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I recently discovered that one of my all time favorite authors passed away last year and it got me thinking of the various sci-fi fantasy series authors I have enjoyed over the years Terry Goodkind.

My concious introduction to fantasy was of course Tolkien through the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings which is the first series I re-read. My serious Sci-Fi introduction was Orson Scott Card and Enders Game another first re-read series. An honorable mention for both Fantasy and Sci-Fi would be Piers Anthony.

I discovered Brandon because I was finishing Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. After reading his contribution I decided to try Alloy of Law (my favorite Brandon Series), Then I sought out everything else he had out at the time and will give any of his books a try because I enjoyed his style so much.

So my favorite Sci-Fi, Fantasy series authors in no particular order are: Orson Scott Card, Brandon Sanderson, L. E. Modesitt jr., Terry Goodkind, Jim Butcher, Allen Dean Foster, and Anne McCaffrey.

Now to try to rank them but first Tolkien and Asimov are the Godfathers of the genres to which the others are derivative.

7. Anne Mccaffrey. I absolutely loved her Crystal Singer series, and the Dragons of Pern were both series that immersed me.

6. Allen Dean Foster. It was his Spell singer series and his Starwars adaptations that pulled me in.

5. Terry Goodkind. He used to be higher on the list. I started the Sword of Truth series and Wheel of time at the same time and the contrast between these very similar series kept me switching back and forth. I really liked the rules behind his magic, but kept getting frustrated that Richard never had time for his grandfather to train him until it finally became evident that his gift was unique and wouldn't work like Zed's. It was during a read of his most recent series that I realized his villains are essentially the same villain in different circumstances so he dropped a few spaces.

4.Jim Butcher. I discovered him because of a panel that he and Brandon were on. As I explored Harry's world his writing got more and more entertaining. Then I found his Furies series which has convinced me that I will give anything he writes a chance.

Now it gets hard because the other 3 keep switching places on me.

3. Orson Scott Card when his series like Alvin or Ender is on target There is no one better in my opinion, but on his off day like pathfinders ending book it leaves a little gap though still better than most.

2. Brandon is in second for me right now. His characters are deep, scenes are epic, but it is when he writes in humor that it goes over the top. Wax, Lyft, and nightblood season his books with laughter for me. Then stoic Wax, and Steris, and moody Kaladin, and Shallon provide the deep currents to contrast the humor creating worlds of depth.

1. Finally L. E. Modesitt jr. Ironically I have discovered him multiple times without realizing it until relatively recently. He has been writing since the 70's. He started with Sci-Fi so the first series I discovered of his was the Time Lords series where the protagonist was Luke(Loki), and who doesn't want to read about someone named after him. Years later I read the Magic of Recluse without realizing it was the same author. His magic system locked me in. All magic users typically use either order (black) or chaos (white), and some rare individuals straddle both leaning one way or the other. Black magic users are usually craftsmen like carpenters, and smiths, where white magic is good for destruction and offensive battle. when I discovered he was the same author more recently I immersed myself into his other available series and have only less than stunned by his worlds once with one of his most recent books. Oh and he like Brandon lives in Utah.

So there you have it. Which authors are your favorites and how do they compare to Brandon.

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Posted (edited)

Tough question, basically because in recent years, I've relegated the status of "favorite author" to living ones. I'll try anyway. 

First, to keep with your form, I cut my teeth on Oz books, Burgess Bedtime stories and The Wind in the Willows. Later, I would read 1001 Arabian Knights and the entirety of Dante's Divine Comedy (I read a bunch of Goosebumps as well, I wasn't a complete dork). I was introduced to Tolkien through the Rankin/Bass movies and had my first encounter with the books when my mom read the Silmarillion to me. I got my first copy of the Lord of the Rings in fifth grade and read it at about the same time as the Divine Comedy. I finally read the Hobbit in seventh grade. 

Around that time I got Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov and got into that genre of science fiction. I read Dune, the Mithgar books, the Wheel of Time and the first Goodkind book. 

Around 11th grade I was introduced to Stephen R Donaldson with the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. It ruined the fantasy genre for me (I liked it a lot) so from there, reading was classic science fiction, Stephen Crane and John Steinbeck. 

Eventually I read Mervyn Peake and felt Titus Groan was the zenth of fantasy writing (in a way, I still do). This restored my faith in the fantasy genre and I started reading it again, realizing that what I liked to read was stylistic writing. 

I would read Mistborn when it was announced that Brandon would finish the Wheel of Time. I still intended to finish that series then (I never did). I enjoyed it as fun popcorn reading and that's why I read Cosmere books to this day. The result, though, is that if I rank favorite authors, he isn't ever on the list because, well, I adore stylistic prose and that's just not what he writes. 

So, time for rankings:

10) Ernest Hemingway 

9) John Steinbeck 

8) William Golding 

7) Stephen R Donaldson 

6) Salman Rushdie 

5) Zadie Smith

4)Anthony Powell

3)Mervyn Peake

2)Catherynne M Valente 

1)John Crowley 

Honorable mentions to Steven Erickson, R Scott Bakker, Ford Maddox Ford for personal reading development reasons. There's also plenty of great authors not on this list like Jemisin, Chakraborty and Darcie Little Badger.

Brandon Sanderson fills the role that used to belong to Michael Crichton and Tony Hillerman: an enjoyable author that put out books that were entertaining with some regularity and that were mainstream enough that when I told people I liked to read, I could mention their names along with a couple other authors so that the conversation wasn't shut down. 

Edited by Orlionra
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I’m a Brandon Sanderson fan through and through 

I was introduced to him when I was 8 and I’ve never encountered a book with more depth

Alot of people tell me Tolkien is good and I have read LoTR obviously, but it’s never been an enjoyable as a book to me. It’s like reading a very good history book.

