Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag at least fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what authors my friends choose.
J.R.R. Tolkien: Whenever I talk about research, talk about worldbuilding, it all comes back to this man
Arthur C. Clarke: Hard SF? Oh, coooool
Herman Melville: When I read Moby Dick everyone warned me about the "long boring part about whales." Then the Pequod sank and I realized that there were no boring parts
Greg Bear: Blew my mind with what hard SF was capable of.
Charles de Lint: Character, place, place as character, magic as character, lyricism...
Ian Fleming: This is what the original Bond was like? But... it's different from the movies...
Patrick O'Brian: My Cibola airship stories were going nowhere until I read Master and Commander. Yeah, I steal from him endlessly
Bart Ehrman: His books on early Christianity are endlessly fascinating, illuminating and informative, clearly showing how Fundamentalism is wholly unworkable in a literal sense
Howard Waldrop: Meticulously brilliant short story constructions
Joe Lansdale: I'm not a horror fan, but I'll read anything Joe writes. I've never met a more instinctive storyteller
Eric van Lihn (Lester Del Rey): Author of the first SF YA novel I ever read. I'd been devoted to non-fiction up until then
Ursula LeGuin: Introduced me to the concept of sociological SF
Homer: The birth of my love of mythology. 'Nuff said.
Mike Grell: Blew me away with his Green Arrow and showed me comics could work and entertainment for adults without flying lasers and alien invaders
Lois McMaster Bujold: Introduced me to modern space opera, and showed me fun adventure didn't have to be dumb
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