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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:20 am 
 

iamntbatman wrote:
Almost through E.R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros. Pretty enjoyable but I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say that it's god-tier stuff like I was led to believe. The writing style is extremely archaic but still very easy to read, so it definitely comes across like someone from the (relatively) modern era using that sort of ornate old style of English rather than someone actually from the 1600's or something. The best parts are definitely the descriptions of castles, attire, landscapes, etc.; the style of dialogue is so ornate and formal that there's really not huge amounts of room for a real sense of characterization, though of course the various characters do fit into broad archetypes. Also, the whole set-up for the book with Lessingham traveling to Mercury was essentially abandoned like twenty pages in, which seems like an odd choice and kind of gives me the impression Eddison didn't really have much in the way of an editor.

Still very cool though, and definitely recommended to people who like things like The Silmarillion but with a focus on high adventure and battles without as much detailed building of the world's history.

I honestly think the framing device was only there because it was basically how fantastical novels were written back then - A Voyage to Arcturus (1920) uses one too, as does William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land (1912). Those kinds of wholly fantastic novels were pretty new back then, and I think the framing device of "real person in the real world dreams of the fantasy world the rest of the book takes place in" helped ease the readers into it, whereas today everyone is so used to the concept of a 100% invented world that it's unnecessary and comes across as needlessly cumbersome.

As for the book itself, the main characters are rather without deep characterization, but I think the villains actually do get quite a bit. Lord Gro for example is fascinating and complex, possessing many admirable qualities while also having not so much torn loyalty but capricious, unpredictable bouts of loyalty toward opposing sides. Corinius on the other hand seems at first to be a stupid drunk pretty boy, but is actually highly competent, with an excess of zest for life being his main failing and main strength at the same time. Then there's the Duke Corsus, who is past his prime but refuses to age gracefully, bitterly resenting the younger men who gradually take over his job.

Really, the problem with the book (as I've said before) is that Eddison was great at writing complex, flawed characters - but the stars of the book are basically just stock heroes with no real depth. If he'd written an entire novel peopled by the Witches, it'd have been god-tier, but as it stands I agree that it's not quite that level. I'd be interested to read the Zimiamvia Trilogy, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.



I've been reading a shitload as always - mostly either well-known stuff (The Left Hand of Darkness, Slaughterhouse 5), or stuff that just wasn't good enough to merit a big post - but a standout that people probably haven't heard of is Michael Moorcock's The Black Corridor. A brief novella (around 120 pages) that nonetheless manages to feel much much larger, it tells the story of Ryan, the sole crew of a spaceship en route to a new planet and a new beginning for its cryogenically frozen passengers. The book alternates between the present, with Ryan going about his monotonous routine and trying not to crack up after 3 years alone, and his memories of the events that led up to his flight from an Earth that descended into chaos. Really it's a great study in economical storytelling, with every detail pointed like a laser at the overarching theme of the book, and it's amazing how Moorcock is able to sketch a convincing dystopia so deftly in so few pages.

But, what sets The Black Corridor apart from the billion other dystopian novels out there is that it's not actually about the dystopia itself, but rather about the descent, and more specifically, the descent as relates to the individual. Dystopian novels often skip to the point where their dystopias are already firmly established - glossing over the much more interesting (and relevant) question of how did things get like that? How did people let things get that bad? Well, that's exactly what The Black Corridor is about. It's a shame that these days Moorcock primarily known for his heroic fantasy, because to me his other stuff shits all over it.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:24 am 
 

Speaking of dystopian novels, should I read Brave New World next? Just finished Heinlein's Stranger.
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:48 am 
 

I think Brandoch Daha is about as complex as the main cadre of Witch leaders, but Juss and Spitfire are basically non-characters. I don't know - I don't feel that even the deeper characters are really all *that* complex; I think they just sorta seem that way compared to how stock the rest of the cast is. It's not really a slight against the book though - the prose is engaging enough and the action and adventure cool enough that deeper characters aren't really all that missed.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:40 am 
 

Nah they were definitely complex, the difference was more that the narrative didn't really establish most of them over a longer period of time in a gradual sort of way, since it was mostly about the adventure. You basically just got "ta-da!" rather than a gradual layering-on of detail. And I don't know about you but I was actively rooting for the Witches to defeat the boring-ass Demons by the end, Lord Juss & Co were just so fucking bland.

