Werthead

The Longest SF & Fantasy Novels of All Time

37 posts in this topic

Only The Stand for me in the top ten.  In series I'm up to date with all Malazan aside from the novellas.  Finished Caine, Covenant, and the Solar Cycle, and will finish Ice and Fire of course.  

Generally, though, I'm rather burned out on really long novels and series.  I wish there were more one and done epic fantasy works.   

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18 hours ago, Werthead said:

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!"

Most of the big whoppers are published in two volumes. English Fantasy (both US and UK) is extremely popular here; there are more translations than original German novels. And a considerable number of Germans read that stuff in the original English, myself included.

I've had more than one discussion about Martin, Abercrombie and Erikson in the bus I take for my commute (which is full of students of the natural sciences who obviously have a soft spot for stories that defy the laws of nature :) ).

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1 hour ago, Jo498 said:

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.

Oh yes, Karl May. I remember serial novels like Die Herren von Geifenklau (the family is actually named Königsau in the unabridged original version) or Das Waldröschen running to 7 or 8 volumes of tiny print. Longer even than the Orient cycle. 

Well, you get Dumas in France and Sir Walter Scott in England, though the quality of their novels is a bit higher than May's early Kolportageromane. And none of them has written a single book or a serial novel encompassing 8 volumes. Dumas Musketeer series (Les Trois Mousquetaieres / Vingt ans après / Le vicomte de Bragelonne) may come closest.  

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This will be fun.I do most of my reading in ebook form,so i've got a lot of SFF ebooks that i can go through and check word count and page stats.:)

For my purpose,i'm using the Count Pages plugin in Calibre.

First up is Michelle West's Sun Sword series:

Count Page/Word Statistics - total word count = 1690272 words (total 6 books)

Breakup of each book:

Quote

Sun Sword #1 - The Broken Crown
    Found 269816 words
    Found 962 pages

    Estimated accurate page count
      Lines: 29836  Divs: 97  Paras: 8904
      Accurate count: 962  Fast count: 730
    Page count: 962
    Word count using icu_wordcount - trying to count_words
    Word count - used count_words: 269816
    Word count: 269816

 

Sun Sword #2 - The Uncrowned King
    Found 255813 words
    Found 948 pages

    Estimated accurate page count
      Lines: 29388  Divs: 91  Paras: 9535
      Accurate count: 948  Fast count: 707
    Page count: 948
    Word count using icu_wordcount - trying to count_words
    Word count - used count_words: 255813
    Word count: 255813

Sun Sword #3 - The Shining Court
    Found 276780 words
    Found 1031 pages

    Estimated accurate page count
      Lines: 31990  Divs: 93  Paras: 10469
      Accurate count: 1031  Fast count: 769
    Page count: 1031
    Word count using icu_wordcount - trying to count_words
    Word count - used count_words: 276780
    Word count: 276780


Sun Sword #4 - Sea of Sorrows
    Found 282602 words
    Found 1084 pages

    Estimated accurate page count
      Lines: 33618  Divs: 95  Paras: 11697
      Accurate count: 1084  Fast count: 795
    Page count: 1084
    Word count using icu_wordcount - trying to count_words
    Word count - used count_words: 282602
    Word count: 282602


Sun Sword #5 - The Riven Shield
    Found 248121 words
    Found 976 pages

Estimated accurate page count
      Lines: 30285  Divs: 80  Paras: 11018
      Accurate count: 976  Fast count: 706
    Page count: 976
    Word count using icu_wordcount - trying to count_words
    Word count - used count_words: 248121
    Word count: 248121

 

Sun Sword #6 - The Sun Sword
    Found 357140 words
    Found 1458 pages

    Estimated accurate page count
      Lines: 45223  Divs: 101  Paras: 17596
      Accurate count: 1458  Fast count: 1030
    Page count: 1458
    Word count using icu_wordcount - trying to count_words
    Word count - used count_words: 357140
    Word count: 357140

 

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I suspected that there were writers that are today mostly forgotten, not well known ones like Scott or Dumas, with long novels, maybe in magazines over many years.

According to wikipedia the original version of the Königsau/Greifenklau story "Die Liebe des Ulanen" seems actually the shortest of the Kolportageromane with "only about 1700 pages. I don't know how this page count that probably refers to the original printing in weekly "Hefte" or a magazine compares to the printed edition. And the later editions were often heavily abrigded and rewritten but "Das Waldröschen" still takes 5 volumes in the Bamberg edition. Wikipedia gives 2400-2600 pages for these novels. The orient cycle must be around 2000 and I'd guess that the "Satan & Ischariot" trilogy and the "Im Reiche des Silbernen Löwen" tetralogy (although it is a stretch to call the latte one novel) must be aour 1500.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Mays_Kolportageromane

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9 minutes ago, Jo498 said:

I suspected that there were writers that are today mostly forgotten, not well known ones like Scott or Dumas, with long novels, maybe in magazines over many years.

