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Essential fantasy

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  • OJ
    We got into a discussion of essential fantasy on another board, and I came up with my own top 10 list. Here is what I came up with, just wondering what some of
    Message 1 of 16 , Jul 14, 2004
      We got into a discussion of essential fantasy on another board, and I
      came up with my own top 10 list. Here is what I came up with, just
      wondering what some of the folks on this board think.

      #1) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein - This is where it all
      started. It's not as accessable as some later fantasy work, but I
      still think you have to start any list of essentials with Tolkein.

      #2) The Sword of Shanarra by Terry Brooks - If memory serves, this
      book was published in about 1976. It was EXTREMELY important to the
      fantasy genre because it was the first widely successful fantasy
      novel. It opened doors for many, many authors that came later. It is
      also a wonderful read.

      #3) Magician by Raymond Feist - This originally was published around
      1980 and was one of the next big things to follow on the heels of
      Brooks' success. It's a little on the light side, but it's still a
      great story and is the first of a series of "Riftwar" novels. Until
      recently, it was published as two volumes (Magician: Apprentice and
      Magician: Master) but you can buy it in one big book now.

      #4) The Belgariad by David Eddings - Another great series that
      started in the early 80's and lasted for six books. The first book is
      called Pawn of Prophecy. Again, a little on the light side, but with
      a really good story. Eddings followed it with another series The
      Mallorean, which lasted for five books.

      #5) The Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin - Much more
      complex than #2-4 and probably a better all-around read, but it
      wouldn't have been possible without those listed before. It starts
      out with A Game of Thrones. There are currently three books out in
      the series and Martin is writing No. 4.

      #6) The Assassin trilogy by Robin Hobb - Maybe my favorite female
      author. Starts out with the book Assassin's Aprentince. I thought the
      first two books in the series were much better than the third.

      #7) Jackal of Nar by John Marco - Marco is probably the least known
      author on this list, but I think he is getting more and more
      reknowned every day. His books are similar in some ways to Martin,
      but different in other.

      #8) Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind - This book is very similar
      to Robert Jordan's Eye of the World. Both books are huge sellers that
      began a long, drawn-out, meandering series. I didn't care much for
      Jordan, but I did for Goodkind. Either way, both series started out
      very strong, but seem to get weaker and weaker the more drawn out the
      story becomes. That said, Wizard's First Rule is still a very good
      book when taken as a single novel, rather than part of the whole
      series Goodkind is pumping out.

      #9)The Wayfarer Redemption by Sarah Douglass - The first book of a
      really great series.
      Douglass does a good job with romance, imo. The characters are great
      and so are some of the unexpected twists.

      #10) The Loremasters of Elundium by Mike Jeffries - The only reason I
      put this so low is because it's out of print now, and you may not be
      able to find it. This is the most magical series I've ever read. It's
      closer to Tolkein than any of the others on this list in style, but
      not substance. If you can find this three-book series BUY IT RIGHT
      AWAY.
    • william@wmarnoch.freeserve.co.uk
      ... I think you mean Essential Epic Fantasy as there s nothing from any other fantasy sub- genre here. ... I hate to be picky, but how can it be where it
      Message 2 of 16 , Jul 15, 2004
        On 14 Jul 2004 at 22:09, OJ wrote:

        > We got into a discussion of essential fantasy on another board, and I
        > came up with my own top 10 list. Here is what I came up with, just
        > wondering what some of the folks on this board think.

        I think you mean "Essential Epic Fantasy" as there's nothing from any other fantasy sub-
        genre here.

        > #1) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein - This is where it all
        > started.

        I hate to be picky, but how can it be "where it all started" when it's a sequel? ;)

        (Not to mention all the other fantasy books that were published before "The Lord Of The
        Rings" but most of them are admittedly fairly obscure).

        > #2) The Sword of Shanarra by Terry Brooks - If memory serves, this
        > book was published in about 1976. It was EXTREMELY important to the
        > fantasy genre because it was the first widely successful fantasy
        > novel. It opened doors for many, many authors that came later. It is
        > also a wonderful read.

        Never read it. So many people really, really hate it that I'm not really tempted to pick it up.

        > #3) Magician by Raymond Feist - This originally was published around
        > 1980 and was one of the next big things to follow on the heels of
        > Brooks' success. It's a little on the light side, but it's still a
        > great story and is the first of a series of "Riftwar" novels. Until
        > recently, it was published as two volumes (Magician: Apprentice and
        > Magician: Master) but you can buy it in one big book now.

        Magician's one of my favourite books.

        > #4) The Belgariad by David Eddings - Another great series that
        > started in the early 80's and lasted for six books. The first book is
        > called Pawn of Prophecy. Again, a little on the light side, but with
        > a really good story. Eddings followed it with another series The
        > Mallorean, which lasted for five books.

        Personally I prefer his "Elenium" series, it has a bit more depth. The Belgariad is hardly
        great literature but I enjoyed it a lot.

        > #5) The Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin - Much more
        > complex than #2-4 and probably a better all-around read, but it
        > wouldn't have been possible without those listed before. It starts
        > out with A Game of Thrones. There are currently three books out in
        > the series and Martin is writing No. 4.

        Probably my favourite fantasy series.

