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recommend me some good fantasy books?


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Originally Posted By: RCCCL
There are always Anthologies, like 'The Years Best Science Fiction' and it's like.

Oh, yeah, I know there are a number of collections like this of the classic sci-fi stories that are really excellent, so I'd imagine there'd be something similar for fantasy.

Originally Posted By: JSMany
Great suggestions! I'll start with 1984 by Orwell although it seems more intelligent than I was hoping for.

I don't know that the word "intelligent" is what I would use to describe 1984... I mean, it's just a fancier version of the standard ham-handed "It is obvious to the most simpleminded that Lokai is of an inferior breed... Lokai is white on the right side. All of his people are white on the right side."
Not that that makes it uninteresting, but hardly intelligent.

Besides, 1984 took place 25 years ago wink.

If you want your dystopian future, I recommend Snow Crash, which has a much more amusing, satirical dystopia than 1984.
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Well I guess I said "intelligent" because 1984 has that mandatory high school reading list feeling to it. For some reason I keep thinking I'm gonna have to write an essay on it and turn it in on Monday. That's what I meant.


So what's Snow Crash about? Totalitarian regime, disinformation, Big Brother... etc?


boggle: Have you read any of Harry Turtledove's alternative history books? He has some books where the nazis won the war. His books are addictive and fun without requiring too much brain power... kinda has harry potter-ish feeling to them because you keep turning pages after pages without being able to stop.

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Snow Crash is a cyberpunk distopian world, where corporations have replaced states, as small corporate city-states.


Wikipedia has a plot overview that isn't too bad. Just don't read anything after the plot overview section since it contains spoilers.



Although wikipedia doesn't really emphasize that the setting is more than a little satirical, and, particularly since there's other stuff out there that's serious and even more over-the-top, some people unfortunately take the anti-corporation messages a little too seriously... [Again: "he's black on the right side!"]

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Ooo I just read the plot overview and the first paragraph after that, and the book seems to be something I was actually looking for. I only hope this book isn't one of those books with high potential that fizzles out near the end because things just got too complicated for the author to keep track of.


Frozen Feet: I've put the Old Kingdom Series on my reading list as well.


P.S. Just wondering if anyone ever found a good magic/sci-fi fusion books where magic is part of that futuristic society? Something like the book game Arcanum. I have yet to read anything like that besides Star Wars and I don't really consider the Force at that magicky.


editted book/game thingie

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This is exactly what you're looking for, methinks; although the magic is part of the...well, you'll get it if you read even the first chapter of the book.


Originally Posted By: Cthulhu
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.



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boggle: Have you read any of Harry Turtledove's alternative history books? He has some books where the nazis won the war. His books are addictive and fun without requiring too much brain power... kinda has harry potter-ish feeling to them because you keep turning pages after pages without being able to stop.

No, never read any of those, I'm afraid. The only other nazi alternative history I have read is Fatherland, by Robert Harris, which is a chunky page turner. I try not to read too many alternative Nazi things, as I know all that will happen is that i'll blurt something amusing out if i happen to see some Germans the next day...
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Originally Posted By: Toby-Linn
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.

Oh, yeah, forgot about that.

The Belgariad was pretty good, though a bit long. The follow up series, The Belgariad, was also pretty good. Then he wrote The Belgariad, which was alright, and the follow up to that, The Belgariad which I haven't read.

More recently, however, he wrote The Belgariad, which started off appallingly bad and I didn't continue with.
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Hmm, if you're looking for some fantasy that has a bit of real-world-ish content, the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik might be good. Also, if you can find it, The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon seemed pretty good when I read it (You can find a free online version of the first volume at http://www.webscription.net/10.1125/Baen/0671654160/0671654160.htm)

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Paksenarrion is enjoyable, if not very deep. Although not explicitly D&D-based, it's one of the better examples of a D&D-esque world with wizards and clerics and paladins along with ordinary soldiers that I've seen. And while only the protagonist gets much characterization or screen time overall, she's a good enough character that the story works.


