Favorite fantasy/sci-fi literature other than Tolkien
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:52 pm 
 

jonjhargreaves wrote:I also discovered Kane thanks to this thread, my only problem is that I started Darkness Weaves and finished it the same day, never read a book in one sitting before.

Now, I'm waiting for a full day to see if I can do the same with Bloodstone.

Thanks all for pointing me to Wagner's Kane


Something else for me to look for as well.  :)


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Post Posted: Tue May 17, 2011 9:20 pm 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:I read the first Viriconium book (The Pastel City). I need to pick up the others.


I just finished reading the Pastel City and thought it was great! Thanks for mentioning it, I had never heard of it before & ordered it from Paperback Swap (no kindles here!). The setting was totally Gamma World (though without the mutants). Also reminded me of Tekumel.


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Post Posted: Tue May 17, 2011 9:35 pm 
 

Glad you liked it. It's been a while for me, but I recall really enjoying it. No mutants as such (unless you count the dwarf), but still very much in the same vein. I'm actually about to order the omnibus edition (Viriconium) Jason mentioned. I'll probably re-read The Pastel City before I move on to the rest. My understanding is that the reality-shifting aspects become more apparent as the stories progress (multiple versions of the city, etc.).


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Post Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 5:32 pm 
 

Let me know if you like the later novels/stories; I was thinking of ordering the comp but I've read the later stories are not easy reading (though some really like them).

Oh, and the other setting it reminded me of was the future Europe of Moorcock's Hawkmoon series (I'd recommend The Pastel City to anyone who liked that series). The paperback copy I have (from 1974) even has a quote from Moorcock on the back cover.

Now reading: Monster Island by David Wellington (2006). Zombie novel. A friend sent me this after we were talking about the Walking Dead TV show.


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Post Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 5:38 pm 
 

Zenopus wrote:Let me know if you like the later novels/stories; I was thinking of ordering the comp but I've read the later stories are not easy reading (though some really like them).


Will do. I just ordered it today. I've heard/read the same thing.

Oh, and the other setting it reminded me of was the future Europe of Moorcock's Hawkmoon series (I'd recommend The Pastel City to anyone who liked that series). The paperback copy I have (from 1974) even has a quote from Moorcock on the back cover.


Yes, the setting is somewhat similar to Tragic Millennium Europe. I have the same paperback :).


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Post Posted: Tue May 31, 2011 2:53 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:
Opinion - I think it's probably best to read them in random order...although the novel Darkness Weaves seems to reference the other stories.


Okay, I read Darkness Weaves, Bloodstone and Dark Crusade...  I definately enjoyed them as they were "Dark Enough" for me... with "evil" being purely relative... backstabbing intrigue cool fight scenes... a bit jumpy in the story telling... for instance the climax of the Dark Crusade took about 7 pages and was told in a rapid manor with details laking... however the story was very followable (if that is a word) quick reads all of em... seemingly no order to the stories as they are all stand alone some references here and there to others stories but unrelated... although reading them like this was "Pulpy"  - reminded me very much of Robert E. Howard... with new settings... each was also similar in that Kane kinda rolls in take the lead as a general and then goes onto almost conquering the world... Almost.  Then suffers a defeat at the end which he narrowly escapes... I presume so he can do it again.... I've read here that Karl Edward Wagner suffered from alcoholism... I wonder how much this contributed to his "jumpy" writing style and seeming desire to "wrap things up" in the last few pages... sort of like... I have got to finish this novel so I can get paid... these books easily could have been expanded into 500 pages novels... oh well.... anyway... Thet definately get thumbs up from me - as down and dirty swords and sorcery.

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Post Posted: Tue May 31, 2011 4:53 pm 
 

My favorite fantasy of everything is Discworld.


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Post Posted: Tue May 31, 2011 8:39 pm 
 

DiscoDadda wrote:
Okay, I read Darkness Weaves, Bloodstone and Dark Crusade...  I definately enjoyed them as they were "Dark Enough" for me... with "evil" being purely relative... backstabbing intrigue cool fight scenes... a bit jumpy in the story telling... for instance the climax of the Dark Crusade took about 7 pages and was told in a rapid manor with details laking... however the story was very followable (if that is a word) quick reads all of em... seemingly no order to the stories as they are all stand alone some references here and there to others stories but unrelated... although reading them like this was "Pulpy"  - reminded me very much of Robert E. Howard... with new settings... each was also similar in that Kane kinda rolls in take the lead as a general and then goes onto almost conquering the world... Almost.  Then suffers a defeat at the end which he narrowly escapes... I presume so he can do it again.... I've read here that Karl Edward Wagner suffered from alcoholism... I wonder how much this contributed to his "jumpy" writing style and seeming desire to "wrap things up" in the last few pages... sort of like... I have got to finish this novel so I can get paid... these books easily could have been expanded into 500 pages novels... oh well.... anyway... I definate thumbs up as down and dirty swords and sorcery.