        > #6) The Assassin trilogy by Robin Hobb - Maybe my favorite female
        > author. Starts out with the book Assassin's Aprentince. I thought the
        > first two books in the series were much better than the third.

        I keep meaning to read something by her, I've heard a lot of good things about her
        books.

        > #7) Jackal of Nar by John Marco - Marco is probably the least known
        > author on this list, but I think he is getting more and more
        > reknowned every day. His books are similar in some ways to Martin,
        > but different in other.

        Never read it. Like "Shannarra" I've heard very mixed reviews about this.

        > #8) Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind - This book is very similar
        > to Robert Jordan's Eye of the World. Both books are huge sellers that
        > began a long, drawn-out, meandering series. I didn't care much for
        > Jordan, but I did for Goodkind. Either way, both series started out
        > very strong, but seem to get weaker and weaker the more drawn out the
        > story becomes. That said, Wizard's First Rule is still a very good
        > book when taken as a single novel, rather than part of the whole
        > series Goodkind is pumping out.

        I've read the Jordan books. Goodkind often seems to be described as a Jordan imitator
        so I'm not that tempted to read his series. Reading the Wheel Of Time has taken up
        enough time that I don't want to have to duplicate the experience with another series.

        > #9)The Wayfarer Redemption by Sarah Douglass - The first book of a
        > really great series.
        > Douglass does a good job with romance, imo. The characters are great
        > and so are some of the unexpected twists.

        Not read it.

        > #10) The Loremasters of Elundium by Mike Jeffries - The only reason I
        > put this so low is because it's out of print now, and you may not be
        > able to find it. This is the most magical series I've ever read. It's
        > closer to Tolkein than any of the others on this list in style, but
        > not substance. If you can find this three-book series BUY IT RIGHT
        > AWAY.

        I've never even heard of this. What's it about?

        Having commented on your list I suppose I should try to make my own, although thinking
        of ten really 'essential' fantasys isn't that easy.

        In no particular order:

        1 - "The Lord Of The Rings" by J.R.R.Tolkein. He may not really have invented the
        genre, but he certainly popularised it. The book has plenty of flaws but Middle Earth is
        possibly still the most detailed piece of world building in any fantasy book.

        2 - "A Song Of Ice And Fire" by George R.R. Martin. Like I said above, this is probably
        my favourite fantasy series. Very well written with great characters and a compelling
        story.

        3 - "Magician" by Raymond E. Feist, proof that not all "Lord Of The Rings" inspired epic
        fantasys have to have the same plot. Highly entertaining.

        4 - "A Darkness At Sethanon" by Raymond E. Feist. Has what is, in my opinion, the best
        action scene in any fantasy book in the Battle Of Armengar. A more traditional epic
        fantasy than "Magician" but still great fun.

        5 - "The Malazn Book Of The Fallen" by Steven Erikson. Compared to this every other
        epic fantasy series should really be re-classified as 'slightly epic' fantasy. I don't know
        what is more impressive, the hugely complicated world/history/background/plot or the
        fact that Erikson manages to keep it all coherent and consistent. It's far from perfect and
        some of the subplots are a bit disappointing but at it's best it can be better than just
        about anything else in the genre.

        6 - "The Anubis Gates" by Tim Powers. A brilliant book on many levels. It's a great piece
        of historical fantasy, an unusually well-thought-out time travel story, a highly original
        supernatural fantasy and a compelling page-turning adventure.

        7 - "Viriconium" by M. John Harrison (well, the first two books anyway). Superbly-written
        with some very evocative language. The plot gets very strange at times and I'll admit I
        have no idea what any of the last book is about but it offers a unique fantasy reading
        experience.

        8 - "The Death Gate Cycle" by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. The authors are sadly
        best known for their comparatively mediocre Dragonlance RPG tie-ins but this 7-book
        series is much better. Admittedly the quality of the writing isn't to quite the same standard
        as that of Powers/Martin/Harrison but there is some brilliantly imaginative world-design,
        some imaginative plots, great characters and an unusual mixture of humour and tragedy.

        9 "The Elenium" by David Eddings. Many people like to mock Eddings. I can see why, he
        writes fairly unimaginative epic fantasy and some of the other authors on the list are
        much better writers. Nevertheless his early books are great fun to read.

        10 "Intervention"/"The Galactic Milieu Trilogy" by Julian May. It gets a bit silly at times
        and the last book is disappointing but this is still an interesting blend of psychic-powers
        fantasy and space-opera science fiction. Great characters, an intriguing central mystery
        and probably the best fictional description of psychic powers.







        --
        William Marnoch
        william@...
        http://www.voidhawk.com/ - Film and Book Reviews
      • Ken Ogilvy
        ... With Tolkien he brought Fantasy out of the Pulp Fiction genre and into the mainstream. Yes he did not invent it but you could say Re-invent. ... You should
        Message 3 of 16 , Jul 16, 2004
          --- william@... wrote:
          > On 14 Jul 2004 at 22:09, OJ wrote:
          >
          > > We got into a discussion of essential fantasy on
          > another board, and I
          > > came up with my own top 10 list. Here is what I
          > came up with, just
          > > wondering what some of the folks on this board
          > think.
          >
          > I think you mean "Essential Epic Fantasy" as there's
          > nothing from any other fantasy sub-
          > genre here.
          >
          > > #1) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein - This
          > is where it all
          > > started.
          >
          > I hate to be picky, but how can it be "where it all
          > started" when it's a sequel? ;)
          >
          > (Not to mention all the other fantasy books that
          > were published before "The Lord Of The
          > Rings" but most of them are admittedly fairly
          > obscure).
          >
          With Tolkien he brought Fantasy out of the Pulp
          Fiction genre and into the mainstream. Yes he did not
          invent it but you could say Re-invent.

