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Old 03-09-2017   #1
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Fantasy Authors

I know that those who post on this forum are bound to be more interested in horror and weird literature. Dwarves, elves and dragons are far from the night-black aesthetic of horror and, in Ligotti's case, the gloomy pessimism.

However, there is no doubt there is admiration for the writings of Clark Ashton Smith and Lord Dunsany among the weird fiction community. Perhaps even Robert E. Howard too.

How about other authors then? What draws us to fantasy is not so far from what draws us to horror and the weird, I think. The mystery and the wonder is there in them all.

I love the unlimited imagination (and vocabulary) of Smith's stories, the timeless sense of wonder in Lord Dunsany's tales, the tireless energy of Howard's Conan, and the nostalgic, evocative world of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

There is still much I want to read when I find the time: I have books of Fritz Lieber, Michael Moorcock, Gene Wolfe, M. John Harrison and Mervyn Peake aging on my shelves, waiting to be cracked open when the mood is right like fine wine.
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Old 03-09-2017   #2
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Re: Fantasy Authors

Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword is impressive. Not quite worthy of Moorcock's praise, I don't think, but nevertheless it is one of the better fantasy novels you will read.

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Old 03-10-2017   #3
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Re: Fantasy Authors

When it comes to genre fiction I've always preferred horror and science fiction, but never really got into fantasy all that much (though I have played a lot of fantasy video/computer games). When I was a kid I did read stuff like the Narnia books and Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles and that was about it. In recent years, however, I have been exploring the genre a bit more.

One of my favorite fantasy writers is Stephen R. Donaldson, who is of course best known for his Thomas Covenant books. I've read the first two Covenant trilogies recently and was very impressed: Donaldson is very much a prose stylist with a vast vocabulary on par with CAS (I should add that I've been a Donaldson fan for years: prior to this though I had mainly read his very excellent (and highly underrated) sci-fi space opera series The Gap Cycle and his "The Man Who" mystery series). I've heard that he has a new trilogy coming out later on this year.

George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is enjoyable but tbh I prefer the TV show in some ways.

A lot of my friends tell me that I should check out Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series but it's so long... ten books! Almost all of which are 600-800 pages!

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Old 03-10-2017   #4
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Re: Fantasy Authors

I've come to prefer horror set in fantasy worlds. I know lots of people are all about the reveal in horror stories that the supernatural exists but I enjoy it more when the world is already known to be full of such wonders and you get to make the world look as impressive as you wish.

Hodgson's Night Land reads to me more like fantasy than science fiction.

I've read the first two of Jack Vance's Dying Earth books and I have mixed feelings about them. They can be very beautiful at times and similar to Clark Ashton Smith with all these great names for magic spells, and the humorous dialogue of scheming rogues is really fun but sometimes it feels a bit too much like generic fantasy to me and I'm not that engaged in the adventures most of the time. I've got many more of his books to read though.

I've got a lot of the above mentioned authors yet to read but also Robert Holdstock, Alan Garner, James Stoddard, Tanith Lee, Catherine L Moore, Francis Stevens, James Branch Cabell, ER Eddison, George MacDonald, Hope Mirrlees, Evangeline Walton, Ludovico Ariosto, Darrell Schweitzer, William Morris, David Lindsay, NK Jemisin, Zen Cho, Freda Warrington, Michael Ende, Adrian Cole, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Paul Hazel, Michael Shea and many more.

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Old 03-10-2017   #5
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Re: Fantasy Authors

Robert E. Howard's hardboiled fantasy was ####ing excellent, and it's a disgrace he's often portrayed as an illiterate hack by the critical intelligentsia. It tears me apart he perhaps didn't know how brilliant he was when he offed himself. Beautiful soul.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
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Old 03-10-2017   #6
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Re: Fantasy Authors

I never understood Wolfe's appeal. I sort of enjoyed Book of the New Sun for its surreal and grotesque qualities but I am unsure if I'd call it good. It certainly isn't an easy read.His recent stuff that I've tried to read has been pretty bad. And, judging by some of it (Home Fires), he is unable to keep his personal BS (he is right wing, christian) out of his fiction.You should definitely go for Peake as soon as you can, first Gormenghast novel is a classic. Moorcock is extremely mixed, his fiction ranges from fantastic to pulpiest of pulp fantasy, in the worst sense of that word (Hawkmoon series).
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Old 03-10-2017   #7
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Re: Fantasy Authors

I have a feeling Ligottians might like "The Second Apocalypse" set of books by Canadian writer Scott Bakker. I certainly do. Starts with The Darkness That Comes Before.

These books have a pitch-black vein of cosmic horror running through, a lot of interesting philosophical discussions / ideas and a great ancient feel to them.

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Old 03-10-2017   #8
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Re: Fantasy Authors

Though not fantasy, his novel Neuropath should also be of interest to weird fiction fans as it is steeped in nihilism.
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Old 03-10-2017   #9
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Re: Fantasy Authors

I really like Vance's Dying Earth books. They've got really rich prose and concern bizarre, exotic lands, but I can only read so much at a time. The prose can be overwhelming, like really rich chocolate.
I don't read that much fantasy, most of it isn't to my taste. Still, I'd like to see a fantasy novel in the style of a 19th century realist. Clear, neutral prose and depressing themes, like the effects of dragons on rural economies and the immiseration of the villagers.
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Old 03-10-2017   #10
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Re: Fantasy Authors

Part of my problem with those first two Dying Earth books is that one moment you'll get a richly described vista but then next there's flat standard fantasy imagery and its a bit frustrating.

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