Who is the greatest modern fantasy author?

Discussion in 'Archive: Census and Games' started by Gandalf the Grey, May 24, 2002.

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Who is the greatest modern fantasy author?

Poll closed Mar 24, 2012.
George R. R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire) 12 vote(s) 3.9%
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) 181 vote(s) 59.3%
Neil Gaiman (Sandman) 3 vote(s) 1.0%
Robert Jordan (The Wheel of Time) 13 vote(s) 4.3%
Matthew Woodring Stover (Heroes Die) 5 vote(s) 1.6%
Tad Williams (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn) 5 vote(s) 1.6%
Terry Pratchet (Discworld) 9 vote(s) 3.0%
David Eddings (The Belgariad) 8 vote(s) 2.6%
Terry Goodkind (The Sword of Truth) 5 vote(s) 1.6%
Other (some other book or series) 64 vote(s) 21.0%
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  1. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
  2. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    I tried to pick a wide mix.

    George R. R. Martin is the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, which is the current benchmark for new fantasy. Tolkien is probably only second to Shakespeare in renown as a fantasy author. Neil Gaiman is to comics what George Lucas is to movies, and a darn good author too. Robert Jordan writes the Wheel of Time, which continues to grind on and be widely read. Matthew Woodring Stover knows his mythology about as well as Neil Gaiman, and he surrounds it with good old fashioned swords and sorcery. Tad Williams is pretty good, one of the best Tolkien imitators around. Terry Pratchet is quite possibly the funniest author alive. David Eddings writes the literary equivalent of crack cocaine; you know that it?s bad for your brain, but you get addicted to it anyways. The only explanation I can think of for Terry Goodkind?s popularity is Wizards First Rule.

    There were a lot of great and not-so-great authors that I had to leave out do to space restrictions, notably Dave Duncan, Robin Hobb, Gregory Keyes and Guy Gavriel Kay. Other people will miss probably miss Elizabeth Haydon, Harry Turtledove, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Terry Brooks, Dennis L. McKiernan, C.S. Lewis, Ed Greenwood, R.A. Salvatore, and others. With the list above, I tried to go for as broad a mix as possible, choosing authors that I felt had the biggest fan-bases.

    My choice was George R. R. Martin.
  3. Liz Skywalker Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Jun 13, 2000
    star 6
    You put in Tolkein, who's dead, and left out J.K. Rowling, who's still alive and kicking? ?[face_plain]

    I'd go for Rowling or Robin Hobb.
  4. Lonewolf89 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2001
    star 5
  5. Wylding Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2000
    star 5
  6. Liz Skywalker Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Jun 13, 2000
    star 6
    Herbert is technically sci-fi, as is Heinlein, my ultimate favorite author.
  7. B.J. Zanzibar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 1999
    star 5
    Terry Pratchett for humorous fantasy and Glen Cook for dark fantasy. I don't like vanilla fantasy much.
  8. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    B.J. -- try Matt Stover. He makes Glen Cook look like Barney. :D
  9. Malazaf Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2002
    star 4
    I READ all of terry pratchetts books, and all of tolkiens, and all of robert jordans.

    But.. discworld is second to middle earth, and robert jordan just isnt that good.

    But, in that order.
  10. Kerr_Plunk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2002
    star 6
    i chose Tolkien...
    but it was a tough decision in some ways! i also love Terry Pratchett..

    or, i was thinking about choosing other and in support of George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, L. Frank Baum, Michael Moorcock, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ursula K. Le Guin, E.R. Eddison, Mervyn Peake, and Charles de Lint

    no J. K. Rowling?! [face_shocked]


    :p
  11. Darth Ludicrous Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2000
    star 5
    RA Salvatore is modern too. where is he?
  12. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    Sorry, I tend to forget about Rowling. I tend to think that Harry Potter is a rather overrated series, and so I rarely think about it. Why bother thinking about something that, to my mind, doesn?t merit thinking about? Also, her books get put into the fiction or children?s fiction sections of bookstores and libraries, not the fantasy and science fiction sections, so I rarely see them.

    And yes, I missed a whack of authors. Some I mentioned in the post immediately following the initial poll, and I?ve read many of the others mentioned (the late Marion Zimmer Bradley, Charles de Lint, Ursula K. Le Guin, as well as H.P. Lovecraft, Orson Scott Card, Robert Silverberg, and Isaac Asimov among lord only knows how many others). I?d need a hundred places on the poll to put everyone down.
  13. BobaFrank Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2001
    star 5
    I like Orson Scott Card too, but my favorite is David Feintuch.

