I guess you get a nerd hall pass for not having been on top of this already since your excuse is that you were studying other books. Read the books, then watch the series on HBO. It doesn't get much better right now in fantasy/dragons/sex/magic/blood/guts/intrigue/power politics.
OT - nerd books
Yeah, you can't go wrong with the Song of Ice and Fire series, but be prepared to wait awhile for Martin to release the next book (the sixth), there have been some significant gaps in between releases.
But honestly they are worth the wait, a very good series.
SM Stirlings Dies the Fire series is good. Post Armageddon. Also Johnny Ringos Prince Rdger March Up Country books are good too.
my roommate has the series but out of principal i cannot accept his opinion on anything
Came here to recommend that one as well. I just finished the first book in A Song of Ice and Fire (A Game of Thrones), and it did not disappoint. I would highly recommend it.
amazing series so far (2 and a 1/2 books in).
I can't belive how well he writes and the way he uses the third person limited but with multiple characters is very well done.
Read about eighty percent and gave up. To many new characters. Made me hate the dornish folks as well as the iron born. Second thought never mind. Try it out .
It took me so long to finish that volume that I forgot what happened before, but I'm glad I made it through, because "A Dance with Dragons" picks up the pace and is much more entertaining. Skip ahead and read the last 5 chapters or so of "Feast of Crows," as major events occur therein.
Ugh, I'm a little over halfway through right now. I read the first three books in about a week each on my commute to work. This book feels like a chore to read and I've been reading it for about a month.
That said, I highly recommend the Dunk and Egg series - three short stories (so far) written by Martin that take place in the same universe about 90 years before A Game of Thrones. Read the first one novella before A Feast for Crows since the fourth book has some spoilers for the mini-series that takes away from a few of the reveals.
I would have to disagree with this. George martin's writing is subpar and nothing like that of vonnegut, lem, Phillip k dick and other prominent sci-fi writers
The first book was very good, second book good, 3rd pretty good. The storyline seems like it is being dragged out just to get some more dollars. I'm stopping at book three. There are better suggestions here IMHO.
the last two books IMO have been huge letdowns--little happens, we follow some characters that I don't care about at all, and he seems to have lost the strong narrative thread that the first three books had. I'm betting the tv series will do a better job of portraying the events in the last two books than Martin did.
Most people don't know about this but it is a great series: Harry Potter.
I read all three books in a week...
a good suggestion, but don't expect anything special. Basically good fodder...
If you've got the time there's the Wheel of Time series. If you start it now you might be caught up when the last book comes out early next year.
The wheel of time series might be the best suggestion on here (outside of harry potter, but those should be read before you turn 21) in that they are well written, extensive, and about to finish.
Agreed. Most epic/awesome fantasy series ever. I've read the series 3 times and I'm already on book five for the 4th time through. If only it could be made into a TV series.
Release of Memory of Light (book 14) scheduled for early January.
Honestly OP, would scrounge up nickels, dimes, etc., fly to SE Asia or Europe and live it up. Books will always be available for you when you come back.
I read much of the series then gave up and donated the first 9 back to the library. I had an honest discussion with myself and decided that the reality of the situation was that I wasn't going to finish the series. Most of the books I read were good, but it got to the point where it seemed like it was long for long's sake.
Not sci-fi fantasy but it is nerdy...give this Douglas Coupland classic a bit of your time:
Read every MGoBlog post ever including all diaries.
If you have some time and don't mind a series which has almost 40 books in it, I would highly recommend the "Discworld" series by Terry Pratchett. It is an intelligently written and pretty funny series that makes many modern references as well.
Terry Pratchett's books are fantastic, and you definitely don't have to read them in order or anything to enjoy them. He is basically the Douglas Adams of the fantasy genre, brilliant satire.
There are lots of books in the Halo universe. Some follow games and some are separate stories.
Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. I barely read any sci-fi at all, but it is fantastic.
Great fantasy series by Erikson
Not sure if it qualifies but Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorites. I'm somewhat of a nerd myself so I think you will appreciate his writing. I especially enjoy Welcome to the Monkeyhouse, a series of short stories that's very fun to dip in and out of. For a novel, Slaughterhouse Five is always a good one.
Never thought of Vonnegut as sci-fi, but his books do have tons of sci-fi influence in them it seems. Slaughterhouse Five, Sirens of Titan, and Cat's Cradle are my favorites.
