Building a SciFi/Fantasy Library discussion

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suggestions > Favorite Fantasy Written by a Woman

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message 1: by Werner (last edited Mar 02, 2009 10:34AM) (new)

Werner A few days ago a question was raised, on the thread devoted to favorite sci-fi written by a woman, as to why we don't similarly recognize the contribution of female writers to fantasy. So, I thought I'd start a parallel thread devoted to that genre.

Who's your favorite female author of fantasy? Mine has to be Patricia C. Wrede (pronounced "Reedy"). I love her Enchanted Forest Chronicles series; and I also highly recommend The Book of Enchantments (which showcases her mastery of the short story) and Caught in Crystal.


Jim (JimMacLachlan) That's a tall order, Werner. There are a lot of good ones out there & fantasy flows across a lot of sub-genres for me.

Anne McCaffrey is one of the first & best I ever read. Her romance/SF fantasy Restoree was an early one I read & then I really liked her Pern books, which are SF/Fantasy.

Laurell K. Hamilton's early Anita Blake series are among my favorites in the Paranormal Romances, but I may like Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson even better.

Patricia A. McKillip Riddle Master trilogy might be my favorite straight fantasy, at least the one that I think of off the top of my head.


message 3: by Addy (last edited Mar 03, 2009 06:34AM) (new)

Addy | 4 comments A few of my favs:


Mercedes Lackey

Melanie Rawn

Jennifer Roberson

Marion Zimmer Bradley

Kate Elliott

Andre Norton

That's just off the top of my head...but there are many many more. Actually I've found that in the fantasy genre most of my favorite authors are women.



Kristine (fezabel) (fezabel) | 4 comments I am a huge fan of Patricia Kennealy-Morrison. The Keliad books are some of the best fantasy I've ever read.


Jon (jonmoss) Kristine wrote: "I am a huge fan of Patricia Kennealy-Morrison. The Keliad books are some of the best fantasy I've ever read."

Yes - the Keltiad is by far one of my all-time favorite series. I read them once a year or so. I recently messaged Patricia via MySpace almost begging her to publish something (anything) about Aeron or Keltia soon. She agreed that she needs to return to the universe.




Chris  (haughtc) Kristine wrote: "I am a huge fan of Patricia Kennealy-Morrison. The Keliad books are some of the best fantasy I've ever read."

Wasn't she married to Jim Morrison? Interesting....

A few I see that aren't on this list:

Carrie Vaughn
Leslie Ann Moore
Elizabeth Moon
Elizabeth Haydon
Maria V. Snyder




Peter | 18 comments I'll have to agree with many of these authors. I just finished the Assassin's Apprentice trilogy by Robin Hobb and was blown away by the last book. I also love Jacqueline Carey--her Sundering books are some of the best fantasy I've ever read. I've only read a short story or two by Tanith Lee, what are everyone's thoughts on her? How does she compare with the the fine authors listed here in this thread?


Kernos | 115 comments RE; Tanith Lee, I read her back in the '80s and do not really remember the books, though the fact I read all of "Paradys" and "Tales from the Flat Earth" indicates I enjoyed them.

Time for a re-read perhaps, if I can ever get all my books unpacked!


Peter | 18 comments maybe i'll put her on my to-read list then. I enjoyed her story in Wizards: Magical Tales From the Masters of Modern Fantasy



Werner There are probably quite a few other group members here who are more familiar with Lee's work than I am; I've read all but one story in her Red as Blood collection (which is on my currently-reading shelf), as well as her "Into Gold" in the excellent Modern Classics of Fantasy anthology, but so far that's all. That said, though, I would say that her skills as a prose stylist are equal to those of any of the ladies mentioned above that I've read, and she's good at evoking an emotional response to her stories. Like Wrede, she often re-imagines traditional folk/fairy tales; but she tends more often towards dark fantasy than Wrede does. Quite frequently, she sets her tales in actual historical times and places, like the fringe of the waning Roman Empire in "Into Gold," but evokes them essentially as fantasy worlds; and she often uses ideas and deities (usually somewhat re-interpreted) from a variety of religions as literary conceits, without literally endorsing any of them.


