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View Full Version : Buzzfeed's "The 51 Best Fantasy Series Ever Written."


Res_Ipsa
08-20-2015, 09:47 PM
Thoughts? I am using the list as a recommendation list to look at other series I have not read. I can ignore the problems with how high some of these books are listed in my opinion.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/fantasy-forever?utm_term=.chZ40ldMw5#.vyEjOMKW7

Kimon
08-20-2015, 10:06 PM
Thoughts? I am using the list as a recommendation list to look at other series I have not read. I can ignore the problems with how high some of these books are listed in my opinion.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/fantasy-forever?utm_term=.chZ40ldMw5#.vyEjOMKW7

They're not a fan of WoT (25th) or Malazan (26). I've read surprisingly few of the series on this list. Heck, I've heard of surprisingly few of these series. Surprised to see The Once and Future King. If that is included as a "series", it deserves to be way higher on the list than 42nd. A few other oddities. Narnia and Harry Potter should both be way higher. I've never heard of his top spot, The Kingkiller Chronicles, and while I've really liked Sanderson's Stormlight Archive, it is nowhere near complete, and has too few books to judge it as a whole so favorably compared to many of these completed works, at least in my opinion. Also not sure why it would be ranked so much higher than Mistborn, which was great, and complete. Shannara coming in at 9 is a pretty bad sign as well. My opinion - meh.

rand
08-20-2015, 11:05 PM
Kingkiller Chronicles by Rothfuss is good, but he has the same work ethic (ie incredibly slow) as GRRM. I'd definitely recommend it though, as books 1 and 2 of the trilogy are already out.

I've never understood why unfinished series keep making (and topping) these lists. I mean, I can sort of understand Kingkiller and asoiaf being there, as they're at least almost done--well, hopefully. But Stormlight? There's only 2 books out lol. Maybe put it on a top 50 list 10 years from now, but when 80% of the series isn't even done it shouldn't even be there at all, IMO.

Not sure how Paolini made it on there. Also, maybe this is just me, but I hated Lev Grossman's Magicians (the first one, haven't read the others). It's like he decided to write adult versions of Narnia and Harry Potter without realizing that other authors (GGK and Rothfuss, respectively) had already done so...and done much better too, IMO.

GonzoTheGreat
08-21-2015, 03:01 AM
Not sure how Paolini made it on there.
Probably to balance out Goodkind.

There are a number of good series on there, but also a bunch of lousy ones. All in all, while it may be a useful list to find unknown series you might want to consider trying, it isn't a list that guarantees quality.

Daekyras
08-21-2015, 05:05 AM
Probably to balance out Goodkind.

There are a number of good series on there, but also a bunch of lousy ones. All in all, while it may be a useful list to find unknown series you might want to consider trying, it isn't a list that guarantees quality.

That....That. ..may be the worst list I've ever seen of fantasy series.

My reading has tailed off a lot as I've gotten older but I have thrown a hand to a lot of those and his top twenty is ludicrous.

Take the kingkiller chronicles. It is good. Very good. But to give it top spot when two books published and maybe one more to come? Silly.

It makes me wonder what the criteria for selection was?

And has anyone else read the riddle master trilogy? It is not good but makes top 11. I really don't get the love some people have for Brent weeks and Peter Brett either.

GonzoTheGreat
08-21-2015, 06:27 AM
And has anyone else read the riddle master trilogy? It is not good but makes top 11.
I liked it, but I do think that the first book was the best. The author didn't quite manage to make the idea behind it last for the whole series. Getting a good book (or series) to end is often a problem, and a less than good ending affects the overall value of the work.

Weird Harold
08-21-2015, 07:01 AM
There are a number of good series on there, but also a bunch of lousy ones. All in all, while it may be a useful list to find unknown series you might want to consider trying, it isn't a list that guarantees quality.

I'm surprised that Dennis McKiernan didn't make the list. Any of the trilogies, duologies, singles, or the entire Mithgar universe are more worthy than about half of the list.

Glen Cook's Garret the Detective series is far better Fantasy than the hack'n'slash morbidity of the Black Company series -- if Glen Cook must be on the list for some reason.

Several series by Piers Anthony -- Xanth, Incarnation of Immortality, Apprentice Adept -- are worthy of a "top fifty" list.

David Eddings' Belgariad belongs on the list -- and/or his other works.