—Alorael, who is reminded that Iain M. Banks has written some interesting sci-fi. His novels aren't always good as stories, but the world he builds and his writing make them worthwhile anyway. Sometimes a civilization can be more compelling than a character, and his musings on utopia and post-singularity societies are worth seeing.

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The Myth Adventure series by Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye (added to get around an income tax agreement with the IRS)


The Hope and Crosby Road movies meet fantasy. An aspiring thief is apprenticed to a master magician. Unfortuneately the master is killed just after summoning a demon. Then things really go bad as the apprentice finds he now has to really learn magic quickly if he wants to live.


I'm surprised no else has mentioned this.


Phil Foglio illustrated the original books and a short lived comic book version.

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No. That's not how it went.


Bella: You sparkle, Edward...

Edward: Yes dear bella, I know!

Bella:...That's kinda gay.

Edward: smirk


That's how it would've went if Bella wasn't a fictional half albino character.


~Artemis and Bella. I wish I could slap that annoying, stuck up, conceited, good for nothing [selfcensor]

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Originally Posted By: Enraged Slith
OMG, I like, so, like, LOVE TWILIGHT!1!@!@!!.

I vote that all the engineers on the board divide into "Team Edison" and "Team Tesla", because that would be awesome.

I'll start by declaring my unswerving allegiance to Tesla.

EDIT: Actually, come to think of it, I may be the only engineer on the boards. Plenty of scientists, though. I guess they can vote, too.
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Originally Posted By: Dantius
EDIT: Actually, come to think of it, I may be the only engineer on the boards. Plenty of scientists, though. I guess they can vote, too.

I got an engineering degree too, does that count.

Tesla build a death ray so he beats Edison in coolness.
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*jumps up*

"ooo, ooo! I know, I know! How about Twilight, Eragon and Angels & Demons?!

... ... ... ... naw.


I'd recommend any one of the following; or if you get the chance all of them!!!!! (go read more books, mmkay!)


1) panDEMONium (in the title, demon is in red and not cap-locked) By Daryl Gregory. It is a story about demons. . . after a fashion; not exactly evil but not entirely good think archetypal and somewhat specific. . I don't think he has any other books published. . . so give this one a shot!

2) Darwin's Radio, Greg Bear

3) The Giver, Lois Lowry

4) Manta's Gift, Timothy Zahn

5) The Integral Trees, Larry Niven

6) Sabriel, Lirael, and Abbhorsen (mostly Sab/Lir -- read abbhorsen for closure) Garth Nix

7) Have Space-Suit, Will Travel. Robert Heinlein

8) Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master, Raymond Fiest (both were originally one volume 'Magician' but he had additional material for them. . .

9) The Family Trade, et al, Charles Stross

10) The Time Odyssey Trilogy, Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter


yeah! Those are all pretty good.


For the record, I enjoyed enders game and don't give a damn what the author feels about the current political climate. I never read his other books. . .I stuck to Enders Game and Enders Shadow after trying and discarding the later parts of the series (children of the mind, Xenocide)


EDIT-- oops, not all of those are fantasy. . . hmm. The Summer Country by James A. Hetley. The War For the Oaks by Emma Bull annnnnd Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

EDIT2-- ahh, shucks. The Difference Engine. by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling


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Harry Turtledove's The Guns of the South is a real classic of alternate history.

Click to reveal..
Shortly after Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee takes delivery of a hundred thousand AK 47s, with plenty of ammunition ... from time travelling members of the last ditch future survivors of the Afrikaner Resistance League. Apart from this one crazy premise, what follows is all pretty convincingly historical. Almost all of the non-Afrikaner characters, even the many that are not important figures, are based on real people, with some extant historical evidence for their behavior. It's a long and complicated story with a lot of plot twists, and a lot of major events — big things change. But it's pretty thoughtful, as well as historically careful, about how things would have changed.


