Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

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Bookish lists

Some years back, I tried to do a top fantasy list. The only way I could thin it down, was to pick books where I feel I would have lost something if I’d never read them. I was re-reading it and I think I'd make some changes now, but there so many more books that I don't want to drop...

I have to add Philip Pullman and Kim Stanley Robinson. That means dropping Paula Volsky (Luck of Relian Kru) and Steven S Boyett: The Architect of Sleep. There are people like Ellen Kushner and Terri Windling who I’ve still only read short stories by. Similarly, Borderlands is superb but pretty much all anthologies and Theodore Sturgeon and Henry Kuttner are (to my mind) strongest in their short stories. There’s no Tolkein; he’s wonderful but if I had Tolkein I’d want Umberto Eco and Jack Kerouac too and it’ll be a huge(r) list. No J K Rowling - the ideas of the Harry Potter books are superb but the writing is (to me) a little flat. So, without going down to the bookcase for inspiration, keeping it at 25 and in no particular order.

1. Barbara Hambly: Bride of the Rat God
2. Charles de Lint: Someplace to be Flying
3. Harry Turtledove: just about everything - oh, all right, if I can’t have the whole Videssos cycle, then The Case of the Toxic Spelldump
4. Iain Banks: The Bridge
5. Sean Stewart: The Night Watch
6. Phillip Pullman: His Dark Materials and the Sally Lockhart books
7. Philip Jose Farmer: the first three World of Tiers books
8. Robert Charles Wilson: Gypsies
9. Tom Holt: Expecting Someone Taller
10. Meredith Anne Pierce: The Darkangel
11. Joan Aiken: The Stolen Lake (hah! Book five so you’ll want to read the first four)
12. Kim Stanley Robinson: Years of Rice and Salt
13. Susan Cooper: The Dark is Rising
14. Ursula Le Guin: Earthsea
15. Tanith Lee: Night’s Master
16. Madeleine L’Engle: The Young Unicorns
17. Barry Hughart: Song of Stone
18. Keith Roberts: Kiteworld
19. Mary Gentle: Rats And Gargoyles
20. Emma Bull: The War for the Oaks
21. Steven Brust: Vlad Taltos, Assassin (cheating, I know, the first three books collected)
22. Michael Moorcock: Mother London
23. Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess: Stardust
24. L Sprague de Camp: Lest Darkness Fall
25. Diana Wynne Jones: most any of the Chrestomanci books

Also-rans: Nina Kiriki Hoffman: The Thread That Binds The Bones and the Matt Black Books like Red Heart of Dreaming, Elizabeth Hand: Waking The Moon, Robin McKinley: The Blue Sword.

If the list was science fiction instead, I couldn’t do core books so I’d go for personal favourites: Alfred Bester, Ian Banks, Connie Willis, Julian May, Spider Robinson, Joan de Vinge, Lois McMaster Bujold, H Beam Piper, Greg Bear, Neal Stephenson, Ian McDonald (for Desolation Road) and Walter Millar (A Canticle for Leibowitz).
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