          >
          > > #6) The Assassin trilogy by Robin Hobb - Maybe my
          > favorite female
          > > author. Starts out with the book Assassin's
          > Aprentince. I thought the
          > > first two books in the series were much better
          > than the third.
          >
          > I keep meaning to read something by her, I've heard
          > a lot of good things about her
          > books.

          You should try her.
          >
          > > #8) Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind - This
          > book is very similar
          > > to Robert Jordan's Eye of the World. Both books
          > are huge sellers that
          > > began a long, drawn-out, meandering series. I
          > didn't care much for
          > > Jordan, but I did for Goodkind. Either way, both
          > series started out
          > > very strong, but seem to get weaker and weaker the
          > more drawn out the
          > > story becomes. That said, Wizard's First Rule is
          > still a very good
          > > book when taken as a single novel, rather than
          > part of the whole
          > > series Goodkind is pumping out.
          >
          > I've read the Jordan books. Goodkind often seems to
          > be described as a Jordan imitator
          > so I'm not that tempted to read his series. Reading
          > the Wheel Of Time has taken up
          > enough time that I don't want to have to duplicate
          > the experience with another series.
          >
          I read his first couple of books. While I enjoyed it
          I felt odd, I felt like I should not like it but I
          did. It's very hard to explain. Some of the story was
          really good while other parts had been done to death.






          __________________________________
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        • Colin
          ... and I ... While I would have to agree that Tolkien belongs in the list of essential fantasy, his books are hardly where it all started . Even Tolkien
          Message 4 of 16 , Jul 16, 2004
            --- In Fantasy_Books@yahoogroups.com, "OJ" <oj_stapleton@y...> wrote:
            > We got into a discussion of essential fantasy on another board,
            and I
            > came up with my own top 10 list. Here is what I came up with, just
            > wondering what some of the folks on this board think.
            >
            > #1) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein - This is where it all
            > started. It's not as accessable as some later fantasy work, but I
            > still think you have to start any list of essentials with Tolkein.

            While I would have to agree that Tolkien belongs in the list of
            essential fantasy, his books are hardly "where it all started". Even
            Tolkien himself admitted to writing the books in an attempt to
            return the 'fairy story' to the forefront of the general population
            (my words, not his).

            > #2) The Sword of Shanarra by Terry Brooks - If memory serves, this
            > book was published in about 1976. It was EXTREMELY important to the
            > fantasy genre because it was the first widely successful fantasy
            > novel. It opened doors for many, many authors that came later. It
            is
            > also a wonderful read.

            Honestly, I did not care for this book. Maybe it's just because I
            don't like blending science and technology with the fantasy genre.
            It's just not my cup of tea.

            > #3) Magician by Raymond Feist - This originally was published
            around
            > 1980 and was one of the next big things to follow on the heels of
            > Brooks' success. It's a little on the light side, but it's still a
            > great story and is the first of a series of "Riftwar" novels. Until
            > recently, it was published as two volumes (Magician: Apprentice and
            > Magician: Master) but you can buy it in one big book now.

            I've just started re-reading this book. For some reason, I never get
            very far into it before my interest moves on to something else.
            While it is light reading, sometimes I'm in the mood for that, you
            know?
            >
            > #4) The Belgariad by David Eddings - Another great series that
            > started in the early 80's and lasted for six books. The first book
            is
            > called Pawn of Prophecy. Again, a little on the light side, but
            with
            > a really good story. Eddings followed it with another series The
            > Mallorean, which lasted for five books.

            The Belgariad has a special place in my heart as it was my
            introduction to the fantasy genre (gasp!! You mean it wasn't
            Tolkien????). Call it juvenile fiction if you like, Eddings'
            characters were vibrant and alive and it made for a darn good read.

            > #5) The Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin - Much
            more
            > complex than #2-4 and probably a better all-around read, but it
            > wouldn't have been possible without those listed before. It starts
            > out with A Game of Thrones. There are currently three books out in
            > the series and Martin is writing No. 4.

            I've heard mixed reviews on this one. Some say it's the best fantasy
            they've ever read, and others say it's way too political. I haven't
            read them, so I can't voice an opinion.

            > #6) The Assassin trilogy by Robin Hobb - Maybe my favorite female
            > author. Starts out with the book Assassin's Aprentince. I thought
            the
            > first two books in the series were much better than the third.

            Never read.

            > #7) Jackal of Nar by John Marco - Marco is probably the least
            known
            > author on this list, but I think he is getting more and more
            > reknowned every day. His books are similar in some ways to Martin,
            > but different in other.

            Never read.

            > #8) Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind - This book is very
            similar
            > to Robert Jordan's Eye of the World. Both books are huge sellers
            that
            > began a long, drawn-out, meandering series. I didn't care much for
            > Jordan, but I did for Goodkind. Either way, both series started out
            > very strong, but seem to get weaker and weaker the more drawn out
            the
            > story becomes. That said, Wizard's First Rule is still a very good
            > book when taken as a single novel, rather than part of the whole
            > series Goodkind is pumping out.