I'm sure there are, but I haven't found any, which is a pity since I like to read some cheesy love and adventure stuff now and then. :)

I should try to find out how many words those Mediaeval compilations like the Karlamagnús saga or the Prose Lancelot have - those are usually reprinted in several hefty volumes. But while I've written my MA thesis about the first and own a fine edition, I don't know the wordcount. 

 

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Thanks for this list, Wert. It was fun to read. I look forward to revisions, as several authors finish their series.

Edited to add: I have the Advance Reader Copy for The Witchwood Crown, and it is 347,000 words. That makes it his fourth-longest novel.

 

 

Edited by Jiriki

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Stats for Sword of Shadows series by J.V. Jones.

 Total words = 945047 (4 books so far,series incomplete)

Breakup of each book:

Quote

A Cavern Of Black Ice (Book 1)
    Found 925 pages
    Found 293023 words

    Estimated accurate page count
      Lines: 28700  Divs: 5883  Paras: 65
      Accurate count: 925  Fast count: 759
    Page count: 925
    Word count using icu_wordcount - trying to count_words
    Word count - used count_words: 293023
    Word count: 293023
-------------------------------
 A Fortress of Grey Ice (Book 2)
    Found 751 pages
    Found 235151 words

    Estimated accurate page count
      Lines: 23294  Divs: 60  Paras: 4934
      Accurate count: 751  Fast count: 618
    Page count: 751
    Word count using icu_wordcount - trying to count_words
    Word count - used count_words: 235151
    Word count: 235151

-------------------------------
 A Sword from Red Ice (Book 3)
    Found 820 pages
    Found 259502 words

    Estimated accurate page count
      Lines: 25420  Divs: 5031  Paras: 60
      Accurate count: 820  Fast count: 675
    Page count: 820
    Word count using icu_wordcount - trying to count_words
    Word count - used count_words: 259502
    Word count: 259502

-------------------------------
Watcher Of The Dead (Book 4)
    Found 537 pages
    Found 157371 words

    Estimated accurate page count
      Lines: 16677  Divs: 4253  Paras: 49
      Accurate count: 537  Fast count: 427
    Page count: 537
    Word count using icu_wordcount - trying to count_words
    Word count - used count_words: 157371
    Word count: 157371

 

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You could also argue the Sun Sword series is part of a longer sequence with the preceding duology and the still unfinished House War books, making that thing even longer. o.O

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8 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

You could also argue the Sun Sword series is part of a longer sequence with the preceding duology and the still unfinished House War books, making that thing even longer. o.O

Oh definitely,all part of the Essalieyan universe.I just was not sure if adding those would be sort of cheating or not.

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Brent Weeks - The Broken Eye (Lightbringer #3)

    Page count: 1077
    Word count: 303,184

-------------------------------


Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars (series completed):
7 books.
total words= 1,853,627
3 books with word count above 300,000
longest book: The Gathering Storm (#5) with 351,730 word count.
-------------------------------
 1 (King's Dragon)

    Found 674 pages
    Word count: 205150
-------------------------------
 2 (Prince of Dogs)

    Page count: 721
    Word count: 219378

-------------------------------
 3 (The Burning Stone)
    Page count: 1031
    Word count: 316706
-------------------------------
 4 (Child of Flame)
  
    Page count: 1151
    Word count: 349751
-------------------------------
 5 (The Gathering Storm)
    
    Page count: 1198
    Word count: 351730
-------------------------------
 6 (In the Ruins)
    
    Page count: 713
    Word count: 199650
-------------------------------
 7 (Crown of Stars)
    
    Page count: 738
    Word count: 211262

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What, no mention of Henry Darger? The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion doesn't have an accurate word count as far as I know, but it's over 15,000 single spaced typewritten pages long.

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Posted (edited)

Interesting list. The uncut edition of The Stand rox, I'm definitely glad I finally read that version. And Atlas Shrugged is deff dystopian sci-fi, because it refers to a future version of society; but it is couched in a lot of political commentary and satire.

Edited by Richard Writhen

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Atlas Shrugged is satire??

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Battlefield Earth  L Ron Hubbard.  Science fiction novel  at 1050 pages .

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