Jan 22 2010 5:08pm

Neglected Books: the list

So, I asked for recommendations for neglected books and authors and had an overwhelming response. I’m going to make the results into a useful reading list, in alphabetical order, with links, and usefully divided. The world is a very big place with a lot of stuff in it, and a lot of books are published and pretty much vanish. They say word-of-mouth is the best way to find books, and these are all books with someone to advocate for them. Sometimes I was astonished to find something was out of print, other times delighted to see that it was. (Murray Leinster is in print! Katherine Maclean is!) Other times I was surprised to find an author I’d never even vaguely heard of who published several books. I read a lot, and I’ve spent a lot of time online and in conventions hanging out talking about books. If I’ve never heard of Wilhelmina Baird or Wilmar Shiras, it’s not the same as your great-aunt never having heard of Neal Stephenson. Nobody can read everything, and nobody wants to, but I’m surprised there are so many I haven’t even considered. And then there are the authors I can’t believe anyone thinks are obscure.

Part 1: Books and authors that I’ve already reviewed here

(34 authors. Links are to the reviews.)

Daniel Abraham

Eleanor Arnason Ring of Swords

Lisa Barnett and Melissa Scott Point of Hopes, Point of Dreams

Gillian Bradshaw The Beacon at Alexandria 

C.J. Cherryh—a multiple Hugo winning author, one of my very favourite writers, and at first I couldn’t believe anyone could suggest she was obscure or neglected. But on reflection, her work, while still excellent, doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it used to. People don’t seem to be as excited by her. I haven’t seen either of her two 2010 releases on people’s “best of year” lists. So maybe she is being neglected. If so, big mistake.

Pamela Dean Tam Lin

Peter Dickinson King and Joker, Eva

Candas Jane Dorsey Black Wine

M.A. Foster The Game Players of Zan

Lisa Goldstein Tourists

Angelica Gorodischer Kalpa Imperial

Barbara Hambly Sorcerer’s Ward/Stranger at the Wedding

Zenna Henderson People stories

Nina Kirikki Hoffman The Silent Strength of Stones

John James Votan and Not for all the Gold in Ireland

Rosemary Kirstein

Tanith Lee Biting the Sun

Ian McDonald Desolation RoadKing of Morning, Queen of Day

Maureen McHugh Mission Child, China Mountain Zhang

Robin McKinley The Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown, Deerskin

Sarah Monette

Elizabeth Moon The Speed of Dark and The Serrano series

Alexis Panshin Rite of Passage

H. Beam Piper Lord Kalvan of Otherwhere, Fuzzy Stories

Madeleine Robins Sarah Tolerance books

Eric Frank Russell

Nevil Shute In the Wet

Clifford Simak Way Station

Joan Slonczewski A Door Into Ocean

Sherwood Smith

Sean Stewart

Elizabeth Vonarburg In the Mother’s Land

Robert Charles Wilson—He’s not obscure. But maybe he is underappreciated, considering how amazing he is.

Part II: Books and authors I’ve read but not (yet) reviewed here

(44 authors. That I’ve read it doesn’t necessarily mean I liked it or endorse the recommendation.)

Kage Baker

T.S. Bass The Godwhale, Half Past Human

Leigh Brackett

Emma Bull

John Crowley—I was going to say he’s one of the most respected authors in fantasy, reviewed in the mainstream press, with a 25th anniversary edition of Little Big coming out, he can’t be considered obscure, and then I noticed that everything we have in the store is from small presses.

Avram Davidson

Gardner Dozois Strangers

Jane Emerson (Doris Egan) City of Diamond

M.J. Engh

M.A. Foster Morphodite trilogy  

James Alan Gardner Expendable

Randall Garrett

Mary Gentle

Elizabeth Goudge

Steven Gould

Nicola Griffith Slow River —This won a Nebula, so I wouldn’t call it obscure, exactly. Griffith got a lot of attention when Ammonite came out, but she hasn’t produced anything in genre for some time, so perhaps she counts as under-appreciated now.

Geraldine Harris

M. John Harrison

Robin Hobb

P.C. Hodgell

Barry Hughart Bridge of Birds

Diana Wynne Jones

Janet Kagan

Naomi Kritzer

Henry Kuttner

Ellen Klages

R.A. Lafferty

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Murray Leinster

R.A. MacAvoy

Katherine Maclean

David Marusek

Jack McDevitt

Patricia McKillip 

Daniel Keys Moran 

Pat Murphy The Falling Woman

Kim Newman

David Palmer Emergence

Tom Reamy

Mack Reynolds

Michael Scott Rohan

Lucius Shepard

Sharon Shinn 

John Sladek

Cordwainer Smith

Thorne Smith

Judith Tarr 

Walter Tevis Mockingbird

Howard Waldrop 

Jo Walton Lifelode (Totally without comment...)

