Recommended reading

Brian G Turner

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Thought it was time to start a thread on good fantasy/ sci-fi reads, and our personal recommendations! ;)

I invite folks to make their own recommendations!

FANTASY GENRE

High Fantasy

The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

This is the original classic. It is superbly crafted, evocatively filled, and imaginatively constructed fantasy adventure. And it is far more homogenous than LOTR, which often does not appear to know whether to be fairy tale or dark fantasy, and rushes key conflicts. The Hobbit suffers none of that, being perfectly constructed. It's a darn nice, simple, and excellent read! Flows well and hard to forget.

Historical Fantasy

Byzantium - Stephen Lawhead

This, simply put, is a great read. There's also a great swathe of cultures involved - Irish monks, Gauls, Vikings, the people of Constantinople itself, plus some great Arab personalities. The movement is nice, and key-plot elements are nicely threaded together. It's hard for me to read a book without throwing criticisms at it, but I had no real gripes with this work (excepting a little on the acquisition of language - but I'll let that one go). Classic scene - Aidan trying to explain Jesus to a group of Viking warriors.

Philosophical Fantasy

The Glass Bead Game - Herman Hesse

No, not a Nazi, just an common German surname for a Nobel prize winning author who also penned "Steppenwolf". This novel is long-winded and the translation from German is atrocious - you really do need a dictionary for this. But the content is quality, as you follow the protagonist - the incredibly humble Joseph Knecht - during his personal struggles in a somewhat vague future. This is the only book I have ever read that made me feel spiritual - long before I even knew what that meant, despite also having read the Bible, al Qur'an, and a number of other religious texts.
 

Kilroy

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only short descriptions.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Brilliant.

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke. Read this before you see the movie, if you can.

Battletech Series by Various Authors (Michael A. Stackpole, Loren L. Coleman) Simple, Exciting, Compeling, Excellent.

Alien Taste (and sequels) by Wen Spencer. Excellent Sci-fi mystery with a dash of romance.

The Icarous Hunt by Timothy Zahn. Great Story.

Kilroy Was Here
 

SirRob

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Engines of Light by Ken MacLeod. Its a trilogy, but I've only read the first which was quite good.

A Crown of Stars by Kate Elliot. Good mediaeval fantasy set in a world vaguely similiar to mediaeval europe. Out of all the books I've read I care for the character's in this the most.

The Dragon Waiting by John M Ford. Part of the Fantasy Masterworks Series, its an alternate history set at the time of the Wars of the Roses, with a twist on the character of Richard III. In this the Byzantine empire is still strong, having reclaimed nearly all of Europe up to the middle of France, in a world with magic and vampires playing quite a key part.
 

Brian G Turner

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I've got to add "2001: A Space Odessy" to this list. Just finished reading it and thought it quite superb. Most definitely my favourite SF book by far, up to now.

Excellent writing, excellent pace, great character (notably HAL), great content (the intermittent detail was very satisying, but never distracted from the plot), and the resolution was very satisfactory indeed. It's a shame I haven't read more books like this. Maybe I should read more Arthur C. Clarke...

:)
 

Ciros

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I have to say I highly recommend the entire New Jedi Order series. It's really good. For those who didn't know, they are Star Wars books.
 

dwndrgn

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Here's one for anyone who enjoys getting perplexed looks because they are laughing out loud while reading a book:

The Pyrates by George MacDonald Fraser
It isn't Fantasy as commonly known but a pirate fantasy that takes a dash of real history and a sprinkle of swashbuckling movies from the 40's and blends in a great deal of irreverant humor.
Drink straight up.
 

dwndrgn

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Small List of my personal favorite authors:

Historical Fiction:
Diana Gabaldon (Stuart rebellions)
Anne Perry (late Victorian era)
Iain Banks
Lindsey Davis (Ancient Rome)
Elizabeth Peters (Egypt pre and post WWI)

Fantasy:
Alan Dean Foster (Spellsinger Series)
Robin Hobb (Mad Ship, Tawny Man, Farseer)
Terry Pratchett

Sci Fi:
L. Ron Hubbard (ONLY Battlefield Earth, the rest I despised)
Douglas Adams

Detective Fiction:
Kathy Reichs
Elizabeth George

Ok, the short list got a little long...sorry!
 

Brian G Turner

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LOL - that's quite a list! Good starter frame. It's nice to see some historical fiction in there - we haven't covered that topic enough around here.
 

scifimoth

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Well here are some of my personal faves....

Scifi:
-Dune

Anthropology

-What it means to be 98 % chimpanzee
-Forensic Anthropology Workbook

Fantasy

-The Dragonlance Chronicles
- The Incarnations of Immortality (A series of books by Pierce Anthony)

Mystery

-Anything by Jeffery Deaver

ok...I think I'll stop for now lol
 

GnomeoftheWest

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Speculative Fiction (like the 50s authors, I hate the term Sci-Fi)

Lord Fowls Bain (and subsequent sequels) - Stephen R. Donaldson
Any and all Heinlein (besides, he loved cats)
The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury
Slan - A. E. van Vogt
 

gravalicious

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Philip K Dick --
A Scanner Darkly
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
Dr Bloodmoney
Ubik
Valis

J. G. Ballard - The Unlimited Dream Company (kind of sci-fi, kind of fantasy)
 

Goto Deng

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It seems that some of the best works haven't gotten around yet...


