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Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:09 pm UTC
by Zohar
I read Perdido Street Station but wasn't amazed by it. Maybe I should give it another shot. I definitely found it interesting, but a bit all over the place, I think. It's been a while since I read it, my impression may not be accurate.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:15 pm UTC
by Apteryx
Bamm wrote:I'd have to say that for me the best fantasy writer currently working is Steven Erikson. The Malazan Book of the Fallen series is epic in scope and has some very gritty and realistic battle scenes. There aren't many books that make me weep, but this series has done so on more than one occasion.

Highly recommended.


Only person posting here who has an ounce of sense.

:)

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:45 am UTC
by MadParrot
Nobody has mentioned Jasper Fforde? Especially the Thursday Next novels. Certainly the most imaginative stuff I've ever read. Also Terry Pratchett and, um, Isobelle Carmody I like. Haven't read much else.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:28 am UTC
by Thadlerian
This thread is getting stale. Let's shake it about a bit.

Argency wrote:Depends what you count as fantasy, for me.

A good working definition of fantasy is a story that is impossible within our currently perceived reality (given a certain degree of consensus on what reality is). Look out for magic, supernatural beings, alternative universes and alternative timelines - these are common indicators of fantasy. As a comparison, science fiction is a story that's unthinkable now, but could (with a given amount of goodwill) become possible in near or far future. These two genres, together with horror, form the group "speculative fiction".

Márquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude roughly counts as fantasy, because it contains clearly impossible elements (the priest levitating when drinking cocoa, Remedios the Beauty ascending to heaven, etc.). And yet, most fans of Márquez would take moderate to mortal offense if you even suggested that magical realism is a sub-genre of fantasy. I would check what the TV Tropes term is, but that might imply linking there, so I'm guessing it's called "sci-fi ghetto". Speculative fiction tends to get associated with various social subcultures, so to a great many people you meet, the definition of fantasy would depend just as much on subjective associations and readership, as on the technical aspects of a story.

Lioness wrote:Robin Hobb

Oh, how could I forget! The first thing I thought after reading Assassin's Apprentice was "this is what Le Guin feels like, only with action and adrenaline". I third Hobb.

emceng wrote:I really see three vying for the top spot, and all have been mentioned here - LeGuin, Martin, and Erickson. The last two are both writing epic fantasy series. I would like to see them finish those, if only to see if they do well with a new project. LeGuin just knows how to write.

You have kicked in the doors, played snooker in the aisle, done your dishes in the fountain, practiced your swashbuckler antics in the chandelier, read gaudy poetry from the altar, and generally desecrated Thadlerian's holy temple of Literature in most thinkable ways with that final sentence there.

"Le Guin just knows how to write." Yes, indeed she does know how to write. But there's another thing she knows. She knows how to EDIT; the long-lost art of fantasy. She can pack tons of story into teeny tiny books, spending her words carefully to tell only the important parts, and have your brain/imagination fill in the rest. A Wizard of Earthsea is the best example. In my curriculum, this is what tells the truly talented writer apart from those who just string words together.

Another reason I'm glad One Hundred Years of Solitude was brought up. The book is a character epic equal in magnitude to the Wheel of Time, and yet it does it all within roughly 300 pages, and that's that. No sequels, no prequels. Enjoy your Nobel prize, man. (Although if magical realism had been regarded as fantasy by the mainstream, you would never have received it.)

Apteryx wrote:
Bamm wrote:I'd have to say that for me the best fantasy writer currently working is Steven Erikson. The Malazan Book of the Fallen series is epic in scope and has some very gritty and realistic battle scenes. There aren't many books that make me weep, but this series has done so on more than one occasion.Highly recommended.

Only person posting here who has an ounce of sense.

:)

Ah ha, so that's the way we want this discussion going, is it? Very well.

Reading Steven Erikson's Malazan Books of the Fallen is like watching a pack of androids play a highly sophisticated role-playing game: At first you can but watch, dumbfounded by all that awesome shit going on all around the place. But after a while you can't help but notice there are no characters in the story.
Or you can say there are characters of sorts, but they don't develop. They just level up. But there's no intrigue.

The story is easily summed up as Fiddler turns out to be not just your ordinary soldier grunt, and then Quick Ben is ten times as badass as you thought, and then Paran shows some hidden qualities, and then Kalam is twice as badass as Quick Ben seems to be, and so on.

