View Full Version : Books (Besides Tolkien)
mark, the beneficial shah
Sun, 28th Oct '01, 3:33am
I am reading Tolstoys Anna Kaerine, than some Gogols. After that, i may do either Kafka, or Cekov. I want ideas for a good Fantasy Book, or searies to get. I read the moonshae searies a few years ago. Any ideas?
Sun, 28th Oct '01, 11:47am
I'm reading Nicholas Nickelby by Dickens at the moment. Required reading, as you can imagine.
Sun, 28th Oct '01, 1:10pm
Gogol's "Dead Souls" is a great book. I highly recommend it. Not that its a fantasy book, but you mentioned Gogol first. :)
I liked "Freedom and Necessity" by Steven Brust and Emma Bull. Its an excellent 'low magic' fantasy novel. George Martin's "Game of Thrones" series is excellent. Sean Russell's "World Without End" series was enjoyable as well.
I'd also recommend anything by Patricia McKillip or Ursula LeGuin.
Sun, 28th Oct '01, 9:29pm
The Belgariad and The Malloreon.
Both are 5 book series written by David Eddings.
Sun, 28th Oct '01, 9:54pm
Try Robin Hobbs Farseer serie! Very great narrtive and style and a very interesting fantasy world! And Kafka's Trial is fantastic!
Mon, 29th Oct '01, 5:26pm
Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon and Discworld by Terry Pratchett are all good fantasy series. I would go for Wheel of Time. It is clearly one of the best fantasy series after Lord of the Rings and it is a lot of reading in the 9 books currently published.
Mon, 29th Oct '01, 6:33pm
I'd recommend the Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell. It is a retelling of King Arthur's legend through a more historically accurate eye. He just release "The Archer's Tale" which is Robin Hood revisited. I'm picking that up to read on a flight next week.
Another great read is "Fit Bodies, Fat Minds" by Oz Guiness. It is a great overview of many modern/post-modern thought structures.
Another recommendation is Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. Wizard's First Rule, the fist book, is wonderful ... you'll definietely fall in love with the characters!
Mon, 29th Oct '01, 8:22pm
The First and Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson. It's 2 sets of 3 books. I thought it was absolutely one of the best book series' I've ever read. (fantasy based ofcourse)
Tue, 30th Oct '01, 5:37am
A _very_ different sort of fantasy/sci-fi novel. Although it will probably be difficult to find a copy since its out of print.
Tue, 30th Oct '01, 12:48pm
I'm reading the first wheel of time book, and although, and only half way through, i love it.
Please read it
Tue, 30th Oct '01, 5:59pm
Do not read the Wheel of Time series. Do not buy any of the books. Do not even glance upon their dust covers.
We must boycott the Jordan books until he finishes the #$@!$%! series.
Until then, read George R. R. Martin's series (not Wild Cards, the other one).
Tue, 30th Oct '01, 7:38pm
Speaking of George R. R. Martin, I read "Game of Thrones" when it first came out. Very strong stuff. Good story, good characters, very violent (which is why I stopped at the first book). If you like your fantasy bloody, that is a good book.
On the lighter side: The Earthsea trilogy by Ursula K. Leguin
Eddings is ok. It is very derivative of Tolkien and by the time I got halfway throught the Mallorean, the characters had become 2 dimensional. The first series is a fast read though.
Raymond Feists first series is pretty good too. Magician, Silverthorn, Darkness at Sethanon. I didn't read past that.
I genuinely dislike the convention followed by many fantasy writers where they set up the world and then milk it dry. Most of them are not creative enough to make it last.
Tue, 30th Oct '01, 9:04pm
To kick in an open door : Pratchett's Discworld rocks! :roll:
And antoher fantastic fantasy-series : Tad Williams-quartet, which name I forgot :hmm:
But Jack Vance's fantasy definetly ain't bad either. Tschaļ, Big Planet and The Languages of Pao are truly excellent, although they tend to lean closer to SF than fantasy. The Dragon Masters on the other hand is fantasy (with a bit of SF mixed, something unavoidable with Vance) of the highest level.
