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??