message 13: by Shifra (last edited Apr 10, 2009 06:42PM) (new)

Shifra | 1 comments they're already listed, but i sooo love Marion Zimmer Bradley and Sheri S Tepper that i had to mention them again!

others not already on the list:
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (wrote some great ones with anne mccaffrey)
Tamora Pierce (young-adult)
Marge Piercy
Lois McMaster Bujold
Diane Paxton
Octavia E. Butler (though some might argue she's more sci-fi than fantasy)
Sharon Shinn

i agree with jim that fantasy crosses a lot of genres. i think that's one of it's best qualities, as well as being a little unique. and a majority of my favorite fantasy authors are female!

the fantasy genre has been incredibly welcoming to female authors, in large part thanks to the amazing pioneers: Ursula K Le Guin, marion zimmer bradley, Octavia Butler, Andre Norton, and Mercedes Lackey (among others).

oh, and here are a few fantasy books written by female authors that work more in other genres:
The Fifth Sacred Thing by starhawk
Impossible by nancy werlin


Roberta | 4 comments Some will repeat what others have said.
My top three are: Mercedes Lackey (her Arrows of the Queen is my favorite trilogy ever), Elizabeth Moon (also writes great SF), and
Katherine Kurtz (Deryni books but especially those with Kelson in them).
Anne McCaffrey (her Pern books read a lot like fantasy).
Lois McMaster Bujold (her SF is better though).
J.V. Jones--The Baker's Boy series is wonderful!
Robin Hobb--the Assassin and Fool series.
Sharon Shinn--Castle Auburn is a particular favorite
Kristine Kathryn Rusch--the Fey series (it is out of print, but you should be able to find it in used book stories or the library).
Marion Zimmer Bradley--Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series (Darkover is SF but has a fantasy feel to it).

For urban fantasy or paranormal,
Kim Harrison--Rachel Morgan series,
Kelley Anderson--Women of Otherworld,
Carrie Vaughn--Kitty series.



message 15: by Rosemary (last edited Apr 11, 2009 10:09AM) (new)

Rosemary | 7 comments Tanith Lee is one of the authors impossible to pigeonhole. She slips all over the border between science fiction, fantasy, and horror. If one of her books doesn't fit your mood, try something else. "Biting the Sun" (which collects two novellas) is a personal favorite. Try daughterofthenight.com to see an incredible bibliography of Lee's work from 1968 to present.

If you like Robin Hobb, try her earlier works as Megan Lindholm too. Wizard of Pigeons is an amazing novel and pretty good tour through a now gone downtown Seattle.

I'm also very fond of Rachel Caine, both her Weather Warden series and the Morganville books.


Janny (JannyWurts) | 7 comments I'd add:

Sarah Zettel and Carol Berg - if you liked Marillier, McKillip, Bujold, on those lines, these two are worth a look.

And Terri Windling if you like the mythic, placed in a modern setting.


Peter | 18 comments Thanks for the suggestions!

Roberta wrote: "Some will repeat what others have said.
My top three are: Mercedes Lackey (her Arrows of the Queen is my favorite trilogy ever), Elizabeth Moon (also writes great SF), and
Katherine Kurtz (Deryni b..."





Dan (DannytheInfidel) | 32 comments Ursula Le Guin
Ursula Le Guin
Ursula Le Guin
and
Kathering Kerr


Random (rand0m1s) I'm suprised no one has mentioned C.S. Friedman. My husband doesn't like fantasy and even he loved her Coldfire series. I'm eagerly awaiting the third novel in her new Magister series and personally I think its even better than Coldfire.

