Favorite fantasy/sci-fi literature other than Tolkien
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Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 12:41 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Interesting the literary cross-currents here.  A surprising number of us have met or known the noteworthy fantasy authors of the 20th century.

Zelazny bears mentioning in any list of fantasy writers.  The first Amber series is great and the second is at least good.

I also loved Lord of Light and Creatures of Darkness and Light.

Mark   8)


actually, one i missed off. Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer series - fabulous sci-fi reading them - if you havent checked them out, do so - great read

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Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 1:47 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Interesting the literary cross-currents here.  A surprising number of us have met or known the noteworthy fantasy authors of the 20th century.

Zelazny bears mentioning in any list of fantasy writers.  The first Amber series is great and the second is at least good.

I also loved Lord of Light and Creatures of Darkness and Light.

Mark   8)


         Lord of Light is a fabulous book. I need to reread it (it's been 20 years this summer I think since I discovered Zelazny and pretty much read his entire output).
   I have ordered the complete Kane short story collection in hardback, called The Midnight Sun.  Contains every Kane short story including the modern ones, the poetry, etc.  It runs from $20 to $40 on Ebay or Half.com so it's very affordable and the individual collections are hard to find, thisis a great overview of KEW's work.  Plus, his short stories were the best of his writing IMO.
  The novel collection  (Gods in Darkness) is quite ridiculously priced at $90+, it' s much cheaper and easier to just go find Bloodstone, Dark Crusade and Darkness Weaves individually in the paperback editions (with the great Frazetta covers, of course!).  
  If/when you order these and read them, post back here, I'd be interested to hear anyone's impressions of his work.

Has anyone mentioned Lord Dunsany yet?  At least two novels of his should be considered canon for any readers of fantasy: The King of Elfland's Daughter and The Charwoman's Shadow.  I found them both hard to start for some reason, but very much in the traditional fantasy vein with several interesting twists.

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Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 2:31 pm 
 

Great lists of wonderful books and authors. I've read as much Elric, Kane, Gord, Fafhrd et. al. as I could get my hands on.



Two books that I don't see very often on lists like these are Bimbos of the Death Sun. Both books are about role play gaming, and IMO they are a lot of fun to read. Dream Park is science fiction/murder mystery/role playing, and succeeds on all three levels. (You can start with chapter four if you want to get to the game  :) )  Bimbos pokes a lot of fun at a game convention, and Sharon McCrumb is a very good author.


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Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 5:07 pm 
 

Onlondore wrote:Great lists of wonderful books and authors. I've read as much Elric, Kane, Gord, Fafhrd et. al. as I could get my hands on.

Two books that I don't see very often on lists like these are Bimbos of the Death Sun. Both books are about role play gaming, and IMO they are a lot of fun to read. Dream Park is science fiction/murder mystery/role playing, and succeeds on all three levels. (You can start with chapter four if you want to get to the game  :) )  Bimbos pokes a lot of fun at a game convention, and Sharon McCrumb is a very good author.




hey! talking of dream park - thats a great larry niven novel! many moons back, in fact not long after i read it, i wrote up a module for the group to play too! was an absolute blast. i do remember one of the group shot another with the rifle before they realised what it was.



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Post Posted: Sat May 20, 2006 1:21 am 
 

Oh...and I can't remember the author's name, but who else here has read Grunts?

This is a novel about fantasy world orcs who are transformed into American marines by a dragon horde's curse.

I consider it a hoot.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sat May 20, 2006 5:36 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Oh...and I can't remember the author's name, but who else here has read Grunts?

This is a novel about fantasy world orcs who are transformed into American marines by a dragon horde's curse.

I consider it a hoot.

Mark   8)


Mark

grunts is written by Mary Gentle...

just in case anyone wanted to go look for it

Al



  

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Post Posted: Sat May 20, 2006 5:36 pm 
 

"Mary Gentle."

An ironic name for the author of Grunts.

I would have expected "Mary Abandon!"

A very fun read...particulary for Warhammer enthusiasts, as it captures the dark humor of that genre perfectly.  There is even a scene where the emperor is re-enacting "The Last Battle" with miniatures.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sat May 20, 2006 5:42 pm 
 

I'm shocked that nobody has mentioned "My Pet Goat". Its effect on a politician is much like a Charm spell; the victim will do whatever he's told, for years.