Ian Watson

Michelle West (and as for the subthread about where to start with her, I’d suggest Hunter’s Oath.)

Elizabeth Willey

Edward Whittimore

David Zindell Neverness, The Broken God

Part III: Books and authors I haven’t read

(98 authors. Remember that next time you think I’ve read a lot!)

Joe Abercrombie

Ray Aldridge

Lloyd Alexander—lesser known series, Westmark and Holly Vesper

Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series

Sarah Ash

Wilhelmina Baird

R. Scott Bakker

Leslie Barringer Gerfalcon

Carol Berg Transformation

Anne Billson Suckers

Stephen L. Burns

Rachel Caine Weatherwarden series

Mary Caponegro

Jayge Carr

Brian Daley Requiem for a Ruler of Worlds trilogy

Tony Daniel Metaplanetary and Superluminal

Tom DeHaven Chronicles of King’s Tramp

Dave Duncan

Doris Egan Gate of Ivory

Phyllis Eisenstein The Book of Elementals

P.N. Elrod

Andreas Eschbach The Carpet Makers

Kelley Eskridge Solitaire

Jeffrey Ford

Lorna Freeman

Mark Frost The List of Seven

Monica Furlong

Alexis Gilliland

Carolyn Ives Gilman Halfway Human

Victor Gishler

Kathleen Ann Goonan

Richard Grant

Jon Courtney Grimwood

Linda Haldeman

Christopher Hinz

Cecelia Holland Floating Worlds, Varanger

Matthew Hughes

Rhys Hughes

Simon Ings

Marie Jakober

K.W. Jeter

Gwyneth Jones White Queen

Sherryl Jordan

Katherine Eliska Kimbriel Fires of Nuala series

Sanders Anne Laubenthal Excalibur

Jacqueline Lichtenberg Sime/Gen

James Lovegrove Provinder Gleed

Wil McCarthy

Judith Merkle Riley

Henry Melton

Sarah Micklem 

Donald Moffitt

Lyda Morehouse (rebranded as Tate Halloway)

Linda Nagata

Eric S. Nylund

Jack O’Connell

Patrick O’Leary

Rebecca Ore

Paul Park

Ricardo Pinto Stone Dance of the Chameleon 

Sally Prue

Philip Reeve Mortal Engines

Adam Roberts

Justina Robson Natural History

Jessica Amanda Salmonson

Charles Saunders Imaro

Hilary Schenck At the Eye of the Ocean 

Arthur Sellings The Quy Effect

Eluki bes Shahar Hellflower

Lisa Shearin

Wilmar Shiras

A.E. Silas The Panorama Egg

Jack Skillingstead

Clark Ashton Smith

Kristine Smith

William Browning Spencer Resume with Monsters

Nancy Springer

Michael A Stackpole

Mary-John Staton From the Legend of Biel

Matthew Stover

Victoria Strauss

Lucy Taylor The Safety of Unknown Cities

Dr Travis S. Taylor

Wilson Tucker Year of the Quiet Sun

George Turner

Catherynne Valente

Alida Van Gores Mermaid’s Song

Peter Watts

Elizabeth Wein

Martha Wells 

Megan Whalen Turner

Kit Whitfield In Great Waters

Liz Williams Inspector Chen series

Bernard Wolfe Limbo

Chris Wooding

Janny Wurtz

Jerry Yulsman Elleander Morning

Part IV: Books and authors that are well known and shouldn’t be on this list

Lois McMaster Bujold—countless Hugos, bestselling, incredibly popular. She’s one of my favourite writers, and I’ve done a lot of posts about her books but she’s not obscure or neglected by any measure.

Stephen R. Donaldson—bestselling, immensely popular, the absolute opposite of obscure. His books have release dates like Harry Potter. There are people who could feel insulted to be mentioned on this list, you know.

Stieg Larson The Girl who Played with Fire & Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Link is to a review.) These are a stupendously successful non-genre best sellers. The opposite of obscure.

Gene Wolfe has won or been nominated for almost every award in the field, widely read and mentioned with reverence by everyone.

