Fantasy and Sci-Fi Novels
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:30 pm 
 

Munafik wrote:My favorite fantasy novel of all time is Sax Rohmer's Brood of the Witch Queen, with Abraham Merritt's The Moon Pool a close second. The former revolves around the resurrection of an ancient Egyptian queen and the latter around the discovery of a lost colony of Atlantis situated beneath the real-life island of Ponape. Both are brimming with prismatic prose, inventive plots, and exotic locales. However, for those who are interested, these are _not_ sword and sorcery fantasies ala those of R.E. Howard and C.L. Moore, but, rather,  are lost race romances similar to those penned by H. Rider Haggard and Edgar Rice Burroughs. N.B. The Rohmer novel is a bit hard to find, being as it was last printed, to the best of my knowledge, in the early twenties. The Moon Pool is more readily available, being is it has been in print, more or less, since its original date of publication in the early teens of the previous century.


Pyramid reprinted most of the Rohmer books in the 60s/70s, including Brood and all the Fu Manchu novels...they pop up on ebay periodically.  I'm kind of a closet Rohmer fan myself, he can be racist as all get-out, but he was writing in the early part of the 20th century.  And after all he DID make Fu Manchu, his chinese villain, pretty much a genius level baddie with a sense of honor.  I've got all the Merritt books; they are listed in Appendix N in the back of the original DMG as inspiration for D&D.  They can be very "flowery" in their prose, but are quite good.  The Moon Pool is the only one I've ever made it through, but he wrote a lot of other classics including The Metal Monster, Dwellers in the Mirage, and Seven Footprints to Satan.

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:39 am 
 

I am an avid reader of Sci Fi though have not read much fantasy of late. I gave up reading Jordan's wheel of time, my comments are summed up on another forum. I am user jmilsom:

Read my Jordan critique here

Actually, I spent ten year living in Myanmar (Burma) and rediscovered my RPG hobby and the Acaeum during a trip back to Australia in 2000 or 2001 (can't remember the exact date). When we first got a satelite uplink in that country the first site I discovered was SDC and I joined the forums there. For a few years I have run a thread on views on recently read SciFi books. Thread Here. It is now 18 pages long with over 114,000 views - amazing. I have been writing thoughts down on Sci Fi books as I read them. I am a big P.K.Dick fan.

Back to fantasy, a more recent Fantasy series I read is J.V.Jones. I quite enjoyed it after Jordan's torture, as the hero quickly comes to terms with his fate and undertakes a practical course of action.

Favourites: Hmmm. I love Tolkien of course. Jack Vance is a great writer though more often in the SciFi realm. Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time are fun. I'll have to think about it some more.

  

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Post Posted: Thu May 10, 2007 8:20 pm 
 

I prefer contemporary fantasies, so my favorite authors are:

Harlan Ellison
Ray Bradybury
Neil Gaiman
Dan Simmons
H.P. Lovecraft
Joyce Carol Oates
Kurt Vonnegut (God rest his soul)
Stephen King
Madeleine L'Engle

My favorite science fiction authors include:
Dan Simmons
Robert J. Sawyer
Connie Willis
Isaac Asimov


Simmons' Hyperion Cantos (Hyperion & Fall of Hyperion) could be easily translated into a D&D adventure.

Overall, I have trouble enjoying "sword & sorcery" fantasy.  Other than LOTR, which is a literary masterpiece, I find the bulk of this genre to be very disappointing.

I did enjoy the first 3 Shannarra books when I was in high school ... and I have fond memories of the first few Burroughs' Mars novels ... but those are sentimental favorites.

I do understand that George R.R. Martin's series is quite good, but I haven't had the chance to read them yet.

And don't forget Terry Pratchett's books ... they are a riot, and well worth reading.


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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 12:08 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:
Simmons' Hyperion Cantos (Hyperion & Fall of Hyperion) could be easily translated into a D&D adventure.



Now don't get me wrong - I love Hyperion & Fall of Hyperion.  They are probably the two best books I have EVER read.  Absolutely brilliant.

However, I am not sure I would say they could be easily translated to D&D . . .  Do you just mean the general theme of a pilgramage?  I've thought about the Cruciform before as something that could be easily incorporated . . . but everything else is either hard Science Fiction and/or deeply developed character plotlines.  Plus, a strong tribute to John Keats . . .


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Last edited by Beyondthebreach on Fri May 11, 2007 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  


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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 2:56 pm 
 

I likes me some Gene Wolf  - Book of The New Sun:
Shadow of The Torturer
Claw of The Conciliator
Sword of the Lictor
Citadel of the Autarch
Book of The New Earth

Lets not forget his Book of the Long Sun either (can't remember the titles of this series off hand.)


