Favorite fantasy/sci-fi literature other than Tolkien
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Post Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 9:37 pm 
 

Dune - Frank Herbert.

Have to say, short of LOTR and other Toliken stuff, best series of books I've ever read.

Third best - Old Testament. (I love the idea of a vengeful God.)


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Post Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 10:11 pm 
 

Harry Potter and the yadda yadda yadda by J. K. Rowling.

  

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Post Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 11:13 pm 
 

Lovecraft and Howard. Not just their main character books, but even the small compilation books are great. I like Howard's non-Conan books and stories.

I only read select SF and fantasy stuff here and there, aside from the big names already mentioned.

I do read more mysteries than anything else. Christie, Doyle, Hillerman and Elizabeth Peters (excellent Egyptian stuff).

Another can't miss are John Carter stories by Burroughs.

And finally...anything by Anne Coulter! :D


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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 1:16 am 
 

faro wrote:
improvstone wrote:Regardless of whether it is good or not I refuse to read anything that nut job created  :evil:

You'll not be reading any vanVogt, either, since he rather blindly supported said "nut job" for many years?
etc., etc.

Heh. If anything, Battlefield Earth was the best indication of how much LRH's newfound "science" managed to change him from a decent pulp writer... into a decent pulp writer.
Few things can debunk an individual's "aura of mystique" as much as their own written word.


    Then again, Van Vogt was kind of a crap artist himself.  I remember an interview with him many years ago, where he bragged about leaving entire pages of his novels out of his final drafts since he wanted the reader to wonder what was left out and fill in his own interpreations.  Even as a teenager I remember thinking what a load of shite......and never read anything by him again (If he can't be bothered to finish his novels, why shoudl I be bothered to read them?)
    Then again, Philip K. Dick was a nut, but he was a certifiable genius also, so go figure.

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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 1:47 am 
 

Kingofpain89 wrote:
seeyouinescrow wrote:The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs.  Odd little fantasy book I read way back in 5th or 6th grade.  Couldnt find it anywhere else so I stole it from the library in high school.


Face in the Frost is in my top ten fantasy books of ALL time.  Best thing Bellairs ever wrote, and he never wrote anything like it again.

All of Gemmell's stuff reads like an epic D&D campaign.  Typically, a handful of outcasts get together to fight against a incredibly superior foe or seek revenge against a super powerful villain, sometimes they succeed but everyone dies, sometimes the hero doesn't even make it to the end, he doesn't shy away from dark endings, but his stuff is truly inspiring if you are writing your own adventures.

Of course Leiber (The Dying Earth is the Vancian spell system totally explained), Howard, Lovecraft, Moorcock should be required reading.

Joel Rosenberg's series about the gamers who are transported to a fantasy world as their characters is pretty good (Guardians of the Flame).  However, the series has faltered the last few books, keep to the first 5-6 written in the 80's.  Good blueprint for a "What if?" actual people are transported to fantasy world set up, they do things like invent gunpowder, fight slavery, try to have a democratic rule (which fails), etc.  One of my favoritie moments is in the first book, where one of the party who is a "Thief" attempts to pick a pocket in a bar, is caught, and is brought outside and lynched.  LOL, I've wanted to do that to players many a game they did something stupid like that....

And of course Karl Edward Wagner's Kane series.  Masterful dark genius, the demons of KEW (who basically drank himself to death after a bad divorce) were alive on the page and his premature death, like that of Saki, Lovecraft and Howard, is a true loss to the genre.  Kane is the anti-hero of all anti-heroes, an evil (perhaps a better word is totally amoral) warrior/sorceror that is immortal (he is basically the Cain of the bible, cursed to forever walk the Earth) and has a life where happiness is denied him, so he spends half his time trying to take over the world (Bloodstone, Darknesss Weaves, Dark Crusade) and the other half wandering and battling monsters and villains (Death's Dark Shadow, Night Winds). His short story "Cold Light" is perhaps the best example of how a paladin character can commit evil in the cause of ultimate good (a "holy" warrior commits atrocity after atrocity while trying to track down Kane and end his existence).  His Kane short story "Misericorde" is perhaps the best fantasy short story written in the last 20 years.  No lie, it's that good, and the set up would make one memorable D&D adventure....to avenge one of his few friends, Kane agrees to invade a unconquered mountain fortress ruled by a group of siblings who are each so evil and depraved in their own way they make Kane look good.  The way Kane deals with each villain and the denouement are masterful.

