a world where magic works. I know, I know, you've heard this meme before. But it's very well done!

Aaron, Rachel

  • the Eli Monpress series (fan)

Abbott, Edwin A.

  • Flatland (non)

Flatland is of course the archetypal popular math book. Life in 2D has its problems... See also Dewdney's Planiverse and the lesser known sequel Sphereland.

Adams, Douglas and Carwardine, Mark

  • Last Chance To See (non)

Adams, Richard

  • Shardik (fan)
  • The Plague Dogs (fan)
  • Watership Down (fan)

Watership Down was one of the favorite books of my family. We have been known to use the words "silflay" and "hrududu" in conversation. The saga of a band of rabbits who must find a new home, set in the contemporary world. I'm classifying it as fantasy since it's a talking animal book. But a damn good one, with a lot of psychological depth and considerable worldbuilding of their mythology and religion backstory.

Shardik is also an animal's eye view of the world, this one from a bear's point of view. And The Plague Dogs, with escapees from an animal testing lab - considerably more grim than the Rats of NIMH version.

Adams, Scott

  • Bring Me The Head of Willy the Mailboy (hum)
  • Casual Day has Gone Too Far (hum)
  • I'm Not Anti-Business, I'm Anti-Idiot (hum)
  • Journey to Cubeville (hum)

What can I say? Everybody loves Dilbert. Me too.

Ahmed, Saladin

  • Throne of the Crescent Moon (fan)

Fantasy in an Arabic-flavored world with an interesting magic system. Very satisfying.

Akutagawa, Ryunosuke

  • Rashomon and Other Stories (fic)

Includes multiperspective short story that inspired Kurosawa's movie.

Albom, Mitch

  • Tuesdays with Morrie (non)

Allen, Roger MacBride

  • Allies & Aliens (sf)
  • Farside Cannon (sf)
  • The Ring of Charon (sf)
  • The Ring of Charon, The Shattered Sphere (sf)
  • The Ring of Charon, The Shattered Sphere (sf)
  • The Shattered Sphere (sf)

Hard SF. The Charon/Sphere series is fun - a physics grad student screws up and the Earth vanishes. Puts my troubles into perspective...

Anders, Charlie Jane

  • All the Birds in the Sky (fan)

Anderson, Poul

  • The Boat of a Million Years (sf)

The Boat of a Million Years is one of these large timespan novels - most of it is from a few thousand years ago til now, and the last section is in the far-distant future. So the it's a nonstandard blend - the first two-thirds is essentially historical fiction about a few people who find that they're immortal, and how they both hide and try to find others like themselves. Then the last part is the hard SF of their interstellar journey away from a future Earth which they no longer feel a part of, into the unknown.

A fine book - although I don't quite understand why the friend who lent it to me thinks it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Chacun a son gout...

Angelou, Maya

  • Letter to My Daughter (non)

Anthony, Mark

  • Beyond the Pale, The Keep of Fire, The Dark Remains, Blood of Mystery (fan)
  • Gates of Winter (fan)
  • The First Stone (fan)

High fantasy, I think. Read these long ago and details are only dimly remembered. Reasonable but not great. Possible that these would be downgraded off the recommended list if I re-read them...

Armstrong, Kelley

  • Exit Strategy, Made to be Broken (fic)
  • the Otherworld series (fan)
    • Bitten
    • Stolen
    • Dime Store Magic
    • Industrial Magic
    • Haunted
    • Broken
    • No Humans Involved
    • Personal Demon
    • Living with the Dead
    • Frostbitten
    • Waking the Witch
    • Spell Bound
    • Men of the Otherworld
    • Tales of the Otherworld
  • the Otherworld series (fan)

The Otherworld series is urban fantasy in the same paranormal romance vein as the Mercy Thompson series of Patricia Briggs: lots on the emotional sociopolitics of werewolves and witches/warlocks.

Arnason, Eleanor

  • Ring of Swords (sf)
  • The Sword Smith (fan)

Details hazy, vaguely remember it being fantasy with some underlying grimness/reality rather than sweetness-and-light. I've also read Woman of the Iron People, but wasn't blown away by it. I think she is worthwhile, but somehow doesn't resonate with me so much.

Asaro, Catherine

  • A Roll of the Dice (sf)
  • Diamond Star (sf)
  • Schism (sf)
  • Skyfall (sf)
  • Spherical Harmonic (sf)
  • The Final Key (sf)
  • The Moon's Shadow (sf)
  • The Quantum Rose (sf)
  • The Ruby Dice (sf)
  • Walk in Silence (sf)
  • the Skolian Empire series (sf)
    • Primary Inversion
    • Catch the Lightning
    • The Last Hawk
    • The Radiant Seas
    • Ascendant Sun
    • The Quantum Rose
    • Spherical Harmonic
    • The Moon's Shadow
    • Skyfall
    • Schism
    • The Final Key
    • The Ruby Dice
    • Diamond Star
  • the Skolian Empire series (sf)
  • the Skolian Empire series (sf)
  • the Skolian Empire series (sf)

The Skolian Empire series is a set of interlocking novels about the members of the Ruby dynasty, key players in a massive galactic political power struggle. The individual novels are far more standalone than most series. The telepath good guys are the only ones who can run the machines of a long-extinct empire that handle long-distance communication, but their empathic power also makes them prime targets for their Trader enemies. The backstory is that a few thousand years ago, Mayans were abducted by aliens and stranded on faraway planets. By the time of this series, the Terrans are a third political space-based empire, although they haven't been at the focus of any of the novels yet.

Which brings to mind the somewhat similar backstory of Patricia Kennealy's Celtic series, where Terrans of several hundred years from now are exploring space and are shocked to find an existing empire of Celtic druids that have both spaceships and magic. But Kennealy's Celts left Earth on their own ships when threatened by the spread of Christianity, rather than being abducted.

Unusually, the series progresses non-chronologically, so backstory gets filled in more often than we find out What Happens Next. Frustrating, but in a pleasant sort of way.

Alas, the non-Skolian books are awful. The Charmed Sphere is really bad fantasy, and Sunrise Alley is astoundingly wooden AI/robotics.

Ash, Sarah

  • Lord of Snow and Shadows (fan)

Asher, Neal

  • The Skinner, The Voyage of the Sable Keech (sf)

Far-future hard-ish SF with a bit more bio than cyber flavor. Somehow depressing enough that I haven't read too many, there are more.

Athill, Diana

  • Stet: An Editor's Life (bio)

Atwood, Margaret

  • Cat's Eye (fic)
  • Oryx and Crake (sf)
  • The Handmaid's Tale (sf)
  • The Robber Bride (fic)

One of the more famous crossover authors who writes SF/fantasy yet is respected by the literary establishment. I keep meaning to read more by her, but haven't yet. I think of her in the same spirit as Marge Piercy, to the point where I can't keep track of which of them wrote what and have to look it up. They both write books that snap my head back like an uppercut to the jaw, and scenes from them bounce around my head for quite some time...

Austen, Jane

  • Emma (fic)
  • Mansfield Park (fic)
  • Northanger Abbey (fic)
  • Persuasion (fic)

Another what can I say? Of course you've heard of her. She's somewhat like Miss Manners, in that she's snippy with maximum politeness.

Auster, Paul

  • Mr. Vertigo (fic)
  • Timbuktu (fic)

Mr. Vertigo is a somewhat surreal book about someone who learns (after much study) to levitate, one of my longstanding unrealized dreams...

Timbuktu is told from a dog's point of view, but Auster manages to steer clear of anthropomorphic sentimentality.

Babcock, Linda and Laschever, Sara

  • Women Don't Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation (non)

Bach, Rachel

  • Fortune's Pawn (sf)
  • Fortune's Pawn, Honor's Knight, Heaven's Queen (sf)

Good military SF.

Bacigalupi, Paolo

  • The Windup Girl (sf)

The Windup Girl is mid-future biotech oriented, somehow took me a quite while to get into it. I'm still not utterly in love, although it's gotten high profile award attention.

Baillie, Martha

  • The Incident Report (fic)

The equivalent of an epistolatory novel, but told in the form of reports filed by a librarian rather than of an exchange of letters. Extremely charming if you're a book geek. (And if you're not, then why in heck are you reading this page?!)

Baker, Kage

  • Gods and Pawns (sf)
  • In the Garden of Iden (sf)
  • Mendoza in Hollywood (sf)
  • Sky Coyote (sf)
  • The Anvil of the World (fan)
  • The Children of the Company (sf)
  • The Empress of Mars (sf)
  • The Machine's Child (sf)
  • The Sons of Heaven (sf)
  • the Company series (sf)
    • The Garden of Iden
    • Sky Coyote
    • Mendoza in Hollywood
    • The Graveyard Game
    • The Life of the World to Come
    • The Children of the Company
    • The Machine's Child
    • Gods and Pawns
    • The Sons of Heaven

In the Garden of Iden is a time travel book mostly set in Renaissance England. A botanist is surprised to find the contemporaries aren't all as barbaric as she first assumed, when she falls in love with one. The Company series continues for several more books, an interesting mix of compelling and frustrating as we come closer and closer to understanding the Big Seekrit Singularity Event in a way that converges ever slower, like Zeno's Paradox - will we ever get there?! And then we do, and it leaves me scratching my head. But in a good way. Definitely recommended. I think I should re-read the whole series soon. See also the many short stories in the series (not listed here since I'm too lazy to type them in, now collected in a few volumes of their own).

The Anvil of the World is a splendid fantasy farce, and I don't normally enjoy humor in my SF/fantasy.

Banchoff, Tom

  • Beyond the Third Dimension (non)

Mathematics for a broad audience - one of the best such books on 4D, with lots of pictures.

Banks, Iain

  • A Song of Stone (fic)
  • Complicity (fic)
  • The Crow Road (fic)
  • Whit (fic)

Same guy as Iain M Banks, but without the M it's not SF. These books all have a cruel/macabre streak to them, which somehow hits home more since they're in contemporary settings.

Banks, Iain M.

  • Against a Dark Background (sf)
  • Consider Phlebas (sf)
  • Excession (sf)
  • Feersum Endjinn (sf)
  • Inversions (sf)
  • Look to Windward (sf)
  • Matter (sf)
  • The Algebraist (sf)
  • The Hydrogen Sonata (sf)
  • The Player of Games (sf)
  • The State of the Art (sf)
  • The State of the Art (sf)
  • Use of Weapons (sf)

One of my favorite SF authors. Most of these books are set in the Culture, a future society with long-lived humans and refreshingly irreverent sentient machines. The AIs, ranging in size from wasps to moons, have great names. Although the Culture is a utopia of sorts, the books manage to be almost unremittingly bleak. I love them, although my mother objects to the fact that usually everyone's dead at the end. (The same could be said of Shakespeare...)

Inversions is (mostly) non-Culture, not quite up to the standard of the others, but with a similar theme - the interwoven stories of two people in self-imposed exile, dealing with the barbaric culture around them.

Feersum Endjinn isn't a Culture book, and took me a while to get into because the half of it in the voice of the main character is spelled phonetically. It's worth reading anyway, just persevere.

Bantock, Nick

  • the Griffin & Sabine trilogy (fic)
    • Griffin & Sabine
    • Sabine's Notebook
    • The Golden Mean

Whimsical correspondence between two people, in the form of postcards sent to each other between exotic locales. Mostly pictures, but a fun way to while away an hour.

Barnes, John

  • A Million Open Doors (sf)
  • A Million Open Doors, Earth Made of Glass (sf)
  • Apostrophes & Apocalypses (sf)
  • Candle (sf)
  • Directive 51, Daybreak Zero, The Last President (sf)
  • Finity (sf)
  • Kaleidescope Century (sf)
  • Mother of Storms (sf)
  • One for the Morning Glory (fan)
  • One for the Morning Glory (fan)
  • Orbital Resonance (sf)
  • Orbital Resonance (sf)
  • Patton's Spaceship, Washington's Dirigible, Caesar's Bicycle (sf)
  • The Armies of Memory (sf)
  • The Duke of Uranium, A Princess of the Aerie, In the Hall of the Martian King (sf)
  • The Merchants of Souls (sf)
  • The Sky So Big and Black (sf)
  • The Sky So Big and Black (sf)
  • The Sky so Big and Black (sf)

One for the Morning Glory is an idiosyncratic reworking of the archetypal fantasy story of the hero's quest. And a must-read for anyone who enjoys wordplay!

A Million Open Doors and Earth Made of Glass explore the culture shock of moving from one world to another, when travel becomes a matter of stepping through a portal instead of decades of ship travel. Earth's colonies comprise the Thousand Cultures, many of which are synthetic cultures inspired by works of literature, created by various eccentrics who sent off colony ships with idiosyncratic versions of "history" in their archives. The advent of the portals wreaks havoc with the self-identity of each of these cultures. The Merchants of Souls is the next in the series, also good. And Armies of Memory after that.

Orbital Resonance is a coming-of-age story, reminded me a bit of David Palmer's Emergence.

Mother of Storms and Kaleidescope Century are both near-future, but not related to each other. Didn't like them as much as the others.

Finity is the best novel I've read that uses the quantum many worlds hypothesis as a plot device, since Barnes doesn't let physics exposition get in the way of the story.

Apostrophes and Apocalypses is a book of short stories and essays.

The Duke of Uranium series is pretty light, in the Heinlein juvenile tradition. OK if you're in the right mood, but not up to his usual standard IMHO.

The Sky So Big and Black is one of his best, and a followup of sorts to Candle which I appreciate but didn't like as much.

Barry, Max

  • Lexicon (sf)

Barton, William

  • Acts of Conscience (sf)
  • Dark Sky Legion (sf)
  • When We Were Real (sf)

In When We Were Real, the male protagonist escapes a matriarchal society to become a corporate mercenary, for lack of any better alternative. Reasonably bleak future despite functional immortality - people don't die of natural causes, but they can be killed -and often are, since the corporations don't put much value on human life. Nonhumans (cyborgs, gengineered "optimods", robots) are legally chattel, as are some humans. The flavor reminded me a bit of Ian McDonald's The Broken Land or Desolation Road. It's not the best book I've ever read, but it's the first book that I've read that rang true about the bleak psychological implications of extended lifespans - that it's not just an unbroken wonderland of eternal happiness, but that you'd often be forced to episodically rebuild a new life/home multiple times, often through circumstances not of your own choosing.

Beagle, Peter S.

  • A Dance for Emilia (fan)
  • Tamsin (fan)
  • The Innkeeper's Song (fan)
  • The Last Unicorn (fan)
  • The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and other odd acquaintances (fan)

Fantasy but not swords 'n sorcery. Gentle is a word that comes to mind...

Bear, Elizabeth

  • Blood and Iron, Whiskey and Water (fan)
  • Carnival (sf)
  • Dust (sf)
  • Dust, Chill, Grail (sf)
  • Hammered, Scardown, Worldwired (sf)
  • Range of Ghosts (fan)
  • Undertow (sf)

The Hammered/Scardown/Worldwired series is good and cyberpunkish. Carnival and Undertow are both standalone, very different in flavor. Dust is the beginning of a great new series, followed by Chill and Grail which were not as strong but still satisfying. Alas, I was disappointed by All the Windwracked Stars, too disjointed to recommend.

Bear, Greg

  • Beyond Heaven's River (sf)
  • Blood Music (sf)
  • Darwin's Radio (sf)
  • Eon, Eternity (sf)
  • Eon, Eternity (sf)
  • Eon, Eternity (sf)
  • Heads (sf)
  • Heads (sf)
  • Legacy (sf)
  • Moving Mars (sf)
  • Psychlone (sf)
  • Queen of Angels (sf)
  • Queen of Angels, Slant (sf)
  • The Forge of God, Anvil of Stars (sf)
  • The Infinity Concerto, The Serpent Mage (fan)
  • The Infinity Concerto, The Serpent Mage (fan)
  • The Venging (sf)
  • Vitals (sf)

I've liked everything he's ever written. Mostly it's SF, except for the fantasy series of Infinity Concerto and Serpent Mage which is also great. Many of his books deal with the possible implications of nanotech. It's the focus of Blood Music, but forms the backdrop of some of the others. Eon and Eternity are a duo about a female mathematician who's in a team that investigates a mysterious object that suddenly appears in orbit. I particularly like the part where she needs to use a pi-meter: a device that measures the value of pi in the local spatial neighborhood.

Most SF writers have this technology-will-save-the-day feel, and usually Bear is one of them. Not this time...

Beard, Henry

  • Zen For Cats (hum)

Bechdel, Alison

  • Fun House (bio)

Fun House is a tour de force, an autobiographical comic. Gripping, but not happy.

Benford, Gregory

  • Against Infinity (sf)
  • Cosm (sf)
  • Eater (sf)
  • Matter's End (sf)
  • Timescape (sf)
  • the Galactic Center series (sf)
    • Across the Sea of Suns
    • In the Ocean of the Night
    • Great Sky River
    • Tides of Light
    • Furious Gulf
    • Sailing Bright Eternity

The Galactic Center series starts near-future with Across the Sea of Suns, but by Great Sky River it's far future where the sentient machines dominate the galaxy. Humans are barely surviving in the fringes, like cockroaches, desperately using technology they no longer understand as they try to avoid total extinction.

Against Infinity (not a Galactic Center book) is set on Ganymede, about humans trying to hunt an alien artifact. Matter's End is a short story collection.

I was deeply disappointed by Foundation's Fear, the first in a trilogy set in Isaac Asimov's Foundation universe. The characterization was just as wooden as Asimov's - I expected much better from Benford. I'm refusing to read the other two, since Brin and Bear are also favorite authors that I don't want to have a bad taste in my mouth about...

Cosm and Timescape are both contemp/near-future accounts of physicists discovering cool stuff. Classic hard SF, well done. Cosm is about creating and observing a universelet. (His academic left-bashing a la Foundation's Fear was a bit tiresome, though.) Similar subject matter to Lethem's As She Climbed Across The Table, but of course a very different book.

Bennett, Nigel and Elrod, P.N.

  • Keeper of the King, His Father's Son (fan)

Bertin, Joanne

  • Dragon and Phoenix (fan)
  • The Last Dragonlord (fan)
  • The Last Dragonlord, Dragon and Phoenix (fan)
  • The Last Dragonlord, Dragon and Phoenix (fan)
  • The Last Dragonlord, Dragon and Phoenix, Bard's Oath (fan)

Your basic fantasy about a long-lived weredragon - subplots include foiling the bad guys (evil magicians) and finding a mate (after hundreds of years, after almost giving up hope). But really quite well done, despite my snippiness (I just finished One for the Morning Glory, so I can't help but be arch).

Bester, Alfred

  • The Demolished Man (sf)
  • The Stars My Destination (aka Tiger!Tiger!) (sf)

Everyone raves about how well Bester's books stand the test of time, and it's true. Much less dated than most of his contemporaries. The protagonist of The Stars My Destination is a man who can teleport interplanetary distances when everyone else can only do short hops.

Bester, Alfred and Zelazny, Roger

  • Psycho Shop (sf)

I was certainly surprised to come across this book in the New section, since both authors are dead. It was a (partially posthumous?) collaboration. A little zany, but fun. Not as self-indulgent as Zelazny at his worst.

Bishop, Anne

  • the Black Jewels series (fan)
    • Daughter of the Blood
    • Heir to the Shadows
    • Queen of the Darkness
    • The Invisible Ring
    • Dreams Made Flesh
    • Tangled Webs
    • The Shadow Queen
    • Shalador's Lady
  • the Black Jewels trilogy (fan)

Bishop, Terry

  • The Pickup Artist (sf)

Black, Holly

  • Tithe (fan)

Blish, James

  • We All Die Naked (sf)

Block, Francesca Lia

  • Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books (fic)

Winsome meets LA spacey, you gotta love the names: Weetzie Bat, My Secret Agent Lover Man, Witch Baby. If I say "weetzie bat" five times in a row really fast, I can't help but to grin for a while...

Bois, William Pene du

  • The 21 Balloons (fic)

Bonesteel, Elizabeth

  • Remnants of Trust (sf)
  • The Cold Between (sf)

Borchardt, Alice

  • The Dragon Queen, The Raven Warrior (fan)

Borsook, Paulina

  • Cyberselfish (non)

Boyett, Steven R.

  • Treks Not Taken (hum)

Boynton, Sandra

  • But Not the Hippopotamus (hum)

Fourteen cardboard pages. Big type. A good thing to read when you need a bit of cheering up. I keep it in my office.

Bradley, Marion Zimmer

  • The Heritage of Hastur, Sharra's Exile, Exile's Song, The Shadow Matrix (sf)
  • the Darkover series (sf)
    • The Planet Savers
    • Sword Of Aldones
    • The Bloody Sun
    • Star Of Danger
    • Winds of Darkover
    • The World Wreckers
    • Darkover Landfall
    • The Spell Sword
    • The Heritage Of Hastur
    • The Shattered Chain
    • The Forbidden Tower
    • Stormqueen
    • Two To Conquer
    • Sharra's Exile
    • Hawkmistress
    • Thendara House
    • City Of Sorcery
    • The Heirs Of Hammerfell
    • Rediscovery
    • Exile's Song
    • The Shadow Matrix

I read the entire Darkover series years ago, but haven't looked at it much since. I did reread the Heritage of Hastur and Sharra's Exile in order to remember the background for Exile's Song and The Shadow Matrix, which deal with Lew Alton's daughter.

Darkover is a world ruled by the comyn, a red-haired feudal overlord caste with laran - psychic powers which can be amplified by matrix crystals. Many of the books deal with the conflict caused by its rediscovery by the Terran Empire, since it turns out to be a lost colony that's unenthusiastic about being reabsorbed.