Roger Zelazny A Night in the Lonesome October — Even though this is out of print right now, it’s a very well known book by one of SF’s most lauded authors. There are groups of people who read this aloud one day at a time every October. If this is obscurity, I’ll take it.

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.

Mike Scott
2. drplokta
Of the ones you've not read (and I have), I'd recommend to you Wil McCarthy (start with The Collapsium), Wilson Tucker, Peter Watts (Blindsight; I'd skip the Rifters series) and Kit Whitfield (though In Great Waters is too new to be unfairly neglected; it was published in March 2009 and may yet turn up on this year's award shortlists).
Egads! So where should I start? (Probably with the pile of books I already have beside my bed, I suppose.)
4. Matthew Tarplee
I didn't have time to suggest Susan R. Matthew's Judiciary books to the previous list. I think she's worthy to be added here.
rick gregory
5. rickg
John Clute, Appleseed too.

And thanks for the list.... I think. :)
David Levinson
6. DemetriosX
That's quite a list and it will take a while to digest. Of the authors you haven't read and that I have a more than passing familiarity with (name is familiar, I've probably read a couple of short stories, that kind of thing), I'm most surprised by Lloyd Alexander (or are you specifically referring to the listed series?).

Clark Ashton Smith is an important part of Early 20th century Weird, one of Lovecraft's correspondents and possibly the creator of the dying Earth genre. He's worth a look, if only because he is a bit more literary than contemporaries like HPL or RE Howard.

KW Jeter isn't bad, but it's been quite a while since I've read his stuff. He probably compares to people like Lucius Shepard, early George RR Martin and that group, with a strong late 80s/early 90s flavor.
7. David H.
I don't know why the link still points to some of her books, but it's Janny Wurts (not Wurtz).
Lawrence Hardin
8. lawrencehardin
Re: Part III: Books and authors I haven’t read

I follow your posts because we (usually) seem to appreciate the same books. So here are a few authors on your list of unread authors that I will gladly recommend.

Phyllis Eisenstein: Sorcerer's Son (1979), The Crystal Palace (1988), The City in Stone (2003), and In the Hands of Glory (1981)

Donald Moffitt: The Genesis Quest (1986) and Second Genesis (1986)

Wilmar H. Shiras: Children of the Atom (1953)

Janny Wurts: Daughter of the Empire (1987) with Raymond E. Feist

In a much earlier post, you once mentioned that you did not read Jack Vance ( ) because your father sniggered over the title of one of his books.

Servants of the Wankh (1969)

I doubt that he was aware of the regional slang term wanker. I found a definition for it on the internet a few years ago when I came across a message containing it. A few months ago I discovered another term for breasts that the poster seemed to think everybody knew. Not where I live. A lot of sexual slang is regional dialect.

Almost anything that Jack Vance wrote is interesting. Try a short novelette like The Dragon Masters or a short novel like The Languages of Pao.
Estara Swanberg
9. Estara
Can I just point out that you can get the whole Neustrian cycle by Leslie Barringer at Fictionwise as ebooks? I bought and read Shy Leopardess and thought it was quite good (considering the time it was written and that it had a female protagonist) medieval alternate history (well, in the vein of Arthuriana)

Leslie Barringer's The Neustrian Cycle Series

With Doris Egan's Ivory trilogy it might make more sense to look for the also out-of-print omnibus
"The Complete Ivory : Includes Gate of Ivory; Two-Bit Heroes, & Guilt Edged Ivory" by DAW - by the way she's now one of the TV writers for House, and has a LJ that she rarely posts to as "tightropegirl".

Eluki bes Shahar is also known as Rosemary Edghill and has written fantasy under that name. Hellflower is the first book in a science fiction trilogy, long out of print and really great space opera.

Aside: Okay, I wonder why this was categorized as spam at the first attempt of posting. Is it because of my attempt to link to Fictionwise?

Another Aside: it's amazing how differently complete the author pages on, that you have been occasionally linking to, are. Some have all the available books with covers, even if they are sold on other sites and a good intro, some have content copied in from somewhere that hasn't been spell-checked and stops in mid word. Hmm.
Oscar Nelson
10. oscar.nelson
I have to second the suggestion of Brian Daley although folks of the appropriate age may have read him without realizing it as he was one of half of the team that wrote the Robotech novels. He was also the script writer for the Star Wars radio plays and wrote the first three novels set in the Star Wars universe.
11. Cassandra Jade
I can't believe Barbara Hambly's sorceror's ward is on the list. That is one of my favourite books.
12. Brit Mandelo
I'm glad to see Sarah Monette on there.