If you can find it, Charles Saunders book "Imaro" is a very overlooked tale of a jungle warrior, written by a black man about a black man, rare in this genre.

Glen Cook's "The Black Company" series about a group of mercenaries working for a really, really bad villainess who begin to rethink their alliegances.  Also kind of peters out around the third trilogy....

William Hope Hodgson's stuff is dated, but very eerie and spooky for it's time, and has a lot of fantasy elements (Boats of the Glen Carrig, Nightland, House on the Borderland).  Not light reading by any stance...

Who did I leave out?

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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 2:36 am 
 

In my opinion (FWIW) The Lord of the Rings is simply the best book ever written (yeah, the film is good but Jackson made too much changes ... However it cannot compare with the book, but this is another thread).

Silver medal goes to a number of books in "human category" (LOTR is divine):
Il nome della rosa - U. Eco
Dune - F. Herbert
Cicle of Foundations - Asimov
Qoeleth - from the Bible
La malattia mortale - Kierkegaard (I don't know english version)
Eymerich - V. Evangelisti
Ten little Niggers - A. Christie
Kadath - Lovecraft
The Scarlet citadel - Howard
etc. (surely I'm forgetting someone).

Fantasy books.
Eddings (Belgariad, Mallorean, Elene). Nice even if a little bit superficial ... Easy to read.
Brooks (Shannara). The Sword of Shannara is the ugly copy of LOTR (Brooks can deny if he wants ...) but the idea of the truth as a weapon is very good. Other books are more or less nice.
Kerr (Deverry). I like it very much
Donaldson (Covenant). Very original.
Lawhead (Taliesin, Merlin and Arthur). Nice. Nothing more
Zelazny (Creature of the light and creature of the darkness, My immortal). Interesting
Howard (Conan, Solomon Kane, Kull). A masterpiece
Moorcock (Elric). Beautiful
Turtledove (Legion of Videssos). Beautiful
G. G. Kay (Fionavar). Nothing really special
...

That's all folks.
Have a nice day

Giorgio


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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 3:05 am 
 

Lots of great suggestions so far.. I've read most of them!

After Tolkien my winner would be Fritz Leiber.. with the entire
Ffahrd and Mouser series as a real classic treasure trove for DMs..

Covenant is a great campaign idea, though the second series lurches
more towards Dark Sun if you like that sort of thing!

For the players into roleplaying and subterfuge, with a slant into
Royalty/ diplomacy/ magic, then the Assassin series (Farseer trilogy) by Robin Hobbs is an interesting read.. (1st trilogy I think better than
the second one.)

I'd also say for DMs of Greyhawk, even if only from a point of view of
understanding the campaign timeline, its worth reading the Gord books by
Gygax.

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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 4:39 am 
 

I am mostly a non-fiction reader these days...hardcore history.  It seems to me that the fantasy genre has mostly been given over to the lesbian/wicca/tree-hugger crowd, and their stories are a tasteless porridge of drivel...fantasy gruel.

  Most of the lead characters are female.  Male characters are so poorly written as to be unrecognizable as men, much less interesting characters.  Modern notions are placed in the mouths of supposedly medieval speakers.  It's all so dreadful that I cannot even finish a book.

  Oh, and then there's the kling klang school of battle description.  E.L. Moddesit (Modessit?  Who really cares?), for example, describes combat sequences with noises.  "Kling!  Klang!" subsitutes for text about fencing, for instance.  

  Robert Jordan just plain, old-fashioned.........sucks.  His impossibly long and boring Wheel of Time series features characters who repeatedly do the least logical thing in every situation.  They fill the rest of the text up with whining, stupid sub-plots or retarded romances.  