Sir_Elderberry wrote:George R.R. Martin...or Terry Pratchett. Two kind of opposites, I suppose.

George R.R. Martin is a very understandable choice. His characterization is good, and his ability to create suspense is nearly unmatched. Reading A Storm of Swords is one of the most intense reading experiences I can recall. His plots are complex and nice, too.

And yet, even as I sit here, A Feast for Crows sits on my shelf, glaring up at me in disdain. Sans appendix, the book counts 700 pages, and I can hardly recall the tiniest bit of what it was all about. There was something about Jaime Lannister emoing around about whatever, and then there was an inexplicable and very much unwanted sex scene with Samwell Tarly. Martin needs to really deliver with A Dance with Dragons. Also, the book needs to actually come out some time before the fall of the Himalayas. AFfC was five - 5 - years ago.

Also, Martin has this pan-fantasy tendency of letting most of his agreeable characters be male, and leaving the women for scrappies like Catelyn, Lysa, Cersei, Sansa and Ygritte. Annoying. I wonder why this is such a common trend. Erikson does it too.

PAstrychef wrote:Charles De Lint

I've only read one book by De Lint: The Little Country. I remember this book primarily for its spectacularly epic fail at adhering to the "show, don't tell" rule. The female lead is introduced with no end of pretty words, De Lint telling us how pretty (her skin colour stuck in my mind as "healthy English peach" - is there something unhealthy about Englishmen of other colours, I ask?) and awesome Janey Little is, how she has a face to which "a smile came easily". And then the story starts up, and we're shown a character who's hardly anything but truly pissed off through the whole book, who has violent tendencies, practices jealousy, makes vicious accusations against her ex-lover, and generally feels like a loud and immature little child. No wonder Robert Jordan was quoted on the dust jacket.

Also, there was a scene with a guy being shot, dead for certain as the chapter ended. There were a few chapters between, and then we met this guy once more. Turns out, De Lint had accidentally forgotten to tell the reader that this character always carried this personal artifact, a coin or a medal or something, in his shirt pocket. Said object had deflected the bullet. Said object was introduced after having deflected the bullet.

Seriously.

Izawwlgood wrote:Gaimen? Define 'recent'? American God's is my favorite fantasy novel written in the last, what, 10 years?

American Gods was a nice touch. But what I primarily remember Neil Gaiman for is the Sandman series of graphic novels. Like Erikson, Gaiman creates a vast and complex universe, with a promise of untold stories in every back alley and under every little stone. But when stripped of the decoration, their technical structure laid bare, his stories aren't all that impressive. I recall the 4th Sandman issue, Seasons of Mist. There was this woman, whom a demon of Hell had trapped within itself, challenging Morpheus to go inside it and rescue her. The reader is established with the fact that this is a very risky operation for Morpheus. And true enough, the demon has tricked him, and he is now captured within it. But then it turns out that since the demon is inside Morpehus' palace at the time, Morpheus is really in control of everything that happens around here, and now he has the demon captured in a glass jar. Easy peasy. Nothing was actually at stake.

The purpose of this little digression is to point out that for being a great writer, it's not enough to be good with words. You also have to be able to resist the temptation of taking shortcuts such as these within your plot structure. Gaiman generally takes a lot of those.

Belial wrote:China Mieville.

And China Miéville joins us as well. Excellent. Here's a name I'd really be inclined to agree with. Bas-Lag (why won't he write more Bas-Lag books?) has an atmosphere quite unlike anything else I've encountered. Again, like Erikson and Gaiman, there is nearly infinite potential for stories in the world-building. But there's character intrigue on many levels, and the plots are deep and complex, taking unexpected turns all around. And those endings! Perdido Street Station, The Scar, and Iron Council - they all end in highly unexpected ways that make them a fresh breath into the genre, not just setting-wise, but also plot-wise.

Ultimately, my issue with Miéville is his rereadability. For a book to be truly enjoyable, it must be rereadable. Rereading a book is very different from reading it. I read it to see what happens. When I reread, I know what will happen, and I anticipate the memorable passages. Some passages are so good I can take the book off my shelf just to read those parts. Everybody knows of such passages from their favourite books. But I know none from Miéville. I've tried rereading both PSS and The Scar, and I've given up. They're good as a whole, but when I reread, I know that the only things I will find are the graphic and gruesome death renditions. Every other page, Miéville seems to kill off characters en masse, whether they have their living bones extracted by the weaver, or get their souls sucked out by moths, or get cut in half with a rivebow, or get crushed in a bathysphere, or blunder into the Cacotopic Stain - all in excessive detail. Rereading Miéville, I know that this is what awaits me within the story. This, and nothing nice and beautiful to counter it.

