Anything by William Gibson, especially Neuromancer, as somebody already mentioned. Reread it a year or so ago, and it blew my mind away again. Heavy duty sci fi.
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Leguin is also a mind blower, and a heart breaker. Weird sci fi.
For a more fantasy-ish vibe try Andre Norton. Some of her stuff is fantasy, some more sci fi. Some is better than others however. I liked Here Abide Monsters and Dark Piper and Voorloper.
Heinlein is great.
Philip K. $#@! is great.
And the guy who wrote the book that bad Arnold movie Total Recall was based on has some pretty dated, yet very trippy stuff (google it, bro). He has a collection of short stories that focus on war as its fought in the future using machines that eventually become self aware and wipe out humanity by impersonating humans (sound familiar?).
Finally, Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke is not a bad, quick read.
The story that Total Recall was based on was written by Phillip K. $#@!. It's called "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale."
no one has mentioned "WORLDS WITHOUT END REDUX"?!?!
it's a great sci-fi novel that brings together the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises.
I think it was even up for a pullitzer one year.
I second the first 3 starwars books that Timothy Zahn wrote, I liked his second 3 books also. Zahn is the best starwars writers and has some other stuff too that I haven't read. I didn't mind the X-Wing series, but I did read those in elementary and middle school.
Several here have already rightfully recommended the works of Greg Bear and Neal Stephenson, so think it would be apt to note a current collaboration of theirs here. Earlier this year, Bear and Stephenson started a collaborative project with other writers, artists, and general creative types to write a story on the internet, releasing the parts as they are completed and giving the readers an interesting view into the process of its creation. It works on a subscription model, $6 for 6 months or $12 for a year or something like that. You can comment on any part of the project and the creators will often respond. The possibility exists that if you write something they really like, they may include it as an official part of the story.
Stephenson was one of the early cyberpunk writers, but has since tended towards historical fiction with a technological twist at times. The project is called The Mongoliad. I've just started reading it, and it's really fascinating and engaging stuff. If you really like Stephenson and/or Bear's writing, this will be perfect for you. This is what the welcome page says about the story:
Oh, and there's an iPhone app for it, too. You can buy a sub as an in-app purchase.Welcome
It’s spring of 1241, and the West is $#@!ting its pants (that’s “bewraying its kecks” for you medieval time-travelers).
The Mongol takeover of Europe is almost complete. The hordes commanded by the sons of Genghis Khan have swept out of their immense grassy plains and ravaged Russia, Poland, and Hungary... and now seem poised to sweep west to Paris and south to Rome. King and pope and peasant alike face a bleak future—until a small band of warriors, inheritors of a millennium-old secret tradition, set out to probe the enemy.
Their leader, the greatest knight of their order, will set his small group of specially trained warriors on a perilous eastern journey. They will be guided by an agile, elusive, and sharp-witted adolescent girl, who believes the master’s plan is insane. But this small band is the West’s last, best hope to turn aside the floodtide of the violent genius of the Steppes kingdoms.
Welcome to The Mongoliad.
Our story unfolds in weekly installments over the course of a year. We've planned out a true epic—the last great epic of the middle ages, in fact—and written a fine chunk of the tale, but much depends on you. We’re hoping you’ll ultimately interact with our artists and writers and share in the story’s creation.
When we can, we'll include extra tidbits of art, video, music and history. Those extras will be made available to premium subscribers, an excellent value—less than the price of a hardback book for a year's worth of story and mixed-media entertainment. We’ll soon be taking subscriptions for app delivery to some of the most popular mobile devices and are working hard to add more.
The user-editable Foreworld 'Pedia is the ultimate repository of all information about our world. Some of it coincides with the world you know. Some does not. We welcome your additions.
It's a bit premature for this announcement, since public information about the Foreworld is sparse at the moment, but this epic has lots of vivid characters who can fan out to fill many, many storylines—and we can't possibly tell them all. We’re hoping you’ll step up and join us in a magnificent venture—the creation of an entire alternate world, packed with real history, speculative history, mysterious forces, alchemy, romance, adventure—and of course knightly mayhem!
