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Subject: Recommended Fantasy Authors List - Part 1/5

This article was archived around: 19 Dec 1998 14:02:09 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: fantasy/recommended-authors
All FAQs posted in: alt.fan.eddings, rec.arts.sf.written
Source: Usenet Version

Archive-name: fantasy/recommended-authors/part1 Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1998/03/01 URL: http://www.sff.net/people/Amy.Sheldon/listcont.htm Version: 3.0
THE RECOMMENDED FANTASY AUTHORS LIST - ver. 3.0 Part 1 of 5 NOTICE OF MAJOR CHANGE TO LIST Beginning with the March, 1998 posting, only those authors with six or more recommendations will have detailed listings. THE FULL LIST, WITH TITLES AND COMMENTS ON *ALL* RECOMMENDED AUTHORS, is available at the list web site: http://www.sff.net/people/Amy.Sheldon/listcont.htm Unfortunately, the Recommended Fantasy Author List has just gotten too large to continue posting the entire thing. CONTENTS: Introduction Part 1 THE LIST (A-C) Part 1 THE LIST (D-K) Part 2 THE LIST (L-Q) Part 3 THE LIST (R-Z) Part 4 Total Recommendation Counts Part 5 Finding These Books Part 5 About the List Part 5 Downloading the List Part 5 Credits Part 5 INTRODUCTION The Recommended Fantasy Author List originated in April 1994 in the alt.fan.eddings newsgroup. It was intended to be a quick compilation of a few favorite fantasy authors of some a.f.e. regulars. After more than 150 recommendation lists, it ended up being a bit more than that. The List has maintained ONE of its original attributes - all of the participants share a fondness for the fantasy of David Eddings. Other than that, recommended authors run the gamut from Stephen Donaldson to Terry Pratchett, Mervyn Peake to Lloyd Alexander, and Peter Beagle to Piers Anthony (the last pair is my "sublime to the ridiculous" combination). The list is alphabetic by author. In the case of authors with multiple series, I've attempted to list their works in order of publication. Note that the operative word in the preceding sentence is "attempted." Series are listed with a series title followed by the individual books in the series. The listing will indicate if the titles are part of an on-going series or a limited series (trilogies, tetralogies, and the like), and if the books within the series stand alone. If the series has gone beyond 10 books, the first several books will be listed, and maybe a few others of particular interest. THIS LISTING DOES NOT PRETEND TO LIST EVERY WORK BY EVERY AUTHOR LISTED, nor is it intended to do so. In several cases, only specific books by an author are recommended (although that is generally noted in the comments). Authors who write both science fiction AND fantasy (or books in other genres) only have their fantasy titles listed. You can find many _complete_ author lists, created by the indomitable John Wenn, at the following ftp site: sflovers.rutgers.edu in the directory: /pub/sf-lovers/bibliographies/authorlists The value-enhanced html version of this list resides at: http://www.sff.net/people/Amy.Sheldon/listcont.htm It includes everything found in the posted version plus all of the authors with less than seven recommendations, links to individual author sites and more detailed comments on the individual authors and titles. Series titles are enclosed within quotation marks, and book titles within series are separated a semicolon. Comments, if any, follow the listing. Authors/series listed by 10% of the recommenders are marked with an "*". Two "**" means that 20% or more have endorsed the author. The total number of recommendations per author follows the List. Lloyd Alexander (b. 1924) "Prydain Chronicles" - The Book of Three; The Black Cauldron; The Castle of Llyr; Taran Wanderer; The High King _Who cares if you have to get them from the children's section of your library - these are great. A young boy of unknown heritage becomes involved in a clash between the forces of good and evil. Loosely based on the Welsh Mabinogin. There are also two or three short story collections out featuring tales about the characters from the Chronicles. Classic series, the concluding volume won the Newbery medal._ "Westmark Trilogy" - Westmark; The Kestrel; The Beggar Queen _Less fantasy than the Prydain Chronicles. _The Kestrel_ in particular brings up the issue of personal morality in war situations, and it doesn't give any easy answers._ "Vesper Holly series" - The Illyrian Adventure; The El Dorado Adventure; The Drackenberg Adventure; The Jedera Adventure; The