It's a tendency I've simply taken to calling "the goretrap". Writers generally seem to use it to intimidate the reader into greater respect for their writing. The sad thing is that Miéville doesn't actually have to do this. His writing, world-building and plotting is brilliant already.

MadParrot wrote:Nobody has mentioned Jasper Fforde? Especially the Thursday Next novels.

Jasper Fforde is good as well. I like to think of him as a Terry Pratchett who actually does good satire on Capitalism. The four first Thursday Next novels were an ocean of wild and crazy ideas, and these wild and crazy ideas interacting with the characters to create all sorts of hilarious situations. The sect that tries to catch meteorites with baseball gloves, Goliath, SpecOps, the chase of the slapstick minotaur, the mysspelling virus, and then there's Fforde writing a short parody on some truly horrible detective pulp. But book five, The First Among Sequels, was a letdown. Not least because Fforde seems intent on actually dismantling all of that wonderful universe of his, by correcting the time traveler mischief.

tl;dr: Robin Hobb is the best fantasy author working. Also, don't take shortcuts when you write fiction.

Edit: Never mind, Philip Pullman is the best. Not just entertainment, there are ideas as well. Don't let anyone tell you that His Dark Materials is a story about killing God. It's a story about the difference between child and adult.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:00 am UTC
by Apteryx
Man alive, you need a hobby!.

hahahaha.

And while there is a touch of accuracy to your comment about the malazan books, they are the way they are deliberately. It is a stylistic choice of his to have everything in an on-going crescendo, how could it be otherwise?.

And the WRITING is some of the greatest, most lyrical and evocative ever published. The scope is brobdingnagian. The world creation is second to none. The motives of the various characters labyrinthine and plausible and outlandish in the most messy and delicious way. The very humour in its varied forms and proponents is unlike and superior to anything you can name its rival.

Basically you didn't like it, I think, which is fine, all one with different tastes.

The fault is in your lack of taste of course, not the dish. ;)

( edit to offer proof. You like Miéville and Fforde and dislike Pratchett. Case proved. :P )

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:05 am UTC
by Thadlerian
Apteryx wrote:Man alive, you need a hobby!

Hey, I though reading fantasy qualified as a hobby? Also, isn't this a geeks' place?
also, my signature speaks on my behalf on this one

Basically you didn't like it, I think, which is fine, all one with different tastes.

The fault is in your lack of taste of course, not the dish. ;)

You really don't want me to start comparing literature to food dishes. Because I'd go off talking about how Ursula Le Guin is like a thin but highly nutritious vegetable soup - you may not want it, but it's good for you. Whereas the seven-course dinner of Steven Erikson on closer scrutiny appears to be composed almost completely of monosodium glutamate and aspartame. And so on.

( edit to offer proof. You like Miéville and Fforde and dislike Pratchett. Case proved. :P )

Invalid empirical input. I do like Pratchett, but not the current books. The thread asks for the "best fantasy author working", and while I agree that Pratchett is among the best fantasy authors, his lack of recent high-quality contributions disqualify him as one of the best fantasy authors working.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:32 pm UTC
by Apteryx
Thadlerian wrote:
Apteryx wrote:Man alive, you need a hobby!

Hey, I though reading fantasy qualified as a hobby? Also, isn't this a geeks' place?

Oh, I hadn't meant that in the least mocking way, I reached for the companionable, astonished, admiring smiley tab and couldn't find it. :)

Thadlerian wrote:You really don't want me to start comparing literature to food dishes. Because I'd go off talking about how Ursula Le Guin is like a thin but highly nutritious vegetable soup - you may not want it, but it's good for you. Whereas the seven-course dinner of Steven Erikson on closer scrutiny appears to be composed almost completely of monosodium glutamate and aspartame. And so on.

Hahaha, very good, just so.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:39 pm UTC
by Thadlerian
Apteryx wrote:Oh, I hadn't meant that in the least mocking way, I reached for the companionable, astonished, admiring smiley tab and couldn't find it. :)

No worries, no mockery perceived. I just felt it would have been out of style to add an emoticon, however clarifying it would have been.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:28 pm UTC
by Kewangji
I'm reading Perdido Street Station right now, and while there's some cool stuff in it (cactus-people, neat! Remaking seems like a cool thing, too), the prose is awfully purple and 150 pages in, the plot hasn't progressed an awful lot, all I've seen is a lot of diversity. The promised 'intricacy' is curiously absent. And the author really likes the word 'eddy', for some reason.