If we really like something you've written, we may just add it to the Foreworld Canon. More about that soon.
We, your hosts and guides, are the Foreworld Cabal.
Last edited by sessamoid; 12-01-2010 at 06:16 PM.
Bought Starship Troopers today. The elderly gentlemen who checked me out looked at the book and said "Ahh...A classic. He was the master." Wrestled with either getting that or A Game of Thrones...Went with Starship Troopers because the only Thrones version there was one of those extra bid paperbacks for which they overcharge. Now that I think about the George Martin stuff, I recall almost buying his books before but also thought, like Sydney, that I'd hate to get into his books and have him pass on before he finishes the series.
Lots of good stuff on this list that I'll get around to though. Appreciate it.
Last edited by Cluttered; 12-01-2010 at 06:26 PM.
Terry Brooks - Shanara and Kingdom for Sale! series
L.E. Modesitt - The Magic of Recluse series
Terry Goodkind - The Sword of Truth series
Tad Williams - Otherland series, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series
Dan Simmons - Hyperion series
Gregory Keyes - Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series, Age of Unreason series
Weis and Hickman - Death Gate cycle, Rose of the Prophet series
Katherine Kurtz - Deryni series, Temple series
I don't have much time to read for pleasure these days, but during an 18-24 month span of sparse employment a few years ago during which I was only allowed to smoke cigarettes in our downstairs bathroom with the exhaust fan on, I had the opportunity to do a $#@!-ton of reading and many of the science fiction books I plowed through then have already been mentioned in the thread.
I recommend Neal Stephenson to anyone who likes to read, regardless of their preferred genre(s). I sort of fell out of touch with his output when I started grad school (and I've never heard of Greg Bear) but I'm really intrigued by the Mongoliad concept, though I know myself well enough to realize I ought to leave it alone until I'm through with school. He's a pretty clever guy with great characters and really solid continuity (having read Cryptonomicon prior to the Baroque Cycle made for an interesting perspective of having met the descendants prior to the ancestors).
I liked the first few Ender books but grew weary of the increasingly political storylines somewhere in one of the Shadow of the United Nations books or whatever the $#@! they were called. I'd suggest reading them in chronological order of occurrence (not publication) with the advice to just put the whole series down if and when you grow weary of it. I toughed it out a book or two after I ceased enjoying them, and I wish I had been told that it doesn't ever get any better. Maybe it does, but if so, it was well past my threshold of tolerance.
Same thing goes for Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey series.
Haven't exhausted Heinlein's catalog, but I dig what I've read. Same for $#@!, though I too found Androids/Sheep to be kind of tedious.
I can't remember which of the Star Wars books I've read, though I know I've been saving the Zahn stuff for a rainy day. The Boba Fett books are fun, and whatever else I've read (only one or two other series) was also pretty entertaining, (though obviously rather forgettable) light fare.
Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer was a very engaging stand-alone book. While it was the basis for the tepid TV show of the same name, only the most basic elements of the premise are shared between the show and the book.
I was big into fantasy in middle/high school, and occasionally read a bit in college as well. I loved the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books as a kid, though I shudder to think what rereading them would be like as an adult. It was hard enough for me to take Tanis Half-Elven and Sturm Brightblade very seriously as a twelve-year-old, so I can only imagine that my patience would be even more severely taxed now. I think I'd prefer to enjoy the memory of them than to $#@! all over them in a misguided attempt at nostalgia, and there's plenty of other stuff I want to read anyway. I occasionally mentally label certain sorts of people as Gully Dwarves to this day though.
I imagine that David Eddings's books would probably withstand the test of time a bit better. They're pretty formulaic, but I'd put them a notch or two up the chain of sophistication than Dragonlance/Forgotten Realms/TSR universe. I suspect Silk the Drasnian might have somehow been indirectly responsible for how much $#@! I stole as a teenager. Better him than Tasslehoff Titbutt, I suppose...
