Post your own Top 25 Best Fantasy Books

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
I have almost certainly said it before, but just to preface, I’m far more interested in the ‘fantastic’ aspect of fantasy than I am in the ‘grizzled mercenaries and ruthless nobles stab and backstab each other in historical analogues and I want to say it's REALISTIC’ part. Not to say I can’t appreciate the latter (several made my list), but it has to do something special to stand out for me. I’m also going to shamelessly cheat by pretending a bunch of short stories equals a book, because otherwise I would not be able to get my favorite author on this list (and in my defense, they really do constitute some of my favorite stories).

My Favorites. This list will probably not resemble anybody else's. Sorry if I failed you on brevity, Alucard.

1. Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock – Everything I want in a book. A great story, good characters, dominated by a sense of magic and mystery, vivid descriptions, very readable (it’s relatively modern). May actually be too good – it’s one book in a loose ‘series’ set in the same world, and I don’t read any of the others because I don’t want them ruining the mystique established in this book, lol.

2. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold – This was one of the first non-ASoIaF, non-WoT, non-Brooks fantasy books I ever read, and it’s the reason I kept reading the genre. One of my favorite characters in fantasy, good descriptions, witty dialogue, likable people. Lacking in ambiguity though.

3. In the Forests of Serre by Patricia A McKillip – McKillip specializes (specialized? I’ve heard rumors that she’s done writing, although nothing official on it that I’ve found, and this makes me sad) in writing books that feel mythological and read like old faerie tales, and this is probably the best example of reading like a faerie tale. Some of the best, most lyrical prose in fantasy.

4. Kingdom of Thorn and Bone by Greg Keyes – Readable in the same basic vein as Martin, Abraham and Abercrombie, although it doesn’t try quite so hard to be subversive and ambiguous (although it does try, and apparently succeeded too well in some places). Way too underappreciated. I don’t understand the complaints about the ending of this series. It seemed to follow the established ideas pretty well to me.

5. The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold – Similar to The Curse of Chalion, but with more magic. Everything that was good about that book is still here.

6. The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson – To be honest, the prose in this book starts out charmingly archaic, but it very quickly lapses into simply being archaic, dense and overwrought. Hodgson was definitely a better poet than prose writer. However, this is possibly one of the most imaginative works to have ever been written, and it was written at a time when there wasn’t a lot of weird fiction/fantasy to base it off of. The whole book reads like a dream (which actually fits, in the story).

7. Codex Alera by Jim Butcher – It’s a more standard fantasy (though it does have creativity in certain aspects), kind of the essence of adventure, and it doesn’t particularly try to swerve you. Rivals Sanderson in sheer readability, and I struggle to think of a more fun read. ‘Fun’ may not be the word people are looking for these days when it comes to books, but I think it has value.

8. Forge of Light (Kharkanas Trilogy) by Steven Erikson – It’s only one book so far, but I think this is better than Malazan. Unless you’re purely in it for word count, I feel like this book is where Erikson really hits his stride in terms of prose. It reads like it’s a play (except not vaguely lame, like reading an actual play like it’s a book sounds). Contains more of the philosophizing Erikson came to love, but worked into the story better. Nobody else reads this despite being bigger fans of Malazan than me. I’m pretty sure it’s because they’re scared.

9. The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany – The modern fantasy elf was born in this book. The prose is average for today (it seems fantastic for its time). An odd cross between childish and adult fantasy (thematically…there are no sex scenes).

10. Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson – You know that Miley Cyrus song ‘We Can’t Stop?’ Steven Erikson wrote that song 20 years before she sang it [citation needed], with this series. It’s not without its flaws (my problems being well documented), but it’s a masterclass in world-building and internal consistency, and the fact that it was able to end in a way that didn’t provoke fantasy nerds to want Erikson dead is an achievement all its own, considering that tetration mathematics were actually invented simply to count the number of words in this series.

11. Solstice Wood by Patricia A McKillip – The closest thing to a modern story I’ve seen her write, told in the same lyrical prose. Ever wanted to read descriptions of the modern world like they’re part of a faerie tale?

12. The Sword Dancer Saga by Jennifer Roberson – It’s a tragedy that this series isn’t a bigger deal. Very character-centric action fantasy. Has a fairly significant focus on romance, but can be both cynical and optimistic (just like real people), and is definitely not like some Harlequin bodice-ripper being packaged as fantasy.

13. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – Long time front-runner. I still think Books 1-3 constitute some of the best fantasy ever written, but achingly mediocre Books 4-5, and the endless, growing wait in between them has more or less killed my enthusiasm.

