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Thread: Authors similar to Tolkien ????

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Hi Cristiel.

I don't think anyone really compares to Tolkien. Donaldson is one of his early followers though.

Another of Tolkien's followers is Terry Brooks (less dark than Donaldson)

One of my favourites, if you like rich prose, is Cecilia Dart-Thornton. She creates an atmosphere simillar to Tolkien.

For a guide to good books, you might like to look at 'Just Exactly what are you reading right now?' and 'Caution: Dont read this' threads in The Green Dragon.
Hello Cristiel, welcome to PT. Big Smile Smilie

Try R.A. Salvatore, he is quite good.
I thing that there’s no writer who is similar to Tolkien. But the old Icelandic stories has a preety similar style as the stories of Middle-Earth.
Welcome to PT Cristiel! Big Smile Smilie
I agree with you Einar. I also recommend Beowulf, which Tolkien studied a lot. It can be a bit hard, but it has the same sort of tone as LotR, at least in my opinion.

[Edited on 11/1/2003 by Samwisegamgee]

[Edited on 11/1/2003 by Samwisegamgee]
I also enjoyed the books of William Morris (1834-1896): The Wood beyond the World. and The Well at the World's End. even though it took an hour or so for my mind's ears to become attuned their stilted language. He also translated the Icelandic sagas as well as wrote many other books.
You could try Guy Gavriel Kay's works. Personally I liked his single volume work titled Tigana. Interesting plot and good style.

Incidentally, Guy Gavriel Kay was also involved in the editing of The Silmarillion with Christopher Tolkien. Wink Smilie
I think a postAuthorID who would be similar to Tolkien would be Frank Herbert, postAuthorID of the first Dune series. I have read all of his novels and his sons as well. And I Frank did the same he created his own universe along with detailed characters and groups and a history, which his son Brian brought to life. It might not be as complex as Tolkiens world but none the less he did a wonderful job and I was engrossed by all the novels and still read over them again and again trying to pick up on any info I missed out on the first time round.
I'm a bit disagree with you Darous, Herbert is a bit like Tolkien, even though it never got to reach the professor, his books are as detailed as Tolkien's , but the big difference id that in Tolkien's book, you could fell that the story was real, thet there once was a past and that it is remembered by the ones thet live in the present, you fell there will be a future and that maybe you will be on it. Is not like in Dunem, where the characters talk about a past, but you don't really feel that it was real, the characters talk about the future, but it seems so far, the story is ok, but how he devolps it... Don't get me wrong Darous, I think Herbert is a great postAuthorID, but I disagree with you in saying he is at the same point (or reaching it) than Tolkien. I belive if he had seveloped his ideas a bit deeper than just the books, he would been able to reach Tolkien.
Even though I think for Herbert it was harder to write his books, because Tolkien only tried to create a world (and he made it) but Herbert tried to create a Universe, and I'm sad to say he didn't make it.
I haven't read Le Morte D'Arthur myself, but my friend says it's quite similar to Tolkien, especially in the later parts.
Also, can anyone tell me something about Robert (I think this is his first name...) Jordan? I hear he's supposed to be a good fantasy writer. Is he similar to Tolkien or not at all?
Robert Jordon wrote The Wheel of Time series, which I have yet to read, but which has been highly recomended by our younger set. Happy Elf Smilie
I have not read that the Rober Jordan The Wheel of Time series, but I have heard from several people that the first few books are great, but the later ones are not.

However, with so many people in the world, there are so many different tastes as well, I am sure to some all of the books are good. I just don't really know. Grondy, if you do start reading them, please let me know your opinion. I would love to know what you think of them.
C.S.Lewis's Narnia series has the same feel to The Hobbit, not so much compared to lotr, as Narnia is a kids series.

But it has that same realisticly magical, sureal feel, as if u really could walk through your wardrobe and into this misty, beautiful. but slightly dangerous world.
Rhodry, the Narnia series is terrific. It is one of my favorites.
Also, can anyone tell me something about Robert (I think this is his first name...) Jordan? I hear he's supposed to be a good fantasy writer. Is he similar to Tolkien or not at all?