Philadelphia Adventure _Young adult adventure series set in an alternate world during Victorian times. The hero is a teen- aged female version of Indiana Jones, and the series is great fun._ *Piers Anthony (b. 1934) "Kelvin of Rud" - Dragon's Gold; Serpent's Silver; Chimaera's Copper; Orc's Opal; Mouvar's Magic _Straight adventure-fantasy._ "Xanth" - A Spell for Chameleon; The Source of Magic; Castle Roogna; etc. etc. etc. _Humorous. First couple of books are recommended, but it has descended into terminal cuteness and virtual unreadability. Denis managed to enjoy the first 15, but even he admits that it's getting pretty bad now. Series is nearing the 20-book mark._ "Apprentice Adept" - Split Infinity; The Blue Adept; Juxtaposition _Takes place in two different universes, one magic and one not. Anthony returned to this world with a second trilogy that is NOT recommended._ "Incarnations of Immortality" - On a Pale Horse; Bearing an Hourglass; With a Tangled Skein; Wielding a Red Sword; Being a Green Mother; For Love of Evil; And Eternity _There is a general, overall theme, but each book does stand on its own. NOT humorous. Recommenders agree that the first book, _On a Pale Horse,_ is the best (the usual state of affairs in a series written by Piers Anthony)._ *Robert Asprin (b. 1946) "Myth series" - Another Fine Myth; Myth Conceptions; Myth Directions; Hit or Myth; Myth-ing Persons; Little Myth Marker; M.Y.T.H. Inc. Link; Myth-nomers and Impervections; M.Y.T.H. Inc. in Action; Sweet Myth-tery of Life; Something M.Y.T.H. Inc. (forthcoming someday, but don't expect it any time soon) _Humorous. Lotsa puns, lotsa slapstick. Like most long-running series, the recent offerings have been pretty weak. He also has an SF series, "Phule's Company," which also runs along the punny/humor line._ "Thieves World" - Thieves World; Tales From the Vulgar Unicorn; Shadows of Sanctuary; Storm Season; The Face of Chaos; Wings of Omen; many others _Shared World series with various authors, Asprin is originator. Notable as the first series created specifically to be a Shared World. Most of the stories aim for a feeling of gritty realism (translation: dark and depressing). The series seems to have topped out at 12 books._ Peter S. Beagle (b. 1939) A Fine and Private Place _An early work. It's a love story with (and between) ghosts. Jim says "it is well worth reading" and your FAQmaker agrees._ The Last Unicorn _One of the top ten fantasies of all time. Read this. Bittersweet story of the last unicorn's quest to find out what happened to her fellow unicorns._ The Folk of the Air _Published in the mid 80s, contemporary fantasy set in a city resembling Berkeley, California and featuring a group very like the Society for Creative Anachronism. One of his weaker works. Still, even weak Beagle is worth reading._ The Innkeeper's Song _Beagle returns to fantasy after far too long an absence. Story told through multiple viewpoints, grittier and a bit darker than his early work._ The Unicorn Sonata _25 years after _The Last Unicorn_, Beagle returns with a new fantasy that is initially set in contemporary Los Angeles before moving on to a faerie land of Shei'rah. This is really only a novelette, but the pictures are pretty..._ Ray Bradbury (b. 1920) Something Wicked This Way Comes _Everything Bradbury writes is Wonderful (do we detect a teeny bit of bias on the part of our FAQmaker here?) Most of his fantasy is in short story form, but this novel features an unusual (and nasty) carnival that comes to town._ *Marion Zimmer Bradley (b. 1930) "Avalon books" - The Mists of Avalon; The Forest House; The Lady of Avalon (co-author Diana Paxson) _Each of these stands alone. _Mists_ was one of the first books to tell the Arthur story from the female characters' points of view, and, boy, was it successful. _Forest House_ is a prequel to _Mists_, taking place during the Roman invasion of Britain, and _Lady_ takes place between the two._ The Firebrand _Cassandra of Troy gets her turn in the spotlight._ "Witchlight series" - Ghostlight; Witchlight; Gravelight; Heartlight (forthcoming Sept. '98) _New series featuring psychic heroine Truth Jourdemayne. eluki bes shahar will be co-authoring the forthcoming books._ "Darkover series" - Stormqueen; Hawkmistress; The Forbidden Tower; The Heirs of Hammerfell; many many others _THIS IS SF, NOT FANTASY. But, hey, McCaffrey's Pern books made it onto the list, so why not MZB's Darkover? Generally, the books that take place after the lost colony of Darkover has been rediscovered by Earth are more SF in