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#41 Casca

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 01:27 AM

John Norman. The Gor novels are some of my all time favorites.

Karl Edward Wagner. Kane is an absolute must for the fantasy reader.

For those interested in Kane:
Visions of Black Prometheus
"If an idea can destroy your mind, then your mind is weak and deserved being destroyed." - Jim Goad

#42 Hawklord

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 02:05 AM

The 'Thieves' World' series is good, rather long (twelve books plus at least six 'spin off' novels), but good. Notable Guide to TW

Haven't read any of the newer TW books, so . . .

Jack Vance's DYING EARTH series are quite good, too: The Dying Earth, The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga and Rhialto the Marvelous.

#43 Ironhand

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 09:48 AM

I'm going to recommend a new series of books, the Temeraire series, by Naomi Novik. I don't know exactly what genre to which to attribute it, maybe heroic fantasy; it styles itself historical fantasy. It could be considered to be alternate historical fantasy.

It is set during the Napoleonic wars, the era of wooden ships and iron men. The kicker is that in this alternate world, dragons exist and are domesticated for aerial combat. Sort of a cross between Horatio Hornblower and the dragons of Pern. The dragons are intelligent to various degrees, depending on which breed they belong to, and emerge from the egg able to speak whatever human language they were exposed to during the last weeks before hatching. They bond to the first human who feeds them, in a process similar to the parental imprinting of birds.

The human protagonist of the series is Captain William Lawrence, captain of a British man-o-war, who, in the first book, His Majesty's Dragon in the US, and Temeraire in the UK, captures a French warship carrying a fabulously rare egg of a Chinese Celestial Dragon. He inadvertantly bonds to the dragonet who hatches from the egg, whom he names Temeraire, after a famous French warship (which actually existed, and, in actual history, was captured by the British and participated in the Battle of Trafalger).

The series, of which three books have already been published, follows the thundering adventures of Capt. Lawrence and Temeraire as they travel all over the world of the early 19th century. Ms Novik has taken considerable pains to match the story to actual historical events (except for the dragons, but since both sides have dragons, the overall course of the war is pretty much unaffected). Although the plot deals in detail with the conflicts of the Napoleonic Wars, IMHO the true underlying theme of the series is an ongoing conversation between Lawrence and Tereraire about human government, and whether dragons can be permitted to participate in it.

Three books have been published so far: His Majesty's Dragon, The Throne of Jade, and Black Powder War. The fourth, Empire of Ivory, is due out in Sept. 2007, and there are supposed to be a 5th and 6th in the works. Peter Jackson has bought the movie rights to the entire series.

This is a really good read. The dragons are characterised as thoroughly and sympathetically as the humans. I expect the movies to be blockbusters when they come out.

Google Temeraire, and take your pick of the links.

Edited by Ironhand, 06 August 2007 - 07:08 AM.

"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#44 Head-On-A-Pike

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 03:56 PM

I'm going to recommend a new series of books, the Temeraire series, by Naomi Novik. I don't know exactly what genre to which to attribute it, maybe heroic fantasy; it styles itself historical fantasy. It could be considered to be alternate historical fantasy.

It is set during the Napoleonic wars, the era of wooden ships and iron men. The kicker is that in this alternate world, dragons exist and are domesticated for aerial combat. Sort of a cross between Horatio Hornblower and the dragons of Pern. The dragons are intelligent to various degrees, depending on which breed they belong to, and emerge from the egg able to speak whatever human language they were exposed to during the last weeks before hatching. They bond to the first human who feeds them, in a process similar to the parental imprinting of birds.

The human protagonist of the series is Captain William Lawrence, captain of a British man-o-war, who, in the first book, His Majesty's Dragon in the US, and Temeraire in the UK, captures a French warship carrying a fabulously rare egg of a Chinese Celestial Dragon. He inadvertantly bonds to the dragonet who hatches from the egg, whom he names Temeraire, after a famous French warship (which actually existed, and, in actual history, was captured by the British and participated in the Battle of Trafalger).

