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Thread: Authors similar to Tolkien ????


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Frankly, only the Bard is dearer to my heart than Tolkien. Do "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "The Tempest" get him included as a fantasy writer?

I think Shakespeare can be most definitely be included in the ranks of fantasy writers. JRRT has often been referred to as the father of modern fantasy and one can see a great deal of Shakespearean influence in his works, even though, our dear professor claimed to dislike Shakespeare's works.
Terry Goodkind
Oh,I've been meaning to read Terry Goodkinds books,isn't the first one called The wizards First Rule or something?
Yes, the Seeker of Truth series is good high fantasy, i've heard.

Gonna read it after i finished the WOT and that'll probably be after the 115th book in 2145.
I havent read them yet but i got wizards first rule. Its part of The Sword of Truth. Apparantly theyre simmilar to tolkiens stuff......theres a map in it.
Uhhh.... nobody kill me but... Dennis McKiernan. He pretty much copied a lot of LOTR stuff, but wrote it differently in The Iron Tower, and the other ones are pretty similar to the LOTR ideas as well. I was kind of surprised he didn't get sued for the amount of stuff he copied... so it feels almost sacreligious to put his name here. But I felt it needed to be pointed out...
Wow. I've read through this entire thread, and there seem to be three different types of authors being discussed. First - the classics like Homer, to whom I'm having some difficulty drawing lines from Tolkien's works, but that's ok. The second group, call them the free-thinkers, like Jack Vance (yes, a phenomenal writer in his own regard, but nothing he did can compare to Tolkien's world), Lewis, Herbert, and another of my favorites, Anne McCaffrey (I still remember the day it dawned on me that klah was coffee..lol).

Finally, there are those writers who, were there no Tolkien, would be writing news stories and chasing ambulances. Terry Brooks and David Eddings lead this list, and Robert Jordan is also among the leaders (I agree his first five books were great, but after that it seemed like he was afraid to end the story). I am amazed, however, that nobody has mentioned the biggest Tolkien ripoff artist of them all, R.A. Salvatore. I can't give exact references, because it's been years and I really don't want to read his books again, but I can recall seeing entire sections that were lifted from LOTR. Deplorable. Maybe that's why nobody mentioned him - sheer disgust.
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I am amazed, however, that nobody has mentioned the biggest Tolkien ripoff artist of them all, R.A. Salvatore.


I had that with Feist... it was an horrible read. Yeah I know there are some Feist fans here, but well... It didn't work for me. Is Orson Scott Card mentioned somewhere? I am not sure. A great writer as well.
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Is Orson Scott Card mentioned somewhere? I am not sure. A great writer as well.


Oh Yes I am sure he is...... methinks I mentioned him, as I always do given half a chance, and especially Enders Game which is one of the most moving books I have ever read.
Ursula LeGuin's "The Left Hand of Darkness" is superb. It's technically sci fi, but there is so little science in it that it is really closer to fantasy in tone. It's a very satisfying story, touched with a lot of sadness, so that anyone who likes LOTR might well like it. It's not on the same scale as Tolkien, of course. I really rank it above "Ender's Game", good as that book was.
Well, two books that spring to my mind are :

Something called "Elgaron" (I can't remember the spelling.) Its about a boy and his pet dragon who take on some creratures of darkness. And what's more, its a trilogy. I haven't read it and have no plans to do so. But then the book has been written by a 18-year old and that is something good.

Then there is the Artemis Fowl series which they say has been "inspired" from the Hairy Potty series which in turn has again been "inspired" from Tolkien's world! I think I won't say a word more!
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Something called "Elgaron"
I believe you are referring to Eragon by Christopher Paolini, which as fantasy has almost certainly been influenced by Tolkien, but was not a rip-off at all. As for Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer's take on fairies, goblins and such is very different from either Tolkien's or the Harry Potter books' takes, particularly concerning dwarves. Please don't rip on books that you haven't read simply on hear-say. While neither of these books were anywhere near the level of Tolkien, I enjoyed them both, and I really don't feel that either were "Tolkien rip-offs"
Well, better late than never, right folks? I definitely recommend Marion Zimmer Bradley (I don't think she's a Brit though, sorry) and fer sure Robert Jordan, at least in Wheel of Time. I can't speak for his reprise of Conan as Conans really not my style, Cimmerian or not. Jordan, btw, is also not a Brit (though one could observe that most Southerners are just Scotsman on holiday.)

