Favorite fantasy/sci-fi literature other than Tolkien
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:27 pm 
 

Don't forget Fredric Brown.



You'll be picking the pulp out from between your teeth for a week, but it's a great feeling.



Amazon.com : Fredric Brown





What Mad Universe is hysterical.



And, of course, "Arena".  

I have a dog-eared, water-logged copy of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame that I take with me when I travel.  

If I read "Arena" during takeoff, I won't die in a plane crash.

So far, I'm still aliiiii .....


"Not all those who wander are lost." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

  


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:08 pm 
 

I really liked the Farseer books by Robin Hobb.

Also the Way of Kings by Brandon sanderson


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:59 pm 
 

Hey everyone,



Thanks for bumping this topic up.

I was looking for it earlier.



So I managed to get a decent looking copy of this book on Ebay:



URSHURAK by Brothers Hildebrandt & Jerry Nichols, thick pb with great artwork

** eBay auction listing blocked.  Please enable cookies in your browser for this site and for eBay! **





I remembered reading it as a child back in the early 80's but for the life of me I couldn't remember if it was actually a good book or not.



Waiting for it to arrive, and will read it again.



Anyone else here remember this particular book?



Best regards,

Ronald

  

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:30 pm 
 

...
Here's a my copy being sniffed by my cat.

Image

It's so moldy it's almost unreadable, but the color plates are in great shape.
I've loved the Brothers Hildebrandt art ever since I read Sword of Shannara back in ~1980.


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:08 am 
 

Just finished reading Araminta Station by Jack Vance, and starting on Ecce and Old Earth today. I was pleasantly surprised that the former, even though written in the late eighties, still has that "certain something" that makes Vance a cherished acquired taste*. Highly recommended.

* Yes, I know, some of you don't like JV. Unfathomable :).


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:51 pm 
 

I really rather enjoyed Night Winds... by Karl Edward Wagner.

It seems that he is a better story teller in about 80 pages or so.  He is actually able to have a plot, some modest character developement, and a climax.

Short and sweet....

His longer novels appeared anti-climatic to me although very well written during the first 90%.

Decided to give Fiest a try... Very DD ish so far...

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Post Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:57 am 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:Just finished reading Araminta Station by Jack Vance, and starting on Ecce and Old Earth today. I was pleasantly surprised that the former, even though written in the late eighties, still has that "certain something" that makes Vance a cherished acquired taste*. Highly recommended.

* Yes, I know, some of you don't like JV. Unfathomable :).


I can't remember if I have dissed on this series before.

Amarinta Station is a good read...even if I want to shake the characters really hard on a number of occasions and demand that they take logical actions.  (Hint:  They don't.)  I got my copy from the $0.25 library discard shelf, so it was a decent value.

If Conan is Heroic Fantasy then the Amarinta Station trilogy is Ineffectual People I Want to Slap Science Fiction.

The hero of Amarinta Station is Glauwen Clattuck, a young man who isn't good at fighting, usually neglects to carry a gun into obviously perilous situations, and either allows other characters to make decisions for him or is undone when he places trust in obviously untrustworthy people.

I paid actual money to acquire and read Ecce and Old Earth and Throy...oh my god!    :pukel:

I think that Vance was just in a hurry to somehow mock up two more books for the series and complete a contract.  I have not found two more poorly written and half-hearted books by a well-known, established author.  (Of course, I stopped reading the Wheel of Time books, so there might have been a challenger in there....)

These two novellas (neither has enough story to be a novel) do finish the series...I'll give them that.  But if you were expecting writing of the quality of Amarinta Station, you will be disappointed.  I think Vance must have been drinking heavily or he converted to cynicism half-way through the writing process....or he just plain old ran out of ideas and decided to vomit on the page.

Characterization....none.  Every character talks and acts just like all the others.  Vance uses the phrase "waiting on tenterhooks" enough times to make it really annoying, like a throat leech.  Scenes and conversations repeat and repeat with the same language, subject, blah, blah blah.  It's really bad.

Plot Structure....barely present.  Vance mistakes changing planets for moving the story along.  Vance enjoys making up ever more ludicrous cultures and religious groups for each planet, apparently believing that his readers will appreciate the joke.  My personal favorite was the planetary society made up entirely of fitness fanatics.  Very amusing, now could we please advance the plot?  Turns out...no.

Emotional Impact....cloying.  Vance's badguys are impossibly effete and childishly dead wrong.  They die in the end...so that is a good thing...but they die so stupid it's just silly.  The villains pretty much blunder about following petty and wrong-headed plans while the heroes outfox them mostly by inaction, inattention and fits of lasitude.  

For instance, the goodguys  find out that the badguys have a pair of super-powerful attack helicopters hidden somewhere...strong enough to chop up their whole planet...but the heroes don't bother to go looking for them.  (My personal plan would have been to point a gun at the nearest smirking baddie and shoot pieces off them until they tell me where to find their assault helicopters.  Why is this a bad plan?)  The heroes just wait and the badguys do impossibly stupid things and the goodguys win.  Preposterous.

