Have You Ever Binge-Read An Author?

A couple of weeks ago I picked up Songs of the Dying Earth, Subterranean Press’ collection of short stories as an homage to Jack Vance’s Dying Earth stories. In the forward, Dean Koontz explains how, after reading his fist Dying Earth book, he rushed out and bought every Vance book he could find.

That got me to thinking about how often that has happened to me, and it hasn’t happened as often as you might think. In total? 4.

I’ll list the authors in no particular order:

  • David Brin – Somewhere around 1989 09 ’90, I picked up Brin’s Startide Rising. I was so blown away with the setting and the story, I went out and bought and read everything I could of Brin’s at that time. That included The Practice Effect, Sundiver, The Postman and Heart of the Comet, among a couple of others. I’ve read everything he’s put out since then.

  • Iain M. Banks – Around the same time as I was picking up Brin’s stuff, I ran across a little book called Consider Phlebas, which was filled with all kinds of juicy space opera goodness, an awesome setting and a bit of dark humor. I just had to read more about the Culture and its citizens. So, of course, I picked up everything I could find of his, which, sadly, at that time was only Phlebas, Use of Weapons and The Player of Games. So I did the unthinkable: I branched out and actually picked up one of his non-SF (I know!) books as well, The Bridge. Since then, I’ve read every SF novel Banks has produced, because he’s that good.
  • Tim Powers – Here I sorta of carefully walk off the 100% pure SF reservation. I picked up The Anubis Gates (I’ve noticed a trend here, I’ve binged on all of these authors somewhere between 1989 to 1991) and thought it was incredible. So you know what happens next. Powers had written several books by then, including The Drawing of the Dark and Dinner at Deviant’s Palace (where you can really see his later slant on stories really emerging). I’ve read everything Powers has produced since then, including what I consider his best book, Declare.
  • Last up, Dan Simmons. You probably know which book I’m going to refer to. Yup, Hyperion. That was the book that I would say to others, “You have to read this!” Of course, at that time, his only other books out that I could find were Carrion Comfort and Summer of Night and The Fall of Hyperion, so I read, and enjoyed, all those and I’ve read everything his read ever since.

But what about you, our readers? What authors impressed you so much that you rushed right out and bought everything you could find of their’s to read? Tell us in the comments!

38 thoughts on “Have You Ever Binge-Read An Author?”

  1. My name is Stu and I’m an author binger.

    Ian M. Banks is my current poison (currently reading Excession but I’ve also read most his non-SF books). However, Asimov is the author I’ve really gorged on. I think I read all the Foundation books (including the below-par non-Asimov ones) in a period of 2 months. I had to take a break from Sci-Fi after that as I’d started to live my life according to Asimov’s three laws instead of the laws of the land.

  2. Not as much as I used to.

     

    These days, I read widely, so much so that friends usually zoom ahead of me in series that I might discover first (e.g. The Malazan novels).  That said, last year, thanks to a publisher wanted to promote her books, I read all of the Carrie Vaughn “Kitty” novels back to back.

     

    If I read more than 2 or 3 novels by one author in a year, otherwise, that’s a lot.

     

     

  3. The authors I have binged on:

    -  Orson Scott Card – Worth it.  At least every book connected to Ender’s Game is worth it.

    -  David Brin – Everything is awesome.

    -  Peter F. Hamilton – 90% awesome.

    -  Barry Eisler (Recent and not SF)

    -  Frank Herbert – Dune is spectacular and the follow-up books are good.  Do not read ANY of the ones written by Kevin J. Anderson/Brian Herbert…just terrible.

    - Jack Campbell – Lost Fleet Series (nothing earth shattering, but entertaining)

     

    Authors I thought would be good binge material but weren’t:

    -  Ian M. Banks – I know a lot of people like him, but I could barely finish Consider Phelbas.  His universe is cool, but he didn’t make me like or dislike any of the characters at all.

    - Charles Stross

  4. John M. Ford – after I read “The Final Reflection”, I went on a quest to read everything he ever wrote

    Thomas Pynchon.

