• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Intelligent Fantasy

the makeout hobo

Rockin' In The Free World
DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
7,102
Reaction score
1,504
Location
Sacramento, CA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
Perhaps you are correct about the hobbits. But the Dwarfs are portrayed usually as dim witted, physically strong, and manual laborers none of which fits the Jewish stereotype. If any one is the Jews, it has to be the Leprequans.

Physically strong, yes, but I'm not sure about dim witted. Where are you getting that from? They were a quiet, solemn people, a people set apart from the rest of the world. Jewish was modeled after Hebrew.
 

Caedon

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
151
Reaction score
60
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Trust me, I don't need 100% action. My favorite midevil-ish fantasy type books I've read has been George R.R. Martin's and while the action in it is great, its usually over pretty quick. Its far more focused around character development, politics, etc.

Granted, Erikson's will likely turn into the same thing as Martin's did for me and within a 100 pages or so it'll have me hooked. Its just even harder for me to keep picking up than Martin's was. I went back and reread the Song of Ice and Fire series and found the first 100 pages FLEW by then. I think the issue is in such immersive worlds as Martins and from what I hear Erikson's, you get thrown into it and it'll either hook you right off or just be boringly tiresome to read about characters and events that have no real meaning or depth to them at all until you get to the grander scope of things...making it hard to get into.

That was really one of my few complaints about Martin's work (That and he's taking too damn long getting the next book out) and it seems to be present in Erikson's too.

I normally don't recommend this but if you are having a hard time getting into Gardens of the Moon, try reading a short summary of the book first. Erikson takes such a drastic turn from the normal "conveniently use a wise old man to tell the young hero boy what the hell is going on so the reader now knows almost everything" cliche that he does just dump the reader into the world with almost no explanation.

GoTM is excellent... once you get into it. The series just gets better and better from there. Awesome action, great characters, villians who can actually think and win, etc.

---

I just read the first 5 books in the Codex Alera from Butcher. Great stuff, though a bit on the "nothing bad can ever happen to the good guys" side. Still, well written and very entertaining.
 

MidiPour

Banned
Joined
Feb 17, 2010
Messages
74
Reaction score
8
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Moderate
I don't know whether the Spin and Axis books were considerably intelligent, or whether the theme is fantasy, or whether it's a nonfiction with fantasy undertones. Well, it's placed in the future with scientific themes.

Also, anything by Stephen King as he tends to focus on the breakdown in society and the psychological effects of his cast under pressure.
 

Groucho

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
1,363
Reaction score
933
Location
Pocono Mountains, PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
And now for a quick commercial break. Please forgive me if you hate this sort of thing.

My second novel is now available as a paperback, ebook, and kindle.

It's called "The Axes of Evil". Here's a short description:

One barbarian prophecy says the legendary hero Bishortu will unite the three warring tribes. Another tribe has a prophecy that directly contradicts this, and they want Bishortu dead. And a third tribe, which may or may not be comprised of werewolves, refuses to let anyone know what their prophecy says. Meanwhile, the Duke on whose land the barbarians sit wants them all gone.

In the middle of all of this is squire Terin Ostler, who has been mistakenly identified as the great Bishortu. Under the Duke's orders to get rid of the barbarians, he heads to their lands without the slightest idea of what to do.

Along the way, he has to avoid assassins, werewolves, lovesick barbarian princesses, and confused goblins while attempting to figure out the meaning of the magical and mysterious Wretched Axes. Nobody said being a hero would be easy.



Here are some blurbs from the back cover:

"Michael A. Ventrella takes up the mantle of Christopher Stasheff. Terin’s exploits are as entertaining as those of Rod Gallowglass, and fans of The Warlock in Spite of Himself will hugely enjoy The Axes of Evil."- Gregory Frost, author of Shadowbridge and Lord Tophet

"Humor, danger and a twisted tangle of unlikely prophecies make for a page-turning adventure." - Gail Z. Martin, author of The Chronicles of the Necromancer series

"The Axes of Evil is a taut nail-biter of a thriller. Edgy, funny and dark." - Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The
Dragon Factory and Rot & Ruin


[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Axes-Evil-Sequel-Arch-Enemies/dp/1554047277/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266719533&sr=1-7"]Here's a link to the paperback edition you can get from Amazon[/ame]

Here's a link to the ebook edition

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Axes-of-Evil-ebook/dp/B00362XLIC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266719533&sr=1-2"]Here's a link to the kindle version[/ame]

Here's a link to my blog

Thank you. I now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion.
 

Caedon

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
151
Reaction score
60
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Cool stuff, Groucho. I'll have to check it out.

---

The Dresden Files by Butcher are pretty fun. They read quick, have decent characterization, and the magic seems to be internally consistent for the most part.

Plus, the main character is a wise ass, something that makes a story much more fun for me.
 