I think you would really enjoy The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I got as far as book V but life and other great books got in the way of me going any further (he has just published book X). Another problem was that the story started to bore me, which happens to me when a series goes beyond 4 books. Some people can read the same series through a seemingly endless number volumes . However, I have been buying the series to read when I have time to lock myself away and read to my heart's content. I have even purchased The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time which is really great.
He is like Tolkien as much as Terry Brooks (I got bored with the Shannara spinoffs too) and David Eddings are similiar to JRR, in that the series is very much focused on a quest to defeat a powerful evil force.
Like Tolkien, Jordan's work reflects much of his own war experiences.

I agree with you. Rhodry about the Chronicles of Narnia having the same feel due to the fact that it was written for children, as was the Hobbit. The nice thing is that adults love them as much, if not more, than kids.
I love this one auther, his name is Nicholas Sparks;I would reccomend him to anyone.
So far his best book has been 'Walk to Remember',once you start you can't put it down.Dont bother watching the movie,it was a horrible way to put such a touching book,into a bubbly and overly acted movie Shaking Head Smilie .
Thanks for the reccomendations, I will have to check out The Wheel of Time.
I like Narnia as well. The only problem I had with it is that it is a bit religious. I have nothing against religion, I just don't like it a lot as a literature form. But it does have the same feel as Tolkien in many parts.
Lets see... Jack London has sort of a writing style when it comes to describing things but NO ONE can be compared to Tolkien!! He is the best of the best!
Just read above me, and repeat out loud what Wooffy just said.
I I agree

ill even admit that so far and probly win i finish the series im attempting to write is half as good as Tolkien at best, in a way i dont want to match or top THE GREAT ONE because i would feel as though i was stifling the first great fictional/fantasy epic ever to be typed, published, and copywrighted.
Absolutely no one could come close to Tolkien.
this is not my opinion but book reviews have put cs lewis and le guin in the same top rank
Opps! Authors similar to Tolkien... the problem is, I think there isn't... , there's no one like him but having read the posts, I feel both reassured and a little brave, so here goes, I'm going to put my neck out on the line...

Ursula Le Guin and her Earthsea Series
Frank Herbert, and ... at least, the First two Books of Dune
Robin Hobb... All three series.. Assasin, Magic Ships and Golden Fool...

All nominated for creating believable backgrounds and histories

If you like the socio political, and can live with an element of Sci Fi
There's The Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson,
Or Helicona by Brian Aldiss
or the The Shikasta series by Doris Lessing

If it's fantasy and sorcery you're after, there's Donaldson, Raymond E Feist, and thousands of others...

There's a lot to be gleaned from reading novellas both modern and pre 70's.... and subscribing to Azimov...

If it's horror/fear... HP Lovecraft, David Brin, Stephen King

Historical fiction... pre literate... Mary Renault, and the Aurthurian series by Mary Stewart,

Philosopy is not my strong point, but while you're out there... why not read a prose version of the Iliad, The Odessy, American Indian Fairy Tales, The Arabian Nights, and throw in the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Anderson in the original....

Then there's the Norse and Icelandic Sagas, Beowulf and the heroic poetry
The Decamarion and the Tain Bo Culainge
The Mabinogeon, and all the other Celtic poetry cycles

and of course, there's always cross overs, and authors that you miss... and ones who are good but that you just don't have time for...
Ray Bradbury
Arthur C Clarke
Iain Banks (and Iain M Banks)
John Brummer (a must!)
A book if you ever get your hands on it by an author I forget... William P Williaams... or ... but the book "A Canticle for Libowitz"

Not in any catogory, cept maybe for their writing... George Eliot and Jane Austen, M R James, Dorris Lessing, Dorothy Dunnett, John Banville,

... but noone will ever again be Tolkien, or be like Tolkien or come close ... because he took the best of Western, modern and traditional European mythology and put it up against the dark... with a long very well developed history (his third age, compared to the first age of innoncence... and he was good enough to only hint...) - and it was his life's work... his published work as opposed to unpublished and The Hobbit, and even TLOTR from his life times' work...

... just think about the shire and the hobbits, the wizards and the elves... all else will pale in comparison when you realise that even each minor character had a long history, in his mind if not written... and that one comes close, in the same catagory...

