It's nice to see a fantasy/sci-fi lit discussion coming up. I can echo your sentiments about the return to reading great sci-fi and fantasy at a later date, Mike. I've just got back into reading some old favorites that I had rejected long ago, after a long stint of only reading nonfiction and journalism. Somehow, in this warped time we live in, I feel allowed to return to the true and wonderful place of fantasy. I've jumped back into H.P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, and Clark Ashton Smith, whose stars seem to shine brighter even from the distance of first read to now. Amazing and beautiful as ever, but offering something deeper to me this time, a commentary on the age we live in, a state of wonder long lost but found again...At this point, actually, it feels like fantasy/sci-fi, especially of an older cast, is the only thing worth reading among fiction.
Among newer writers, I am a fan of Gibson, but only enjoyed half of 'Spook Country', the rest feeling kind of limp and over-programmed (but the first half really was genius), and also enjoyed China Mieville's 'Perdido Street Station' and 'The Scar'. Anyone checked these out?