Vernor Vinge does not write very many books, but when he does, science fiction fans of the world sit up and take note of its arrival. These books will completely change your expectations. They may spoil you for the lesser books out there….
FWIW I’m not fanatic about ALL his books (Marooned in Realtime makes me say meh) but starting with his Zones of Thought thread in 1992’s A Fire Upon the Deep, it’s all mind-expanding fun. You may say, why get riled up now for an author whose last book was published in 2006?
Well, because his book Children of the Sky is being published in October 2011 which is this month.
This is a continuation of the Zones of Thought multiverse, which was last visited in 1999.
As for percentage of excellence: Vernor has not published dozens upon dozens of books, but a significant MLB-pleasing percentage has won Hugo Awards. VV is close-to or exceeding GGK in terms of percentage-of-books that rank in my best-books-ever estimation.