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Glad you liked them Disco!  The short story collections are also good, I think his best fiction is in the short form, as you saw he has trouble sometimes maintaining the plot throughout a full length novel.  BTW I think his horror tales actually blow away his Kane stories (especially the stories "Sticks", "The River of Night's Dreaming", and "Beyond Any Measure", all which won awards).  That the British Fantasy Awards give out a "Karl Edward Wagner Award" every year shows you the esteem his colleagues held him.

Wagner's alcoholism did contribute to his choppy storytelling.  Legend has it he got an advance for the Conan novel he wrote (The Road of Kings), spent it all and wrote nothing but an outline, and under the gun at a deadline his good friend David Drake jumped in and finished the novel in a week or so for Karl.  Also supposedly Drake did most of the writing on the SF novel "Killer" that bears both their names.  Karl was an incredible editor (of The Year's Best Horror Stories for two decades) but had horrible writer's block that his drinking did nothing to help.  If he hadn't had the problem with the bottle and had a Stephen King work ethic......wow.

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Post Posted: Tue May 31, 2011 9:49 pm 
 

Wagner's great, one of my favorites, for reasons mentioned above. I prefer the short stories.. and Bloodstone.

  

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Post Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:05 pm 
 

Try reading:  Reflections for the Winter of My Soul in the Wagner compilation Death Angel's Shadow.

Night Winds is possibly the best fantasy short story compilation written.


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Post Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:24 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:Night Winds is possibly the best fantasy short story compilation written.

This was the first of his books that I read. I've read it a few times now. Always fun.

  


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Post Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:34 pm 
 

Now reading: Monster Island by David Wellington (2006). Zombie novel. A friend sent me this after we were talking about the Walking Dead TV show.


Finished Monster Island. Recommended to anyone who likes The Walking Dead enough to stomach a novel of zombie mayhem/gore. Has some interesting twists on the zombie genre, including an intelligent zombie (not a spoiler as he shows up in the second chapter).

Now I'm reading the Twilight Realm (1985) by Christopher Carpenter. I saw this mentioned positively in some comments in Grognardia. It's about a group of kids playing an RPG who are transported to fantasy realm and each receive an item of power. Yes, it's reminiscent of the D&D cartoon (and Quag Keep).


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Post Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:38 pm 
 

Don't think I mentined them, but Saberhagen's Swords books are the best I've ever read. Also, the Richard Blade series by Jeffrey Lord is campy but good.
Saberhagen also wrote the books about the Masks of the Gods. Good stuff.


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:14 pm 
 

Hope everyone is having a nice summer... wanted to chat a bit about my summer reading list.

Just Finished Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon... It was very good super complicated fantasy... We are talking Good Guys Bad Guys New Gods Elder Gods Elder Races Magic in a different way than I've read before... Spys Assassins Wizards etc... Again I found myself re-reading paragraphs just to keep track of the numerous characters etc... I liked it but will withold my ranking until I've read book 2... I remember a previous poster who said that he had to re-read the books in order to pick up the underlying plots, I agree with this sentiment... again super complex stuff.

Just started Dance with Dragons by George Martin... which to date is my favorite Fantasy Series (with the exception of Feast of Crows which left me feeling a bit empty)...

I've picked up the first Saberhagen book as well as Killer by Karl Edward Wagner, which I will read on an upcoming trip.

Also picked up the first 3 GOR books... I've heard that these books are the "bible" for the S&M crowd... so I am curious to find out why  :twisted:

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:58 pm 
 

In admidst all the sadism, bondage and retarded sexuality, the first five GOR novels are also good adventures.

After book five it's back to the sadism, bondage, retarded sexuality, misogyny, masochism....

How many junior high brains were warped by Norman?  Good thing the cover art made them taboo for most parents.


