Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Blog Fantastic: A Fantasy Novel Project - Introduction

My favourite fantasy series as a teen. Is it still good today?

I want to explore more fantasy novels. I really like fantasy as a genre. I used to read more fantasy books but for a while I was quite distracted by my post-secondary studies and comics. I’m done school now so that’s no longer a problem. I still love comics and I can’t imagine not reading comics but they’re very expensive and they take up a lot of space. I’ve read at least a couple fantasy novels every year but there’s always been something else. I want to focus on fantasy books for a while, at least a year or more.

I want to discover famous and important fantasy series and fantasy writers. I want to sample trilogies, small series and large series. I even have a few standalone fantasy novels I want to read. I also want to take the time to further explore series and authors I’ve sampled in the past.

I grew up reading Dragonlance books as well as a couple from the Forgotten Realms series. I followed a few of those others for a while. That’s how I first discovered The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. That’s probably one of my current favourite series, however, it’s been about ten years since I last read it. I’m definitively due for a reread. I’m hoping the series holds but I have my doubts I’ll consider them to be as good as what I originaly thought.

I’ve read some pretty well known books. Most recently I read The Children of Hùrin by J.R.R. Tolkien (you can read what I had to say here) and I really, really liked it. I’ve read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit a couple of times. I’ve read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and will continue to read it as soon as the next volume is out.

At my brother’s recommendation, I’ve sampled some of David Gemmell’s work, specifically the Troy Trilogy and Legend, his first novel. I’m read a few of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels and I’d like to read more of those. I don’t remember them as being anything extraordinary but hey, they’re good stories about telepathic dragons who can also teleport. I remember there was an interesting dynamic between the dragons and their riders.

I’m going to start by reading Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series because I recently acquired the first book and because I’ve sampled some of her work last Autumn, specifically the two short stories that kicked off the Earthsea series. I’ll be writing something on the first book, A Wizard of Earthsea, very soon. I’ve had some difficulty finding the second book so I might move on to something else while I acquire a copy.

The second book in Terry Prachett's hilarious Discworld
series. I never read the third book and that's a shame. It's
not a shame I stole the title for this blog project.
After that I might read some of David Gemmell’s standalone novels. I have two of them, Dark Moon and Morningstar. For the moment I’m content to stay away from exceedingly long series but there are a few I would really like to read. My father and a friend from back home are very big fans of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. I’m going to have to check it out. I also have to read some of Brandon Sanderson’s work. He’s well known for being the author who finished Jordan’s series after his death. Apparently he’s quite the writer. Right before I moved out of my parents place to go to school, I read New Spring, a prequel to The Wheel of Time series. Now is the time to reread it and tackle the rest of the series.

The second large series I want to read is Steven Erikson’s The Malazan Book of the Fallen series. He’s Canadian and it’s said to be a fantastic series. I haven’t read too much about it, so as not to spoil it for myself, but let’s face it, a huge fantasy series written by a Canadian is enough to entice me. Its definitively going to be a good long while before I attack this second large fantasy series.

I am worried that there will be a fantasy novel fatigue that settles in after a while. I’m planning on dealing with this by reading some comics here and there to clear my head. I’m thinking Terry Prachett’s Discworld series could also give me some good laughs and make sure I don’t take this project too seriously.

Here’s a list of series I would like to read:

The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Something, maybe a shorter series, by Tad Williams (I’m not sure yet, but something)
The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks
The Sundering Duology by Jacqueline Carey
The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Dark Tower by Stephen King
The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Now here’s a list of series I’d like to reread or further explore:

The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
More Drenai novels by David Gemmell
A Tale of Dunk and Egg by George R.R. Martin
More Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett
The Ice Wind Dale Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore
More Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey

I’m well aware it’s an exhaustive list and it will take me a very long time to read all these books but that’s fine. I’m simply hoping to expand my horizons a bit and perhaps discover a new favourite series or writer. My first book, A Wizard of Earthsea was excellent and its clear to me that I’m off to a good start. My first post should be up soon.

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