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Thread: Fantasy/Sci fi for Dummies

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Terry Brooks Shanarra books go in this order:

Sword of...
Elfstones of ....
Wishsong of ....

Sword of is heavily influenced by Tolkien themes, so you may enjoy that one the most, though Elfstones is my personal favorite.

You may also enjoy (for a unique and fresh style of writing) RA Salvatores "Crimson Shadow" series (which starts with "Luthien's Gamble").

Another one of my favorites is David Eddings "Belgariad". Very good series.

Don't get involved in Wheel of Time unless you never want to be rid of it... it's like STar Trek, it goes on and on and on and on and on

Piers Anthony and Jany Wurts have a great series together.

Anne McCaffrey has some great sci fi (I say it's sci fi "for women")
The fantasy world is a mine field full of lots of bad stuff. Try and avoid getting into postAuthorIDs who have t write 15 volumes before you find out anything.

Brooks is fun but a litlle "adolescent" but lots of humour.
Try "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" first 3 books written by Stephen Donaldson. Interesting.
Gene Wolf is good but closer to science fantasy
Raymond Feist wrote The Magician which is good and then wrote a while load of really bad follow ups.
Ursula le Guin is a great writer and wrote in various genre including fantasy (The Earthsea Chronicles) and science fiction (I just started the Dispossessd under Squirrels advise!)
Brian Aldiss wrote some great stuff - sort of fantasy Arthurian stuff.
Mervyn Peake is great, but is closer to old English literature traditions like Swift etc so not everyons cup of tea.
Jack Vance wrote some great stuff also.
I don't know the new school of fantasy writers. Try some of the great science fiction writers, A.E. Van Vogt, Asimove, Philip K. DIck, Heinlein different but worthwhile.
All of above of course, are personal tastes.
Larry Niven, any and all.
And Douglas Adams of course....
Smile Smilie[Edited on 15/2/2002 by 42]
I loved Anne McCaffrey 'Dragon's of Pern' series, especially the three musical spinoffs, as well as her 'Crystal Singer' books and 'The Ship that ...' series. Cool Smilie
I agree, the Pern books are wonderful. And the Harper Hall trilogy is my fave within that series, with Dragonsdawn a close second.

I lean more towards fantasy than scifi (although Elizabeth Moon has done some good military scifi that I've liked), so...

Ellen Kushner- she's known for mostly short stories and as an editor, but she's written a couple of novels, Thomas the Rhymer and Swordspoint. Both are wonderful. (I've also seen mentions of a book titled Basilisk, but I haven't read it and I can't get details. Sorry)

Sharon Shinn- wonderful stuff, especially Archangel. It has two sequels, both good as well.

Robin McKinley- I love this postAuthorID. You might not, but hey. My favorite books of hers, The Blue Sword (one of my faves of any kind) and The Hero and the Crown, are technically for teenagers, not because they're shallow but because they're short. The Blue Sword, especially, reads like some weird child of Tolkien, The Sheik, and Lives of a Bengal Lancer, with a girl hero.

Connie Willis- pretty much all good. I favor Doomsday Book since it involves the plague. To Say Nothing of the Dog is just as good, though, and she's written lots more.

James Morrow- but not if you're easily offended, religiously speaking. Towing Jehovah- God dies and falls into the ocean, so he (He, I guess) has to be moved. and its sequel, Blameless in Abaddon- God's body is now the main attraction in a theme park. Only Begotten Daughter- Julie Katz, half-sister of Jesus, grows up in Atlantic City. This is the Way the World Ends- nuclear holocaust, naturally (a bit dated since the end of the Cold War, but good). plus several others. Funny, bitter, very sharp satire from a scarily smart man.
Don't read as much sci-fi/fantasy as you others I fear. But if it's funny you want (while still a little on the fsf side) then go for Robert Rankin, Tom Holt and Rob Grant (unless you've never read Dougy Adams in which case why not?)
*has just realised he's actually in much the same boat as Golly*
Wow! Thanks everyone! It's great to see so many names of postAuthorIDs & books flying around - and at least I can print it all out in one page & take it to the bookstore with me. Hooray! This dummy's going places! Big Smile Smilie

Don't know any of them except Dougy Adams. But I read his stuff so long ago that I forgotten them - might as well buy his stuff again too.
I hope its not too late to warn you about Salvatore. His earlier works are far better than his later ones. You might like The Dark Elf trilogies written for Forgotten Realms. The main character is also a real babe. All his stuff is a bit pulpy, but good.

