The best authors you’ve never read

I thought it would be neat to turn last week’s topic around a bit. Instead of talking about the authors for whom we have read every scrap they’ve ever written, how about those highly acclaimed behemoths that everyone loves, and you’ve yet to investigate?

I’ll go first: I have never cracked open a novel by China Miéville. Shame on me, I know. I have also never read a single word of Erikson, Eddings, Modesitt, Jordan, McCaffrey, or Moorcock. Having a heart attack yet? Lackey, Norton, and Hobb are also missing from my bookshelf. Ok, that’s not completely true. Several have been on my shelf for a long time, but still go unread. I think that might be worse. There are plenty more amazing authors I have yet to read, and I know I am not alone.

I would like to hear from you now that I’ve thoroughly exposed myself and will henceforth be shunned by my peers. Tell me which authors you are ashamed to have not read. Is there someone out there brave enough to admit to skipping The Hobbit? Who hasn’t read anything by Brandon Sanderson yet? I need to know that I’m not alone in my crimes against Fantasy.

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JUSTIN BLAZIER (on FanLit's staff since September 2009) is a Cyber-Security Analyst/Network Engineer located in Northern Kentucky. Like many fantasy enthusiasts, Justin cut his teeth on authors like Tolkien, Anthony, and Lewis. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books. When he is not reading books he is likely playing board games or Tabletop RPGs. Justin lives in a quiet neighborhood with his wife, their daughter, and Norman the dog.

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  1. Of all those you’ve mentioned, the only one I haven’t read is Erikson, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m not yet ready to take on that daunting task. I am ashamed to admit that I have not read Terry Pratchett, Ian McDonald, C.J Cherryh, Connie Willis, and Philip Pullman. That’s all I can think of.

  2. I’ve never read Mieville either…but the one I’m most ashamed of is that I’ve never read Guy Gavriel Kay. Oh, I’ve meant to, about 50 different times, and I even have two possible books I am thinking of starting with, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  3. I have not read Pratchett nor Pullman and I can’t say I I’m really ashamed or regret it – my loss perhaps. I do intend to read Erikson but I need first to “unclutter” some space in my mind to try that ;)
    Kat, C.J. Cherryh is great! Stressful but great.

  4. No Mieville for me either. Also no Kay, Prachett, or Pullman, but right now, I really don’t have the desire ’cause as great as they may be, I just don’t think their stories would appeal to me. (Please let me know if I’m wrong.)

    No Rowlings or Paolini cause I don’t seek out YA

    No Jack Vance or Nortan either -I hope to read theirs one day, but, with an exception for “Pulps” or something that’s kept alive in the mainstream – I sometimes have a hard time getting into books that are kinda pushing 3+ decades old.

    No Gene Wolfe -except for a short in Swords and Dark Magic- but I hope to remedy that one day.

  5. I haven’t read Mieville, Kay or Ursula Le Guinn. I’m sure there are more but those are the ones I can think of off hand.

  6. Sanderson and Jacqueline Carey.

  7. I’ve *tried* to read almost all of those authors– and enjoyed most of them. I’ve never been able to connect with Mieville or Erikson though. I’ve never read Neal Stephenson.

  8. I’ve never read Mieville, Pratchett or Cherryh although the last two are on my shelves. I just read a Robin Hobb which I liked, so there will be more. I got part way through the first Jordan and the braid tugging had me tossing it at the wall before 100 pages. I’m reading my 1st Neal Stephenson book right now and it’s giving me the giggles – probably not what the author had in mind, but it’s so perfectly over the top entertaining. I will read more by this author, probably Anathem or Diamond Age next. Before I dig the Baroque cycle out of the back corner of the bookshelf. Eddings and Moorcock are not going to get read. And I’ve never read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I did read the Hobbit a couple of times. Once for me and once out loud to my kid.

  9. My list is long and getting longer. As I visit this and many other scifi/fantasy websites, I keep discovering new and interesting sounding authors and stories. Within the last 1.5 years I have removed Mieville (Perdido Street Station), George R.R. Martin, Pratchett(Guards,Guards), Glen Cook, and Erikson from my list. That still leaves Le Guinn, Kay, Sanderson (have the Mistborn trilogy on my shelf), Cherryh, Carey, Hobb, and Robert Jordan.

  10. Sir Read-a-Lot /

    Of those already mentioned, the ones I haven’t read:
    Miéville, Erikson, Eddings, Modesitt, Moorcock, Norton, Cherryh, Willis, Kay, Vance, Wolfe, Carey, Stephenson, and Cook.

    So, most of them. And unfortunately, none of them are on my to-read list right now. My list is just too long as it is with the authors I’ve started, but haven’t finished yet: Martin, Janny Wurts, Taylor Anderson…

    It’s nice to know that I’ll always have more to read, though.

