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Who are the best science fiction/fantasy authors?
5/22/ | Myself

Posted on 05/23/2008 10:02:34 AM PDT by GSWarrior

There must be a lot of SF fans here. Who are you favorite authors or books? What are you currently reading?

I enjoy SF books that focus on character development over hard scifi themes. Robert Silverberg, IMO, is about the best there is. I also enjoy Gardner Duzois' short stories--some gut-wrenching stuff. Jack Vance's are also very entertaining. Orson Scott Card is pretty good too.

I am currently reading Altered Carbon, by Richard Morgan...it's kind of slow and hard to follow. Not likely to read his other novels.

I have enjoyed some, but not all, of Niven and Pournelle's works.


TOPICS: Books/Literature
KEYWORDS: fantasy; fantasysf; literature; scifi; sf
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To: Forgiven_Sinner

second that— Riverworld Series by Farmer is great!

on the SF front, Niven Ringworld series is also great...


151 posted on 05/23/2008 3:11:34 PM PDT by RobFromGa (It's the Spending, Stupid! (not the method of collection))
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To: GSWarrior

For contemporary fare (I don’t think anyone today can hold a candle to the likes of JRR Tolkein, Edgar Rice Bourroughs, Jules Verne or HG Wells) I’ve really taken a liking to the “1632” series by Eric Flint (and a few others). Light-heartedly written, somewhat tongue-in-cheek but easy and enjoyable reads. The “1632 Technical Manual” discussion group on the Baen Bar is pretty impressive.

Turtledove wrote some truly excellent alternate history/historical sci-fi (Guns of the South, How Few Remain, the first few books of the World War series), but lately his material reads like he’s just churning stuff out in an ongoing quest for more advances ...


152 posted on 05/23/2008 3:11:34 PM PDT by tanknetter
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To: GSWarrior

Philip K. Dick

IMHO, a writer without peer.
If you don’t believe me, read Ubik!


153 posted on 05/23/2008 3:11:46 PM PDT by djf
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To: GSWarrior

Agree with you about Silverberg. I think he was the best over all. I really like A. E. Van Vogt and Clifford Simack also.


154 posted on 05/23/2008 3:13:46 PM PDT by TheLion
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To: Biblebelter

Yes! Took over a hundred posts before anybody mentions Ellison.

Short and twisted, but a damn good writer.


155 posted on 05/23/2008 3:15:07 PM PDT by djf
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To: GSWarrior
Poul Anderson - His Dominic Flandry series is a good place to start. Good old fashioned space adventure.

Lois McMasters Bijorn - Start with Shards of Honor.

David Webber - I want a Treecat!

Lee & Miller - Best to start with Local Custom. Crystal Soldier is really the first book but it will make much more sense if you read the others first.

156 posted on 05/23/2008 3:24:18 PM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes into it.)
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To: Salgak

I’ve seen Ringo’s name come up a lot on this thread. Could you recommend a good place to start? Do his series books stand alone or should I really start at volume 1?


157 posted on 05/23/2008 3:38:43 PM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: GSWarrior
This guy hands down.

Photobucket

158 posted on 05/23/2008 3:41:19 PM PDT by Professional Engineer (www.pinupsforvets.com)
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To: All
Omigosh!

How could I have forgotton Colin Wilson's Spider World trilogy? Good stuff.


159 posted on 05/23/2008 3:44:47 PM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: Lucius Cornelius Sulla

“Surprised you’re the only who to mention Alfred Bester. The Demolished Man was terrifying.”

Haven’t read that. Read “The Stars My Destination” more than once. Very good.

“While C. S. Lewis has been mentioned, his main Science Fiction (The Perelandra trilogy) has not been.”

Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and “That Hideous Strength” were very good. For Lewis the quality of their work qualifies him for the top ten of SF, but his quantity disqualifies him.

I think Bester is a notch below the other top ten SF writers we’ve mentioned.


160 posted on 05/23/2008 3:46:09 PM PDT by Forgiven_Sinner (For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not die)
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To: heartwood
I got a kiss and an autograph when he was in his Dirty Old Man phase - as did a few thousand other girls.

