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docbennett
12-19-2012, 07:51 AM
Who is/are your favorite authors...who has influenced you the most with regard to their writing?

For me, the "holy trinity" consists of:

Harlan Ellison....perpetual gadfly, arrogant and frighteningly intelligent....and a voice among speculative fiction that has stood out for over 40 years. Responsible for what is considered the most important anthology of short stories in the "Science/speculative fiction" genre., the "Dangerous Visions" series. Perhaps one day "The Last Dangerous Visions" will be published, only 42 years after its expected original date of publication.

Philip Jose Farmer.....whether it is the 6 volume "Riverworld series" or the similiarly complex "World of Tiers" I had an essay published a few years ago in which I argued that Phil was the "smartest man in the world". I stand by that conclusion, and believe that his imagination is responsible for my trips to dozens of "pocket universes" as well as my multi-million mile trip across the River of Eternity to find out the secrets contained in the Great Tower.

Philip K. Dick...."What is real, vs. what is reality"? The sine qua non of exploring alternative realities and the differences between the "soul" and "artificial intelligence". Responsible for dozens of incredible movies ranging from "Blade Runner and Total Recall" to the inspriration for "Waking Life". He didn't die in 1982...he just moved on to his alternative reality based somewhere around 100 AD as he hypothezied as early as 1973. the man predicted the Matrix before William Gibson even conceived of the concept in his novel "Neuromancer".

Honorable mention...Kurt Vonnegut Jr. If not for the three who precede him, I would consider him to be the quintessential "great american novelist". I define his career as "Slaughterhouse 5 and prior" and "Breakfast of champions, and later". I find the 2nd half of his career to be very disappointing, relative to his first 5 novels.

So...who has influenced you with their writing??

Albrecht Smuten
12-19-2012, 08:03 AM
Chuck Palahniuk - don't know whether it's because of the translation, but I find his disturbing themes actually very peacefully and calmly written.
Terry Pratchett - apart from the humor, I love his thoughts about people. I tend to call it the "kind nihilism". Mostly in his later works.

Mikegarveyblues
12-19-2012, 08:18 AM
From my childhood Roald Dahl. His books such as Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and James And The Giant Peach summed up everything that was great about being a child.

Pretty much read every book by Jeffery Deaver and James Patterson. Do love a good thriller! :)

Hated Dickens at school but grew to appreciate it in my early adult life alongside books by George Orwell such as 1984.

11top
12-19-2012, 08:43 AM
Favorite, but not necessarily influential. I read fiction to escape reality and relax.

Harlan Coban
Nelson DeMille
Robert Crais
William Lashner
Stephen King (when he's on it)

What do these guys have in common? They write great dialogue.
Those guys are automatics for me. If they write it, I'm reading it.

MojoPin
12-19-2012, 09:53 AM
Haruki Murakami - 'A Wild Sheep Chase' is absolute genius, and making my way through his new 'IQ84' books now

Neil Gaiman - Neverwhere has to be one of my favourite books ever, too...just brilliant. And his 'Sandman' graphic novels are unbelievably good.

soundbee
12-19-2012, 09:55 AM
Anais Nin - House of Incest. That lil prose-poem has inspired countless lyrics and songs for me. Note although the author did have an incestuous relationship with her father in her 20's (as the suggestion of her therapist), the term "Incest" here is a metaphor, not literal and meant to describe self-love and only being able to appreciate in others what one loves about themselves. For me, the imagery inspires as much as it entertains.

"I was in a ship of sapphire sailing on seas of coral. And standing at the prow singing. My singing swelled the sails and ripped them; where they had been ripped the edge was burnt and the clouds too were ripped to tatters by my voice."

LSchefman
12-19-2012, 09:58 AM
Ernest Hemingway - After I finished all my schooling I re-read Hemingway's novels, this time purely for pleasure. Beautiful use of the language.

Kurt Vonnegut - He was writer-in-residence at Michigan when I was a freshman, and I got to hear him give talks. Virtually everyone on campus was reading his books, and excited about him. I love the way he wrote, but no doubt a lot of my admiration resulted from having met him and my feelings about my college years in general.

Truman Capote - Just enjoyed his writing from"The Grass Harp" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" to "In Cold Blood."

Also enjoyed Isaac Asimov, Jerzy Kosinsky (also a writer-in-residence at Michigan), Hunter S. Thompson.

docbennett
12-19-2012, 10:09 AM
Ernest Hemingway - After I finished all my schooling I re-read Hemingway's novels, this time purely for pleasure. Beautiful use of the language.

Kurt Vonnegut - He was writer-in-residence at Michigan when I was a freshman, and I got to hear him give talks. Virtually everyone on campus was reading his books, and excited about him. I love the way he wrote, but no doubt a lot of my admiration resulted from having met him and my feelings about my college years in general.

Truman Capote - Just enjoyed his writing from"The Grass Harp" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" to "In Cold Blood."

