Neglected Books and Authors

James Nicoll asked an interesting question on his livejournal yesterday—he wanted people to name talented but unjustly obscure authors. He’s had some wonderful answers, and I wanted, with James’s permission, to ask the same question here.

It’s easy to moan about bestsellers you don’t like, but who are the authors that should be getting the sales and the attention and yet remain obscure?

I have a few, which will probably be no surprise to long term readers: Walter Jon Williams, Karl Schroeder and Susan Palwick. They’re all three terrific serious writers who I always think should get attention and award nominations. More than that, I expect people to be reading and talking about their books, and it never seems to happen enough.

Then there are other writers who have recognition and nominations without commercial success. John M. Ford would be a perfect example. There are others who keep on selling but never seem to attract attention or have a big breakout—Lawrence Watt Evans is like this and so is Barbara Hambly. They’ve both written lots of excellent fantasy, without becoming superstars. Then there are the people who write one brilliant book and nothing else like Raphael Carter or Hope Mirrlees.

Who would you add to this list?

Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published eight novels, most recently Half a Crown and Lifelode, and two poetry collections. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.


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