I met him at my first Lunacon in Tarrytown, NY c. 1987. He was just milling around in the crowd. I happened to have a camera to take pictures of some of the costumes that I'd seen, so I worked up the nerve to ask him if I could take his picture.

He said, "Sure, sure, as long as I don't have to pose."
Oh, no, sir, you don't have to pose.
"I'll look at the pretty girls."

I have this great, statesman-like picture of Asimov in 3/4 profile, hands on his lapels ... ogling some half-naked (but adequately covered) young ladies.

161 posted on 05/23/2008 3:54:38 PM PDT by Tanniker Smith ("We have top men working on it." "Who?" "Top. Men.")
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To: Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Surprised you're the only who to mention Alfred Bester. The Demolished Man was terrifying.

I was actually quoting Martin from "The Simpsons".
Oddly enough, I've never read any of his work (except maybe for some old short story in an old magazine or anthology that I've forgotten about). I probably have something by he in one of the boxes in the basement.

162 posted on 05/23/2008 3:58:51 PM PDT by Tanniker Smith ("We have top men working on it." "Who?" "Top. Men.")
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To: raven92876

ping


163 posted on 05/23/2008 4:07:54 PM PDT by windcliff
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To: GSWarrior

Jack Vance-The Dying Earth, et.al.
Gene Wolfe-Book of the New Sun, et. al.
Poul Anderson-Flandry of Terra, et. al.
R.E. Howard-Conan, et. al.
L. Sprague deCamp-Unbeheaded King, et. al.
Dan Simmons-Hyperion, et. al.
Larry Niven-Ringworld, et. al.
Clark Ashton Smith
Lin Carter
Theodore Sturgeon-Killdozer!, et. al.

Freegards


164 posted on 05/23/2008 4:08:06 PM PDT by Ransomed (Son of Ransomed says Keep the Faith!)
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To: Professional Engineer

Who is that?


165 posted on 05/23/2008 4:15:43 PM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: GSWarrior

L Ron Hubbard placemarker


166 posted on 05/23/2008 4:26:32 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (Holy State or Holy King - Or Holy People's Will - Have no truck with the senseless thing)
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To: GSWarrior
If you're going to read Sci-fi, go with the masters....

Bradbury
Pohl (my personal favorite!)
Asimov

I also love Greg Bear..... even if he's more of a hard-sciences writer...

167 posted on 05/23/2008 4:36:56 PM PDT by Maigrey (Fat makes the World Taste Better! - personal motto)
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To: Tanniker Smith
Wheel of time is more fantasy rather than Sci-fi.

Jordan is a master, and I am still crying in his waking from the dream.

168 posted on 05/23/2008 4:38:07 PM PDT by Maigrey (Fat makes the World Taste Better! - personal motto)
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To: GSWarrior
JRR Tolkien
Rosemary Edghill (The Sword of Maiden's Tears, The Cup of Morning Shadows, The Cloak of Night and Daggers)
Ursula LeGuin (Earthsea Trilogy - all the ones after are dreck)

169 posted on 05/23/2008 4:39:20 PM PDT by Alkhin (Hope looks beyond the bounds of time...)
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To: Tao Yin
Aww crap! Asimov stated global warming was a problem back in 1989.

Actually he said it might become a problem as far back as the 70s - unless the world moved to much greater use of nuclear power.

170 posted on 05/23/2008 4:41:34 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (Holy State or Holy King - Or Holy People's Will - Have no truck with the senseless thing)
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To: No Truce With Kings

Fellow Ringo Fan! YES!! I love rednecks playing with anti-matter!


171 posted on 05/23/2008 4:46:22 PM PDT by Braak (The US Military, the real arms inspectors!)
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To: latina4dubya
From IMDB

The Screwtape Letters (2008)

Writer: C.S. Lewis (novel)

Release Date: 2008 (USA) more

Status: Pre-production

Douglas Gresham is involved with this production.

172 posted on 05/23/2008 4:49:19 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
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To: The Louiswu

Bruce Sterling and David Zindell also wrote some good stuff, but I haven’t been reading much Sci Fi in recent years.