WoT was bland with it dragging way to long, but if I only took the first three books of Jordan’s he would definitely be in my top 5

Brandon Mull was great, very kiddy but also satisfying 

JK Rowling... Taking out Cursed Child it’s a solid series but not my favorite 

I actually was reading Enders game for the first time last week, it was eh, with the ending making no sense to me. But if I read it again maybe it would make sense

And then John Flanagan. On every series his first 3 books were good and then it deteriorated into really really bad 

Ok so the final standings are:

1: Brandon Sanderson 

2: Brandon Mull

3: *Robert Jordan

3: Jk Rowling

4: John Flanagan

5: Bringing up the rear JRR Tolkien (Don’t kill me LoTR fandom :P)

Honorable mention because I brought it up, but I don’t actually like it: Orson Scott Card

This list is tentative and subject to change at any time

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It's always fun to rank things, so here goes:

Top Five Fantasy writers:

5) Jonathan Bellairs (admittedly they are kids books, but the Johnny Dixon books are especially good. The Curse of the Blue Figurine, The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt, The Eyes of the Killer Robot, The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull, and The Chessmen of Doom are all delightful books.) 

4) Robert E. Howard (especially his Conan stories) 

3) Robert Jordan (though I do wish that the WOT was shorter by 3 or 4 volumes, with some editing out of the needless repetition that is an inadequate substitution for real characterization) 

2) Tad Williams (especially his Osten Ard books, no one describes setting as lyrically or as well as Tad) 

1) Steven Erickson (he does like his diatribes, but for the most part he's a keen observer and long form griping has never been written better or been dressed in better fantastical symbolism. Populating his book with villains that are incarnations of the worst attributes of humanity is nothing short of brilliant. Truly the Jonathan Swift of High Fantasy. It's always satisfying when these villains get their come-uppances.)

Top 5 Science Fiction writers:

5) Roger Zelazny (especially the first 5 books of the Chronicles of Amber, Jack of Shadows and Lord of Light is one of the best Sci-fi books ever written.) 

4)Robert A. Heinlein (especially his short stories and novellas, the short story They and novella The Strange Profession of Jonathan Hoag are some of the best short form fiction around) 

3) Jules Verne (sure it's laughable now to think that you could get humans to the moon using a giant cannon, but most of his work holds up remarkably well as plausible speculative fiction over 150 years after he wrote it, like Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues under the sea and especially Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) 

2) HG Wells (though his novels do have some skimmable parts, his prose is compact, his imagination vast, and his short stories are some of the best. His two volume Outline of History is fantastic as well, and it's commonly available at thrift stores.)

1) Horse lover Fats, aka Philip K Dick (if you've ever had a desire to peel back the veil of mundane reality and see the schizophrenic steel and wire machinery that keeps the happy suburban simulacrum of normal life humming, then strap yourself in and go through The Martian Times slip with Phil as your guide, and thrill to the gubbish delight of time traveling precogs used for lucrative building speculation. Or maybe you too can experience the enlightenment of subconscious thought manipulation through orthogonal time achieved by the blast right between your eyes of an intergalactic pink space laser, or perhaps you just want to fend off the unraveling of reality with a can of aerosol propelled Ubik. I highly recommend, with my highest commendation, The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. It's a vast and strange and strangely vast world my friends.) 

Top 10 Authors (a bunch of obscure ones here, I kid) 

10) Friedrich Nietzche (The Birth of Tragedy/The Geanology of Morals, Beyond Good and Evil, Ecce Homo, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra are the fun books in philosophy to read. His language is ultra romantic and so very good, his criticisms are always stinging, and his ideas are always interesting. Though his conclusions are often misguided, the journey up the mountain with him is always fun). 

9) Goethe (Faust parts 1 and 2) 

8) Samuel Taylor Coleridge (He's my favorite poet and The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner and Khubla Khan are my two favorite poems)

7) Gustave Flaubert (Salammbo is one of the 5 best books I've read. His three tales book, with the three long short stories (or short novellas if you prefer) A Simple Heart, St. Julian the Hospitaler, and Herodias, is one of my 10 favorite books of all times) 

6) Herman Hesse (Steppenwolf has its moments, but for my money his best books are Siddhartha and Demian) 

5) Haruki Murakami (this is definitely for the more mature readers, some very adult themes are dealt with, but the writing is superb, and there's just a tastefully modest dash of magical realism in his work. I highly recommend Hard Boiled Wonderland/End of the World, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, and Kafka by the Shore) 

4) Philip K. Dick (the only author that makes two lists. His short stories are some of the very best, but most of his novels are exceptional as well. Do yourself a favor and read Flow My Tears the Policeman Said, Through a Scanner Darkly, Ubik, Martian Timeslip, the Valis trilogy, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. You won't regret it, and if you crack under the psychic strain of realizing everything is gubbish, you'll still have lots to think about in your padded cell. I kid, it's really good stuff.)

3) Plutarch (everyone should read his Lives of the Noble Grecians and Roman's. Since this is available for free on Project Gutenberg there's no reason not to. The 4 volume set translated by Aubrey Stewart and George Long is much clearer in it's exposition, but the single file Collection is the AC Clough edited version of the John Dryden translation, which if you can adjust to reading it's rather elliptical cadence, you will be rewarded with some profoundly beautiful passages.) 

2) Dostoevsky (Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it's an undeniable fact that The Brothers Karamazov is the best book ever written. If you want to read a lesser known book by Fyodor, The Possessed is also amazingly good.) 

1) George Orwell (Everyone knows 1984 and Animal Farm, but Orwell's lesser know books are just as good. Down and Out in Paris and London, Burmese Days and especially Keep the Aspidistra Flying are just as good. There's a four volume set of his collected essays and letters that is without a doubt the best thing I've ever read.)

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I was originally introduced to fantasy like many others through the Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, as such holds a special place in the genre for me, Ursula le guins wizard of earth sea series as well. Read most of Goodkinds books too, but imo he went downhill as series progressed.