Add another mark to the tally of nerds who grew fed up with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I liked it well enough when I read it, though I think I found much of the plotline even more derivative than most in the already fairly indistinguishable cosmos of "humble peasant boy has special powers, is joined by a well-rounded retinue of Dungeons & Dragons character class archetypes, eventually saves the world from mounting forces of evil, only to discover that there's another brand of evil lurking just around the corner as soon as the last batch is dispatched, then his kids continue the charade ad infinitum" fantasy books.
While I realize that my track record probably doesn't give me much room to talk (though until now, I've never realized just how many series have eventually bored me as they strayed from the original storyline--I'm not sure whether that's more condemning of me or simply a good illustration of how hard it is to churn out a reliably solid long series), but I'd encourage all of you who abandoned the Dark Tower series to give it another chance. The ending left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth (I think I've read the last book twice, though I plan to give it another shot down the line) but it really is one of my favorites, if not my very favorite series of all time.
On a somewhat different note than the rest of the thread (though no less fantastic in every sense of the word), my very favorite stand-alone book is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Buy a copy for yourself and take notes on the family tree at the front of the book. Then read it again.
Jesus balls, that nearly turned into a novel itself. I'd apologize for the length, but you're all nerds too (discussing reading, no less) so I think you can probably handle it, and if not, you've probably already scrolled past my blithering long before this point anyway...
Last edited by Prepuce of Doom; 12-01-2010 at 07:53 PM. Reason: "Come, Grat! Fight!"
Do not watch the Dune movie before reading the book. The movie's fail is best appreciate after reading the novel; its only redeeming value is Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck.
As I said, I read the book afterwards. I do that a lot with movies from books. I prefer it that ways as I sort of get the main story from the movie, then the details from the book. As much as I liked the book though, I never had a desire to continue reading the series. I bougth the next two, but I never got around to reading them.
The abortion. It shall be terminated upon my return home.
As much as I liked Dune, I read any of the sequels. Are they worth my time?
Movies - Sci-Fi version is very good. The cast of the Lynch movie is stellar. If you are going to force yourself to watch the Lynch movie, find the extended cut with all the fremen $#@! they cut out of the theatrical release. I'm not sure if it's on the DVD versions but it's out there.
Books - God Emperor of Dune (4th book) is the best of the bunch. obviously you have to read Dune Messiah and Children of Dune to figure $#@! out. The books after that didn't grab me because Herbert kept jumping so far into the future that it seemed very removed from the first 4.
I didn't read any of the prequels and $#@!.
Lately I've been reading the Xeelee Sequence books by Stephen Baxter. There are probably 10 or so books in the series that are all related and chronicle the rise and fall of humanity starting in the present and going till the end of the Universe. Each one can be read pretty much independently but together they are much better. Only extreme $#@!ing nerds like myself would read them but I liked most of the books a lot.
I take it folks aren't mentioning Bradbury because he's pretty much an old standard that everyone already knows?
Any Richard Morgan fans? I liked Altered Carbon (and the two sequels), 13 and Market Forces.
+1 on Rothfuss name of the wind. Very good and second book comes out soon. If y'all like Martin's big series also check out Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing. It's rad. A mix of philosophy and religion, set in a fictional spin on the crusades only in a fantasy world. Just super good. Very heavy like ASoFAI. It's intellectual in ways often the best scifi fantasy can be. After those go to the library and check out the classic Dying Earth collections and Farfdd and the Grey Mouser. Oh, and also for Martin fans: Tuf Voyaging is a fun read. Martin doing fanciful speculative scifi.
I read the first two Dune books about three years ago. I recently re-read them, and I just finished the third Dune book on Saturday. Started the fourth on Saturday.
Gives you some idea how I feel about them.
What is it what you mostly like about 40K? the military sci-fi or the horrendously depressing dystopia?
