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Fantasy and SF Recommendations: Series


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135 replies to this topic

#21 Misanthrope

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 03:34 PM

The Acacia Trilogy by David Anthony Durham. A lushly detailed gritty world with rich, multi-dimensional characters, and a tight narrative focus despite the scale of events. This is the best fantasy series I have read in a long time.

#22 LordBloodravenI

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 11:00 PM

Nobody's posted The Kingkiller Chronicle yet? It's an unfinished series with two books out: The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear. The author is Patrick Rothfuss. I'm actually of the opinion that the Kingkiller chronicle is better than ASOIAF. I also second the First Law reccomendation, it's an amazing series.
Some lesser known good fantasy series:
The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett
So far has two books, The Warded Man and The Desert Spear. Is based around a fntasy society that is constantly harried by demons, and three youths decide to fight back. ( I know it sounds a bit cliche, but I assure you it's not.)
The Corvis Rebaine series by Ari Marmell
Also two books, The Conqueror's Shadow and The Warlord's Legacy. It's a dark fantasy about a tyrannical warlord attempting to redeem himself on his old age. A ver good read.

The Malazan Book of the Fallen and Prince of Nothing series are also very good, but hard to get into.

As for SciFi, I'd recommend Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card. Both classics in the Sf genre.

#23 nickg

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:44 AM

Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn by Tad Williams. Well written, epic fantasy. Pretty much a must read imo. Character building is a plus, here, as is the story itself. Inspired GRRM. Be warned, the pace is slower than some are accustomed to, but its well worth it.

Otherland another series by Tad Williams. Cyberpunk this time though, and four books total. Similar pacing issues, though imo its not really a big issue. Well written, great story, characters, and prose.

Chronicles of The Dread Empire by Glen Cook. Written before The Black Company in Cook's distinct style. Gritty epic fantasy. Has great battles, some political intrigue, romance, and adventure. Sadly not as widely read as they deserve. Just freaking read it, Glen Cook is awesome.

The Gap Cycle by Stephen R Donaldson. A retelling, or an interpretation of Wagner's Ring Cycle. Its the same dude that wrote The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, except now we're in space, so you can expect it to be well written and have above average characterization ( they are somewhat unsympathetic ) in a bleak setting. Gets better after the first book.

Edited by nickg, 04 August 2011 - 05:01 AM.


#24 pfitz

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 02:48 PM

I agree with a lot of what has gone especially my current non Martin favourite Joe Abercrombie but one series I enjoyed which hasn't been mentioned is
The Deverry Series by Katharine Kerr
This is quite an original series spanning several generations in which a Celtic society is mixed in with ideas of Karma and reincarnation and an interesting system of magic. There are actually 4 series in the overall story The Deverry, Westlands, Dragon Mage & Silver Wyrm
/hat.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':hat:' />

#25 Hot Pie Targaryen

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 03:57 PM

Elizabeth Haydon, Symphony of Ages. Has complex characters and is extremely graphic. Starts out like a bad romance novel but redeems itself quickly. Achmed the Snake is certainly one of the best characters in fantasy. Unfortunately unfinished to date.

#26 Hot Pie Targaryen

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:18 PM

Also I see a previous poster mentioned Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, which in my mind is one of the great works of 20th century literature in any genre. GRRM is a fan, and in the Homages and References thread, I've listed some references I think are obvious.
The Dune series is probably the closest analogue to ASOIAF in sci-fi. Dan Simmons' Hyperion books are also among the best things I've ever read.

#27 Valkyrie

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:32 PM

I was hoping to find a topic related to the NPR compilation of the 100 best fantasy and science fiction books of all time. The list of 100 is now up, and readers can vote for their favorite ten. I would be interested to know the criteria people are applying to make their choices and what they felt should be on the list, but was omitted. Since this topic is for recommending series, let me suggest a neglected series from the 1980s which I was completely entranced by at the time. The writer is Somtow Sucharitkul (now known as S. P. Somtow); the first book was Light on the Sound; I think the series title was Inquestor. I know that these paperbacks exist at the bottom of some carton or other, and I simply must dig them out and read them again. There are images that have stayed with me for over twenty years--the child soldiers with embedded lasers in their eyes, for one.