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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 3:07 pm 
 

I have to travel to Charlotte, NC for my job this week - I'll be there Sunday through Friday.  This will actually give me quite a bit of free time to read . . . so I stopped by the local used book store and finally picked up some H.P. Lovecraft . . .   I've yet to ever actually read any Lovecraft, so I'm looking forward to it.

It's a "Best Of" book, but it seems to have most of the titles I've heard of before:

Call of Cthulhu
Whisperer in Darkness
Dunwich Horror
Thing on the Doorstep
Shadow Over Inssmouth
Haunter of the Dark

etc. etc.


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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 3:14 pm 
 

Beyondthebreach wrote:
Now don't get me wrong - I love Hyperion & Fall of Hyperion.  They are probably the two best books I have EVER read.  Absolutely brilliant.

However, I am not sure I would say they could be easily translated to D&D . . .  Do you just mean the general theme of a pilgramage?  I've thought about the Cruciform before as something that could be easily incorporated . . . but everything else is either hard Science Fiction and/or deeply developed character plotlines.  Plus, a strong tribute to John Keats . . .


Yes, I meant the general theme of the pilgrimage, magical (instead of quantum) transporters, something akin to the Shrike, and tombs moving backward through time.

You're right: Many other elements of those novels are far too involved for a D&D campaign.

Keith


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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 3:20 pm 
 

Beyondthebreach wrote:Call of Cthulhu
Whisperer in Darkness
Dunwich Horror
Thing on the Doorstep
Shadow Over Inssmouth
Haunter of the Dark

You're in for a treat with most of those. Good ol' H.P. ... he was one creepy dude.  :)

The ironic part is that youi'll probably feel right at home, having bought/sold/traded/ or heard of gaming items with those titles over the years.

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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 3:23 pm 
 

Beyondthebreach wrote:It's a "Best Of" book, but it seems to have most of the titles I've heard of before:

Call of Cthulhu
Whisperer in Darkness
Dunwich Horror
Thing on the Doorstep
Shadow Over Inssmouth
Haunter of the Dark

etc. etc.


My advice regarding Lovecraft is to read his stuff slowly.  His prose is dense.  It's not "beach reading".  

Character development was not Lovecraft's strong suit, but his mythology, for me, greatly outweighs any drawbacks in characterization.

Those stories are a great place to start.  Do you happen to know which "best of" anthology it is (i.e., who's the editor?).

If you like those, I strongly encourage you get the Arkham House anthologies edited by S.T. Joshi and read those.  It's a four volume set, and, IMHO, contain the stories in the order in which they should be read.

Enjoy.

Keith


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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 3:26 pm 
 

Anyone read the military scifi stuff from authors like John Ringo and David Weber?  Not the deepest reads by any stretch but fun, action filled reading nevertheless :D


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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 3:36 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:.

Those stories are a great place to start.  Do you happen to know which "best of" anthology it is (i.e., who's the editor?).


Keith


"Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre" with an introduction by Robert Bloch.


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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 3:47 pm 
 

Beyondthebreach wrote:
"Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre" with an introduction by Robert Bloch.


That's part of the Del Rey series of Lovecraft books, and works well as a starting point.

Of all the non-Arkham House publishers, I prefer the newer Penguin series, but it's not like the stories are any different among the various editions, just the order and supplementary material from the editors.

I'm a little envious.  I would love to be just now starting on Lovecraft.


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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 4:21 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:
I'm a little envious.  I would love to be just now starting on Lovecraft.


I've been putting it off for many years now . . . I always knew that I'd be able to someday read them for the first time.  There's a few others that I've got set aside for first time reads . . . when the time is right.

Recently, a friend of mine got me all the Robert E. Howard Conan stories - I've read about half of them.  They are really fantastic.  I still have several more to go . . . I kind of spread them out so they aren't all done at once.


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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 7:16 pm 
 

Beyondthebreach wrote:
Recently, a friend of mine got me all the Robert E. Howard Conan stories - I've read about half of them.  They are really fantastic.  I still have several more to go . . . I kind of spread them out so they aren't all done at once.


Interesting you should mention that, because I was thinking about this thread earlier, and about all the various authors mentioned here, and how I'd never read any REH.  That might well be worth checking out.

I do remember reading a number of Fritz Leiber's "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser" books back in the day.  Those were very enjoyable.


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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 10:31 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:
Interesting you should mention that, because I was thinking about this thread earlier, and about all the various authors mentioned here, and how I'd never read any REH.  That might well be worth checking out.

