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Beb
07-10-2005, 02:58 AM
What are the great successes of Fantasy? What series' are you trying to emulate or surpass with you WIP? What works define the genre and are must reads for budding writers? And why? What series do you often hear recommended?

Here are some I can think of (in no particular order):

1) Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien)
2) The Wheel of Time series (Robert Jordan)
3) Harry Potter series (JK Rowling)
4) The Sword of Truth series (Terry Goodkind)
5) His Dark Materials trilogy (Philip Pullman)
6) The Dark Tower series (Stephen King)
7) Discworld series (Terry Pratchet)

Out of these, I think Harry Potter is probbaly my favorite right now. The Wheel of Time is losing my intrest, as it's getting harder and harder to follow. LotR is a classic, but it's complete, so it's less exciting. The Dark Tower is also complete, and I felt it lost steam towards the end.

I've only read the first book of the Materials trilogy, and it seemed alright. I'll probably read the other two eventually. I'm still reading the first book of the Sword of Truth series, and I'm not sure about it yet.

Discworld I haven't read a word of, but I know it has a great following and that the books are supposed to be great. I plan on starting on them soon.

wardmclark
07-10-2005, 03:01 AM
Heinlein's Job - A Comedy of Justice.

azbikergirl
07-10-2005, 04:00 AM
I recently read the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb, thought it was excellent. Just finished Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold - also excellent. Now reading A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (so far so good).

Tirjasdyn
07-10-2005, 04:15 AM
Must Read Epic Fantasy (In no particular order):

Terry Brooks
George R.R. Martin
Peter S. Beagle
David Eddings
Raymond Feist
Anne Logston
Sherri Tepper
J R R Tolkein
Stephen Donaldson
Macross (Authors Vary)
Theives World (Ed. Abbey, Authors Vary)
Jacqueline Carey
Mercedes Lackey
Piers Anthony
Micheal Moorcock
Jennifer Robertson
Margaret Weis/Tracy Hickman
Peter David (His Star Trek novels too)
J K Rowling
Star Wars Novels (Authors Vary, Start with EP 4)
Robert Heinlein
Frank Herbert (Struggle through the middle Dune Books, The last one makes it all worth it)
Issac Asmov
Anne McCaffrey
Lloyd Alexander

This goes on but:

I do not recommend Goodkind as an example. Story has merit but it's like you can tell where he stopped writing each day because he has to warm up out "Boy Adventure Mode a la Red Story Book for Boys".

I have not read Robert Jorden (yet).

There are more but it takes me a while to remember.

An epic tale CAN be told in one novel.

CalicoBean
07-10-2005, 06:55 AM
Just finished Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold - also excellent.

I LOVED Paladin of Souls. I read it shortly after turning 40, and what a tonic it was reading a book with a kick-butt 40 year old woman as the mc.

Beb, Pullman's The Golden Compass was one of those landmark reads for me. I read it when it first came out, and it rejuvenated my interest in fantasy. I won't forget the agony of having to wait for each installment of the trilogy (since Pullman ends each of the first two with a cliffhanger & it took him several years to come out with the third and last one). Definitely one of my all time favorites and inspirations.

Another favorite -- an author I highly recommend -- is Neil Gaiman. I stumbled across him through Coraline, his creepy MG fantasy. I've since read Stardust (an adult fairy tale often shelved in YA) and Neverwhere and a few of his Sandman graphic novels. All books I recommend. Next on my list is American Gods which I want to read before Anansi Boys comes out.

Azbikergirl, good luck with Martin's Song of Ice and Fire. I thought the first was fantastic, couldn't put it down, but by the third I couldn't continue. I don't want to be spoilerish and say why.

Oh, and I'll add one more rec -- Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy. (And I'm reading Sherwood Smith's first Wren book now and am enjoying it. Her Court Duel is a good YA fantasy read)

sunandshadow
07-10-2005, 07:18 AM
Well, I went to look at my favorites bookshelf, but almost everything there was sci-fi (asks myself again how my WIP ended up being a fantasy novel). But here are the few fantasy books which were unique enough to earn themselves a place on my shelf:

The Unlimited Dream Company by J. G. Ballard
The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy by Patricia A. McKillip
The Sugar Rain trilogy by Paul Park
The Roads of Heaven by Melissa Scott


My roommate would like to add:
The Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson
The Book of the New Sun series by Gene Wolfe
Nina Kiriki Hoffman, especially The Thread that Binds the Bones
John Crowley, The Egypt Cycle and Little, Big

Tirjasdyn
07-10-2005, 07:36 AM
Azbikergirl, good luck with Martin's Song of Ice and Fire. I thought the first was fantastic, couldn't put it down, but by the third I couldn't continue. I don't want to be spoilerish and say why.