And if you like those works, you'll absolutely love his Devils Princes (Star King, The Killing Machine, Lens Larque, The Palace of Love and The Book of Dreams).
But perhaps the best in this SF/fantasy genre is Julian Mays The Many-Colored Land.
Wed, 31st Oct '01, 12:38am
I'm reading Terry Pratchet in the Discworld novel series and also this Stockpole guy in the Rogue Squadron series for Star Wars ...
Wed, 31st Oct '01, 12:51am
You have to really be into starfighter combat else you won't enjoy the Rogue Squadron books ;)
Wed, 31st Oct '01, 9:11am
Hmm. The Game of Thrones series is certainly lethal (modeled as it is on real historical civil wars), but I wouldn't say its gory or bloody in style. But if you aren't comfortable with having important, well developed characters die during the story, this is definitely not for you.
Eddings' Belgariad was amusing light reading, but the Mallorean was pure drivel.
Donaldson's first Covenant series is excellent, as was his other series with the mirror mages (forgot the titles). The second Covenant series was interesting, but not really enjoyable.
The first two or three "Wheel of Time" books are very good. Interesting and original use of standard archetypes. However, after about book 3 all forward progress on the storyline ceases. Considering that there are now 7 or 8 books in the series, that's a bit of a problem. Maybe my grandchildren will get to read the conclusion.
Wed, 31st Oct '01, 4:51pm
The Dark Elf Trilogy:D
i just love Homeland:p
Wed, 31st Oct '01, 5:38pm
Vormaerin - Though I haven't yet read The Game of Thrones series, I have to say your other comments are right on the money.
Mordant's Need comprised of Mirror of Her Dreams and A Man Rides Through were the titles you were looking for.
Wed, 31st Oct '01, 6:29pm
Vormaerin my comments about the violence in "Game of Thrones" had nothing to do with popular characters dying. I look at this as realism. Most of the violence in the book is probably quite realistic. Having read a LOT of fantasy over the last 30 years, I can say that the depiction of violence in this book is not typical for fantasy writing. It IS a bloody book when compared to other books like it. I don't know how you can disagree with this statement.
Additionally, I found the (repeated) use of rape to be repugnant.
That said, it is a well told story, with violence that is probably more realistically depicted than it is in other books. However, the use of violence did not enhance my reading experience. It was exploitative (in the case of rape) and gratuitous.
My attitude towards violence changed dramatically between the time the first and second books came out. I have explained this elsewhere on the forum and do not wish to bring it up every time a topic like this is explored.
As I said in my original post, if you like your fantasy bloody, you will like this book. It is as good, if not better, fantasy writing than I have seen in a long time. Martins skills as a writer/storyteller show Eddings, Brooks, McCaffrey, et. al. to be the derivative hacks that they are.
Finally, a SPOILER (for those who want to read the book, you may want to skip this)
There is a scene depicted in the "Game of Thrones" where a woman is saved while being raped on a pile of bodies (from the slaughter of her village)! If this is typical use of violence in fantasy, then I have been reading different books then you.
Edit: incorrect grammar
[This message has been edited by Jack Funk (edited October 31, 2001).]
Wed, 31st Oct '01, 6:45pm
Heh. I guess you haven't read Katherine Kerr's Deverry series then. There is a scene in one of those books (I can't remeber which any longer) where an evil spellcaster slices off the nipple of a woman with his sword in order to cast a spell of control on her, and after having done so, orders her to let his brutish guard have his way with her right there on a steaming refuse heap.
Thu, 1st Nov '01, 3:00am
Well, I have occassionally had the misfortune to encounter books that take a prurient interest in blood, gore, and sexual violence. I don't get that impression from this series. Mr. Martin certainly doesn't glorify violence, like you see in many books, but neither does he sanitize it. Perhaps because I've read as much or more historical material as fantasy, I'm looking at it differently.