Twilight. But only if you're Team BuddSegz
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams.
"The Magicians" by Lev Grossman.
Beat me to it...
I think this is what i'll start with. now i just need to get a library card
Currently reading "The Magicians" and I second that recommendation
The Magicians is great, and the second book in the series (The Magician King) is also fantastic. Third book will be coming out in the next year or so, I believe?
Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. Don't Panic.
5 books in total, and 1 that was written by someone else, so 6 sorta.
Very good dry british humor if you are looking for something a little more light hearted.
The Increasingly Inaccurately Named Hitchhikers Trilogy
Starts with Gardens of the Moon
im on book 6 right now. very enjoyable.
is a personal favorite. Start with Sabriel. It has necromancy and plenty of other magic set in a thoroughly fleshed-out (non-earth) world.
Valis - Philip K Dick
How can you go wrong with a series set on a flat world balanced on the back of four elephants standing on a turtle? Or where Death (yes, THAT Death with robe and scythe) rides a horse called Binky and has a granddaughter named Susan?
In addition to song of ice and fire and wheel of time, which are probably my top 2 but have already been suggested, Mistborn is a great series. It is by Bradon Sanderson, who is also writing the final books of the Wheel of Time series.
Agreed. Everything he's written has been good. I just finished Alloy of Law and that was solid as well.
Philip K Dick is great. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Is probably my favorite, but most of his stuff is really good. VALIS is good & weird and I really liked Time Put Of Joint also.
Also second the Vonnegut suggestion.
Out. Time Out of Joint.
I can't believe nobody has mentioned DUNE! Seriously, "Dune" by Frank Herbert is an epic book and anyone who calls themself a sci-fi fan should read it. Frankly, even people who aren't probably should. You will not be disappointed.
Yes. That series was pretty good. I would like to see someone do a reboot of the film. That steaming pile of shit released in '84 did the book no justice.
By Patrick Rothfuss. Just fantastic stuff. The follow up is Wise Man's Fear
Awesome books. Its a shame we have to wait for the next release. Also should check out Ready player one by Ernest cline
Wholeheartedly second this recommendation. I give it to people who say they don't like fantasy books and they invariably ask if I have the second book about a week later.
after hitchhiker's guide I'll read this
Holy crap, yes, read this. I've read it three times. Sequel is also excellent. It's a toss-up between the third in this series, and the final Wheel of Time book as to which I'm most eagerly awaitng.
I would agree, Patrick Rothfuss has written two terrific fantasy novels in The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear. Kvothe is one of the most interesting characters I have come across. I am patiently awaiting the next book, I am sure it will be worth it.
Great series, getting anxious waiting for the 3rd book as well.
Another good series if your are in to Zombies is "Day by Day Armageddon"
Definitely support this recommendation!
Obviously, beaten to the punch.
This is an awesome deep reread of the series so far, if anyone is interested. Written by Jo Walton, who wrote a pretty good book called "Among Others." http://www.tor.com/features/series/patrick-rothfuss-reread
The Boxcar Children or Goosebumps.
Altered Carbon and the Takashi Kovacs series. Definitely sci-fi.. although may not be enough fantasy for you. The first one takes place on future Earth only because the main character is "sent" there... very bladerunner-esque. The others are offworld. Love the way Martians are portrayed in this series... and the concept that signifcant parts of planets have been lost to out of control military AI.
L5R Clan War series. Huge following, also a game, but I just like the books.
Are Michael Crichton books considered science-fiction? When somone mentions sci-fi, most people (myself included) tend to think in the Star Wars/Star Trek or Fantasy (LOTR) type books. But Crichton deals with alot of scientific issues in fictional form. I have read all of his books except for Micro, Eaters of the Dead, and Next. I would recommend them all.
Although not sci-fi, graphic novels and comics are generall considered nerdy. You can find some good suggestions in these two past threads:
I don't see how you can read anything if you haven't read The Hobbit and LOTR you need to start there. It's fantasy 101, if you aren't going back to Beowulf or something.
And add to your borderline picks, while more reality based than the movies, the James Bond books are hardly real spying, and a great read.
Game of Thrones is too legit.
