Let's Make a Better List

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Status
Not open for further replies.

badducky

No Time For Chitchat, Kemosabe.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
3,951
Reaction score
849
Location
San Antonio, TX
Website
jmmcdermott.blogspot.com
So, I bet we've all seen this list:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blo...ntial-fantasy-reads-going-to-second-base.html

The honorable mentions are notable for being more belonging, to me, than some of the people on the list.

Now, I don't mean to take away from the noteworthy success and accomplishments of the folks on the list (especially not of GGK, who is definitely deserving of this list), but I wonder if Terry Brooks and Terry Goodkind are really the best authors to follow up with after Harry Potter and Narnia.

Can we come up with a better list?
 

dclary

Unabashed Mercenary
Requiescat In Pace
Poetry Book Collaborator
Registered
Joined
Oct 17, 2005
Messages
13,050
Reaction score
3,524
Age
52
Website
www.trumpstump2016.com
So, I bet we've all seen this list:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blo...ntial-fantasy-reads-going-to-second-base.html

The honorable mentions are notable for being more belonging, to me, than some of the people on the list.

Now, I don't mean to take away from the noteworthy success and accomplishments of the folks on the list (especially not of GGK, who is definitely deserving of this list), but I wonder if Terry Brooks and Terry Goodkind are really the best authors to follow up with after Harry Potter and Narnia.

Can we come up with a better list?


The first entry he picks, he describes as "This is the stereotypical epic fantasy that begins with a young, inexperienced, immature youth toiling away as a kitchen boy in a castle, daydreaming his life away." -- Is that really the quienssential list? Stereotypical epics?
 

dclary

Unabashed Mercenary
Requiescat In Pace
Poetry Book Collaborator
Registered
Joined
Oct 17, 2005
Messages
13,050
Reaction score
3,524
Age
52
Website
www.trumpstump2016.com
For my must reads in adult Fantasy, I'd pick (beyond the obvious Tolkien)


Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books
Michael Moorcock's Elric works


I'd possibly add something by Mercedes Lackey here too, but not entirely sure what. Anything, maybe.
 
Last edited:

badducky

No Time For Chitchat, Kemosabe.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
3,951
Reaction score
849
Location
San Antonio, TX
Website
jmmcdermott.blogspot.com
I'd love to see Ekaterina Sedia on this list. If you want to follow Harry Potter, "The Alchemy of Stone" is an amazine next step down the path of fantasy.
 

Kitty Pryde

i luv you giant bear statue
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 7, 2008
Messages
9,090
Reaction score
2,165
Location
Lost Angeles
Yeah, I wasn't too impressed with that list. It's definitely a list by someone who only likes reading one type of fantasy (really long quasi-medieval epic magicfest)! There's no urban fantasy, no contemp fantasy, no weird fantasy...Another problem with the list is that the average fantasy noob is going to be really hard-pressed to slog through a bazillion page epic like Goodkind or Tad Williams. Tad Williams makes Tolstoy sound concise. Most of us probably started on fantasy when we were little, but how many of us got started with a doorstopper novel?

I would suggest Peter Pan and Wendy. I would suggest Lud-In-The-Mist by Hope Mirrlees. And The Good Fairies Of New York by Martin Millar. And "Guards! Guards!" by Terry Pratchett. I mean where the F is Pratchett on this list? SRSLY. Robin Hobb but no Terry Pratchett? And I'd probably throw in Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. I might suggest Gormenghast (the second book of the series) MAYBE.
 

Parametric

phoenix blazing
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 17, 2007
Messages
10,647
Reaction score
4,186
Location
Bristol, England
Website
rjlocksley.blogspot.com
Another problem with the list is that the average fantasy noob is going to be really hard-pressed to slog through a bazillion page epic like Goodkind or Tad Williams. Tad Williams makes Tolstoy sound concise. Most of us probably started on fantasy when we were little, but how many of us got started with a doorstopper novel?

I'm intrigued by this comment, because my reaction was the exact opposite. Practically everyone I know who reads fantasy started with the doorstopper-sized Hero's Journey epic fantasy series. Personally, I got hooked on Eddings and Jordan and never looked back.
 

Kitty Pryde

i luv you giant bear statue
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 7, 2008
Messages
9,090
Reaction score
2,165
Location
Lost Angeles
I'm intrigued by this comment, because my reaction was the exact opposite. Practically everyone I know who reads fantasy started with the doorstopper-sized Hero's Journey epic fantasy series. Personally, I got hooked on Eddings and Jordan and never looked back.

