The books every (true) fantasy/sci-fi fan should read!

Discussion in 'General Books' started by Overread, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Soo I got to thinking, maybe its time we put together a list of those most influential books that we feel ever fantasy and sci-fi fan should, at some point, pick up and read. Maybe because of the story, the books influence on the genre, the characters, the pace etc... For whatever reason we've all got our own little list of these kind of books - so lets share them :

    My own:
    The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings - by J.R.R. Tolkien - honestly most should have heard of these by now and if you're a fantasy fan you really should read them. They stand not only as a seriously good read, but also jointly hold the position of sparking generations of fantasy fiction writing. Originally part of a whole mythology that Tolkien was writing for Britain they take a lot of their sources from old Norse legends and as a result contain a great amount of the mythology and history of this area of the mythological world.
    The Lord of the Rings is also held as one of the best descriptive and world building books written - though characters are a bit weaker, the rest is top rate.

    Discworld series by Sir Terry Pratchett - Whilst opinions may vary as to where to start and which are the best books in the 20+ series the completed works is without a doubt a major modern work in fantasy. Starting as satire on fantasy and then building fast into satire on the modern world the quirky and humorous world of Diskworld is populated by a fantastic cast of characters and creatures. From witches to wizards to guards to the Luggage and to even DEATH himself you've a great cast that flow through the series!
    As an author who's work is translated in many different languages and who can often command a whole shelf if not two in many book stores you should have no worries about the quality in this series!
    (Ps start with Colour of Magic and work your way through published order for the best experience)!

    A Song of Ice and Fire (First book A Game of Thrones) by G.R.R. Martin - almost held as the modern equivalent of Tolkien with regard to the impact that this series has had this is well worth reading even in its currently incomplete form (Martin is still writing the rest of the series). Martin draws upon a wealth of understanding of the Middleages and does away with the "Dungeons and Dragons" style adventure writing that is so common in modern fantasy - he also does away with Tolkien's influences in establishing his world. Instead you've a gritty, bloody, dark world where the description lets you smell the streets and the characters can fascinate and repel you at the same time. Following a series of different character viewpoints this story is very much like a history tale of the world as seen through their eyes and actions.
    Another big shift is that there is no good and no evil - instead you've real characters who's motives and actions can be counted for good or evil, but who are in the end far more real for not being die-hard good/evil characters at their core. This really injects a feeling of life into the world.
    Finally no one is immortal and there is no central hero - instead any character may, at any point, work themselves into a corner and end their life. This really makes each page a joy to turn as you never know what will be around the corner - will they escape or die - will they win or lose - unlike many regular fantasy stories where death only might come at the very end in self sacrifice - here it can appear from anywhere.

    The Dragons of Pern (first book Dragonflight) by Anne McCaffry - often called "The Dragon Lady" for this very series of books, this series follows the world of Pern and its mighty dragon riders. A series that at its core bridges between fantasy and sci-fi (and for whom the author has on many occasions defended it as a scifi not fantasy tale). A slightly older/different writing style to many you might find on the shelves now can make many turn away, but press on and grow used to a different voice (if you're a reader or going to be one you'll find many many different voices in your time reading). A long series but well worth getting to grips with (although some argue that the series suffered from being a little long in the tooth by the end and some of the newest books co and full authored by her son have, lost some of the original magic originally present).




    I've other top reads that I really like to settle down with and read, but those few that I've listed there are, a beginning at least, in some series and books that I feel every fantasy fan should become familiar with. But now lets hear from you about your choices - do you agree with those presented and what others would you add and why.
     
  2. Crouton

    Crouton New Member

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    I'd like to add Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling,

    The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E Feist,

    And The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis.
     
  3. Taliesyn

    Taliesyn It's a feral reality out there, kids.