tone, the ones that take place during Darkover's long isolation have a more 'fantasy' feel. I've listed a few of the titles I'm personally familiar with, and consider fantasy-ish in tone. The books are generally supposed to be standalones, but familiarity with Darkover is needed to make lesser offerings more enjoyable._ **Terry Brooks (b. 1944) "Shannara" - Sword of Shannara; Elfstones of Shannara; Wishsong of Shannara _The fantasy genre owes Brooks a lot - whether that debt is good or bad depends upon how you feel about the current state of the market. These books were bestsellers when they came out in the early 80's, and they finally proved that Tolkien's popularity wasn't just an aberration, and that fantasy could be much more than a niche market. This is an enjoyable group of books, although the Tolkienesque borrowings of the first book of the first trilogy are even more blatant than most._ "Heritage of Shannara" - Scions of Shannara; Druid of Shannara; Elf Queen of Shannara; Talismans of Shannara _Onward ever onward with the world of Shannara. This group of books is straightforward fantasy quest/adventure._ "Yet Another Shannara Book" - First King of Shannara _Prequel set 500 years before the events of _Sword of Shannara_._ "Kingdom of Landover" - Magic Kingdom For Sale-Sold; The Black Unicorn; Wizard At Large; The Tangle Box; Witches Brew _Open-ended adventure/humor series. Not connected to the Shannara books._ "Trolltown series" - Running With the Demon; A Knight of the Word (forthcoming Aug. '98) _Brooks' first fantasies set in the contemporary world. Good and evil vie for the soul of a young Illinois girl. The first book does include an elf, a demon and a Knight of the Word as characters, so it shouldn't be too much of a shock to his fans._ *Steven Brust (b. 1955) "Vlad Taltos series" - Jhereg; Yendi; Teckla; Taltos; Phoenix; Athyra; Orca; Dragon (forthcoming Nov. '98) _Featuring the assassin Vlad Taltos. Open-ended action/adventure series taking place in a well- defined, interesting world. Each book is a stand- alone, and the published order (listed above) does NOT follow the internal chronology (despite that, you should try to read them in the published order. Vlad's growth as a character is best traced by reading the books in the order Brust has written them)._ "Khaavren Romances" - The Phoenix Guards; Five Hundred Years After; The Paths of the Dead (coming sometime in 1999 maybe); The Enchantress of Dzur Mountain (forthcoming); The Lord of Castle Black (forthcoming) _Set in the same world as the Vlad Taltos books, just earlier in its history. These are written in the style of Dumas (remember _The Three Musketeers_?) and are quite enjoyable._ Brokedown Palace _A standalone that takes place in the eastern (human) region of Vlad Taltos' world. It was reprinted by Ace in August, 1996._ Agyar _Dark fantasy told from the title character's point of view. Kate sez, 'Part of the fun is figuring out who and what he is.'_ The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars _Part of the Ace 'Fairy Tale' series (now being published by Tor), which invited various authors to retell a fairy tale for a contemporary adult audience. Very well-regarded, books from the series by Wrede, de Lint & Dean are also on this list. It came back into print in May '96 from Tor._ Freedom and Necessity (co-author Emma Bull) _This is an epistolary fantasy (i.e., the story is told in the form of letters) that is unrelated to any series by either of the co-authors. It is set in 1849 and has garnered some very nice reviews._ Orson Scott Card (b. 1951) Hart's Hope _Early stand-alone fantasy_ "Alvin Maker" - Seventh Son; Red Prophet; Prentice Alvin; Alvin Journeyman; The Crystal City (forthcoming 1998); Master Alvin (forthcoming) _I'm told that _Master Alvin_ will complete this series. The majority of Card's writing falls firmly into SF, but this is an interesting alternate- history fantasy, taking place in 19th century U.S._ Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) "The Alice Duology" - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; Through the Looking Glass _Human from the "real world" crosses over into a fantasy land...Sound familiar? The first and still the best, you should read the Alice books as a fine source of sig quotes if nothing else._ C.J. Cherryh (b. 1942) "Morgaine" - Gate of Ivrel; Well of Shiun; Fires of Azeroth; Exile's Gate _Early work from Cherryh (except for _Exile's Gate_, which was published a decade after the others). Dark, moody science fantasy. Open-ended_ "Arafel's Saga" - The Dreamstone; The Tree of Swords and Jewels _Out of print (although they still turn up in bookstores occasionally). Fantasy in the Celtic/Welsh vein. Cherryh has revised these two books, and they are scheduled to be reprinted in an omnibus edition from DAW, titled 'The Dreaming Tree.'