7 Modern Authors Whose Cultural Impact Will Endure
Most art doesn’t last; it’s at one level of popularity for a little while before fading into time, remembered only by its most diehard fans. Of course, occasionally art becomes bigger than it originally was — like Shakespeare or Jane Austen, some art endures for generations. It’s impossible to know what works or artists this will happen for, though some are easier to predict than others. Still, here are some authors I think have a very good chance of enduring longer than most…
Look, is Stephen King the most technically sound writer? Absolutely not, and his big problems probably start with his having a harder time wrapping up his books as they get longer. But he’s probably the most prolific writer who’s ever lived (he wrote under the Richard Bachman pseudonym because his publisher was sure that he would flood the market if he put out books at an even faster rate) and also one of the most popular. His books also frequently deal with 1) our relationship with God, 2) evil parents/ adults that exist in children’s lives, and 3) weird sex stuff. And those are themes that I can’t imagine will become irrelevant anytime soon.
Mel Brooks is probably one of the most beloved icons in comedy writing who’s ever lived, and because his writing was then produced in a visual medium (film/TV/theater) it might end up enduring longer than so many humorists of days past. Like, I love Mark Twain, but his books don’t really make me laugh, because I’m so disconnected from the time and experiences of when they were written. But Mel Brooks has a mountain of puns and visual gags written into his work, and that stuff ages pretty well.
Octavia Butler is probably the least known writer here, but she’s absolutely one of the best known modern sci-fi writers, and easily one its most critically beloved. Being immensely popular may help a writer endure for a long time, but having work that is pretty successful, while also being incredibly thematically rich and challenging is a great way to up your work’s relevance.
If you like a pop song that came out in the last to years or so, odds are very good that Sweden’s Max Martin either wrote it or was the primary influence on one of the other three guys who almost assuredly wrote it. “Since U Been Gone”, “…Baby One More Time”, and “I Kissed A Girl” are three of his 23 (!) Billboard number one songs. It’s too bad one of his three proteges, Dr. Luke, is also a massive piece of human garbage. Fun fact about enduring writers: Those kinds of damning personal details always get glazed over (it’s incredible, the number of people who won’t acknowledge that H.P. Lovecraft was a huge racist).
Alan Moore/Jack Kirby
The comic book writer who casts the biggest shadow over every super hero comic book you read now, Alan Moore’s complicated, dense, adult work is seen in modern comic books in a way that’s much deeper than the ultra grim and gritty style that someone like Frank Miller also used to help rejuvenate the comics industry (Miller’s books have aged much worse, given the times we live in). Of course, none of that would matter if not for Jack Kirby, the guy who laid the foundation of super hero comics writing for Alan Moore to then experiment with, and further flesh out.
lol no I’m kidding this dude sucks and his insanely popular books are trash.
You can see JK Rowling’s enduring legacy in the fact that half of the internet is only able to come up with political metaphors that come from her work. (I feel dumb even typing this out, because you know, but I am of course referring to Harry Potter.) The books go beyond “popular”; they’re an enduring work that children who weren’t even born when any of the books were published are still reading and obsessing over. They have a theme park, for God’s sake. Lots of Children’s books stay popular for decades, but Harry Potter seems like it will almost assuredly join the ranks of something like The Hobbit/ Lord of the Rings as a work of young adult fantasy that endures for an incredibly long time.
Notice that most of them are white men? Well, guess whose cultural contributions society tends to value more than others? Ha ha, what a sensational world we’ve made for ourselves!