Wool - Omnibus Edition [Paperback]
A bit slow at the start but a good series. Set on Earth, but not a recognizable earth.
Old Man's War [Paperback]
Science fiction series that reads like an older classic
Bought both based upon Amazon reviews and was not disappointed.
I also really like The Dresden Files a series of novels written by Jim Butcher. The main character is a private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden, as he recounts investigations into supernatural disturbances in modern-day Chicago.
I'll second Scalzi's Old Man's War series. Wonderfully fun writer, lot's of nerdy physics nuggets, great characters. 3 books in the series (Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colonoy) and a fourth stand alone novel, Zoe's Tale that is essentially The Last Colony told from a different character's perspective. Scalzi also has a new book out Redshirts that I haven't picked up yet but plan to.
Are pretty great. Not too deep, great plot and funny characters.
A bit off the radar and more of a thieving caper, but The Lies of Locke Lamore is an excellent book (part of a series) as well. Not as much magic but I found them to be very good.
That's an excellent book. The sequel is good, as well - Red Seas Under Red Skies. I think he's planning a series of seven.
Unfortunately, I think the series will take a while to come out...I believe the author is going through some pretty serious personal stuff (sickness in the family?). So best of luck to him.
Accelerando--Singularity and post-Singularity civilization, space exploration and colonization. Highly recommended. Available for free online.
Foundation (series) by Isaac Asimov. Pretty much anything Asimov wrote is gold but Foundation is tremendous if you've never read it. Details the decline and fall of the Galactic Empire and humanity's long trek back towards civilization.
I just finished Singularity's Ring by Paul Melko. Posthuman identity and intertwining of humanity with AI. It does take place mainly on Earth but it is a very different place. Recommended.
Blood Music by Greg Bear. Also deals with the Singularity and genetic engineering.
The Parafaith War by M.L.E. Modesitt. Humanity has split along ethnic lines and is now locked in a death struggle with itself. There is at least one sequel but I have not read it.
Dune by Frank Herbert. One of my favorite books ever.
Watchmen by Alan Moore. Graphic novel, but absolutely deep and amazing.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.
A Game of Thrones by George Martin. My favorite book, the rest of the series fails to live up to how amazing the first book is (even though they are still phenomenal).
Not sci-fi, but The Godfather by Mario Puzo. One of the few works where the film version matches the brilliance of the written version.
SHOGUN. bestest ever. Stop reading this thread and go buy it now.
Not the best ever, it sure is awesome. Loved every page of it.
I'll echo the person who said Ender's Game. It's excellent, and they're eventually coming out with a movie. Book was fantastic.
Kate Griffin's Matthew Swift series, Simon Green's Drood Chronicles and his Nightside Series, Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles, Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Brent Weeks' Lightbringer Series - his Assassin's Apprentice series is good as well, but maybe not sci fi/fantasy enough for you. Margaret Weis' Death Gate Cycle, Raymond Feist (at least Magician: Apprentice, and Magician: Master), Farland's Runelords series (first five books are good... sequential books are meh), and Katharine Kerr's Dragon Mage series. Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series is solid, and K.E. Mills' Rogue Agent series is good.
Basically everything Jim Butcher has written - Codex Alera series has magic, Dresden Files is magic crime-solving. Fantastic, well-written.
I've been meaning to start Anne McCaffrey's Talent series which looks pretty sci-fi, but I can't attest as to how good it is.
That should take you all summer, haha.
This is probably the best collection of fantasy I've read in the comments.
I'd throw in anything written by guy gavriel kay, steven eriksons malazan series and patrick rothfuss' kingkiller chronicles and you're set.
suggestions (though they are sll good) IMO.
I was waiting to see Enders Game... Just re-read it recently then finished another 4 books in the series, my only real journey into the genre but loved it
Dune. Tough read but very good.
If you really want to get into some hawt brain-on-book action... go with Lawrence Sklar's "Space, Time, and Spacetime"
Things other people have said that I'll definitely agree with: GRR Martin (Game of Thrones), Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicle), Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time), Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games) , and of course JK Rowling (Harry Potter).
I though Douglas Adams was okay as well and if you're looking for something similarly humorous, I'd go with Terry Pratchett (probably anything would do). It's a stretch, but Jasper Fforde (Fourth Bear is my favorite) has elements of Sci-fi and is awesome in a really dry humor kind of way.