MZB can be a little heavyhanded sometimes, but mostly keeps it under control in this series (unlike, say, The Firebrand). Some of her other books like Hunters of the Red Moon aren't really worth recommending. I bet if I reread The Mists of Avalon I'd put it on the good list, but it was so long ago that I can't really remember my reaction to it.

Bray, Patricia

  • Devlin's Honor (fan)
  • Devlin's Luck (fan)
  • Devlin's Luck, Devlin's Honor, Devlin's Justice (fan)

Breashears, David

  • High Exposure (bio)

Biographical novel from the climber who made the IMAX movie Everest.

Briggs, Patricia

  • Blood Bound (fan)
  • Bone Crossed (fan)
  • Cry Wolf (fan)
  • Dragon Blood (fan)
  • Dragon Bones (fan)
  • Fair Game (fan)
  • Frost Burned (fan)
  • Hunting Ground (fan)
  • Iron Kissed (fan)
  • Masques, Wolfsbane (fan)
  • Moon Called (fan)
  • Night Broken (fan)
  • Raven's Shadow (fan)
  • Raven's Shadow, Raven's Strike (fan)
  • River Marked (fan)
  • Silence Fallen (fan)
  • Steal the Dragon (fan)
  • Steal the Dragon (fan)
  • The Hob's Bargain (fan)
  • When Demons Walk (fan)
  • the Alpha and Omega series (fan)
    • Alpha and Omega
    • Cry Wolf
    • Hunting Ground
    • Fair Game
    • Dead Heat
  • the Mercy Thompson series (fan)
    • Moon Called
    • Blood Bound
    • Iron Kissed
    • Bone Crossed
    • Silver Borne
    • River Marked
    • Frost Burned
    • Night Broken
    • Fire Touched
    • Shifting Shadows
  • the Mercy Thompson series (fan)

In Dragon Bones the protagonist has pretended to be an idiot for years to avoid being killed as a threat to his father the king, and is ambivalent about shedding the mask. Swordfighting, magic and dragons are key plot elements, and dwarves do pop up in a subplot, but it's a well done and not derivative coming of age story.

Brin, David

  • Brightness Reef (sf)
  • Glory Season (sf)
  • Heaven's Reach (sf)
  • Infinity's Shore (sf)
  • Kiln People (sf)
  • Sundiver, Startide Rising, The Uplift War (sf)
  • The Postman (sf)
  • The River of Time (sf)
  • The Transparent Society (non)

The Uplift series is set near-future where the Earth comes into contact with galactic civilization only to find that it's a weird anamoly - all known intelligent species were created by others, in an unbroken chain lasting millenia back to the mysterious Progenitors. Startide Rising is very high on my list. The Uplift War is almost as good, Sundiver (the first one) is not quite so good. The next trilogy (Infinity's Shore, Brightness Reef, Heaven's Reach) doesn't quite live up to Startide Rising, but I really did want to find out what happens!

Glory Season is a totally different universe, a seafaring world with significant gender role differences from our world.

The Practice Effect is somewhat fun - a physics grad student ends up on a world where one of the laws of thermodynamics doesn't hold. But it's not up to the standard of the Uplift books. The Postman is also a decent post-apolcalypse story of one man's effort to bring back civilization by donning a uniform and delivering mail. I bet if someone else wrote it I'd put it on the list, it only suffers by comparison to his other stuff.

Britain, Kristen

  • First Rider's Call (fan)
  • Green Rider (fan)

Bronson, Po

  • The Nudist on the Late Shift and Other True Tales of Silicon Valley (non)

Nudist on the Late Shift actually does do a halfway reasonable job at communicating the flavor of Silicon Valley, which is a hard thing to do. I was prepared to hate it, since I'd read some excerpts of his previous book (The First 20 Million is Always the Hardest) and thought it was absolutely inane, a very second-rate imitation of Douglas Copeland's Microserfs. But I picked it up in a bookstore and had to buy it to find out what happened to all the people whose stories he tells...

Brown, Eric

  • A Writer's Life (sf)

Brown, Rachel Manija and Smith, Sherwood

  • Stranger, Hostage (sf)

Brunner, John

  • The Shockwave Rider (sf)

Even though it dates back to the 70's, Shockwave Rider is sometimes cited as proto-cyberpunk, because of the hero living the cracks of society who hacks into master database to manipulate the system at will plotline.

Brust, Steven

  • Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille (sf)
  • Dzur (fan)
  • Issola (fan)
  • Jhegaala (fan)
  • Orca (fan)
  • the Khaavren romances (fan)
    • The Phoenix Guards
    • Five Hundred Years After
    • The Paths of the Dead
    • Lord of Castle Black
    • Sethra Lavode
  • the Vlad Taltos series (fan)
    • Jhereg
    • Yendi
    • Teckla
    • Taltos
    • Phoenix
    • Athyra
    • Orca
    • Dragon
    • Issola
    • Dzur
    • Jhegaala
  • the Vlad Taltos series (fan)
  • the Vlad Taltos series (fan)
  • the Vlad Taltos series (fan)

The Jhereg series is sword and sorcery, but not at all Tolkeinesque. The terminally sarcastic assassin Vlad is both a witch and a sorcerer, and suffers from the handicap of being a short-lived human. The dominant Draegerans live to be a thousand, have a rigid caste system, and usually despise Easterners (humans). Since Vlad is also a member of the criminal caste, he's got yet another strike against him. Good thing he's got a few friends in high places.

This series is also unusual in that it gets better, not worse, as it goes along. Even if you aren't totally blown away by Jhereg, give the next few a try anyway. Soon you'll be addicted.

He's also written some Three-Musketeers-esque books about the same world, set hundreds of years earlier (Five Hundred Years After and The Phoenix Guards). I didn't like them at first, but warmed to them later when I wanted to read the ones that came afterwards.

I'm not overfond of Brokedown Palace, a fantasy not connected with his others.

Brust, Steven and White, Skyler

  • The Incrementalists (sf)

Buckell, Tobias S.

  • Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin (sf)
  • Sly Mongoose (sf)

Buechner, Frederick

  • Son of Laughter (fic)

Bujold, Lois McMaster

  • A Civil Campaign (sf)
  • A Civil Campaign (sf)
  • Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (sf)
  • Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (sf)
  • Cetaganda (sf)
  • Cryoburn (sf)
  • Diplomatic Immunity (sf)
  • Diplomatic Immunity (sf)
  • Diplomatic Immunity (sf)
  • Dreamweaver's Dilemma (sf)
  • Falling Free (sf)
  • Komarr (sf)
  • Komarr, A Civil Campaign (sf)
  • Memory (sf)
  • Memory (sf)
  • Paladin of Souls (fan)
  • Paladin of Souls (fan)
  • Paladin of Souls (fan)
  • Penric and the Shaman (fan)
  • Penric's Demon (fan)
  • Penric's Mission (fan)
  • Shards of Honor (sf)
  • The Curse of Chalion (fan)
  • The Curse of Chalion (fan)
  • The Curse of Chalion (fan)
  • The Curse of Chalion (fan)
  • The Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls (fan)
  • The Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls, The Hallowed Hunt (fan)
  • The Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls, The Hallowed Hunt (fan)
  • The Sharing Knife: Beguilement, Legacy (fan)
  • The Spirit Ring (fan)
  • the Miles Vorkosigan series (sf)
    • Shards of Honor
    • Barrayar
    • The Warrior's Apprentice
    • The Vor Game
    • Brothers In Arms
    • Borders of Infinity
    • Mirror Dance
    • Cetaganda
    • Memory
    • Komarr
    • A Civil Campaign
    • Diplomatic Immunity
    • Cryoburn
    • Lord Vorpatril's Alliance
  • the Miles Vorkosigan series (sf)
  • the Miles Vorkosigan series (sf)
  • the Miles Vorkosigan series (sf)
  • the Miles Vorkosigan series (sf)
  • the Sharing Knife series (fan)
    • Beguilement
    • Legacy
    • Passage
    • Horizon

As you can see from the number of times I admit to reading the Miles Vorkosigan series, I'm totally hooked. It could be categorized as military SF, but a *much* higher caliber than your basic space opera. I'm not even sure why it's so compelling to me, but I'm not alone in this. The only book in the series that I'm not rabid about is Ethan of Athos, which is merely OK.

The Spirit Ring is a quite reasonable fantasy book, but not nearly as addictive as the Miles books.

Bujold, Louis McMaster

  • Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (sf)

Bull, Emma

  • Bone Dance (fan)
  • Falcon (sf)
  • Falcon (sf)
  • Finder (sf)
  • Territory (fan)
  • War for the Oaks (fan)
  • War for the Oaks (fan)

The War for the Oaks is in the (larger than you might think) fantasy subgenre of contemporary elves live among us, music is tied to magic. Wait, stop - don't roll your eyes and move on - it's the best example of this genre that I've found, much better than books like Lackey's nonrecommended Serrated Edge urban elf series or Gael Baudino's vaguely remembered Gossamer Axe, which give this area a bad name. If you're a fan of the Minneapolis band Boiled in Lead then you've got to read this one too, since a show of theirs is a key plot point in the book. (And along those lines the drummer Robin is the spacey Aibynn character in Brust's book Phoenix.)

Finder is also elf-oriented fantasy, but with a slightly different twist: it's in the shared Borderlands world, check out also the elf books by yet another Minneapolis fantasy writer, Will Shetterly. Another note of encouragement: don't let the phrase "shared world" send you screaming for the door -- I know that most shared worlds books are just inane, but I really enjoy these.

Falcon is SF not fantasy, a little cyberpunkish, quite worthwhile.

Bunch, Chris

  • Storm of Wings, Knighthood of the Dragon (fan)

Burger, Dionys

  • Sphereland (non)

A sequel to Abbott's 1884 Flatland, gets into the questions of curved spaces: the intrepid explorers strike out into the unknown, come across their own town from the other side, but insist they kept going straight the whole time. Topology ensues...

Burgess, Anthony

  • Clockwork Orange (sf)

Burns, Olive Ann

  • Cold Sassy Tree (fic)

One of these ramblingish Southern novels full of eccentrics and such.

Bury, Stephen

  • Interface (sf)
  • The Cobweb (fic)

Bury is a pseudonum for the combination of Neal Stephenson and his uncle. The Cobweb is hilarious in a similar way to Zodiac, but about espionage instead of environmentalists. Interface is about a near-future presidential election and mind control of the candidate.

Busby, F.M.

  • All These Earths (sf)
  • Islands of Tomorrow (sf)
  • The Demu Trilogy (sf)
  • The Singularity Project (sf)
  • the Rissa Kerguelen saga (sf)
    • Young Rissa
    • Rissa and Tregare
    • The Long View
    • Star Rebel
    • Rebel's Quest
    • The Alien Debt
    • Rebel's Seed
    • Zelde M'Tana

Busch, Heather and Silver, Burton

  • Why Cats Paint (hum)

The very best of deadpan humor, both the artspeak and the photos are impeccably done.

Butcher, Jim

  • Changes, Ghost Stories, Cold Days Side Jobs (fan)
  • Skin Game (fan)
  • Small Favor (fan)
  • The Cinder Spires (fan)
  • Turn Coat (fan)
  • the Codex Alera (fan)
    • Furies of Calderon
    • Academ's Fury
    • Cursor's Fury
    • Captain's Fury
    • Princeps' Fury
    • First Lord's Fury
  • the Codex Alera (fan)
  • the Dresden Files (fan)
    • Storm Front
    • Fool Moon
    • Grave Peril
    • Summer Knight
    • Death Masks
    • Blood Rites
    • Dead Beat
    • Proven Guilty
    • White Night
    • Small Favor
    • Turn Coat
    • Changes
    • Side Jobs
    • Ghost Story
    • Cold Days

Butler, Octavia E.

  • Adulthood Rites, Imago (sf)
  • Blood Child and Other Stories (sf)
  • Clay's Ark (sf)
  • Dawn (sf)
  • Mind of my Mind (sf)
  • Parable of the Sower (sf)
  • Parable of the Sower (sf)
  • Patternmaster (sf)
  • Wild Seed (sf)

Caine, Rachel

  • Cape Storm (fan)
  • Gale Force (fan)
  • Thin Air (fan)
  • the Weather Warden series (fan)
    • Ill Wind
    • Heat Stroke
    • Chill Factor
    • Windfall
    • Firestorm
    • Thin Air
    • Gale Force
    • Cape Storm

Calvino, Italo

  • Cosmicomics (sf)
  • Invisible Cities (fic)

Both Cosmicomics and Invisible Cities are whimsical, but with slightly different tones. Cosmicomics is several tales about beings living near the beginning of the universe. Calvino is a great enough writer to pull this off: it's not hard SF about neutron density, it's about these often absent-minded characters.

Invisible Cities is an entire bookful of exquisite vignettes, a few pages each, about different fantastic cities (within the framework of Marco Polo telling stories to the Khan). I read this book at exactly the right time and place: right after visiting Tokyo for the first time, a dense week with a perfect combination of work and play, and often fraught with a sense of discovery. I was on my way from the hotel to Narita airport, in a dreamy and somewhat disoriented mood, about to head to yet another new city for a temporary life of three months before finally returning home. The perfect state of mind for these stories, which reminded me a bit of Borges crossed with Marquez.

Card, Orson Scott

  • Capitol (sf)
  • Children of the Mind (sf)
  • Enchantment (fan)
  • Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide (sf)
  • Ender's Shadow (sf)
  • Flux (sf)
  • Hart's Hope (fan)
  • Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus (sf)
  • Songmaster (sf)
  • Songmaster (sf)
  • The Abyss (sf)
  • The Worthing Saga (sf)
  • The Worthing Saga (sf)
  • Treason (sf)
  • Unaccompanied Sonata and Other Stories (sf)
  • Wyrms (sf)
  • the Tales of Alvin Maker (fan)
    • Seventh Son
    • Red Prophet
    • Prentice Alvin
    • Alvin Journeyman
    • Heartfire

All of Card's earlier work is wonderful: Songmaster, Wyrms, Treason, and the Worthing Saga. Sadly, the quality goes downhill, to the point where I'm not including his latest on the list anymore (the Call to Earth series). Pastwatch just barely squeaked on. The Alvin Maker series will probably make it onto the list when I get the latest one and reread all the rest.

But back to the good stuff: the original Ender's Game short story is absolutely amazing. If you haven't already read the novel, read the short story first for maximum impact. Then go read the novel, so you know what's going on in the second book of the series, Speaker for the Dead, which is also excellent. Xenocide and Children of the Mind aren't as good, but are still worth checking out.

Hart's Hope is fantasy, not SF, quite lyrical. The Abyss is a movie tie-in, but far surpasses most books in that genre.

Carey, Jacqueline

  • Kushiel's Chosen (fan)
  • Kushiel's Dart (fan)
  • Santa Olivia, Saints Astray (sf)

Carey, M.C.

  • The Girl With All the Gifts (fan)

Carey, Mike

  • The Devil You Know (fan)
  • the Felix Castor series (fan)
    • The Devil You Know
    • Vicious Circle
    • Dead Men's Boots
    • Thicker Than Water
    • The Naming of the Beasts

Carr, Terry, ed

  • The Best SF of the Year 16 ('87) (sf)

Carrigan, Gail

  • Etiquette and Espionage, Cursties and Conspiracies (fan)

Carriger, Gail

  • Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless (fan)
  • Timeless (fan)

Carroll, Jonathan

  • From the Teeth of Angels (fan)
  • The Land of Laughs (fan)
  • The Marriage of Sticks (fan)
  • The Wooden Sea (fan)
  • White Apples (fan)

Carroll, Lewis

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; Through the Looking-Glass (fic)

Carter, Raphael

  • The Fortunate Fall (sf)

Cary, Lorene

  • Black Ice (bio)

Despite the name, it's not cyberpunk. It's an autobiography of being one of the first black students at an exclusive private boarding school in the sixties.

Cast, P.C.

  • Divine By Mistake (fan)

Catmull, Ed and Wallace, Amy

  • Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand In The Way of (non)

Chabon, Michael

  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (fic)
  • The Yiddish Policeman's Union (sf)

Chan, Jackie

  • I Am Jackie Chan (bio)

Chan, Kylie

  • Demon Child, Black Jade (fan)
  • the Dark Heavens series (fan)
    • White Tiger
    • Red Phoenix
    • Blue Dragon
    • Earth to Hell
    • Hell to Heaven
    • Heaven to Wudang
    • The Gravity Engine
    • Black Scales, White Fur
    • Dark Serpent
    • Demon Child
    • Black Jade
  • the Dark Heavens series (fan)
  • the Dark Serpent series (fan)

Changizi, Mark

  • The Vision Revolution: How the Latest Research Overturns Everything We Thought We (non)

Chatwin, Bruce

  • The Songlines (fic)

Cherryh, C.J.

  • Brothers of Earth (sf)
  • Chanur's Legacy (sf)
  • Conspirator, Deceiver, Betrayer, Intruder (sf)
  • Cuckoo's Egg (sf)
  • Cuckoo's Egg (sf)
  • Cuckoo's Egg (sf)
  • Cyteen (sf)
  • Cyteen (sf)
  • Cyteen, Regenesis (sf)
  • Downbelow Station (sf)
  • Finity's End (sf)
  • Foreigner, Invader, Inheritor (sf)
  • Foreigner, Invader, Inheritor, Precursor, Defender, Explorer (sf)
  • Forty Thousand in Gehenna (sf)
  • Hammerfall (sf)
  • Hestia (sf)
  • Intruder, Protector, Peacemaker, Tracker, Visitor (sf)
  • Merchanter's Luck (sf)
  • Precursor (sf)
  • Protector, Peacemaker (sf)
  • Rider at the Gate, Cloud's Rider (sf)
  • Serpent's Reach (sf)
  • The Faded Sun: Kesrith, Shon'jir, Kutath (sf)
  • The Paladin (fan)
  • Tripoint (sf)
  • the Chanur series (sf)
    • The Pride of Chanur
    • Chanur's Venture
    • The Kif Strike Back
    • Chanur's Homecoming
    • Chanur's Legacy
  • the Foreigner series (sf)
    • Foreigner
    • Invader
    • Inheritor
    • Precursor
    • Defender
    • Explorer
    • Destroyer
    • Pretender
    • Deliverer
    • Conspirator
    • Deceiver
    • Betrayer
    • Intruder
    • Protector
    • Peacemaker
    • Tracker
    • Visitor

I highly recommend every SF book ever written by Cherryh. Many of them are set in the Union/Alliance universe, in the middle of a long-term war between the two cultures. Most of them focus on the Alliance or the merchanters, but a few (among the best: Cyteen, Forty Thousand in Gehenna) are Unionside. The Foreigner series is also great.

In contrast to the usual hero-saves-the-day-not-to-mention-the-universe story pattern of SF, her protagonists are usually people dealing with untenable situations not of their own making. It's bleak, but in a life-is-inherently-unfair way that's very different from Banks or Hand.

Another noteworthy aspect of her books is complete gender equality, which is so basic an assumption underlying that society that it goes totally unremarked by everyone involved. I'd call this a very feminist position, arguably more so than the many, many books where the female heroine must contend with societal restrictions. Less common are the ones where the gender roles are reversed (as in Brin's Glory Season), or there are no men at all (Slonczewski's A Door Into Ocean, Griffith's Ammonite).

Many people, including me, appreciate her portrayal of alien psychology as, well, alien. Many SF books have the trappings of difference, but just change "blaster" to "tommy-gun" and you could be talking about gangsters in 30's Chicago. Not so here. See especially Cuckoo's Egg and The Faded Sun series (both not Union/Alliance).

The Rider series is also not set in the Union/Alliance universe. Horse-like aliens are in a very uneasy symbiosis with human settlers. A *far* cry from the sweetness-and-light telepathic horses of Lackey. Although now that I'm free-associating it brings to mind the inimical horse-like aliens of Tepper's Grass.

While I love her SF, I dislike her fantasy. There's one series which I just can't even finish into despite repeated attempts. Years ago I put down the Gate of Ivrel after reading 20 pages. This year I actually made it through that and Well of Shiuan, but Fires of Azeroth and Exile's Gate are still sitting in the unread stack. It reminds of me of a more extreme version of the Diadem series by Jo Clayton: you keep getting thrown from one alien world/culture to another, so fast that it's hard to summon up the energy to care about any of them. There are several other fantasy books, like The Dreamstone and The Tree of Swords and Jewels, that I've plowed through but not enjoyed.

Except I do like The Paladin. Maybe I should try some of the others...

Chesler, Phyllis

  • Letters to a Young Feminist (non)

Chiang, Ted

  • Stories of Your Life and Others (sf)

Christian, Deborah

  • Mainline (sf)

Good but not great - the protagonist can slip between streams in the infinite number of parallel universes but can't re-enter a thread after leaving it. Obviously it's quantum-mechanical but the plot doesn't bog down in the long physics lecture sequences that some other authors like Greg Egan are prone to insert.

Avoid her other book Kar Kalim, a pretty godawful fantasy where the arrogant mage finally learns humility but at terrible cost to two entire worlds. Yeah, whatever.

Clark, Andy

  • Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies and the Future of Human Intelligence (non)

Clarke, Arthur C.

