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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:47 pm 
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Me too. I have a draft I need to get ready for critique in twenty days.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:02 am 
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Good luck

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:25 am 
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Leaving Tolkien aside, who sits on a throne high above the clouds, I would have to say that Ursula LeGuin's "The Lathe of Heaven" and "Earthsea" are my #2, Wind in the Willows is #3, Lord Dunsany's work collectively sits at #4, and Dune is #5. Otherwise, for that "trip into another world" fix, I read far more historical non-fiction and historical fiction than I do fantasy. Even the top fantasists miss something essential which I have difficulty putting my finger on. The "depths of space and time" they attempt to give me a glimpse of just aren't deep enough to draw me in, I suppose.

Call it "spoiled by Tolkien," if you will.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:06 am 
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This isn't a favorites list, just a few thoughts on things I've read that may or may not have been mentioned in the topic:
- I love Wind in the Willows! I saw a play of it a couple years ago.

- I also like Harry Potter and think it will stand the test of time. Not a superfan though, and will probably never see the movies.

- I just don't quite get Dune. I read the first two books and liked them somewhat, but couldn't really connect with them. Herbert knew how to build a world, but every character is so completely absorbed in Byzantine politics that none of them are really likable. They don't feel human. I think I might have actually liked the second book better? I thought things got downright stupid in the third book and quit the series.

- George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire books I loved when I was younger. I still think there's some talent there, especially in the first book and the next two to a lesser extent, but he tries too hard to be edgy and the story has clearly spiraled out of his control. Haven't read the fifth book yet or seen the TV series.

- I loved reading Star Wars novels in middle/high school...kind of embarrassed about it now. ;) I wonder if any of them would hold up as decent fiction?

- It feels a little weird classifying Vonnegut as sci-fi, but I guess he does fit there...at any rate, Slaughterhouse-Five is good. Breakfast of Champions, which is both more "realistic" and more absurd at the same time, is my favorite though. I liked his short story collection too, but didn't really like Cat's Cradle.

- Narnia I liked as a kid, but I do agree with Tolkien that it is overly didactic (even though my religious views are not far from Lewis's) and its world is pretty ad hoc compared to Middle Earth. I might reread it at some point, it has been a very long time. I haven't read the Space Trilogy. Till We Have Faces is CS Lewis's best fictional work, I think, and his own favorite of everything he wrote.

- Outside of Tolkien, my tastes nowadays tend toward literary fiction...I haven't read enough sci-fi/fantasy I liked as an adult to make much of a list. I guess I'm a snob. ;) So I can't comment on much else in the speculative genres.

EDIT: Forgot Douglas Adams! I am of course a fan. Never really read Mostly Harmless though.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:47 am 
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Well, I'm sorry to go all hipster on you, but you probably never heard of the SF/fantasy I grew up with. Which is a shame - Soviet SF rocked hard.

But I have to start with
1. Jules Verne, the grandfather of steampunk, the writer who invented the submarine. The Mysterious Island was my favorite, the hymn to human ingenuity and persistence.
2. Following in Verne's footsteps, Alexander Belyayev, The Amphibian Man - a brilliant surgeon gives a sick boy the ability to breathe under water, but his fate is grim in the world of capitalist greed. It didn't hurt that the movie cast was hawt (google it!).
3. Efremov, The Blade of a Razor. A combination of epic international treasure hunt with a spy story, mysterious crystals, several pairs of lovers, happy or not, the highlight of this novel is the extensive lecture of why humans find certain traits attractive.
4. Bradbury, Martian Chronicles
5. Asimov, Steel Caves and Naked Sun
6. The Strugazky brothers, The Picnic on the Roadside, on which Tarkovsky's Stalker is loosely based. Haunting.
7. Should have been up at the top - Bulgakov, Master and Margarita. The story of Devil visiting Moscow in 1930, the writer who is working on the story of Pontius Pilate, and the woman who loves him. There are some decent English translations, which I highly recommend.
8. Kir Bulychev, the Alice Selezneva series. Happy space and time travel with a schoolgirl and her xenobiologist father. More fantasy than science fiction, but remarkable for the main character being a girl in a perfectly matter-of-fact way. Not a single twisted ankle, either.
Last but not least, 9 and 10, Tolkien and Pratchett.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:25 am 
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Nibonto Aagun
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Frelga wrote:
Well, I'm sorry to go all hipster on you, but you probably never heard of the SF/fantasy I grew up with. Which is a shame - Soviet SF rocked hard.


I echo this as well, though with an 'Indian' twist. So most of you would have no idea of what I am talking about. :D

-Jules Verne. I adore almost all of his work and most of all his imagination. Around the World in 80 days, Destination Moon, Round the Moon, The Mysterious Island, the Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Dr.Jekyll Mr.Hyde. "Jekyll" and "Round the Moon" (vastly underrated) are my favorite works by him. The previous, a testament on how good and evil both reside in every being. And the latter for developing my interest in astronomy and space (along with the Tintin books). Plus, predicting a moon-journey two hundred years before the actual event is just ingenious (and I fall short of words here).

