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Which recent fantasy novels will be remembered as classics?

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Black Dragon, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    If we limit ourselves to the last decade, were there any novels published during that time which will one day be regarded as classics of the genre?

    As you may guess, my vote goes to the Name of the Wind. It has a certain magic to it that sets it apart from anything else out there.
     
  2. Stewpot

    Stewpot Acolyte

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    Thanks to the movies which has got many people interested in the books, Harry Potter will be remembered for a long time.
     
  3. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Yes, I agree. The Harry Potter series will be regarded as a classic. It took me a while to arrive at this conclusion, though.

    When the books first came out, they didn't strike me as particularly deep or meaningful. Sure, they were magical and entertaining, but I didn't see any lasting substance. But as the series progressed, so did the depth of storytelling. By the time that I read the Deathly Hallows, I was converted.
     
  4. kjjcarpenter

    kjjcarpenter Minstrel

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    I agree with you, Antonio. "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss. An absolutely wonderful novel, written extremely well. Gripping. Descriptive. Entailing. Although not for everyone and it can be very long between any action at times, the way in which the main character develops is nothing short of spectacular. A must read for fantasy lovers.
    Once the trilogy is complete, I'm confident it will attain a much higher readership. It deserves it.
     
  5. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Strangely, there have been some strong negative reactions to Name of the Wind. Some reviewers called it "a journey to nowhere."

    I think that a certain segment of readers prefer a story that is a little tighter, and has a more clear-cut conclusion. Personally, I relished the book's leisurely pace. It made me feel more present in the world, if you know what I mean. It felt like *I* was traveling with the red haired gypsy troupe. It seemed as if I was living on the streets scraping for pennies. And most importantly, I felt the the exhilaration of starting training at the university.

    If the book moved at a faster pace, I may have felt more removed from the story. As it was, I felt totally engaged.
     
  6. Legerdemain

    Legerdemain Troubadour

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    Let me offer a counter to "Name of the Wind" before this becomes a "Name of the Wind" forum... hee hee...

    "American Gods" by Neil "The Great and Uberpowerful" Gaiman to me is the best fantasy novel of the past decade. Yes, it came at the very beginning of the decade, but I think of all of his work it has the ability to stand the test of time. There are far too few books that tackle modern faith versus ancient belief, and this book does so in a very brilliant manner. Also of note is Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book"

    Secondly, to make a point, I must say that Harry Potter will be seen as a Young Adult/Children's classic, much like the Narnia Cycle, but not in the same school as Lord of the Rings or the Alvin Maker series to give more high level examples.

    Potter books read well, and though I am a convert from the "I dislike Potter for the sake of the English Language" I still only give hesitant approval for books 4-6, with my praise being saved for the first three and the last almost exclusively. The books are descriptive, but altogether non-engaging in my view during the middle of the series, being more on "auto-pilot until climax" that many authors working toward a goal suffer from. That said it ended with a satisfying bang and started with a hearty hello, and that's enough to make it read it to my future children. It will be read for many years to come.

    As long as I'm talking young adult works, I found Percy Jackson and the Olympians to be amazingly dark and well written for children growing in single parent homes. Though it's a bit to "pop lit" for the most part, the series does relate many concerns children face with parents that are distant in responsibility, physically, and emotionally. I wouldn't be surprised if this storyline resonates strongly with disenfranchised youth and sticks around as a child's classic.

    What other works are people seeing as classic out there?
     
  7. kjjcarpenter

    kjjcarpenter Minstrel

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    Excellent take on Harry Potter there. I concur, for I stopped reading the series at the fourth book. Maybe it was a matter of me being young and the book looking like a behemoth before my stressed little eyes, I don't know, but from all accounts the pace went uphill at that point. I never got around to reading them, in fact, I never got to read any more books aimed at children. I had read "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" when I was young, and only now—now as in while we speak—am I reading the rest of the Narnia series. After Harry Potter, I didn't read for three or four years and moved onto "Jaws" and then somehow tackled "The Stand", the fourteen-hundred page monster. From then on reading was second-nature, but I read adult books and never had a chance to savour child favourite. Better late than never, right?

    On topic though, I cannot go without recognising a novel not well known to many readers. Although this series spanned four decades, the final three books were released within the last ten years and deserve a mention. Stephen King's "The Dark Tower". I still have yet to find a novel that captivated me like the "The Dark Tower" books. It was magnetic. Many readers will disagree, and even many of King's fans will disagree, but the last book of the series had me in tears as I began to grow closer and closer to the Tower. I knew the ending was coming. It truly was a series of epic proportions, leading across both space and time to a final destination. The whole time you feel as if you are there alongside Roland, watching him grow and learn and, eventually, redeem. With all in mind, the ending stands as a true testament to the opinions of the series—it splits the readership down the middle. Either it was a ride worth taking, or a complete waste of time. I was in the former category, and I await the day I meet another book so spellbinding that I down it in 18 hours straight without rest, only pausing for food.

    I can only hope this tale will last across the ages. However, something tells me with the lack of attention it has seen thus far, there is little hope.
     
  8. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Stephen King is a major household name. In many ways he is a brand unto himself. Yet the least attention has been given to what many call his best books. Why is that?
     
  9. Legerdemain

    Legerdemain Troubadour

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    Maybe you just answered yourself?

    King has written TOO many books for people to know which the good ones are. He's written like 6-7 dozen novels... hard not to miss some of the gems...

    The Stand is his best work in my humble opinion, though I like the Dark Tower series (except when he writes himself in, that's kinda... odd).

    Oh, the other side of things is that he's written some bad books as well, and if you read too many of those before the good ones, you'll never keep reading...

