Oh my, I can go on forever about books, As it happens, I am not reading any fiction at the moment. Currently reading Pascal’s Pensees, which is thought provoking even when I disagree with it, and the definitive biography of Winfield Scott Hancock (one of the best generals in the American Civil War and failed presidential candidate). Most recent fiction read was Shusaku Endo’s Silence (a Japanese classic) and Andy Weir’s Artemis (has plot holes, and I disliked the protagonist).
Like you, Xeldrak, I have been a big SF fan my whole life (except for 23 years when I gave it up, thereby missing the whole cyberpunk movement). I am particularly well-read in pre-Golden Age and Golden Age SF. I have been catching up with modern stuff via a book club (which led me to discover online go). Favorite SF novel, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. Other particular favorites: Bring the Jubilee, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Roadside Picnic, and Day of the Triffids Our book club read Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice a couple years ago, and I mostly liked it. The “modern” authors I like best are almost all dead, so I guess they are not that modern: D.G. Compton (the exemplar of SF as literature), the Strugatsky brothers, Stanislaw Lem, Jack Vance (the finest pure storyteller), Barrington J. Bayley, and Michael G. Coney.
I’m a huge Howard fan. I recommend the Solomon Kane stories (collected in a large Del Rey edition), which have a wonderful brooding quality. Also, his straight historical adventures are very good if you like that sort of story. But his pure horror stories may be best, especially the ill-named “Pigeons from Hell.”
My best friend has strongly touted that; I’ll have to look into it.
I do like his famous volume of reviews, In Search of Wonder, but haven’t read much of his fiction. However, I have great admiration for Kate Wilhelm’s work, especially the award-winning Where Late the Sweet Bird Sings.
Sigh, yes, I could go on and on and…