View Full Version : Master book recommendation list

02-23-2007, 07:04 AM
I think the point of this list is to turn entire threads into single posts, so we can have a single sticky recommendation thread. I think the idea is not to post commentary, just to compile threads.

This post is compiled from the "Question for members (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11041)" thread. On Peter's suggestion I have kept only titles, authors, brief (often snipped) comments, and who made the recommendations.

I know there are other threads that could use compiling; I'll try and get to them if nobody else does.


The topic:
Good books in either genre that are either classics or well-written or
different or stand out in some way or you would recommend and
why. From either a reader's standpoint or a writer's.

The suggestions, with reasons:

Richard Adams, Watership Down
Diana Hignutt (no reason given)

Poul Anderson, Three Hearts, Three Lions (fantasy) Flandry stories (SF)
as a fantasy work [TH,TL] is almost untouchable for quality. It was written
in the late 1940's. -- Popeyesays

Great humor and irony in his characters, he has a style that is unique
and different from any other writer I know. Don't know if it's the
Dane in him or what. His insights about how people think and their
motivations make him an award winner for me. -- triceretops

Poul Anderson is another widely acclaimed author who just never
clicked with me. I don't know why, really... Now that my tastes and
understanding of writing have changed I might give him another try to
see how he does it. -- brokenfingers

Piers Anthony, the Xanth series
-- SeanDSchaffer (no reason given)

Xanth was fine for the first few books, then the puns got old. I much
prefer Anthony's Adept series. -- Yeshanu

Isaac Asimov, I, Robot
Finally picked this up a few years ago (duh), and although it's a bit
dated (the stories originally came out in magazines during the 1940s,
and, I believe, the early 1950's), I still found it interesting and a
quick read. -- JerseyGirl1962

Robert Asprin, Another Fine Myth series
-- Richard White (no reason given)

Asprin, Lynn Abbey, et al, Thieves World series
-- Richard White (no reason given)

R Scott Bakker, Prince of Nothing
People who liked Martin's work will probably enjoy this series. By
this I mean that its a very dark setting, with lots of violence in
it. The only problem I have with it is that the book tries to explain
the character's philosophies which can drag down the story. --

I'm so glad to see someone recommend this series. It's terrific--not
an easy read, by any means, but really well-written and conceived. And
smart. Bakker is highly intelligent, and it shows. -- victoriastrauss

Stephen Baxter, Manifold: Time
Packed with strange, fascinating and big ideas and concepts. At times
it can go over the top, but that doesn't take away the good from the
novel. -- TMA-1

Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
[A] story in which everything is memorable and mythic without seeming
at all artificial, and full of vivid characters and humour. This must
have been one of the first mainstream fantasy novels which was fluid
and fluent and domestic in scale rather than epic and formal, and is
still one of the best. -- whitehound

John Bellairs, The Face in the Frost
Although the story revolves around a very obvious plot-coupon and is
resolved by a plot-voucher, the setting is evocative, the horrors are
highly original and the idea of making the main characters two
garrulous old men is refreshing: that kind of comfortable, long-term
male friendship is an area of human experience which is often
overlooked these days. And the writing-style is delicate and
transparent, like a watercolour (whereas so much fantasy reads like an
overworked oil-painting). -- whitehound

James P Blaylock, The Last Coin; All the Bells on Earth
Same mold as Browning Spencer...though more people know his work. His
best friend and occassional writing partner is...Tim Powers. --

Pierre Boulle, Planet of the Apes
NOT like the movies that it inspired. Brilliantly constructed sci-fi
social satire. -- zizban

Steven Boyet, Ariel
-- Richard White (no reason given)

Terry Brooks -- The latest edition in the latest series
I've read all of his stuff. I didn't really care for the Knight of the
Word series; I found it dull and not "compelling" -- Katiebug57

for some reason I can't get into Terry Brooks. I think it's because
after I read Lord of the Rings when I was a wee lad and still thought
girls were icky, I went on a fantasy binge and then read Sword of
Shannara, and while I still enjoyed it - I felt it was just a
Tolkien clone. -- brokenfingers

Steven Brust, The Vlad Taltos books and the Khraaven Romances. (The
first book is Jhereg -- ed)
Anything by him is good. -- zizban