14. The Tower at Stony Wood by Patricia A McKillip – This was the first McKillip book I ever read, found at the library and picked up because of its unique cover (as it turns out, almost all of her covers look like this, but I didn’t know that then). To be honest, in terms of craftsmanship, it’s just average for her. But it has a special place in my heart.

15. At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald – Old-timey fantasy. George MacDonald can still be read today without much lost in ‘translation’ though, which is fairly unique, particularly for a work written in 1871 (the oldest on this list!). As with all old fantasies, it prioritizes sense of wonder over pseudo-scientific explanations.

16. Karavans by Jennifer Roberson – Feels like a traditional quest fantasy, but with modern sensibilities and self-awareness. I have yet to get Book 3 of this series, though I’ve been looking for a few years (I don’t understand my aversion to simply ordering books off Amazon, but I definitely have one).

17. The Hyperborean Cycle by Clark Ashton Smith – Smith is the best writer of the ‘Lovecraft Circle,’ as well as the most progressive and experimental of them. The Hyperborean Cycle is a series of Lovecraft tinged fantasy stories, and arguably the progenitor of the style used by authors like China Mieville.

18. The Blood of Roses by Tanith Lee – If you ever see this book for cheap, buy it. I had my copy stolen in a move, and now I can’t find it for less than $100. It’s vampire-themed fantasy, with some familiar vampire tropes, but doesn’t descend into Anne Rice territory (despite skirting it), or any of the other less mentionable recent vampire fiction (despite skirting those too…and coming out nearly two decades earlier).

19. Zothique Cycle by Clark Ashton Smith – This was fantasy of the Dying Earth subgenre before there existed such a thing. Remember what I said about experimental? Yeah.

20. Averoigne Cycle by Clark Ashton Smith – More standard Lovecraftian fiction. Can be directly compared to Lovecraft if you want to see the differences between them. Also, what's the obsession with calling these things 'Cycle?'

21. The Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman – Imaginative sci-fi-ish fantasy. It’s constantly called ‘dark’ fantasy, and it is, but it doesn’t even register on the Prince of Nothing scale.

22. Awake in the Night Land by John C. Wright – More modern fantasy, more readable, but written in the spirit of The Night Land, so kind of a blending of worlds. Wright is INTENSELY Catholic (if you’ve ever read a comment by him, or even the intro of this book, this will come across pretty strongly), but his characters are balanced, and not simply echoes of him trying to shoehorn a message.

23. Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard – May also be cheating, since I’m not referencing a single story, but rather all the stories he wrote counted together. Definitely has that pulp feel, but it’s not campy like the Arnold Schwarzenegger films suggest. Considered the birth of the sword and sorcery genre. Uses things we now regard as tropes, but also existed before the idea of these tropes ‘existed,’ so it wasn’t limited by them, or writing within a framework.

24. The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham – Very strange series with a unique premise. When people write gritty fantasy, I wish they’d do it with the skill and imagination of a work like this. Then I wouldn’t hate that word so much.

25. The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson – Sanderson gets on this list because of the strength of his imagination and world building, and this one has the most balanced example I’ve found. While his prose is very easy to read, I find his stories often obsessive about minutiae that either doesn’t matter, or that shouldn’t matter even if it does (like the whole ‘people screaming out cryptic pseudo-biblical phrases when they die’ thing…I don’t care if it matters, it’s stupid).
I'm going to read this beautiful list whilst on the toilet and let you know my thoughts afterwards.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
Great list @Amaryllis. I didn't know two thirds of the books on the list, but I will definitely check out some of them once I've finally plowed through all the books remaining on my TBR shelf.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
Oh no, I assure you I was serious.
Any top 25 list that has four books by Lois McMaster Bujold in it, is to be scoffed at.

What's next, Harry Potter?