  • 2001 (sf)
  • Childhood's End (sf)
  • Imperial Earth (sf)
  • Rendezvous with Rama (sf)
  • The Fountains of Paradise (sf)

Many of Clarke's earlier books are classics well worth reading. The idea of geostationary communications satellites comes from one of his stories. 2001 is definitely worth reading, and is in the elite and small category of good SF books made into great movies. (Tevis's The Man Who Fell To Earth and Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which was made into Blade Runner, are also in this category. Herbert's Dune is in the great book, terrible movie category. )

Back to books. I found the 2001 sequels (2010, 2030, 3001? etc) disappointing.

Imperial Earth is a great coming-of-age story about an elite member of the outer solar system colony on his first trip to Earth. Rendezvous with Rama is a hard SF must-read about astronauts exploring an alien spaceship that enters the solar system.

Avoid the turgid, gee-fractals-are-so-neat Ghost from the Grand Banks and probably a lot of the other later life ones.

Clarke, Susanna

  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (fan)

Clayton, Jo

  • Drinker of Souls, Blue Magic, A Gathering of Stones (fan)
  • Shadow of the Warmaster (sf)
  • Shadowplay, Shadowspeer, Shadowkill (sf)
  • Skeen's Leap, Skeen's Return, Skeen's Search (sf)
  • Skeen's Leap,Skeen's Return,Skeen's Search (sf)
  • the Diadem series (fan)
    • Diadem from the Stars
    • Lamarchos
    • Irsud
    • Maeve
    • Star Hunters
    • The Nowhere Hunt
    • Ghosthunt
    • The Snares of Ibex
    • Quster's Endgame
    • Shadow of the Warmaster

Clayton is a somewhat acquired taste, and most of her stuff is out of print these days. The Skeen series is perhaps the most accessible place to start. I read the entire Diadem series just because I wanted to know what had happened to Shadow previously. The first time around I said it's a little too disjointed to actually recommend, but I just reread it and it grew on me. I found it easier to keep track of and care about the side characters that changed from novel to novel. I've got a total of a shelf and a half of her stuff, but a lot of them unrecommended fantasy that all kind of blur together in my mind.

Clayton, Patricia Jo

  • Fire in the Sky, The Burning Ground, Crystal Heat (sf)

Same person as above, these are a continuation of the Shadow/Shadith books.

Cleveland, William S.

  • The Elements of Graphing Data (non)

Every scientist that does anything at all with visual data analysis should read this book. I should read it again...

Cline, Ernest

  • Armada (sf)
  • Ready Player One (sf)

Clines, Fold Peter

  • The (sf)

Clough, Brenda W.

  • How Like a God (fan)

Cockayne, Steve

  • Wanderers and Islanders (fan)

Colette, and Phelps, Robert, ed

  • The Collected Stories of Colette (fic)

Prolific early 20th century French writer of autobiographicalesque shorts, many about romantic love.

Collins, Nancy A.

  • Right Hand Magic, Left Hand Magic (fan)

Connolly, Harry

  • Child of Fire, Game of Cages, Circle of Enemies (fan)

Constantine, Storm

  • Burying the Shadow (fan)
  • The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire (sf)
  • The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit (sf)

Post-apocalyptic with a rather different twist - a new race of parthenogenic hermaphrodites, the Wraeththu, wrest control of the planet away from the human race. Human men can be "incepted" as Wraeththu by an infusion of their blood. While the Wraeththu are hermaphrodites, there's definitely a far stronger masculine than feminine influence. Although Constantine's tone is inimitable, if Samuel Delany were a Goth perhaps he'd write something like this...

Cooley, Martha

  • The Archivist (fic)

The story gradually unfolds through parallels: the lives and loves of an archivist and T.S. Eliot. The intrusion of a student into the archivist's life brings on memories of his late wife: both are/were haunted by both the Holocaust and Eliot.

Cooper, Susan B.

  • the Dark is Rising series (fan)
    • Over Sea, Under Stone
    • The Dark is Rising
    • Greenwitch
    • The Grey King
    • Silver on The Tree

The Dark is Rising series, like Lewis's Narnia books, is best read young. Pre-teen, if possible. I was quite disappointed when I woke up on my eleventh birthday and didn't have the powers of an Old One, like Will Stanton.

Corey, James S.A.

  • Caliban's War, Abaddon's Gate (sf)
  • Leviathan Wakes (sf)

Coupland, Douglas

  • City of Glass: Douglas Coupland's Vancouver (non)
  • Eleanor Rigby (fic)
  • Generation X (fic)
  • Microserfs (fic)

I read City of Glass just a few days after moving to Vancouver, which was good timing. It's a nonfiction book about the city, but with the same flippant sense of humor as his fiction.

Microserfs I read a while back, when it first came out - funny and snide, about the lives of developers at Microsoft. Although now that I think about it, the timing would have been better had I read it the summer I spent at Microsoft Research. It does do a reasonable job of communicating the feeling of the state of mind you have after lock yourself in your office for 57 hours to hack madly. As does Ellen Ullman's Close to the Machine, although her book is more introspective.

GenX, his most famous book, is my least favorite of the three. My memory is vague, but despite being a GenX-er myself I didn't identify so much with the slacker main characters, I just wanted them to get a damn life and find something to be passionate about. Or maybe I'm confusing it with another book that irritated me.

Crowley, John

  • Aegypt (fan)
  • Beasts (fan)
  • Engine Summer (fan)
  • Little, Big (fan)
  • Love and Sleep (fan)
  • The Deep (fan)

"Dreamy" is I think the best word for Crowley's books. The Deep, Engine Summer, and Beasts are his early books - read long enough ago I can't remember much about them, but definitely not set in the present. Little, Big is the first one of his I read, and I always appreciate a book that forces me to look up words in a dictionary (not as many as Wolfe's, of course, but still a respectable number). A somewhat magical realism-y take on contemporary life. Aegypt was an interesting, if slightly Umberto Eco-esque, musing on Gypsies. The subsequent Love and Sleep felt like a rehash of Aegypt's themes.

Czerneda, Julie E.

  • Beholder's Eye, Changing Vision (sf)
  • In The Company of Others (sf)
  • the Trade Pact Universe series (sf)
    • A Thousand Words for Stranger
    • Ties of Power

In the "Trade Pact" series, the Clan is a telepathic species which is visually indistinguishable from Humans, but highly xenophobic. A Clan woman realizes that Joining with a Human man is the only hope of saving her inbred species, but most of the rest of the Clan is committed to block this heresy at all costs. Reading this book soon after the latest of Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance books made the similarities pretty glaring: cross-species telepathic pairbonding in the face of all odds. But both series are a diverting, if not a deep, read.

Dai, Sijie

  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (fic)

Dalby, Liza

  • Geisha (non)

Davies, Robertson

  • the Cornish trilogy (fic)
    • The Rebel Angels
    • What's Bred in the Bone
    • The Lyre of Orpheus
  • the Deptford trilogy (fic)
    • Fifth Business
    • The Manticore
    • World of Wonders

Dawood, N.J., trans

  • Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (fic)

Most people have heard of the Arabian Nights, but a lot of it is filtered through a 50's TV or Disney movie interpretation. The at least somewhat more authentic text version is refreshing.

Delany, Samuel R.

  • Babel-17 (sf)
  • Dhalgren (sf)
  • Driftglass (sf)
  • Nova (sf)
  • Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Sand (sf)
  • Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Sand (sf)
  • The Einstein Intersection (sf)
  • The Motion of Light on Water (bio)
  • Triton (sf)

One of my favorite SF authors, I even like his bio. Driftglass is a book of shorts, the rest are novels. Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand is perhaps his best, although I find them all compelling. He deals a lot with gender and sexuality: many of his books explore some of the social implications of a future society where a sex change is a minor outpatient procedure that's done in an hour. (Varley has a similar premise in some of his books, but a quite different tone - almost frenetic compared Delany's more lyrical style.) His more fantasy-ish Neveryon series I didn't like quite so much, but perhaps it will grow on me enough to add to the list one of these days.

Dewdney, A.K.

  • The Planiverse (non)

Same theme as Flatland, but with a very fun engineering attitude. Dewdney works out some of the implications of 2D life: how flat people (as opposed to polygons) fit together biologically, what would their houses look like, and so on.

Diamond, Jared

  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies (non)
  • The Third Chimpanzee (non)

Diamond is a historian/anthropologist who wrote Guns, Germs and Steel to answer at length the question asked him years before by a tribesman in Oceania: why did the white Europeans end up taking over? He firmly fights against the racist "because they're smarter/better" with his compelling explanation of how environmental factors were the ultimate reasons behind the proximate causes of the title. To paraphrase - agrarian civilization spread thousands of miles easily and quickly in Europe/Asia because of the East/West orientation of the continents, while in the North/South Americas the spread of staple crops was orders of magnitude slower since extensive adaption was required to spread to different latitudinal growing conditions. Agrarian civilization led to centralized empires and thus steel and guns. Finally, the large domestic animals in Eurasia were an ongoing source of diseases that led to immunities for Europeans, but the lack of any such animals in the Americas left people defenseless before the European germs.

To bolster his arguments, he has a lengthly discussion of Oceania, where the wildly differing environmental factors of the islands led directly to wildly differing cultures despite the homogeneity of the original pool of settlers.

But he's much more eloquent than I am - read the book.

Dick, Phillip K.

  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (sf)

The well-done movie Blade Runner includes many of the plot elements of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, but doesn't even attempt the signature Dick surreality/twistedness of the electric sheep thread of the title.

*All* of his books are dystopias of one flavor or another, not just Do Androids Dream. Somehow the particular twist in his psyche really grates on me to the point where they're so depressing I can't even read them any more, after reading many in the early 1980s.

Didion, Joan

  • The White Album (non)

The White Album is a book of short essays with what I can only call a diffident power. Makes me want to read more of her stuff.

Djerassi, Carl

  • Cantor's Dilemma (fic)
  • Menachem's Seed (fic)
  • The Bourbaki Gambit (fic)
  • The Pill, Pygmy Chimps, and Degas' Horse (bio)

I enjoy his science-in-fiction series, and the bio's interesting (albeit attitudinal).

Doctorow, Cory

  • Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (sf)
  • For The Win (sf)
  • Homeland (sf)
  • Lawful Interception (sf)
  • Little Brother (sf)
  • Little Brother (sf)
  • Makers (sf)
  • Pirate Cinema (sf)
  • Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (sf)

Dodge, Martin and Kitchin, Rob

  • Atlas of Cyberspace (non)

Dorsey, Candas Jane

  • A Paradigm of Earth (sf)
  • Black Wine (sf)

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor

  • The Gambler (fic)

Doyle, Debra and Macdonald, James D.

  • The Price of the Stars, Starpilot's Grave (sf)
  • The Stars Asunder (sf)
  • the Mageworlds series (sf)
    • The Price of the Stars
    • Starpilot's Grave
    • By Honor Betray'd
    • The Gathering Flame
    • The Long Hunt

Swashbuckling space opera with a heroine who swaggers around with a blaster prominently displayed and often used. Less of the military space battle details than Weber's Honor Harrington series, for instance.

Drake, David

  • With the Lightnings, Lt. Leary Commanding (sf)

With the Lighnings and its direct sequel Lt Leary Commanding are miliary space opera.

Duane, Diane

  • Stealing the Elf-King's Roses (fan)

Duncan, Dave

  • tales of the King's Blades (fan)
    • The Gilded Chain
    • The Lord of the Fire Lands
    • Sky of Swords

Duncan, David James

  • The Brothers K (fic)

Dupre, Lyn

  • Bugs in Writing (non)

Everyone who has to write anything should read Bugs In Writing. It's got over one hundred short sections, each devoted to a writing problem, ranging from the common but problematic "which" vs. "that", to more obscure things like whether in section headings you should capitalize the word after a hyphen (the answer is yes). It's specifically aimed at computer scientists, but highly useful to anyone (as long as they don't hate cats, which are featured in many of the examples). The advice is very prescriptive: each section describes the problem, gives examples of good and bad usage, and suggests alternative formulations when necessary. I worked through almost the entire book one night from midnight to 8am, a few nights before turning in my dissertation, and the grammar is much better because of it. My only regret is not seeing this book earlier - it would have convinced me to use "I" instead of "we" in the whole thing, but that was a drastic enough change that I chose not to do it so late in the game.

Echols, Alice

  • The Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin (bio)

Title says it all - a reasonably interesting biography of Janis Joplin.

Eddison, E.R.

  • The Worm Ouroboros (fan)

One of the few older books (written in the 20's) that I've managed to enjoy. Lords and kings on heroic quests. Definitely dated, but not in a bad way.

Edghill, Rosemary

  • The Sword of Maiden's Tears (fan)
  • The Sword of Maiden's Tears, The Cup of Morning Shadows, The Cloak of Night and Daggers (fan)

Effinger, George Alec

  • When Gravity Fails, A Fire in the Sun, The Exile Kiss (sf)

Cyberpunkish, but the Middle East dominates instead of the Japanese as in Gibson. A little more organic/biological than some of the others.

Egan, Greg

  • Axiomatic (sf)
  • Mitochondrial Eve (sf)
  • Quarantine (sf)
  • The Clockwork Rocket (sf)

Egan is an Australian SF writer who'd been recommended to me many times. Quarantine is a little bit too science-driven for my taste: there's only so much quantum physics exposition that should be crammed into a novel, and this one crosses the line. But Axiomatic is indeed a great book of short stories, where the science drives the stories without overwhelming the narrative line.

After many recommendations I finally read Permutation City, but was underwhelmed. Oh well.

Ehrenreich, Barbara

  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America (non)

Elgin, Suzette Haden

  • Twelve Fair Kingdoms, The Grand Jubilee, And Then There'll Be Fireworks (fan)
  • the Coyote Jones series (sf)
    • The Communipaths
    • Furthest
    • At The Seventh Level
    • Star-Anchored, Star-Angered
    • Yonder Comes the Other End of Time

Elrod, P.N.

  • Cold Streets (fan)
  • Song in the Dark (fan)
  • the Vampire Files series (fan)
    • Bloodlist
    • Lifeblood
    • Blood Circle
    • Art in the Blood
    • Fire in the Blood
    • A Chill in the Blood
    • The Dark Sleep
    • Lady Crymsyn
    • Cold Streets

Erdich, Louise

  • The Master Butcher's Singing Club (fic)

Farmer, Philip Jose

  • the Riverworld series (sf)
    • To Your Scattered Bodies Go
    • The Fabulous Riverboat
    • The Dark Design

A great premise: everybody who's ever lived up through the 20th century is reincarnated on the banks of a great river. The necessities of life (food, clothing) are provided. If you're killed, you are reincarnated the next morning, but elsewhere along the river. The obvious question, of course, is how and why this is all happening. An assortment of characters, historical and otherwise, hunt down some answers: Richard Burton, Carroll's Alice after growing up, Mark Twain, Hermann Goering, an 8-foot pre Homo Sapiens who goes by Joe Miller, and many more.

Farmer's written many other books, many of which I've read. I guess "self-indulgent" is one word for my annoyance at them. This series mostly avoids that problem.

Feintuch, David

  • Challenger's Hope, Prisoner's Hope, Fisherman's Hope (sf)
  • Midshipman's Hope (sf)
  • Patriarch's Hope (sf)
  • Voices of Hope (sf)
  • the Seafort saga (sf)
    • Midshipman's Hope
    • Challenger's Hope
    • Prisoner's Hope
    • Fisherman's Hope
    • Voices of Hope
    • Patriarch's Hope

The Hope series is military SF - in this space opera universe the miliary has swung back to a Victorian autocracy. The main character has to deal with saving their equivalent of the free world again and again, shouldering ever-heavier moral burdens despite his despair. I'll admit it gets a little florid sometimes, but I always keep reading to find out how it's all going to turn out.

He's also got a fantasy book, The Still, which has such a stunningly whiny and annoying main character that I can't recommend it. Young prince will lose right to rule if he loses his virginity, so he snivels about it for 900+ pages.

Feist, Raymond E.

  • Faerie Tale (fan)
  • Magician (fan)
  • Magician, Silverthorn, A Darkness at Sethanon (fan)
  • the Riftwar saga (fan)
    • Magician
    • Silverthorn
    • A Darkness at Sethanon
  • the Riftwar saga (fan)
  • the Serpentwar saga (fan)
    • Shadow of a Dark Queen
    • Rise of a Merchant Prince
    • Rage of a Demon King
    • Shards of a Broken Crown

The Magician/Riftwar series is engrossing high fantasy, despite the familiar plot elements of magicians, elves, swordsmen, dragons, and trolls. The adventures of the characters and their progeny continues in a whole bunch of books, which aren't as good, but the Serpentwar series is once again worthwhile. (Although to really know what's going on, reading the intervening books does help out.)

Feist, Raymond E. and Wurts, Janny

  • Daughter of Empire, Servant of Empire, Mistress of Empire (fan)
  • Daughter of Empire, Servant of Empire, Mistress of Empire (fan)
  • Daughter of Empire, Servant of Empire, Mistress of Empire (fan)

The Empire series is contemporaneous with the Riftwar books of Feist, but set in the (vaguely Japanese) world Kelewan instead of the (vaguely European) world Midkemia. The protagonist Mara must quickly master Shogunate-style politics to avoid the total extinction of her house, and these politics are influenced by the storyline of the Midkemian magician Pug in the Riftwar saga.

Fetterman, David M.

  • Ethnography: Step by Step (non)

Fey, Tina

  • Bossypants (non)

Fforde, Jasper

  • First Among Sequels (fan)
  • Shades of Grey (fan)
  • the Thursday Next series (fan)
    • The Eyre Affair
    • Lost in a Good Book
    • The Well of Lost Plots
    • Something Rotten
    • First Among Sequels

Start with The Eyre Affair. Thursday Next can go diving in and out of books, ends up working for Jurisfiction whose job it is to keep all the characters in the right place doing the right thing. Alongside fellow operatives including Miss Tiggy-winkle, Emperor Zhark, and Miss Havisham. The more books you've read, the more you'll love the sly allusions. Set in an alternate world where people really really care about books, so the question who wrote Shakespeare's plays provokes fistfights and door-to-door prostelytizing. Very witty.

Field, Syd

  • Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting (non)

Read this for a class I audited on the application of filmmaking to user interface design (along with McCloud's excellent Understanding Comics and Rosenblum's autobiography of his life as an editor). Reading this gave me a much clearer appreciation of the difference between creating a book and creating a movie.

Fitch, Marina

  • The Border (fan)

Flewelling, Lynn

  • Hidden Warrior (fan)
  • Luck in the Shadows, Stalking Darkness (fan)
  • Luck in the Shadows, Stalking Darkness, Traitor's Moon (fan)
  • The Bone Doll's Twin (fan)
  • the Nightrunner series (fan)
    • Luck in the Shadows
    • Stalking Darkness
    • Traitor's Moon
    • Shadows Return
    • The White Road
    • Casket of Souls
  • the Nightrunner series (fan)

I remember being very impressed by these and wishing the third one was out, but can't remember now exactly what they're about...

Aha. Just reread them all since the third one did indeed make it to paperback. Sword and sorcery fantasy, but very well done. Alec learns the arts of theiving, swordplay, and gentlemanly table manners (among other things) after meeting Seregil. Somewhere along the way his naive preconceptions about the Faie (elves) are dispelled.

Flint, Eric and Drake, David

  • the Belisarius series (fan)
    • An Oblique Approach
    • In the Heart of Darkness
    • Destiny's Shield
    • Fortune's Stroke
    • The Tide of Victory

Flynn, Michael

  • Eifelheim (sf)
  • Firestar (sf)
  • Firestar, Rogue Star (sf)

Hard SF, near-future, industrialist strives to build a commercial space program. There are three more, but I found it hard to care about the characters anymore after the first two.

Ford, John M.

  • The Last Hot Time (fan)

Forester, C.S.

  • Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (fic)

I discovered that the first book of Hornblower series really is a fast and engaging read. I'd been meaning to read it for years, in part because it was the inspiration for Weber's Honor Harrington series.

Frankowski, Leo

  • The Crosstime Engineer (sf)

A twist on A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's court. Conrad Stargard ends up in 13th century Poland and needs to create an industrial base to ward off the upcoming Mongol invasion. A lot of fun stuff about how to build up industry from scratch. Quite a bit of misogynist crap, too, though. The Crosstime Engineer is actually the first of a series, but one of these is enough.

Frazier, Charles

  • Cold Mountain (fic)

Freeman, Lorna

  • Covenants, The King's Own (fan)
  • Covenants, The King's Own, Shadows Past (fan)

Friedman, Thomas L.

  • The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (non)

Furey, Maggie

  • Aurian, Harp of Winds, Sword of Flame, Dhiammara (fan)

I was desperate in a used book store a while back and decided to go with a book that had the most broken spine. Not a bad algorithm, since I ended up reading the entire series. Sword and sorcery - Aurian is a wizard who must complete her training and defeat the forces of evil.

Gabaldon, Diana

  • Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums in Autumn, The Fiery Cross (fan)

Gaiman, Neil

  • American Gods (fan)
  • Stardust (fan)

Gamow, George

  • Mr. Tompkins in Paperback: Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland, Mr. Tompkins Explores the Atom (non)

Some of the earliest edutainmental science, Mr. Tompkins falls asleep in science lectures and dreams about personified particles and such.