Also enjoyed Isaac Asimov, Jerzy Kosinsky (also a writer-in-residence at Michigan), Hunter S. Thompson.

My most unforgettable character, and the person I most would have liked to have taken a 1 month road trip with across the country back in the '70's. Man, when he killed himself a few years ago I was both awed and dumbfounded...totally in-character way for him to end it. RIP Duke, the master of Gonzo Journalism!

tiboy
12-19-2012, 10:51 AM
Mark Twain. He was a keen observer of the human condition. He reported on it candidly and with humor. "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" Unfortunately, I all to often fail to heed these words.

LSchefman
12-19-2012, 11:14 AM
My most unforgettable character, and the person I most would have liked to have taken a 1 month road trip with across the country back in the '70's. Man, when he killed himself a few years ago I was both awed and dumbfounded...totally in-character way for him to end it. RIP Duke, the master of Gonzo Journalism!

"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" was the funniest book I have ever read.

veinbuster
12-19-2012, 11:22 AM
I like writers who are a bit sideways: Chuck Palahniuk, Tom Robbins come to mind - when something new by either comes out I save it for an occassion when I can savour it.
My favourite mindless escape is Dean Koontz or Kelly Armstrong.

WEDGE
12-19-2012, 11:49 AM
Dean Koontz

Isaac Asimov's robot books

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Nelson Demille

Clive Cussler

Steven King

CHARISMAFIRE
12-19-2012, 12:01 PM
THE APOSTLE PAUL HANDS DOWN.

sergiodeblanc
12-19-2012, 12:34 PM
For pure reading pleasure, Christopher Moore and Douglas Coupland are my new favorites.

alantig
12-19-2012, 01:52 PM
Kurt Vonnegut - I latched on to him very late, but every time I read one of his books, my reaction is the same: "Why don't I read this guy more often?"

Stephen King - Screw the detractors. When he's on his game (and he is, for the most part), he can tell a story and set a mood with the best of them. Yeah, he can get a little wordy, and I thought some aspects of the last couple Dark Tower books kind of went off the rails a bit, particularly when he inserted himself into the story. But it's not like he's not aware of his flaws - another book in the DT series ended in an unresolved chase scene, and the afterword started something like "Yeah, I know, and I'm not happy about it either." Two examples of how powerfully (and economically, ironically enough) he can set a mood. I saw him at a speaking engagement some years back, and he made a comment about being scared by some of the cliche things, like the guy hiding in the back seat, which got a laugh. He said, "Oh yeah - laugh now. But you know goddamn well you're going to check the back seat of your car when this is over." Guess what started going through my mind on the way back to my car? The second was an appearance on Whoopi Goldberg's short-lived talk show. She said the thing that terrified her the most was laying in bed in the dark and hearing a noise like something was moving in the house and reaching for the light switch and not being able to find it, and she couldn't think of anything more terrifying than that. King said, "Oh no, it would be much scarier if you were reaching for the light switch and a hand grabbed yours and put it on the switch." You could actually see her shiver when he said it.

Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is one of those books that felt like home when I found it. It's been a few years since I've read it, and I'm long overdue, but it was just one of those things that felt like a perfect match for me. I found it through the TV show, but the books are far and away my favorite telling of the story.

Carl Sagan - Known more for the TV series of Cosmos, but the guy could write and make science accessible. Most of all, he was one of the first writers who didn't make being smart seem like something to hide in my teen years.

Current favorites are Vince Flynn, Christopher Moore, David Sedaris. Been reading a lot of autobiographies, too - should wrap up Pete Townshend's today.

I've gone in and out with some other writers, notably Anne Rice and Tom Clancy. And Thomas Harris. Some people (including Stephen King at times) just need an editor.

thieves&foxes
12-19-2012, 03:33 PM
THE APOSTLE PAUL HANDS DOWN.

Yeah, with you on that one.

David Eaton
12-19-2012, 06:22 PM
, Timothy Keller. Jeff Shaara and his father (killer angels, gods and generals), Shelby Foote. I used to read a lot by Phillip Yancey. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and John Stott would also make the list.

Mike Duncan
12-19-2012, 06:38 PM
Author? Is that an App designer or video game creator?

soundbee
12-19-2012, 07:08 PM
another two of my favorites happen to be musicians:

Frank Zappa - The Real Frank Zappa Book (autobiography). The section on "How I Almost Blew My Nuts Off" is soo funny. (http://everything2.com/title/How+I+Almost+Blew+My+Nuts+Off)

Also - John Lennon: Skywriting by Word of Mouth. Very witty and funny. He had an incredible command of language and could twist it many ways. You'll understand how he could've gotten away with "Come Together" (Over Me).

sergiodeblanc
12-19-2012, 10:56 PM
Herman Hess

Awesome.