There are at least five situations in the series where the interests of the goodguys require crucial, immediate and decisive action...and the goodguys are perfectly capable of carrying it out...and instead they allow their opponents to wander off and escape.  The best word for it is "inexplicable."

Go ahead and read the second two novels if you can get them real cheap, just so you can find out what happens to Glauwen Clattuck.  It turns out there's a reason that Amarinta Station is uncommon and the two sequels require effort to find.


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:01 pm 
 

[quote="FormCritic"]

I can't remember if I have dissed on this series before.

Just curious, are you an Author, English Teacher, or Professional Critic?  (or maybe an engineer?  8O  )  If not you should be.

I love reading your posts!  At least I know what not to read.... which is a time saver.

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Post Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:57 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:Amarinta Station is a good read.

I just passed this one up at HPB the other day since I dont have it on my LibraryThing wish list.  Maybe I'll get lucky and it will still be there next time I go.

I did pick up The Jack Vance Treasury and a copy of Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream which someone must have accidentally stuck next to it.  From all the reviews I've read of it, reading it, and all of Ellison's other works as well, will either drastically change my life for the better or seriously start making me contemplate suicide.  Sounds like a hoot.

:)


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Post Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:01 am 
 

I have a lot of issues with Jack Vance.  I read and loved the Dying Earth series (enjoying the references to what would become the backbone of the D&D magic system), but most everything else by him leaves me cold. I couldn't finish the Planet of Adventure series, and I thought the Demon Princes series was simply terrible (Ironically I thought it had many of the same problems Mark details in his review of another Vance series). Vance's characterization is juvenile and uncompeling, and his plotting seems very sketchy.  The only thing that keeps his stories rolling are his ideas, which are on a grand scale, very golden age in tone and content.  I remember having an old Ace Double with Five Gold Bands/Dragon Masters, and really enjoying both tales (which won early Hugo awards I believe). I have to re-read them sometime, it's been over 30 years.  

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Post Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:56 am 
 

Vance was always hit and miss. I liked the Dying Earth and Lyonesse series but was not too keen on the Demon Princes or Durdane series.
When his short stories being published in the science fiction digests in the 1970's started to become boring/unreadable I gave up on buying any more of his books.


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Post Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:05 am 
 

Someone recently mentioned Feist, maybe more did earlier.  I really liked the Riftwar Saga series.  I haven't kept up with the continuing books but will get to them someday soon.  I believe I was in junior high and needed a book to bring on vacation with my family, and I usually read what my brother had chosen to read up until that day.  That day (at B. Dalton), I went out on a limb and chose that first book all on my own.  In addition, growing up I was always quite small, and in junior high I felt the world of guys was progressing without me (in gym I was beginning to be really outpaced in strength and speed, let alone athletics after school), so reading about Pug at that point in my life really resonated with me.  It's pretty standard fantasy literature that I think most people would enjoy, not particularly cerebral or groundbreaking, but it has a special place in my library.  I revisit Midkemia every once in a while, and it's like coming home.

  

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Post Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:59 pm 
 

staro wrote:Someone recently mentioned Feist, maybe more did earlier.  I really liked the Riftwar Saga series.  I haven't kept up with the continuing books but will get to them someday soon.  I believe I was in junior high and needed a book to bring on vacation with my family, and I usually read what my brother had chosen to read up until that day.  That day (at B. Dalton), I went out on a limb and chose that first book all on my own.  In addition, growing up I was always quite small, and in junior high I felt the world of guys was progressing without me (in gym I was beginning to be really outpaced in strength and speed, let alone athletics after school), so reading about Pug at that point in my life really resonated with me.  It's pretty standard fantasy literature that I think most people would enjoy, not particularly cerebral or groundbreaking, but it has a special place in my library.  I revisit Midkemia every once in a while, and it's like coming home.


The only Feist I have read is Faerie Tale, which I considered an outstanding book.  (I'm pretty sure that's the title...right?  :? )

I am impressed with a writer when he not only draws me into a story but also teaches me about a topic.  Because of Faerie Tale, I have gone on to learn about the folklore and history on which Feist built the novel.  The result was a much stronger appreciation of Shakespeare and other writers as well as the many cross-cultural and literary connections in faerie stories in general.

I have a student who is supposed to be a non-reader.  That's strange, because I see him tearing through Harry Potter and other popular fantasy fiction series.  My fellow staff members insist that he does not really comprehend what he reads, but I am convinced he does.   They chuckle when he uses words like "harpies" and "befoul," not realizing that he has picked up on words you might find in a novel like Castle Roogna.  (My favorite Piers Anthony novel.)

Because I am more of a fantasy insider, I recognize the words and where he got them.  I think some teachers don't respect the genre and so don't realize the quality of writing and intellectual challenges to be found in fantasy literature.

Point is, my supposedly non-reading student is not only comprehending the fantasy novels he reads....he is learning from them just like I did.


