I've been thinking lately about my favorite authors, how they've changed over time, and who they are today. Years ago, my favorite author was Robert Jordan, hands-down. I found his writing refreshing, especially compared to Tolkien. At the time, I remember thinking, wow, this epic fantasy has prominent female characters. Far more prominent than what is found in Tolkien's work. Today, I hold Tolkien's core novels in higher esteem than I did in my youth, and the glacial pacing of Jordan's later books ruined The Wheel of Time for me. Having said all that, I still like both authors.
Probably, my favorite overall writer is George RR Martin. Anything Westeros is, well, just awesome. Like I imagine most fans of his books, I am anxiously awaiting the next installment. I have been anxiously waiting quite literally for years.
My favorite book all-time is still Dune, so I have to put Frank Herbert on my list of favorite authors. I have to admit, though, I'm not a massive fan of his other books in the Dune series, and I've never tried to read any of his other works. I've read a handful of the precursor books by his son. None of those come even close to the original.
John Scalzi sits very high on my list. I love his Old Man's War series and Collapsing Empire series. I suppose it is not entirely surprising that I enjoy Scalzi since, as a teenager, I absolutely adored Robert Heinlein's novels, who Scalzi has been favorably compared too. Speaking of Heinlein, I think he still ranks as one of my favorites. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is still one of my favorite novels of all time.
I'd be remiss if I left out Bernard Cornwell. His Saxon Tales is simply one of the best series out there. Great action. Great stories. Amazing characters.
James Clavell makes the list solely on the strength of his novel Shogun. I think the first time I read ShogunI was a tween, maybe 12. I had already seen all of or, at least, part of the miniseries based on the book. This novel is tied or in a close second to Dune for my all-time favorite book. It began my lifelong interest in Asia, especially Japan and samurais in particular. To this day, I rarely read a book with more memorable characters and setting as this one.
Two novelists who are relatively new, at least to me, join my favorites: V.E. Schwab and Peter Reeve. I've thoroughly enjoyed everything I've read by both writers. Schwab's Shades of Magic series is astoundingly good with several of the most memorable characters I've encountered in a while. As for Peter Reeve, the Mortal Engines is unlike anything I've read before or since.