Thanks to Adam from The Wertzone for the heads-up on this one.
A poll was carried out over at Westeros (the George R. R. Martin forum) asking members to vote for their favourite genre authors. The top 10 result was as follows:
1) George RR Martin
2) JRR Tolkien
3) R. Scott Bakker
4) Gene Wolfe
5) Robin Hobb
6) China Mieville
7) Steven Erikson
8) Stephen R. Donaldson
9) Joe Abercrombie
10) Frank Herbert
Admittedly the poll is rather subjective given that it was conducted on a George R. R. Martin forum, but to my mind Martin deserves 1st place. In short, he's the best writer of epic fantasy of all time. Although I do feel Feast was a let-down.
Abercrombie deserves his place in the top 10. He's written one of the most enjoyable fantasy trilogies of recent years, and deserves respect for managing to not just deliver books two and three on schedule, but also for maintaining the high standards he set with The Blade Itself.
Erikson was lower than I thought he would be. Bakker was much, much higher than I expected.
I'm always surprised by the popularity of Robin Hobb's works, especially given the poor reviews her more recent books have garnered from some quarters.
Notable absentees from the top-10 included:
Scott Lynch (11th place): while I thought Lies was a terrific novel, I thought Red Seas was a big disappointment. To my mind, he's not done enough to prove himself worthy of being in the top 10. If his next novel is as good as Lies (or somewhere close) then perhaps 11th place will be more justified.
J. K. Rowling, (no votes at all): I'm not surprised by Rowling's omission. I doubt many of the members on Westeros actually read Harry Potter and even if they did it's unlikely they'd vote for her. Plus, she's hardly endeared herself to serious fantasy fans, has she? First there was the "I don't write fantasy" nonsense that incurred the wrath of Terry Pratchett, among others, then the Hugo snub. On top of that, she's developed an alarming habit of suing the arse off anyone that so much as whispers "Harry Potter." So it's not hard to see why she's been ignored. In addition, she's not much of a writer. Great storyteller, certainly, but not a great writer.