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 Favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books
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Harris
 Sunday, September 12 2010 @ 08:34 AM UTC  
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Oh, absolutely! I'd always thought Terry was one you couldn't help but know OF at least, if you read Fantasy as an adult (maybe only as an American adult, but still).


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Pod
 Sunday, September 12 2010 @ 09:15 AM UTC  
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Well, I could list a lot. But it strikes me that the list of names thus far is awfully heavy on the XY side of the scale. Nothing against Male Writers (some of my best friends are blah blah blah) but, for the sake of balance, here are a few Ladies of SFF who are well worth your attention:

Ursula Le Guin. Spare, understated prose, both fantasy and sci-fi, the latter running more to the sociological than the technological what-ifs. Start with: A Wizard of Earthsea, first in a brilliant YA fantasy trilogy that's followed by a not-for-kids trilogy; or, if you're in the mood for something more cerebral, The Dispossessed (sci-fi).

Octavia Butler. I admit I've only read two of her books, but both of them were headtrips. Kindred is a long-fused brainbomb about an African-American woman who timetravels to the antebellum South. Highly recommended, though not to be picked up lightly. Dawn was... um, something about an alien-human breeding program, pretty wild stuff. Not my thing, so much, but perhaps you're interested in reading about inter-species three-ways? Hmm? If so, you're in luck: it's the first in a series.

Robin McKinley. Too much thinking? Want something to make you feel all warm and fuzzy? Robin's your girl. Beauty, her retelling of "Beauty and the Beast," is sweet and fun YA fiction, and was blatantly ripped off by Disney without attribution. The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown are a pair of really satisfying fairy-tale type fantasies. Some of her other stuff gets a little darker, but happily-ever-after is where she really shines.

Diana Wynne Jones. With all due respect to Hayao Miyazaki, his (admittedly gorgeous) take on Howl's Moving Castle did not do the book justice. It's far more subtle and sly than the film, with a lovely twist near the end that made me laugh and laugh. Ms. Jones wrote a ton of fantasy for both young and adult readers, but meeting the wizard Howl and his ambulatory residence is as good a place as any to start.

Linda Medley. Castle Waiting is a beautifully illustrated and written comic book series that interweaves characters from myth, legend and fairy tale lore. The first collected volume reads like an anthology: a series of stories -- some sad, some funny, some sweetly strange -- about the history of Castle Waiting and the odd folks who come to live there. A brilliant beginning for a (slowly!) ongoing tale.

Tove Jansson. Her books about the Moomintrolls of Finland were at the top of my faves list as a kid. They're endearingly odd, so much so that I have trouble figuring out what else to compare them to. Best encountered first through one of her earlier, goofier books like Comet in Moominland or Moominsummer Madness, or better yet, through her wonderful Moomin comic strip collections recently released in the US by Drawn & Quarterly. Her later books (Moomin and otherwise) are steeped with the loneliness of the Scandinavian landscape, which I found to be an acquired taste.

Susanna Clarke. Her first novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, takes place in England during its war with Napoleon and the concurrent resurgence of Magic. Don't remember reading this bit in your history texts? Her attention to historical detail and archly elaborate footnotes make a convincing, and also entertaining, case for nineteenth-century wizardry.

Is that enough? Because I've got more...


 
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NotAgain
 Sunday, September 12 2010 @ 11:48 AM UTC  
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Favourite SF&F books? How can I choose? I have several thousand SF&F and I treasure them all... how could I possibly choose favourites from my babies? But, well... let's see...

The Godwhale, by T.J. Bass. The only book I know by this fella, but a damned good read.

Anything by Sheri Tepper. For never falling into the "same old same old" story lines. She's always a good refreshing read, even when she seems to have a point to make. eg. in the book "The Gate to Womens' Country." I <3 her "Tales of Mavin Manyshaped."

Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. For simply being so mind-boggingly huge that I well 'n truly forget what the first book was about before I'm halfway through the series...

Piers Anthony's Xanth series. Without him, I suspect we would've had to do without our beloved PTerrys. When a whole book revolves around a single play on words... and is witty the whole way through, you know you have a winner. When a whole series of books... *chuckle*

Anything by PTerry. (Errm.... that's Terry Pratchett for the uninformed.)

James Blish's four "Cities in Flight" books... for setting me firmly on the SF path so many, many years ago.

Chanur's Voyage (& series) by C.J. Cherryh. Kats in Space! Nuff said! Big Grin

David Drake's Honor Harrington series. I have no idea why this pops to mind right now, but it does. I guess all us fellas like a good naval battle, even if it is in a vacuum.

I really, really liked the early Anne McCaffrey. Very inventive stuff. Before she started "tying her world's together" and sponsoring co-authors.

(I can go on and on and on and on... Rolling Eyes )


 
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SundanceCassidy
 Sunday, September 12 2010 @ 02:02 PM UTC  
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My fave books, wells, some of them have already been listed, Neverwhere, The Lord of the Rings, the Young Wizard series, Discworld.

