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Author Topic: Great reads ?
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Patchface
Fist of Thunder
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posted 01 October 2004 05:09 AM      $post_id   Email Patchface   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
During the loooooooooong wait for AFfC I am running out of books to read...

Could you guys give me any info on truly good fantasy, be it a series or stand-alone novels ?

For instance, I have never yet checked out Robin Hobb but was recently sorely tempted to do so (discount fair), but still chickened out...

So, any ideas...?

BTW, my interest is not limited to fantasy, so any suggestions in the field of popular science, horror or philosophy (ahem) are also appreciated.

Thanks,

Patch

edit : damn typos...

edited by Patchface on October 1st, 2004


People overgeneralize too often


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Mordeth
Lord of Flies
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posted 01 October 2004 01:45 PM      $post_id   Email Mordeth   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Hmm.... lets see, books to read:

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Armor by John Steakly
Vampire$ by John Steakly
Altered Carbon by ....... Morgan
Broken Angels by ........ Morgan (forgot his first name)

And that is all I can think of for now.



You only truly lose when winning becomes more important than playing.


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mashiara
Paladyne
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posted 01 October 2004 04:31 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
It has nothing to do with the horror, science or fantasy genre. It's just literature.. if you can bear it. It's one of the best books I've read lately: "Middlesex", by Jeffrey Eugenides.

(ok, so this is not a site for 'real' books, but it's a good read)


It is not enough to conquer;
one must learn to seduce.
Voltaire


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Ishamael
Throne of Decay
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posted 01 October 2004 06:04 PM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Email Ishamael   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
oh, these are fun.... If you tell me specific books (aside from aSoIaF) that you really like, I can narrow stuff down for you.

About Robin Hobb, I heard great things about her, especially from GRRM, so I had to give it a shot. Unfortunately, I picked up her third trilogy (second linear) one - The Tawny Man. Now, i was never lost, as everything was explained quite nicely. The books in general were enjoyable, if not much else. The first one seemed kinda like a stand alone novel, the second one just had a lot of talk, but the third was absolutely amazing. All in all, it's nothing spectacular. From how she explained the first trilogy it sounded very good, but I can't attest to the actual writing/narrative itself.

The other trilogy - the Liveship traders, I only got through most of the first book, cause then my PDA got soaked and stopped working :(. It seemed serviceable at best.


Fantasy:
- If you can find copies of Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman's fantastic 'Rose of the Prophet Series', make absolutely sure to pick them up. Nice light fantasy with an engrossing world, excellent characters, and some unusual mythology. The books are:
The Will of the Wanderer
The Paladin of the Night
The Prophet of Akhran

- Raymond E. Feists series are quite good, you can find these easily. Not great on skill, but excellent story. The four books of the 'Serpentwar' saga are quite good, and can be read without knowing the intimate details of his earlier works. His best work is probably in his collaboration with Janny Wurts - the Empire trilogy.
Daughter of the Empire
Servant of the Empire
Mistress of the Empire

- Although you may hear good things about Janny Wurts' own series ' Wars of light and Shadow' (or some such) I found them plodding and uninteresting.

- A classic - Tad Williams 'Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn'. Runs a bit long in places, but an excellent series that's sure to capture your attention.

- Anything by China Mieville is fantastic. Check out the site for reviews of 'Perdido Street Station' and the superlative 'The Scar'. Set in the same world, you can also check out his new book (haven't read it yet) 'Iron Council'.

- Dave Gemmell writes entertaining crap. No depth, but fun to read.

- Guy Gavriel Kay. His latest 'Last Light of the Sun' wasn't so hot, but his classic Fionavar Tapestry trilogy is excellent - evocative prose and a nice mix of mythologies. Also check out his stand alone books, including my favourite - 'Tigana'.



So those are some quick fantasy recommendations, and I'll round em out with some sci-fi ones a bit later. All that typing made me hungry.