The "Doctrine of Labyrinths" books may actually be my favorite series thanks to the incredible, twisty, layered and genre-subverting beauty that is all over it. Felix is such an ugly, wonderful, pathetic and fantastic character--despite the urge to throttle him for the pain he causes everyone close to him in those books, you can't help but ache for him. And Mildmay! Oh, Mildmay. *g* One of my favorite characters, ever.

She deserves a second mention for "The Bone Key" which I have read at least nine times. Victoriana ghost stories with a lead almost as damaged as Felix and Mildmay, who works in a creepy museum.
David Platt
13. The Not So Dark One
Can you PDF the list so we can print it off? Ill never remeber all those.
14. Nicholas Waller
Typo alert? (if not, I say 'poor authors in question' ... while trying to avoid doing the sort of correction comment thing that annoys Scalzi): "Sometimes I was astonished to find something was out of print, other times delighted to see that it was."

English was one of my better subjects at school, but an English teacher once put on my school report "I see no reason why Nicholas should do well at 'O' Level".
Jo Walton
15. bluejo
Nicholas: that's not so much a typo as regrettable phrasing. (I think I'll leave it. It's funny.)

Not So Dark One: But the HTML took me all day! (Actually, two days.) Do feel free to PDF it yourself.

DemetriosX: I haven't read Lloyd Alexander because I'm Welsh. I picked up a book of his and it has real Welsh placenames scattered over a fantasy map, and it was like nails on a blackboard. Imagine if you read about people from the country of New York going north to the evil city of Florida through the deserts of Alaska and you can imagine the effect. I could probably read other books of his, but I've never felt much inclined.
16. G12345G
It's unabashedly romantic, but Nancy Springer's, The Silver Sun, is in my top three books. It is basically a mash-up of The Lord of The Rings and Shakespeare's, King Henry IV. If you haven't read any of her books, this is the one I would choose.
Rick Rutherford
17. rutherfordr
Now if only we could click on a link to download an electronic book, the cycle would be complete: from author, to recommendation, to reader, to book.
Azara microphylla
18. Azara
Someone above mentioned Phyllis Eisenstein's Book of Elementals: Sorcerer's Son, The Crystal Palace, The City in Stone.

Isn't it true that The City in Stone hasn't actually been published yet? I remember it was on a list of forthcoming books from Meisha Merlin, then delayed for some reason, and then Meisha Merlin went out of business. If Phyllis Eisenstein has had the book completed for years without finding a publisher, I think she can certainly be considered under-appreciated.

I'm really surprised by this; I thought Sorcerer's Son especially had a very distinctive voice, and it was excellent.
Joseph Blaidd
19. SteelBlaidd
"I shall clasp my hands together and bow to the corners of the winds. My surname is Lu and my personal name is Yu, but I am not to be confused with the eminent author of the Classic of Tea. My family is poor and undistinguished and as I am the tenth of my fathers sons and quite strong I am usually called Number Ten Ox."

The scary thing is that, despite not having read Bridge of Birds in several years, I typed that completely from memory. :-D.

When I saw the title of this post my first thought was, " I need to add Bridge of Birds, and P. C. Hodgell to the list." So I was quite pleased to see that not only were they both there but right next to each other.

Both Bridge and Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath contain some of the most beautifully written prose I've ever read. They can be by turns heart breaking and sidesplitting funny.

Bridge of Birds screams out, to not only be read but, to be read aloud as if it were a favored bed time story, though not one entirely suitable for young children. Hodgell writes like the love child of Lois Bujold and Fritz Liber.
Clifton Royston
20. CliftonR
I am astonished to see Rebecca Ore on your list of the authors you haven't read, not because she is well known, but because I think she is so much the kind of writer you like. (Or one kind of writer you like, at any rate, in that her characters seem intensely real, believable, humanly flawed.) I'd highly recommend the Becoming Alien trilogy, Slow Funeral and the more recent Time's Child.

The genuinely obscure author I was going to add to the other thread, when I got a chance, is Margaret St. Clair, who wrote some truly unusual fantasy/SF novels in the mid-60s, such as The Shadow People and Dancers of Noyo.
Matthew Brown
21. morven

I agree with you about both Hughart and Hodgell; they both manage heartbreaking and hilarious well.

