1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Fantasy Must Read List

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Joe the Gnarled, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    I can't apparently edit an older post, so I'm going to post my updated Mast Fantasy Reading List, since I've done some major overhauling and added a lot of additions to it recently. (* means I've read it already)

    Mythopoet's Master Fantasy Reading List

    Vathek by William Beckford (1786)

    *John Ruskin: The King of the Golden River (1851)

    *Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women by George MacDonald (1858)

    *The Wood Beyond the World by William Morris (1894)

    The Well at the World's End by William Morris (1896)

    *Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

    The Wallet of Kai Lung by Ernest Bramah (1900)

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)

    *The Gods of Pegana by Lord Dunsany (1905)

    *Time and the Gods by Lord Dunsany (1906)

    *The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories by Lord Dunsany (1908)

    *The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson (1908)

    *A Dreamer's Tales by Lord Dunsany (1910)

    Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie (1911)

    The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson (1912) or

    *The Night Land, a Story Retold by James Stoddard, William Hope Hodgson


    *The Works of H.P. Lovecraft (1917-1935)

    *The Moon Pool by A. Merritt (1919)

    *A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay (1920)

    *The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison (1922)

    *The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany (1924)

    *Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees (1926)

    War in Heaven by Charles Williams (1930)

    Zothique stories by Clark Ashton Smith (1932-)

    *Conan the Barbarian stories by Robert E. Howard (1932-)

    Jirel of Joiry stories by C.L. Moore (1934-)

    *The Island of the Mighty by Evangeline Walton (1936)

    *The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)

    *Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis 1938

    *Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories by Fritz Leiber (1939-)

    *The Roaring Trumpet and The Mathematics of Magic by Fletcher Pratt and L.

    Sprague de Camp (1940)

    *The Sorcerer's Ship by Hannes Bok (1942)

    *The Book of Ptath by A.E. van Vogt (1943)

    The Opener of the Way by Robert Bloch (1945)

    Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (1946)

    The Well of the Unicorn by Fletcher Pratt (1948)

    Silverlock by John Myers Myers (1949)

    *The Dying Earth by Jack Vance (1950)

    *The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (1950-1956)

    The Tritonian Ring by L. Sprague de Camp (1953)

    *The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson (1954)

    *The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954-1955)

    *The Once and Future King by T.H. White (1958)

    The Mask of Cthulhu by August Derleth (1958)

    *The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960)

    *A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (1962)

    Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges (1962)

    The Trail of Cthulhu by August Derleth (1962)

    The Moon of Gomrath (1963) by Alan Garner

    *Witch World by Andre Norton (1963)

    *The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (1964)

    *Dune by Frank Herbert (1965)

    Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny (1967)

    *The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (1968)

    *A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin (1968)

    Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (Dragonriders of Pern Book 1, 1968)

    *The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs (1969)

    Red Moon and Black Mountain by Joy Chant (1970)

    Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz (1970)

    *Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny (1970)

    The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (1970)

    *Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock (1972)

    Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)

    *Perelandra by C.S. Lewis (1972)

    *The Princess Bride by William Goldman (1973)

    *The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (1973)

    *That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis (1974)

    The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip (1974)

    The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck (1976)

    The Sword of Shanara by Terry Brooks (1977)

    *Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson (1977)

    A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony (Xanth Book 1, 1977)

    The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven (1978)

    Night's Master by Tanith Lee (1978)

    Empire of the East by Fred Saberhagen (1979)

    *The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (1979)

    *The Shadow if the Torturer by Gene Wolfe (1980)

    *The Changing Land by Roger Zelazny (1981)

    *Dilvish, the Damned by Roger Zelazny (1982)

    The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (1982)

    *The Elfin Ship by James Blaylock (1982)

    Magician (Riftwar Saga) by Raymond E. Feist (1982)

    Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings (The Belgariad Book 1, 1982)

    The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King (1982)

    Little, Big by John Crowley (1982)

    *The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers (1983)

    *The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (1983)

    The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1983)

    Web of light by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1983)

    Alanna: The First Adventure (The Song of the Lioness) by Tamora Pierce


    Jhereg by Steven Brust (1983)

    Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (1984)

    The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay (1984)

