Cozy Fantasy?

Allegra

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The books by Terry Pratchett, Robert Rankin, Jasper Fforde are all very, very cozy. :)
 

dwndrgn

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Yes, yes, more good suggestions! I am, however, limited to what I can find at the library and many of these older works sadly aren't there :-(

As I was telling j.d. in an earlier post, humor is the key I think. Just like a cozy mystery can have murder and blood but still be cozy with the use of humor, so can fantasy.

@Toby - your first paragraph made me chuckle, thank you! But, can I say this without getting flamed? I despised Mythago Wood. It bored me to tears and I couldn't finish it.

@ Montero - love Tanya Huff! I've read them all though...Stealing the Elf King's Roses sounds familiar but I can't quite remember where I heard of it. I'll have to check it out.

@Allegra - oh yes, Pratchett is a favorite of mine. Robert Rankin I'll have to check out and yes, I've read Jasper Fforde of course.

It seems that the gritty realism section of the genre is taking over. I've nothing against that type of thing and I still read those too but the humor is being shut out by blood and gore. Give me some laughs! Life is way too serious as it is!

Thanks again everyone! If you've got more, I've got eager eyeballs!
 

j d worthington

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I have to agree with dwndrgn about the first paragraph, Toby. That was a lovely (and quite funny) summing up of the predominating idea of fantasy these days. Which leads me to:

...you're always going to run into a certain amount of fighting and drinking (and possibly wenching) in an adventure story.

This, however, presupposes that fantasy and adventure stories are always connected, which isn't necessarily the case. An enormous amount of fantasy has been written which has little, if anything, to do with the heroic adventure; some having little to do with what most would consider adventure at all; yet is fine fantasy for all that.

I realize the latter part of your post also addressed this, but I seem to have a bee in my bonnet where this one is concerned, and can almost never ignore an opportunity to remind people that such adventures are only one aspect of a rather wide-ranging field....

dwndrgn: I wouldn't suggest trying to find the Ballantine editions of these books themselves; they tend to be less accessible these days. But many of those were reprints of older books, and quite a few of those have been brought back into print since... and there's always interlibrary loan (should it be available in your area). The Newcastle books are often a little less likely to be found, but even there several have been made available again since.

Incidentally, I would, overall, also recommend Leiber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories; but not all of them are comic in nature. There are some rather grim ones as well; though he was also very good at mingling humor and horror, and certainly the two protagonists are oftimes comedians themselves (albeit on occasion dark ones). There is also Leiber's wonderful use of the English language; the result, to a large degree, of having come from a Shakespearean background....
 

Anne Lyle

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If you want some swashbuckling adventure that isn't gritty, I recommend "Spirit Thief" by Rachel Aaron. I thought it was YA when I read it, because although the characters are adults there's very little violence and no sex or swearing.

You can read my review here: http://www.annelyle.com/blog/book-reviews/book-review-the-spirit-thief-by-rachel-aaron/

I'd also second Gail Z Martin's series as "epic fantasy lite" - it was rather tame for my tastes, so it might suit! The protagonist is supposed to be a "good necromancer", but this basically means he behaves like a medium, helping restless spirits achieve peace.
 

Allegra

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As I was telling j.d. in an earlier post, humor is the key I think. Just like a cozy mystery can have murder and blood but still be cozy with the use of humor, so can fantasy.

Yes humour is always the key for me too, in any genre actually, fiction or nonfiction. Another book came to mind: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. I read it very recently and enjoyed it very much. A charming lighthearted fun read. There are lots of humour and the characters are very interesting. We have a thread about the book somewhere I think. In fact I'm going to get the 2nd one in the trilogy - Moon Over Soho.
 

Montero

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Yes humour is always the key for me too, in any genre actually, fiction or nonfiction. Another book came to mind: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. I read it very recently and enjoyed it very much. A charming lighthearted fun read. There are lots of humour and the characters are very interesting. We have a thread about the book somewhere I think. In fact I'm going to get the 2nd one in the trilogy - Moon Over Soho.

Just looked that up and it looks good. Also available through my local library. :)
 

Montero

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Oh and if you would extend cozy fantasy as far as a chirpy werewolf, you might enjoy Carrie Vaugn's Kitty books. Kitty the werewolf who is a radio presenter and DJ with a call in show for supernatural problems.
Not gore free, but fairly low gore and they are fun.
 

Randy M.

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Another title occurs to me; though I'm not sure "cozy" entirely fits, still its humor should: Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart. Last I knew, it was still in print. I haven't read the two sequels, but by all I've heard about them I take it there is very little slacking off in the quality, if any.

And, if that fits the bill, then maybe the older works about Kai Lung (sp?) by Ernest Bramah would also fit. Unfortunately, I only know about them through reputation. And like others, they might be hard to get through the library.


Randy M.
 

The Procrastinator

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Why do people apostrophise plural's? Is it capital
Cozy fantasy is a great term - I think it would apply to pretty much everything where the setting is fantasy but the people are real. Real people just aren't up for those big, world-saving, doom-laden swordmaster plots - they pull the covers over their heads, or just keep eating. Their stories are smaller and easier to digest.

With that in mind I can heartily recommend to you The Harem of Aman Akbar, by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, which is really good fun, and heaps of stuff by Barbara Hambly, which may be less silly, but still possesses the "real people feel".
 

