Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Intriguing floating “map” of literature

Find an author on the map.

I typed in Lois McMaster Bujold.

The site says “What else do readers of Lois Mcmaster Bujold read? The closer two writers are, the more likely someone will like both of them. Click on any name to travel along.”

Some authors floating near Bujold whom I haven’t read (or not much): Jim Butcher, Glen Cook.

Some authors ditto whom I just love: Dorothy Dunnett, Georgette Heyer — how interesting that the site doesn’t care if they’re SFF authors or other genre authors!

Now let me just click over here to CJ Cherryh, also close to Bujold … okay, after the screen settles down, I can see that Frederick Pohl is generally favored by Cherryh fans. Not by me particularly. Sharon Shinn as well, which is interesting — I love both Cherryh and Shinn, but I would have said they’re quite different. Clicking on Sharon Shinn . . . oh, look, here’s Nicola Griffith way over on the edge. Oh, and here’s Rosemary Kirstein …

Very interesting, oddly compelling site for such bare-bones graphics. The way the names swirl around like minnows in a pond definitely has something to do with that. I encourage you all to click through and try this out.

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8 Comments Intriguing floating “map” of literature

  1. Evelyn M. Hill

    Interesting site! I’m on a Mary Stewart re-read at the moment (mostly because her books finally became available in ebook format for USians) and apparently people who read her also read Lloyd Alexander and Patricia Wrede, and to a lesser extent Andrew Greeley and Patricia McKillip.

  2. Pete Mack

    It’s a game of “six degrees from Guy Gavriel Kay”! Strangely, when I finally clicked on Kay’s name, I didn’t see Dorothy Dunnett on the list…and I feel she and Kay almost define a genre of their own.

  3. Rachel

    I think Kay is a more poetic writer. But they both pour such depth into their novels. I would certainly say that fans of GGK ought to try Dorothy Dunnett if they haven’t.

    I do wonder what algorithm the “map” is using to connect authors. If you try entering my name, you’ll see that many of the (relatively few) other authors that pop up are writing much grittier fantasy than I am, while the authors I think I’m more similar to and with whom I think I share more of a readership, aren’t there. I wonder if that will evolve, and in response to what kinds of input?

  4. Elaine T

    But Kay is on Dunnett’s. Fairly far away, though. The closer are mostly historical novelists. And Dorothy Sayers. I think the algorithm must take genre into account, otherwise the results aren’t really explicable.

    One name I’m seeing on every map I click is Joan Aiken. Which is correct, I do like her stuff, mostly the short stories, but some of the novels as well. But that she be on every one? That’s interesting.

  5. Pete Mack

    You’re listed with Kate Elliott, Martha Wells, Robin McKinley, Garth Nix, Phillip Pullman, and Terry Pratchett. That’s good company!

  6. Pete Mack

    There’s one name I expected to see with Dunnett that I didn’t: Celia Holland. She wrote really good historical fiction, and one *unusual* SF novel.

  7. Rachel

    Hah, good, I was going to check my name again. I hit the question mark in the corner of the map, got a different screen that lets you enter three authors you like, and started entering my name along with authors I think are more like me. I did this half a dozen times and I guess that was enough to make a difference!

    Elaine, doesn’t it seem explicable if people who read Dunnett also read mainly historical? Though that Aiken result is interesting. I hadn’t noticed her name turning up, so I think I will go look for it now.

  8. Elaine T

    most of the fans of Dunnett I know also read a lot of Sf/F, like Bujold, and Kay, which is why I was surprised to see so many historical novelists so close. Patrick O’Brien wasn’t a surprise, it was the others and the lack of genres up close.

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