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Drizzt Do'Urden
Lord Tranquility
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posted 01 October 2004 07:40 PM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
I'm reading through Peter F. Hamilton's 'Night's Dawn Trilogy', consisting of The Reality Dysfunction, The Netronium Alchemist, and The Naked God.

Damn good Sci-Fi! DAMN good!


I make a new vow, one weighed in experience and proclaimed with my eyes open: I will not raise my scimitars except in defense: in defense of my principles, of my life, or of others who cannot defend themselves. I will not do battle to further the causes of false prophets, to further the treasures of kings, or to avenge my own injured pride.


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Antacid
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posted 03 October 2004 04:12 AM      $post_id   Email Antacid   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
There is a serious flaw in your quesions patchface, you see, usually when one asks for recommendations he goes "i liked this and this and i want to read something like that", but if you say that about A Song of Ice and Fire you give us no real info to help you with, because it's obvious you'd like A Song of Ice and Fire... it's the best fantasy out there. So.. what other things did you like?
If that's your first series to read... that's too bad, starting with the best first is not good for your future reading...


"Sometimes it's damned hard to tell the dancer from the dance." - Corwin, prince of Amber.


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Tolkon
Cerebrate
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posted 03 October 2004 04:27 AM      $post_id   Email Tolkon   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Well, byzantium By Steven R Lawhead my personal fave, or the Crown of stars by Kate Elliott. both prime in my book shelf


Tolkon Apt De Heins
Sorry my spelling is atrocious please forgive me.


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Patchface
Fist of Thunder
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posted 04 October 2004 04:23 AM      $post_id   Email Patchface   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Okay, okay, I get the message...

I must admit that I've been spoilt somewhat by ASoIaF, because I really, really like the realistic depth of the series and would be sorely disappointed by books that were (much) less so...

My personal favorite authors/reads so far are :

GRRM (duh)
WoT (1-6, after that, well, you know the rap...)
Terry Pratchett
Clive Barker
H.P. Lovecraft
The Death Gate Cycle (Weiss and Hickman)
The Shannara series (haven't read them in a while)
David Eddings (Belgariad mainly, see below)
Ursula le Guin (sp?)
Isaac Asimov (slow, but still nice)
And then some stuff by Jack Vance, Tanith Lee, Diane Duane and others...

So, as you see, quite a general mainstream list, but I'm looking to broaden my horizons...

As I said before, popular science (ranging from cosmology (Greene, Davies, Hawking, etc.) to mathematics (chaos-, number-, n-dimensional theory and whatnot...)) and philosophy (mainly biographies and the Big Books) are also on my list of favorite reads...

Hopes this helps and thanks for the input, already !

Patch

P.S. : On David Eddings : has anyone read 'The Redemption of Althalus' ? I got it in a discount sale (for 4 Euros, about 5 US$ I guess) and had a great time reading such an astoundingly bad book !
Really, it's the worst book I've ever read and as such gets a deserved mention on my list. Try it if it's cheap, but still at your own peril...







People overgeneralize too often


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mashiara
Paladyne
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posted 04 October 2004 07:26 AM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
I've read the stupid thing. I hated it, I paid the regular price for it too. It was a couple of years ago I think. Really bad book.

To add to your list. The Black Jewels trilogy by Ann Bishop. And the Sailing to Sarantium / Lord of Emperors duology (if that's an actual word) by Guy Gavriel Kay.


It is not enough to conquer;
one must learn to seduce.
Voltaire


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fantasybookspot
Water Sprite
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posted 04 October 2004 10:29 AM      $post_id   Email fantasybookspot   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
I have to say fantasy wise, my favorite series was by Robin Hobb (The Farseer Trilogy, The Liveships Trilogy, Tawny Man). They have it all, its like a scaled down version of Martins work as a little less on the politics and certainly less people, but all of the juicy goodness. Some will tell you that the Liveships Trilogy is a stand alone but I think reading them in the order above you get the most enjoyment
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Drizzt Do'Urden
Lord Tranquility
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posted 04 October 2004 10:37 AM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Well, Patchface, I'd have to definately agree with Ishy in one area then.

Start working your way through Raymond E. Feist. The trilogy beginning it all is the Riftwar saga, consisting of Magician, Silverthorn, and A Darkness at Sethanon. And every book after is good as well.


I make a new vow, one weighed in experience and proclaimed with my eyes open: I will not raise my scimitars except in defense: in defense of my principles, of my life, or of others who cannot defend themselves. I will not do battle to further the causes of false prophets, to further the treasures of kings, or to avenge my own injured pride.


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fantasybookspot
Water Sprite
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posted 04 October 2004 10:40 AM      $post_id   Email fantasybookspot   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
edit: hmm it double posted for me sorry about that.

--- Dalerone
www.fantasybookspot.com

edited by fantasybookspot on October 4th, 2004

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Antacid
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posted 05 October 2004 07:10 AM      $post_id   Email Antacid   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Well, you like fantasy and you like Lovecraft, so let me suggest some of the darkest sides of fantasy...
The Cold Fire Trilogy by C.S. Friemdna is brilliant.
The Elric and/or Corum books by Micahel Moorcock are must reads.

Some other fantasy, anything by Neil Gaiman, who writes dark, but not only dark... so i wouldn't classify him as such.
Anything by Roger Zelazny, just because.

As for Science Fiction, Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos might be the best i read. Peter F. Hamilton's The Night Dawn trilogy is up there with the best.
And once again C.S. Friedman, probably my favorite female author in the field - This Alien Shore and The Madness Season.
have fun


"Sometimes it's damned hard to tell the dancer from the dance." - Corwin, prince of Amber.


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dalThor
Third Sword
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posted 07 October 2004 11:42 PM      $post_id   Email dalThor   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
One of the best books I have read in years isn't Fantasy but rather more of a reality.

It's called Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield.

It's a narrative of the Battle of Thermopolae where 300 Greeks and thier allies held off the massive Persian army in a suicide delaying tactic. It has the absolute best battle scene descriptions ever. It IS based on fact and is one of the greatest stories in military history of all time.

If you want a great book to read that makes you feel a little good because it's kind of like, history, pick it up and read it. You won't be disappointed.

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Ishamael
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posted 08 October 2004 12:20 AM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Email Ishamael   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Dammit, I was in Singapore, and saw "gates of fire" and "darwin's radio" and didn't know what to choose for the flight out. I took Darwin's radio, and it's a bunch of shit neatly typed out. Always regretted it, I've been meaning to track down that book. Your recommendation makes it a lock.

A note here, Coldfire is amazing, read it for sure. 'This Alien Shore' is fun to read, but isn't by any means an epic.

Anyways Patch, now that you've opened Pandora's box, let me continue with my sci-fi recco's.

Science Fiction
Simmons of course, read anything by him in the sf genre. The two books of Hyperion are great, but I actually liked the Endymion Saga even better. Regardless, they are the pinnacles of intelligent sci-fi, doesn't matter what genres appeal to you - these books are amazing.

As people have mentioned, the superlative science fiction work of our time is Peter F. Hamilton's titanic 'Night's Dawn Trilogy'. The best hybrid of horror and true hard sci-fi, nothing I can write here can give the series justice. Do read my reviews, in general - amazing. Sometimes in meanders, but still great.

I can't say enough about true hard sci-fi that spands generations of scientific thought and gothic portrayals of the future - Anything by Alastair Reynolds is ridicuslouly surreal and immersive. Start with Chasm City (the stand alone book), and then head into the trilgoy (starting with revelation space, read the feature/interivew with him). I just re-read the series, and it is awe-inspiring.

Another series, often over-looked, is Stephen R. Donaldon's gap series. Astounding. Not only an excellent dark sci-fi adventure, but mixed with a deep exploration of the meaning of humanity, and our capability for both iniquity and divinity (as it were ;). Start with 'The Real Story', which is really a short story, but the next four are massive epics of science fiction.

