Fanatasy/SciFi Writers Day, that is. So proclaims Sharron Lee, and who am I to argue? Fantasy is the genre that first aroused true booklust in me. It's also what led me to want to write.
I'm giving a nod to just a few authors because you'd all be shocked--shocked, I tell you--to know how poorly read I am in what I claim as my favorite genre. I'd just like to thank them for giving me hours upon hours upon hundreds of hours of pleasure over the years.
J.R.R. Tolkien--well, no duh, really. Despite the occasional difficulty I had with his lofty prose (hey, I was like 9 or something), the moment I closed The Return of the King, I picked up Fellowship and read the whole shebang all over again.
Brent Weeks--my newest auto-buy author. The first book of his Shadows trilogy was an Orbit $1 special not long ago, and I picked it up from Sony. Three chapters in, I went and bought the other two at full price, and DAMN, it was awesome. No sex to speak of, but incredible nonetheless.
David Gemmell--can't really think of anyone who's written more fantasy novels, and though I didn't love every single one of them, there wasn't a DNF in the lot. From his futuristic/post-apocalyptic gunslinger Jon Shannow to his interpretation of Alexander the Great's story, to his latest (and last, sadly) Troy series, I gobbled them up like candy. Good thing my boss had pretty much every single one in paperback, sitting in a box in his closet. I spent six months back in 2005 reading nothing but Gemmell. And doing pretty much nothing but reading, heh.
George R.R. Martin--A Song of Ice and Fire. Dark, unpleasant, often leaving me with a vague nausea at how his characters treat other human beings, but so well written, I could not stop reading. Come on, George, how much longer must I wait for the next one? Do I have to beg? Send cookies? What?
Stephen R. Donaldson--this might seem strange, but I really did not love either of his most well-known fantasy series. I got through the first Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and it was good (not reread good, but I did like his unlikable hero quite a lot), but the second one? Ugh. He totally redeemed himself, however, when he wrote the Gap Series. Science Fiction is hit or miss with me, and boy, did this one nail it. It has all the horrible, hideous, self-serving cruelty of humanity at its absolute worst, tempered with moments of perfect, unflinching self-sacrifice. The good guys (or what passes for them, heh) win, and the fact that their battle is fought at such huge personal cost to them only makes their victory sweeter. And he's damn good at making you feel for a character who does unforgivable things.
Guy Gavriel Kay--I've always wanted to write, but his Tigana is the book that made me want to be a writer. And every book he's written since then has only made me fall in more deeply in love with his work. I've reread every single one of them, some more than five times. He makes me cry, he makes me care, and his prose is so heartwrenchingly beautiful at times, he made me fall head over heels in love with the English language. Which is doubly amazing, since if I recall correctly, his first language is actually French.
That's my shortlist. And as I look it over, I'm noticing there are no women authors up there. Can't help but wonder what that means...
So how about you all? Who are your absolute favorite Fantasy/SciFi writers?