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  1. #16
    MJ Dusseault Spears&Buckler's Avatar
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    I still love how on the left side list they say Heroes Die was written by Michael Stoover. I had a good laugh at that one yesterday.

  2. #17
    I just saw the most influential section which would make a much better best of list, but I'm still disappointed that the Elric Saga is nowhere to be found.

  3. #18
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris777 View Post
    You'd have silly books like Harry Potter or Twilight on there.
    Harry Potter? Silly? Perhaps, but it's impact in terms of popularity and culture is still felt even now the films are over. It got thousands, if not millions, of people reading and interested in fiction, so I think on some levels Harry Potter can easily be argued for.

    Twilight? Its sole merit is it got people reading. The rest of it can go burn in a fire for all I care.

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by chris777 View Post
    Screw you guys, I like it. =)
    Fair 'nuff.

    [...]

    I can't agree with the whole list. But if you were recommending books to newcomers, I would strongly urge to follow this list. (Not the public version) I believe the Top5 there represents what many nowadays consider to be the top5...or at least very close.
    Depends on the newcomer. Some would be far more impressed by LOTR or Bradbury or Leiber or Beagle or Le Guin or ...

    I think some people around here, no names, are just simply book snobs.
    Possibly. I do know what I like and have occasionally spoken up to defend it or at least suggest it is worthy of attention ... Oh, wait! That's what you're doing, too!

    You book snob, you!!

    And think if it doesn't have an expert prose or amazing style it's not worthy. I can't argue much as I am very much a Beer Snob(Budweister vs A Belgium Creme Ale? Comon now.) But people like what they like. This isn't a rank of the best writers....
    If you say you've created a list of the 25 best you need to state your criteria: and when you introduce the list by saying, "The goal of this list is to present a broad selection of the best fantasy literature from different fantasy subgenres -- cult hits, best sellers, critically acclaimed, and classics," you should provide a list that has a broad scope. The items on this list seem very narrow in scope, very little outside epic/heroic fantasy and its nearest cousins. Urban fantasy, mythic fantasy aren't very well represented. Frankly, the "Best Literary Fantasy" and "Great Fantasy Books" strike me as far more representative of fantasy as a whole, and of the better works written within the genre.

    By the way, I prefer porters, stouts and ales, though I don't think I'm all that picky. My recent favorite is a Polish porter, Zywiec. Smooth as caramel or silk or caramel silk and for those of us who don't really drink a lot, it has a kick like a goat.


    Randy M.

  5. #20
    the Rake
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    Imho the list should probably look something like this:

    1) Lord of the Rings by Tolkien
    2) Book of the New Sun by Wolfe
    3) Gormenghast by Peake
    4) Elric of Melnibone by Moorcock
    5) Ficciones by Borges
    6) Dying Earth by Vance
    7) Conan the Barbarian by Howard
    8) Earthsea by Le Guin
    9) Little, Big by Crowley
    10) Chronicles of Amber by Zelazny
    11) Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Donaldson
    12) Perdido Street Station by Mieville
    13) Song of Ice and Fire by Martin
    14) Discworld by Pratchett
    15) At the Mountains of Madness by Lovecraft
    16) Worm Ouruboros by Eddison
    17) Harry Potter by Rowling
    18) Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser by Leiber
    19) Mists of Avalon by Bradley
    20) Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis
    21) Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Williams
    22) Well at World's End by Morris
    23) Black Company by Cook
    24) King of Elfland's Daughter by Dunsany
    25) American Gods by Gaiman

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by mshnd06 View Post
    Imho the list should probably look something like this:

    1) Lord of the Rings by Tolkien
    2) Book of the New Sun by Wolfe
    3) Gormenghast by Peake
    4) Elric of Melnibone by Moorcock
    5) Ficciones by Borges
    6) Dying Earth by Vance
    7) Conan the Barbarian by Howard
    8) Earthsea by Le Guin
    9) Little, Big by Crowley
    10) Chronicles of Amber by Zelazny
    11) Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Donaldson
    12) Perdido Street Station by Mieville
    13) Song of Ice and Fire by Martin
    14) Discworld by Pratchett
    15) At the Mountains of Madness by Lovecraft
    16) Worm Ouruboros by Eddison
    17) Harry Potter by Rowling
    18) Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser by Leiber
    19) Mists of Avalon by Bradley
    20) Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis
    21) Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Williams
    22) Well at World's End by Morris
    23) Black Company by Cook
    24) King of Elfland's Daughter by Dunsany
    25) American Gods by Gaiman
    Hrmm... HIGHLY debatable. Harry Potter in a top25? You have almost no newer age authors. Are you actually ranking the author or the series here? Feels like author to me. Malazan? First Law? Wheel of Time? LOTR first? This is where people start debating..what are you actually ranking? Because read side by side for someone who doesn't know either author, LOTR doesn't hold up to the newer material. It simply doesn't. It may be the first and it's nostalgia to call it the best, and it may also be the most popular. But word for word it's not a better read than many other books. It feels like you are ranking Authors here, or the books "impact" vs what is the better reading series.