Jordan can only claim four races of his own creation (Myrddral, Trollocs, Ogier, and Draghkar) since he can't claim humans as his and one can hardly count gholams as a "race" since there's only six of them (if I remember right.) His world and his cultures are, however, richly developed and reminiscent of Tolkien in their depth and history; the Aiel are a long way from the Athan Miere in more than geography, and the Sanchan as well (not to mention Chachin, about whom we still know next to nothing,) and even within the main playing field I can (and have) easily role play a Tairen cavalryman in ways that would make him immediately identifiable to anyone who's read the series, or Borderlander, Andoran, Cairhienin, etc. Each have distinct and fully developed histories and national flavors.

The world itself is unique and original, as is the story, and if some characters we recognize are present (though not always recognized on sight) that's consistent with the plot and they always have relationships totally different from what we expect (Sir Gareth was the youngest of Queen Morgases sons in Sir Mallorys work, but the gruff older man in her life in WoT, and while King Arthur and Excalibur are both present they're completely unconnected.) In many ways this is the charm of Jordans world, the incongruity of familiar characters in completely new relations (did Mossk and Merk really duel with flaming arrows in the sky? No, thank God, but it was a very near thing, wasn't it?)

And then there's the characters. From a critical perspective, one might criticize Tolkien for the fact that, apart from the Hobbits, few of the LoTR characters did much growing or changing in the Trilogy. The WoT characters are very different from who they were as recently as book six, and leagues from the uncertain kids ejected from the Two Rivers at the start. The world has changed them; in some ways not for the better, and virtually all of their erstwhile mentors have had to stomach a role reversal at least once.

The only possible objection I could see is that some might see the (very limited) Christian symbolism present in the same capacity as the Arthurian mythos and the Yin-Yang symbol of the Aes Sedai as preachy, but again, it's not so much an advocacy as the recognition of a dominant cultural influence of our world that would (of course) be reflected in THAT Third Age as well. In fact, I have a friend who is very dubious of the Christ figure being "The Dragon Reborn," and his presence as a Christ figure is much less than Aragorns in the Trilogy. Aside from that, the only problem is that, no, unfortunately the last books haven't been as good as the first five, but that's NOT the same as saying they weren't good. None of them move as fast as LoTR, but the rich character development wouldn't be possible if they did. At times Jordan can seem verbose (were I not talking to Tolkien fans I would say very verbose,) and one can defenitely see the Tolkien influence as each can take several pages to describe a seen before much action ensues. Add to that, we all kinda knew how the Trilogy would end, if not exactly how it would play out; with WoT I honestly don't know what will happen next, much less how it will all end (I just hope it doesn't take more than "Knife of Dreams" and one more, but I don't see how that's possible, especially for Jordan). We can hardly call Jordan the equal of Tolkien, but thanks to him I've given up my quest to become "the American Tolkien" because I feel someone beat me to it, and far more satisfactorily than I could have done. LoTR was my intro to fantasy (the first hit's free) and set the bar pretty high, but Jordan gets over it, and in terms of similar depth, well, I've once again been reminded I'm not the only one who rereads books while waiting for the next one (it helps keep everything fresh and straight, which isn't always easy with so much going on and so many different storylines.) He's the only one I've found who writes true Epic Fantasy like Tolkien (with a capital "Epic.")