It's been longer since I read Hughart, but my overall impression is that Hodgell is overall much darker, but even the bleakest book (Seeker's Mask) has a lot of chuckles—the chicken in the tower, for instance!—and a lot of the humor is physical comedy if not outright slapstick, which is a delicious contrast to the heavy doom and gloom of the overall setting and so hard to do in writing.
22. 'nother Mike
Let's see. How about adding Jo Clayton to the list. Not the early Daw works (Diadem from the Stars, etc.) when she was learning her craft, but try Shadowplay, Shadowspeer, and Shadowkill. Or any of her later trilogies.
23. Reddwarf
I don't see Lee McKeone's Ghoster SF series or MA Brenner's Catastrophe's Spell series(download for free from his website.

From your unread list I recommend Phyllis Eisenstein, Brian Daley, Tony Daniels, Eric Nylund, Eluki bes Shahar and Martha Wells. Eisenstein, Daniels and Nylund in particular have written some great stories.
Carl Rigney
24. cdr
Thank you so much for taking the time to summarize all those in a handy list! I'm much embarrassed to have forgotten to include Steven Gould in my contribution to the previous thread.

And it's very pleasing to see Wilmar H. Shiras' Children of the Atom back in print. So double thanks for adding links for everything.

One of the pleasures of shopping in used book stores with friends is pointing out books they didn't know exist but might really like. "Oh look, Nancy Springer's Fair Peril!" "What's that?" Reading your posts here often has a lot of that sort of delight of discovery. "Oh look, Amy Thomson." So triple thanks!
Elio García
25. Egarcia
Lloyd Alexander's Westmark is actually fairly unusual as a fantasy series (for one thing: no magic or gods or anything of the sort, but it is a fictional setting), riffing as it does on the French Revolution.
Pasi Kallinen
26. paxed
Jo, please please, review Bridge of Birds

27. tanjible
I'm glad to see Kelley Eskridge's Solitaire on your list, though it be in the long "not yet read" section. Like China Mountain Zhang or The Speed of Dark, it triggered entirely different cascades of lights in my head than what I usually expect from sfnal genre books.

Also like The Speed of Dark, it's an extremely tight POV done very successfully, so that being in the eyes and mind of another person--the viewpoint character--comes to feel breathtakingly liberating instead of restrictive. Though I only read it once a number of years ago, it got well under my skin, so that it and not some other book is what comes to mind here.

Though, YAY Wilhelmina Baird. I recall drawing fanart for Crashcourse before I even knew what fanart was.
David Levinson
28. DemetriosX
jo @15, OK, I guess I can understand that, although the Chronicles of Prydain are essentially a reimagining of Celtic British mythology. I find that his best work involves some sort of reimagining of myths and tales. Try The Iron Ring or Prince Jen to get a taste for him and then tackle the Prydain books. They really are wonderful.
Mark Yon
29. Mark
Thanks, Jo: a list to work through!

Onr typo though: Hilary Schenck should be Hilbert Schenck, a recent discovery for me through old issues of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Many of the tales I've read there have an ocean theme, using his background of oceanography to good effect.

Clark Myers
30. ClarkEMyers
Not to have read any Wilmar Shiras implies not to have read any anthology with a story by Wilmar Shiras.

In Hiding was nicely honored and included in best of and post WWII - some called it a golden age - redux anthologies that themselves are, I gather sadly, now overlooked.

The later stories in the Children of the Atom sequence, and other works, are I think inferior though still pretty good. I wouldn't go to great effort to read Backward Turn Backward but I might look for Terry Carr's anthology where it appears - just the same I'd apply the so many books so little time rule and be selective although open to Serendip on a shelf of ten cent books.

In particular and likely available as frequently found in libraries I suggest Silverberg's Science Fiction Hall of Fame series as well as anthologies from/featuring the late 1940's early 1950's.

"Published in 1973 to honor stories that had come before the institution of the Nebula Awards, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame introduced tens of thousands of young readers to the wonders of science fiction and was a favorite of libraries across the country."
Jo Walton
31. bluejo
Clark: I've almost certainly read short stories by him in that case -- I've certainly read the SF Hall of Fame, but I'm sure I haven't read any novels and his name didn't stick in my mind.
Clark Myers
32. ClarkEMyers
Sure, I knew the implication was false for many here and so the premise when I wrote that. Snark or irony or something else or more, pick one - or two or more. Maybe called for a smiley?

- given the straight line I intended a much broader implication for not only neglected writers but unjustly neglected books and so an unjustly neglected form. That is IMHO In Hiding - a shorter form - is well worth seeking out; Children of the Atom a fix-up novel not so much.

- and it's her - I think that shows or maybe it's the alleged Thomist influence (I'm not qualified to comment on that assertion) that shows - and is associated with whatever influence the writing had on the genre.