    The Black Company by Glen Cook (1984)

    Legend by David Gemmell (1984)

    The Man of Gold by M.A.R. Barker (1984)

    Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock (1984)

    Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart (1984)

    The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (1984)

    Master of the Five Magics by Lyndon Hardy (1985)

    Her Majesty's Wizard by Christopher Stasheff (1986)

    *Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (1986)

    The Time Master Trilogy by Louise Cooper (1986)

    Soldier of the Mist by Gene Wolfe (1986)

    Taliesin by Stephen R. Lawhead (1987)

    War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (1987)

    The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore (1988)

    Sheepfarmer's Daughter by Elizabeth Moon (1988)

    *The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams (1988)

    The Boat of a Million Years by Poul Anderson (1989)

    The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers (1989)

    Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (1989)

    Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede (1990)

    Magic Casement by Dave Duncan (1990)

    *The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (1990)

    The Phoenix Guards by Steven Brust (1991)

    *The Magic of Recluce by L. E. Modesitt Jr (1991)

    Black Sun Rising by C. S. Friedman (1991)

    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (1992)

    Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett (1992)

    Deerskin by Robin McKinley (1993)

    *Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind (1994)

    *Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (1995)

    The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (1995)

    Sabriel by Garth Nix (1995)

    World Without End by Sean Russell (1995)

    *The Anvil of Ice by Michael Scott Rohan (1995)

    *A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (1996)

    The Golden Key by Jennifer Roberson, Melanie Rawn and Kate Elliott (1996)

    *Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (1997)

    Talion: Revenant by Michael Stackpole (1997)

    *Stardust by Neil Gaiman (1998)

    The Sum of All Men by David Farland (1998)

    Heroes Die by Matthew Stover (1998)

    In Legend Born by Laura Resnick (1998)

    The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells (1998)

    *Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson (1999)

    *Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (1999)

    *Storm Front by Jim Butcher (2000)

    Perdido Street Station by China Mieville (2000)

    Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey (2001)

    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (2001)

    Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett (2001)

    American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2002)

    *Eragon by Christopher Paolini (2002)

    The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (2002)

    *Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (2002)

    Ombria in Shadow by Patricia McKillip (2002)

    The Prince of Shadow by Curt Benjamin (2002)

    The One Kingdom by Sean Russell (2002)

    *Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (2003)

    Rules of Ascension by David B. Coe (2003)

    The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (2003)

    Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn (2003)

    The Etched City by K. J. Bishop (2003)

    The Briar King by Greg Keyes (2003)

    The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams (2003)

    The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (2003)

    The Shadow of the Lion by Mercedes Lackey, Eric FLint, Dave Freer (2003)

    *Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (2004)

    *The Darkness that Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker (2004)

    *Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher (2004)

    Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (2005)

    His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (2005)

    Priestess of the White by Trudi Caravan (2005)

    *The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (2006)

    The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (2006)

    A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham (2006)

    Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (2006)

    *The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (2007)

    Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay (2007)

    Acacia: The War with the Mein by David Anthony Durham (2007)

    Devices and Desires by K. J. Parker (2007)

    The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett (2008)

    The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (2008)

    Anathem by Neal Stephenson (2008)

    The Magicians by Lev Grossman (2009)

    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (2010)

    The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (2010)

    The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker (2010)

    The Black Prism by Brent Weeks (2010)

    Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (2010)

    Among Others by Jo Walton (2011)

    The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie (2011)

    Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (2011)

    The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham (2011)

    Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (2012)

    Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (2012)

    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (2013)

    Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan (2013)

    City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (2014)

    The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley (2014)

    The Thousand Names by Django Wexler (2014)

    The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (2014)

    The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley (2014)

    Maplecroft by Cherie Priest (2014)

    Uprooted by Naomi Novik (2015)
  2. Trick

    Trick Auror

    Long list (that I might steal ;)).

    I notice that you have The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett. I think it's called that in the UK but it's called The Warded Man in the US. Not that it matters. Just pointing it out.
  3. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    Yeah, it's been a work in progress for some years now. I'm slowly, slowly trying to read everything on the list.
  4. Trick

    Trick Auror

    It will be a great accomplishment when you get there, and by then, it'll probably be longer :) It's funny, there are a ton of books you've read that I have not but many of the books you have not yet read, I have. Weird how that happens. You've definitely got me beat though.

