Favorite fantasy/sci-fi literature other than Tolkien
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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...

Mike B.


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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)

ShaneG.

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

Comes out tomorrow in stores everywhere!

Amazon just mailed me mine; due here Wednesday. And the new season debuts June 11. Life can be good.

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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 7:24 pm 
 

Oh, and that's Ian McShane as saloon owner Al Swearengen, to answer the original question. A fine, fine actor — and it's great fun to listen to his commentaries, since his British accent is so different from that of the Chicago native he plays on the show.

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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 7:28 pm 
 

Does he have extendable jaws that drip with acid venom?

  And where is that guy who's avatar is a guy grabbing his secretary's butt?  I want to be offended by that again.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 7:47 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Comes out tomorrow in stores everywhere!

Amazon just mailed me mine; due here Wednesday. And the new season debuts June 11. Life can be good.


Cool..will have to see if its cheaper in the stores then Amazon (or if with some other deal)

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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 7:56 pm 
 

Lewisexi wrote: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!


    Charles Saunders "Imaro" series is based on a black warrior in ancient Africa, very non-Euro in style and tone.  The book Imaro is the one to get; there was a second book, but it's just a huge lead up to a third volume that was never published, so stay away from that one.  Dozens of Imaro stories have made their way to fantasy short story collections  and various fantasy magazines over the years, one was even printed in Dragon magazine many years ago.  Unfortunately, his work hasn't been collected so you have to search around or just get lucky to find his Imaro tales.
    Another classic I forgot:  C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry tales, easy enough to find in a collected edition.

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 10:41 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Comes out tomorrow in stores everywhere!

Amazon just mailed me mine; due here Wednesday. And the new season debuts June 11. Life can be good.


wahay Ian Mcshane! i used to think he was ace in a programme called "Lovejoy" used to watch that all the time - character was great fun.

never watched that Deadwood thing.

Al


Are we nearly there yet?

  

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Post Posted: Sun May 28, 2006 10:28 pm 
 

Just finished the new Del Rey Conan collection, "The Conquering Sword of Conan".  I swear I was almost going to cry at the end, realizing that's all the Conan (the REAL Conan) we are ever going to get...it's such a GDamn shame he killed himself at the height of his powers.  After reading Beyond the Black River, The Black Stranger and Red Nails (two other stories are in the collection but don't begin to touch the above three which are his masterpieces) in their original form (unaltered by the tiny little minds of De Camp and Carter) I don't have a clue what to read as a follow up; best thing to do is to give it a rest for a few days until picking out something new.
   As if I need to tell you, go pick up a copy of The Conquering Sword of Conan right now, and skip directly to "Beyond the Black River"....and prepare to be entertained.
  An interesting tidbit, apparantly the much lauded Weird Tales contributed to less Conan in the world; If they would have either accepted more Conan stories from Howard (they actually rejected quite a few) or paid him on time (they got up to half a year behind on payments Howard desperately needed) he might have been encouraged to pen more tales of our favorite barbarian.  Damn that Farnsworth Wright anyway.

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Post Posted: Mon May 29, 2006 2:34 am 
 

Then again, without Wierd Tales, we might never have heard of Robert E. Howard.

If...one...could...go...back and explain to REH that he would become one of the most successful writers of his era....or that one of his characters would become a household names....

I believe that REH might have lived if D&D had existed in his day.  He would not have been a loner and he would have had something to live for.

OF course, no REH...no D&D.  And, if REH had played D&D he might never have written at all.

And.....I just had a good idea for a novel, which I am not going to share.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:19 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:No, Badmike, I have not even heard of Misericorde.  If it is outside of the five paperbacks I have not seen it.

  Darkness Weaves was the first fantasy book I bought after reading Tolkien.  It was a jarring read...the gore shocked me...the ruthless and hideous evil...I tried hiding the book from my mom, it was so lurid to my 14 year-old eyes.  But you gotta love "heroic" fantasy when the sidekick is named "Arlebas the Assassin" and he is horrifed by the book Kane is reading.

   I believe the Karl Edward Wagner Conan story was Road of Kings.
(Just a ragged memory of a special edition paperback).  Like a lot of the Conan pastiche material, it was not very good.  

   One thing that interests me about those pastiche stories is how many of them fail to get Conan.  The Cimmerian does not save the world.  He does not travel to other worlds.  He does not slip between dimensions or stumble about in search of magical solutions...unless he absolutely has to.  There are no floating castles of ice or faery realms.

    IF you read the REH Conan stories you find that in most of them Conan has a logical, material world to rove about...and he is usually after money.  

   Another thing they can't seem to get right is Conan's age.  Robert Jordan has 18 year-old Conan acting like 40 year-old Conan.  

   Anyway, Kane is a creation to rival Conan.  Too bad there wasnt' more.  Wagner makes us cheer for the badguy and he usually manages to jerk us by the emotional strings while he's doing it.  Kane is also quite evil, but he always seems to be just a little bit less evil than his adversaries...especially the "good" ones.  I think Undertow is the only Kane story where he is entirely unsympathetic...and the irony in that story is wrenching.

   Everyone go out and find Kane.  He's totally worth your time:
Darkness Weaves, Dark Crusade, Bloodstone, Death Angel's Shadow and Night Winds.  If you can only afford one book, get Night Winds.

   One other thought...the Kane artwork, by Frazetta, was some of that artist's best.

Mark   8)


Just received the hardback collection "Midnight Sun" today, which collects all of KEW's Kane fiction under one cover.  This is the best start for those wishing to learn about Kane, as his best stuff was in the short story form.  The book retailed for $75 but can be easily found for $20 or so online (I got mine from Half.com for $20 plus shipping).
    The good: This is complete, with everything for Kane including the contents of Death Angel's Shadow, Night Winds, and all the uncollected short stories including the three "modern"Kane stories, a fragment of an unfinished book, the Elric/Kane crossover and a KEW essay on Conan and Kane. Pretty essential stuff.
    The bad:  Having read three of the stories so far, I've already stumbled across two HUGE typos, one where a line was dropped into another paragraph, another where a paragraph was printed out of sequence (I've read these stories so many dozens of times that these kind of things jump out at me pretty glaringly).  Hard to believe a volume that looks this professional contains such awful mistakes as these.
   However, having all the Kane stores in one convenient package is too great an opportunity to pass up.  The collection of his three novels, Gods in Darkness, still sells for the retail of $70-$90 or so, it's easier to just find the individual novels Bloodstone, Darkness Weaves and Dark Crusade.  But the collection Midnight Sun is a must have.

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 1:04 pm 
 

The Ebay interest in Midnight Sun is too high for me at the moment.

But...I just thought of another place to look.   :twisted:

Mark   8)


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