not in any real order but my top fantasy(ish) authors are:
Niel Gaiman: Legend, nothing more needs to be said, if you can read The Sandman and NOT think this guy is a master of his craft then you don't understand how a master works.
George R R Martin: great author (if a little fucking slow.....) a perfect grasp of character, creating not only believable people, but interesting flawed characters you can love at hate at the same time.
Haruki Murakami: HOW AM I THE FIRST PERSON TO MENTION HIM? This man is simply put, a genius. An artist of the sureal, who manages to take totally insane situations (I walked down some stairs and now im in a different dimension...) and still make the story effortlessly engaging, the characters relatable and the journey memorable.
Stephen King: I know, he's not TECHNICALLY a fantasy author, but seriously take... well you'll need about 6 months, but take the time to read the Dark Tower series, now read all the books CONNECTED to the Dark Tower... oh wait... that's pretty much every fucking book Stephen King has ever written. How one normal person can create so many seemingly disparate worlds and stories, yet tie them all together in a way that doesn't seem forced is beyond me.
Stephen Erickson: I LOVED malazan book of the fallen, even if I did need to start taking vast quantities of Anti-depressants to make it through the series without killing myself, I would still reread the series without hesatation, they're just THAT good.
Robert Jordan: Okay he's not the most amazing writer... in fact he's pretty bad... but shit that hasn't stopped Stephanie Mayer. What makes Robert Jordan great is that despite the flaws in his writing he creates an engaging story and quite frankly isn't that the whole point?
Terry Goodkind: In a similar catagory as RJ, a great character writer, but his plots are a little... well they're shite really. I kinda wish RJ and Goodkind had worked together on a series, with RJ pitching the world and goodkind filling in the characters. It could have been amazing, sadly it'll never happen as Robert Jordan is no longer with us, and Terry Goodkind is a colossal asshat.
Christopher Paolini: hahaha just kidding, Christopher Paolini sucks monkey nuts. If you like him or his work you should feel bad, or maybe consult a doctor you may have serious concussion.
Yeah I don't have 10 top authors, I have many authors I LIKE (Robin Hobb, Wiess and Hickman, David Eddings, David Gemmell) but the ones I listed above are the authors I LOVE.
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In no order.
Robert Jordan: Say what you will about smoothing skirts, tugging braids and wool-headed sheepherders, WoT is my favourite fantasy universe.
Steven Erikson: Love the series, love the characters. Every time I read a Malazan book, I am physically incapable of putting it down once I've reached the final hundred pages. The convergences (aka climax) will not let you go.
David Eddings: Favourite author when I was a teenager. "The Belgariad/Mallorean" and the "Redemption of Althalus" are still some of my favourite books. "The Elenium/Temuli" were pretty good, but it kind of seemed like he just rewrote Belgarian/Mallorean, and then made a few name changes. "The Dreamers" wasn't that good.
GRRM: I liked the first couple books, but it's hard to stay attached to the characters when most of them have either died or had a personality change. Tyrion has one of my favourites, but he wasn't that interesting in "A Dance with Dragons".
Tad Williams: I haven't really decided what I think about him. I loved his series "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn", but I despised "Shadowmarch".
Wiess/Hickman: I enjoyed Dragonlance as a teen, but haven't reread any of the books recently.
I dislike Terry Goodkind and JRR Tolkien.
SoT had some good parts, but just how cluelessly evil can you make the enemy? Darken Rahl was an interesting villain, then he gets shoved aside for the "Humanity sucks, we're all scum, bow to me!" empire.
I can't get into LotR. Good setting, but boring to read. If you gave me two piles of books, with three books in each pile, and the pile on the left had the LotR trilogy, while the pile on the right had three copies of "Crossroads of Twilight" by Robert Jordan, probably the slowest book in the WoT series, I'd read the three copies of CoT rather than the LotR trilogy.
Of course I acknowledge your opinion, though: we'd need to go much more deep in order to prove it right or wrong.
It stays that yours is a simplification: Tolkien created for... he was creative, his "purpose" cannot be reduced to some sort of naive intent of preservating ancient cultures. He surely realized (consciously or not) the richness of that culture, and he meritoriously rendered some bits of it for modern minds.
Anyway, as you said, Tolkien's greatness doesn't necessarily depend on the originality of his characters, which I recognize being not so... original. But using certain things in a certain way at a certain time, may be original, even though they were not new at all, if you consider the entire course of history. Making the ancient modern again, it doesn't happen every day. We may argue that historical novel was not created in the 19th century, for examples of historical novels appreared also earlier: but the exact way historical novels were made during the 19th century was completely new.
Last edited by Memory; 2013-01-01 at 10:52 AM.
I like to add some writers too: Stephen R. Donaldson, the Thomas Covenant series for example. Diane Duane has some nice books too. And Otherland by Tad Williams is a must read imo.
my main problem with GRRM is how damn long it takes him to write a damn friggen book.
