Favorite Speculative Fiction Authors: Fantasy, Science Fiction and More!
Recommended by Cecil, a library patron and member of its Board of Trustees.
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The themes and characters in MZB's Darkover books are fun. The alien planet Darkover is home to an unnamed elusive telepathic race of ethereal humanoids. Colonists crash land on Darkover and, marooned and lost to their Earthly benefactors, are rediscovered many centuries later. The clash between the reuniting cultures is dramatized by a telepathic royalty who are defending their mostly rural and agricultural planet from well-meaning but overwhelming high technology. Also the presence of independent "Free Amazons" and intersexed human/alien hybrids and a large dose of well developed soap opera-ish coming of age themes spin the original books along.
Tanya Huff's Sing the Four Quarters is her most purely fantasy novel and one I would recommend. In this novel the ability to work magic is tied quite closely to musical ability. She creatively tweaks the conventions of music and magic to converge tenor, alto, bass, soprano, earth, air, fire and water. Her characters are a pleasant blend of sympathetic, quirky and heroic. The subsequent books in the series are significantly 'darker' - that is they have significant horrific elements, but given that her other series, the Blood Series, is a modern day horror series, I should not have been surprised.
Anne Harris is a Detroit-area author, and this fact is clearly apparent in her second book, Accidental Creatures. Her books are science fiction in style and treatment. They may deal with cutting-edge sciences like chaos theory, nano-biotechnology, memory/mind/brain interface, or time travel. Her characters have street smarts and a very modern feel, except when they are from distant long forgotten lands. And even then they have an appealing attitude.
David Gerrold's strengths are apparent in titles such as Bouncing Off the Moon, Jumping Off the Planet, and Leaping to the Stars. In them, we follow middle child, "Chigger," and his family as they leave (or is it escape) earth by travelling up the space elevator, visit the moon colony, and join a space ship to an alien planet. Gerrold writes the science of the ideas clearly and competently, and explores the boy's family dysfunctions sympathetically and clearly.
The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse is a good single novel, as is its sequel, The Gorilla Gumshoe.