During the time I lurked here, and now as a paid member, Dopers have been kind enough to mention names of their favorite authors; either in passing or in point.
As an avid reader I thank you for bringing to my attention:
Neal Stephenson - have now read ‘Cryptonomicon’ and ‘Diamond Age’. His ‘Baroque Cycle’ is next on my reading list after I finish
Susanna Clarke’s - ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell’ - another Doper lead.
I also have three of Terry Pratchett’s on the way from Amazon.
I have read Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’, and will now look up his ‘Sandman’ series. Due, again to Doper leads.
So, by way of thank you, I would like to offer a few leads of my own. Many or most of you will already be familiar with them, but this is what I got:
Ian Rankin - Edinborough detective with flaws galore.
F. Paul Wilson - ‘Handyman Jack’ series.
Dan Brown - none of his other books approaches (IMHO) his ‘Da Vinci Code’. But fun none the less.
And of course, the venerable Mervyn Peake for his trilogy ‘Titus Groan’.
There are others, but alas, my mind is not what it used to be.
So, any other leads?
Based on what you’e posted, you seem to like interesting fantasy books. How about China Mieville? Crazy name, crazy books. For even crazier stuff, there’s City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff Vandermeer.
Try Gene Wolfe, The Book of the New Sun. It was originally published in a four volume set: The Shadow of the Torturer; The Claw of the Concilliator; The Sword of the Lictor; The Citadel of the Autarch. It is now in a two volume set, Shadow and Claw; Sword and Citadel.
The books are set in a very very distant future where cultures far in the future from us are distant, half-mythological memories. Something is wrong with the Sun, it grows so dim that stars can be seen in the day. A young torturer is banished for mercy and undertakes a journey where he fulfills an odd destiny. On the way he meets strange people and marvels, mostly in a state of decay. The book contains elements of the Bible, Lovecraft, Jack Vance, mythology and folklore, but it is also wholly original. It’s half science fiction and half fantasy, very brooding and strange.
A word of warning: It can be very difficult. Wolfe writes as though they were The Hero’s (Severian’s) memoires, so if he doesn’t understand something we have to tease it out. He doesn’t stop the story to explain things. However, since you have read Stephenson and Peake (There are alot of Peake influences in this series, now that I think of it) and Clarke, Wolfe shouldn’t present too much of a challenge.
One of my favorite things Wolfe does is to use Latin and Ancient Greek to represent languages that are dead in Severian’s time, but haven’t even been invented yet in our time.
The Book of the New Sun is my favorite book (Books, I guess). If some wierd government forced me to only read one book the rest of my life this would be it. I know I’m not alone here in liking it as at least two dopers got their doper names from it.
I’d like to thank Dopers for turning me on to Tim Powers.
I discovered Jared Diamond thanks to the SDMB and am happier for it. It might not be the hardest science but as a junior armchair anthropologist, I love his work.
I tend to recommend the same authors over and over, so I’ll just give a few links to threads I’ve already posted in: