An Influential Author and Favorite Works

I was tagged by a friend with this on Facebook:

“Who is your favorite writer of all time? And what are your top five favorite works by that writer?”

I have struggled with this, because there are writers I could name who I really, really love — only I’ve read what amounts to a fraction of what they produced. Or, they didn’t write a whole heck of a lot novel-wise. I could name Fritz Leiber, but I only know his Lankhmar work. Or F. Scott Fitzgerald, but that would be largely for The Great Gatsby. Or Charles Schulz, who has a massive body of work, but it’s a comic strip. And right there, three of my top influences. 🙂

(Also on that cusp, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Outside of Sherlock Holmes and Brigadier Gerard, I don’t know his work at all. And even though The Hound of the Baskervilles is my favorite novel of all time, naming him feels like a cheat.)

After much struggle, then, Larry Niven. Maybe not my favorite author, but certainly in the top ten. 🙂

  1. Footfall (with Jerry Pournelle). Earth is invaded by intelligent elephants from Alpha Centauri. The final hundred pages, in which the United States builds an Orion in secret and kicks the shit out of the fithp, is awesome.
  2. “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex.” Niven’s famous analysis of Superman’s sexual problems. How can he mate with humans without killing them? How can he breed? It’s hilarious, but the thing is, Niven’s not wrong!
  3. Ringworld Engineers. As much as I loved Ringworld, I loved the sequel more because, now that the setting was established, Niven could do more with it.
  4. The Integral Trees. I loved the setting and the characters. I don’t remember a lot about it now (damn, it’s been about twenty years since I read it). I just remember it being a very evocative, imaginative place.
  5. The Magic Goes Away. A fantasy with a wistful, fatalistic sort of edge.

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