I also have a soft spot for Diane Duane. Her Young Wizards series might be properly classified as YA fantasy, but even now I'm pushing 40 I really enjoy those books. I read the first book back before I even knew there was such a thing as YA books. I can't count the times I read the Wizard's Oath wishing so hard that it could really be true. :)

I've not read any of the Fastasy offerings from Elizabeth Moon or Lois McMaster Bujold, but they are both excellent authors.

And of course I couldn't talk about women in Fantasy without mentioning LeGuin.


Kernos | 115 comments @C.S. Friedman - I too enjoyed Coldfire, but did not realize CS Friedman was female until I just googled her!! The probs with using initials. :-)

@Diane Duane - I have tried to get into Young Wizards, but have not found book 1 compelling. They are still in my to be read bookcase, though. I usually enjoy so-called YA novels (who rates these things anyway... many are deeper than a superficial read). Besides, I consider a Young Adult to be someone between 18 and 40 in general with great individual variations.

@Ursula Le Guin - I have enjoyed Earthsea (I have only read the 1° trilogy), but do not consider it one of the great epic Fantasies. at least not superior like "The Left Hand of Darkness". I think of her more as a SciFI author.


Peter | 18 comments Sadly, that's the exact reason a lot of female authors listed their names w/ initials--publishers didn't think people would read female authors.

Kernos wrote: "@C.S. Friedman - I too enjoyed Coldfire, but did not realize CS Friedman was female until I just googled her!! The probs with using initials. :-)






Jason (Darkfiction) For high fantasy, I love Robin Hobb's work.

For either fantasy or science fiction, definitely Ursula K. Le Guin.

For the darker, and stranger, side of things, I always turn to Caitlin R. Keirnan.

These are definitely my top three women fantasy writers.


Heather (fantasy_mom) | 2 comments My fav's are Laurell K. Hamilton, Melanie Rawn, Louise Cooper, and Jennifer Roberson.


Binky Bowberg (BinkyBowberg) | 2 comments Janny Wurts - "The Curse of the Mistwraith" has just been re-released.

J.V. Jones - Book of Words series - starting with Baker's Boy...

Robin Hobb - Assassin and Liveship series

Mercedes Lackey - early Valdemar series books are the best

J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter

Mary Stewart - Merlin Trilogy

Marion Zimmer Bradley - The Mists of Avalon


Jason (Darkfiction) Hey, how could I forget J.K. Rowling?

God! (smacks himself on the head really hard with a Harry Potter book).


Werner Rowling has been mentioned a few times in this thread. I didn't mention her in my original post, because I define fantasy as something set in a different world than ours, so it excludes supernatural fiction set in this world (I know, I'm ridiculously nitty-picky! :-)) But I was enthralled by the Harry Potter series, and I'm sure that most fans of dark fantasy would also enjoy it. (True, it's set in England --but mostly in parts of England where us "Muggles" can't go! :-))


Paul Strangely perhaps, I don't differentiate. I can frequently read a book and not even realise it's by a woman. As long as it's a good book, I don't care.

Thinking back, I have read works by: Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K LeGuin, Andre Norton (see, I thought she was a man), Lois McMaster Bujold, Mary Stewart and Tanith Lee. Most were Ok, some were excellent. LeGuin nd Norton I particularly like.


Kernos | 115 comments Werner wrote: "... I define fantasy as something set in a different world than ours..."

How do you categorize Fantasy books that do take place in our world?

I do subcategorize Fantasy into Tolkienian, non-Tolkienian and Historical/Mythological Fantasy.






Kernos | 115 comments Paul wrote: "Strangely perhaps, I don't differentiate. I can frequently read a book and not even realise it's by a woman. As long as it's a good book, I don't care ..."

I absolutely agree. In general the author's gender is irrelevant to me. I do, however have problems with books that obviously have a radical-feminist agenda, mainly because I have trouble identifying with the protagonist.




