Ian M. Banks - Surface Detail
Mr. Banks writes big, chewy, hard sci-fi novels, packed with fantastic characters and plenty of dry wit. He is one of a small group of authors whose books I will grab based on the enjoyment I have gotten from previous works. I must confess, however, that I didn't really like his last book -
Eric Flint - 1635: The Eastern Front
This is the most recent book in the Ring of Fire series. These books are a little frustrating in that they have excellent continuity, but some of them are harder to find than others. That means that there tend to be gaps in what I've read. Flint is an interesting author in that he collaborates quite freely - this series, in particular, works very much like a shared universe. Flint established the concept - a small mining town in West Virginia is suddenly catapulted backwards into the 1630s, in the middle of Europe, and in the middle of the 30 years war - and has since then allowed other authors to play in his sandbox. This book, however, is Flint himself, by himself.