    Steven King – I do regret it though.

    Robert Heinlein.

    One time I ended up with a broken ankle over summer, and I read every single Perry Mason mystery by Erle Stanley Gardner in my father’s library. The best summer of my youth.

     

  5. I binged on Iain M Banks as well, following my purchase of “Against A Dark Background”. Unfortunately I ended up suffering from Banks burnout and I still have Matter waiting for me…

    I binged on China Miéville, as well. He hasn’t published nearly as many books as the authors mentioned in the main post, but after Perdido Street Station I had to read everything else he’d written. The Scar, Iron Council and King Rat were read cover to cover within a week.

    I’m currently binging on Alastair Reynolds – I picked up Revelation Space several years ago and couldn’t get into it. I finished Revelation Space during my finals (hah), and subsequently bought every one of his novels.

    Not sure it’s a good thing though, authors I’ve binged on I don’t tend to return to or get excited when they release something new…

     

  6. Hi, my name is Mike, and I’m a repeat author binger. In fact, I will go so far as to say, I have an author binging problem.

    I like my stories long, drawn out, and complex, and the only way to do that is to find one that’s across multiple volumes. 

    And I don’t like waiting for “the next book.” No, I’ve been burned by that stick more than once, and its not for me. I like to read a series from start to finish, in as close to a single gasp as I can. And I can only do that, without waiting for years, if I wait to start to dive into an author until they’ve finished their current work.

    But is it really so wrong? I mean, sure, people like me us distort the publishing industry’s expectations, but we have needs too, right? So we waited to read the Malazan novels until they got to book six or seven; so we didn’t start the whole Kevin Anderson Hidden Empire series until years after it ended; yes, I waited for Reynolds to finish an arc before picking it up. When I did pick them up, I read them in a complete package, start to finish.

    (I just realized this comment is going on and on, so, ah, that’s all I had to say. Thanks folks.)

  7. It’s very rare for me to author-binge — with the one exception of the first 4 books in Mike Resnick’s Starship series — mostly because I prefer variety and will easily overdose on a single author’s style.

  8. I’ve certainly done it dozens of times. 

    Robert J. Sawyer is the first to come to mind.  I started with his Neanderthal series and from there went out and bought all his other available books most of which are wonderful. 

    Jasper Fforde grabbed me the quickest.  After I read The Eyre Affair I had to go out and buy every book he has written.  Now I am slowly replacing my copies with hard cover first editions as I find them.

    After I read the first Dresden Files I had to go out and get the other 7 available at the time and devoured them over a 2 week period.  The same happened with Simon R. Green’s Nightside series although I’ve stayed away from his other stuff so far.

    My main problem is I also buy complete series and they sit on my shelf.  I have all of Naomi Novik’s books and Sanderson’s Mistborn series, but I haven’t actually read them yet. 

     

  9. I’m in the midst of a Philip K. Dick binge. In order:

    • The Man in the High Castle
    • The Simulacra
    • Divine Invasion (read before I realized it was the sequel to Valis)
    • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
    • Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
    • Martian Time-Slip (my current favorite)
    • Our Friends from Frolix 8
    • Radio Free Albemuth

    I’m also in the process of collecting the Boom! Studios DADOES? comics, which are fantastic. In the queue (and in no particular order):

    • A Scanner Darkly
    • Ubik
    • The Zap Gun
    • The Ganymede Takeover
    • Dr. Bloodmoney
    • Now Wait for Last Year
    • And one short story collection. And, I’m sure, more of his novels and short stories I will pick up in the months to come…
  10. I’m a binge reader pure sang:

    • Ian M. Banks (SF and non SF: the wasp factory was amazing)
    • Alastair Reynolds
    • Jack Vance
    • Asimov
    • Clark
    • Heinlein
    • Stephen King
    • Philip K. Dick
    • Ursula leGuin
    • Neal Asher
    • Frank Herbert
    • Neal Stephenson
    • John Windham
    • Orson Scott Card
    • Fritz leiber
    • Lovecraft
    • Peter F. Hamilton

    to name just a few…

    Really I could go on and on and on. Must be a disease of sorts. ;-)