Might be sad - or perhaps better to be remembered no matter why - that Tuckerization lives on in second and third generations while the originals have faded.
33. Moopheus
Is David R. Bunch so obscure that he did not even make your list of the obscure? Apparently so.
34. liontime
I think there are still many,many authors not even mentioned yet. I'll give only one though. Robert F. Young. He wrote mostly stories in the fifties and sixties. Many of them were quite enjoyable.
Clifton Royston
35. CliftonR
Funny, I didn't know who Wilmar Shiras was, but I certainly remember Children of the Atom. I agree that the original story was excellent, the full-length novel treatment not so much.

It appears, according to Wikipedia, that she never wrote anything other than the one sequence of stories and their novelization. That's too bad.

The primary problem with the novel, IMHO, was the standard difficulty for any book involving hyper-intelligent characters - it's very hard for a writer to make them convincing to any reader of more than average intelligence. The secondary and related problem I had with it was my immediate failure of disbelief when all the hyper-gifted children become Catholics (because you see, if you're smart enough it's just obvious that the Catholic church is the One True Religion.)
Clark Myers
36. ClarkEMyers
Wikipedia is wrong - or at least incomplete - on the bibliography.

There was a nice story about the same time (1951) in which the ultimate robot - something along the lines of Data or R. Daneel - became Catholic and influenced lesser robots as well.

""The Quest for Saint Aquin" was among the stories selected in 1970 by the Science Fiction Writers of America as one of the best science fiction short stories of all time. As such, it was published in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964." something Wikipedia got right.

It was Boucher (White) who saw the Thomist influence I mentioned supra - though perhaps not as a defect.
37. lampwick
I had an entry all ready to go for the original post about Tim Powers, then wondered whether he was obscure enough. Anyway, Tim Powers!!!

I wonder what you'd think of Scott Bakker. He's a bit like George R.R. Martin, I think.
Stefan Raets
37. Stefan
Jo, we have considerable overlap in tastes. I've read probably 80-90% of the books you've reviewed and/or re-read here, and loved most of them.

Because of this, I really, strongly urge you to check out Janny Wurts (with s, not z at the end). To Ride Hell's Chasm is a standalone and just about the closest thing to a perfect fantasy novel, IMO. I'd start there. Then, once you're hooked, go for The Curse of the Mistwraith, which is book 1 in her main series.

I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
38. Nicholas Waller
Maybe a bit late, but I've thought of one. How about Daniel F Galouye? Author of Dark Universe and Counterfeit World (aka Simulacron-3) as well as short stories like "Project Barrier".

Also Brit writers Richard Cowper (The Twilight of Briareus and The Road to Corlay) and Michael Coney with Hello Summer, Goodbye.

All are dead now, some long dead. And white males. So maybe don't need the push.
39. Rob T.
Wow, thanks for the great lists! I'm familiar with maybe half the writers in parts I and II, but with very few indeed from part III. If I may comment on a few:

C. J. Cherryh is someone I wouldn't have thought of as obscure, but she's probably the most notable sf/fantasy novelist of the last 40 years that I've ignored most successfully (though I have read a little of her short fiction). Obviously there's some catching up I need to do here!

I wouldn't have thought of Robin Hobb as obscure either, but her work under her given name Megan Lindholm is very hard to find these days. Her Wizard of the Pigeons is one of my favorite urban fantasy novels, unfortunately published when "urban fantasy" wasn't yet a generally recognized subgenre.

I just recently read Wilson Tucker's The Year of the Quiet Sun and thought it held up well over the decades. However, I first got to know Tucker from his early novel The Long, Loud Silence. It proved unexpectedly timely when I read it in the fall of 2002, a time when weapons-grade anthrax was a hot topic.

Thanks again!
41. Brad Bigelow
Just a note to let the readers of this list know that there's a whole website devoted to the topic of neglected books: The Neglected Books Page, at
Patrick Garson
42. patrickg
Just fyi, Whittimore = Whittemore. And Jerusalem Poker (indeed, the entire quartet) are well worth reading. There's a bit of Tim Powers in there, a bit of Angela Carter, even a bit of Lawrence Durrell (shudder).
Eric Walker
43. owlcroft
The problem always, as acknowledged, is to decide who is, or has become, "neglected". I have wrestled with it some time ago myself in composing my own list of neglected authors and works, with which I am never happy: is Avram Davidson neglected? Is Steven Bauer well-known? Who remembers Josephine Pinckney? Or Douglas Jerrold (in his day, thought a peer of Charles Dickens)? There are so very many fine writers and books now become obscure. At any rate, rather than attach a laundry list, I inserted a link.
Rob Munnelly
44. RobMRobM
Jo - Shiras is a woman (real name was Jane Howes)- one of the early pioneers in the genre.