Speaking of, I want to start with 40k, particularly interested on the Dark Eldar. Play by email would be my only option though.
Avoid the Honorverse, the good guys are perfect and competent and the bad guys are evil and/or incompetent.
One author that is not as well known is Jeff Long. He wrote a couple of my favorite books, Year Zero and The Descent. Both have religious undertones, but Year Zero is an apocalyptic tale and The Descent is, well, a story about devils I guess. Both are fascinating and haunting reads. I will say not to bother with Descent's sequel, Deeper, though. It's a bit of a mess.
Give someone a whole new world for the holidays this year! Here are 10 recent science fiction books that'll make terrific gifts — each with a wildly different take on the genre, so there's something for everyone.
Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord (Small Beer Press)
In this retelling of a Senegalese folktale, an abusive husband hires a tracker to find his wife, Paama, who had fled two years prior. The actions of the tracker, Kwame, draw the attention of the Indigo Lord, who lost his powers of chaos to the same Paama. This is a book that only came out in English this year, and was eagerly anticipated. Although it takes place in a unnamed place, it blends the feeling of mythology with an every day world in a compelling way.
For: The fairy tale enthusiast who lurks beneath the surface of most grown-ups.
Aurorama, by Jean-Christophe Valtat (Melville House)
The description of this book had me at "1908: New Venice- 'the pearl of the Arctic.'" It's not an easy read, since the story is told with an alternating point of view between the main characters, Brentford Orsini and Gabriel d'Allier. Nevertheless, Aurorama tells a tale of political intrigue (secret police! Eskimos! Prisoner-esque hovering airship!) with some truly lyrical prose.
For: Alternate history fans and lovers of interweaving narratives
For the Win, by Cory Doctorow (Tor)
From Booklist:Set in the near future and in locations across the globe (though primarily China and India), the story involves a sweeping cast of characters making a living-if you want to call brutal conditions and pitiful wages a "living"-in such virtual-game worlds as Svartalfheim Warriors and Zombie Mecha. Many of them, like 15-year-old Mala (known by her troops as "General Robotwalla"), endure physical threats from their bosses to farm virtual gold, which is then sold to rich First World gamers. Then these brilliant teens are brought together by the mysterious Big Sister Nor, who has a plan to unionize and bring these virtual worlds-and real-world sweatshops, too-to a screeching halt. Once again Doctorow has taken denigrated youth behavior (this time, gaming) and recast it into something heroic. He can't resist the occasional lecture-sometimes breaking away from the plot to do so-but thankfully his lessons are riveting. With it's eye-opening humanity and revolutionary zeal, this ambitious epic is well worth the considerableIt doesn't really take much to recommend a book by Doctorow, but this particular premise is especially engaging for those of us who have spent countless hours playing online games. It takes those games and takes those virtual lives to the logical extreme. It's just a fascinating concept.
The Wind-Up Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books)
This is tale of the future, where Bangkok struggles to survive both rising sea levels and out of control mutations. There's Jaidee, who works for the Environment Ministry, Anderson, who looks for profit-makers for a western agribusiness, and Hock Seng, a refugee from China. Every one of them is trying to live in this world, until their actions, and those of Emiko, a product of genetic engineering and the titular "wind-up," accidentally starts a civil war.
There are so many different consequences at play in the future world of this book. There's global warming in the form of the sea levels, genetic engineering in Emiko, and tensions between the developed and developing world in the form of Anderson's job. That all makes this world seem like a possibility, which only enhances the power of the story. (Our full review of The Wind-Up Girl is here.)
For: Lovers of futuristic, post-apocalyptic stories
The Half-Made World, by Felix Gilman (Tor)
This engaging Wild West book takes place in world dominated by a war between the people of the Gun who carry demon-possessed, well, guns that give them powers, and the people of the Line who have sentient engines. The story itself is driven by the news that a famous general may not be dead, and may in fact have a weapon capable of stopping the war. (Our review of The Half-Made World is here.)