Thu, 1st Nov '01, 3:01pm
When you are interested in good stories and also a bit in religion, read the books of Frank E. Peretti. He has some great books, exciting adventures, combined with some religion, for a big part the influence of Angels and Demons... powers we can't see.
Fri, 2nd Nov '01, 7:24pm
I'm about to read "Game of Thrones" so I'll let you know what I think of the sexual/violent themes of the book. I've already dropped Lackey due to her obsession with sex, particularly homosexuality. Jordan annoys me with his constant use of nudity, but I can't drop him. :(
Sat, 3rd Nov '01, 1:13am
This is kind of to second some of the above recommendations, but my suggestions are:
Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time,
David Eddings' Belgariad et al (the prequels are really good as well, but a bit heavy going),
Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness/Piercing the Darkness.
[This message has been edited by Masher (edited November 03, 2001).]
mark, the beneficial shah
Sat, 3rd Nov '01, 4:02am
Thanks pholk. I may also do the only Dostoevsky book i have not done yet. The possed. But i will get to these. It's always a long winter!
Sat, 3rd Nov '01, 7:56am
I don't think anyone can understand Anna Karenina unless they have been married -- I hope they don't require it in an English class! War and Peace gets a bad rap -- it's a *classic* and therefore boring, right? But no! Action-packed, but no raping or nipple slicing.
Really! Why would anyone *want* to read that? I can see how these images of sexual violence might be comforting if you were a sixteen-year-old guy who can't get laid and thus resents this power every woman has over you. The guy at the comic book store was telling me a scene in "Women": the woman who has manipulated the hero until now is bound in chains, and attempts to seduce the hero into untying her -- he rapes her instead. The comic book store guy thought I --and his girlfriend-- should see that that scene was about the hero striking back against mind-control. With whatever weapon was handy.
...OK, but surely you guys know that since we are the sum of our experiences, taking in all this hatred can't be good for you. The more you indulge this vicarious hatred of women, the more you can't relate to the actual women you know, the less likely you are to get laid. Isn't that counterproductive? Read Earthsea or Phillip K Dick instead. Or Jane Austen -- just carrying that one around increases your chances of sex with a real woman an estimated 40%.
mark, the beneficial shah
Sat, 3rd Nov '01, 8:17am
Anna K in my opinion is Tolstoy's take on women and mens relationships. Its ok. I prefer more "action" oriented works, but i am reading it to become a more mentally affluent person.
Yes, the male accumation of hate is always a problem in our relations, but women have the same ability and are also limited by it. There is no imediate solution to the "human limiting condition", we simply have to be aware of what we do. That in itsself we push us back to the Roman heyday of wisdom. (I use Rome as only a apex to western wisdom, Islamic heyday of the tenth century is just as wonderous to look at, as well as the hindus and buddists of the east.)
Sat, 3rd Nov '01, 9:11am
I like "The Devils" (its sometimes translated as "The Possessed") the most of all Dostoyevsky's novels. It doesn't pound on one hapless protagonist quite as much as "The Idiot" or "Crime and Punishment". Plenty of punishment for everyone in that book (and richly deserved, too!!!).
Wed, 7th Nov '01, 2:48pm
Ouch, methylviolet, I'm a sixteen-year-old guy who can't get laid (due to religious issues) and thus resents the power every woman has over me... j/k:). But I am 16 and I think I speak for 16-year-old guy all over the world when I say that by 16, I think men hold the power over women. I do agree that sex scenes in fantasy series or any other genre are pointless. I think it is simply a way to express the writer's suffering for his/her lack of sex. Then again, it IS a 'FANTASY' genre...
Wed, 7th Nov '01, 5:07pm
I agree with your statement:
Why would anyone *want* to read that?
That is my feeling exactly. I think singling out the 16 year old guys is kind of harsh though. Anyone who finds rape entertaining is disturbed IMO.