Mach

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Messages
21,225
Reaction score
12,780
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
Robin Hobb, Fareseer Trilogy

Not action packed, and not iconic assassins, subtle fantasy.

Strangely engaging, I find it a serious page-turner, hard to put down, easy to ready 5 pages and "get something out of it", follows the same characters basically and doesn't zig-zag around. Characters are personable, and make a lot of choices that "you might make". In general a personable serious, contrasted to the "epic" type books.

I find I can't finish many female authored fantasy books, and typically avoid them. I was glad to add one to my list with this trilogy.

And if you haven't read the Dune series, it's tops as intelligent sci-fi/fantasy.
 

Zyphlin

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 21, 2005
Messages
51,312
Reaction score
35,173
Location
NoMoAuchie
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
So pushed on through the first bit of Gardens of the Moon and sure enough, just like with Martin, things started picking up. Though admittedly it really wasn't till the Bridgeburner and Darujhistan sections that it caught me. Paran's stuff early on was....meh. Over all though I really did enjoy the book. I'm onto Memories of Ice now and really enjoying it. I think my only issue so far is its definitely beginning to give me that "Dragon Ball Z" type feeling where every little bit something even more powerful has to be introduced to beat out the previously really powerful thing and on and on. The power scope is a bit daunting but other than that I'm enjoying it a lot.
 

Mach

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Messages
21,225
Reaction score
12,780
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
So pushed on through the first bit of Gardens of the Moon and sure enough, just like with Martin, things started picking up. Though admittedly it really wasn't till the Bridgeburner and Darujhistan sections that it caught me. Paran's stuff early on was....meh. Over all though I really did enjoy the book. I'm onto Memories of Ice now and really enjoying it. I think my only issue so far is its definitely beginning to give me that "Dragon Ball Z" type feeling where every little bit something even more powerful has to be introduced to beat out the previously really powerful thing and on and on. The power scope is a bit daunting but other than that I'm enjoying it a lot.
lol. Yeah, everyone complains about GotM and the early Paran stuff. Too bad he can't just re-write it. Having a bad start to such an enormously long series is so unfortunate. And that many people really aren't wrong on that one. Glad you're getting something out of it now.

As to the power curve, yeah, it's definitely epic over the top, but I equated it more to leveling in D&D from heroic, to paragon, to Epic which seemed kind of natural (from a gamer perspective) Epic badasses that cross planes and have demons for familiars or create worlds...all mixed together with mundanes who still can make a difference. It's definitely a near-super-hero style. I find so few books do that, and do it well, that it fulfilled a hole in my reading options.
 

Zyphlin

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 21, 2005
Messages
51,312
Reaction score
35,173
Location
NoMoAuchie
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
....4e reference....

twitch


twitch
 

Redress

Liberal Fascist For Life!
Moderator
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Messages
108,212
Reaction score
52,261
Location
Bradenton Fla
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
....4e reference....

twitch


twitch

Nerd.

Just got the last of my birthday Amazon order, only fantasy I got was old classics, Fiest's first 4 Riftwar books. Enjoyed the hell out of them when I was in Navy, will be fun to reread them, as I don't remember hardly a single detail about them
 

Zyphlin

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 21, 2005
Messages
51,312
Reaction score
35,173
Location
NoMoAuchie
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Which is sad because I loved what they did with combat in 4e by making it more interactive. So many things affect other players, things give other players chances to do something when its not their turn so they have to pay more attention off of their rounds, combat is supposed to go faster, etc. Making combat faster and more interesting is a good thing, its just that they gutted the non-combat stuff in the process.

Granted, just read the books. Not had a chance to play honestly. Haven't played a game in about 4 years.

God is it posible to drag a fantasy thread into even more geeky territory?
 

the makeout hobo

Rockin' In The Free World
DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
7,102
Reaction score
1,504
Location
Sacramento, CA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
We can only drag it into geekier territory if we're lucky.;)

I've actually been playing a lot of white wolf games lately. I was really reluctant at first because of "OMG GAY VAMPIRES OMG!!!", but once I started playing various games of theirs, I loved it. There's a lot more to go off of if you want to do more than simple combat. DnD especially sucks for social interaction, for instance. I'm actually putting together an Exalted game right now.
 

Zyphlin

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 21, 2005
Messages
51,312
Reaction score
35,173
Location
NoMoAuchie
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Not a big fan of the white wolf system. I prefer D20 by far. But they are still fun. Had a great year long campaign I was in at college for Werewolf the Apoclypse that was great. Played a bit of exhalted but wasn't my cup of tea...to over the top animeish.
 

Groucho

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
1,363
Reaction score
933
Location
Pocono Mountains, PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
If I may interrupt for another commercial break...

A new book of stories about pirates and magic has just been released which features my humorous story "X Spots the Mark".

