Your favorite/most influential author(s)

docbennett

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Who is/are your favorite authors...who has influenced you the most with regard to their writing?

For me, the "holy trinity" consists of:

Harlan Ellison....perpetual gadfly, arrogant and frighteningly intelligent....and a voice among speculative fiction that has stood out for over 40 years. Responsible for what is considered the most important anthology of short stories in the "Science/speculative fiction" genre., the "Dangerous Visions" series. Perhaps one day "The Last Dangerous Visions" will be published, only 42 years after its expected original date of publication.

Philip Jose Farmer.....whether it is the 6 volume "Riverworld series" or the similiarly complex "World of Tiers" I had an essay published a few years ago in which I argued that Phil was the "smartest man in the world". I stand by that conclusion, and believe that his imagination is responsible for my trips to dozens of "pocket universes" as well as my multi-million mile trip across the River of Eternity to find out the secrets contained in the Great Tower.

Philip K. Dick...."What is real, vs. what is reality"? The sine qua non of exploring alternative realities and the differences between the "soul" and "artificial intelligence". Responsible for dozens of incredible movies ranging from "Blade Runner and Total Recall" to the inspriration for "Waking Life". He didn't die in 1982...he just moved on to his alternative reality based somewhere around 100 AD as he hypothezied as early as 1973. the man predicted the Matrix before William Gibson even conceived of the concept in his novel "Neuromancer".

Honorable mention...Kurt Vonnegut Jr. If not for the three who precede him, I would consider him to be the quintessential "great american novelist". I define his career as "Slaughterhouse 5 and prior" and "Breakfast of champions, and later". I find the 2nd half of his career to be very disappointing, relative to his first 5 novels.

So...who has influenced you with their writing??
 
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Albrecht Smuten

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Chuck Palahniuk - don't know whether it's because of the translation, but I find his disturbing themes actually very peacefully and calmly written.
Terry Pratchett - apart from the humor, I love his thoughts about people. I tend to call it the "kind nihilism". Mostly in his later works.
 

Mikegarveyblues

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From my childhood Roald Dahl. His books such as Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and James And The Giant Peach summed up everything that was great about being a child.

Pretty much read every book by Jeffery Deaver and James Patterson. Do love a good thriller! :)

Hated Dickens at school but grew to appreciate it in my early adult life alongside books by George Orwell such as 1984.
 

11top

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Favorite, but not necessarily influential. I read fiction to escape reality and relax.

Harlan Coban
Nelson DeMille
Robert Crais
William Lashner
Stephen King (when he's on it)

What do these guys have in common? They write great dialogue.
Those guys are automatics for me. If they write it, I'm reading it.
 
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MojoPin

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Haruki Murakami - 'A Wild Sheep Chase' is absolute genius, and making my way through his new 'IQ84' books now

Neil Gaiman - Neverwhere has to be one of my favourite books ever, too...just brilliant. And his 'Sandman' graphic novels are unbelievably good.
 

soundbee

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Anais Nin - House of Incest. That lil prose-poem has inspired countless lyrics and songs for me. Note although the author did have an incestuous relationship with her father in her 20's (as the suggestion of her therapist), the term "Incest" here is a metaphor, not literal and meant to describe self-love and only being able to appreciate in others what one loves about themselves. For me, the imagery inspires as much as it entertains.

"I was in a ship of sapphire sailing on seas of coral. And standing at the prow singing. My singing swelled the sails and ripped them; where they had been ripped the edge was burnt and the clouds too were ripped to tatters by my voice."
 

LSchefman

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Ernest Hemingway - After I finished all my schooling I re-read Hemingway's novels, this time purely for pleasure. Beautiful use of the language.

Kurt Vonnegut - He was writer-in-residence at Michigan when I was a freshman, and I got to hear him give talks. Virtually everyone on campus was reading his books, and excited about him. I love the way he wrote, but no doubt a lot of my admiration resulted from having met him and my feelings about my college years in general.

Truman Capote - Just enjoyed his writing from"The Grass Harp" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" to "In Cold Blood."

Also enjoyed Isaac Asimov, Jerzy Kosinsky (also a writer-in-residence at Michigan), Hunter S. Thompson.
 

docbennett

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Ernest Hemingway - After I finished all my schooling I re-read Hemingway's novels, this time purely for pleasure. Beautiful use of the language.