I think I rifled through a Stephen Brust book while browsing in a book
store once. For some reason, it didn't click with me. I've
put him on my list to check out again. -- brokenfingers

(Brust), The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars
-- Shweta (no reason given) [It was the first novel in Terri
Windling's Fairy Tale series, and is pretty spectacular urban(?)
fantasy(?). Hard to categorize. -- Ed]

Emma Bull, War for the Oaks
...a great book. Apparently it was the first ever Urban Fantasy, and
it single handedly spawned the genre. I can well believe it. It's by
turns lyrical and brutal, and the treatment of music had me on a week
long binge of all my old CDs after I finished. -- Zolah

I have to second this -- War for the Oaks has been one of my favorite
books since I picked it up in the late 80s. I have yet to find another
author who so deftly incorporates the supernatural into the
mundane. -- Phouka

Lois McMaster Bujold (start with The Warrior's Apprentice or Shards of
Honor for SF, or the Curse of Chalion for fantasy -- ed)
They stand out because of her exquisite characterisation and the
ability to create eye-ball kick after eye-ball kick in her
description. She's one of those writers who addresses really tough
issues (honour, religion, love, death) with a lightness of touch that
gives them a deep impact. You don't put an LMB book down and forget
about it - it will stay with you. -- Zolah

Octavia Butler, The Wild Seed
Definitely not a quick summertime read. I can't believe I went so many
years without realizing how good her writing was. A taut story, told
without any flowery language, about an immortal African woman being
persuaded to go to America with an immortal...man? Spirit? Read it and
decide for yourself! A fascinating read. -- JerseyGirl1962

Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead
-- Diana Hignutt (no reason given)

C.J.Cherryh, five-book Chaunr series
Political thrillers set in a vividly realized culture and technology,
told through the eyes of a felinoid alien, they are perhaps the most
physically evocative books I've ever read... Again the aliens are at
once alien and individual, and the technology feels used and lived-in
and as if it might actually work (or fail to work, in some cases). --

Arthur C Clarke, 2001, 2010; Rendezvous With Rama, Rama II, Garden of
Rama and Rama Revealed
Some fascinating ideas in these two first novels of the four Odyssey
novels. -- TMA-1
Four stories about a huge spaceship entering the solar system, and the
astronauts exploring it. -- TMA-1

Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
The two main characters are magicians, so it's sorta fantasy, and it
won the World Fantasy Award (IIRC), so it's REALLY sorta
fantasy... but the characterization, sense of place, use of language
and sheer uniqueness of the story are very unlike 99% of the stuff
being published in the field today. -- RedMolly

Glen Cook, The Black Company series; Garrett, P.I. series
-- Richard White (no reason given)

Leah R. Cutter, Paper Mage; The Caves of Buda
Great examples of fantasy based on non-Western European cultural
models... good stuff. -- RedMolly

Troy Denning, Cormyr trilogy
Yes, DnD -- glutton

Gordon Dickson and Poul Anderson, Earthman's Burden
-- Richard White (no reason given)

Gordon Dickson, The Way of the Pilgrim, The Dragon Knight
-- Richard White (no reason given)
-- SeanDSchaffer (no reason given)

Steven Donaldson, the Thomas Covenant series [It] made me throw books
across the room. Anything that can elicit that kind of reaction out of
me has to be good. -- Saritams8

Thomas Covenant is another one of my faves! I liked the second trilogy
better than the 1st. Have you read his latest? Just as good! --

(Donaldson), Mirror of Her Dreams trilogy
(or it might be Mordants Need) Excellent!! If you get a chance check
it out! A more traditional setting but a little more mature. --

(Donaldson), The Gap series
It's smart and snappy and sexy. While it falters somewhat toward the
end, it's still worth the read for the (imho) brilliant character
arcs. -- clara bow

I'll defintely agree with Stephen R. Donaldson's The Mirror of Her
Dreams, and I did love his Thomas Covenant series as well. -- Diana

David Drake, King of the Isles series
-- glutton (no reason given)

Lord Dunsany, The Charwoman's Shadow
He's one of the founders of the [modern] field, and (I think)
influenced Tolkien. Dunsany's writing is lyrical, vivid, and gently
satirical (...it took me about 40 pages to realize he was poking fun
at his characters). Do bear in mind that (a) the book predates a
number of cliches, and (b) he's being satirical. It's easy to miss
this, and misjudge the book accordingly. --Shweta

