Have you ever tried reciting the plot of Eragon to anyone? You'd be amazed at how spot on the plot is with Star Wars ....
If you liked Eragon as a good beach read I'd recommend along similar lines the Septimus Heap series, starting with Magyk by Angie Sage
Ive heard about the similarities to Star Wars but never picked up on it myself, not a massive star wars fan so thats maybe why.
Ill take a look at magyk, thanks for the suggestion.
Have just finished Under the Dome by Stephen King. Thought it was ok but find the themes he uses a bit repetative these days. One of the reasons I want to find something a bit different.
Ok, I think I'm looking for the impossible. Wondering if anyone can recommend a good Horror/Fantasy mix. I'm looking for NON-urban fantasy, no vampires, and no modern technology. I've read my fill of UF/Horror hybrids, and I'm looking for something different. I want spine-tingling horror mixed with a classical fantasy background. I don't even know if it's even possible to successfully write what I'm looking for without the world at least "resembling" our own. Any suggestions?
EDIT: Oh, and I've read Tim Lebbon and his books centered around the world of Noreela (which were excellent). That's the closest I've come to what I'm describing
I think a "classical" fantasy horror novel would be brilliant but find it a bit hard to get my head round how it would work. For me a big part of horror is the realism of it, or at least having the fantastic happen in a real world scenario, so having a fantasy setting wouldn't really sit right with that.
Then again it can work with cross genre horror/sci-fi, at least with films it can, so maybe it's a cross genre that should be explored more?
Discoredia moves between the real world and a fantasy world/other reality so that hints towards what you may be looking for but in the main its set in the real world.
I'd be interested if anyone has any suggestions though and going to google Tim Lebbon.
I can think of some older works that might come close to what you want:
Originally Posted by SeaBeast
Vathek by William Beckford. Written under the influence of the Arabian Nights, I think. Probably slow going for contemporary readers, but the ending is powerful.
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by H. P. Lovecraft. Again, may be slow going for contemporary readers, and I seem to recall some moments when Lovecraft loses a bit of his control over the writing, but has some powerful moments, too.
Zothique by Clark Ashton Smith. The stories comprising this collection are supposed to have influenced Vance's the Dying Earth works. All are set in the titular country as the sun dies and magic has re-entered the world. I enjoyed the Vance technicolor well enough, but the Smith seems to me a darker, richer hued creation. Might have trouble finding this collection, though many, if not all, of the stories have been included in other collections of Smith's work.
The Throne of Bones by Brian MacNaughton. This is the most recent of the books listed; it was published in the '90s and won a World Fantasy Award, as I recall. Another collection of stories based in a certain time and place. The series of stories that make up the title story are especially good, but the collection as a whole works well. Again, a work based on Smith and, again, not as powerful, but good fun.
One I'm not quite sure fits:
Nifft the Lean by Michael Shea. The premise for these that I've read sound like they might come close to what you're looking for.
Have you considered historical fantasy/horror? Would that be enough of a step away from what you're looking for?
Thanks Randy M. I'll definitely look into those. Yeah, I think Historical Fantasy/Horror might be as close as you can get to what I'm describing. I really think it would be extraordinarily difficult to write a "true" classical fantasy/horror. (But if any writers are reading this and you wanna give it a shot, and you can do it successfully you are the MAN... woman... whatever)The world it would have to take place in would have to be familiar to the reader, and would have to have some well documented history. This way you could focus more on the actual horror aspects w/out having to spend so much time familiarizing the reader with the world. I could see it being done successfully in Tolkien's "Middle Earth" MAYBE. But only because we know so much already about that world through the many companion and history pieces that have been published. Maybe an Elvish horror/ghost story?
Originally Posted by Randy M.
For some reason I'm thinking Neil Gaiman is the only guy who could actually pull this off
If by 'classical' fantasy you mean Tolkein-like, about the closest you'll get is Sword & Sorcery. The Conan stories by Robert E. Howard, the Jiril of Joiry stories by C. L. Moore, the Kane stories by Karl E. Wagner, the Clark Ashton Smith, Michael Shea and the Brian MacNaughton stories I mention above all sit in or near S&S and many have elements of horror. Largely you're talking about stories from or influenced by Weird Tales magazine. You might also look into Tanith Lee's work, though I'm not familiar enough with it to offer suggestions.
Originally Posted by SeaBeast
Tolkien-esque is definitely not what I was looking for, I was just giving an example of one of the only types of classical fantasy that I think would work as a horror/fantasy hybrid because of the dearth of background material written about it. But you raise some valid points
Originally Posted by Randy M.
Now that I really think about it, most fantasy has elements of horror blended in so seamlessly you don't really even notice it (grotesque monsters, ghosts/shades/spirts, brutal murders, etc). I guess it was hiding in plain sight all this time...
But if the "horror" is blended in so seamlessly that you don't notice it doesn't that mean that it isn't really having the impact that horror should have?
Shouldn't the horror elements make you want to turn away in a sort of "I don't want to read that but can't help it because I need to know what's going to happen" kind of way?
Admittedly it doesn't fall into the classical fantasy bracket but have you tried Stephen Kings Dark Tower series? As far as cross genre works goes it seems to hit just about everything: there's horror, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, and even western elements all blended together.
Also depends what you personally find most disturbing horror wise. The fantasy I've read has plenty of ghosts, monsters and violence but other elements of "horror", obsessive behaviour, domestic/physical/emotional/sexual abuse etc, don't seem crop up like they do in horror novels. That's more the kind of thing I find unsettling and horrific.
I realize I sound like I'm kind of backtracking on my above statement, but I absolutely agree with you. I'm just not sure that it can be done successfully in a true fantasy setting. I'd love for some author to prove me wrong. I think in order for something to truly "creep you out" in a way that successful horror books do, I think it would have to play on your real life fears, cultural taboos, etc. For that to happen, I think the fantasy world would have to at least resemble our own world in some sense, in order to strike those chords of fear in the reader.
Originally Posted by Mr_E
Would love to get an authors perspective on this, and whether or not they think it's possible to successfully marry classical fantasy and horror. Maybe I'll go over to Tim Lebbon's author page and pose the question. He's the only writer I've read who has come close to accomplishing this (which makes sense, considering his background in horror). Thanks Mr E for the input
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.
Originally Posted by SeaBeast
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)
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 :)
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.
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.
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.
Originally Posted by coka_im_fine
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.