July 16, 2019, 09:41:52 AM

Author Topic: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two  (Read 610 times)

Offline Eclipse

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the_hound's thread about gaps got me thinking. People have many and varied opinions on what is required reading in whatever genre they love.

So, what are some of yours?

Off the top of my head

1) LotR (obvious but wanted to get it out of the way)
2) Tigana (The way Guy Gavriel Kay explores memory and what it means to take that away, among other things, leads to a deep, thought provoking read)
3) Amber Chronicles (Roger Z was a master of the craft, and this series is stunning)
4) WoT, at least the early books (many of the modern tropes in epic fantasy we take for granted these days either originated with or hit their stride in this series)
5) Song of Ice and Fire (if you don't know why here, you're living under a rock ;))

I'm sure I'll think of many more later, but I need to get to sleep so not going to start rummaging through my bookcases.
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Online ScarletBea

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Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2019, 12:00:24 PM »
I'm actually against any "must read" list that doesn't take into account the tastes of the reader. For me, there's not a single book that has to be read!

Of course, once people ask for recommendations, I suggest a bunch of books, but it's more a case of "if you like X (author, type, etc) I think you'll enjoy Y", rather than "you must read Y to call yourself a fantasy reader"
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Offline isos81

Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2019, 10:03:29 PM »
The only thing required is a good read and that completely depends on readers' tastes IMO :) Although I mostly prefer magic involved epic fantasies, I'm OK with any other books with a well designed plot.
Kallor shrugged. 'I've walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I've commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I've spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes' said Caladan Brood. 'You never learn'

Offline Elfy

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Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2019, 11:30:56 PM »
Distinct lack of Pritchett on that list.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Bender

Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2019, 12:49:22 AM »
Wheel of Time
First Law
Dresden Files

One of the above.
Not all those who wander are lost

Online Alex Hormann

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Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2019, 05:40:28 PM »
I don't think anything is 'required' but if someone new to the genre asks me for recommendations, I usually offer them the following suggestions:

Mistborn - Brandon Sanderson
Legend - David Gemmell
Prince of Thorns - Mark Lawrence
Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss

Those four cover the big subgenres for me: High magic, Heroic, Grimdark, Epic. From there I can get a better idea of what to recommend.

Offline Peat

Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2019, 10:27:21 PM »
I'm actually against any "must read" list that doesn't take into account the tastes of the reader. For me, there's not a single book that has to be read!

Of course, once people ask for recommendations, I suggest a bunch of books, but it's more a case of "if you like X (author, type, etc) I think you'll enjoy Y", rather than "you must read Y to call yourself a fantasy reader"

Leaving aside the essential truth of this statement and treating it as more advisory than dictatorial, I find myself pondering what counts as required here.

Are we talking a tour of the genre, its high points and history?

Are we talking what I consider the very best?

Or are we talking what I think people are most likely to like, and what everyone should at least try once?

Because those are three very different things to me. The former, for me, would have many recommendations of things like Lord Dunsany and Tanith Lee, Katherine Kurtz and Gene Wolfe - things that I think a lot of people today wouldn't be necessarily that wowed by, but that really showcase fantastic ideas and writing.

The middle and the last are more similar, but Pratchett is a favourite of mine who I accept is idiosyncratic enough that he can't be a blanket recommendation. I think Max Gladstone's done incredible things with the genre, but again, idiosyncratic. I think that most fantasy readers probably would be wise to try Sanderson, but outside of Wheel of Time I struggle to read him to a huge degree.

I'm gonna stew on this and then come back with a super long list for the lulz

Offline Bender

Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2019, 11:42:50 PM »
The most common layman's introduction to fantasy comes from the likes of LotR, Harry Potter and the likes. Fantasy land, lots of magic, exotic creatures etc.....until GoT came and changed it to a more serious outlook. Currently when someone wants introduction to fantasy, I'd suggest First Law  for adults and Magician's (Raymond Feist) for YA.
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Offline Brand J Alexander

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Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2019, 01:26:15 AM »
While I don't consider them required, my go-to authors are Terry Brooks Shannara, Jordan WOT, Eddings Belgariad, and Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn. That's just what I grew up on, it's where my mind goes when asked. 
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, but today just doesn't want to end.

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Offline Matthew

Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2019, 01:42:41 AM »
One thing I would never recommend is SoIaF. I love fantasy, including the epics, but seriously he drags everything out so so so so much. I know if that were the first series I read I'd have turned right around and gone back to doing literally anything else.

I agree that Pratchett isn't for everyone, but I reckon at least a few of them would pop up on the list (for me it'd be most) but I reckon it'd depend on the character of the person you're recommending them to.

Maybe just skip them altogether and add Hitchhikers instead.

It's a contentious choice, but Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel is a great read if you don't mind the slow pace.


Offline Elfy

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Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2019, 06:31:36 AM »
One thing I would never recommend is SoIaF. I love fantasy, including the epics, but seriously he drags everything out so so so so much. I know if that were the first series I read I'd have turned right around and gone back to doing literally anything else.

I agree that Pratchett isn't for everyone, but I reckon at least a few of them would pop up on the list (for me it'd be most) but I reckon it'd depend on the character of the person you're recommending them to.

Maybe just skip them altogether and add Hitchhikers instead.

It's a contentious choice, but Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel is a great read if you don't mind the slow pace.
With Hitchhikers you’re getting into the whole what is SF and what is fantasy debate. I tend to put Hitchhikers in the SF category.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2019, 08:02:10 AM »
One thing I would never recommend is SoIaF. I love fantasy, including the epics, but seriously he drags everything out so so so so much. I know if that were the first series I read I'd have turned right around and gone back to doing literally anything else.
(...)
It's a contentious choice, but Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel is a great read if you don't mind the slow pace.
See, I'm totally the opposite ;D

I loved the first 3 books of ASoIaF, and dragged through JSaMN, so I'd recommend the former over the later any time.
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Offline Matthew

Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2019, 08:57:08 PM »
I loved the first 3 books of ASoIaF, and dragged through JSaMN, so I'd recommend the former over the later any time.

Why the qualifier of 3?

I will say that I got about halfway through book 6, and that should tell you I liked the early ones, but grew progressively more irritated by the pace and writing style until I finally just put it down and said "no, never again."

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Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2019, 09:21:05 PM »
I loved the first 3 books of ASoIaF, and dragged through JSaMN, so I'd recommend the former over the later any time.

Why the qualifier of 3?

I will say that I got about halfway through book 6, and that should tell you I liked the early ones, but grew progressively more irritated by the pace and writing style until I finally just put it down and said "no, never again."
Because from book 4 (there's only been 5, tbh) he started going off on tangents and the plot stopped being interesting, for me. So yes, read to the end of Storm of swords, and that's it.
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Offline Elfy

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Re: What do you consider required reading in the fantasy genre? part two
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2019, 02:33:58 AM »
I loved the first 3 books of ASoIaF, and dragged through JSaMN, so I'd recommend the former over the later any time.

Why the qualifier of 3?

I will say that I got about halfway through book 6, and that should tell you I liked the early ones, but grew progressively more irritated by the pace and writing style until I finally just put it down and said "no, never again."
You could do that, but there’s absolutely no sense of closure. I love ASoIaF, but I no longer recommend it to people, because it’s unfinished status is a source of frustration.
Because from book 4 (there's only been 5, tbh) he started going off on tangents and the plot stopped being interesting, for me. So yes, read to the end of Storm of swords, and that's it.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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