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  1. #151
    Senior Member Damiean Dark's Avatar
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    Any fans of the classic Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks from Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone?.

    They started publishing in the early 80s up the 90s then resumed in the 2000s.

    Classics like:

    Night Dragon

    Deathtrap Dungeon

    Warlock of Firetop Mountain

    Caverns of the snow Witch

    Midnight Rogue

    Seige of Sardath.

  2. #152
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    I can't believe no one has mentioned Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Pat Rothfuss,Peter Brett or Scott Lynch. If you really are a fantasy fan then you should know these names.

  3. #153
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    Red face

    My tastes are for the older stuff with which I grew up. Here's a list of stuff I define as "best" because I'd like to reread it.

    THE BROKEN SWORD-- Poul Anderson
    HOBBIT and LORD OF THE RINGS-- Tolkien
    FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD-- McKillip
    CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT-- Donaldson
    THE GODS ABIDE-- Thomas Burnett Swann
    CONAN THE CONQUEROR-- REH
    THE GODS OF MARS-- Burroughs
    THE SHIP OF ISHTAR-- A. Merritt
    JACK THE GIANT KILLER & DRINK DOWN THE MOON-- deLint
    THE GOLDEN KEY-- George MacDonald

    (Hey, Trentjun, how many of these names above do YOU know?)

  4. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by berk View Post
    Matthew E: I had a similar experience with Titus Groan the forst time I tried to read it, many years ago. I just couldn't get into it at all, and gave up after 2 or 3 chapters. And when I tried again last year, I still had a hard time, but after about 80 pages or so, it started to click for me, and I became immmersed in that world for the rest of that book and its sequel, Gormenghast. The 3rd one, Titus Alone is very different in style and tone, much more modern feel, but equally strange and rivetting in its own way.

    Shellhead: I found the characterisation one of the strongest aspects of the series. And I just loved Fuchsia, esp in Gormenghast.

    A few other favourites I don't think were mentioned:

    The Worm Ourobouros -E. R. Eddison
    Eddison wrote around the same time as Tolkien IIRC, but definitely followed his own path. I remember Jonathan saying he doesn't like this one and I can see his reasons, but I found it weirdly compelling in its fatalism and cyclic view of destiny.

    Mistress of Mistresses - E. R. Eddison
    Very different from the above, to which it is tenuously connected. Mistress has a more Renaissance or Elizabethan feel, full of complicatedly flowery dialogue and poetry, and complicated political and military manoeuvering. I've yet to track down its two sequels, though.

    She - H. Rider Haggard
    An absolute masterpiece. One of the best adventure stories ever written, and should IMO be as famous as Dracula, Frankenstein, and other 19th-century genre-icons.

    Fourth Mansions - R. A. Lafferty
    I love Lafferty's unique style and authorial voice, and this is by far my favourite novel of his. Its charm is kind of indescribable and has to be experienced to be understood. Very American, too - in a good way.

    A Voyage to Arcturus - David Lindsay
    Strange narrative full of bizarre incident and murky symbolism. I can't claim to have any but the vaguest idea of what Lindsay was getting at much of the time, but in spite of this the story was so strong that it still held my attention throughout. I definitely have to revisit this one sometime in the near future.
    I concur with you on the importance of both SHE and VOYAGE. I haven't read Eddison's four volumes in a long time and I doubt I'll ever get back to 'em for a reread, since I barely remember the novels' contents.

  5. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doodle Bob View Post
    I gotta second this one.

    Because of this, I find myself straying towards history -- Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror is hands-down the most compelling of the lot regarding the middle ages.

    OR I try to find the off-beat fantasy books. the ones that are less pulp and adolescent fantasy-fulfillment and more off-beat in some way. Robert Holdstock's Mythago Wood is a great example: although he seems to have turned this series into a cottage industry. Or anything by Swanwick, esp. The Iron Dragon's Daughter.

    -----

    As for the Tolkien/Martin smackdown... As much as I have enjoyed Martin's series (it is one of the few series that actually surprised me a couple of times), there is just something too juvenile about the prose of his series that prevents me from comparing it too seriously to Tolkien's works. Martin writes his prose at a roughly 5th or 6th grade level and hence lacks much of the depth and poetry that Tolkien at least tried to put in his prose. It's a lot like comparing a hot dog with Filet Mignon.
    I tried to read the first Martin book in THRONES and bogged down in the first chapter. Though I've liked other writing by him, I thought he did a horrible job of introducing the characters. I haven't gone back since.

  6. #156
    Unicorns are tasty! Tadhg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trentjun View Post
    I can't believe no one has mentioned Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Pat Rothfuss,Peter Brett or Scott Lynch. If you really are a fantasy fan then you should know these names.
    It's not like most of them had many(or in some cases any) books out when this thread was started. Out of them, I really only like Scott Lynch.
    I love bipolar danger girl forever!

  7. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by berk View Post
    Just found out about this 1987 Michael Moorcock book: Wizardry and Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy.

    Moorcock writing about "the origins and development of epic fantasies"? Going on my list.

    BTW, have all the Elric books, or at least the ones before his recent revival of the character, ever been gathered into one volume? Never have read them all.
    I liked the Moorcock book, but mostly as a touchstone to what he considers important in his own writing. I don't think he's analytical enough to appreciate the many types and modes of fantasy, IMO.

  8. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    Some good choices there. Clark Ashton Smith is finally available again. Love Blackwood and Machen.

