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January 4, 2004

The Fantasy Reading List (and a call for recommendations)

Posted by Mike on January 4, 2004 10:27 PM

Just wrapped up a reading of George R.R. Martin's "A Storm of Swords," the third book in his "Song of Ice and Fire" series. Looking down the reading list, it's pretty easy to tell the release of "Return of the King" in the theaters has my fantasy interest up again. I'll be starting "The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian" this evening at bedtime (hat-tip to Jim Henley for recommending this one). After that it'll probably be Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon," and then there are a few coin tosses involved. I've got a sense that my interest in Arthurian stuff will be running high, so I might give Parke Godwin's "Firelord" a spin (it'd be new to me) or maybe T.H. White's collection.

After that, I could stand to re-read Godwin's "Beowulf" retelling if the Tolkien estate doesn't get around to releasing Tolkien's translation this year.

One series I dropped a long time ago is Katherine Kurtz's Deryni books. I picked up "King Kelson's Bride" in a bookstore, didn't get a good vibe from it (after waiting for years for the series to pick back up again), and put it back down. I see a new book is out ("In the King's Service"), but I'm not sure whether it's worth the time. Anyone know anything about Kurtz's later Deryni efforts?

I'm sorry to note that the first three Black Company books in my collection seem to have gone out on permanent loan somewhere. That's another bit of light fantasy I wouldn't mind having on hand in the next few months.

Decent fantasy recommendations are welcome, too. I'm pretty much going over previously explored territory with all this. I've put my hand on some of Robert Jordan's stuff, but haven't bothered to bring any home. People tell me Stephen R. Donaldson is a quality read (I did a few of the Thomas Covenant books in junior high, but they never grabbed me), and I've got one very fervent recommendation for Pullman's "His Dark Materials" books as The Smarter Harry Potter.


Donaldson is very rewarding if you can get past the purple prose. I could ten years ago, but haven't tried to since because I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to take it this time around.

I'm reading through Gene Wolfe, who seems to be a blogosphere favorite. Good stuff.

Posted by: nate at January 5, 2004 9:00 AM

The only fantasy novels I've read in recent years (besides mostly rereading Fellowship) are The High House and The False House. Don't remember the author's name off the top of my head; these were his first and second novels. Outstandingly good.

Posted by: Ed Heil at January 5, 2004 12:03 PM

I'm a longtime fantasy reader and have been on the committee for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for several years. I recommend Patricia McKillip lot. Ursula LeGuin has done both fantasy and sf. Nina Kiriki Hoffman is usually good too.

MKK--Polytopos sent me

Posted by: Mary Kay at January 5, 2004 12:34 PM