Without further ado, "Bring out your dead!"
10. Brian Jacques--the wonderful Redwall series that made us all believe that the characters of Watership Down could go badass in the right authorial hands. Requiescat in pace.
9. Anne Rice--who is actually still alive, and therefore REALLY needs to write another in her Christ the Lord series. To be perfectly honest, however, I can live quite handily without her adding to the already over-bloated vampire fiction population.
8. Jean Plaidy--nom de plume of Eleanor Hibbert. Oh, my dear, how I would love to see what your take would be on the MODERN royal scandals and sagas of the day, if only you were here to write them! Requiescat in pace.
7. Tom Clancy--I honestly don't know whether to consider Tom in the still-alive category or not. They claim he is, but it's been so many years since he actually WROTE a book that has his name slapped somewhere on its cover that I have my doubts. I begin to suspect that he's like the Chinese emperor whose body was embalmed and toured the country in a carriage because the government feared there would be too much instability if word got out that he was dead! Tom, I miss YOUR books. I'm thoroughly weary of everyone ELSE writing "your" books, though.
6. Terry Pratchett--is definitely still alive, and very much still writing books, despite a diagnosis of Alzheimers, which kind of makes him my hero. Seriously. I include him on this list because, just for me, he needs to concentrate all his writing energies on keeping me supplied with new Nac Mac Feegle books the rest of my life, the darling wee scunners. Wee Free Men Forever!
5. L.M. Montgomery--Only in such a truly august company could the creator of my beloved Anne of Green Gables rank so comparatively low on the list. The world will always need about a dozen more of her books, even if we won't ever get them now. Requiescat in pace.
4. Chaim Potok--It seems I'm just going to keep raving about this man on my blog until SOMEONE finally says in the comments, "Okay, I surrender! I finally took your advice, read one of his books, and it WAS, indeed brilliant." Anybody going to go ahead and do that on behalf of all the rest of my readers? Because I promise you, the man was a genius, and the world has lost a great soul. Requiescat in pace.
2. Jane Austen--Unbelievable that Jane is the runner-up here, I know, but still I must eulogize her a bit. She was the first to teach the English-speaking world what strong, intelligent women could be, to decide for herself where her destiny lay, to prove to the world that a woman's mind could be the equal of any male writer's anywhere, and to lead the charge for staying single rather than settling for Mr. Wrong or Mr. "Eh". To her we owe every strong female character from Josephine March to Miss Marple. Without Jane Austen, there is no Hermione Granger, and we are all her spiritual daughters. Requiescat in pace.
1. J.K. Rowling--She's the only author in the world who could beat out Jane Austen for the top spot, and I can give her no higher praise than that. Ms. Rowling, the world is crying out for more of your extraordinary gift. Even if you have no more Harry to give, it would be a travesty of epic proportions to never again use the astonishing talent you've been given to entertain, educate and inspire your fellow man. Humanity needs your words, and I've never yet known a writer who could actually STOP writing. Please, miss, may we have some more?