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Sci Fi and Fantasy Suggestions

I notice on the Winter Reading thread that some sci fi and fantasy titles/authors were mentioned.  I've been poking around for the last couple years for a really good sci fi or fantasy novel or series, but I can't make heads or tails of them when I look.  So many multi-novel series with comic book covers.  Are they any good, worth the effort?  I can't tell.

I used to read a fair amount of fantasy and sci fi when I was younger.  It was everywhere in the 1970s. Some of my favorites were Peter S. Beagle (A Fine and Private Place), Evangeline Walton (the Mabinogion series), Tolkien obviously, the Narnia series, Ursula K. LeGuin, and that ilk.  I could not read Dune, even though everyone else did.  Later, I read some PKD and especially liked Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and A Scanner Darkly.  There was the cyberpunk era, with the two awesome and visionary novels, William Gibson's Neuromancer and Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. And more recently I read Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon which I loved and Philip Pullman's Golden Compass books which I liked for a while and then started to dislike....

That's my sci fi and fantasy background.  As you can see, I've barely kept up with it although I sample here and there.  So to those of you who actually know this stuff, are there any great books or series that I'm missing? It would be great to narrow down the search a little.


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The Dune, First and Last Men

I thought that The Dune, by Frank Herbert was an amazing book. It beautifully wove ideas and themes together into complex, yet harmonious patterns which were so vivid as to almost create kaleidoscopic images in my mind. I tried to read a sequel (of which there were many) but the sequels just didn't make it for me. (I have learned to be suspicious that sequels often seem to be attempts at milking a good book for additional revenue.)

First and Last Men, by Arthur C. Clark, is an imagined history of the evolution of humanity far into the future. One variety of humans has genetically engineered itself into having three eyes: the two regular eyes, plus a telescopic eye on the top of the head for astronomical viewing. It is an engrossing read, and a memorable book.


Arthur C. Clarke

Clarke was my HS best friend's favorite writer and so I read a lot of his short story collections. Fabulous tales, and I'll have to read more of his work. There are holes in my sci fi reading. Asimov is another I've read too little of as well.


Disc World

A friend of mine is a big fan of Terry Pratchett's Disc World series. It sounds pretty cheeky and farcical. Some of the books have been made into V movies (available on Netflix)that gives you the flavor of Pratchett's worlds.
I found the movie reminded me of the British humor on display in Douglas Adam's Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.


TeeVee Movies

Some of Pratchett's books have been made (rather low budget - not like Game of Thrones)into TV movies, not "V" movies as my original comment says.


Two Not Three

I completely forgot about Douglas Adams. I read all his stuff and loved Hitch Hikers Guide and also So Long And Thanks For All The Fish. I even played the Infocom text adventure game of Hitch Hikers Guide which is where I learned that you have to drink two and not three beers at the pub to survive being sucked up into the mother ship in the nick of time to avoid total planetary destruction. Or at least, that's how I remember it.

I'm into cheeky. Have heard of Terry Pratchett and I'll put him on the list of authors to investigate.


many many!!

SF/fantasy readers are so persnickety that I think everyone you ask will give you a different recommendation. Except I think Paul and I would agree on the Song of Ice and Fire series and the Amber chronicles. Generally as authors I love Bradbury and Heinlein most. Bradbury had such heart and Heinlein was always funny. I have tried numerous times to read the Dune series and petered out. Never really fell into LeGuin or McCaffrey's books though my brothers loved them. The Avalon series by Zimmer-Bradley is a great Pagan favorite. The Shannara series is where it all started for me (after Tolkein), and Terry Brooks has written a few other fantasy series that are all fun (and I think every one I've mentioned is in the library). If any more come to mind I'll update.


Fire Ice and Amber

I'm starting to detect a trend. So far, Amber and Song of Fire and Ice seem to have broad appeal. ;)

I couldn't read McCaffrey either. Stretched the limits of credulity for me.



Just as Agatha Christie lost me with the last minute pesron who was never mentioned but was the killer, McCaffrey's throw-ins from nowhere punched holes in the stories to me.


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