Turtledove's Videssos books are also pretty cool, and are also a kind of alternate history, based on Byzantium. But with a lot more changes, including adding magic, and more or less switching the rival religions of Byzantium and Persia. But Turtledove did graduate work in Byzantine history, so he could really fill in the atmosphere.


Beyond this, I never tried any of his later alternate history stuff. There was just too much of it, and I couldn't believe that anyone could produce good stuff at the pace it was coming out, even granting that Turtledove has a knack for alternate history.

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1)The Elric saga by Michael Moorcock: Beginning with Elric of Melnibone'(and now up to like 9 or 10 books I am aware of), these are action packed, fast moving books but they are also noted for the Gothic and political drama(as well as the most famous/imitated sword in all of fantasy fiction and gaming(with the possible exception of Excalibur ;)), Stormbringer).


Series includes Elric of Melnibone'(an older version from the 60s was called The Dreaming City), Sailor on the Seas of Fate, The Weird of the White Wolf, Stormbringer etc.


Moorcock is considered the Godfather of 'Dark Fantasy'. He did not like Tolkien and sought to be the antithesis of that author's(and the slew of imitators who followed him) work.


2)The Newhon series by Fritz Lieber: Featuring the famous pair of sword and sorcery icons Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. Each book is a collection of short stories that were originally published in an anthology magazine so they are an easy read. A must-read for any fantasy enthusiast.


Leiber manages to strike a balance between light fun and dark gloomy tales in a way that only a great writer can.


3)Thieves' World by various(edited by Robert Asprin): A series of anthology-stories by various authors, all set within the fictional city of Sanctuary. Full of compelling characters and vibrant adventures. Series includes Thieves' World, Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn, and Shadows of Sanctuary.


Tales range from fun adventure to dark fantasy.


4)The Majipoor Chronicles by Robert Silverberg: Not as compelling as his sci-fi classic Tom O'Bedlam but pretty fun and engaging from what I remember.


Series includes Lord Valentine's Castle, Valentine Pontifex, etc. Light reading and also, unlike Moorcock and Howard, not 'dark'. If Moorcock is The Punisher(or Faust) then these are The Fantastic Four.


5)Dirshan the Barbarian series by Gene Lancour: The main character is a fantasy barbarian not unlike Conan. Nothing terribly innovative going on here but has excitement, fun and interesting supporting characters(re: Handlig the Artificer) and is still ten times better than ANY of the dreadful Forgotten Realms or somewhat less dreadful Dragonlance books.


Series includes Sword for the Empire, War Machines of Kalinth and Man-eaters of Cascalon.


6)Brak the Barbarian series by John Jakes(yes...THAT John Jakes!): Most don't know that Mr. Jakes got his start writing a Conan clone named "Brak" before he got into mysteries and dramas. If you want something 'Robert E. Howard'-ish that is NOT Robert Jordan then these will do.


Series includes Brak the Barbarian and The Fortunes of Brak. Light reading to be sure.


7)The Berserker series by Chris Carlsen(IIRC this was a pseudonym for an established writer of SF/fantasy):


Pretty well written Viking saga about one of Odin's shape-shifting berserkers. Did not get a lot of attention but deserves to be read if you can find them.

Series includes Berserker: Shadow of the Wolf and The Horned Warrior. Light reading but well done.


8)The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe: Wolfe is wildly considered to be the best American writer of science-fantasy(or best writer PERIOD!) and this series is why. To call this tetralogy 'brilliant!' is to cheapen it by severely understating it's value.There are entire web sites and clubs dedicated to analyzing, enjoying and discovering all of the not-so-obvious clever things going on within.


The story takes place on "Urth"; our own planet possibly one million years in the future. Terraforming has altered the geography considerably and the sun is about to go nova.

