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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 10:59 pm 
Why would you recommend the specific author? What about a speacific book makes you recommend it?

Since most people have read Robert A. Heinlen, Why would you recommend his writings? I would certainly recommend A Stranger In A Strange Land, Starship Troopers, and any of his earlier works. I enjoy rereading them even today. They move along, there is conflict, action, humor (at times), in-sight on motivation and causes. They make you think, involve hard science (though at times a little dated, it is still valid) and can cause you to re examine your own beliefs. I have trouble with his later writings though.

Just some general statements to get things rolling... :lol:.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 2:57 am 
My standard of a truly compelling author is one who's book can make me stay up all night reading it. So far, that's three people: J.K. Rowling, R. Jordan, and Terry Goodkind. I may consider others great, but these kinds of books are the ones I really want to read.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 4:36 am 
I enjoy stories which make me come back to them again and again, and most stories do this by having the perfect mixture of explicit and implicit story. I love a book which paints exactly enough of a picture that I can fill in the rest of the world, paint the entire universe in my mind, around the story that transpires.

I also love a story with a broad and comprehensive scope. One of my favourite books (Psychohistorical Crisis, by Donald Kingsbury; set in the same universe as, but 14,000-ish years after, Asimov's 'Foundation' novels) did this by having no good guys, no bad guys, but compelling, well-written, and empathy-earning characters on every side of the major conflict.

Most especially, I love a story that really hits my heartstrings, so to speak, something that only a powerful story, or a great song, or my girlfriend (*coughs*) can do.

I highly treasure Psychohistorical Crisis, C. S. Freidman's Coldfire trilogy, and many of the Keith Laumer-inspired but many-many-authored Bolos stories. After them is the wonderful and epic-proportion Death Gate Cycle series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Following directly behind is Terry Pratchet and Terry Goodkind.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:13 pm 
I like a story that makes me feel like I'm there. I like a story where I can feel the breeze, smell supper cooking, feel the sunshine.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 10:59 pm 
I like a story that makes me think twice. Something that makes me reconsider something I've taken for granted, or shown me something I've never seen before.

I also like/respect when a tale is well told, when there isn't anything in it that makes me say, 'well, the author should have done, this, changed that'. Not many books make that last category, obviously, but there's a certain satisfaction in reading something and, whether or not the tale had a 'happy' ending, knowing that it was told right.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 1:00 am 
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Animal wrote:
I like a story where I can... smell supper cooking


Ever read the Redwall books by Brian Jaques? I swear I could smell the food in those books.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 10:11 am 
Ogredude wrote:
Animal wrote:
I like a story where I can... smell supper cooking


Ever read the Redwall books by Brian Jaques? I swear I could smell the food in those books.


Haven't read those; I'll have to look into them. I was thinking of Hemingway's The Big Two-Hearted River.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:55 am 
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Ogredude wrote:
Ever read the Redwall books by Brian Jaques? I swear I could smell the food in those books.


I knew there was something I hadn't reread yet...

I think I saw one on my brother's booksheld <wanders off to find it>


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 3:12 pm 
I love it when an author can pull me into a world and let me get lost in it - but better yet is an author who writes characters I can get lost in. I love finding characters I would like to know in real life. People who are real and engaging enough that I feel I could have an interesting conversation with them. Tamora Pierce - for all she's classified as "young adult" - has some beautiful characterization. Sharing status as the epitome of character and world invention though would be Steven Brust and Neil Gaiman to me.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 12:57 am 
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For me a book must not be boring or stupid. There's a whole lot of so-called Science Fiction from the 1970's that falls into both categories, in addition to not being anything I'd call SF. Unfortunately a lot of it was published in the pages of Analog. (IIRC that was also one of the magazine's worst periods for sales.)

The story must be presented in a way that comes across as plausible. If it's being called SF then there has to be _something_ in it that's not your everyday existence, but also not something that could be found or created right now. (Or isn't likely to be found/created.)

One particularly bad example (published in Analog) was about a boy, born without arms or legs, who fantasizes about being the star attraction in a freak show. He gets his sister to make him a costume (which hangs on the wall and he never wears it) and his nurse makes him "rape" her several times. That's certainly not science fiction! It and several other stories that could happen to ordinary people in ordinary times, made me wonder just what the bleep the editors at Analog were smoking.

For Fantasy stories, I'm a fan of "hard" fantasy. In other words, fantasy that's internally self consistent. Nobody does something out of the blue just because it's needed to plug up the plot holes. ;) I call series like Piers Anthony's "Xanth", Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" and Robert Asprin's "Theives' World" hard fantasy.

As for Asimov's "Foundation" series, I felt the ending was utterly LAME. That's one theme that makes me gag. I won't spoil the ending for those who haven't read the books. I much preferred the original trilogy and missed all the atomo-this and atomic-that and the rest of the period SF stuff. He altered the whole theme of the universe in his continuation, and fell into the 1980's "tie-in" fever that so many SF authors caught where they were taking just about everything they'd ever written and munging them all into a single universe. Asimov blended his Robot stories into his Foundation universe.

Another great author who should've left well enough alone was Arthur C. Clarke. His collaboration with Gentry Lee on sequels to RAMA was pretty good, up until about the last half of the last book, where they launched into another of those plots that are just so, "gahhhhh!" inducing.

Now some praise! William R. Forstchen, history professor and author of one of the best (and longest) series of books that involves alternate history (though not much and only as early background), other worlds, aliens, steampunk, huge and very well written battles involving thousands, valiant heroes, brave enemies (on all sides), traitors and intrigue and lots more. There's nobody who writes a huge 1860's era land battle like Forstchen. Most of the books run to over 400 pages and most of them I've read through in one sitting because they're just so good.
"The Lost Regiment" series begins with "Rally Cry" and 'ends' in book #8 "Men of War". He's since continued it with other books with other characters in the same world.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 4:22 am 
I recommend reading R.A. Salvatore books. But really only if you're into fantasy.

Specifically:
The Cleric Quintet
The Dark Elf Trilogy


His writing is excellent, not too detailed, so it still gives your mind time to think up how you imagine it looks. When you've finished reading a book you want to just grab another and read it really fast and then keep going forever and ever more.


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