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Fantasy Authors

So, I got an email from my mother.

She's been going to physiotherapy lately (she's getting old and a number of bits are broken so needs to work at keeping things moving) and discovered her physiotherapist is a fan of fantasy and the Lord of the Rings. Both my brother and I are avid readers of Sci-Fi and fantasy so Mum sent us an email asking for our favourite fantasy authors so she could pass on the recommendations.

I don't tend to do things like this by halves, so came up with quite a list just from the things I have sitting on my shelves. After putting this much into it, I figured it was a shame to send it off to Mum and leave it at that, so here is the list (in no apparent order) for your pleasure.

Robert Jordan - If she likes Lord of the Rings, then she will probably like the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. It's a huge series covering 14 books, plus a prequel novel and other stuff. Robert Jordan died in 2007 before finishing the series, but he knew he was probably not going to live to the end of the series so left extensive notes and the series was completed by another fantasy author and long time Wheel of Time fan Brandon Sanderson. Because of the sheer amount of stuff going in in the books, some of the middle books can feel like nothing is actually happening, but it all comes together brilliantly at the end.
Brandon Sanderson - On his own Brandon Sanderson has written the Mistborn series and a number of other stand alone books. His magic system in the Mistborn series is fascinating, and the books are a really good read.
David Eddings - Unfortunately passed away, the series' by David Eddings (and in the later period, both him and his wife Leigh Eddings got writing credit) are my go to when I need light escapism fantasy. I have read all the books I have of his so many times that some of them are almost falling apart. I consider his work the fantasy equivalent of the trashy romance novel. :) The Belgariad and the Malorean are two series' of 5 books each set in the same world and go one after the other. Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress are two other books set in that same world detailing the times before the two series' but best read afterwards. The Elenium and the Tamuli are two other series' (three books each) set in a different world from the others and again go one after the other.
Raymond E Feist - Raymond E Feist's work started off as light fantasy but evolved over time to a massively detailed and intricate world. The main story starts with The Riftwar Saga (MagicianSilverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon), and continues onward from there to a total of about 20 books. He's also worked with Janny Wurts on the Empire Trilogy (Daughter of the EmpireServant of the EmpireMistress of the Empire) which takes place around the same time as the other three books and details the other side of the conflict. I recommend reading The Riftwar Saga, then the Empire Trilogy, then continuing the rest of the story.
Janny Wurts - While I love her work on the Empire Trilogy, I'm not as big a fan of her solo work. However, if she reads the Empire Trilogy and likes it some of Janny Wurts' other work might be worth a look.
Terry Pratchett - The Discworld series is very well known as well written light fantasy humour. He covers a hell of a lot of ground and targets most cliché's of the fantasy universe. For the most part each novel is a stand alone story set in the same universe, so they can mostly be read in any order. I recommend reading the first two (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic) as the introduction to the world and then from then on reading whatever seems likely. A real fun read.
Greg Bear - For the most part Greg Bear is a Sci-Fi author, however he has written two fantasy books in a series that I consider to be one of my favourite reads of all time. The Infinity Concerto and The Serpent Mage are the two books and they were rereleased in 1994 in a single volume called Songs of Earth and Power. It's a bit hard to find nowadays, but I do really recommend it to anyone interested in fantasy.
Piers Anthony - Piers Anthony has written a lot of stuff ranging from hard Sci-Fi through to light comedic fantasy. His Xanth series (currently sitting at 39 novels and growing) is his light comedic fantasy series and contains some of the worst puns I have ever had the misfortune to read. :) Again I consider this series to be the fantasy equivalent of the trashy romance novel (please note: That doesn't stop me reading them thought.) He's done a lot of other work, some of which is very deep and others which are almost as light as the Xanth series.
Neil Gaiman - Neil Gaiman is another author who has written a lot of stuff in many different genres and forms. My first introduction to him was the Sandman comic series he wrote between 1989 and 1997. They are an urban/modern fantasy series and have been reissued as collected volumes and I do recommend reading them. He's also done a lot of other comic works, plus a fair number of really good books including Stardust (which if I remember correctly Mum, you really liked the movie of. He wrote the original book.) A lot of his work is urban/modern fantasy, not your "classic" fantasy.
Sara Douglass - An Australian author who passed away in 2011, she wrote some fantastic stories. The first book of hers I read (a stand along novel called Threshold) I wasn't really a big fan of. However some time later I reread it and loved it, so you may find them a bit hard to get into at first. I've been told the best place to start for her work is the Axis Trilogy (BattleaxeEnchanter and StarMan).
Katharine Kerr - The Deverry series is currently at 16 novels starting with Daggerspell, and are a very good fantasy series using Celtic mythology as a base for its myth and magic. She's also done some other works in both fantasy and Sci-Fi.
J. K. Rowling - While the Harry Potter books are classified as Young Adult, there are still a good read, especially as the target age group for the books goes up as the series progresses. She has stated that the target age group for each book is basically Harry's age in that book, so by the end of it the final book is very much an adult urban fantasy story.
Stephen Donaldson - A really good author, covering both Sci-Fi and fantasy, his Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (10 books in three series', starting with Lord Foul's Bane) is an epic tale. However, his work comes with a warning; while they are really good books, they are in no way, shape or form 'nice' books. The stuff the protagonist (the previously mentioned Thomas Covenant) goes through right from the start is not nice and the journey he goes on is not nice. I do not read any of his work if I am in any way even remotely upset or sad. That said, they are an epic tale and really well written.
Julian May - Most of what Julian May writes I would probably classify as Sci-Fi, but two of her series' (The Saga of the Pliocene Exile and The Galactic Milieu Series) sort of straddle the border between Sci-Fi and fantasy and I do recommend them. The Saga of the Pliocene Exile (The Many-Colored LandThe Golden TorcThe Nonborn King and The Adversary) is about a group who travel back in time to the Pliocene Epoch (roughly 5.3 million to 2.5 million years ago) and discover things are not as they seem. The Galactic Milieu Series (InterventionJack the BodilessDiamond Mask and Magnificat) is set slightly futuristic and is about the human race getting to grips with metaphysical abilities (eg telepathy, telekinesis, etc) and alien races. The characters from The Saga of the Pliocene Exile are from the time period of The Galactic Milieu Series and the two series' are linked, so if you read one I recommend you read the other.
Anne McCaffrey - Another author who has sadly passed away, she wrote a lot of Sci-Fi and fantasy, and I recommend the Dragonriders of Pern series (about 24 books if you include the collected short stories). The book to start with is Dragonflight as it was the first of the series she wrote and is the introduction story.
Terry Brooks - Very much influenced by J.R.R Tolkein, his Shannara series (starting with the Shannara Trilogy of The Sword of ShannaraThe Elfstones of Shannara and The Wishsong of Shannara, the recommend reading order is in the order of publication, even though that's not the internal chronological order) look to be light fantasy at first but ends up being epic fantasy. It's currently about 28 books and still growing. He has also written the Magic Kingdom of Landover series (starting with Magic Kingdom for Sale - SOLD!) which is a six book series independent of the Shannara series.
Roger Zelazny - Passed away in 1995, Zelazny wrote huge amounts of stories all over the Fantasy/Sci-Fi road map. The Chronicles of Amber (starting with Nine Princes in Amber) is not his best work, but I think it is his best universe, and the things that he explores in the books are fascinating. There are a lot of other works with his name on it and I am of the opinion that all of them are worth checking out.
L. E. Modesitt Jr - Another very prolific author (with 56 Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels currently published), I have read The Saga of Recluce (starting with The Magic of Recluce, the recommend reading order is in the order of publication, even though that's not the internal chronological order) and do really recommend them.
Robin Hobb - One of the pen names of Megan Lindholm, she has written many fantasy novels under the name of Robin Hobb, most in the same universe. The Farseer Trilogy (Assassin's ApprenticeRoyal Assassin and Assassin's Quest) are the recommended place to start.
Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman - A classic pair, Weis and Hickman have written a fair number of fantasy series' together. The Dragonlance books (Starting with the Dragonlance Chronicles - Dragons of Autumn TwilightDragons of Winter Night and Dragons of Spring Dawning) are considered to be classic fantasy and for a lot of people are considered to be the series that set the mould. They have also done the Darksword series, the Rose of the Prophet series and the Death Gate Cycle together, as well as writing a lot of stuff individually. I really like the Death Gate Cycle (starting with Dragon Wing for a total of 7 books).
Tad Williams - He's written a lot of fantasy work. The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series (The Dragonbone ChairStone of Farewell and To Green Angel Tower) are the books of his that I know.
Brent Weeks - A relatively new writer (first book published in 2008) he's written the Night Angel Trilogy (The Way of ShadowsShadow's Edge and Beyond the Shadows) plus The Lightbringer Series (The Black PrismThe Blinding Knife, plus two other forthcoming books). I haven't actually read any of his work yet, but I bought some of them and have been given rave reviews of them.
Peter V Brett - Another relatively new writer (again, first book published in 2009) he has so far written three of the five books in the Demon Cycle (The Painted ManThe Desert SpearThe Daylight War, plus two more forthcoming). I've read the first two and really enjoyed them, and really need to get the third one.
As I said, that's just from what I have on my shelves. Anything I should add to the list (and probably get for myself as well?)
This entry was originally posted at http://halloranelder.dreamwidth.org/17599.html. Comments are accepted here or there using OpenID.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 19th, 2013 02:21 pm (UTC)
I adore the Julian May's 'The Saga of Pliocene Exile' and 'The Galactic Milieu' series (including the book 'Intervention'). And I love my Robin Hobb books.

