Genre masterpieces

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Mastadge, Oct 4, 2001.

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  1. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I'm looking for what could be genuinely considered masterpieces, not just "really good" or "cool," in the sci-fi/fantasy genres. If you list a title, please at least give a few reasons. I'll start the list rolling in a hypocritical way, with some of the titles that will inevitably be named:

    Lord of the Rings/Hobbit/Silmarillion
    A Song of Ice and Fire
    Book of the New Sun
    Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
  2. Han Soho Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 1998
    I, Jedi is a masterpiece.
  3. suncrusherX Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 3
    Ender series by Orson Scott Card

    edit-oh yeah, reasons.

    Amazing. Just when you think it's a typical kill the aliens scifi novel, it turns you on your head. Inner turmoil, military strategy, interesting debates... masterpiece

    Is hyperion really that good? I was thinking about buying it today.
  4. Mavrick889 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 1999
    star 4
    The Chronicles of Narnia

    The Robot Series by Asimov
    The Foundation Series by Asimov
  5. Wedge 88 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 1999
    star 6
    2001: ASO and Rendevous with Rama
    The Martian Trilogy (Red Mars, etc.)
    The Age of Unreason series

    Well then. I'm just starting out right now, so I havn't yet read everything under the sun. But the books I listed I've really enjoyed. They may not be the best, I'm sure there are many other little known or classic tales out there that are better than these. Yet, I still got great entertainment from reading these. And I really hope I continue to get joy from ones I havn't read yet but have laying around the house.
  6. Rhaegar Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 29, 2001
    star 2
    Perdido Street Station by China Mieville.

    This book is a curious sci-fi/fantasy hybrid. After finishing this book I continued to think about for many days afterward. China Mieville's skill as a writer is scary, especially since he is a pretty young author. His uses of language is hypnotic. Very dark urban fantasy.
  7. Ceria_Taliesin Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2001
    Taliesin by Stephen Lawhead and the following two, Merlin and Arthur
  8. JadedofMara Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2001
    star 4
    Everyone is taking mine!

    but here is my two cents

    The Chronicles of Narnia-CS Lewis
    A great story, and wonderful writing.

    Foundation Series-Asimov
    Great plot, and the beginnings of scifi

    EDIT: oh yeah how could i forget...LOTR! It is the BEGINNING of fantasy stuff and all.

    oh yeah and the only sw one that really comes close at all for me would have to be gl's ANH novelization
  9. CloneofPhanan Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2000
    star 4
    The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick

    Why? This book is not only intense, disturbing, and frighteningly insightful; it is also an absolute joy to read.

    Dick deals with such questions as the nature of reality and salvation with wit, lucidity, and audacity. Once you figure out what's real and what isn't, then the book will make complete sense, it took me twice to figure every thing else (Dick's books definitely benefit from a second reading).

    Also, unlike Ender's Game, Dune, or Lord of the Rings, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is a well-paced, concise book that never loses your attention. No offense intended to people who like the books I mentioned, but I found them to be a bit too, well, I'll just leave it at I didn't like them.
  10. RingoJuna Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jan 18, 2001
    star 3
    Would Orwell's 'Animal Farm' count as fantasy? it kinda sorta does in my book.
  11. Arabwel Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2001
    star 2
    I, jedi is the masterpiece of the space opera genre. It balances philosophical content with action and portrays the inner growth of a rash hotshot pilot into a more mature individual, one that has more knowledge of himself as well.

    (Addicted to that damn book!)
  12. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    I wouldn't consider I, Jedi to be a masterpiece.

    A Song of Ice and Fire - So many characters, and I love/hate every one. It's nearly impossible to chose a side in this series, because you usually ending up cheering for the "Bad Guys" just as much as the good guys. Amazing characterization, deft plotting, and a general sense of impending doom make this series great.

    The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion ? It?s the Lord of the Rings. That should be all I need to say. Tolkien was a genius, but contrary to popular belief, in my opinion it is the Silmarillion that is his greatest work.