What's so great about it, I ask?

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:16 am UTC
by |Erasmus|
I'm just going to go with George R. R. Martin, or Robin Hobb.

I'll agree with comments that Martin has seemingly started losing his way with A Song of Ice and Fire... He is falling into the habits of so many other fantasy writers, and seems to want to just keep expanding the scope of his story and adding more and more characters and viewpoints. However, I still think his writing and characterisation far exceed almost every other fantasy author I've encountered. Still going to include him in my two votes for now.

I should look into this China Mieville character, since the name is not one I'm familiar with. I'm guessing he is not very popular over here...

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:51 am UTC
by pollywog
Do it. China Mieville writes the way I wish every other fantasy author wrote. You won't be disappointed, and if you are, at least you've gained an experience.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:43 am UTC
by |Erasmus|
pollywog wrote:Do it. China Mieville writes the way I wish every other fantasy author wrote. You won't be disappointed, and if you are, at least you've gained an experience.

It's going on the big list of things to get around to reading. Currently working my way through the Robin Hobb stuff I haven't done yet.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:29 pm UTC
by Kewangji
pollywog wrote:Do it. China Mieville writes the way I wish every other fantasy author wrote. You won't be disappointed, and if you are, at least you've gained an experience.

To which I ask, what's so great about him? Am I missing something? I'm hardly finding any reasons to continue reading Perdido Street Station. o:

(Edit: that sounds a bit rude. What I want to know is if it's a matter of taste, or if there's something I'm not noticing which would enhance the reading experience.)

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:36 pm UTC
by Thadlerian
I think people are attracted to the imagination of the books, combined with the naturalist grittiness it employs. Prior to Miéville, I'd never seen anything like it - the highly alien world, made into a piece of everyday life for all involved. The species, the factions, the magic, all manner of "cool" concepts. And it boils down to politics and character intrigue.

That being said, if the book hasn't connected with you yet, I doubt it will. Although you may want to try The Scar instead. I liked that one a lot more than PSS.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:39 am UTC
by pollywog
It's dark, it's grimy, and it feels dangerous. It's set in a mysterious world, almost none of which is explained, but is quite often mentioned. It's very political ( I believe Mieville ran for English Parliament, or something, for the socialist party up there), it has amounts of social commentary, and stuff that's just plain cool. A self grown artificial intelligence, demons, dozens of different cultures living in one big cosmopolitan city that seems to be the only hint of civilisation for a thousand miles, and more!

I think I may be merging the books together a bit, but if you just can't read PSS, definitely try The Scar. The characters are worse people, the concepts are more intriguing, the themes (imo) are better, and it's sort of a quest. I'm a sucker for a good quest. It may just be taste. You might read on a little, and find the bit that hooks you specifically, or you might not. You could stop reading it now, or finish it and love it, or hate it. It's probably one of those Opinion things, like MTV or Primeval Titan.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:41 am UTC
by Apteryx
Kewangji wrote:I'm reading Perdido Street Station right now, and while there's some cool stuff in it (cactus-people, neat! Remaking seems like a cool thing, too), the prose is awfully purple and 150 pages in, the plot hasn't progressed an awful lot, all I've seen is a lot of diversity. The promised 'intricacy' is curiously absent. And the author really likes the word 'eddy', for some reason.

What's so great about it, I ask?


Not the least damned thing.

He was the beneficiary of the Fiction Reviewer at the Times of London being told "Find us the next big thing".

He isn't a good writer, he is a MESSY writer who writes bad fantasy that idiots who know no better call Sci Fi. He mistakes complexity for profundity, and strangely described beasties for important plot points. Nothing any of his creatures does is actually different from some particular human motive, though you have to take into account mentally damaged humans. What are the two main characters other than Tarantino-esque S&M master with its gimp? .

The man can't write a clear thought to save his own skin. Edit to add

dozens of different cultures living in one big cosmopolitan city that seems to be the only hint of civilisation for a thousand miles, and more!

