Re: The Greats have gone
There are a lot of great authors out there.
The problem when comparing old authors to new ones is that only the most popular books survive to be published 30 years on. That makes it easy to identify old masters, but not so much the current ones.
There is also so much more out there, with smaller publishers/self published books/translations etc.
And more people of course.
Hard to find the jewels in the dross.
but for a start try
Peter F Hamilton (apart from night's dawn, mostly due to the ending).
Stephen Baxter (early stuff mostly)