Garrett, Randall

  • Lord Darcy (fan)

Garrett, Randall and Heydron, Vicki Ann

  • the Gandalara cycle (sf)
    • The Gandalara Cycle I:
    • The Steel of Raithskar
    • The Glass of Dyskornis
    • The Bronze of Eddarta
    • The Gandalara Cycle II:
    • The Well of Darkness
    • The Search for Ka
    • Return to Eddarta
    • The River Wall
  • the Gandalara cycle (sf)

The Gandalara cycle is on the short list of books that I've read many more times than I list here. It's in the genre of 'contemporary people suddenly and mysteriously thrust into a different world, where they gradually realize their taxing but magnificent destiny to save said world'. (Like Modesitt's Soprano Sorceress series, Lisle's Memory of Fire, the horrendous Gael Baudino Dragonsword series, etc - not to mention Peter Pan.) But it's a very good instance of the genre. This particular world is a desert one, where the protagonist Rikardon is one of the Riders who share a telepathic bond with a giant cat that is both friend and transport.

Gawande, Atul

  • Being Mortal (non)
  • Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance (non)

Gentle, Mary

  • Ash: A Secret History (fan)

Ghosh, Amitav

  • The Calcutta Chromosome (fan)
  • The Hungry Tide (fic)

Gibson, William

  • Burning Chrome (sf)
  • Neuromancer,Count Zero,Mona Lisa Overdrive (sf)

The classic cyberpunk author. Neuromancer is the original flying through cyberspace book, and I'd argue that anyone who's in information visualization should read it. Not necessarily for prescriptive advice, but to know what dominates popular consciousness when people think of navigating through cyberspace. Although Johnny Mnemonic was a pretty bad movie it's a great short story in Burning Chrome, which has many other wonderful ones.

Sadly, some of Gibson's later stuff reads like a bad imitation of Gibson, it just happened to be written by him instead of someone unknown. Avoid Idoru. Virtual Light wasn't so terrible, but the whole bike messenger plotline was a little hard to swallow since it appeared after Stephenson's Snow Crash. (Which is also on my cyberpunk must-read list, as is the much less well known "He, She, and It" by Marge Piercy.)

I really hated The Difference Engine, his collaboration with Sterling. The alternate history steam-driven Babbage Engine pseudo-19th century thing just didn't do it for me.

Glassner, Andrew S.

  • 3D Computer Graphics, A User's Guide for Artists and Designers (non)

A very well-written overview of graphics with surprising depth given that it's aimed at non-technical people. The best intro I've found for a lay audience.

Gleick, James

  • Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (bio)

The Feynman bio, enough said. Worth reading, as are Feynman's own autobiographical books.

Gloss, Molly

  • The Dazzle of Day (sf)

The plot of The Dazzle of Day is about an Esperanto-speaking Quaker community that embarks on a multi-generational spaceship voyage to start a colony on a distant planet. While the obvious similarity is to Slonczewski's Still Forms on Foxfield just because of the Quaker subject matter, a better match for the mood is the dreamy poignancy of Le Guin's The Disposessed.

Golden, Arther

  • Memoirs of a Geisha (fic)

Goldman, Francisco

  • The Long Night of White Chickens (fic)

Read this in the 1995 Europe summer, can't remember the details, but I think it's set in Latin America.

Gomez, Jewelle

  • The Gilda Stories (fan)

Technically it's a vampire story, but very different from the Hamilton's detective-novel mayhem style. More about characterization and building a stable life for oneself despite differences, like Pat Murphy's Nadya, the Wolf Chronicles.

Gorey, Edward

  • Amphigorey, Amphigorey Too (hum)
  • The Raging Tide: or, The Black Doll's Imbroglio (hum)

The Amphigorey books are the large collections of his dozens of illustrated shorts, featuring his very particular brand of dry humor: English gentlemen in long raccoon coats, ballerina waifs, tassels, drawing rooms, ghastly death, etc. The Gashleycrumb Tinies sums it up: A is for Amy who fell down the stairs, B is for Basil assaulted by bears, C is for Clara who wasted away, D is for Desmond thrown out of a sleigh...

The Raging Tide is Gorey's version of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books, with of course his signature lack of sequitur.

Gould, Stephen Jay

  • Bully for Brontosaurus (non)
  • Dinosaur in a Haystack (non)
  • Eight Little Piggies (non)
  • Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms (non)
  • The Flamingo's Smile (non)
  • The Lying Stones of Marrakech: Penultimate Reflections in Natural History (non)

All of these books are compendia of short essays, mainly on science, especially biology and paleontology.

Gould, Steven

  • Blind Waves (sf)
  • Blind Waves (sf)
  • Helm (sf)
  • Helm (sf)
  • Impulse (sf)
  • Jumper (sf)
  • Jumper (sf)
  • Jumper (sf)
  • Reflex (sf)
  • Wildside (sf)
  • Wildside (sf)
  • Wildside (sf)

Jumper appeals because it's the classic wish-fulfillment: what would you do if one day you discovered you could teleport? Similarly, Wildside is about discovering a doorway to an alternate universe. Helm is a longer coming-of-age novel, set in a future post-technological colony world. Blind Waves is in a near future where global warming has wreaked havoc and all coastal areas are underwater.

Gowdy, Barbara

  • The White Bone (fic)

Graham, Paul

  • Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas From the Computer Age (non)

Grant, Mira

  • Don't Taunt the Octopus (sf)
  • Parasite, Symbiote, Chimera (sf)
  • The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell (sf)
  • the Newsflesh series (sf)
    • Feed
    • Deadline
    • Blackout
    • Countdown

Grass, Guenter

  • Local Anaesthetic (fic)

Read this in Berlin when somewhat depressed, appropriately enough.

Graves, Robert

  • I, Claudius; Claudius the God (fic)

I haven't been so into historical fiction for the past fifteen years, but I did enjoy these two about the Roman emperor Claudius.

Gray, Mike

  • Angle of Attack: Harrison Storms and the Race to the Moon (non)

Gray, Nicholas Stuart

  • Grimbold's Other World (fic)

Green, Simon R.

  • Shadows Fall (fan)

Griffith, Nicola

  • Ammonite (sf)
  • Ammonite (sf)
  • Hild (fan)
  • Slow River (sf)
  • Stay (fic)
  • Stay (fic)
  • The Blue Place (fic)

Ammonite is hard SF, about a female offworlder's explorations of a planet which has been all-female for generations after a mysterious plague wiped out the men and left the women able to reproduce parthenogenetically. The motivations of the women on the planet range from benign to dark, which is a much broader range of characterization than most feminist utopias. Also, the story deals with the society itself, as opposed to the more common theme of a feminist society under attack from a militaristic male threat.

Slow River is set in a vaguely cyberpunkish near-future, where a woman who was one of the elite is suddenly forced into a life on the streets. A terse plot summary like this doesn't do justice to the psychological depth and believability of the main character's human response to trauma.

The Blue Place is a non-SF detective-ish novel with a strong lesbian protagonist.

Grimsley, Jim

  • Kirith Kirin, The Ordinary, The Last Green Tree (sf)

Grimwood, Jon Courtenay

  • 9Tail Fox (fan)

Grimwood, Jon Courtney

  • Pashazade, Effendi, Felaheen (sf)

Grimwood, Ken

  • Replay (sf)
  • Replay (sf)

Grisham, John

  • The Brethren (fic)
  • The Chamber (fic)
  • The Client (fic)
  • The Client (fic)
  • The Partner (fic)
  • The Runaway Jury (fic)
  • The Street Lawyer (fic)
  • The Testament (fic)

Grisham is my canonical author to grab in airport bookstores on trips where I've failed to bring enough SF books to last the whole way. Not deep, but these legal thrillers suck me in and make plane rides go much faster than in-flight magazines.

Grossman, Lev

  • The Magicians (fan)

Gurganus, Alan

  • Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (fic)

Another one of these fun rambling Southern eccentric books, I can't really keep straight what happened in here vs in Cold Sassy Tree.

Haddon, Mark

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (fic)

Haidt, Jonathan

  • The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (non)

Haldeman, Joe

  • Camouflage (sf)
  • The Accidental Time Machine (sf)

Hall, Barry

  • Phylogenetic Trees Made Easy (non)

Hambly, Barbara

  • The Silent Tower, The Silicon Mage, Dog Wizard (fan)
  • The Silent Tower, The Silicon Mage, Dog Wizard (fan)

It's pretty embarrassing to carry around a book entitled "Dog Wizard". Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this series. It's in the 'contemporary person is transported into another world where magic works' genre. Deep in the wishful thinking section of my mind I figure this will happen to me some day. Anyway, this is one of the best examples of that genre that I've found. (As opposed to the Dragon series of that ilk by Gael Baudino, for example.) The protagonist is a female programmer with more practicality than social skills, and the wizard is a mix of spacey and brilliant that's reminiscent of a few of my exes.

Hamill, Peter

  • Forever (fic)

Hamilton, Laurell K.

  • A Caress of Twilight (fan)
  • A Kiss of Shadows (fan)
  • A Kiss of Shadows, A Caress of Twilight (fan)
  • A Kiss of Shadows, A Caress of Twilight (fan)
  • Blood Noir (fan)
  • Blue Moon (fan)
  • Cerulean Sins (fan)
  • Danse Macabre (fan)
  • Incubus Dreams (fan)
  • Narcissus In Chains (fan)
  • Nightseer (fan)
  • Obsidian Butterfly (fan)
  • Obsidian Butterfly (fan)
  • Seduced by Moonlight, A Stroke of Midnight (fan)
  • Skin Trade, Flirt, Bullet (fan)
  • The Harlequin (fan)
  • the Anita Blake series (fan)
    • Guilty Pleasures
    • The Laughing Corpse
    • Circus of the Damned
    • The Lunatic Cafe
    • Bloody Bones
    • The Killing Dance
    • Burnt Offerings
    • Blue Moon
    • Obsidian Butterfly
    • Narcissus In Chains
    • Cerulean Sins
    • Incubus Dreams
    • Micah
    • Danse Macabre
    • The Harlequin
    • Blood Noir
    • Skin Trade
    • Flirt
    • Bullet
    • Hit List
    • Kiss the Dead
    • Affliction
    • Jason
    • Beauty
    • Dead Ice
  • the Anita Blake series (fan)
  • the Anita Blake series (fan)
  • the Anita Blake series (fan)
  • the Meredith Gentry series (fan)
    • A Kiss of Shadows
    • A Caress of Twilight
    • Seduced by Moonlight
    • A Stroke of Midnight
    • Mistral's Kiss
    • A Lick of Frost
    • Swallowing Darkness
    • Divine Misdemeanors

Anita Blake kicks some serious vampire ass, which is why falling for the Master of the City really cramps her style. The protagonist only executes vampires as a side line, actually - her day (or rather night) job is raising the dead. She's as terminally sarcastic as Vlad Taltos. Hmm, I wonder who'd win in a face-off between those two? Anyway, I know I use the word addictive a lot on this page, but I *really, really* mean it this time.

Update, ten years later: Or, at least, I meant it for the earlier ones in the series, the first 10 or so, back when there was more plot in between the sex scenes and the Big Bad Du Jour got vanquished in a single novel instead of an endless buildup across a double-digit number of them. At this point it's gotten ridiculous. Alas, I still read them, but can't recommend them any more. I'm just listing them here so that I can keep track of which I've read.

Her series on Meredith Gentry (starting with A Kiss of Shadows) is more of the same. Probably same universe, can't exactly tell, only it's focusing on an exiled member of both the Seelie and Unseelie courts who's now a detective. And who, of course, kicks some serious ass also. There are even *more* preternaturally beautiful men with stunningly long hair in her life than in Anita's, incredible as that may seem...

Hamilton, Peter F.

  • A Quantum Murder (sf)
  • Fallen Dragon (sf)
  • Mindstar Rising (sf)
  • The Nano Flower (sf)

The early Mindstar/Quantum/Nano sequence is the trilogy that's actually good, crisp hard SF - in contast to the turgid stuff he did later with hellspawn etc....

Hand, Elizabeth

  • 12 Monkeys (sf)
  • Black Light (fan)
  • Glimmering (sf)
  • Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories (fan)
  • Waking the Moon (fan)
  • Winterlong (sf)

Winterlong is powerful but so unremittingly bleak that I haven't yet brought myself to read Aestival Tide or Icarus Descending.

12 Monkeys is a movie tie-in, but like Card's The Abyss it's better than the usual dreck.

Glimmering is near-future, not exactly post-holocaust, more like mid-gradual-environmental-holocaust. But that's the backdrop, the focus is on the characters.

Waking the Moon is difficult to categorize, set in the present at a Jesuit university, a woman finds that in her new group of friends the line between myth and reality is blurred.

Hanif, Mohammed

  • A Case of Exploding Mangoes (fic)

Harlan, Thomas

  • Wasteland of Flint, House of Reeds (sf)

Harr, Jonathan

  • A Civil Action (non)

Harris, Joanne

  • Five Quarters of the Orange (fic)

Harrison, Kim

  • A Fistful of Charms (fan)
  • Dead Witch Walking; The Good, the Bad, and the Undead; Every Which Way but Dead (fan)
  • For A Few Demons More (fan)
  • The Outlaw Demon Wails (fan)

Hart, Carl

  • High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything (non)

Hart, O van der and Nijenhuis, E and Steele, K

  • The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization (non)

Hartman, Keith

  • The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse (fan)

Hartman, Rachel

  • Serafina, Shadow Scale (fan)

Harvey, Miles

  • The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime (non)

Hawkins, Scott

  • The Library at Mount Char (fan)

Haydon, Elizabeth

  • Rhapsody, Prophecy, Destiny, Requiem for the Sun (fan)

Hearn, Lian

  • Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass for his Pillow, Brilliance of the Moon (fan)
  • the Tales of the Otori (fan)
    • Across the Nightingale Floor
    • Grass for his Pillow
    • Brilliance of the Moon
    • The Harsh Cry of the Heron

Set in a variant of medieval Japan where there is a Tribe of people with skills beyond human, a mountain boy is adopted by the Otari warlord.

Heglund, Jean

  • Into the Forest (sf)

Helfer, Ralph

  • The Beauty of the Beasts (bio)

Helprin, Mark

  • Winter's Tale (fan)

Henderson, Zenna

  • Pilgrimage, The People: No Different Flesh, Holding Wonder, The Anything Box (sf)
  • Pilgrimage: The Book of the People, The People: No Different Flesh (sf)
  • The Anything Box (fan)

Herbert, Frank

  • Whipping Star (sf)
  • the Dune series (sf)
    • Dune
    • Dune Messiah
    • Children of Dune

I've always thought Dune is one of the greatest SF books of all time. Far future, mysticism, philosophy, ecology, giant worms, lots of sand. The series is actually quite long, but I think only the original trilogy belongs on the great list.

Note for those who have only seen the incoherent movie - READ THE BOOK. The squeebly Kyle MacLachlan is really not the person to cast as the Messiah, dammit. The movie was a bitter disappointment.

Hobb, Robin

  • Assassin's Apprentice (fan)
  • Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin's Quest (fan)
  • Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin's Quest (fan)
  • Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons, Blood of Dragons (fan)
  • Fool's Errand, Golden Fool, Fool's Fate (fan)
  • Shaman's Crossing, Forest Mage, Renegade's Magic (fan)
  • Ship of Magic (fan)
  • Ship of Magic, Mad Ship, Ship of Destiny (fan)

Hobson, M.K.

  • The Native Star, The Hidden Goddess (fan)

Hodgell, P.C.

  • God Stalk, Dark of the Moon (fan)
  • God Stalk, Dark of the Moon, Seeker's Mask, To Ride a Rathorn (fan)
  • Seeker's Mask (fan)
  • Seeker's Mask (fan)
  • Seeker's Mask, To Ride a Rathorn, Bound in Blood (fan)
  • Seeker's Mask, To Ride a Rathorn, Bound in Blood, Honor's Paradox (fan)
  • Seeker's Mask, To Ride a Rathorn, Bound in Blood, Honor's Paradox, The Sea of Time (fan)

Hoffman, Nina Kiriki

  • A Fistful of Sky (fan)

Hofstader, Douglas R.

  • Godel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid (non)

Hogan, James P.

  • Inherit the Stars, The Gentle Giants of Ganymede, Giants' Star (sf)

Holdstock, Robert

  • Mythago Wood, Lavondyss, The Bone Forest (fan)

Hood, Daniel

  • Fanuilh, Wizard's Heir, Beggar's Banquet, Scales of Justice, King's Cure (fan)
  • Fanuilh, Wizard's Heir, Beggar's Banquet, Scales of Justice, King's Cure (fan)

Hosseini, Khaled

  • The Kite Runner (fic)

Howey, Hugh

  • the Silo series (sf)
    • Wool Omnibus
    • Shift Omnibus
    • Dust

Huff, Tanya

  • Blood Price, Blood Trail, Blood Lines, Blood Pact, Blood Debt (fan)
  • Blood Price, Blood Trail, Blood Lines, Blood Pact, Blood Debt (fan)
  • Blood Price, Blood Trail, Blood Lines, Blood Pact, Blood Debt (fan)
  • Long Hot Summoning (fan)
  • Relative Magic (fan)
  • Sing the Four Quarters, Fifth Quarter, No Quarter (fan)
  • Summon the Keeper (fan)
  • The Enchantment Emporium, The Wild Ways (fan)
  • The Fire's Stone (fan)
  • The Silvered (fan)
  • Valor's Choice (sf)
  • the Confederation series (sf)
    • Valor's Choice
    • The Better Part of Valor
    • The Heart of Valor
    • Valor's Trial
    • The Truth of Valor
    • An Ancient Peace

The Quarters series focuses on magic, specifically a world where magicians are one of four types. The Blood series, set in the present, is about a female detective who becomes entangled with supernatural, starting with a rather appealing vampire who started life as the bastard son of Henry VIII. Summon the Keeper is a quite funny book about present-day magicians who guard against dark magic. Valor's Choice is something completely different, a SF military novel with engaging and believable characters.

Hughart, Barry

  • Bridge of Birds, The Story of the Stone, Eight Skilled Gentlemen (fan)

Hunt, Walter

  • The Dark Path, The Dark Wing, The Dark Ascent (sf)

Huxley, Aldous

  • Brave New World (sf)

Inoue, Yasushi

  • Tun-Huang (non)

Irving, John

  • A Prayer for Owen Meany (fic)

Ivins, Molly

  • You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You (non)

Usually hilarious, always political essays from a left-wing Texan columnist. Get some factual ammunition to back up your arguments with Republicans. Speaking of anti-right-wing ammo, see also Take the Rich Off Welfare.

Jablokov, Alexander

  • Carve the Sky (sf)
  • Nimbus (sf)
  • River of Dust (sf)

Jansson, Tove

  • Moominsummer Madness (fic)

Jemisin, N.K.

  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods (fan)
  • The Killing Moon, The Shadowed Sun (fan)

Johnson, Jeff

  • Designing with the Mind in Mind (non)

Johnson, Kij

  • Fudoki (fan)
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellit Boe (fic)
  • The Fox Woman (fan)

Dreamy, set in medieval Japan, story of a fox (in Fox Woman) and cat (in Fudoki) who are transformed into being human by the kami. Very well done in mood and spirit. Not at all the usual fantasy book. If you like this, you might also like Hearn's Otari series.

Joyce, Graham

  • Requiem (fan)

Kadrey, Richard

  • Dead Set (fan)
  • Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, Aloha from Hell (fan)
  • the Sandman Slim series (fan)
    • Sandman Slim
    • Kill the Dead
    • Aloha from Hell
    • Devil in the Dollhouse
    • Devil Said Bang
    • Kill City Blues

Kagan, Janet

  • Hellspark (sf)

Kahneman, Daniel

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow (non)

Kaku, Michio

  • Hyperspace (non)

Popularized science from a physicist who built a cyclotron in his back yard while in high school. Fun stuff.

Kay, Guy Gavriel

  • A Song for Arbonne (fan)
  • Children of Earth and Sky (fan)
  • Sailing to Sarantium, Lord of Emperors (fan)
  • The Last Light of the Sun (fan)
  • The Lions of Al-Rassan (fan)
  • Tigana (fan)
  • Under Heaven, River of Stars (fan)
  • Ysabel (fan)
  • the Fionavar Tapestry (fan)
    • The Summer Tree
    • The Wandering Fire
    • The Darkest Road
  • the Fionavar Tapestry (fan)

Kaye, Marvin and Godwin, Parke

  • The Masters of Solitude, Wintermind (sf)

Kearney, Paul

  • Hawkwood and the Kings, Century of the Soldier (fan)

Keene, Donald

  • On Familiar Terms: To Japan and Back, A Lifetime Across Cultures (bio)

Kelly, James Patrick

  • Wildfire (sf)

Kelly, James Patrick and Kessel, John and Lethem, Jonathan

  • Ninety Percent of Everything (sf)

Kennealy, Patricia

  • The Copper Crown, The Throne of Scone (sf)
  • The Copper Crown, The Throne of Scone, The Silver Branch (sf)
  • The Hawk's Grey Feather, The Oak Above the Kings, The Hedge of Mist (sf)

Kerr, Katharine and Kreighbaum, Mark

  • Palace, The Eyes of God (sf)

Kerr, Peg

  • Emerald House Rising (fan)

Kidder, Tracy

  • The Soul of a New Machine (non)

The Soul of a New Machine is the quintessential geek bestseller - the story of the building of a new minicomputer in the 80's. I first read it my freshman year of college, and it was interesting to reread it recently now that I've got a much closer acquaintance with the world of computer companies and details of computer hardware.

Kiehl, Kent A.

  • The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience (non)

Kingsolver, Barbara

  • Animal Dreams (fic)
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (non)
  • Prodigal Summer (fic)
  • The Poisonwood Bible (fic)

Kirstein, Rosemary

  • The Lost Steersman (fan)
  • The Steerswoman, The Outskirter's Secret (sf)
  • the Steerswoman series (sf)
    • The Steerswoman
    • The Outskirter's Secret
    • The Steerswoman's Road
    • The Lost Steersman
    • The Language of Power

Knapp, Caroline

  • Drinking: A Love Story (bio)

Knight, E.E.