And I am very fond of Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time', series, though I get teased about that a lot. :-) I think Brandon Sanderson did a good job of finishing the 'Wheel of Time' series. It's obvious Matt was his favourite character!

Another author to add, perhaps - Guy Gavriel Kay? Starting with 'Tigana', and then 'The Lions of Al-Rassan' and 'Under Heaven'?

Edited at 2013-10-19 02:24 pm (UTC)
Oct. 19th, 2013 02:30 pm (UTC)
As for Zelazny's work, I loved the Amber books.* That is where our cat Benedict got his name!

And our cat Dotty, (short for Dorothy, which is short for Dorothea), was named after 'Diamond Mask' from Julian May's 'Galactic Milieu' series. :-)

* The Amber DRPG was awesome too.
Oct. 19th, 2013 03:56 pm (UTC)
Seconding the rec for Guy Gavriel Kay, who does low-magic alternate history fantasy. The Fionavar Tapestry is the most "mainstream" fantasy series he's done, and is probably the most accessible; it's also the one not rooted in alternate Earth history. Tigana is fantastic, as is Lions of Al Rassan, A Song for Arbonne, Sailing to Sarantium and its sequel ... oh hell, basically everything he's ever done. (With the exception of the Fionavar Tapestry (a trilogy), he doesn't tend to do series; he writes standalones with the odd sequel here and there.)
Oct. 19th, 2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
Garth Nix. He's another Australian author, and I actually had the pleasure of meeting him many years ago. He's another writer whose books are generally in the YA section, but I believe that shouldn't stop him from getting all the recognition. I'd recommend starting with 'Sabriel', which has two sequels plus a collection of short stories, but his Keys to the Kingdom series is also wonderful. He has another series written for younger children, but it's still very enjoyable for adults; alas my copies of that series were 'borrowed' and not returned many years ago so I can't remember the series name.

I agree with the Guy Gavriel Kay suggestion. He's fabulous.

James Barclay is also fabulous. I reread all of his books every year or two.

If you have a kindle and don't have a problem with books with religious themes, I'd recommend SM Reine's Descent Series. It's about a young woman who was marked by God, and runs around battling demons and occasionally angels. I bought the first three books for less than a euro, because she's trying to promote her work, and I devoured them and the other books in the series in an almost embarrassingly short period of time. The last book should come out soon and I can't wait. Some of the ideas in the series draw heavily from literature; I recognised Milton and Faust, at least. I wouldn't recommend them to anybody who's strongly Christian, however, because the presentation of God, heaven, angels, and hell are not necessarily always flattering. A fair number of the characters are also witches, though I don't think the coven politics involved with them would be as offensive to pagans as the interpretation of God might be to christians.

SM Reine has some other books as well, of course. I didn't really like her Cain Chronicles and Seasons of the Moon series, but I'm also not a big fan of werewolf stories. They're definitely readable; they're just not my thing.

A lot of my friends like Sherrilyn Kenyon. I really liked 'Acheron' and the Chronicles of Nick. I read about five or so of her 'Dark Hunters' series, which are men and some women throughout history marked by Artemis and given certain powers which help them fight against their almost immortal enemies. After a while it becomes apparent that all of the Dark Hunter books are written based around the same template: brooding individual has lived for hundreds of years, broods more, meets an unlikely partner, falls in love, has oodles of sex, with cameos of her favourite character Acheron in most of them. They're decent, fun reads until you get sick of the repetition, however, and she's quite popular.
Oct. 22nd, 2013 07:49 am (UTC)
Is the Garth Nix series you are thinking of "The Seventh Tower"?
Oct. 22nd, 2013 08:03 am (UTC)
Yes! That's the one. I really should see if I can buy them again.
Oct. 19th, 2013 04:08 pm (UTC)
Patricia Keneally (later known as Patricia Keneally-Morrison) - her Keltiad series (6 books) is hard to find, but fun reading. They're flawed, but I love them - imagine Celtic-themed high fantasy in space with high technology. :)

Katharine Kerr's standalone Palace (not a Deverry book) is great.

Only Forwards by Michael Marshall Smith is sort of a cross between cyberpunk and fantasy and is brilliantly written and hilarious.

Jasper Fforde writes ... well, it's hard to describe. Literary meta fantasy set in and around the world of books? Clever, funny and engrossing, anyway.

Diana Wynne Jones - she writes great stuff in general, and I particularly recommend Howl's Moving Castle and its two sequels.