For mature womens fantasy, you really should try Melanie Rawn or Sara Douglas or Cecilia Dart Thornton. I met Cecilia recently. Lovely person as well as talented writer. Not to mention beautiful! *sigh* some people have it all.......
Ooh, Melanie Rawn. Good choice! And I just got a Cecilia Dart Thornton book from a friend, so it's good to hear she's good.
I enjoyed the Dark Elf Trilogies. I think I have three volumes each containing three of the novels.
Nobody has mentioned Katherine Kerr, so I will. Her Deverry series of Daggerspell, Darkspell, Dawnspell and Dragonspell are some of the best books that I have read. The characters are very real, and the descriptions are so good you can almost feel the mud clinging to your legs, the damp soaking through your clothes etc.
They have a realistic feel to them too, giving you the impression you are actually reading about times gone by rather than pure fantasy. Even the magic is explained in a way that makes it seem possible.
Heavily into reincarnation, and the principle that mistakes and friendships made by one incarnation will be carried onto the next, there are separate stories within the books dealing with the past lives of the main characters and the effects they have on the present incarnation.
Although the four books of the Deverry series can be read alone, the full cycle extends over 13 books (the last two of which have not been written yet). I am now pulling my hair out waiting for the last two because I cannot get enough of them.... Definitely well worth reading.

I also recommend a trilogy of books by Michael Scott Rohan. These are his Winter of the World series; comprising of The Anvil of Ice, The Forge in the Forest and The Hammer of the Sun.
I'll have to remember to visit this thread when my 'to read' pile gets a tad bit lower. Lots of ideas here, thanks Val. Smile Smilie
Anything by Anne McCaffrey (involving dragons), Tamora Pierce and Jonathan Wylie. And if you can find anything by Jonathan Wylie then could you tell me where to find it? I've only got one of his books, its good, but I can't find any others. Sad Smilie
But any of Anne McCaffrey's Dragon books are a must have. Especialy Dragonflight! Big Smile Smilie

Nobody has mentioned Katherine Kerr

Never heard of her, but the books sound interesting. What are they like?
Nothing like being concise, Plastic.
Well, it's important to get straight to the point Animated Wink Smilie

I'll keep my distance from them then shall I? Very Big Grin Smilie
Try borrowing the first one from the library and making your own mind up. If you hate it, you haven't lost anything. If you like it, you've found a new world.
Jumping Flame Smilie BRIN! David Brin! Take my word for it! The Uplift series is fantastic! Skip Sundiver and go right for StarpostThreadIDe Rising, then The Uplift War. If you start thinking Dr. Dolittle, don't worry, it'll p@$$ after you get into it.
Does anybody read Lisanne Norman's SHOLAN ALLIANCE novels? Talk about some very SEXY sci-fi. I am also a huge fan of Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey. Smile Smilie
Mmmmmm.... SF and Fantasy books....

Firstly, anyone who hasn't read Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game should read it now. Awesome.

Favourite authors - the usual SF - Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Bear, Banks, Adams, Piper

And fantasy - Feist, Weiss & Hickman, Jordan, Pratchett...

Never read David Brin but have some of his books on my 'to read' list, same with Tad Williams and Ben Bova.

I love Anne McCaffrey's books and I'd never encountered anyone else who'd heard of her until I read this thread.

Vee, I've read Tad William's Memory, Thorn and Sorrow trilogy (or whatever order they go in) and thoroughly enjoyed them. There's more than a touch of Tolkien, which may have helped. I read the first 2 of another series he's done which I can't for the life of me remember the name of, there's something to do with colours in each title. I gave up because I found it very difficult to follow and there was quite a bit of jargon that I just didn't understand at the time. I hope you get around to trying him though. I went to a book reading evening that he did about 10 years ago and I was very impressed with how passionate he was about his work.

I read Earthsea years ago when it was just a trilogy. Have a few more Anne MC's but haven't read them yet.

I have Dragonbone Chair and Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams plus one other the title of which I cannot remember .
READ KATHY TYERS!!!!! Okay, okay, I am very biased, because I know her personally. But she is fantastic, so pleeeease give her a try (if it's any consolation, I fell in love with her books before I knew her). Stephen R. Lawhead, Neil Shusterman (sometimes juvenile but wonderful ideas: Scorpian Shards), and Kevin J. Anderson are all also musts. From the bookaholic here. Read Smilie
Wheel of "yawns" jeez is that the Time?

possibly the most arduous and lacklustre fantasy series i have ever had the displeasure to endure... Dammit why couldnt i have been strong and binned it?!??!!

Thumbs Down Smilie
Nil, is Kathy Tyers published in the U.K.? and if so can you muster an objective appraisal of what sets her apart from other writers in the fantasy genre.

cheers m'dear
Wink Smilie
Wheel of "yawns" jeez is that the Time?

possibly the most arduous and lacklustre fantasy series i have ever had the displeasure to endure... Dammit why couldnt i have been strong and binned it?!??!!

I found the first 3 books (at least) to be very interesting. They left me wanting more but unfortunately you are right - after that it went downhill and became more of a soap opera than an epic. I still find some of the plot lines intriguing and I need CLOSURE! I see the next episode is out now. What are the chances of it being the last one?

