What is the most underappreciated book?
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READER: What book do you think really needs a champion?
Elaine Cunningham (co-author of The City of Splendors): J. Robert Kingâ€™s Arthurian trilogy, particularly the first book, Mad Merlin.Â If there were any justice in the world, Rob would routinely be mentioned in the same breath as Mary Stewart, T.H. White, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. (Friend Elaine)
Ed Greenwood (author of The Sword Never Sleeps): Boy, there are lots, but let me mention Way Down Cellar by Phil Stong, which captures growing up in America during a certain era perfectly, and is a hoot to read, to boot. Runner-up: Trigger Johnâ€™s Son, by Tom Robinson, in the same vein but deeper and less hilarious. In sf: Spider Robinsonâ€™s Time Pressure. In fantasy: for children, The Midnight Folk by John Masefield, and for adults, The Face In The Frost by John Bellairs.
Jak Koke (author of The Edge of Chaos): Singularity by Bill DeSmedt - this small press book won some awards, but was never picked up by a major publisher. It is seriously awesome - great characters, great plot, great premise. (Friend Jak)
Erin Evans (author of The God Catcher): Return to Laughter by Elenore Smith Bowen (nee Laura bohannan). Itâ€™s a novel based on her anthropological field work among tribes in Nigeria. Itâ€™s funny, eye-opening, and not the least bit dry. If youâ€™re an anthropology student youâ€™ve likely been assigned it at some point and were glad. If youâ€™ve never been an anthropology student, youâ€™ve probably never heard of it. But you should read it! (Friend Erin)
Mark Sehestedt (author of The Fall of Highwatch): Treasure Island. It set the standard for â€śadventure fictionâ€ť that writers still use today. And itâ€™s just a flat-out great book. If youâ€™ve never read it, get offline right now and get thee hence to thy nearest library! And donâ€™t rely on the movies. As good as many of the film adaptations have been, not one of them has captured the full magic. If you think you know Long John Silver because youâ€™ve seen the movies, you donâ€™t. Not one of the movies has managed to capture his character as Stevenson wrote him.
Richard Lee Byers (author of Unholy): I canâ€™t point to just one. There are many writers I like who arenâ€™t read very much anymore. But thatâ€™s the common lot of writers. Even if we achieve great popularity in our own time, most of us will eventually go out of print and be forgotten. (Friend Richard)
Philip Athans (author of A Readerâ€™s Guide to R.A. Salvatoreâ€™s Legend of Drizzt): The entire Watercourse trilogy (Whisper of Waves, Lies of Light, and Scream of Stone), which were written by me. I worked my butt off on those, and more people need to read them! (Friend Philip)
Erik Scott de Bie (author of Downshadow): All those on-spec manuscripts penned by all us fledgling writers that end up in all the slush-piles of agents and editors around the world. Represent, brothers and sisters! (Friend Erik)
Jaleigh Johnson (author of Mistshore): This is a hard one. The Shipping News is one of my all-time favorite books, but it won the Pulitzer, so it doesn't really qualify as under-appreciated, though it seems like I hardly ever see it on recommended or "must-read" lists. (Friend Jaleigh)
Richard Baker (author of Avenger): Anything by Stephen R. Donaldson? I know a number of people who refuse to read him based on the one scene in Lord Foulâ€™s Bane. Theyâ€™re missing out. I donâ€™t know of any other sci-fi/fantasy writer who can craft characters like he can. (Friend Richard)
Rosemary Jones (author of City of the Dead): I live with 2,000 beloved volumes and picking just one of my babies is tough. A highly underappreciated Edgar Rice Burrough's novel is The Mucker, his attempt to stuff everything into one adventure novel. It's a grand and glorious ride from mobsters in Chicago to pirates in the South Seas. You have to read The Return of the Mucker to appreciate the full story. (Friend Rosemary)
Bruce R. Cordell (author of City of Torment): Â The Necronomicon. I mean, come on,Â in just ten minutes, you can have shub-niggurath clawing at the threshold of reality right outside your door. And that's something! (Friend Bruce)
James P. Davis (author of Circle of Skulls): Nothing comes to mind as under-appreciated, but as far as books that I recommend at work go, very few people looking for a good book have ever heard of Mark Danielewskiâ€™s House of Leaves. And Iâ€™ve had very few people come back and say they didnâ€™t like it, so itâ€™s usually well-appreciated, just a bit unknown by most customers. (Friend James)