Otherwise known as Edmund J. Asher’s top ten favorite authors (an unequivocal opinion). Yes, this is a D20 list. The die has already been cast, because you showed up late, and the die has decided to go traditional. A top ten list.
So here they are, the ten best writers, in no particular order. You can’t ask me to do that.
1 – HP Lovecraft
Doubtful that Lovecraft has ever found himself on a top ten greatest list, let alone at the top. It’s about damned time my boy got the respect he deserves.
Sure, I was disappointed when I first opened up some Lovecraft (I was expecting the Kama Sutra and I got Cthulhu. Perfectly reasonable expectation when you think about it. Lovecraft?
The pioneer of weird fiction. One of the many original influences in science fiction and horror. And a lesson in why fostering a sense of community with others is far more important than what you write. Because without community, who will carry your work to postmortem success? The close writer friends he kept championed his work, publishing him after his death.
And since everyone does pics of the writer when discussing favorite writers, I’m not going to do that.
2 – Alexandre Dumas
The writer of my favorite book, The Count of Monte Cristo. Who’s to say why it’s my favorite. An archetype for revenge tales. Or maybe it’s just because I share a name with the leading man (despite differences in spelling.)
His works number well past the few he is most known for today, The Three Musketeers, Man in the Iron Mask, etc. And he was influential while alive, which is a pretty big deal for a writer. (I’d die for pre-mortem success.)
3 – Douglas Adams
If you haven’t read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, then you are objectively what’s wrong with the world. They are the best five books ever written, hands down. He let us know the importance of never forgetting our towel. And the answer to life, the universe, and everything.
And even if we’re still looking for the question, that’s great progress. I can’t do him justice in this simple list.
This post needs more memes.
4 – Edgar Allan Poe
The man who put macabre in my vocabulary and one of my earliest substantial reads (I had a complete collection of his works in my hands by age nine, which I still have today). At one point, I had memorized The Raven for a recitation at school (while everyone else memorized short works) and his short stories were the best ever.
An unusual favorite, perhaps, but The Masque of the Red Death is my favorite of his works.
Just talking about him, I can hear the heart of the man I murdered thumping beneath my floor boards. (What can I say? The bastard should have shut his eyes.)
5 – J.R.R. Tolkien
Huge fucking D&D nerd that I am, I can’t let Tolkien slip out of my top ten. Though I prefer his works surrounding the four he’s most known for. All the rich world building and what not. And I liked the movies better than the books. (Sacrilege!)
But this man paved the way for socially stunted teenage boys everywhere to sit around a table wearing cloaks and rolling dice with too many sides. And those too-many-sided dice threw the world into chaos. What were we doing with those too-many-sided dice? It just wasn’t natural. It was of the devil.
Without Tolkien, I can’t imagine what fantasy would look like today.
Brace yourselves. We’re trying another meme.
6 – Geoffrey Chaucer
Who doesn’t love a good fart joke? (Don’t believe me? Give him a read.) The Canterbury Tales, though unfinished due to death, are one of my favorite works (I’m being honest). Though I most like him for his appearance in A Knight’s Tale. A real down to earth guy, death kept him from finishing his work but not from making an appearance alongside Heath Ledger. (RIP Heath and Chaucer.)
[I’ll spare you another meme. Just visualize Chaucer telling those two jackasses that he’ll eviscerate them in fiction. If you haven’t seen A Knight’s Tale, go watch it now. That’s your homework.]
7 – Dante Alighieri
The man walked through hell. Enough said. Though he did do an awful lot of fainting, which was very un-badass of him. He probably doesn’t deserve this spot. I should give it to a female author. Like JK Rowling or Mary Shelley. NO! S.E. Hinton.
7 – S.E. Hinton
If you haven’t read The Outsiders, you need to. What can I say, other than it’s the only book I’ve read seven times. And take a look at her other’s. Tex. Rumble Fish. Etc. A small handful of them, but they’re good.
I… uh… I still have my copy of The Outsiders from high school. Pretty sure the statute of limitations is up on this particular act of theft.
8 – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Who hasn’t heard of Slaughterhouse Five? I, as of yesterday, have more copies of it than I can count. He’s one of my big influences (though I don’t do any of them justice… yet?). I’ll refrain from casting him into any particular genre, because he didn’t really like to be boxed in.
But I will say, his works contained elements people often associate with science fiction. He’s also humorous in a dark way, satirical, absurdist, idealist. I love it.
And no one ever talks about Galapagos, or anything other than Slaughterhouse Five really, but I recommend it. I first read his work in a short story in high school, but I can’t remember the title (adding finding that to my list).
9 – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
This post is already getting too long. Sherlock Holmes. Enough said.
[Too many Sherlock memes to choose from. Move along.]
10 – Isaac Asimov
The daddy of science fiction. My only complaint is that I, Robot wasn’t anything like the movie. Really, who paid Asimov to adapt the film to book? But kudos to both I, Robot and I Am Legend (not Asimov) for casting Will Smith.
I love Will Smith. Great actor. I’ll make him my tenth favorite writer. Groundbreaking.
But seriously. Isaac Asimov. He got me into the science side of science fiction. And he’s written enough for a lifetime of reading. So get going.
“What? No Shakespeare?”
No. That guy makes everyone’s list. Let him rot for a while.
“Why so few women?”
I don’t know. I’m a bigot I guess.
“Why no persons of color?”
Uh. Check yourself. Alexandre Dumas, the writer of my favorite book ever, is/was black. Also, Will Smith.
I didn’t feel like doing a post of any substance today (what else is new?) so you get this. It gives me a lot of material to delve into later. Talk about a specific author, perhaps a serious discussion, and what not.
Also, I’m working on my magnum opus, a blog post about first person pov. Expect that at some point. Unless I die. If death is good enough for Chaucer, it’s good enough for me.
And I don’t want to hear another word about not using enough pictures in my posts.