Werner Kernos, good question! (The first answer that comes to mind is that I don't have that problem, because if it's set in our world, it isn't fantasy; but of course that's circular reasoning, and I do know what you mean. :-)) For practical purposes, I classify a book with magic as fantasy if it's set at least partly in another world, like Feist's Faerie Tale, though much of it may be set in this world. Also, I classify something with magic as fantasy if it's set in an invented remote past, like the Lord of the Rings saga or Howard's Conan stories, or an invented remote future, like Brooks' Shannara series. Even if these are technically set on "Earth," it's not an Earth that resembles the actual one that we know. (And even though "urban fantasy" like de Lint's Newford books are set in this world, I defer to the popular "fantasy" classification in those cases.) Otherwise, I put the supernatural stories set in this world, like Rowling's, in the genre of "supernatural fiction" (a more accurate term that I like better than "horror.")


message 31: by keres (last edited Apr 20, 2009 10:16PM) (new)

keres | 2 comments Elizabeth Bear (Amsterdam; All the Windwracked Stars)

C.E. Murphy (Urban Shaman, Thunderbird Falls, etc)

Kat Richardson (Greywalker; Underground)

Anne Bishop (Black Jewels books; Tir Alainn trilogy; Ephemera books)

Laura Anne Gilman - Retrievers series

T.A. Pratt (Marla Mason books: Blood Engines; Poison Sleep, etc)

Emma Bull - War for the Oaks



Mawgojzeta "War for the Oaks" was great fun for me because it took place in the city I lived in at the time.


rebecca j (technophobe) | 2 comments Esther Friesner edited a series of fantasy short stories (the Chicks in Chainmail series) that had great short fantasy stories by many of the top women authors you have all listed.
I consider all my paranormal books (romance or not) to be fantasy, so I would include such authors as Sherrilyn Kenyon, Charlaine Harris, MaryJanice Davidson, Lori Handeland, Rebecca York, Patricia Briggs, Yasmine Galenorn, L.A. Banks, Deborah Cooke, Nalini Singh, Christine Feehan, Lynsay Sands, Katie MacAlister, and Maggie Shayne all good additions to the lists.
My two all-time favorites remain Andre Norton and Anne MacCaffrey.


Carolyn (seeford) rebecca j wrote: "I consider all my paranormal books (romance or not) to be fantasy..."

I agree!



Matt | 4 comments Looking back I really haven't read too much fantasy by women. No particular reason at all, either.

I'd like to add Lynn Flewelling. Her Tamir trilogy, starting with The Bone Doll's Twin was excellent.


Kaushalya | 3 comments Yes, as Werner says Patricia Wrede is a really great writer and I love the fact that she can write across styles - I am thinking of the Cecilia books vs the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. I also like Caroline Stevemeyer.


Nicholas Gourlay (NicholasGourlay) | 3 comments Although not as 'powerful' as a writer as Le Guin or Butler, Margaret Weis is a notable author.


Jim (JimMacLachlan) In the 'Authors mentioned in this topic', I didn't see Janny Wurts listed. She should be. I'm reading The Master of Whitestorm right now & it's fantastic. One of those books that makes me wish for a lot more reading time - NOW! Also, I really like her art work. She did the cover art for a lot of her books. She has them on her web site:
http://www.paravia.com/JannyWurts/web...
Well worth browsing through.


Cassie (CassieAE) | 1 comments I'll second Anne Bishop very enthusiastically! She's my favorite author of all time! I absolutely adore her Black Jewels Trilogy.

I also enjoyed a lot of the authors listed above, and would like to add:
Donna Gillespie (more historical fantasy - amazing!)
Anne Lesley Groell (Anvil of the Sun, etc)
Joanne Bertin (The Last Dragonlord)
Robin McKinley (more young adult than adult, but good)
Elizabeth Kerner (Song in the Silence)



Ariel | 1 comments I love Patricia Wrede's books. Her children's series on dragons was one I particularly enjoyed.


Greyweather | 53 comments Catherynne M. Valente's The Orphan's Tales are 2 of my favorite works of fantasy.