David Eddings, The Belgariad, the Mallorean, the Elenium
Very character driven epic fantasy. -- MadScientistMatt

I read Eddings 1st series way back in my pre-teen years when I was
suffering from post-Tolkien withdrawal. I enjoyed it then but
can't get into his stuff now. -- brokenfingers

Mallorean doesn't quite live up to Belgariad, but they're still both
humorous, and have some marvelous, lovely characters. --

Steven Erikson, Malazan Book of the Fallen
Large in the scale of Martin, but with more magic, fantastic powers,
and deep layers of history to the world. The military aspect is
heavily emphasized, but the drama and suspense goes beyond the
battles. -- MattW

Mary Fairclough, The Blue Tree
The best fantasy book I have ever read - quite possibly, the best book
of any genre I have ever read... If you have to, sell your house to
get hold of this book. I think it fell through the literary cracks
because, being fantasy in the 50s, it got classed as a children's book
and it really isn't. It's set against an unusual background - rural
Persia at the time of the Crusades - and is the sort of book in which
almost every line and scene is quotable and burns into the mind,
without seeming at all contrived.

Jasper Fforde (Start with The Eyre Affair -- ed)
I swear that this man writes for writers. His Thursday Next series is
SO jam packed full of literary references, I find myself re-reading to
find new ones... His books are set in Swindon, England in an alternate
universe where Dodo Birds never became extinct, the Crimean War still
rages and the book world has it's own police force called the
Literatecs. He is uproariously funny and subtly funny at the same
time. His stuff is light hearted but at times cliché, such as touching
on deeper issues of good vs evil. (Evil is named Acheron Hades, hehe)
-- Saritams8

John Ford, The Final Reflection

This is a Star Trek genre novel about Klingon culture, and TV-derived
genre novels tend to be pish: but this one intersects aired Trek only
peripherally (being set about 50 years before Kirk et al) and deserves
to be read simply as an interesting and original portrayal of an alien
culture seen from the inside. It's full of subtle cultural touches
which are not made explicit. -- whitehound

C.S. Freidman, Coldfire Trilogy
Dark, disturbing stories about good and evil, with a lot of brooding
commentary on human nature. -- MadScientistMatt

Esther Freisner (ed), Chicks in Chainmail
Over-the-top funny fantasy... Really great stuff.

Neil Gaiman, Sandman, Neverwhere, Stardust
Sandman is my favorite comic of all time so I have to list him. I
loved Neverwhere and Stardust. His big successful book, Amercian Gods,
I do not like. I have not read Coraline, Wolves in the Walls, The Day
I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish or Anansi Boys. -- Inkdaub
[Coraline and the picture books are wonderful, as are his short
stories -- Ed]

David Gemmel, Drenai series
-- glutton (no reason given)

Parke Godwyn, Beowulf, Robin and the King
[Beowulf] had brilliant characterization and had at point a writing style that
stunned me. he's one of my favourite authors... as long as he's
retelling an old story based on king arthur or robin hood. -- Preyer

I picked up ... "Robin and the King," loved it -- BardSkye

Terry Goodkind: antirecommendations
Goodkind just kind of petered out on me. I lost interest after the
third one. It just started getting too soap-operaish to me. He saves
the world but then in the next book - Lo and Behold! - he
has to do it again! With another plot twist! Ad Infinitum. -- brokenfingers

Oh dear - I promised somebody I would read a Goodkind book (Wizard's
First Rule) but after months of struggle I had to admit defeat,
because I had still only managed about four chapters and the thought
of reading any more of it made me almost cry with boredom. -- whitehound

Theodora Goss, In the Forest of Forgetting

Her first full-length short story collection, has just been
released. ...Several of her stories have distinct European fairy tale
structures (Dora was born in Hungary)... I strongly recommend the
entire collection. -- Alan Yee

Ed Greenwood, The Band of Four series
-- glutton (no reason given)

Nicholas Stuart Gray, almost anything
Creepy and witty by turns. The Seventh Swan is probably the best but
they are nearly all good. It was Gray who was responsible for my
favourite quote about matters psychic, viz.: "Them as believes nothing
is seldom disappointed. But they do miss a lot of action." -- whitehound