#28 arakis

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 10:45 AM

SCI Fi
Frank Herbert - DUNE
Feudal societies in space, lots of scheaming cunning characters, trying to out smart each other, in a bid to control the most valuble comodity in the universe, the SPICE found on only one planet Arrakis aka DUNE, witch is a desert planed swarming with giant worms. Messianic prophecis and failed Messiahs, much discurse on Religion, Society and Ecology. Inteligently writen with lots of flawed characters. One of the Best SCI FI books and series of all time. the series gets better and better with each book. BTW did I mention that most of the fighting is done by swords, since lasers and shields create a A-BOMB like effect on bouth parties. so everyone wears shields and the only way to hurt them is by a slow moving sharp objects.

...word of addviece dont even look at the books writen by his son...

also I can recomend any book written by Frank Herbert as I have read them all and they are all good.MHO offcourse

P.S. sorry if my spelling is not the best.

Edited by arakis, 09 August 2011 - 10:47 AM.


#29 NymeriaNightwolf

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 09:21 PM

This is my very first time posting, but I'm wondering why no one has mentioned two of my favorite series.

Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel Trilogy is my favorite ever, as is the following trilogy (all 6 books are fairly chronological and have Kushiel's ____(something) in the title). The story lines are at times dark and hugely uplifting, and it's choc full of some gritty battle and sex scenes, and there's a lot of Machivellian politicking that I think ASOIAF fans would really appreciate. The characters are great, and relatable. I know some people tend to be bothered by the fact that Carey's style can be VERY descriptive and occasionally redundant--this doesn't bother me, because she writes so beautifully.

Also, Juliet Mariller's Sevenwater's trilogy is also really fantastic, IMHO. It's a really good take on traditional Irish mythology, and the characters are very realistic and multi-dimensional.

#30 Bloody Ryder

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 04:23 AM

Some classic Fantasy, they tend to be forgotten because they're so obvious (I'll skip ASOIAF by GRRM, though):

  • JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (and the Hobbit, Silmarillion, unfinished tales...): Is there a need to present Tolkien? Even if he didn't invent Fantasy, he shaped it in the form we know now. Reading Fantasy without having read some of his work is unfathomable.
  • Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time: Without Jordan, there would be no Song of Ice and fire. I don't actually like the series, but it's one pillar of modern Fantasy, with millions of fans throughout the world, so a Fantasy fan has to check it out someday, better sooner than later.
  • Ann McCaffrey, PERN: A long series of almost stand-alone books, about dragon riders protecting a world from lethal rains of parasites. Actually focuses more on personal interactions and politics. And romance. I loved the harper hall trilogy when I was young, because of the musician Mary Sue. In the history of the genre, the first books at least, even if they have many haters.
  • Fritz Leiber, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser : To know what pulp actually meant. Short stories, but a remarkably enduring worldbuilding and hero duo.
  • Gene Wolfe, The Book of the New Sun: A strange journey in an old world. Wolfe manages to make feel alien things that should not, and his highly unreliable narrator doesn't arrange things.
  • JK Rowlings, Harry Potter: As basic as you can get, it actually kickstarted interest in Fantasy for a lot of people (didn't it?). Even if you feel that it is a bit simplistic and childish, it's worth looking at even if it's just to know what other people are talking about.
  • Michael Moorcock, The Eternal Champion: Anti-Tolkien wannabe perhaps, but his multiverse exploration is nice and original for the time, and he's really as seminal as a Leiber. Stormbringer must be the best known sword next to Excalibur.
  • Roger Zelazny, Amber: Sibling gods battling it out for the mastery over the root of the universe. Multiple dimensions, magic, armies, and one grizzled protagonist. Zelazny was GRRM's mentor.
  • Robin Hobb, the Farseer, Liveship Traders, Tawny Man trilogies: Actually part, more or less, of one single story. A long-winded (too much for some) character-driven story, with protagonists some don't hesitate to qualify as "whiny". Still a good yarn for all that, and a genre classic.
  • Stephen Donadson, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the unbeliever: In a nutshell: "Asshole leper hero". It's Donaldson's thing.


Thank you for posting The Lord of the Rings--everyone's at least heard of that one, I'm sure, but it's just good manners to include it in any list of Best Fantasy Books Ever.

Speaking of LOTR, I'd like to add William Morris's The Well at the World's End 1 & 2. First published in 1896, it served as a source of inspiration for Tolkien. Medieval-type language, classic quest narrative, heroes and adventures galore. A breath of fresh air, even more than 100 years after its first publication.