Also, here are some good urban fantasies with magic: Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), Chris F. Holm (Dead Harvest).
I have a shelfari account, which is a good website to set up and discuss this kind of thing with other readers, so you might want to check that out as well.
Highly recommend Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Easily my favorite book, and got it autographed by him in Ann Arbor.
Homeland by R.A Salvatore. You can read it as a stand alone or as part of a series. Required fantasy nerd reading material. You really can't go wrong here.
Dragonlance by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman . Start with Dragons of Autumn Twilight and read all the way through Time of the Twins. This involves quite a bit of reading. Wonderful character development.
I, Strahd: Memoirs of a Vampire by P.N. Elrod. Vampires done right. Not your run of the mill twilight or vampire chronicles blather.
For Love of Evil (incarnations of immortality series #6) by Piers Anthony. A quirky take on the afterlife. Each book is the story of Mother Earth, Father Time, Death, God...etc. This is the devil's story. It's not dark and twisted but actually light hearted and humorous.
The Dragon and the Unicorn by A.A Attanasio. If you like camelot this is a must read. Backstory to Merlin. A lot of Celtic and Roman mythology tied in to the story. Brilliantly written.
Lord of the Necropolis and King of the Dead by Gene Deweese. I added this is here incase you were looking for something a bit more dark. This should meet your fix.
First post reserved for a nerd-thread? I like it.
On a side note, I've heard that the Dragonlance books were all based on Weis and Hickman's D&D games that they played. Definitely set up in that kind of Tolken-esk world, kind of like any type of Warhammer book (Gotrek and Felix, etc).
Ha! It took this topic to finally get me to register.
R.A. Salvatore is one of my favorite authors, you really can't go wrong with any of his Drizzit books. Also another of my forgotten realms favorites is the Erevis Cale Trilogy by Paul S. Kemp, I really enjoyed them.
Weis and Hickman are definetely the best writers in the dragonlance realm, I'd reccomend pretty much anything from them.
All the forgotten realms and dragonlance books are usually pretty quick reads and are quite fun, I'd check your local library to see if they have some of them that's how I found them.
Geography of Thought
While they're not exactly what you've described, I highly recommend American Gods and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. American Gods won both the Hugo and Nebula awards in 2003 (given to the best science fiction or fantasy work of the previous year).
Lord of the Rings
I like Ray Bradbury's fantasy stuff (Something Wicked This Way Comes)
Necronomicon by Neal Stephenson isn't really but it's awesome.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman is good. So is the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, even if it does lose it towards the end a little.
Peter V. Brett is writing a good series that starts with "The Warded Man".
"Sandman Slim" by Richard Kadrey is good urban fantasy. There is a sequel out and I think he plans to turn it into a series.
The Warded Man books are fantastic, missed that in my first go around.
Just want to also suggest Enders Game by Orson Scott Card. The whole Enders series are great reads, but this is hands down a guaranteed fun book youll enjoy. As mentioned it is being turned into a feature film as well coming out next summer featuring Harrisson Ford and has a lot of excitement around it. Enjoy your reading endeavors!
I like most of his stuff - but try the Amber series if you want to read for awhile.
As others have mentioned the Wheel Of Time series started out OK bit it went on way too long and Robert Jordan died I and stopped reading it years ago.
Try Silverlock if you want a read that is clever and referential of other great sf/fantasy stuff.
Thanks for this thread - I don't read much sf anymore but I plan to pick up a couple of books mentioned by others.
I'd echo this. I got the Amber series as an omnibus of all ten books last Christmas and it's well worth reading. It moves at a nice pace, too. Definitely doesn't feel like ten books, whereas if you're reading WoT or GoT it will DEFINITELY feel like thirteen and five, respectively.
How about Dan Simmons' Hyperion and sequels?
I just skimmed this thread looking to see if anyone had suggested Hyperion.
Seriously, this guy is amazing. His first stand alone book is Elantris, then he wrote the Mistborn Trilogy, Warbreaker is good and the first book of his Stormlight Archieve is appropriately EPIC.