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:35 pm 
 

I've been reading the Game of Thrones novels.  Watching the HBO series got me interested.

What I'm finding is an author with good ideas...possibly an excellent dungeon master with an interesting campaign based on medieval England...but also an author who is incapable of writing an action scene or of moving his plot along.

I had thought that the poor plot sequencing was due to budget restrictions for the HBO production.  Essentially, the characters on HBO strut about in filthy furs and hold the same conversation over and over in various poorly disguised sets in Malta and blue screen backgrounds.  I kept expecting one of them to point to a castle and say, "It's only a model!" HBO made up for the lack of any real action by inserting tons of nudity and various sexual perversions and scenes not actually found in the novel.  It turns out...NO.  The novels are just like that...but with less sex.

Mid-way through book three, reading the series has become a chore I must complete....even more tedious than the Wheel of Time books.  

In terms of writing, the Game of Thrones novels (called the "Song of Ice and Fire" series for no particular reason I can see) are superior to the Wheel of Time novels because there a fewer irritating female characters and the main characters sometimes do logical things....sometimes.  

But, the task of reading them has become tedious because the characters keep wandering about, never seeming to reach anywhere and always missing the great events happening off-stage.

The dwarf character, Tyrion Lannister, is one of the better fantasy characters I have encountered...a character as strong as Elric back when Elric was cool rather than pathetic.  Tyrion is not a dwarven dwarf.  Rather, he is a human dwarf, considered a freak and an imp by his family members.  Unfortunately, in book three he has been horribly scarred and he is currently wallowing about in the strands of sub-plots left over from the second novel.

In fact, all the third novel seems to consist of is ragged strands of plots left over from the second novel.  The title of the third book might as well be A Game of Let's Linger About and Act Illogically.

I noticed that the TV series changed the novel's timeline and added three to five years to the ages of all the characters.  That was a good thing because the writer of the Game of Thrones novels wrote half his characters far too young.  It would be OK, but we have to follow those elementary and pre-school age characters through a series of uninteresting situations.

The author's timeline is goofed in a number of places and his command of geography is pathetic.  The landscape stretches like taffy or snaps back like a rubber band as the so-called plot demands.

Every distance in A Game of Thrones is "a thousand leagues."  I was beginning to wonder if the author knows that a league is three miles...but now I have concluded that the characters describe any long distance as a thousand leagues...which makes sense because it takes some of them three novels to go about forty miles.

Every historical event in A Game of Thrones happened thousands of years ago...when the world was apparently exactly the same as it is now.  No changes in sea level.  No changes in technology.  No actual, historical events in between.  No dark ages.  No geological events. No changes in language or culture.   No logical explanation for anything, and the characters don't seem to notice.  The author seems unaware that 8,000 years ago is so far into earth's own past that we have little to no knowledge of those days.  We call it "pre-history."  Instead, his characters talk about things that happened 3,000 years ago as if they were recent events.

I will give the Game of Thrones author some credit over the Wheel of Time setting:  His world map isn't completely square with only one river.  Also, the religious setting is an excellent foundation for a fantasy game campaign...except that the author has started to jam in new religions willy nilly wherever he needs a plot device.

And so, it has become a slog and I am starting to cheer against the main characters and in favor of the villains.

Now, I open the book again to yet another character making an endless and repetitive journey.  And...oh god! It's another dream sequence!  Noooo!


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:07 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:I've been reading the Game of Thrones novels.  Watching the HBO series got me interested.

What I'm finding is an author with good ideas...possibly an excellent dungeon master with an interesting campaign based on medieval England...but also an author who is incapable of writing an action scene or of moving his plot along.

I had thought that the poor plot sequencing was due to budget restrictions for the HBO production.  Essentially, the characters on HBO strut about in filthy furs and hold the same conversation over and over in various poorly disguised sets in Malta and blue screen backgrounds.  I kept expecting one of them to point to a castle and say, "It's only a model!" HBO made up for the lack of any real action by inserting tons of nudity and various sexual perversions and scenes not actually found in the novel.  It turns out...NO.  The novels are just like that...but with less sex.

Mid-way through book three, reading the series has become a chore I must complete....even more tedious than the Wheel of Time books.  

In terms of writing, the Game of Thrones novels (called the "Song of Ice and Fire" series for no particular reason I can see) are superior to the Wheel of Time novels because there a fewer irritating female characters and the main characters sometimes do logical things....sometimes.  

