The New and Improved Recommendation - Fantasy / Horror

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Rob B, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    There are moments in LOTR -- the Balrog, Shelob, certainly the trek through Mordor. It's not the main pursuit of the work as a whole, but it is the main emotional drive of some key scenes.

    Many "best" fantasy lists include works of horror like Vathek, Arthur Machen's The Three Imposters and even The Haunting of Hill House. Even a few of Lord Dunsany's stories veer toward horror -- "The Bureau d'exchange du Maux" (that's how I recall the title; not sure reality coincides), for instance. I'm not sure any of those really correspond with what you are looking for, though.

    So, again, depending on what you mean by 'classical' fantasy -- which I keep mentioning only because at this forum while a definition for fantasy may not be a moving target, its proven it can duck -- I don't see why horror and fantasy can't merge. After all, besides big slavering beasts, fear may stem from more mundane sources, like apprehension of one's own on-coming madness ala Poe, or fear of societal censure or ostracism, or from loneliness, or from fear for the safety of loved ones, or .... The sources of fear may be either cultural or personal, and at least some will cut across many cultures.

    About historical horror, in case you want to look in that direction, I'd strongly suggest,
    The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore (very good in spite of the cheesy title)
    Perfume by Patrick Susskind (not just fine as a horror novel, but a very effective novel)
    Beloved by Toni Morrison (don't let the 'endorsed by Oprah' stamp deter you)

    Randy M.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  2. coka_im_fine

    coka_im_fine New Member

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    hello everyone!

    i'm pretty new to fantasy books, but i would really like to get into a series if i can... but every time i look for suggestions i get so lost drowning in reviews and genres etc etc. there's just so much fantasy out there... so i thought maybe if i put down what i am looking for someone would know a good book or series for me!

    my fantasy/science fiction book history:
    when i was a kid i loved animorphs and the diadem series
    i also read lord of the rings a little after
    of course, i grew up reading harry potter... love it :)
    i've been making my way through the ender series since high school, and i really love it!
    i recently read the science fiction books Dune, Hyperion, and some H. P. Lovecraft. i enjoyed hyperion the most.

    the main problem i'm having, i think, is that i don't think i'd enjoy the typical "sword and sorcery"(?) series. with knights and kings and dragons and wizards and elves etc. you guys know what i mean, right? anyway, i think i'd enjoy something where people have special powers, or visit other realms or something. maybe on the sci-fi/fantasy line. maybe taking place in more modern times. it's not necessary that it be a series, but i would prefer it.

    now that i'm trying to write it out it seems really vague... but. well, i would just like a good, original story in a very original world, not the typical fantasy world. if anyone has any suggestions, i'd be very grateful!!

    thank you :)
    emily
     
  3. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    It's not traditional fantasy, but I'd say check out the Dark Tower. It's a bit weird but it's very different to King's horror work. I'd say read The Gunslinger to see if you like it, but it's not a good idea of the series due to how it's written. The Gunslinger is made up of various short stories King wrote that linked together, and he edited them to form the first book. I'd have to say read at least upto the end of book two (the first full novel) and decide if you like it.
    I'm currently on book 7 and it's one of the best series I've ever read. There seems to be a bit of a "I don't really like King's horror but I love the Dark Tower" thing going on with it, and I'd really recommend it.
    Again, to sample King's fantasy skills try "The Eyes of the Dragon". Links in to the Dark Tower quite heavily in a subtle way (along with The Stand), but it's an incredibly well written story. It's not really an action driven novel, but it reads amazingly.

    Don't know what else to recommend. I've not read Sanderson's "Mistborn" but that's meant to be good.
     
  4. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    You might enjoy the variety in types of characters that are present in Steven Erikson and Ian Esslemont's Malazan series. That is not to say that their characterization is the best in the genre, but the variety of types of characters, and how they have all come to share the same world (kinda), might be the sort of thing you are looking for.

    Pete
     
  5. Seak

    Seak and I like to party.

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    Hi Emily and welcome to the forums! Sometimes it's hard to explain what you like, but giving us examples of books you've read and liked is the way to go, so good job.

    I have a few you may enjoy:
    The Chronicles of Amber by Zelazney - This takes place in our world and then goes to the land of Amber and back. I really enjoyed this series and each book is only around 100 pages (but there are 10).

    The Lies of Locke Lamora by Lynch (1st of projected 7 with only 2 out right now)- Takes place in a medieval sort of time and the back of the book describes it as Ocean's 11 and Robin Hood. I loved it, but it does have an abnormal amount of cussing, so it's not for everyone.

    A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin (1st of projected 7 with 4 out now) - I apologize if this has been recommended to you before but it's so good it might ruin your reading of almost any other fantasy. This has knights and kings,etc. but very little magic so it might be what you're looking for. No elves or orcs,etc. A warning, it's been 5 years since the fourth one came out and there's been lots of waiting in between subsequent books.
     