What does that mean?. It just means he threw more and more ideas at the page till he ran out , and then built walls around it and called it a city.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:23 am UTC
by Adacore
Kewangji wrote:To which I ask, what's so great about him? Am I missing something? I'm hardly finding any reasons to continue reading Perdido Street Station. o:

As Apteryx demonstrates so succinctly, it's a matter of taste. If it's not your thing, you'd probably be best off giving up and trying something else. If you want to stick with Mieville you could always try reading one of the books not set in Bas-Lag. I've heard good (albeit mixed) things about Kraken, for example, although I've not got round to reading it myself yet.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:34 am UTC
by pollywog
You like it or you don't. I love it, Apteryx hates it. I can't stand most of the other books mentioned in this thread, except maybe Jasper Fforde's.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:50 am UTC
by Kewangji
Thanks a lot, people! :) I shall finish the book out of stubbornness and then probably never pick up anything by him again.

Re: genre: He's definitely not writing just fantasy. There's steampunk and science fiction in it, as far as I've read, in a terrible mix.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:41 pm UTC
by Belial
Thadlerian wrote:And it boils down to politics and character intrigue.


And the politics at play are also somewhat different from the ones you see in most fantasy books. There's class warfare, for one thing.

In Perdido Street in particular, I also enjoyed the rampant implementation and reimagination of classically cyberpunk story tropes and themes (and not just the ones to do with technology) in a steampunk fantasy setting. It read less like high fantasy (which I am pretty much fucking done with) or steampunk fiction (too pulpy for me to enjoy often) and more like a Gibson novel deep fried in fantasy and garnished with brass. With a dash of lovecraft for flavor.

Which is like saying it was all of my favorite things in one place having a party.

Kewangji wrote:Re: genre: He's definitely not writing just fantasy. There's steampunk and science fiction in it, as far as I've read, in a terrible mix.


Yeah, the name for the subgenre he's writing in (because speculative fiction, much like indie music, fucking loves subgenres) is "New Weird"

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:22 pm UTC
by Apteryx
Gibson invented Cyberpunk because he was TOO GOOD to write mere Sci Fi.

China Moron invents "New Weird" because he simply is not GOOD ENOUGH to write mere Sci Fi.

He has done it because he has not the skill to write an interesting book WITHOUT his dragging fantasy into steam punk into sci fi into pulp weird into circus calliope into toilet humour.

He stuns his prey with cacophony, and their ringing heads confuse them. It isn't admiration you feel, it is sea-sickness.

: )

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:21 am UTC
by Belial
Maybe you're seasick, but that's between you and your inner ear. I'm sitting on the deck with a cocktail watching the show. It's a pretty good show. You should stop vomiting and watch.

I'm on a boat.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:31 am UTC
by Apteryx
Oh, I read the book, from cover to cover. I have a serious problem, if I don't read a couple of books a week, I start to annoy my friends and family with strange ideas and restless babblings.

:)

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:25 am UTC
by Amarantha
Belial wrote:I'm on a boat.
I changed my sig to the below, killed the tab, and this was the next thing I read. Awesome coincidence is awesome.

Also, have not read Mieville. Must try some once I finish with the Lovecraft and Stross I'm currently engrossed in.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:09 pm UTC
by aurumelectrum13
Susanna Clarke, currently at work on the sequel to Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Gaiman's recent output seems a little off, in comparison.

Pratchett has definitely changed, but I'm not sure if it was for the better or worse. I hated Rincewind, I loved the Witches and Death. And he hasn't done any of them lately. :(

Charles de Lint seems to shine in his short stories; they're certainly imaginative, but they aren't great...

Seconding Phillip Pullman, definitely. And His Dark Materials is definitely about the death of God: it's also about the freedom fro innocence gained through experience.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:42 am UTC
by Apteryx
aurumelectrum13 wrote:Susanna Clarke, currently at work on the sequel to Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.




Wow, that is the best news, so wonderful. She is such a brilliant Wordsmith, I look forward to reading her new book so very much, I feel like I just dropped a tab, lol.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:03 am UTC
by Bamm
That is indeed great news.

Re. Erikson, I can see what you mean in you're somewhat dismissive critique of his books...but I like it that way and it is still very enthralling and engaging :) And also very frustratingly obtuse at times too. And as for characterisation, I give you: Beak and his candles /weeps :cry:

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:16 am UTC
by Apteryx
Bamm wrote:That is indeed great news.

