15 February 2004

Underrated and Overrated

In response to my post about David Bunch, The Website at the End of the Universe offers a short post on science fiction's most underrated and overrated writers. Suggestions for underrated writers were: Gordon R. Dickson, Richard C. Meredith, Allen Steele and Barrington Bayley. (I'm actually hoping to write some about Bayley soon, if I can get through a pile of reading I'm behind in and refresh myself on some of Bayley's work.) The overrated list is far more controversial -- William Gibson, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, Connie Willis. The author's own pick is one I can't disagree with more strongly: Samuel R. Delany. It would be a more interesting discussion, I think, if there were reasons given for why these writers either deserve more or less attention. Gibson, Herbert, Heinlein, Willis, and Delany might not be to your particular taste in reading, but what are their flaws, how are they meretricious or superficial, what qualities are the readers who find them important judging incorrectly? Anybody can say, "So-and-so sucks!", but the opinion doesn't gain any worth until it is supported with evidence and argument.