Also recommended:
-Tolkien's Inkling buddy C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia
-Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow, Thorn series (GRRM got the idea for writing ASoIaF after reading this one)
-Paul Kearney's The Monarchies of God series (Steven Erikson, author of The Malazan Book of the Fallen series, cites it to be one of the best fantasy series he's read in years)
Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea books

I've also heard good things about Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising books.

#31 bw-

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 12:37 AM

Neal Asher's polity books...

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Neal_Asher

Start with Gridlinked or (maybe a better starting spot even though it was written later) The Skinner.


Awesome stories, unique characters, tons of violence!

Edited by bw-, 15 August 2011 - 12:38 AM.


#32 noshowjones

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 11:21 AM

I really liked the Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. It's sometimes a little difficult to read because there are a lot of made up words in the text that aren't really defined. It is left to the reader to figure out what the word is based on context... A challenge, but a challenge that I enjoy.

The Prince of Nothing and Aspect Emperor by R. Scott Bakker. This is by far my favorite series. I think the depth of his world surpasses anything I have read and his prose is second to none.

The Change novels by S.M. Stirling. I read the first book in this series and will get around to reading the rest. Stirling is a great story teller. His writing seems a little cliched sometimes and there are some discrepancies about the main character being a Marine that really drive me nuts (being a former Marine myself) but the whole concept of the series is really interesting.

The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. Awesome series. Great characters, great story. It is sometimes a little tame for my taste (SPOILER the main characters don't sleep in the same room until after they are married END SPOILER) but the action sequences are well done and his concepts are truly original.

A series I read back in the 90's but loved back then was the Deathgate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. A good series with a good anti-hero. Oddly, I read the entire series except for book 3.

NONRECS:

I recently tried reading Wraeththu by Storm Constantine. This is a compilation of three previously published books, and it reads like bad gay porn. I've no problem with gay characters, but it was handled with a heavy and obvious hand. I couldn't go past page 50.

Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. A lot of people love this book. I can't get into it. I'm automatically turned off by the fact that the character has to explain how his name is pronounced "My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as 'Quothe.'" If you listened to someone read said statement (as opposed to reading it silently) it would sound just like "My name is Quothe, pronounced nearly the same as Quothe." It makes zero sense as a statement made by a character...I read something similar in a Margaret Weis/Don Perrin book about the cyborg Xris. It's a real pet peeve of mine.

I also don't much care for Peter V. Brett's writing. It seems remedial... like something for teens. That being said, he has two books published and I have none:)

#33 Patchface12

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 06:35 PM

I can't believe no one's mention Monarchies of God by Paul Kearny.

Interesting, if not brief gunpowder fantasy based off of 15th century Europe. It has a good ending, even if it seems a little rushed.

If u don't want to take my word for it, I was recommended this series by Ran/Adam Whitehead.

#34 Seajay vas Godspeed

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 08:02 AM

The Runelords by David Farland- One of my co-workers saw me reading something by R.A. Salvatore and said oh you like fantasy? Do I have a book for you! He brought in the book the next day and the cover looked eh'(I'm ashamed to say that I enjoy really nice cover art) but I read it anyways and couldn't put it down. The entire series is amazing now going on it's 9th and final book. The concepts in the book are wildly unique and takes place in multiple point of views similar to ASOIAF series.

#35 Grack21

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 08:08 PM

Ahem. Apologies for that. Bit of a knee jerk reaction there.

I do not recommend The Runelords. To anyone. It has one of the most godawful, horrifying magic systems ever seen, yet no one in the book seems to notice, calling the characters two dimensional is an insult to that dimension, and it reads like a 12 year old D&D fanfic, complete with giant spiders.

i WILL recommend Mark Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns, which I found to be a very compelling revenge tale in the Glen Cook mold, although it is very dark and people who need to identify with a character to enjoy a book probably will be turned off. Bakker readers shouldn't have a problem though.

#36 peterbound

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 11:28 PM

Ahem. Apologies for that. Bit of a knee jerk reaction there.

I do not recommend The Runelords. To anyone. It has one of the most godawful, horrifying magic systems ever seen, yet no one in the book seems to notice, calling the characters two dimensional is an insult to that dimension, and it reads like a 12 year old D&D fanfic, complete with giant spiders.

i WILL recommend Mark Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns, which I found to be a very compelling revenge tale in the Glen Cook mold, although it is very dark and people who need to identify with a character to enjoy a book probably will be turned off. Bakker readers shouldn't have a problem though.



