Best Writer Ever?
A fellow writer asked me yesterday who my favorite writer was. My response is as follows:
You expect a reader to pick just one? Tough question, because [some writers] are good at specific things.
Political humor: P.J. O'Rourke, Matt Labash
Political analysis: Charles Krauthammer
Humor in general: Dave Barry
Science fiction: Poul Anderson, Kim Stanley Robinson
Essays: Joseph Epstein, John Podhoretz, Jerry Pournelle
Mainstream Novels: Mary Doria Russell
Philosophy: Ayn Rand (but her fiction is awful)
I'm trying to think of general-purpose writers who have done fiction and nonfiction or have written in multiple genres/formats. The ones that come to mind are: William Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Robert A. Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, and Harlan Ellison. And of that lot, I would still rate Shakespeare highest.
How about you? Who do you think is the best overall writer?