173 posted on 05/23/2008 5:11:17 PM PDT by Radix (Think it is bad now? Wait until you have to press "2" for English!)
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To: GSWarrior

R. A. Heinlein, USNA class of ‘29


174 posted on 05/23/2008 5:13:42 PM PDT by Professional Engineer (www.pinupsforvets.com)
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To: GSWarrior
Depends what you want. If you want mil-SF, start with "A Hymn Before Dawn".

If you want Space Opera, start with "Through the Looking Glass".

If you tend towards semi-fantasy, go with "There Will Be Dragons".

And if you want the male equivalent of a Harlequin Novel, where the men are manly beyond belief, the women fey, the action over the top, and the good guys ALWAYS win, no matter how wierd it gets. . .try "Ghost".

A Warning on Ghost, however. IT is NOT family-friendly reading. John wrote it to basically get it out of his system. . .and it gets pretty sexual. If you can be considered, by anyone, uptight. . .pass "Ghost" by. It's a wild ride, but parts of it approach triple-x rated. . .

Google "Oh John Ringo NO!", and read the review from the Concrete Tomb of Hradska if you're not sure. . . "Hymn" and "Dragons" are available for free at the Baen Free Library. . .

175 posted on 05/23/2008 5:30:20 PM PDT by Salgak (Acme Lasers presents: The Energizer Border: I dare you to try and cross it. . .)
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To: AD from SpringBay

Idoru was fabulous


176 posted on 05/23/2008 5:34:13 PM PDT by motor_racer (Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.)
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To: GSWarrior
Stephen R. Donaldson

Robert Jorden- You do not need more than the first 5 book in the series that never ends.

Dennis L. McKiernan- Tolkien lite but also 5 fairy tale

Stephen King- "The Stand"

Laurell K. Hamilton- only about the first 5 in the Anita Blake series then the author goes through a personality warp that would make for some great psychiatry study but make for some very disturbed reading.

JRR Tolkien- Loved the trilogy but could not stand the 100 pages of whining before Biblo ever got out his door and on his journey to ever really like the Hobbit.

Frank Herbert- Dune

Orson Scott Card- Ender's Game

Lary Niven- Ringworld

Allen Dean Foster-You would be surprised to see all his books made into movies, but my favorite series of his is his "Flinx" series

C.S. Lewis- Christian

Frank Peretti-Christian

177 posted on 05/23/2008 6:09:45 PM PDT by Lady Heron
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To: dcam
The Amber Series by Zelazny is great too.

I believe that he also wrote a (fantasy) book titled "The Dragon and the George." It's been at least 20 years since I read that book, but I recall it was terrific.

Mark

178 posted on 05/23/2008 7:01:35 PM PDT by MarkL
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To: americanophile
My favorites:

1.) Dune

2.) Lord of The Rings

3.) 1984

4.) Fareinheit 451

5.) 2001: A Space Odyssey

179 posted on 05/23/2008 7:04:10 PM PDT by rlmorel (Clinging bitterly to Guns and God in Massachusetts...:)
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To: GSWarrior
For light, fun sci fi/fantasy, I was always partial to Harry Harison's Stainless Steel Rat and Deathworld books. And Piers Anthony's Xanth series, though I also enjoyed his "Space Tyrant" and "Incarnation" series, though neither one is anywhere as "light" as his Xanth books.

Heinlein, of course. I loved his Lazarus Long stories, and really loved both Job and Number of the Beast.

Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Convenant books: talk about an "anti-hero!", as well as Terry Brooks "Shanara" series are both fun fantasy.

I think that I read Asimov and Herbert while I was too young to really appreciate either the Foundation series or Dune. If I had more time, I'd try reading them again.

I was brought up on Edgar Rice Burroughs. I learned to read with Tarzan, but I really went nuts with the John Carter of Mars books! And Arthur Conan Doyle's "Pelucidar" books. And later, Robert Adams' "Horseclans" books, if you can find them. "Cat of a Silver Hue" is still one of my favorite books ever.

Damn, I could go on for hours and hours.

Mark

180 posted on 05/23/2008 7:36:04 PM PDT by MarkL
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To: MarkL
And Piers Anthony's Xanth series, though I also enjoyed his "Space Tyrant" and "Incarnation" series...