Iv never read the wheel of time, tried the first book and was all to cliche for me by the time I read it to proceed more then half way through the book.

Favourite Top 3 as below:

1. Steven Eriksen - no one does epic fantasy like he does, from the setting to the characters no author/series comes close.

2. Tolkien - Lord of the rings is epic in every sense of the word. So much so other authors have been robbing elements of it since was wrote ( Christopher Paolini for example)

3. Mark Lawrence - his debut novel a prince of thorns was fantastic, and so was the series, writes a very gritty type of fantasy.

Worthy mention - GrrM - Rothfuss (both probably round out top 5 if had finished there series) - David Daglish - writes pretty quick paced entertaining reads,

I enjoy Sandersons books but OB and ROW have really let stormlight down (after great start in tWoK  and WoR) in my opinion and mistborn is more a YA type read, 

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5 hours ago, Hoiditthroughthegrapevine said:

4) Philip K. Dick (the only author that makes two lists. His short stories are some of the very best, but most of his novels are exceptional as well. Do yourself a favor and read Flow My Tears the Policeman Said, Through a Scanner Darkly, Ubik, Martian Timeslip, the Valis trilogy, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. You won't regret it, and if you crack under the psychic strain of realizing everything is gubbish, you'll still have lots to think about in your padded cell. I kid, it's really good stuff.)

The Second Variety and Beyond Lies the Wub are some of my favorites for Phillip K Dick

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5 hours ago, Orlionra said:

@Hoiditthroughthegrapevine *whispers* Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson! :lol:

Hahahaha, yes, yes it was.

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On 5/29/2021 at 3:32 PM, Orlionra said:

Tough question, basically because in recent years, I've relegated the status of "favorite author" to living ones. I'll try anyway. 

First, to keep with your form, I cut my teeth on Oz books, Burgess Bedtime stories and The Wind in the Willows. Later, I would read 1001 Arabian Knights and the entirety of Dante's Divine Comedy (I read a bunch of Goosebumps as well, I wasn't a complete dork). I was introduced to Tolkien through the Rankin/Bass movies and had my first encounter with the books when my mom read the Silmarillion to me. I got my first copy of the Lord of the Rings in fifth grade and read it at about the same time as the Divine Comedy. I finally read the Hobbit in seventh grade. 

Around that time I got Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov and got into that genre of science fiction. I read Dune, the Mithgar books, the Wheel of Time and the first Goodkind book. 

Around 11th grade I was introduced to Stephen R Donaldson with the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. It ruined the fantasy genre for me (I liked it a lot) so from there, reading was classic science fiction, Stephen Crane and John Steinbeck. 

Eventually I read Mervyn Peake and felt Titus Groan was the zenth of fantasy writing (in a way, I still do). This restored my faith in the fantasy genre and I started reading it again, realizing that what I liked to read was stylistic writing. 

I would read Mistborn when it was announced that Brandon would finish the Wheel of Time. I still intended to finish that series then (I never did). I enjoyed it as fun popcorn reading and that's why I read Cosmere books to this day. The result, though, is that if I rank favorite authors, he isn't ever on the list because, well, I adore stylistic prose and that's just not what he writes. 

So, time for rankings:

10) Ernest Hemingway 

9) John Steinbeck 

8) William Golding 

7) Stephen R Donaldson 

6) Salman Rushdie 

5) Zadie Smith

4)Anthony Powell

3)Mervyn Peake

2)Catherynne M Valente 

1)John Crowley 

Honorable mentions to Steven Erickson, R Scott Bakker, Ford Maddox Ford for personal reading development reasons. There's also plenty of great authors not on this list like Jemisin, Chakraborty and Darcie Little Badger.

Brandon Sanderson fills the role that used to belong to Michael Crichton and Tony Hillerman: an enjoyable author that put out books that were entertaining with some regularity and that were mainstream enough that when I told people I liked to read, I could mention their names along with a couple other authors so that the conversation wasn't shut down. 

My brother absolutely loved Donaldson more than Tolkien. I had forgotten about him. with the exception of Hemingway and Steinbeck I haven't read the others on your top 10, for that matter I haven't heard of them before either. I will need to keep them in mind.

On 5/29/2021 at 7:34 PM, Bejardin1250 said:

I’m a Brandon Sanderson fan through and through 

I was introduced to him when I was 8 and I’ve never encountered a book with more depth

Alot of people tell me Tolkien is good and I have read LoTR obviously, but it’s never been an enjoyable as a book to me. It’s like reading a very good history book.

WoT was bland with it dragging way to long, but if I only took the first three books of Jordan’s he would definitely be in my top 5

Brandon Mull was great, very kiddy but also satisfying 

JK Rowling... Taking out Cursed Child it’s a solid series but not my favorite 

I actually was reading Enders game for the first time last week, it was eh, with the ending making no sense to me. But if I read it again maybe it would make sense

And then John Flanagan. On every series his first 3 books were good and then it deteriorated into really really bad 

Ok so the final standings are:

1: Brandon Sanderson 

2: Brandon Mull

3: *Robert Jordan

3: Jk Rowling

4: John Flanagan

5: Bringing up the rear JRR Tolkien (Don’t kill me LoTR fandom :P)

Honorable mention because I brought it up, but I don’t actually like it: Orson Scott Card

This list is tentative and subject to change at any time

I was disappointd by the end of Rowling's Harry story. I found Brandon Mull enjoyable. Ender universe (20+ books) from Card gets better as it continues. His Alvin series is my favorite from him. I found his books widely heartfelt and emotional.

On 5/30/2021 at 3:39 AM, Hoiditthroughthegrapevine said:

It's always fun to rank things, so here goes:

Top Five Fantasy writers:

5) Jonathan Bellairs (admittedly they are kids books, but the Johnny Dixon books are especially good. The Curse of the Blue Figurine, The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt, The Eyes of the Killer Robot, The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull, and The Chessmen of Doom are all delightful books.) 

