Comparatively Fantastic! Our favourite authors

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Postby Dotsie » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:48 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Have I mentioned how much I loathe dear Charles...? :twisted:


Ditto!

Some of my fave writers are:

Iain (M) Banks – Without the M he writes fiction, with it he writes science fiction. His regular fiction tends to be dark, funny, and sometimes twisted (see The Wasp Factory). My favourite book by him, Whit, is set in a religious cult based in Scotland, and as you might expect duplicity & hypocrisy are rife (there’s also an element of promiscuity). However, this isn’t a religion-bashing book, and ultimately the protagonist doesn’t have to lose her faith in order to become more worldy-wise. The SF novels by Banks are the only SF I read, they are brilliantly written without being corny. I’m sure there are other good SF writers out there, but it seems you have to wade through an awful lot of dross to find the good stuff, and reviewers are usually misleading in these cases

A. Lee Martinez – He writes comedic fantasy novels about werewolves, vampires, zombies, etc, and his novels are really very funny. My favourite is probably Gil’s All Fright Diner, but In The Company of Ogres is a close second. His are the only fantasy novels I read apart from Terry & LOTR (not counting children’s books, see below).

Eva Ibbotson – writes mainly children’s books, & I found her when I was a youngster myself, but I was so impressed with the characters in Which Witch? that I still enjoy reading this particular book, her best by far. Some of the other books are a little too young to be enjoyed by adults. One book that does stick in my mind is The Secret of Platform 13, a story about a boy who is heir to the throne in a magical kingdom, kidnapped as a baby, brought up in a household where he is detested & made to live in the cellar, bullied by his adopted brother & eventually rescued by a witch & a giant. The only way to access this magical kingdom is by a secret door on platform 13 at King’s Cross station. All of which might sound familiar to some of you.

A lot of my favourite books are those which I’ve only read or liked one that the author has done, such as Perfume by Patrick Suskind, Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (an amazing book, moving and amusing), and The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I also like Eoin Colfer, Tolkien, & of course Sir Terry :D
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Postby Tiffany » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:56 pm

Years ago I read a Sci-Fi book series about a lad called JonTom & a Turtle, who was a magician, who's name escapes me & lots of animals that are like humans & music played a big part in the stories, but I can't remember who wrote them, or what they were called. Help?? Anyone. :?: :?:
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Tiff
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Postby Dotsie » Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:29 pm

This might be what you're looking for :wink:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:01 pm

Dotsie wrote:...... A lot of my favourite books are those which I’ve only read or liked one that the author has done, such as Perfume by Patrick Suskind, Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (an amazing book, moving and amusing), and The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I also like Eoin Colfer, Tolkien, & of course Sir Terry :D
(My emphases in bold)

One thing that's coming across in here, is just how wide our collective faves are it seems. I find as Dotsie's saying that it's often novels in isolation that you don't necessarily go on to 'collect' from rest of the author's 'stable', that still strike enough of a chord with us to make it into our personal 'books to love forever' lists.

I also think most people go through a phase like Chris said earlier

chris.ph wrote:i read anything ive got more blinkin books thn borders


where we're seemingly fairly indiscriminate on the surface but really its like a search to take in as much as you can with as many styles and authors and finally you sift it all into what you really do like - and hopefully if you discover somebody like Pterry or Clive Barker or A. Lee Martinez etc and whilst you may still be into broad 'grazing' you develop the kind of affection for a writer that make you want to join boards - like this one! where you can rattle on and on and on about how fab Pterry is with other people who like him! :wink:

I pulled Clive Barker out of the air there as the type of author who you don't necessarily want to 'follow', but the one book you read of theirs makes a deep impression. I know Clive Barker's work by reputation and from the movies but I only ever read one book of his - Weaveworld and it was... compelling, I think is the word I'd use as some of it's nauseatingly scary and some it was quite fey or just downright irritating to be honest, but I couldn't stop reading it. It was also the first time I'd come across the 3-witch coven concept and also interestingly the concept of the Hag, Mother and Maiden in one person as the hero's pursued by Immaculata all the way through. Well I think Terry said in at least one of the books that he'd done that with Granny too - and this is something you can't really say of Magrat or especially Nanny (of course :P ) where you can get 2 of the 'set' but not the third one...

