Reading for writers: who should science writers read to improve their own work?

Following some conversations with fellow writers over the weekend, I've been thinking critically about writing - both my own and that of others. When I first started writing about science, it naturally stemmed from reading the work of very good science writers, and true to form my first steps were wholesale imitations of these people. Lately though, I find myself reading far more fiction authors, who tend to have a  much richer style, elements of which I hope I can bring across in to non-fiction. There's a trend lately for narrative-led long form in the vein of breathless pop fiction novels, and if I'm honest I don't care much for that, but I recognise that it's a format that works.  There are better ways.

So the question is, who should I read, to improve my own writing? By that, I don't just mean "who are the great writers?". I adore Ballard, but his skill is so deft each book is a perfectly-tailored garment: it's almost impossible to see the seams. Having read hundreds of thousands of his words, all I've really learned is his habit for killer opening lines. So, I put that question out to my Twitter followers - here are some of the replies.

 

Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments...

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