Can I ask why? PM me please. I loved the third one.

Diana Hignutt
07-10-2005, 03:52 PM
I'll go all old school:

Lord of the Rings- Tolkein

Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis

Space Trilogy (but especially That Hideous Strength) - C. S. Lewis

Mordant's Need - Stephen R. Donaldson

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant - Stephen R. Donaldson

The Incarnations of Immortality - Piers Anthony

Watership Down - Adams

And don't forget my own unfinished trilogy of genre historical importance (really, it is-you'll see) that I unabashedly recommend:

The Moonsword Trilogy - Hignutt (but only the second book is currently available - Empress of Clouds)

diana

Christine N.
07-10-2005, 04:53 PM
How 'bout the Chronicles of Narnia? For Children? Maybe so, but good reading nonetheless. Lewis and Tolkein were good friends. Lewis does a bang up job.

Lion, Witch and Wardrobe movie comes out Dec. 9 - can't wait to see it.


LOL Diana - I totally agree with you. Empress is right up there. Great read. Now go finish the third book - NOW, I said!

azbikergirl
07-10-2005, 06:11 PM
Beb, Pullman's The Golden Compass was one of those landmark reads for me.
I loved the first two books, lost interest in the third. Never did finish it.

Another favorite -- an author I highly recommend -- is Neil Gaiman. ... Next on my list is American Gods which I want to read before Anansi Boys comes out.
I lost interest in American Gods also. That book, my first experience with Gaiman's writing, left me thoroughly unimpressed. Then again, I'm not a fan of Anne McCaffrey either.

Saanen
07-10-2005, 06:22 PM
No one's mentioned Diana Wynne Jones, so I will. She writes a lot of fantasy for YA and some SF too, but just about anything you pick up will be great. Beb, if you like the Harry Potter books you will absolutely like Diana Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci books, including Witch Week. Also, don't ignore Terry Pratchett's non-Discworld books (the Johnny Maxwell trilogy is great, although written for kids); I noticed the other day that Good Omens is back in print, written by Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and very good.

In the last few weeks I've been to the fantasy section in bookstores repeatedly and can't bring myself to buy anything. Nothing appeals to me and it all looks cliched or turns out to be Book 3 in a never-ending series (I loathe series), or both. I used to read fantasy all the time but now I'm down to reading only a few authors. Maybe I'll pick up a few of the books people have suggested in this thread.

Christine N.
07-10-2005, 07:21 PM
New YA fantasy authors (newer, I should say) Hilari Bell and Angie Sage are both great.

Tirjasdyn
07-10-2005, 10:48 PM
Watership Down - Adams

diana

Oh! If you can find it: Maia by the same author. There is another book in that world but it isn't as good as Maia (the only connection is the places)

brokenfingers
07-10-2005, 10:59 PM
Pretty good list Tirjasdyn.

As for G.R.R. Martin's third book - A Storm of Swords - it was my favorite. I've been anxiously awaiting the fourth book for over a year now...

Haha! I just read this update at his site:

http://www.georgerrmartin.com/done.html

Beb
07-11-2005, 12:17 AM
Wow, I forgot some blatantly obvious ones. Haha. Good thing I didn't say my list was exhaustive =)

Even better, there are a good number of titles here I haven't heard of before.

Is anyone a big fan of Goodkind's Sword of Truth series? I'm having trouble getting through the first book here, and I'm just curious what it is about this series (I think it's 8 books and counting?) that many people seem to love. (EDIT: whoops, I guess there's a thread sorta about this http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=269332#post269332)

Keep going!

whitehound
07-11-2005, 01:46 AM
Azbikergirl - snap, I lost interest about a third of the way through The Amber Spyglass too.

Beb - somebody recently gave me Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule to read, and even though I had promised faithfully to read it I had to give up about a fifth of the way through. The mere thought of having to read any more made me almost cry with boredom.

The other Adams books are Shardik - which personally I thought was far better than Maia (which has a distinct soft-porn element) - and The Girl on the Swing which I couldn't be bothered with.

Yes nearly everything by Diana Wynne Jones is worth reading, although some of the Chrestomanci books are a bit lightweight. The best are probably Hexwood, The Homeward Bounders, Fire and Hemlock and Power of Three.

