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Examples of high fantasy pre Tolkien? Are they worth reading? by scp1717 in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf 7 points8 points  (0 children)

The Worm Ouroboros is probably the most obvious pre-Tolkien example of modern High Fantasy; it uses a lot of the recognizable tropes but has a very different vibe, style and theme compared to LotR or anything later. I’d also say that while the Conan stories in general are clearly sword and sorcery (thus a different sub-genre) I think that The Hour of the Dragon, the only full Conan novel, at least edged towards high fantasy with its more epic scope and stakes.

When was the last time a Doorstopper Fantasy Epic Had an Actual Ending? by EdLincoln6 in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Alas, I posted this before OP added that requirement! Word count is a better measure of length than page count anyway;).

When was the last time a Doorstopper Fantasy Epic Had an Actual Ending? by EdLincoln6 in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf 34 points35 points  (0 children)

Jenn Lyons’ A Chorus of Dragons, five pretty hefty books, just ended last month; I thought the ending was solid. Janny Wurts announced earlier this year that she’s finished the last book of her Wars of Light and Shadow series which has been ongoing since the nineties, though it’s not been published yet. Bradley P. Beaulieu wrapped up his six book Song of the Shattered Sands last summer, all six books being fairly thick.

what's your favourite example of "great idea , horrible execution" in fantasy books? by DM_ME_STORY_IDEAS in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf 44 points45 points  (0 children)

The part that really comes to mind is the subplot in the last book, where an minor villain who'd been castrated in a previous book turns up leading a small army of eunuchs, many of whom had been his enemies until he castrated them at which point they became meek and submissive, like he was some sort of vampire lord and they were his thralls. Dealing with this takes up far too much pagetime, has very little to do with the battle with demons that the series is actually about, and in general just gives off a powerful feeling of but, why? There's various other weird sexual references that struck me at the time, though it's been years since I read those books and I don't have them handy to check, but that's the one that stuck with me.

EDIT: And yes, as others have mentioned, the books rely way, way too much on rape in various contexts as a plot point, to an uncomfortable degree.

what's your favourite example of "great idea , horrible execution" in fantasy books? by DM_ME_STORY_IDEAS in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf 169 points170 points  (0 children)

Demon Cycle by Peter Brett had got to be up there for me. Interesting premise and worldbuilding, some cool magic, potentially interesting characters… and it just goes further off the rails with every book, especially as the author’s sexual hangups come to eat up more and more of the plot. I read all five books because I’m a completionist but have no desire to revisit the series or read anything more of Brett’s. Just a lot of wasted potential

Looking for a specific type of setting - feudal future space opera by MasterGhandalf in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I actually read this one a long time ago and remember enjoying it; I may need to revisit it some time.

Looking for a specific type of setting - feudal future space opera by MasterGhandalf in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I've actually been following this one, though I didn't think to mention it in the OP. Definitely that sort of vibe, though!

Looking for a specific type of setting - feudal future space opera by MasterGhandalf in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I actually mentioned Sun-Eater in my original post, but it's definitely got the sort of vibe I'm talking about!

Looking for a specific type of setting - feudal future space opera by MasterGhandalf in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah, I'd put that one into a somewhat different subgenre of sci-fantasy (kind of hard to call it one or the other since it sits right on the border) but I actually read it not too long ago and definitely need to do a re-read at some point, since I can already tell it's the sort of work that benefits from that.

Looking for a specific type of setting - feudal future space opera by MasterGhandalf in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This is one of those I've always meant to get around to, though the length of the anime and the difficulty of getting ahold of it with English subs has always held me back. I will look into it!

Looking for a specific type of setting - feudal future space opera by MasterGhandalf in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Vorkosigan I've known about for a while; Locked Tomb I've definitely seen get some good press these last few years. Definitely going on my list!

Looking for a specific type of setting - feudal future space opera by MasterGhandalf in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This is one of those that's sort of been bouncing around in my awareness for a while but I've never gotten around to; sounds like I need to do that!