    The Fionaver Tapestry, Tigana ? Guy Gavriel Kay?s stated objective in writing the Fionaver Tapestry was to create a work of High Fantasy like the Lord of the Rings to counterbalance the surge of Low Fantasy in the early eighties. He succeeded in my opinion, and the Fionaver Tapestry is a great series. Tigana is also extremely good.
  13. Wedge 88 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 1999
    star 6
  14. AT-ST_DRIVER Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2001
    star 4
    The thrawn trilogy
    if theres only three good books in all of the star wars series, it's these ones.
  15. jastermereel Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 1998
    star 4
    How about 1984...or Brave New World or Bradbury's Illustrated Man...Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land?......
  16. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    The First Fourteen Wizard of Oz books
  17. Darth Pikachuwbacca Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 22, 2000
    star 4
    I heard Battlefield Earth was a mighty popular book until that awful movie came out.

    Was that true, or was someone just telling me this to make the movie drop a few notches (if it could possibly get lower!)?

    What about the Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchet? (sp?) And the rest of that series?

    And is this limited merely to text novels? If not, then Watchmen, Marvels, Kingdom Come, The Dark Night Returns, Superman For All Seasons (or whatever the name of that was) and of course Sandman are among the masterpieces of fantasy literature published in the form of comic books. There's more, but with the exception of Sandman, all the ones I listed were finite series, or limited series, as they are more widely known as.

    Among the ongoing stuff, there's also the Authority, MiracleMan, Frank Millar's run on Daredevil, Byrne and Claremont's run on X-Men, The Knightfall Trilogy, and Spider-Man Maximum Carnage.

    ... Just kidding on that last one! (I have a feeling that J. Michael Strazynski's run on Amazing Spider-Man may soon join the masterpiece list, assuming he finishes his pre-planned run. (From what I hear, he has years of stories already planned.)
  18. suncrusherX Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 3
    Battlefield earth was alright. I finished it, but I won't be reading it again. The movies ending rocked, at least compared to the book's which ends in a legal battle with a species of lawyers who resemble sharks...
  19. IronParrot Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 1999
    star 5
    Disclaimer: Despite the fact that some of my favourite novels are sci-fi and fantasy, I am not by any means a fan of these genres... I simply see little to no appeal in the vast majority of modern sci-fi/fantasy works, especially a good deal of series fantasy. (Failed Tolkien clones and Star Wars EU, I'm looking at you.)


    LOTR is the pinnacle of the genre - I could make a strong argument that it is the greatest novel of all time, but I won't do it here. The Hobbit is also a must. Sil I don't care much for, but some people may like it.

    There are only two fantasy sagas currently in progress that I would recommend - Rowling's Harry Potter and to a lesser extent, Jordan's Wheel of Time.

    Horwood's Duncton Chronicles (the first trilogy, not the second, which sucks) is damn good. For younger readers, so is Cooper's The Dark Is Rising pentalogy.

    Baum's Oz is highly recommended - up to Book 6, anyway. It starts to tire after that, and after Book 14 when Oz gets taken over by its equivalent of EU, it really blows.

    Carroll's Alice duology - a must-read.

    I find that Narnia is a decent read but ridiculously overrated.


    Arthur C. Clarke - 2001, anyway. His other works that I've read never managed to match up to it, though admittedly I haven't tried Rama.

    Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. - this, people, is real science fiction.

    Douglas Adams - The HHGTTG "trilogy of five" is, quite simply, classic.

    Jules Verne - enough said.

    I am ashamed to admit I've never read any Asimov.
  20. Dev Sibwarra Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 4
    Vonnegut, Card, and Wells are the only Science-Fiction writers on my school's reading list. That should count for something.
  21. CloneofPhanan Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2000
    star 4
    I wouldn't go so far as to say a school reading list counts for anything. I'd say personal experience and opinion are more important.
  22. ImperialGirl Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2001
    star 3
    Add my vote to "Song of Ice and Fire" for Fantasy. As far as I'm concerned it blows even Tolkien out of the water. Jordan isn't even remotely close to being as good.