Same with genres of books - when I was 16 and kicking back at 'set books' I bought my copy of Valley of the Dolls (Jacqueline Susann) and I, Robot (Isaac Asimov) whilst on my 1st non-family holiday in Jersey. I'd already developed my fantasy-mythology addiction by then but although I was a major Dr. Who fan and loved stuff like Star Trek and Time Tunnel (to the babes amongst us that's the B&W spiral like in Austin Powers 2...) and I'd never actually read any sci-fi. Asimov's fairly easy to read in a way - not a very subtle writer really although he was fond of using scientific terms, but his concepts! God that man was prophetic if clumsy. I read all the Robot books and the Foundation series too and few others spacey ones, but I never read his detective books for some reason and strange too because I think that's really where his heart was.

Enough for now and have you noticed I've been really good and not banged on about Tolkien at all hardly?! :twisted: Just you wait!
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby Tiffany » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:27 pm

Dotsie wrote:This might be what you're looking for :wink:


BRILLIANT!! Dotsie. Thank you very much, now I can reaquaint myself with them. You are a star!!
Best wishes,
Tiff
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Postby Tiffany » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:38 pm

I didn't know Alan Dean Foster wrote the Alien series as well. Gosh! A totally different type of book to the Spellsinger series.
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Tiff
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Postby The_Discworldaholic » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:45 am

This is a easy one for me, for me i put two authors and only two above all else. 1 Terry Pratchett and 2 Clive cussler. Ive been reading Cussler books now for many years probably when they first started to appear and got hooked straight away, i just love the adventure and action gendre books as much as fantasy and for me cussler paints a brilliant picture when you read his books just like pratchett.
I do have many other favourite authors for diffent types of books western etc but its nearly one in the morning so im not going to list them now, but i will adjust this post later to put it in more detail of who i like and what style they write.
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Postby chris.ph » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:25 pm

most of ny books are scifi fantasy and horror any author that can keep me turning the page i personally think is a good author. some are pulp fiction some are epics like the neutronium alchemist by peter f hamilton.
but ill read anything from asimov to dam cant think of an author beginning with z :lol:
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:29 pm

chris.ph wrote:but ill read anything from asimov to dam cant think of an author beginning with z :lol:


Zelazny? :wink:
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Postby chris.ph » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:04 pm

smart a@@ :lol:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:59 am

:lol: Indeed Chris - I'm beginning to think I'm positively parochial in my reading habits in here now.
My reading 'heyday' was whilst I commuted Kent-London for nearly 20 years between 1983-2003 and with a minimum 3 hour overall journey (too often 4+) I read a LOT. In fact I don't remember a quarter of them but they were mostly fantasy/sci-fi authors and apart from the Prof I had 3 favourites that I read and re-read during that time.

So first and 'easiest' - DAVID EDDINGS
Pure 'classic' fantasy writer and he's very good at dialogue and also at producing 'cute' characters, especially in the 2 main series I read of his - the Belgariad and then the follow up series the title of which is eluding me at the moment, but it was when 1 of his 3 principal 'Will and Word' characters, Belgarion had grown up and was loosely a 'continuing' journey tale that regurgitated the first lot. Which was a very clever re-cycling device but it got a little too cynical when he did 'biographies' of Polgara & Belgarath (yes you guessed - the other principals) of the history of the world which went over a lot of stuff that was in the preceding volumes... Which is why he's 'easy' of course :twisted:
The 'Will and the Word' as a concept/formula to 'do' magic is quite well-described in fact and workable along the line of 'if you wish it hard enough it'll happen' style - and being related to Belgarath helps too... :roll: Lot of elitism with this bunch of Sorcerors as well - they look down on wizards and magicians because they don't serve the gods 'properly' - a lot of east-west contention too but to be fair this was before glasnost and in the second series we found that in fact 'shock horror' the eastern bloc weren't quite as vile as we'd been lead to believe.
So simplistic and the first series certainly was suitable for kids but just about meaty enough for adults but not too hard to absorb. Brain candy really but quite engaging if you didn't get too critical and were in the habit of needing something undemanding for burnt brain reading- which I regularly was.