Kurt Vonnegut - He was writer-in-residence at Michigan when I was a freshman, and I got to hear him give talks. Virtually everyone on campus was reading his books, and excited about him. I love the way he wrote, but no doubt a lot of my admiration resulted from having met him and my feelings about my college years in general.

Truman Capote - Just enjoyed his writing from"The Grass Harp" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" to "In Cold Blood."

Also enjoyed Isaac Asimov, Jerzy Kosinsky (also a writer-in-residence at Michigan), Hunter S. Thompson.

My most unforgettable character, and the person I most would have liked to have taken a 1 month road trip with across the country back in the '70's. Man, when he killed himself a few years ago I was both awed and dumbfounded...totally in-character way for him to end it. RIP Duke, the master of Gonzo Journalism!
 

tiboy

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Mark Twain. He was a keen observer of the human condition. He reported on it candidly and with humor. "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" Unfortunately, I all to often fail to heed these words.
 

LSchefman

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My most unforgettable character, and the person I most would have liked to have taken a 1 month road trip with across the country back in the '70's. Man, when he killed himself a few years ago I was both awed and dumbfounded...totally in-character way for him to end it. RIP Duke, the master of Gonzo Journalism!

"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" was the funniest book I have ever read.
 

veinbuster

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I like writers who are a bit sideways: Chuck Palahniuk, Tom Robbins come to mind - when something new by either comes out I save it for an occassion when I can savour it.
My favourite mindless escape is Dean Koontz or Kelly Armstrong.
 

sergiodeblanc

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For pure reading pleasure, Christopher Moore and Douglas Coupland are my new favorites.
 

alantig

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Kurt Vonnegut - I latched on to him very late, but every time I read one of his books, my reaction is the same: "Why don't I read this guy more often?"

Stephen King - Screw the detractors. When he's on his game (and he is, for the most part), he can tell a story and set a mood with the best of them. Yeah, he can get a little wordy, and I thought some aspects of the last couple Dark Tower books kind of went off the rails a bit, particularly when he inserted himself into the story. But it's not like he's not aware of his flaws - another book in the DT series ended in an unresolved chase scene, and the afterword started something like "Yeah, I know, and I'm not happy about it either." Two examples of how powerfully (and economically, ironically enough) he can set a mood. I saw him at a speaking engagement some years back, and he made a comment about being scared by some of the cliche things, like the guy hiding in the back seat, which got a laugh. He said, "Oh yeah - laugh now. But you know goddamn well you're going to check the back seat of your car when this is over." Guess what started going through my mind on the way back to my car? The second was an appearance on Whoopi Goldberg's short-lived talk show. She said the thing that terrified her the most was laying in bed in the dark and hearing a noise like something was moving in the house and reaching for the light switch and not being able to find it, and she couldn't think of anything more terrifying than that. King said, "Oh no, it would be much scarier if you were reaching for the light switch and a hand grabbed yours and put it on the switch." You could actually see her shiver when he said it.

Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is one of those books that felt like home when I found it. It's been a few years since I've read it, and I'm long overdue, but it was just one of those things that felt like a perfect match for me. I found it through the TV show, but the books are far and away my favorite telling of the story.

Carl Sagan - Known more for the TV series of Cosmos, but the guy could write and make science accessible. Most of all, he was one of the first writers who didn't make being smart seem like something to hide in my teen years.

Current favorites are Vince Flynn, Christopher Moore, David Sedaris. Been reading a lot of autobiographies, too - should wrap up Pete Townshend's today.

I've gone in and out with some other writers, notably Anne Rice and Tom Clancy. And Thomas Harris. Some people (including Stephen King at times) just need an editor.
 

David Eaton

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, Timothy Keller. Jeff Shaara and his father (killer angels, gods and generals), Shelby Foote. I used to read a lot by Phillip Yancey. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and John Stott would also make the list.
 

soundbee

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another two of my favorites happen to be musicians:

Frank Zappa - The Real Frank Zappa Book (autobiography). The section on "How I Almost Blew My Nuts Off" is soo funny. (http://everything2.com/title/How+I+Almost+Blew+My+Nuts+Off)

Also - John Lennon: Skywriting by Word of Mouth. Very witty and funny. He had an incredible command of language and could twist it many ways. You'll understand how he could've gotten away with "Come Together" (Over Me).
 
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