Fantasy

George R. R. Martin --- A Song of Ice and Fire spellbinding fantasy trilogy

Stephen Grundy --- Rheingold, brilliant mix of fantasy and northern legends.


Science Fiction
Neal Stephenson Snow Crash
Cryptonomicon (more historical than sci-fi, but with a nice sci-fi twist)
 

Brian G Turner

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Hi Goto Deng - and welcome to the chronicles-network!

I'm really going to have to open up a thread about George R R Martin directly - seems he's too big a subject around here now. :)

As for Stephen Grundy - it does sound very interesting. Tolkien was happy to mine various legends and motifs of west and north Europe, but it seems that far too few modern authors have completely overlooked that. :)
 

Sci-fi_gEEk

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Some good books mentioned, here's a few I felt deserved mention:

The Shannara Series - Terry Brooks
The Wheel of Time - Robert Jorden
His Dark Matierials - Phillip Pullman
The Xanth and Apprentice Adept Series - Peirs Anthony
Hitch Hikers Guide to the Universe - Douglas Adams
The Dragon Lance Series -
The ones by Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman I think are the best.
The Myth Series - Robert Asprin
The Ender Saga - Orson Scott Card

Historical Fiction:
The Camulod Chronicals - Jack Whyte

There's more but I can't think of them off hand. But definitly check out Terry Brooks.
 

dwndrgn

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Sci-fi_gEEk - welcome to the Empire. These are some great suggestions, thank you. I've added a few notes...in case anyone cares.

Sci-fi_gEEk said:
Some good books mentioned, here's a few I felt deserved mention:

The Shannara Series - Terry Brooks I really enjoyed the original trilogy, one of my favorite characters is Panamon Creel.
The Wheel of Time - Robert Jorden I liked this but Jordan needs a better editor IMHO - he's too wordy.
His Dark Matierials - Phillip Pullman Very good series - I love that there are more books in the mainstream aimed at younger audiences
The Xanth and Apprentice Adept Series - Peirs Anthony Ahhh...memories! I enjoyed the heck out of the Xanth series as a kid. Do you know where the Xanth name came from? I thought that was pretty interesting too.
Hitch Hikers Guide to the Universe - Douglas Adams A must read.
The Dragon Lance Series -
The ones by Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman I think are the best. I couldn't get into these for some reason. Maybe I should try again.
The Myth Series - Robert Asprin I loved the humor of these. Have you read the Phule series? They are good as well.
The Ender Saga - Orson Scott Card Haven't read this but since I've heard so much good stuff I'll have to check it out. It is also apparently going to be made into a major motion picture so another good reason to try it out.
 

Sci-fi_gEEk

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The Sannara Series:
Panamon Creel was pretty cool, I've always liked the Leah Highlanders. There's now a new trilogy out that continues from where the last trilogy, "The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara", left off. You definitly have to read the other series before you start this one though.
I also found a new book called Eragon by Christopher Paolini. This is his first work (he's only like 19 years old) and it was pretty good. It'll be interesting to see where his career goes.
 

dwndrgn

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Sci-fi_gEEk said:
The Sannara Series:
Panamon Creel was pretty cool, I've always liked the Leah Highlanders. There's now a new trilogy out that continues from where the last trilogy, "The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara", left off. You definitly have to read the other series before you start this one though. .
You mean Jarka Ruus? Yes, I'm waiting for either our library to pick it up or for when it comes out in paperback - by that time I may be able to purchase it!

Sci-fi_gEEk said:
I also found a new book called Eragon by Christopher Paolini. This is his first work (he's only like 19 years old) and it was pretty good. It'll be interesting to see where his career goes.
This sounds interesting. I'll have to look into it. If you happen to read it before I do, mention how you liked it here. Sharing is good!
biggrin.gif
 

Sci-fi_gEEk

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In reference to the last book that I mentioned, Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I did read it, and I thought that given the authors age and experience, it was very well written. Of course I wouldn't put it on par with say, Peirs Anthony or Robert Jordan. There were a few things that made it obvious that this was his first book. Parts of the story I thought could have been explained more and other parts that I felt he spent to much time on. All in all though, I found the book to be quite enjoyable and I am now eagerly awaiting the sequel. And as a said before I look forward to following this new authors career and to reading his work.
 

littlemissattitude

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Sci-fi_gEEk said:
In reference to the last book that I mentioned, Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I did read it, and I thought that given the authors age and experience, it was very well written. Of course I wouldn't put it on par with say, Peirs Anthony or Robert Jordan. There were a few things that made it obvious that this was his first book. Parts of the story I thought could have been explained more and other parts that I felt he spent to much time on. All in all though, I found the book to be quite enjoyable and I am now eagerly awaiting the sequel. And as a said before I look forward to following this new authors career and to reading his work.
Which of Piers Anthony's books are you referring to, Sci-fi_gEEk? I never got into the Xanth books at all. However, the Incarnations of Immortality series was pretty good, especially the first two or three. And I liked the Bio of a Space Tyrant series, but from what I remember of them (it's been years since I've read them) I wouldn't exactly recommend that series for younger kids - there's some fairly rough scenes in some of them.
 

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