For: Those of us who live for tales of well-realized alternate worlds.
The Dream of Perpetual Motion, by Dexter Palmer (St. Martin's Press)
It's one of those stories where an ill-thought-out wish from a child leads to adventure, but with a steampunk twist. From Publisher's Weekly:genius inventor Prospero Taligent promises the 100 kids he's invited to his daughter Miranda's birthday party that they will have their "heart's desires fulfilled." When young Harold Winslow says he wants to be a storyteller, he sets in motion an astonishing plot that will eventually find him imprisoned aboard a giant zeppelin, the Chrysalis, powered by Taligent's greatest invention, a (probably faulty) perpetual motion machine. As Harold tells his story from his airborne prison, a fantastic and fantastical account unfoldsOur own review of the book is here.
For: Anyone who loves stories of kids on fantastic journeys, but in particular Steampunk fans.
Digital Domains: A Decade of Science Fiction & Fantasy, edited by Ellen Datlow
This collection brings together the best offerings of OMNI Online, Event Horizon, and SCIFICTION, where Datlow was an editor, from 1996 to 2005. Each of the fifteen short stories contained in this books 320 pages brings something different, but special, to the mix. Datlow's skill in picking amazing fiction may actually be the star of this anthology.
For: Pretty much everyone, given the variety, but especially people looking for short stories over novels.
Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay (Roc)
Taking place in a world not unlike Tang Dynasty China, Kay's novel follows Shen Tai, whose father has just died in battle, during his mourning year, where he attracts the attention of a princess of his people, sent to marry the enemy. Her gifts make him both rich and the target of assassination. Much of the praise of this novel has also centered on Kay's portrayal of women using what little power they have in a repressive society, and that's a fair compliment. Even if Shen Tai is the protagonist, the women dominate the story. Plus, its the re-imagining of the past combined where, as Michael Dirda of The Washington Post puts it, "Ghosts can kill, female were-foxes seduce, shamans take control of a man's soul or employ swans to search for enemies" really creates a world that is both familiar and supernatural.
For: Lovers of historical fiction
Spellwright, by Blake Charlton (Tor)
This is book which works with all the classic elements of fantasy coming of age tales. Nicodemus Weal is believed to be the prophesied Halcyon, who will either bring about or avert a magical apocalypse. But in a world where magic is dependent on the proper use of words, Weal has this world's version of dyslexia — every word he comes into contact with is instantly misspelled. With that problem, Weal is dismissed as a failure, until he and his teacher are accused of murder
This book seems to combine parts of Harry Potter with Percy Jackson, but with a separate and interesting take on magic. There's no shortage of books where the protagonist goes to a school to master powers, but it's the specifics that make them stand out. In this case, it's the unique system of magic, which is described and explained in detail.
For: Well, fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. And those who believe very strongly in the power of words.
Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter, by Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook (Random House)
This is the only non-fiction book on the list, but it's no less compelling. The original version was released in 2008, but this version adds over 300 pages of material chronicling Russell T. Davies' (and David Tennant's) last year on Doctor Who. It's a real-time chronicling of the making of the show, since it's a compilation of e-mails between Davies and Cook during that time. It has the moment where Steven Moffat agreed to take over (Davies' e-mail on the matter is called "Steven Moffat's Thighs") as well as snippets of scripts that never ended up actually happening.
It's not just a treasure trove for fans or a compilation of primary source material for television historians, it's also an excellent look at the creative process. If you've ever tried to write anything — script, novel, dissertation, book report, anything, you will find something to sympathize with in this book.
Plus, at 704 pages, this thing can double as a weapon.
For: Fans of Doctor Who, fans of television, writers
The Hogfather, Terry Pratchett (Harper)
This is the only book on this list that isn't from 2010, but it's on this list because it's the only fantasy novel we can think of which is also an in-depth exploration of the holiday season. When the Hogfather (Discworld's version of Santa Claus) goes missing, Death steps in to make sure children get their Christmas — sorry, Hogswatch gifts. But the absence of the Hogfather is part of something more sinister, and it's up to Death's granddaughter Susan to figure it out.
