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Favorite science fiction authors: Walter Jon Williams
Walter Jon Williams is one of my favorite writers still working.
His storytelling style is very clean and natural, as opposed to
some writers whose mechanics distract me from the story. His
characters breathe and sweat, and his plots and endings are
compelling. Much of his work is ``hard SF,'' but see below for
some works I like that are not firmly in this sub-genre.
- Some people might consider Hardwired to be
pretty firmly in the Cyberpunk canon. It has the classic
elements: heavily modified human bodies, gritty noir scenery,
and plenty of action. But I think he does this kind of thing
better than Gibson or Sterling. Not for children.
- Voice of the Whirlwind is similar to the previous
title in its cyberpunkish milieu. Great story.
- Aristoi is just about my favorite work by this
author. I had a little trouble getting started because the
protagonist didn't seem very vulnerable or sympathetic,
but somewhere around a quarter of the way through, things got
interesting fast and it turned into a hell of a ride. I particularly
liked the method he invented for depicting how a fragmented
personality works. I would recommend this book to anyone who
likes a good people story that grows out of technology.
- Angel Station. The scenery is familiar, with
hi-tech and spacecraft, but the psychic landscape is pretty
different. Great protagonists.
- Days of Atonement. Reminds me a lot of the
Los Alamos and Sandia national labs here in New Mexico, but
the lab-coated crowd ran into a little more than they were
- Rift is just out.
This book is more mainstream fiction than ``SF,''
dealing with a major earthquake in the Mississippi Valley.
Not ``hard SF'' but still worthwhile
- Metropolitan is Williams's attempt to reinvent
fantasy. No drafty castles here---this book is fantasy in a
modern urban setting. A terrific strong female protagonist,
lots of intrigue. The sequel, City on Fire, is out
but I'm waiting for the third volume before I read the second one.
- I'm extremely fond of well-done farce, but it seems to be a pretty
rare form in the ``SF ghetto'' (outside of the long career of Ron
Goulart). Williams has invented a character named Drake Maijstral
who is an Allowed Burglar in a world where burglary is not only
legal, but competitive. This whole series made me laugh so much
- The Crown Jewels
- House of Shards
- Rock of Ages. Among the amusements is a
competition among alien Elvis impersonators. What's not to like?
See also: Shipman's reading list: ``hard'' science fiction
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John W. Shipman,
Last updated: 2000/04/28 19:34:10