Sword of is heavily influenced by Tolkien themes, so you may enjoy that one the most

Are you kiddin with that!!! I love the more recent Terry Brookes bookes, but that first one, 'sword of shanarra' I wouldn't even call a novel, it's just an inferiour re-writting of every event that happened in LOTR. I read it and couldn't believe how much he'd taken - directly from LOTR, after about 50 pages I actually sketched out a quick timeline of events as they happened as Frodo left The Shire just to see if they would happen in 'Sword of', and everything happened, albeit a little disguised or re-written. just as I expected! It's been a few years since I read it, but a few examples are the fell beasts(nazgul/skull bearers), the wandering wizard, the unexpected hero(frodo/jerle), the dangerous journey before the adventure really gets underway. there's even a tree that attackes one of the fellowship!!!

Sorry to go on a rant, and i love some of his other books, I'd esspecially recomend 'Magic Kingdom, for sale/(sold)' and the other books in that series cos they were good.. anyway im glad i got that outta my system Tongue Smilie
Yeah Vee, thats exactly the word i was straining to use "closure" or was it "CONFLAGRATION"

Yeah burn the witches, burn them, burn them all!!!

Now thats a mediaeval RANT!
Very Mad Smilie

If anyone has heard of "Witchworld" a pnp Rpg, then this has uncanny similarities with the "Wheel of Nonsense"
the worst thing Tolkien ever did was to open the flood gates for talentless scribes to mass produce tabloid standard fantasy and sell it on as "THE NEXT BIG THING since Tolkien's seminal "blah" work "blah"..."

The problem with me and literature is that i have to finish the piece, or series no matter how BAD, banal or just plain B/S it is

Yohoho and a bottle of Rant!

Moderator Smilie
Aelric - I don't know if she is or not but I can ask her. Yes, I can be objective. Big Smile Smilie I think her work sets her apart because of her precise way of writing. She gets right to the point and you understand her perfectly, yet she can keep the nastiest surprises! Her characters are very believable, in the fact that they are in a galaxy far from this one but you're still expecting to run into on of them on the street. Down to earth but far away. Make sense?? Very Mad Smilie That's the best I can do right now but if you want more, I've got it. Just let me know.

Ranting is no big deal - I agree. Cheers to all of us complainers and insulters and the faith that none of the coucil members will throw us off! Angel Smilie
Check my post???? What am I looking for???
I said.. (re: Wheel of Time)
I see the next episode is out now. What are the chances of it being the last one?

I was wrong. It isn't the next book in the series, it is a prequel. New Spring Ah well, it was given to me as a present this weekend and I shall look forward to reading it. I think.

Fool of a Took!!!

Oh Vee... please dont encourage him to write anymore " Wheel of Wastepaper"

In eternal hope...

Disturbed Smilie
But I need closure! 10 books so far.............. Aaaaaaargh!
Closure is always good...too bad most authors don't agree, including myself. Angel Smilie
Closure? Closure? Man i hate Therapy-jargon... like "denial and..." oh bugger cant think of any other examples,
but did you know that "Therapist, actually spells THE RAPIST"? spooky eh?

Cyclops Smilie
'Closure' is a word I use tongue in cheek. Italics required perhaps? It was over-used in Ally McBeal. One phrase I can't bring myself to use even in italics is..... ........... arrrgh.................... " my bad" (spit).
Or... like "Totally", why dont the Americans just cut to the chase, whilst reinventing their own peculiar brand of english, they have contaminated ours with their poor spelling(e.g. Honour - Honor, Maneuvre - maneuver, Tap - fawcett - Ach!!!), idiot phrases and last but not least their inabiltiy to accept that it's the English language, not the American language!!! (and this from a welshman, i feel drained and confused, i really shouldn't care)

How ironic... *wonders if many Merkins know the real meaning of the word*

Love the smilie. You should use it more often. But not after quoting me.
I may be American, but believe me, I hate the way we've butchered some of the english words (cause I'm a huge word lover). Like grey to gray?! C'mon!!! The 'e' is much better looking - more distinguished. Hello Vee!!!!! Do you really want me talking to you?? I can get irritating....Wiggle Smilie
Now you mention it......

I was better off before, wasn't I?

Very Big Grin Smilie
Oh, most definitely. But you've already asked so it's too late. Very Big Grin Smilie
Hee hee - hey, guess what, Vee?! The other day.... Animated Wink Smilie
Shhh - you'll scare her. Very Big Grin Smilie

Oh good. Just making sure.
Ahem, this thread appears to be getting off topic. Moderator Smilie
OK.. time to get back on topic then, all these silly wimmin getting scatty-brained, prolly a hormone overload or summat!
Smoke Smilie

Well i was wondering what people thought of a book called "Wraethru", as it was suggested to me and since buying and reading it, i cannae make my mind up, think yup - original, yup - strange, yup - slow and too much like Mad Max asexual porno!!! (just an impression i got, appreciate any who've read its feedback)

Wink Smilie
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