Hah. I saw the title of this thread earlier and thought of Piers Anthony. While there are many great authors and novels, my first thought was of his Incarnations series.

181 posted on 05/23/2008 7:40:29 PM PDT by new cruelty
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To: americanophile

Gordan Dickson and his Dorsai series, to name just one!


182 posted on 05/23/2008 7:44:05 PM PDT by gbs
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To: gbs

Roger Zelazny to name another!


183 posted on 05/23/2008 7:45:39 PM PDT by gbs
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To: Maigrey

Bear’s Forge of God was great.


184 posted on 05/23/2008 7:50:36 PM PDT by Sawdring
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To: GSWarrior

Here’s some of my favorites

Fantasy:
JRR Tolkien
Neil Gaiman
CS Lewis
Robert Jordan
Terry Brooks (easy reading, more aimed at teenagers)

Sci-fi:
Robert Heinlein
Orson Scott Card
Ray Bradbury
Arthur C. Clarke
HG Wells
Douglas Adams
Terry Pratchett
Isaac Asimov
HP Lovecraft (can’t believe nobody’s mentioned him yet)
Jules Verne

Cyberpunk:
Neil Stephenson
Cory Doctorow
Charles Stross
(The last two publish under some variation of Creative Commons licensing, so you can download their works in ebook format for free in all kinds of places)

On my to-read list:
Neuromancer
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Stardust

...and re-read:
Princess Bride
Flatland
Flatterland (heavy on the thoeretical and modern physics and cosmology. I HIGHLY recommend it for anyone interested in those topics, however)


185 posted on 05/23/2008 7:53:51 PM PDT by Hyzenthlay (I aim to misbehave.)
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To: TexasBarak; heartwood
I love the Man-Kzin War series.

This series contains some of the bet science fiction I have ever read, bar none. I can't recomend it enough.

Ditto.

After Heinlein, Niven and Pournelle are the best of the best.

186 posted on 05/23/2008 7:55:41 PM PDT by Professional Engineer (www.pinupsforvets.com)
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To: Professional Engineer

To your (very good) list I would add Dr. Robert L. Forward, Jack Vance and Fritz Lieber (last two more fantasy than science).


187 posted on 05/23/2008 8:00:39 PM PDT by nomorelurker (keep flogging them till morale improves)
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To: GSWarrior

bump for later


188 posted on 05/23/2008 8:04:52 PM PDT by GOPJ
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To: GSWarrior
I love science fiction. So many to chose from. Robert Heinlein for a example of a “hard style” author. Also Niven/Pournelle for Lucifer's Hammer. I also like William R. Forstchen at least for his first 3 books of the Lost Regiment series. After that the series degenerated into sameness like Steven King.
189 posted on 05/23/2008 8:08:23 PM PDT by Polynikes (Yo, homie. Is that my briefcase?)
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To: Old North State
I think Walter Miller’s seminal work , “A Canticle for Liebowitz”, deserves mention. It is often overlooked.

I remember it as an excellent book, although I can't recall anything about it. I read it in my senior year in high school, which is some 28 years ago. Another terrific distopian book is Ira Levin's "This Perfect Day." Levin is best known for Rosemary's Baby. I believe that This Perfect Day has been out of print for some time now.

Mark

190 posted on 05/23/2008 8:12:10 PM PDT by MarkL
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To: Biblebelter
It was a God awful movie with Don Johnson who was a complete unknown at the time.

The best part of that movie was at the very beginning, where you see text on a black screen. I can't remember it verbatim but it was something like: "In the late 20th century, politicians finally found a cure to urban blight." The next thing you see is a mushroom cloud. As I recall, it went downhill from there.

Ellison's short story was great, and the movie was OK, but it didn't compare to his story.

For a long time, I was something of a fan of his writing, but I've since decided that I really like his editing better. I'm eternally thankful to Harlan Ellison for his "Dangerous Visions" anthologies, for introducing me to many authors I probably would never have read otherwise, including Piers Anthony, Theodore Sturgeon, and Fritz Leiber.

Mark

191 posted on 05/23/2008 8:17:30 PM PDT by MarkL
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To: djf; Biblebelter
Yes! Took over a hundred posts before anybody mentions Ellison.