As is usual with any Discworld book, The Hogfather is both hilarious and has a real plot driving it. But if you ever wondered why things like Christmas and Santa Clause are really important, this book has that answer. And it's delivered by Death, so you'd better listen.
Thanks for the list, Viper.
I don't know if the question about 40k was directed at me but I'll answer. I enjoy the idea of a dark world, or universe, in which there is major conflict. Now, the problem with 40k is that that universe doesn't come with much more than constant war stories. There is very little character development...Part of the problem being that Space Marines really aren't the kind to have interesting personalities. I like the introduction of religion in the universe, but the problem there is that you don't really get much into the religion...rather, it's just "Kill for the Emperor!".
Most everything has been mentioned. So â€¦
Philip jose Farmer - Riverworld series
Larry Niven - Ringworld books
Roger Zelazny - Amber series
There seems to be some misunderstanding about Starship Troopers. Both the book and the movie are spoofs on political and military ideology. The book did it well. The movie was a comedic farce.
Last edited by Grendel; 12-08-2010 at 07:28 AM.
One that I haven't seen mentioned is The Sirens of Titan (1959) by Kurt Vonnegut. I read this for the first time earlier this year and really liked it.
Reading this book, I realized how much of the 20th Century sci-fi/metaphysical/fantasy stuff was influenced by it. If you like Phillip K. $#@!, for example, you would like The Sirens of Titan. It's a direct influence on $#@!'s work, IMO.
I saw it mentioned earlier in the thread, but Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series is really good. I also enjoyed Terry Brooks' The Genesis of Shannara series too.
Also most of the "Stainless Steel Rat" series by Harry Harrison (who also wrote 'Make Room Make Room", which the movie "Soylent Green" was based on) are fun easy reads, but a couple of them (especially the one where he runs for president), suck.
HH also wrote the "Deathworld" stories, which (as far as I remember) were pretty good.
And Anne McCaffery's (sp?) "Dragonrider" stories are pretty good for the most part.
I also liked Larry Niven's "Ringworld" series.
Last edited by jmatt; 12-08-2010 at 05:29 PM.
I've read a few Kim Stanley Robinson book and am generally a fan. Anyone heard anything about this book coming out on paper back: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/055...7913960_snp_dp
From Publishers Weekly
The creative imagination of Hugo, Nebula, and Locus–winner Robinson (The Years of Rice and Salt) is on display in this offbeat novel of scientific discovery. In 1609, a stranger tells Galileo Galilei about a recent Dutch device that magnifies distant objects. The Italian scientist develops his own version, and the success of his telescope brings him recognition and acclaim. Forty pages in, the book changes genres abruptly as the stranger brings Galileo to Europa, the second moon of Jupiter, in a far future where various factions quarrel over plans to colonize the distant sphere. During the course of several trips through time and space, Galileo becomes something of a pawn in the political conflicts while gaining treasured glimpses of the future of science. Readers will eagerly share Galileo's curiosity and astonishment at the wonders of both the past and the future. (Jan.)
Copyright Â© Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In early-seventeenth-century Venice, a mysterious stranger tells Galileo about magnifying lenses he has seen in the Netherlands, inspiring the scientist to construct a workable spyglass and later view the bodies in the night sky with it. One night, in company with the visitor, Galileo is transported centuries into the future and spatially to the moons of Jupiter. He’s the center of a dispute there between those who believe that, if he does certain things, their future will never come to pass and those who don’t believe it. Thereafter, Galileo strives to understand the wonders of what, during apparent syncopes, he is seeing on the Jovian moons, while earning his living and making his own discoveries in Italy. The latter eventually lead to arraignment for heresy for supporting the Copernican theory. Robinson skillfully melds the disputes of seventeenth-century Italy and speculation on future philosophical conflict, meanwhile providing an engrossing portrait of the epochal scientist—so engrossing that one may feel tempted to learn Tuscan to see how true-to-life Robinson’s depiction is. --Frieda Murray --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Sorry, I will end up repeating some of what has already been written. I am not going to list the greatest sci-fi/fantasy ever written, I am going to list what I enjoyed the most. FWIW, I like mine to be outright humor or at the least have a good humor element ingrained(certain characters).
