I’m taking a detour from the usual random off-topic ramblings I go off on and actually produce a list of my favorite science fiction and fantasy books with a very very short phrase or two explaining my reasonings. I don’t usually throw sci-fi and fantasy together, but I tend not to remember titles of books unless they are preciously memorable to me, and I came up with only 5-6…so a list of 5 it is:
Honorable Mention: DAGGERSPELL, by Katherine Kerr – Not only does it have one of the best titles in all of the fantasy genre, Kerr also manages to include the usual array of dark and light forces, daggers that glow, dweomer, elves, humans, etc. Great book, just not in the top 5 because it doesn’t fulfill my thirst for intrigue as much as the others.
(5) MAGICIAN, by Raymond E. Feist – You know the author has written a good book when it manages to crack anyone’s top five list with the main character being named Pug. Indeed, Magician is Raymond E. Feist’s best book (I don’t remember the others even though I’ve read them) where he manages to create and meld two cultures (Midkemian and Tsurani – inferences to a Western/Eastern type of conflict), magic that keeps getting better (almost unbelievably better), pickpockets becoming nobility, and etc. This creation has also led to the release of what many consider a stellar RPG (Betrayal at Krondor). And yet there’s 4 books/series I enjoy more…hmm…
(4) ELMINSTER, by Ed Greenwood – I’m not a huge fan of Dungeons & Dragons and their spinoffs, but this book, set in the Forgotten Realms world, was the book that sparked my interest in fantasy books. The book tracks the journey of a young boy, turned thief, turned into a girl, blessed by one of the many gods of magic, turned magician, and manages to keep you riveted throughout the whole process. It made me appreciate the slight flaws, both physical and mental, in character (the protagonist has a hawk-nose…which means its not the prettiest i think? and he gets in a lot of trouble). Definitely a book that incorporates much of what we think of as fantasy in a basic and exciting way.
(3) THE NAME OF THE WIND, by Patrick Rothfuss – This book was a little rough around the edges (it’s his debut novel), but I was so impressed and enthralled by the book that I almost put it at number 2. It incorporates narrative storytelling, and narrative storytelling within his narrative storytelling. It incorporates a unique system of magic, and a quest which although not the most epic, is one of the most compelling points of the book. Kvothe, the protagonist, is flawed yet majestic, the quintessential fantasy character with odd/attractive abilities. The plot involves politics, legends, dragons, but in a world that makes it all quite believable. Keep your eyes out for Patrick Rothfuss, he’s moving up in the fantasy world.
(2) THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, by Robert Heinlein – This is Robert Heinlein, and it involves Martians throwing rocks at the Earth to gain their independence. Enough said.
(1) A GAME OF THRONES (A Song of Ice & Fire Series), by George R.R. Martin – Political intrigue, crippled boys, direwolves(!), dragons, historical references (War of the Roses), one-armed swordsmen, war, war, and more war. I couldn’t ask for more, but I did, and he delivered. An author unafraid to kill of main characters, a household with the motto “Winter is Coming,” character development so deep and complex that I’ve read this book over 5 times and I keep learning more. Definitely my favorite sci-fi/fantasy novel…I just hope he doesn’t keep delaying the next book in the series indefinitey (it’s been about 3-4 years)…
And there you go, my top five sci-fi/fantasy novels… If you want to look into my non sci-fi/fantasy loves, here’s a few of them:
Ender’s Shadow, by Orson Scott Card (yeah it’s sci-fi/fantasy but it’s not as well!)
The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
First Love, by Turgenev
The Alchemist I’ve linked them up with amazon for easy reviews/listings…enjoy!