I do remember reading a number of Fritz Leiber's "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser" books back in the day.  Those were very enjoyable.


Luckily the new Del Rey REH collections are pretty definitive.  Man, I REALLY envy those that haven't read any Conan/REH yet!!!
 Don't forget the Solomon Kane collection...IMO that's some of his best stuff.  Wings in the Night is my all time favorite REH story, and one of my top ten fantasy stories EVER.

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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 10:39 pm 
 

Beyondthebreach wrote:I have to travel to Charlotte, NC for my job this week - I'll be there Sunday through Friday.  This will actually give me quite a bit of free time to read . . . so I stopped by the local used book store and finally picked up some H.P. Lovecraft . . .   I've yet to ever actually read any Lovecraft, so I'm looking forward to it.

It's a "Best Of" book, but it seems to have most of the titles I've heard of before:

Call of Cthulhu
Whisperer in Darkness
Dunwich Horror
Thing on the Doorstep
Shadow Over Inssmouth
Haunter of the Dark

etc. etc.


That collection is pretty definitive, you should get enough there to know whether or not to try to find some of his more obscure works.  I don't believe Mountains of Madness is in there; Horror at Red Hook, The Festival, and The Temple are three more that aren't in that collection but worth hunting down.  Maybe some day you'll get like me....having read all the Lovecraft stories dozens of times each, I spend my time seeking out the best pastiches from other horror authors.  Some of these are pretty awful (aka Derleth and most of Lumley) but there are a few gems there also.  TED Klein's "Black Man With a Horn" and Brian McNaughton's "Throne of Bones" are two exceptions.  

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:06 pm 
 

I have been working my way through some of the Chaosium collections of Lovecraft based work, some are good and others are...just ok.

Robert M. Price is the series editor and writes the intros for the stories. He was the editor of Crypt of Cthulhu publication for 17 years and is a professor of theology so he brings an interesting perspective to the overall mythos.

In my opinion some of the better books from that series are:
Tales Out of Innsmouth
The Disciples of Cthulhu
The Dunwich Cycle
The Nyarlathotep Cycle
The Necronomicon: Selected Stories and Essays

I am not sure if they are all still in print, but they do come up quite often on eBay.

The Pagan Publishing fiction is also quite good and still in print.
Denied to the Enemy
Dark Theatres
Rules of Engagement

They can still be ordered through the Pagan Publishing site
Tynes Cowan Corporation

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Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:24 pm 
 

jasonw1239 wrote:I have been working my way through some of the Chaosium collections of Lovecraft based work, some are good and others are...just ok.

Robert M. Price is the series editor and writes the intros for the stories. He was the editor of Crypt of Cthulhu publication for 17 years and is a professor of theology so he brings an interesting perspective to the overall mythos.

In my opinion some of the better books from that series are:
Tales Out of Innsmouth
The Disciples of Cthulhu
The Dunwich Cycle
The Nyarlathotep Cycle
The Necronomicon: Selected Stories and Essays

I am not sure if they are all still in print, but they do come up quite often on eBay.

The Pagan Publishing fiction is also quite good and still in print.
Denied to the Enemy
Dark Theatres
Rules of Engagement

They can still be ordered through the Pagan Publishing site
Tynes Cowan Corporation

or through Arkham Bazaar
Arkham Bazaar: H.P. Lovecraft DVDs, Cthulhu T-shirts and stickers, Miskatonic University, Role-playing and board games, Movies, Sculptures, Books, Posters, Gifts, and more


The Innsmouth collection is probably the best.  Disciples of Cthulhu is based on a 70's collection and is uniformly excellent.  As far as I know, Ramsey Campbell's "The Tugging" is the only Mythos story ever nominated for a major award (the Nebula award, I believe).  Brian McNaughton's collection "Throne of Bones" won the World Fantasy Award, but it's really less a Lovecraft pastiche and more a Clark Ashton Smith/Lovecraft/REH/Weird Tales pastiche...
 Personally thought the Necronomicon collection was a waste of time...too many quasi-serious and boring "essays" that are based on a fictional work and ultimately useless.  
 Also, modern master Stephen King has dabbled in the Cthulhu Mythos, sometimes successfully. "Jeruselum's Lot" is a very passable Mythos tale with nods of the head to stories such as "Rats in the Walls" and others.  Didn't much care for "Crouch End" or some of the others....
  Oh, almost forgot, Karl Edward Wagner wrote one of the most incredible Lovecraft/Mythos homages ever, "River of Night's Dreaming". Absolutely stunning piece of fiction!

Mike B.


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