    Some of them I read again and again. Never get bored…

  11. When I was (much) younger, I did this sort of thing all the time – growing up in the late seventies/eighties meant that pretty much every SF/Fantasy author I latched onto would precipitate a massive binge of dozens of wonderful “new” books – Heinlein, Niven, Moorcock, Burroughs, Herbert, Asimov, Clarke – all, the usual suspects. In my twenties, I binged on Vonnegut at one point – reading everything over the course of about three months (which kind of messed with my head a bit.)

    More recently though, I find I’ve managed to keep up with the writers I’m interested in with a few notable exceptions:

    Robert J. Sawyer – I bought “Illegal Alien” off a crappy airport bookrack in 2001 (it was the only decent-looking book there) and by the time I’d finished my flight (and the book) I resolved to buy up everything he’d written to date – I went through his first 11 novels over the next half-year, and have kept up with him ever since.

    Like everyone else here it seems, Iain M. Banks – a year and a half ago I hadn’t read any of his SF books – now I’ve read them all.

    Alastair Reynolds – Same deal: I’ve ripped through all but his most recent two books (which are waiting on my “to-read” shelf) in the last year.

  12. I binge read Glen Cook’s Black Company books a number of years ago. I think this is fairly typical when uncovering a ‘new’ author (or new-to-you author). You realize that this person has ten books that you somehow missed and you dive in to get them all read as fast as possible.

  13. I’ve only really done it once and it was 15 – 20 years ago when I read every single thing I could find by Frank Herbert. Dune influenced my life and how I felt about what I read more than any other book ever has.

  14. I usually find one author per year I haven’t read. I’ve read Dune many times throughout the years,but I finally read all of them in 2007. In 2008 I found Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files and read all of them.Last year it was David Weber’s Honorverse series and have most of them on the book shelf.This year looks like it will be R.A.Salvatore’s Drizzt Do’Urden stories.

  15. I’ve done that.  A lot.  The List:

    Dennis L. Mckiernan.  Picked up ‘Dragondoom’ while running through the airport in Atlanta trying to catch my flight.  Forgot my book at home and wanted something to read.  Cover looked interesting so I grabbed it and read it on the flight.  Got to my hotel in Florida and kept right on reading.  Next day, I found a local book store and bought everything else by him I could find.  When I returned home, I hit a used book store and bought the out of print stuff.

    L.E. Modesitt Jr.  Having read ‘The Magic of Recluse’, I wanted more so I went out and bought the next two books only to realize that they weren’t really sequels but, rather, prequels.  It took several books to get back to the people from the first book, but I read them one after the other for a week til I got there.

    Anne Rice.  Discovered these books, read them as fast as possible.

    Frank Herbert.  Dune series.  ‘Nuff said.

    C.J. Cherryh.  Her Fantasy ‘Fortress’ series – I couldn’t put it down.

    Tad Williams.  Dragonbone Chair – that whole series of books.

    Also: Jim Buthcer, Terry Goodkind (until they sucked), Tom Clancy, Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin, Harry Turtledove, Lary McMurtry… I think I have a problem.

    ~P

    @atfmb

  16. @Victoria

    I binged on Stephen King too, and you’re right, it is regrettable. For me, b/c once I finished ‘Insomnia’, I realized that nearly everything he’s written in the past ten years is just a riff on everything he’s written before.

    As for my binges:

    Terry Pratchett. Read ‘Small Gods’, and began reading everything he’d done.

    Stephen Baxter, starting with ‘Anti-Ice’.

    John Varley. ‘Steel Beach’ was awesome, then I discovered hs Gaea Trilogy.

    Christopher Moore. Go and buy ‘Lamb’ right now. It’s amazing.

    Neal Stephenson. The Baroque Trilogy has to count as a binge, doesn’t it?

    Piers Anthony. Xanth. Don’t judge me, I was eight.

    Kage Baker. On my buy on sight list ever since ‘In the Garden of Iden’.

