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  1. #1
    Registered User Zsinj's Avatar
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    Question Longest-running fantasy series?

    I was wondering if Robert Jordan was the king of long-running, many-volume fantasy series, or if someone else has done it close to him, or with more books than him? The only author I can think of is Raymond E. Feist with his "Riftwar Saga" My question refers to a fantasy series written by a single author/ coauthor, so Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms don't count, unless you're talking about their original authors such as Weis & Hickman and R.A. Salvatore.

  2. #2
    I don't know who has the longest set, but I can tell you that R.A. Salvatore has written about 17 books about Drizzt and Company. Technically, all 17 books aren't in the same series though. They are in several smaller series that all happen to be about the same characters. Feist's books are similar. Although he has written many books set in Midkemia, with some of the same characters, I believe only the first three are technically The Riftwar Saga.

    The only other long series I can think of that isn't actually a series of smaller, related series, is Modesitt's Saga of Recluce, which is about to see its 12th installation published. Of course it could be argued that because the Recluce novels frequently switch main characters and jump around in time, they are nothing more than a bunch of related stand-alones and duologies.

    I guess it all depends on how you want to define what constitutes one series.

  3. #3
    Inter spem metumque iacto Julian's Avatar
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    If you're going to be strict about this - if it has to be a single, continuous series - Jordan probably does take the biscuit.

    Still: L. Frank Baum wrote 14 Oz books... (Does that count ?)
    And Katherine Kurtz wrote - hmmm - 13 Deryni books, I believe, excluding short story collections. These are, however, divided into different (sub-) series.
    Glen Cook's Black Company series is currently up to 10 volumes (though, again, there are subdivisions).
    And there are 10 Amber books by Roger Zelazny.... (2 sub-series).
    I've sort of lost track of Katherine Kerr, but would imagine her Deverry books to have hit the big 1-0 by now, too.

    Of course, if you were to take the page count into consideration, we're back to Jordan, aren't we?

  4. #4
    Gemmell has written 11 Drenai books.

    RA Salvatore's Drizzt series is continuous - from the Dark Elf Trilogy through the current Orcs trilogy - he is currently at 16 books. The Cleric Quintet by Salvatore includes characters found in the Drizzt series, and characters from the quintet have appeared in the Drizzt series - so there is another 5 books you could add).

    Terry Brooks has 12 Shannara books - from the original trilogy to the Heritage series to the Jerle Shannara and the newest Jaaka Ruus.

  5. #5
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    Last edited by JohnH; June 14th, 2004 at 08:45 AM.

  6. #6
    Inter spem metumque iacto Julian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by JohnH
    For me, a series is something that follows the journey toward a goal that is set out in the first book, even if obliquely. Not a continuing adventures that seem to end only to be resurrected again and again. So Jordan at ten and still going seems to be a favored lead.
    Sort of epoch-wise? I'd tend to agree...

    (... Alternatively, if "Longest-running fantasy series" is to be taken as pertaining to time, George R.R. Martin seems to be setting himself up as a strong contender, too )

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    Last edited by JohnH; June 14th, 2004 at 08:46 AM.

  8. #8
    ~Dragon~ Beldaran's Avatar
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    Originally posted by JohnH
    For me, a series is something that follows the journey toward a goal that is set out in the first book, even if obliquely. Not a continuing adventures that seem to end only to be resurrected again and again. So Jordan at ten and still going seems to be a favored lead. Katharine Kerr's Deverry is at ten but I am not sure that it truly counts as one whole series.

    If looking at associational novels such as Gemmell and Kurtz, don't forget Modessit's Recluse and Lackey's Valdemar.
    the Deverry series is 11 books. well, feist has a lot books of the Midkemia world but I don't know if you can count them as one series.

  9. #9
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    I'm not sure this counts, but Pratchett's diskworld has somthing like 30 books already, and while it's not an epic fantasy, you could call it a fantasy of sorts..

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    Last edited by JohnH; June 14th, 2004 at 08:47 AM.

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    What about Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion series? It has several main characters, but all of the books are published in the same series. It has over 20 books.

  12. #12
    Inter spem metumque iacto Julian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Blackwing
    What about Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion series? It has several main characters, but all of the books are published in the same series. It has over 20 books.
    Hmm, that's a difficult one. I think, to me, the overriding criterium would have to be whether a set of books, taken together, constitute a whole, thereby becoming significantly more than the sum of their parts. There might be lots of different storylines involved and lots of different main characters, but the question is, do all the books combined also tell a single coherent tale?

    This is why I feel the Discworld books - or the Oz books, for that matter - don't count. But I would, perhaps strangely, not shut out Cook's "Black Company".

    Moorcock's difficult because the Eternal Champion books are presented in a halo of holistic coherence - sorry, that sort of just slipped out - which, in fact, I very much doubt they have. The association between the (very) varying books is perhaps more, err, associational (to use JohnH's word) than anything else. And in fact, in some cases the only association might be that they're called "Eternal Champion" Books.

    So - naw. But open to debate, obviously.

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    Last edited by JohnH; June 14th, 2004 at 08:44 AM.

  14. #14

    Thumbs up Xanth

    Seems to me with Piers writing the 35th novel in the Xanth Series that would have to be up there.

    Piers Anthony ftw!

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    More interesting is JohnH's habit of deleting his posts. He's either extremely paranoid/cautious or one day hopes to hold a public office and wants no past comments comming back to bite him.

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