But I'll throw a few in there Smile

Vigilant by James Allan Garner. It's about a woman who decides to join the secret police of her home planet. The catch is, to keep them honest, they must have a special implant inserted into their brain. That's not what it is really about, it's really about love and truth, and being brave when you really want to piss yourself, and it's funny too Smile

The Queen's Thief seiries by Meghan Whalen Turner. Following the adventures of possibly the greatest thief in the world, and the terrible and wonderful things that befall him. For young adults, but I recommend it Smile

Skuduggery Pleasant by Derek Landry. This is, again, supposed to be for young adults. But it's so good Smile Snarky, action packed, mysteries solved, the fate of the world in the balance. Not only that, but the audio books are good, and that's always a treat.

Peter and the Starchatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. A funny book that is true to the original source while bringing us new and interesting points of view on Peters origin. The other books in the series are fun too, but this one is the best.

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. This one had a terrible movie based off of it, but don't hold that against it. It's still a good future distopia read, and again, the other books in the series are great fun.

[/u]The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Interestingly, this series arose from Butcher thumbing his nose at his writing teacher, by writing what he thought would be a trite, shallow book. The joke was on him when it was incredibly popular. It's funny, it's sexy, and it's way better then anything Laurel K. Hamilton has ever written about the supernatural.

Okay, last one...last one..

Piratica by the 'Norotrious Tannith Lee. I'd never read such a great book about pirates. The daughter of the famous 'Piratica' steps into her mothers shoes to terrorise the seven seas. Interesting characters and interesting alternate history too Smile


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SundanceCassidy
 Sunday, September 12 2010 @ 02:19 PM UTC  
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Sorry for all those crappy underline faults, stupid editing tool :/


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Count Sessine
 Sunday, September 12 2010 @ 05:30 PM UTC  
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Just a few recommendations. There are so many, many good books...

Anything at all by Emma Bull, from her first novel, War for the Oaks, to her latest, Territory. She is also "Executive Producer" of the not-to-be-missed Shadow Unit.

Steven Brust is best known for his Vlad series, which I do enjoy, but my favorite of his is Agyar. I also very much liked The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars.

Charles Stross has also written excellent SF and, well, SF-tinged fantasy. (Or vice versa.) The one on my "Re-read this!" bookshelf at the moment is Halting State.


 
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Daedalus
 Sunday, September 12 2010 @ 08:23 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Cousjava

... Another good series is the Wizard Apprentice series, by Debra Doyle and James MacDonald. I've got books 2-8, but I don't know if I'll ever find a copy of book 1...I asked in a bookshop (a bookshop which had the others on the series, mind you) and they couldn't find it ....



Umm ... where are you, Cousjava? This title is listed on eBay (Australia) as item #110568086195. Selling price A$3.00. Postage within Australia A$1.75 ... about US$4.25 all up. International postage cost might be a bummer though. Just a thought.

Back on topic ... the only series I've re-read in recent years that fits in SF&F is Stephen Donaldson's Covenant series. I'm a bit conflicted by his writing. If he could tone down the purple prose, and hadn't borrowed so heavily and shamelessly from LOTR ... then I'd only have to deal with: "Why in hell did Donaldson include a rape in the early scenes, and have his character justify it by "feeling healthy made me do it" ?". And then gets it on with his daugher by the the rape! What the frig was this man thinking?

(Counts to ten ... happy places ... water falls.)

In my younger years I read SF voraciously. For a couple of years I was borrowing 4-6 books per week from my local library. Names that come to mind are Andre Norton (lots, but Beast Master stands out), Larry Niven (lots), Asimov (lots), Heinlein (lots, but Stranger in a Strange Land stands out), Frank Herbert's Dune series ... (usw)... Yeah, OK it was the early 70's ... they're all a bit dated now.

And Tolkein. Over and over again.


D.


The lunatics are taking over the asylum! Come with?
 
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Bakemaster
 Sunday, September 12 2010 @ 08:30 PM UTC  
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SPEAKING of Ursula K. LeGuin, whose fantasy is excellent, particularly The Left Hand of Darkness... Many people don't realize what an absolutely incredible essayist she is. I cannot recommend highly enough her collection, The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction. She's intelligent, articulate, and her prose is absolutely masterful. For a taste, check out her introduction to the 1976 printing of LHoD.

I've also loved what I've read of Roger Zelazny, who seems to have surprisingly little exposure nowadays considering his collection of awards, his place in the SF&F hall of fame, and his works having served as much of the inspiration (according to WP) for Planescape: Torment. Recommended: Nine Princes in Amber and the novels that follow (two sets of five, it can be found bound as one large "decalogy" volume as well).

My first love was Ray Bradbury; and after that, Clarke and Asimov. I read a lot of David Brin during high school. Had subscriptions to Asimov's, Analog and SF&F at one time or another. Greg Bear, Robert Silverberg... Read all the Dune books (not his son's stuff, I just kind of assume it's crap - just the original six), tons of Anne McCaffrey (Pern and Talents), not as much Pratchett as I would have liked to read (though I still have time, his writing is still good as an adult, thankfully). I did read a lot of Terry Brooks and R. A. Salvatore, though as an adult I can't touch those books anymore, the writing is so astonishingly bad. Read a lot of Piers Anthony when I was younger as well, though Xanth was mostly a guilty pleasure for a horny teenager, and I thought the Incarnations and Adept series were better works overall.

Someone once called a short story of mine Gene Wolfe-ish in a complimentary manner, so I went out and tried reading his Book of the New Sun, but somewhere in the middle of the second volume I lost interest. I should ever go back and pick that up again...

I remember really liking a series based on the premise that humanity was shockingly violent compared to extraterrestrial races, who discovered us and then used us to wage a war against this one other alien race that was really violent. But I can't for the life of me remember any titles or the author's name. Anyone? Bueller?

And there's always OSC, who has the highest ratio of dickishness-as-a-person to quality-of-fiction-writing of any author ever. Seriously, if you ever attend a panel he's on, prepare for him to monopolize the conversation, turn it into a discussion of politics at some point, and act like he's the king of things that are right. So my recommendation is skip the panel and just read his books, they're way more fun. (He's not a nazi though, that's some bullshit someone cooked up.)


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Temper
 Sunday, September 12 2010 @ 08:34 PM UTC  
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Oh dear.. The Chronicles of Amber. I had forgotten. Time to go dig it out. I LOVE those books. The way they end is kind of a bummer for me though. I love his Wonderland/drug scene. As a side note, all of this is going to make me super poor, because now I have a lot of books to go and buy. Whee!


 
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Bakemaster
 Sunday, September 12 2010 @ 08:41 PM UTC  
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I think a lot of people who like steampunk will like Amber, given that it's sort of a planes-of-reality setup where the main character of the first five books is trying to figure out how to get gunpowder from the most reality-like plane to work in the fantasy-plane, so he can kick his brother's ass; and the main character of the next five is his son who is also some kind of computer hacker.

I really enjoyed Donnerjack as well which is even more of a surreal blend of SF and Fantasy, though unfortunately it was finished by someone else (his wife/partner, was it?) posthumously, so it kind of takes a crazy turn somewhere midway and becomes kind of different. But I still liked it all the way through. Trippy stuff with a much less clear distinction between science and magic than in Amber.

I must confess, as a youth I totally stole the name of one of the princes of Amber for roleplay purposes. But that was in AOL chat rooms, and I have a policy that anyone can be forgiven for anything that took place in an AOL chat room in the 20th century...


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Harris
 Tuesday, September 14 2010 @ 07:00 AM UTC  
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I still need to finish Amber. Corwin's one of those few *endearing* antiheroes.


"Ain't nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile." -The Grateful Dead
 
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Anonymous: Dippy
 Thursday, September 16 2010 @ 03:00 PM UTC  


The Ender Wiggin series of books by Orson Scott Card,particularly the ones that follow Bean. I'm currently reading TheWorthing Saga and finding it quite good also.

The Inheritance Cycle books by Chris Paollini. I know they are derivitaive of several other fantasy fiction series, but I find them to be wonderfully entertaining.

Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies, Pretties, and Specials" is an excellent trilogy, I also loved Leviathan and Peeps.

I have enjoyed the few stories by Phillip K Dick that I have read.

1984 by Orson Wells is one of my favorite books, but I hated Animal Farm so go figure.

The Pendragon Series by DJ MacHale.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.

A slightly different Genre but I also like Frank Perreti.


 
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Hairy Mary
 Thursday, September 16 2010 @ 04:49 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Dippy

1984 by Orson Wells is one of my favorite books, but I hated Animal Farm so go figure.



I think that should be George Orwell shouldn't it? 1984 - dystopian future and Animal Farm - allegory of the Russian Revolution and all that? Yes, 1984 is a great book. I quite liked Animal Farm however.

While I'm here, I'll remention Titus Groan and Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake which fit into fantasy I suppose, just. My favourite books of all time. Plus the usual culprits. Terry Pratchet, Philip K Dick, Ian M Banks etc. etc.

I didn't enjoy Tolkein strangely enough, although that didn't stop me from being an instant expert when the film came out probably 20 years after I'd read them. Oops!


 
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Anonymous: Dippy
 Friday, September 17 2010 @ 12:54 AM UTC  


You are quite right. My mistake. Not quite sure how I even came up with that one. Oops!


 
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Anonymous: saint
 Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 03:11 AM UTC  


My favorite science fiction books are the prince roger series and the honor harrington series.
For fantasy anything by simon green and the Dresden files.


 
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omenesia
 Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 10:16 PM UTC  
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I've heard rumors that the War against the Chtorr series has been read by more than myself, and has fans, even if the 5th book is taking nearly a decade to get written. But I feel like the only person who's read them. Frown

David Gerrold wrote them, and I've read some of his other works. And I think just about everyone knows his Star Trek episode The Trouble with Tribbles.

I also really like James Hogan's Giants series, I have the first three, and I especially love the forensic focus in the first two books.
Even better, I see that the first book, Inherit the Stars is available free e-book. (http://www.webscription.net/p-584-inherit-the-stars.aspx)


Lions. Lions the whole way up.
 
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