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    Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

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    vagabond

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    Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  vagabond on December 25th 2014, 9:38 pm

    Hey everybody. Merry Christmas Smile

    So, I mostly haven't read fantasy novels for a long time. This has been mostly because I'm a bit of a completest, and everything seems to be a series. I'm not the fastest reader, so this gives me a bit of a fear of commitment. But I love fantasy, so I've recently been trying to rectify the situation. Maybe my research skills are a little poor, or maybe the books I used to read as a teenager simply affected me better because I was well, a kid. I've read a few good books during my search, but none of them quite scratch the itch perfectly. It might not even be possible but I figure it's worth it to me to ask around. What I'm looking for requires a bit more words than a google search, so I thought I would see if anyone has any recommendations.

    Here's what I'm hoping to find in a novel, in order from most important to less important.

    Needs to be strictly fantasy, with no scifi elements, no modern technology, no guns. Cannons might be okay. Maybe if it's very minor, say some lost civilization that was more advanced that isn't really a major part of the story, that would okay.

    The lands must be wild, dangerous, and preferably either unmapped or so untraveled people have mostly forgotten what's out there. Some sort of quest or travel should happen thru these lands.

    There should be a variety of creatures. The more the better I'm thinking. The majority of the dangers faced shouldn't come from humans. I've been playing skyrim (which so far is awesome) but one of my only gripes is that everywhere, you run into bandits in the ruins and caves and what not. There are so many bandits that if they all teamed up they could easy conquer everyone else. In my opinon the darker remote corners you find are great places for orcish-goblin sub-human type things. Or perhaps a lair for some large hibernating beast. Always using humans, be they bandits or a cult, gets a little dull.

    I'd prefer it to not have much in the way of sexual content. If its mostly in the background/ not explicit and can be easily ignored then I can live with it. It would be better if there were none, but I realize that may not be a very realistic expectation when it comes to secular novels today.

    I would prefer it to either have a monotheistic religion, or that it not touch on religion much or at all. Again I realize that most secular fantasy authors probably find a polytheistic system more interesting and perhaps more likely in more primitive societies, so if it's in the background and main characters don't really focus on it much I can live with it. I'd pefer not to read something that has a monotheistic religion as a great evil in the world. Not because it offends me that much but because that's so common in geek entertainment that it's pretty tiresome.

    It can be a part of series, but if so, some important thread or threads should get resolved at the end of the first book. It shouldn't be a complete and total cliffhanger.

    It shouldn't be too fairytalish. What I mean by that is, nothing like a school bully getting turned into a pig for not listening to his school master. Probably not something that's common anyway.

    Wow, sorry that was way more words than it seemed like in my head! Look forward to any suggestions you all have Smile

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  mindspike on December 26th 2014, 12:03 pm

    Off the top of my head:

    Magic Kingdom for Sale: Sold! by Terry Brooks
    The first book completely stands on its own, and it's a fantastic fantasy tale about a man who takes on the kingship of a magical world and discovers he's got far more than he bargained for.

    Rose of the Prophet by Weis & Hickman
    This might be stretching your requirements a bit. The collected trilogy is on DriveThru Fiction for $3.50 at the moment. This is very Arabian Nights, they call it a trilogy but it's really just one story. Excellent reading.

    Prisoner of the Horned Helmet by James Silke
    If you can find it. This is heavily inspired by Conan and the Frank Frazetta paintings. Excellent fantasy, but very violent.


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    vagabond

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  vagabond on December 27th 2014, 12:58 am

    Thanks Mindspike, I will give these a look :)

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  mikel.withers on December 27th 2014, 1:30 am

    Magic Kingdom is really good, a fun read with some unexpected depth.

    One thing that came to my mind was the old Conan books by Robert E. Howard.
    No, seriously.
    They are a good read, and if you consider that most of the barbarian tropes come from Conan, then it makes finding them there a little more acceptable.
    It is a low-ish fantasy setting, but there is still magic of a sort, and inhuman critters show up, even if most bad guys are human.

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  vagabond on December 28th 2014, 1:08 am

    From what little I know of Conan, it probably does have the desired creatures and wild lands, but I had the impression that it was a rather sexual as well. It could be that I just assumed that because of stuff in the movies though.

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  mikel.withers on December 28th 2014, 10:15 am

    Mostly movies, and the comic books are ...suggestive. The novels were written in the '30s, if I recall correctly, and saying that a dancing girl was wearing something that left little to the imagination was racy. One of the points of the stories is Conan winning the girl...Either Howard or Conan didn't know what to do after he did win her. (leave because of his single-minded, if easily distracted, pursuit of a kingdom he could make on his own)

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  mindspike on December 28th 2014, 1:20 pm

    The Howard Conan stories aren't very sexualized at all, nor are they very violent by modern standards. Howard's fiction has been collected in a series of trade paperbacks that do a very nice job of presenting them. It's good fiction, but very much a product of the 30s in style.

