Hee hee hee, I do love me some internet clickbait. Number Five isn’t going to shock anyone I have ever met, unless you were some frat guy I was trying to sleep with in college and told you I loved watching baseball while we downed two six packs. In which case, you need a shock.
Anyway … onward to the list!
10. Ellis Weiner – I’m really only familiar with his Dune parody, Doon, but it still tickles me to no end. It is so spot-on in twisting Herbert’s style and I still cry out, “Steak for dinner sometime soon!” to the bemusement of anyone who knows I don’t eat meat.
9. William Kotzwinkle – Like many, I first discovered him through his novelization of E.T. The Extraterrestrial and its sequel, E.T.: the Book of the Green Planet (which rocks, BTW). I only discovered his whole series of Walter the Farting Dog books for kids, and I know I must own these, too.
8. Ron Goulart – I knew Goulart’s comic book work and somehow never knew he ghostwrote TekWar for Shatner … but it was his John Easy detective books that I fell in love with. I just this weekend found a Vampirella novel he wrote and I loved it.
7. Max Shulman – My dad had Rally Round The Flag Boys, and it was sooo racy for my pubescent sense of humor. Shulman had a deft sense of characterization and I reread that and Anyone Got A Match? every couple of years.
6. Richard Brautigan – I went back and forth about putting Brautigan on this list. I love his more surreal stuff, but the humor is bleaker than I normally like. Still, he was a formative influence on me, like Vonnegut, so he is here. Willard and His Bowling Trophies is my fave.
5. Erma Bombeck – Shocking? I know! I recently re-read The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank. Bombeck had such a great voice, and though she occasionally recycled jokes, her gentle and yet outrageous humor made me laugh.
4. Tom Robbins – If memory serves, I didn’t start with Still Life With Woodpecker, but with Another Roadside Attraction, which blew my teenage mind (and to my mind makes the perfect case for why Christianity is a big fat scam) . Get it. Absorb it. Robbins’ florid prose isn’t for everyone, but he is the Metaphor King and I love pretty much everything he’s written.
3. Terry Pratchett – For real LOLs almost every time. His earliest Discworld books didn’t catch me like the later ones, though. ANYTHING with Susan, Granny Weatherwax or Lord Vetinari is grand fun. Hogfather and Thief of Time are personal faves.
2. Vonnegut – Shaper of my whole writing style, he showed me such a new an different way of telling a story. I thought nothing could be funnier, even though it was always tinged with deeper and more brutal emotions. Cat’s Cradle is his ultimate book, in my mind. Still, while I love Vonnegut overall more than almost any other writer, my funniest author spot goes to …
1. Douglas Adams – Oh, his loss hurts me still! The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books are masterpieces and the Dirk Gently books are right behind them. If only I could read Oolon Colluphid’s “Who is This God Person Anyway?” for real …