Books and video games war for my attention. Lately books have been winning, and I’ve been keeping track of some of my favorite authors. Finding a new author is the best feeling in the world; a treasure trove of new books to dive into.
My favorite genres are noir mystery, high fantasy, and hard sci-fi. There are some good examples of each mixed into the list below.
If you have any book suggestions, please post them in the comments! I’m always looking for more books to eat. I’ll update this list as I find new stuff.
These authors have written ongoing series, usually 3 or more books.
Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn, Reckoners, Stormlight Archives, everything he writes is pure gold.
Sanderson is my favorite living author. He excels at creating intricate magic systems and compelling universes. His moment-to-moment writing can be a little dry or cliché, but his characters are fantastic and will stay with you. Every book I read from him ends with a satisfying and brilliant scene leaving me wanting more. A great author if you like colorful characters and action-packed stories of magic.
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files
Imagine if Harry Potter grew up to become Sam Spade. The series can be serious and moody, but Harry’s sarcastic quips and outrageous scenarios keep things interesting and light-hearted throughout most of it. A great blend of mystery and modern-magic. I tried reading his other series, but it never grabbed me as much as the Dresden files.
Patrick Rothfuss - KingKiller Chronicles
As cliché as some of these stories are, I’ve never read a more beautifully written fantasy novel. Perfect for those who can appreciate genius prose, even if the main character is somewhat of an ass (by design).
Lee Child - Jack Reacher
Jack Reacher is the best modern-day noir hero I’ve read. There is a pretty strong “rah rah military” vibe, but Reacher’s stubborn cleverness is always entertaining. He solves his problems through sheer grit and determination, rather than cleverness or skill.
A.G. Riddle - Atlantis Gene
Atlantis stories have always fascinated me, and this series does a great job of taking us through the escalation that such a discovery might mean. The first book is about the mystery, the second is about how it impacts the world, and the final book brings the conflict to a galactic scale. Great for those who like big-world shattering mysteries.
Will Wight - Traveller, Sea and Shadow
A new self-published author, he stands in stark contrast to Patrick Rothfuss. Wright’s prose can be sloppy, messy, or even downright simple. But his ideas, characters, and world are so fun and engaging that I keep coming back to his work. Also his newest series has a cool twist: two seperate book series that interact and cross over with one another. Neither requires the other, but reading both series will give more insight into the world.
Lindsay Buroker - Emporer’s Edge, Fallen Empire
Another self-published author, Buroker’s work reminds me of Firefly’s character interactions. She has many, many books, and they are all light-hearted, character driven stories that you will almost certainly fall in love with. If you like Joss Whedon’s stories, you will like everything Lindsay writes.
James Corey - The Expanse
A dark, gritty sci-fi series that turns space itself into the most dangerous foe. A fascinating dash of real science that emphasizes just how big and scary space really is wrapped in a clever mystery. A breath of fresh air for me, and a nice break from the Star Trek/Star Wars space magic sci-fi.
Joseph Lallo - Big Sigma , Book of Deacon
Like Buroker, Lallo is a master at writing clever characters that you just can’t get enough of. His worlds rely on familiar clichés to make room for his unique and lively characters. I highly recommend Big Sigma as a hilariously action-packed sci-fi series.
K.J. Parker - Fencer Trilogy
A cool world of philosophical magic and strange medieval customs. Written by a historian, these stories have a lot of thought and historical substance behind them. I especially like how all of his characters are deeply flawed; it drives the story in interesting ways. Avoid this series if you can’t stand long diversions about various sword-making techniques.
Misc authors - The Horus Heresy (Warhammer 40K)
Far too many characters, long-winded descriptions of battles, and overly complicated story arcs couldn’t keep me away. Despite all the rough edges I really liked the Warhammer 40K aesthetic: Roman Legionnaires in space power armor. It’s unlike anything else I’ve read, and for some it might be exactly what they’re looking for. Definitely a hit-or-miss series.
H. Paul Honsinger - Man of War Trilogy
A light-hearted military science fiction series with strong characters. I really enjoyed the story of Captain Max Robichaux lead a crew of misfits and losers; slowly turning them into effective fighting men. This series is a love letter military history. Expect long rants about military protocol, navy jargon, and the honor of the fighting man. Despite some of its flaws it’s a fun series.
J. Patrick Allen - West of Pale (Dead West)
A dark, gripping tale about a boy who takes on the mantle of Monster Hunter in the old West. It was almost too close to horror for me, but the lore and the scenarios enraptured me the whole time.
Kenneth Mark Hoover - Haxan
A western tale about a new sheriff who takes control a wild and dangerous town. It had elements of noir and classic western tales; but the main character was enough to carry it through the clichés. The story hints at a bit of fantasy and time-travel, but never really goes anywhere with it. Maybe Kenneth will write more about the larger universe.
Richard Levesque - Strictly Analog
An over-the-hill private detective tries to stay current in a digital world. Forced to use old-school tactics in a cyberpunk future, it was a great spin on classic noir.
L. Ron Hubbard - Battlefield Earth
Huge sci-fi epic that was an absolute page-turner. Cool concept, neat characters, and a classic tale of humanity overcoming a superior foe. Some of the science doesn’t really make sense, but it doesn’t distract from the exciting adventure.
Short stories are a great way to explore an interesting idea without wearing out their welcome.
John P. Murphy - Claudius Rex
It’s a crying shame that this is only a short story. The premise is incredible and silly: What if Sherlock Holmes was an AI that Watson used to solve crimes. Just a really fun romp. I hope he writes more.
Richard Parks - Manor of Lost Time
An orphaned girl apprentices under a magician and then battles a demon for more power. Some neat ideas in this story, and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Tom CrossHill - Magician and Laplace’s Demon
What if magic was real, but science couldn’t prove it? Details an android’s obsession to prove the existence or non-existence of magic. Lots of cool ideas thrown around, and is more about the atmosphere than the story.
Yoon Ha Lee - Knight of Chains
A strange little story about stronghold of wonders where the gatekeeper must be defeated. Choose your game, and play well. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, even if some things still don’t quite make sense…
Simon Kewin - Gene Hunter
A great cyberpunk noir adventure, if a bit straightforward. Clones of famous people are grown and kept like pets in a zoo. Play chess with Einstein! Wrestle Teddy Roosevelt! etc. The detective is looking for specific DNA, and must wrestle with his conscience.
That’s my list! I didn’t include some of the more well-known authors (Tolkien, Doyle, Lovecraft, etc), just some of the authors people may not already know about. I hope you enjoyed it or found something interesting. Do you have a favorite author? Any stories I should check out?
Post suggestions in the comments below!