Catherynne Valente is also good; I particularly recommend her Fairyland series.

Jim Hines does good stuff.

Naomi Novik's Temeraire series is fun, too - imagine the Napoleonic Wars fought with draconic airforces. :)

Barbara Ann Wright - Pyramid Waltz. I'm partway through it at the moment; it's nice to read LGBT-friendly fantasy, and in terms of setting/atmosphere it reminds me a bit of Katherine Kurtz' Deryni/Camber books.

Oh, and Guy Gavriel Kay has been recced already (including by me) but I should mention that he cut his literary teeth on helping Christopher Tolkien prepare JRR Tolkien's unfinished work for publication, and helped edit the Silmarillion. So if the recipient of these recs likes JRRT's stuff, she might definitely enjoy GGK as well - a very different style of prose, but similar bones, especially in the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy.
Oct. 19th, 2013 05:56 pm (UTC)
Katherine Kurtz and the Deryni series are rather nice medieval-style fantasy, although I got so used to the miserable fates of just about everyone that I was ultimately unsatisfied with the one happy ending.

For modern-day fantasy, I'm rather liking the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovich. Young policeman turns out to have slight magical abilities and is seconded to a special Unit that deals with ghosts and magic and ...

I'm trying to read "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow" by M Barnard Eldershaw, which is Australian Feminist Utopian Banned Sci Fi from the 1930s, but it's rather heavy going. A shame, really, because the Eldershaw was a relative of mine.
Oct. 19th, 2013 08:58 pm (UTC)
Barbara Hambly is excellent.

R A MacAvoy

R A Salvatore

Lynn Abbey

Robert Asprin

Lloyd Alexander

Mercedes Lackey

Kelley Armstrong

Elizabeth Bear

Susan Cooper

Diane Duane

Lord Dunsany

David Gemmell

Terry Goodkind

Simon R Green

Ursula K le Guin

Laurell K Hamilton

Barry Hughart

Tanya Huff

Mur Lafferty

Stephen R Lawhead

C S Lewis

Holly Lisle

George R R Martin

Patricia A McKillip

Michael Moorcock

Andre Norton

Tamora Pierce

Tim Powers

Robert Rankin

Rick Riordan

Michael C Thompson

Gene Wolfe

Peter S Beagle
Oct. 20th, 2013 10:27 am (UTC)
Anyone who enjoys Zelazny should also check out Alfred Bester, and probably Philip K Dick.

Robert Heinlein doesn't hide his political views but his books are _excellent_ and enjoyable reads that get you thinking, regardless of whether you agree with him or not, which IMO is what great sci-fi should do.

If you military space opera (with a bit of a harder sci-fi edge) David Weber's Honor Harrington series is great fun.

Frank Herbert's Dune. 'nuff said.

Larry Niven - Ringworld was good, the Mote in God's Eye (with Jerry Pournelle) even better.

Asimov - I thoroughly enjoyed the Robots series. Haven't moved on to Foundation yet, but it's on my (long long) list of books to read.

Glen Cook's Black Company - a bunch of mercenaries that always seem to be on the "wrong" side in a world where there doesn't seem to be a "good" side.
Oct. 22nd, 2013 06:47 am (UTC)
We really do have very similar tastes in books. Love Donaldson, Kay, Zelazny (well, the Amber books, at least - who'da thunk it?), Williams, McCaffrey - and I love love love Sara Douglass.

I found Threshold years ago at a secondhand stall, and loved it, even though (I thought) it was a stand-alone. Imagine my delight when ...

Oh, and have you read the 'Last Chronicles' of Covenant? I've just ordered book 3 and have book 4 on pre-order. Can't wait!
Oct. 26th, 2013 02:21 pm (UTC)
Here is the classic Summoner Geek D&D vid that I referred to when I was chatting with you earlier.


Also here is the link for the Babylon 5 song to the tune of 'One Week' by Bare Naked Ladies. If you're planning to watch Babylon 5 again, perhaps it would be best to wait until you've watched all 5 seasons before watching this vid. To avoid spoilers. :-)


Edited at 2013-10-26 02:23 pm (UTC)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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Desert Rose

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of fire
Those dreams are tied to a horse that will never tire
And in the flames
Her shadows play in the shape of a man's desire

This desert rose
Each of her veils, a secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this

And as she turns
This way she moves in the logic of all my dreams
This fire burns
I realize that nothing's as it seems

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of rain
I lift my gaze to empty skies above
I close my eyes
This rare perfume is the sweet intoxication of her love

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

Sweet desert rose
Each of her veils, a secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this

Sweet desert rose
This memory of Eden haunts us all
This desert flower
This rare perfume, is the sweet intoxication of the fall


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