And those who come in comparable catagories are only that: comparable...

with the exception perhaps Frank Herbert has created a whole believeable world (and Frank Herbert's is semi fuedal, set long in the future and laced with technology)

... and Tolkien could only have done it in an England that was still pre war, without electric lighting in parts, in parts still half tame and wild....where humans could indentify both with men, hobbits, dwarfs, and dare I say it, even with orcs and swartings...

anyhoo... there are thousands out there writing for us, many are Tolkien inspired... but similar... ??? his real imitators are bland... and I think, myself, after more than 30 years of searching, that what you're looking for is...

Writers... people with something to say and a story to tell.
I've listed some of them... he even inspired me to read "English literature" and I have since then read in other languages... but I always come "home"... it's stories, song and poetry, by the fireside... and who cares what genre if it is a good story?

Sorry being long winded... would love an answer that would better sort my thoughts... what is it that makes Tolkien, Tolkien.... and why?
After reading post see I forgot CS Lewis, worth a mention but they seem more aimed at adolescents...
and I cannot explain why, but I never liked Donaldson...
Terry Prachitt is more in a league with Douglas Adams...

looking forward to a response

Hey Ellie Smile Smilie

Thought I'd better pop in just because you are....

looking forward to a response
Big Smile Smilie

I have been reading through this wee thread & have taken many 'notes' ! I love to hear different views from people on books we all know & those that some of us may not have heard of.

My knowledge of literature may not be as wide as some of our more 'well read' members, but I am working on it! I didn't read very much when I was young - The Hobbit & LOTR was all I really did read! I never really knew where to go after them so gave up! I did enjoy the likes of Roald Dahl & CS Lewis - didn't we all! But not very much in my teens. I have, in recent years, invested in their various works, as much as for myself to read again, as for my son as he grows. I am a firm believer in reading as pure and simple, life enhancing education. No matter what it is you choose to read - be it Super Hero comics or Shakespeare - it's all good. Minds are exercised and given the chance to expand with any genre.

I don't really have any examples or suggestions of authors 'similar' to 'Our Beloved' Wink Smilie - I have to agree, to an extent, with some previous comments about the difficulty in comparing Tolkien to any other work. Yes - there have been authors who have taken us in & given us many different worlds to wander in, but I do feel that Tolkien gave us more 'proof' of ME's existence - more to hold on to & believe in. I do think that Terry Pratchett has been succesful with his Discworld series. Pratchett gave us Discworld - just as viable as ME but with the humour... excellent!

I don't really have much else to give! I'll be popping in here again - even just to gather more 'notes'!

Whatever you read - enjoy it! Encourage it - all reading is good!

Take care all x

Opps! Authors similar to Tolkien... the problem is, I think there isn't...

Wow Elanor - some post that was!

And I agree with you, no one writes like Tolkien.

Out of all the books listed that I have read, plus all the other fantasy books I have read the only one that struck me as I was reading it that the author was heavily influenced by Tolkien was Ursula Le Guin and the Earthsea Trilogy (which is now in 4 or 5 parts!) In others I have noticed some influence but usually in there with other influences.

I think it fair to say that something as great as Tolkien's writing would inspire and influence, and I am glad it has. But nothing comes close to being similar. Mere echoes in the vast caverns of Middle Earth, not even shadows but only the whisper of emptiness as shadows fade....

Tolkien Rules, OK?
Opps, think I lost that last post. Agree with both Lass and Vee ! Naturellment.

TLOTR was read to my and my brother when we were kids by our Dad... he read other stuff aswell but nothing had quite the same impact. It took him over eight months, but he did the voices and all, and even talked my younger brother into continuing the book when as the brother put it, "stupid book, with no more Gaf" (his 5 year old reaction to Khazad Dum!)

Lass, nothing quite like reading to kids to inspire them!

Roahld Dahl I still love, and can never quite work without thinking of Charlie's Dad screwing on the lids of the toothpaste tubes in the factory.... and keep, like Charlie hoping that I'll one day find a golden ticket in bar of chocolate (I still check all products with a "you may have a million" stickers...)

Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time quite worth reading, particularly the early books... but my patience has given out, because I keep rereading them before I read the latest... and... so if anyone hasn't read them yet, try hold out till he's finished... if he finishes... we're up to ten books now... but, good quality all the same.

There's also George RR Martin, but his part three was published in two parts a few years back, and part 4 does not seem forthcoming.

Nice to hear from youse, and great reading tips...

But yeah, Tolkien rules!
Tolkien most definitely rules! I do have a couple authors that come close, though.

C.S. Lewis is the most logical second for me ( Wink Smilie) but if you want away from the norm, try Susan Cooper: "The Dark is Rising Sequence." Very good, very colorful. She actually went to Oxford and studied under both Tolkien and Lewis so her work reflects their style of writing.

Also, Stephen Lawhead is very good with arranging his characters and worlds, though his writing style is more modern than Tolkien's.

Really, though, I highly recommend Susan Cooper. Big Smile Smilie
How could anyone compare to Tolkien? I gave up on reading the genre for ages just becuase you either get shameless copyists (Terry Brooks, come on down) or others who just aren't as good (say, Moorcock's Eternal Champion stuff). Tolkien spent his whole life constructing this world - and he knew his sources better than anyone - no-one could compete! (As a side issue, I don't know how Moorcock has the nerve to criticise Tolkien given some of the stuff he's churned out over the years.)

But, The Dark is Rising is a fantastic series which doesn't get name checked as much as it should and Canticle for Liebowitz is brilliant too ( I think it was by someone called Walter Miller but can't check at the moment).

What do people think of Pullman and His Dark Materials trilogy? I haven't read the third yet, but thought the first was astonishing (less keen on second).

And has anyone read any Russell Hoban - Riddley Walker, etc?

Whoever managed to read a William Morris epic deserves a medal. I know Tolkien revered them, but I tried both House of the Wolfings and Roots of the Mountain (there's various websites you can download them for free) and wading through the prose just melted my brain. Does make you realise how sublte Tolkien's archaicism was.
A Canticle for Leibowitz was by Walter M. Miller, Jr. it was a 1959 Hugo Award winner. Aproximately 40 years later he wrote Leibowitz and the Wildhorse Woman, which was almost as good, though it just covered a lifetime of another monk, rather than the eons that were covered in the first book.

The Dark is Rising series is excellent as is Lloyd Alexander's The Prydain Chronicles a five book series which draws on the Mabinogion, the classic collection of Welsh legends. Both these series are written for children; however, we grown-ups can get more out of them as we bring a broader knowledge to the stories.

I have read William Morris, who was a 19th century renaissance man. It always takes me a chapter or two to get used to the archaic wordage: all the ye's, thee's, and thou's. Click Here for the list of his writings. Also take look at some of the graphics he designed which can be found via their home page.
I like Dennis McKiernan's "Iron Tower Trilogy." It has many similarities to Tolkien's work.

You might also try The Sarnaethian Trilogy, which is available as a free download in PDF format (though reading 1000 pages on a computer screen can be quite a chore...).

Gonna go out on a limb here and say that Tad william's Dragon bone chair series is a little like the big man. Obviously not as detailed, and it has that certain, "only doin this to make a buck" feel, but there is a little there that gives me a Tolkien feeling.
Though I have to admitt that I read this series years ago, around the same time as I read Tolkien, and all the books I read, and all where heavy fantasy, had that certain dark misty quaility. Even R.E.Feist's Magician, which I'm sure you all agree falls well short of Tolkiens leage.
I think, because LOTR was writen post WW2, and the same goes for Narnia, that it is rather difficuit to acheive that same quality now days, we all talk and think a lot differently from our grandfathers.
My father has a book that belonged to my Great Grandfather, that is a collection of poems and stories writen by the Anzac's from the trench's of WW1, the grammer and feel is rather strange, and reminded me of tolkien often.
Do you have the title and author?
sorry?, the title and aurthor of.....??
If you mean the ww1 book, then no and no, It's a collection of all the NZ and Aust ANZACS from the war. can't remember the name of it, sorry.
Well... I think there's no author who could write similar to Tolkien... but I think, thre are Authors, who write as well (ore nearly) in different ways (with that I mean such as Humor, Sience Fiction and so on...), for example I think Terry Pratchett is just genial! John Grisham too and of course Joanne K. Rowling (of course she writes fantasy too , but its in our time, not in a different world...). I think, you can't compare Authors who write in just different ways...
Yes Idril. i too think Terry Prachet is great, and Grisham too. I also suggest that you read Ken Follets "Pillars of the Earth" and "A Dangerous Fortune". They are great books. Rowling is a bit of a dilema for me. I liked it when i was younger, but now i dont know. The thing is, im think it was easyer for Tolkien to write such a great book, because there were no such books back then and there wasnt so much commerciality. And now it is hard for Rowling to write something as good and with more and more side troubles from life today as a famous person.
I'd just like to add that *pillars of the earth* is most definately an Adults only book.