Barbra Hambly, anything, especially Magicians of Night
Magic which feels real and hard-edged and not at all flowery or
forsoothy; in this case combined with a lot of good historical
research about the Occult Bureau of the SS. -- whitehound

Robin Hobb (Pen name of Megan Lingholm; she also writes under Lindholm -- Ed)
The Assassin Trilogy. The Liveship Traders Trilogy. And the latest is
The Golden Fool Trilogy (although I didn't enjoy the latest one
so much) -- brokenfingers

I always think of Hobb and Martin as good suggestions for someone who
wants to try a fantasy but isn't a fantasy fan so to speak. Hobb's
Liveship Traders series is the best of her work but I enjoy all I've
read. I've never read any Lindholm so I can't comment on that. --

Diana Wynne Jones, The Tough Guide to Fantasy Land ...most good
writers own a copy. But her fiction is amazing too, moving from the
8-12 age range through YA up to adult. I'd sample 'Deep Secret',
'Archer's Goon', 'A Tale of Time City' and 'Howl's Moving Castle' to
experience some really beautifully written fantasy and SF, which is
also hilariously funny. -- Zolah

IMO the best Diana Wynne Jones novels are Fire and Hemlock - in which
both you and the heroine spend much of the book unsure whether the
fantasy element is real or just in her imagination - Hexwood, which is
about time and memory and freedom and cruelty and is sad and complex
and full of memorable characters; and The Homeward Bounders
[explanation is a spoiler -- ed]. -- whitehound

My current favorites of hers are Deep Secret and Dark Lord of
Derkholm, although I love her Chrestomanci books too. I like the way
she adds extremely realistic touches to her worlds and characters--the
way they speak, little things they do or say that just makes
everything pop into focus and seem so real. I think she's one of the
best writers working today, especially in YA. -- Saanen

Robert Jordan -- antirecommendations?
As for Jordan - It started out wonderfully but... Sheesh, I
haven't even read the last one. -- brokenfingers

When I started this series I was obsessed with it. Huge impact. The
last few books I have struggled to get through. ... Jordan has begun
to ramble a little bit inanely. There's only so many times you can
read three or four hundred pages and realize nothing happened at
all. -- Inkdaub

Katherine Kurtz, Deryni series
-- Richard White (no reason given)

Ellen Kushner, Thomas the Rhymer; Swordspoint
[Thomas the Rhymer's] got a sort of mythopoeic feel to it; the story
is incredibly moving; also a winner of the World Fantasy
Award. [Swordspoint is] unusual and fascinating. -- RedMolly

I read Swordspoint and Kushner is an excellent writer. -- Inkdaub

There's a jagged sense to the prose in Swordspoint, which I think is
genius (it pokes you! Like a sword's point!), but some people find it
hard to read, apparently. -- Shweta

Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, Fall of the Kings
Unusual and fascinating. -- RedMolly [sequel to Swordspoint -- Ed]

Ursula LeGuin, The Earthsea series (fantasy); The Left Hand of
Darkness (SF)

A Wizard of Earthsea is ... not at all about a cheery little british
school; the wizards' school is mysterious and freaky, and it is
convincingly magical, and Bad Things really do happen, and they are
The Left Hand of Darkness is about a diplomat ... trying to bring
[very different] people into aninterplanetary alliance, and (at least
at first) failing to understand what's going on, at all. It's a
challenging book ... but well worth it.
LeGuin is something of a minimalist; every word counts, and she's
pruned away everything that could be. It makes me think of Japanese
painting. -- Shweta

[Left Hand of Darkness] is a very strange, unusual novel. I guess that
strangeness is what brought me along. I picked it up because I'd never
read anything by le Guin; her writing, while well done, just didn't do
it for me. At some point, I might pick up the first Earthsea novel and
see if I was just in a bad mood when I read it or I truly don't care
for her stories. -- JerseyGirl1962

Jonathan Lethem, As She Climbed Across the Table
My favorite author of any genre. He is the only writer I have been
with since the beginning and one of two whose entire catalogue I
love. -- Inkdaub

C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia
-- SeanDSchaffer (no reason given)