     

  17. Not so much these days, but I did binge read all of the George R. R. Martin books as well as Elizabeth Haydon’s Rhapsody trilogy (which I think is one of the most underrated series in fantasy). 

    I have binge read a few non-sci-fi authors as well.  Most notably Tom Perotta and Chuck Klostermann.

  18. The first time I ever did that was with the Harry Potter series.  I had held out as long as I could (don’t know why now!) and then when I read the 1st book, I finished it in a night and when out and bought the next 3 and read them all in 3 days.  Then I did the same with Mary Stewart.  Anything of hers that I could get my hands on over the course of a month!  Love doing that!  Need to again soon.

  19. heinlein

    ian mcdonald

    mieville

    niven’s ringworld series + the 3 books dealing with the world before the ringworld series

    dorothy sayers

    steinbeck

     

  20. I am a chronic author binge reader. Currently I’m doing the rare thing and binging on a few at once. I’m working on Terry Pratchett (I finally read a Discworld book a few weeks ago and now I’m buying the books as fast as my budget allows), Jim Butcher and Jim C. Hines (just finished his princess books and I am looking forward to starting the goblin books). Previous binges included (in roughly chronological order):

    Anne McCaffrey

    Isaac Asimov

    Elizabeth Moon

    Orson Scott Card

    Ursula Le Guinn

    Terry Brooks

    David Eddings

    Piers Anthony

    Agatha Christie (I know she’s not SF/F, but she’s the only non-genre author I’ve binged on, so she’s worth mentioning)

    Terry Goodkind

    Tamora Pierce

    Patricia Briggs

    Carrie Vaughn (I have to admitt to loving her Kitty books)

    Mercedes Lackey (I haven’t read all her books, but I do own all the Valdemire books)

    Neil Gaimen (how I didn’t discover him earlier is beyond me)

    Fables, by Bill Willingham (amazing graphic novels if you haven’t read them 

    S.L. Viehl

    Ursula Vernon (author of the web comic Digger, that I love so much I had to include here)

    I think I’m missing a few, but those are the main ones (and the ones I still have all the books for). I hope my next Discworld book is in the mail when I get home today…

     

  21. Does it count as author binging when it’s just through one series?  If so then I have countless times, probably with almost every sci-fi or fantasy series I’ve read, most recently George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones series.  But it usually doesn’t cause me to read anything outside of whatever series has caught my interest.  That seems to be reserved for literary authors, where I fall in love with a voice instead of a particular story.  Salinger, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Carver… and on and on.

  22. I often read everything I can by an author I love, but I usually buy them as I see them and space them out so that I can enjoy them throughout the years.  In terms of that I’ve read almost all of are LeGuin, Wolfe, Heinlein, Lafferty, Robert Charles Wilson, Kress, Wright, Martin, Benford, McDonald, Bishop, Powers, McKillip, Gilman, Arnason, Theodora Goss, Nicola Griffith, Vernor Vinge, Vonda McIntyre…

    And everythng by Silverberg, Delany, Zelazny, Simak, Reynolds, Robson, Swanwick, MacLeod, Link, Ryman, Varley, Brin, Beagle, Bester, Cordwainer Smith, William Tenn, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Tiptree, Kelley Eskridge, Joan D. Vinge…

    I find someone I like and buy everything I can find and then throughout the years I take down whatever I’m in the mood for and read it.  Therefore, my “to be read” shelf is overflowing!

  23. I haven’t really binged on anyone since around the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, when I first discovered the SF/F genre. That covered folks like Tolkien, Robert Howard/L. Sprague deCamp’s “Conan” stuff, Jack Chalker, and so on — pretty much anything I could get my hands on at thatpoint. Later on, I bought Zelazny whenever I saw him. Ditto Gene Wolfe & Sean Stewart. Same for a few others for a while.

    Now, I don’t so much binge as have a few select authors that I keep on my “auto-buy” list; people whose next book (or a I book I missed) I will buy without hesitation (some genre, more not, as it turns out). I think as time has gone on, I’ve become pickier about who I will buy simply on faith and instead rely on the book actually working for me when I skim through it in the store.