            I owe this book a debt of gratitude. This book convinced me to begin
            writing my own novel. I read this book the whole way through and
            immediately told myself (was actually telling myself this the whole
            way through) "Well, shoot....*I* could write a better book than
            this!". Don't mean to slam on anyone's favorite book here, but
            honestly...why are these books as popular as they are?? I was just
            really, really unimpressed.

            > #9)The Wayfarer Redemption by Sarah Douglass - The first book of a
            > really great series.
            > Douglass does a good job with romance, imo. The characters are
            great
            > and so are some of the unexpected twists.

            I read the first two books and they were alright. Nothing to write
            home about, though. In my humble opinion, of course.

            > #10) The Loremasters of Elundium by Mike Jeffries - The only
            reason I
            > put this so low is because it's out of print now, and you may not
            be
            > able to find it. This is the most magical series I've ever read.
            It's
            > closer to Tolkein than any of the others on this list in style, but
            > not substance. If you can find this three-book series BUY IT RIGHT
            > AWAY.

            Never read this series. Will have to look it up. One trilogy that I
            am really surprised to not find on this list is Guy Gavriel
            Kay's "Fionavar Tapestry". This trilogy made me laugh (and cry) so
            many times, I was sad to have finished it. Think Tolkien with much
            more character depth. Surprisingly, I loathe Kay's later works. It's
            strange, but it's almost as if a completely different author were
            writing them. Ah well, everyone's got an opinion, right? *smiles*

            Anyways, that's my two cents' worth on the subject.
          • Peta Smith
            ... It would be pretty high on my list too. ... I read half of the first book (Sword of Shannara ??) and thought it was nothing but a LOR knock-off. ... I
            Message 5 of 16 , Jul 17, 2004
              > We got into a discussion of essential fantasy on another board, and I
              > came up with my own top 10 list. Here is what I came up with, just
              > wondering what some of the folks on this board think.
              >
              > #1) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein - This is where it all
              > started. It's not as accessable as some later fantasy work, but I
              > still think you have to start any list of essentials with Tolkein.
              >
              It would be pretty high on my list too.


              > #2) The Sword of Shanarra by Terry Brooks - If memory serves, this
              > book was published in about 1976. It was EXTREMELY important to the
              > fantasy genre because it was the first widely successful fantasy
              > novel. It opened doors for many, many authors that came later. It is
              > also a wonderful read.
              >

              I read half of the first book (Sword of Shannara ??) and thought it was
              nothing but a LOR knock-off.


              > #3) Magician by Raymond Feist - This originally was published around
              > 1980 and was one of the next big things to follow on the heels of
              > Brooks' success. It's a little on the light side, but it's still a
              > great story and is the first of a series of "Riftwar" novels. Until
              > recently, it was published as two volumes (Magician: Apprentice and
              > Magician: Master) but you can buy it in one big book now.
              >
              I enjoyed Magician and its sequels und some of the stand-alone books, but
              Betrayal at Krondor ... please !!
              Actually I enjoyed the Empire series by Feist and Janny Wurts more.


              > #4) The Belgariad by David Eddings - Another great series that
              > started in the early 80's and lasted for six books. The first book is
              > called Pawn of Prophecy. Again, a little on the light side, but with
              > a really good story. Eddings followed it with another series The
              > Mallorean, which lasted for five books.
              >
              I liked the Belgariad and Mallorean and bought the next series featuring
              Sparhawk (the name was a bit too close to Sparrowhawk (Ged from Earthsea)
              for my liking). I didn't get past the first book as it felt too much like
              the Belagriad/Mallorean.


              > #5) The Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin - Much more
              > complex than #2-4 and probably a better all-around read, but it
              > wouldn't have been possible without those listed before. It starts
              > out with A Game of Thrones. There are currently three books out in
              > the series and Martin is writing No. 4.
              >
              My favourite series at the moment. I enjoy reading the chapters posted on
              Martin's website from the yet-to-be-published A Feast For Crows.. A week or
              so back I read one from Cercei's point of view (oheysi). Excellent!


              > #6) The Assassin trilogy by Robin Hobb - Maybe my favorite female
              > author. Starts out with the book Assassin's Aprentince. I thought the
              > first two books in the series were much better than the third.
              >
              I enjoyed this also.


              > #7) Jackal of Nar by John Marco - Marco is probably the least known
              > author on this list, but I think he is getting more and more
              > reknowned every day. His books are similar in some ways to Martin,
              > but different in other.
              >
              Never read it.


              > #8) Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind - This book is very similar
              > to Robert Jordan's Eye of the World. Both books are huge sellers that
              > began a long, drawn-out, meandering series. I didn't care much for
              > Jordan, but I did for Goodkind. Either way, both series started out
              > very strong, but seem to get weaker and weaker the more drawn out the
              > story becomes. That said, Wizard's First Rule is still a very good
              > book when taken as a single novel, rather than part of the whole
              > series Goodkind is pumping out.
              >
              Haven't read it.

              > #9)The Wayfarer Redemption by Sarah Douglass - The first book of a
              > really great series.
              > Douglass does a good job with romance, imo. The characters are great
              > and so are some of the unexpected twists.
              >
              I bought the first book in the series a couple of days ago and will read it
              when I finish ploughing my way through Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and
              Thorn series.