In fact, this list seems to be fairly heavily weighted towards violence and dark fantasy and still misses some of the better series from the seventies, eighties and nineties. Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series, for example.

Tamyrlin
08-21-2015, 10:56 AM
...when I finally have time to read. And this list interests me too because my free reading time is normally spent reading to my 11 year old and my almost 9 year old.

http://www.listchallenges.com/100-fiction-books-all-children-should-read

Some of these I want to reread before reading with them, and some I just want to read for the first time.

Daekyras
08-21-2015, 12:11 PM
...when I finally have time to read. And this list interests me too because my free reading time is normally spent reading to my 11 year old and my almost 9 year old.

http://www.listchallenges.com/100-fiction-books-all-children-should-read

Some of these I want to reread before reading with them, and some I just want to read for the first time.

Hey tam, did you decide to let your 11 year old read the Wheel?

As for that list you posted- a lot of those novels would fly over most children and young adults heads.

GonzoTheGreat
08-21-2015, 12:29 PM
As for that list you posted- a lot of those novels would fly over most children and young adults heads.
Reading them A Modest Proposal may help with getting the kids to behave, though.

Weird Harold
08-21-2015, 12:39 PM
As for that list you posted- a lot of those novels would fly over most children and young adults heads.

I read almost everything on that list published before 1968 in class as an "English Lit," "American Lit" or "Modern Problems" assignment in Jr and Sr high school (grades 7 through 12.)

Ozymandias
08-21-2015, 02:41 PM
Kingkiller Chronicles by Rothfuss is good, but he has the same work ethic (ie incredibly slow) as GRRM. I'd definitely recommend it though, as books 1 and 2 of the trilogy are already out.

I've never understood why unfinished series keep making (and topping) these lists. I mean, I can sort of understand Kingkiller and asoiaf being there, as they're at least almost done--well, hopefully. But Stormlight? There's only 2 books out lol. Maybe put it on a top 50 list 10 years from now, but when 80% of the series isn't even done it shouldn't even be there at all, IMO.


I am going to disagree with you here. First off, the Kingkiller Chronicles was first published in 2007 (Name of the Wind). That is 9 years for three book, assuming a 2016 publication for the Doors of Stone, which is a long time, but not nearly the 20 years it took GRRM to get from his 1996 Game of Thrones publication to a presumed 2016 release of Winds of Winter.

Secondly, and more importantly... Rothfuss is a far superior author, from a technical standpoint, than GRRM. Martin may have built the most impressive fantasy world in the history of literature, but his prose isn't exactly packed with layers of meaning. In fact, he himself admits that his delays have not been due to the editing process and refining his work, but because he wrote himself into plot corners he couldn't subsequently get out of (most famously his Meereenese knot).

Rothfuss, by contract, spends years editing and improving his text, which is why his books are so much more of a joy to read multiple times. One author is incapable of sitting down and sorting through the problems plaguing his work, the other is incapable of getting up and ceasing to improve his work. Perhaps they both take too long to publish, but there is a difference between the two; the latter demands more respect, and more patience, than the former.

Long story short, Rothfuss is probably my favorite SFF author. He is absolutely brilliant. You read some of his dialogue and it suddenly strikes you that the speaker is talking in rhyming couplets, and has been for pages, in a way so organic that you barely notice. That the world building is so complete that the entire process is so natural and expected as to be barely noticeable.

Besides which, things which SFF authors like GRRM (and especially RJ) often handwave over, like economics and travel and other mundane items, Rothfuss has mastered.

EDIT: Also, was anyone else amused by the fact that the author of that article referred to the Sword of Truth series as a dedication to world-building? If there has ever been an author who was just making shit up and retconning the hell out of every aspect of his/her work to a greater degree than Terry Goodkind, I have yet to read their work. More accurate would be "a simpleton's slavish imitation of Ayn Rand in a poorly constructed fantasy world".

Kimon
08-21-2015, 02:54 PM
As for that list you posted- a lot of those novels would fly over most children and young adults heads.

I've, like WH, read far more of the books on this list (42 out of the 100) than on that buzzfeed fantasy list. Tam's list was basically a Modern Great Books Curriculum, so not surprising that I read most of them in school. And there were far fewer on Tam's list than on that Buzzfeed that I'd never heard of. I am somewhat surprised at the absence of Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim from Tam's list. You'd just need to add Shakespeare, some of the Greek plays, the Odyssey, and lots of English poetry and you'd basically have the usual suspects for selection for the Honors track through middle and high school in America.

