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View Full Version : So, what fantasy book would you choose...


Greg W
05-02-2007, 09:49:48
...to introduce a girlfriend to the genre? She's quite intelligent (aka she received highest grade in her year on her Psych degree), if that makes a difference.

Note, this is a girlfriend that professes to knowing nothing about Fantasy, but loves the Harry Potter Books and the movies "the Princess Bride" and "Willow". She also professes to hate Sci Fi, but likes Star Wars, The 5th Element and Blade Runner (I rib her about it all the time). Though that is somewhat beside the point.

Note, the decision has already been made, but I am curious for possible followup books after this one.

My choice? Magician by Raymond E Feist.

My Reasons? Well, it's my favourite book of all time for one (closely edging out LotR). It's Epic in scope, and contains elements of romance (which I thought might be important) along with the usual Fantasy trappings. And it's an easy read in that it's not convoluted and is well written.

In terms of follow-ups, there's the obvious ones - Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon, and so on through all the other books he has written. Or I could go something different. It's the something different that I am curious for opinions on. Well, and feedback on whether Magician was a good choice.

Debaser
05-02-2007, 10:34:02
A review on amazon says "A smart combination of magic theory, war tactics, and political intrigue".

She will think it's boring. Star Wars, The 5th Element, and Blade runner aren't really sci-fi, they're just stories about people set in the future. Pick something with a tangable human interest story, and none of this "magic theory" bollocks.

King_Ghidra
05-02-2007, 10:50:37
*bookmarked for the moment at which it all started to fall apart for greg*

my choice - Shadow of the Torturer/The Book of the New Sun series by Gene Wolfe. intelligent, literary in style, avoids virtually all fantasy cliche. great stuff.

maroule
05-02-2007, 10:52:22
debaser, the "theory" part is very light. It's easily digestible fare, I think it's a good choice. Magician is ok, a lot of the stuff that comes after is really low quality.

Jack Vance is a favorite of mine to introduce people to the genre. It's a lot smarter than Feist, but doesn't look particularly smart. The stories are fast paced, simple, direct, imaginative, fun, technology is never important, the hero is always the center of the story, etc. Out of his 40 or so books around, only 10 or so are average to disppointing (quite an achievement)

For a laugh, Cugel, for an epic, the cycle to Tschai, for a great revenge story, the prince demons cycle

Greg W
05-02-2007, 11:27:41
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
*bookmarked for the moment at which it all started to fall apart for greg*:lol:

She likes it a lot so far. After ~150 pages. And I agree, the theory part is very light on. Though in the authors preferred edition, it is stronger than the initial edition.

And Debaser, most Sci Fi, Fantasy, or any other genre you care to name is usually just a story set in that particular setting. It's just the depth of how far into the setting that the story goes that makes it hardcore of light on.

Thanks for the ideas, keep 'em coming. Heard of both Gene Wold and Jack Vance, though I can't say I've ever read either of them.

JM^3
05-02-2007, 12:50:32
Fiest has some good points, the books he writes are fun, but they aren't great.

I would choose Paladin of Souls or Curse of Challion by Bujold. Not only is she an amazing author (has the most ammounts of Hugos and Nebulas for a living author, I beleive) but also those are some of her best books.

Jon Miller

JM^3
05-02-2007, 12:51:10
I would put Gene Wolfe up there as well, but his books are a bit more complicated...

JM

JM^3
05-02-2007, 12:52:34
Basically I consider Fiest a decent writer for people who like Epic Fantasy.

While decent, it isn't the best of the genre.

JM

mr_G
05-02-2007, 13:49:44
I'm reading mrG the Great

mr_G
05-02-2007, 13:50:41
Originally posted by Greg W
. She's quite intelligent (aka she received highest grade in her year on her Psych degree), if that makes a difference. so she is a nutcase

maroule
05-02-2007, 14:05:01
which makes more sense
I was trying to work out why an intelligent girl would date Greg and my head was starting to hurt from the effort

chagarra
05-02-2007, 23:21:15
OK.. You've started with Magician.... My choice would be to continue with Feist, and the Daughter of the Empire, which is co-authored by Jenny Wurts.... This brings a totally different outlook to the whole series..