              > #10) The Loremasters of Elundium by Mike Jeffries - The only reason I
              > put this so low is because it's out of print now, and you may not be
              > able to find it. This is the most magical series I've ever read. It's
              > closer to Tolkein than any of the others on this list in style, but
              > not substance. If you can find this three-book series BUY IT RIGHT
              > AWAY.
              >
              > Haven't read this either.
              I would probably replace three of the above with Donaldson's Chronicles of
              Thomas Covenant (which was my favourite series for many years), Katharine
              Kerr's Deverry series and Stephen King's Darktower series.
              All essential reading!

              Peta
            • volkerthemadfiddler
              ... just ... all ... Tolkein. ... Even ... population ... Aye. Tolkien drew heavily on Norse and Celtic mythology. I would personally call Robert E. Howard the
              Message 6 of 16 , Jul 18, 2004
                --- In Fantasy_Books@yahoogroups.com, "Colin" <ashenbow@y...> wrote:
                > --- In Fantasy_Books@yahoogroups.com, "OJ" <oj_stapleton@y...>
                wrote:
                > > We got into a discussion of essential fantasy on another board,
                > and I
                > > came up with my own top 10 list. Here is what I came up with,
                just
                > > wondering what some of the folks on this board think.
                > >
                > > #1) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein - This is where it
                all
                > > started. It's not as accessable as some later fantasy work, but I
                > > still think you have to start any list of essentials with
                Tolkein.
                >
                > While I would have to agree that Tolkien belongs in the list of
                > essential fantasy, his books are hardly "where it all started".
                Even
                > Tolkien himself admitted to writing the books in an attempt to
                > return the 'fairy story' to the forefront of the general
                population
                > (my words, not his).
                >
                Aye. Tolkien drew heavily on Norse and Celtic mythology. I would
                personally call Robert E. Howard the father of modern fantasy rather
                than Tolkien (even though Tolkien was definitely the more
                accomplished author.).

                SNIP
                >
                > > #8) Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind - This book is very
                > similar
                > > to Robert Jordan's Eye of the World. Both books are huge sellers
                > that
                > > began a long, drawn-out, meandering series. I didn't care much
                for
                > > Jordan, but I did for Goodkind. Either way, both series started
                out
                > > very strong, but seem to get weaker and weaker the more drawn
                out
                > the
                > > story becomes. That said, Wizard's First Rule is still a very
                good
                > > book when taken as a single novel, rather than part of the whole
                > > series Goodkind is pumping out.
                >
                > I owe this book a debt of gratitude. This book convinced me to
                begin
                > writing my own novel. I read this book the whole way through and
                > immediately told myself (was actually telling myself this the
                whole
                > way through) "Well, shoot....*I* could write a better book than
                > this!". Don't mean to slam on anyone's favorite book here, but
                > honestly...why are these books as popular as they are?? I was just
                > really, really unimpressed.
                >
                I liked the first book simply because I thought the Sword of Truth
                itself was a very interesting idea.

                SNIP
                > Never read this series. Will have to look it up. One trilogy that
                I
                > am really surprised to not find on this list is Guy Gavriel
                > Kay's "Fionavar Tapestry". This trilogy made me laugh (and cry) so
                > many times, I was sad to have finished it. Think Tolkien with much
                > more character depth. Surprisingly, I loathe Kay's later works.
                It's
                > strange, but it's almost as if a completely different author were
                > writing them. Ah well, everyone's got an opinion, right? *smiles*

                Don't like 'historical' fiction. Personally, I think the Lions of El-
                Rassam (I think that is the correct title) is Kay's best book.

                Books I would add to the list are 'Conan the Usurper' [mostly by
                REH], the Elric series or the Corum series by Moorcock, and 'Three
                Hearts, Three Lions' by Poul Anderson.


                Volker the Mad Fiddler
              • Colin
                volkerthemadfiddler wrote: Don t like historical fiction. Personally, I think the Lions of El- Rassam (I think that is the correct
                Message 7 of 16 , Jul 18, 2004
                  volkerthemadfiddler <garkutch@...> wrote:
                  Don't like 'historical' fiction. Personally, I think the Lions of El-
                  Rassam (I think that is the correct title) is Kay's best book.

                  Actually, the Fionavar Tapestry are the only works of Kay that *aren't* historical fiction (that I know of). They are much more 'fantasy' oriented than anything else he has written. There's dragons, magic, dwarves, elves (lios alfar), wizards, etc. They are simply fantastic. I highly, highly encourage anyone who loves good, old-fashioned epic fantasy to read them. You will not be disappointed.



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                • Leigh L.
                  ... Strangely, while I love epic fantasy to the point of reading very little else, The Fionavar Tapestry didn t do nearly as much for me as the rest of Kay s
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jul 19, 2004
                    > Actually, the Fionavar Tapestry are the only works of Kay that
                    > *aren't* historical fiction (that I know of). They are much
                    > more 'fantasy' oriented than anything else he has written.
                    > There's dragons, magic, dwarves, elves (lios alfar), wizards,
                    > etc. They are simply fantastic. I highly, highly encourage
                    > anyone who loves good, old-fashioned epic fantasy to read
                    > them. You will not be disappointed.

