February 06, 2010

Fantasy on the mind!

Josephine Wall's Periwinkle 

Fantasy books have been on my mind lately.   Fantasy books entertain my mind as I travel to far away places, introduce me to mythical creatures, take me on fanciful quests and experience battles with  knights, dragons, elves, ogres, warriors, heroes,  apprentices and the fight between Good and Evil.   Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom Series,  Margaret Weis's Dragonlance, Charles DeLint's Newford, Mercedes Lackey Valdemar Books,  Christopher Stasheff's Warlock, Piers Anthony's Xanth  and Incarnations of Immortality,  and of course, Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy and J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are a few that come to mind that I enjoyed reading way back. 

The Fantasy Genre has grown over the past twenty - thirty years with many, many sub genres including 

Romance Fantasy
Fairy Tales
Alternative History
Arthurian Fantasy
Comic Fantasy
Dark Fantasy
Epic Fantasy
Fairy Tales and Mythology
Heroic Fantasy
High Fantasy
Mystery Fantasy
Magic Realism
Modern Fantasy
Sword and Sorcery

I sort of fell away from the Fantasy and Science Fiction genres for a decade or more and recently rediscovered some old authors whom I actually skipped reading for one reason or another way back when.  I just finished reading The Mists of Avalon by Marian Zimmer Bradley and the very first book in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series The Eye of the World.   I thoroughly enjoyed both and maybe because of age or maybe wisdom appreciated the stories more than I would have at the age of 20.    There are many authors who have stood the test and time and new authors that time is now testing.     There's an interesting list from Mania.com who they consider the top 20 Fantasy writers of all time.

1.  J.R.R. Tolkein
2.  Robert E. Howard
3.  Terry Pratchett
4.  Piers Anthony
5.  Michael Moorcock
6.  Fritz Leiber
7.  Roger Zelazny
8.  Raymond Feist
9.  Terry Brooks
10.  Neil Gaiman
11.  George R.R. Martin
12.  Tanith Lee
13.  Lord Dunsany
14.  Robert Jordan
15.  Marian Zimmer Bradley
16.  Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
17.  David Eddings
18.  J.K. Rowling
19.  R.A. Salvatore
20.  Katherine Kurtz

I have read at least one book from everyone on the list or have one of their books on my TBR pile waiting to be read.  All except for  Lord Dunsany, whom supposedly influenced Tolkien, Eddings, Moorcock and Gaiman. His Fifty One Tales are on Project Gutenberg so I will be checking him out.

Do you agree with the list and if you don't, who do you think should be considered a top fantasy writer?


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