    Each Wheel of Time book appears to conclude (I stopped reading after a few books) with a sorcery duel that features such great writing as: "Rand saw a green beam coming and he blocked it.  Then he fired a red beam back.  Then there were a whole lot of colors flashing around.  Then Rand fired a white beam.  Then a red beam came back toward him. Then the bad guy fell over dead."  Inspiring stuff, to be sure.  Even Jordan's Conan stories suck.  Jordan needs to read Moorcock and then ponder why his own books suck so hard.  Suck.

   These days, the only fiction writer other than Moorcock who manages to hold my attention for an entire book is Stephen King...and even then I seem to enjoy King's commentaries and musings on writing more than his actual stories.  I am currently re-reading the unedited version of The Stand....King's best work.

    The late Karl Edward Wagner was truly a great writer.  I am mystified why his character, Kane, has not earned greater stature among fantasy readers.  Read Reflections for the Winter of My Soul for possibly one of the best werewolf stories ever written.  Dark Crusade is great for fans of battle descriptions.  Other great stories included Linortis Reprise, Cold Light and Darkness Weaves.  Some of these are short stories found in two collections:  Night Winds and Death Angel's Shadow.  The full-length novels are good, but I like the short stories best.

   I am also a big fan of William Blake and Langston Hughes.  Oh, and red_bus has a catch-phrase that caused me to go looking for (and find) Seamus Heaney...a new addition to my list of acceptable poets.

  Not that I have any opinions.  

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 9:02 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:   Robert Jordan just plain, old-fashioned.........sucks.  His impossibly long and boring Wheel of Time series features characters who repeatedly do the least logical thing in every situation.  They fill the rest of the text up with whining, stupid sub-plots or retarded romances.  

 Jordan needs to read Moorcock and then ponder why his own books suck so hard.  Suck.


It's always interesting to hear comments about different writers.  People I know that read fantasy either love or hate Robert Jordan...there is no middle-ground unlike Tolkien where even most non-fantasy readers will say that his books are a decent read if not great.

I can understand why Mark dislikes Jordan.  I have heard the same thing from other people.  I for one wish his books werent nearly as long as they are.  There are too many central characters doing different things in different parts of his fantasy world which makes my head spin trying to keep track of all of them.

But even though he has some writing flaws I do like the overall storyline.  I had trouble putting the first three books down they were so good.  However with the fourth book I got bored...really bored.  I had to make myself finish it.  The next book's story flowed much better.  I ended up stopping after reading "Crown of Swords".  I was sick and tired of waiting 2 1\2 years between books.  So I am going to get all of them and then just read them from first to last.

These days, the only fiction writer other than Moorcock who manages to hold my attention for an entire book is Stephen King...and even then I seem to enjoy King's commentaries and musings on writing more than his actual stories. I am currently re-reading the unedited version of The Stand....King's best work.


The Stand is by far my favorite of King's books.  I read the original version when I was nine.  Scared the crap out of me.  I read the unedited version several years later and it still freaked me out.  But IMHO, his best work is a novella called "The Mist" that was released in an anthology book called Dark Forces.  It was supposed to be made into a mini-series years ago but (thankfully) was never done.

  

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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 9:10 am 
 

that robert jordan series...hmm well i read them and yeah they were ok i thought, but tbh, i sat there WANTING for things to happen and they just like.. didnt. i think the interest element is too widely spaced in it and he goes on too much in between and just frankly turns me off. i would have rather the books have been 200 pages shorter, been more interesting and a lot less waffle really.

but hey thats just me and they are a bestseller so plenty of ppl clearly like them :)

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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 9:23 am 
 

killjoy32 wrote:that robert jordan series...hmm well i read them and yeah they were ok i thought, but tbh, i sat there WANTING for things to happen and they just like.. didnt. i think the interest element is too widely spaced in it and he goes on too much in between and just frankly turns me off. i would have rather the books have been 200 pages shorter, been more interesting and a lot less waffle really.

but hey thats just me and they are a bestseller so plenty of ppl clearly like them :)

Al


I agree. And that is also just my opinion.

  


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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 10:33 am 
 

Man, I thought starting to read this thread I could name something no one else did.  Guess I was wrong, you guys actually read as much as I do.

