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Old 08-12-2012, 07:33 PM   #76
El Bastardo
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Bah, while I also think there are definitely writers who are better than other writers talking about classic writers from the literary canon (seriously, William Shakespeare?) in a topic about fantasy literature is kind of pedantic, don't you? You should talk about fantasy authors you feel are better than others.

I think for those looking for someone who raises the bar for fantasy as a literary subject, the best bet would be Guy Gavriel Kay who is an amazing author in both quality of writing and his ability to take on major literary themes (feminism, identity, religious conflict, etc.) in the fantasy genre. His best novels are probably Tigana, A Song for Arbonne (probably his most accessible work for new readers), and The Lions of Al-Rassan, although I am partial to most of his other novels as well.
The point was more that writing is universal, and different rules do not suddenly spring up or become eliminated due to a change of, in this case of fiction, sub-genre.

You know, I know the guy's name (ha, pun there?), and I can't remember when it was mentioned to me, because I don't own a single one of his works and cannot, for the life of me, remember having read one.

Found an awesome deal on Amazon for The Last Light of the Sun and will be giving that a read.

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Old 08-12-2012, 08:27 PM   #77
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The point was more that writing is universal, and different rules do not suddenly spring up or become eliminated due to a change of, in this case of fiction, sub-genre.

You know, I know the guy's name (ha, pun there?), and I can't remember when it was mentioned to me, because I don't own a single one of his works and cannot, for the life of me, remember having read one.

Found an awesome deal on Amazon for The Last Light of the Sun and will be giving that a read.
Well, yeah, but people are a little less critical of genre fiction on the whole versus literary fiction. Take GRRM for instance, his writing is fairly pulpy and not particularly profound. There's not really so much an intent on creating a grand unifying theme so much as telling a cool story or creating a neat universe, while incorporating smaller dramatic elements that make it seem greater than the vast majority of fantasy fiction. It never quite reaches literary levels but I think it's still fairly well written and enjoyable nevertheless, and it can be argued he was never trying to write literature, and so why hold him to the same critique as people do "serious" fiction?

Last Light of the Sun was a fun read but certainly not Kay's best (in my opinion). That said I hope you enjoy it, and it's certainly better than most fantasy books I've read.

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Old 08-12-2012, 08:46 PM   #78
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Default Re: Looking for some good Fantasy

For those who want religious fantasy, read C.S. Lewis. Not just the Chronicles of Narnia but also his "Screwtape Letters".

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Old 08-12-2012, 08:54 PM   #79
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Default Re: Looking for some good Fantasy

I've been recommended the screwtape letters before. I should probably read that.

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Old 08-12-2012, 09:02 PM   #80
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Default Re: Looking for some good Fantasy

The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry.

Mix Sherlock Holmes with Inception an put a cooky guy with an umbrella on his bicycle as the main lead and you have this book. Very good.

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Old 08-12-2012, 10:41 PM   #81
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Well, yeah, but people are a little less critical of genre fiction on the whole versus literary fiction. Take GRRM for instance, his writing is fairly pulpy and not particularly profound. There's not really so much an intent on creating a grand unifying theme so much as telling a cool story or creating a neat universe, while incorporating smaller dramatic elements that make it seem greater than the vast majority of fantasy fiction. It never quite reaches literary levels but I think it's still fairly well written and enjoyable nevertheless, and it can be argued he was never trying to write literature, and so why hold him to the same critique as people do "serious" fiction?

Last Light of the Sun was a fun read but certainly not Kay's best (in my opinion). That said I hope you enjoy it, and it's certainly better than most fantasy books I've read.
Yes, people are less critical of genre fiction on the whole versus literary fiction, and they shouldn't be. Writing is writing. A novel is a novel is a novel, regardless if sub-genre. While yes, I will happily state that I deem the likelihood of someone writing genre fiction ever creating something akin to, say, Steinbeck, that is not the point I, nor I assume Marvolo, was getting at.

Simply, there is good writing, and there is bad writing. That we're dealing with fantasy fiction does not change that, nor does it change what classifies as good writing. Good fantasy fiction, like good western fiction, good crime fiction, good sci-fi fiction, good literary fiction, good ad nauseum fiction will have character and plot development that is not half-****ed nor half-***ed, is fully-realized, is not flat, blah blah blah. You know - the stuff that makes good writing good, which even transcends medium to comics, video game, film, and television. That's all that was being said.

It's not about comparison, whether on our parts or the writer's part. It's not even about aspiration, because that's actually rather deamining, whether intentionally or not - the idea that, "Well, if he was really worth the paper he's being printed on, he'd try to write actual literature." Comparison can work within a sub-genre for works of related or similar natures, sure, but not across sub-genres. That kind of thinking has been prevalent for quite a long time, despite writers like Tolkien and Martin doing quite a lot, whether while alive or posthumously, to lift so-called "genre fiction," which has a demeaning connotation itself and is not wholly accurate, at least some ways out of the gutter. It's getting to be less a problem, but that divide still remains in professional, personal, and educational levels.