#2 - STEPHEN DONALDSON - interesting this guy if very, very intense and I actually read it before I used to commute. I read the 1st trilogy of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and started the 2nd one but gave up - as I did with his next series of novels that started with Mirror of Her Dreams. This a crossing of worlds type book but still fantasy and it's sort of 'is it or isn't it a dream'.
It's the everyday story of a mildly successful author who contracts leprosy, gets dumped by his wife and shunned by his community and is basically in bad shape mentally with the toll of all this awfulness that he can't cope and has a series of accidents where he falls into comas and dreams he's gone to another reality where he's seen as legendary hero sent back to free them from this highly loathsome and manipulative spirit/god called Lord Foul. So it's very psychobabbly in places and the basic premise is that it's self-adminstered dream therapy as the hero becomes more and more psychotic and increasing neglectful of his anti-social and highly physically and emotionally destructive RL condition. But the dreams feel too real and the way he behaves in them is really quite a tour de force of how someone on the point of mental disintegration finds his salvation through the dream people believing in him completely. And the more he messes up the more they support him until he can't not stay distanced from them and it ends with him saving their imaginary world. Oh - and his wedding ring whilst he's off in this other world is magic, in that it will heal the world in some mystic way....
The back page blurb says that 'Donaldson wields symbols powerfully' - and he does - by the 2nd trilogy it all gets a little too powerful and I got a bit sick of the main RW characters ranting and railing about how it's so unfair and why does everyone want saving all the time. The first trilogy though I enjoyed and I think its possibly one of the best handling of the real world and a fantasy one colliding that I've read. Narnia it isn't! :P
And well researched - Donaldson's doctor father worked with sufferers of Hansen's Disease, which is of course a terrible malady, but in this day and age a manageable one, and in fact very rare and hard to contract, despite popular opinion, provided one follows a proper hygiene and observation regime - which is what Donaldson Snr. specialised in and Thomas Covenant couldn't handle at first.

Lastly a lady with a guy's name, JULIAN MAY (except it's also the name of a famous mystic lady hermit/anchorite in the Middle Ages - so it's Julie Ann I guess).
Now if you looked in my profile, you'll see her name next to Pterry's and Tolkien's, which of course means I really rate this lady, although I haven't read all of her books and to be honest, some of them aren't outstanding. But that doesn't matter, because she wrote a truly amazing series of 4 books called The Saga of the Exiles that have become SF&F Classics - simply because they are just that. They're completely masterly, intelligent and intriguing science fiction and fantasy writing that successfully and plausibly deals with time-travel from a future where human beings have joined a federation of alien races with meta-psychic powers. They can literally move mountains with their brainwaves - well some of them - plus other useful stuff like telepathy and the ability to inflict mental and physical torture on others with their minds - or healing if they're benign). Some of mankind has also developed these superpowers which is why they're invited to join the intergalactic club - but some humans cannot hack it in this brave new setup despite being allowed to go off and populate other worlds whether or not they're super-normal.

The time travel factor catch is that you can only go one way - backwards 6 millions years to a time where humans were at the ramapithecine level - slightly more clever than a bonobo chimpanzee in other worlds. What happens in that the human misfits - low-grade criminals and lost souls, start to use the time machine to go back to a simpler existence away from all those horrid aliens who have set off a whole new level of xenophobia in our lovely species. Because the Pleistocene was apparently an idyllic era - allegedly.