Tomorrow, or the next, or when I have time... I'll post my Top 25 Fantasy Books.
These will be 25 books of both literary, and cultural value... Lois McMaster Bujold will not be on that list.
Dear god, do any of you have a soul?
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
The Sword Dancer Saga by Jennifer Roberson – It’s a tragedy that this series isn’t a bigger deal. Very character-centric action fantasy. Has a fairly significant focus on romance, but can be both cynical and optimistic (just like real people), and is definitely not like some Harlequin bodice-ripper being packaged as fantasy.
I wouldn't even classify them as having a focus on romance per se. That particular word has some very specific connotations and such stories follow certain conventions that Roberson eschews. But yeah, I was very impressed by the gradual development of the interpersonal dynamics between the two. It was very realistic and, dare I even say, nonchalant in its presentation. The Tiger and Del books are some of the best recent sword-and-sorcery fantasy I've read.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
I have read very little contemporary fantasy. The majority of these were read quite some time ago. My most recent reads on the list have been Stephen Donaldson (app. 1.5 years ago) and Mieville (earlier this year). Perhaps my initial impressions for some of these works won't hold up anymore, but that's all I have to go on. The only works from this list that I have read more than once are those by Gardner and Lewis, and I do feel the need to reread some of these works to ascertain whether they hold up to my memory of them. Perhaps they won't, or I will discover other works that will supplant some of them. I'm hopeless at ranking, so my list is in no particular order. I might add annotations for each work at a later point.

Till We Have Faces -- C. S. Lewis
Mythago Wood -- Robert Holdstock
The Master and Margarita -- Mikhail Bulgakov
Lord of the Rings trilogy -- J. R. R. Tolkien
The Affirmation -- Christopher Priest
The Sandman series -- Neil Gaiman
Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane & Bran Mak Morn stories -- Robert E. Howard
The Course of the Heart -- M. John Harrison
Master of the Day of Judgement -- Leo Perutz
Little, Big -- John Crowley
Peace -- Gene Wolfe
The Land of Laughs -- Jonathan Carroll
Grendel -- John Gardner
The Stone Raft -- Jose Saramago
Kane stories -- Karl Edward Wagner
Hunting the Ghost Dancer -- A. A. Attanasio*
The Sarantine Mosaic duology -- Guy Gavriel Kay**
The Songs of Earth and Power duology -- Greg Bear
Heraldic (aka Our Ancestors) trilogy -- Italo Calvino
Iron Council -- China Miéville***
Titus novels -- Mervyn Peake
The Curse of Chalion -- Lois McMaster Bujold
Gloriana, or the Unfulfilled Queen -- Michael Moorcock
The Dreaming Tree duology -- C. J. Cherryh
First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant trilogy -- Stephen Donaldson

* I originally had David Gemmell's Lion of Macedon, which I frankly love. Then I thought of Attanasio's book, which I also loved and which was suffused with greater meaning at the time for me. Despite my unabashed love for Gemmell, Attanasio is a superior writer (his science fiction is very heady and simply outrageous at times). I still wanted a Gemmell book on there, but alas it was not to be.

** This was very difficult. I could have chosen from 4 different works, but ultimately I settled for what I believe to be one of his most polished stories (which still manages to achieve a high level of emotional intensity).

*** Another difficult choice. I read Iron Council this year and it made me re-evaluate my opinion of Miéville. Personally, I think that Iron Council is the book that Miéville was building up towards with his Bas Lag trilogy and has produced an excellent, nuanced and meaningful story. A lot of people don't like the political overtones, but frankly, those themes have been glaringly conspicuous right from Perdido Street Station onwards. Previously, The Scar would have been my choice and I still think it's fabulous, but I read it in 2005, whereas Iron Council made a deep impression on me and is still fresh on my mind.
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
The Farseer Trilogy, written by a hack... who hacks out book after atrocious book.
Says a person who obviously hasn't read anything by Hobb outside of the Farseer Trilogy.

@Amaryllis I actually liked your more personal list better than the objective one even though I haven't read very many of the books on either of those lists.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
Oh no, I assure you I was serious.
Any top 25 list that has four books by Lois McMaster Bujold in it, is to be scoffed at.
Why, because you personally don't like the author?
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
Standing at the Gate.jpg

That's me ^, Lord Sparrow in all my roguish splendor (Halloween Party 2011), and this is it... the top 25 list to end all top 25 lists.;)