Really ? Salvatore over Erikson ?
Salvatore but no G.R.R.Martin ?
Salvatore but no Gleen Cook ?
Salvatore in top 10 ?
Martins deify the villains ?
poor top 10
I also like Raymond E Feist's early works - Magician, Silverthorn and Darkness at Sethanon. In my opinion his best work was the Daughter of the Empire trilogy he wrote with Janny Wurst.
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Here's my personal list of authors.. not necessarily the same as my top 10 fantasy books, but if we're talking authors then I mostly take into account a range of books or an entire series etc.
1. Terry Pratchett
2. Robin Hobb
3. George R.R. Martin
4. Anne McCaffrey
5. David Eddings
6. Robert E. Howard
7. Robert Jordan
8. Terry Brooks
9. Raymond Feist
10. Naomi Novik
Ranked purely based on my personal opinion and how much I enjoy reading their books.
I have read the first book of The Black Company, but the rest of it is still on the to read list for me.
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Gene Wolfe is severely missed. This guy is a master of prose, not only when it comes to fantasy and sci fi but all English literature, I highly suggest you check out his books. I want to point out that his writing style is a bit dense and very layered and reading his novels can be daunting to those who don't ready anything more more complex than Salvatore or Hobb. If you do decide to pick up one of his novels (I recommend "The Book of the New Sun", "The Book of the Long Sun" and The Soldier Trilogy) then you are in for a treat.
Last edited by nektar; 2013-01-01 at 04:00 PM.
Stop, its snobery time.
Going purely by writing talent, Wolfe is the best author. Edit -> @ Guy above me, The Wizard/Knight duo is much easier for someone to pick up, although not as good as his solar cycle books, I agree.
I'm not going to do a top 10 because I would be listing about 30 authors, but Hobb, Goodkind, and Tolkien have no reason at all to be on anyones top 10 list. I will however, note, that Glen Cook should be up here for starting the 'gritty' fantasy feel that so many authors are duplicating, as well as Pratchett as, although his books seem lighter, they are very well written and are a commentary on society.
Richard Morgan is amazing, I really like Joe Abercrombie, and Jim Butchers' Dresden Files have become more complex then a lot of the 'epic' series, but each book is much shorter and more fun to read.
@Kasiereth -> Erikson's first book (Gardens of the Moon) is written much more poorly and confusingly then the rest of the series, and it is clearly the first work by an author. Get through the third book (Memories of Ice) and he will be ranked in the top 3, easily.
Get a grip man! It's CHEESE!
Tolkien "invented" specific mythology in terms of creation of world by Music of the Ainur (Ainulindalë) for example and only some of his characters are "derivate"
his Valar, Maiar, Melkor story and other beings are his own and amazing
if I could choose only one fantasy book from all it would be Silmarillion
I love to read so it is hard for me to do a top ten with any order at all, and I also dip into other genres so my high list is not just fantasy. If I were to pick, in no particular order:
Stephen King, Anne McCafferey, Kim Harrison, Laurell K. Hamilton, Keri Arthur, Karen Marie Moning(fever series), Patricia Cornwell, Patricia Briggs, Cheyenne McCray, Brent Weeks(night angel trilogy), Melanie Rawn(dragon prince series), Mercedes Lackey, and Kelley Armstrong.
1. Terry Pratchett
There are other good once but they all pale in comparrison to Pratchett so there is no point in listing them.
I would say highlights in my collection would include the aforementioned Gene Wolfe, Jack Vance, Michael Moorcock and Roger Zelzany(if only for Lord of Light, although that slightly edges more into SF). Notable mentions would include Stephen R Donaldson, Johnathan Carroll, Neil Gaiman (if only for Sandman, although some of his work since then has been quite good) and George RR Martin.
---------- Post added 2013-01-01 at 08:09 PM ----------
I think children's fantasy writers deserve their own list apart from adult ones. The way a children's fantasy book needs to be written is very different from an adult one, and takes a good bit of skill to do one unique and well and not fall into repetitive cliche's. Adult ones are arguably easier to write because to have a lot more tools to work with and can have much more advanced dialogue that's easier to write, and you can afford to be more descriptive and long. A children's fantasy writer needs to be able to get themes, points, and other things across and not take to long to do it, while not being over the top and simplistic at the same time. Adult fantasy novels, such as ASoIaF can also have way more characters. With childrens books you are usually limited to 2-3 main characters and PoV's. Adult books can have literally dozens.
I think C.S. Lewis is to modern children's fantasy what Tolkien is to modern "adult" fantasy. They were friends to.
The only problem I have with Lewis is that was was an unabashed racist and Islamaphobe. Seriously. Calormen is essentially a stereotypical middleast culture where everyone is greedy, violent and worships a false god. The only two calormen citizens portrayed as good are Avaris (a little girl) and a soldier, and the soldier only turns good after he see's his god is some sort of twisted demon).