Top Five Favorite Authors

Chris Van Deelen

As my friends and readers of my weekly blog know, I am a voracious reader. Also, those of you who happen to have read last week’s top five list will remember one of the tips I presented for any aspiring author was to read.

I have been reading since I was able to first pick up a book and was capable of understanding the words. Where most of my classmates WAY back in grade one were still enjoying picture books, I was beginning to read chapter books. Well, I still loved comics back then, and I still do for that matter.

Over the years I have read pretty much every genre and sub-genre out there. My first and foremost favorite genre has been, and always will be, science fiction. I do enjoy Thrillers, the occasional mystery, some horror and fantasy as well. The only genres I will not read however are porn (and any derivation, although I don’t object to sex in books), Westerns, and Romance. With the latter, having romance in a novel is fine, as long as it is not the bodice rippers with the beefcakes on the covers you usually see for sale.

There are those who would say I am limiting myself by not reading these other genres. One might even argue by not reading these genres, I am ignoring one of the tips I laid out in last weeks blog. Be that the case, oops! Still I read more than enough to make up for any shortcomings I might encounter by not reading these.

However, if for some reason I suddenly decided I want to write romance or westerns, or god forbid, porn, I guess I would have to dabble in these genres.

So this week I will cover a list of my top five favorite authors. Pretty much every single entry in this list has been mentioned at least once, if not multiple times, over the past year and  a half in my weekly blog.

Yes, the majority of those I will be mentioning write science fiction, but several have also written horror, thrillers, fantasy and so forth.

Finally, with the exception of the first author, this list is in no particular order.

1. Jonathan Maberry

I happened to stumble upon Jonathan’s work about four years ago. I was looking for a zombie novel to read, and when I did a search, his patient zero novel came up and I discovered it was the first of a series of novels. I decided to give it a shot, as I am always on the hunt for new authors to read. Oh man, I was hooked!  Over the past four years I have followed his work extensively and have learned a great deal about my craft from reading his books. The Joe Ledger series, which began with Patient Zero, now spans eight novels and two short story compellations. He has also written horror, in the form of a series called Pine Deep, and has six zombie apocalypse novels. The first two Dead of Night and Fall of Night are essentially the prequels to his Rot and Ruin series. Finally I need to mention his V-Wars anthology, in which he edits and has contributed. He also has numerous comics and several of his works have been optioned for television and movies.  He has a beautiful grasp of the English language and can spin prose with the best of them.

2. Dean Koontz 

Ah, Mr. Koontz. This author is all over the board when it comes to his writing. He is probably best known for his horror novels, but he has also written mystery, thrillers, supernatural and even science fiction. I really never got into his work until about six years ago, when I read his novel ‘The Good Guy’. I found I really liked his style of writing and have since read his Frankenstein series, several of his stand-alone novels and more recently his Odd Thomas series. Out of all the novels he has written, my favorite has to be his time-travel novel Lightning.  He has written some wonderfully bizarre stories, and the banter between the characters is always entertaining.

3. John G. Hemry ­

As it turns out Mr. Hemry is one hell of a prolific writer. As is usually the case, I happened to stumble across his work at the Chapters store one day when I was looking for some new Science Fiction to read. I saw his novel, ‘The Lost Fleet’ and after reading the back, I was intrigued. I have been following his work ever since that day and have devoured the first six novels in that series, the four novels in his continuation series Beyond the Frontier, the three in yet another spin-off series called the Lost Stars. I have also read several of his other works, including his Jag in space novels. He recently has delved into the Steam-Punk sub-genre. This is one of my least favorite genres, and if truth be told, his Pillars of Reality are the only books in this genre I have ever read.  If you want excellent military SF, you can’t go wrong with Mr. Hemry, who writes under the name Jack Campbell.

4. Mark Ellis

For years Mark wrote for comics, and owns several characters and groups, such as the Justice Machine. Over fifteen years ago he started to write for Gold Eagle, first contributing three to the venerable Deathlands Series, but then going on to create the Outlanders series. I followed his work for many years, eagerly awaiting the next novel in the series to come out. It combined SF with my second favorite genre, the post-apocalyptic genre. I learned a great deal from his work, especially how to write action! Since his being forced out of writing Outlanders Gold Eagle, he has continued writing, doing mysteries as well as Science Fiction and even wrote an excellent ‘Lost World’ style novel. And it just so happens he is a man I consider a mentor and a good friend.

5. F. Paul Wilson

Best known for his adversary cycle, Mr. Wilson has written a great deal over the years. Several of his books have been made into movies of varying degrees. I was (big surprise here) introduced to Repairman Jack many years ago by a man who works in a bookstore. I asked him for a recommendation for something new to try and he suggested ‘The Tomb’. Jack quickly became one of my favorite literary characters and I have been following his adventures against the Adversary for many years. The series finally came to an end recently and I was quite satisfied with the eventual outcome. He has written many other novels, including a very cool Vampire Apocalypse novel. If you want a character that is not only likeable but well, written, check out his Repairman Jack series. You won’t be disappointed.