Lord Sparrow's Wickedly Eclectic Guide to the Top 25 Fantasy Books of All Time!
~In no particular order...
  1. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus - Mary Shelley… a novel light years ahead of its time, written by a teenage girl no less. Amazing.
  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll… few books have been more influential in both literature and popular culture.
  3. A Midsummer Night’s Dream - William Shakespeare… an exquisite use of fantasy as a literary device.
  4. Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien… the book that launched a 1001 epic adventures, none of which rate as high as the story that started it all.
  5. The Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis… don’t care if it is a Christian Allegory; a creative masterpiece written with depth and prejudice that is forever timeless.
  6. Northern Lights - Philip Pullman… sheer bloody poetry, to war against God himself. Truly magnificent.
  7. Dracula - Bram Stoker… not the first tale of its kind, but still the best.
  8. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman… beware of Doors.
  9. The Dragons of Babel - Michael Swanwick… a kind of homage to Tolkien, but without exploiting LotR or insulting the reader’s imagination. A very bold alternative fantasy story.
  10. The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson… science fiction that reads like fantasy; cyberpunk meets the Neverending Story, only way nastier and the stakes much higher.
  11. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke… I wanted to hate it, tried my best to hate it, and finally was taken by the story and characters. If you’re patient, this book will get inside you.
  12. Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury… a purely American tale.
  13. Watership Down - Richard Adams… you’ll either love it, or hate it. Bunny rabbits are like that.
  14. The Worm Ouroboros - ER Eddison… probably the best fantasy novel you’ve never heard of.
  15. Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War - Clive Barker… admittedly this shouldn’t make the list, but it’s a personal favorite of mine because I love the protagonist, and affixing time to place that create a very unique fantasy world; where an archipelago is stuck in time, each island an hour of the day, and midnight is a real bitch.
  16. The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell… another science fiction story that isn’t so much, more a philosophical journey; a reimagining of colonial conquest, that while the times do change, people don’t.
  17. Chronicles of the Black Company - Glen Cook… this is the work that transitioned us from Tolkienesque fantasy to something more earthy, gritty and real.
  18. Chronicles of an Age of Darkness - Hugh Cook… comprised of ten books, each stylistically progressing along uncertain paths, stories that seem to intersect oddly from different points of view. I imagine Cook cracking himself up as he wrote some of the plot lines.
  19. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs… fantasy doesn’t get much quirkier than this. Part mystery, part creeping horror, part photographic diary, all parts fun.
  20. The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World - Harlan Ellison… a collection of short stories that are cynical, but not without warmth and wit. Sort of a crossbreeding of fantasy-horror-sf, like being caught between a rock and a hard place… in a Twilight Zone episode that never ends.
  21. Hard to be a God - Arkady Strugatsky… if you had the power to change things for the better, but are forbidden to do so.
  22. Groundhog Day (screenplay for the movie) - Danny Rubin… so funny and warm that the deeper aspects of the story are sometimes missed.
  23. The Jennifer Morgue - Charles Stross… like tossing James Bond and HP Lovecraft into a blender.
  24. Chronicles of Amber - Roger Zelazny… complex, sophisticated, unhurried and gives LotR a run for its money. This is one series I wish I had never read, only because I’d love to pick it up again for the first time.
  25. The Swan’s War - Sean Russell… I just enjoyed the heck out of this story, though I know it probably doesn’t deserve a slot in the list.
 

Amaryllis

Journeyed there and back again
Since you seem to share my love of fantasy with a fairy-tale ring to it or the prose, I think you'd love The Book of Lost Things. It's by an author who's normally a crime writer so you may have overlooked it, but it made my top 25 for the same reasons you mentioned those two above.
I hadn't heard of that book, but after reading the description on wikipedia it sounds like exactly the kind of thing I go in for. I will pick it up if I see it. Glad I could help somebody find new things that are interesting.
Been planning to read Mythango Wood for some time - may have to bump it up on my TBR list.
It was something I had wanted to read since I saw it on one of the BFB lists, but I mostly only sat down and did it because of recommendations from Boreas and Danica. I was floored by how much I liked the book (I mean, I figured I'd probably like it, but...damn). Obviously there's no guarantee that you'd be like me, but it's a quick read, and I'd say well worth it.

Well then no wonder it's all the way down at number six.
Yeah, I said that largely as a disclaimer for others. Most old novels require a bit of patience and adjustment to the language, particularly if you're not used to reading them, but The Night Land is a whole other deal. I'd compare it to Gormenghast, and in a sense it's pretty similar, but while Gormenghast's prose was dense, it was also very studiously done, every scene cobbled together meticulously. Hodgson's prose isn't quite so dense, but it's also...I don't have a word. Fluttery is what comes to mind. The prose of a poet and essayist who knows language but is not used to using it in the manner in which the story requires. That may not be a correct assessment (I don't know any more about WHH than what wikipedia tells me), but it's the impression it gives.

“It was the Joy of the Sunset that brought us to speech. I was gone a long way from my house, walking lonely-wise, and stopping often that I view the piling upward of the Battlements of Evening, and to feel the dear and strange gathering of the Dusk come over all the world about me.”

That's one of the first paragraphs in the book, seemingly random capitalizations and weird, arbitrary descriptions of mundane things, and the entire book reads like that. I think it aids in the atmosphere and imagery and dreamy surreality of the story, once you get a ways in, but it probably qualifies as a UNICEF world heritage site for purple prose.

