So pleased to see that SFWA has named CJ Cherryh as the 32nd Grand Master, for lifetime achievement in science fiction and fantasy. The title could not be bestowed on a more deserving author.
Annoyingly, SFWA does not provide an obvious link from that announcement to a list of previous Grand Masters. In case you, like me, can’t rattle the entire list off at the drop of a hat, here’s a link to Wikipedia’s list. Well, that is an impressive list. I’ve read *something* by most of these authors, but in general not a lot by any of them — except, let me see. Okay, Heinlein and Niven, and before that Andre Norton and Ann McCaffrey. Those four, and at this point I think I have no more than half a dozen books by any of them still on my shelves.
In contrast, I have practically Cherryh’s whole backlist. In paper. Lots in hardcover.
When anyone comments to me that they couldn’t find any books by female authors when they were growing up, or any SFF books by female authors, I can only look at them blankly. Because CJ Cherryh was there for me through practically my whole reading life, looming above virtually all other SFF authors in my personal reading universe.
So, okay, how does Cherryh actually stack up against all these other Grand Masters? Let’s just pull out a few names:
Poul Anderson published a zillion titles, looks like roughly eighty or so (wow). The ones that I read more than once and that stuck with me are The High Crusade and Firetime.
Asimov wrote, what, twenty or thirty novels and a whooooole bunch of short stories and nonfiction articles and things. I like his nonfiction a lot better than his fiction, personally.
Arthur C Clark wrote about thirty novels and a lot of short stories. I read a few of his novels, but he really didn’t do it for me as a writer. Of course, that was long ago, but I don’t suppose it’s likely I’ll ever go back and try his books again, not when my TBR pile is so huge already.
Heinlein published 32 novels in his career, of which I really enjoyed many (particularly the juveniles, what would now be called YA), disliked some (particularly the later titles and especially Job), and still own maybe half a dozen.
Ursula K LeGuin published about 40 novels, counting lots of children’s books, apparently, which I hadn’t realized. I admire her writing, but only a few of these became favorites — I’ve re-read Tombs of Atuin quite a few times.
Okay, according to my quick count via Wikipedia, Cherryh has published 71 books, not counting the Morovingen Nights and Kings in Hell anthologies.
And she’s still going. And her next Foreigner novel is one my Most Anticipated list for 2016 forthcoming titles.
So, heartfelt congratulations to CJ Cherryh!
Does anybody leap out for any of you: authors who totally ought to be next year’s choice for Grand Master? Because for me Cherryh was definitely the one author who ought to have the title, and now that she’s got it, I’m out of suggestions.