4) Robert E. Howard (especially his Conan stories) 

3) Robert Jordan (though I do wish that the WOT was shorter by 3 or 4 volumes, with some editing out of the needless repetition that is an inadequate substitution for real characterization) 

2) Tad Williams (especially his Osten Ard books, no one describes setting as lyrically or as well as Tad) 

1) Steven Erickson (he does like his diatribes, but for the most part he's a keen observer and long form griping has never been written better or been dressed in better fantastical symbolism. Populating his book with villains that are incarnations of the worst attributes of humanity is nothing short of brilliant. Truly the Jonathan Swift of High Fantasy. It's always satisfying when these villains get their come-uppances.)

Top 5 Science Fiction writers:

5) Roger Zelazny (especially the first 5 books of the Chronicles of Amber, Jack of Shadows and Lord of Light is one of the best Sci-fi books ever written.) 

4)Robert A. Heinlein (especially his short stories and novellas, the short story They and novella The Strange Profession of Jonathan Hoag are some of the best short form fiction around) 

3) Jules Verne (sure it's laughable now to think that you could get humans to the moon using a giant cannon, but most of his work holds up remarkably well as plausible speculative fiction over 150 years after he wrote it, like Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues under the sea and especially Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) 

2) HG Wells (though his novels do have some skimmable parts, his prose is compact, his imagination vast, and his short stories are some of the best. His two volume Outline of History is fantastic as well, and it's commonly available at thrift stores.)

1) Horse lover Fats, aka Philip K Dick (if you've ever had a desire to peel back the veil of mundane reality and see the schizophrenic steel and wire machinery that keeps the happy suburban simulacrum of normal life humming, then strap yourself in and go through The Martian Times slip with Phil as your guide, and thrill to the gubbish delight of time traveling precogs used for lucrative building speculation. Or maybe you too can experience the enlightenment of subconscious thought manipulation through orthogonal time achieved by the blast right between your eyes of an intergalactic pink space laser, or perhaps you just want to fend off the unraveling of reality with a can of aerosol propelled Ubik. I highly recommend, with my highest commendation, The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. It's a vast and strange and strangely vast world my friends.) 

Top 10 Authors (a bunch of obscure ones here, I kid) 

10) Friedrich Nietzche (The Birth of Tragedy/The Geanology of Morals, Beyond Good and Evil, Ecce Homo, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra are the fun books in philosophy to read. His language is ultra romantic and so very good, his criticisms are always stinging, and his ideas are always interesting. Though his conclusions are often misguided, the journey up the mountain with him is always fun). 

9) Goethe (Faust parts 1 and 2) 

8) Samuel Taylor Coleridge (He's my favorite poet and The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner and Khubla Khan are my two favorite poems)

7) Gustave Flaubert (Salammbo is one of the 5 best books I've read. His three tales book, with the three long short stories (or short novellas if you prefer) A Simple Heart, St. Julian the Hospitaler, and Herodias, is one of my 10 favorite books of all times) 

6) Herman Hesse (Steppenwolf has its moments, but for my money his best books are Siddhartha and Demian) 

5) Haruki Murakami (this is definitely for the more mature readers, some very adult themes are dealt with, but the writing is superb, and there's just a tastefully modest dash of magical realism in his work. I highly recommend Hard Boiled Wonderland/End of the World, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, and Kafka by the Shore) 

4) Philip K. Dick (the only author that makes two lists. His short stories are some of the very best, but most of his novels are exceptional as well. Do yourself a favor and read Flow My Tears the Policeman Said, Through a Scanner Darkly, Ubik, Martian Timeslip, the Valis trilogy, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. You won't regret it, and if you crack under the psychic strain of realizing everything is gubbish, you'll still have lots to think about in your padded cell. I kid, it's really good stuff.)

3) Plutarch (everyone should read his Lives of the Noble Grecians and Roman's. Since this is available for free on Project Gutenberg there's no reason not to. The 4 volume set translated by Aubrey Stewart and George Long is much clearer in it's exposition, but the single file Collection is the AC Clough edited version of the John Dryden translation, which if you can adjust to reading it's rather elliptical cadence, you will be rewarded with some profoundly beautiful passages.) 

2) Dostoevsky (Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it's an undeniable fact that The Brothers Karamazov is the best book ever written. If you want to read a lesser known book by Fyodor, The Possessed is also amazingly good.) 

1) George Orwell (Everyone knows 1984 and Animal Farm, but Orwell's lesser know books are just as good. Down and Out in Paris and London, Burmese Days and especially Keep the Aspidistra Flying are just as good. There's a four volume set of his collected essays and letters that is without a doubt the best thing I've ever read.)

I have to say Tad Williams writes some the best prose I have ever read in a fantasy book. A Winters Tale was profound in its prose.

George Orwell how do you categorize him. Profoundly dark and pessimistic view of humanity, but very insightful.

One person I missed who is not ususally mentioned in fantasy lists is Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain), but A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is definitely Fantasy. He is one of my all time favorite authors.

On 5/30/2021 at 5:23 AM, Quick Ben said:

I was originally introduced to fantasy like many others through the Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, as such holds a special place in the genre for me, Ursula le guins wizard of earth sea series as well. Read most of Goodkinds books too, but imo he went downhill as series progressed.

Iv never read the wheel of time, tried the first book and was all to cliche for me by the time I read it to proceed more then half way through the book.

Favourite Top 3 as below:

1. Steven Eriksen - no one does epic fantasy like he does, from the setting to the characters no author/series comes close.

2. Tolkien - Lord of the rings is epic in every sense of the word. So much so other authors have been robbing elements of it since was wrote ( Christopher Paolini for example)

3. Mark Lawrence - his debut novel a prince of thorns was fantastic, and so was the series, writes a very gritty type of fantasy.