Really? You never read any Oz, Narnia, king arthur stuff, pern, redwall (if you're under 30!), peter pan, hobbits, the discworld, myth-adventures, land of Xanth, alice in wonderland, fafhrd & the grey mouser, or conan or anything? you were just wandering lost in the universe and then you tripped over the wheel of time and found yourself addicted to fantasy? This is my surprised face! :Huh:
 

Parametric

phoenix blazing
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 17, 2007
Messages
10,647
Reaction score
4,186
Location
Bristol, England
Website
rjlocksley.blogspot.com
Really? You never read any Oz, Narnia, king arthur stuff, pern, redwall (if you're under 30!), peter pan, hobbits, the discworld, myth-adventures, land of Xanth, alice in wonderland, fafhrd & the grey mouser, or conan or anything? you were just wandering lost in the universe and then you tripped over the wheel of time and found yourself addicted to fantasy? This is my surprised face! :Huh:

Why so surprised? The Wheel of Time may have enormous books, but it's not especially adult, I don't think. No complex vocabulary, sex and language is very minimal, the main characters always win, etc. The Belgariad is even younger in age range.
 

Kitty Pryde

i luv you giant bear statue
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 7, 2008
Messages
9,090
Reaction score
2,165
Location
Lost Angeles
Why so surprised? The Wheel of Time may have enormous books, but it's not especially adult, I don't think. No complex vocabulary, sex and language is very minimal, the main characters always win, etc. The Belgariad is even younger in age range.

1. the sheer size--I started reading 'grown-up books' when I was 9. Being asked to keep track of the story over so many zillions of pages would have been a lot. I also thought the doorstoppers were incredibly boring back then, though I read some of them in highschool and beyond. Plus my poor little arms used to get tired reading anything more than 400 pages :D

2. i think of a fantasy noob as being somewhat reluctant to read fantasy...like they're curious, and they want to experiment, but they aren't sure it's for them, plus there's kind of a taint over the genre like it's not as good as other genres. So given the choice between 250 pages of flying around on dragons, or 800 pages of whacking doods with a magic sword...I would guess people would start with the smaller and less intimidating.

OTOH if one gets drawn into the flock with D&D or similar, then I guess I can see where the quasi-medieval epic would appeal. (I'm not trying to hate on that subgenre or anything--I love me some GRRM and Tad Williams, but I do think it's pretty dire to imply that's all that fantasy has to offer :) )
 

Parametric

phoenix blazing
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 17, 2007
Messages
10,647
Reaction score
4,186
Location
Bristol, England
Website
rjlocksley.blogspot.com
Yeah, I see we're coming from different angles here. My mother did her English Lit thesis on The Lord of the Rings, and I'm a scary fast reader, so she got me hooked on epic fantasy at an early age. But I do know a ton of people who picked up Jordan straight after Tolkien and started mainlining that kind of fantasy thereafter.

(I'm not trying to hate on that subgenre or anything--I love me some GRRM and Tad Williams, but I do think it's pretty dire to imply that's all that fantasy has to offer :) )

No, I totally agree - there's a ton of other stuff out there. I just think of authors like Eddings as gateway drugs through whom newcomers discover the fantasy genre.
 

badducky

No Time For Chitchat, Kemosabe.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
3,951
Reaction score
849
Location
San Antonio, TX
Website
jmmcdermott.blogspot.com
I totally get behind these two books as representative next stepping stones after HP and Narnia.

So.. Let's review:

1) Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
2) The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar

Now, in our list, we only get to have ONE more male author, preferably not straight/Anglo. So, if you want Donaldson that bad, just know that you get no more white dudes. And, no more dudes.
 

badducky

No Time For Chitchat, Kemosabe.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
3,951
Reaction score
849
Location
San Antonio, TX
Website
jmmcdermott.blogspot.com
And an addendum to my last post:

Terry P is the world leader in "funny" fantasy. Martin Millar's book is one of the defining, and accessible texts of the urban fantasy movement. Both are excellent followups to HP.

For our third and final male, you can choose China Meiville, Jeff Vandermeer, George RR Martin, Guy Gavriel Kay... All leaders in their field. But, who do you choose? We need more women on this list, after all.

(And, frankly, "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel" will likely cover alternate history style fantasy just fine, so I wonder if GGK is necessary...)
 

Kitty Pryde

i luv you giant bear statue
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 7, 2008
Messages
9,090
Reaction score
2,165
Location
Lost Angeles
I totally get behind these two books as representative next stepping stones after HP and Narnia.

So.. Let's review:

1) Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
2) The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar

Now, in our list, we only get to have ONE more male author, preferably not straight/Anglo. So, if you want Donaldson that bad, just know that you get no more white dudes. And, no more dudes.

So, the original list has 6 white guys and one white woman. I take it our list is to be more widely representative? We probably need A Wizard of Earthsea by UKL in there, then. And something by Octavia Butler? I shall ponder further.
 

Kitty Pryde

i luv you giant bear statue
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 7, 2008
Messages
9,090
Reaction score
2,165
Location
Lost Angeles
(And, frankly, "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel" will likely cover alternate history style fantasy just fine, so I wonder if GGK is necessary...)

Jonathan Strange etc is a great book, but almost everyone I talked to found it really hard to get through (even the folks who liked it!). Is that good fantasy for beginners?
 