And on top of all of that, he is finishing the late Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series
The DragonLance Chronicles - Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman (who is a man, not that it matters) Excellent character development as mentioned before. Had a stint on the NYT bestseller list in the 80's. Follows a group of adventurers as they return to meet after searching the realm for answers to the loss of the Gods/Magic/Religion what-have-you. There are three main trilogy's for three different era's and one large book to bridge a gap of time, as well as a wealth of supplemental novels, short stories, gaming systems, etc. Unofficial fan site - http://www.dlnexus.com/products/list.aspx
Song of Ice and Fire - George R.R. Martin - Some of the most advanced character development in fantasy. Martin is praised for writing these books only from a characters perspective and features 9-16 POV's for each book. It is a low-magic realm, at least to start but the series is not finished. Heard of GAme of Thrones? Yeah, you heard of it. This is it. Politics, religion, cIass or caste systems, moral ambiguity and warfare are just some of the themes. I personally believe that it will run 8 or 9 books and not be finished until after 2020. This is my personal favorite on this list.
Robert E. Howard (Conan, Soloman Kane, Kull, Cormac MacArt) Howard only wrote a few pieces worthy of being called a novel. He is master of "electric" or 'charged" writing which works much better in short story form and really captures moments well with his powers of description. He has received praise and listed as inspiration by the likes of Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkein, and HP Lovecraft, who was his penpal. If you're interested then start with Conan, who is written as one of the realms greatest warriors who actually has a code of ethics and has been a scout, general, mercenary, king, pirate and more. Conan is a great character and I personally really liked Cormac MacArt, an Irishman who is second mate on a pirate ship (but the No. 1 badass, lol) whose stories focus on the British Isles and the historic supernatural elements found there (druids, witches, sorcerers). Howard is quoted as very much enjoying "rewriting history in the guise of fiction" so you may realize that you are reading a recreation of the Battle of Marathon or the like, but with elements of the supernatural included.
Kurt Vonnegut - Some of the most enjoyable sci-fi writing that I have experienced. He also works better in short stories IMO. His finest collection has to be Welcome to the Monkey House, which is mostly sci-fi (but written in the 50's and 60's so it's not as far out there as it used to be). His stories are full of political and social commentary and 'what if...' scenarios concerning some of society's problems. They are truly enjoyable stories.
I don't read much sci-fi but I have a copy of Frank Herbert's Dune getting dusty on my shelf that I will read someday since it's been praised for decades but that's going to introduce me to many many more books. Larry Niven's Ringworld was recommended to me as a good sci-fi read. Stephen King's attempt at fantasy in The Eyes of the Dragon was great when I was a teenager. Happy hunting!
The Foundation series...
I like a lot of his short stories as well.
And add Arthur C. Clarke, in particular Childhood's End, and (perhaps not quite fantasy/sci fi but still nerdy) Noah Gordon's The Physician.
Any book series by David Eddings.......this guy writes some great great stuff.....
I just finished The Founding. It is an omnibus of 3 novels in the warhammer universe written by Dan Abnett. He is an absolutely wonderful writer. The founding includes 3 books (First and Only, Ghostmaker, and Necropolis) that follow a regiment of soldiers and their enigmatic leader. The soldiers are the last survivors of a destroyed world who they fight the forces of Chaos for the God Emporer.
There are at least 10 books in the series, and i have only finished 4 of them. I am currently on the second of 3 omnibuses (sp?) and i am having a hard time putting them down at night. I read till 1am every day. I used to go to sleep at a respectable 11pm. They are only 15 bucks at barnes and nobles. So they are easy on the wallet.
Geek culture truly is dominating these days. My comments follow. Maybe the slgihtest of spoilers.
Game of Thrones/GRRM: Ugh. So well written. Fantastically well done. Can't read it. It makes me throw up how he loves his villains far, far more than his heroes. Also, seems to have disdain for the reader at points.
Harry Potter/Rowling - Underrated, if that's possible for a series that has its own theme park. It's not especially literary, but that's about its only shortcoming. Fun, solid, cultural touchstone.
Hunger Games/Collins - Maybe not exactly a match for what the OP wanted, but it's great dystopian sci fi. Somewhat literary. Fantastically raw mood. Perfect ending to the trilogy.
Ender's Game/Card - It's been out long enough now that we can say it's a classic. Even if you only read ten books your entire life, you can make a strong case that this should be one of them. The best word to describe it is intense, but it's also thoughtful, haunting, and literary.