Also, on another note, Eddison has just about the least consistent fantasy name quality ever - Witches, Goblins, Demons, Pixies etc. is a retarded idea, but then some of the names like Brandoch Daha are actually really cool, but then others like Goldry Bluzco are awful...it's like he made up half the names himself and then let his 6-year-old son make up the other half.
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:47 am 
 

Haha yeah. All of the more specific place-names are really cool, like the towns and mountains and stuff, but the nations are just called "Demonland" and "Witchland." Also a handful of Witches have cool names but then others are just C-list Latin-sounding names. I wonder if it's sort of a side effect of early fantasy, like you were talking about before - he didn't want to go *too* far off the deep end with bizarre spellings and utterly made-up words, so he kept straightforward, concrete names for some stuff just to ease readers into it.
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MARSDUDE
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:20 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
Speaking of dystopian novels, should I read Brave New World next? Just finished Heinlein's Stranger.


Yes. That's a great book. Definitely read it-- now or whenever.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:43 pm 
 

I'm ashamed I haven't already. I'm even a big fan of Huxley in general. Yeah, I'll tackle it next.
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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:19 pm 
 

So I finished the second book from Patrick Rothfuss' trilogy, The Kingkiller Chronicles. It was pretty good fantasy. Before getting into another saga, I read the George R.R. Martin short story Sandkings. Damn this was awesome. It's about a pet collector who's bored so he buys these so called insects called Sandkings that are intelligent, warmonger creatures and things obviously doesn't go well. It won the Nebula and Hugo awards when it was released so that's something. I read it before bed so I dreamed about it and kept telling myself that the story should be adapted to the screen. I checked this morning and it was as part of The Outer Limits with Beau Bridges as the main character, I'll have to watch that.
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MARSDUDE
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:33 pm 
 

Starting up Clive Barker's Imajica. Pretty excited. Been meaning to check it out for a while now.
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Azmodes
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:48 pm 
 

The Sandkings story is actually the 2-part pilot of the revived series. I've never read the original, but telling from your description the main character seems to be a bit different, though the premise roughly the same.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:57 pm 
 

MARSDUDE wrote:
Starting up Clive Barker's Imajica. Pretty excited. Been meaning to check it out for a while now.


I read em both when I was about 13/14 and found them very fun, imaginative, pretty wild and sensuous at times. Good memories there.
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andersbang
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:55 am 
 

Just finished Cryptonomicon last night, which was pretty cool and surprisingly funny. Now when I look around on the net I can see that it's actually been criticized quite a lot, which I don't think I agree on though it's definitely not perfect. I didn't even realize it was a quasi-historical novel before I started it, but I think it works very well. Good read.
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:11 am 
 

I've been reading through The Hobbit the past few days and I'd forgotten how great it is. I really dig the mixture of Tolkien's already well-developed talent for extremely vivid landscape and character descriptions that pull you right into the place, yet conveyed with a really casual, conversational tone. It's almost like "caspian does Lord of the Rings", if you will. I also can't helped but be charmed by his constant need to spoil his own story, which helps with the general "fireside story told by an eyewitness" feel of the whole thing. I still can't really say that it does anywhere near as much for me as LotR does, but it's still basically as good as it gets for fun adventure/fantasy aimed at kids.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:56 am 
 

I'm reading Wolfe's The Knight and loving it. In some ways I'm enjoying it more than BotNS. Maybe because it's easier to digest.
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narsilianshard
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:00 pm 
 

iamntbatman wrote:
I've been reading through The Hobbit the past few days and I'd forgotten how great it is. I really dig the mixture of Tolkien's already well-developed talent for extremely vivid landscape and character descriptions that pull you right into the place, yet conveyed with a really casual, conversational tone. It's almost like "caspian does Lord of the Rings", if you will. I also can't helped but be charmed by his constant need to spoil his own story, which helps with the general "fireside story told by an eyewitness" feel of the whole thing. I still can't really say that it does anywhere near as much for me as LotR does, but it's still basically as good as it gets for fun adventure/fantasy aimed at kids.


I just read it for the first time since I was a kid last year and was horribly disappointed by it. The storytelling is just plain lazy. The entire book is just "don't worry what happens, because Gandalf/Eagles will save the day". That trope got old halfway through the book and it just kept happening.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:15 pm 
 

Well, Tolkien was a Christian. :P
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Aydross
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:52 pm 
 

I've recently read Asimov's The Gods Themselves for the second time. The man himself said this was his favorite creation. It is a masterpiece. Very underrated.
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Cicatrice
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:28 pm 
 

I'm currently trying to tackle Scott Turlows Presumed Innocent. I've never been one to read crime novels or whatever, but I picked this up cheap and decided what the heck? I'll give it a shot.
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Scorntyrant
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:44 am 
 

Nahsil wrote:
I'm reading Wolfe's The Knight and loving it. In some ways I'm enjoying it more than BotNS. Maybe because it's easier to digest.