Now that I'm done gushing, I also like Piers Anthonys stuff, though he's hardly the equal of Tolkien, and the Xanth series particularly is more reminiscent of Narnia (he said having only read "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.") The Incarnations of Immortality series is more thought provoking, and Apprentice Adept more engaging for anyone over twenty (Anthony seems to lose interest in Xanth characters once they reach the age of consent.) I haven't looked at the Mode series much, since it seems a lot like "Adept Redux" to me. For anyone who thought "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields" too short, Robert Adams Horseclans series is also good, if you can find them all, but I have to warn you I believe he left it unfinished at his death.
Having stumbled upon this website and thread several years later than some of the initial posts I nevertheless wanted to contribute to the discussion as I myself have asked the same/similar question. I generally prefer autobiography or biography over fiction but have read and enjoyed Terry Brook’s books and even CS Lewis’s (though not as much the latter). I confess to have ventured in Middle Earth on multiple occasions having read The Hobbit and TLOTR many times (I am somewhere in my teens of times and currently reading through them again with my family). We read a lot together, and I must say not all books lend themselves to that, reading aloud in company that is. (By the way if you have not read Tolkien aloud with friends and/family I highly recommend it). There are few other books and authors that we have read over and again as a family and those we have in particular are rich in characters. They are also ones I will mention. Though the genre of writing is not fantasy I highly recommend Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and really all of the “Anne” books - some are a little more tedious in places but they are full of life: humor, sadness, trials, humility, triumphs and pride with characters that are easy to befriend as well as the occasional “ Lobelia”. Another series are those of James Herriot who wrote under a pseudonym- about his adventures as a country vet in Yorkshire. They are full and rich and he, like Tolkien had a keen way of capturing people’s characters in his stories. Under a *much* lighter set of reading I would add the expansive cartoons of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strips Smile Smilie Having offered these suggestions which really are, none of them Tolkien-esque I would add that the authors all create a place and time that is easy to get lost in as a reader .

Well I'll jump in with some recommendations that I haven't seen in previous posts.  None of these are exactly like JRRT, and all of them def have a more "contemporary" feel, which is natural because they are all living now, and English has changed since JRRT's time. However, they do share some of the characteristics I love with JRRT...

 

Robin McKinley: overlaps with JRRT in that there is fantasy, vivid world-creation, and (dare I say it) reading her stories gives me a sense of history behind the story, world and geography beyond the borders of each story, that I think is remeniscent of Tolkien's hints of the "greater" stories behind and beyond and to the sides of the stories he tells. 

In particular, for any who haven't ready her work, I'd start with the Damar books (The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword) OR Sunshine. 

 

Diane Duane:  overlaps with JRRT in the affirmation of life, the plots of good vs. evil, the choice of each character to decide not what times they are born into, but what to do with the times they are given, and (a little bit) in creating phrases and words in invented languages - although JRRT made his plots around his language, and I think DD's may have been more the other way around. She may have more resonances with C.S. Lewis than Tolkien, but then CSL and JRRT have a lot of resonances with each other so...

For any who haven't read her works, I'd start with the Young Wizards series, which is supposedly geared towards young adults but which can be enjoyed by any age. if anyone likes star trek I'd also highly recommend her Rihannsu trek books, which create a whole Romulan culture (not acknowledged by the later tv & movie 'trek canon'Wink Smilie which is FASCINATING.

 

Michelle Sagara West: I happen to be enjoying her "Chronicles of Elantra" series which overlaps with JRRT in creating cultures and non-human races that live and interact with one another, - Human, Barrani (similarities with elves), Dragons, Leontines (basically sentient talking lions who walk upright), Tha'alani, Aerians (people with wings), Norannir, Shadows... and of course, good vs. evil. 

 

Marie Brennan's "Memoirs of Lady Trent" series: overlaps with JRRT in that I get a sense of realism from these books that reminds me of JRRT. Also, the pacing is slower than some other works, which reminds me of JRRT lingering over the introductions of characters and the start of plots in the Hobbit and FotR. The setting's sort of alternate-universe instead of "a long long time ago in OUR timeline", and it's only a bit archaic - but that archaism, though different, reminds me of JRRT. Also, the story framing idea, that this story is being told or written by one of the characters, reminds me of Bilbo and Frodo who supposedly wrote the Hobbit and LotR after going through the events themselves. 

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