Alreday covered things like Horsclans, The Black Company, Dune, Enders Game, etc.

I didn't see the Foundation series listed (but I may have missed someone saying it).  I liked the premise of the adventures with a group hiding and trying to control the universe.  I could see this turned into a module with some eveil set of priests trying to do the same through manipulating and observing the areas around the world on a ruined hidden island.

But then, I will also read "bubblegum for the brain" stuff if it can drag me along for the few hours it might take to read it.

  

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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 11:11 am 
 

noticed nobody mentioned my Emil Petaja book or the Robert Heinlein one!! :D

woohoo :)

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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 11:54 am 
 

Disjected wrote:Man, I thought starting to read this thread I could name something no one else did.  Guess I was wrong, you guys actually read as much as I do.

Alreday covered things like Horsclans, The Black Company, Dune, Enders Game, etc.

I didn't see the Foundation series listed (but I may have missed someone saying it).  I liked the premise of the adventures with a group hiding and trying to control the universe.  I could see this turned into a module with some eveil set of priests trying to do the same through manipulating and observing the areas around the world on a ruined hidden island.

But then, I will also read "bubblegum for the brain" stuff if it can drag me along for the few hours it might take to read it.


   The Foundation series is good, so long as you stop reading after Second Foundation.

   Asimov's later writings show his decay as an artist.  He wanted to connect up his robot and Foundation novels...with horrible, hybrid success...the Dr. Mephisto of science fiction.

   Like Frank Herbert, Asimov's later work became immersed in a strange psycho-sexual melange...in Asimov's case, this took the form of having sex with robots.  Bad.  Bad!  Worse...uninteresting.

    I read Dune when I was 15...the same age as Paul Atreides when we first meet him.  Frank Herbert's work was extremely influential on my thinking for a number of years before writer senility apparently eroded his skills.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 12:08 pm 
 

bbarsh wrote: I like Howard's non-Conan books and stories.


Yes, I'm a huge Howard fan as well, especially of his non-Conan stuff.  As I said before "Red Blades of Black Cathay" is one of my all-time favorite Howard stories.


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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 12:28 pm 
 

I don't count it a lit, but in high school I got sick for two days, and somehow devoured the entire 18 book series of the Robotech saga.

Nothing flash writing wise, but having grown up an Macross and loving all the characters, I blasted through each like 150 page book every two hours.  8O

What happened to me, when did ADD sent in.  :x


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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 12:39 pm 
 

Did anyone mention the Myth Series by Robert Asprin. The 1st 5 or 6 books are great fun, but at some book in time the stories get stale and whatnot.

  

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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 1:13 pm 
 

As I have pretty much all of Heinlein's published works (but only some in 1st eds), I prefer Moon is a Harsh Mistress to Glory Road. And of course I'm one of the oddballs who liked both Number of the Beast and Job. The latter could be entirely set within the cosmology of my D&D Immortals set.

As a sidelighted topic, rather than entire works, I've always been interested in attempts to portray telepathy. Two of the best imho are Mindbridge (Joe Haldeman) and Carrie (SKing). I still find the latter to be one of the most remarkable treatments in all of 20th century fiction, albeit a tour de force.

  

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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 1:24 pm 
 

The Thomas Covenant books by Stephen R. Donaldson for fantasy.

The "Gap" series of books by Stephen R. Donaldson and Hyperion & The Fall of Hyperion as well as Endymion and the Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons for Sci-Fi.


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Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 1:25 pm 
 

ExTSR wrote:As I have pretty much all of Heinlein's published works (but only some in 1st eds), I prefer Moon is a Harsh Mistress to Glory Road. And of course I'm one of the oddballs who liked both Number of the Beast and Job. The latter could be entirely set within the cosmology of my D&D Immortals set.


hey frank! woohoo youve read glory road!!! i always loved the story as it was just like my over-active imagination all them years ago. always wished something like that happened to me. i read it every few months. always a great read. i like his writing style very much and there are loads of great stories. gonna go look for them you mentioned there and give em a blast.

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