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Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby fuzzygeek » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:22 pm

I read the first book in Weber's Honor Harrington series and just didn't care what happened to any of the characters. I don't feel compelled to continue it, but I keep running across people who like it. Does it get significantly better?

I think I started drifting away from Pern some time around the Dolphins ... the original trilogy and through The White Dragon were very good; the Masterharper sequence was also fun.

Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince trilogy is good; the second trilogy is a bit weaker.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby Amirya » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:40 pm

Haven't seen it mentioned yet, but I enjoyed Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series. She also has the Tir Alainn trilogy, but the protagonist of the first book is a bit too sugary sweet for my tastes. And there's also the Landscapes of Ephemera, but that's still in progress - book 3 is due out next March.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby Hokahey » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:35 am

I didn't see anyone mention it- one of the great ancestors of modern fantasy- Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser, by Fritz Leiber. Its mostly a collection of shorter works, but it is extremely entertaining reading. The earliest of the stories were written in 1936, the last of them was published in 1988, (there are 7 total "collections" and novels if I recall correctly), and they stand up *well* to the test of time. The series is comparable in terms of influence on fantasy RPGs and fantasy writing to The Lord of the Rings.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby maulall » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:02 am

Another vote here for Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, and the Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever series by Stephen R. Donaldson, especially the first three starting with Lord Foul's Bane were very enjoyable.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby fuzzygeek » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:16 am

Have you read the next series in Donaldson's Unbeliever sequence?

I was in fifth grade the first time I read the first series; I've re-read the first six books a few times since, and I find myself having less and less patience with Covenant every time. It's a fabulous universe, though, and Donaldson is an excellent worldbuilder.

More books for an afternoon's reading: Robin McKinley's Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby maulall » Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:31 am

fuzzygeek wrote:Have you read the next series in Donaldson's Unbeliever sequence?


I have read them, and they were good, but I liked the first 3 better. I think maybe like you I was losing patience with Covenant. Still I agree it is a well done alternate world, and I still pick up the old series from time to time.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby KysenMurrin » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:39 pm

I've been a fan of Donaldson for years - I just finished reading Against All Things Ending two weeks ago, and it was easily as good as the better volumes among the earlier trilogies (my favourites have always been The Wounded Land and White Gold Wielder). It's just a shame that the previous two volumes didn't really work so well (I'd rank Fatal Revenant as the weakest of the 9 books so far, I think).

On the subject of Donaldson, his Gap sequence, a five-part sci fi series starting with The Real Story, is IMO better than the Thomas Covenant books.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby Fivelives » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:50 pm

I was never really a fan of Donaldson. If you're going to do an anti-hero, then you have to commit to doing the anti-hero instead of just half-ass it, and Covenant was boring. I liked the secondary and incidental characters more than Covenant, even though everyone in the series was one-dimensional.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby Aerron » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:00 pm

My recommendations have all been mentioned, but I'll add a few bits:

George RR Martin, Song of Ice and Fire - Yep, I'm a huge fan. But if you find you like the series, don't stop at just the books. Seek out his "Dunk & Egg" short stories, in the same setting (7 Kingdoms), but set 150 years before the events of the books. There's three of them that have come out to date, two in the "Legends" anthology series, and one in an anthology Martin edited himself, "Warriors."

Sometimes I find myself liking the short stories just a little bit more than the main series...

Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings - Love this book. If you like Knights, if you like worlds with a rich mythology and background ... and strangely, if you're a fan of Iron Man ... you'll probably enjoy this book. He creates a system of magic that's fairly original. Great characters.

I really enjoyed the Thomas Covenant books in my youth, at least the first two trilogies. Still haven't gotten all the way through the third though.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby fuzzygeek » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:25 pm

maulall wrote:
fuzzygeek wrote:Have you read the next series in Donaldson's Unbeliever sequence?