I'm struggling with it to be honest. It's some of the worst aspects of his eposodic/inconsistent pacing and plotting....I cant really see what relation the events bear to each other apart fro "this was a bunch of stuff that happened.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:14 am 
 

I'm reading it like a dream/savoring the imagery and metaphoric content, and in that context the scattered/episodic events approach works out pretty well. Wolfe does love that style. I'm pretty sure it's intentional, I'm sure he could write a more flowing, traditional stye narrative if he wanted.
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:40 am 
 

Hmm, sounds interesting...maybe a bit like The Fifth Head of Cerberus in regard to the disconnected storytelling style?
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:44 am 
 

Haven't read that one yet, but it's a style he uses a lot, across all his works, as far as I've read.

The narrative isn't totally disconnected btw, it's just that the events may seem random. That could be partly 1) it's a magical world, so random shit happens, 2) we've got another unreliable narrator on our hands. We get the details HE chooses to share, rather than a third person omniscient perspective like a lot of fiction.
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:49 am 
 

Ah, ok, so not really all that different from, say, Book of the New Sun then? While most (all?) of the happenings there fit into the greater narrative, lots of them seemed pretty damn "random" at first, too: the green man, Dr. Talos & Baldanders, the witch ritual in those ruins, early encounters with Zak, etc. Give it time and it'll probably all fall into place, is my guess!
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:11 am 
 

Yeah that's my guess too. Not too different from BotNS, except the protagonist is a kid, so his language isn't as complex and varied as Severian's.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:15 pm 
 

Well at first it's more of an "autobiography" type story, where a guy just highlights various interesting things that happened to him over the years, but later characters and characters and plot elements introduced earlier become relevant again, so it's not really very disconnected. It's pretty much BotNS style.
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Scorntyrant
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:30 am 
 

I guess so. I'm sort of struggling with my reading at the moment due to not living in my usual place this year and having a lot of stuff going on (renovating a house will do that to you!). Might need to come back to it next year when I'm more settled again.
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Cicatrice
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:40 am 
 

So, I randomly went out today and bought the first Lord of the Rings book, The Fellowship of the Ring. I know its odd for a 20 year old to never be read the books, but better late than never right? I'm going to be spending 24 hours riding in a car over the next few days, so I'm going to have time to read. Will be buying the other books in the series too.
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Morrigan
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:30 am 
 

VenusianSea wrote:
Finally got to read it last night, and

Spoiler: show
I too figured it was Raff before it was said. I started crying when he said "you'll have to carry me". Honestly I did. That was PERFECT.

Also I think Mercy was playing Shae. The maiden thing was probably just... theatrics, you know. Couldn't have been Sansa, though I did think that initially. And yeah, the sex stuff was pretty disturbing, but it worked!

A question, though. Maybe I'm forgetting stuff from A Feast for Crows, but the Lannister guards said "the queen will have his head" when talking about Ser Harys. Did Cersei send Swyft to Braavos before the big mess with the High Septon? I'm not quite sure about the timeline of this chapter, but could it mean that after Kevan's death, Cersei is in charge of the kingdom again?


Overall, it was vastly superior to about 90% of A Dance with Dragons.

Oops, forgot to pay attention to this thread. :)
[The Winds of Winter spoilers]
Spoiler: show
Good eye, didn't notice this detail. I'm not sure when the Mercy chapter occurs in the timeline. I'm assuming it's the first Arya chapter of the book, but maybe it's not, and by the time this happens, Cersei is back in power OR maybe Margaery is?
According to this wiki, Harys Swyft was sent to Braavos by Kevan in ADWD, not by Cersei. So either this means Cersei is back in power (we kind of assumed this would happen, there is no way Robert Strong would have lost her trial ;)), or Margaery got her name cleared and seized power as queen consort somehow.

...Or GRRM fucked up his own timeline. :lol:
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:52 am 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Well at first it's more of an "autobiography" type story, where a guy just highlights various interesting things that happened to him over the years, but later characters and characters and plot elements introduced earlier become relevant again, so it's not really very disconnected. It's pretty much BotNS style.


The imagery is gorgeousssssssssss, and he's even using relatively plain language to achieve it unlike BotNS. It'd be easy for me to assume he couldn't get the same crazy imagery without the extravagant vocab but he pulls it off. I'm at the island tower, beautiful.
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IanThrash
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:00 am 
 

So, yeah, Gabriel Garcia Marquez died today. Been an avid reader of most of his works since I was a kid.
I wonder how appreciated he is outside latin america and spain!
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:16 am 
 

I wouldn't go so far as saying he's super famous in the U.S., but I was introduced to him in high school when I had to read a short story of his ("A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings") for an English class, so I'd say relatively well-known. English translations of his works are widely available. I had read some fantasy and sci-fi before that, of course, but that story was essentially my introduction to weird fiction. I'm not sure if his brand of magic realism is considered weird fiction by most, but it fits there pretty firmly if you ask me. I know his profile was also raised a bit through his friendship with Bill Clinton, too.