_ "Russian series" - Rusalka; Chernevog; Yvgenie _Dark fairy tale using Russian traditions. Cherryh is a very highly regarded SF author, and if you like her fantasy, you should check out her other works._ The Paladin _Good stand-alone story with a samurai flavor_ The Goblin Mirror _Stand-alone fantasy with an Eastern European background._ Faery in Shadow _Stand-alone celtic fantasy about a young man who makes a bargain with the Sidhe._ "Tristan series" - Fortress in the Eye of Time; Fortress of Eagles; Fortress of Owls (forthcoming); Fortress of Dragons (forthcoming) _This starts out slowly. Tristen's quest goes on far too long, and the maneuverings that lead to the final battle are pretty routine. Still, even substandard Cherryh is worthwhile, just don't let this be the first of her books that you try._ Glen Cook (b. 1944) "The Chronicles of the Black Company" - The Black Company; Shadows Linger; The White Rose _Fantasy from the foot soldier's point of view. Gritty and hard-edged, these are not Fantasy Lite_ The Silver Spike _Takes place in the world of the Black Company. It's not about them, but some familiar characters appear._ "Book of the South" - Shadow Games; Dreams of Steel _More of the chronicles of the Black Company_ "The Glittering Stone Tetralogy" - Bleak Seasons; She Is The Darkness; 2 more books forthcoming _The long-awaited continuation of the adventures of the Black Company. The final book of what was originally announced as a trilogy ended up being split in two._ "Garrett, P.I. series" - Sweet Silver Blues; Bitter Gold Hearts; Cold Copper Tears; Old Tin Sorrows; Dread Brass Shadows; Red Iron Nights; Deadly Quicksilver Lies; Petty Pewter Gods _The hard-boiled detective in a world full of elves, trolls, and magic. Raymond Chandler fans take note. Open-ended series. There is some slight reference to events that take place in previous books, but all books are basically stand-alone. Roc publishing recently bought 2 more in this series from Cook. This is beginning to suffer from Continuing Series Syndrome, but the books haven't fallen off badly enough to make me stop buying._ "The Dread Empire series" - A Shadow of All Night Falling; October's Baby; All Darkness Met; The Fire in His Hands; With Mercy Toward None; Reap the East Wind; An Ill Fate Marshalling _Listed for completists - none of the recommenders mentioned this series. The darkest (and least commercially popular) of Cook's three continuing series._ Hugh Cook (b. 1956) "Chronicles of an Age of Darkness" - The Wizards and the Warriors; The Wordsmiths and Warguild; The Woman and the Warlords; The Walrus and the Warwolf; The Wicked and the Witless; The Wishstone and the Wonderworkers; The Wazir and the Witch; The Werewolf and the Wormlord; The Worshippers and Way; The Witchlord and the Weaponmaster _These are the titles from the English editions. Only the first couple have been published in the U.S., and they were released under different titles. Excellent series! Books vary radically in tone, ranging from your standard heroes on a fantasy quest to humor/adventure to great events seen through ordinary (or seemingly ordinary) eyes._ Louise Cooper (b. 1952) "Time Master Trilogy" - Initiate; Outcast; Master _The forces of Order and Chaos face off again. However, in Cooper's universe, neither side is unrelievedly good or evil - Chaos and Order are "two sides of the same coin," in the words of the author._ "Chaos Gate Trilogy" - The Pretender; The Deceiver; The Avenger _Set in the same world as the "Time Master" trilogy. It takes place about 60-80 years after the events of the first trilogy._ "Indigo series" - Nemesis; Inferno; Infanta; Nocturne; Troika; Avatar; Revenant; Aisling _The recommender of the "Indigo" series would like to point out that the quality of the books in the series is uneven - some are much better than others_ "Star Shadow trilogy" - Star Ascendant; Eclipse; Moonset (forthcoming) __Moonset_ is already out in the U.K. This is a prequel to the Time Master Trilogy._ *Susan Cooper (b. 1935) "The Dark is Rising" - Over Sea and Under Stone; The Dark is Rising; Greenwitch; The Grey King; Silver on the Tree _Another one that you'll find in the children's section. Arthurian elements, and very good. _Grey King_ took the Newbery Award._