Worthy mention - GrrM - Rothfuss (both probably round out top 5 if had finished there series) - David Daglish - writes pretty quick paced entertaining reads,

I enjoy Sandersons books but OB and ROW have really let stormlight down (after great start in tWoK  and WoR) in my opinion and mistborn is more a YA type read, 

It's been a while since I have read Steven Erikson.

On 5/30/2021 at 5:40 AM, Orlionra said:

@Hoiditthroughthegrapevine *whispers* Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson! :lol:

Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde, that reminds me of Mary Shelly (Frankenstien) and Brahm Stoker (Dracula).

Favorite authors mentioned so far are by frequency:

  1. Brandon Sanderson. Probably due to this being the shard.
  2. Tolkien. No surprise there.
  3. Robert Jordan
  4. Philip K Dick, and Stephen Erikson with 3 mentions a piece.

Don't kill me if I missed any it was a quick review of posts.

Thanks all for the inputs so far.

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2 hours ago, BenduLuke said:

My brother absolutely loved Donaldson more than Tolkien. I had forgotten about him. with the exception of Hemingway and Steinbeck I haven't read the others on your top 10, for that matter I haven't heard of them before either. I will need to keep them in mind.

It takes a certain amount of...angst... to really enjoy and think Donaldson superior to Tolkien. If I were to be more objective in my listing, Tolkien would be better. 

But Donaldson set the stage for my reading preferences and I don't know if I would have ever read my top three favorites without him. 

You haven't read Lord of the Flies?! :o

For Zadie Smith, your best bet is White Teeth. 

Salman Rushdie? Satanic Verses or Midnight's Children

Anthony Powell you HAVE to commit to his 12 book Dance to the Movement of Time. 

BTW, none of the above is considered fantasy (though Rushdie certainly blurs that line) 

For Mervyn Peake, it's the Gormenghast books (starting with Titus Groan)

John Crowley's most celebrated work is Little, Big. Not my favorite of his, but it's the easiest to find. 

Catherynne Valente has a wide array of books. From tie in novels (she wrote a Mass Effect and Minecraft book) to Hitchhiker's Guide mixed with Eurovision for adults (Space Opera) to fairy tale retellings (Orphan Tales, Deathless) to beloved middle grade series (Fairyland series) to my precious, wonderfully bizarre and for a niche audience that likes medieval studies Dirge for Prester John! 

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2 hours ago, BenduLuke said:

George Orwell how do you categorize him. Profoundly dark and pessimistic view of humanity, but very insightful.

I wouldn't say he's pessimistic, or that his view of humanity is overly dark, it's rather, like Marx (especially in his historical essays), he sees clearly the larger movements at play, and in clear, BS free prose, he attempts to earnestly grapple with the complexities of reality. 

He was a poet at heart, a journalist to make good, and an author compelled like Cassandra to have his warnings of perceived future calamity fall mainly on deaf ears. In all seriousness, he is the closest thing to a hero that I have, and everyone who reads his work is a little wiser and a little better person for it. 

2 hours ago, BenduLuke said:

Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde, that reminds me of Mary Shelly (Frankenstien) and Brahm Stoker (Dracula).

Frankenstein is pretty good, Dracula is very good, but if you want a really gripping yarn, Bram Stoker's The Jewel of the Seven Stars is tops! 

The link is to the project gutenberg page, so you can read it for free. It's one of the best Egyptian themed horror stories ever (well at least that I've read, and I guess that's a pretty small list). 

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Posted (edited)

Great topic @BenduLuke!:)

Fantasy: Tolkien, Brandon, C.S. Lewis (he wrote more than just Narnia), D.M. Cornish (he was inspired by Mervyn Peake), Brian McClellan (he was a student of Brandon's)
[Wish I could put Stephen Lawhead on this list, but he (IMO) does not finish his series well: the final book always disappoints me.]

Sci-Fi: Mark Van Name, Jack McDevitt, Andy Weir, John Scalzi

I've also enjoyed some of Toby Buckell's writing in both genres: his eco-themed near-future novels are good, and his 2 novellas about a world infested by "the Bramble" were thought-provoking: If it was absolutely proven that using magic caused something extremely harmful in nature, would people give up using magic to save their own lives and the world itself?

A few years back I branched out beyond the genre and found a couple mystery writers that I like almost as much as Brandon: Spencer Quinn and Christopher Fowler. Both have new releases this year - and with Skyward 3 also coming up, 2021 looks to be a great year of reading for me!

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On 30.5.2021 at 11:39 AM, Hoiditthroughthegrapevine said:

9) Goethe (Faust parts 1 and 2) 

Serious hats off for this! Goethe is great and I too love Faust, but part 2 is just too covoluted. Like a much longer version of the Walpurgisnacht in the first part and this one was largely just Goethe criticizing other autors of his time. And being written about 20 years after the first part it never really fit well for me. 

My list is not that classy, just the authors I really enjoy for one reason or another:

1. Sanderson - Probably more surprising to me than anyone else here. I really wouldn't have thought that an author I just recently discovered (last december) could move up that fast.

2. Neil Gaiman - American Gods will always be one of my favorite books and most of his other works are superb. The Sandman is still one of the defining works for a whole genre and an absolute must read for any comic enthusiast.

3. Terry Prattchett - I simply loves his Witches Series and I have yet to read a bad book by him. Extremely enjoyable and much deeper than anyone might expect.

4. Alan Moore - I really should not have to write much more here. If you know Moores work, there is no explanation needed, if not, it might not be for you. The only reason he isn't higher on my list is that his stories are a bit too wierd. The first chapter of Voice of the Fire might be a good index for that.

5. Simon Beckett - My favorite crime author. Nothing special, just simple murder mysteries with an emphasis on forensics. 

6. Garth Nix - His books are kinda hit or miss, but when they are hit, they REALLY are hit. The Old Kingdom Series is my favorite,  followed by The Seventh Tower. I could never really get behind the Keys to the Kingdom, but I'd really love a follow-up to Frogkisser. That one was really amazing.