Serious Poo
12-19-2012, 11:41 PM
William Gibson - Neuromancer, Pattern Recognition. He invented a whole genre of literature with his first book.
Isaac Isamov - Foundation, I Robot.
Robert Heinlein - Starship Troopers, Stranger In A Strange Land, The Moon Is A Hard Mistress, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.
Brett Easton Ellis - Less Than Zero, American Psycho, Glamorama.
Douglas Coupland - Generation X, Microserfs.
Jay McInerney - Bright Lights, Big City, Model Behavior.
Douglas Adams - Hitchhiker's Guide, etc.
Chuck Palahniuk - Fight Club, Lullaby.

Didn't realize it until I wrote that list that all of these authors have something in common - they each had brilliant insights/observations about human nature and liked to use irony and satire to make their points.

Albrecht Smuten
12-20-2012, 04:16 AM
I don't read enough, but: Charles Darwin, Herman Hess, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Mark Twain, Carl Sagan. Hah, does Gary Larson count?

Charles Darwin rocks! On the Origin of Species is the most epic story ever written.

Goldtop
12-20-2012, 11:09 AM
Another great question. I don't think I could list every author whose work has touched me, but a partial list of them in no particular order is:

Larry McMurtry
Stephen King
Pete Townshend
Hunter Thompson
Mark Twain
John Steinbeck
Joe Nick Patoski
Mick Wall
Mick Foley
Lisa Sharken
Larry Flynt
Hugh Hefner
Dan Jenkins
Willie Nelson
Kinky Friedman
Billy Gibbons (His own book, and several forewords. Always unique and interesting.)

Most every biography and autobiography I've ever read has given me something to take with me, so I owe a debt to all of those writers and ghost-writers. Unfortunately, I don't remember their names to list them here. Likewise for the true crime authors I've read.

Goldtop

P.S. - There was someone else nagging at me that I couldn't remember. FINALLY it came to me: Poe. I'm ashamed I didn't remember him to begin with.

docbennett
12-20-2012, 12:09 PM
William Gibson - Neuromancer, Pattern Recognition. He invented a whole genre of literature with his first book.
Isaac Isamov - Foundation, I Robot.
Robert Heinlein - Starship Troopers, Stranger In A Strange Land, The Moon Is A Hard Mistress, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.
Brett Easton Ellis - Less Than Zero, American Psycho, Glamorama.
Douglas Coupland - Generation X, Microserfs.
Jay McInerney - Bright Lights, Big City, Model Behavior.
Douglas Adams - Hitchhiker's Guide, etc.
Chuck Palahniuk - Fight Club, Lullaby.

Didn't realize it until I wrote that list that all of these authors have something in common - they each had brilliant insights/observations about human nature and liked to use irony and satire to make their points.

Anyone who read this will understand that the Coen brothers took this book and turned it into "The Matrix"....stole total sequences, not to mention the base of Zion and the entire concept of "Plugging into the matrix". Never checked, but I wonder if he got screen-writing credits or script consultant credits? Still, if Ridley Scott didn't acknowledge Philip K. Dick's script for "Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep" in "Bladerunner" (which was not used) then I wouldn't be surprised if Gibson was ignored in the film credits to "The Matrix".

Harker1440
12-20-2012, 12:25 PM
Old Stephen King ( It Carrie Salems Lot etc )
Frank Herbert
Brian Lumley
Clive Cussler
Bram Stoker

jarek anderson
12-21-2012, 09:35 AM
Mordecai Richler - Anything at all. As a Canuck, I think it should be required reading as civic duty.
Hemingway - I really like his descriptions of tastes and smells. Especially short stories, like The Snows of Kilimanjaro, or A Clean, Well-lighted place.
Roddy Doyle - This guy wrote the book that was turned into a great music film of the same name "The Commitments". His characters are great, and he weaves history into his fiction in some pretty interesting ways.
Henning Mankell - If you dig any of those "Dragon Tattoo" books, or are into crime novels, these are just about the best I've found.
Milan Kundera - I like all of them, and "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" is the most well known, but "Immortality" is also a fave of mine. I read a lot of his books while getting my degree in Political Science, and had a prof turn me on to him as I studied a lot of Communism. Great imagery and surrealism in people's dreams. It's also really jarring at times. I think that I will start re-reading some of this this holiday.

There's a few more... I'm a big reader.

Great thread!!!

Albrecht Smuten
12-21-2012, 09:40 AM
Milan Kundera - I like all of them, and "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" is the most well known, but "Immortality" is also a fave of mine. I read a lot of his books while getting my degree in Political Science, and had a prof turn me on to him as I studied a lot of Communism.

Ah! A czech author! I believe you read him in french...?

jarek anderson
12-21-2012, 10:41 AM
Ah! A czech author! I believe you read him in french...?

Both French, and English. All of his books have made it into English, but I've read The Unbearable Lightness in both. He lives in France now, I do believe?

Albrecht Smuten
12-21-2012, 10:48 AM
Both French, and English. All of his books have made it into English, but I've read The Unbearable Lightness in both. He lives in France now, I do believe?

He does, and I think he writes in french past years (hence my assumption) and translates his earlier works from czech to french himself...