Finally, a nod to the newest entrant, that Mordeth mentioned. Richard Morgan's two novels, 'Altered Carbon', and 'Broken Angels', are hard sf mixed with hardboiled detective stories, right in the spirit of bladerunner. AC in particular is a revelation in modern science fiction. Pick it up.

To avoid? Morgan's 'Market Forces' (like, an economic take on mad max, where the authors socio-economic commentary overshadows any narrative)> Likewise Peter F. Hamilton's 'Fallen Dragon', the crimes of which aren't easily summarized. Again, I can only direct you to the reviews.

Finally, for you old school romantics - in the spirit of the softest sci-fi and space opera if you will - 'The Star of the Guardians'. Margaret Weis's fantastic trilogy (plus a capper, Ghost Legion) is perhaps one of the most satisfying genre tales out there. A seamless blend of sci-fi/fantasy, it's weis at her classic best, and an emotional yet action packed ride all the way through. Her characters are singularly engaging, and you'll never forget them.

So that's my quick (relatively) wrap-up of good sci-fi.

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Antacid
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posted 08 October 2004 11:01 AM      $post_id   Email Antacid   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
For the record, the two Hyperion books and the two Endymion books are all part of the same series The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. The Story isn't complete without reading books 3-4....




"Sometimes it's damned hard to tell the dancer from the dance." - Corwin, prince of Amber.


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Mordeth
Lord of Flies
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posted 08 October 2004 04:49 PM      $post_id   Email Mordeth   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
hey would someone mind listing the Night's Dawn Trilogy, and Hyperion Cantos books in order for me, because I really want to buy them I just need to know which order they go in first


You only truly lose when winning becomes more important than playing.


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Ishamael
Throne of Decay
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posted 08 October 2004 05:56 PM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Email Ishamael   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Sigh, they split each book of NDT into 2 for paperback in the US, so it can be confusing.

The Reality Dysfunction
Part 1: Emergence
Part 2: Expansion

The Neutronium Alchemist
Part 1: Consolidation
Part 2: Conflict

The Naked God
Part 1: Flight
Part 2: Faith


Hyperion Cantos:
Hyperion
Fall of Hyperiod
Endymion
Rise of Endymion



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Ishamael
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posted 08 October 2004 05:59 PM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Email Ishamael   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Oh and patch - A good book in terms of science is 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' by Bill Bryson. Enjoyable and palpatable, traces major developments in science through the ages complete with some humourous anecdotes.

As I'm lazy, instead of explaining it, I've included the editorial review from amzn.
quote ::
From primordial nothingness to this very moment, A Short History of Nearly Everything reports what happened and how humans figured it out. To accomplish this daunting literary task, Bill Bryson uses hundreds of sources, from popular science books to interviews with luminaries in various fields. His aim is to help people like him, who rejected stale school textbooks and dry explanations, to appreciate how we have used science to understand the smallest particles and the unimaginably vast expanses of space. With his distinctive prose style and wit, Bryson succeeds admirably. Though A Short History clocks in at a daunting 500-plus pages and covers the same material as every science book before it, it reads something like a particularly detailed novel (albeit without a plot). Each longish chapter is devoted to a topic like the age of our planet or how cells work, and these chapters are grouped into larger sections such as "The Size of the Earth" and "Life Itself." Bryson chats with experts like Richard Fortey (author of Life and Trilobite) and these interviews are charming. But it's when Bryson dives into some of science's best and most embarrassing fights--Cope vs. Marsh, Conway Morris vs. Gould--that he finds literary gold. --Therese Littleton



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Patchface
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posted 11 October 2004 03:14 AM      $post_id   Email Patchface   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
WOW !

Thanks for all the input, guys ! I will definitely scour my bookshops for some (possibly even all) of the titles you've prodided...
Yes, I'm a rich, filthy bastard (not)...

Now I just have to find the time to read them all, I guess...

Thanks again !

Patch





People overgeneralize too often


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