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      CommentAuthorCyman
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2008 edited
     (2523.1)
    This almost started about a month ago when we were doing all the Music videos, albums, yadda yadda lists; dkostis and I disagreed about the greatest comics ever. I had assumed everyone accepted that the best comics out there were Watchmen, Preacher, Transmet, Sandman and The Ultimates (with Millar) and that those 5 guys (Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Neil Gaiman and Mark Millar) were the best writers (in comics) today and everyone should read those because they are awesome.

    It's a big assumption to make.

    So I pose the question: Who are your favorite writers now or ever and what work of theirs do you recommend? I assume most people on here have a certain affinity for Captain Ellis, and as such we may have similar tastes (I know some of us do) and I'd love to get some recommendations. And I want to know what books people love too; there's no reason to limit this to comics (is there?). Let's keep it to books though. We already had a non-fiction thread, and film is too much. What fiction (stuff like Fell counts) books (inclusive of comics) do you love?

    I love Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, and it might very well be the greatest book ever written (IMO obviously) if not for George Orwell's 1984. But both are great writers and they may have written even better stuff.

    Who are your favorite writers and what is their best work?
  1.  (2523.2)
    I think Huxley's Island was way better than Brave New World. It's certainly more uplifting, if not for the last chapter.

    I'm a huge fan of Will Christopher Baer and his Phineas Poe trilogy. If you ever get a chance, read them (The first one is Kiss Me, Judas. Second is Penny Dreadful. It ends with Hell's Half Acre). I would stake my life on any Ellis fan loving every deeply disturbing word written in those pages. It's about a dude waking up in the proverbial tub of ice and his quest to track the hooker who stole his kidney. It may stink a little of "been there, done that", but Baer has a voice unlike any I've heard and could make taking dump sound more beautiful than childbirth. He saved Noir Fiction for me.

    Gotta love Philip K. Dick, too. I don't think anything of his other work even compares to The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, but that's probably just the bias talking since that's the novel that jump started my science fiction love affair.

    Cormac McCarthy is another favorite of mine. The Road is the only novel to ever make me cry. I mean, the ending was obvious three pages in, but the way each word seemed to fit together as you read through the last chapter was too perfect not to elicit an emotional response from even the most stoic of faces. I hope they don't fuck up the movie. Viggo Mortensen is supposed to play the father and that makes me a little weary, but Robert Duvall is playing the old man they meet towards the end of the book, so I'm estatic about that.

    I've also read every word Hemingway ever published. I think everyone should, by law, have to at least read For Whom The Bells Toll.
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      CommentAuthorCCosker
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2008
     (2523.3)
    Actually, my favorite writer is Neil Gaiman. I think his best work is American Gods, for what it counts.

    A few months ago, I discovered Cormac McCarthy, and I'm slowly working my way through his work now. So he's one of my favorites. Best thing I've read by him so far has been Blood Meridian.

    And Hemingway. The Old Man and the Sea is as close to a perfect book as I've ever read.

    Just naming a few.
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      CommentAuthorroque
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2008
     (2523.4)
    Richard Bausch. "The Fireman's Wife," a book of short stories. all of his stuff tends to show you the ugliest, most real and recognizable parts of humanity, yet somehow he gives you hope that we're worthwhile regardless.
  2.  (2523.5)
    I'm a huge fan of Will Christopher Baer and his Phineas Poe trilogy. If you ever get a chance, read them (The first one is Kiss Me, Judas. Second is Penny Dreadful. It ends with Hell's Half Acre). I would stake my life on any Ellis fan loving every deeply disturbing word written in those pages. It's about a dude waking up in the proverbial tub of ice and his quest to track the hooker who stole his kidney. It may stink a little of "been there, done that", but Baer has a voice unlike any I've heard and could make taking dump sound more beautiful than childbirth. He saved Noir Fiction for me.

    I love Baer with a passion as well. I picked up the Phineas Poe trilogy on impulse (it had the best blurb I'd ever read) and read all three in a day or two. I can't pick between them, they're just all so perfect. I go back and reread sections all the time. You can open them up to any page and you'll find something that'll make you want to give up writing forever because you'll never be that good.

    That sentiment also applies to Cormac McCarthy, my favourite works of his are The Crossing and Blood Meridian, depending on my mood. I love everything about those two books.

    I also love Aaron Cometbus and his Double Duce was (and is) a big influence on me. It sort of made me realise I was a bit different from all my friends as I lent it to a couple who all thought it was really depressing whereas I thought it was uplifting and joyful.

    Growing up, I don't think any writer had a bigger effect on me than Terry Pratchett and Night Watch is my favourite of his novels.