    I have to ask, what did you think of A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay?
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  5. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    I was really disappointed by some of the recent fantasy I read some years ago, so I decided I wanted to dive into classic fantasy and educate myself about the greats. So I've been focusing on that for a long time and haven't read anything written in the last several years. So yeah, I've gotten a bit lopsided now.

    What did I think of A Voyage to Arcturus? It was interesting. I think I'd have to read it again to really form an opinion on it. ;)
  6. Trick

    Trick Auror

    I got about 75% through by sheer power of curiosity and had to trudge the rest of the way. I'm glad I read it but wow...
  7. L M Rush

    L M Rush Scribe

    Eternally glad to see 'The Wheel of Time' given the credit it deserves on that list, I can't help but resent every person I know in real life for a) not having read the books and more importantly b) for not even having HEARD of the books. RIP Mr. Jordan.
  8. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

  9. Cambra

    Cambra Minstrel


    So fabulous to see so many female writers on this list... And, an impressive list too... I really need to get reading some of the really oldies, would you say Frankenstein should be on there? Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? The King in Yellow?

    Oh, and no HG Wells? No Aasimov?

    I'm not being critical, just want a be all end all list...
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  10. Cambra

    Cambra Minstrel

    ... and no-one should overlook Jorge Luis Borges or Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Julio Cortázar and the whole kit and caboodle of South American magic realism (which is, basically, fantasy...).
  11. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    Check out the updated version of the list here: https://mythopoeicfantasy.wordpress.com/fantasy-literature/mythopoets-modern-fantasy-reading-list/

    Did Asimov write any fantasy? Also, I don't really feel Magical Realism is fantasy at all. But that's just my opinion. Though Borges is already on the list.
  12. Russ

    Russ Istar

    I am not sure about HG Wells but I suspect Mr. Asimov would be spinning in his grave to be called a fantasy writer!
  13. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    I'm wondering, did Asimov ever comment on the fantasy genre? He did write a collection of stories called Azazel, generally classified as fantasy. But that sort of thing was of course not typical for him.
  14. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    Wells wrote before fantasy and sci fi became separated as genres. I included The Time Machine on the list because I think it greatly impacted both genres. In fact, I include a lot of books that wouldn't be called fantasy today, but that surely impacted the genre, having been written as "amazing" or "weird" stories before the genres were more demarcated.

    Asimov did comment on fantasy. I used to have a collection of his "fantasy" stories that also included some essays on fantasy. But, imho, the man just did NOT understand what fantasy is. He clearly had no taste for it. He was downright condescending in the essays. And I don't know of any stories of his that are considered fantasy that have had any impact on the genre.
    FifthView likes this.
  15. Russ

    Russ Istar

    While he may have briefly brushed up against the fantasy genre, but no means would I call him a fantasy writer, nor would I think he would be on anyone's "must read" fantasy list.
  16. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    He's not even a "must read" science fiction author, for me. That's probably due to the fact that I have always trended more toward fantasy than SF – I know many SF writers hold him in high esteem, probably justifiably. (I leave it to them to say.) I think I've read maybe a short story or two by Asimov, when I was young; but he never appealed to me in the way that some other SF authors did.
  17. bestellen

    bestellen Dreamer

    But that sort of thing was of course not typical for him.

    CF WELBURN Dreamer

    Great lists and lots of good suggestions. I haven't seen (or may have missed) anything by Jack Vance on here... Just to add my grain of salt I would highly recommend: Tales of the dying earth, and (perhaps more so) Lyonesse trilogy, by Jack Vance. I'll be adding some of the books here to my ever increasing 'to-read' list...
  19. neodoering

    neodoering Minstrel

    I'd also add The Epic of Gilgamesh, which is a fantasy written a few thousand years ago. It's a lot of fun to read and takes you as far back as the written story goes. There are various translations; I have Penguin Classics version and find it to be satisfying. About 120 pages long...
    kjbartolotta likes this.
  20. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I don't know if Beowulf has been mentioned in this thread, but if we're talking classics then that has to go on the list. I really like Seamus Heaney's translation.

Share This Page