Monday, January 16, 2012

Fantasy and sci-fi: what are your favorites?

I've been a reader forever, and it remains my most favorite thing to do. I love stories, I love characters, I love being delighted by them all. A well-told story delights me like nothing else.

As a writer, I write women's fiction, mostly because I like reading the genre and I like the room it affords for expressing stories and feelings about women and their journeys. I would say that in general, my reading habits run mostly toward women's fic. That isn't to say I don't enjoy a wide variety of other genres, though.

Probably the genre I've read the least is fantasy and sci fi. There are many reasons for this--but they might all boil down to that I'm worried they'll be silly or overdone. And if the characters have unpronounceable names like Ghuufaxychixyxylp then I'm not reading it. I'm slightly afraid I'll become a Dungeons and Dragons player and howl at the moon (not as a werewolf, you understand, just as one of those people who gets carried away with fantasy). But I have read (and enjoyed!) mainstream things, like:
  • The Lord of the Rings books
  • Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series (really liked the concept of those books)
  • The Game of Thrones series (amazingly, all of them)
There might be others but I am having a massive brain and writing block this weekend and seriously, this post nearly didn't even happen because I couldn't pull anything out of my ass--like, I stared at the blank post for a long time tonight. 

What I'm hoping is that you'll tell me what your least read genre has been. And also, if you've read a lot of fantasy or sci-fi, you'll tell me what's good and why I shouldn't be afraid of it. 


Malin said...

I got lots and lots of suggestion for fantasy and sci-fi, but my least read (fiction) genre might be women's fic - so maybe we should trade reading lists? I'm not much for odd names either so maybe my suggestions will work for you:
Fury by Henry Kuttner (sci-fi), The stars my destination by Alfred Bester (sci-fi), Paksenarrion (trilogy) by Elizabeth Moon (fantasy), To say nothing of the dog by Connie Willis (Fantasy/time travel). Let me know if you want more! And feel free to direct me to some of your favourites in women's fic.

MJones said...

I have no idea what genre I read most--if it sounds good, I'll put it on my list to read-- but I don't read any sci fi or fantasy. I read synopses and reviews and cover blurbs and think either, "Hunh. Whatever," or "Huh? Whatever!" and put it back. The story lines don't grab me at all and I need my feet rooted on the ground... a sense of believability is important in order for my brain to hook into the story.

Cathryn Leigh said...

Anne McCaffery - hands down - I'm probably prejudiced,since she's just about the only author I read in my teen years, but her Pern books got me through those years fairly unscathed. Anyway, she's mostly science fiction, though some of her short stories step into the realm of fantasy.

From her I'd recommend Dragon Flight, Dragon Quest, The White Dragon (Dragonriders of Pern Trilogy) and Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrums (Harper Hall Trilogy). The three sets of books happen during a similar time frame, but tell the tale from different perspectives and fit together very well. The characters have pronouncable names as do the Dragons, even if they look funcky (like F'lar and Menemoth). I now have the urge to re-read them. *grin* (saddly no e-book version exists).

Oh and as to becomeing a D&D player... well, you do know that D&D was spawned by Lord of the Rings right? *giggles* Naw, it takes more than reading fantasy to get into D&D. I should know, I've played some of those RP games. (A good game master is a good story teller, though.)

:} Cathryn

Sierra Godfrey said...

Malin, thanks for the suggestions! I'll add those to my list. For women's fiction, you should start with Marian Keyes. She is often called chicklit, but her novels are smart and hilarious, and always a wonderful read. If you like something a little more dramatic, try Maeve Binchy. Both Marian and Maeve are Irish writers, incidentally, which means nothing, but there you are.

Melinda, that was my reaction too. But I'm willing to get into a wonderful fantasy world if it's done right--meaning, for the story rather than the escape.

Cathryn, thanks for those suggestions. I'll put Anne McCaffrey on my list!

Rebecca T. said...

My least read genre is probably "literary" fiction. I tend to go more for fantasy (and a LOT of YA)

But I recently read Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and it was AMAZING. A great fantasy world that was focused on the characters and had an interesting plot as well. No really complicated names and it almost read like a dystopian - like it was our world many many years in the future, but without being overtly that way? If that makes sense. So it felt familiar, but removed at the same time. I am dying to have time to read the second book! I've also heard from a friend that his book Warbreaker is phenomenal.

Summer Frey said...

I've always been a fan of Terry Brooks. Some people might claim he ripped off Tolkein in the Shanara series, and while I'm sure he was inspired, I think the Shanara series is incredibly unique and an amazing series of books. I also enjoy his (urban fantasy? hard to genre-lize) trilogy "Knight of the Word," as well as the Magic Kingdom of Landover series (which is fantasy with a good dose of humor and romance). I'd say my least-read genre is historical fiction for sure, followed by horror.

Gerard said...

I really enjoyed the "Books of the Swords" series by Fred Saberhagen. He also has a great "Beserker" series.

Piers Anthony's "Xanth" series are excellent too. A dose of humor is mixed into them.

Jennifer E. McFadden said...

I love Lord of the Rings. I mostly read YA for some reason. :)

Simon C. Larter said...

My least read genre is women's fiction.

That is all.

Nemesis, out.

Sierra Gardner said...

I also don't read women's fiction much so I will need your reading list as well =) I second Brandon Sanderson as a great author and add Orson Scott Card as a must as well. I recently read a couple by Ursula Le Guin and loved them too.

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