    Kurt Vonnegut was also a large part of my emotional and literary development and I'd probably pick Breakfast of Champions as my favourite though it faces some stiff competition from The Sirens of Titan.

    Catch-22 is an obvious choice, but nothing else I've read by Heller (or anyone else for that matter) really compares.
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      CommentAuthorCyman
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2008 edited
     (2523.6)
    I also love Aaron Cometbus and his Double Duce was (and is) a big influence on me. It sort of made me realise I was a bit different from all my friends as I lent it to a couple who all thought it was really depressing whereas I thought it was uplifting and joyful.
    That's pretty much my experience with JP Sartre's book Nausea. Everyone finds existentialism so depressing, as if they are bummed to find out that they have complete control over their lives.

    Breakfast of Champions is definitely brilliant; I've never read The Sirens of Titan. I'll also have to read Huxley's Island.

    Everyone seems to love this Cormac McCarthy guy. I read No Country after I saw the movie and was pretty blown away. It's hard for me to believe he's got 3 other books better than No Country for Old Men. (The Road, Blood Meridian, The Crossing)

    roque's description of Bausch's stories definitely reminds me of what I like about Ellis. Certainly Crooked Little Vein left me feeling that way.

    This is great, I hope it keeps up.
  3.  (2523.7)
    Octavia Butler was one of my favorites, but she’s dead now :(. Her books Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents are must-reads.

    I adore Neil Gaiman for his ability to wrap stories inside of stories inside of stories.

    Quentin Tarantino and Grant Morrison for what they did with non-linear storytelling.

    William Gibson for his jaunting, beautiful prose. I didn’t like his last two books, but read them just for the prose.
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      CommentAuthorCyman
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2008
     (2523.8)
    I just finished Butler's Kindred last week. I'd certainly read some more of her stuff. Her short stories are very odd... Bloodchild specifically.

    Grant Morrison almost made it into my top 5 comics writers list. Invisibles, Arkham Asylum and All Star Superman being my favorites of his work. I really don't like new x-men for whatever reason. I prefer Millar's Ulimate X-Men, and I'm told this is absurd blasphemy.
    • CommentAuthorpi8you
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2008
     (2523.9)
    Leaving comics out of the equation for the moment, I think it comes down to Gaiman's American Gods or Stanislaw Lem's Memoirs Found in a Bathtub.
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      CommentAuthorMONK A
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2008 edited
     (2523.10)
    william burroughs & kurt vonnegut for making my perception hurt. iceberg slim for swagger. as far as moderns - kathy acker "empire of the senseless".
    • CommentAuthorjzellis
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2008
     (2523.11)

    • William Gibson -- probably Pattern Recognition, though Neuromancer is one of the most amazing novels ever written.

    • Neil Gaiman -- Sandman, of course. (His novels are awesome, but Sandman is the kind of great work that most writers never get to write.

    • Clive Barker -- Imajica (though I have high hopes for The Scarlet Gospels)

    • W. Somerset Maugham -- The Razor's Edge

    • Douglas Adams -- While I love the Hitchhiker's non-Trilogy, and I adore the Dirk Gently books, I think his best book is Last Chance To See

    • Grant Morrison -- The Invisibles

    • Neal Stephenson -- Cryptonomicon

    • Jonathan Carroll -- Sleeping In Flame

    • Stephen King -- It is my favorite, it was the Dark Tower books until he jumped the shark with a fucking jet-powered hydrofoil with the last three books. But I think It is a genuinely remarkable novel.

      and no, I'm not sucking up:

    • Warren Ellis -- Transmetropolitan


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      CommentAuthorCyman
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2008
     (2523.12)
    Stephen King, eh? I'm just starting The Stand, and I'm guessing it's going to be pretty awesome. I don't know where it fits in with the man in black and the Dark Tower series, but my girlfriend's a huge King fan and constantly assures me that The Stand is a good place to start with him. "So that I'll like him for the right reasons."
    • CommentAuthorchris g
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2008
     (2523.13)
    Tarantino - I'm going with Death Proof because a) I love it so much more than anything else he's written. And b) T really captured a breed of male the DID exist, but not anymore with the Stuntman Mike character. That cowboy charm is something special, and I saw some of myself in there...well, I talk to myself like that sometimes.

    oh, and Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol. Ever since I got into his work my mind and life have been impacted and reshaped. Don't get me started....
  4.  (2523.14)
    Ayn Rand - The Fountainhead is one of my favourite books of all time... I like the story as a story and agree with her philosophy (even if she takes it too much to an extreme)

    Guy Gavriel Kay has wonderful fantasy history novels. Sailing to Sarantium and The Lord of Emperors (it's a two book story) is absolutely amazing.