And RythmicBarbarian, your comment that "men hold the power over women" is interesting but since you don't define "power" I can't agree with you. In many places, men may subjugate women, but this is not what I think of as power, it is weakness. When you have had more experience with women (or one woman, depending on your religious views) you will understand the power that women have. Take the time to learn this, because in a (male/female) relationship, both parties have power and it can be used for mutual gain/satisfaction or (as in many cases) to tear each other apart.
On the topic:
Philip K. Dick (thanks for reminding me Methylviolet) is awesome. Great storytelling with vision.
Thu, 8th Nov '01, 3:56pm
You should really read the Wheel of Time books. The best ever made, even better than Lord of the Rings. PLEASE don't kill me :)
Thu, 8th Nov '01, 5:42pm
How many Wheel of Time books are there?
Thu, 8th Nov '01, 10:34pm
Thu, 8th Nov '01, 11:27pm
Thanks Tal. Is it all one continuing story or is it a series of adventures in a particular universe?
Thu, 8th Nov '01, 11:42pm
It's a continuing story, but the last few books are 1000 pages of just about no plot advancement. I always start a new one expecting to have something resolved this time, but nope, everything's still unresolved.
Fri, 9th Nov '01, 1:34am
going back to the violence/rape in books issue several posts up...
Western society has always amused me for one reason: violence is portrayed (by the media/tv/books/movies, etc) as acceptable, but sex is considered evil. Some TV shows have people die by the dozens, but if they contemplated including sex, they wouldn't be allowed on the air.
a book including scenes of rape was described as repugnant in this thread, and I agree...but don't you think killing is a little worse? If not, why? Just curious, no offense intended.
also, if you want to read some truly violent stories, go get the Hammer's Slammers books by David Drake. with the exception of The Sharp End, they are 60-90% violence.
Fri, 9th Nov '01, 1:34am
im reading the icewind dale trilogy - i figured i might as well find out how this drizzt dourden came into fame
Fri, 9th Nov '01, 1:03pm
I'm on Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy right now.. and spell his name right! Do'Urden
Fri, 9th Nov '01, 4:35pm
Amaster, to attempt to answer your question:
Rape and sex are different. If you don't understand that then maybe you should seek help.
I have no problem with sex in books or on TV. I agree that the US is completely backwards in portraying violence in movies and TV but avoiding/censoring sex. It has never made any sense to me.
As far as killing. I have described my feelings about (and experience with) killing elsewhere on these boards. It is difficult for me to even type about so I don't bring it up frequently.
The difference that I see between killing and raping in a fantasy book that is essentially about war is this: Killing is part of the story, when characters die, the plot evolves. Without it, you won't have a story about a war. Rape (while real and part of many wars) does little (or nothing) to advance the plot, at least in the case of Game of Thrones. It is completely gratuitous/prurient.
When I read a fantasy book about war, I brace myself, expecting there to be killing. I don't expect it to be particularly graphic or vicious. I don't expect to read about rape. Rape can be part of a story and can be used in a way that helps define characters and is not gratuitous. I have read many short stories (especially in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction) where themes of sexual violence are explored. But that is essentially what the story is about. I have no problem with this.
I believe that Martins use of sexual violence in Game of Thrones was gratuitous and in the end made the book less enjoyable.
That is why I brought it up in the first place. I never told anyone not to read the book (it is an excellant story, aside from the wallowing in violence). I just wanted to warn people who wish to read it to be prepared. I wish someone had warned me.
Fri, 9th Nov '01, 5:39pm
Is this Fantasy only books ? :p
If not then at this current moment I am reading the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. 6 books in so far. :)
And I'm going back to reading Anne Rice's vampire series as I just noticed 2 new books , in the series, on sale. ;)
Fri, 9th Nov '01, 5:55pm
Hmm, I just finished it, and it didn't seem any worse than a documentary. I don't recall any explicit rape scenes... most of the mentions were in the wake of war, so although he did nothing to avoid the subject, he didn't dwell on it unrealistically either.
