13 December 2005

Underrated Writers

At Syntax of Things, proprietors Jeff and TJ have put together a list of underrated writers based on a poll of various bookbloggers. Some people made lots of recommendations, but I find it difficult to figure out who is and who isn't underrated, so I pointed to just one writer: Tamar Yellin.


  1. Actually, quite a few of those writers don't seem under-rated, but instead over-rated. Esp Poppy Z. Brite. When I was in Highschool those Vampire books of hers was the cool thing for the Goth crowd to enjoy. Sort of like a pop-culture-ey Ann Rice. I got tired of hearing her name very quickly.

  2. I agree withi Paul above. I basically don't understand what is meant by "underrated"--underrated by whom? Jeff Ford, Carol Emshwiller, Maureen McHugh are all writers who have been winning major awards within the sf/f/h genre. Do the bloggers mean outside the field?

    And if so, I can't see how Rupert Thompson is underrated. His work always receives major review attention. (I disliked his novel The Insult intensely.)
    Ellen Datlow

  3. Although I can't confess to having great knowledge of every single author listed, it's not exactly a crowd full of strangers either. I like the idea/concept, but if one was hoping to get put on to new stuff you don't see listed on any number of sites (especially blogs/journals) one could be disappointed.

    'Esp Poppy Z. Brite'


    I like your Yellin choice; I loved Genizah, and looking forward to her collection next year.

  4. Yeha- from what I've read of Yellin, I agree with that being a great choice, and someone who really is under-appreciated. I myself am looking for new writers I haven't heard of- but that list really didn't give me anything new. Or anybody new.

    Maybe we should create an alternate list?

  5. I think it's important to note that "underrated" does not necessarily mean "completely and totally obscure". While the criteria may be broad, the basic idea as I interpreted it was for people to note writers they thought deserved more attention. Gwenda's choices, for instance, are likely household words for regular readers of her site or mine, but not so much for mainstream lit readers. I chose Tamar Yellin not because I thought people hadn't heard of her, but because I haven't seen her work get the kind of attention that it seems to me to deserve (more comprehensive reviews, maybe a profile in the NY Times...) And having just read Rupert Thomson's Divided Kingdom, I'll definitely support him being on there, because the book blew me away, and its not being included on the Booker Longlist does, indeed, seem a travesty and a perfectly good criterion of underrating. (I can't speak to his other books, because I've only read this one.)

  6. Ohhh how you tempt me, Tim! Beware what you ask for....or you could be covered in batshit......