Re. Erikson, I can see what you mean in you're somewhat dismissive critique of his books...but I like it that way and it is still very enthralling and engaging :) And also very frustratingly obtuse at times too. And as for characterisation, I give you: Beak and his candles /weeps :cry:

<----- Has never criticised Mr Erikson, for fear of Shaper being thrown through bedroom window.

Beak made me cry real tears, and sob. I had to put the book down more than once, not just in his last scene either. I am guessing he will have to ascend as some kind of Immortal Shield unit. Maybe he will grow greater still than any, and spread his simple love over the entire miserable battle-field that is the books?.

One of my favourite characters was the Demon Greyfrog. He just rocked the house, I want one.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:29 am UTC
by Bamm
Oops I do apologise, the mention of the critique should have been directed at Thadlerian. So, er, sorry and I agree with you 100% Apteryx :)

Oh and my fave characters...by far...have to be Tehol and Bugg (Mael). Very very funny indeed :)

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:15 pm UTC
by Telchar
I eagerly await both Martin and Rothfuss.

Erickson and I have a love/hate relationship. He skips around every other book so there's no character continuity and he never explains anything. Ever. And it's not like everything is super obvious or previous fantasy tropes. And while the last 1/4 of the books are really awesome, the first parts are slow and slogging. I still read them, but....I don't know that I'd ever recommend them except so other people can be chained to the slathering beast to share in my agony.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:31 am UTC
by Apteryx
You certainly need a bit of spare time, or to read quicker than average.

A group of my friends and I all started them at once. Of the 6 of us, I have still two books to go, what with working for a living, and my internet habit, and another bloke is on the last book, but one of our friends is already half way through re-reading them. :shock:

The never explaining things is deliberate, and obviously only going to please some readers. I love it when someone leaves you to do some of the work like that. And I HATE exposition, it is the mark of a useless writer.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:38 pm UTC
by Kewangji
Apteryx wrote:And I HATE exposition, it is the mark of a useless writer.

*raises an eyebrow*

For clarity, what do you define as exposition here?

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:51 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
I.. also wonder how I'm supposed to know why Jhohan is terrified that the Elversmort Virus is loose on the *net, especially now that the Trollkin have all passed on without some exposition kinda.. setting it up all beforehand.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:57 pm UTC
by Thadlerian
Apteryx wrote:And I HATE exposition, it is the mark of a useless writer.

It's the mark of a different writer. Let's leave it at that.

The only universal mark of a useless writer is useless writing.</trivial>

@Kewangji: He probably means plot dumps.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:39 pm UTC
by Cefor
I have a few I think worthy, I'll list them anyway.

Robin Hobb; By far the best writer out of the authors of fantasy that I have read, great characters, plot (Thinking specifically of Farseer here, Liveships not being quite as good IMO and I haven't read her others yet) is amazing, dialogue is great, action. The list is almost endless. Love her books.

Brandon Sanderson; Mistborn books were really good.

Jim Butcher; greatly enjoyed his Alera books, just because they were actually the first lost Roman legion books I've read, and the magic system was cool.

Patrick Rothfuss; as other people have mentioned, although it's only one book I find it's masterfully written. Now, I apologise for not catching the guy's (or gal's) name, but somebody didn't like Name of the Wind because of a Mary Sue incident, which I disagree with. They also mentioned that they didn't like how every other girl was described as beautiful... this is a first person book, coming from the lips and thoughts of the main character - who was a boy with no experience of women, of course he thought they were all beautiful! What you have to remember about first person is that everything, everything, you read is clouded by the perceptions and opinions of the viewpoint character.

I also greatly like Garth Nix, the Old Kingdom series was awesome.

LeGuin, Tolkien, Jean M. Auel (I add her here because I believe that the Earth's Children series is fantasy based at the very least).

If I had to vote for one? Robin Hobb, definitely.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:03 am UTC
by Apteryx
Kewangji wrote:
Apteryx wrote:And I HATE exposition, it is the mark of a useless writer.

*raises an eyebrow*

For clarity, what do you define as exposition here?

I looked up the term a poster uses "plot dump". Seems to cover it pretty well. I hate to be explicitly and at length lead by the hand by an author through every point they are trying to make, it seems to me that it is a sign of a pedestrian writer, who wants to go for a gentle walk with a simple soul, or maybe is incapable of anything else.