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I love Barbara Hambly too. Happen to be just re-reading Sorcerer's Ward (which is a one-off in the universe of The Silicon Mage, a year after the events in the Silicon Mage).

Darwath trilogy followed later by two sequels. Accidental world hopping by two Californians (one history PhD student, one biker shop spray gun artist) from our world to a parallel one which has been hit by a really massive problem. So has a big problem, but it manages in a way to be cozy as BH very good at writing people and their view on much bigger events.

Ladies of Mandrigyn and sequels. Follows a mercenary troop leader and his number 2 - gets complicated (to say the least). It is not gore free but part of the underlying story is the two main characters changing their world view.

Silicon Mage sequence - again world hopping from California. Almost no gore, but certainly danger. Very clever and I like the people. I like all of the people BH comes up with.

Dragonsbane - one of my top ten books - re-read many times. Very twisting plot but not depressing.
The two sequels she wrote a lot later I've only read once and must try re-reading sometime. The problem I had with them on first read is that she starts by kicking the heck out of her characters (start of book 2) and I didn't like that.

Her vampire books starting Immortal Blood are excellent - very much about people.

Rainbow Abyss - not bad, but not up to the standard of the rest of her fantasies.

These days she has written a load of the Benjamin January books, set in New Orleans at a period when slavery still present. Low level magic at times - as in curses rather than wizards.
 

Anne Lyle

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Cozy fantasy is a great term - I think it would apply to pretty much everything where the setting is fantasy but the people are real. Real people just aren't up for those big, world-saving, doom-laden swordmaster plots - they pull the covers over their heads, or just keep eating. Their stories are smaller and easier to digest.

Sorry, but lack of a world-saving plot doesn't make the story "cozy", nor does the presence of it mean that the people aren't "real". Joe Abercrombie writes some amazingly well-rounded characters (e.g. Sand dan Glokta, Ardee West) who are just trying to survive in a harsh world. Nor would I call Doug Hulick's Among Thieves cozy, since it's about a crimelord's informant who is hard-pressed to save his own arse, never mind the world :)
 

Jen526

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Seconding of Barry Hughart and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (I haven't read Harem of Amen-Akbar, but recently re-read The Unicorn Creed and Song of Sorcery, and they held up well as a light, pleasant read. I bet her work would count as YA nowadays. Patricia Wrede's earlier work is in a similar "light fantasy" vein.

For fantasy set in the real world, Nina Kiriki Hoffman's Red Heart of Memory may fit the "cozy" bill.

Some McKillip would work. The Bell at Sealey Head is particularly non-world-saving and light.

Have you read Robert Asprin's Myth books?

(These suggestions are all over the map in terms of style-of-fantasy... I don't have a good handle on whether you were looking for a particular subgenre of fantasy in addition to the light/no-violence thing.
 

dwndrgn

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Goodness! All sorts of suggestions. I think I may have read most of these - Ben Aaronovich (loved), Bridge of Birds (double loved), Hambly (naturally), McKillip (of course), Aspirin (yep)...and can't remember what else.

I've not read Elizabeth Ann Scarborough so will definitely check that out.

For your question Jen526, nothing truly in particular - just lighthearted, fun, humor, interesting characters and absolutely no doom and gloom.

Since I started this thread I've read two that fit the bill in case anyone here would like to give them a go - The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan [this one is YA but lots of fun and no teen angst] and The Dragons of Wendal by Maria Schneider [high fantasy with dragons and werewolves but with a sense of fun.]

I again thank everyone for joining in and suggesting books. I may have a TBR list that exceeds the length of many novels but I can always use more suggestions for good books.

Oh, and I've also found that there are many older works that fit - the 80s seemed to have a trend for lighthearted and fun fantasies by writers such as DeChancie, Gordon R. Dickson, Christopher Stasheff, Lawrence Watt-Evans. Just in case you guys need some new suggestions as well ;-)
 

Randy M.

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Yet another title came to mind (why can't I remember everything at once?): Lisa Goldstein's The Uncertain Places. This veers toward horror but mostly skirts its edge rather than enter, and wasn't entirely satisfying to me though I could see other readers taking to it.


Randy M.
 

Montero

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Funny, I hesitated to recommend Hambly due to world saving bit of it. Glad you like her, wonderful writer, not heard of enough.

Anyway, since you like Hambly would think you'd like Lois McMaster Bujold's fantasies.
Curse of Chalion
Paladin of Souls
Hallowed Hunt

and the Sharing Knife series.

I also like LMB science fiction.

Depending on whether or not you are happy with the slightly YA tone, then Dianne Wynne Jones the Dark Lord of Derkholme, which is both a send up of classic fantasy while being a really good fantasy story in its own right.
 

hitmouse

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None of these are exactly cuddly, but they are all a very long way from your good ol' cliche-ridden sub-Tolkein Robert Jordanesque extruded fantasy product:

The Good Fairies of New York Martin Millar
The Goblin Reservation Clifford Simak
Little Big John Crowley
Flondrix and Astra Seamus Cullen
The Wallet of Kai Lung Ernest Bramah
Haroun and the Sea of Stories Salman Rushdie
 

Allegra

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Just remembered Chris Moore, read a few his books before, light-hearted, witty and heart-warming.
 

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