  

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Post Posted: Sun May 21, 2006 1:31 pm 
 

Intersesting....yet not surprising

I would have to say the best D&D series, next to Gord the Rogue, would have to be for me the Dark Elf series by RA Salvatore....ALL of them!

For ScFi I would have to agree with Battlefield Earth(book not Movie...shudder)
Also a SciFi series by William H. Keith, Jr.
Warstrider Series
 Warstrider
 Rebellion
  Jackers
 Symbionts
 Netlink
 Battlemind

Also Mickey Zucker Reichert
The World of the Renshai series
 The Last of the Renshai
 The Western Wizard
 Child of Thunder
 Beyond Ragnarok
 Prince of Demons
 The Children of Wrath

Just to name a few....


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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 1:27 am 
 

Kosh Vorlontay wrote:Intersesting....yet not surprising

I would have to say the best D&D series, next to Gord the Rogue, would have to be for me the Dark Elf series by RA Salvatore....ALL of them!

....


I know a lot of D&D fans turn up their noses at any of the Forgotten Realms series of books, and particularly anything Salvatore writes.  In all honesty, I've reads lots worse fantasy from far more established authors that stunk far, far more.  These are sort of the "McDonalds" of fantasy fiction, easily consumed and forgotten hours later, but filling for a short time.  Salvatore's best work was the Drizzt trilogy that presents his early life story before he came to the surface; everything else is pretty much same old same old generic fantasy stuff.  I don't remember the name or collection, but I think Salvatore's most intriguing short story was one where Drizzt is hired to find a goblin that has escaped it's "owners" who are using it for slave labor.  Upon finding the goblin, to his surprise the creature is intelligent and thoughtful, not like his kind (in other words, much like Drizzt himself) and has been incredibly mistreated by his "owners".  Despite his misgivings, Drizzt turns the goblin back over to his owners...later passing through the same area, he checks on the goblin only to find him tortured and hung by the vengeful owners...against which he can do nothing, since the goblin was their property, and of course all goblins are "evil".  A very simple tale, but done well, with unusual restraint for Salvatore I felt.
I suppose Cunningham's Elfshadow series is ok.  Greenwood's stuff is always way too over the top to be taken seriously. Azure Bonds was a pretty good tale (didn't like the rest of the trilogy, it's better as a stand alone). I haven't read many of the later Forgotten Realms novels so I don't know if the tales got better, worse or whatever.

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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 1:36 am 
 

Badmike wrote:Greenwood's stuff is always way too over the top to be taken seriously.

Ed Greenwood gets the most consistently poor reviews of any author I've ever looked up over at Amazon. And that includes every genre I'm interested in: SF/F, history, sports, music, biography, etc. Even the Realms fanboys can't stand the way the guy writes, apparently ...

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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 1:38 am 
 

I liked the first Gord novel...and I liked the collection of short stories that was called something like Knight Errant.

But the other ones...well...not my favorite work by Gygax.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 2:11 am 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:
Badmike wrote:Greenwood's stuff is always way too over the top to be taken seriously.

Ed Greenwood gets the most consistently poor reviews of any author I've ever looked up over at Amazon. And that includes every genre I'm interested in: SF/F, history, sports, music, biography, etc. Even the Realms fanboys can't stand the way the guy writes, apparently ...


What's really weird is that he, along with Gygax himself, is my favorite writer of D&D supplements and adventures.  Along with Gygax and a few others, he has the ability with a short paragraph of  making a truly memorable description with one or two really intersting tidbits.  A page of Greenwood (for example the Volo's guide series) can contain more good ideas of adventures than entire supplements of some other author's works.  I find it interesting, then, that along with Gygax I don't enjoy his fiction at all (i have never evenmanaged to make it two chapters into any Gord book despite trying several times).  
  Greenwood wrote a long running series in Polyhedron magazine called "Elminster's Everwinking Eye" that would cover, in one or two pages, areas of the Forgotten Realms not talked about in any published supplements.  Without except they are really good and can be used for any fantasy RP world.  In about issue #51-#55 of Polyhedron he wrote a short series (I think it was three articles at the most, about two pages long each) about a typical fantasy village called "Maskyr's Eye".  I still think this may be the best stuff he ever wrote; he gives a good history and background of the village, the ruined mage's tower outside of town, possible adventuring possibilites, and more in just a few pages. That he and Gygax can just toss out stuff like this and it makes stuff I work on for days and days look like poop...oh well.  Hard to believe the same guy wrote the dreck called "Spellfire" and others just as bad...

