Werthead

The Longest SF & Fantasy Novels of All Time

37 posts in this topic

Listage.

Some of the books on here are surprising. Lord of the Rings does not crack the Top 10 and none of the WoT or Malazan novels make the Top 20. On the other hand, Diana Gabaldon has multiple books in the listing (four books over 400,000 words!). There is also the surprise of how relatively short the Riftwar and Shannara series are overall compared to WoT, despite having twice as many books (I didn't count it but Discworld reportedly has less of a word count than WoT, despite having 41 novels to 15). There's a lot of short books in those series.

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Not sure why Diana Gabaldon  would be listed on a SFF list, but that's a different argument.

 

I assume when you say Green Angel Tower isn't available in one volume in paperback you mean mass market? Cause I know there are one volume trade versions.

 

Edit: Man, that is so true about how page count means nothing. Just looking at my shelf at lot of th elongest books in some of those series look like the shortest.

Edited by Darth Richard II

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Time travel and the assorted moral/ethical dilemmas.

I agree it's a little bit iffy because the time travel is really a brief plot device before the plot kicks in. But the series is widely accepted as SFF because of the element, so fine. Arguably Cryptonomicon isn't SF at all really. The only SF thing in it is Enoch Root, who appears to be immortal, and that's not clear until you read The Baroque Cycle (and even then that's casually dropped in like in one line somewhere).

But these books are classified or widely accepted as SFF, so so be it.

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Oooo, love that illustration of Moon's Spawn. Is that the Siege of Pale?

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10 hours ago, Astromech said:

Oooo, love that illustration of Moon's Spawn. Is that the Siege of Pale?

I'm not sure. I think so.

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The only one of the top 10 I read it "To Green Angel Tower". It's been 20 years ago but it was too long, I think.

Among 11-20 I read LotR, SoS, DwD and Cryptonomicon. The last one is certainly on the longish side but did not feel overlong. The problem with DwD is not the length.

Of the long ones in this general list:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_novels

I read Les Miserables and War and Peace

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2 hours ago, Jo498 said:

The only one of the top 10 I read it "To Green Angel Tower". It's been 20 years ago but it was too long, I think.

Among 11-20 I read LotR, SoS, DwD and Cryptonomicon. The last one is certainly on the longish side but did not feel overlong. The problem with DwD is not the length.

Of the long ones in this general list:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_novels

I read Les Miserables and War and Peace

That's a weird list. I don't remember Clarissa or Zettels Traum  to be overly long (luckily, because esp. the first was boring), and if we count books published in more than one volume, Thomas Mann's Joseph und seine Brüder should be on the list.

Other than those I've read War and Peace (like five times), À la recherche du temps perdus, Les MisérablesCharles Grandison and To Green Angel Tower (more than once).

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I've read King's It like...a lot. Like I know longer remember how many times a lot. I've read Green Angel Tower at least 3 times.

I had no idea WMF was actually that long. I wonder how much of it is gratuitous ninja sex.

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18 minutes ago, Gabriele said:

That's a weird list. I don't remember Clarissa or Zettels Traum  to be overly long (luckily, because esp. the first was boring), and if we count books published in more than one volume, Thomas Mann's Joseph und seine Brüder should be on the list.

Other than those I've read War and Peace (like five times), À la recherche du temps perdus, Les MisérablesCharles Grandison and To Green Angel Tower (more than once).

Clarissa is available in numerous multi-volume and abridged versions (sometimes not listed as such). Full, unabridged and one-volume editions (900,000 words!) are available but they are absolutely titanic and not very portable.

For a book almost twice the length of War and Peace, sweet fuck all happens in it, it has to be said.

 

Quote

 

I had no idea WMF was actually that long. I wonder how much of it is gratuitous ninja sex.

 

Far more consists of Kvothe sitting at his desk trying to balance his student finances. Occasionally he sits back and goes, "Fuck", sighs, and then goes back to it.

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29 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Clarissa is available in numerous multi-volume and abridged versions (sometimes not listed as such). Full, unabridged and one-volume editions (900,000 words!) are available but they are absolutely titanic and not very portable.

For a book almost twice the length of War and Peace, sweet fuck all happens in it, it has to be said.

I likely got an abridged version then. Luckily. :P That book gives boring a new dimension.

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Just to note: the slipcase edition of Jerusalem is three volumes. At least the one I have is.

 

15 hours ago, Astromech said:

Oooo, love that illustration of Moon's Spawn. Is that the Siege of Pale?

 


If you type 'Moon's Spawn' into Google Image you get a whole row of awesome illustrations. It's obviously one that people enjoy drawing/painting... That one's nice although I did always imagine a lot more rock and a lot less (visible) city.

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Yeah, there are other illustrations of Moon's Spawn that correspond more with my own imagining of it. I love the foreground on that illustration on the Wertzone.

This thread reminds me I have some hefty tomes from Russian authors to tackle.

 

 

Edited by Astromech

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Oh yes, them Russians, they like their books big. :)

Which reminds me, I could do a reread of Dostojevsky's Demons when I'm done with Thomas Mann's Joseph und seine Brüder. Though I'll probably sneak Blood upon the Sand and The Bear and the Serpent (now there's a huge font and half a metre margins for you; that book can't be more than 100something K words ;) ) in between. 

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Isn't there a rule of thumb that books gain 20% in length when they're translated into German? When an author publishers a long book, someone should cry to them, "Please! Think of the Germans!"

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You have to distinguish word count and book length. A book should go down in word count (because of composites) when translated from English into German but it might become longer because the words are longer. In any case word count is not very precise. How many words are "s'il vous plait"? 3 or 4, translate it into English or German and it becomes one word...

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

Clarissa is available in numerous multi-volume and abridged versions (sometimes not listed as such). Full, unabridged and one-volume editions (900,000 words!) are available but they are absolutely titanic and not very portable.

For a book almost twice the length of War and Peace, sweet fuck all happens in it, it has to be said.

 

Far more consists of Kvothe sitting at his desk trying to balance his student finances. Occasionally he sits back and goes, "Fuck", sighs, and then goes back to it.

I wonder if this was Rothfuss putting himself writing the novel into the novel? 

Some interesting and surprising figures there. I'd be interested in seeing data for a few other fantasy series actually, which spring to mind as being a bit long.

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I remember reading Ash by Mary Gentle and the five book Monarchies of God series by Paul Kearney at about the same time.  After finishing them I realized that Ash was actually the longer of the two.  Put an amused smile on my face.

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Of the top ten, I've read To Green Angel Tower (which I honestly think of as two books anyway, since I read it in paperback), and The Stand. Of the next ten, I've read The Lord of the Rings, It, A Storm of Swords, A Dance with Dragons, and The Wise Man's Fear.

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19 hours ago, Gabriele said:

ing), and if we count books published in more than one volume, Thomas Mann's Joseph und seine Brüder should be on the list.

It is mentioned at the end of the article, just not in the table. I guess people were too lazy to figure out the rough page/word count of the 4 volumes together (it says about 1500 pages altogether). As there were other books in several volumes on the list, this should count. I am actually quite sure that the list is not comprehensive. Especially if one counts multivolume lowbrow stuff, there must be dozens of candidates not mentioned in the list. E.g. of Karl May's Kolportageromane 4 are over 2000 pages (in the original format?) and the main Orient cycle with 6 volumes must be >2000 pages as well (the standard edition is closer to 3000 pages). And I am quite sure there must be similar stuff in French and English from the 19th and early 20th century.

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