The list author says: "These are all books that have given me a great deal of pleasure over the years, often for multiple re-reads. When I was a young teen, a Conan knock off was the pinnacle of the fantasy genre for me. As I have changed so have my tastes, hopefully for the better. These are the books that stuck with me. I'll cheat in these comments and add an honorable mention to JV Jones most current series as a pretty darn good read. Look in my other lists for my suggestions about Lovecraftian fiction."
"Micheal Shea's picaresque novel of a jaded youth searching for immortality owes as much to Lovecraft as to Vance. Mr. Shea won a World Fantasy Award for his S&S book about the famous thief, Nifft the Lean."
"This was my favorite novel of 1982. The arcane nature of the Kencyrath, the unfathomable god they worship and the gothic delights of the city of Tai Tastigon hooked me on Ms. Hodgell's fiction for life."
"Another new series I am enjoying immensely. It is very dark but also completely entertaining with much gallows humor. The scenes with The Bloody Nine are my favorites. I also really liked Before They are Hanged, the sequel. I have not yet read The Last Argument of Kings."
"Ausipcious start to a new series, with an absolute rogue for a protagonist. Red Seas Under Red Skies, the sequel was a good read but not as compelling as the first. I await The Republic of Thieves with interest."
"Whatever else you say about this series, I was absolutely blown away by this book by Dan Simmons. It remains one of the best sprawling space operas I have ever read, and I loved the horrific aspects of the Shrike. Treat it as a stand alone; nothing says you have to read any of the sequels. OK, read Fall of Hyperion but skip Endymion! I mean it!"
"Many scifi writers excel at their ability to grasp and convey physics. Here is an author who absolutely knows his biology. This is cutting edge science fiction and I found it gripping. Alas, I think the final book in this particular series bogged down. Blindsight is also worth a look."
"I still love a good S&S yarn, and no one does it better than Wagner. Kane is the ultimate antihero. If you can get them, the omnibus editions of short stories (The Midnight Sun) and novels (this book) from Nightshade Books are the best. His horror collections are well worth a look, too (In a Lonely Place, and Why Not You and I)."
"I still think the original Earthsea trilogy is as good as any fantasy story ever written, although I was not particularly enamored of Tehanu. What the heck, no one says you *have* to read the fourth book."
"This is the edition from the UK of Cook's wonderful book, and it is a whale of a read. Just when you think it's conventional it goes off in wild directions. In the US it was published as Wizard War. Of a planned 20 book series, 10 were published."
"In my youth I was (and remain) a huge fan of the first 5 Amber novels. Nowadays this is my favorite Zelazny; it is just a fresh as when I read it 3 decades ago. I am also very fond of A Night in the Lonesome October."
"In my formative years I read all of Mr. Asimov's books. Although I got fed up with his refusing to stop tinkering with his Foundation series, I think his original robot short stories remain on my short list of best science fiction. I also recommend the orginal Foundation trilogy, but stop after that!"
"This serves as my warm recommendation for the S&S classic Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stories by Leiber. I have loved these characters for a long time, although I wish Mr. Leiber had stopped *before* Swords and Ice Magic. The later books are decidely weak and could be skipped without regret."
"Over the years I have become less than thrilled with some of Ms. McKillip's later books. It doesn't matter. I will forever be in her debt for this masterpiece. It is an absolutely wonderful read. I very much liked the Riddle of Stars books when I read them in the late 1970s, and The Book of Atrix Wolfe."
"Unlike Williams' The Dragonbone Chair or Bakker's The Prince of Nothing, which both fizzled after a great start, the Malazan series has maintained a consistently high quality. Some might not like such ponderous books but I find them fascinating. This one is my favorite."
"I put this book on my list in homage to golden memories from my youth. I loved these books when they first came out for their deft plotting, wonderful characters and hilarious dialogue. Laumer used his own diplomatic experience when crafting the Retief books."