  6. coka_im_fine

    coka_im_fine New Member

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    thank you so much for all your suggestions!! i will definitely start looking them up :)

    i guess i also really like the "coming-of-age" theme, like in Ender's Game/Ender's Shadow, Diadem, Harry Potter. I donno if there is a more adult/mature version of something like that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  7. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    Mmmm, maybe Hobb's Farseer trilogy or Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy.
     
  8. Sapph

    Sapph Newbie

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    I'm struggling to put what I want into words, but I'll try and do so below.

    I'm looking for a real page turner that keeps you hooked and interested the whole way through. I don't want the plot to be over complicated or dark, but that's not a necessity, just what I;m wanting to read right now (been reading a lot of heavy, dark, broody books lately. I also would like to rule out any incomplete series, I'm really looking for soemthing I can breeze through without waiting for the next installment (so not GRRM ;) )

    I guess you could say I'm looking for books in a similar vein to Brent Weeks' Night Angel Trilogy, most David Gemmell books, Michael J Sullivan's books, Garth Nix Abhorsen series (I know this is YA!).

    But I'd like to avoid really overdone and cheesy plots like Eragon, Shannara etc.

    Books I've read and enjoyed

    The First Law (I know this is dark, but it's EXACTLY the sort of book I'm looking for in every other way)
    Night Angel Trilogy
    Sorrow's Light (standalone by Freda Warrington)
    Lies of Locke Lamora
    Neverwhere
    Abhorsen series
    Riyria Revelations (Sullivan)
    Shadows of the Apt
    Harry Potter ( know the plot is cheesy, but I liked it :p )
    Tigana

    That enough info for you? :p

    Bold text = Best matches I can think of
     
  9. Liane Merciel

    Liane Merciel Registered User

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    Anything is possible in fantasy. That's why it's fantasy. Creating horror isn't much different from creating any other emotion... which doesn't mean it's easy, just that there's no intrinsic reason it can't be done in fantasy.

    Here's one way to approach it:

    (1) Start with realistic, convincing characters in a realistic, convincing setting. The closer to reality this is, the easier it is to pull off, but it can be weird as long as it's consistent. The point is to establish what the rules of the world are, so that it's disturbing when something comes along that breaks them.

    (2) Demonstrate that there are real threats to the characters: they can die, and if they die, they don't come back... or better yet, they come back wrong. Lady Stoneheart in ASOIAF is a great example. A lot of ASOIAF, actually, has touches of horror. It isn't a sustained mood because that isn't the point of the story, but when GRRM wants to use horror for effect, he does so very well.

    The point here is to show that the characters do not have a magical Get Out of Jail Free card for every occasion. Low-magic settings work best, I think, but if the characters do have magic it should be clear that they can't wave a wand and turn Cthulhu into a nice pink bunny.

    (3) Create a truly monstrous threat. It should be mysterious, seemingly unstoppable, and impossible to reason with. It can be either a Terror Inside -- like a werewolf, where the horror comes from the character being transformed into a monster -- or a Terror Outside, where the horror comes from some alien will being imposed on the character.

    In either case it should be at least partly unexplained: once a thing is fully understandable, it's not as scary, and you start shifting moods from horror to action-adventure. I think that one of the big reasons vampires and werewolves aren't as effective in horror anymore is because we all know their "rules." Grab some holy water or silver bullets and you're set.

    (4) Show what happens when the threat hits the characters. It should be ugly.

    (5) Show how the characters react. This should be, at least initially, with despair and terror. If they react with swords and wisecracks, then you're back to action-adventure rather than horror.

    (6) Resolve.

    I think you're right that it is easier to generate horror in a contemporary Earth setting, but I don't see any reason why it couldn't be done in a classic sword and sorcery setting.
     
  10. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    Sapph,

    It's not a series, but you might be interested in Michael A. Stackpole's Talion: Revenant.
     
  11. Sapph

    Sapph Newbie

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    That sounds good Peter :) Thanks for the suggestion! I'm not particularly looking for a series, standalone or a series doesn't matter to me as long as it's a good read, so thanks :D
     
  12. Twinner

    Twinner Registered User

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    I would suggest Best Served Cold by Abercrombie (author of First Law series).
    I was looking for something gritty and page-turning and folks here recommended it to me. I just finished it and thought it was amazing!
    The good part of GRRM being such a slow writer is that I have found lots of good reads while I wait. Just started Lies of Locke Lamora.
    Roy
     
  13. superreader

    superreader New Member

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    some very good suggestions here... time to pick up a new book :)


    [​IMG]
     
  14. Shayna

    Shayna Greyscale

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    I was reading some of the fine suggestions everyone has made. may I? How about Dragon Wing! It is the beginning of the Death Gate cycle books(7 in all) My daughter had read them and suggested them for me. I really did enjoy them all!

