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Fantasy fiction 101

 
 
dyslexia
 
  3  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:11 pm
In my thinking there is a large segment of "fantasy" that is didactic to a fault rendering it (to me) unreadable. (C.S. Lewis "Narnia Chronicles" comes to mind.) On the other hand Frank Herbert's SciFi Destination Void trilogy is quite wonderful while his Dune series is essentially boring.
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:14 pm
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

In my thinking there is a large segment of "fantasy" that is didactic to a fault rendering it (to me) unreadable. (C.S. Lewis "Narnia Chronicles" comes to mind.) On the other hand Frank Herbert's SciFi Destination Void trilogy is quite wonderful while his Dune series is essentially boring.


I only really enjoyed the first Dune book. But his Man of Two Worlds was a fine novel.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:15 pm
hmm, i really liked The Hobbit, have always struggled with the Rings

a great fantasy novel i read in the last few years was Un Lun Dun by China Mieville

his fantasy come crime noir novel The City & The City was quite enjoyable as well

Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:17 pm
@djjd62,
I had a hard time getting through Mieville's Perdido Street Station series.

Cycloptichorn
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:19 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
All right. Just placed a hold on Good Omens. It better be life changingly good! Wink
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:20 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
me too, i had to set them aside a while back

i'm going to start Kraken soon and see how that goes
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:21 pm
@tsarstepan,
it's neil gaiman, it can't be bad


oh yeah and that other guy (who's discworld books i just can't get into, sorry folks)
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:22 pm
@tsarstepan,
tsarstepan wrote:

All right. Just placed a hold on Good Omens. It better be life changingly good! Wink


Haha, well it's pretty funny.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:24 pm
speaking of Gaiman, three great books

American Gods

Anansi Boys

The Graveyard Book
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:25 pm
@djjd62,
I love the couple of Gaimen books I read.

The Graveyard Book and his collection of short stories Fragile Things. Then again they were the audiobook versions read by the wildly charismatic author himself.
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:27 pm
@tsarstepan,
it's too bad that comic books are not everyones cup of tea, because everyone should read The Sandman (all 75 issues), probably the best fantasy story ever told
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:34 pm
@djjd62,
I have never read The Sandman series. I should start and read a volume a month. Keep it from being too harrowing considering they'll be no more additions to the story.

It's a shame that most people hold that kneejerkish attitude towards graphic novels and comic books. They think it's all pow and bam and kapow from the cheesy 60's Batman series or they think panders to minds of tween boys.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:37 pm
Any fantasy from L.E. Modesitt, Jr. is worth reading. I'm not so keen on his hard science fiction.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:38 pm
@dyslexia,
A very interesting Venn Diagram can be drawn for us.

I salute you.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:41 pm
@tsarstepan,
Gaimans The Tragical Comedy Or The Comical Tragedy Of Mr. Punch is another fine graphic novel
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littlek
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:46 pm
I have often wanted to like Gaiman and have found him hard to get into. I tend to think of him as boy fantasy. Not that I'm particularly girlie. I did like Good Omens, but not as much as other Pratchett books. It's not as funny.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 10:16 pm
@msolga,
msolga wrote:

I confess I have not read one single fantasy novel, ever.
I once tried reading The Hobbit, after a really, really enthusiastic recommendation, but gave up. I'm not sure why now, but I did. That was ages ago.

But I notice on the book thread here that so many of you are hugely enthusiastic fantasy fans. So I'm wondering if maybe I'm missing out on something? (You never know!)

So, OK, you are speaking to a person who is completely unfamiliar with this genre. (& there may be others, for all I know.)

Could you explain (in lay-person terms) what it is which appeals to you about fantasy novels? Does it help if you're into science fiction, too?

If you were going to recommend just one novel to a complete fantasy ignoramus, what would it be & why would you say it's a great read?

Thank you in advance, anyone who contributes information & advice.
Based on your recommendations, I will check out my local library & see what's available.

I think it might be time to take the plunge! Wink


If and once you read The Lord of The Rings, you will come back to The Hobbit, hungry.

LOTR is at the top of the pile.

You may need to push through a few chapters of Fellowship of The Ring, but once you come to Bree or Rivendell, you should be hooked.

I have read the trilogy more times than I can count and I always come away with something new.

Other works you may consider - In no particular order however the more accessible are in bold

The King of Elfland's Daughter - Lord Dunsany
Perdidio Street Station - China Mieville (King Rat by him as well)
The Gormenghast Trilogy - Mervyn Peake
The Broken Sword - Poul AndersonRhinegold - Stephan Grundy
Neverwhere - Neil Gaman (and just about anything else he has written)Tales of The Otori - Lian Hearn
Zothique - Clark Ashton Smith
Book of The New Sun - Gene Wolfe
A Song of Ice and Fire - George R. R. Martin
Dune - Frank Herbert (Could be considered Sci-Fi)
The Prince of Nothing Trilogy - R. Scott Bakker
His Dark Materials Trilogy - Phillip Pullman
The Once and Future King - T.H. White
The Mabinogian Tetraology - Evangeline Walton
The Somnambulist - Jonathan Barnes
The Night Watch Tetraology - Sergei Lukyaneko
Lord of Light - Roger Zelazny (sci-fi undertones)
Riddle-Master - Patricia A. McKillip
The Amber Chronicles (at least the first few books) - Roger Zelazny
I'm sure there are other which are slipping my mind.

Now for the ones I strongly suggest you avoid (at least until you are so hooked with fantasy that you will read any hack piece). No doubt this list will generate disagreement:

The Wheel of Time Series - Robert Jordan
The Shannara Series - Terry Brooks
The Sword of Truth Series - Terry Goodkind

And I know there are many others but I have, thankfully, put them out of my mind.

0 Replies
 
GoshisDead
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 10:19 pm
For the Tolkienphobic who still do not want to delve straight into the modern Tolkien world offspring of epic middle world type multi species fantasy, but also do not want to delve into the more post-modern and steam-punk type fantasy, I would seriously recommended the Gormenghast series by Mervyn Peake. It is meaty like Tolkien but lacks the endless descriptions of the forest. I mean really how much writing about green can a person stomach in a story. Gormenghast has beautfully surreal characters in which Gormenghast castle is one. It runs in the descriptive of Alice in Wonderland with a less disjointed story. I was already a fantasy geek before I read it, but if I was not already it would have made me one.

Other more genre standard series worth noting.
Thomas Covenant Series - Stephen Donaldson
Wheel of Time series - Robert Jordan (although this series is 400 books long and wanders in the middle, its in this list because its the most popular of the last 50 years)
Song of Ice and Fire series - George R.R. Martin
First Law Trilogy - Joe Abercrombie (<- sort of like the Quentin Tarantino of fanstasy)
Incarnation of Immortality series - Piers Anthony
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 11:58 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

I had a hard time getting through Mieville's Perdido Street Station series.

Cycloptichorn


Too bad, it's a great book.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  2  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 12:42 am
@littlek,
Love Anne McCaffrey, especially the Pern books (The Dragon Riders of Pern comes to mind right away.) I admire and respect Ursula K. LeGuin's work as well (some of it is s-f, rather than fantasy) but, like the tsar, I find her somewhat intimidating at times. Hard to explain that, but there it is.

And how on earth could I have forgotten to mention Poul Andersen???
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