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Recommendations for books with immortal character(s)

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message 1: by James (new)

James (jamespeck) | 10 comments I don't know why but I'm kind of a sucker for characters that have some kind of extended life/immortality ability.

I have read the Brent Weeks' Night Angel trilogy and Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles. I even have been watching 'Forever' on ABC even though its not very good.

Any suggestions on what I should read next? I would prefer Fantasy, but Sci-Fi is fine too.


message 2: by Brendan (new)

Brendan (mistershine) | 930 comments Have you checked out the Castle Circle series by Steph Swainston? The first book is The Year Of Our War, its a fantasy about a group of immortals (they can be killed by violence but they don't age) fighting off extra-dimensional bugs.


message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael (michaeldiack) | 96 comments The Dwarves

I really enjoyed Markus Heitz' The Dwarves series as it contains the 'Alfar' or dark elves. These guys are seriously evil elves and, being elven, live forever. I really liked the different angle to the elves being evil and not all goody-two-shoes and reciting poems and singing songs like in conventional fantasy.


message 4: by Michele (new)

Michele | 1154 comments There's The Belgariad series by David Eddings.


message 5: by Trike (last edited Jan 28, 2015 03:02AM) (new)

Trike | 8503 comments I'm not sure I can even recommend specific SF books without giving away the fact one or more of the characters is immortal, other than ones where the immortal person is a side character, such as the Eternal Emperor in the Sten series or the Gou'ald and Wraith in Stargate. Immortality in SF protagonists tends to be a plot twist.

I suppose Zelazny's This Immortal is spoiled by the title. Diaspora by Greg Egan deals with the "uploaded mind" type of immortality.

On the fantasy side, there's the web serial The Zombie Knight, which is about a guy who is granted immortality by the Grim Reaper in exchange for doing some work for him.


message 6: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8503 comments Oh, duh... totally forgot the superb Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, which has two immortals who contest with each other across the eras, each with a different style of immortality.


message 7: by Phil (new)

Phil | 1140 comments Time Enough for Love by Heinlein is my favourite all time book. While not strictly immortal, the main character is 2000 years old.
The Riverworld series by Philip Jose Farmer. Every person that ever lived on Earth is resurrected on Riverworld and if they get killed they just get resurrected again the next day.
The Lord of the Rings. Elves and others are immortal.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman.


message 8: by Dharmakirti (last edited Jan 28, 2015 09:22AM) (new)

Dharmakirti | 942 comments The classic Chinese novel Journey To the West contains a number of Taoist immortals.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)


message 10: by Kevin (last edited Jan 28, 2015 11:08AM) (new)

Kevin | 701 comments The Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman have a lot of that going on. They're mostly about characters called The Endless, they're "older than the Sun, older than Gods."


message 11: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3961 comments Seconding Time Enough for Love. Going really old school with the same character, Methuselah's Children is pretty good.

Also, it may be just me, but I'm a sucker for the Thor in comics. There is plenty of "relative immortality" in those and a lot of casual references to events hundreds or thousands of years old, adding to the common place feel of that immortality to the Asgardians. Any decent sized library system will have collections of Thor comics you can get within the system or on inter library loan.


message 12: by Jef (new)

Jef | 2 comments Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series has lots of gods, ascendants, and races that are seemingly immortal or at least very long lived.


message 13: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8503 comments I've never read them, but isn't Michael Moorcock's Elric immortal? Or quasi-immortal? I know there's something about trying all his series together into an over-arching "Eternal Champion" tale, but I've never read it.

I know that Brandon Sanderson's Elric knock-off Warbreaker has immortal characters, but the story takes place over a short time frame so you don't get a sense of them being ageless.


message 14: by Brendan (new)

Brendan (mistershine) | 930 comments If I recall correctly Elric isn't immortal, but Melniboneans do live 2-3 times longer than humans since they're basically elves.

The Eternal Champion is more of an archetype than one character, they live and die normally.


message 15: by Alan (new)

Alan | 534 comments Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and any other vampire or werewolf fantasy book where they are the protagonists might also scratch the same itch ...

