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This thread is for Thuvia. :-)

C. J. Cherryh. Stick to the SF, it's much better than her fantasy. Cyteen will blow you away. She's also got two great series about a human colony on a plane with an alien culture (starts with Foreigner) that is fantastic.

Robin Hobb - great textured fantasy, even if the ending will make you want to throw it across the room.

Guy Gavriel Kay - same as above, but with better endings. Really rich preudo-historical fantasy.

Brin, who 6 just mentioned, is fantastic hard SF that reminds me of Niven's style.

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars) that tells the story of the colonization and terraforming of Mars is absolutely fantastic. A lot like Stephenson in structure, but not quite as humorous.

Any other suggestions?

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