Just my 2 bits...

chagarra
05-02-2007, 23:23:07
Dislexic fingers again... That is Janny Wurts..

self biased
06-02-2007, 12:16:45
i would have started her out with some pratchett.

JM^3
06-02-2007, 14:56:56
I think that the best stuff Feist wrote was with Wurst or the Magician book.

Really, though, I haven't read been on a Fiest kick since highschool.

Jon Miller

MoSe
06-02-2007, 15:15:41
Originally posted by maroule
for an epic, the cycle to Tschai,

:hmm: :confused:
why would you label that Fantasy rather than just plain old sci-fi?

I bet the Servant of Wankh episode did set your Fantasies wild...

maroule
06-02-2007, 15:23:44
he he, it sure did, although I still regard the Dirdir as the pinnacle of the cycle

to me Tschai is a bit of an hybrid, because as always with Vance it is "low tech" sci-fi, and it has an atmosphere of fantasy to it

Pure fantasy from Vance is the cycle of Lyonesse, that I adore, but I've heard that some people didn't like it so I refrained from proposing it

MoSe
06-02-2007, 15:38:25
Wow, having read it over 20 years ago, I was unaware at the time of:

1. the slang meaning of the abovementioned race name :cute:
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_of_Adventure
They also altered the second to The Wannek and replaced 'Wankh' with 'Wannek' throughout the text. Vance was convinced to change the name after being informed of the meaning of the word 'wank' in British and Commonwealth slang

:eek: :lol:
do they mean that... 'wank' is alien to american slang????

Lazarus and the Gimp
06-02-2007, 19:55:03
Stuff all this Tolkien-esque tripe.

Go for "Mythago Wood" by Robert Holdstock, then the sequels "Lavondyss" and "The Hollowing". They're enthralling fantasiies that actually verge on the believable.

They're based on the notion that in untamed primal forests, things deeply embedded in our collective unconscious take form. In other words, archetypal heroes and monsters start appearing. They're great books.

JM^3
06-02-2007, 23:50:55
How is Bujold Tolkien-esque?

JM

King_Ghidra
07-02-2007, 09:22:48
laz is just being his cheerfully bolshie ignorant self again, he won't have read any of the books mentioned above

maroule
07-02-2007, 09:36:17
From the reviews I see on Mythago, it's exactly the kind of first fantasy book you should NOT have a fresh reader go for if they want something representative of the genre and easily acessible

it looks more ambitious and would probably suit more KG for example
(but not me, I want my complexity in the scenario -for example la G RR Martin- not in the ideas or the writing style. I find I like fairly "flat" and direct writing styles, la Vance or J Fante)

Greg W
07-02-2007, 10:47:55
Originally posted by maroule
I was trying to work out why an intelligent girl would date Greg and my head was starting to hurt from the effort :lol:

Well, 250 pages in, and she still thinks it's a great book. Though when she couldn't get to sleep last night, she read one page and was out like a light. :lol:

Fergus & The Brazen Car
10-02-2007, 10:37:38
Any of the original Earthsea trilogy by U. K. LeGuin.

Any of Joanna Russ's 'Alyx' novels.

Alan Garner's 'The Owl Service' or any of his Alderley Edge books.

Marion Zimmer Bradley's 'The Mists of Avalon'.

Jorge Luis Borges' 'Labyrinths'.

Keith Roberts' 'Pavane' which although usually described as being alternate history, he felt wasn't, and does contain fantasy elements.

Et enfin:

The hardback editions of Michael Moorcock's 'Gloriana' and the annotated Edmund Spenser's 'The Faerie Queene' with 'The Mutabilitie Cantos' appended.

That way if you annoy her, she'll have a very heavy object to throw at you.

RedFred
11-02-2007, 04:24:35
C. J. Cherryh's Fortress series, James Schmitz's Witches of Karres (try to avoid the version edited by that idiot, Eric Flint), and maybe the Spellsong series by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

JM^3
11-02-2007, 06:42:14
Have you read the newest in the Fortress series?