Smiling Ted

Ah-HA!
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
2,456
Reaction score
406
Location
The Great Wide Open
Sweet suffering Jehosaphat.

LOTR is "on a fourth grade level," but Tad Williams and Terry Goodkind aren't?
Robin Hobbs and Terry Brooks, but not Tim Powers and Ursula LeGuin?
It's as though she went to B&N and picked anything with a castle on the cover.
:rant:
 
Last edited:

Smiling Ted

Ah-HA!
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
2,456
Reaction score
406
Location
The Great Wide Open
Okay...okay...


Tim Powers
On Stranger Tides or The Stress of Her Regard

Roger Zelazny
Jack of Shadows or Lord of Light

Ursula K. LeGuin
A Wizard of Earthsea

Jack Vance
The Dying Earth

James Branch Cabell
Jurgen

James Blaylock
The Last Coin

And when we've compiled the list, let's e-mail it to Macy Halford, who posted the blog entry.
 
Last edited:

Fenika

Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 3, 2007
Messages
24,285
Reaction score
5,079
Location
-
I agree that GGK must stay on our list, white male or not.

He's the one author most responsible for turning me into a writer.
 

dclary

Unabashed Mercenary
Requiescat In Pace
Poetry Book Collaborator
Registered
Joined
Oct 17, 2005
Messages
13,050
Reaction score
3,524
Age
52
Website
www.trumpstump2016.com
I'm intrigued by this comment, because my reaction was the exact opposite. Practically everyone I know who reads fantasy started with the doorstopper-sized Hero's Journey epic fantasy series. Personally, I got hooked on Eddings and Jordan and never looked back.

Not me. My friends got started on small fantasies: The Hobbit. Narnia. Oz.
 

dclary

Unabashed Mercenary
Requiescat In Pace
Poetry Book Collaborator
Registered
Joined
Oct 17, 2005
Messages
13,050
Reaction score
3,524
Age
52
Website
www.trumpstump2016.com
I think it's felgercarb to limit the list arbitrarily by race or gender. When discovering new fantasy, the name of the author barely registers with a reader, and author's sex and pigmentation sure as frak shouldn't matter.

7 BEST gateway authors. Not "best white male author from bloomfield, indiana", "best filipino female author with a mole on her eyebrow," etc.


Let their words and works be their merit. Not their skin or genitalia.
 
Last edited:

geardrops

Good thing I like my day job
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 3, 2007
Messages
2,962
Reaction score
629
Location
Bay Area, CA
Website
www.geardrops.net
Trying to say things that haven't been said. Sorry if I duplicate.

Gormenghast. Redwall. American Gods (what?). 20,000 Leagues. Pern. Lovecraft (what? I think he's essential, and I'll call him fantasy/horror). On that note, Poe. Charles de Lint.

And on the note of essential and broadening horizons in fantasy and all that, howsabout we get some magical realism to represent? One Hundred Years of Solitude? Like Water for Chocolate?

And thinking on it, if anyone has some African magical-realism, I'd love to hear about it. I just realized all my magical realism comes from Mexico/Central&South America.

I'm glad Elric was said. Solid.

And I'll say, I read The Hobbit when I was in 4th grade, and LotR followed shortly thereafter (though it bored me to tears).

And as a final note, more and more, I find myself hating The New Yorker.
 

Sophia

Staff member
Moderator
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
4,241
Reaction score
1,337
Location
U.K.
The first fantasy I read (after children's stories) was The Hobbit, followed by LOTR, and then I think Anne McCaffrey's Pern books (before the SF elements appeared in them). I think Liz Williams' Inspector Chen novels might be a good modern fantasy series for the list that is different from stereotypical fantasy novels. Snake Agent is the first of those.
 

dclary

Unabashed Mercenary
Requiescat In Pace
Poetry Book Collaborator
Registered
Joined
Oct 17, 2005
Messages
13,050
Reaction score
3,524
Age
52
Website
www.trumpstump2016.com
Trying to say things that haven't been said. Sorry if I duplicate.

Gormenghast. Redwall. American Gods (what?). 20,000 Leagues. Pern. Lovecraft (what? I think he's essential, and I'll call him fantasy/horror). On that note, Poe. Charles de Lint.

And on the note of essential and broadening horizons in fantasy and all that, howsabout we get some magical realism to represent? One Hundred Years of Solitude? Like Water for Chocolate?

And thinking on it, if anyone has some African magical-realism, I'd love to hear about it. I just realized all my magical realism comes from Mexico/Central&South America.

I'm glad Elric was said. Solid.

And I'll say, I read The Hobbit when I was in 4th grade, and LotR followed shortly thereafter (though it bored me to tears).

And as a final note, more and more, I find myself hating The New Yorker.


My only complaint with Redwall can be summarized here: (Taken from the wonderful webcomic XKCD.com)

redwall.png
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Featured Book