They get back there and - it isn't paradise. And it has Aliens too. Nasty and pathologically barbarian ones, who are 'god-like' humanoid, but are 'unfortunately' dying out due to not tolerating our radiation levels. They've been experimenting with the little human-monkeys in vitro - but with all these homo sapiens now in the mix, it turns out that the time travellers plasm is compatible to theirs. The Aliens are also meta-psychic and so the Exiles are enslaved as sex toys for lady aliens or baby factories for the blokes...
It's a remarkable concept and the fantasy part is partly the metapyschic powers and partly down to these aliens being technically archaic and into killing each other by the tenets of a battle religion. As the story unfolds you also begin to get a creeping feeling that this is 'meant to be'. Because some these folk can body fly and use swords and spears and Venetian glass armour which glows in their meta-psychic guild colours. They are permanently at war with their smaller dimorphic twin race who are gnome-like or like ogres and can do 'magic' as well - and have names like Morigel and Fian & Kuhal (twins) and Opone and if you don't recognise those adaptations, how about Thagdal mispronounced Dagdal or a myth of the One-Handed Warrior and a battle legend something very like the Fimbulvintr and Ragnarok ... yes folks, the shape of western mythology and our fairy tale folk are descended from this little lot of inter-galactic thugs! :shock:

It's terrific and although it loses pace here and there it's a truly marvellous achievement and when you finish the first four books, there's another four books that are 'prequels' from the future end of the equation that is also simply mind-boggling though less focussed on the fantasy side of things. I love Julian - she a really intelligent writer and thorough researcher and I cannot believe more people don't know her work. She also wrote the Rampart Worlds trilogy which a kind of Bond-type take sci-fi, which is also pretty marvellous and I also enjoyed, just not as much as the Exiles.

Highly recommended author.
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby Dotsie » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:47 pm

Tiffany wrote:BRILLIANT!! Dotsie. Thank you very much, now I can reaquaint myself with them. You are a star!!


Aaaww shucks! :oops: You're welcome :D
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Postby chris.ph » Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:37 pm

david eddings is getting very repetative (the elder god series) but the mallorean andbelgariad were brills.i liked sparhawk as well in the elenium series
really enjoyed the illearth seriesby stephen donaldson my mate even got a white gold wedding ring when he got married and planted a rowan tree with his wife at the reception
i loved the golden torcseries by julian may but the trillium series did nothing for me
raymond e fiest is another author i really enjoy. jimmy the hand is my favourite character in the series
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:37 pm

Chris - I didn't read the Trillium Series - they were the ones Julian wrote with Andre Norton and I think Marion Zimmer Bradley? Or they wrote the 1st one together and then they all wrote solo with the following books? It never appealed to me although I quite like some of Andre Norton's short story stuff.

If you liked the Exiles series then I'd recommend the 'prequel/sequel' series set in the Galactic Mileu if you haven't read them. Intervention especially which sets out how mankind was rescued from political and military iniolation by the alien races in I think 2013... :lol: This is followed by a trilogy which more closely follows Marc Remillard's family origins (The Adversary in the Exiles series). The various sets of novels are all inter-connected like a great circle and these four later books are 'narrated' by Marc's uncle Rogi, who's another black sheep of the meta-psychic Remillard clan who are all saints or sinners - as well as the odd angel :wink:

I like Raymond E. Feist too but again he's one of my 'one book' heroes - Fairytale - which is the fairy world complete with Titiania Puck & Oberon that moves to various sites around the world every 12 weeks and cause havoc - a bit like Discworld Elves, these are not fey little pixies who are quite charming and cute - well not for long anyway... :twisted:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby Tiffany » Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:40 pm

I enjoyed Julian Mays Exiles saga many years ago. I thought she was male though :oops: Oh! Well! :roll:
I've read a few Andre Norton books too. I started reading Sci-Fi many years ago, then had a several year gap from it, except for Anne McCaffrey. I bought her books as they were published.
I will get Alan Dean Fosters Spellsinger books again as well, now I know who he is & what the series was called. I can still remember the plot of the first book. :)
Best wishes,
Tiff
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