  24. Up until the 1980s or 1990s, there was more of a recognized canon in science fiction. There were the Golden Age superstars, the refiners of the 1950s, the New Wave, and a period of consolidation in the 1970s. So it was more clear who the essential authors were, and less likely that you would miss an important author for a long time and then suddenly discover him or her. A book like The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction could still summarize the entire field in one volume, and at the same time reflect the conventional wisdom about the science fiction canon.

    I think Star Wars and the eventual domininance of media tie-ins started to spell the end of that. As other media, games, audiobooks, internet appeared, the field became more and more splintered. The publishing industry itself underwent massive changes, merging, shrinking, changing its fundamental marketing strategy. Books go out of print much more quickly; the rate of turnover is faster; the institutional memory is shorter. Now it’s much easier to miss a great or important author for a long time, and then suddenly go on a binge or at least a rediscovery phase. That’s especially true if one is still finding and learning the older generations (pre-1960s or 70s) of authors instead of growing up with them as widely recognized classics.

    All the authors I have “discovered” and binged on have been authors who started writing in the 1980s or 1990s. Those who started writing in the 2000s get enough coverage online that learn about them by the time they write two or three books. So now it’s less likely I’ll miss one that I want to read, or at least, that’s my hope.

    There are plenty of authors who I try to read everything they write, but my most recent binge was Joe Abercrombie.

     

     

  25. For me the most recent author was Neal Asher. Once I read “The Skinner” I knew I had to read as many others as I could get my hands. Also the same with Mieville after reading “Perdido Street Station.”

    The one I regret most is George RR Martin due to the utterly insane amount of time between books on Fire and Ice series, and the gaps just keep getting longer and longer.

  26. Very few things make me happier than discovering a binge-worthy author. In the past fifteen years, I’ve binged on the following fantasy authors, in more or less this order:

    • Robert Jordan
    • Mercedes Lackey
    • Piers Anthony
    • David Eddings
    • Anne Rice
    • Neil Gaiman
    • Guy Gavriel Kay
    • Robin Hobb
    • Ellen Kushner (provided four books counts as a binge)
    • Sarah Monette
    • Anne Bishop

    And I’d gladly have binged on Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch and Ysabeau S. Wilce, except none of them had published more than two books when I discovered them.

  27. Gene Wolfe
    Tim Powers
    Philip K. Dick
    William Gibson
    Barry Hughart
    Robert Holdstock
    Jonathan Carroll
    Lucius Shepard
    Robert Rankin
    James P. Blaylock
    K. W. Jeter
    Terry Pratchett
    Joe R. Lansdale
    Charles Stross
    Carl Hiaasen et al.

  28. @chad

    Consider Phlebas was the first Banks novel I ever read, and it left me really disappointed.  I even had trouble finishing it. I had the same complaint as you, in that I didn’t really care for any of the charcaters.

    I am so glad I forced myself to continue on to Player Of Games. I loved it, and have read all the rest of Banks’ culture novels with some non-sci-fi and non-Culture  thrown in too.

    Most Banks fans speak highly of Consider Phlebas, and even Banks himself feels if any of his books should be made into movies it’s that one. I, however, strongly recommend that anybody new to Banks start with a different book and work Phlebas into the fold later.

     

  29. Oddly enough it was Steve Perry who started me on binges after school.  On a whim I picked up at a used book store “The 98th Step” and its martial arts science fiction and clean pulp story telling had me tracking down the rest of his books – at the time paying a premium for the Matadora paperback series.

    In high school, college and just after I consumed the Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, Tolkien, Moon, and later Bujold.  Never got into Bujold’s fantasy, however, but I am now slowly starting those.

    Recently was Terry Pratchett who is now a must read.

     

     

     

     

  30. Have I binge read an author?  Have I ever!

    Stephen King.

    Dean Koontz.

    Isaac Asimov.

    Ayn Rand.

    Alan Moore.

