As promised last Thursday, I am back to finish up my list of favorite authors and titles within the fantasy and sci-fi genres. For the record, I am clear that JRR Tolkien is #1 with David Eddings a very close #2. After that, I can’t say I have a precise order of hierarchy. Every author brings their unique voice to a novel, of course, and in the fantasy genre, the stories are so vastly different. Rating a preference can be tough so I am simply listing them randomly with my personal opinions noted.
If you missed the first installment on this topic, click over and read that blog first:
Favorite Fantasy & Sci-Fi Literature, Part 1
Terry Brooks (1944- )
Between the Shannara books (including the Word & Void series) and the Magic Kingdom of Landover series, Brooks will keep a reader busy for years. The Landover novels are my favorites (listed below) but all of Brooks novels are truly excellent, even if The Sword of Shannara treads a bit close to Tolkien’s heels. Brooks has several other fantasy novels not a part of either series, including Child of Light released just last month.
Magic Kingdom For Sale —SOLD!
The Black Unicorn
Wizard at Large
Frank Herbert (1920-1986)
Herbert is the author of the Dune novels, of which there are many. I only liked the first three, the first being Dune, which is now a new movie on HBO. The previous two cinematic adaptations of Dune were good, IMO, especially the miniseries from 2000, but this one was really fantastic. I subscribed to HBO Max just to watch it, and am so glad I did. The movie was released to theaters on October 22, so should still be on the big screen when this blog posts. I would highly recommend seeing it, preferably in IMAX if able, as the music and cinematography are phenomenal. But since this post is about books, suffice to say, Dune is a terrific series I do highly recommend. One of the few pure Sci-Fi novels I thoroughly enjoyed.
Barbara Hambly (1951- )
Hambly published way too many novels to mention, but I count The Darwath Series and The Windrose Chronicles, both time-travel/multi-universe novels, as the best out there. In addition, there is the Ladies of Mandrigyn Trilogy (image below) and the Sun Wolf and Starhawk Series. Her novels are very serious and tend to be dark, but the storytelling is great. Along with the requisite wizards and warriors, she also writes novel with vampires and dragons. Frequently blending sci-fi and modern technology in with her fantasy in unique ways, Hambly has even contributed to the Star Wars and Star Trek mythos fan-fiction.
The Darwath Series:
The Time of the Dark
The Walls of Air
The Armies of Daylight
Mother of Winter
The Windrose Chronicles:
The Silent Tower
The Silicon Mage
Stranger at the Wedding
Terry Pratchett (1948-2015)
Insane! Pratchett’s Discworld is the oddest place ever envisioned and inhabited with the most bizarre collection of misfits ever created. I challenge you not to laugh and cry… and to not fall in love with Death. Can’t happen. English author Pratchett wrote 41 novels in the Discworld series, each one utterly fantastic. It is truly impossible to pick favorites so the ones listed below are a handful of the many.
The Color of Magic
JK Rowling (1965- )
Harry Potter was published long after my youthful formative years but that in no way diminishes how much I love these novels and how important they (and the movies) have been to my life. In some ways more so as I was able to share these stories with my children.
Stephanie Meyer (1973- )
As with Rowling, Stephanie Meyer published the Twilight series in my adulthood, and as one who never liked vampire stories, I wasn’t immediately on the bandwagon. I was won over, however, as I have discussed in previous blog posts. I love the movies too! Yes, I am a “Twilighter”.
Believe it or not, I have so many more authors and books I could cover in depth, but then I’d need to make another blog post! The ones below are just as loved but don’t have a huge volume of books, at least that I’ve read or liked.
Robin Hobb ~ Five series set in the Realm of the Elderlings. Great dragons!
Katherine Kurtz ~ Historical fantasy novels in the Deryni series.
Fred Saberhagen ~ The Book of Sword and Book of Lost Swords series
Tom de Haven ~ The Chronicles of the King’s Tramp is a marvelous 3 book series that includes unique magical elements and cross-universe travel that is brilliantly done.
Orson Scott Card ~ I’ve read several of Card’s novels, but as 100% sci-fi I can’t claim to love or even like most of them. That said, Ender’s Game is hand’s down one of the best books I’ve ever read, period. If you saw the movie, which was okay, don’t let that sway you from reading the book as it is SOOO much better!
Dean Koontz – More of a horror writer, I’ve tended to avoid reading too much by Koontz. However, there are a couple of his novels that I count among the best novels I’ve ever read: Watchers and Lightning.
Anne Rice ~ Interview With a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and The Witching Hour. As I’ve mentioned before, vampires aren’t typically a big draw to me, but Rice is a fabulous author and her take on vampire legend is compelling.
Karen Marie Moning ~ Novels written by Moning are more romance than fantasy, to be honest, but magical elements of the faery world and time travel play heavily in the plot. Some of her novels are quite dark, so not too appealing to me, but the eight novels in her Highlander series are fantastic.
So there it is, my library of fantasy and sci-fi favorites!
Not a completely exhaustive list (yes, I have more) but the ones I deem the best.
Let me know if you’ve read any of these authors or books.
Share your thoughts on fantasy and sci-fi!