.........ohh, and I loved Hp when I read it and that was only this year, I found a thirst for a simple fantasy quite refreashing. I can't wait till the goblet of fire comes out in the flicks and I can't wait for book 6. I think JK is brilliant, her charactors are fresh, original, and very well writen.
When I finish a book and then read a book by a different author I feel like I'm emigrating to a different planet. It amazes me how different people, artists, are. An artist seems as different from another as one species is from another. I suspect everyone is, but with artists you can see it better, and anyway people go to a lot of trouble to seem the same.

So all of the books mentioned lead me to " not really.." I don't mean I disapprove of their being mentioned, it's just that they're so different. I wouldn't say that if you liked Tolkien you'll like J.K.Rowling. (I feel Rowling is like Dickens, though) Readers are like writers and other artists, too. One is a whole different thing from another. When I’ve done the if-you-liked-that-you’ll-like-this thing, I’ve been wrong more often than right.

That being said, I think the one great fantasy writer who is not appreciated enough is Diana Wynne Jones. It's curious how, with a large continuous language community of English speakers/writers that except for a few Canadians, almost all good fantasy is British. No, in my opinion, Yanks.

I really like Terry Pratchett, too, though I couldn’t say that it follows if you like Tolkien, you’ll like Pratchett. He is a comic writer and he has a good heart.

Of other authors mentioned, I found the first book of ’His Dark Materials’ was wonderful; the second book wasn’t and the third book was a pompous and tedious lecture. There’s a tendency for people who write anticipating a youthful audience to seize the opportunity to ’mould young minds.’ The Amber Spyglass,’ the third book of Pullman’s ’His Dark Materials’ is the most ruthless example of this I’ve ever seen. Further, his view of things is about as anti-Tolkien as possible, though that alone would not make him a bad author.

I haven’t READ J.K.Rowling and I don’t know how much I would like reading her. But lately I’ve been listening to books on tape and cd while I draw. (I don’t think I’d want to do this while I drive and I’d just get fidgety if I was only listening, but while drawing is perfect: the two things seem to use different parts of the mind.) So I’ve HEARD all of Rowling that’s been published. I can get the tapes at the library. If anyone listens to taped books, I vigorously recommend the performance/reading of Jim Dale doing the Harry Potter books. He is wonderful.
Although the story as a whole does not reach the complexity and overall amazingness of that of Tolkien's works, C.S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia" that I'm sure many of us have read at one time or another, has many of the similar themes in the stories as well as the overall feeling.
I haven’t READ J.K.Rowling and I don’t know how much I would like reading her. ..... If anyone listens to taped books, I vigorously recommend the performance/reading of Jim Dale doing the Harry Potter books. He is wonderful.
I have read all her Harry Potter books and also listen to Jim Dale's excellent reading of them on tape. These tapes are unabridged: he reads the all her words and to make things interesting, has a different voice for each character. While they are expensive, I found them well worth the price. I usually only listen to them at bedtime.

I also have the BBC LotR tapes, as well as their version of The Hobbit, but these are radio dramas and while quite good, leave out quite a bit including Tom Bombadil.

I have only listened tp Pullman's His Dark Materials series; I haven't read it. I found the The Golden Compass quite interesting; disliked The Subtle Knife; and have forced myself through The Amber Spyglass, which I found boring. But of course different strokes, or books, for different folks.

