The Northwest boasts a stunning array of influential writers–those names that are invoked again and again as inspirations in new writers’ work, those that blazed trails that others have look at in awe and tried to follow. Here are just a few of the authors the Northwest can claim as stellar examples in the firmament.
Greg Bear is a Seattle area hard science fiction author who has been publishing steadily since the 1960s. His work often explores evolutionary science and technology. Try Darwin’s Radio or Blood Music.
Octavia E. Butler remains a strong influence in the science fiction and fantasy community, especially for writers of color. Butler wrote novels with strong, female African American characters; she wrote intelligent, thought-provoking novels with political and social implications that continue to resonate. Try Kindred, Lilith’s Brood or Parable of the Sower.
C. J. Cherryh is a science fiction and fantasy author who lives in Spokane, Washington. Cherryh has won a Hugo Award and a Locus Award.Jo Walton had this to say about Cherryh in her book of essays from Tor.com: What Makes This Book So Great: “Cherryh delights in turning the reader’s brain inside out anyway, so there are books from all kinds of points of view, and one book may make you sympathize with characters and positions that other books make you detest. I regard this as a major achievement and part of what makes Cherryh a great writer.” Try Cyteen or Downbelow Station.
Ted Chiang, a technical writer for software in Bellevue, Washington, is considered by his peers to be one of the best science fiction writers of our time. He has won Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards for his short stories. Try Stories of Your Life and Others and The Lifecycle of Software Objects.
Nicola Griffith is not confined by genre–her imagination and writing prowess have taken her into the realms of science fiction, mystery and historical fiction. All of her books feature strong female characters, a visceral evocation of the body and sexuality and thought-provoking themes. Try Ammonite, the Nebula and Lambda Literary Award winning Slow River, The Blue Place or Hild, which was just nominated for a Nebula.
More influential Northwest authors next time…