Stephen R Donaldson's-The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant(there are two finished trilogies and another in the works, the first two stand alone, do not need to read the third to finish any major plot lines)
Raymond Feist-Riftwar Saga(bunch of books, splitting off into different series)
David Eddings-The Belgariad and The Mallorean series
Terry Pratchett-Discworld series(bunch of books, non-linear, pick up any book and laugh)
Terry Brooks-Magic Kingdom for Sale series
Douglas Adams-Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series + a few other standalone books
Between what has been posted by others and my list, that should do you quite awhile. Also, do not pick up Jordan's-Wheel of Time until the damned thing is finished, I have been waiting for a long time for the conclusion, just about forgot the plot by now.
Not going to post "Best evar!!1!" either. Just some books/authors and thoughts.
And no, this is not everything I've read, just 'some'.
- Belgariad/Mallorean by David Eddings
- Your first love is always your fondest, so is Eddings storyline here. As others have mentioned, it is very method based writing but the characters are (to this day) some of my very favorites. 6.5/10
- Dune saga by Frank Herbert
- Epic scope and damn fine writing. 7/10
- The Books of the Swords by Fred Saberhagen
- Probably the best series from an author many considered as very influential. 4/10
- Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moor$#@!
- A classic: Elric is the epitomy of a tortured soul. The style of writing gets a bit mystical at times for my tastes however. 7/10
- Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist
- Once upon a time all of the SF/Fan nerds were idolizing this series. It's solid writing, but compared to some of the more gritty, modern stuff that is out right now it's begun to pale in comparison. 6/10
- The King of Elflands Daughter by Lord Dunsany
- If you're a nerd that wants to read the early stuff to understand the roots of the genre, you start here and can end at the next installment. Lord Dunsany was a master of tightly written prose, but you'd better have the desire to appreciate it or it will go flying way over your head. 8/10
- Hobbit/Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
- What Lord Dunsany started Tolkien brought to the masses, albeit years after it was initially published. Regardless of age, this is still a damn good read. 8/10
- Shanarra saga by Terry Brooks
- I know I'm going to piss a few folks out here so I'll offer this - if you're a T.B. fan I apologize. When I think of this series I relate it to a form of treatment for sleep deprivation. 4/10
- Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
- Bitch can write. The tales aren't as gritty as newer works out there, but when it comes to solid character and plot development this series should be used to teach English students their craft. 6/10
- The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Steven R. Donaldson
- Lots going for it, lots not going for it. Still worth a read as, for it's time, it was considered pretty gritty (rape, lepers, etc). Nom. 5/10
- Sprawl Trilogy by William Gibson
- $#@!. Yes. This isn't even my favorite genre, but goddamn... 9/10
- A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
- You want to read the best? THIS is the best, unfortunately it's incomplete and probably won't be finished because the author is too $#@!ing lazy. Regardless, the first four books of this IMMENSE series are spectacular in every sense. If it were a complete series with every book as good as the first four it would rate a 10/10 (and would stand alone at that level), but it's not, therefore... 8.5-9/10
- Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
- I just finished reading the second book in this series and boy-oh-boy, where I thought the first book was a great first effort by a promising writer, this second book has really floored me. I'm really considering the second book as one of the top five books I've ever read, regardless of genre. One more book in the series, but the whole series was completed before the first book was published. 8.5/10
- Gentlemen Bastard series by Scott Lynch
- Recent stuff, very solid, pick it up when you 'need' something to read between the releases of the books you're really excited about reading. Incomplete series. 6/10
- Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
- Qualudes for those who suffer from narcolepsy. Do not want. Big though, if you want to read an infinite storyline of boring drivel. Incomplete series. 4/10
- Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (Brandon Sanderson)
