What are your favorites?

A couple off the top of my head:

Tolkien and Frank Herbert (of course)
Matthew Woodring Stover -- Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshall are excellent, but I haven't read Cain Black Knife yet

The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelly Armstrong is excellent if you like occult fiction (which I do)

Patricia Briggs -- I've only read her Mercy Thompson series so far, and it's very entertaining

Anne Bishop -- Kushiel's Dart and Sebastian are what I've read so far

Douglas Adams, of course

I can't remember the name of the author, but the Wayfarer's Redemption series is pretty good, if a little complicated

Umm...who else?

Jane Yolen wrote a wonderful YA series called the Pit Dragon Trilogy that I wore out when I was young.

Umm... That's what's popping into my head at the moment. What about you guys?

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Robinson takes a bit of warming up to read (he tends to go on quite a bit about minutiae in the first book), but I really enjoyed the Mars trilogy.

One of his more recent books, "The Years of Rice and Salt," isn't exactly science fiction although it does go a bit into the future. But it's a great "what-if" book. It takes a look at what the world might have been like if the plagues in Europe had taken out a larger percentage of the population and Christianity had become a minor legend from a dead race. The dominant forces in the world then become Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and American Indian belief structures. It's not usually the sort of thing I read but I really enjoyed it.
I read that book back in high school, the scope and detail of the book was fantastic. Robinson showed someways that history may have been different, but at the same time tragically similar.
Scope and detail are Stan's hallmarks. He's one of the least sloppy writers I know.
Robinson is a excellent story teller. I loved the Mars Trilogy and Years of Rice and Salt. His latest series is a near future trilogy on the environment. 40 Days of Rain, 50 Degrees Below and 60 Days and Counting It's a very political, scientific and insider work.
I'm a bit surprised that nobody has mentioned the all-too-interesting Philip Jose Farmer or Theodore Sturgeon.

For more contemporary writers, I like KW Jeter, both his original works and his two Blade Runner sequels.
I was going to mention Sturgeon. I loved More than Human and The Dreaming Jewels.
Sturgeon is one of the best, even after all these years. I'm not sure there is a writer, SF or otherwise, with a finer body of shorter work than he. Some years ago, there was a series of books collecting all of his short stories, novelettes, and novellas edited by Paul Williams (yes, that Paul Williams: the short, Hobbit-ish song writer), and to re-read his stuff after so many years was a revelation. And the novels that PR Girl mentions were wonderful. It's worth a search on Ebay and elsewhere for these great, recent collections.
Check out Manly Wade Wellman.

http://www.manlywadewellman.com/

I first read one of his short stories in a SF digest in the '80's. The more of his work I've read over the years the more I'm convinced he's one of the most obscure and underappreciated talents ever.
Martin is good if you don't mind having your favorite characters killed off. (grin)

Seriously, he's a great writer and I've always like his stuff. But he does have a tendency to kill characters to whom I've taken a liking. My wife noticed that, too.
I have to say I am really enjoying working my way through Harry Turtledoves stuff right now. I was suggested to my by a buddy.

Speculative History is an interesting medium.
You have a long list of books to get through. Turtledove is a very prolific writer. As Science Fiction and Historical Fiction were two of my favorite genres, Alternative History satisfies both cravings.
Turtledove is the master of the genre, IMHO, although Harry Harrison also writes some excellent books - Stars and Stripes in Peril trilogy, the West of Eden trilogy and Rebel in Time
I would certainly concur about Harrison's Eden trilogy. It was superbly well realised world with a cracking narrative.

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