(Lewis), That Hideous Strength
Darker than his other work, still a dash preachy, but I think he tries
here to illustrate his essay, The Abolotion of Man, which everyone
should read. -- Diana Hignutt

Kelly Link, Stranger Things Happen; Magic for Beginners
Her style is completely original, and her stories blend humor,
sexuality, urban fantasy, and sometimes even horror and tragedy into a
nice combo you don't normally see in stories by other writers. Her
stories are unlike anything you've ever read, and they stay in your
mind after you read them. -- Alan Yee

Juliet Marillier, Wolfskin
The best example of a Norse-mythos-inspired fantasy novel I can think
of off the top of my head. I couldn't get into the sequel, Foxmask,
quite as much, but Wolfskin stands quite well on its own. -- RedMolly

George R R Martin, Ice & Fire series, Fevre Dream, Tuf Voyaging
He is currently my favorite fantasy author. I think they are very well
written. You can tell he wrote screenplays for many years because
there is always gripping action, drama, conflict and the plot is
seamless!! I've read his books at least four times each and every
time I am amazed at how he has things tie in and weave together that I
never even noticed on the other reads. -- brokenfingers

I just read two of the Ice & Fire series and had no idea the genre had
gotten so deliciously adult. Groovy. -- clara bow

He is by far and away my favorite fantasy author. Some of his old
books were reprinted last fall if anyone is interested in reading
those. I've just read "Fevre Dream" which was an excellent vampire
book, although it had some really nasty scenes in it. -- VMcNeill

I have to agree. Although there's plenty of violence, what drew me
along to the end was the offbeat setting - vampires on riverboats
before the American Civil War - and GRRM's wonderful use of
words. Yes, the "n" word is used here, but it fit in with the
character and the time. I didn't think I'd like it because I'm not
into vampire fiction, but it really worked for me. -- JerseyGirl1962

Song of Ice and Fire is the best fantasy of it's type being written
today. Absolutely wonderful work written about as well as one could
write it. -- Inkdaub

Tuf Voyaging is actually just like Asimov's I, Robot in that it's a
series of short stories strung together... At times hilarious and
gross, but mostly hilarious, as Tuf gets into and out of trouble. --

Anne McCaffrey, The Dragonriders of Pern
-- SeanDSchaffer (no reason given)

James D MacDonald, anything
Contribute[s] to this board and [is a] terrific writer. Go buy [his]
-- HConn

Patricia McKillip, Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy (classic); Song for the
Basilisk, In the Forests of Serre (recent)
McKillip's writing is embroidery to LeGuin's brush-and-ink. Her
writing is lavish, and I find reading her to be very much like vivid
dreaming. It's almost hallucinatory. Images from her books do make it
into my dreams. -- Shweta

Robin McKinley, Sunshine
a blaster of a read, an example of a fantasy world so real that it
seems to suck you in. McKinley's prose is so dense that at times you
feel like you're drowning, but it's wonderful for all that. Some of
her YA books are very entertaining too. -- Zolah

Chine Mieville, Perdido Street Station and The Scar
Somewhat wordy and difficult to keep track of all the different races,
but very imaginative. -- VMcNeill

Lawrence Miles, This Town Will Never Let Us Go
Combination fantasy/sci-fi/horror. -- zizban

L.E Modesitt, Gravity Dreams (SF), and The Spellsong Cycle (fantasy)
He writes both fantasy and science-fiction, although the distinction
between the two is pretty small. while his books can be annoyingly
slow-paced at times, the ideas and characters are fascinating. --

I checked out L.E. Modesitt years ago. I really enjoyed the 1st book I
read, but the second killed it for me. It was just too boring. He
forgot about the story and harped on the Order/Chaos thing too much
for me. -- brokenfingers

Elizabeth Moon, Paksennarion trilogy
-- glutton (no reason given)

Jim Morrow, Towing Jehovah, Only Begotten Daughter.
He has an amazing way of weaving theology into anything. His Bible
stories for adults are great. -- Saritams8

Garth Nix -- the Old Kingdom Trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen)
...one of the most imaginative writers I've come across in recent
years. His magical systems are wonderfully realised and original, and
I love the quiet courageousness of his characters and the richly
textured fabric of his worlds. His best work so far is certainly the
Old Kingdom Trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen), but anyone who
embarks on Lirael MUST have Abhorsen handy, or the cliff-hanger might
cause you to spontaneously combust... -- Zolah