    To get away from the S&S fantasy, Anne McCaffrey's short story collections "Get Off the Unicorn" and "The Girl Who Heard Dragons" have some of the most groundbreaking sci-fi and fantasy stories by a woman author, from the same era as Asimov (who I think is the ultimate SF Grand Master.)

    In terms of Sci-Fi, I'm sticking with McCaffrey and saying "The Ship Who Sang," because of its concept (the shellpeople) and because, while it's not my favorite of the series, it stands alone and does the "speculative" part of "speculative fiction" better than almost any book I know. Anne's SF is a great deal more human than some because it's character-driven, rather than technology-obsessed. (The Dragonriders of Pern is also a great example, because it's not stereotypical sci-fi--though it IS SF, not fantasy. The quality of the entire series is a bit uneven, but the best of the lot are Dragonflight, Dragonsdawn, The White Dragon, All the Weyrs of Pern, and Dolphins of Pern, for the sci-fi element if not the storytelling. The best stories are in Dragonflight, Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern, and The White Dragon; I'll admit TWD even though I don't like it.)

    I'd also have to say of all Isaac Asimov's, I've always found the collection "I, Robot" fascinating in the same way. He also doesn't have many neat endings tied up in a package.
  23. JaggedFel Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    Frank Herbert's Dune is a masterpiece beyond compare. Also of notable mention are Ubik and the book Bladerunner was based on (the name of which escapes me), by Phillip K. Dick.
  24. CloneofPhanan Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2000
    star 4
    The godawful movie Bladerunner was the rape of the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  25. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    I wouldn?t recommend Harry Potter to anyone. I just reread the first book over the weekend, and all the reasons why I dislike it came back up to the surface. Bleuch. Neither would I recommend anything I?ve read by Terry Goodkind, Elizabeth Haydon, Douglas Adams or Ed Greenwood. I?m sure that they?re all very nice people, I just don?t like their books. [face_plain]

    My recommended adult fantasy reading list (in the order that I would read them)
    A Game of Thrones (George R. R. Martin)
    A Clash of Kings (George R. R. Martin)
    A Storm of Swords (George R. R. Martin)

    The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    The Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    The Two Towers (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    The Return of the King (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    The Silmarillion (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    Unfinished Tales (J.R.R. Tolkien)

    The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
    The Wandering Fire (Guy Gavriel Kay)
    The Darkest Road (Guy Gavriel Kay)
    Tigana (Guy Gavriel Kay)

    Legends (Anthology)
    Grunts! (Mary Gentle)
    Lord Valentines Castle (Robert Silverberg)
    The Eye of the World (Robert Jordan)
    The Great Hunt (Robert Jordan)
    The Dragon Reborn (Robert Jordan)
    The Shadow Rising (Robert Jordan)
    The Fires of Heaven (Robert Jordan)
    Lord of Chaos (Robert Jordan)
    A Crown of Swords (Robert Jordan)
    The Path of Daggers (Robert Jordan)
    Winters Heart (Robert Jordan)

    The Skystone (Jack Whyte)
    The Singing Sword (Jack Whyte)
    The Eagles Brood (Jack Whyte)
    The Saxon Shore (Jack Whyte)

    The Dragonbone Chair (Tad Williams)
    Stone of Farewell (Tad Williams)
    To Green Angel Tower (Tad Williams)

    Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice)
    Sword of Bedwyr (R.A. Salvatore)
    Luthien?s Gamble (R.A. Salvatore)
    The Dragon King (R.A. Salvatore)

    Green Rider (Kristen Britain)
    Pawn of Prophecy (David Eddings)
    Queen of Sorcery (David Eddings)
    Magicians Gambit (David Eddings)
    Castle of Wizardry (David Eddings)
    Enchanters Endgame (David Eddings)

    Even for me, between all those is about a months reading material... :)
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