[ame=http://www.amazon.com/Rum-Runestones-Various/dp/1897492073/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274031138&sr=1-1]Amazon.com: Rum and Runestones (9781897492079): Various, Valerie Griswold-Ford:…[/ame]
 

Redress

Liberal Fascist For Life!
Moderator
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Messages
108,212
Reaction score
52,261
Location
Bradenton Fla
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Very Liberal

1069

Banned
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
24,975
Reaction score
5,126
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
His Malazan Book of the Fallen series is excellent, although particularly dense. The only negative that I've seen is that I don't think he proofs his writing much - some of his sentences have just horrible structure and are overly obtuse.

That certainly doesn't sound very "intelligent".
Unfortunately, a lot of genre writing is as you describe: talentless hacks churning out cheap imitations of the work of one or two influential writers in said genre.
A lot of horror fiction, for instance, is ripped off from Stephen King (who isn't that great a writer himself, in many ways; I prefer Straub).
And don't even get me into romance writing: if anybody ever did it well, it must've been centuries before our time.

I'm not a fan of fantasy, but my ex-husband was, and I believe his favorite author was somebody named Marion Zimmer Bradley.

There is one- one- fantasy writer that I adore; his name is John Crowley, and his best book is Little, Big.
I've read this book dozens of times over the course of my life, and it's like a different book every time I read it. I always discover something new and profound between its covers.
 
Last edited:

Groucho

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
1,363
Reaction score
933
Location
Pocono Mountains, PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
I remember reading Little Big years and years ago and enjoying it, but my old age is preventing me from remembering much about it!
 

1069

Banned
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
24,975
Reaction score
5,126
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I remember reading Little Big years and years ago and enjoying it, but my old age is preventing me from remembering much about it!

It's about several generations of a weird family, and their dealings with fairies, told from the perspective, basically, of a guy who marries into the family, doesn't believe in fairies, and thinks they're all eccentric and/or crazy.

It's just so deep, so rich, so multi-layered and well-written. There's so much going on.
I love that book so much.
You should read it again. :)

Little, Big - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Last edited:

BDBoop

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 17, 2010
Messages
9,800
Reaction score
2,719
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Other
Terry Pratchett is amazing. I'm embarrassed I didn't even try reading him until a good friend introduced me about a year ago.

For genearlly lighthearted fantasy that dives into deep waters unexpectedly, it's hard to beat Terry Pratchet's Discworld series.
 

BDBoop

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 17, 2010
Messages
9,800
Reaction score
2,719
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Other
That was my first brush with fantasy, and I have been hooked ever since. I got my nephew interested, and from there he went into D&D, then all RPGs, and all manner of fantasy reading, and now he is shopping his novel.

And you simply cannot beat Stephen R. Donaldson's "Thomas Covenant" series for intelligent fantasy.
 

Frozengale

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
161
Reaction score
56
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

It's an amazing fantasy and it sort of skips around Tokein and the whole Bowdlerization of literature and goes straight back to the time when Fair Folk weren't the cute little faeries with wings and that helped people or Tolkein elves. But back to when faeries were not only mischievous but would probably kill you and enjoy doing it in strange ways. Also it's hilarious.

-“Dear God!!” cried Fitzroy Somerset, “What language is that?”
“I believe it is one of the dialects of Hell,” said Strange.
“Is it indeed?” said Somerset. “Well, that is remarkable.”
“They have learnt it very quickly,” said Lord Wellington, “They have been dead only three days.” He approved of people doing things promptly and in a businesslike fashion.
 

Caedon

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
151
Reaction score
60
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Libertarian
That certainly doesn't sound very "intelligent".
Unfortunately, a lot of genre writing is as you describe: talentless hacks churning out cheap imitations of the work of one or two influential writers in said genre.
A lot of horror fiction, for instance, is ripped off from Stephen King (who isn't that great a writer himself, in many ways; I prefer Straub).
And don't even get me into romance writing: if anybody ever did it well, it must've been centuries before our time.

I'm not a fan of fantasy, but my ex-husband was, and I believe his favorite author was somebody named Marion Zimmer Bradley.

There is one- one- fantasy writer that I adore; his name is John Crowley, and his best book is Little, Big.
I've read this book dozens of times over the course of my life, and it's like a different book every time I read it. I always discover something new and profound between its covers.

Erikson's skill is more in building a complex and evolving world. He doesn't rely on the elf/dwarf/orc stereotypes nor will you find the dumb young village boy destined to be the greatest wizard/swordsman/bleh ever. It's more of a dark, gritty world where the heroes sometimes die and the bad guys sometimes win. I like it, anyway.

Also, Jim Butcher's stuff is great. His Dresden Files novels are superb, though they are more urban detective fantasy than anything else. The Codex Alera is pretty good as well.
 

BDBoop

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 17, 2010
Messages
9,800
Reaction score
2,719
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Other
Mad Jim Butcher love, here. I just finished Changes.
 
Top Bottom