Trike's suggestion of This Immortal certainly works, as does a lot Zelazny (e.g., the Amber Chronicles, Lord of Light, Creatures of Light and Darkness, Isle of the Dead) ... He was really drawn to characters that had lived long enough to be world-weary beyond normal human measure.


message 16: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4144 comments There's a character that runs through Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and then his Baroque Cycle books.

The Baroque Cycle books in particular seem to be difficult for people to get into, though I quite enjoyed the historical fiction. And the common character added a little depth to the story.


message 17: by Dharmakirti (new)

Dharmakirti | 942 comments terpkristin wrote: "There's a character that runs through Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and then his Baroque Cycle books.

The Baroque Cycle books in particular seem to be difficult for peop..."


Enoch Root was my favorite character from Cryptonomicon and when I heard he was in the Baroque Cycle I went out and bought the series but I haven't read them yet. I hope to at least start the series this year.


message 18: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1555 comments Not to mention the other family name that appears in both.


message 19: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4144 comments Indeed. But that's not really an immortal character per se. ;)


message 20: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay | 593 comments The Boat of a Million Years by Poul Anderson is my favorite on this theme. Follows an immortal through the first millennium AD into our future and space travel. It captures the crushing loneliness of this sort of existence very well.


message 21: by Pat (new)

Pat (patthebadger) | 100 comments Moorcock's The Dancers at the End of Time is the first thing that springs to mind - not sure if it's the kind of fantasy you're looking for though


message 22: by Thane (new)

Thane | 476 comments Trike wrote: "I suppose Zelazny's This Immortal is spoiled by the title. ..."

Zelazny's The Great Book of Amber(Chronicles of Amber) should also fit the bill. Though, super long lived doesn't mean unkillable.

I should probably just set up a key on my keyboard to add "Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber," since it's what I recommend 90% of the time.


message 23: by kvon (new)

kvon | 562 comments The Incrementalists has a small society of people with serial immortality, and how they interact with short-lived people.


message 24: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay | 593 comments I just thought of another classic that tackles the subject, but in terms of how you would accomplish immortality through cloning and brainwashing/guided education: Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh. Of course there's a lot more to it than that (the book won a Hugo after all), but that's a key part of the story.


message 25: by Joanna Chaplin (new)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments Alan wrote: "Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and any other vampire or werewolf fantasy book where they are the protagonists might also scratch the same itch"

On the subject of vampires, The Vampire Tapestry is about an extremely long-lived blood drinker. The author seems to have made a solid attempt at making such a being at least vaguely plausible. That part was interesting to me, although I had some trouble following psychoanalysis practices I had never heard of before and that seemed pseudosciencey to me.


message 26: by Robobobo (new)

Robobobo I just had a look at The Boat of a Million Years and found this list that could give you a few more ideas what to read: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/5...

And then there's Orlando by Virginia Woolf. It's not strictly fantasy, but judging by the film (I know, I know ... it's on my to-read list!) it could be of interest to anyone who likes speculative fiction/fantasy.


message 27: by Kevin (last edited Jan 30, 2015 08:01AM) (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 1081 comments The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore is a good recommendation as the main character is a Dark Elf, Drizzt, who is my favorite character. He is one of best swordsman and is filled with integrity. The story has been going on for over 25 years with about a book a year.


message 28: by Joanna Chaplin (new)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments Robobobo wrote: "I just had a look at The Boat of a Million Years and found this list that could give you a few more ideas what to read: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/5......"

Dude, there's a list for it? I wonder what other lists exist? Goodreads is like Excel for me. I know I'm probably only seeing and using a small portion of what it is capable of.


message 29: by Brendan (new)

Brendan (mistershine) | 930 comments This has reminded me to pick up Wild Seed. Octavia Butler's great.


message 30: by James (new)

James (jamespeck) | 10 comments Thanks for the suggestions! I have read many of the ones mentioned but I have a bunch of books to check out. I have been meaning to try out Neal Stephenson, but haven't found any thing that grabbed me. So I think I will start with either or Neal Stephenson or Octavia Butler.


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