I own several of them, but they didn't impress me as much as most of her older books (her newer books, fortress/foreigner, I don't like as much as her older books so there might be a change of her or something).

JM
(Still thinking about purchasing Fortress of Ice though)

RedFred
12-02-2007, 05:53:04
Thanks for the tip JM. I thought book 4 wrapped things up so I wasn't expecting another.

I can't put my finger on why I like the Fortress series so much more than any of the other C.J. Cherryh fantasy novels.

As far as the foreigner series goes, I am inclined to agree that it isn't her best series. For more pure SF, the Chanur series is probably my favorite.

At one time SF/Fantasy authors wrote short stories and some of the lucky ones got to move up to writing one off novels. Over time the novel format won out and the occasional trilogy started to appear.

The latest revolting development is the serial novel. Sometimes the series run ten, even twenty or more 'novels'. The level of imagination tends to decline in subsequent serials. Even more unfortunately, sometimes the quality of writing declines as the author either feels he has his audience hooked, or he runs through his contractual obligations.

Off topic, but anyway that is my rant for the day. ;)

Lazarus and the Gimp
12-02-2007, 19:27:29
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
laz is just being his cheerfully bolshie ignorant self again, he won't have read any of the books mentioned above

I'd particularly recommend "Mythago Wood" to you. It's got loads in common with "Riddley Walker".

Lazarus and the Gimp
12-02-2007, 19:31:06
Originally posted by Fergus & The Brazen Car
Any of the original Earthsea trilogy by U. K. LeGuin.


Brilliant.



Alan Garner's 'The Owl Service' or any of his Alderley Edge books.


Excellent, but his "Strandloper" is even better.


Marion Zimmer Bradley's 'The Mists of Avalon'.


Hated it..


Jorge Luis Borges' 'Labyrinths'.


Genius.


The hardback editions of Michael Moorcock's 'Gloriana'



Bought it at 14 because it had a nudey woman on the cover. Couldn't get into it.

King_Ghidra
13-02-2007, 09:18:22
Originally posted by Lazarus and the Gimp
I'd particularly recommend "Mythago Wood" to you. It's got loads in common with "Riddley Walker".

funnily enough i did go and browse the reviews and suchlike on amazon after you posted it. it's now sitting on my wish list.

JM^3
13-02-2007, 09:21:22
I liked Riddley Walker fine, although I don't think it was amazing. Not sure if this means I should check out" Mythago Wood" or not.

Jon Miller

Greg W
13-02-2007, 10:07:23
Various responses...

Fergus: Urusula K LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogy (I think there's been a fourth book too) could be a goer. I remember reading her stuff when I was much younger. Haven't read anything else you mentioned, though I have read a fair bit of Michael Moorcock.

RedFred: Never could get into Cherryh's books, though I only really tried the Morgain saga. I struggled through that, and it was a struggle.

Still, she's loving Magician (500 odd pages in now), and has mentioned she likes series of books, so I could have my decision made for me. Still, gives me ideas for more.

Two series that I might suggest myself after some thought:

- The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock - good old anti hero stuff

- A Game of Thrones (series) by George R R Martin - one of the best series evah!

King_Ghidra
13-02-2007, 10:14:45
I'm a big elric fan. That's proper fantasy to me, and by proper i mean, not a tokien rip-off, but something that still has a nice sense of the fantastic and a good adventure, a la conan.

my experience with moorcock's stuff is that the earlier stuff is generally superior though. the later elric novels have a tendency to be overlong and up their own arse.

RedFred
14-02-2007, 15:22:44
That is strange GW. Morgain sucked. My nickname for it was always Migraine.

JM^3
14-02-2007, 15:35:38
I love the Morgaine novels. Of course, really all Cherryh books are good, even the Foreigner ones (which are my least favorite).

JM

JM^3
14-02-2007, 15:36:02
You read the Dream Tree ones?

