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Thread: "High Fantasy" recommendations?

  1. #51
    Really glad to see all this praise for Lyonesse. I discovered it some years ago and just devoured it. Devoured all the Vance I could after that, but little of it moved me the way Lyonesse did.
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  2. #52
    Member rickawakeman's Avatar
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    Same here, and I love Vance's writing in general.

  3. #53
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Just started reading Sebastien de Castell's Traitor's Blade. Not quite the standard medieval setting, move it up a few centuries, but damn, this book gets up and moves.
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  4. #54
    facetious maximus Yves's Avatar
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    I'm on Book 2 of The Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch and it's throroughly enjoyable so far! It's like a high fantasy mafia story, taking palce in the seemier parts of the world the author creates. No dealings with nobility; only criminal types.
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  5. #55
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    Hello!!! Aren't you all forgetting someone rather important to the genre?
    Robert E. Howard:

    Conan
    Cormac mac Art
    Bran mac Morn

    All fantastic stuff.

    Fred Saberhagen also wrote some amazing fantasy novels.

  6. #56
    "The Lyremouth Chronicles" by Jane Fletcher

    Part 1: "The Exile and the Sorcerer"
    Part 2: "The Traitor and the Chalice"
    Part 3: "The Empress and the Acolyte"
    Part 4: "The High Priest and the Idol"

    This is, however, lesbian fantasy, so maybe not up your alley. But Jean and I liked it.

  7. #57
    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterG View Post
    Hello!!! Aren't you all forgetting someone rather important to the genre?
    Robert E. Howard:

    Conan
    Cormac mac Art
    Bran mac Morn

    All fantastic stuff.

    Fred Saberhagen also wrote some amazing fantasy novels.
    Yes, REH is THE MAN. However, I wouldn't categorize his trendsetting sword & sorcery works as "high fantasy," which is a label reserved for stories that involve elves, gnomes, dwarves, pixies, unicorns and the sort.

  8. #58
    Tolkien, of course, The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And the ten volume History of Middle-earth along with The Children of Húrin.

    Then there is the great The Once and Future King by T.H. White. One of the funniest and at the same time saddest fantasies ever written.

    Watership Down by Richard Adams. If I tell you it's a book about rabbits, you'd miss the point.

    Dune by Frank Herbert, for all its sci-fi trappings, is high-fantasy at its best, particularly the internecine battles of wit between feudal houses.
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    How about the Redwall series by Brian Jacques? Some say the series is children's stuff, but it is in my opinion much too gory for that (deaths galore, and not only the bad guys).

    The series has 26 books, so lots of stuff to read. I only read three of them, but I liked what I read.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by dropforge View Post
    Yes, REH is THE MAN. However, I wouldn't categorize his trendsetting sword & sorcery works as "high fantasy," which is a label reserved for stories that involve elves, gnomes, dwarves, pixies, unicorns and the sort.
    Okay, thanks I wasn't really sure. So basically high fantasy is all the sissy stuff from Tolkein?

    I wonder could we equate Martin with REH, as Game of Thrones has all those different kingdoms as well as various supernatural types?

  11. #61
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    Oh, and one of the best books I ever read, outside of fantasy as well: "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke. Settled in England of early 19th century, but a slightly altered England in which magic still exists. Highly amusing, with lots of footnotes that you definitely have to read; some of them are absolutely hilarious. The prose is early 19th century as well, like Jane Austen or Charles Dickens, but I love early 19th century literature. I haven't laughed that much while reading for a long time. The paperback edition has 1100 pages. Lots of illustrations as well. BBC made a TV-series of the book.

  12. #62
    Estimated Prophet notallwhowander's Avatar
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    R.E. Howard's Conan is pretty much the definition of sword & sorcery.
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  13. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by dropforge View Post
    Yes, REH is THE MAN. However, I wouldn't categorize his trendsetting sword & sorcery works as "high fantasy," which is a label reserved for stories that involve elves, gnomes, dwarves, pixies, unicorns and the sort.
    Not exactly; none of those elements is required. For example, Robin Hobb's excellent Farseer trilogy has no non-human races in it (except dragons, and only at the end), but is definitely HF.

    High Fantasy is fantasy where the author has created a self-consistent alternate world -- usually with magic and/or fantastic critters, but not always. The world is the thing.

    Probably the first real practitioner of HF was William Morris (The Well at the World's End, e.g.).
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  14. #64
    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dark Elf View Post
    Watership Down by Richard Adams. If I tell you it's a book about rabbits, you'd miss the point.


    Adams' The Plague Dogs is one of my favorite books.

  15. #65
    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterG View Post
    Okay, thanks I wasn't really sure. So basically high fantasy is all the sissy stuff from Tolkein?
    Oh, it's sissy now, is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    Not exactly; none of those elements is required. For example, Robin Hobb's excellent Farseer trilogy has no non-human races in it (except dragons, and only at the end), but is definitely HF.

    High Fantasy is fantasy where the author has created a self-consistent alternate world -- usually with magic and/or fantastic critters, but not always. The world is the thing.
    I don't disagree with that, save that high fantasy, as it's recognized today, features significantly more magic use than low fantasy — what REH's works fall under by default (I prefer the label sword & sorcery) — wherein exhibition of magical abilities is comparably less common. REH's characters are usually underdogs and the stories take place on this Earth, not an alternate Earth or other realm. Those qualities don't always apply to high fantasy.

  16. #66
    facetious maximus Yves's Avatar
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    The Farseer Trilogy (both the first and second trilogies) were indeed excellent! I am awaiting the 3rd book of the third trilogy before starting in on it.

    I don't recall other series I may have mentioned here an am too lazy to go back and look, but I would strongly recommend Joe Abercrombie's "First Law" trilogy. Dark and violent with a cast of very flawed characters...

    On the lighter side is Michael J. Sullivan's "The Riyria Revelations"...
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  17. #67
    Member wideopenears's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaldJean View Post
    Oh, and one of the best books I ever read, outside of fantasy as well: "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke. Settled in England of early 19th century, but a slightly altered England in which magic still exists. Highly amusing, with lots of footnotes that you definitely have to read; some of them are absolutely hilarious. The prose is early 19th century as well, like Jane Austen or Charles Dickens, but I love early 19th century literature. I haven't laughed that much while reading for a long time. The paperback edition has 1100 pages. Lots of illustrations as well. BBC made a TV-series of the book.
    I really enjoyed this one, as well. Worth a re-read, in fact!

  18. #68
    Estimated Prophet notallwhowander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dropforge View Post
    I don't disagree with that, save that high fantasy, as it's recognized today, features significantly more magic use than low fantasy — what REH's works fall under by default (I prefer the label sword & sorcery) — wherein exhibition of magical abilities is comparably less common. REH's characters are usually underdogs and the stories take place on this Earth, not an alternate Earth or other realm. Those qualities don't always apply to high fantasy.
    I think there is a tone and emphasis quality to high fantasy as well. REH wrote gritty, id-gratifying stories with the emphasis on action. High fantasy is usually some kind of conventional morality play, an unashamed reinterpretation of the monomyth, with an attempt to evoke tragic emotions. High fantasy leans heavily on classical and pre-modern European literary traditions, whereas sword-and-sorcery raids ancient and medieval traditions for images and tropes, but is decidedly modern, often trying to subvert the monomyth, and throws over a conventional morality play in favor of an anti-hero.

    Oh, and I always understood REH's Hyborean Age to be an alternative Earth past, not unlike Tolkien's Middle Earth.
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  19. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by Yves View Post
    You have to read through the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant in order to get to the best in the series: The Second Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant. One of the best I have ever read!
    By now I have finished reading both the First and Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, a very intense reading. In fact, I enjoyed the 1st trilogy more than the 2nd one, as it offered more action less reflexion (two main characters of 2nd trilogy requiring twice as many words to describe their psychological complications). And Donaldson was very serious throughout, dead serious.
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  20. #70
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    Then there's all the Shannara books, in all their guises. Plus the new TV show based on them.
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  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    there's all the Shannara books, in all their guises. Plus the new TV show based on them.
    But the thread was supposed to be about things worth recommending.

  22. #72
    facetious maximus Yves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azol View Post
    By now I have finished reading both the First and Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, a very intense reading. In fact, I enjoyed the 1st trilogy more than the 2nd one, as it offered more action less reflexion (two main characters of 2nd trilogy requiring twice as many words to describe their psychological complications). And Donaldson was very serious throughout, dead serious.
    The Third Chronicles move at an even slower pace with a lot more psychological reflexion going on. Beware...
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  23. #73
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
    But the thread was supposed to be about things worth recommending.
    Yeah, but I haven't read these since high school, so I thought I would catch up a bit. I made it through the 1st 3 (Word and Void) but agree that they are hugely predictable and suitable for high schoolers. Time to move on now. Maybe I will re-read Covenant or Jonathan Strange.
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  24. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
    But the thread was supposed to be about things worth recommending.
    a) I already made that joke well up-thread, pre-TV series.

    b) Multiple people have recommended the Thomas Covenant series, which I find absolutely unbearable (as opposed to Shannara, which is merely lame and plagiaristic), so I guess anything’s fair game.
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  25. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    b) Multiple people have recommended the Thomas Covenant series, which I find absolutely unbearable (as opposed to Shannara, which is merely lame and plagiaristic), so I guess anything’s fair game.
    Vance-Vance-Vance!!! A best of two worlds: not too dead serious and depressing and yet not too sugary-sweet or predictable. But 1st Covenant trilogy is worth all the praise it receives. Really.

    By the way, I wonder why no one mentioned The Dark Tower series yet. I didn't like the 1st volume (The Gunslinger) and won't bother to read the rest, but many people believe it's great. Try to dissuade me
    Last edited by Azol; 02-03-2016 at 08:17 AM.
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