7. Warren Ellis - Mostly for his work in comics and graphic novels, but I also really liked Crooked Little Vein. Gun Machine not so much though.

8. David Edings - Would be much higher on my list except I just really love The Belgariad and The Malloreon. Other books from him just never clicked for me. But those 10 books are really burned into my mind. I know the characters and places better than the world arround me. Feel free to interpret that any way you like. ^_^

Noteworthy, but not great authors, no ranking:

Terry Goodkind - The Sword of Truth is actually quite excellent, but I have trouble recommending it to anyone because of the rape fantasies.

John Connolly - Another crime author. Very enjoyable, but it drifts into the supernatural very fast after the initiall great Every Dead Thing. Still nice though.

J.K. Rowlings - I guess almost everybody likes Harry Potter, but I actually really like her works as Robert Galbraith. Of course, crime again, but excellent setting and characters!

Timothy Zahn - If you're ever to read any Star Wars Novel, pick one of his. 

I probably forgot some, but that's it for now.

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18 hours ago, Orlionra said:

It takes a certain amount of...angst... to really enjoy and think Donaldson superior to Tolkien. If I were to be more objective in my listing, Tolkien would be better. 

But Donaldson set the stage for my reading preferences and I don't know if I would have ever read my top three favorites without him. 

You haven't read Lord of the Flies?! :o

For Zadie Smith, your best bet is White Teeth. 

Salman Rushdie? Satanic Verses or Midnight's Children

Anthony Powell you HAVE to commit to his 12 book Dance to the Movement of Time. 

BTW, none of the above is considered fantasy (though Rushdie certainly blurs that line) 

For Mervyn Peake, it's the Gormenghast books (starting with Titus Groan)

John Crowley's most celebrated work is Little, Big. Not my favorite of his, but it's the easiest to find. 

Catherynne Valente has a wide array of books. From tie in novels (she wrote a Mass Effect and Minecraft book) to Hitchhiker's Guide mixed with Eurovision for adults (Space Opera) to fairy tale retellings (Orphan Tales, Deathless) to beloved middle grade series (Fairyland series) to my precious, wonderfully bizarre and for a niche audience that likes medieval studies Dirge for Prester John! 

I have read and enjoyed Lord of Flies, but I don't remember the Authors Name. It was an English assignment just like Ender's Game (the only thing that English teacher did right).

17 hours ago, Iarwainiel said:

Great topic @BenduLuke!:)

Fantasy: Tolkien, Brandon, C.S. Lewis (he wrote more than just Narnia), D.M. Cornish (he was inspired by Mervyn Peake), Brian McClellan (he was a student of Brandon's)
[Wish I could put Stephen Lawhead on this list, but he (IMO) does not finish his series well: the final book always disappoints me.]

Sci-Fi: Mark Van Name, Jack McDevitt, Andy Weir, John Scalzi

I've also enjoyed some of Toby Buckell's writing in both genres: his eco-themed near-future novels are good, and his 2 novellas about a world infested by "the Bramble" were thought-provoking: If it was absolutely proven that using magic caused something extremely harmful in nature, would people give up using magic to save their own lives and the world itself?

A few years back I branched out beyond the genre and found a couple mystery writers that I like almost as much as Brandon: Spencer Quinn and Christopher Fowler. Both have new releases this year - and with Skyward 3 also coming up, 2021 looks to be a great year of reading for me!

thanks for mentkioning C. S. Lewis. You are right he has a semi scifi series on Mars and Venus with Merlyn. I love his Screwtape letters.

10 hours ago, Marukka said:

Serious hats off for this! Goethe is great and I too love Faust, but part 2 is just too covoluted. Like a much longer version of the Walpurgisnacht in the first part and this one was largely just Goethe criticizing other autors of his time. And being written about 20 years after the first part it never really fit well for me. 

My list is not that classy, just the authors I really enjoy for one reason or another:

1. Sanderson - Probably more surprising to me than anyone else here. I really wouldn't have thought that an author I just recently discovered (last december) could move up that fast.

2. Neil Gaiman - American Gods will always be one of my favorite books and most of his other works are superb. The Sandman is still one of the defining works for a whole genre and an absolute must read for any comic enthusiast.

3. Terry Prattchett - I simply loves his Witches Series and I have yet to read a bad book by him. Extremely enjoyable and much deeper than anyone might expect.

4. Alan Moore - I really should not have to write much more here. If you know Moores work, there is no explanation needed, if not, it might not be for you. The only reason he isn't higher on my list is that his stories are a bit too wierd. The first chapter of Voice of the Fire might be a good index for that.

5. Simon Beckett - My favorite crime author. Nothing special, just simple murder mysteries with an emphasis on forensics. 

6. Garth Nix - His books are kinda hit or miss, but when they are hit, they REALLY are hit. The Old Kingdom Series is my favorite,  followed by The Seventh Tower. I could never really get behind the Keys to the Kingdom, but I'd really love a follow-up to Frogkisser. That one was really amazing.

7. Warren Ellis - Mostly for his work in comics and graphic novels, but I also really liked Crooked Little Vein. Gun Machine not so much though.

8. David Edings - Would be much higher on my list except I just really love The Belgariad and The Malloreon. Other books from him just never clicked for me. But those 10 books are really burned into my mind. I know the characters and places better than the world arround me. Feel free to interpret that any way you like. ^_^

Noteworthy, but not great authors, no ranking:

Terry Goodkind - The Sword of Truth is actually quite excellent, but I have trouble recommending it to anyone because of the rape fantasies.

John Connolly - Another crime author. Very enjoyable, but it drifts into the supernatural very fast after the initiall great Every Dead Thing. Still nice though.

J.K. Rowlings - I guess almost everybody likes Harry Potter, but I actually really like her works as Robert Galbraith. Of course, crime again, but excellent setting and characters!

Timothy Zahn - If you're ever to read any Star Wars Novel, pick one of his. 

I probably forgot some, but that's it for now.

