The Sword and Laser discussion

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In search for an old school fantasy

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message 1: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov (darthsparhawk) When I was young, I grew up as a fantasy fan with the novels of JRR Tolkien and Terry Brooks and they are still dear to my heart. In these day I read mostly YA stuff (I dislike immensely fat and cynical fantasy series) and some media-related stuff, but I'm curious whether I can find a good epic oldschool fantasy series. If you can help me, I'd very very glad, although it won't be easy. I have read so far:
- The Inheritance Series by Christopher Paolini
Loved "Eragon", liked "Eldest" and was bored from "Brisingr".
- The Iron Tower Trilogy by Dennis L. McKiernan
Liked it very much, but Dennis has way too much descriptions for my taste, especially in the later novels.
- Forgotten Realms and DragonLance novels
Some are lovely, other atrocious.
- Memory, Sorrow and Thorn
WAY TOO slow-moving!
- The Riftwar Saga
Which is amazing, one of my favorites.
- The Belgariad Saga
and all Eddings series. Great fun, in my opinion.

Thank you in advance!


message 2: by Nathan (last edited Jan 06, 2011 07:20AM) (new)

Nathan | 21 comments If you haven't read the Kingpriest trilogy from Dragonlance, do try and find a copy of the books as it is quite good. (Chosen of the Gods Divine Hammer Sacred Fire) The Legend of Huma is my favorite standalone Dragonlance book. You may look into , Garth Nix. I'm not sure how cynical they are (as I haven't read them, hoping they arrive for my birthday) but Hawkwood and the Kings and Century of the Soldier are the omnibus collection of the Monarchies of the God series. Five books for twenty dollars at full price ain't too bad, and quite short for epic fantasy. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay is a large novel, but it is anything but cynical. The Mistborn Trilogy Boxed Set by Brandon Sanderson is also enjoyable, and although can be a bit gloomy is not cynical in the end.

Hope that helps, or at the very least after you have looked at the novels tells you to never listen to any advice from me again ;)


message 3: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov (darthsparhawk) Is the Kingpriest trilogy any good? I have missed it somehow. I loved Legend of Huma - in my opinion it is the best Dragonlance novel, if not the best Dungeons and Dragons novel (I have mixed feelings about Weis and Hickman and although I like Salvatore a lot, his novels are not as epic as Huma).
I have read Garth Nix - the Old Kingdom series and the first two Keys to Kingdom novels. They are cool, but more like YA.
I have checked Sanderson and Kearney too, but somehow they don't interest me. Honestly I'd like to see something real old school, like Brooks or McKiernan - with heroes, villains and journeys trough dangerous lands full with awesome monsters. These days fantasy is stoo much about politics and you read 20 books to find out that the villain is actually misunderstood. Yuck :D


message 4: by Tina (last edited Jan 06, 2011 07:57AM) (new)

Tina (javabird) | 722 comments Darth, you have discovered the problem with loving JRR Tolkien: nothing else quite compares. Finishing The Lord of the Rings for me was like watching Star Wars for the first time in the theatre (Episode IV A New Hope) -it's so good, you don't want it to end. I guess that's why I keep re-reading The Lord of the Rings every few years.

(Of course, sometimes good things come to those who wait, and after 3 years we had The Empire Strikes Back...)


message 5: by Bill (last edited Jan 06, 2011 08:00AM) (new)

Bill | 116 comments I think you covered three of the top with Tolkien, Books, and Eddings. (Belgarath is one of my favorite characters in fantasy)

If you love epic worldbuilding, and don't mind an initially unlikable anti-hero as the focus, try Thomas Covenant and the Unbeliever series, starting with Lord Foul's Bane.

If you don't mind a series that starts good, but peters off, try The Sword of Truth series, starting with Wizard's First Rule and the Wheel of Time series, starting with The Eye of the World

And for something charming, original, and just darn good, try the 18th-century-tinged, biopunk, monster-filled Foundling's Tale series, starting with Foundling


message 6: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov (darthsparhawk) I have read Donaldson, Jordan and Goodkind.
Tina, at the beginning, when I discovered Shannara, the Riftwar and the Belgariad I was OK. Later, it got very hard to find good oldschool fantasy. :(
Bill, I disliked the Lord Foul's Bane. I couldn't relate with Thomas. I found him pompous whiner. I know that he is an impossible situation and has the right to be a pompous whiner, but totally dislike unlikeable characters. Add to this the slow pace and the long descriptions and I was lost to the cause.
With the Wheel of Time the things are more complicated. I enjoyed the original two novels tremendously. They are a tad feminist to my taste, but still well written and very enjoyable. The dreams of Bhaálzamon for example were horrific and terrible. But later in the series, the pace slowed to a crawl. The saga focused on characters which were horribly annoying to me. Finally, I quit.
About Goodkind, same as Jordan, but only worse. I found his use of violence to be disgusting and the ethics he propagands in his novels to be questionable.
The Foundling sounds cool, I might give it a try when I need something YA :)