  • the Vampire Earth series (sf)
    • Way of the Wolf
    • Choice of the Cat
    • Tale of the Thunderbolt

Kolk, Bessel van der

  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma (non)

Kooistra, Jeffery D.

  • Dykstra's War (sf)

Koontz, Dean

  • Life Expectancy (fic)

Kress, Nancy

  • The Aliens of Earth (sf)

Kritzer, Naomi

  • Fires of the Faithful, Turning the Storm (fan)
  • Freedom's Gate (fan)

Kube-McDowell, Michael P.

  • Emprise, Enigma, Empery (sf)

Kushner, Ellen

  • Swordspoint (fan)
  • Swordspoint (fan)
  • Swordspoint (fan)
  • The Privilege of the Sword (fan)
  • Thomas the Rhymer (fan)

Swordspoint is a gently gripping story of a swordsman and his male lover in a duel-prone society. Thomas the Rhymer is a retelling of the story with an emphasis on the characterization of Thomas.

Kushner, Ellen and Sherman, Delia

  • The Fall of the Kings (fan)

Kushner_etal, Ellen

  • Tremontaine (fan)

L'Engle, Madeline

  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet (fan)
  • A Wind In the Door (fan)
  • A Wrinkle In Time (fan)

A Wrinkle in Time is best read in junior high or so, but I still have fond memories of Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit - it's good to remember that the next slightly batty old ladies you encounter could in fact be retired stars...

Lackey, Mercedes

  • the Valdemar series (fan)
    • Magic's Pawn
    • Magic's Promise
    • Magic's Price
    • Arrows of the Queen
    • Arrow's Flight
    • Arrow's Fall
    • The Oathbound
    • Oathbreakers
    • By the Sword
    • Winds of Fate
    • Winds of Change
    • Winds of Fury
    • Storm Warning
    • Storm Rising
    • Storm Breaking
  • the Valdemar series (fan)
  • the Valdemar series (fan)

I think there's a strong overlap between people who read McCaffrey and those who read Lackey. This is another one I'm defensive about. A particularly scathing friend of mine refers to these as the "My Little Pony" books. You've got your telepathic supernatural horses that Choose the pure of heart and sweep them away to become Heralds. Yes, I know these books can be incredibly cheesy. I've read them a zillion times anyway, and the only reason I don't read them more is that I've practically memorized them. (So why are they only listed twice? Because listing them eight times is a stronger recommendatory statement than I'm willing to make.)

There are many books set in Valdemar that I'm not including - the Mage Winds and Mage Storms trilogies don't make the cut. And the Gryphon and Owl series are pretty awful. (Of course, I read them all anyway, I just don't recommend them.) Don't even get me started on the Bardic Voices series. Humph.

The Fire Rose is set in early 20th century San Francisco, and isn't a bad mix of the discovering-wizard-powers genre with Beauty and the Beast.

Lackey, Mercedes and Flint, Eric and Freer, Dave

  • The Shadow of the Lion (fan)

Lakoff, George and Johnson, Mark

  • Metaphors We Live By (non)

Lanchester, John

  • Fragrant Harbour (fic)

Landsburg, Steven E.

  • More Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics (non)

Laplante, Phillip A. and Neill, Colin J.

  • Antipatterns: Identification, Refactoring, and Management (non)

Larsson, Stieg

  • the Millennium trilogy (fic)
    • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    • The Girl who Played with Fire
    • The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Lasseter, John

  • Toy Story: Art and Making of the Animated Film (non)

Laumer, Keith, ed

  • Five Fates (sf)

I'm sure it's out of print, but this is a great hard SF book where five good writers start from the same one-page beginning of a man's last moments at a euthansia center. The stories are completely different in tone and content: the five writers are Laumer, Frank Herbert, Poul Anderson, Gordon Dickson, and Harlan Ellison.

LeGuin, Ursula K.

  • A Wizard Of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore (fan)
  • City of Illusions (sf)
  • Four Ways To Forgiveness (sf)
  • Four Ways to Forgiveness (sf)
  • Malafrena (fic)
  • Rocannon's World (sf)
  • The Birthday of the World (sf)
  • The Birthday of the World (sf)
  • The Dispossessed (sf)
  • The Language of the Night (non)
  • The Left Hand of Darkness (sf)
  • The Poacher (fan)
  • The Telling (sf)
  • the Earthsea series (fan)
    • A Wizard of Earthsea
    • The Tombs of Atuan
    • The Farthest Shore
    • Tehanu
    • Tales from Earthsea
    • The Other Wind

She's written many classics, but my favorite by far is the Wizard of Earthsea. I'm also fond of some of her lesser-known early novels of the Hainish cycle - Rocannon's World and City of Illusions. The justly famous Left Hand of Darkness is certainly an exploration of gender, being the story of a human diplomat in a world where being a single gender permanently is considered an unfortunate biological aberration, but is *very* far from stridency that some other writers labelled feminist can fall into (Tepper comes to mind...)

I finally read The Disposessed only recently, wherein a scientist from a determinedly spartan and egalitarian culture exiles himself to a much more inequitous civilization.

She's written many shorts, some of which have continued to rattle around my head for years - especially "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" and "The Day After the Revolution".

LeGuin, Ursula K. and Attebery, Brian, ed

  • The Norton Book of Science Fiction (sf)

Leavitt, Ciaran Llachlan

  • Glass Houses (sf)
  • When the Wave Breaks (fan)

Leckie, Ann

  • Ancillary Justice (sf)
  • Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword (sf)
  • Ancillary Sword, Ancillary Mercy (sf)

Lem, Stanislaw

  • Solaris (sf)
  • The Cyberiad (sf)

Leslie, Robert Franklin

  • The Bears and I: Raising Three Cubs in the North Woods (bio)

Lethem, Jonathan

  • Amnesia Moon (sf)
  • As She Climbed Across the Table (sf)
  • Girl With Landscape (sf)
  • Gun, with Occasional Music (sf)
  • Men and Cartoons (fic)
  • Motherless Brooklyn (fic)
  • The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye (sf)
  • This Shape We're In (fic)

Levi, Primo

  • The Periodic Table (bio)

Levitt, Stephen D. and Dubner, Stephen J.

  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economists Explains the Hidden Side of Everything (non)

Levy, Matthys and Salvadori, Mario

  • Why Buildings Fall Down (non)

A fun popular science book by some structural engineers. The title says it all.

Lewis, C.S.

  • the Chronicles of Narnia (fan)
    • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
    • Prince Caspian
    • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    • The Silver Chair
    • The Horse and his Boy
    • The Magician's Nephew
    • The Last Battle

Another piece of the must-read canon, preferably when very young. I remember being annoyed when years later I was told that Aslan was a Christ figure. Reepicheep, while excitable, is a fine role model.

I never really got into Lewis's other SF for adults (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra).

Lidwell, William and Holden, Kritina and Butler, Jill

  • Universal Principles of Design (non)

Lindskold, Jane

  • Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls (sf)
  • Through Wolf's Eyes; Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart (fan)
  • the Firekeeper series (fan)
    • Through Wolf's Eyes
    • Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart
    • The Dragon of Despair
    • Wolf Captured
    • Wolf Hunting
    • Wolf's Blood

So the Wolf series is yet another example of talking animal books. What can I say - I like them. Between that and the "raised by wolves" hook (Firekeeper is *very* different from the Spencer's Ukiah Oregon character of the same meme), how can it go wrong?

Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls is urban fantasy, not high fantasy, but some similarities (female protagonist very very different from those who surround her, which imparts both weakness and strength to her).

Lisle, Holly

  • Gods Old and Dark (fan)
  • Memory of Fire (fan)
  • The Wreck of Heaven (fan)

Memory of Fire is in the all-too-populated subgenre of "ordinary person pulled through portal into other world where they have vast magical powers and a Great Destiny", but it's really well done.

Lodge, David

  • Changing Places, Small World, Nice Work (fic)

Lowachee, Karin

  • Warchild, Burndive (sf)

Lynch, Scott

  • The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies (fan)
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies, The Republic of Thieves (fan)

Lynn, Elizabeth A.

  • Dragon's Winter (fan)
  • The Sardonyx Net (sf)
  • Watchtower, The Dancers of Arun, The Northern Girl (fan)

MacAvoy, R.A.

  • Tea with the Black Dragon (fan)
  • Tea with the Black Dragon (fan)
  • The Book of Kells (fan)
  • The Book of Kells (fan)
  • The Book of Kells (fan)

MacLeod, Ken

  • Cosmonaut Keep, Dark Light (sf)
  • Cosmonaut Keep, Dark Light, Engine City (sf)
  • Learning the World (sf)
  • Newton's Wake (sf)
  • The Cassini Division (sf)
  • The Human Front (sf)
  • The Star Fraction, The Stone Canal, The Cassini Division, The Sky Road (sf)

Maguire, Gregory

  • Wicked (fan)

Marcus, Gary

  • Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind (non)

Marillier, Juliet

  • Daughter of the Forest, Son of the Shadows, Child of the Prophecy (fan)

Marley, Louise

  • The Glass Harmonica (sf)
  • The Terrorists of Irustan (sf)

Martel, Yann

  • Life of Pi (fic)

Martin, George R.R.

  • A Game of Thrones (fan)
  • A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords (fan)
  • Dying of the Light (sf)
  • Fevre Dream (fan)
  • Songs the Dead Men Sing (sf)
  • Tuf Voyaging (sf)
  • Tuf Voyaging (sf)
  • Tuf Voyaging (sf)
  • Windhaven (sf)

Fevre Dream is a rather unusual vampire story set on 19th century Mississippi riverboats. Tuf Voyaging is a fun wish-fulfillment story of how to handle unprecedented power, in this case a fully functional biowarfare (and biomedical) ship unique in the protagonist's culture. Windhaven is about a metal-poor low gravity ocean world where fast communication between islands is only possible using human-powered flight. The wings were cut from the body of the colonizing spaceship, and their irreplaceability has led to a very rigid social structure. He's also got some very strong short stories, but now I can't remember which of the collections I've read.

Martin, George R.R. and Dozois, Gardener and Abraham, Daniel

  • Hunter's Run (sf)

Martin, George R.R., ed

  • the Wild Cards series (sf)
    • Wild Cards
    • Aces High
    • Jokers Wild
    • Aces Abroad
    • Down and Dirty
    • Ace in the Hole
    • Dead Man's Hand
    • One-Eyes Jacks
    • Jokertown Shuffle
    • Double Solitaire
    • Dealer's Choice
    • Turn of the Cards
    • Card Sharks
    • Marked Cards
    • Black Trump
    • Deuces Down
    • Death Draws Five
    • Inside Straight
    • Busted Flush
    • Suicide Kings
    • Fort Freak
  • the Wild Cards series (sf)

Martin, Judith

  • Miss Manners' Guide to the Turn-of-the-Millenium (hum)

Martinac, Paula

  • Out of Time (fic)

Mate, Gabor

  • In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (non)

Mathur, Ashok

  • Once Upon an Elephant (fic)

Matthews, Susan R.

  • An Exchange of Hostages, Prisoner of Conscience, Hour of Judgement (sf)
  • The Devil and Deep Space (sf)

Torturer for a theocratic dictatorship, not the best of job titles...

May, Julian

  • Diamond Mask (sf)
  • Jack the Bodiless (sf)
  • Magnificat (sf)
  • The Many-Colored Land, The Golden Torc, The Nonborn King, The Adversary (sf)
  • The Many-Colored Land, The Golden Torc, The Nonborn King, The Adversary (sf)
  • The Surveillance, Metaconcert, Intervention (sf)
  • the Pliocene Exile series (sf)
    • The Many-Colored Land
    • The Golden Torc
    • The Nonborn King
    • The Adversary
    • Surveillance
    • Metaconcert
    • Intervention
    • Jack the Bodiless
    • Diamond Mask
    • Magnificat

Mayo, Diane

  • Murder at the Big Store (hum)

I can't figure out whether Mayo is a pseudonym for Edward Gorey or not - very similar drawing style and sense of humor, but it's set in a modern department store instead of a 19th century drawing room in England.

McAuley, Paul J.

  • Fairyland (sf)
  • Pasquale's Angel (fan)
  • Secret Harmonies (sf)
  • The Secret of Life (sf)
  • Whole Wide World (sf)

McCaffrey, Anne

  • Nimisha's Ship (sf)
  • the Pern series (sf)
    • Dragonflight
    • Dragonquest
    • Dragonsong
    • Dragonsinger
    • Dragondrums
    • The White Dragon
  • the Pern series (sf)

Caveat: Anne McCaffrey is best read before or during your teenage years. The older Pern books are good juveniles. They don't age so well, but there's a place for that. The later ones like The Masterharper of Pern are just godawfully bad. There are even some gratuitously repetitive ones contiguous in time with some of the earlier books in the series. Maybe she had Rashomon in mind when writing Nerilka of Pern, but she really can't pull it off.

I really can't recommend any of her others. Even the older ones (The Ship Who Sang, Killashandra, Dinosaur Planet) are pretty wooden. Lately she's been writing truly abysmal sequels (Damia, The City Who Fought) that are orders of magnitude worse. Take cover.

Wait, now there's a bit of hope: Nimisha's Ship was reminiscent of her older stuff - a reasonably engaging juvenile. I conjecture this one is good since she's starting a whole new world instead of indulging in sequelitis...

McCarthy, Wil

  • Aggressor Six (sf)
  • Murder in the Solid State (sf)
  • The Collapsium (sf)

The Collapsium is fun - almost a cartoon of the SF meme of super-genius working with super-materials. Its sequel The Wellstone didn't have the zany energy of its predecessor, so didn't make it on the list. McCarthy does hard SF in the old style - plots heavily driven by physics rather than characters. Reasonable mindcandy if you're in the mood for that sort of thing.

McCloud, Scott

  • Understanding Comics (non)

McCorduck, Pamela and Ramsey, Nancy

  • The Futures of Women: Scenarios for the 21st Century (non)

McDevitt, Jack

  • Ancient Shores (sf)
  • Coming Home (sf)
  • Eternity Road (sf)
  • Infinity Beach (sf)
  • Moonfall (sf)
  • Polaris, Seeker (sf)
  • The Engines of God (sf)
  • Time Travellers Never Die (sf)
  • the Alex Benedict series (sf)
    • A Talent For War
    • Polaris
    • Seeker
    • The Devil's Eye
    • Echo
    • Firebird
  • the Priscilla Hutchins series (sf)
    • The Engines of God
    • Deepsix
    • Chindi
    • Omega
    • Odyssey
    • Cauldron

McDevitt, Jack and Resnick, Mike

  • The Cassandra Project (sf)

McDonald, Ian

  • Ares Express (sf)
  • Empire Dreams (sf)
  • Evolution's Shore (sf)
  • King of Morning, Queen of Day (fan)
  • Out on Blue Six (sf)
  • Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone (sf)
  • Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone (sf)
  • Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone (sf)
  • Terminal Cafe (sf)
  • The Broken Land (sf)

I've very much liked every book he's written. An unusual mix of hard SF with fantastic characterization. Somewhat bleak, but in a "been through it all and now looking back with a wistful twisted grin" as opposed to "let me just fling myself off a bridge right now" kind of way.

Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone is one of my favorites of all time, I've bought at least four copies but keep lending it out. The intermixed story of a Buddhist bicycle pilgrimage through 21st century technofeudal Japan, and the gradually unfolding story of the protagonist's past. And I can't resist Out on Blue Six, for the mutated racoon subplot alone, not to mention all the rest!

McGonigal, Kelly

  • The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do (non)

McGuire, Seanan

  • Chaos Choreography (fan)
  • Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day (fan)
  • Every Heart a Doorway (fan)
  • Magic for Nothing (fan)
  • Pocket Apocalypse (fan)
  • The Winter Long (fan)
  • Velveteen vs. the Junior Super-Patriots, Velveteen vs. the Multiverse (fan)
  • the Incryptid series (fan)
    • Discount Armageddon
    • Midnight Blue-Light Special
    • Half-off Ragnarok
    • Sparrow Hill Road
  • the Incryptid shorts (fan)
    • The Flower of Arizona
    • One Hell of a Ride
    • No Place Like Home
    • Married in Green
    • Sweet Poison Wine
    • The First Fall
    • Loch & Key
    • We Both Go Down Together
    • Blocked
    • Bad Dream Girl
    • Red As Snow
    • Black As Blood
  • the October Daye series (fan)
    • Rosemary and Rue
    • A Local Habitation
    • An Artificial Night
    • Late Eclipses
    • One Salt Sea
    • Ashes of Honor
    • Chimes at Midnight
    • The Winter Long
    • A Red-Rose Chain
    • Once Broken Faith
  • the October Daye series (fan)
  • the Velveteen series (fan)
    • Velveteen vs. the Junior Super-Patriots
    • Velveteen vs. the Multiverse
    • Velveteen vs. the Seasons

McHugh, Maureen F.

  • China Mountain Zhang (sf)
  • Half the Day is Night (sf)
  • Mission Child (sf)
  • Nekropolis (sf)

Like McDonald, hard SF and great characterization and fairly bleak. But in a good way!

McIntyre, Vonda N.

  • Dreamsnake (sf)
  • Fireflood and Other Stories (sf)
  • Starfarers, Transition, Metaphase, Nautilus (sf)
  • Starfarers, Transition, Metaphase, Nautilus (sf)
  • The Exile Waiting (sf)
  • The Moon and the Sun (fan)

McKenna, Juliet E.

  • The Thief's Gamble (fan)
  • The Thief's Gamble, The Swordsman's Oath (fan)
  • the Aldabreshin Compass (fan)
    • Northern Storm
    • Southern Fire
    • Western Shore
    • Eastern Tide
  • the tales of Einarinn (fan)
    • The Thief's Gamble
    • The Swordsman's Oath
    • The Gambler's Fortune
    • The Warrior's Bond
    • The Assassin's Edge

McKillip, Patricia

  • Od Magic (fan)
  • Solstice Wood (fan)

McKillip, Patricia A.

  • Fool's Run (sf)
  • In the Forests of Serre (fan)
  • Kingfisher (fan)
  • Ombria in Shadow (fan)
  • Song for the Basilisk (fan)
  • The Book of Atrix Wolfe (fan)
  • The Changeling Sea (fan)
  • The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (fan)
  • The Riddlemaster of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, Harpist in the Wind (fan)
  • The Riddlemaster of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, Harpist in the Wind (fan)
  • The Riddlemaster of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, Harpist in the Wind (fan)
  • The Riddlemaster of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, Harpist in the Wind (fan)
  • The Riddlemaster of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, Harpist in the Wind (fan)
  • The Sorcerer and the Cygnet, The Cygnet and the Firebird (fan)
  • The Tower in Stony Wood (fan)
  • Winter Rose (fan)

McKillip is one of my favorite fantasy writers. The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy is her strongest work. There are some similarities between the college of riddlery and the college of wizards in LeGuin's Wizard of Earthsea, although tone of the books is rather different. Many of the others have a dreamy yet crystalline feel. Although it's true that some of the characters wear swords, and there is magic of various kinds, it's very far from the swords-n-sorcery genre. Her single SF novel, Fool's Run, is also excellent. A female musician ends up in a band that tours to the last place she wants to be, but which resolves the central mystery in her life.

McKinley, Robin

  • A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories (fan)
  • Deerskin (fan)
  • Dragonhaven (fan)
  • Spindle's End (fan)
  • Sunshine (fan)
  • Sunshine (fan)
  • The Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown (fan)
  • The Door in the Hedge (fan)
  • The Door in the Hedge (fan)
  • The Outlaws of Sherwood (fan)

McMullen, Sean

  • Souls in the Great Machine, The Miocene Arrow, Eyes of the Calculor (sf)

McQuay, Mike

  • The Nexus (sf)

McQuinn, Donald E.

  • Wanderer, Warrior, Witch (sf)

Melko, Paul

  • The Walls of the Universe, The Broken Universe (sf)

Meyer, Stephenie

  • Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn (fan)

Mieville, China

  • Embassytown (sf)
  • King Rat (fan)
  • Perdido Street Station (fan)
  • The City and The City (fan)
  • The Scar (sf)
  • Un Lun Dun (fan)

Mieville is the most evocative new writer I've come across in the past few years. Both of his books are set in darkly phantasmagorical cities: King Rat in the present, and Perdido Street Station in what is certainly neither here nor now. Perdido is set in a richly detailed world of many chimerical species, amidst almost unremittingly bleak circumstances. The Scar and Iron Council are in the same world.

Un Lun Dun is a children's book, so we get the same imagination but with leavened with gentle whimsy instead of that fling-self-off-cliff-now edge.

The City and The City is a tour de force set in a slightly offcenter present, of two cities superimposed that never touch, thanks to the vigilance of both the inhabitants and the enforcers of the status quo. Oh, and it's a murder mystery to boot.