One of the absolute classics of fantasy, which has been touched on only with a general author reference, is The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle. His other books although competent are not IMO nearly as good: but The Last Unicorn is the sort of book which, being read, can haunt and inform the rest of your life.

Personally I would include Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn quadrilogy - though probably not his other stuff.

The recent Outremer series - can't remember the author - is excellent and very original.

Not sure whether it counts as fantasy or SF but I have a big soft spot for Heinlein's The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, which is profoundly creepy and quite unlike anything else of his I've read.

Nine Princes in Amber and etc..

Absolutely the best fantasy I have ever read - and a hot contender for the best book of any genre I have ever read - is a book called The Blue Tree by Mary S Fairclough. Anybody who can possibly get hold of a copy, should. Unfortunately it was published just *before* adult fantasy caught on as a genre, and was therefore classified as a children's book for which it was not entirely suited. It therefore fell between two literary stools and sank almost without trace - but if ever a book deserved to be rediscovered that one does.

whitehound
07-11-2005, 01:59 AM
PS Barbara Hambly is pretty damned good too. And among children's fantasy I would especially recommend a weird and intensely original book called The Tree-Wakers by Keith Claire.

triceretops
07-11-2005, 03:01 AM
My mentor--the great and late Poul Anderson.

Tri

Diana Hignutt
07-11-2005, 01:12 PM
How 'bout the Chronicles of Narnia? For Children? Maybe so, but good reading nonetheless. Lewis and Tolkein were good friends. Lewis does a bang up job.
Lion, Witch and Wardrobe movie comes out Dec. 9 - can't wait to see it.
LOL Diana - I totally agree with you. Empress is right up there. Great read. Now go finish the third book - NOW, I said!

I also simply can not wait for The Lion , the Witch, and the Wardrobe movie. Did you ever see the PBS adaptations? Not too bad for the time and budget.

And the the check's in the mail, Christine. (BTW, my goal is to finish the last book by the end of this year, which would put it out hopefully sometime in 2007).

Another great series not to be missed is Mary Steward's Merlin series, beginning with The Crystal Cave.

GailKavanagh
07-11-2005, 03:04 PM
Yes to Narnia, Harry Potter and LotR. The Narnia movie looks fantastic.

One series I read back in the 60s and have never forgotten is Jane Gaskell's Atlan series. I loved her feisty MC Cija and the mysterious blue skinned warlord. I recently reread them with trepidation, in case memory had colored my view, but in fact the books were just as fantastic and well written as I remembered. The Atlan series has not been reprinted, but they are available on Ebay. One has a very amusing cover with a Raquel Welch lookalike cavewoman - absolutely nothing to do with the book but just the publisher trying to cash in on One Million Years BC and the famous poster.
Other loved series - Frank Herbert's original Dune, (not the follow ups), and Douglas Adam's Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. Don't know where this one falls, but it is simply fantastically funny.

Tirjasdyn
07-11-2005, 06:22 PM
The other Adams books are Shardik - which personally I thought was far better than Maia (which has a distinct soft-porn element) - and The Girl on the Swing which I couldn't be bothered with.


Shardik is the one that takes place in the same world as Maia. I was acually bored with that one until they stormed the city...halfway through the book. Then it got good. Still liked Maia better, I wouldn't call it soft porn...but erotica yes.

Kevin Yarbrough
07-11-2005, 07:31 PM
Personally I would include Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn quadrilogy - though probably not his other stuff.

I thought his Otherland series was excellent. It had me hooked and waiting for the next book.

I see he has a new epic fantasy trilogy coming out called Shadowsmarch.

Penman Shipp
07-13-2005, 02:11 PM
These are my all-time true loves. Stories I go back to over the years. Every time I come away with something greater than before :

Robert A. Heinleins's Glory Road
L. Ron Hubbard's Slaves of Sleep
Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

arodriguez
07-16-2005, 04:09 PM
regardless of opinion, i think its unanimous that the G.R.R. Martin series is the hottest most cutting edge series out right now, hands down.

i believe L.E. Modesitt deserves a place among the greats, you can tell he enjoys himself when he writes. He has several series going at once, a lot more than the other so called "greats" His Recluse series is phenomenal and original. Im reading his corean series now and im intrigued.

Eddings' books are really good too.

RA Salvatore is always entertaining.

Goodkind just revived his series with Chainfire.

Jordan......im waiting for teh next book regardless..just end please!

and uhh last but NOT least...ERIC VAN LUSTBADER..Ring of teh five dragons and veil of a thousand tears are top notch fantasy by a phenomenal author..dont skip these!