George R. R. Martin

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at
Thu Jun 27 18:01:43 EDT 2002

--- Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at> wrote:
> On Thu, 27 Jun 2002 11:07:59 -0400, Ian W. Riddell
> wrote:
> >OK, I know that some on this list don't like
> Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" 
> >sequence, 

I love these, the best epic fantasy under construction
at the moment IMHO, the politics are great, and the
characters are very interesting, as long you don't get
too attached to them. So many plot twists and turns. I
can't wait till the end of the year when book 4
appears, and then two more years for book 5 - uggh!

 but I'm also in the market for some really
> big-scale, political 
> >fantasy.

Guy Gavriel Kay seems to be a favourite of many on the
list; His Sarntine Mosiac books ( a two volume fantasy
epic - where's his regard for tradition) are great
politics, as is Lions of Al-rassan which is set in the
same world.

> Tad Williams is big-scale epic fantasy.  "Memory,
> Sorrow and Thorn" is more
> or less traditional stuff; "Otherland" is a fantasy
> dressed up in
> near-future clothing and is even more epic in scale.
>  I loved it.  It is, in
> fact, a single novel in four volumes and about 3500
> pages (I think).  The
> big difference is that it isn't "medieval" fantasy,
> it's "cyber" fantasy.
> Sort of.  When I started it, and one of the first
> images was a WWI soldier
> encountering the Hanged Man, I knew I was going to
> love it.  It was one of
> the best things I read last year.

I can but agree here, and this was a series where you
had really no idea where it was going until the end.
Unlike Martin where you know from book one that the
final battle is going to be between (won't say to
spoil it but the the ultimate enemies seem pretty
obvious - theough who will be alive to see it isn't)

I didn't like
> "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn"
> as much, but I don't really know why; it was very
> good.  Not as heavy on the
> politics, I think.  In fact I'm ashamed to say I
> can't even remember how it
> ended, which probably means I should read it again
> sometime soon.

Loved these two. I'm many ways they are constructed as
a deliberate "reply" to LOTR, with many of the same
plot elements and backgrounds, but based on a totally
different philosophy. To avoid spoilers all I can say
here is "beware the false messenger" which is perhaps
the main theme of the books.

> If you like George Martin, you might also like Mary
> Gentle's _Ash_.  I
> haven't finished it, because the profanity (which is
> an integral part of the
> main character's personality) really put me off. 
> But I thought the premise
> was interesting and the story engrossing: warfare
> and politics combined.

Another book I loved, again refressing to see an
author keep an epic in a single volume (at least in Oz
- i believe it was broken up into three in the US).
Mary Gentle certainly isn't a believer in nominative
determinism as regards prose style. On the first page 
Ash  kills two men who rape her at age 8. I didn't
really notice the language - must be those years I
spent as a young man working with brick layers. It
just seemed right for the character - and if you
survive page 1 you're up to the rest..
> David Eddings.  Where to begin.  

Stick to the belgariad - this is fun, only if you
really like it try anything else. It's all the same. 
 I would recommend Robert Jordan, but it would earn
> me the scathing disdain
> of my fellow DWJ-listers, so I won't. :)  Plus the
> series isn't even
> finished yet and he TOTALLY stalled out around book
> 6.  I haven't even
> bothered reading book 9.  I really did love this
> series--it satisfied my
> need for epic heroic fantasy, for which I do not
> have much need--but he had
> too many plotlines, too many characters, and the
> series lost focus.  Pity.
> It's my feeling he got burnt out by the demands of
> rabid fans.  Besides,
> this is more like soap-opera fiction than epic
> fantasy: it's driven by
> multiple plotlines and you tend to tune in to find
> out what happened to Mat
> when he was kidnapped by invaders and taken back to
> their foreign country,
> where he's doomed to marry the Daughter of Nine
> Moons...that's an actual
> plot snippet there.

Have to agree this started so well, but it doesn't
seem to be going anywhere. I still buy them when they
appear, read them and then wonder why I bothered.
> I can't think of any others right now.

Someone else has mentioned Katherine Kurtz's Deryni
books. They're not bad, certainly worth trying. I'd
suggest writing order rather than chronological.

Jon Noble


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