The series, of which three books have already been published, follows the thundering adventures of Capt. Lawrence and Temeraire as they travel all over the world of the early 19th century. Ms Novik has taken considerable pains to match the story to actual historical events (except for the dragons, but since both sides have dragons, the overall course of the war is pretty much unaffected). Although the plot deals in detail with the conflicts of the Napoleonic Wars, IMHO the true underlying theme of the series is an ongoing conversation between Lawrence and Tereraire about human government, and whether dragons can be permitted to participate in it.

Three books have been published so far: His Majesty's Dragon, The Throne of Jade, and Black Powder War. The fourth, Empire of Ivory, is due out in Sept. 2007, and there are supposed to be a 5th and 6th in the works. Peter Jackson has bought the movie rights to the entire series.

This is a really good read. The dragons are characterised as thoroughly and sympathetically as the humans. I expect the movies to be blockbusters when they come out.

Google Temeraire, and take your pick of the links.


I totally agree with your recommendation, Ironhand (although I have to confess that -- due to my current workload -- I am only part-way through "Throne of Jade" and will probably have to backtrack or start over before continuing). My only complaint so far is that it almost seems like Novik is already writing them as movies in novel form. Structurally, they are very cinematic and episodic, and -- although I throughly enjoy the stories and characters -- I often feel while reading that the author has gone with filmability over the deliberate pacing and multilayered tone of a novel.

However, that is a minor complaint. The Temeraire series is full of thrilling adventure and vivid characters, both human and non-human. A really fresh take on dragon lore, with a fascinating way of riffing on real history that doesn't think too hard about the whole butterfly effect while doing so (let's face it: in an alternate universe where dragons existed and were tamed for use in war-making, would the same powers be wrestling for control? Would there even be a Napolean Bonaparte? Would the map of the world even look the same? These are questions for another kind of alternate history story. The Temeraire books -- so far -- are all about adventure and comeraderie.

Of course, I haven't even finished Throne of Jade, let alone started Black Powder War, but that's my take so far, from about a book-and-a-half in.

My own personal recommendation is for the TAMIR TRILOGY , by Lynn Flewelling.

It consists of The Bone Doll's Twin, Hidden Warrior and The Oracle's Queen.

The story concerns a child named Tobin, who must be hidden from the world -- in a very unique way -- so that a prophecy can be fulfilled and a kingdom returned to its rightful rule.

I don't want to go into much detail, except to say that it's the story of a boy who must one day grow up to be not just a woman (sounds goofy, but it's so not), but a warrior queen. Born a girl -- and completely unaware of that fact through most of childhood -- Tobin is disguised with powerful, earthy magic as a boy -- at the cost of his twin's life -- in order to escape certain death at the hands of a usurper king.

It's an incredibly original take on a well-worn formula (rise of the rightful ruler to reclaim a blood-soaked throne) whose tone varies from bone-chilling horror to bloody battles and truly stirring romance, with a lot of juicy politics, vividly multi-dimensional characters, and a truly complex sense of moral ambiguity. One of the most fascinating characters (among many) is Brother: the bitter ghost of Tobin's twin, who both haunts and protects Tobin, and is always a terrifying presence. Their relationship is incredibly complex, ruled as it is by the restraints of the disguising magic and the murderous impulses of a soul essentially sentenced to stand by and watch the life that was snatched away from it at birth lived out by another.

As long as you are comfortable with all the gender-bending and hints of sexual ambiguity (somewhat of the norm in Flewelling's world), there's an excellent chance that you will -- like me -- number this series -- with its very human (and humane) themes of tolerance, regret, sacrifice, love and friendship -- among your favourite books of any genre. It's as bloody and brutal as it is magical and beguiling.

Once again, the author is Lynn Flewelling. Here's a link to the first book in the series:

http://www.amazon.co...i...3407&sr=1-5

#45 ajpbrum63

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 06:44 PM

the greatest book of all time.......
TARZAN

#46 nomadic

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 06:45 PM

Talbot Mundy's Jim Grimm are very engaging middl east adventures.