Anyway he's a phenomenal writer and will be missed, but at least he lived a long and full life and contributed a great many works in his time.
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andersbang
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:42 pm 
 

I haven't read anything by him, but he's on the list, of course. What to look for besides 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera?

Anyway, I'm reading Weaveworld now. About halfway in. A bit disappointed, seems more like Young Adult stuff than dark fantasy. I'll soldier on, if nothing else to get it out of the way.
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MARSDUDE
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:46 pm 
 

andersbang wrote:
I haven't read anything by him, but he's on the list, of course. What to look for besides 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera?

Anyway, I'm reading Weaveworld now. About halfway in. A bit disappointed, seems more like Young Adult stuff than dark fantasy. I'll soldier on, if nothing else to get it out of the way.


Hmmm. Just you wait. It's pretty dark.
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Scorntyrant
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:26 am 
 

i have a first edition of Weaveworld, one of my favourites. As mentioned above, just you wait.







Also: Ghost-rape.
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andersbang
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:02 am 
 

Sounds good! Let's see what happens. And yes, ghost rape, but it doesn't seem to affect the characters in any way apart from the horror of the actual rape, which happens pretty fast? Yes that kid at the wedding seems distressed/panicked afterwards, but Cal doesn't even mention it or thinks about it, it just sorta goes away..
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 4:04 pm 
 

andersbang wrote:
I haven't read anything by him, but he's on the list, of course. What to look for besides 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera?

Anyway, I'm reading Weaveworld now. About halfway in. A bit disappointed, seems more like Young Adult stuff than dark fantasy. I'll soldier on, if nothing else to get it out of the way.



100 Years of Solitude is one of the finest novels I've read, you should also look for No One Writes to the Colonel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold and The Autumn of the Patriarch (which is one of his most ambicious works)
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Cicatrice
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:51 pm 
 

Who is everyone favorite fantasy writers? I'm just now getting into fantasy, and I've started reading The Lord of the Rings, and so far I'm enjoying it. However, I would like to start making a fantasy reading list, and I'm curious to know everyone's favorite writers, and what everyone would recommend to someone who was completely new to the genre.
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IanThrash
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Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:56 pm
Posts: 911
Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:10 pm 
 

Cicatrice wrote:
Who is everyone favorite fantasy writers? I'm just now getting into fantasy, and I've started reading The Lord of the Rings, and so far I'm enjoying it. However, I would like to start making a fantasy reading list, and I'm curious to know everyone's favorite writers, and what everyone would recommend to someone who was completely new to the genre.



A Song of Ice and Fire. This may be an obvious recommendation, but you should seriously read some G.R.R Martin. If you haven't seen the series you will enjoy the books a lot more, the show is great but the literary saga is perfect.

Michael Moorcock's Elric de Melniboné, one of the greatest sagas ever. An overall marvelous story full of really gritty stuff. Elric is the ultimate anti-hero for me. Totally recommended.
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Cicatrice
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:43 pm
Posts: 33
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:20 pm 
 

IanThrash wrote:
Cicatrice wrote:
Who is everyone favorite fantasy writers? I'm just now getting into fantasy, and I've started reading The Lord of the Rings, and so far I'm enjoying it. However, I would like to start making a fantasy reading list, and I'm curious to know everyone's favorite writers, and what everyone would recommend to someone who was completely new to the genre.



A Song of Ice and Fire. This may be an obvious recommendation, but you should seriously read some G.R.R Martin. If you haven't seen the series you will enjoy the books a lot more, the show is great but the literary saga is perfect.

Michael Moorcock's Elric de Melniboné, one of the greatest sagas ever. An overall marvelous story full of really gritty stuff. Elric is the ultimate anti-hero for me. Totally recommended.


Nothing is too obvious right now because like I said I'm completely new to the genre. I'll put both writers works on my list. Thanks for the help!
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Diamhea
Eats and Spits Corpses

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:46 pm
Posts: 3140
Location: At the Heat of Winter
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:34 pm 
 

Cicatrice wrote:
So, I randomly went out today and bought the first Lord of the Rings book, The Fellowship of the Ring. I know its odd for a 20 year old to never be read the books, but better late than never right? I'm going to be spending 24 hours riding in a car over the next few days, so I'm going to have time to read. Will be buying the other books in the series too.


Great. You'll be upset with the large section near the beginning that was not included in the film. Some of the book's greatest moments are in there.
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