Emma Bull's Territory is as good as it gets.

Martha Wells has a bunch of excellent novels.

Lois McMaster Bujold has been mentioned before but she bears repeating.

Ursula K. Le Guin naturally, though her sci-fi is where I think she really shines.

Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is also excellent.


Tyrone (28daysearlier) I have to admit that generally i have struggled with female authors. I'm not sure why. So my list is quite small...

That said, these are all really strong entries, a couple of have already been mentioned but there are also a couple who haven't gotten any love yet;

Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman for the Dragonlance Chronicles and 'The Death Gate Cycle'.

Robin Hobb for the 'Farseer and Tawny Man Trilogies'.

Janny Wurts for the 'Empire Trilogy', some of my favourite of the Raymond E.Fiest Midkemia series, i think becuse of her contribution.

Like many i have enjoyed reading the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling

Susan Cooper for the brilliant 'Dark is Rising Sequence'


message 43: by Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (last edited Nov 21, 2011 05:19PM) (new)

Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (derek_broughton) Hmmm. Nice thread, but too many good points to respond to individually, since I only discovered it because of Tyrone's recent post. From the top:

Anne McCaffrey: restoree I don't know but will certainly check out - the Pern books don't count. Despite the dragons, they're presented as pure Science Fiction.

Lauren K. Hamilton Ugh. Porn dressed up as fantasy. I can get better porn and better fantasy elsewhere. I accidentally picked up one of hers in an airport after I swore I was never reading another. That's before I had GR on my phone. Really, never again...

But lest you think I'm picking on you Jim, Patricia A. McKillip's Riddle Master is a great series, and one of my favourites regardless of the gender of the author.

Marion Zimmer Bradley and Andre Norton are giants. I own most of their fantasy novels.

Tanya Huff: Fluff, but Canadian. Maybe I'd be more interested if she was writing about Halifax (my area) than Kingston...
Diana Gabaldon: See the Signal's Navigating NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. Apparently you can't have "Time Travel" without "Romance". Gag me...
Barbara Hambly DOES NOT WRITE ENOUGH! 'nuff said.
C.J. Cherryh Writes too much :-) I read everything she writes, except her blog which is serious TMI :-)
Katherine Kurtz: Did she ever do anything but the Deryni? I loved those, but surely she has other ideas?
Mary Stewart: It's a long time since I read them, but if you like Arthurian legend, Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy are absolute must-reads. I don't know that she's done anything else that qualifies as Fantasy, though.

Sheri S. Tepper: RUN, don't walk, to pick up anything Tepper writes. I think she's got more 5 star ratings on my list than any other author.

Elizabeth Moon: I enjoy her books, but the "it can't be good sex unless it's homosexual sex" gets pretty boring. Who'd a thought...

Octavia E. Butler definitely belongs on the list - though I would argue she's more SF than fantasy - but then I'd say the same of Le Guin, Norton, Cherryh, Bradley and McAffrey.

Dan's probably right to list Ursula Le Guin 3 times.

Margaret Weis Tracy Hickman: Hacks. Really, really, weak, formulaic, drivel. But otherwise I have no particular opinion... And now I'm going to have to go and be a Librarian and get rid of the ridiculous "author" who is "Margaret Weis Tracy Hickman". GR has standards, and they're two authors with the talent of less than one...

I really do need to check out Robin Hobb, though.


message 44: by Tyrone (last edited Nov 21, 2011 06:14PM) (new)

Tyrone (28daysearlier) Derek,

Always had a problem with Andre Norton. Don't know why but the couple of books i did pick up a long time ago just didn't do anything for me ...they seemed aimed at a younger audience than i was into at the time and i didn't get her obssesion with cats (or am i mixing her up with someone else) having just come off the back of the Thomas Covenant books. Maybe i just picked badly...