Harold Lamb's "Three Paladins" is also very good reading (I read this over 30 years ago)

Karl E. Wagner's Kane stories cannot be mentioned enough. This is a character who has been around a loooong time and has very different takes on his world. He's everything from brigand to tyrant to hero and never what you think he is from one tale to the next.

William Hope Hodgeson is a writer of wierd fiction in the classic sense. One never knows what to expect from him, either utter terror or philisophical adventures into the unknown.

Roger Zelazny's Amber novels are an enigmatic take of S&S from a contemporary perspective. His heroes are complex but also not terribly heroic, but they are bold and innovative. you root for the central "heroic" character because he's the one you know and therefore relate to his situation despite all the twists and turns in the plot. At the same time nothing is what it seems as family members jockey for power over their realm which is central to all the myriad worlds. For me this is some of the most literay S&S ever written.

Steven Brust is another series writer with some good literary chops. His Jhereg series is a good mix of plots and counterplots and convincing action involving athletic sword fights and many levels of magics by way of spells and dark sorcery.

Stephen King's Dark Tower epic is delightfully off kilter and edgy. The ancient menace that pervades every line of pros is engaging and often depressing enough to make you walk away for regular doses of sunshine. However, I've yet to meet anyone who has bought these books who has left on the shelves long enough to collect dust. I'm on the fourth volume after a long hiatus and I'm hooked again. The Gunslinger is a great concept in what is essentially a horror series with mystical twist. Roland is not an easy guy to like but you understand why he's so driven. His sense of loss and malice for the cause of his loss is malignant with the promises of terrible violence to come.

The last recommendation is the Repairman Jack series from F. Paul Wilson, who is known for his excellent vampire tale "The Keep".
Jack has the appearance of an everyman who in reality is anything but an everyman. He's a fixit man for jobs you can't go the cops for and he does it for a good price. Unfortunately his world keeps getting more and more complicated by the fact that some ancient, cosmic struggle has decided to involve him the conflict which regularly overlaps his fixit gigs. Wilson delivers. The series is somewhat addictive and he treats the readers with some emotional moments.


That'll do for now. I'm happy to see Moorcock, Leiber and Williams works referred to here.
Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn (Dragonbone Chair saga) has a particualarly solid premise and a great delivery.


Rick

#47 neeson

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:03 PM

I would highly recommend The Witcher from polish writer Andrzej sapkowksi. If Tolkien is the king of fantasy then Sapkowski is the prince.

#48 deuce

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 10:38 PM

I would highly recommend The Witcher from polish writer Andrzej sapkowksi. If Tolkien is the king of fantasy then Sapkowski is the prince.


Thanks, neeson. I hadn't heard of Sapkowski.

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#49 PainBrush

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 05:38 PM

It's been years since I read Karl Edward Wagners crazy stories of Kane , so I tore my house up the other day looking for them & I think I have a box of books gone missing grrrrr !! I have a question I'm sure someone or another on these boards can answer - what's the full list of Wagners Kane stories & in what collections of stories or titles are they in ? I think I remember that they weren't in any kind of linear timeline just like Howard wrote Conans adventures in no specific age or order of events . Any info will be greatly appreciated ya'll .

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#50 Pontifex

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 07:39 PM

Talbot Mundy's Jim Grimm are very engaging middl east adventures.

any idea where i might find these books without spending a fortune on them?

#51 Ironhand

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 08:34 PM

It's been years since I read Karl Edward Wagners crazy stories of Kane , so I tore my house up the other day looking for them & I think I have a box of books gone missing grrrrr !! I have a question I'm sure someone or another on these boards can answer - what's the full list of Wagners Kane stories & in what collections of stories or titles are they in ? I think I remember that they weren't in any kind of linear timeline just like Howard wrote Conans adventures in no specific age or order of events . Any info will be greatly appreciated ya'll .

