Books involving Gods as characters.

aener

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Hello.
I'm sorry my first post is a request, but I guess that'd be the prominent reason for people signing up to forums.

A fair while ago now, as with almost all of you by the look of things, I read the Mistborn Trilogy. I then went on to Sanderson's other books, and then found Trudi Canavan. Really liked her Age of Five trilogy.

I've come to realize that I really like stories involving deities. Books involving religion do not have the same effect, unless the deities in question are active characters.

Could anyone please suggest some other titles in this vein?



On a fairly opposing theme, I am growing weary of the "epicness" of traditional fantasies. The save-the-world, country-man-defeats-evil-hyper-wizard and evil-army-invades-but-can-be-defeated-by-a-band-of-12 storylines - whilst I still enjoy them, are growing old.

I have seen the [Slice of life/Minutiae fiction] thread (n00bz can't link-up yo'), and shall be investigating that, but any more suggestions of books such as that in the world of fantasy would not go amiss.

Something I've wanted to read for a while is any form of fantasy story, but from the view of a commoner. Anything a bit different like that. (Long shot, I understand.)


Thank you!
 

murphy

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You might try N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy, starting with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. The last book of this trilogy is due out this October.
 

j d worthington

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It depends, too, on how "active" you wish them to be. For example: in Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword, Odin plays a very important role, setting in motion a series of events which form the main body of the story... and Odin's presence, when he shows up, is quite impressive. This is not any benign image of All-Father Odin, this is the god of the gallows we're talking here; the one who sacrificed his eye to gain the knowledge held by Mimir; the Great Necromancer himself. But the story does not revolve around him, however important his role in it may be. (Fine novel, though; highly recommended. But it certainly is a novel in which there is little happiness....)

Certainly, the gods of Moorcock's multiverse often are very much in evidence, especially in his Elric and Corum books (though there are others). Few of them are likable, but they are most certainly alive and involved....

Robert E. Howard also wrote stories which occasionally brought gods in as characters. Two personal favorites are "The Gray God Passes" (again, featuring Odin), yet another rather tragic tale with a great deal of poignancy to it; and "The Cairn on the Headland"....

Some of the later tales of Harold Shea also have deities taking an active role, especially Apollo, who has something of a vendetta against Harold....

Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser tales not infrequently have deities showing up, especially Death (who is a minor godling, especially when we're talking about the Death who oversees Nehwon); though others also make their appearances.

Clark Ashton Smith would occasionally bring in deities as well, as in "The Dark Eidolon" or "The Chain of Aforgomon"...
 

Perpetual Man

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Like J D said, there are a lot of books out there where gods play a critical but indirect wall, but:

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett features his Discworld gods.

and Louise Cooper's Time Master series features active gods quite strongly (although you might have to get to the end of the series to full appreciate the fact!)
 

rai

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Neil Gaiman's: 'American Gods'

Also, a novelette and not real gods (just computers but in a godly way): 'For a Breath I Tarry' by Roger Zelazny.
 

Mouse

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I second American Gods.

Also (I've not read it but I own it) Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips. Which I just Googled as I'd forgotten the author and it turns out there's going to be a film made of it next year.
 

J-Sun

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I've come to realize that I really like stories involving deities. Books involving religion do not have the same effect, unless the deities in question are active characters.

Could anyone please suggest some other titles in this vein?
The Iliad, the Odyssey, the works of Aeschylus and Sophocles, etc. :) I'm not sure of the ontological status of some of Zelazny's critters of light and darkness but he certainly wrote of god-like beings in Lord of Light, Creatures of Light and Darkness, the Amber books (I think, IIRC), and so on - not just "For a Breath". I haven't read them yet but I understand Lee's Flat Earth series has godlike beings, too. Day by Night touches on this as well, depending on how you squint at it. I know I'm forgetting a bunch more.

Something I've wanted to read for a while is any form of fantasy story, but from the view of a commoner. Anything a bit different like that. (Long shot, I understand.)
Not exactly, but Cherryh's "science fantasy" Morgaine Saga features
both a character who's a bit transcendental relative to her current milieu, yet the story sort of has
the perspective of a fairly normal guy.

(Sorry about the spoiler section - I'm almost positive it's not, so people should be able to see it, but it's been awhile since I read them so I'm not sure if aspects of Morgaine were "revealed" or not. Erring on the side of caution.)

j.d. mentioned Leiber's F&GM/Lankhmar tales but, also on the second part of your post, he's written several proto-urban fantasies that aren't at all stock heroic fantasy stuff. I'm not much of a fantasy buff but I will say that SF writers (or not-purely-F writers, anyway) who dabble in it tend to take a different angle on it, so you might like some of that. (Not that Leiber "dabbled" - he actually probably was more a fantasy than SF author but my point is that, where it can be debated, you might get some atypical fantasy.)
 

Omphalos

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To Rule in Hell, by Stephen Brust, and Job: A Comedy of Justice. By Robert Heinlein. The first is mostly angels, but Yahweh is an active character. He's also in Job, but let's say he plays a diminished role.
 

Metryq

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Piers Anthony's On A Pale Horse, the first in the Incarnations of Immortality series, is a fun read. We meet Satan, while many of the other characters are "forces of nature" rather than "gods."
 

Rodders

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Didn't Thor feature quite heavily in the later Hitchhiker books and Dirk Gently's holistic detective agency?
 

pyan

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Lots of Tom Holt's books involve deities, mainly Norse and Egyptian - one of the funniest is Odds and Gods...
 

Hypnos164

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Lois McMaster Bujold's three "Chalion" books (The Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls, The Hallowed Hunt) revolve around the differing world views / priorities of gods and mortals.

The amount of "on stage" time for the gods varies between the books and with the personality of the god in question - each book is linked to one of the members of the pantheon.

Even if they are not exactly what you are looking for, I highly recommend them.
 

Connavar

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The Illiad is the most dark, bleak portrayal of gods i have read. Frankly i thought Athena and co was high and mighty,pretty nice gods that later Greek myths have made them. Homer gods are fascinating to read.

My fav part when Athena tricks poor Hektor and helps Achilleus kill him. Not the legendary, brave man vs man duel people think. Its like people in the stories of Homer worship demons who toys with their lives.

If Homer is too advanced, slow for you there are more modern fantasy, SF ;)
 

D_Davis

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I haven't read it, yet, but I plan to:



From the back of the edition I have, it sounds like the original American Gods a little bit.
 

GreenKidx

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The following titles from my 'read and loved' pile should/could fit the bill:

Eric Nylund's 'Mortals Coils series'
Jennifer Fallon's 'Tide Lord Quartet'
Holly Lisle's 'World Gates Trilogy'

And MAYBE Eddings' 'Belgariad/Malloreon/2 Prequels' (but be warned, those books are the prototypical "rag tag band of outcasts and underdogs fighting big baddy McEvil guy")

Also, for a bit of a change in fantasy pace you might try reading Brent Weeks' 'Night Angel Trilogy' or E.E. Knight's 'Age of Fire series' or Orson Scott Card's 'Tales of Alvin Maker' series.

PS- I'm a huge fan of the 'Age Of Five trilogy' !
 
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