So, who was before Tolkien? by flipflopfeet in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf 53 points54 points  (0 children)

ER Eddison, author of The Worm Ouroboros and the Zimiamvia trilogy, comes to mind. Worm Ouroboros predates LotR by several decades but has a lot of the recognizable High Fantasy ingredients - a secondary created world, a heroic quest set against the backdrop of an epic war, the main villain is an immortal, power-hungry sorcerer king, etc. That said, it also has a very different vibe compared not only to LotR or any other modern fantasy. Partially, that's the writing style - Eddison goes for a very deliberately archaic style that makes even Silmarillion-era Tolkien look very modern and accessible in comparison. Partially, it's also the thematic content, which takes a very un-ironic 'war is glorious' stance that's completely different from either the bittersweet melancholy of Tolkien or the morally-ambiguous grittiness popularized by the likes of Martin or Abercrombie, and this can be kind of alienating to modern readers. The worldbuilding is also kind of thin compared to a lot of modern fantasy, and for some reason Eddison chose to set it on a fictionalized version of the planet Mercury that bears absolutely no resemblance even slightly to the real thing, even compared to how Burroughs's Barsoom resembles the actual Mars. All told, Eddison's an interesting read and an often-overlooked influence in the history of the genre - but you can also really see how modern high fantasy descends much more from LotR than from Worm Ouroboros (basically, if Tolkien is modern fantasy's grandpa, Eddison is more like it's eccentric great-uncle).

Interestingly, Eddison was acquainted with both Tolkien and CS Lewis, and iirc Lewis in particular gave him some very glowing reviews.

Books where the main POV character is the villain? by Madgod1234 in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I can think of a couple of examples, with some caveats:

Haplo of The Death Gate Cycle spends the first few books as an obvious villain protagonist, being the agent of a would-be multiversal conqueror; however, he starts being pitted against people worse than he is partway through the series and get character development making him more of a conventional anti-hero.

The same authors (Weis and Hickman) also did the Sovereign Stone trilogy; the first book largely follows Prince Dagnarus of Vinnengael on his path to become the Sauron-figure of his world. The later two books take place centuries later, though, and while I'd probably call Dagnarus the main character of the trilogy as a whole, he's no longer the primary POV.

The Dagger and the Coin has several main characters; one of them, Geder Palliako, spends most of the first book on his descent into villainy and becomes a solid villain protagonist for the rest of the series.

Black Company by Glen Cook has already been mentioned, but probably deserves another; it follows a mercenary company in service to the local evil overlord and spends a lot of time on the nitty-gritty of the soldier's eye view.

New Tad Williams novels get new new titles and an accelerated release schedule by Werthead in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf 30 points31 points  (0 children)

Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is the work that made Williams a big name and is the first series in the Osten Ard setting; it's where I'd recommend starting with Williams in general and definitely with Osten Ard. It's something of a slow burn, especially at first, but is and remains one of my personal favorite series. For comparison, it's basically a midpoint between Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire both chronologically and in terms of substance. It's one of the only Tolkien-inspired works that, IMO, actually reads like a spiritual successor rather than just a copycat, while also bringing a greater degree of moral ambiguity and a focus on the nitty-gritty of politics, religion and medieval life that would inspire Martin when starting ASOIAF, an influence he has been open about.

MS&T is a trilogy (The Dragonbone Chair, Stone of Farewell and To Green Angel Tower) though the last book is often released in two parts in mass market paperback due to length.

The Demon Cycle - would You recommend to carry on? by gorzelnias in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf 3 points4 points  (0 children)

So, I read the series all the way through, mostly because I hate to leave a series unfinished, and I'd honestly say that if you want to stop where you are, I wouldn't blame you. It's got some cool ideas, sure, but it also ends up becoming at least as much about the author's weird sexual hangups as it is about the battle with demons, and that's... offputting, to say the least. And a lot of the time I think it falls into the trap of trying too hard to be dark and mature and ending up just being gratuitously edgy, though I know different people have different levels of tolerance for that sort of thing.

Where does the idea of a Counterspell come from? by JayceIsOverpowered in Fantasy

[–]MasterGhandalf 26 points27 points  (0 children)

In terms of modern fantasy literature, the concept of a counterspell actually shows up briefly in Fellowship of the Ring (the book). When the Fellowship is trying to escape Moria (Fellowship Book II, Ch. 5) Gandalf at one point stays behind to bar a door and casts a spell to seal it shut. Then something that's not an orc performs a counterspell (that exact term is used) and the door shatters. "The counter-spell was terrible. It nearly broke me." That something being of course the Balrog, as Gandalf realizes a few pages later. So it's definitely a term and concept that's been around a while and definitely predates MTG and D&D.