Many thanks for the quick answers!


message 7: by Nathan (new)

Nathan | 21 comments Darth wrote: "Is the Kingpriest trilogy any good? I have missed it somehow. I loved Legend of Huma - in my opinion it is the best Dragonlance novel, if not the best Dungeons and Dragons novel (I have mixed feeli..."

I agree with you on Legend on Huma and the Kingpriest trilogy is my favorite Dragonlance trilogy. Sadly they might be somewhat hard to find.


message 8: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov (darthsparhawk) If I find them, I'll give them a chance :) Or I may re-read the Legend - really strong novel. I like other works by Richard Knaak as well, especially his Warcraft and Diablo novels.


message 9: by Bill (last edited Jan 06, 2011 08:23AM) (new)

Bill | 116 comments Oh, I forgot the Malazan series, starting with Gardens of the Moon. Talk about epic. Though it may be a bit too thick, complicated, and vast for some. As well as sometimes dark and bloody.


message 10: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov (darthsparhawk) I have read the 1st book. I don't like that kind of fantasy stories. Still, many thanks for the reccomendation. :)


message 11: by Brad Theado (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments "If you haven't read the Kingpriest trilogy from Dragonlance, do try and find a copy of the books as it is quite good"

Thinking anything from the Dragonlance series as being old school fantasy made me spew diet pepsi all over my laptop. Those came out while I was an adult. Sometimes I feel old reading these posts.


message 12: by Eric (new)

Eric Gardner | 113 comments Frist of all http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rXEQN...

Here's a series I never see getting any talk: The First Book of Swords

It's a trilogy which is continued by a further set of 8 books which starts wtih: The First Book of Lost Swords: Woundhealer's Story


message 13: by Nathan (new)

Nathan | 21 comments Brad wrote: ""If you haven't read the Kingpriest trilogy from Dragonlance, do try and find a copy of the books as it is quite good"

Thinking anything from the Dragonlance series as being old school fantasy mad..."


Well, if it makes you feel any better, I think by "old" Darth was seeking stories that are more black and white and less gray as many popular new series are today.

Also Darth, not sure if you have read or looked into
Swords and Deviltry although maybe less epic than you are looking for.


message 14: by Bill (new)

Bill | 116 comments Eric wrote: "Here's a series I never see getting any talk: The First Book of Swords "

I read the first one back in the 80s. I seem to remember that was the only one that was out. I do remember looking forward to the next, but lost track. However, I wonder if I would enjoy the rest of the series now.


message 15: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6386 comments Guy Gavriel Kay actually helped edit Tolkein's The Silmarillion, so maybe he's old school. *shrug*


message 16: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov (darthsparhawk) Have read Kay, didn't like his books.
About Fritz Leiber, "Ill Met in Lankhmar" is absolutely brilliant. Best swords and sorcery tale ever, IMO. But the rest... meh.
I did not like Saberhagen's swords stories.
I think, however, that I found something interesting - a series of stories by an author called Michael Scot Rohan, about a land, covered with ice. Raymond E. Feist recommends the series and I might give it a try.
Any opinions?


message 17: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov (darthsparhawk) BTW, as in my other thread, "Books in the vein of Star Wars", I may give the impression of a very obnoxius person who likes nothing. Sorry to all posters here... I really appreciate your help.


message 18: by Eric (new)

Eric Gardner | 113 comments I'll read The Anvil of Ice today and see what I think...


message 19: by Brad Theado (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments The reference to Fritz leiber made me think of Tales From the Vulgar Unicorn The Thieves World books were wonderful reads for the first 8 books or so.


message 20: by Matthew (last edited Jan 07, 2011 01:44PM) (new)

Matthew Cranley | 20 comments Some recomendations :
Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn
Circle of Light : Book 1 of the Chronicles of the Custodians by Martin Middleton
The Wayfarer Redemption by Sara Douglass
also have you read the Death Gate Cycle?

