Can't find this type of book

HareBrain

Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
10,130
Location
West Sussex, UK
I have a bad cold at the moment (and no, the main purpose of this thread isn't to generate sympathy, BUT IT COULDN'T HURT, RIGHT?) and I'd like nothing better than to curl up with a good book. But I have a hankering for a particular kind of book, and I can't seem to find any.

A likeable band of characters set out on an adventure with probably not much initial motivation deeper than to travel, explore and make their fortune (to use that old-fashioned phrase). Interpersonal relationships favour humour over angst. Probably none of the characters is especially significant in terms of prophecies etc, or the lost children of royalty. As the adventure goes on, it no doubt gets more significant in terms of the fate of the world etc, but that emerges organically rather than being flagged up at the start.

This basic format, with an emphasis on fun and exploration, might seem familiar to those who played D&D as teenagers or played certain JRPG videogames (I'm thinking in particular of Grandia). But I can't find it in book form, either adult or YA. The Wheel of Time might be close-ish, but is way too long and complex and prophecy-driven. The Chronicles of Prydain are probably closest in terms of tone, but the target audience is too young.

Any ideas?
 

Toby Frost

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
4,375
I won't lie to you about your chances of finding this kind of book but... [horrible smirk] You have my sympathies. Feel better yet?

I know what you mean: it would be nice to read something without angst or that sense of paranoia (says the man who wrote a book where everyone assassinates everyone else). I suppose that is a good way to generate additional tension during the journey, but it does get a bit tedious. I'm a bit rusty on fantasy, but my first thought is Dragonlance. My second is TV shows like Buffy or The West Wing, where an ensemble cast deals with a new problem each week, but I can't imagine those likeable bands of characters having an adventure like that!
 

Mouse

ejtett.weebly.com
Joined
Jun 2, 2006
Messages
9,895
Location
in your face
Go read Space Mac by me again. :D Accidental adventure, no motivation other than to not die, humour and shenanigans.

Other than that, I'm drawing a blank. Possibly Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman? Likeable characters and humour and no prophecy or super important character.
 

Hugh

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
800
Continuing with Neil Gaiman, and the unlikely possibility that you haven't read him: "The Graveyard Book".

And get better soon....

Of course there's always the Famous Five adventure in which they experiment with a ouija board, find themselves transported through time and space, then have to journey through fantastic realms, eventually coming to realise that they are the subject of ancient prophecies and the universe hangs in the balance depending on whether they drink tizer or ginger beer. Or is that the Narnia books... I'm getting confused here....
 

Ian Fortytwo

How many dimensions do you travel through.
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
Messages
107
What about Terry Brookes Landover books?

I know it's not a group just a man wanting an escape sees an advert selling a magic kingdom?

Now it's awhile since I read them, memories a little sketchy but you may enjoy Guy Gabriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry.
Another book similar these is The Barbed Coil, by J. V. Jones.
 

HareBrain

Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
10,130
Location
West Sussex, UK
Thanks all. I was thinking more of the JRPG/D&D thing of going exploring exotic landscapes, digging around in ancient ruins, awakening terrible evils, running away etc.

I'm a bit rusty on fantasy, but my first thought is Dragonlance.
I did once have a look at the first book, but didn't get on with what I read. That might have been my mood at the time, though. I'll have another look.
 

nixie

pixie druid
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
May 4, 2005
Messages
4,946
Location
I may live in Yorkshire but I'm a Scot
Have you read The Body? The Book that inspired Stand by Me?

Ok you've reminded me of something I read and it's going to annoy me.
A group of friends (3 I think) decide to quit the nine to five and go exploring, they get pulled into a power battle, I can't remember if they came across a hidden civilisation or stumbled in the mist between worlds.
 

HareBrain

Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
10,130
Location
West Sussex, UK
The Black Company?
That's more military, isn't it? And quite dark, as I understand it.

C'mon, someone must have written a mash-up of Jason and the Argonauts, The Goonies, The Farthest Shore, Treasure Island and the Charn bit of The Magician's Nephew? If I don't read it soon, my cold will be over and it'll be too late.

Ok you've reminded me of something I read and it's going to annoy me.
*evil chuckle*
 

Randy M.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
1,292
Probably too obvious to mention, but how about the Fahfrd and Grey Mouser stories? (Take two, and call me in the morning.) Or even the Conan stories.