I have read them, and they were good, but I liked the first 3 better. I think maybe like you I was losing patience with Covenant. Still I agree it is a well done alternate world, and I still pick up the old series from time to time.


I think I was a little unclear; there's the first trilogy (Lord Foul's Bane etc.), a second trilogy (The Wounded Land, etc), and apparently "The Last Chronicles" with the 4th book due out 2013 ... so I guess I'll check back in a few years on that one.

I'm looking at my bookshelf and I think we must have lost a half-dozen boxes of books. I'm missing a lot of things I know I used to have. Although, lately, most of my readings been digital.

And in that vein, as long as we're cross recommending SF: I enjoy Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon a great deal. Snow Crash is more cyberpunk and entertaining in its own way.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby Fivelives » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:29 pm

I'll go against the grain and say that I'm not really a fan of Martin and Jordan. There's such a thing as introducing too much complexity in your books, and once you've got a cast of main characters that's so big you can't fit them all into one (huge) book, it's time to either split the series up (like Orson Scott Card did with the Ender's Game trilogy and the Shadows trilogy), or kill off a major part of your cast.

Count the characters that have major "screen time" in Jordan's books, for example. Through book 12, there are 2,388 named characters. That's... a lot. Sure, not every named character is a major character, but I can think of at least 20 major characters that are important to plot development - and that's a bit too much.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby Sabindeus » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:53 pm

Fivelives wrote:I'll go against the grain and say that I'm not really a fan of Martin.
...
or kill off a major part of your cast.


^^^^^^^
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby KysenMurrin » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:10 pm

Fivelives wrote:I'll go against the grain and say that I'm not really a fan of Martin ... once you've got a cast of main characters that's so big you can't fit them all into one (huge) book, it's time to either split the series up ... or kill off a major part of your cast.

Hasn't Martin done both over the course of the series so far?
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby Sabindeus » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:19 pm

KysenMurrin wrote:
Fivelives wrote:I'll go against the grain and say that I'm not really a fan of Martin ... once you've got a cast of main characters that's so big you can't fit them all into one (huge) book, it's time to either split the series up ... or kill off a major part of your cast.

Hasn't Martin done both over the course of the series so far?


yeah actually I guess book 4 counts as splitting things up
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby Fivelives » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:16 pm

The idea of splitting it up is to split it up into separate volumes. There are a lot of things that we don't need to know about the dothraki, for instance, that would fit into a second trilogy or series on its own. Why do we need to know the current goings-on of Daenerys and Viserys, or Khal Drogo for that matter?

In ASoIaF, there are dothraki. The dothraki invade the seven kingdoms. They are the bad guys, the end. There, I just shaved around 800 pages off the series, and by splitting the entire thing into a separate series, you extend the life of the IP and possibly get a bigger pool of readers.

It's like when Jon ends up with the wildlings - who cares? Mention that he disappeared and came back, there's no need to detail it in the main book series - split it into a separate, supplemental book titled "Jon gets hitched" or something. Meandering, rambling writing is never good, especially when it results in books that are damned close to being Tolstoy-esque in length. Seriously, people lampoon War & Peace for being a long book (English translation comes in at 1,222 pages), but then praise Jordan and Martin's 800 page rambling monstrosities.

For an excellent example of what I'm talking about here, look at the Ender's Game/Shadows trilogies. Ender is the focus of the first book, and the second trilogy expands another character - Bean. Do the same thing with Daenerys. Introduce characters that are central protagonists to the two invasions in ASoIaF - the white walkers in the north, and the dothraki queen (and her eunuchs/savages) from the south. Those are central to the plot, anything else is incidental.

You can reasonably fit around 3 "main characters" into a novel without it turning into a hot mess. Maybe a couple more if they stick together, like a party of 3, then 2 more offshoot characters that split off. And when I was talking about killing off the main cast, yeah - Martin's done that and I applaud it. But for every character he's killed, he's introduced at LEAST two more; that kind of defeats the purpose.
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