Hope these help


message 21: by Eric (last edited Jan 08, 2011 04:50AM) (new)

Eric Gardner | 113 comments I read The Anvil of Ice yesterday and it is ok. I gave 4 stars, but it's more like 3.5. The elements are there: humans, dwarves, elves, dragons and various other monsters. With a "damn icebergs are a'comin" theme on top.

That said I will go on to the rest of the series since my voracious hunger for books knows no limits.


message 22: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov (darthsparhawk) Eric wrote: "I read The Anvil of Ice yesterday and it is ok. I gave 4 stars, but it's more like 3.5. The elements are there: humans, dwarves, elves, dragons and various other monsters. With a ..."

Eric, thanks a lot! It seems that this is a series I will definetly read! I have a Star Wars novel to read first, but after it I''ll read the Anvil novel!


message 23: by Geoff (new)

Geoff (buyerofgadgets) | 12 comments I recommend The Misplaced Legion. It's the first in a series of four books called the Videssos Cycle and for me it is up there with the Riftwar Saga as my favourite fantasy series


message 24: by Tom (new)

Tom (tomcamp) | 34 comments I haven't read fantasy books for some time, but I read the The Sword of Shannara Trilogy a long, long time ago and love it.


message 25: by Gordon (new)

Gordon McLeod (mcleodg) | 347 comments Tom wrote: "I haven't read fantasy books for some time, but I read the The Sword of Shannara Trilogy a long, long time ago and love it."

Brooks is one of my all-time favorites, especially The Elfstones of Shannara. Every time I think I'm getting over fantasy and going exclusively sci-fi, I remember Elfstones and realize that that will never happen.


message 26: by Bill (new)

Bill | 116 comments I read the first two Shannara books (Sword and Elfstones) back in the 80s and loved them. I may have even read the third. But I don't know if I would enjoy them, or the rest of them now. I don't remember how good Brooks' writing is. But if I was to revisit, what order would anyone recommend, assuming I would skip the first two.


message 27: by Gordon (new)

Gordon McLeod (mcleodg) | 347 comments Skip Sword since you've read it before. Elfstones is worth rereading over and over, so don't skip that one. Then go on in publication order from there.


message 28: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov (darthsparhawk) I agree with Gord. The Elfstones are the best place to start.


message 29: by Derek (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments One of my favorite YA fantasy series is The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan. Another good one to check out is Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage


message 30: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov (darthsparhawk) I have read the first Ranger's Apprentice, good, fun novel, but it didn't cause me to read the next installments. Same about Septimus, although I have read the first two novels.


message 31: by Derek (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments Darth wrote: "I have read the first Ranger's Apprentice, good, fun novel, but it didn't cause me to read the next installments. Same about Septimus, although I have read the first two novels."

Try reading more of both series, they get better as you go.


message 32: by Al (new)

Al | 159 comments Have you tried way old school stuff, eg The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian. If that appeals there's the whole world of the early pulps. No orcs or elves, though.


message 33: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov (darthsparhawk) My topic was more about elves and dwarves-type fantasy, but yes, I have read the stories about Conan, of Howard and his successors too. I prefer Conan as older and smarter character, but honestly Fafrd and Grey Mouser are a bit cooler IMO. But I don't like Barbarian characters very much. In Forgotten Realms for example I like Drizzt and not Wulfgar.


message 34: by Tim (last edited Jan 10, 2011 09:11AM) (new)

Tim (zerogain) | 93 comments Hey Darth, if you haven't found them yet I strongly suggest the Slayer series from Black Library. They're set in the Warhammer Old World, but a more fantastical version than the straight up wargame. The series follows the adventures of the Slayer Gotrek, a dwarf who sinned horribly and may only atone by finding his death in honorable combat, and Felix, his human rememberer who has sworn to stand by his side and record his Doom so that all may know.

Unfortunately for Gotrek, and thousands of his enemies, he doesn't seem to be able to die. After all, his atonement is not to give up in a fight, but to sell his life dearly. No one's managed to pay the butcher's bill yet.

The series starts with a collection of short stories named Trollslayer, and continues onward from there. You can find the first three books in an omnibus these days.

Loads of fun.

Gotrek & Felix: The First Omnibus (Warhammer)


message 35: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov (darthsparhawk) Hah, I thought about that books! They sound like a lot of fun and I am a fan of Games Workshop and Warhammer, although I prefer the futuristic setting and the tragic and twisted Eldar!


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