This month my friend and fellow author C.R. Hodges was kind enough to contribute notes on two of his favorite sci-fi writers: Connie Willis and Elizabeth Moon.
C.R. is ambidextrous in that he can write the sci-fi and the fantasy (kind of like being able to cook the dinner and the dessert). His stories and longer works have won a number of prestigious awards. Last year his sci-fi story “Run” was included in Escape Pod’s Hugo nomination collection.
C.R. has devoted considerable time and effort to writing women characters whose strength comes from within as well as without.
He’s created a lethal 6-year-old Valkyrie, a granny kitsune, a twenty-something AI expert, a seasoned space captain with a penchant for 19th century literature, and many others I’ve been privileged to meet.
Connie Willis, in my opinion, is the best sci-fi writer many people may never have heard of. While she’s won more major sci-fi awards than any author, ever—11 Hugos and 7 Nebulas (!)—she shuns both social media and the spotlight, and just writes great books from her hometown of Greeley, Colorado. Many a local writer here in Colorado has tales of seeing her in a coffee shop, plugging away.
Her Time Travel series—e.g. Doomsday Book and Blackout—are easily the definitive works on time travel. Many an aspiring writer, myself included, have turned to her books for clues on how to handle the conundrums created by time travel.
But as the father of two young daughters at the time, and slowly awakening to the dearth of female protagonists even in children’s books, I was hooked by her strong female characters. And great yarns.
Also a Nebula winner, she actually started in epic fantasy, went through a space opera phase (where I found her) and went on to become an prolific writer of military sci-fi and hard science fiction, all subgenres still heavily dominated by male authors.
Since Beth mentioned 19th century authors, I’ve got to give a shout out to Mary Shelley, who almost single-handedly created the horror genre with Frankenstein–published 80 years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Next month I’ll add some more of my own favorites!