Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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A Year of Discoveries

You know, this year and last year have really stood out for me for Discovering Prolific Well-Known Amazing Authors I Have Never Read Anything By.

I mean, Martha Wells, right? And then Andrea Höst. My two favorite authors for this year and I never read anything by Wells until last year or anything by Höst till this year. I mean, that just seems unbelievable. And yes, yes, of course you could argue that she is not all that well known, but she OUGHT to be.

And then Laura Florand. Who, I know, counts as semi-prolific so far, but she is clearly heading toward no-kidding-honest-to-God-prolific status at a pretty brisk clip.

And now Elizabeth Bear and Sherwood Smith. I mean, I know I’ve only read one novel by Bear so far. And I think I won’t actually read The Shattered Pillars until the third book of the series comes out, which means so far I’ve only read one book by her. So it’s a little early to judge, right? But Range of Ghosts was really, really good and I’m definitely picking up others of hers. I’ve got All the Windwracked Stars on my Kindle right now, in fact, and I have to say, what a great title!

Kristen at Fantasy Book Cafe recommended that series — anybody else got a specific Bear recommendation?

And now Sherwood Smith, and thank you, everyone who has recently recommended other Smith books, I definitely appreciate some pointers considering the wide variety of books she has evidently produced so far.

That’s five new-to-me authors, each with a big backlist, just since late last year. That’s kind of amazing. It also makes me wonder who else I’m missing, you know?

My brother made a great suggestion that unfortunately may never occur to Amazon staff: that it would be highly useful for Amazon to re-tool its recommendations like this:

If you loved these three books, you might check out these three book bloggers.

Wouldn’t that be clever? Because we all know discoverability is a big issue now and will only turn into a bigger issue in the near future. And for me, strong recommendations from other authors, personal friends, and particularly book bloggers whose personal taste I share is by far the number-one way I discover new authors.

Browsing online? Not at all. Browsing in a brick-and-mortar store? Not that either, because I live too far away from all bookstores.

Nope, for me it’s almost entirely recommendations. I mean, just today I added It Takes Two to Tangle by Theresa Romain to my wishlist strictly because it was recommended by Laura Florand on Twitter, in terms that make me think it’ll appeal to me. I hope I will read it pretty soon, in fact.

Though probably not, like, this week or anything, because I think I will be reading some more books by Bear and Smith first. Lotta backlist to get through for each of them!

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7 Comments A Year of Discoveries

  1. Pete Mack

    So lucky to have discovered Wells so late! I’d love to be able to read all her books for the first time, again. And her early works are all available for cheap as ebooks.

    Bear has two great SF series, “Jacob’s Ladder”, and “Jenny Casey”. I am not such a fan of her alternate history mystery stories, or her take on Shakespearian Elves.

    Also to recommend:
    Barbara Hambly’s “Darwath” trilogy.
    Anything by Daniel Abraham, except for the Seasons quadrilogy, which I couldn’t finish. (He has two pen-names: MLN Hanover, and James S.A. Corey.)

  2. Rachel

    Yeah, Hambly I’ve known about forever.

    Abraham, eh.

    I keep liking the first books of his epics, yet not feeling much of an urge to read the second books. I don’t know. With the Dagger and Coin series, there were too many pov scenes from evil characters and I kind of wasn’t happy with the way the reader was being invited to sympathize with that guy who BURNED EVERYONE IN THE CITY ALIVE. With the “Corey” SF epic, I think it was more that I kind of liked how the first book ended and didn’t feel much of an urge to go on with the series.

  3. Pete Mack

    Nobody, but nobody is invited to sympathize with that guy! He just feels sorry for himself, All The Time. Every action he takes is out of weak, put-upon pique. If it isn’t clear in the first book, it becomes clear in the second, when the heroine dumps on him big-time.
    The bad guys are just so frightfully bad, from the banally evil anti-hero, to the horrifying creepy Spider Priests who pander to him.
    Also, Abraham’s series as MLN Hanover are one of the better UF/paranormal titles.

    One other suggestion, for a great series of short stories:
    http://shadowunit.org
    also available as kindle ebooks.

  4. Estara Swanberg

    I second the Jenny Casey recommendation with regards to Bear’s SF – also Undertow and Carnival. Of the series that is set in two timelines (with Shakespearean Elves and all), I quite liked the first two which are set in modern times and more of her take on the Arthur myth (Blood and Iron/Whiskey and Water).

    Other authors’ work that isn’t known well enough:

    Doris Egan – Ivory Trilogy (she turned int a successful tv writer – House – and simply hasn’t the time to write any more in her sf) available as an omnibus from DAW

    Diane Duane – who is also a writer for TV, heh, but also wrote some of the best original Star Trek novels, but here I want to point out her own worlds, where polyarmory is allowed cross-species even, Tale of the Five/Tale of the Middle Kingdoms, which while never completed (she recently had a call for feedback on her facebook or personal LJ if enough people were interested in getting the final book and I’m afraid there wasn’t enough response) ended on a very good midend point, so reads as if it was completed (except for one major plothread which only concerns one of the protagonists) and her Young Wizard’s YA series (starts with the protagonists in middle grade though) which she’s updating for current technology.

  5. Rachel

    Hi, Estara — yes yes yes the Ivory trilogy was EXCELLENT and while I’m glad to hear that Doris Egan is successful in her TV career, I very much wish she would pick up the Ivory world again. There was certainly room to keep going with it.

    I tended to really enjoy Diane Duane’s early books in each series, but not so much the later ones. But I totally agree about her Star Trek tie-in novels — some of the very best!

  6. Rachel

    I LOVE the Shadow Unit series! !!!

    And the horrifying creepy spider priests are kind of keeping me from being so very interested in the second Dagger and Coin book, but not nearly as much as the anti-hero. “Banal” is the perfect descriptor for him. Glad you didn’t feel that the reader was being coaxed to sympathize with that guy!

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