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Who is the greatest living fantasy writer ?


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Showing 1-25 of 279 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 17, 2007 10:56:18 AM PDT
J.S. says:
I should mention here Jack Vance who is nearing one hundred.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2007 12:52:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 20, 2009 1:22:12 PM PST
Mrs. Garside says:
Living?

If you put a gun to my head, I'd say J.K. Rowling (fitting this week, I suppose).
But why her over Terry Pratchet or Lian Hearn (two other living favorites)? There's really a lot of quality these days. It's difficult to pick just one. There are many authors who have huge and devoted followings (Martin, Kay, etc). I've never read them; one day I hope to get to their stuff.

So, unless you're actually taking a poll and counting votes, you will never get a definite answer. People can only weigh in with their own favorites. This should be an interesting thread!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2007 1:48:44 PM PDT
Greg says:
That's a tough one. I would've said George R.R. Martin once, but I think it now remains to be seen if he's gonna be able to keep up the quality of his series; A Song of Ice and Fire or run-it-into-the-ground like Jordon did WoT.

Seems like almost all the authors I've liked the best have passed-on, most recently David Gemmell.
However there's seems to be some new guys that show some promise. I recently read The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, and I've heard good things about Pat Rothfuss with his debut "The Name of the Wind".

I'm a big fan of JV Jones but I wouldn't call her the greatest living author, at least not yet.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2007 3:59:21 PM PDT
I'd have to say Stephen R. Donaldson and Robert Don Hughs, but I'm not sure that either one even writes anymore.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2007 5:32:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 17, 2007 5:33:18 PM PDT
Graymatter says:
JLL - Amazon just sent me a recommendation for "Fatal Revenant" by Donaldson (2007). I think that it's sequel of some sort, but I've never read any of his work. Just lettin' you know, in case you want to check it out.

J.S. - I don't think this question can be answered objectively, as there's no criteria for such a title, and one's personal favorite is always going to be a biased opinion. In a genre with as many disparate authors/novels as fantasy, there's bound be numerous "fan favorites," but it will always be a subjective judgment.

That being said, Steven Erikson and Guy Gavriel Kay are certainly my favorites, with GRRM close behind.

I've got this big Jack Vance book called "Tales of the Dying Earth" sitting around here somewhere, and I guess I should read it one of these days. I'm just not that big into sci-fi though.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2007 6:34:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 17, 2007 6:36:29 PM PDT
Thanks Graymatter I'll check it out!
I just found a huge stack of 80s and 90s fantasy books in my shed. At first I thought they were mine from highschool, cuz there were Donaldson and Dragonlance and Cheryh and some others I'd read in there. But there were all kinds of fantasy authors I'd never heard of in there too, so now I'm sure they are my GF's ex. Why couldn't there be a Guy Gavriel Kay in there? I haven't read him yet. Will have to check him out after I try a couple in this stack.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2007 12:58:17 AM PDT
Chris Avellone, among others who wrote Planescape: Torment. Though it's a computer game, not a book; you read it more than play it--and it is the single best piece of fiction I've come across in a long time.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2007 10:37:58 AM PDT
Personally?

I'd pick Neil Gaiman.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2007 1:18:22 PM PDT
I second your choice for Gaiman. The sword & sorcery genre is pretty much cliche. If you want cutting edge fantasy told in a simple way, with a mixture of mystical, then Gaiman's your man.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2007 1:33:12 PM PDT
I'll third that - I've read Anastasi Boys and American Gods and found his mythology absolutely fascinating. His writing is excellent as well. Much higher quality than guys like Jordan.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2007 2:58:02 PM PDT
Ennil Pwysau says:
I am going to put in a mention for Michael Moorcock, who not only writes fantastic fantasy and science fiction but also plays in a band (Deep Fix), collaborates with Hawkwind and Blue Oyster Cult and is even mentioned in a Half Man Half Biscuit song. Whilst he is less prolific these days, his books are still published, repackaged and sold in truckloads. His work in the science fiction and fantasy genres were and still remain way ahead of the times.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2007 4:05:46 PM PDT
Darrel Lewis says:
You do realize that Jack Vance's magic system was the basis for AD&D right?

Jack Vance is one of the few capable authors in both the Sci-fi and the Fantasy fields.

And he's a damn good author. No, strike that. He's the best living Fantasy author. Nuf said.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2007 4:39:05 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2007 8:56:00 PM PDT
Being a collaborator with Hawkwind and Blue Oyster Cult impresses me a whole bunch more, though. Moorcock sounds like my kind of guy.

