Niven hasn't been able to write his way out of a paper bag since (and he had plenty of help from Jerry Pournelle, who can write but can't think) The Mote in God's Eye. Ringworld had 1 (one!) cute engineering idea (not even the authors) decently extrapolated and then horribly ruined by Niven's terrible characters and plot. His entire "known space" universe should be chucked off into an abyss.
Haven't been able to get into Bova, tried a few times with his older stuff but never seemed well written to me either (I should try his more recent stuff, what I've tried in the past has generally involved the Soviet Union still being a power in the Solar System and that kinda dampens any suspension of disbelief right off the bat)
Critchon's best days are WAY behind him, he wrote some really really good stuff but he's had a string of utter stinkers that should never have been published (JP2, Timeline, Airframe, the current anti-global warming one whose name escapes me at present). Where is the man who wrote The Andromeda Strain or Sphere? The best he can up with is an idea that was better executed by Tom Clancy?!
I have enjoyed Morgan's stuff even if its sometimes too lurid for its own good (Altered Carbon and Broken Angels, the second one of which got undeserved bad press). His latest was godawful though, I think he must have signed a three book contract or something because it was atrocious. Its sitting on my bookself and right now I'm thinking of burning it instead of giving it to the library. Orson Scott Card's latest Ender book was fine (if only because the man cannot write a story that isn't emotionally compelling) but hardly sci-fi (or thematically interesting in any way).
Finished Douglas Adams first Dirk Gently book last night, very wierd stuff, took me 3 hours after I was finished reading it to put the pieces together as to what had actually happened (Thank god someone bothered to post the complete works of Coleridge with footnotes on the net!). Guess I will try the second (and last) of those tonight, which will mean I've read everything the poor dead bastard wrote (novel-wise anyway). And I'll be completely out of books to read until the last two 2nd Uplift Trilogy books by Brin I've been saving for vacation (and which I'm sure won't be anywhere near as good as Startide, but then again what would be?)
Wow this conversation is really depressing me...