Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Forgotten authors: a panel discussion

So, Archon is coming up in a few weeks. That’s the smallish convention that takes place right across the river from St. Louis; ie, the one that is only an hour and a half from my house, so of course I nearly always attend. 

Incidentally, if you’re in the neighborhood, Archon usually has a really good masquerade, so it’s worth coming just for that. Massively better than other, larger conventions. If you’ve ever been disappointed with a convention’s masquerade, don’t write this one off on that account. Very strong costumer’s guild in St. Louis, apparently. 

I’m on four panels. I kind of like moderating because I guess I’m a control freak in some ways. I mean, most of the time it really annoys me when a panel drifts gently off topic and the moderator doesn’t drag it back. It’s even worse when a particular panelist starts to tell everyone everything about their own books and won’t shut up (I bet I am not the only person to find that seriously annoying), and if I’m moderating I can gently shut that down. 

Also it’s actually easier to do panels as a moderator sometimes, because what you need is a list of questions and then you can pose them to the other people on the panel and go from there.

So I said Sure, I’ll moderate if you want a bunch of times and thus I’m moderating three panels and  I’m on one. Here they are:

Friday 2:00 — To read or not to read: how do you handle reading other people’s books when writing? I’m sure there will be a lot of variation here.

Saturday 1:00 — SF vs Fantasy: how to tell the difference. Lots of blurry lines, you bet.

Saturday 2:00 — Fermi Paradox. I’m not moderating that one, but I must have said it was okay to put me on the panel. The Fermi Paradox is always interesting and I hope we manage to say some stuff that is not already familiar to absolutely everyone.

Saturday 4:00 — Forgotten authors, and finally we arrive at the point of this post. 

I have several authors in mind, not to mention several categories that should help organize the panel discussion a bit. This is also obviously a topic where input from the whole room will be welcome, because surely everyone — everyone — has a favorite author they think is flying / has flown way too far under the radar.

So. Who are the authors you would most want to see mentioned at a panel like this? Drop ’em in the comments and I will make sure they get the mention they obviously deserve.

For example, name an author who has vanished into the mists of time but ought to be much more widely read today.

Or name an author who might be writing today, but is not getting the widespread notice they clearly deserve.

Or both.

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16 Comments Forgotten authors: a panel discussion

  1. David H.

    Obviously, any of the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Awards winners would be a very appropriate author to discuss.

    I know you’ve seen JDN’s forgotten women authors series on Tor.com

    I would probably include authors I liked like James Stoddard (The High House) and David Zindell (Neverness series)

    Eleanor Arnason’s a favorite of mine as well.

    If anyone mentioned the above three authors on a con panel, I’d be gobsmacked and amazed.

  2. Elaine T

    Janny Wurts, who is writing epic fantasy and gets no notice. Michelle West also.

    I don’t think Ansen Dibble got any notice, but the three books she wrote that I read (and that were printed in English, there were two others that were printed only in .. Dutch, IIRC). were an interesting mix of science and fantasy. On a planet-sized and planet-varied world, with varying cultures and what becomes a major thread of genetic and social engineering.
    And non-wimpy/soft/loving empaths. They hunt and are the warriors for one of the cultures in the setting.

    Older Leigh Brackett, CL Moore, maybe Andre Norton.or Zenna Henderson.. are they forgotten?

  3. Mary Beth

    I’d love to see more about Gillian Bradshaw, in genre and out of it. (I was bowled over by her MAGIC’S POISON series when I realized it was approaching epic fantasy with a historical epic POV: it’s a series that follows the history of a people, and the leader who forges their place in the world, seen through the varied eyes of individuals who encounter that blazing force.)

    Also, Doris Egan. I’m still sad she never wrote any more Ivory books.

  4. Rachel

    Thank you all! Lots of great suggestions.

    Mary Beth, I’m especially pleased you suggested Bradshaw simply because I’ve got the first book of her Magic’s Poison series but haven’t read it.

  5. Pete Mack

    Eleanor Arnason for sure. Woman of the Iron People is up there with Le Guin for anthropological SF. I dont think Michelle West is forgotten. How about Jo Clayton?
    She wrote tons of stuff back when, but it is all vanished now.

  6. Evenstar

    Judith Tarr, Pamela Dean and Martha Wells. Martha Wells may be getting more attention now finally.

  7. Elaine T

    Doris Egan changed the name she wrote under to Jane Emerson. But I think there’s only one book under that name, too. (checks ISFDB), yeah, and a couple short stories. Her energy is going to Hollywood now.

  8. Pete Mack

    Martha Wells can’t possibly qualify. She is winning awards all over the place, and selling plenty of books. But one more: Kate Wilhelm. Her SF books are really original, though she left SF for mystery (and presumably better remuneration.)

  9. Rachel

    I’m thinking no on Martha Wells, what with Murderbot and all. I’m thinking yes on Doris Egan. Whatever she’s doing now, she’s not writing fantasy, and that’s too bad. I too wish she’d gone on with the Ivory series. Or the City of Diamond series, for that matter.

    RA MacAvoy is one I would pick. I didn’t like some of her books, but I loved others. Nancy Springer kind of segued over to contemporary YA, didn’t she? I like some of those quite a bit.

    Lots of good suggestions. Thanks for contributing!

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