    GTG,

    What's the matter with the Harry Potter Series?
  14. Liz Skywalker Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Jun 13, 2000
    star 6
    Gandolf - send me your RL addy and I'll send you my copies of the series. Don't worry, I can buy new ones.
  15. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    BobaFrank: To me, Harry Potter series is a) too clichéd, b) Harry himself is too much of a Mary Sue, and c) the world the books are set in obeys internal rules that are bizarre without being funny.

    Young boy with a mysterious past has a destiny to save the world. Yawn.

    To me, the closest comparison to Harry Potter is Orson Scott Card?s Ender (who I don?t like either), except that Ender came across to me as being as great as he was purported to be, as long as it didn?t involve thinking outside the box. Harry Potter is the guy who?s got the lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead, who survived a Voldemort attack while still in diapers, who gets the extra special wand, around whom everyone in his peer group is like ?OMG ? It?s the Harry Potter.? As I said, the closest comparison I can think of is Ender, the Ender Wiggin, the leader of Dragon Army, the perfect soldier, and the smartest kid in battle school. Neither character really appeals to me, but Harry Potter appeals to me less than Ender, because the traits that I dislike in him are stronger.

    But it?s his world itself that annoys me the most. I don?t mind oddness, as long as it?s funny. Discworld is one of my favorite series, and everything in that series takes place on a flat world that?s carried on the backs of four giant elephants who are standing on a giant turtle. Discworld is bizarre, but it?s also incredibly funny. Whereas a Neil Gaiman book might make me laugh when it gets weird (Neverwhere is great example of this ? Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandermar always made me crack up), JK Rowling sort of made me go ?Right?,? put the book down, and back away slowly. The moving staircases, the many flavored beans, the chocolate frogs, and the sheer idiocy of the Muggles; none of that sit well on my literary palette.


    Liz: No need, I?ve read all of that series that I want. My brother had the first book for a while; I got him started on authors like RA Salvatore and David and Leigh Eddings, and he gave up the series. My younger cousins had all the way to book three (I made it halfway through Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban before thinking ?I really don?t like this series. Why am I bothering with it??) but then I got them started on C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, and Philip Pullman, and since I started feeding them books, they haven?t bothered to go get Goblet of Fire.
  16. Fingorfin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2001
    star 4
    Tough choice. All the authors that I have read on the list have done excellent work. (Martin is the only one that I have not read.) If the Wheel of Time ends as well as it began, it may be the first fantasy story that is better than Lord of the Rings, but until then, I will go with Tolkien.
    Remember, Crossroads of Twilight comes out November 12.
  17. Obi-Wan's Apparition Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2000
    star 5
    Tolkien :) While the others are great, I don't think anything could live up to Middle-Earth.
  18. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    Martin has my vote. I would have liked to have seen Charles De Lint up there as I think he's underrated. I would have put Hobb or David Gemmell up there as well.

  19. Fox_Kayai Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    I picked other. I like an author by the name of Alice Borchardt. She is Ann Rice's older sister. She writes books on shapeshifters.
  20. Champion of the Force Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 1999
    star 4
    I chose Tolkien, but it was hard to consider anything else since I've only read a handful of other fantasy writers' works - most of which struck me as Tolkien rip-offs.

    I've been hearing good things about George RR Martin though - I've been meaning to give him a look sometime.
  21. Jeff 42 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 1998
    star 5
    "RA Salvatore is modern too. where is he?"

    Judging by the AotC novelization, he's a more likely candidate for worst modern fantasy author. It appalls me that that guy gets paid to write books.
  22. darth_boy Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2001
    star 7
  23. LittleJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2001
    star 4
    What about T.H. White? The Once and Future King is a classic! (For those who don't know, The Sword in the Stone is the first of five books in the once and future king.) I also like JK Rowling, Tolkein, Terry Pratchett, and zillions of other fantasy authors.
  24. ILLUMINATUS_JEDI Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2001
    star 4
  25. Tayschrenn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2002
    star 4
    Steven Erikson

    Gardens of the Moon, Memories of Ice, Deadhouse Gates, good books the whole lot.
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