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    I would also add the Moomin books by the late Tove Jansson. The series started off as children's stories about a family of Finnish trolls caught up in fantastical situations, but over the years it gradually changed in tone to become more psychologically focused on the characters and the mundane idiosyncrasies of their everyday lives. These literary gems are an exquisite read, and the black and white art is simply lovely. I can't recommend these books highly enough.

    moominland+midwinter.png
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  4. JNK

    JNK King of tards

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    Wheel of Time series

    Sword of truth series

    Mistborn trilogy

    Kingkiller chronickles
     
  5. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    I'll expand on jnk1's suggestion for the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. Rarely is a world created in fantasy that is so highly original and with such a unique magic system. This series is the whole package: entertainment, world building, creativity, and great characters who are anything but black and white (particularly the villains). The trilogy builds to an epic conclusion and it's only as you're reading the end that you can put all the little clues he's dropped throughout the books together so you can figure out what's going on. Sanderson also followed this series with "The Alloy of Law" ... another story set in the same world but long after the original series is done.... awesome story!
     
  6. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Crouton - I'd debate about the first as I'm not sure yet if Harry Potter is a big change or a small one. What I mean is I feel that the series is certainly very big now and responsible for getting a good few new generations of kids reading - I just don't know if its strong enough to retain its popularity and strength for decades - but time will tell.


    Riftwar Saga (first book Magician) - top read and indeed one I forgot to mention. I would say that the first book (or books as Magician was broken into two parts in the USA) are a fantastic read. However I've a feeling that the remainder of his works fast ends up feeling a bit DnD style adventuring. He doesn't really get back to that epic sweep that Magician started with (I've also a bit of a feeling that the spark has blown out of the series and that it might be just kept going for the pay). I've heard good things though about his jointly written series with Janny Wurts set in the same world.


    The Chronicles of Narnia - Honestly I'm not sure how I forgot to mention this series! Most certainly worthy of sitting up there right next to Tolkien and the rest!



    Moomin - honestly I've never read them but I do recall the cartoon TV series!
     
  7. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    Twilight :)

    Okay no sorry, ill be serious.

    Ill agree with Wheel of time, Lotr, Sword of truth, aSoIaF, HP, and would like to add the farseer trilogy and Tawny man trilogy. Its just such a wonderful tale.


    Ehp, Moomin out of all :D I used to read those books when i was a kid. Mumin trollen!
     
  8. Crouton

    Crouton New Member

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    I'm almost certain that Harry Potter will retain it's popularity, just like Narnia, Lord of the Rings etc for years to come. There will be children for generations and generations who will know those books. If they fade away I will be very surprised.
     
  9. Gayle Miller

    Gayle Miller New Member

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    The Land That Time Forgot, Bram Stoker's Dracula. There are others that are poetry but also fantasy like Illiad, Odyssey and the book of Urizen. Think Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was mentioned somewhere as well.
     
  10. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    Thing is that Harry Potter only gets really talked about in specific groups. I'm sure that it's still gets passed on from generation to generation, but you got to admit that a lot of the franchise popularity was lost because the movies were over. That really hyped the franchise up. Same counted for LOTR imo. That also really got talked about again because of the new trilogy. Now I can't say I know enough about sales, how well the books are doing etc... So what I'm saying is partially speculation. I'm not saying HP will die out, but its popularity has already dimmed. Who knows how much more it will dim as time goes on. Something that would keep it alive and what I wouldn't object to would be a Harry Potter animated series. Then again I think there would be others who would have a huge problem with that.
     
  11. Hammerheart

    Hammerheart New Member

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    Dark Tower Series - Stephen King
     
  12. Hammerheart

    Hammerheart New Member

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    sci fi: anything by Phillip K Dick
     
  13. Russell_Brothers

    Russell_Brothers New Member

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    If you're up for trying a new fantasy novel to join these classics that I myself thoroughly enjoy and also believe deserve to be highly ranked amongst some of the greatest writings of all time, check out "The Soulforger" by Russell Brothers. Its actually free for the kindle from amazon.com this weekend only. I've written it myself.

    That being said, let us not forget about Drizzt, our beloved Drow friend whom R.A. Salvatore created, along with his companions in the world of 'The Forgotten Realms'. This too deserves mention.