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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 8:22 am 
 

Badmike wrote:I haven't read many of the later Forgotten Realms novels so I don't know if the tales got better, worse or whatever.

Mike B.


The first set of FR books I read was the Moonshae trilogy.  I thought 'Darkwalker' was a pretty fair read.  The two sequels 'Black Wizards' and 'Darkwell' werent bad at all either.  I liked 'The Crystal Shard' somewhat but didnt really care for 'Streams of Silver' or 'The Halfling's Gem'.  The FR books I most enjoyed were from the Avatar trilogy.  'Shadowdale' and 'Waterdeep' were pretty decent reads but 'Tantras' IMO was the best of the three.

  


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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 2:39 pm 
 

I don't remember the name or collection, but I think Salvatore's most intriguing short story was one where Drizzt is hired to find a goblin that has escaped it's "owners" who are using it for slave labor.


-Realms of Valor was the book, IIRC, and Dark Mirror was the story title, IIRC again.

The 1st three books of Drizzt's life are the best ones and the rest are very generic kind of stuff (plain). I did enjoy most of the War of the Spider Queen books. Something about Dark Elf society just pumps my nads.

I've read a bunch of other TSR/WOTC novels...most were very, very, very boring. I even thought the Dragon Lance trilogy was mud stuck.

The Gord (sp?) books were great fun, especially the 1st one.

  


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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 4:22 pm 
 

bombadil wrote:As I said before "Red Blades of Black Cathay" is one of my all-time favorite Howard stories.

Wow, am I glad I decided to skim back through this thread, as I missed this entry before. "Red Blades" is simply outstanding, and is easily my favorite REH story.

Some stories just grab you — there's no other way to explain it. "Red Blades" has grabbed me about five times now, and each time I've read it in one sitting.

Highly recommended, for those interested, and readily available in a number of anthologies.

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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 4:30 pm 
 

Many good books and authors already mentioned.

I'll put in a vote for Joan D. Vinge on the Sci-Fi side.
Her Snow Queen and Psion books are very good.

My apologies if someone mentioned her already and I missed it.

For fantasy, Pat Pulling wins hands down!  :wink:

  


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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 7:13 pm 
 

No mention of Terry Pratchett? I know you wouldn't run a DnD adventure from one of his plots (well not a serious one one anyway!) but I still he's a wonderful writer. Perhaps you folks consider him a comedy author rather than fantasy? Fair enough if you do I see your point :)

I've got 500+ fantasy novels and I enjoy most of the authors folks have mentioned here but would I would like to see more of is more fantasy based away from Western history, folklore and morality. All too often, for example, you'll read a novel and new race xxxx is introduced and you're left thinking "Here come the Vikings/Knights of King Arthur/etc" which is a shame when there's so many other cultures to borrow from that most readers would be hard placed to spot the references to. Perhaps fantasy as a genre needs these references in order to function as a story-telling medium or maybe what is considered a fantasy work are too established to permit too much deviation from a set of, if you'll forgive the pun, un-written rules.

If you guys have some good suggestions of books I'm missing out on that aren't based on a psuedo-medieval Europe I'm all ears!

  

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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 7:15 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:
bombadil wrote:As I said before "Red Blades of Black Cathay" is one of my all-time favorite Howard stories.

Wow, am I glad I decided to skim back through this thread, as I missed this entry before. "Red Blades" is simply outstanding, and is easily my favorite REH story.

Some stories just grab you — there's no other way to explain it. "Red Blades" has grabbed me about five times now, and each time I've read it in one sitting.

Highly recommended, for those interested, and readily available in a number of anthologies.


God, Xaxaxe!  

I was scrolling through the topic and your new avatar just scared the hell out of me!   8O

Who is that?

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 7:17 pm 
 

He's from the Deadwood HBO series (man now I have to see if the second season has come out on DVD yet)

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