MW & TH - I agree to certain extent. I was obsessed with D&D at the time i read Chronicles so i just ate it up...never read many of the follow ups, although the few i did check out written by other people make the originals look like pulitzer prize material. I have to say though, i really liked the Death Gate Cycle. I thought they were quite original and decently written although i admit, it's been a while.

I keep meaning to pick up Grass by Sheri S. Tepper because i've heard so many good things about it.

Do check out Robin Hobb. I found her to be a breath of fresh air but it can depend on where you start with her books.

Me, i'd start at the begining with Assassin's Apprentice and work your way through the two trilogies then onto the Liveship books which are set in the same world and loosely linked. I know people who started with the 'Liveship Traders' books who didn't appreciate the 'Assassin' and 'Tawny Man' trilogies...

Never got around to the Lauren K. Hamilton books...they sound like something i would have enjoyed as a teenage boy...after all i remember fondly reading the War of the Powers books by Robert E. Vardeman. I also remember a series of books set on a planet called GOR which had very interesting covers. I had too much self respect to actually read any of those...


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (derek_broughton) Tyrone wrote: "Me, i'd start at the begining with Assassin's Apprentice and work your way through the two trilogies then onto the Liveship books which are set in the same world and loosely linked. I know people who started with the 'Liveship Traders' books who didn't appreciate the 'Assassin' and 'Tawny Man' trilogies... "

I originally heard about the 'Liveship Traders' series, but haven't been able to get hold of them, but Assassin's Apprentice is now on my to-read list.

I understand your feelings about Norton - she's old-school and hasn't held up well, but she was ground-breaking in her time. I just reread the first two Time Traders novels, and they're certainly not great SF but they're still fun and interesting. Her original Witch World novels were great fantasy.

I insist I have never read all any of John Norman's Gor books...


message 46: by Kernos (last edited Nov 26, 2011 06:21AM) (new)

Kernos | 115 comments Anne McCaffrey:...the Pern books don't count. Despite the dragons, they're presented as pure Science Fiction..."

I read these as they were 1st published and they had the feel of pure fantasy to me. IE, until the excavations on the Southern continent appeared and they became SF. Still some of the interlaced trilogies (like the Harper trilogy) felt like fantasy, some like SF. I tend to put these into both categories.

Derek wrote: "...Elizabeth Moon: I enjoy her books, but the "it can't be good sex unless it's homosexual sex" gets pretty boring. Who'd a thought......"

I like Moon, but I like Storm Constantine better, I think. The Wraeththu series is so imaginative and well written. As an aside, when one is Gay one gets tired of the inevitable straight sex or romance (esp in movies). Mercedes Lackey did a great job in the Last Herald Mage series, in this regard and had a good mix of straight and Gay relationships.

Weis and Hickman did/do do formula fiction, I agree, but some are just fun and entertaining. I sometime need easy escapist fiction after being immersed in a Wurts, Delany, Atwood... and other more literary works, mainstream or genre. They are like reading Star Wars or Star Trek novels for me. Pure fun, not intellectually stimulating, don't require outside research or deep thought.

The others I completely agree.


Tyrone (28daysearlier) Anne McCaffrey

Considering the thread i thought that is might be appropriate to mention that the Sci-fi fantasy author Anne McCaffrey died on Monday at her home in Ireland.

I didn't really read her books but i know a lot of my friends did. I thought it would be appropriate for those of you who did to maybe talk about hers books some more...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/books...


message 48: by T (new)

T | 2 comments 2 of my favorite sci fi women writers are Rob Thurman and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Lots of action and not too much mush.


message 49: by L.S. (last edited Nov 23, 2011 04:17PM) (new)


Marc (AuthorGuy) | 112 comments Derek wrote: "Elizabeth Moon: I enjoy her books, but the "it can't be good sex unless it's homosexual sex" gets pretty boring. Who'd a thought..."

I've never read an Elizabeth Moon book with homosexual sex in it. Kylara Vatta, Esmay Suiza, and Heris Serrano all had male partners.


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