Short and twisted, but a damn good writer.

In one of my favorite bits from a book, the end of Heinlein's "Number of the Beast" has a gathering of writers, both historical and fictional, as well has Heinlein's contemporaries. And he's even invited critics to this gathering as well. Harlan Ellison's been put in charge of their accommodations! LOL

Mark

192 posted on 05/23/2008 8:25:47 PM PDT by MarkL
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To: dcam; gbs
The Amber Series by Zelazny is great too.

I believe that he also wrote a (fantasy) book titled "The Dragon and the George." It's been at least 20 years since I read that book, but I recall it was terrific.

DAMN!!!! "The Dragon and the George" was by Gordon Dickson, not Zelazny!

Thanks for reminding me, GBS!

Mark

193 posted on 05/23/2008 8:30:27 PM PDT by MarkL
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To: motor_racer
I'm patiently waiting the paperback Spook Country.
194 posted on 05/23/2008 8:53:25 PM PDT by AD from SpringBay (We deserve the government we allow.)
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To: GSWarrior

I hope this thread gives me some reading ideas, because I haven’t read a NEW science fiction novel in, literally, decades.

While I admire Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, Delaney, Zelany, some Herbert, Silverberg, Bester and Clarke, I have to say I’ve been disappointed with so much science fiction...and I WANT to love it.

I think the bloom came off the rose with me when, first, I grew up and tired of the cynicism of the Ellison crowd, and second, Cyberpunk came into being. That youthful unearned cynicism I just grew out of, but I’ve never gotten tired of the “sense of wonder” SF—some Clarke and Andre Norton, especially.

But while I’m a more sophisticated reader now, “sophisticated” too often means “cynical” to these writers. I can’t tell you how many “new classics” I’ve picked up and then bailed on after a hundred pages. I just don’t give a DAMN about “cybercowboys” and their silly posing ways—characters who look cool as their killing people, tough-talking characters who haven’t a shred of humanity to interest me and, especially, boring plots which don’t activate my imagination.

Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination is a favorite, as is Clarke’s Songs of Distant Earth. I love Bradbury’s non-sf stuff, too. But these days when I want some good SF, I have to reread something, or write something.


195 posted on 05/23/2008 9:19:20 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 (Republican "Suicide Voters" need to repeat: SCOTUS...SCOTUS...SCOTUS...)
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To: wideawake

I LOVED Ligotti until I read that long, bizarre essay of his about how the universe is meaningless and there is no god. Even if you are an atheist, you’ll be put to sleep by his endless rehashing of high school-level cliches about meaninglessness.


196 posted on 05/23/2008 9:21:07 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 (Republican "Suicide Voters" need to repeat: SCOTUS...SCOTUS...SCOTUS...)
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To: MarkL

Hey MarkL, Pellucidar is by ERB, if I recall. But you win the thread by mentioning Fritz Leiber. Have you ever read Gene Wolfe?

Freegards


197 posted on 05/23/2008 9:25:30 PM PDT by Ransomed (Son of Ransomed says Keep the Faith!)
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To: Ransomed
Hey MarkL, Pellucidar is by ERB, if I recall. But you win the thread by mentioning Fritz Leiber. Have you ever read Gene Wolfe?

Wow... You're right. I haven't read them since high school, which is roughly 3 decades, so it's a miracle that I can remember it at all. But didn't Doyle also have a "primitive world" book or series?

I don't recall ever having read Gene Wolfe.

Mark

198 posted on 05/23/2008 9:36:53 PM PDT by MarkL
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Do think the new author will pull of Book 12? Maybe the editing will be a little tighter, but than I think RJ’s wife is still the editor.


199 posted on 05/23/2008 9:48:08 PM PDT by neb52
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To: Darkwolf377

I run into the same problem. I reckon the “newest” author I can get into is Dan Simmons’ Hyperion/Fall of Hyperion. And that was written in the late 80s-early 90s if I recall. He’s also the cat who wrote the essay “Message from a Time Traveler” that shows up on FR now and then. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1610142/posts

Freegards


200 posted on 05/23/2008 9:51:14 PM PDT by Ransomed (Son of Ransomed says Keep the Faith!)
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