People often ask what writers do I read, and what are my influences. I figured that was a great subject for a blog post. First, the big picture.
I've been reading science fiction pretty much since I started reading. The earliest science fiction I remember reading was A Wrinkle in Time, which I think is probably formative for a lot of science fiction writers. I read a lot of hard SF as a kid, teenager and young adult (and, actually, I still read a fair bit of it.) I'd say that in a big picture sense, science fiction writing by women has been by far the biggest influence on my writing.
More specifically, I think if I had to name the eight most influential science fiction authors for me, it would be, in roughly this order: Sherri Tepper, Octavia Butler, Ursula LeGuin, Larry Niven, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Elizabeth A. Lynn, Mary Doria Russel (who isn't strictly a SF author), and Robert Heinlein.
I've been influnced by the literary fiction of Margaret Atwood and Marge Piercy (they both also write SF on occasion).
I'm also influenced by Movies and TV. Biggest influencers there are Star Trek (particularly Deep Space Nine) and Babylon 5.
What also influences my work is just life on this planet – more on that in future posts.