Terry Prachett has been good for a laugh or positive influence on several occasions. For a time I was on a Garth Nix binge. His books really drew me in. Timothy Zahn does write great Star Wars books.

I always feel compelled to warn people about Terry Goodkind when I recommend him because of his very graphic writing style. I have only found one of his books that isn't Graphic and it is call Sky People. You might want to check out Nest, Trouble's Child, and Girl in The Moon, all part of a new series he was writing just before his death. Based in modern earth with a twist. True to Terry form graphic as well, but you would be hard pressed to find women as bad ass as Kate and Angela.

One book I read as a boy that I will always recommend as inspirational is Charlie's Monument by Blaine Yorgeson. A Great aunt of mine gave it to me as a gift because she knew I loved to Read. One trivia fact about it was that the author wrote it and one of his relatives told him it was about one of his predecessors. One that until then he was unaware of. He thought it was just a neat story he told to a class. All of the books I have read from him have powerful moral impacts and are inspirational.

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Posted (edited)

@BenduLuke Lord of the Flies was written by William Golding, one of my favorites. 

It's kinda a shame. He wrote a lot more and, as a result, won the Nobel Prize in literature. Though not exceedingly difficult to find, his other works outside of Lord of the Flies are not widely available. I don't think my school even mentioned any of the above, it was just focused on the one book. 

He even wrote an alternative history story that debut in a collection alongside a Mervyn Peake story! :o

Edited by Orlionra
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9 minutes ago, Orlionra said:

@BenduLuke Lord of the Flies was written by William Golding, one of my favorites. 

It's kinda a shame. He wrote a lot more and, as a result, won the Nobel Prize in literature. Though not exceedingly difficult to find, his other works outside of Lord of the Flies are not widely available. I don't think my school even mentioned any of the above, it was just focused on the one book. 

He even wrote an alternative history story that debut in a collection alongside a Mervyn Peake story! :o

Yeah Lord of the Flies was a very insightful story and the premise that men are inclined to devolve into savagery is often true. That is actually one of the Themes in Terry Goodkind's Jack Raines series. He is not the protagonist, but is in most of the books. The Protagonists are Kate Bishop in Nest, and Angelina Constantine in Girl in the Moon and the others.

If I were to list my favorite book of all time it would be the Book of Mormon. I read it at least six times before I left grade school and couldn't tell you how many times I have read it in the decades since. It is full of politics, intrigue, war, philosophy, adventure, magic, inspiration, theology and could very well be historically accurate. Could it be read as a fantasy book? Absolutely. It could also be read as a historical or alternate historical drama set mostly in pre-Columbian America. It is the most complex book I have ever read with thousands of layers and intricate if strait forward prose. I don't want to push you or anyone into reading it, but this book must be experienced personally and cannot be properly appreciated on the recommendation or discouragement of anyone else even others who have read it.

Once again thanks for participating this is becoming my favorite stream. :D

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14 hours ago, Marukka said:

Serious hats off for this! Goethe is great and I too love Faust, but part 2 is just too covoluted. Like a much longer version of the Walpurgisnacht in the first part and this one was largely just Goethe criticizing other autors of his time. And being written about 20 years after the first part it never really fit well for me. 

I was just reading my Dover edition of the Codex Borgia, and I saw this picture of the Aztec God of backhanded compliments. Bravo good sir, bravo. 

20210611_155628.thumb.jpg.da674a9d56875110f0dc22dae4004fae.jpg

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8 hours ago, Hoiditthroughthegrapevine said:

I was just reading my Dover edition of the Codex Borgia, and I saw this picture of the Aztec God of backhanded compliments. Bravo good sir, bravo. 

:lol:

Sorry, I really did not mean that in that way. I just was genuinely impressed with you getting through that thing. I it so different from Part 1 that everyone I talked to, who had picked it up after really liking the first one, just put it down again. Fun fact: I konw that things can be good and/or even great art without me liking them. (That is probably true for most of them. Have you tried Thomas Mann? I got through a short story, kinda liked the ending but I would never of my own free will touch anything written by him ever again. And that man got a storming nobel prize.)

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Loved reading Clive Barker and Robert Anton Wilson in my youth.

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On 6/23/2021 at 8:08 AM, Eggdogg said:

Loved reading Clive Barker and Robert Anton Wilson in my youth.

I don't think I have ever read either one of them, though I have seen a couple of Clive's books turned into movies.

What would you say made you love them when you were younger?

It seems by your statement that you don't love them anymore so what changed?

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I have LOVED reading through this topic. Probably more than anything else it's reminded me just how much fantasy is out there—which is awesome!

I haven't read very much fantasy yet, even though it's a genre that's meant so much to me. I guess I've read deeply and not widely? Like The Lord of the Rings was never enough Tolkien for me. I had to read the Hobbit, Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, Beren and Luthien etc.

But even though I haven't yet read enough fantasy to fill a top 5 list of fantasy authors, I wanted to join in. So,

1. Tolkien. This dear man (and also Peter Jackson in many ways) has been entertainer in chief for me through by teenage years. I will love him and his work forever.

2. Brandon Sanderson. I'm just approaching the one-year anniversary of discovering him, and it's been a storming good year. I read The Final Empire first, and I fell in love with it. I still marvel at how vividly I saw the scenes from that book come alive in my imagination. 

3. C.S. Lewis. I remember saying to my parents one day, 'I'd really like to read Narnia'. And a few days later there was a shopping bag on my bed with the first two books in it. I was taken completely by surprise. What a wonderful gift! I've also enjoyed Lewis' science fiction. And I've loved his non-fiction even more than his fiction. This guy could THINK! :D

The only other fantasy I have read is Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen Donaldson. And I was really intrigued to hear other people's thoughts on it. I guess, as one person put it, I didn't have the right quantity of...angst... because I really, really, really didn't like it. For me, the character of Thomas Covenant was too unlikable. I found it impossible to care about him. I almost don't even like myself when I think about this sort of thing. Thomas Covenant could have fallen off a cliff, and I wouldn't even have shrugged. And I'm disgusted with myself for thinking that! Oh dear, no! Anyway...

