A World Out of Time, by Larry Niven
I can't help it. I just love everything Niven writes! Granted, it may be that, as the first science fiction author I ever read, he will forever hold a special place in my reader's heart. But I also think his writing is just flat out incredible. Niven is firmly a hard sci fi writer, but his characters hold so much more life than many hard sci fi authors can seem to muster. Perhaps it's his slightly British sense of humor, or the way he explains complex physics in ways that even I, someone who can barely add two numbers in her head, can understand, but he's also a fantastic storyteller. His books are engaging to the point where it's amazing if it takes me longer than a couple of days to read one. The ideas are highly original, something I value only slightly less than writing talent. This novel in particular reminds me of Wells' "The Time Machine," with the sense of voyeurism the reader experiences upon being granted a glimpse of our possible future. Coming back to Niven is like breathing fresh air after a long time underground. Tolstoy and Eggers are great, but I'll take Larry Niven any day of the week.