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  1. #1

    Favorite authors (again)

    This topic seems to come up a lot...maybe if we can extend it and tell us why you like the author. My favorite author is Jack Vance. I like him because the quality of his writing is exceptional, the plot complex. He also adds a touch of humor to his works. The dialogue is witty and intelligent. Here is a typical example from his novel "Lyonesse: Madouc" (1990 World Fantasy Award Winner):

    Casmir slowly drew back. He looked down at Madouc. "Why did you throw fruit at Lady Desdea?"
    Madouc said artlessly: "It was because Lady Desdea came past first, before either Dame Boudetta or Lady Marmone."
    "That is not relevant to the issue!" snapped King Casmir. "At this moment Lady Desdea believes that I pelted her with bad fruit."
    Madouc nodded soberly. "It may be all for the best. She will take the reprimand more seriously than if it came mysteriously, as if from nowhere."

    The quality of Vance's prose is simply delectable as demonstrated by his description of princess Madouc:

    Madouc was now nine years old, restless and active, long of leg, with a boy's thin body and a girl's clever pretty face. Sometimes she confined her mop of copper-auburn curls with a black ribbon; as often she allowed it to tumble helter-skelter across her forehead and over her ears. Her eyes were a melting sky-blue; her mouth was wide, and jerked, twisted or drooped to the flux of her feelings. Madouc was considered unruly and willful; the words 'fantastical','perverse','incorrigible', were sometimes used to describe her temperament.

    A lot of Vance's stories are very humorous and full of irony. An example is from the novel "Rhialto the Marvelous" in which Vance explains why Rhialto was unpopular among the Conclave of Magicians: Two fellow magicians came to pick up Rhialto for a ball. They spent days preparing for the event and came well-dressed and well-groomed hoping they could woo the Lady Alyssa. They were shocked to discover that Rhialto was not dressed and had completely forgotten the whole event! So, hastily grabbing his cloak and donning his cap, Rhialto and his two colleagues made haste for the ball. On the way, Rhialto was criticized by his two colleagues for forgetting such an important event and told him that no lady would give him a second look.

    There were many comely maidens at the ball, but it was decided the most charming was the Lady Alyssa. The two magicians wagered between themselves who could woo the Lady Alyssa, while Rhialto sat in a corner minding his own business. After several humorous attempts at trying to woo the Lady Alyssa and failing miserably, the two magicians came to Rhialto and told him "The Lady was cold as ice and was impossible to court" (sorry for my loose translation at the dialogue), and they left to brood in a corner.

    Presently, the two magicians saw the Lady Alyssa approach Rhialto. They saw them talking and giggling and sombrely noted the quality of attention Rhialto was receiving from the Lady Alyssa. After a while, the Lady Alyssa and Rhialto got up and headed to the Lady's chambers. On the way, Rhialto noted the stares of his two colleagues. The Lady Alyssa giggled, "Do you know those two? They look so funny with their odd outfits and over-fancy mustaches." Rhialto replied, "Not personally, I've been acquainted with them on a few minor occasions." And so through a series of illogical reasoning (as Vance puts it), the two magicians blamed their misfortunes on Rhialto. The story is full of irony--typical Vance.

    [This message has been edited by Nytric (edited March 25, 2000).]

  2. #2
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    Yeah, I know it's taken me a long time to see this one. Oh well.
    I don't know if I exactly have a "favorite" author, but here are some I really like and my reasons for liking them. In no particular order:

    1. Tolkien-made epic fantasy a genre to be taken seriously. Also, LotR is still one of the best fantasies you can find.

    2. Jordan-I love his characters. They are multidimensional and have realistic feelings, motives, etc. It is easy to sympathize with them and feel like you know them.

    3. Martin-Okay, so I haven't even finished the one book of his I've read, but I can already tell he's going to be great. He has multiple plots and subplots that are brilliantly woven together to make a complex and mature story. His dialogue is not remotely Star Warsish.

    4. Moorcock-That's Michael Moorcock. Very original, and even though his writing style is sometimes abstract, he is absolutely gripping, and makes you hang on his every word. I don't see enough of him around this site for some reason. He also hated the Lord of the Rings, and though I would disagree with him on that, one positive side of that is he comes up with his own story, not the same regurgitated LotR clone we hear too often.