Terez
08-21-2015, 03:23 PM
Kingkiller Chronicles by Rothfuss is good, but he has the same work ethic (ie incredibly slow) as GRRM.
I'm with Ozy here; this struck me as a weird statement. Writing speed (e.g. finished words per year) and work ethic are not the same thing. Sure, if you have a bad work ethic, you'll write slow, but there are lots of different kinds of writers who write well. Some write fast. Some write slow. Sometimes the fast ones are also very good at writing. Often they're not. Some people write fast and then take a long time editing to make it better. Some people write slowly and edit constantly as they go. Some fast writers don't edit as much as they should.

Word count goals can push some writers to write faster. They can push others to writer's block. Writing is an art, and in order to do it well, one has to be not only focused on the task, but also inspired and enthusiastic about doing it, and a lack of complete control over that mental state should not be conflated with a bad work ethic. We all just have to decide for ourselves whether the story is good enough to keep waiting for, and to what degree we shall anticipate the next volume.

Weird Harold
08-21-2015, 03:31 PM
I've, like WH, read far more of the books on this list (42 out of the 100) than on that buzzfeed fantasy list.

Actually, I've probably read a higher percentage of the Buzzfeed list because most of Tam's list were written after I graduated in '68. I've still read almost all of the fantasy and Science Fiction on Tam's list.

Kimon
08-21-2015, 03:40 PM
Actually, I've probably read a higher percentage of the Buzzfeed list because most of Tam's list were written after I graduated in '68. I've still read almost all of the fantasy and Science Fiction on Tam's list.

I graduated in '96, but I usually teach one English class in addition to the four Latin, so perhaps not surprising that I'm more familiar with the books on Tam's list even if I usually read Fantasy in my spare time.

Daekyras
08-21-2015, 08:45 PM
I read almost everything on that list published before 1968 in class as an "English Lit," "American Lit" or "Modern Problems" assignment in Jr and Sr high school (grades 7 through 12.)

At the risk of sounding condescending- being able to read a book and comprehending the book are two very different things. Sure, a child can read "Brighton rock" or "Fahrenheit 451" or any of the classics on the list but they will miss so many of the subtleties that they contain.

on top of this the kind of prose found in the likes of Thomas hardy ' s novels will be a massive deterrent to most younger readers used to the tame and straight forward writing in harry potter and the hunger games.

And I doubt you, or anyone else here, was an average child or young adult. 😆

Daekyras
08-21-2015, 08:49 PM
I graduated in '96, but I usually teach one English class in addition to the four Latin, so perhaps not surprising that I'm more familiar with the books on Tam's list even if I usually read Fantasy in my spare time.

You teach Latin? Cool. I've always had a detached fascination with "dead" languages. Probably because of the state of Irish at the present time. (It is now the fourth most common language listed as fluent in ireland- behind polish and mandarin).

rand
08-21-2015, 11:31 PM
I am going to disagree with you here. First off, the Kingkiller Chronicles was first published in 2007 (Name of the Wind). That is 9 years for three book, assuming a 2016 publication for the Doors of Stone, which is a long time, but not nearly the 20 years it took GRRM to get from his 1996 Game of Thrones publication to a presumed 2016 release of Winds of Winter.
GRRM is also writing more than twice as many books as Rothfuss. They each average a book about every 3 years or so (hence why I said they write at the same speed--which is all I meant to imply btw, not sure why I called it work ethic).

And of course, Rothfuss had supposedly finished the trilogy before Book 1 was even published, so he's basically spent the last decade editing two books. Make of that what you will; all I meant to say was that both authors are extremely slow writers. I'm not saying this makes them bad, or that one's better than the other.

I'll admit, I've probably been spoiled by being a fan of Malazan for the past 8 years or so (fwiw, that series would be my pick for number one--or 2, it's between Malazan and WoT). But Erikson churned out a massive 1,000 page book every year for ten years straight, not including 2 or 3 novellas he somehow wrote in that period as well. Obviously I wouldn't say Erikson is a better all-around writer because of this, but I think it bears noting that he wrote a series that is in fact longer than WoT (based on word count) in the same it's taken Rothfuss to edit 2 books, or for GRRM to write 2.

