I love top ten lists like the proverbial fat kid and cake. I gobble them up realizing that all they are, are fat for my mind. But, oh how I do enjoy them. Let’s face it, the lists were the best things about High Fidelity.
So here is my list of top ten fictional authors (based mostly on whom I'm most likely to pick up andread). Note: I don’t do countdowns -right now - I’d rather you leave after finding out who’s my number right away and not waste anymore of your time then read through my gushing of the things that make me, me.
1. Stephen King: If you look at my self there is no one represented there more than the master himself. King is what we have for a classic author today. That isn’t to say that he is anything like the greats of yesteryear but let’s be honest, that was yesteryear. When generations look back, which we are doing now with the early boomer’s generation, and looking for fiction authors to represent what the timesmeant, King will be there in allof his gory.
King’s works have spanned farbeyond the typecast that was set for him with books like Pet Semetary, It, Carrie, and Christine. Hearts in Atlantis andhis collection of novellas in Different Seasons shows less fantastical side to him. Incase there are non-King readers, Different Seasons contains four novellas “The Body”, “Apt Pupil”, “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”, and “The Breathing Method”. All but “The Breathing Method” were made into movies. “The Body” is Stand By Me, “Apt Pupil” is a movie with the same name, and “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” is The Shawshank Redemption.
King has also ventured into the fantasy realm with his Dark Tower mega series and The Eyes of the Dragon.
2. William Peter Blattly: The creator of The Exorcist with follow on novel Legion. Blatty had a ro
ugh start in writing, I don’t think many of his books really hit it big,
and he focused his careermostly on writing for movies, but he made an everlasting mark on the fiction world with The Exorcist. I don’t know if there is a movie and book that has given people more nightmares than that.
3. Ayn Rand: Ayn Rand is much lower on my list than I care for, to be honest. I love her work but it isn’t horror (in the supernatural sense), so she unfortunately falls here at number three.
Growing up in Mother Russia around the time of the revolution, Ra
nd was able to see the contrasts between of before and during Communism, which influenced her philosophy and writing (can you separate the two?). She came up with what is labeled the philosophy of selfishness, which she calls “Objectivism”. To sum it up in my words, it is believing that there is no real selflessness but all things have a selfish tinge to them. When you do volunteer work, you wouldn’t do it because it makes you feel bad, you do it because you feel good or accomplished and that, my friends, is a selfish gesture. Ultimately this selfishness is good for whole.
For more of an understanding read her books Atlas Shrugged (changed my life) and The Fountainhead. For a good description of her view on how Communism affected her and her life read We the Living.
4. Richard Matheson: The writer in which I see mostly reflected in the works of Stephen King is Richard Matheson. His horror stories have been turned into countless movies and television shows, mostly The Twilight Zone. He, like king, has done work that goes beyond the horror genera, most notably What Dreams May Come which w
as turned into a movie with the same name staring Robin Williams (which makes the whole movie more ironic, a serious love story written by a horror novelist made into a movie played by a comedian). Not too shabby for the guy who wrote I am Legend
5. Vince Flynn: So far Vince Flynn, the former Marine, has written solely about Mitch Rapp the CIA assassin but he does it so well, each of the novels in the series can stand on its own and doesn’t disappoint.
6. Orson Scott Card: SciFi master, Orson Scott Card wrote, what I consider epic, Ender series. Starting with Ender’s Game, Card brings us into a world where we question what it means to eradicate a threatening alien species. Is it really necessary to wipe out totally another sentient being?
Along with his thoughts on xenophobia, Card displays a great imagination for space travel and what it could mean to visit the stars. He is a great author for scientists to read for inspiration and military leaders for lessons.
7. Clive Barker: Clive Barker keeps falling on my list but I think that he’ll stay a strong number seven and never leave the top ten. He was one of my first authors with his book The Thief of Always a young-adult lit book. He has spanned like so many on my bookshelf into the movie world with adaptations of Hellraiser (the is called The Hell Bound Heart) and he wrote the screen play for Candyman and Lord of Illusions. Though he will describe himself as a fantasy writer (what horror isn’t?) he, to me, has a dark heart that shows through. His Books of Blood shows this quite well.
8. Jeff Lindsay: Another series author (I need to be careful before I look too hypocritical when it comes to series books, which I generally dislike). Jeff Lindsay came up with our beloved mass murderer, the Dashing Dexter. From his wit, to his bloody killing, to his ability to add a “d” adjective before Dexter in the best moments, Lindsay has kept me going strong with the series. I never thought I would laugh at murder.
9. Jack London: Frankly all of Jack London that I’ve read is Call of the Wild and White Fang. That is all I need. This man’s man and adventurer has captured boys’ imaginations for years and what man can put asunder a book about a love for dogs (wild ones at that).
10. Chuck Palahniuk: Sick, sick, sick. That is all a person needs to describe Chuck Palahniuk. His book Fight Club turned even establishment types into rebels (add on to that the movie helping). His writing is a sick kind of twisted (as demonstrated thoroughly in Haunted and Snuff). If you read him, have your stomach prepared.
Honorable mentions (soon I’ll be done, I won’t do author discriptions but I’ll mention their works):
-Andrew Foster: With Lost and Found)
-W.E.B. Griffin: Has a few war series, truly a master at knowing the military, start with The Lieutenants.
- Tim LaHay and Larry B. Jenkins: The Left Behind series - what happens after the rapture and their series based on the lives of the writers of the New Testament.
- Joe Hill: Stephen King’s son, The Heart Shaped Box
- Isaac Asimov: Robots At Dawn series
- C.S. Lewis: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
- J. R. R. Tolkien: Anything about Middle Earth