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-   -   Buzzfeed's "The 51 Best Fantasy Series Ever Written." (http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=8661)

Res_Ipsa 08-20-2015 10:47 PM

Buzzfeed's "The 51 Best Fantasy Series Ever Written."
 
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/fan...Mw5#.vyEjOMKW7

Kimon 08-20-2015 11:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Res_Ipsa (Post 231719)
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/fan...Mw5#.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 08-21-2015 12:05 AM

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 04:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rand (Post 231728)
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 06:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat (Post 231732)
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 07:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daekyras (Post 231735)
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 08:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat (Post 231732)
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 11:56 AM

Me too...
 
...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-fi...en-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 01:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tamyrlin (Post 231749)
...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-fi...en-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 01:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daekyras (Post 231752)
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 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daekyras (Post 231752)
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 03:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rand (Post 231728)
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 03:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daekyras (Post 231752)
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 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rand (Post 231728)
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 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kimon (Post 231762)
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 04:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Weird Harold (Post 231764)
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 09:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Weird Harold (Post 231754)
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 09:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kimon (Post 231765)
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 08-22-2015 12:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ozymandias (Post 231760)
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 02:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daekyras (Post 231768)
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.


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