I was lucky enough during my undergraduate years to work with an instructor who was willing to work past it, though even after two years I don't think she was quite willing to take "genre fiction" seriously, and will never try to do anything but write "serious literary fiction."

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Old 08-12-2012, 10:48 PM   #82
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I think it just takes time for genre fiction to get out of the "sci-fi ghetto". There's no way that something like A Song of Ice and Fire would be given the kind of press its been given in things like the NY Times, Time Magazine, or the New Yorker 30 or even 20 years ago. Maybe not even 10 years ago (and, well, indeed it was not). I guess it took a channel like HBO known for its dramas to convince people it was worth taking a second look at. And in things like crime fiction and so on there's a resurgence of interest in the pulp writers of the '50s, especially writers like Jim Thompson who are staring to be considered to be real literary writers.

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Old 08-13-2012, 08:45 AM   #83
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Has anybody here read the Nagash series in the Warhammer world? I recently received the first one via Paperbackswap.com and I'm looking forward to getting into it.

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Old 08-13-2012, 06:49 PM   #84
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Default Re: Looking for some good Fantasy

If you're looking for World Building type fantasy involving a travelling Circus that searches for venues in space, check out the "Circus World" series by Barry B. Longyear (he also wrote Enemy Mine).

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Old 08-15-2012, 12:48 AM   #85
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Well, like I said, it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I also felt the second book was even stronger than the first. It started to set up the overarching plots that would play through to the end of the eleventh book and introduce many new characters that would play much bigger roles to come, especially one of my favorites in Cara. But I will also admit the last five aren't his strongest effort either. Books 7 and 8 just don't develop as well and the villains are mostly a waste, and 9 - 11 get a bit tedious feeling in the huge explanations that they go through, more than once too, for some of the more complicated aspects that just really seem overdone and could have used some trimming.
I agree, the second book had alot more going for it, but I'll never forget the
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
torture scenes in first book, denna's death, the spirit house, Kahlan's kondar moment, and Richard's confession by Kahlan.
The writing was incredibly strong in all those scenes. Everything else not so much.

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Yes, people are less critical of genre fiction on the whole versus literary fiction, and they shouldn't be. Writing is writing. A novel is a novel is a novel, regardless if sub-genre. While yes, I will happily state that I deem the likelihood of someone writing genre fiction ever creating something akin to, say, Steinbeck, that is not the point I, nor I assume Marvolo, was getting at.

Simply, there is good writing, and there is bad writing. That we're dealing with fantasy fiction does not change that, nor does it change what classifies as good writing. Good fantasy fiction, like good western fiction, good crime fiction, good sci-fi fiction, good literary fiction, good ad nauseum fiction will have character and plot development that is not half-****ed nor half-***ed, is fully-realized, is not flat, blah blah blah. You know - the stuff that makes good writing good, which even transcends medium to comics, video game, film, and television. That's all that was being said.

It's not about comparison, whether on our parts or the writer's part. It's not even about aspiration, because that's actually rather deamining, whether intentionally or not - the idea that, "Well, if he was really worth the paper he's being printed on, he'd try to write actual literature." Comparison can work within a sub-genre for works of related or similar natures, sure, but not across sub-genres. That kind of thinking has been prevalent for quite a long time, despite writers like Tolkien and Martin doing quite a lot, whether while alive or posthumously, to lift so-called "genre fiction," which has a demeaning connotation itself and is not wholly accurate, at least some ways out of the gutter. It's getting to be less a problem, but that divide still remains in professional, personal, and educational levels.

I was lucky enough during my undergraduate years to work with an instructor who was willing to work past it, though even after two years I don't think she was quite willing to take "genre fiction" seriously, and will never try to do anything but write "serious literary fiction."
No matter how good you think a certain writer is it doesn't make it a fact. Good writing to you may be bad writing to someone else, and vice versa.

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Old 08-15-2012, 08:19 AM   #86
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Michael Moorcock's Elric saga needs to be mentioned. Here's the books:

Elric: The Stealer of Souls
Elric: To Rescue Tanelorn
Elric: The Sleeping Sorceress
Elric: Duke Elric
Elric: In the Dream Realms
Elric: Swords and Roses
The Dreamtheif's Daughter
The Skrayling Tree
The White Wolf's Son
The Metatemporal Detective

The 1st six are omnibusi in Del Rey's The Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melnibone which were recently released and collect the Elric novels in order of publication.

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Old 08-15-2012, 05:38 PM   #87
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No matter how good you think a certain writer is it doesn't make it a fact. Good writing to you may be bad writing to someone else, and vice versa.
Incorrect. You're either mistaking, or mixing together, good and like and bad and dislike. It's okay. Lots of people do this.

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Old 08-23-2012, 12:01 AM   #88
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Are Jim Butcher's Dresden Files any good?