I wouldn't even classify them as having a focus on romance per se. That particular word has some very specific connotations and such stories follow certain conventions that Roberson eschews. But yeah, I was very impressed by the gradual development of the interpersonal dynamics between the two. It was very realistic and, dare I even say, nonchalant in its presentation. The Tiger and Del books are some of the best recent sword-and-sorcery fantasy I've read.
I guess that's a good point. It seems to me it's a focus, but it's also sort of...not. And there probably are people who would be turned off by that word, or at least make assumptions regarding it that probably aren't true.
@Amaryllis I actually liked your more personal list better than the objective one even though I haven't read very many of the books on either of those lists.
Having written them both out at last, so do I, lol.

Do you realize you've posted a top 25 fantasy books list that doesn't mention Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chronicles of Narnia, Neverwhere, The Black Company, Watership Down, or anything remotely *classic*. Oh the horror of it, the horror.;)
Do you realize that you’re a pompous fucktard whose opinions – when they aren’t outright worthless – appear nothing so much as grossly indicative of your desire to appear smarter and more cultured than everybody else? Although I guess I am impressed that you’ve read some of the less well known stuff on the list at least (unless you’re just making shit up…which is unfortunately a possibility I can’t discount).

I’m gonna be honest. I actually had most of a paragraph finished where I was explaining how I did the list and how things scored and how I hadn't read X to give it a rank and etc. etc., and then I realized…why? I’m expending effort to justify myself like you’re somebody whose opinion I value. That’s stupid. You’re not half as smart as you seem to think you are. Your primary skill appears to be diving from great heights into piles of shit and then splashing around so it goes everywhere, and you are more of a directionless buzzword factory than the average political debate.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
Do you realize that you’re a pompous fucktard whose opinions – when they aren’t outright worthless – appear nothing so much as grossly indicative of your desire to appear smarter and more cultured than everybody else? Although I guess I am impressed that you’ve read some of the less well known stuff on the list at least (unless you’re just making shit up…which is unfortunately a possibility I can’t discount).

I’m gonna be honest. I actually had most of a paragraph finished where I was explaining how I did the list and how things scored and how I hadn't read X to give it a rank and etc. etc., and then I realized…why? I’m expending effort to justify myself like you’re somebody whose opinion I value. That’s stupid. You’re not half as smart as you seem to think you are. Your primary skill appears to be diving from great heights into piles of shit and then splashing around so it goes everywhere, and you are more of a directionless buzzword factory than the average political debate.
You can explain all you want how it is that Lois McMaster Bujold has 4 books on your list of 25; but then you'd have to admit that you're a silly fanboy/girl who enjoys second-rate romance driven fantasy. So, instead of name calling, how about you comment on my list.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
This is a nice place to come and play guys. Please don't start throwing insults, Pretty please?
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
No ad hominems please. You are also arguing about personal taste. It's obvious but I thought I should point it out for ridiculousness.
If you cant get along or dont wanna communicate you have an ignore option in your settings.
http://bestfantasybooks.com/forums/account/ignored
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
@Sparrow Interesting list. I've read and like a lot of the books on the list (Watership Down, LOTR, Chronicles of Narnia, Neverwhere, Frankenstein and Midsummer Night's dream being my favorites). However, quite a lot of these books don't really fit in the fantasy genre. Frankenstein and Dracula for example I would call horror stories, not fantasy stories. The Diamond Age and The Sparrow are sci-fi books. Groundhog Day is speculative fiction (if it would've been a book, which it isn't to my knowledge. Great movie though. Gotta love Murray).

I shouldn't whine though. Props to you for putting in the time and effort to create a list (I particularly liked the lay-out, formatting, fancy colors and accompanying picture :))

@Amaryllis: thanks for the laughs. You insult like a Bridgeburner; poetic, flowery and funny. What's that moderators? Oh yeah: bad Amaryllis and Sparrow! Bad! No cussing! <hides in corner>
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
No big deal but speculative fiction is an umbrella term which encompasses sci-fi, fantasy and horror. Saying something is speculative fiction doesn't really remove it from these three genres or fantasy in particular.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
Good list, @Sparrow. You approached your fantasy list from a broader perspective than I did. If I'd started including science fiction, then half my list might have been annexed by SF.

