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Author Topic: Great Authors
KnightEnder
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Who are your favorites?

My top two are:
W.E.B. Griffen (Military Historical Fiction)
OSC (Of course, Speculative Fiction. That is what he prefers we call it, neh?)

Edited to add: It is also amazing to me that these two authors entertain me in such different ways. OSC has written some of the novels that have emotionally moved me the most (Obviously the Ender's series, but the end of "Lost Boys" had me sobbing so loud I woke my wife at 3 in the morning), but I have read I would bet over a hundred of Mr. Griffen's books, in military and police genres and I am constantly amazed at how little actually happens, and how he can make the minutia of human interaction so entertaining. If I could figure out how either of these two men evoke the feelings in me they do, and insert that into my own writing, well, I'd be a published author by now. [Wink]

I'll have to give it some thought to come up with my favorite five. Who are yours?

KE

[ November 05, 2005, 01:47 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Adam Masterman
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Jim Harrison
Oe Kenzaburo

adam

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KnightEnder
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Adam & Everybody,

Perhaps we should add the authors genre(s, such as I have amended to my two favorites. Adam, If you would, pleas post your two authors genre and I will add them to your original post then delete these two. (Since it has been to long for you to add to them.)

KE

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Shane Roe
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There are some writers whose prose is so well-written that they'd be at the top of the heap of most lists of great writers. Names like James Baldwin and Eudora Welty come to mind. I love reading their works, simply because they have such command of the language. However, to me a truly great author goes beyond the use of diction, and creates stories that will live with me a lifetime. While I can't remember any of the James Baldwin stories I've read, Old Yeller by Fred Gipson has stayed with me since just a youngster, as have other books that wouldn't generally be considered to have been written by the world's greatest writers.

Shane

[ November 06, 2005, 10:06 AM: Message edited by: Shane Roe ]

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Adam Masterman
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Oe Kenzaburo writes fictionalized autobiographical novels where the (often painfully candid) personal is woven with myth and history in ways that are absolutely amazing. He is easily the most deserving recipient of the Nobel prize since Pablo Neruda.

Jim Harrison's Legends of the Fall (which you may know from the unfortunate Brad Pitt movie) is the greatest work of fiction by an american author. By a good margin. I would love to argue this with someone, but if you actually read Legends of the Fall (which takes all of about two hours), then you will agree with me. Really, its such a masterpiece, it will make you proud to be American (in a cultural way, which is hard to do). He is also my favorite poet.

Adam

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stayne
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'Great' is a big topic. There are so many conflicting opinions on what a 'great' writer is. Prolific? Incredible prose? Popular? Tough to say.

I'll cheat on the great and go with favorites, and say Stephen King and Harlan Ellison. I used to drive my English professor crazy by comparing King to Shakespeare, but in he end, he grudgingly admitted the similarities. What I really dig about King is that he is able to reach so damned many people in so many different walks of life. Some would call it 'lowest common denominator'. Me, I call it being in touch with deep, primal stuff, crazy ideas that most people don't talk about.

Ellison is a lot like King (though I presume Ellison influenced King, not vice versa) in that he has a remarkable talent for gut punches. He is the king of keeping it real, and if it pisses you off, too ****ing bad, you're a moron and he didn't write it for you anyway. ;)I like his nonfiction even more than his fiction, despite the fact that his politics tend to run against my grain. His stream of consciousness rants and gut wrenching emotional diatribes may or may not convince a reader of the righteousness of his position, but they by god convince you that what you're reading is the straight dope as Ellison sees it. Ellison can make you understand why someone would hate Mother Theresa or love Hitler, if he's of a mind to do so. And honestly, Ellison is the sort of guy who _would_ try to do something like this for the sheer impropriety. He dares to try to see the world from very weird angles, and then bring the view back to the rest of us rigid saps.

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KnightEnder
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I loved the movie "Legends of the Fall".

KE

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Shane Roe
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I think Moby Dick is perhaps the greatest American novel. Then again, I've never read Legends of the Fall. Since you recommended it Adam, I've got it on order from the library, so I'll have to see if I agree. [Smile]

[ November 07, 2005, 08:46 AM: Message edited by: Shane Roe ]

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Adam Masterman
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KE,
You MUST read this book. I only started calling the movie unfortunate after reading the book.
Shane,
Good to hear, I'll be interested to get your take.
Stayne,
I also love King, would probably put him third on my list. The Dark Tower was, I thought, the only answer to Tolkein that equalled the original.
Adam

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stayne
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Adam, I still have to finish Dark Tower. I have read the first four, got them in a boxed set. I was a little unclear as to whether the other three were even available, but perhaps I'll try to pick them up as an early xmas present for myself. [Wink]
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KnightEnder
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Adam, I will.

And I really like some of King's stuff, but I think some of it is pretty bad. Probably a result of the prodigious rate he puts them out.

KE

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Adam Masterman
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Stayne,

oh, the last three absolutely rule. The series really pickis up in book 5, and book 7 is absolutely the bomb. I've read it like four times already.
adam

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stayne
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Well, I shall have to buy, beg, borrow or steal them, then. [Wink]

You know, I really need three favorites, because OSC should be on my list, too. I cannot sort the three for a favorite 2. [Wink]

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RickyB
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Partial list, offhand:

Robert Graves
Anne Rice
The EARLY Umberto Eco (man, has he lost it)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Guy Gavriel Kay
Isaac Asimov
Robert Heinlein
Mark Twain
Italo Calvino
Frank Herbert

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stayne
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You know, I always wondered something about Eco in particular, specifically Focault's Pendulum. As I understand it, FP was originally in Italian. Did he write the English version, or was it tranlated by someone else? I wonder about the integrity of works that are translated, i.e. I always have this nagging thought that it's not really the original. [Wink]
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RickyB
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I'm pretty certain it was translated. And yeah, as a translator, I know what you mean [Big Grin]

In the Talmud it says that "he who translates a verse according to its form - that is a deceiver". This refers to the perils of what is known as "literal translation". Often, in order to convey the real sense of a sentence, you have to ignore the actual words of the original. The flow of the original is almost impossible to recapture.

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Shane Roe
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Adam, I read Legends of the Fall. It was good--it was emotionally involving, but I can't call it the best American novel ever. Here's one you might try if you haven't already: Track of the Catby Walter Van Tilburg Clark. I'd rank it right up there with anything ever written by an American.
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