    I'm also currently enjoying the various stories of Sherlock Holmes, Ellis' CLV (re-reading), and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (re-reading).

    Oh, and I'm with jzellis... Jonathan Carroll has a special talent for the way that he can describe things... to get an idea you can see his blog Here.
  5.  (2523.15)
    Everyone seems to love this Cormac McCarthy guy. I read No Country after I saw the movie and was pretty blown away. It's hard for me to believe he's got 3 other books better than No Country for Old Men. (The Road, Blood Meridian, The Crossing)

    I'd say that Suttree and All the Pretty Horses are both better than No Country too. Not that No Country for Old Men isn't brilliant, it's just that Cormac McCarthy is something else.
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      CommentAuthorkahavi
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2008
     (2523.16)
    My all-time favourite author is Terry Pratchett, and his best work is Night Watch. It's haunting and poignant, and it makes me cry. I really appreciate the way Pratchett has turned his Discworld books from parodies to well-thought comic fantasy. Or maybe his work is no more comic fantasy, who knows. Whatever it is, it's good.

    Other favourites are

    • Neil Gaiman and American Gods, which revealed to me what modern fantasy - modern Gothic - can be;

    • J.M. Coetzee and Poe;

    • James Ellroy and L.A. Confidential;

    • Johanna Sinisalo and Ennen päivänlaskua ei voi (translated as Not Before Sundown), which is perhaps the best Finnish modern fantasy that I've read;

    • J.R.R. Tolkien and his essay/lecture Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics, which made me want to become a scholar;

    • and last but not least, Väinö Linna and Tuntematon sotilas (translated as The Unknown Soldier), which gave me a sense of what my grandfathers must have gone through.

  6.  (2523.17)
    william faulkner, precision in details that overloads into a critical mass of thought
    george R. martin, "a song of ice and fire"
  7.  (2523.18)
    A random and short list (cause a large will be, well, too much large):

    - "Auto-da-Fe" - Elias Canetti (in my opinion, one of the best fiction at the 20th century)
    - "Ficciones" - Jorge Luis Borges (labyrinths, mirrors and something more)
    - "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" - Edgar Allan Poe (a early classic of SF mixed with maervellous travel diaries)
    - "Casper Hauser" - Jacob Wasserman (a complex, very Germany, analysis about some dirty and deep down aspects os human condition)
    - "Dialectic of Enlightenment" - Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer (a classical study, even when some analysis, for our feeling, sound silly)
    - "Time Machine" - H. G. Wells (the steampunk father classic)
    - "A Season in Hell" - Rimbaud (poetry terrible and beautiful at the same time, in the same way)
    - "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" - William Blake (the theology of a great visionary, a peculiar Evangelium)
    - "Memórias do Cárcere" (Prison Memoirs) - Graciliano Ramos (the prison memoris of a great Brazilian writer)
    - "If This Is a Man" - Primo Levi (the Nazi death camps came to the imaginary field)
    - "The Origins of Totalitarianism" - Hannah Arendt (the Nazi death camps and stalinist Gulag came to the philosophical dialetic)
    - "Eleven" - Patricia Highsmith (a bunch of evil, wicked and furious short stories)
    - "The Trial" - Franz Kafka (dead ends and juridical paranoia at the eve of 20th century)
    - "Crime and Punishment" - Dostoyevsky (dead ends and juridical paranoia at the peak of 19th century)
    - "Faust" - Marlowe (the pact and its price, by the (in)famous double spy)
    - "Our Lady of the Flowers" - Jean Genet (the pact and its price, by the (in)famous French traitor, gay and robber)
  8.  (2523.19)
    - Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow
    - William S. Burroughs - Nova Express
    - PKD - Valis (soft spot, though, for Martian Time-Slip and The World Jones Made)
    - Stephen King - Insomnia
    - Chuck Palahniuk - Survivor
    - Alan Moore - From Hell
    - Grant Morrioson - Invisibles
    - Warren Ellis - Transmetropolitan
    - Jaime Hernandez - Wigwam Bam
    - Gilbert Hernandez - Poison River
    - Brian K. Vaughan - Y: The Last Man
    - Michael Moorcock - Final Programme
    - Iain Sinclair - White Chapel, Scarlet Tracings
    - Naoki Urasawa - Pluto
    - Ai Yazawa - Nana
    •  
      CommentAuthororikae
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2008
     (2523.20)
    Leaving comics out of the equation for the moment, I think it comes down to Gaiman's American Gods or Stanislaw Lem's Memoirs Found in a Bathtub.

    Really, I think it'd be hard to go wrong with anything written by Lem. I recently read Solaris (haven't seen the movie) and I loved it. Memoirs in a Bathtub gave me a very PARANOIA-like feel, which is always good.