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Post Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:22 pm 
 

The Xanth novels were also some of my earlier journeys into fantasy.  And you're right, they can teach us things beyond just a story: vocabulary (sarcophagus was one of my favorites!), government (how monarchies work, distribution of power), history and culture (many fantasy stories replicate medieval villages, music, food, architecture).  I've heard lately that the increase in graphic novels has helped some kids develop a love of reading that may have never occured with traditional texts.  I'll have to read Faerie Tale; seen it many times but never grabbed it!

  

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Post Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:31 pm 
 

DiscoDadda wrote:
FormCritic wrote:
I can't remember if I have dissed on this series before.

Just curious, are you an Author, English Teacher, or Professional Critic?  (or maybe an engineer?  8O  )  If not you should be.

I love reading your posts!  At least I know what not to read.... which is a time saver.

Disco


Thanks!

I am a very minor league professional writer.

I have taught English.

I currently teach special ed.


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Post Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:33 pm 
 

Just finished the Terry Goodkind "Sword of Truth" series and I have to say that it was quite good, probably one of my favorites.

For the most part, the entire series maintained my interest.  At times it could be quite stressful, though, since the main characters seemed to go from one terrible ordeal to the next.

There are a lot of undertones and allusions to real world societal and political issues that strike home to those that would agree with the author's stance.

I also found the "Wizard's Rules" to quite humorous and relevant.  Here are a some of them:

Wizard's First Rule:

"People are stupid, they will believe something because they want it to be true; or because they're afraid it might be true."

Wizard's Second Rule:

"The greatest harm can result from the best intentions."

Wizard's Third Rule:

"Passion rules reason, for better or for worse."

You will have to read the books or search for the rest…

  

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Post Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:38 pm 
 

dbartman wrote:Just finished the Terry Goodkind "Sword of Truth" series and I have to say that it was quite good, probably one of my favorites.

For the most part, the entire series maintained my interest.  At times it could be quite stressful, though, since the main characters seemed to go from one terrible ordeal to the next.

There are a lot of undertones and allusions to real world societal and political issues that strike home to those that would agree with the author's stance.

I also found the "Wizard's Rules" to quite humorous and relevant.  Here are a some of them:

Wizard's First Rule:

"People are stupid, they will believe something because they want it to be true; or because they're afraid it might be true."

Wizard's Second Rule:

"The greatest harm can result from the best intentions."

Wizard's Third Rule:

"Passion rules reason, for better or for worse."

You will have to read the books or search for the rest…


I generally enjoyed the Sword of Truth series... for me by book 7 or 8 it got formulaic... I normall do not use The Wizards Rules in my Day to Day life... I go with Zombie Rules:

#1 -- Cardio
#2 -- The Double Tap
#3 -- Beware of Bathrooms
#4 -- Seatbelts
#5 -- ???
#6 -- The Skillet*
#7 -- Travel Light
#8 -- Get A Kickass Partner*
#9 -- ???
#10 -- ???
#11 -- ???
#12 -- Bounty Paper Towels*
#13 -- ???
#14 -- ???
#15 -- Bowling Ball*
#16 -- ???
#17 -- Don't Be A Hero
#18 -- Limber Up
#19 -- ???
#20 -- ???
#21 -- Avoid Strip Clubs*
#22 -- When In Doubt, Know Your Way Out
#23 -- ???
#24 -- ???
#25 -- ???
#26 -- ???
#27 -- ???
#28 -- ???
#29 -- The Buddy System*
#30 -- ???
#31 -- Check The Back Seat
#32 -- Enjoy The Little Things
#33 -- Swiss Army Knife*

Disco

  

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Post Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:03 pm 
 

Not one kind vote for "The Lost Sisters" by that marvelous writer--







and author of many outstanding modules...


rc pinnell?

:oops:
:lol:


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Post Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:04 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:The only Feist I have read is Faerie Tale, which I considered an outstanding book.

I've read a lot of Feist's books and Faerie Tale is by far his best work.  Nice mixture of modern fantasy and mythology with just a touch of horror.


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Post Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:24 am 
 

This seems to be a good forum to ask this question:

I just got the final Silver John novel (by Manly Wade Wellman) in the mail today.  The Voice of the Mountain

I bought it for cheap (I know that for many here a $35+ book would not be especially expensive, but it is for me.  Anyone?)

For reference, see here:  

BookFinder.com: Search results

I prefer to collect hardbacks and all but one of my Wellman books are former library copies.  (No, I didn't steal them, but someone else might have, I guess.)  (The Voice of the Mountain came from Oconee County Library in Watkinsville, Georgia.  It was last stamped for checkout in April of 1991)

I actually prefer former library copies, which is good because I usually can get them for less.  They are much tougher and the plastic casing on their slip covers looks good and protects against accidents

For you guys who know more about book collecting....does a library copy carry less value because of the modifications to its dust jacket and/or possibly stamping inside the cover?

This seems to apply even to books that are not especially rare, such as Lawerence Schick's Heroic Worlds.  My copy was a former library copy and it sold for less than the other large paperbacks:

BookFinder.com: Search results

What do you think?  Library copies....good or bad?


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