Clark - yes, I read In Hiding in an anthology of the best SF stories and novellas of SF's first 25 years (along with Sturgeon's Microcosmic God, Heinlein's Roads Must Roll, among others). Agree that In Hiding is better than the later novel and more fun - because you have no idea what secrets Timmy is hiding, making the subsequent unfolding that much more interesting and poignant.

I'd love to see a movie made of the story - would be an easy one, essentially a two character story with Timmy and the psychiatrist (or potentially a four character story if you included his grandparents) and two locations (the psychatrist's office and Timmy's house).

Clark Myers
45. ClarkEMyers
Not quite a real name - Jane Howes is the pseudonym. See e.g. Red Jacket Press (book or website) for a brief author's bio for Children of the Atom.

Interesting to note that title has been appended to X-Men in that universe: X-Men Children of the Atom. It is generally accepted, though not on strong authority, as an obvious influence on many Marvel charactes and stories. In fact the Redjacket reprint of Shiras's work is getting literally headline reviews in Comic World News. See also the the review for NESFA by Elisabeth Carey for another current interest.
46. xi'an101
Everyone's favourite is different for obvious reasons, but I would like to point out the much neglected Roger Taylor's [url=>Chronicles of Hawklan[/url]which, despite a simplistic main plot, maintains a soft and poetic theme over the four volumes of the series....
47. Doug M.
_Bad Magic_, by Stephen Zielinski.

This was published by Tor, for goodness' sake, and not that long ago. (2005 IMS.)

First novel. Got absolutely no promotion and sank like a stone. Never made it past hardcover.

It's good. I won't say great; there are some big damn flaws. (Too many characters in the adventuring group. Too many geek in-jokes. Treats the female characters badly.) But it's ambitious and fun, fun, fun.

It has one of the few truly surprising heroes-confront-the-enemy-Boss scenes in modern fantasy. Also one of the best mottoes: "There are things people were not meant to know. Some people know them anyway. Sucks to be them."

Unfortunately, the book's sales were so dismal that Zielinski seems to have given up on writing. So we'll never know if he would have corrected the flaws, built on the fun, and become a writer to watch for.

Doug M.
Rob Munnelly
48. RobMRobM
Re Part I, I just started reading Wilson's Spin and am enjoying it very much. Looks like Jo did too until I had to stop reading to avoid spoilers.
brightening glance
49. brightglance
I forgot to mention, and highly recommend Rebecca Bradley, author of the highly original Gil trilogy. (The first novel is a satisfying read by itself, for anyone who is wary of trilogies.)
Her site is at
- it seems she's an archaeologist, and I can see how this has contributed to the quality of her work. There's a link to an SF site review which gives a good flavour of the first book.
50. Jason 1110
I read quite a bit, myself. Interesting that your Part 3 overlaps my own almost completely. Out of 98, I have read only six. Out of the 34 in your Part 1, I have not read nine. Out of the 44 in Part 2, I have not read 12.

So, how do you select the authors you read? I go by availability in paperback or the library, cover art (I know, I know, but I use it to sort books into sub-genres. And to avoid Baen except as ebooks.)and reading a quick sample to see if the author writes in a way that pleases me.

I just remembered that Mad Magazine, probably back in the 60's, printed some book covers that could be used to disguise what one is reading. They provided (I'm faking it due to faulty memory) a Milton book cover for those not wanting to be seen reading "Guns and Dames," and vice versa. I could have used one of those, either, really, when I bought "Saturn's Children."
51. Jinian
I desperately want to mod down some of these suggestions, but I suppose that's not the point.
Enfys Rainbow
52. enfys
Cecelia Holland's Floating Worlds is well worth reading - even just for the novelty of having a short, black, female lead - but she's insanely good, and her earlier historical fiction, if you can get hold of it, is brilliant.
Russell Letson
54. RLetson
Strange to see so many writers I've reviewed over the last 25 years already on a neglected/underappreciated list. I'm used to finding that the writers I learned how to read SF on--say, Wilmar Shiras--have become obscurities, but to think of Wil McCarthy or Linda Nagata in the same category has me thinking less about the tastes or fashions of the readership than of publishers' practices.