Twilight Saga/Meyer - People love to disrespect it, but they make themselves look like buffoons when they do. Unless you can't stand romance in your books, read it. Extremely literary and intelligent, it plays off the American canon delightfully. It's as smart and sophisticated as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and if you don't know how smart and sophisticated that is, google something like 'Buffy academic studies' to find out).
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8/Whedon - Graphic novel. See above under Twilight.
Lies of Locke Lamora/Lynch - Best fantasy novel of the oughts. Sense of humor, tricky, and soulful. Unfortunately the sequel sucked hard (well, it was maybe just kind of bad, not totally ridiculously terrible, but it was nowhere near as good as the original; think Flowers in the Attic to Petals on the Wind type of drop off, or Matrix to whatever its first sequel was called). Bonus is that Lynch is a true geek gamer and you can have all kinds of literary fun tracing Gygax and RPGs through the books.
Stranger in a Strange Land/Time Enough for Love/Moon is a Harsh Mistress/Starship Troopers/Heinlein - These four are his masterpieces, and yeah he has four masterpieces because he's that good. Extremely literary. With Bradbury and to some extent Asimov and Clark, he brought science fiction out of the literary ghetto in the mid 20th century.
Anything by Brandon Sanderson is strictly meh as far as I'm concerned. I just don't see much there.
Anything Wheel of Time by Jordan or Sanderson is also meh at best. This is the fantasy novel series equivalent of Lost, just making stuff up as they go along.
Vonnegut is fantastic. My favorite sci fi piece of his is the short story Harrison Bergeron. However, Vonnegut's genre is literary, not science fiction, to the point that he feels no compunctions about self-consistency in his world-building, only in his prose.
Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy. It's a young-adult series, but so are some of the other highly-recommended books named thus far. No dragons but it has the other stuff you are looking for.
Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy and (albeit not magic, really good read nonetheless and a bit sci-fi) The Swarm by Frank Schätzing
I also recommend Martin's Song of Ice & Fire series, Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series, Simmon's Hyperion series, Zelazny's Amber series - hell, anything by Zelazny - Robert E. Howard's Conan stories (and his other stuff) - Card's Ender's Game, Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.
I'll add Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series (and other stuff); Harlan Ellison - I gotta like an author who comes up with "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream"; Vernor Vinge - A Fire Upon the Deep, and a Deepness in the Sky; Jack Chalker's Four Lords of the Diamond quartet and Well of Souls series; David Brin's Uplift series and other stuff.
Herbert's Dune - I liked the first three; the fourth, God Emperor of Dune didn't impress me, and I stopped. Read other stuff by Herbert, too, like the WorShip series, and Whipping Star and the Dosadi Experiment.
Jordan's Wheel of Time - YMMV. I enjoyed the first four books, the next several really dragged. Sanderson isn't as good a writer, IMO, but at least Stuff Is Happening, and the series is coming to an end. If it weren't for gift certificates, I might have given up on WoT, but I'm stubbornly going to finish.
Jordan also wrote Conan books that I enjoyed.
This may not be for the OP, but Martin was involved (as writer of a character and editor) in the Wild Cards series, which takes place on Earth. A group of writers/gamers came up with a more "plausible" reason for superpowers - an alien virus. Of those who get infected, a few will gain power - the Aces - some will be deformed in some way - the Jokers (and some of those gain power - Joker/Ace) - and most draw the Black Queen and die hideously.
Also on Earth in a fantasy America is Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series. Many people have "knacks," a minor magical ability, a few people are more powerful and have talent, and Alvin, as seventh son of a seventh son, has Major Talent.
If you're willing to deal with a small PORTION of the books being on earth, the Grand Tour series by Ben Bova is a great 'next hundred years' sci-fi series, emphasizing the sci. They're great nerd books. I recommend starting with the original "Mars", which was his first, though his Lunar books are probably my favorites from the series.
The whole series is, as you may have guessed, a grand tour of Man's earliest steps into the solar system at large. My absolute favorites in the order I would read them:
The others in the series are excellent as well.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
The fantasy genre is plauged by so many bad writers. There is a ton of filler and a ton of writing that re-hashes the same "save the world" stories over and over. As an adult I feel ridiculous and guilty for reading a lot of these writers. Then there are a few authors who write with fantastic pace and once you open the book you can't stop. They are:
Brandon Sanderson (Misborn series, Elantris. No fantasy author is better at pacing and excitement/surprises that are worth reading for)
Patrick Rothfuss (Two books only, no fantasy author is a better character developer, you will love these novels)
Peter Brett (Two books only, a fantastic fast-pace read that is well worth it)
Robert Jordan (Okay, this one isn't paced well, it's a 14 book series being finished though by Brandon Sanderson)
Other than the above, I can't bring myself to read any other authors because nothing else compares.
