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Fantasy fiction 101

 
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 03:01 am
Just checking out the progress of this thread.
I seem to have quite a bit of homework/research to do!

Thank you everyone who contributed. Much appreciated. I hope it's OK if I throw extra questions your way as they come up?
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  2  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 07:27 pm
I'll be visiting my library today or tomorrow.
Here's my tentative short list. Of course, they may not all be available. (Though the librarians are a very helpful lot & will transfer books from other branches, if available. They're also pretty obliging about purchasing books that aren't on their shelves, if you ask.) Remember, I'm going for a not-too-daunting read, first up. What do you think of these, for starters?:

The Colour of Magic- Terry Prachett
A Voyage to Acturus - David Lindsay
The Once & future King - T H White

Please advise if any of these are "boys fantasy" (as described by k. I doubt if I'd go for those, either. Wink ) Or "didactic to a fault". (dys). I want this first read to be do-able! Smile

I've avoided any trilogies, or inter-connected novels at this stage. So the Ring trilogy will be later, if all goes well.
I'll also be looking for audio books of any of these & others you've recommended.

Thank you very much, all. You've been wonderfully obliging.

Oh & please feel free to continue your discussions amongst yourselves,if you like, even if I'm not quite sure about the details of what you're talking about. I find your discussions fascinating. Really. Quite an intriguing A2K collection, you fantasy enthusiasts!
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 11:56 pm
@msolga,
Well, what other kinds of books do you like?

Action/Adventure?
Romance?
Detective/Mystery?
Horror?
Historical Fiction?
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 05:35 am
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

On the other hand Frank Herbert's SciFi Destination Void trilogy is quite wonderful while his Dune series is essentially boring.

I think the first Dune novel (which stands completely alone) is one of the most complex and thoughtful works I've ever written. It's one of the few works I've read several times. If you are looking for deep fantasy, try Wicked, but not if you've seen the play of the same name which discarded much of the more intense material.
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 05:53 am
@engineer,
i was thinking of suggesting Wicked as well, a great read, the sequels are good, Son of a Witch (book 2) is a logical companion to the first book, A Lion Among Men (book 3) tells an interesting story, but might not be everyones cup of tea

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/70/WickedBookCover.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5c/SonOfAWitchCover.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/30/A_Lion_Among_Men.jpg
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 09:43 am
@msolga,
MsO, looks good. I've read two of those (Pratchett and White) and enjoyed them both. Of course, I read The Once and Future King almost 20 years ago.....
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 09:55 am
@engineer,
Dune is one of the greatest SF books ever written.

Nobody has successfully translated it to film or TV, IMO; you have to read the book.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:26 am
@DrewDad,
Quote:
Well, what other kinds of books do you like?

You know, that's a very hard question to answer, in terms of a specific "genre". Broadly speaking, I'm most interest in novels which explore "the human condition" (for want of a better term). In considerable depth, leaving few stones unturned! Wink What makes people tick? Why do they make the choices they do? How do they interact with each other? How do they resolve conflict? What gives their lives meaning? etc, etc, etc ... I'm also very interested in novels which focus on the role of politics in the lives of ordinary people. The commitments they make & why they make them. I realize this sounds rather wishy-washy. Perhaps it would be best to mention some of my favourite authors & novels? :

*Janette Turner Hospital - Due Preparations for the Plague: described as a post 9/11 political thriller, but so much more. (She's brilliant. I've read all her novels. This one's a knock-out.)
http://www.mostlyfiction.com/spy-thriller/hospital.htm

*Vikram Seth -A Suitable Boy. Wonderful novel set in post independence India. Explores so many aspects of Indian life & culture - religion & religious difference, caste, politics, .. also explores family relationships within the context of a "love story". Though hardly a conventional one!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Suitable_Boy

* Tim Winton - The Turning. Oz author. Love this one & have read all his books. This one focuses on the "turning point" moments in the lives of a group of middle-aged adults who grew up together in a small WA community. Friendships, betrayals, loyalty. How life has impacted on each of them.
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/w/tim-winton/turning.htm

* Jennifer Johnson - all of her many novels exploring the lives of those caught up in one way or another in the Irish "troubles". The impact of the IRA on individuals in small communities. Beautifully written & insightful.
http://kimbofo.typepad.com/readingmatters/authors-jennifer-johnston/

Paul Scott - The Raj Quartet.
4 inter-connecting novels focusing on the events leading up to Indian independence. As seen through different of members of the British Raj, in their last days in India. Partition. Sectarian violence. Lots of detailed historical information as well as terrific stories about various individuals. Wonderful stuff!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Mark_Scott

Doris Lessing - The Golden Notebook & also her African novels. Brilliant, courageous writer! The golden notebook is one of my all-time favourites. (Read it 4 times!) There have been so many different interpretations regarding what it's "about", but I see it as an attempt of the main character (a writer) to integrate the different aspects of herself, particularly the personal with the political, in a fragmenting society.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Notebook

I could also mention Margaret Atwood, Naguib Mahfouz (especially The Cairo Trilogy), Gillian Slovo & quite a few others, but I've run out of puff. But this gives you some idea, Bet you wished you hadn't asked! Wink
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:29 am
@msolga,
If that's what you are looking for, then I double down on Dune and Wicked for Sci Fi and Fantasy respectively.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:30 am
@engineer,
You read all that, engineer? Smile Wink
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:31 am
MsO - realistic fiction?

Janette Turner Hospital - I read Orpheus Lost - loved it (it's set in my town)
Tim Winton - I read Cloud Street - liked this one too.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:33 am
@littlek,
Quote:
Janette Turner Hospital - I read Orpheus Lost - loved it (it's set in my town)


I know you did, k. I posted it to you! Wink Laughing
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:34 am
@msolga,
Aha! Thank you then. Shall I return it?
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:35 am
@msolga,
Oh yes. I even go back and reread some of the ones I loved when I was younger to see if they stand the test of time as I get older and bring new insights to the story. I've read Dune five or six times and I get something new every time.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:37 am
@littlek,
No,of course not, k!
It was a gift. Smile
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:39 am
@msolga,
Well, then, double thank you. It may be worth reading again!
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:39 am
It is way past my bed time. (like really late!) I'm going to read the rest of your suggestions tomorrow.

Thank you, again.

Hmmm ... Dune. Another one to consider.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:41 am
@littlek,
Smile

You might try Due Preparations .., k.
That was something! Phew! Edge of seat stuff!
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:45 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

dyslexia wrote:

On the other hand Frank Herbert's SciFi Destination Void trilogy is quite wonderful while his Dune series is essentially boring.

I think the first Dune novel (which stands completely alone) is one of the most complex and thoughtful works I've ever written. It's one of the few works I've read several times.

My god! You're channeling Frank Herbert's ghost!!
http://www.serienoldies.de/images7/scooby_doo_3.jpg
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 10:45 am
@msolga,
Heh, I'd started to write something that I then decided not to post, which included a) I think we have similar-ish taste in books (I brought up Vikram Seth) so I was thinking of what I like, and b) Margaret Atwood straying into the science fiction/ fantasy category fairly often. Do you like "The Handmaid's Tale," for example?

I realized that while I have read almost all of the big ones mentioned here, it was in a swath when I was about 10 to about 16, and I haven't read much since.

I think Margaret Atwood and Ursula LeGuin have a lot in common, though.
 

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