Discussion Topic: Top 5 Fantasy Recommendations to New Readers of the Genre

If someone new to the fantasy genre asked you for your top five must-read fantasy novels, which novels would you suggest?

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My life has been pretty simple. I grew up in Alabama and graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor's in Advertising. I have spent about the last ten years in web development. In 1998, a friend of mine and I started a web design company we ran for three or four years before deciding to close it due to the demands of school. Since then, I stayed in the web working with various companies in Alabama. I worked for a brief period with Southern Progress, namely with Southern Living magazine and Health magazine, in their web departments. While there, I also wrote for Southern Living magazine, Health.com., and the company's internal newsletter. I write as much as I can. For the last five years, I have been working on my first novel. I am on the third revision now and hope to be finished with this draft by the end of the year. I also write short fiction, though not as frequently as I used to due to the time I spend on the novel. My goal is to have my novel published in the next three years. Other interests include: History (particularly medieval and ancient civlizations), Reading, Foreign Language (I currently speak Spanish but plan to learn as many as I can), Landscape Photography, the outdoors, sports (especially college football), and Travel.

6 thoughts on “Discussion Topic: Top 5 Fantasy Recommendations to New Readers of the Genre”

  1. Yikes! The genre is so broad, it’s hard to say, but here are my recommendations:

    1 – Jim Butcher’s Stormfront: Very modern, fun, and tongue-in-cheek.

    2 – Steven Brust’s Jhereg: Similar to Butcher, but darker, more traditional.

    3 – Tolkein’s The Hobbit: a classic that’s fun, readable, and a good entry to the Lord of the Rings if they decide they like it.

    4 – Fritz Leiber’s Swords of Lankhmar: the first and best Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser novel. A wonderful introduction to the characters and to Swords & Sorcery in general.

    5 – Pratchett’s The Light Fantastic: gonzo fun that takes the assumptions of the previous four and lovingly skewers them. If you consider this list to be a meal, Pratchett’s work is the ultimate dessert.

  2. Doesn’t look like we’re going to get much more input on this list. I like your list, Brian. Original. I wouldn’t have thought of some of the titles you mentioned. My list is not extremely creative, more of the older classics I suppose.

    1. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings – These are a must for any fantasy reader, as Tolkien is considered by many to be the father of modern fantasy (by modern I mean within the last 30 years)

    2. Chronicles of Narnia – The Chronicles are a good start when you’re young. I read the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe in elementary school.

    3. Agreed on Pratchett. Another classic fantasy author.

    4. Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson – a darker, grittier fantasy series

    5. A Song of Ice and Fire – I wouldn’t suggest reading George R.R. Martin first, because it’s likely you won’t find other fantasy novels nearly as enjoyable after reading this series. I’m having a difficult time finding other fantasy series that I can really get into.

  3. If the person were a literary-fiction reader who was only reluctantly coming to fantasy, I’d recommend The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle, mostly because a newcomer will get the sense of myth without needing to understand all of the fantasy references and in-jokes–and also because the book is very nicely written.

  4. Jeff, I’m not familiar with the Last Unicorn. Actually, the name rings a bell, but I have never read it. I’ll check it out myself. Thanks!

  5. I would definitely recommend The Last Unicorn. A wonderful story. You should also try Luthiel’s Song by Robert Fanney. Both would make my top 5.

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