I wouldn't even call it a cliffhanger. Lirael and Abhorsen are one
book cleverly disguised as two! -- Shweta

Andrew Norton and Mercedes Lackey, The Halfblood Chronicles
-- SeanDSchaffer (no reason given)

Andre Norton, ??
I used to read a lot of her books when I was in high school--I loved
the brooding feel to her writing, although when I read some of her
stuff now it feels melodramatic. It's still a lot of fun, though. --

I've only read the 1st book, and it's a delight... [possible spoilers
- ed] -- JerseyGirl1962

Richard Pinto, Stone Dance of the Chameleon series
another fave of mine. Again, not easy books, but absolutely dazzling
world building and, especially in the second, compelling
character-based plotting. -- victoriastrauss

Frederick Pohl, Gateway
Outstanding characterization and it was one of the few SF tales that
had so much suspense and mystery that I was actually scared while
reading it (in a good way). It was also very poignant. -- clara bow

Tim Powers, The Anubis Gates
-- Inkdaub (no reason given beyond "great") [This book as described to
me as the best time-travel story out there, and I think that might be
right -- Ed]

Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards! (to start with)
His later works especially just seem to get better and better. Someone
who can make you laugh and cry at the same time. He is a master of
understated emotion and of thigh-slapping humour. -- Zolah

Although Terry Pratchett is touted as a humorous writer he is so much
more than that - at his best he is also both creepy and profound, with
wonderfully good characterization. -- whitehound

Sean Russell -- The Initiate Brother
In an interview I read, the author said he combined early Chinese and
Japanese cultures to develop the culture of Wa. The philosophical and
religious tones of these 2 novels really grabbed me. -- Saritams8

Really liked the characters and worldbuilding in this one. I thought
the first novel was spellbinding, but was disappointed in the second,
which seemed very rushed at the finish, almost as if Russell had just
gotten sick of the concept. There's the same problem, interestingly,
in his latest series, The Swans War. -- victoriastrauss

I read Sean Russell's Initiate Brother series too and liked it
also. It was different - and that's what I like... The really funny
thing is that I had the same exact impression of his latest series. I
loved the 1st book, but was hugely disappointed with the second. --

I haven't read the second one (still looking for a copy), but had a
difficult time with how he worked with the setting. Maybe because
alternate Japan is my setting... Russell used Japanese or modified
Japanese far too often where an English word would work fine. "Cha"
for example. Why not just use "tea"? Having said that, I am still
looking for the sequel. Good characters will do that. -- slobbit

Carl Sagan, Contact
Well-written story about a first contact scenario. I read it a long
time ago, and I've read it many times since then. The science is good,
the story fascinating. -- TMA-1

RA Salvatore, Demonwars series
-- glutton (no reason given)

Robert J. Sawyer, Calculating God
Yeshanu (no reason given)

Delia Sherman, Through A Brazen Mirror
A really cool take on an old, nicely grisly, ballad (which is
referenced in [Ellen Kushner's] Thomas the Rhymer). -- Shweta

Dan Simmons, (Hyperion -- Ed)
I love the way he weaves great poets into his work -- potentially a
great source of lameosity, but he makes the fabric interesting and
complex... His Hyperion series has all the mythos, mystery, and
intrigue of the Dune series without getting progressively drugged-out,
weird, and pointless as you go on. -- RTH

Agnes Smith, An Edge of the Forest
This faded into obscurity because it was printed by a tatty little
low-grade publisher but it really is a very well-written story and
again, quite creepy... IMO it's on a level with Watership Down
(another classic animal fantasy of course), though intentionally with
slightly more of a "fairy-tale" feel. -- whitehound

William Browning Spencer, Resume with Monsters
He's not an epic fantasy writer. Smaller, more personal stories set in
'the real world'. Very funny and clever work. I don't know...the ideas
and the way he presents them just hit me. -- Inkdaub

Victoria Strauss, anything
Contribute[s] to this board and [is a] terrific writer. Go buy [her]
-- HConn

Matthew Woodring Stover, Sword of Tyshalle, Heroes Die
Meticulously well-done stories with complex characters who are
painfully, sometimes fatally flawed. He has another trio of characters
in Iron Dawn/Jericho moon who are a bit less tortured, but his female
lead, Barra, is interesting enough to carry a big 'costume drama'
story. -- Phouka

