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recommend me some good fantasy books?


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Any new fantasies out there that's pretty good? I've lost interest in the Wheel of Times after the original author died and other long series such as Sword of Truth just stopped being all that fun after a while. I recently picked up Jim Butcher's the Dresden Files and quite good. Any other fantasy books you guys recommend? Sci-fi's okay too, but I don't usually read them.

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Good sci-fi books, you say? Okay!

 

1. Foundation series by Isaac Asimov

2. Dune by Frank Herbert

3. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein

4. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein

5. Robot series by Isaac Asimov

6. Contact by Carl Sagan

7. Sprawl trilogy by William Gibson

8. 1984 by George Orwell

9. Brave New World by William Gibson

10. Hyperion by Dan Simmons

 

I'm sure that Arthur Clarke wrote something too, but don't quote me on that.

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Inheritance Saga, Ender's game for Science Fiction and its sequels, which deal more heavily on philosophical topics; Epic the Novel by Conor Kostick, Goliath by Steve Alten, The Warcraft Novels, The Halo Novels for a Sci-Fi fix, and maybe some of the earlier Dean Koontz novels which take place in modern times but quite a few of his novels had major fantasy elements.

 

Oh right, also Brave New World by Aldous Huxley for an epic satirical Utopian society.

 

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Originally Posted By: Cthulhu
Ender's game for Science Fiction and its sequels, which deal more heavily on philosophical topics


Oh god no. You've GOT to be kidding me. When I want my neofacist fundamentalist jingoistic xenophobic propaganda, I'll go read Mein Kampf, thank you very much. I have no idea why Ender's anything is even still in the scifi canon, much less as popular as it inexplicably is.

Don't read it. Ever.
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Originally Posted By: Dantius
Originally Posted By: Cthulhu
Ender's game for Science Fiction and its sequels, which deal more heavily on philosophical topics


Oh god no. You've GOT to be kidding me. When I want my neofacist fundamentalist jingoistic xenophobic propaganda, I'll go read Mein Kampf, thank you very much. I have no idea why Ender's anything is even still in the scifi canon, much less as popular as it inexplicably is.

Don't read it. Ever.


Eh? It's been a while since I've read it but I'm pretty sure it's a bit of a stretch to say that this book is any worse than most other sci-fi in terms of that kinda stuff. Some of his later books in the series are crazy, though, but not Ender's Game.
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Originally Posted By: Cthulhu
Inheritance Saga

No, a thousand times no!

The Discworld is a must.

The earlier Redwall novels are decent. Start with Redwall and read the rest in publication order (as opposed to chronological order) until you get bored with them. I remember the Abhorsen series being pretty good, as was The Curse of Chalion (Which is now a series? Huh.) The Song of the Lionness series is good except for the third book, but you can honestly just skip it and go straight to the fourth. Silverwing and Sunwing are good, but anything else in the series is awful.

Dikiyoba reads a lot of fantasy but doesn't actually like most of it very much. This is probably true for most of the fiction Dikiyoba reads, however.
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Originally Posted By: cfgauss
Eh? It's been a while since I've read it but I'm pretty sure it's a bit of a stretch to say that this book is any worse than most other sci-fi in terms of that kinda stuff. Some of his later books in the series are crazy, though, but not Ender's Game.


Three essays you should probably read:

A nice, well orderd, logical, critique of Ender's game

A not so nice shredding of Orson Scott Card

Ender Wiggin is Hitler incarnate
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Ah, forgot one more thing. All those essays are other people's take on Card. If you want a really good picture of what the man is like, read his article here. Basically he blasts intellectuals, the left, the news media, the First Amendment, free speech, and Islam. Especially Islam. Card seems to think that the vast majority of the Muslim world are some sort of subhumans. He's not a nice person, at all.

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Originally Posted By: Cthulhu
Dikiyoba, please elaborate on the comment about the Inheritance Saga?

Eragon is a psychotic, stupid Gary Stu. The first two books are stuffed with cliches while the third (at least as far as I could get through it) is filled with nonsense that makes no sense whatsoever. The elves are boring as heck and the second book spends way, way too much time with them. The series abounds with poor writing, plot holes, and filler. This is pretty much the defining scene for why the series is awful:

In the beginning of the third book, he drains the life force out of several living things to replenish his magic so he can heal his companions and face the upcoming battle at full strength despite the fact that the importance of all life gets hammered to death in the second novel. Instead of, you know, remembering he has a magic ring full of endless arcane power on him. Or, better yet, healing his companions before they began the journey so his magic would replenish naturally. Also, stripping mostly naked to brag about the fact that you have more bruises than anyone else while in hostile territory? Bad idea. Also, pointless filler.