- Next will follow H.G.Wells. Island of Dr.Moreau - genetically modified animals as monsters. The War of the Worlds - the first and the best Alien-invasion story. And my favorite, The Time Machine.

- Satyajit Ray. He's mostly known as India's greatest director but he was an equally good writer. There is substantial proof, that Spielberg's E.T. is a rip-off of one of SR's stories. All his 64 sci-fi short-stories and a few novels on the character Professor Shanku - are just a classic example of a scifi-fantasy blending.

- Jayant Narlikar. Another prominent Indian writer who wrote mostly on UFOs and aliens. One of his best writings includes a depiction of the life of aliens under the surface of Mars and we humans - who they see as aliens - disturbing their land with mechanical probes. It's a really insightful read.

- Annie McCaffrey. a.k.a. Dragonlady.
I have only read her Dragonriders series. But I can honestly say that if there ever was a made-up world that could come close to Tolkien, it would be her "Pern". It is another unique blend of Scifi-fantasy. There are dragons but these dragons are virtually, genetically modified beasts. The main protagonist of the series - the Thread - are actually inanimate spores that rain on the planet every four hundred years or so and destroy every vegetation leaving the land barren. I soon plan to take up her "The Ship who..." series as well.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:37 pm 
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You know, I have had the Pern series recommended to me by several people and I have downloaded some of the books onto my Kindle…but I just could not get into the story or the characters. It's odd, because it seems like it is something I *should* like. :scratch:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:28 pm 
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If you want to give it one more try, Jewel, I highly recommend the "Harper Hall" trilogy—I think they're called Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums (I don't have them handy). They are shorter, more YA-oriented, but they focus on music and the Harper Hall, and I enjoyed them very much. I think you might, too. The main character, a young woman named Menolly, is very well drawn.

As for the rest of them, I haven't been drawn in by any of the books after the first three (ending with The White Dragon; I don't know how they may have been regrouped and renumbered in the years since they first came out). Later ones that I've tried fall into the "okay" category, some edging into "life is too short."

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:27 pm 
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JewelSong wrote:
You know, I have had the Pern series recommended to me by several people and I have downloaded some of the books onto my Kindle…but I just could not get into the story or the characters. It's odd, because it seems like it is something I *should* like. :scratch:


I myself found it difficult to get into the story at first and was just reading the first book (i.e.Dragonflight) for the sake of finishing it. This was more or less the case I guess because the characters were still evolving and there was not much of a plot. Quite similar to my first experience of The Silm. But it improved much in the later half and ended in a great twist.
The second and third books, Dragonquest and The White Dragon are quite brilliant, imo. Her best works. Not only the characters become more "humane" but even dragons have better personalities.
The Harper-Hall trilogy is equally well-written though I won't suggest you to read them first as you may find some events a bit confusing (the HH trilogy is basically a different telling of the same story in Dragonflight/Dragonquest/White Dragon). I agree it goes downhill after that but I still find most of the books quite entertaining if not great.

Jewel, you should give it another try, or atleast try to finish the first book and see if the sequels draws you in.
Though, I would say, it may not be for everyone's tastes. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:08 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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So the recommended reading order is

Dragonflight
Dragonquest
The White Dragon

followed by

Dragonsong
Dragonsinger
Dragondrums

Is that right? I thought about reading these before but couldn't find a recommended reading order. At least, I found loads of conflicting ones!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:31 pm 
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That's about right.

This is also an alternate reading order combing the original and the HH-trilogy. Since Dragonsong and Dragonsinger take place after Dragonflight and Dragonquest and just before The White Dragon, there won't be any problem in this order as well.

Dragonflight
Dragonquest
Dragonsong (HH)
Dragonsinger (HH)
The White Dragon
Dragondrums (HH)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:41 am 
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Interestingly, Smaug's voice, Amazon has exactly the same ordering, and I think it would work well. You'd understand what was happening offstage throughout, and you'd be familiar with some of the otherwise essential characters who just have cameos in the Harper Hall books. And (I found) the HH books in return gave character dimension to the "major" books in the series.

However, the Harper Hall books are not available on Kindle. Ours are boxed up inaccessibly with other books I won't be able to get to for the foreseeable future, and I was figuring I could justify buying them for my Kindle, but no. Phooey. :x

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:23 am 
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Nibonto Aagun
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Primula Baggins wrote:
Interestingly, Smaug's voice, Amazon has exactly the same ordering, and I think it would work well. You'd understand what was happening offstage throughout, and you'd be familiar with some of the otherwise essential characters who just have cameos in the Harper Hall books. And (I found) the HH books in return gave character dimension to the "major" books in the series.


I first read the books in the order Alatar mentioned above so I have a biased preference for that. ;) :P

But IAWY that probably the alternative order would be better. It just gives more personality to two my favorite characters - Robinton and Menolly (especially the latter). They do what the whole Old Forest episodes does for FotR.


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