The books are told first person by Severian, a man who is blessed/cursed with perfect memory of every detail he has ever observed. It begins with Severian a young apprentice in the torturers' guild and from there goes to places you can't imagine. Towers, citadels and various other structures are made from the dormant spacecraft/rockets of a bygone age. (largely forgotten)Technology IS magic.

Severian's sword, Terminus Est was largely responsible for inspiring Fred Saberhagen's Swords books IIRC.


Series includes Shadow of the Torturer, Claw of the Conciliator, Sword of the Lictor and Citadel of the Autarch.


Heavy reading in a sense(in the same way that Alan Moore's Watchmen was 'heavy' for comics...in that there is so much going on inside you can't possibly catch it all on one read-through).


As far as comic books go, there are a lot of great books you may or may not know about.


1)The Adventurers: This was a three volume series of B&W comics published by Aircel and later Adventure Publications in the 1980s. Both the art and writing are sort of...average and the whole series was pretty much D&D re-re-revisited but if you like indie comics and/or fantasy then they are worth a look.


2)Maelstrom: Another B&W series published by Aircel in the 80s but this one was VERY well done by artist-writer Jim Somerville. Follows the adventures of a wandering headsman through both comical and gloomy escapades. Only lasted eleven issues. The artwork ran the gamut from airbrushed to 'finished pencil' styles(and even used photographs of actual Aircel staff in one issue where Mael' escaped to the real world and wreaked havoc!) and the story went from straight fantasy to 'science fantasy'(at the end).


3)Elf Warrior: By Peter Hsu, this one started as a back-up feature in The Adventurers(which Hsu also did some art for) and lasted four issues as it's own title. Beautiful airbrushed B&W artwork made up for a somewhat lackluster story.



I could list and discuss hundreds more but I will stop. I mostly tried to stay away from books everyone already knows about for the most part above(Moorcock & Leiber being the most obvious exceptions), such as Elfquest(comic book) and Conan.

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Elric is cool, but I found that a little goes a long way, and by the sixth book, I was kind of saying, All right, already. In my opinion he'd have been better distilling out an awesome trilogy. If there are more than six books, the next were added much later, and I haven't read them. The sad part is that Moorcock deliberately wrote many variations on the same story as Elric, with some notion that the various doomed heroes were all somehow incarnations of the 'Champion Eternal'. Right. I say, don't bother with any others unless you really love Elric and want Moar.


Fritz Lieber's Nehwon series (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser) is indeed pretty cool. A bit wacky, a bit dark, a bit creepy, a bit Conan-ish. There's a definite erotic note to the series, which is about half pretty creepy (the Mouser's half, to be precise), but mostly just implicit. Except for the seventh book, which was added much later and is considerably more explicit.


Thieves' World was pretty good, though like a lot of shared world series, it had its ups and downs. A comparable series that I liked better at the time was Merovingen Nights, which was kind of orchestrated by C.J. Cherryh. MN remains notable to me as proof that Cherryh actually can end a story properly, as opposed to just arbitrarily wrapping it up at some seemingly arbitrary point — if you give her twenty books over which to work up to it.


Cherryh's best fantasy is probably her Morgaine series, which is notable for having had a fourth book added to a hit trilogy many years later, that was better than the earlier books, yet still convincingly continued the same story. Still has the typically incomprehensible Cherryh ending, though.


I found the Majipoor chronicles interesting mainly for their titles and premises, and for the fact that they were so non-violent. Valentine literally overcomes most of his problems by projecting love at his antagonists. Well, okay, I guess.


The New Sun was one of those series that I could concede was clever without particularly liking or enjoying. I remember the premise, the sword Terminus Est, and a totally irrelevant twist at the very end. And that's about it.

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It's been quite a while.

Originally Posted By: Terror is tentacles that smirk.
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.


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.


I heartily recommend both of these authors. Perdido Street Station languishes at times, but it's fantastic in the best senses of the word. Glen Cook's series is fun, and much better than Steven Erikson's books, where events seem to happen and his main characters become uber-powerful just 'cause.

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