Miller, Karen

  • Empress (fan)
  • The Innocent Mage, The Awakened Mage (fan)

Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon

  • Allies (sf)
  • Balance of Trade (sf)
  • Balance of Trade, Trade Secret (sf)
  • Conflict of Honors, Agent of Change, Carpe Diem (sf)
  • Conflict of Honors, Agent of Change, Carpe Diem (sf)
  • Conflict of Honors, Agent of Change, Carpe Diem (sf)
  • Dragon Ship (sf)
  • Eidolon (sf)
  • Fellow Travellers (sf)
  • Fledgling (sf)
  • I Dare (sf)
  • Local Custom, Scout's Progress, Mouse and Dragon, Fledgling, Balance of Trade (sf)
  • Loose Cannon (sf)
  • Misfits, Halfling Moon, Skyblaze (sf)
  • Necessary Evils, Allies, Dragon Tide (sf)
  • Necessity's Child (sf)
  • Pilot's Choice (sf)
  • Pilot's Choice, Plan B (sf)
  • Plan B (sf)
  • Plan B, I Dare (sf)
  • Plan B, I Dare (sf)
  • Quiet Knives (sf)
  • Saltation, Ghost Ship (sf)
  • The Tomorrow Log (sf)
  • Trading in Futures, Changeling (sf)
  • Two Tales of Korval (sf)
  • With Stars Underfoot (sf)
  • the Liaden Universe series (sf)
    • Conflict of Honor
    • Agent of Change
    • Carpe Diem
    • Plan B
    • I Dare
    • Two Tales of Korval
    • Fellow Travellers
    • Duty Bound
    • Certain Symmetries
    • Trading in Futures
    • Changeling
    • Loose Cannon
    • Shadows and Shades
    • Quiet Knives
    • With Stars Underfoot
    • Necessary Evils
    • Allies
    • Dragon Tide
    • Eidolon
  • the Liaden Universe series (sf)

Mills, K.E.

  • The Accidental Sorcerer (fan)

Mitford, Nancy

  • Don't Tell Alfred (fic)
  • The Pursuit of Love, Love in a Cold Climate (fic)

Mixon, Laura J.

  • Glass Houses (sf)

Modesitt,Jr., L.E.

  • Adiamante (sf)
  • Darksong Rising (fan)
  • Gravity Dreams (sf)
  • Magi'i of Cyador, Scion of Cyador (fan)
  • Of Tangible Ghosts, The Ghost of the Revelator (sf)
  • The Ecologic Envoy, The Ecolitan Operation (sf)
  • The Ecologic Envoy,The Ecolitan Operation The Ecologic Secession,The Ecolitan Enigma (sf)
  • The Fires of Paratime (aka The Timegod) (sf)
  • The Forever Hero (sf)
  • The Forever Hero: Dawn of a Distant Earth, The Silent Warrior, In Endless Twilight (sf)
  • The Parafaith War (sf)
  • The Soprano Sorceress, The Spellsong War (fan)
  • The White Order (fan)
  • Timegods' World (sf)
  • the saga of Recluce (fan)
    • The Magic of Recluce
    • The Towers of Sunset
    • The Magic Engineer
    • The Order War
    • The Death of Chaos
    • The Fall of Angels
    • The Chaos Balance
    • The White Order
    • The Colors of Chaos
    • Magi'i of Cyador
    • Scion of Cyador

Moffet, Judith

  • Pennterra (sf)

Mones, Nicole

  • Lost in Translation (fic)

Monette, Sarah

  • Melusine, The Virtu (fan)

Monette, Sarah and Bear, Elizabeth

  • A Companion to Wolves (fan)

Monmonier, Mark

  • Drawing the Line: Tales of Maps and Cartocontroversy (non)
  • How To Lie With Maps (non)

Moon, Elizabeth

  • Hunting Party, Sporting Chance, Winning Colors (sf)
  • Remnant Population (sf)
  • The Deed of Paksenarrion (fan)
  • The Speed of Dark (sf)
  • the Deed of Paksenarrion (fan)
    • Sheepfarmer's Daughter
    • Divided Allegiance
    • Oath of Gold
  • the Vatta's War series (sf)
    • Trading in Danger
    • Marque and Reprisal
    • Engaging the Enemy
    • Command Decision
    • Victory Conditions
  • the Vatta's War series (sf)

Moore, Michael

  • Dude, Where's My Country (non)

Morehouse, Lydia

  • The Archangel Protocol (sf)

Morgan, Richard K.

  • Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, Woken Furies (sf)

Morris, Mary

  • Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Travelling Alone (bio)

Morrison, Toni

  • Jazz (fic)

Mullet, Kevin and Sano, Darrell

  • Designing Visual Interfaces: Communication Oriented Techniques (non)

Munroe, Jim

  • An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil (fan)
  • Angry Young Spaceman (sf)
  • Everyone In Silico (sf)
  • Flyboy Action Figure Comes With Gasmask (sf)

Murakami, Haruki

  • Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (fic)

Murdoch, Iris

  • The Flight from the Enchanter (fic)

Murphy, Pat

  • Nadya: The Wolf Chronicles (fan)
  • Nadya: The Wolf Chronicles (fan)
  • The City, Not Long After (sf)
  • The City, Not Long After (sf)
  • The Falling Woman (sf)

Naam, Ramez

  • Nexus, Crux, Apex (sf)

Nagata, Linda

  • Limit of Vision (sf)
  • Memory (sf)
  • The Bohr Maker, Tech-Heaven, Deception Well, Vast (sf)
  • the Red trilogy (sf)

The Bohr Maker is set a few hundred years from now, with a hard SF mix of nanotech, genetic engineering and personality upload/download. Which is a summary that damns it with faint praise, since there so many bad books with those elements - but it's extremely well-done. Tech-Heaven is a near-future loosely connected prequel, laying the groundwork for the biotech/political underpinnings of the society of Bohr Maker. I found it much slower going than Bohr. Deception Well is far-future with a protagonist who has been genetically altered to have the power to control the emotions of those around him, and struggles to piece together the ties between his own life with 30-million-year-old leftover alien weapons. The (surprising) connecting thread with Bohr Maker doesn't become clear til near the end. Vast is a direct sequel following the same characters. These last two novels are very strong.

More recent are Limit of Vision and Memory, both also hard SF, both also good.

Nai'an, Shi and Guanzhong, Luo and Shapiro, Sidney, trans

  • Outlaws of the Marsh (fic)

Nakanishi, Akira

  • Writing Systems of the World (non)

Nielsen, Jakob

  • Designing Web Usability (non)

Niffenegger, Audrey

  • Her Fearful Symmetry (fan)
  • The Time-Traveler's Wife (sf)

Niven, Larry

  • A Gift From Earth (sf)
  • A Hole in Space (sf)
  • A World Out of Time (sf)
  • A World Out of Time (sf)
  • All The Myriad Ways (sf)
  • Bridging the Galaxies (sf)
  • Convergent Series (sf)
  • Crashlander (sf)
  • Crashlander (sf)
  • Destiny's Road (sf)
  • Flatlander (sf)
  • Flatlander (sf)
  • Limits (sf)
  • N-Space (sf)
  • Neutron Star (sf)
  • Protector (sf)
  • Ringworld (sf)
  • Ringworld, The Ringworld Engineers (sf)
  • The Integral Trees, The Smoke Ring (sf)
  • The Magic Goes Away (fan)
  • World of Ptavvs (sf)
  • World of Ptavvs (sf)

Niven, Larry and Pournelle, Jerry

  • The Mote in God's Eye (sf)

Nix, Garth

  • Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen (fan)

Norman, Lisanne

  • Stronghold Rising (sf)
  • the Sholan Alliance series (sf)
    • Turning Point
    • Fortune's Wheel
    • Fire Margins
    • Razor's Edge
    • Dark Nadir
    • Stronghold Rising

Norris, Mikki and Conrad, Chris and Resner, Virginia

  • Shattered Lives: Portraits From America's Drug War (non)

North, Claire

  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (fan)

Novik, Naomi

  • Blood of Tyrants (fan)
  • Empire of Ivory (fan)
  • Uprooted (fan)
  • Victory of Eagles (fan)
  • the Temeraire series (fan)
    • His Majesty's Dragon
    • Throne of Jade
    • Black Powder War
    • Empire of Ivory
    • Victory of Eagles
    • Tongues of Serpents
    • Crucible of Gold
    • Blood of Tyrants

O'Brien, Robert C.

  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (fan)

Okorafor, Nnedi

  • Who Fears Death (fan)

Olson, Steve

  • Mapping Human History: Discovering the Past Through Our Genes (non)

Ore, Rebecca

  • Becoming Alien, Being Alien, Human to Human (sf)

Orlean, Susan

  • The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People (non)

Otsuka, Julie

  • When the Emperor Was Divine (fic)

Palliser, Charles

  • The Quincunx (fic)

Palmer, Ada

  • Too Like the Lightning (sf)

Palmer, David R.

  • Emergence (sf)
  • Emergence (sf)
  • Threshold (sf)

Park, Paul

  • Celestis (sf)
  • Soldiers of Paradise, Sugar Rain, The Cult of Loving Kindness (sf)
  • The Gospel of Corax (fic)

Park is certainly not a warm and fuzzy author, but his characters and worlds do linger in my mind. Soldier of Paradise, the bleak first book in the Starbridge Chronicles, is set on a planet with years that last 80,000 days, so each season lasts for many human generations. The theocratic dictatorship in power at the beginning of the series enforces the doctrine of predestination: priests decide on a baby's sins in its previous life through a combination of listening to its first cries and its birthmarks, and tattoo its hands with marks that determine who it will marry, what work it will do, and almost every other aspect of its life. Sugar Rain takes up where the first one left off, and The Cult of Loving Kindness is set a hundred years later.

Celestis is set in a completely different universe, on a planet where the aboriginal inhabitants can be made to act more or less like the human colonists through a regimen of drugs. A female aboriginal married to a human man gradually loses her veil of "humanity" after ceasing to take the pills. Again, not a happy story, but worth reading.

The Gospel of Corax is about an escaped slave who rescues Jesus of Nazareth from prison, and their journey together. Continuing the bleak-but-worth-it theme.

Park, Severna

  • Hand of Prophecy (sf)
  • Speaking Dreams (sf)
  • The Annunciate (sf)

In Speaking Dreams, a female diplomat must buy female slave as a condition of latest assignment, despite all attempts at refusal - she's still haunted by past relationship with another woman, also a slave. They too begin to fall in love as a war between the diplomat's culture and the slaver empire looms. Nominated for the Lambda Literary Award.

Hand of Prophecy is the sequel - not as strong IMHO as the first, but still worth reading.

Parker, K.J.

  • The Company (fan)
  • The Folding Knife (fan)

Parkhurst, Carolyn

  • The Dogs of Babel (fic)

Pasachoff, Jay M.

  • Petersen's First Guide to Astronomy (non)

Patchett, Ann

  • Bel Canto (fic)

Pessl, Marisha

  • Night Film (fic)

Peterson, Ivars

  • Islands of Truth: A Mathematical Mystery Tour (non)

Piercy, Marge

  • Gone to Soldiers (fic)
  • He, She, and It (sf)

He, She and It is the intertwined stories of a 21st century cyborg and a 17th century golem. An amazing book that is far less well known within the genre than it should be, compared to books like Gibson's Neuromancer and Sterling's The Artificial Kid and Stephenson's Snow Crash.

Gone to Soldiers is a very absorbing novel set during World War II.

Pinker, Steven

  • The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (non)

Piper, H. Beam

  • The Complete Paratime (sf)
  • The Complete Paratime (sf)

Pirsig, Robert

  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (bio)

Pisani, Elizabeth

  • The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS (non)

Piziks, Steven

  • In the Company of Mind, Corporate Mentality (sf)

Pohl, Frederick

  • the Heechee saga (sf)
    • Gateway
    • Beyond the Blue Event Horizon
    • Heechehe Rendezvous
    • The Annals of the Heechee

Pollack, Rachel

  • Unquenchable Fire (fan)

Pollan, Michael

  • The Omnivore's Dilemma (non)

Potter, Jeff

  • Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food (non)

Powers, Tim

  • Expiration Date (fan)
  • The Drawing of the Dark (fan)

Proulx, E. Annie

  • Accordion Crimes (fic)

Pushkin, Alexander

  • The Captain's Daughter and Other Stories (fic)

Raskin, Jef

  • The Humane Interface (non)

Reed, Robert

  • Beyond the Veil of Stars (sf)

Reimann, Katya

  • the Tielmaran Chronicles (fan)
    • Wind from a Foreign Sky
    • A Tremor in the Bitter Earth
    • Prince of Fire and Ashes

Resnick, Laura

  • In Legend Born (fan)

Resnick, Mike

  • Second Contact (sf)

Reynolds, Alastair

  • House of Suns (sf)

Rheingold, Howard

  • They Have a Word for It (non)

Rhyal, Tshe Ring Dbang

  • The Tale of the Incomparable Prince (fic)

Richardson, Kat

  • the Greywalker series (fan)
    • Greywalker
    • Polterteist
    • Underground
    • Vanished
    • Labyrinth
    • Downpour
    • Seawitch
    • Possession
    • Revenant
  • the Greywalker series (fan)

Ridley, Philip

  • In the Eyes of Mr. Fury (fic)

Ringo, John

  • A Hymn Before Battle, Gust Front, When the Devil Dances (sf)
  • Claws that Catch (sf)
  • Into the Looking Glass, Vorpal Blade, Manxome Foe (sf)
  • Princess of Wands, Queen of Wands (fan)
  • The Hero (sf)
  • the Council Wars series (sf)
    • There Will Be Dragons
    • Emerald Sea
    • Against the Tide
    • East of the Sun, West of the Moon

Ringo, John and Cochrane, Julie

  • Cally's War, Sister Time (sf)
  • Honor to the Clan (sf)

Robinson, Kim Stanley

  • A Short, Sharp Shock (fan)
  • Antarctica (sf)
  • Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below, Sixty Days and Counting (sf)
  • Green Mars (sf)
  • Icehenge (sf)
  • The Wild Shore (sf)
  • The Years of Rice and Salt (fan)
  • The Years of Rice and Salt (fan)

The Years of Rice and Salt is a multi-thousand year progression through an alternate history by following three souls. There are vignettes for each life where they don't remember each other, and they're reunited in the bardo between reincarnations and can make connections across what they've gotten from this latest life. It starts aroung the time of the Mongol hordes, ends a few hundred years after the present in this alternate historical fork where Western Europe never rose to domination.

The Forty/Fifty/Sixty series is near-future, with a protagonist whose career revolves around the scientific publication process. Some backstory for this one is in Antarctica.

The Red/Blue/Green Mars series is arguably his most famous - read it long ago that I don't remember much besides liking it in a classic hard SF with a mix of science and society worldbuilding. To re-read some day.

A Short, Sharp Shock is utterly unlike any of his other books. I had a hard time deciding whether to list it as recommended, I can't quite say that I *liked* it - but I found it sticking in my head.

The Wild Shore is part of a trilogy of three alternate earths, I haven't managed to make my way through the others yet.

Robinson, Kim Stanley, ed

  • Nebula Awards Showcase 2002 (sf)

Robinson, Spider

  • Lifehouse (sf)
  • Melancholy Elephants (sf)
  • Mindkiller (sf)
  • Stardance (sf)
  • Telempath (sf)
  • Telempath (sf)
  • The Free Lunch (sf)
  • Time Pressure (sf)

Melancholy Elephants of a book of his shorts. I like his earlier work best, like Telempath (post-holocaust coming of age - but such a novel holocaust!), Mindkiller, Time Pressure. The Stardance series plots hinge on zero-G dancing, and were written in collaboration with his choreographer wife Jeanne Robinson. I loved the first one, listed here, but the sequels (Starseed, Starmind) lost some of the intensity.

It was interesting to reread Lifehouse after moving to Vancouver, where suddenly all the place names were meaningful. This one is a more self-indulgent excursion, with all the plot tie-ins to SF fandom, but that didn't rub me too much the wrong way.

The Free Lunch was more direct homage to Heinlein than some of his others, but still fun.

The Callahan series didn't make the list because it degenerates into excuses for bad puns - but I have a sneaking fondness for it anyway.

Roessner, Michaela

  • The Stars Compel (fan)
  • The Stars Dispose (fan)
  • Vanishing Point (sf)
  • Walkabout Woman (fan)

Rose, David

  • They Call Me Naughty Lola: Personal Ads from the London Review of Books (non)

Rosenberg, Joel

  • D'Shai, Hour of the Octopus (fan)
  • Emile and the Dutchman (sf)
  • Ties of Blood and Silver (sf)
  • the Keepers of the Hidden Ways series (fan)
    • The Fire Duke
    • The Silver Stone
    • The Crimson Sky

Rosenblum, Ralph and Karen, Robert

  • When the Shooting Stops... the Cutting Begins: A Film Editor's Story (non)

Rothfuss, Patrick

  • The Name of the Wind (fan)
  • The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man's Fear (fan)
  • The Slow Regard of Silent Things (fan)

Rowling, J.K.

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (fan)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (fan)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (fan)
  • the Harry Potter series (fan)
    • Harry Potter and the and the Sorcerer's Stone
    • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Price
    • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I finally read the Harry Potter series, long after the hype had reached epic proportions. To my great surprise, the hype was well merited! These books are way more addictive than potato chips, and a very fun and absorbing read. I blew through the first three in one night from 10pm to 4am, and only went to bed because I didn't have the fourth one in the house. Another friend lent me the last, which I read the very day she gave it to me. Although this is ostensibly a children's series, it's absolutely satisfying for adults too. The only bad part about reading the series now instead of later is that I now must wait impatiently for the next one with all the rest of the addicts...

Later: yup, all the rest satisfying too!

Roy, Arundhati

  • The God of Small Things (fic)

Rubin, Gretchen

  • The Happiness Project (non)

Rusch, Kristine Kathryn

  • Buried Deep (sf)
  • Consequences (sf)
  • Echea (sf)
  • The Disappeared, Extremes (sf)
  • The Retrieval Artist (sf)

Rush, Norman

  • Mating (fic)

Rushdie, Salman

  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories (fan)
  • Midnight's Children (fic)

Russell, Mary Doria

  • The Sparrow, Children of God (sf)

Russell, Sean

  • Beneath the Vaulted Hills, Compass of the Soul (fan)
  • The Initiate Brother, Gatherer of Clouds (fan)
  • The One Kingdom, The Isle of Battle, The Shadow Roads (fan)
  • World Without End, Sea Without a Shore (fan)

Russo, Richard

  • Empire Falls (fic)

Russo, Richard Paul

  • Ship of Fools (sf)
  • The Rosetta Codex (sf)

Rybczynski, Witold

  • One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw (non)

Ryman, Geoff

  • 253 (fic)
  • The Child Garden (sf)
  • The Unconquered Country (fan)
  • The Unconquered Country (fan)
  • The Warrior Who Carried Life (fan)
  • Was (fan)

Sachs, Oliver

  • An Anthropologist on Mars (non)
  • An Anthropologist on Mars (non)
  • Awakenings (non)

Sagan, Nick

  • Idlewild, Edenborn, Everfree (sf)

Sagara, Michele

  • the Chronicles of Elantra (fan)
    • Cast in Shadow
    • Cast in Courtlight
    • Cast in Secret
    • Cast in Fury
    • Cast in Silence
    • Cast in Chaos
    • Cast in Ruin

Salinger, J.D.

  • The Catcher in the Rye (fic)

Sanderson, Brandon

  • Arcanum Unbounded (fan)
  • Elantris (fan)
  • Elantris (fan)
  • Firstborn (fan)
  • Legion (sf)
  • Legion, Legion: Skin Deep (sf)
  • Mistborn, The Well of Ascension (fan)
  • Mistborn, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages (fan)
  • Perfect State (fan)
  • Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell (fan)
  • Sixth of the Dusk (sf)
  • Steelhart, Firefight, Calamity (sf)
  • Steelheart (fan)
  • Steelheart, Mitosis, Firefight (fan)
  • The Alloy of Law (fan)
  • The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self (fan)
  • The Emperor's Soul (fan)
  • The Rithmatist (fan)
  • The Way of Kings (fan)
  • The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance (fan)
  • Warbreaker (fan)

He's fantastic. Elantris was stunning. The Mistborn series was similarly great. Fantasy but nothing like your typical high fantasy. Really intriguing worldbuilding, and characters that draw you into their existential/philosophical quests, even as the plot leaves you turning pages madly. The only warning is make sure you don't have anything that needs doing before you start these, because you won't get anything done until you finish...

Sapolsky, Robert

  • A Primate's Memoir (bio)

Sarti, Ron

  • The Chronicles of Scar, Legacy of the Ancients, The Lanterns of God (sf)

Set in post-apocalypse North America (600 years after a geological, not nuclear one) Scar/Arn gets tossed from being a street kid to being second in line for the throne when recognized as the lost bastard prince. Yes, I know that sounds like the Assassin series, but they're both good. Lots of sword battles, since most technology is forbidden by the Codes. A pretty believable protagonist, especially in terms of emotional scars from childhood affecting his adult choices/actions. I hope there's a fourth book just because I'd like to hear more about what happens next...

Sawyer, Robert J.

  • Calculating God (sf)
  • End of an Era (sf)
  • Far-Seer, Fossil Hunter, Foreigner (sf)
  • Flashforward (sf)
  • Frameshift (sf)
  • Hominids, Humans, Hybrids (sf)
  • Illegal Alien (sf)
  • Illegal Alien (sf)
  • Mindscan (sf)
  • Starplex (sf)
  • The Terminal Experiment (sf)

Many books have a paleontology and/or first contact theme in some way or another, most memorably with Calculating God: the premise is that the aliens land and say "take me to your paleontologist". The Far-Seer books are about a world where dinosaurs have evolved to be toolusers and scientists. The Hominids series is a series about a parallel universe where the Neanderthals continued, and one of their scientists ends up transported over here and has to figure out how to get back. Lots of interesting sociological worldbuilding there, with institutionalized bisexuality (everybody has both a same-sex and an opposite-sex mate). Most of his other books are also pretty scientist focused, including Illegal Alien. Great fun.