I love those old psychedelic bands in much the way I love the fantasy genre. Ahh...sweet surrealistic escapism.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2007 7:13:38 PM PDT
My favorite fantasy author is still Roger Zelazny. I've been reading (and rereading) his work for 25 years and it is still fresh to me. The "Chronicles of Amber" series (first 5 books) are absolutely brilliant. The world he creates is internally consistent and completely original. The next five or so books he wrote for the series involve a different main character and aren't as strong. But he has a number of other fascinating works, such as "Lord of Light". I also really enjoyed his short fiction collection "The Last Defender of Camelot".

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2007 8:53:17 PM PDT
I am not sure that anyone has mentioned Terry Brooks, whose Shanarra series is quite poetic in its writing, and the plots are meticulously developed - as only an ex-laywer may be able to do.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2007 9:27:27 PM PDT
Hmmm...going by the sheer volume of books written and the enduring popularity of those books, I would have to toss Anne McCaffrey's name into the hat. Just a thought....;D

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2007 10:23:03 AM PDT
I have to say Elizabeth Haydon, she is such a creative author in the fantasy field. Read her SOA series or her The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme series, and you won't be disapointed. My second favorite, would have to be Elizabeth Kerner. I also love George R.R.Martin, Mercedes Lackey, Kristian Britian, and Raymond E. Feist. Along with R.A.Salvatore and Margaraeit Wies and Tracy Hickman.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2007 11:25:50 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2007 11:29:54 AM PDT
CeciM says:
Graymatter: Jack Vance has always had a more fantastical feel to his stories than SF, they're just set on other planets or have an interplanetary scope. Except that some of his work may seem dated, you'd probably enjoy the dying earth series and the demon princes stories, too.

I also second the nomination of Neil Gaiman! Why has no one else nominated Cherryh? She's a master author in any category.

Apparently it's not too cool on these forums to love Terry Pratchett, but I truly pity those people that haven't read him or don't get him. I don't love all his books, but I do love his snarky humor and skewed perspective.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2007 11:42:23 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2007 11:43:20 AM PDT
I've read Pratchett and I can't imagine someone not "getting him." I mean it's pretty simplistic stuff. I'm not saying that he's a bad writer because obviously he's a pretty darn entertaining one, but he's also a very commercial writer who seems to have borrowed alot from Tolkien and standard ADandD fair.

Now Cherryh I can understand someone "not getting."
I'm about half-way through an out of print Cherryh title, and her syntax and grammar kind of threw me off. I got sidetracked and read the new Tolkien and a couple of Herbie Brennan's books since I started the Cherryh (can't remember the name at the moment, about a skiff-runner girl who saves a noble from drowning in the canal of an alien world), but now I am going to get back to that Cherryh and give it the benefit of the doubt. I may not be "getting it" so I will reserve judgement until I do.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2007 12:37:29 PM PDT
G. Buck says:
You'd have to go with George R.R. Martin. He has both the critical AND commercial success right now.

I just wish he would concentrate on writing faster.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2007 4:34:34 PM PDT
Peter S. Beagle.

If you don't believe me, read The Last Unicorn, then The Innkeeper's song.

Enough said.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2007 5:36:50 PM PDT
~Qwkslvr says:
Stephen R. Donaldson is a master of his craft. His imagination and word craft have no parallel in the fantasy genre.
~Qwkslvr

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2007 5:55:08 PM PDT
Pk1305 says:
Zelazny is dead though.. topic is clearly about living authors. Steve Brust or Neil Gaiman are both very good writers and trump almost everyone on this list, though I do love Moorcock

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2007 7:27:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2007 9:08:22 PM PDT
(Stephen R. Donaldson is a master of his craft. His imagination and word craft have no parallel in the fantasy genre.)

Well those two aspects of his writing are up there with the greats, though I wouldn't say unparalleled, because when you say "in the fantasy genre" you're talking about the dead authors too.

But his novels would be more "finished" if he would just bring more complete closure to all the complex emotional scenarios that he brings up in them.

And I can think of alot more imaginative names in the fantasy genre than "Lord Foul."

Don't get me wrong- I love Donaldson, I just think that hundreds of pages of mental anguish and deep emotional complexity should not just be dismissed and forgotten about as the action and special effects in the plot take over. And I'm mad at Donaldson for not taking 5 seconds to come up with better names for some of his characters.
Saltheart Foamfollower- good name despite the patronization
Lord Foul- terrible name for self explanatory reasons.

I mean he might as well name him Sir Stinky-Breath or Darth Poo-Poo.

Note to Qwkslvr: This was just written for arguements sake I think you've got a very valid nominee for best living author. Did you read "Mirror of her Dreams?"

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2007 7:55:03 PM PDT
samael775 says:
during his time jordan was the best, but after crossroads of twilight...
i would have to say martin but jacqueline carey takes a strong second.
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Discussion in:  Fantasy forum
Participants:  177
Total posts:  279
Initial post:  Jul 17, 2007
Latest post:  Jun 26, 2013

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