Weird Harold
08-22-2015, 01:47 AM
At the risk of sounding condescending- being able to read a book and comprehending the book are two very different things. Sure, a child can read "Brighton rock" or "Fahrenheit 451" or any of the classics on the list but they will miss so many of the subtleties that they contain.

Chapter by chapter discussions in class pretty much made sure any subtleties were less than subtle.

Daekyras
08-22-2015, 02:56 AM
Chapter by chapter discussions in class pretty much made sure any subtleties were less than subtle.

Wow. Is that a national thing or an era thing?

I'll use me as a counterpoint- I graduated secondary school in 1995. During my time in school these are the books and plays that we read thoroughly for class and had chapter by chapter summaries of:

1st year(12): roll of thunder hear my cry.
2nd year(13): the cay
3rd year(14): the merchant of Venice
At the end of third year we do a national exam.
4th year(15): the grapes of wrath
5th year(16): hard times
6th year(17): macbeth.

At the end Of 6th year we do a national exam. You do 7 subjects and get a points score based on your score. Maximum is 600. Then your course in college is determined by how high your score is.

Eg medicine 590~600 points.
Theoretical physics ~580 points
Engineering 400~500
A certificate in jam making 5 points.

The reason I say this is that all of the books I read lead to the exam and that for the first exam the three pieces had a theme of race relations and the 2nd had a theme of class structure. In America you guys seem to have had a much more reading centric course.

is that still the same? I have had quite a few Americans pass through my courses and they didn't strike me as "well read". That's not meat to be an insult. I'm just wondering if since you graduated Harold have they minimised the amount of reading and analysis????

Weird Harold
08-22-2015, 07:56 AM
Wow. Is that a national thing or an era thing?

Possibly both?

I haven't had much to do with the public education system for more than 20 years. At the time my daughters graduated, there wasn't as extensive a reading list as I recall from my school days.

OTOH, I do recall that including "modern" novels and Science Fiction was a relatively new and controversial thing.

Kimon
08-22-2015, 08:44 AM
Possibly both?

I haven't had much to do with the public education system for more than 20 years. At the time my daughters graduated, there wasn't as extensive a reading list as I recall from my school days.

OTOH, I do recall that including "modern" novels and Science Fiction was a relatively new and controversial thing.

Reading lists can vary a bit from school to school, and based on track, but this for instance is the reading list for the English IV Honors class that I'm teaching this year.

-Summer Reading: The Light Between the Oceans
-1st Quarter: Beowulf, The Picture of Dorian Gray
-2nd Quarter: Macbeth
-3rd Quarter: Frankenstein
-4th Quarter: Pride and Prejudice

And lots of poetry - English obviously, Fourth Year (Seniors) is Brit Lit. The non-Honors track senior year reads Kite Runner and Glass Castle instead of Frankenstein and Pride and Prejudice. Can't recall what AP reads off the top of my head. Junior year they read American authors mostly - the Transcendentalists, Gatsby, often some Hemingway, Catcher in the Rye, and Huck Finn. Sophomores read the more modern works - Thousand Splendid Suns, Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (not modern, but they tend to read one Shakespeare play each year, except Junior), Antigone, In the Time of the Butterflies, Night, The Kitchen Boy. Freshman usually read Midsummer Night's Dream, Of Mice and Men, the Odyssey, and the Alchemist. Each year they obviously also read quite a few short stories (Poe, etc) and poems (Frost, Coleridge, Wordsworth, etc).

The reading list I read in high school back in the 90s was quite different. Some of the obvious ones above were the same, but we also read 1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Stranger, A Modest Proposal, Oedipus Rex, Medea, Slaughterhouse 5, etc. - but those are the ones that immediately come to mind. All those should be required reads still in my opinion, but the world moves on...

Tamyrlin
08-23-2015, 02:04 PM
Hey tam, did you decide to let your 11 year old read the Wheel?


She started and then told me that it was a bit too big to try right now. So, I pushed a little, but she has become fascinated with writing her own series now. I'll try again in six months and see what comes of it.


As for that list you posted- a lot of those novels would fly over most children and young adults heads.