    Warren Ellis.

    Spider Robinson.

    Donald Westlake.

    etc…..

    It seems that every year or so, I’ll discover a new author who’ll blow my mind open a little wider, and then I have to go and consume anything I can find by that author until my lusts are sated and I couldn’t possibly consume another word.

  31. With a few exceptions, I pretty much never read the same author back-to-back.  However, sometimes I will read an author I like and then seek out and buy 1st editions of everything they have written.  Those are the books I will go to when I need a sure thing.  I get excited to read them, but save them for those occasions.  Binge buying?

    • Alastair Reynolds
    • Neal Asher
    • Neal Stephenson
    • Steve Erickson
    • Charles Stross

     

  32. I have certainly went through mini-binges in my life.  Neil Gaiman was probably the first that I can remember.   When I started reading his stuff there wasn’t much of it, but I got all that was to be had and devoured it.  John Scalzi was the same way.  When I picked up Old Man’s War I tore through it, Ghost Brigades, and Android’s Dream as quick as I could.  I’ve went though Asimov and  Heinlein binges at times, currently on a Heinlein binge right now, picking up used copies of his earlier stories (because I like some of the old cover art) and devouring them quickly. 

    Great post JP.  The ability of fiction to do this to us is one of the many reasons why reading is such a phenomenal pleasure.

  33. Funny – JP did tell everybody (well, at least me) to read those authors and then I too binge read them (sometimes borrowing his copies, sometimes not.)  I’m better for it though, that’s for sure!

  34. Once,

    Many years ago I read Piers Anthony’s “On a Pale Horse.” I liked it so well I read 9 other books by the author. By the end (the first three books of the Adept series), I was bored with it.

    While the Anthony is a good author, he (as many auhtors do) recycles characters form book to book and series to series. The lead character in book x may not be the same character in book y, but his side kick is. Reading his books became to predictable.

    Now I rarely read more than one book by the same author in a year. Don;t worry, there’s plenty of good authors out there (I read 150-300 books a year).

     

    Cheers,

     

    Rich

  35. @Jason

     

    Some how I had missed Banks over the years and I thought I had found a treasure trove considering how highly regarded he is for the Culture series.  I picked Consider Phelbas for my first Banks’ novel precisely because so many people said it was great.  As we both metioned it didn’t quite live up to it’s billing.

     

    Thanks for the advice I may have to put Player of Games on my to read list since you had a similar experience with Consider Phelbas.  Though, I am gun shy right now.

  36. My name is John C. Wright. I am both a binge reader, and, unfortunately, a binge writer.

    Perhaps my first binge was E.E. “Doc” Smith, where I bought every book in his LENSMAN series and in his SKYLARK series and read them straight through at one go.

    Or perhaps my first binge was A.E. van Vogt and Jack Vance. Back in the days before the Internet, back in the days before chain bookstores, you would find science fiction paperbacks only in used bookstores or tiny nook stores. The only bookstore that stocked nothing but SFF back in my day was a tiny shop called Moonstone Bookseller (or maybe it was Book Cellar, I dunno which) and my Dad drove me to the store, and handed me a fifty, and I bought and bought and bought. Everything with A.E. van Vogt’s name on it (mostly Daw paperback with the yellow spine) everything with Jack Vance’s name on it, including a hardback I could bearly afford, with plates by Stephen Fabian called MORREION (incorporated as a chapter in RHIALTO THE MARVELLOUS). To this day I recollect the sour look of the book seller as I examined his hardback, and him cautioning me not to crack the spine — I, who have never cracked a spine in my life, not of books, in any case! — and I wondered at his lack of forthought, chiding a customer who was prepared to drop half a c-note on him.

    No, these were not the first. At the local library, when I was bearly old enough to peer over the librarian’s desk (which was at nose-level), I checked out every book in the Oz series by L. Frank Baum (Royal Historian of Oz), and then all I could find of the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, all I could find of the Pyrdain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, and everything I could find by Hugh Lofting, and Ursula K. Leguin, and, and …

    It starts young.

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