Welcome to a new series at SF Signal: Recommended Reading by Professionals!

In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven’t received the recognition they deserve.

Who am I?  Well, I’ve been a bookseller at a major chain store in Toronto for 10 years.  I’ve been exposed to a lot of books by large and small presses, and I’m amazed at how certain authors fall through the cracks of recognition, despite having written fantastic novels.  For the past 7 years I’ve run a blog where you can find author interviews, new author spotlights, book reviews and more.

I’m hoping this series will highlight some under-appreciated authors on a biweekly schedule, dependent of course on the responses I get.  I do have several posts lined up already, but I’m looking for more.  If you’re a professional and you’d like to participate, please contact me at jessica (dot) strider (at) gmail.com with “Recommendations” as the subject.

To get us started, here are some of my recommendations:

  1. Carol Berg – I normally like one or two series by an author and can’t get interested in other things they write.  Not so with Carol Berg.  She’s got several series, all different lengths (from a stand alone to a 4 book series) set in different worlds with different magic systems, types of characters, etc.  And despite coming up with new worlds and everything, she still manages to publish a book a year!  I have loved every book by her that I’ve read (and I’ve read all but her most recent 3, and that’s just because I haven’t had time to pick them up and read them all together – because hers are the kinds of books where you NEED to read the next  one immediately).  My only complaint with her work is that by the end of a series she’s punished her protagonists so much I’m not sure how they’re still alive and optimistic enough to keep going.  My favourite book is Transformation, as it’s got just enough humour to make the abuse the protagonist goes through not seem so grim.  But all of her books are fantastic.
  2. James Knapp wrote the brilliant Revivors trilogy.  His new novel, under the pseudonym James Decker, Burn Zone*, features an asian female protagonist and truly alien aliens.  His writing is tight and fast-paced and you’ve got to pay attention because things mentioned offhandedly in the novel come back as important clues later on.  If you want to give him a try, I’d start with State of Decay.
  3. Violette Malan has written 6 books, two involving contemporary Toronto and the realm of faery (starting with The Mirror Prince), and four secondary world fantasy novels (starting with The Sleeping God).  If you like books with strong paired male and female protagonists, I can’t recommend her work enough.

Stay tuned for the next post where we learn who Brandon Sanderson thinks we should be reading more of!

*So sorry I got the title wrong.  It’s Burn Zone not Burn Dive.  I’ll have to edit more carefully in future.  I’ve also added links to the authors websites so it’s easier to check out their work.

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