(Today’s author: Larry Niven)
Having seen Glenn Reynold’s subtle brag this morning (mind you, if I were a science fiction / fantasy author with a book out I’d be cheerfully making sure that he got a free copy of it, too) about Escape from Hell (Niven & Pournelle’s sequel to Inferno, which is itself the sequel to the only book of Dante’s The Divine Comedy that anyone ever actually reads), I figure that it’s as good a time as any to point this guy out.
I grew up with Niven, which would probably depress him to hear: both his science fiction and his fantasy work have been favorites of mine, mostly because he’s logical about his world-building. Even where his story requires that the laws of physics as we know them be broken, Niven will still work out the implications, and does a credible job in integrating those implications into the plot. He can also write decent dialogue, which is harder than it looks.
He’s probably best known for his Known Space science fiction universe: of his latest works I’ve read Fleet of Worlds, which was both good and an interesting new look at the universe; and based on the first chapter of Juggler of Worlds I’ll enjoy that, too, once I have the spare cash to pick it up. On the fantasy side, the series that he started with The Magic Goes Away was a genuine innovation in the field, although it may be a bit pessimistic for readers in the modern era.
Or not: we may be in for a bit of pessimism for a while. So, read it if you haven’t yet.
PS: While Jerry Pournelle is, of course, often linked to Niven, he should have his own entry.