However, quite a lot of these books don't really fit in the fantasy genre.,..speculative fiction...
No, not the market genre definition of fantasy, but they are all fantasy works. All science fiction is fantasy. As for the term speculative fiction, it was coined by Robert A. Heinlein as another term for science fiction, but to refer to those of his works that didn't explicitly focus on the science, such as Stranger in a Strange Land, amongst others. The term has been co-opted these days to include a broad range of genres, but anything that is 'speculative' is essentially fantasy.

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus - Mary Shelley
Ashamed to say I haven't read it, though I've watched the James Whale adaptation numerous times and absolutely love it.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Again, haven't read, but the Disney feature was watched again and again by my siblings and I when we were very young.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream - William Shakespeare
Love it, but it's still not my top 3 or 4 Shakespeare plays. Neil Gaiman paid a wonderful, wonderful homage to A Midsummer's Night Dream in a short story he scripted. I saw that you stated you never got into into comics as a child. Neil Gaiman's Sandman would be one worthwhile point of entry out of a few more that I could recommend.
The Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
I read them many times as a child and have loved them in the past. Agree that they are classics. But they're nowhere close to being Lewis' best work. Not even.
Dracula - Bram Stoker… not the first tale of its kind, but still the best.
Agree. I've read some very good modern fiction on vampire lore, but none have quite achieved the sensuality, suspense and horror quite like Dracula. To echo your sentiments for Frankenstein, a novel light years ahead of its time, very modern, and still one of the best epistolary novels I've ever read.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke - Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury - Watership Down - Richard Adams
All of these are on my list. I have high expectations of all three novels.
The Worm Ouroboros - ER Eddison
Not read this one, but I did read his Zimiamvia books (last book was unfinished). Very heady. If you like E. R. Eddison, you should definitely read M. John Harrison's Viriconium stories. Also very heady with some fantastic imagery.
The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell
Superb book. I liked the sequel, too, but not as much as The Sparrow.
The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World - Harlan Ellison
Excellent collection. One of my particular favourites is his story "A Boy and His Dog". I've liked every collection I've read, but his Deathbird Stories is a favourite. Harlan Ellison has the reputation of being an arsehole, but I love the guy. I love how anti-establishmentarian he is. One of the greatest iconoclasts of 2oth century pop culture (besides Camille Paglia, that is)
Hard to be a God - Arkady Strugatsky
Haven't read this one, though I know about it because of its two movie adaptations. Can't remember if this was in my Strugatsky Brothers collection. The first feature was hated by the brothers, but the most recent one is supposed to be how they envisioned it and with the director they preferred. I think I'll watch the movie before reading for maximum enjoyment.
Groundhog Day (screenplay for the movie) - Danny Rubin
Disliked the movie. The only Bill Murray movie I dislike. Not even an iota of interest in reading it.
Chronicles of Amber - Roger Zelazny
Only read the Corwin arc which was fantastic. Need to reread and get onto the second arc.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
In the Forests of Serre, Solstice Wood, The Tower at Stony Wood...by Patricia A McKillip
I've been meaning to pick up Patricia A McKillip and these recommendations have finally spurred me on to purchase her books. Thanks.
The Blood of Roses by Tanith Lee
I have a bunch of her old paperbacks, but not this one. Not read any of the ones I do have. Reading Tanith Lee was one of my resolutions for this year, but I still haven't gotten around to it.
The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson
I read a comic adaptation of this years ago whilst at university and I really liked it. Definitely need to pick him up.
The Engineer Trilogy by K.J. Parker...The Abarat Quintet by Clive Barker...The Dark Tower by Stephen King
Want to read all of these. I've already got the K. J. Parker trilogy. I've never read Clive Barker and I was thinking of starting with his Books of Blood. Only read The Gunslinger years ago and never continued (EDIT: also read his short story that appeared in the collection Legends, edited by Silverberg). Not because I disliked it...I just can't remember the reason why. But before I get to the Dark Tower series, there are a few other King books I'd like to read up first: Salem's Lot (I saw the two part TV miniseries and really liked it), The Dead Zone and the collection Night Shift.
 
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Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
Good list, @Sparrow. You approached your fantasy list from a broader perspective than I did. If I'd started including science fiction, then half my list might have been annexed by SF.
Yeah, I sort of did a balancing act in that regard.
Some SF reads very much like Fantasy to me, so I tried to stick to those.

And HA!.. I loved Groundhog Day... I included it because just by coincidence they had it playing on one of the movie channels last night, and it just stuck in my head.:)
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
I have read very little contemporary fantasy. The majority of these were read quite some time ago.
Boreas, you haven't read anything in the site's top 25 or none make your list?