  7. #22
    the Rake
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    I tried to address some of my concerns with the imbalance in the first list. My primary factors were influence, literary merit (in terms of prose, thematic elements, characterizations) and originality. I tried to provide a cross-section reflecting some of the diversity of the genre and its history. There are fewer recent works because I remain unconvinced of their staying power. The few exceptions - Mieville, Gaiman and Martin have achieved wide appeal outside the genre, are influential and distinctive enough that I think they will last. I don't think in any discussion of best you can limit yourself to the books or series you personally find the most entertaining. Harry Potter may have its faults but you must consider it within the context of its YA target audience and its impact on YA reading is indisputable. In my opinion, as much as I occasionally enjoy works by Erikson, Bakker, Jordan, Sanderson, Abercrombie and Rothfuss, I don't find their works to be as innovative, memorable or influential as other works on my list. The prose of Tolkien surpasses that of Abercrombie. The complex genius of Wolfe, Mieville and Borges (both in terms of plot and theme) surpass that of Erikson and Bakker. The emotional resonance and characterization of Le Guin easily outstrip those of Sanderson and Jordan for me. I'm not saying these works don't have merit and I'm not even saying these are my favorite 25 works (far from it actually) but I think they are close to the "best" and "most important." I am however, distressed by the fact that my list is still so dominated by male authors.

    Edit: And I will concede that it does reflect my valuation of the authors as much as the works themselves.
    Last edited by mshnd06; October 4th, 2012 at 04:46 PM.

  8. #23
    Fair enough. And that's a decent rank. But I personally feel a Top25 rank should be "What is the Top25 most enjoyable books to read right now". So things like Earth Sea and these older books wouldn't be in the Top25, but if they were it would lend even more credence to their greatness. How many generations can a book stay a Top25's "favorite read"?

  9. #24
    the Rake
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    Stating the obvious but, of course that would depend a lot on the person. I read Jordan and Martin before Tolkien and enjoyed the Tolkien more. I read Earthsea after Erikson and Bakker and enjoyed the Le Guin more. Different strokes.

  10. #25
    Webmaster, Great SF&F owlcroft's Avatar
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    Alternatives?

    Are there other lists out there that do seem well-constructed?

    I would enter these for consideration (in no special order):


  11. #26
    There are these Digital Dream Door lists:
    http://digitaldreamdoor.com/forum/vi....php?f=59&t=38
    http://digitaldreamdoor.com/forum/vi....php?f=59&t=40

    They need a lot of work though. The good thing about the site is that they do look at things like impact and influence for their lists and it's a collaborative effort, so if anyone wants to argue that something should or shouldn't be there, they can.

  12. #27
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loerwyn View Post
    What a complete load of bull on both sides.

    It's a mixture of series and books and it's focused largely on Things Wot People Read Recently. That's always the problem with lists like these. It's all comparing books that aren't alike - e.g. Feist's Daughter of the Empire with Gaiman's American Gods - so it's not like these books are being judged by the same criteria.

    And everyone knows The Hobbit is better than The Lord of the Rings.
    You have my vote for the President of the People Who Decide Which Fantasy Books are Better than Others Society and Fellowship

  13. #28
    Reek rhymes with geek
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    I would even consider a different list for fantasy newcomers. A first time genre reader of most any age would enjoy some of the current/modern series, but to follow some of the evolution of the genre allows one to experience novelty and wonder with each story, and not see the worst of the tropes or start with the subversion of said tropes. But what do I know, I started with Dragonlance and Eddings...

  14. #29
    Webmaster, Great SF&F owlcroft's Avatar
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    Ah, this stuff again.

    I think some people around here, no names, are just simply book snobs. And think if it doesn't have an expert prose or amazing style it's not worthy.
    Is someone a "food snob" if they prefer food that tastes good? Is someone an "audio snob" if they prefer music to cacaphony? Where does it end?

    A tale is thoughts expressed in words. If the tale-teller's ability to express thought in words is mediocre or poor, then perforce the tale is mediocre or worse; you cannot make pleasant music by whacking rocks together. I have no idea what "expert" prose is supposed to be, but prose that is clear and expressive works well, while prose that is wooden, or contorted, or ungrammatical is painful to read. The title of one of the better-known usage manuals in English says a lot: Simple & Direct (by Jacques Barzun); so do many others (such as Plain Words or The Careful Writer). Perhaps we are so far fallen now that simple, clear, and grammatical prose is "expert".

    I also do not quite grasp what would make any writer's style "amazing". Is it one in which the characters are frequently amazed? Is it one in which the readers are frequently amazed by the plot developments? Or what?

    As some or t'other once remarked, there is nothing whatever in this world that anyone is obliged to like; and that is certainly so. But reasons for classing particular tales as "worthy" or not worthy are not completely arbitrary matters of random, idiosyncratic taste. There are qualities not primarily subjective that typify works of worth; while anyone is free to dislike worthy works, individually or as a class, and to like mediocre or even trashy works, again individually or as a class, and be free of any obligation to justify his or her tastes, what one is not morally entitled to do is to trash works of merit on the sole ground that one does not personally enjoy them.

    But we have been over this ground countless times before.

  15. #30
    The term ***-snob usually refers to someone who will trash some items because it doesn't live up to what they view as "quality". And maybe they are in their right to do so, but that doesn't take away from the enjoyment of said item. You are not a food-snob if you like good food. You are a food-snob if you tell everyone pizza is terrible quality food and you guys are silly for liking it, you should only enjoy lobster bisque or anything of that quality. Same with beer, books, cars, anything...

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