I reread the Narnia Chronicles every couple of years.
Well, I USED to like J.K.Rowling. Before I read LOTR, she was my favourite author. And still after that, she was my second favourite. And then I read the latest book, and I really didn't like it, and after reading that, I looked at all the other books she'd written and I found I didn't really like thenm anymore. So I don't like J.K.Rowling. But I've gone and bought all her books, and now they're useless. Dag-nab-it, I wasted my money!!!!!!

(Grondy was here with his nicer word substituter.)
Hi. I think you guys are forgetting the author who gave most of his ideas to help Tolkien out. Mr. C.S. Lewis author of the Chronicles of Narnia Although his books may seem more for kids, even adults can realize this man is a great writer. I'm surprised no one has mentioned C. S. Lewis. By the way.... I love Beowulf!
Actually, C.S. Lewis is mentioned on pages 2 and 3 of this thread. His Narnia Chronicles and his space trilogy are among my favorites.
I quite like the Narnia chronicles. But I stopped reading them ages ago. I don't have much time to read, and now all my reading time is devoted to..... (no prizes for guessing) ...........tolkien.

Heehee. I laugh. I have a horsefreak friend and she only likes one book of the Narnia series: 'The Horse and his boy.' Nyahahaha.
Sory, I didn't abswer again sooner, but I wasn't at home those last 4 days...
Well, first I think you are missing my point... Wink Smilie
of course Token... well when I read the LotR I'm IN Middleearth... well, I don't think cn explain probably...
And I don't think there is much a fantasy book that makes me feel like LotR.
But I just think there are other autors with differnet kinds of writing... for exampl I don't think Tolkien would have manage to write such goo politic thriller like Grisham.

Yes, I read the books of Ken Follet (in Germab they are called "Die S’ulen der Erde" und "Die Br’cken der Freiheit", so I don't knoe I read the same books as you dd...) and to those who liked them I can also tell to read "the Medicus" by Noah Gordon...
These are great books...

I just wanna tell you, that you cant really compare author who have different kinds of writng.
Well, C.S. Lewis didn't have the same kinda story tolkien did, SO WHAT? I still think that they are both very skilled authors. But Lewis chose the path of the kids fantasy writer and Tolkien the Fantasy for teenagers and adults. They still met together in their writing club at a pub in Licolnshire (please, correct me if i am wrong) and talked about stories. They still helped eachother when they came across a sticky situation. So in a way, they are both like writing brothers. You can still pick out in Tolkien and Narnia where they are somewhat similar.
P.S. I never heard of the space adventure stories of Lewis. You learn something new everyday I suppose.
Sorry, I really don't know very much aot Tolkiens life and in fact I've not reed tha books of Lewis...
you should they are very good
Ok, I'll rember next time I go to the library... Big Smile Smilie
Actually they are pretty decent books, though you cannot compare them to Tolkien because they are two entirely different types and styles of writing, but you can't help but noticing the significance of similarity between the two.
Books! You can never talk enough about them.

Authors alike Tolkien mm. When I think of Tolkien I think of epic fantasy.

For those who are going like.. what? Read this article:

George RR Martin is already mentioned, Tad Williams is great as well! Roger Zelazny, the Amber chronicles.

Now onto my favorites. I am surprised that one author is not mentioned yet... Jack Vance. Do read the Lyonesse trilogy. He equals Tolkien. I miss Robin Hobb as well. She is really really good. Do get a copy of the farseer trilogy if you visit the library or bookshop.

I am very fond of Marion Zimmer Bradley. The series she wrote with Julian May and Andre Norton are great (Black trillium and the books after that). Terry Pratchett is just good. Combine him with Neil Gaiman and it is perfection!

Pleasant discoveries: Julliet Marillier. Another author that might not be everybody's cup of tea (and not very suitable for young people) is Jacqueline Carey's Kusthiel Trilogy. I am still reading Elizabeth Haydon's The Symphony of Ages trilogy, so far very good.

The past year I have been reading fantasy by new female writers and I have not read Martin or Goodkind yet..
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