Yeah, that's what it seemed like when I looked it over, and I realized I had not read a bunch of them either...so it is turning into a good list for me. :)

I've read a bunch of Roald Dahl books to my girls recently, and now we just started Where the Red Fern Grows.

yks 6nnetu hing
08-24-2015, 08:07 AM
Reading lists can vary a bit from school to school, and based on track, but this for instance is the reading list for the English IV Honors class that I'm teaching this year.

-Summer Reading: The Light Between the Oceans
-1st Quarter: Beowulf, The Picture of Dorian Gray
-2nd Quarter: Macbeth
-3rd Quarter: Frankenstein
-4th Quarter: Pride and Prejudice

And lots of poetry - English obviously, Fourth Year (Seniors) is Brit Lit. The non-Honors track senior year reads Kite Runner and Glass Castle instead of Frankenstein and Pride and Prejudice. Can't recall what AP reads off the top of my head. Junior year they read American authors mostly - the Transcendentalists, Gatsby, often some Hemingway, Catcher in the Rye, and Huck Finn. Sophomores read the more modern works - Thousand Splendid Suns, Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (not modern, but they tend to read one Shakespeare play each year, except Junior), Antigone, In the Time of the Butterflies, Night, The Kitchen Boy. Freshman usually read Midsummer Night's Dream, Of Mice and Men, the Odyssey, and the Alchemist. Each year they obviously also read quite a few short stories (Poe, etc) and poems (Frost, Coleridge, Wordsworth, etc).

The reading list I read in high school back in the 90s was quite different. Some of the obvious ones above were the same, but we also read 1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Stranger, A Modest Proposal, Oedipus Rex, Medea, Slaughterhouse 5, etc. - but those are the ones that immediately come to mind. All those should be required reads still in my opinion, but the world moves on...

some of it overlaps, but the differences are quite interesting. we got for the three years of HS (in no particular order):

3 Estonian classics (Truth and Justice, The Emperor's Madman, Goodbye Yellow Cat)
1 Finnish classic (Seven Brothers)
1 Norwegian classic (forget the name of it... something about farming. very dark and somber)
Tolstoy - choice between Anna Karenina or War and Peace
Dostoyevski - choice between Crime and Punishment or Brothers Karamazov or The Idiot
Pushkin, Lermontov - poetry (that one IN Russian, thankyouverymuch)
Goethe - Faust
Shakespeare - Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night Dream. Either read or go see the play (films don't count)
Decameron - (pick any 10 stories)
Hesse - Siddhartha or Steppewolf
Marquez - 100 years of solitude
Bulgakov - Master and Margarita
Camus - the myth of sysophos (hated it)
that other French existentialist - something (hated that too)
Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse 5 or Breakfast of Champions
Robinson Crusoe or Don Quixote (I somehow managed to not read either of those)
Hardy - Tess of the D'Urbervilles (or however you spell that)
Dickens - David Copperfield (just book 1, thank goodness)
Brontė sisters - either Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights... or was it both? now that I think of it, it might have been both.
Victor Hugo - Les Miserables
Remarque - All quiet on the Western Front
Hemingway - For Whom the Bell Tolls
Wilde - Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest
Maugham - Moon and the Sixpence
Catcher in the Rye, to the Lighthouse ( forget the authors, sorry...)
more poetry: Estonian ones, Burns, Shelley, Byron, um... Whitman, I think.
Shaw - Pygmalion
Beckett - Waiting for Godot
Kafka - Process or the Castle
Orwell - 1984 or Animal Farm
Golding - Lord of the Flies


I'm sure I'm forgetting some important ones...

Weird Harold
08-24-2015, 03:43 PM
http://www.bustle.com/articles/84676-15-books-as-enchanting-as-the-harry-potter-series-since-youve-already-read-them-a-million

Definitely a bit skewed towards "Young Adult" books, but an interesting list.

Daekyras
08-24-2015, 08:55 PM
http://www.bustle.com/articles/84676-15-books-as-enchanting-as-the-harry-potter-series-since-youve-already-read-them-a-million

Definitely a bit skewed towards "Young Adult" books, but an interesting list.

"Fans of Rowling ' s realistic and complex female characters"

I must have read the wrong Rowling books.

GonzoTheGreat
08-25-2015, 03:37 AM
"Fans of Rowling ' s realistic and complex female characters"

I must have read the wrong Rowling books.
Or maybe you just don't know the right females.

That said, I have to admit that I haven't read a single book from that list, and I do not really feel I've missed out on it either.