                    Strangely, while I love epic fantasy to the point of reading very
                    little else, The Fionavar Tapestry didn't do nearly as much for me
                    as the rest of Kay's work that I've read to date: Tigana and, far
                    more importantly, A Song for Arbonne. The Fionavar stuff was
                    entertaining enough, but the 'real world' connection often stood out
                    as clumsy - in fact I very nearly didn't make it past the first few
                    pages, it all seemed so contrived and shoddily put together. I'm
                    glad I persisted with it, but I still wouldn't place Fionavar
                    anywhere on the list of fantasy classics, while Arbonne would be
                    right up there near the top.

                    Anyone read his latest - The Last Light of the Sun? Sounds good, but
                    I've got Lions and Sarantium to get through first. :)

                    - Leigh
                  • Leigh L.
                    ... It s not that bad. Like most of Brooks stuff, it s never truly great but passes the time nicely. I also know people who refuse to touch his stuff with a
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jul 19, 2004
                      >> #2) The Sword of Shanarra by Terry Brooks
                      > Never read it. So many people really, really hate it that I'm
                      > not really tempted to pick it up.

                      It's not that bad. Like most of Brooks' stuff, it's never truly
                      great but passes the time nicely. I also know people who refuse to
                      touch his stuff with a bargepole, though, so you're not alone.

                      >> #3) Magician by Raymond Feist
                      > Until recently, it was published as two volumes (Magician:
                      > Apprentice and Magician: Master) but you can buy it in one
                      > big book now.

                      Don't know about elsewhere, but it's always been a single volume in
                      the UK. One of those that I never got around to, which got pushed
                      back even further when the expanded edition came out a few years
                      back and made the original version on my shelf seem a bit
                      redundant...

                      >> #4) The Belgariad by David Eddings
                      > Personally I prefer his "Elenium" series, it has a bit more depth.
                      > The Belgariad is hardly great literature but I enjoyed it a lot.

                      I'm with you there. Loved the Belgariad at the time, but I did
                      prefer the Elenium - seemed like a genuine maturing of style. Didn't
                      turn out to be the case, of course, as he's done nothing but
                      unreadable tat ever since. Ah well. :)

                      >> #10) The Loremasters of Elundium by Mike Jeffries
                      >> If you can find this three-book series BUY IT RIGHT AWAY.

                      I've only read one Mike Jeffries book - Hidden Echoes - and that was
                      pretty dire. Can't speak for his pure fantasy stuff, it may be
                      infinitely better for all I know, but I can't say I'm in a mad rush
                      to track it down!

                      > 5 - "The Malazan Book Of The Fallen" by Steven Erikson. Compared
                      > to this every other epic fantasy series should really be re-
                      > classified as 'slightly epic' fantasy.

                      Glad someone else put this forward. Not the easiest series to get
                      into, but well worth the effort.

                      > 6 - "The Anubis Gates" by Tim Powers. A brilliant book on many
                      > levels. It's a great piece of historical fantasy, an unusually
                      > well-thought-out time travel story, a highly original
                      > supernatural fantasy and a compelling page-turning adventure.

                      Also has some of the best twists in any book I've ever read. I'd put
                      this on a top ten personal faves list too, though I'm not so sure
                      about a strictly fantasy top ten...

                      I'd also go along with the Thomas Covenant and Elric suggestions
                      made by others, and how can you leave out the Discworld?

                      - Leigh
                    • volkerthemadfiddler
                      ... out ... This was one of my favorite parts about Three Hearts and Three Lions by Anderson. The main character was a WWII era engineer and even in the
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jul 19, 2004
                        --- In Fantasy_Books@yahoogroups.com, "Leigh L." <leighlo@r...>
                        wrote:
                        > > Actually, the Fionavar Tapestry are the only works of Kay that
                        > > *aren't* historical fiction (that I know of). They are much
                        > > more 'fantasy' oriented than anything else he has written.
                        > > There's dragons, magic, dwarves, elves (lios alfar), wizards,
                        > > etc. They are simply fantastic. I highly, highly encourage
                        > > anyone who loves good, old-fashioned epic fantasy to read
                        > > them. You will not be disappointed.
                        >
                        > Strangely, while I love epic fantasy to the point of reading very
                        > little else, The Fionavar Tapestry didn't do nearly as much for me
                        > as the rest of Kay's work that I've read to date: Tigana and, far
                        > more importantly, A Song for Arbonne. The Fionavar stuff was
                        > entertaining enough, but the 'real world' connection often stood
                        out
                        > as clumsy -

                        This was one of my favorite parts about "Three Hearts and Three
                        Lions" by Anderson. The main character was a WWII era engineer and
                        even in the fantasy setting he continued to think like an engineer-
                        even to the point of pondering the chemcial reaction which made it
                        possible for dragons to breathe fire.