    One other suggestion might be Tad Williams' memory, Sorrow and Thorn. it is a coming of age story about Simon. I truly enjoyed this trilogy as many others here have also! Have fun!:)
     
  15. Seak

    Seak and I like to party.

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    I would say The Warded Man. It's kind of a coming of age theme, but done a bit differently and more adult but not too adult :). Loved the book.
     
  16. beopposed

    beopposed Registered User

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    Hello! I'm new to the forums, and I've gotten quite a few recommendations from this thread, but I'd like to have some more personalized recommendations :).

    I'm currently reading Glen Cook's The Black Company, and I'm really enjoying it so far. I'm also reading The Blade Itself, and I just finished Stone of Tears, book 2 in the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.

    Goodkind's novels are a bit too cliche for me, however, and I find myself gravitating to the darker side of fantasy, like The Black Jewels Trilogy and The Black Company. Goodkind's characters are just too good to be believable, and although his stories wrap up nicely I just find myself facepalming throughout the story at the ridiculous dialogue.

    In short, I'm looking for a fantasy novel that isn't contrived at all. Something that obviously took a lot of thought and makes you just say "WOW" at the end.

    What would be the best for me? Guy Gavriel Kay, Zelazny, or Erikson? Or what? Thanks in advance!
     
  17. DurzoBlint

    DurzoBlint http://tinyurl.com/363ogv

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    The obvious choice every one will tell you is George RR Martin's ASOIAF (A Song of Ice and Fire) it starts with Game of Thrones.

    But there are a few others that are very good as well:

    James Barclay's The Raven series starts with DawnThief
    Michael J Sullivan's The Riyria Revelations series starts with The Crown Conspiracy
    Brian Ruckley's Godless World series starts with Winterbirth
    Richard Morgan- The Steel Remains
    Standalone- James Grossbart's The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart
     
  18. beopposed

    beopposed Registered User

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    Thank you for the recommendations :)

    I've read A Song of Ice and Fire, and I love it, so I guess you hit the nail on the head, hehe.
     
  19. Nausikaa

    Nausikaa Burner of Ships

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    Hi!
    Well, I haven't posted much before, but I've just hit a blank stretch where I don't know what I should read, and so I come asking for recommendations!

    I really, really love high/epic fantasy, but what I'm looking for right now isn't one of those long serieses. I recently read The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies, and Weeks' Night Angel Trilogy, and I'm really looking for fantasy like that. Can you reccommend any books with thieves or assassins, or dry humor? I've read so much of the dramatic, chosen-one, the-world-is-going-to-end novels that, while I still love them, I'm really itching to read something different for me.

    I don't like urban fantasy for the most part, and while I do like many of the novels in this "dark, gritty" theme that seems to be pretty common now, I don't want to read a book all about depression and hopelessness and loss. I want something amusing and fascinating, and before the novels I mentioned I had never really read anything about thieves and assassins in fantasy and I find I want to read more.

    Any other novels you could recommed would be great, too.

    Some other novels I have read, and my oppinions to help:

    The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series: I really liked this, it seems to get better as it goes on, while it is really confusing at times (just finnished House of Chains)

    ASOIAF: Loved this also, though there was a lot of, well, unhappy and hopeless times.

    Shannara: Ok, I read this in middle school, but I loved it then! It was my first intoduction to fantasy.

    Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb: I know this is a well-loved book on this site, but I just...really didn't like it. There was practically nothing good (by this I mean for the charecters) or happy in this novel, or series (I read through the second then gave up), too much beating down of the main charecter. It was too depressing, I kept reading only in the hope that something good would happen, but it never did.

    Other books would be...I loved Anne Bishop's Black Jewels Trilogy, Jaqueline Caery's Kushiel trilogy, the Pellinor series by Alison Croggon, Dragonlance (again, from middle school), the Dark Elf Trilogy by Salvatore, Empire in Black and Gold (forgot the author right now, but I'm on the second in the series), Tigana (was pretty good) by Kay, and that's just about everything I can think of right now.

    I also really love beautiful, or poetic writing, such as that in the Pellinor series, and LOTR.

    Since I'm probably a bit unclear in the post, I'll list really fast here what I'm looking for (I don't mean all in the same book, of course).

    1. Assassins or thieves
    2. Amusing novels, specifically dry or sarcastic humor
    3. Beautiful writing

    So, any suggestions?:)

    (sorry if this is really long.)
     
  20. vangel

    vangel Registered User

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    Has anyone read "Seventh Son" by Orson Scott Card? The book was nominated for the World Fantasy Award and Hugo Award back in 1988. Is this book worthwhile?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2010