Sci Fi: A quick nod to Ender's Game and all the novels and Orson Scott Card writes in that realm
Calling out most fantasy writers for being "filler" and "re-hashing the same stories over and over" is not something I would do, but ok, whatever. What's prompting me to post is that you then say you like Sanderson. His largest career move, finishing the Wheel of Time books, is pretty much nothing but re-hashing the same save the universe story. It's not his own story in any sense of the word! He's writing it from someone else's notes fergodsakes. Not to mention that doing so in some sense vitiates one of his achievements with Elantris, namely, putting out a fantasy novel that actually wrapped up in one volume. I don't get it, man.
Also, you don't need to feel guilty as an adult for reading these books. Shakespeare was a re-hasher to the point of plagiarism. Re-hashing can produce some pretty good art.
He has written close to 25 books in the series. He has broken up the large series into multiple trilogies. I really enjoyed some of the earlier trilogies:
- Riftwar Saga (the begining of his whole series)
- Krondor's Sons
- Conclave of Shadows
Unfortunately after the Conclave of Shadows the stories get really bad. So I strongly suggest some of his earlier books
By Glen Cook and I second the Malazan books, ASOIAF and while I partially agree it was better earlier in the series, the Dark Tower is still worth reading.
is my all-time favorite series. With 13 books out and the last coming up in January, now is the tmie to read them all in time for its release.
Dovie'andi se tovya sagain!
50 Shades of Grey?
Seriously though, I really enjoyed the Dark Tower Series by Stephen King. 7 Books of awesome.
I thought Embassytown by China Mieville was amazing. I also highly recommend any of his other books.
Of my favorites are the David Eddings series (mallorean and belgariad, sp?), as well as a seriously underrated first tad Williams series, memory, sorrow and thorn.
A lot of the above recs are excellent, but there is a terrific, little known series of four books called "The Entire and the Rose," by Kay Kenyon (the 1st book is called "Bright of the Sky). It combines Sci-Fi with fantasy world building in a fairly unique way. An interstellar pilot in a future Earth is catapulted into another world, controlled by a strange master alien race that is supressing the people of that world. It has many elements of fantasy throughout, combined with a portrait of a future earth where corporations have ultimate power in exchange for their paying for the entire social safety net for the rest of us (this is a small but interesting part of the books). The majority of the books take place in this other world, and the main character is very well written, the action is excellent, the plot hurtles along, and the challenges seem daunting. Very high recommendation.
Another darker rec set in a different world that has elements of both magic and sci-fi: The Bone Song, by John Meaney. Completely different and unique in every way. Just search Amazon for it--you won't be disappointed I promise.
Farseer series by Robin Hobbe. Dragons, magic, telepathy, and some good ole sordid transgressions that gets everyone riled up.
Thanks for starting this thread!
I was surprised I got to page 3 of this thread before anyone mentioned the The Black Company by Glen Cook. Someone else mentioned it first but I second his nomination. Cook is an excellent writer, great action sequences interspaced with occasional humerous bits that made me laugh outload. Interesting characters. I loved it. Very original too.
I get tired of all the authers trying to imitate Tolkien, few succeed. Cook is completetly refreshing.
I also really like Zelazny's Amber series. Very quick read too. Coincidentally Cook's writing style is very similar to Zelazny's
As many have said, the w heel of Time starts really well but then just goes on and on without much happening. I gave up after 5 or 6 books when it became clear to me that he was just trying to make as much money as possible off the franchise by churning out more books.
Personally I don't care much for Ender's Game that many have suggeted, although Card's writing is excellent, I found him a bit too exestential for my taste.
Also anything be Gene Wolf is very interesting. He is an amazing writer, but it's very wierd stuff.
Finally, as far as Sci-Fi goes there is a relativley new writer I have enjoyed a lot, Phiilip Farmer, kind of off beat and very fund sci-fi.