Recommendations on a light fantasy read?

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Kaeru, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. Kaeru

    Kaeru Frog Lady

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    I'll spare everyone the specific whys, but although I'm generally more of a serious reader, I'm looking for a light, easy fantasy that is still well-written. I just finished Wise Man's Fear and enjoyed it, but am looking now for more of a literary "snack" while things are currently ick and my brain's already too full. .... Sorry, didn't spare the details as much as I intended. :eek:
     
  2. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    I use things like the Vlad Taltos series or the Dresden Files for this...on the SF side, the Miles Vorkosigan books work, too. They're usually easy reads that don't take days and days but they're very entertaining without being too thick.
     
  3. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    I also keep a few short story collections around so I can sprinkle them in as needed. To help keep the shorts supply up, I maintain a subscription to both The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet.
     
  4. Kaeru

    Kaeru Frog Lady

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    I read Lord of the Rings in a week, so length doesn't scare me. :p I definitely need something I can sort of disconnect my brain a little and unwind. I've not read much SF, and haven't been sure where to start. Thanks for the suggestions! :D
     
  5. Bastard

    Bastard Jack Bauer

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    Maybe you can give The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron a shot.
     
  6. Hyperstorm

    Hyperstorm resident of Hyperborea

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    I'll second that as well, I have read all three books and its light fare but with good writing and quirky characters!
     
  7. Kaeru

    Kaeru Frog Lady

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    Quirky characters, always a nice bonus and good writing's always appreciated. Thanks for the suggestions. I'm already getting excited about going down the list and reading everything
     
  8. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    If you don't mind short stories, most any collection of Anthony Boucher short stories, or Fred Brown, or Henry Kuttner/C.L. Moore would give good entertainment. The Gavagan's Bar stories by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt are also good fun.

    William Kotzwinkle's Fata Morgana -- extremely well-written, but the literary equivalent of meringue. An 18th (? -- been awhile since I read it) century detective trying to nab con-men.

    Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel -- if you read LOTR in a week, this won't take you an afternoon. Silly, funny in spots, light-hearted and written with a light-touch in modern American vernacular. Has the subtitle, "A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror" and that about sums it up. His first novel, Practical Demonkeeping is also fun, though it has some of the flaws of most first novels.

    Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree -- a YA book, but great fun. Maybe goes on a bit too long.

    J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels -- light, frothy, sometimes more than a little obvious, they grow darker as the series continues. Others have noted how derivative they are, but for me Rowling's light touch keeps them working, though after about book 4 there are problematic moments.

    If you're up for something a bit snarkier, a bit satirical, one of the great American fantasy novels, The Circus of Dr. Lao by Charles Finney might be just what you need. It would also be about an afternoon read for you.


    Randy M.
     
  9. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    If you want something quick, easy and even humourous, then I'm going to tenatively suggest The Bard's Tale: Castle of Deception by Mercedes Lackey and... Uh... Josepha Sherman, I think. It is loosely based on the game series of the same name (But completely readable without any background on the series, and I doubt you'll miss anything if you've not played them. I certainly didn't feel any loss).

    They're out of print, though, but you might be able to get a second hand copy for pretty much nothing.
     
  10. London

    London Registered User

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    Stardust by Neil Gaiman
    A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
    Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny
     
  11. chris777

    chris777 Registered User

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    Many Gaiman books would qualify. I like Good Omens personally. And Wizard of Earthsea is a technically book 1 of a 6 book series.. Don't think that quite qualifies.
     
  12. Kaeru

    Kaeru Frog Lady

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    I don't mind if the recommendations include series. Among the goings on are some health things, nothing too worrisome mostly, just that I'll have a great deal of down time for a while. I appreciate all the suggestions. :)
     
  13. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    The mention of these writers reminded me,

    The Wind's Twelve Quarters by Ursula K. Le Guin; story collection. There are some thoughtful stories, like "Those Who Walk Away from Omelas," but most of these come from early in her career as she was honing her craft and finding her themes. They are at once adroitly written and very entertaining.

    Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, a story collection, and a really good one, too. There are some brain teasers here, stories that will get you thinking, but Gaiman is an entertainer and these stories range in effect from amusing and funny to a pleasing terror (to use a phrase from M. R. James that seems to apply).

    A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny; novel. This is one of those old Universal Studios monster-mash-ups in print. It's not spoiling anything to mention that Lawrence Talbot, Dracula and Frankenstein's monster all make appearances. Oh, and the narrator is a dog. I have one reservation about the novel, but it constitutes a spoiler, so ...

    I am uncomfortable when a writer makes Jack the Ripper something of a hero. The viciousness of his crimes were such that I find it ethically, if not morally, questionable.


    Randy M.
     
  14. metalprof

    metalprof I should be working

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    When I read the original post, this was my immediate reaction, so I second the motion. They're by Steven Brust, the first is Jhereg:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jhereg_(novel)

    Ken
     
  15. Pvt

    Pvt Registered User

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    The Sword Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe.
     
  16. Eliot Wild

    Eliot Wild Registered User

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    Okay, I got one ...

    Her Majesty's Wizard by Chrisopher Stasheff. This book is light, fluffy, uncomplicated and a bit playful. Some might call it 'silly' or 'sophomoric'. Personally, I thought it was 'unpretentious' and 'charming', but hey, that's just me.

    I read this book when I was very young and I liked it. I have re-read it a couple of times since then, always laughing at the silly parts and wondering why I kept it on my shelf. But it has always entertained me.

    It is a dippy, ludicrous tale about an English Grad Student specializing in Shakespearian studies who finds what appears to be an ancient manuscript of some kind. Turn outs, this acient text actually is a spell from another world--a world in which magic is invoked by the uttering of poetical verse.

    So, our hero gets transported to a fantasy world based on European history and geography--an extra-dimensional world that "might have been", if ours would have turned out differently, or something like that.

    But since our protagonist has studied poetry as an undergraduate student, and of course has graduate-level knowledge of Shakespearian verse, he quickly becomes quite powerful and important to the conflicting powers in this fantasy world.

    It is light, accessible, crazy fun and, like I said, a bit silly, but it does have some relatively deep moral themes and the writer is no idiot. Mr. Stasheff knows his Catholicism, which is the poli-social-religious basis of the moral conflicts that arise to confound our protagonist. It is also ripe with romatic tension, albeit in a sort of otherworldly, high-schoolish sort of way.

    Look, not everything can be written by Martin and Erikson. I bet even the most cynical, hardcore dark fantasy fans would appreciate the pure storytelling quality of this light fiction, if they are willing to approach it with an open mind.
     
  17. owlcroft

    owlcroft Webmaster, Great SF&F

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    There's a whole page of suggestions here. (Disclosure: that's on my site.)
     
  18. Sam Allardyce

    Sam Allardyce Registered User

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    Eliot, you sold me on Her Majesty's Wizard. Sounds like a good read.

    I just finished Magician by Raymond Feist. It was a very light and fun read.
     
  19. chris777

    chris777 Registered User

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    blocked by my "websense" at work =/
     
  20. owlcroft

    owlcroft Webmaster, Great SF&F

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    On the other hand, it is a workplace....

    The link is greatsfandf.com/humorous-books.php. I don't know much about Websense, but I gather that not everyone is happy with them.