                        Volker the Mad Fiddler (extra points for anyone who identifies the
                        source of the name)
                      • Ken Ogilvy
                        ... I am not sure of this but I think Kay wrote the Fionavar series to get his foot in the door. If you look at his books as he wrote them they slowly move
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jul 20, 2004
                          --- Colin <ashenbow@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Actually, the Fionavar Tapestry are the only works
                          > of Kay that *aren't* historical fiction (that I know
                          > of). They are much more 'fantasy' oriented than
                          > anything else he has written. There's dragons,
                          > magic, dwarves, elves (lios alfar), wizards, etc.
                          > They are simply fantastic. I highly, highly
                          > encourage anyone who loves good, old-fashioned epic
                          > fantasy to read them. You will not be disappointed.
                          >
                          >
                          I am not sure of this but I think Kay wrote the
                          Fionavar series to get his foot in the door. If you
                          look at his books as he wrote them they slowly move
                          from Epic Fantasy to his pseudo historical fantasy.
                          It's not even historical. He takes locations, like
                          Proviance, France for A Song For Arbonne to Rome for
                          Sailing to Sarantium. He takes the location and time
                          and spins his own story.

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                        • pq
                          ... I d like to make the case /for/ Tolkien. Though it s true that fantasy had a long and distinguished history in British literature, and we can see how
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jul 20, 2004
                            On Jul 19, 2004, at 6:12 AM, volkerthemadfiddler wrote:

                            > From: "" <garkutch@...>
                            > Subject: Re:
                            >
                            > --- In Fantasy_Books@yahoogroups.com, "Colin" <ashenbow@y...> wrote:
                            >> --- In Fantasy_Books@yahoogroups.com, "OJ" <oj_stapleton@y...>
                            > wrote:
                            >>> We got into a discussion of essential fantasy on another board,
                            >> and I
                            >>> came up with my own top 10 list. Here is what I came up with,
                            > just
                            >>> wondering what some of the folks on this board think.
                            >>>
                            >>> #1) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein - This is where it
                            > all
                            >>> started. It's not as accessable as some later fantasy work, but I
                            >>> still think you have to start any list of essentials with
                            > Tolkein.
                            >>
                            >> While I would have to agree that Tolkien belongs in the list of
                            >> essential fantasy, his books are hardly "where it all started".
                            > Even
                            >> Tolkien himself admitted to writing the books in an attempt to
                            >> return the 'fairy story' to the forefront of the general
                            > population
                            >> (my words, not his).
                            >>
                            > Aye. Tolkien drew heavily on Norse and Celtic mythology. I would
                            > personally call Robert E. Howard the father of modern fantasy rather
                            > than Tolkien (even though Tolkien was definitely the more
                            > accomplished author.).
                            >

                            I'd like to make the case /for/ Tolkien.

                            Though it's true that fantasy had a long and distinguished history in
                            British literature, and we can see how Tolkien was influenced by such
                            Victorians as William Morris, George MacDonald, Lord Dunsany, and
                            others; and you can point to E.R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros coming
                            out in the 1920s, and his Zimiamvian Trilogy coming in the 30s-40s; and
                            while in America Weird Tales in the 20s and 30s was publishing Merrit,
                            Lovecraft, Howard, and others, and Howard's Conan novel was reprinted
                            in the 50s in the "Historical Romance/Swashbuckling" boomlet, just
                            about the same time TLOR was published, these were only fashions and
                            fads, appearing, and then receding in the tides.

                            So I wonder where the *current* boomlet in Fantasy began? In the early
                            60s, Ballantine started putting out Edgar Rice Burroughs' tales, have a
                            successful run with the Tarzan and Barsoom/Mar series. Ballantine also
                            reissued Hobbit and LOTR in paperback editions, and Ace, trying to take
                            advantage of a murky copyright situation, issued a version of LOTR as
                            well, until Tolkien, Ballantine, and their lawyers cleared up the
                            rights. Ace (I think) about this time started putting out the L
                            Sprague deCamp/Lin Carter editions of the Conan tales, and they were a
                            hit. In the US, I think it was another small house, can't remember the
                            name of it, that put out Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champions
                            novels/series.

                            But LOTR was THE big seller. Somehow it caught fire with the hippies
                            and counterculture folk, and older readers found surprising depth in
                            the tale, writing college term papers equating the Ring with the Atom
                            Bomb. In fact the popularity of LOTR inspired Ballantine to come out
                            with related gear -- calendars from the Brothers Hildebrandt, calendars
                            from Frank Frazetta, and art books featuring Frazetta and others like
                            Kay Nielsen... then they hired Lin Carter to edit a line for them,
                            "Adult Fantasy" which consisted of exactly those older stories that
                            probably inspired Tolkien; forgotten terrific tales of fantasy from the
                            Victorians and Edwardians. This line BOMBED!

                            Lin Carter and the Ballantines parted ways in the early-mid 70s, and
                            hired Lester del Rey. Del Rey found a small book, inspired at its
                            origin by LOTR but really more leaning toward Edgar Rice Burroughs in
                            its plot construction and fast action pace, and then del Rey hired the
                            Bros. Hildebrandt to paint the cover, and interior illustrations. It
                            was a little opus called The Sword of Shannara, and if you looked at
                            any of the ad copy, you'll see it everywhere: "Like Lord of the Rings!"
                            ... "Not since Lord of the Rings..." This book was a NYTimes
                            bestseller, and the race was on. Del Rey continued his fantasy line,
                            and for a long time he went always back to that mother lode, the
                            Tolkienesque trilogy, out of which "Epic Fantasy" as we know it today
                            was born. The Thomas the Covenant series, and others.

                            Many of these books have gone out of print over the years, some
                            returning; LOTR and the Hobbit have remained in print continuously
                            since the 60s and LOTR, by some standards, is the best-selling book in
                            the World written in the 20th century. That's the best-selling author
                            of the century!