Dikiyoba.
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Each to his own, however you do raise valid points.

Doesn't he realize how much energy the ring contains AFTER returning from Hellgrind? Or are you referring to when he saps the livestock of the Varden and then leaves it to Saphira to eat?

 

I can't seem to remember when this happens.

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Originally Posted By: Dikiyoba
In the beginning of the third book, he drains the life force out of several living things to replenish his magic so he can heal his companions and face the upcoming battle at full strength despite the fact that the importance of all life gets hammered to death in the second novel.

HE SAYS HE'S SORRY SO IT'S ALL GOOD!!!!!
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Originally Posted By: Cthulhu
Doesn't he realize how much energy the ring contains AFTER returning from Hellgrind?

Well, yes, but not bothering to figure out what everything you're carrying around with you does before you risk your life and the lives of others is a stupid thing to do.

Dikiyoba.
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Holy crap you guys read a lot of books. Um... obviously I'm not as well versed in fantasy/sci-fi lore as the good folks here.

 

May I suggest that each recommend only one or two books they really liked and few sentences explaining why? I think that might be better than discussion on why this Card person who seems to hate all that I love in life.

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Originally Posted By: Tarson
I would recomend the amber novels by Roger Zelazny for fantasy.

I read the 10 Amber books and loved them.
Originally Posted By: Rowen
The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper.

Read these a long time ago, they were pretty good as far as I remember.

I just finished The Name of the Wind, and it was awesome. I can't wait to get the next book.
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Epic by Conor Kostick is about a world that bases its economy and problem solving around a virtual world named Epic. Any issue that requires something akin to a physical confrontation to resolve a dispute is settled in game through a fight or something alike a fight. It's well written, the action is simply described as epic, and you will not forget it for quite a while. The in game currency is used in real life as well, which allows the Author to put additional conflict with an exciting resolution.

 

I've read tons and tons of books, and this one goes in the upper bracket.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_(novel)

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If I had to pick one, it would probably be 1984 by George Orwell. A warning, it's not light reading. It is a book that you read, and then sit and think about for a long while, and then read again, and then sit down and think about again for a long time. And then everything you ever hear about on the news ever will make you think of 1984. It's probably been the single most influential book i have ever read, and is easily my nomination for best book of the twentieth century since the themes laid out in it are literally the entire driving engine of the past 100 years of history until 1991.

 

If I had to recommend two books that were not quite so heavy, it would be The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein, which is like depleted uranium compared to 1984's osmium, and Foundation by Isaac Asimov, which is an masterful integration of both intensely personal narratives while simultaneously incorporating grand, sweeping themes and characters reminiscent of the Galactic Empire he created. The book is also extremely light, short, enjoyable, and readable. I'd recommend it if you just want a bit of a fun read- it's not hard at all.

 

...

 

On a completely different note, I've found that Wagner is the perfect companion soundtrack to any of these three books. The rampart nationalism, racism, and Pan-Germanic overtones of the music(plus the fact that he was, like, Hitler's FAVORITE PERSON EVER) make it perfect for setting the dark tone of 1984(Siegfried's Funeral March and The Immolation Scene from Gotterdammerung in particular). The right-wing individualism emphasized by the importance placed on the heroic actions of individual characters set the tone for the libertarian background present in TMIAHM (pretty much any aria ever would work here, in particular I'm thinking of Lohengrin, but I guess you could use Die Walkure). And finally, the sweeping scale of his works and music fit perfectly for the sweeping scale of Asimov's Foundation series(here you'd go with the Pilgrim's Chorus adn the finale from Tannhauser, or perhaps the overture from Der Fliegendeholländer, which is like the best song ever). So now you know.

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Originally Posted By: Cthulhu
Oh right, also Brave New World by Aldous Huxley for an epic satirical Utopian society.
No, no, it's a dystopian society.

Originally Posted By: Dikiyoba
The Song of the Lionness series is good except for the third book, but you can honestly just skip it and go straight to the fourth.
And then you can go on to read the Immortals series and the Protector of the Small series and the handful of other books set in the Tortall universe. If you like the books, she also wrote the Circle sequence.

Originally Posted By: Dikiyoba
Silverwing and Sunwing are good, but anything else in the series is awful.
I really liked Firewing actually. I thought Darkwing was good too.

For more books by this author, try Airborn and Skybreaker.

Originally Posted By: Dikiyoba
The earlier Redwall novels are decent. Start with Redwall and read the rest in publication order (as opposed to chronological order) until you get bored with them.
You could also try Castaways of the Flying Dutchman and its two sequels by the same author.