Not only was there no timeline, there was no indication within a story as to when it was taking place.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#52 Scott Oden

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 10:49 PM

Not only was there no timeline, there was no indication within a story as to when it was taking place.


I think it was in the novel Darkness Weaves where Queen Efrel summons a demon to discover more about Kane, who she believes to be about 300 years old and perhaps a minor sorcerer. Instead, the demon shows her the full panorama of Kane's life, from his first murder to Efrel's present. Among the montage are some very recognizable moments from different stories and novels, including Bloodstone, 'Reflections for the Winter of My Soul', 'Cold Light', and 'Lynortis Reprise'. They seem to occur in order. Let me see if I can find my copy of Darkness Weaves and I'll post the titles I can identify as they appear in that montage.

Best,

Scott

#53 Scott Oden

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 01:26 AM

Here's a rough timeline of the Kane stories, as assembled from Darkness Weaves, Chapter 16: Visions of Black Prometheus (I've reversed the order from how they appeared in Darkness Weaves; where in that story the images flash youngest to oldest, I've arranged the timeline oldest to youngest).
  • ?In the Wake of the Night? (fragment, from Exorcisms and Ecstasies)
  • Bloodstone
  • ?Undertow? (from the collection Night Winds?this one isn?t a positive, but a scene shown to Efrel of Kane as a sorcerer is quite evocative of this tale)
  • ?Two Suns Setting?* (Night Winds)
  • ?The Dark Muse?* (Night Winds)
  • Dark Crusade (based on info given in the next story)
  • ?Reflections for the Winter of My Soul? (from the collection Death Angel?s Shadow)
  • ?Sing a Last Song of Valdese?* (Night Winds)
  • ?Cold Light? (Death Angel?s Shadow; one character seeks revenge against Kane for his deeds as a pirate lord who terrorized the Thovnosian Empire ten years? before the story opens, an episode referenced quite often as taking place two centuries before in Darkness Weaves)
  • ?Mirage? (Death Angel?s Shadow)
  • ?Raven?s Eyrie?* (Night Winds)
  • ?Lynortis Reprise? (Night Winds)
  • Darkness Weaves (see Chapter 16: Visions of Black Prometheus?Queen Efrel summons a demon in order to learn more about Kane?s whereabouts for the last two centuries; the demon reveals Kane?s true identity)
Titles in bold are part of the montage shown in Darkness Weaves.

Missing: ?Misericorde?, ?The Other One?, ?Lacunae?, ?At First Just Ghostly?, ?Deep in the Depths of the Acme Warehouse?, ?The Gothic Touch?.

*Placed in the chronology of my own opinion; very open to alternate suggestions.

Does this help?

Scott


ETA: Or, just go here. D'oh! I shoulda known Darkstorm Dale had it already mapped out ;)

Edited by Scott Oden, 07 September 2007 - 03:54 AM.


#54 Sophia Kane

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 05:23 AM

Just as he did with Conan, our own Darkstorm Dale has taken to plotting out the history of KEW's Kane. You can find it, along with his notes on how he constructed this timeline, on his site. Or you can follow this link on Kane's life.

#55 PainBrush

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 09:05 PM

Danka all ! I knew for any question about fantasy or sword & sorcery stories or characters this is def. the place to find out . Guess I can look forward to re-obtaining some of Wagners books , hell I only had or read about 1/2 to 2/3rds of the ones listed above ever to begin with & read them in no particular order . since I still didn't find the box of books I was looking for , I don't remember 'yet' what other books I may have also lost if that box is gone , hope it was none of my old Howard stuff !! I have a stack of ( 6 or 7) dismantled or unassembled swords in various states of repair , engraving & etching etc. that also went missing sometime during my last move also & a 40 pound box of pewter & white metal miniatures worth a few grand grrrrrr . That's what I get for using Fafhrd & the Mouser Red-Hand Thieves Guild moving co. ( actually some friends & employees of my brothers )

It's really strange how costly & hard to find Wagners books are - even in thumbed up used copies . Guess that's because of his genius & from maybe not being a giant among writers maybe not so many copies in total print ?