                            We on this list have read tons of fantasy books. A lot of our lists
                            have common titles; but there is only one title, I'd bet, that we have
                            all read, and that everyone who tends toward fantasy has read: LOTR.

                            Now a new boomlet is starting on JK Rowling's Harry Potter coat-tails,
                            and I'll bet that a bunch of kids have started into fantasy via Mr
                            Potter before finding LOTR.

                            But I'll still say, "Tolkien is where it all began" -- at least as far
                            as everything since 1965.

                            So, there's my rant.

                            pond
                          • Colin
                            I know...I ve read The Lions of Al-Rasaad , The Sarantine Mosaic , and started Tigana . I just found them all really boring. Not enough action for my
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jul 20, 2004
                              I know...I've read "The Lions of Al-Rasaad", "The Sarantine Mosaic", and started "Tigana". I just found them all really boring. Not enough action for my liking. They should make a new genre for books like this...the fantasy melodrama. Like "chick flicks" for the fantasy genre (sorry ladies, no offense meant by that statement...used just for illustrative purposes). I know alot of people disagree with me on this, but I think Kay should have stuck with Fionavar.

                              On another note, just finished Greg Keyes' "Briar King". I enjoyed it immensely. Can't wait until the sequel comes out in August. :)



                              I am not sure of this but I think Kay wrote the
                              Fionavar series to get his foot in the door. If you
                              look at his books as he wrote them they slowly move
                              from Epic Fantasy to his pseudo historical fantasy.
                              It's not even historical. He takes locations, like
                              Proviance, France for A Song For Arbonne to Rome for
                              Sailing to Sarantium. He takes the location and time
                              and spins his own story.

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                            • Jane Gray
                              I too love Guy s Tigana and Song for Arbonne and also Loins. I read the Fionavar trilogy and enjoyed it. But agree with you that the real world connection
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jul 20, 2004
                                I too love Guy's Tigana and Song for Arbonne and also Loins. I read the
                                Fionavar trilogy and enjoyed it.
                                But agree with you that the "real world" connection was a little clumsy. But
                                my main problem with it was the characters all seemed to fit so neatly in
                                the normal "fantasy" boxes,
                                The characters in his later novels I found to be more rounded, less black
                                and white.
                                I have recently read "Last Light of the Sun" and was a little disappointed.
                                Can't say excalty why, could be that I was looking forward to it so much
                                that it didn't have the chance to stand up. Or it could be that I have
                                recently been reading the Edda's and saga's, which of course were his
                                inspiration.
                                Jane
                                Hippygoth

                                > Strangely, while I love epic fantasy to the point of reading very
                                > little else, The Fionavar Tapestry didn't do nearly as much for me
                                > as the rest of Kay's work that I've read to date: Tigana and, far
                                > more importantly, A Song for Arbonne. The Fionavar stuff was
                                > entertaining enough, but the 'real world' connection often stood out
                                > as clumsy - in fact I very nearly didn't make it past the first few
                                > pages, it all seemed so contrived and shoddily put together. I'm
                                > glad I persisted with it, but I still wouldn't place Fionavar
                                > anywhere on the list of fantasy classics, while Arbonne would be
                                > right up there near the top.
                                >
                                > Anyone read his latest - The Last Light of the Sun? Sounds good, but
                                > I've got Lions and Sarantium to get through first. :)
                                >
                                > - Leigh
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                              • jennifermacaire
                                Fantasy is nice because there is such a broad range of books to choose from. I loved LOTR trilogy, and The Hobbit , of course. But I would also include The
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jul 21, 2004
                                  Fantasy is nice because there is such a broad range of books to
                                  choose from. I loved LOTR trilogy, and 'The Hobbit', of course. But
                                  I would also include 'The Last Unicorn', 'Sariel', and the Harry
                                  Potter series to my list of favorites, along with Lloyd Alexander's
                                  books and the Chronicles of Narnia.

                                  Jennifer

                                  www.jennifermacaire.com
                                • M G
                                  The Last Unicorn is my all-time favorite book! And by Sariel do you mean Sabriel ? If so I love that book too! And Lirael and Abhorsen (the continuing
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Jul 21, 2004
                                    The 'Last Unicorn' is my all-time favorite book! And by "Sariel" do you mean 'Sabriel'? If so I love that book too! And 'Lirael' and 'Abhorsen' (the continuing books). Not too much of a Harry Potter fan, but *shrugs*. Um...Patrica A. Mickillip is also a great author.

                                    ttyl
                                    Mike
                                    jennifermacaire <jennifermacaire@...> wrote:
                                    Fantasy is nice because there is such a broad range of books to
                                    choose from. I loved LOTR trilogy, and 'The Hobbit', of course. But
                                    I would also include 'The Last Unicorn', 'Sariel', and the Harry
                                    Potter series to my list of favorites, along with Lloyd Alexander's
                                    books and the Chronicles of Narnia.

                                    Jennifer

                                    www.jennifermacaire.com





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                                    "What lies beneath is the same in man and beast, and leads always to the same end: struggle and pain and blood, victim and victor. The sword is but an echo of the talon and the fang. Call yourself man if you will, as if that were something unique and holy; but you are a beast as I am, and ever will be."



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