Another series I would recommend is Children of the Lamp.
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If you can find it at a library or used bookstore there are:

 

Silverlock by John Myers Myers - A lighthearted adventure through the Commonwealth, a land where almost every fictional character resides. Lots of fun to see how many books you recognize out of the over 40 used. Some reprints have a list at the end of the sources and a flik sung at sci-fi conventions about it. You get to see some of your favorite stories in a really different light.

 

The Compleat Enchanter and The Wall of Serpents by L. Sprague deCamp and Fletcher Pratt - The adventures of Harold Shea through different worlds based on mythologies and literature. All Harold wants is to find the girl of his dreams and instead he's off to help Thor and Loki recover Thor's hammer from the giants. Then it really gets interesting.

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Originally Posted By: Dikiyoba
Originally Posted By: Cthulhu
Doesn't he realize how much energy the ring contains AFTER returning from Hellgrind?

Well, yes, but not bothering to figure out what everything you're carrying around with you does before you risk your life and the lives of others is a stupid thing to do.

Dikiyoba.


That is how AIMhack seems to work. We loot and then wait forever before identifying the loot.
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Originally Posted By: Rowen
That is how AIMhack seems to work. We loot and then wait forever before identifying the loot.


In some cases that's not our fault...Divination seems to be the only skill that reliably identifies stuff, so far no one in either party has ever acquired strong divination skills. And then with Zarusa constantly interfering, well, it's just tough to get stuff identified. whistle
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Originally Posted By: Master1
I just finished The Name of the Wind, and it was awesome. I can't wait to get the next book.
The only thing I hear about The Name of the Wind is that is was a good book. No one ever says why. I'd go and read the book, but I've heard the protagonist spends some time at a school of sorts -- and I loathe that kind of fantasy story. I like the stories where the characters develop while they're doing something -- like hunting for a stolen horn, or rescuing an oracular pig, or dropping a ring into a volcano. I already know how boring school is.

Originally Posted By: Dantius
If I had to pick one, it would probably be 1984 by George Orwell. A warning, it's not light reading.
I've recommended 1984 to others before with no luck. Recently, I lent my copy to my sister, who quit reading partway through because she found it too slow and dry (note -- she's usually fine with reading older novels; she just didn't like Orwell's style). Unfortunate, because she quit just before BIG_EVENT, which is where I think the novel really picks up. From now own, I'm going to recommend something like Fahrenheit 451 first -- it's not quite the same subject as 1984, but it's shorter and a bit lighter. I'll recommend 1984 afterwards if they enjoyed 451.

Originally Posted By: Celtic Minstrel
Originally Posted By: Cthulhu
Oh right, also Brave New World by Aldous Huxley for an epic satirical Utopian society.
No, no, it's a dystopian society.
Dystopia := satirical Utopia. Well, not quite, but any utopia gone wrong is a dystopia.
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Stephen R. Donaldson wrote a lot. All of it can make you uncomfortable, but all of it is good. Thomas Covenant (on the third series now, although the first two also have satisfying endings) is a fantasy staple. The Gap Cycle gets much less appreciation but is, for my money, some of the best space saga writing around. Space opera, actually, but mostly in that it's inspired by the Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. Donaldson is one of the most deliberately literate writers, but his excessive vocabulary works well for him and for his desperate, driven characters.

 

C. S. Friedman's Coldfire trilogy is fantasy. Mostly. It's somewhere between a modern and a medieval setting, and it's actually in the future—it's about human colonists on another planet where magic works, often involuntarily and horrifically. I can't quite articulate why I like Friedman's writing so much, but I do.

 

China Miéville writes books that are weird. New Weird, actually, but more fantasy than anything else for his Bas-Lag books. Pick up Perdido Street Station and you will get something urban, gritty, sometimes surreal, and quite unlike other fantasy. Also the protagonist is a mad scientist.

 

Robin Hobb will be my most standard fantasy entry on this list. The Farseer Trilogy and Liveship Trilogy are medieval fantasy and something most like Aubrey-Maturin as fantasy, respectively. Just generally high-quality fantasy.

 

Glen Cook is somehow overlooked for not one but two extremely long series. The Black Company books, really a trilogy plus a coda plus another sequel series, did a lot to create the genre of military fantasy. They're gritty in the best of ways. Garrett, P.I. is the story (or stories) of an urban, hard-boiled gumshoe in a sort of urban, quasi-medieval fantasy setting. If you like Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe and fantasy, this is for you. If you like detectives, humor, and fantasy generally, this is for you.

 

—Alorael, who will also go ahead and second Dan Simmons's Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion. They are science fiction, mostly, but what they really are is literature about literature in space. The first book is moderately Canterbury Tales or Decameron-esque, and both are better if you have some familiarity with Keats. The series has two more books, but you're just as well off not reading them.

