I didn't want to hijack eldersveld's so I'll start this one.
Favorite sci-fi writers, current ranking:
1. Alistair Reynolds - best writer of the decade. so prolific too.
2. Vernor Vinge (he needs to write more stuff )
3. Iain M Banks
4. Richard K. Morgan (although apparently he writes homoerotic fantasy now?)
5. Greg Bear
special mention for Larry Niven and William Gibson though their stuff feels terribly dated and 80s now.