" You have a good point there,...put your helmet on & no-one will notice it ."
" Look for a long time at what pleases you... and longer still at what pains you "
So THIS is civilization ??!??!......

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#56 deuce

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 09:29 PM

Hey PB! You can get everything KEW ever wrote about Kane in two fine Night Shade hc editions (with Kelly covers). The maps on the endpapers are accurate, but the actual rendering is a little blah. Night Shade also just reissued two volumes in Glen Cook's cool Dread Empire series. Hope that helps. :)

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#57 Mikey_C

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 09:59 PM

Hey PB! You can get everything KEW ever wrote about Kane in two fine Night Shade hc editions (with Kelly covers).

:( Only problem is they're out of print and will cost you a pretty penny nowadays. I've been looking out on Ebay.
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#58 deuce

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 10:30 PM

Hey PB! You can get everything KEW ever wrote about Kane in two fine Night Shade hc editions (with Kelly covers).

:( Only problem is they're out of print and will cost you a pretty penny nowadays. I've been looking out on Ebay.


No s***!?! I didn't check on that. I bought 'em when they were first published. B) The Moral of This Story: Support Night Shade Books. The company is run by some cool dudes. Buy their CAS, Glen Cook, Drake, Saunders etc... volumes NOW. Buy the Imaro books now so they'll print more great S&S. End of plug. :)

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#59 Skarthi

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 03:48 PM

I got this at the weekend and while not my usual 'cup of tea' its reading quite well-

http://www.forbidden...oducts_id=30940

The paperback is also now out-

http://www.amazon.co...y/dp/0316067695

Cheers
Skarthi

#60 Marcin

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 10:40 PM

I would highly recommend The Witcher from polish writer Andrzej sapkowksi. If Tolkien is the king of fantasy then Sapkowski is the prince.


Thanks, neeson. I hadn't heard of Sapkowski.


If Sapkowski is prince of fantasy and Tolkien is the king, then Bob Howard must be at least emperor.

Sapkowski is the person who stands behind upcoming crpg, "The Witcher" (you tube link to trailer:
)

The game is based on his creations - world, characters. Here in Poland Sapkowski is extremely popular, hits #1 on the bestsellers list every time he writes a new book (of course being a top of such list doesn't make one a prince or a king of fantasy). He wrote a number of short stories (some of them very good) and as well a cycle of novels (not so good imho, as it usually is with cycles) about The Witcher.

The title character is a creature-hunter for hire, trained with sword, and has few extra abilities. Like seeing in the dark, casting a kind of weak spells, and fighting really quick (thanks also to the drugs he take). He's a tough guy, but goes through various emotional dilemmas (not only "to kill or not to kill?" ;) )

Personally I think short stories (like the anthology "Last Wish" published in English) show the best of Sapkowski. He writes great dialogs, thinks up very interesting characters, the action is fast paced. The only thing that bugs me is his style, which sometimes is irritating, but I think one can get over it.


Of native English-language authors I love works of Jack London, especially short stories set in Alaska, and novel "Smoke the Bellew". But he also wrote s**t like The Valley of the Moon, which could be as well titled "How To Be A Happy Communist in 1910's California: A Guide For Greenhorns".

Piers Anthony, who also was mentioned above, wrote very absorbing "Battle Circle" books. I especially liked "Neq the Sword". Neq had been a great swordsman, but lost his hand. Does this mean an end to his battle-career? No, not at all;) I like the world that Anthony creates - it's dark, savage and cruel. Oh, and Neq originates from some kind of barbarian tribe, if I remember well.

Edited by Marcin, 19 September 2007 - 10:54 PM.

"Is it a city, Conan?" she whispered, too fearful to hope. "Or is it but a shadow?"
The Cimmerian did not reply for a space. He closed and opened his eyes several times; he looked away, then back. The city remained where he had first seen it.
"The devil knows," he grunted. "It's worth a try, though."


- REH, The Slithering Shadow