I thought you /liked/ 12 year old D&D fanfic?

Seriously though, Runelords is a poorly written piece of work. I wouldn't recommend it either.


I would like to jump on the READ KEARNEY bandwagon though..... go do it... now!!

Edited by peterbound, 23 August 2011 - 11:28 PM.


#37 saucyjak

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 03:04 PM

My 1st Post.

Ive been on a search for books to tie me over until GRRM releases his next installment. Acacia is the best Ive found yet.

I just cannot say enough about Acacia and The Other Lands. Id rank these books just under ASOIF. The great thing is that the final installment "The Sacred Band" is due to be released on Oct 4th.

Certainly there are gaps in the plot etc. But to me, it was a page turner and sucked me in fairly quickly. The world is a memorable one and it reads well. Also after being a bit dissapinted with the plot moving foward in ADWD, there is no problem with the way this series moves the story foward.

In the last 6 months Ive read all of ASOIF, The Kingkiller Chronicle (2 books so far) and Acacia. They are all different, yet I inhaled all 3 series.

I also must reccomend the entire "The Lost Fleet " series (more military SciFi)

To add, I just cannot seem to get into "The Lies of Locke Lamora" for some reason.

Next up for me is The Farseer Trilogy. I am a longtime Sci Fi reader. The Game of Thrones Television series sucked me into the world of Fantasy. Now I cannot get enough.

Edited by saucyjak, 29 August 2011 - 03:12 PM.


#38 Paul K Choate

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 08:03 PM

I really enjoyed all of the Harry Turtledove series.

He seems to pack a lot of detail into each page,the books might seem dry to some people,there sure is a lot going on.
I got more out of them the second time around though.

I liked the Change novels by S.M. Sterling as well.
Anyone who likes ASOIF should enjoy them.
The series shows the effects on the planet—a world Nantucket left—of something called "The Change". Electricity, guns, explosives, internal combustion engines, and steam power no longer work. The series mostly deals with the Willamette Valley area of Oregon, with some description of the United Kingdom. After describing how people in those places survive the loss of 600 years of technological progress, the primary focus of this series turns to a conflict between a Portland-based neo-feudal dictatorship created by a sociopathic history professor, and the free communities of the Willamette Valley, most notably the Wiccan Clan Mackenzie and a group led by a former Marine, the Bearkillers.

#39 Bunyon Knight

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 12:47 PM

Sci Fi: Peter F. Hamilton quickly became my favorite sci fi author, if not my favorite author altogether. The first book I read by him is called "The Fallen Dragon." After that read I decided that I have to read everything he wrote and didn't touch another author until I was done with all his work.

It lead me to his absolute masterpiece: "The Nights Dawn Trilogy" consisting of "The Reality Dysfunction," "The Neutronium Alchemist," and "The Naked God"

The above trilogy is an epic space opera that tops out at nearly 4000 pages. It contains a ton of main characters with different story arcs that come together towards the end. A kick ass main character and a villain that makes your skin crawl. Now the author does use a lot of physics to explain how things work in space and at certain points I was like "I'll take your word for it Pete"

But he is incredible at creating worlds, creating species(there's one chapter in the book that details an entire evolutionary cycle of a particular species, and not just from them being bacteria that grew up, the guy starts with the formation of the Solar System of that species and how it facilitated the creation of those organisms over millions of years, very detailed).

I love all his books in general and like I said, he's my favorite author, but The Night's Dawn trilogy is his best work(although fans of the Commonwealth Universe books might disagree and they wouldn't be wrong, I love that compilation too)

#40 georgie b

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 08:28 AM

Katherine Kerr's Deverry series epic high fantasy with a nod to Tolkien in it's scope.

Dune, Frank Herbert, althouhj I have to admit to enjoying the prequal series by his son more than the later books in the sreies apart from Dune itself.

really love the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, they will never be epic fantasy but they are great fun.

lastly three people who make me proud to be British:

Tolkien, need I say more

J.K Rowling, if she never writes another word she has earned her place among the greats.

Sir Terry Pratchett, one of my greatest heros of all time I love the Discworld books, I think you need to be a fantasy fan to truely understand how he turns it's tropes on their head but I would reccommend his books to anyone. Granny Weatherwax alone is one of the best characters ever written although Veternari give her a run for her money!