When the Subterranean Press reprints of Jack Vance started coming out, I realized with a bit of shock that nearly all of Jack's work was OP in the US. I'm just finishing up a review of the second NESFA Press James Blish retrospective, and I noticed that not one of his major books is in print. I recall both the Cities in Flight novels and A Case of Conscience being reprinted periodically from the Sixties onward--but now, nothing.

But then, the Kenneth Roberts historical novels I read in high school (on the recommendation of my father, who read them when he was in high school) are all but vanished from public memory and used bookstores alike. (Though, like Vance, a small press reissued his work--and most of those are OP now.)

Sic transit, etc.
55. Lynn Munter
I was hoping to see Sarah Zettel on this list, but didn't find her. She's written some very interesting scifi, and slightly less interesting fantasy, which I've been enjoying of late. I stumbled on a free online version of Fool's War, and have since bought several other of her books.
Caroline Kierstead
56. ctkierst
I'd like to add Jasper Fforde as severely under-read. "The Eyre Affair" is brilliant.
57. Larkspur
enfys #52: I totally agree with your opinion of Cecelia Holland's "Floating Worlds", and many of Holland's historical novels too.

Re Mary Staton's "From The Legend of Biel" - a book I adore - does anyone know if "Mary Staton" is a pseudonym? I sort of hope it is, and that the real Mary Staton has gone on to write other novels, SF or not, and then I will find and read those. Otherwise, there's just the one brilliant Staton book.
58. Jim Henry III
I thought I'd mentioned Andrew Drummond in that thread, but I think it was actually on the previous thread on the same topic on James Nicoll's LJ. Anyway, I'll strongly recommend his An Abridged History and A Hand-Book of Volapük; I haven't read his third novel Elephantina yet. They're historical novels set in nineteenth-century Scotland with significant fantasy elements.
59. Darwinista
I didn't find the first thread in time, but I posted there that I adore Eleanor Arnason and PC Hodgell both. There I mentioned Paula Volsky as an addition, for those who like Russian flavor in their fantasy. I would also add CS Friedman to the list. My favorite is The Madness Season (vampire in denial captured by aliens! what a plot concept).
60. Annie Alma
Lord Dunsany: collections of short stories and "The King of Elfland's Daughter"

Fun, beautiful early fantasy (before Tolkien). Every time I turn around I find an artist I respect very much saying nice things about him: Lovecraft, Guilermo del Toro, Gaiman, and Yeats. He's not very popular among regular readers, though, so I think he would still count as neglected.
61. webgenii
Hope Mirrless - Lud in the Mist.
Jeff Youngstrom
62. jeffy
John M. Ford - Well-known in fannish circles, but sadly not so much in the general sf-reading public.

Michaela Roessner wrote two wonderful and very different novels (Walkabout Woman (1988), Vanishing Point (1993))and the start of a trilogy (The Stars Dispose (1997) and The Stars Compel (1999)), but didn't have sufficient sales to get the third volume printed. Fortunately the two books we have stand quite well alone (I didn't even know it was a planned trilogy until the second book came out)
Andy Rogers
63. johnttrick
Batman: R.I.P. by Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel

It looks good. Morrison doesn't always work for me but when he's good he's cushty!
64. davidk
Jo - I am reassured to see that there is something I've read that you haven't - as I've seen you review so many books that I love I was beginning to wonder. But among your Part III books I can recommend Eric Nylund (at least the "Signal" series) and R Scott Bakker - both flawed but brilliant.

Here's an under-recognized work that I'm surprised isn't on the list: the Borrible trilogy by Michael de Larrabeiti. I read it after seeing it cited by China Mieville as an influence and it's become one of my favorites.
65. E.E.E. Cyttonn
Other good authors are Peter S. Beagle (try "The Fantasy Worlds of Peter S. Beagle"--it's two novels and two short stories published together), Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Margaret Mahy (although not all of her books are in the genre, most have a sort of fairy-tale voice), and Brandon Sanderson.
Also, Emma Bull was listed under Part II. My favorite of hers is "Freedom and Necessity," but it was co-authored by Steven Brust, so look for it under his name.
67. Paul 321
Try Zenna Henderson she has her own style and has been mostly forgotten. The People was the first sci fi book I read, it started an overwhelming addiction...
69. Harq Al Ada
What about the jesus incident?
70. Karen1222
Asked about a book and author Gift of Change By DT Sanders & it took me to this site> Did I skip over the review? Loved the handy list of books and authors.

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