    There are of course the familiar fantasy stories, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia. I recommend Mary Stewart's Arthurian books, but these are all series. Anything by Weis and Hickman is good stuff, and not sexualized. But again, they tend to write series. Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever is good, but.... series.

    I'd suggest Robert Asprin's Myth books, but they aren't "serious" fiction.

    A lot of the early Magic the Gathering books were standalone. There's about a dozen of them, but they're hard to find.

    I'll keep considering this.....


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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  vagabond on December 29th 2014, 3:08 am

    Ah, I had no idea that the Conan stories were that old. It seems I had the wrong impression of them. Thanks guys, you may have just solved my conundrum then. I may read some classic Conan next. Feel free to continue to suggest any other good ones that come to mind though! And Mindspike, I'm still interested in hearing about series if they meet the other requirements well. I will give those you've mentioned a look too.

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  mikel.withers on December 29th 2014, 1:31 pm

    Robert Aspirin is a funny, light-weight, good read, and definitely check out Terry Brook's Landover (Magic Kingdom for sale: Sold!) series. In fact, I think I will reread them... His early work, the Shannara series starts off really poorly, but grows as he gets experienced (just read that MTV got the rights to do a tv series on Shannara...cool, maybe) ...so don't let weak reviews of those books spoil you on his work. Although it is set in modern times, his Word and Void series is one of my favorite series of books.
    All that to say, Terry Brooks is under-rated.

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  ComiKate on December 29th 2014, 5:57 pm

    You could give Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time seris a time. Okay, not many creatures, but nevertheless very very much fantasy. I loved that series!
    Not very sexual either btw.

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  vagabond on December 30th 2014, 1:14 am

    I have read the first three books of The Wheel of Time, and they do have a lot going for them. I really liked the first one, but the last two haven't quite scratched my fantasy itch the way I was hoping. Even though there's a lot of travel, Jordan seems to prefer to have most events take place in cities or the white tower, and the lands feel peopled and kind of tame to me except at the very edges. It just doesn't have quite the questy feel I'm looking for. There's a good chance I'll pick this series up again at some point and finish it, but for now I want to see if I can find something that hits my own personal nerd itch a little more directly. I've heard there's a big journey into the Aiel wastes later though, that could be pretty promising. My favorite part of the first book was the journey into the Blight region.

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  ComiKate on December 31st 2014, 6:30 pm

    I read about 9 or 10 parts of the Wheel of Time, then I quit because I had to wait so long between novels and the plots became so intricate that I actually had to reread the previous novels, and that became too tedious.
    But up until that point it was quite good, and the Aiel were always cool.

    I guess if you'd start the entire series right now it would be different for you wouldn't have to wait for the next novel, so I'd say go for it again cheers

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  vagabond on January 4th 2015, 4:20 am

    I've started on Conan and since it seems to be all short stories, I think I've got room for a full novel simultaneously, so I think I will indeed continue with The Wheel of Time. If I wait much longer to continue the series I would indeed have to start over, and I don't really want to do that. I'm going to give the audio book versions a try and see if that will help me get thru it in a more reasonable amount of time.

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  mikel.withers on January 5th 2015, 8:58 am

    I definitely wouldn't go all completionist on Conan... it gets a little formulaic, but as a story-on-the-side I think it will be pretty good.

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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  Paeter on January 5th 2015, 3:49 pm

    The original Weis Hickman Dragonlance trilogy is great but HEAVILY involves polytheism. Otherwise I think it fits your needs great!

    I'd actually recommend Terry Brooks Sword Of Shannara, first book in the series. It stands well on its own. Contrasted with Mike's experience, I still find it to be a great read! It is VERY similar in basic plot to LOTR, but with all the dust and squeaky hinges of Tolkien/Lewis-era prose left behind. It is also less about the details (as say Tolkien or Robert Jordan) and more about the characters and taking you inside some of their thoughts and fears throughout the quest.


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    Re: Wanted: a very specific kind of fantasy novel to read

    Post  vagabond on January 5th 2015, 11:23 pm

    mikel.withers wrote:I definitely wouldn't go all completionist on Conan... it gets a little formulaic, but as a story-on-the-side I think it will be pretty good.

    Right now I plan to read nothing beyond the orginal Howard stories. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to read the stories of his that were finished by other people or not.

    Paeter wrote:The original Weis Hickman Dragonlance trilogy is great but HEAVILY involves polytheism. Otherwise I think it fits your needs great!

    I'd actually recommend Terry Brooks Sword Of Shannara, first book in the series. It stands well on its own. Contrasted with Mike's experience, I still find it to be a great read! It is VERY similar in basic plot to LOTR, but with all the dust and squeaky hinges of Tolkien/Lewis-era prose left behind. It is also less about the details (as say Tolkien or Robert Jordan) and more about the characters and taking you inside some of their thoughts and fears throughout the quest.

    Hmmm, that's two votes for Weis and Hickman, and you are also not the first to recommend Sword of Shannara to me. Gonna have to give these a hard look, maybe right after I get a few Conan stories finished.

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone!!!  cheers Wasn't sure how much response my rather specific query would get, lol

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