Scalzi, John

  • Agent to the Stars (sf)
  • Everything but the Squeal (sf)
  • Fuzzy Nation (sf)
  • Lock In (sf)
  • Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigades (sf)
  • Redshirts (sf)
  • The Android's Dream (sf)
  • The Collapsing Empire (sf)
  • The Last Colony (sf)
  • the Old Man's War series (sf)
    • Old Man's War
    • The Ghost Brigades
    • The Sagan Diaries
    • The Lost Colony
    • Zoe's Tale
    • The Human Division
    • The End of All Things
  • the Old Man's War series (sf)

Schmitz, James H.

  • Agent of Vega (sf)
  • The Demon Breed (sf)
  • The Witches of Karres (sf)
  • the Hub stories (sf)
    • Telzey Amberdon
    • TnT: Telzey and Trigger Together
    • Trigger and Friends
    • The Hub: Dangerous Territory
    • Agent of Vega and Other Stories

Schroeder, Karl

  • Lady of Mazes (sf)
  • Permanence (sf)
  • Ventus (sf)

Schroeder, Will and Martin, Ken and Lorensen, Bill

  • The Visualization Toolkit: An Object-Oriented Approach to 3D Graphics (non)

Although it's not obvious from the title, this is the best visualization textbook that I've found yet. The last half of the book is a manual, yes, but the front half is a very nice summary of the field. Only the last section of each chapter is specifically tied to vtk. Of course, vtk is a public service in and of itself - a very nice scientific visualization toolkit that's third generation, so it avoids both the naivete of first systems and the featuritis of second systems. Particularly strong on volumetric stuff, not surprisingly (since Bill's an author of the original marching cubes paper).

Scott, Melissa

  • A Choice of Destinies (sf)
  • Burning Bright (sf)
  • Five-Twelfths of Heaven, Silence in Solitude, The Empress of Earth (sf)
  • Five-Twelfths of Heaven,Silence in Solitude (sf)
  • The Empress of Earth (sf)
  • The Kindly Ones (sf)
  • Trouble and her Friends (sf)

Scott, Walter

  • Ivanhoe (fic)

Sebold, Alice

  • The Lovely Bones (fic)

Serafini, Luigi

  • Codex Seraphinianus (fic)

The Codex is an absolutely stunning book: a visual scientific encyclopedia drawn with exquisite care of a fantastic land that never was. There is no readable text: each pair of large-format pages has meticulous illustrations on one side, with the facing page devoted to commentary in an equally imaginary alphabet. It's deadpan humor of the highest order, reminiscent of the Borges story about the fictitious city of Tlon. I finally found myself a copy when in France recently. The page http://fatmac.ee.cornell.edu/~kevin/Codex/codextoc.html has a few high-resolution scans that can give you a flavor of the work.

Seth, Vikram

  • A Suitable Boy (fic)
  • The Golden Gate (fic)
  • Two Lives (bio)

I read the novel-length poem The Golden Gate ten years ago so can't really remember much beyond liking it. Which says a fair amount since my poetry tolerence is usually pretty low.

A Suitable Boy was a godsend. I was in a bookstore in an European airport with a transatlantic flight ahead of me, no unread books, and only scattered coins in several different currencies. As you might guess from this page, I read *very* fast. Being caught bookless on a long flight is one of my definitions of hell. I knew I barely had enough money for a single book, and only that because they'd take the payment in multiple currencies. But how was I to find one that would last nearly ten hours? When my eyes fell upon this several thousand page trade paperback by an author that I knew, I was overjoyed. The book lasted beyond the flight and into the whole next week. It's the very engrossing story of (among many other things) an Indian girl's family's quest to find her a suitable husband.

Shahar, Eluki ben

  • Hellflower (sf)

Shea, Suzanne Strempek

  • Hoopi Shoopi Donna (fic)

Sheffield, Charles

  • Between the Strokes of Night (sf)
  • My Brother's Keeper (sf)
  • Proteus in the Underworld (sf)
  • Sight of Proteus, Proteus Unbound (sf)
  • The Ganymede Club (sf)
  • The McAndrew Chronicles (sf)

All his stuff is hard SF.

Shepard, Lucius

  • Beast of the Heartland and other stories (sf)

Shepherd, Mike

  • the Kris Longknife series (sf)
    • Mutineer
    • Deserter
    • Defiant
    • Resolute
    • Audacious
    • Intrepid
    • Undaunted
    • Redoubtable
    • Daring
    • Furious
    • Defender
    • Tenacious
    • Unrelenting
    • Kris Longknife's Assassin
    • Target
    • Survivor
    • Rebel
    • Bold
  • the Kris Longknife series (sf)
  • the Kris Longknife series (sf)

Military space opera very much in the spirit of Elizabeth Moon's Vatta/Serrano books, with strong female protagonist. And more intelligent politics than Weber's Honor Harrington series. For more along these lines, see also the lesser known Rachel Bach's Fortune's Pawn series.

Shetterly, Will

  • Elsewhere, Nevernever (fan)
  • Witchblood (fan)

Shinn, Sharon

  • Angel-Seeker (fan)
  • Angelica (sf)
  • Archangel, Jovah's Angel (sf)
  • Archangel, Jovah's Angel, The Alleluia Files (sf)
  • Archangel, Jovah's Angel, The Allelulia Files (sf)
  • Heart of Gold (sf)
  • The Shape Changer's Wife (fan)
  • The Shape-Changer's Wife (fan)

Sidwa, Bapsi

  • An American Brat (fic)

Silver, Lia

  • Laura's Wolf, Prisoner (fan)

Silverberg, Robert

  • How It Was When the Past Went Away (sf)
  • Lord Valentine's Castle (sf)
  • The Conglomeroid Cocktail Party (sf)

Simmons, Dan

  • Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion (sf)

Hyperion and its sequels are in the genre of far future settings with complex plot threads, where the central mystery is gradually revealed over the course of the book. This is a genre epitomized (IMHO) by Tepper, although hers have a quite different flavor than this one. The threads here include religion and time travel, with a strong dose of horror thrown in.

Sloan, Robin

  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (sf)

Slonczewski, Joan

  • A Door Into Ocean, Daughters of Elysium (sf)
  • Brain Plague (sf)
  • Still Forms on Foxfield (sf)
  • The Children Star (sf)

Smith, Alexander McCall

  • the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series (fic)
    • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
    • Tears of the Giraffe
    • Morality for Beautiful Girls
    • The Kalahari Typing School for Men
    • The Full Cupboard of Life

Smith, Cordwainer

  • Norstrilia (sf)
  • The Rediscovery of Man (sf)

Smith, Kristine

  • the Jani Kilian series (sf)
    • Code of Conduct
    • Rules of Conflict
    • Law of Survival
    • Contact Imminent

Smith, Zadie

  • White Teeth (fic)

Snow, C.P.

  • The Two Cultures: and a Second Look (non)

I'd meant to read this short monograph for years, and am glad I finally got around to it. The point that in the 20th century a cultural chasm developed between the sciences and the humanities is almost a cliche by now, but Snow's analysis is still quite worth reading.

Snyder, Midori

  • New Moon, Sadar's Keep, Beldan's Fire (fan)
  • Soulstring (fan)
  • The Flight of Michael McBride (fan)
  • The Innamorati (fan)

The Innamorati is an ambitious story set in an Renaissance Italy style setting, with many characters who attempt passage through the mysterious and dangerous Labyrinth. It worked well.

So there are a lot of fantasy stories that play off Celtic mythic archetypes. Not so many of them are set in the Wild West, like The Flight of Michael McBride...

Her earlier high fantasy series (New Moon, Sadar's Keep, Beldan's Fire) does a pretty good job with the coming of age / discover destiny to save the world through extreme magic powers theme.

Spencer, Wen

  • A Brother's Price (fan)
  • A Brother's Price (fan)
  • Alien Taste (sf)
  • Bitter Waters (sf)
  • Blue Sky, Wyvern (fan)
  • Dog Warrior (sf)
  • Eight Million Gods (fan)
  • Eight Million Gods (fan)
  • Tainted Trail (sf)
  • The Black Wolves of Boston (fan)
  • Tinker (fan)
  • Tinker, Wolf Who Rules, Elfhome (fan)
  • Tinker, Wolf Who Rules, Elfhome (fan)
  • Tinker, Wolf Who Rules, Elfhome (fan)
  • Tinker, Wolf who Rules (fan)
  • Wood Sprites (fan)
  • the Ukiah Oregon series (sf)
    • Alien Taste
    • Tainted Trail
    • Bitter Waters
    • Dog Warrior
  • the Ukiah Oregon series (sf)

In Alien Taste, the main character has at least partially readjusted to human society after being raised by wolves, and is working at a private investigator because of his ability to track missing people. He gradually learns the partial story of his nonhuman parentage over the course of the book. The sequel, Tainted Trail, is just as good - he continues to find out about his past, while solving mysteries in the present.

I also loved Tinker. Pittsburgh was accidentally transported to the elf realm and only comes back to Earth one day a week, the protagonist is a very mouthy/practical teenage girl genius who runs a junkyard.

Spinrad, Norman

  • A World Between (sf)
  • Songs from the Stars (sf)
  • The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde (sf)

Somehow I'd always thought I'd hate Spinrad, but when someone finally shoved his book at me and told me to try it, I was pleasantly surprised. Songs from the Stars is fun despite/because of a very sixties flavor. It's strange how I get these strong ideas about particular authors despite almost total ignorance about their work. Reminds me of when my mother gave me Watership Down when I was pretty young, and I was really upset that she'd given me a boring book about sailing ships, because of the compass on the cover. Of course, when I finally opened it and read about the rabbits, I loved it.

Springer, Nancy

  • Fair Peril (fan)

Stanwick, Michael

  • The Iron Dragon's Daughter (fan)

Starhawk,

  • The Fifth Sacred Thing (fan)

The Fifth Sacred Thing is about a peaceful utopia threatened by miliarist outsiders, attempting to preserve itself without becoming the enemy in the process. It's most similar to Pat Murphy's The City, Not Long After, but with a focus on pagan ecofeminists instead of artists.

Stark, Steven D.

  • The Stark Reality of Stretching (non)

Staton, Mary

  • From the Legend of Biel (sf)

Steele, Allen

  • A King of Infinite Space (sf)
  • Chronospace (sf)
  • Labyrinth of Night (sf)
  • Oceanspace (sf)
  • The Jericho Iteration (sf)
  • the Coyote series (sf)
    • Coyote
    • Coyote Rising
    • Coyote Frontier
    • Spindrift
    • Galaxy Blues
    • Coyote Horizon
    • Coyote Destiny
    • Hex
  • the Near Space series (sf)
    • Orbital Decay
    • Clarke County, Space
    • Lunar Descent
    • Labyrinth of Night
    • A King of Infinite Space

Hard SF, with a focus on space and politics. The Coyote series is his best, and the Near Space series is also good. I disliked The Jericho Iteration and The Tranquility Alternative, so they're not on this list.

Stemple, Adam

  • Singer of Souls (fan)

Stephenson, Neal

  • Anathem (sf)
  • Cryptonomicon (fic)
  • In the Beginning Was the Command Line (non)
  • Quicksilver, The Confusion, The System of the World (fic)
  • Reamde (sf)
  • Seveneves (sf)
  • Snow Crash (sf)
  • Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing (non)
  • The Big U (fic)
  • The Diamond Age (sf)
  • Zodiac (fic)
  • Zodiac (fic)
  • Zodiac (fic)

Snark, intelligence, and whimsy - all in one fabulous package. Snow Crash is one of the pillars of cyberpunk, and Diamond Age is set in a neo-Victorian future. Zodiac is a contemporary eco-thriller. Cryptonomicon is set across three generations, a mix of his futurist and historical stuff. (And thanks to it I will never get the phrase "maximizing shareholder value" out of my head.) If you liked the contemporary parts, then read Reamde next. If you liked the earlier stuff, then try the historical Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, System of the World), set many hundreds of years in the past. I admit it took many hundred pages pages before I really got into it, but eventually I got hooked it has the great property that it's the first time he'd written a proper ending! (The one major failing of his previous books was this glorious buildup of momentum that then just sort of trailed away at the very end...) I can't say where and when Anathem is set without a spoiler, but it's a great bet if you liked the style of his earlier SF work. Reamde is very near-future cyber-thriller, hard to put down. Some similarities with Halting State by Stross, in terms of dealing with the intersection between virtual world financial systems and real-world economics. (And now For The Win by Cory Doctorow too.)

In the Beginning is an essay not a novel, has the all-time greatest analogy of operating systems to cars (Windows is a station wagon, Mac OS is a Volvo, BeOS is the batmobile, and Linux is a tank - that's free!) The Big U was his earliest book, fine for fans to see the early glimmerings of who he will later become but not recommended for most.

Sterling, Bruce

  • Distraction (sf)
  • Heavy Weather (sf)
  • Holy Fire (sf)
  • Islands in the Net (sf)
  • Schismatrix Plus (sf)
  • The Artificial Kid (sf)
  • The Caryatids (sf)

I do love most of his books, he's one of the archetypcal futurist SF writers who thinks in interesting and useful and snarky ways about the implications of technology on society. The Artificial Kid is about somebody who's been constantly on stage by filming himself with remote-control cameras when he suddenly finds himself without an audience for the first time in years. Most of his books are set in the nearish future within a few generations of now, but Schismatrix is further out a few hundred years from now. Distraction has some great politics of science and grantsmanship snark in it. If you like him, others to try are Gibson, Stephenson, or Doctorow.

But I hated his experimental first book Involution Ocean, maybe Moby Dick meets Dune was supposed be avant garde but really didn't work for me. And also hated The Difference Engine, the original steampunk book. Come to think of it, I haven't liked any steampunk as a literary form, even though it's fantastic inspiration for costume design...

Stevens, S.S.

  • Psychophysics (non)

Stevermer, Caroline

  • A College of Magics (fan)
  • When the King Comes Home (fan)

Stewart, George R.

  • Earth Abides (sf)

Stewart, Ian

  • Flatterland (non)

Stewart, Mary

  • The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment, The Wicked Day (fan)
  • The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment, The Wicked Day (fan)
  • The Prince and the Pilgrim (fan)

Stewart, Sean

  • Clouds End (fan)
  • Mockingbird (sf)
  • Nobody's Son (fan)
  • Nobody's Son (fan)
  • Passion Play (sf)
  • Resurrection Man (fan)
  • The Night Watch (fan)

Stirling, S.M.

  • A Taint in the Shadows, The Council of Shadows (fan)
  • A Taint in the Shadows, The Council of Shadows (fan)
  • Conquistador (sf)
  • Conquistador (sf)
  • Conquistador (sf)
  • Dies the Fire (sf)
  • Dies the Fire, The Protector's War, A Meeting at Corvallis (sf)
  • Dies the Fire, The Protector's War, A Meeting at Corvallis, The Sunrise Lands (fan)
  • In the Courts of the Crimson Kings (sf)
  • Island in the Sea of Time, Against the Tide of Years, On the Oceans of Eternity (sf)
  • Island in the Sea of Time, Against the Tide of Years, On the Oceans of Eternity (sf)
  • Lord of Mountains (fan)
  • Shadows of Falling Night (fan)
  • The Domination (sf)
  • The Given Sacrifice, The Golden Princess (fan)
  • The Peshawar Lancers (sf)
  • The Protector's War, A Meeting at Corvallis (sf)
  • The Scourge of God (fan)
  • The Sky People (sf)
  • The Sword of the Lady, The High King of Montival (fan)
  • The Tears of the Sun, Lord of Mountains, The Given Sacrifice (fan)
  • the Montival series (fan)
    • The Sunrise Lands
    • The Scourge of God
    • The Sword of the Lady
    • The High King of Montival
    • The Tears of the Sun
    • Lord of Mountains
    • The Given Sacrifice

Really really good alternate-history stuff - start with Island in the Sea of Time, where Nantucket plus a Coast Guard ship is transported to 2250BC. Or his new Emberverse series opener Dies the Fire, about what happens back in our time when suddenly the laws of physics change so internal combustion engines and guns don't work anymore. The next two books in that series are also strong (The Protector's War, A Meeting at Corvallis). Things start to get a little more draggy and soggy with the following Montival series that begins with The Sunrise Lands, it's starting to fall into endless sequelitis. Although I'm still buying them in hardcover out of impatience to find out what happens next, I'm lukewarm on recommending them after this point...

Conquistador is a completely separate world from the Island/Fire/Emberverse series, also good, somewhat reminiscent of the Stross Merchant Price series. His early work is strong and classic alternate military history for The Domination (omnibus version of all the Draka books). Ditto for Peshawar Lancers, set in imperial Britain.

Going further afield, Sky People and Crimson Kings go down the fun branch of what if the 50s scifi of Burroughs was actually true. And on a completely different tack, Stirling jumps into urban fantasy with Taint in the Shadows. And yet again does a damn good job of it.

Stith, John E.

  • Against Infinity (sf)
  • Manhattan Transfer (sf)
  • Redshift Rendezvous (sf)

Stoll, Cliff

  • The Cuckoo's Egg (bio)

Stout, Martha

  • The Sociopath Next Door (non)

Stover, Matthew Woodring

  • Heroes Die (sf)

Stross, Charles

  • Accelerando (sf)
  • Empire Games (sf)
  • Glasshouse (sf)
  • Halting State (sf)
  • Iron Sunrise (sf)
  • Rule 34 (sf)
  • Singularity Sky (sf)
  • The Annihilation Score (sf)
  • The Apocalypse Codex (sf)
  • The Atrocity Archive (sf)
  • The Clan Corporate (fan)
  • The Family Trade, The Hidden Family (fan)
  • The Jennifer Morgue (sf)
  • The Nightmare Stacks (sf)
  • Toast (sf)
  • Wireless (sf)
  • the Laundry Files (sf)
    • The Atrocity Archives
    • The Concrete Jungle
    • The Jennifer Morgue
    • Down on the Farm
    • Overtime
    • The Fuller Memorandum
    • The Apocalypse Codex
    • Equoid
    • The Rhesus Chart
    • The Annihilation Score
    • The Nightmare Stacks
  • the Merchant Princes series (sf)
    • The Family Trade
    • The Hidden Family
    • The Clan Corporate
    • The Merchants' War
    • The Revolution Business
    • The Trade of Queens
  • the Merchant Princes series (sf)

He's the hot new hard-SF writer, and Singularity Sky made me see why. Woo hoo! Accelerando is a tour de force, I'm still reeling. The Atrocity Archives made me laugh out loud in public repeatedly, I'm sure the person in the next seat over on the plane was wondering about my grip on reality. In another perfect example of book correct for time-and-place, like Calvino's Invisible Cities, I was visiting a cypherpunk/mathematician friend. Just like I can given you one phrase, "Lord Pilot Mathematician meets warrior poets", as a test for whether you'll like Zindell's Neverness, I'll give another one-phrase diagnostic: the Turing-Lovecraft theorem. Enjoy! The Jennifer Morgue wasn't quite as glorious, but still worth reading - this one continues the series but is an ode to James Bond rather than Lovecraft.

The Merchant Princes books, starting with The Family Trade, is his very successful foray into fantasy / alternate worlds.

Glasshouse is also hard SF, interesting musings on identity and self as the plot careens along (but at a less breakneck pace than Accelerando).

Halting State is the very first novel I've read about VR that's not vapid. Finally - it's about the economic intersection between virtual and real world financial systems, as opposed to some kind of fantasy-esque thing where your soul gets sucked out and you're stuck in the VR and Must Battle Bad Things (ahem Tad Williams... - I've read far too many even worse ones, they're just not on this list). Update: Stephenson's Reamde is now another one! Rule 34 is a direct sequel, but also deeply depressing - the title gives fair warning.

Stuart, Sean

  • Galveston (fan)

Sturgeon, Theodore

  • Caviar (sf)
  • The Synthetic Man (aka The Dreaming Jewels) (sf)

Sucharitkul, Somtow

  • Light on the Sound (sf)

Summerscale, Kate

  • The Queen of Whale Cay (bio)

Swann, S. Andrew

  • Broken Crescent (fan)
  • Forests of the Night, Emperors of Twilight, Specters of the Dawn (sf)
  • The Dragons of the Cuyahoga (fan)

Swanwick, Michael

  • Bones of the Earth (sf)
  • The Dragons of Babel (fan)
  • The Iron Dragon's Daughter (fan)

Tan, Amy

  • The Hundred Secret Senses (fic)

Taormino, Tristan

  • Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships (non)

Taubes, Gary

  • Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It (non)

Taylor, Timothy

  • Stanley Park (fic)

Teixeira, Kevin

  • A Virtual Soul (sf)

Tepper, Sheri S.

  • A Plague of Angels (sf)
  • After Long Silence (sf)
  • Grass (sf)
  • Singer from the Sea (sf)
  • Six Moon Dance (sf)
  • The Family Tree (sf)
  • The Gate to Women's Country (sf)
  • The Song of Mavin Manyshaped, The Flight of Mavin Manyshaped, The Search of Mavin (fan)
  • The True Game (King's Blood Four, Necromancer Nine, Wizard's Eleven) (sf)

Most of Tepper's books are variations on a single theme: several generations of one group have built a society on a planet shared with another group, but critical details which the people do not understand are gradually unveiled over the course of the book, and if they do not unravel the mystery in time they'll be unknowingly doomed. In most cases the first group is human and the second group is aliens, but sometimes it's women vs men (as in The Gate to Women's Country) or the rather surprising situation in The Family Tree (which has one of the best "aha!" scenes of all time - you'll know what I mean when you get there). I think Grass is the best example of them all, but I enjoy most of them. I wasn't so fond of Beauty or Sideshow, although at least Sideshow arguably fits this pattern. I was worried that she'd gone totally downhill after Gibbon's Decline and Fall, but The Family Tree and Six Moon Dance have restored my willingness to buy her books.