JM

Venom
14-02-2007, 15:50:20
Originally posted by Greg W
- The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock


:lol:

maroule
14-02-2007, 16:41:59
crap familly name, great author

Greg W
16-02-2007, 10:37:21
Well, Venom is easily amused.

MoSe
16-02-2007, 12:50:01
I remember, I remember when KG stifling remarks taught me to avoid infantile plays of words on people's names....


:geezer:

Venom
16-02-2007, 13:34:43
Hey, if you can't laugh at the name Moorcock, you're a sad, repressed shell of a man.

Funko
16-02-2007, 13:39:21
You know what Venom, I think you would enjoy Moorcock.

Venom
16-02-2007, 14:00:05
You've enjoyed Moorcock more than I have.

King_Ghidra
16-02-2007, 14:29:00
Originally posted by MoSe
I remember, I remember when KG stifling remarks taught me to avoid infantile plays of words on people's names....


:geezer:

making a vulgar and obvious joke is one thing, but going round the houses trying to twist seemingly every post into some lame and tortuously contrived pun is quite another

Funko
16-02-2007, 14:30:39
Originally posted by Venom
You've enjoyed Moorcock more than I have.

I haven't got any Moorcock.

Nills Lagerbaak
16-02-2007, 15:31:04
Want any Moorcock baby? No thanks, I've had a tittiful.


Anyway, I'd get some Gormenghast inside her, still the king of fantasy novels I reckons.

Tizzy
16-02-2007, 15:31:58
(I post this in full knowledge of what will happen next but I just can't resist)

I want some Moorcock

Fistandantilus
16-02-2007, 15:33:24
It's a pity Funko hasn't got any, isn't it? :(

Funko
16-02-2007, 15:36:37
She could probably get some Moorcock in Reading library.

Nills Lagerbaak
16-02-2007, 15:37:56
Or down the car boot sale in Palmer Park.

All though I've heard the moorcock down there is infested with book worm.

Nills Lagerbaak
16-02-2007, 15:38:20
Originally posted by Funko
She could probably get some Moorcock in Reading library.

Oh and to be honest, she couldn't get any lesscock

Funko
16-02-2007, 15:42:20
I didn't think this thread could get much lower. You have proved me wrong.

Nills Lagerbaak
16-02-2007, 15:45:19
Thank you. I do recommend you read some "Lesscock" I just don't think you'd be able to get any!

Venom
16-02-2007, 15:48:32
Nills Lagerbaak, lowering the bar since...well forever.

Mr. Bas
16-02-2007, 15:58:47
What do you mean, lowering the bar? The thread has changed for the better surely...

Nills Lagerbaak
16-02-2007, 16:00:57
Yeah, let's remember it started of about introducing Greg's girlfriend to fantasy novels. Not traditionally the coolest of concepts (not that I am against it mind...)

Funko
16-02-2007, 16:03:04
If you are prejudiced against Fantasy Are you a Fantasist?

Venom
16-02-2007, 16:04:55
Originally posted by Mr. Bas
What do you mean, lowering the bar? The thread has changed for the better surely...

It was better, then it got worse. And don't call me Shirley.

Nills Lagerbaak
16-02-2007, 16:14:43
Originally posted by Funko
If you are prejudiced against Fantasy Are you a Fantasist?

I might be a fantaphobe. It's freaky, unnatural orageness scares me.

Mr. Bas
16-02-2007, 16:32:40
Originally posted by Venom
It was better, then it got worse. And don't call me Shirley.

Surely, if you want Moorcock than the thread was better before. Personally, I prefer Moorehead to fantasy books.

Greg W
16-02-2007, 22:29:46
How, oh how did I just know the thread would degenerate to this.

Oh, that's right, it's CG...

Venom
17-02-2007, 04:30:49
Oh wah, we ruined your thread for your girlfriend.

Greg W
18-02-2007, 02:09:49
Methinks I need to send you a facetiousness detector.

Colon
19-02-2007, 08:15:03
Unfacetbar.

Venom
19-02-2007, 12:41:50
Originally posted by Greg W
Methinks I need to send you a facetiousness detector.

I don't care if you're being facetious or not. Anytime is a good time to make fun of you.