  3. #3
    King of the Lurkers. Moderator Keyoke's Avatar
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    Tad Williams without a doubt. I'd pick up almost anything from him without even reading the back cover. Same goes for Neil Gaiman.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Giarc's Avatar
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    Well, there are so many good authors but who stands out for me?

    Tolkien (of course)....the Silmarillion casts every other book into deep shadow.

    Guy Gavriel Kay is the next best IMO. The Lions of Al Rassan left me speechless.

    T. Goodkind, R. Jordan, Tad Williams, and G.Martin are all similar and great fun.

    I'll leave the rest for other people to comment on.

  5. #5
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    There's some great new Fantasy in the last few years.I slill love re-reading my favorites:

    Tolkien, re-read LOTR last month
    Moorcock, man this guy is good, had to be on drugs though.
    John Varly, if you havn't read the Titan/Wizard/ Demon series your missinga classic.
    Stephen R. Donaldson, Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Main character is a bit of a whiner but the series will consume you.

    We've seen a lot of crap lately, Eddings, Goodkind, Jordan, etc. (hope I don't offend anyone). It's just that so many of the Fantasy authers out their are rehashing Tolkien...been there...bought the T-shirt.

    There is hope though, and it's coming from Great Britain. These authers are banging their own drum, if you havn't read them already, your missing out.

    Philip Pulman, His Dark Materials series. Fantasy at it's beat...MUST GET BOOK THREE!

    Neil Gaimen, Neverwhere, Stardust and Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett) I just read Stardust, if your a fantasy fan, pick this up...NOW!

    Jan Siegel, Prospero's Children, This girls good, first novel of a new series. I'm almost finished it, it's like a drug, I can't seen to put it down.

    Sorry for going on and on, I just want to pass on some great reads.

    Take care all,
    Da5id (yup, from Snowcrash, a great Sci Fi)



  6. #6
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    Nytric,

    Have to concur with your opinion about Jack Vance - very very hard to put down once you get started.
    Although some have already mentioned G.G. Kay I haven't found any reference to my absolute favourite: Tigana. The one book (after LoRs - who didn't get hooked by that one?) that really got me into fantasy! The book is brilliant, the good/bad theme quite original and he is one of the few writers that can keep me fascinated for hundreds and hundreds of pages.
    I remember taking the book with me everywhere I went, reading at every possible (and some impossible) moments and then having finished it - desperately needing to tell someone how fab it was...

    Did nobody read it, or am I the only one who loved it?

    [This message has been edited by Cygnet (edited June 30, 2000).]

  7. #7
    Cygnet- I am about 150 pages into Tigana right now, and already I have to say it is one of the most emotionally moving, well-written books I have ever read. Are the rest of his books this good? What else should I read by him?

    As far as favorite authors for me, I have to include Tolkein because he got me into fantasy in the first place. My favorite author, though, is easily George RR Martin. No other fantasy novel has kept me enthralled as much as his SOIAF series.

    Jordan's books were special for a time to me, but I've been stuck on book 7 for about 3 years now, and I don't see myself reading it anytime soon. I feel strongly that many of the subplots in his books have been entirely unnecessary, and honestly I can barely remember now just what was going on when I last read the series. A shame because I can remember a time when I was in the middle of the earlier books in the series and thoroughly enjoying them.

    Lastly, if Tigana lives up to the promise it is showing, and if Kay's other works are half as good I have to include him on my favorites list.

    [This message has been edited by Smeagol (edited July 01, 2000).]

  8. #8
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    Tigana was an exciting read from start to finish, and the emotional rollercoaster of whether the brother and sister would meet again at the end was brill. I won't spoil it for you Smeagol!!!

  9. #9
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    Smeagol,

    You know how you expect the next book of an author to be even better? Well, they don't quite live up to expectations, although "The Lions.." was fab too... Tigana still is top of the line for me. The Fionavar Tapestry series is not my style, although very enjoyable. Obviously I'm looking forward to the new series!

    Let us know whether you enjoyed it right through to the end!

  10. #10
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    Ok when we talk favorite author i need to go to Orson Scott Card, but it is not for his fantasy work.(which i have not read any of yet) The Ender's Game series is far and away the best books i have ever read. I am going to start the Alvin Maker books(his fantasy series) and i want to know if any have read them and what they thought. I just read LotR and if is great. Frodo gradually losing his will, and his desire to get rid of the ring. It was entertaining until the end, and unlike other fantasy it was not rigorous and long.

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