    There is modern fantasy that doesn't crib from Tolkein or Howard, though the vast majority does. Neil Gaiman's work is uniformly excellent fantasy. Christopher Moore's surrealist fantasy is usually hilarious. China Mieville's work draws from Lovecraft and Smith while being very modern and terribly interesting.
    Locecraft's own DREAM QUEST OF UNKNOWN KADATH, while not a "best" fantasy, gives one the best taste of his Dunsanian work.

  9. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iangould View Post
    In no order:

    The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings

    The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

    A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin

    Jack of Shadows by Roger Zelazny

    The Well of the Unicorn by Fletcher Pratt

    Night's Master by Tanith Lee

    Nift the Lean by Michael Shea

    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

    A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin.





    I'm currently reading Joe Abercombie's The First Law trilogy and it impresses the hell out of me. I don't know if I can really rate it as a classic without finishing the trilogy but the first two books are very good.
    Damn, how'd I forget NIGHT'S MASTER! Automatic substitution for Swann's GODS ABIDE, which is fun but not that ambitious.

  10. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rabid Trekkie View Post
    Not really anything to add except for more Tolkien love, but a question for everyone. Is Andre Norton's fantasy any good? I ask because I was thinking of getting into her Witch World series (got one of them at a library sell but it's pretty far down in the series and so have been looking for the first in the series) but I haven't really seen anyone recommend her stuff.
    She does many, many works that are no better than decent timekillers, so it's hard to isolate the cream of the crop. I recall enjoying MERLIN'S MIRROR and a Witch World novel, YEAR OF THE UNICORN, as among her best.

  11. #161
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tadhg View Post
    It's not like most of them had many(or in some cases any) books out when this thread was started. Out of them, I really only like Scott Lynch.

    Holy thread necromancy!


    Though in looking at my list from almost six years ago it would probably be slightly different. Tolkien would no longer be there. Christopher Moore and Robert Rankin probably would.

  12. #162
    Welcome to Bleeker Street MRP's Avatar
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    I will go with favorite since I believe best is too subjective. My list spans a wide range chronologically and touches on different sub-genres from high fantasy to sword and sorcery, from urban fantasy to weird fiction, from planetary romance to whatever. I also lean towards series rather than individual works for the most part. Ask me again tomorrow and the list may be slightly different, as my tastes can be fluid at times as the mood strikes me, but the top 5 are fairly set in stone. There are a lot I would like to include on the list but there are only 10 slots, and on a given day I could fill all 10 with different REH stories, or 10 different urban fantasy series, or....

    I left off pure mythology and folk tales (Snorri's Edda, the Tain, Beowulf, Grimm's, Tam-lin, etc.) but had I included them they would have dominated the list. I also left off YA stuff (though Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles was a difficult omission).

    For those looking to understand the foundations of fantasy, I highly recommend checking out Joseph's Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces, as the hero's journey he examines and spotlights there is at the heart of nearly every traditional fantasy epic (though less so for sword & sorcery, weird fiction, et. al.). The Power of Myth is also an accessible overview of the nature of mythic and fantastical stories across multiple cultural lines (especially if you can find the PBS specials with Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell as he is a wonderful storyteller and it is an engrossing discussion).

    10. Fritz's Lieber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser tales
    9. Thieves World anthologies edited by Abbey and Aspirin
    8. The Barsoom tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs
    7. A Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin
    6. the Averoigne tales of Clark Ashton Smith
    5. Cthulhu cycle by H.P. Lovecraft and friends
    4. The Conan tales by Robert E. Howard
    3. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
    2. Hobbit/Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
    1. Kull by Robert E. Howard

    -M
    A lunatic is easily recognized...You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense...and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.
    -Umberto Eco

  13. #163
    Senior Member passer-by's Avatar
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    The #1 spot is reserved for the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (including the Tiffany Aching tetralogy and the Science of Discworld trilogy).
    Also Nation and the Amazing Maurice novels.
    Brilliant satire in a fantasy setting. A wise and smiling, but still painfully sharp, depiction of humanity with all its highs and lows.



    If urban fantasy counts, then definitely the Dozor (Watch) series by Sergei Lukyanenko. (The Daily Telegraph called him the Russian equivalent of J.K. Rowling, but the series is much darker and to me, much more interesting.)
    I read the fifth novel (New Watch) a few days ago and the level remains very high. Glad that they are being translated in English too, hope these translations do him justice.
    (The films are awful though, avoid them like the plague.)



    The Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher (6 novels, finished). I like it much better than his Dresden Files (where I'm stuck in the middle of the third book Grave Peril).

    The Master Li trilogy by Barry Hughart.

    The Song of Ice and Fire series by George "Finish The Book, George!" R.R. Martin.

    The Stones of Power series by David Gemmell (especially the first two books - Ghost King and Last Sword of Power).

    The Amber Chronicles series by Roger Zelazny (especially the first five books with Corwin).

    The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan.

    A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin.
    Last edited by passer-by; 12-27-2012 at 12:57 PM.

  14. #164
    Administrator Expletive Deleted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tadhg View Post
    It's not like most of them had many(or in some cases any) books out when this thread was started. Out of them, I really only like Scott Lynch.
    Has Lynch released anything since this thread was started?
    Expletive Deleted

  15. #165
    Unicorns are tasty! Tadhg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expletive Deleted View Post
    Has Lynch released anything since this thread was started?
    I was thinking Red Seas Under Red Skies was 2008 but it seems it was 2007
    I love bipolar danger girl forever!

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