  11. I have not read Le Guinn or Janny Wurts which I have really been meaning to get too.

    I love Robin Hobb and J V Jones and tend towards more heroic fantasy.

    Greg I look for your reviews first because I think I have a similar taste in fantasy as you. I believe you could really enjoy Tigana (the only GGK book I have read with Under Heaven)It is excellently written, very emotional and builds up steadily for a rewarding experience at the end. However I feel that you need to be in the right frame of mind or mood to fully appreciate it. If that makes sense. While it has action its not about that and wont scratch that itch if you a craving Gemmell or something equally bad ass!

  12. Greg you might be missin out on the YA avoidance. I’m a pretty solid Rowling fan myself, and my brother swears by Paolini. I just recently inducted my brother into the Abercrombie army, and you know where my tastes are.

  13. Thank you Allan, that warmed my dark heart.:)
    I love J.V. Jones too. Her Sword of Shadows series is one of my all-time favorites.
    Excellent points about Kay, and I understand totally about the right “frame of mind or mood”. I’ll keep that in mind.

  14. Justin- I actually started the first Harry Potter book and I didn’t get very far. Rowling is a great author and I think she is one of the big reasons fantasy is so hot right now -lot of the kids who got hooked on Potter have grown-up and Rowling planted seed- but I just couldn’t dig-it. I just can’t relate to stories about kids anymore. Too old and mean I guess. (However, Prince of Thorns changed that for me. Then again, Jorg is a kid about like Alexander the Great was.)

    Have you read Paolini yet? I don’t guess I should just assume that I wouldn’t like his stuff.

  15. Greg–Rowling started the Potter series off with a very young style and then aged it as her characters (and readers) aged, so the final three books have fewer all caps and gyrating around, etc. I read the first Paolini and admired his achievement, but thought that ultimately it was derivative. I haven’t read anything of his since.

  16. I have not read Paolini, and he’s pretty far down my list of my to-reads, but I suspect the mood will strike me someday and I’ll pick it up. There have been several trusted sources that have told me I would like his stuff, so I suspect I would. I have yet to read anything my bro recommended that I didn’t like, and vice versa.

  17. I agree with Marion — skip Paolini.

    I thought of two more I’m missing: Robert E. Howard and Mervyn Peake.

  18. I never read Mieville as well, though I intend to (have Perdido Street Station on my shelf). Never read Eddings (again, I wanted to, but kept delaying buying his books). Never read Le Guinn, Jordan and Pratchett (and I don’t think I will).
    However, there are several authors I really want to read, but haven’t gotten to yet: J V Jones, Cook, Leiber, Abercrombie and Brett (of those that come to mind right now).

  19. I started reading Mieville’s PERDIDO STREET STATION and thought it absolutely marvelous, but, um, well, put it down and never picked it up again after getting about halfway through. It requires some effort to read, and I simply didn’t have the effort to give. I did read UN LUN DUN, though, so I guess I’m not completely Mieville-free.

    I don’t like humorous SF, so I’ve never even tried to read Terry Pratchett. I feel like I should, and I probably will one of these days — but not today.

    I own a great many books by Steve Erickson as well as Steve Erikson, but have not yet read a single one. (One of these days I will have the words “I have it but I haven’t read it yet” set to music so it can properly be my theme song.) I’ve also got a bunch of Jacqueline Carey’s work, but can’t seem to tug it off the shelf. Mervyn Peake sounds like he should be right up my alley, and I’ve got a nice edition of his trilogy, but I haven’t read it yet. I’ve got all of Jeff VanderMeer’s output, just about, but I’ve yet to tackle his fiction. Too bad, because it sounds very weird, and the weirder the better so far as I’m concerned! Mark Charan Newton, Peter Brett, Tobias Buckell, Hal Duncan, Tim Pratt, Kitt Whitfield — okay, I’ll stop now, because if I keep this up, I’ll start to cry. I wish I could take a year off just to read!

  20. I’ve only read one Erikson book, whereupon I stopped dead. I keep meaning to continue, honestly I do…I have also never read a complete Mieville book.

    CTGT, if you live in the USA, a book of your choice from our stacks. Please contact me (Tim) with your choice and a US address.

  21. Charlie Hanlon /

    I’ve never read any Stephen King. Erikson and Sanderson are also on my list. Jack Vance is an author I have been meaning to read.

    A few misspellings above of one of my favorite authors, Ursula K. Le Guin. For those who haven’t read her, do not pass go, go immediately to the Hainish Cycle books.

    I haven’t seen anyone mention Octavia E. Butler. Have you all read some of her work? If not, I heartily recommend any and all of her work. If offer the Parable of the Sower as a good starting point.

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