- Sometimes brilliant, sometimes as slow as a 6 hour layover in O'Hare that gets snowed in, much better since Jordan (sadly) passed-away and Sanderson took over. 6.5/10
- Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook
- Cook's writing style for this series blew me away. I know I'm in the minority with my passion for this series but ('Lord Almighty!') this fresh and honest style and gritty storyline has captivated me. 8/10
- First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
- The trilogy is complete, now he's writing stand alone pieces in the same world. When I say gritty, this writer gets it. Whenever Logen Ninefingers looses himself in schizophrenic moments you will stop breathing. 8-8.5/10
- Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks
- Pretty much tit for tat as the Gentlemen Bastards above. 6/10
- Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series by Tad Williams
- Completed this series and thought to myself 'that is the last time I force myself to complete a series that everyone else raves about'. It's ok, but drawn out in many places and not high on my list of fantasy writing. 5/10
- The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
- Charming short stories with an interesting buddy team (think Lethal Weapon sort of buddies) without sex, gratuous violence or content that would make you keep it out of your pre-teen's hands. One more book in the series to be published. 6/10
- Demon Series by Peter V. Brett
- An incomplete series but already noteworthy: the villian in the first book is explained in the second book and becomes, well, almost a hero (almost). Needs a bit cleaner writing style, but another series to try on while waiting for your favorite author to publish again. 6/10
- Mistborne trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
- After hearing that Brandon Sanderson was selected to finish Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time I picked this up to see what to expect. Genuinely entertaining but the finish is a bit weak. 6/10
- Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind
- I could cut and paste my first sentence about the Wheel of Time here, but this is much grittier. Series made into a TV Series. 6.5/10
- Drizzt Do'Urden anything by R. A. Salvatore
- Would anyone be surprised if there weren't a few underground churches to Drizzt Do'Urden found here and there? This character is so loved by so many fantasy fans it goes past cult status into zealousy. Read a few books about Drizzt and see if you catch the drow fever. 6/10
- Legends (Twins) by Weis/Hickman
- When the Majere twins (Raistlin and Caramon) were first released upon the Fantasy nerds of the world they captivated everyone (in the same vein as Drizzt). It's simple fiction, nothing spectacular, but it catapulted Weis/Hickman's career and everyone wanted their next effort. 6/10
- Death Gate Cycle by Weis/Hickman
- Which was a boring, drawn out affair. It did, however, have very nice worlds and a visit from Zifnab from time to time. Props to them for finishing it. 5/10
- Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb
- Good long sets of series set in the same world. Robin Hobb has delivered a lot of fun content even if it's not material that will rock your world like G.R.R.M or Patrick Rothfuss. 6/10
- Stormlord series by Glenda Larke
- Another incomplete series but fairly promising, worthy of a pick-up if you need to pass the time. 6/10
I'll stop there. The list is getting a bit long but I will say this as my final suggestion: If you haven't read "The Pillars of the Earth" and the sequel "World Without End" by Ken Follett you need to. Not fantasy, but both books: 9-9.5/10
Nice input, Grippe. One question for you, did you like Black Company from the outset? Someone suggested the series to me as I mentioned I liked gritty fantasy novels...But I couldn't even finish the first book. It was too campy to me and things felt rushed and contrived. Does it get better or is the series just not for me?
I've been meaning to bump this thread for a while because I'm working through the 3rd book in the Song of Fire and Ice series. The guy does great dialogue and is wonderful at creating truly individual personalities. Arya is, by far, my favorite character.
I don't know if it's been posted here on another thread or not, but Martin has announced the next publishing date for the next book in the Fire and Ice Series--he's stated that it's a hard date and finalized. Its sometime this July, I believe. He also said the book is massive.
For heroic fantasy genre anything by David Gemmell - would suggest the Drenai trilogy to start with if you've not read anything by him before.
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