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The Name of the Wind could be subtitled, "How I got this way, by Gary Stu". But first person narration by an implausibly gifted hero is fun, in a kind of guilty way. If you're going to escape into a fantasy world for a few hours, why not identify with an all-round genius? The premise that this guy is a legend telling his own story is set up from the beginning: "You may have heard of me." And the author basically pulls this aspect of his book off. His hero is down to earth enough not to be too insufferable, matter-of-fact about his abilities in the way someone who really had them probably would be, but also smart enough to be aware that he is an awful lot better than most people at quite a few things.

 

Since most of the first volume is a 'magic school' story, a fair amount of it feels kind of familiar. I've gotten it mixed up with Trudi Canavan's recent Black Magician trilogy, and there are shades of A Wizard of Earthsea and even Harry Potter lurking in the locker bays. But there's also certain eeriness and edginess here that wasn't in the others. If it feels a bit (quite a bit) derivative, it also feels somewhat warped. If you think you can tolerate another magical Bildungsroman, I think this one does manage to shoulder its way into the crowded little sub-genre.

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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Philip K Dick yet.

 

I'd say the Man in the High Castle is my favourite of his.

 

Also i'd say that it is debatable that it is debatable whether Brave New World is a dystopian society or not. I'm guessing the person who said that never finished the book.

 

and 1984 is still relevant now, much more relevant, some people would argue, than you could possibly imagine. As my humble leader has proclaimed, "a future fair for all."

 

which of course leads us on to animal farm.

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Tales of the Dying Earth, Jack Vance.

 

Roughly half of the inspiration for the AIMhack games that have been going on. Crazed individuals, ancient and unpredictable magicks, and unfathomable creatures all set under Earth's waning sun.

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I'd recommend the Discworld novels which are about Vimes/the city guard. Otherwise they can be very hit and miss, verging into pretty unconvincing pontificating.

 

The Amber series was quite good, yes.

 

Don't overlook older authors like Lovecraft.

 

Um...the older GW novels tended to be pretty good

(hence my name), but, nowdays, well...I was banned from the BL site for expressing my opinion as to the current quality of the work they produce more often than the mods liked.

 

The Spelljammer series was quite good, though I've never found books 4 or 6.

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I'm surprised no ones mentioned David Eddings yet!

 

If you're looking for some good fantasy works to really sink your teeth into, then his Belgariad and Malloreon series are really good. Both series have five books, and make sure you get the two companion novels: Polgara the Sorceress and Belgarath the Sorcerer.

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Great suggestions! I'll start with 1984 by Orwell although it seems more intelligent than I was hoping for. I'm also interested in The Name of the Wind and Man in the High Castle but it seems like I have to buy them since my local library doesn't have carry too many fantasies. I've also heard some good things about Discworld but it seems way too epic for me to just casually start. Maybe later? I too have the coldfire books and I remember the main evil guy had a really cool sword but it was a while back, so I don't remember too much. And yeah I read all of David Edding's stuff a while back, but they are always so good. The only problem I had with it was that most of the major characters were all over thousands years old and the main character was over ten thousands years old. It's pretty far out there for me. I read first two Earthsea books but the rests are so difficult to find!

 

Thanks everyone for great suggestions, and please keep on giving me suggestions along with few short sentences why they are good. I can never have too many good books to read.

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No. Read Eddings if you want some fantasy where the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, the stakes are huge, and gods and prophecy and MacGuffins move the plot along. He's one of the best at that style, but it's really not a style you can sink teeth into.

 

If you like R.A. Salvatore, Eddings is likely to appeal. They're not the same, but I think they scratch the same itch. (And if you haven't read Salvatore and enjoy action, simple morality, some humor, and some light angst, read him!)

 

Pratchett really isn't epic. His books are a sort of parody of fantasy and many other things without losing plot, characters, or world-building in their pursuit of laughter. Although the books are all related and many share the same characters, it's not unreasonable to pick up just about any one of them to start. Guards, Guards! or Men at Arms can give you a solid introduction.

 

—Alorael, who means no disparagement to Eddings or Salvatore. Many of the fantasy literati disparage them (himself included), but that's a matter of taste in style, not taste period.

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If you're worried about 1984 being a little too intelligent, it might be a good idea to have something light and easy like the Redwall series to read afterwards.

 

I read books that you'd class as intelligent, mainly because they tend to be shorter, and so get read quicker!

 

I can't remember exactly but The Man in the High Castle will be easier than 1984, but not sure by how much. It's about an alternate history where the Nazis won the war and invaded America. wait, it won the Hugo award:

http://www.philipkdick.com/works_novels_mancastle.html

 

Has any one said Dune yet?

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