     
  10. kjjcarpenter

    kjjcarpenter Minstrel

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    Leg, I agree, some of his books are absolutely horrendous and he truly have gone above himself by writing over fifty stories, I think it's stretching over 60 now—perhaps almost at 70? I'm not sure. That doesn't include all his unreleased material, short stories and screenplays. There comes a time when you have to stop and say "I think I have to call it a day", and King has gone well beyond that. At one point he said he was concluding writing with the end of "The Dark Tower", but since this statement and the final book's release in 2004, he has released at least five more books from memory and a short story collection.

    Apart from the fact he builds up many circumstances that have lousy payoffs, and finishes most of his novels in very Deus ex Machina fashions, "The Dark Tower" series, "The Eye of the Dragon", "The Stand" and his autobiography "On Writing" (the first part at least) are worth checking out if they are the only stories you read. My opinion, nothing more.

    I think it is a matter of people get the feeling he is only a horror writer. No one pays much attention to him for other genres, though two of the four books I mentioned above are fantasy, one is a post-apocalyptic novel and the other is a non-fiction tale about his rise to writing. I think he writes fantasy much better than stories about killer clowns, or killer cars. If he had applied himself to "The Dark Tower" series more thoroughly, I think his magnum opus could have reached a height much like "Lord of the Rings", but alas, he chose a more terrestrial direction filled with continuity gaffs and, once again, killer clowns.

    I still cherish it—despite that clown.
     
  11. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    I absolutely love Eye of the Dragon. It's one of his most obscure books, yet one of my favorites. If my memory serves correctly, it's connected to the Stand, right?

    Also, have you read On Writing? King has some interesting biographical tidbits in there. He went through an extended period of substance abuse. He was so wasted that he can barely remember writing some of his novels.

    Also, did you guys see his cameo on Sons of Anarchy this season? It was classic.
     
  12. kjjcarpenter

    kjjcarpenter Minstrel

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    "The Eyes of the Dragon" is a beautiful piece of writing, another example of his least-known works being much superior. Yes, that's right, it is connected to both "The Stand" and "The Dark Tower". The main antagonist, Flagg, is present in all three of these stories—who was, if I may say, one of the greatest villains ever conceived with the poorest payoff that could have been presented on paper. I don't know what King was thinking, but Flagg's tale did not come to a fulfilling conclusion for me, with many others agreeing.
     
  13. Legerdemain

    Legerdemain Troubadour

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    Though I did not read the work "On Writing" Tony, that does not surprise me. Poe was actually quite the alcoholic, and struggled to maintain his job, much less write for much of his life. Authors who live in other worlds often can't find their way back to this one.

    Oh, and I agree Kev, Flagg was indeed well conceived, if not executed.
     
  14. Aqua Buddha

    Aqua Buddha Scribe

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    Flagg was formidable in the Dark Tower. But the actor who portrayed him in the Stand Miniseries was miscast. He acted like a hick.
     
  15. kjjcarpenter

    kjjcarpenter Minstrel

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    I believe that was Jamey Sheridan who portrayed him. All in all, the whole miniseries of "The Stand" was under par for my tastes. The acting was not anything to be proud of to start. I can excuse the graphics for it not being a recently created adaption, but the whole scenarios where Flagg morphed into the daemon were terrible by every standard. It made the character laughable.

    Many authors of poetry and literature have had a severe case of substance abuse or immoral fetishes. We of course know King's story, and Poe, but there were others. Lewis Carole was allegedly a pedophile; and a poet, whose name escapes me, was taking some sort of hallucinogen and experiencing a vivid vision. He wrote down what he saw and just as he was reaching the climax of this lucid story, there was a knock on his front door and he was cast out of his thoughts. He never finished the story because he believed the only way he could write it effectively was by seeing it in a vision; it never came to him though.

    I guess if we want to succeed as writers we should all go down to our local drug dealer and pick up some cocaine.
     
  16. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    I found the Stand miniseries to be a disappointment as well. The graphics were laughable, although Gary Sinise gave a great performance. I also agree that Flagg, as portrayed in the miniseries, was anything but threatening. In the books he comes across as threatening and mysterious.
     
  17. Chaz24

    Chaz24 Acolyte

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    I think the biggest fantasy stories come from the liberal media.
     
  18. Legerdemain

    Legerdemain Troubadour

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    Come on now, don't make this a political forum... :p Keep Olbermanns and O'Reillys at the door if you would in my humble opinion.

    Orson Scott Card and I discussed this topic once (yeah, not because he and I are buds, but because I met him at an event on campus and I talked a while as I tend to do with people), and he was adamant about the popular writers of today like Stephan King were getting shafted academically, as most "Great authors" were simply popular in their time, and of the popular ones the "great" ones didn't disappear over time. Like Harry Potter, like it or hate it, will be around for a long time, as it is already read by enough people to be a "classic" in my opinion. That said, popular but not necessarily the greatest, like Terry Brooks, may not be remembered while Neil Gaiman may.
     
  19. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Though the initial novels appeared more than ten years ago, Glen Cook's "Black Company" series (which now appears to be concluded) and Steven Brust's "Taltos" series (which may go on for quite some time yet) are both very well-written and very entertaining.
     
  20. Juiceman

    Juiceman Scribe

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    As a moderator, I agree with Legerdmain on this.

    We are a forum dedicated to the discussion and sharing of ideas with regard to actual fantasy writing, whether it be through literature or the screen. It was designed as such, and we absolutely want to keep it as such.

    Political opinions are not to be part of this forum. Everyone has their own views, and they need to stay personal in nature.

    Please refrain from posting such text on Mythic Scribes in the future.
     
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