I thought the book was excellent as well. The plot twists at the end are almost Jordanesque. I'll certainly be continuing the series.
Fri, 9th Nov '01, 7:21pm
BTA - do you think that the latest book still ended with not plot progression. The *spoiler* ending was (IMHO) a huge step forward for Rand and his legion of Doom. (trying not to give anything away for people who are in the early books ;) )
Fri, 9th Nov '01, 7:36pm
I don't believe I've read the latest one yet; it's been quite a while, and I only read the paperbacks, not the hardcovers.
Fri, 9th Nov '01, 8:01pm
There is virtually no plot progression in Book Nine for about two thirds of the book. Then the last couple hundred pages make up for everything. :D :grin: :D
Sat, 10th Nov '01, 3:30am
Well, that sounds encouraging, but I think I'll wait until the Book 'the last' is published before wading back in.
Sat, 10th Nov '01, 9:30am
Here you all are, having a nice conversation, and here I come, trying to stir things up again.
RhthymicBarbarian and Jack: That did sound harsh, as if I thought the average sixteen year old guy was into images of rape. I'm just guessing, here -- trying to figure out WHO would dig that kind of thing, and what about it they would like. Because, Barbarian, women hold tremendous power over men -- civilized men -- particularly young ones. And all you do is ask, "do you have that homework assignment?" and touch some sixteen year old guy's shoulder -- and watch him lose his marbles completely. I found it very startling when I developed this strange ability. So you try it again on some other guy to see if it will work -- touch him and ask some banal question -- and damned if the next guy doesn't go to pieces, too. So teenage girls are all running around high on this power rush, and teenage boys start reading about women being raped on a pile of corpses. That's my theory. Eventually they all grow up and marry each other -- then the fun really starts.
Off-topic, sorry. Um, as a child I liked Anne McCaffrey.
Sat, 10th Nov '01, 7:55pm
Let me tell you that I "dig that kind of thing", though not having read Game of Thrones I can't say for that book in particular. But it's not just "women being raped on a pile of corpses"; what I like to see are the evil people doing their evil things and looking forward with anticipation to the time when they get what they deserve at the hands of the heros. The more outrage I feel at what they've done, the greater the anticipation to see what the author has in store for them, and the more fun I have with the novel.
My favorite novels are not necessarily those that portray a lot of violence, sexual or otherwise, but the ones that raise emotions in me as I read them. For example, Dennis McKiernan is one of my favorite authors because the main characters, the one's you've been following and growing to like through the story often meet with tragedy even in their triumph. At the end of the Iron Tower, Tuck is instrumental in defeating the coming evil, yet is blinded during the struggle, and lost his best friend along the way. At the end of the Silver Call, the dwarves wrest victory from defeat by solving the puzzle of the silver horn, but many are lost including some of the main characters, and the dwarves believe that they will never recover from the loss of so many men and warriors. Simply wonderful and emotional stuff.
Sat, 10th Nov '01, 8:24pm
Thank you, Blackthorne -- I agree completely. That is what all good fiction does -- invests the reader in the struggles of the heroes and makes you care about the outcome. The books that you described sound very much like He-Who-is-Excepted-from-This-Forum in that way. I guess I am more personally invested when I am not horrified. I find it distracts me from the story altogether when a visceral reaction is pulled from me; I feel manipulated by the author, and I ask myself to what end. I could tell you a story that would hit you between the eyes, without any artistry or human truth -- if I hit your buttons with gruesome imagery.
Some artists create, some destroy.
Sat, 10th Nov '01, 11:57pm
Jack, I apologize. I didn't articulate my thoughts very clearly (that always happens to me on the web-which is why I typically don't post very often) I am very aware there is a incredibly large difference between sex and rape. My first paragraph sort of rambled, but I was NOT equating rape with sex. Sorry if it sounded that way.
Your reasons for disliking rape more than violence (in stories) are well thought-out, and I respect them. Honestly, I pretty much feel the same way, but I was curious about your reasons.