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Old 08-23-2012, 01:47 AM   #89
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Are Jim Butcher's Dresden Files any good?

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Old 08-23-2012, 08:27 AM   #90
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I've never read any of it, as I'm typically not a big fan of first-person narratives. But considering his Codex Alera series was well-written, just not first-person, I would assume his Dresden stuff is good.

I do always hear it recommended, too.

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Old 08-23-2012, 09:27 AM   #91
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If you like Harry Potter's universe, you'll likely enjoy the Dresden Files. Harry Dresden is what I imagined an Auror (dark wizard hunter) would be like. Only Harry persues demons, werewolves, faeries, ghosts, etc. etc. Not just rogue wizards.

I've been reading Brandon Sanderson's first doorstopper, The Way of Kings. The world feels like its been built from the ground up, for the most part.

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Old 08-23-2012, 04:00 PM   #92
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Are Jim Butcher's Dresden Files any good?
I've read the first three books and so far I've really enjoyed the series.

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Old 10-01-2012, 08:19 AM   #93
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Yes, the Dresden files are very well written, IMO.

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Old 10-01-2012, 08:51 AM   #94
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Are Jim Butcher's Dresden Files any good?
It's very popular, but I have no idea why. It's ok if you can't find anything else to read.

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Old 10-01-2012, 01:58 PM   #95
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Michael Moorcock's Elric saga needs to be mentioned. Here's the books:

Elric: The Stealer of Souls
Elric: To Rescue Tanelorn
Elric: The Sleeping Sorceress
Elric: Duke Elric
Elric: In the Dream Realms
Elric: Swords and Roses
The Dreamtheif's Daughter
The Skrayling Tree
The White Wolf's Son
The Metatemporal Detective

The 1st six are omnibusi in Del Rey's The Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melnibone which were recently released and collect the Elric novels in order of publication.
I always preferred chronological order by plot, the older omnibus (early 2000s) went in this order, if someone wants to find it:

1. Elric of Melnibone
2. The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
3. The Weird of the White Wolf
4. The Vanishing Tower (or, The Sleeping Sorceress)
5. The Bane of the Black Sword
6. Stormbringer


I think chronological order works pretty well for Elric--much better than reading Conan in chronological order (publication order is the best for that, and I'm glad the recent collection put it in publication order, because unless you count the ones that were partially written by L. Sprague de Camp, some of the last ones would be like, Phoenix on the Sword which was pretty dull, haha).

Of course, it didn't have The Fortress of the Pearl and The Revenge of the Rose (those two seemed like side stories, but anyway, I think they took place between Sailor and Weird) like the new collections, which also had some nice extras as well, plus they had The Dreamthief's Daughter, White Wolf's Son, etc. which were also part of the Von Bek universe (The War Hound and the World's Pain, City in the Autumn Stars, etc.), if I remember correctly.

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Old 10-05-2012, 04:57 PM   #96
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Order is 50-50. You can see a clear evolution in Michael's prose between The Dreaming City and The Revenge of the Rose. Regardless, get them!

Its not fantasy, but in Elric: To Rescue Tanelorn, there's a story called "Phase 1." If you enjoy it, track down the Cornelius Quartet. Its good sci-fi, though it gets slightly wierd at times. The first book reminds me of the plot from While the Gods Laugh combined with the scenarios/deteriorating world of Stormbringer.

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Old 10-05-2012, 10:06 PM   #97
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About that Monsieur Zenith collection of Michael Moorcock's, I'd have replied again, but your inbox is full. In any case, I think I was wrong about them not being from throughout his career, some are, and some were brand new for that collection. But anyway, I always considered the series pretty separate, and as much as I liked the chronological order, I originally read them all out of order. But in any case, reading his collection of Monsieur Zenith stuff, to me, is separate enough from any of the Elric stories, that even where they interlock it is not going to be in a manner that prevents you from enjoying the Monsieur Zenith stuff without reading those two or three Elric stories. A person could read the Von Bek books or the Eternal Champion/Erekose trilogy totally separately from anything else and each other and still enjoy them--I have and I did!

Yeah, I've heard good stuff about Jerry Cornelius, also the Dancers at the End of Time novels. I've been slowly reading everything of his I can find.

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Old 10-19-2012, 12:50 PM   #98
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Default Re: Looking for some good Fantasy

Figured I'd ask here instead of starting a thread, is the Percy Jackson series worth reading?

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Old 10-19-2012, 10:26 PM   #99
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I've finishing up Dresden and Codex Alera right now, and I have to admit they are both fantastic series, IMO. Kinda looking for something else to read right now, and most of what's been said besides the Elric series.

Any other odd ball toss out there that folks recommend?

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Old 10-20-2012, 12:22 AM   #100
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If you're looking for something light in the vein of Harry Potter etc try the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud.

If something bigger, which i surprisigly havn't seen suggested yet, is The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R Donaldson.


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