Or maybe I'm confusing you for me, since when I have a cold I tend toward short stories, and the pulpier the better.

Randy M.
 

Parson

This world is not my home
Supporter
Joined
Oct 11, 2006
Messages
7,853
Location
Iowa
Now I don't do much traditional fantasy, but the book that occurs to me that is quite like this is "We are Legion" by our our own Dennis E Taylor. It does start with one "person" but it does turn into a party of adventurers, with a lot of nerdy humor.
 

Teresa Edgerton

Goblin Princess
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
13,425
Location
California
What you describe, HB, sounds sort of like a familiar fairy tale set-up, where the main character (possibly younger son) goes out to do a ... well, a thing of some sort ... and along the way meets up with various persons with unique abilities who decide to come along and help him.

No, I don't have a specific book to suggest, but maybe if you were to dig around Amazon or somewhere among the fairy tale retellings.

Not much help I fear. But I do sympathize about the bad cold. They can be perfectly miserable, and though not usually serious can turn into something worse if you don't spend lots and lots and lots of time in bed doing nothing but comfort reading. So I hope you find what you are looking for, or at least something that will do in its place.


___
Edit: I haven't read it, but Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo sounds like it might be close to what you are looking for. Read the description on the product page.
 

HareBrain

Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
10,130
Location
West Sussex, UK
They can be perfectly miserable, and though not usually serious can turn into something worse if you don't spend lots and lots and lots of time in bed doing nothing but comfort reading.
Indeed -- I know someone who was hospitalised with flu, chest infection and pneumonia last weekend. They only just got him there in time.

Edit: I haven't read it, but Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo sounds like it might be close to what you are looking for. Read the description on the product page.
Thanks. I was looking at some of hers this morning in the bookshop, but missed this one. It doesn't look quite like what I was after, but it does look like it might be good, so I've downloaded a sample.
 

Dave

Custom title not found
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Jan 5, 2001
Messages
18,168
Location
Way on Down South, London Town
You must have read all Iain M Banks books, I would think?? Only, that I think Against a Dark Background contains many of the elements that you ask for, and ironically, it is exactly the reason that many people don't like it. I am not one of them.
 

hitmouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2011
Messages
1,457
Some of the later Jack Vance might fit the bill. Try Ports of Call, Nightlamp, or Lurulu.
 

williamjm

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
670
Chris Woodings' Tales of the Ketty Jay series sounds like it could be close to what you're looking for.
 

Venusian Broon

Defending the SF genre with terminal intensity
Supporter
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,813
Location
Edinburgh
Here's a question. Do you want it in book form? Because there are plenty of (very, very lengthy) Youtube DnD series, that more or less fit your description, that you could just listen to...(Perhaps listening to a DnD group ain't going to scratch your reading itch???)

(One I really got into was 'Critial Role' that you can find on the Geek & Sundry channel, that uses some well known voice over actors, but...at about 3-4 hours per episode, it's a bit of a commitment!)
 

Mad Alice

From Earth; Mad House of the Universe
Joined
Jun 23, 2015
Messages
681
I have a bad cold at the moment (and no, the main purpose of this thread isn't to generate sympathy, BUT IT COULDN'T HURT, RIGHT?) and I'd like nothing better than to curl up with a good book. But I have a hankering for a particular kind of book, and I can't seem to find any.

A likeable band of characters set out on an adventure with probably not much initial motivation deeper than to travel, explore and make their fortune (to use that old-fashioned phrase). Interpersonal relationships favour humour over angst. Probably none of the characters is especially significant in terms of prophecies etc, or the lost children of royalty. As the adventure goes on, it no doubt gets more significant in terms of the fate of the world etc, but that emerges organically rather than being flagged up at the start.

This basic format, with an emphasis on fun and exploration, might seem familiar to those who played D&D as teenagers or played certain JRPG videogames (I'm thinking in particular of Grandia). But I can't find it in book form, either adult or YA. The Wheel of Time might be close-ish, but is way too long and complex and prophecy-driven. The Chronicles of Prydain are probably closest in terms of tone, but the target audience is too young.

Any ideas?
Have you read the Alfar books by Elizabeth Boyer yet?
Particularly "The Elves and the Otterskin".
Elizabeth Boyer - The Elves And The Otterskin - PDF Free Download
 

Similar threads


Top