Tom's Favorite Authors

O.K., this list is a bit generic. But these people are the big names for a reason.
Isaac Asimov
He doesn't write bad books. Good characterizations as far as hard s.f. writers go.
Arthur C. Clarke
He also doesn't write bad books. Very hard science fiction, very well thought out.
Ray Bradbury
His books are different, and not all science fiction, but I've liked them all. Some of his short stories have a very odd frame of mind to them; similar to Edgar Allen Poe. All of his writing tends to be very poetic.
Robert A. Heinlein
O.K., he does write bad books. But all of his older books and short stories are simply excellent. Just don't waste your time reading The Number of the Beast.
Larry Niven
I Haven't read a lot, but so far, so good.
Frank Herbert
Always thought provoking, with big themes, but written so that I don't feel bludgeoned by those themes.