CJ Cherryh is one of my favorite writers. Not just a favorite sci-fi writer, but a favorite writer overall. She’s written some of the best sci-fi novels I’ve ever read (Downbelow Station, Chanur, Cyteen, Foreigner), and some brilliant Fantasy (Fortress in the Eye of Time, Gate of Ivrel). She’s written a million books. most of them good, many of them great.
Ok, she’s had a few stinkers. Hammerfall wasn’t so great, and a few of her early novels are of lesser quality. But everything she does is clever, and she’s a truly gifted writer.
She can be challenging. Her books are not easy, and tend to be grim; my friend Scorch (Who’s vanished off the face of the earth near as I can tell) described her typical scenario is “Take a character, put them in a bad situation, then have it get worse. Much, much worse“. But I find her work, all of it, to be very rewarding and worth the read.
But that’s not really what I meant to post here. What I meant to post was a link to this list, which I just found on CJ’s web site:
“So you like science fiction and fantasy, but you came in through Star Wars and have
no idea, at your first meeting with fans that have ‘been there’ a while, what they’re
talking about. You’d like to go to the conventions and understand the in-jokes and
talk the talk—and you’d like to know what this wonderful field is. I’ll give you a
list of the essential writers, the ones whose works it’s really helpful to have
read—at least enough to be in the know. Must-reads, for the concepts and/or
characters: or just to understand what the field is, and what all these books have in
I’m not completely sure I agree with every one of her picks and I think she may have left a couple out. But it’s a great list and a great starting pointg for those new to sci-fi.
Worth a look.