But, the task of reading them has become tedious because the characters keep wandering about, never seeming to reach anywhere and always missing the great events happening off-stage.

The dwarf character, Tyrion Lannister, is one of the better fantasy characters I have encountered...a character as strong as Elric back when Elric was cool rather than pathetic.  Tyrion is not a dwarven dwarf.  Rather, he is a human dwarf, considered a freak and an imp by his family members.  Unfortunately, in book three he has been horribly scarred and he is currently wallowing about in the strands of sub-plots left over from the second novel.

In fact, all the third novel seems to consist of is ragged strands of plots left over from the second novel.  The title of the third book might as well be A Game of Let's Linger About and Act Illogically.

I noticed that the TV series changed the novel's timeline and added three to five years to the ages of all the characters.  That was a good thing because the writer of the Game of Thrones novels wrote half his characters far too young.  It would be OK, but we have to follow those elementary and pre-school age characters through a series of uninteresting situations.

The author's timeline is goofed in a number of places and his command of geography is pathetic.  The landscape stretches like taffy or snaps back like a rubber band as the so-called plot demands.

Every distance in A Game of Thrones is "a thousand leagues."  I was beginning to wonder if the author knows that a league is three miles...but now I have concluded that the characters describe any long distance as a thousand leagues...which makes sense because it takes some of them three novels to go about forty miles.

Every historical event in A Game of Thrones happened thousands of years ago...when the world was apparently exactly the same as it is now.  No changes in sea level.  No changes in technology.  No actual, historical events in between.  No dark ages.  No geological events. No changes in language or culture.   No logical explanation for anything, and the characters don't seem to notice.  The author seems unaware that 8,000 years ago is so far into earth's own past that we have little to no knowledge of those days.  We call it "pre-history."  Instead, his characters talk about things that happened 3,000 years ago as if they were recent events.

I will give the Game of Thrones author some credit over the Wheel of Time setting:  His world map isn't completely square with only one river.  Also, the religious setting is an excellent foundation for a fantasy game campaign...except that the author has started to jam in new religions willy nilly wherever he needs a plot device.

And so, it has become a slog and I am starting to cheer against the main characters and in favor of the villains.

Now, I open the book again to yet another character making an endless and repetitive journey.  And...oh god! It's another dream sequence!  Noooo!


I gather you do not like the Song of Fire and Ice?  :lol:  There is a readability to them, I guess I do not pay attention to Leagues, Time Frames, Evolution etc... I just like the characters... we are in aggreement the IMP is cool... but I am finding I am liking Jamie Lannister and need to find out what happens to the various Stark children... and Dany with her dragons has me intrigued... and at some point we need to find out what happened to the Mountain and the Hound... anyway I can draw a parallel with some video games I've played... for instance Call of Duty Black Ops... Although really cool and wicked modern graphics... Does not have the same playability as Delta Force Land Warrior an 11 year old game... with bad graphics and glitches... it is just extremely playable (at least for this gamer)... Some novels are more readable than others... For instance as referenced before Gardens of the Moon, I can respect its extreme plot and character developement and overall complexity... it was a difficult read... just keeping track of the various gods, elder gods, their respective henchmen all the various assassins mages and their various plot strings etc... made it a difficult read... I did however enjoy it and will read the 2nd novel.

Have you read Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley?  Its worth it.

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:11 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:In fact, all the third novel seems to consist of is ragged strands of plots left over from the second novel.  The title of the third book might as well be A Game of Let's Linger About and Act Illogically.

Noooo!


LOL, wait until you get into Book Four....where nothing substantial really happens.

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:07 pm 
 

I don't have a copy of book four and I am wondering why I would want a copy.


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:29 pm 
 

I've been reading more than usual this summer.  

I just finished reading the Hobbit again, after about 35 years.   8O   It's a little more charming than I remember it, almost folksy. It's certainly a change of pace in many places from the LoTR series.  It makes me wonder if the director is going with this storytelling vantage point or maintain the same tone presented in the recent movies.

The other thing that I couldn't help but notice was how many d&d ideas came from this book.  The story plays out like a d&d adventure in my imagination.  The first time I read the book, I'd never heard of d&d.  One of my first characters in d&d found an invisibility ring, and it was one of my prized possessions.  It's easy to imagine how early d&d players were likely inspired by this book more than any other.   8)


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