Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My 10 Favorite Fantasy Author's

1. J.R.R. Tolkien
This isn't a cop-out it just is what it is. I wanted to read the Hobbit before I could read, just because the idea was so appealing from the little I had heard. And no matter how old I get I am still enchanted by his stuff. Only a few years ago I bought Book 12, the Peoples of Middle Earth; and was floored by the revelations about Glorfindel, one of the only beings to ever slay a Balrog, and the distinct possibility that he was resurrected. There is always more to find in his vast world.

2. Robert E. Howard
To me, he is the absolute king of American fantasy. He has been gone for 73 years now but his legacies live on, Conan, Bran Mak Morn, Solomon Kane, Kull, and a host of others.

3. Karl Edward Wagner
He has produced probably the least amount of material of anybody I would put on this list but almost all of the Kane stories moved me, and I even thought the modern-day ones stunk. The rest were that good. His Conan and Bran Mak Morn novels were great too.

4. Lloyd Alexander
I haven't even read all of his works yet either, but the Prydain Chronicles were among my favorites as a kid. Rereading them a few years ago and they were still good afternoon reads.

5. George R.R. Martin
I haven't read anything of his that wasn't Song of Ice and Fire related, but on the strength of that series alone I am hooked. I almost put down book one right towards the beginning because I didn't like where it was going but it is a very compelling read. The Hedge Knight tales are good for while you wait for A Dance of Dragons.

6. H.P. Lovecraft
I guess I think of him more as fantasy than horror. Yeah it is about these terrible monsters that drive the protagonists mad most of the time but they still strikes me as fantasy rather than horror.

7. R.A. Salvatore
I admit I resisted reading his stuff for quite awhile but once I started The Thousand Orc's I really got into it and the next two books in that trilogy just got better and better. The ending of The Two Swords was surprisingly unexpected to me and therefore very satisfying.

8. Robert Jordan
I really resisted starting his books and am still mixed about them. I still really wonder if it wasn't supposed to just be a trilogy that was later decided upon to be milked for all it was worth. I still liked books 4 and 5 but then I don't know what happened. The remainder of the series to me should have been 1 maybe 2 more books, so much dross. I really hope Sanderson keeps a decent pace for the rest of the series but I don't know yet.

9. Joe Abercrombie
Favorite new discovery (at least to me) I only found his first book last October and am finishing the last in the First Law trilogy, taking it slow and savoring it. Its about as rough as Martin but possibly more satisfying, with characters I like even better than Martin's. Can't wait to get his fourth book, Best Served Cold.

10. Homer
Since I am ending this list with the chronicler of both the Iliad and Odyssey, this list could not have possibly been in numerical order. These are just too good.

There are quite few other great authors I can think of but I probably just haven't read enough of their works yet or they didn't yet outshine anyone here (to me), my notable mentions would be
David Farland for Runelords, Poul Anderson for The Broken Sword, David Gemmel for Lion of Macedon, Gene Wolfe for Soldier in the Mist, Robert Asprin for Wartorn, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman for the Dragonlance trilogy, David Drake for the Dragon Lord, L. Sprauge DeCamp for the Reluctant King, C.S. Lewis for the Chronicles of Narnia, Fritz Leiber for Swords and Deviltry, and John Maddox Roberts for Conan and the Manhunters.

I am about to start reading A. Merrit's The Moon Pool and Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker (still haven't gotten around to Mistborn) but I am very intrigued with his Way of Kings, he read a piece of the prologue at the Warbreaker signing and I liked it a lot.

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