 

I'm glad I could take part. I've now got Lynch, Kuang, Jordan, Martin, Gaiman, and Rothfuss (and the kinda-fantasy-ish Murakami) on my shelf to get myself more and more fantasy-ified. And my big question now is who to start with. I think I'll go with Jordan.

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On 7/16/2021 at 1:19 PM, BenduLuke said:

I don't think I have ever read either one of them, though I have seen a couple of Clive's books turned into movies.

What would you say made you love them when you were younger?

It seems by your statement that you don't love them anymore so what changed?

Oh I still love the books its just that you can only read something so many times. Clive started as a horror author and when I was young I loved horror but Clive was different than other horror authors for me. There is a point in the middle of his career where he began shifting into fantasy but maintained a very vivid style from his horror days. Imajica is one of the finest books I've read. It is a huge puzzle box of a story that unfolds in a wonderful and inspiring way. It also combines his love of all things sexual and dark. Clive also wrote tons of gay characters at a time and in a genre where there was very few. As I grew older I moved away from things sexual and dark, but I'll still fight for Imajica. 

 

Robert Anton Wilson on the other hand is a guy I will go to bat for til I die. His musing on absurdness, society, science, secret societies and alternate ways of thinking is right up my alley. The Illuminatus Trilogy is the craziest book I've read. It jumps around in time and place for no reason and often mid sentence. The first quarter of that book melted my brain until I had no choice but to just go along with what was on the page. I would put it up with some of the great texts from thinkers like Max Stirner, its just wrapped up in 1970s pulp instead of 1800s philosophical struggle. Its like the Ararchist manifesto hidden within hundreds of pages of conspiracy pulp. The book itself was intended to bring every conspiracy theory at the time (1970s) into an entire story. Its dated, its corny and its also amazing. Its a book that could be entirely rewritten for the current times we are in. 

 

 

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On 7/17/2021 at 8:04 AM, matt1. said:

I have LOVED reading through this topic. Probably more than anything else it's reminded me just how much fantasy is out there—which is awesome!

I haven't read very much fantasy yet, even though it's a genre that's meant so much to me. I guess I've read deeply and not widely? Like The Lord of the Rings was never enough Tolkien for me. I had to read the Hobbit, Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, Beren and Luthien etc.

But even though I haven't yet read enough fantasy to fill a top 5 list of fantasy authors, I wanted to join in. So,

1. Tolkien. This dear man (and also Peter Jackson in many ways) has been entertainer in chief for me through by teenage years. I will love him and his work forever.

2. Brandon Sanderson. I'm just approaching the one-year anniversary of discovering him, and it's been a storming good year. I read The Final Empire first, and I fell in love with it. I still marvel at how vividly I saw the scenes from that book come alive in my imagination. 

3. C.S. Lewis. I remember saying to my parents one day, 'I'd really like to read Narnia'. And a few days later there was a shopping bag on my bed with the first two books in it. I was taken completely by surprise. What a wonderful gift! I've also enjoyed Lewis' science fiction. And I've loved his non-fiction even more than his fiction. This guy could THINK! :D

The only other fantasy I have read is Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen Donaldson. And I was really intrigued to hear other people's thoughts on it. I guess, as one person put it, I didn't have the right quantity of...angst... because I really, really, really didn't like it. For me, the character of Thomas Covenant was too unlikable. I found it impossible to care about him. I almost don't even like myself when I think about this sort of thing. Thomas Covenant could have fallen off a cliff, and I wouldn't even have shrugged. And I'm disgusted with myself for thinking that! Oh dear, no! Anyway...

 

I'm glad I could take part. I've now got Lynch, Kuang, Jordan, Martin, Gaiman, and Rothfuss (and the kinda-fantasy-ish Murakami) on my shelf to get myself more and more fantasy-ified. And my big question now is who to start with. I think I'll go with Jordan.

Lewis is near and dear to my heart and I agree that his non fiction like the Screwtape letters is awsome. By the way he and Tolkien were friends.

On 7/18/2021 at 10:05 AM, Eggdogg said:

Oh I still love the books its just that you can only read something so many times. Clive started as a horror author and when I was young I loved horror but Clive was different than other horror authors for me. There is a point in the middle of his career where he began shifting into fantasy but maintained a very vivid style from his horror days. Imajica is one of the finest books I've read. It is a huge puzzle box of a story that unfolds in a wonderful and inspiring way. It also combines his love of all things sexual and dark. Clive also wrote tons of gay characters at a time and in a genre where there was very few. As I grew older I moved away from things sexual and dark, but I'll still fight for Imajica. 

 

Robert Anton Wilson on the other hand is a guy I will go to bat for til I die. His musing on absurdness, society, science, secret societies and alternate ways of thinking is right up my alley. The Illuminatus Trilogy is the craziest book I've read. It jumps around in time and place for no reason and often mid sentence. The first quarter of that book melted my brain until I had no choice but to just go along with what was on the page. I would put it up with some of the great texts from thinkers like Max Stirner, its just wrapped up in 1970s pulp instead of 1800s philosophical struggle. Its like the Ararchist manifesto hidden within hundreds of pages of conspiracy pulp. The book itself was intended to bring every conspiracy theory at the time (1970s) into an entire story. Its dated, its corny and its also amazing. Its a book that could be entirely rewritten for the current times we are in. 

 

 

Thanks for responding I will need to look closer at them. There was a post apocalyptic fantasy or sci-fi series that one of the underlying subjects was sexuality. Some men become hermaphrodites with psychic powers (one of my triggers perhaps why I love fire starter) and women die off over time due to the lack of actual men. It was really kind of strange but I was into some strange things at the time, unfortunately I don't remember who the author was maybe Barker but I don't know.

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