I'll admit that in some of the later books the heavy feminist message gets a tad strident, but there are worse sins...

Tevis, Walter

  • Mockingbird (sf)
  • The Man who Fell to Earth (sf)
  • The Steps of the Sun (sf)

Most people know The Man who Fell to Earth from the David Bowie movie by that name, which bears the distinction of being one of the very few worthwhile SF movies (along with Blade Runner and 2001). The book is worth reading too, even though the movie actually does a good job at capturing its flavor. I have only hazy recollections of The Steps to the Sun - about spaceflight?, and Mockingbird (a somewhat subtle postholocaust story?).

Thompson, Amy

  • Storyteller (sf)
  • The Color of Distance, Through Alien Eyes (sf)

The Color of Distance is about a human woman who's stranded on an alien world for several years, living among lizardish aliens who have a seemingly primitive lifestyle but extremely advanced biological knowledge. In the first few pages I was put off by the amount of new vocabulary she introduced, since that's often a sign of turgid writing, but it definitely grew on me. I snapped up Through Alien Eyes, the sequel, as soon as I saw it since I wanted to find out how the ambassador aliens fared in human society.

Thomson, Amy

  • The Color of Distance, Through Alien Eyes (sf)

Tiptree,Jr., James

  • Brightness Falls From the Sky (sf)
  • Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (sf)
  • Ten Thousand Light-Years From Home (sf)
  • The Starry Rift (sf)

Tolkien, J.R.R.

  • The Hobbit (fan)
  • The Silmarillion (fan)
  • the Lord of the Rings series (fan)
    • The Fellowship of the Ring
    • The Two Towers
    • The Return of the King

If you're not into SF/Fantasy you're probably not reading this page. But just in case - start with the Lord of the Rings. The original, and still one of the best. The Hobbit is backstory for LOTR, and I don't like it as much. Read The Silmarillion if you enjoyed the LOTR appendices.

Tolstoy, Leo

  • Anna Karenina (fic)
  • War and Peace (fic)

I read War and Peace in three weeks in sixth grade, so I actually don't remember a whole heck of a lot about it. Except wishing he'd cut the philosophical musings and get on with the story. Perhaps I'd have a slightly more sophisticated analysis these days...

Anna Karenina was a gift from my mother, who hit upon the clever ploy of giving me a "real book" once a year to counterbalance my science fiction heavy book choices. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, given that I'd been unable to get more than fifty pages into the previous birthday classic (The Brothers Karamatzov).

Toth, Emily

  • Ms. Mentor's Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia (non)

Traviss, Karen

  • Ally (sf)
  • City of Pearl, Crossing the Line, The World Before, Matriarch (sf)
  • Judge (sf)
  • the Wess'Har Wars series (sf)
    • City of Pearl
    • Crossing the Line
    • The World Before
    • Matriarch
    • Ally
    • Judge

City of Pearl is the first in the series, biological/ecological flavored hard SF. The aliens show up, and they're vegan with a vengeance: the Wess'Har believe all life is equally important, and they outgun us dramatically. If humans don't get with the program of ecological conservation they'll be summarily exterminated. That's just the backstory, the main event is a human dispatched to another planet to recover the gene library. A lot of grappling with moral/ethical issues, very well done. Read all six.

Tregillis, Ian

  • The Mechanical, The Rising (sf)

Trollope, Anthony

  • Barchester Towers (fic)

I have difficulty listing this with a straight face, but again I was surprised to discover that I deemed it worth reading. This one was in the middle of my "real book" binge in Berlin - since English books were hard to find and expensive even when used, I deliberately picked out dense ones that would last a while. It's your basic 19th century English novel, something about the vicar trying to hold on to his estate despite the nefarious plottings of the bad guy, and of course most of the plot elements involving women were about finding husbands. It's all a bit hazy, maybe I'm confusing this with one of the several other novels of this type that I read then...

Truss, Lynne

  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (non)

Tufte, Edward R.

  • Envisioning Information (non)
  • The Visual Display of Quantitative Data (non)
  • Visual Explanations (non)

These three books on presentation graphics are mandatory reading for anyone with even a passing interest in visualization. The physical books themselves are a delight to page through - he had to publish them himself since everybody though his production requirements were impossibly stringent. He has some very compelling arguments (although I don't agree with them all) on how to design visual displays that communicate information. However, it's all oriented towards explanatory, rather than exploratory, visualization, and thus doesn't address at all any of what's interesting about computer-based visualization of the past 20+ years. (The one time I heard someone ask him about the latter after a talk he sidestepped the question.)

Sadly his fourth book is not recommendable at all (Beautiful Explanations), it's very self-indulgent. The only part worth reading is the chapter on sparklines.

Turner, Delia Marshall

  • Nameless Magery (fan)
  • Of Swords and Spells (fan)

Tyler, Anne

  • The Accidental Tourist (fic)

Ullman, Ellen

  • Close to the Machine (bio)
  • Close to the Machine (bio)
  • The Bug (fic)

Ullman's very Silicon Valley tale of a few months in her life as a programmer. The polyamorous crypto boy with which she becomes entangled is a type more common in the Valley than in, say, Nebraska. I gobbled up this short autobiography one night when I should have been hacking.

Vance, Jack

  • Araminta Station, Ecce and Old Earth, Throy (sf)

Varley, John

  • Blue Champagne (sf)
  • Mammoth (sf)
  • Picnic on Nearside (sf)
  • Picnic on Nearside (sf)
  • Red Thunder (sf)
  • Red Thunder, Red Lightning, Rolling Thunder (sf)
  • Steel Dreams (sf)
  • The Golden Globe (sf)
  • The Ophiuchi Hotline (sf)
  • The Persistence of Vision (sf)
  • Titan, Wizard, Demon (sf)
  • Titan, Wizard, Demon (sf)

The Gaia series (Titan/Wizard/Demon) is a tour de force of SF worldbuilding with memorable characters.

His short story collections (Persistence of Vision, Blue Champagne, Picnic on Nearside) are great. Some really punchy ones stay with me, including the eponymous Persistence of Vision, also Press Enter and Overdrawn at the Memory Bank come to mind.

The Red Thunder series is a very well done homage to Heinlein's juveniles, three cheers for building your own rocket in the back yard!

I've never disliked any of his books, they're all great: hard SF with memorable characters and snappy plots.

Vaughn, Carrie

  • Kitty Takes a Holiday (fan)
  • Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Kitty Goes to Washington (fan)
  • Kitty and the Silver Bullet (fan)
  • Kitty's Big Trouble, Kitty Steals the Show, Kitty Rocks the House (fan)
  • the Kitty Norville series (fan)
    • Kitty and The Midnight Hour
    • Kitty Goes to Washington
    • Kitty Takes a Holiday
    • Kitty and the Silver Bullet
    • Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand
    • Kitty Raises Hell
    • Kitty's House of Horrors
    • Kitty Goes to War
    • Kitty's Big Trouble
    • Kitty's Greatest Hits
    • Kitty Steals the Show
    • Kitty Rocks the House
    • Kitty in the Underworld
    • Low Midnight
    • Kitty Saves the World
  • the Kitty Norville series (fan)

The Kitty Norville series is yet more urban fantasy about werewolves and vampires and such. I know, I know, everybody's doing it. But hey, I like it. This one is featuers a werewolf radio talk show host who outs everybody and everything that goes bump in the night, not exactly on purpose.

Viehl, S.L.

  • Stardoc, Beyond Varallan (sf)

Vinge, Joan D.

  • Fireship/Mother and Child (sf)
  • Psion, Catspaw, Dreamfall (sf)
  • The Snow Queen, World's End, The Summer Queen, Tangled Up In Blue (sf)
  • The Snow Queen,World's End,The Summer Queen (sf)
  • The Summer Queen (sf)

Vinge, Vernor

  • A Deepness in the Sky (sf)
  • A Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky The Children of the Sky (sf)
  • A Fire upon the Deep (sf)
  • Fast Times at Fairmont High (sf)
  • Rainbows End (sf)
  • The Peace War (sf)
  • The Witling (sf)
  • Threats...And Other Promises (sf)

A Fire Upon the Deep is a classic, very well known for a reason, with the great premise that the ability of a species to function depends on its distance from the Galactic Center, from the Unthinking Depths at the core, to the Slow Zone where the earth is and FTL is impossible, then the Beyond (where the good stuff happens and the story is set), then the post-singularity Transcend. The Usenet-isms seemed dated to me even then, but it's still a great book. The sequel Deepness in the Sky is also worth reading although not as good.

Vonarburg, Elizabeth

  • The Silent City (sf)
  • The Silent City, In the Mother's Land (sf)

I forget the details, but remember liking it. Dystopian.

Waitman, Katie

  • The Merro Tree (sf)

Walls, Jeanette

  • The Glass Castle (bio)

Walton, Jo

  • Among Others (fan)
  • Tooth and Claw (fan)

Ware, Colin

  • Information Visualization: Perception for Design (non)

Watson, Ian

  • The Flies of Memory (sf)

Watts, Peter

  • Blindsight (sf)

Weber, David

  • Ashes of Victory (sf)
  • Echoes of Honor (sf)
  • Mutineer's Moon, The Armageddeon Inheritance (sf)
  • Mutineer's Moon, The Armageddon Inheritance, Heirs of Empire (sf)
  • Path of the Fury (sf)
  • The Apocalypse Troll (sf)
  • The Apocalypse Troll (sf)
  • The Excalibur Alternative (sf)
  • The Path of the Fury (sf)
  • War of Honor (sf)
  • the Honor Harrington series (sf)
    • On Basilisk Station
    • Honor of the Queen
    • The Short Victorious War
    • Field of Dishonor
    • Flag in Exile
    • Honor Among Enemies
    • In Enemy Hands
    • Echoes of Honor
    • Ashes of Victory
    • War of Honor
  • the Honor Harrington series (sf)
  • the Honor Harrington series (sf)
  • the Honor Harrington series (sf)

The Honor Harrington series is unrepentant military space opera, but is fun if you're in the right mood and can ignore the right-wing politics: the Royal Manticoran Navy are the good guys, and the People's Republic of Haven is the evil commie bad guy. But at least, speaking of right-wing science fiction, there's no taint of the signature Heinlein misogyny here - Honor doesn't grovel before Y chromosomes, she's a strong female hero.

Weber has another pretty fun albeit totally mind-candy Dahak trilogy: Mutineer's Moon, The Armageddon Inheritance, Heirs of Empire (but I like the first two somewhat better than the last). These were re-released as the omnibus Empire from the Ashes). The Path of the Fury is similar in spirit - cyborg meets Greek fury meets AI spaceship. Ditto for The Excalibur Alternative - English knights meet aliens. Ditto for The Apocalypse Troll - two duelling future cyborgs meet today's military.

The books with Steven White (Crusade, Insurrection, In Death Ground) aren't nearly as enjoyable, not recommended. And I haven't managed to care enough about the first Safehold book Off Armageddon Reef to get past the first few chapters...

Weber, David and Flint, Eric and Drake, David

  • The Warmasters (sf)

Weber, David and Ringo, John

  • the Prince Roger series (sf)
    • March Upcountry
    • March to the Sea
    • March to the Stars
    • We Few

Wecker, Helene

  • The Golem and the Jinni (fan)

Wehrstein, S.M. Stirling, Shirley Meier, Karen

  • the Fifth Millenium series (fan)
    • Snowbrother
    • Shadow's Daughter
    • Saber and Shadow (extended version of The Sharpest Edge)
    • Lion's Heart
    • Lion's Soul
    • Shadow's Son

Weiner, Norbert

  • God and Golem, Inc. (non)

Weir, Andy

  • The Martian: A Novel (sf)

Wells, Martha

  • City of Bones (fan)
  • City of Bones (fan)
  • The Cloud Roads, The Serpent Sea, The Siren Depths (fan)
  • The Death of the Necromancer (fan)
  • The Death of the Necromancer (fan)
  • The Element of Fire (fan)
  • The Wizard Hunters, The Ships of Air, The Gate of Gods (fan)
  • Wheel of the Infinite (fan)

Westerfeld, Scott

  • The Risen Empire, The Killing of Worlds (sf)
  • Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras (sf)
  • the Midnighters trilogy (sf)
    • The Secret Hour
    • Touching Darkness
    • Blue Noon

The Risen Empire and its sequel The Killing of Worlds are compelling space opera. If you like them, try also the Walter Jon Williams Dread Empire's Fall series (starting with The Praxis).

Westerfeld also writes a lot of good YA, including the Uglies and Midnighters series.

White, T.H.

  • Mistress Masham's Repose (fan)
  • The Once and Future King (fan)

The Once and Future King is one of the best known of the Arthurian books, at least to the general public. Not my favorite characterization at all, I find Mary Stewart's Merlinus Ambrosius a far more complex and interesting figure than the somewhat cartoonish Merlin of White. But it's arguably worth reading.

Mistress Masham's Repose is definitely aimed at pretty young children, but fun if you're in the right mood. A little girl trying to avoid her horrid governess finds an island of Lilliputans.

Whyte, Jack

  • the Dream of Eagles series (fan)
    • The Skystone
    • The Singing Sword
    • The Eagles' Brood
    • The Saxon Shore
    • The Sorcerer: The Fort at River's Bend
    • The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis
    • Uther
    • Clothar the Frank
    • The Eagle

Wilchins, Riki

  • Queer Theory/Gender Theory: An Instant Primer (non)

Wilhelm, Kate

  • With Thimbles, With Forks, With Hope (sf)

Wilkin, Karen

  • Ascending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey on Edward Gorey (bio)

Wilkinson, Tanya

  • Persephone Returns: Victims, Heroes and the Journey from the Underworld (non)

Willey, Elizabeth

  • A Sorcerer and a Gentleman (fan)
  • The Well-Favored Man (fan)
  • The Well-Favored Man, A Sorcerer and a Gentleman, The Price of Blood and Honor (fan)

Somewhat reminiscent of Zelazny's Amber series, but more concise and less self-indulgent.

Williams, Liz

  • Snake Agent, The Demon and the City (fan)

Williams, Robin

  • The Non-Designer's Design Book (non)

Williams, Sean and Dix, Shane

  • Echoes of Earth (sf)
  • The Prodigal Sun (sf)

Williams, Tad

  • the Otherland series (sf)
    • City of Golden Shadow
    • River of Blue Fire
    • Mountain of Black Glass
    • Sea of Silver Light

Williams, Walter Jon

  • Ambassador of Progress (sf)
  • Aristoi (sf)
  • Days of Atonement (sf)
  • Dread Empire's Fall: The Praxis, The Sundering (sf)
  • Implied Spaces (sf)
  • Knight Moves (sf)
  • Metropolitan, City on Fire (fan)
  • Rock of Ages (sf)
  • The Praxis, The Sundering, Conventions of War (sf)
  • The Rift (sf)
  • Voice of the Whirlwind (sf)

The more I read by him, the more I'm surprised by how little his books resemble each other. Voice of the Whirlwind is pretty good mid-near future military, and Day of Atonement is SF/mystery set in the present, written from the point of view of a slowly unravelling small town policeman. Williams pulled off making me sympathize with a civilian-beating cop, which is no mean feat.

Metropolitan is a very SF-feeling story about the political and military skirmishes over Plasm, the energy source that powers magic. For example, plasm runs through a metered distribution network, much like electricity. City on Fire is the direct sequel. Aristoi is set in a future where carefully controlled multiple personalities are not a defect but a critical asset for the ruling elite. The ideas of multitasking subselves is something I've seen often in the "upload your brain into the computer" books, but this is done unaugmented.

Willis, Connie

  • Bellwether (sf)
  • Blackout, All Clear (sf)
  • Remake (sf)
  • The Doomsday Book (sf)
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog (sf)

Wilson, F. Paul

  • Healer (sf)
  • Healer (sf)

I've read Healer several times. A man inadvertently gains a symbiote who keeps him alive indefinitely. The libertarian preaching gets pretty heavy-handed, but I enjoyed the book anyway. His other books like Dydeetown World and Wheels within Wheels weren't nearly as compelling.

Wilson, Robert Charles

  • Bios (sf)
  • Blind Lake (sf)
  • Darwinia (sf)
  • Memory Wire (sf)
  • Spin (sf)
  • The Chronoliths (sf)
  • The Divide (sf)
  • The Harvest (sf)

Windling, Terri

  • The Wood Wife (fan)

Winters, Ben H.

  • The Last Policeman, Countdown City, World of Trouble (sf)

Winterson, Jeanette

  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (bio)
  • The Passion (fic)

Wolf, Naomi

  • Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood (non)
  • The Beauty Myth (non)

A sobering and powerful feminist analysis of how and why "beauty" is heavily and destructively marketed for both financial and political gain. Read it.

Wolfe, Gene

  • Soldier In the Mist (fan)
  • The Devil in the Forest (fan)
  • The Fifth Head of Cerberus (sf)
  • The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories (sf)
  • The Urth of the New Sun (sf)
  • the Book of the Long Sun series (sf)
  • the Book of the New Sun series (sf)
    • Shadow of the Torturer
    • Claw of the Conciliator
    • Sword of the Lictor
    • Citadel of the Autarch
    • aka Shadow and Claw, Sword and Citadel

Wood, N. Lee

  • Bloodrights (fan)
  • Faraday's Orphans (sf)
  • Looking for the Mahdi (sf)

Woodruff, Paul

  • First Democracy: The Challenge of an Ancient Idea (non)

Wright, Richard

  • Native Son (bio)

Yudkowsky, Eliezer

  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (fan)

Zeddies, Ann Tonsor

  • Deathgift (sf)

Zelazny, Roger

  • A Night in the Lonesome October (fan)
  • Doorways in the Sand (sf)
  • Isle of the Dead, To Die in Italbar (sf)
  • Lord of Light (sf)
  • My Name is Legion (sf)
  • Roadmarks (sf)
  • Roadmarks (sf)
  • The Doors of his Face, the Lamps of his Mouth, and Other Stories (sf)
  • The Eve of RUMOKO (sf)
  • The Last Defender of Camelot (sf)
  • This Immortal (sf)
  • Today We Choose Faces/Bridge of Ashes (sf)
  • the Amber series (fan)
    • Nine Princes in Amber
    • The Guns of Avalon
    • The Sign of the Unicorn
    • The Hand of Oberon
    • The Courts of Chaos
    • Trumps of Doom
    • Blood of Amber
    • Sign of Chaos
    • Knight of Shadows
    • Prince of Chaos
  • the Amber series (fan)

Zelazny, Roger and Lindskold, Jane

  • Donnerjack (sf)

Zepenauer, Mark and Naiman, Arthur

  • Take the Rich Off Welfare (non)

Zettel, Sarah

  • Fool's War (sf)
  • Reclamation (sf)

Zindell, David

  • Neverness, The Broken God, The Wild (sf)
  • The Broken God (sf)

Neverness is an amazing book, full of rich imagery. To sum it up in one wonderful phrase: "Lord Pilot Mathematician". In this far future, you get a spaceship from place to place by proving theorems. Mallory Ringess, one of the best of the elite pilots, is pursued by warrior poets and entities that may or may not be gods. Anyone who likes both SF and math has got to read this. So should everyone else, for that matter. The story continues: The Broken God is still quite good, and continues with the story of Mallory's son Danlo. The quality slips a bit with The Wild (and shouldn't it be called The Vild?!). Although I read War In Heaven because I wanted to know what happened, it wasn't good enough to make it onto the list.

His latest Ea/Lightstone fantasy cycle is pretty awful. The personalities of the main characters were lifted wholesale out of Neverness, sadly enough.

Zinn, Howard

  • A People's History of the United States (non)

de_Lafayette, Madame

  • The Princess de Cleves (fic)

de_Lint, Charles

  • Dreams Underfoot (fan)
  • Forests of the Heart (fan)
  • Jack of Kinrowan (fan)
  • Memory & Dream (fan)
  • Moonheart (fan)
  • Someplace to be Flying (fan)
  • Spiritwalk (fan)
  • Tapping the Dream Tree (fan)
  • The Blue Girl (fan)
  • The Ivory and the Horn (fan)
  • The Little Country (fan)
  • The Riddle of the Wren (fan)
  • Trader (fan)
  • Wolf Moon (fan)
  • Yarrow (fan)
  • Yarrow (fan)

Someplace to be Flying is urban fantasy - that is, set in the present with ordinary people who discover that some of the people with whom they're sharing the city are extraordinary. Although in many cases this subgenre is about elves, StbF is instead inspired by a combination of Old World and New World mythology. It's quite well done. De Lint's depiction of the Coyote figure is somewhat more negative than Le Guin's Coyote in Buffalo Gals.

After reading that one, I've started hunting down the others. While I don't have an unlimited tolerance for urban fantasy, I have liked many of the others. And I spoke too soon above - he does arguably write about elves, although he usually calls them manitous and goes for the scary powerful Forest Lord thing rather than the haughty elvish warrior thing. Some similarities between the vibe of these books and Elizabeth Hand's Waking the Moon and Black Light.

various,

  • The SF Hall of Fame, Vols 1,2A,2B,3,4 (sf)


Tamara Munzner