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, Farmer Giles
of Ham
Pretty much started the modern fantasy genre. -- MadScientistMatt

I love Tolkien, anything and everything, but especially Of Beren and
Luthien from the Simarilion. Such rich history. -- Saritams8

After reading [LotR] a few more times, I finally decided the fantasy
genre was one that I should get to know better. -- JerseyGirl1962

Nothing else I have read has affected me as deeply as [LotR]. --

Megan Whalen Turner, The Thief [sequels: The Queen of Attolia, The
King of Attolia]
A Newberry Honor Book. It's set in a fantasy alternate-world ancient
Greece, which sounds stultifyingly dull but absolutely isn't. The
strength of the book is the way Turner reveals facets of her main
character's past and abilities; I've read the book a dozen times
trying to figure out just why the main character Gen is so appealing
to me. -- Saanen

I adore The Thief. I'm also a major fan of the sequels... As a
writer, the thing I think Turner does most wonderfully is viewpoint. A
first person narrator who surprises the reader is quite something. And
as you get to know the protagonist better, in subsequent books, your
viewpoint gets slowly distanced from him, and she thus maintains
surprise. -- Shweta

Mark Twain's short stories.
Well-written, humourous, and actually pretty good stuff to turn
slightly around and use for your own story. -- Preyer

Jack Vance, arkady (no reason given)

A.E. van Voigt, Slan; Voyage of the Space Beagle; The World of Null A
-- SeanDSchaffer (no reason given)

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five
Can be taken on many levels from sci-fi to social commentary. --

Lawrence Watt-Evans, the Ethshar series (especially With a Single Spell)
...logical and explained magic and characters who are common people
from their world facing unusual circumstances. The background of these
stories is very detailed, and described as something so obvious, that
the World appears more realistic. -- TJ-Wizard

Love Lawrence Watt-Evans, especially With a Single Spell. -- Yeshanu

Martha Wells, The Wizard Hunters
She constructs interesting, imaginitive worlds, her characters have
deep and detailed backgrounds that influence the plot of the book, and
she starts deeply, deeply in _medias res_. [This one] starts with the
protagonist trying to figure out how to go about killing herself, for
no explained reason, in the middle of what appears to be something
like the WWII London Blitz, only perpetrated by some sort of magical
Zeppelins. It's all very confusing, but in a "I really want to figure
out what's going on" way, rather than a "this is annoyingly
impenetrable" way. -- Andrew Jameson

Martha Wells is very good. -- fallenangelwriter

I absolutely LOVE Martha Wells. -- Zolah

Michelle Sagara West, anything
I use both her names as she writes under both at different times. Her
work as Michelle West is my favorite, though. The plotting is awkward
at times but she is a great writer of moments that transcend the
page. There are sections of her books that feel like...more than a
book. -- Inkdaub

Tad Williams, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series (The Dragonbone Chair;
The Stone of Farewell; To Green Angel Tower parts I and II)
Williams takes what seems to be Tolkein's universe a thousand years
later and on another continent, and in many respects does it better
than Tolkein. In particular he is brilliant at conveying characters
who are thoroughly alien and yet vividly individual within their
alienness - whereas Tolkein's elves were all fairly uniform,
generically elvish rather than individual. [But I found William's
Otherland series, and Tailchaser's Song, rather boring.] -- whitehound

I'm also a huge Tad Williams fan... and he's a really nice guy, too!
-- RedMolly

Tad Williams is pretty good but I'm not huge fan. -- Inkdaub

Connie Willis, The Doomsday Book
It's technically... science fiction as the premise is time travel but
half the book is set in medieval England, which most of the fantasy
readers would likely find interesting. I usually find jumping between
times somewhat disconcerting but Willis manages to keep the reader
enthralled... -- BardSkye

The medieval England stuff is good in this book, but the parts set in
contemporary/near future England are poor with a lot of errors in the
settings and dialogue. All she needed to do was run the manuscript by
someone who lives here to get a lot of it right. -- waylander

Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light
-- Richard White (no reason given)


Bride of Deimos
70's old-school-plucky-heroine/damsel in distress Japanese manga --
clara bow