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ABOUT BOOKS AND READING > Sci-fi and Fantasy - Recommendations for the newbie in this genre?

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message 1: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Dec 31, 2008 10:13AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I have to confess that I haven't done much reading in this genre. However, I'll like to dip my toe into this ocean of reading. What book would you recommend for the newbie in this genre?

I must say that too many characters are a turn off for me. I did read _The Hobbit_ and enjoyed it, but when it came to LOTR, I bailed out.

Another thing, strange sounding names are also a turn-off for me.
I supposed I'll have to get used to them.

Are there any "easy" starters you might recommend?
PS-I've always loved fairy tales. Still do.
Anybody remember "Let's Pretend" on the radio years ago? :)

message 2: by Jim (last edited Jan 01, 2009 05:44PM) (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6330 comments Knowing that even John Grisham's books can be too close to the edge for you, I'll recommend some that I think are pretty mild, but good. No gratuitous sex or violence. All the books I suggest have minimal weirdness in names & minimal characters. Both confuse me, too.

This Immortal by Roger Zelazny is a science fiction book, kind of. Lots of Greek mythology, but set in the future & has some aliens. This might be my favorite book of all time.

If you liked The Three Musketeers, Steven Brust wrote The Phoenix Guards in the same style as Dumas. There are several other books after that which eventually lead to another series he wrote, but this book stands pretty well alone. Brokedown Palace isn't in the same style, but is another kind of fairy tale of his. Hungarian mythology, which is kind of interesting.

For an adventure in science fiction, On Basilisk Station by David Weber is great. The heroine, Honor Harrington, is a starship captain who does the next right thing. I'll warn you that there are a dozen books. You don't have to read the next one, but you might want to. I did. Both times I read the series. Excellent! You'll love her pet, too.

L.E. Modesitt Jr. writes a lot of fantasy & SF without sex & violence. I love his Recluse series which starts with The Towers of the Sunset. This isn't the first in the chronology, but the first he published & he recommends that you read them in that order. So do I & my family for the first read. A second read in chronological order is good, though. He also wrote The Soprano Sorceress: The First Book of the Spellsong Cycle which is followed by a few other books. You really don't have to read further in either series, though.

A very light, quick fantasy is Spellsinger by Alan Dean Foster. There are several other books there, too. Lots of funny characters.

That should be enough to get you started. I might have reviews on them. You'll also be able to find more about them at Just look up the author. Most have links to other web sites, too. Or try Amazon. I'm sure all of these have reviews there, too.

message 3: by Nina (new)

Nina | 6069 comments Hi Joy,

One of my Saturday chores was to dust the railings in our dining room and the dining room furniture so when it was finished I could turn on the radio and listen to my heart's content to LETS PRETEND..nina

message 4: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 02, 2009 09:00AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim - Thank you so much for your recommendations. Not only have I bookmarked them, but I've copied and pasted your entire posting into an HTML email addressed to myself so that I'll have the links for future reference.

Sooner or later I will try those books out. I'll probably start with _Spellsinger_, "light" and "quick".

Speaking of light and quick books, have you read _My French Whore_ by Gene Wilder? Cover-link here:===>
My French Whore by Gene Wilder
My French Whore

It's not about sex. So don't worry. It's not quite a fantasy, but hovers near the line. If you like Gene Wilder, you'll like this book.

Thanks so much for the recommendations.

message 5: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Hi Nina!
How nice to find someone who remembers the radio program, "Let's Pretend".

I've found a website where one can listen to an episode. It's at: ====>

You can even hear the musical theme they used at the beginning and end of the program.

I used to listen to "Let's Pretend" while scrubbing the kitchen floor. Those were the days.

message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6330 comments I have a bunch of Old Time Radio programs. Mostly I like the SF ones; Dimension X, X Minus 1, 2000 Plus & others. I've listened to a bunch of others though.

I haven't read My French Whore by Gene Wilder. I'll put it on my list. Thanks.

message 7: by Robin (last edited Jan 02, 2009 05:38AM) (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 3 comments Joy, I sent you a private message but here are some others that I would recommend:

Stardust - Very fariy taleish
Faerie Wars - YA but good
Mistborn: The Final Empire
The Amulet of Samarkand - Also YA and good
The Name of the Wind
The Crown Conspiracy

And of course I highly recommnd the Harry Potter series.

In full disclosure for those that don't know me the last one is a shameless promotion of my husband's book but it does "fit the bill".

message 8: by Robin (last edited Jan 02, 2009 05:40AM) (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 3 comments Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "Another thing, strange sounding names are also a turn-off for me. I supposed I'll have to get used to them."

In the "old days" that was true - and it is a pet-peeve of many today there is a lot of fantasy that does not get wrapped up in archaic and hard to pronounce words and phrases.

message 9: by Jackie (last edited Jan 02, 2009 06:27AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments Joy,
If you like fairy tales, you will love this one, Beauty, Sheri S. Tepper weaves a tapestry of fairytales, linking Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White in a timeless fantasy.
It transported me to the Realm of Fae and I was completely immersed in the novel. Sympathetic characters made it easy to love. One of the rare times I gave a 5 star rating.
I see Stardust mentioned above and that was an excellent read too. I hated the Amulet of Samarkand but I gave the second in the series a chance. Hated that too and never bothered getting the last one. Just a matter of taste.
Zelazny is a great author, Asimov too. I'd read anything by either one of them.

message 10: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 02, 2009 08:28AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Robin - Thanks for the recommendations. I've saved them for future reference.

Welcome to our group. It's nice to see you here!
Now we have 2 Robins, one from VA and one from MA. :)

Good luck to your husband with his new book, cover-link below: ====>
The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan
I'll read your email soon and reply to it. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you at our group.

message 11: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jackie - Thanks for the recommendation of _Beauty_ by Sheri S. Tepper. I've saved that too.

Not only do I bookmark recommendations, but I also copy and paste the post into an HTML email addressed to myself. Then I mark it unread so that I won't forget about it. That's how I use the items in my Inbox as reminders. :) After all, I'm always looking in my Inbox. :)

Of course I could always come back to this topic and reread the recommendations. (I just thought of that.) Maybe I'll bookmark this topic. :)

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