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« Most English-speaking people … will admit that hold the door is beautiful, especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful. Well then, in Welsh for me cellar doors are extraordinarily frequent, and moving to the higher dimension, the words in which there is pleasure in the contemplation of the association of form and sense are abundant. »
– J.R.R. Tolkien
I can think ot two classical SF writers that can compete with the great Anglo-Saxons writers (Huxley, Orwell, Bradbury, Heinlein…) : Jules Verne and René Barjavel. They have both that strong vision and didactic style ; even if Verne is mostly SF by accident.
After that, we have some great storytellers, but no great writers like what can be found in Sci-Fi New Wave (Ballard, Disch, Dick, Brunner, Spinrad…)
I think the main difference would come from the nature of the writings ; a lot of French works are questioning the society and its evolutions (beginning far earlier than the American New Wave), while the American one is a lot more optimistic (apart from Cyberpunk subgenre) and with a tropism for space (and beyond !).
I don’t want to dismiss all the French SF litterature ; it’s only that, when in the Noir/Detective stories/criminal novels genre, we have great writers that can play on world level, Sci-Fi French writers don’t bring much to the table.
Of course, in cinema and comics books, the sci-fi creation is far more interesting and can be compared for its richness of themes and interogations to its US counterparts.
I’m not sure to quite understand your question – if your asking if I read it in French, I honestly don’t know if his books are available in other languages than English (he’s from Denver, Colorado).
Of course, L. Neil Smith is not the most known sci-fi writer, given he’s quite political (and not going in the S-F left leaning mainstream), and honestly, there are a lot of better writers on the market.
But anyway, his books are never boring, are quite well-put and well-thought out.
Given his taste for firearms – 10mm Auto will make a great comeback on Ceres in several years ;o) – I would compare him to several authors like John Ross (Unintended consequences), Larry Correia (Monster Hunters International), Stephen Hunter (Bob Swagger Trilogy), or Matthew Bracken (Enemies Trilogie).
I went to a theatrical adaptation of Boulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, by Jonathan Grossmann and an amateur troop in Fribourg. It was quite good, and a serious challenge to tackle.
Great writers and their cats : Albert Camus, Charles Bukowski, Jean Cocteau, Hermann Hesse, Roger Nimier, Yukio Mishima, James Ellroy, Jack Kerouac, Ernst Juenger and William Burroughs.