I would go so far as to say I prefer a book where the author doesn't really care if you don't pick up that "someone is afraid that something something free on the net something something". If you can't work that out for yourself by implication, maybe you are not paying attention,or something. Where they can show without bothering to tell, because they assume you are awake and aware of life, intelligent enough to fill in the details. The sort of author who isn't trying to write an adults book, for children to read. That is why I am not annoyed by Eriksons complexity and his complete lack of recapping.

Someone who doesn't bother to say pedantically "Anna had left, and this made Mike sad, because now his life did not have a partner in it, partners are important for peoples well-being, he had always had a partner and now he did not.". I would prefer something like where the blunt fact that she was gone was said, and then Mike goes on to live a lonely life, and if someone is not aware of normal life enough to twig that he is lonely now BECAUSE she isn't there, they should close the adults book, it is not for them.

A good example of an author who says a lot without actually writing each word ( and she does it I believe, with her supreme gift of humanity, her deep understanding of people and human emotion) is Justina Robson who wrote "Living next door to the god of love". Never explains a thing about the structure of the world it is set in, who or what or where.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:37 pm UTC
by natraj
aurumelectrum13 wrote:Susanna Clarke, currently at work on the sequel to Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.


Oh man, that makes me so happy. I just recently read that book and it was pretty much one of the greatest things I had ever read. Her style is utterly delightful.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:25 am UTC
by harpyblues
I did have a copy of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but at some point I put it down and moved on to other pastures (don't know why :( ). My brother snapped it up immediately afterwards, and the next thing I knew, my copy had fallen apart into two pieces and someone had drawn penises on the pages, courtesy of one of his friends. So, yeah, at some point I'm going to have to read it, but I'm making my brother pay for it this time.

I'm gonna have to go with that exposition is kinda necessary sometimes. Just look at Robin Mckinley's stuff- it takes her about a hundred pages of Sunshine before she bothers to explain anything at all about her verse, and by that point I was pretty confused. Not giving any expo at all is kind of being dickish to your readers if you intend to build a complex verse. Mckinley can work with that because she does it in a way that fits really well with her style. However, if I had to read a series that was really long running, without any explanation or recap, I'd probably strangle something.

For best fantasy writer, I'd like to say Martin or Gaiman. With Martin, because he wrote what is probably the most brutal deconstructions of high fantasy (or maybe mid fantasy?) ever, and because it's one of the few books out right now where it's easy to cheer for the villains. And Gaiman because he channels awesome on a regular basis.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:06 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
Apteryx wrote:
Kewangji wrote:
Apteryx wrote:And I HATE exposition, it is the mark of a useless writer.

*raises an eyebrow*

For clarity, what do you define as exposition here?

I looked up the term a poster uses "plot dump". Seems to cover it pretty well. I hate to be explicitly and at length lead by the hand by an author through every point they are trying to make, it seems to me that it is a sign of a pedestrian writer, who wants to go for a gentle walk with a simple soul, or maybe is incapable of anything else.

I would go so far as to say I prefer a book where the author doesn't really care if you don't pick up that "someone is afraid that something something free on the net something something". If you can't work that out for yourself by implication, maybe you are not paying attention,or something. Where they can show without bothering to tell, because they assume you are awake and aware of life, intelligent enough to fill in the details. The sort of author who isn't trying to write an adults book, for children to read. That is why I am not annoyed by Eriksons complexity and his complete lack of recapping.

Someone who doesn't bother to say pedantically "Anna had left, and this made Mike sad, because now his life did not have a partner in it, partners are important for peoples well-being, he had always had a partner and now he did not.". I would prefer something like where the blunt fact that she was gone was said, and then Mike goes on to live a lonely life, and if someone is not aware of normal life enough to twig that he is lonely now BECAUSE she isn't there, they should close the adults book, it is not for them.

A good example of an author who says a lot without actually writing each word ( and she does it I believe, with her supreme gift of humanity, her deep understanding of people and human emotion) is Justina Robson who wrote "Living next door to the god of love". Never explains a thing about the structure of the world it is set in, who or what or where.

Ah, now I get it.. you don't hate exposition, you hate shitty writing. Join the club.

Re: best fantasy author working

Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:00 pm UTC
by Midnight
Yeah you don't hate exposition, you just hate Dean Koontz... so try Stephen King.

Best fantasy author: Stephen King (when he writes it, that is. I dunno if the Stand counts, but the Dark Tower surely does. And whoo boy. Whoo boy.) and George R.R. Martin but I'm pretty sure book #5 is never coming out and he spends all his days laughing his ass off at our plight.